After Tohru had dragged Kyo out on the beach and they had talked about her “sand castle” and how she was his senpai in sand castle making, there were a few moments of companionable silence. Then, first quietly, but then louder, a little voice could be heard saying, “Be’ch ball. Be’ch ball.”
Both Kyo and Tohru turned to look in the direction from where the sound was coming. As they watched, a bright orange beach ball rolled past. Not far behind the ball was its apparent owner.
“Aaaw! What a cute little girl,” Tohru gushed. And she was a cute little girl. In pink overalls with a white t-shirt, the little blonde cherub didn’t look like she was dressed to be on the beach. That didn’t stop her from doggedly following her ball. The girl couldn’t have been more than four, and there were no parents in sight, but she was a beautiful sight trailing her ball on the beach.
“Sheesh, she’s got energy like Momiji,” Kyo groused.
Before Tohru could reply, the little girl noticed them by their pile of sand. Ignoring her ball for the moment, she walked over to them. Staring at them for a few seconds, she chimed right in, “Hi, Lady. Hi, Mr. Man.”
Kyo stared at the little girl in shock. Tohru, however, scrambled through her English to get out, “Hello, little girl.”
“Whatcha doin’?” their visitor asked Tohru and Kyo.
“We are making a sand castle,” Tohru shared.
“Why?” the girl asked
“Because Kyo-kun has never done it before.”
“Why?’ the girl asked again.
The second why stumped Tohru. Turning to Kyo, she waited for him to answer.
“I don’t spend much time at beaches.”
“Why?” the girl asked again.
Kyo began to growl a little at this. So focused on saying something that wasn’t unduly harsh but would get the kid to leave, he didn’t notice the dog bounding toward them. After a few moments, he did manage to answer, “I don’t like water or sand, alright?!”
The little girl cocked her head toward the annoyed cat and said, “That’s okay. I love you. Bye-bye.”
Before she could run off after her ball, a big brown and white dog ran up to the group. It briefly sized up Tohru before deciding that she was not a threat; but one wiff of Kyo, and it was growling, putting itself between the girl and the teen.
Kyo began to eye the dog warily as he backed up slowly. Tohru started to agitatedly fret, trying to let “dog-san” know that Kyo was not a bad person. Both reactions seemed to cause the dog to growl even more. What stopped the coming confrontation was the clear giggle of the little girl.
After her little giggle, she gave the dog a big hug. “Silly puppy,” she said without any judgment. Looking off in the distance, the girl then spotted the thing that started everything. “Be’ch ball. Be’ch ball!” she shouted in delight as she left her “puppy”, Tohru, and Kyo by their pile of sand to chase after the ball into the ocean. The dog, realizing what was happening, seemed to almost panic before rushing off after the girl.
“Careful!” Tohru shouted, “Don’t get to deep in the water.”
“That kid better not drown,” Kyo complained. “I do NOT want to go in after her.”
“Drown?!” Tohru asked, very concerned. “Should we –“
As Kyo watched the scene with the beach ball, girl, and dog, he replied, “No. I think
that mutt has everything under control. Now, you were showing me something about this sand pile?”
“Oh! Yes,” Tohru answered as she refocused her attention on the sand castle. And as they worked for awhile, the little sounds of “Be’ch ball, be’ch ball,” moved farther and farther away. They began so focused on their pile that Momiji did startled when he shouted to Tohru and gave her a hug.