Ah, yes. My Hideki. Here's some backstory! (finally done)

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Ah, yes. My Hideki. Here's some backstory! (finally done)

Unread postby Kai » Fri Aug 04, 2006 1:22 am

Chizuna and Akira Shigetomi had been more religious that the average Nekonian couple, or so their son would later claim. Not that he had much evidence. His earliest memories were of grand and solemn temples surrounded by grand and solemn trees that had made him feel so small and inconsequential. The truth was that Shigetomi Hideki had little else by which to judge them.

These early memories always remained obscured and distorted by the haze of a young child's recollection Years later there would be little useful information in these vague and fleeting scenes. Much clearer were memories of fire. Hideki didn't remember how he escaped from the collapsing structure, whether he had assistance or found his own way. He only remembered being held back by concerned strangers as he strained to break free and find his parents. The only illumination that night came from the burning house, the only sounds the breaking of charred wood and the boy's own crying echoing in his ears. A neighbor took him home, but he left at first light to pace the boundaries of what had been his home only a day before. He ducked into the building, kicking aside rubble and dodging the floating cascades of ash that drifted down in the morning breeze. Here was the kitchen, and here his bedroom. Akira and Chizuna had been asleep when it happened, but mercifully their remains had beenr emoved from the building by the time Hideki arrived. Too much to ask of a six year old, pacing through the rubble of his young life.

As day opened up onto the city, it came to life again as it always did, unaffected by the small tragedies that flickered briefly in the night. Another life lost. Another orphan made. Unsure of where to go and accustomed to being directed by his parents, Hideki simply tried to find other children, other people like him who didn't want to be small and afraid either. At least this way they wouldn't be alone.

His life fell into a new rhythm, one he would later associate with long, cold nights stretched out on sidewalks to sleep, with fighting stray dogs for food in back alleys that stank of piss, both humanoid and animal.

Sometimes gangs of older kids would give him a share of their food if he and the other young ones would beg or steal to contribute. He had a vague notion that his parents wouldn't have liked it, but it was so hard being hungry and knowing he could do something about it.

He lived this way for several months before it finally became too much for him. He fell ill, and there was nothing the others could do for him. Half of them were sick themselves. A couple of the older boys took him to an orphanage in the hopes of unloading a burden on the group while keeping clear consciences.

Hideki was cared for, and when he was well enough for conversation, the owners took his name and age in the hopes of finding someone to adopt him. By that age, though, chances were slim. Babies and toddlers were easy, but Hideki was seven already. The only other children who stayed around long enough for him to get to know them were so-called problem children. For a while these were Hideki's friends, but one by one they gave up and most of them returned to the streets. They would never find families and they knew it.

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Re: Ah, yes. My Hideki. Here's some backstory!

Unread postby Kai » Fri Aug 04, 2006 1:26 am

He lived in the orphanage until he was nine. He no longer ran to greet visitors, no longer 'prettied himself up' for the benefit of potential parents. Let the little ones keep their enthusiasm and the hope that carried them from one day to the next. He didn't care. Someday he would leave, go find one of the orphans that had gone before him. He was older now and could handle himself, he was certain. Visitors came, sometimes they left with children. Hideki stopped paying attention.

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Re: Ah, yes. My Hideki. Here's some backstory!

Unread postby Kai » Fri Aug 04, 2006 1:51 am

When Myrnal Shalienza arrived at the orphanage, she had the typical array of their most adorable children displayed in all their desperate glory. She sighed and wondered if maybe she was wrong to come here. Inconceivable that any of these orphans be subjected to someone so willful and withdrawn as she. To be frank, they could all do much better for themselves.

"So," she said to the owner in Common. "Is this everyone?"

"Just about," he answered. "We have a few who are busy with other things and... well, one or two who aren't generally interested in visitors."

Aha, she thought. There's what I'm looking for.

"...It's probably just as well," the man had continued. "The children who would fare best have all come. Has anyone caught your eye?"

"Actually, I'd like to go bother one of the kids who didn't come out. Is that possible?"

