Title: A Simple Question
"Will you leave me one day, Setsuna-mama?" Little Hotaru asked, small hands grasping at her skirt. Her eyes were big and her voice was small, but her gaze was old and tired and sad.
Setsuna paused. She bent and took those little hands in her own, tucking away a wayward strand. "What makes you think I will leave you one day, Hotaru-chan?"
"Because... they do." Hotaru whispered to her softly, shyly, as if it were a terrible secret that mustn't be spoken about out-loud. The child was all cleared-eyed and certain and... resigned.
Setsuna remained silent for a long time, her hand laced through those silky strands of Hotaru's hair. She wondered through the merits of lying or telling the truth, weighing her options and pondering out the consequences. These were the little important things that she was never quite sure about, the things that might one day lead to big, important things that she would surely come to know - though she would never remember the things that made it inevitable. Hotaru did not fidget in her hands, did not look scared at the thoughtful expression she wore, nor was the child impatient for the answers she would come to give, which would be strange if Hotaru had been somebody else. But Hotaru should be sixteen now, instead of five, and those eyes the other bore were the only evidence Setsuna had of Hotaru's previous nature - something older than this life or the last one, one that haunted the small child's foot-steps like shadows. Hotaru's question was that of a child's but the answer the other wanted was not the same as the one a child could come to accept.
"I will not abandon you, Hotaru-chan," Setsuna paused slightly here, "without a fight. Because you are worth that, and because I love you." It was not really a promise but it was, at least, not a lie either.
Hotaru watched her with unchildlike eyes, but then she smiled. The smile was clear and pure and bright, new and natural on a face that had once been sad and somber. It was a smile Setsuna would fight for, and that much she is very certain about. For that smile, she would do everything in her power to protect.