"I want you to join us." Juri bites his tongue, stopping those words from being voiced out loud. He holds the thoughts he wants to convey, afraid that his tone would carry the more permanent way he wants Taiga to join them. Rather than actual fear, Juri is afraid of burdening Taiga with his selfishness, knowing that Taiga is already laden with responsibilities to his clan and to the oath he upholds.
So Juri just grins that shit-eating grin and continues his way up, as loathe as he was to actually leave Taiga at the foot of the hill. He lifts Soya up into his arms, the child nearly asleep on his feet from spending the entire day on an adventure with him downtown.
“Juri, I—“ Taiga calls out to him, and Juri stops in his tracks.
“Soya really wanted you to stay for dinner, but I know you have food back home,” Juri explains out of the blue, deliberately side-stepping the elephant in the room.
“The child has taste,” Taiga quips good-naturedly, and it surprises Juri so much that his jaw hangs open for a minute. Juri is careful not to slacken his grip on the child regardless of the nearly-comical expression he makes, and Taiga feels his heart melt. “I guess this is it?” Taiga tells Juri. He begins to walk away in earnest, making the most out of knowing that Juri is in the care of the people that he chose to protect, satisfied in the affirmation of Juri’s resolve.
Juri nods. “Yeah, thank you for today, Kyomo. Feel free to drop by again.”
I’m so sorry, it’s all yours now, defiancebyfire.