"Well, I suppose. Yes, of course." He ushered her back from the common meeting area through the dormitory hall and out onto the back patio. Lying under the stars in the grass was a young boy with slate-colored fur short and thick enough to stand in soft ridges when the wind blew through it. "Shigetomi Hideki, this is Sharienza Minaru," he announced in their own tongue. "She's come to speak with you since we didn't see you out with the others."

Two large green eyes slowly rolled over in the boy's face to inspect Myrnal.

Wow. Disinterested was an understatement. This may work out after all. "You can leave us," she said to the owner, in Common once again. "I'd kind of like to talk to him."

"Well, the only problem is that he doesn't speak much Common, ma'am."

"That isn't a problem," she answered in Nekonian. "Seriously. Ten minutes to have an actual conversation with him or I walk."

"Sorry. My mistake." He bowed in apology. "I'll be inside when you two are done." He glanced down to ensure that the boy was comfortable with the decision. Hideki flicked his ear in annoyance. The owner sighed. Something told him getting anything further from either his charge or this woman would make his fur sizzle and fall out. He made his way back inside.

Hideki spoke first from his position in the grass. "So you're a human."

"Good eye. What was your first clue?" It was too late for her to bite back the sarcastic remark, but she reasoned that if he couldn't handle a little sarcasm he was better off without her anyway.

He sat up and twisted around to look at her. "So what do you want with me? I thought grownups were all determined to change diapers and stuff."

"No thanks. How old are you?"

"Nine years old. You?"

She smirked. She was getting to like his forward manner, so different from the appeasing eagerness of the other children. "I'll be twenty four this fall." Nine? That is absolutely eerie. "You know, I was nine when my family took me in."

"And before that?"

The boy could handle hearing it. After all, his family wasn't around either, was it? "My father died when I was very young. My mother and little brother and I lived in southwestern Doma until our village was attacked and they were both killed. Near as I could tell, I was the only one left. I found another home a few towns over, and I lived with an elderly couple until they died about three months ago. Now I'm here. Any other questions?"

"Yeah. Why come all the way to Nekonia? Just picking up strays?"

"You could say that. I was, as you put it, a stray myself once. Why shouldn't I pass on the favor?"
He scoffed. "Sorry. Hate to disappoint you, but I'm not looking for company, and I'm not looking for a new mom. I had a mom, and you aren't her."

Myrnal shrugged, unphased. She sat down beside him in the grass. "Then how about this. We won't do the family thing. To be honest, I dont' know if I'm cut out for it, either. What I can do is take you on as a student."

"Student of what?"

"Ninjutsu, Hideki-kun."

His eyes widened and his ears arced forward in surprise. "But you're human!"

"Yeah. Once again, good eye. I learned from a Nekojin master, though. What do you say? Worst case scenario, you come back here having learned a few new tricks."

Hideki's ear traced idly the path of some distant sound as he considered his options. The situation had changed somewhat. The choice wasn't merely living here or there, with her or them. It was a choice between the orphanage and ninja training. "And if I say yes, and go with you... what? Haul buckets of water for the next ten years? 'Cuz that's what I heard."

"Minimal water-hauling, I promise." Myrnal really was beginning to like this kid, and she'd gotten used to trust her instincts where people were concerned. "So what do you say? Give a lonely ninja half a chance?"

He shrugged. "Whatever. Sure. can't really say no to that." A grin slipped past his mask of indifference. "So I mean... a ninja? Really?"

"If you're up to it."

"Yeah!" He coughed, embarassed by his own enthusiasm. "Yeah, sure."

So he returned with Myrnal, now Minaru-sensei. His imminent training was a secret between them as Myrnal made final arrangements with the orphanage.

Hideki took to his training with enthusiasm, determined to prove he wasn't just some scared street kid. This kind of opportunity wouldn't ever come again, so it was all he had.

Myrnal herself was glad of the company, and grateful for a chance to repay what luck had given her at Hideki's age. Her own family was gone, and after the loss of two sets of parents she felt as alone as he was.

Edited by: [url=http://p068.ezboard.com/brpgww60462.showUserPublicProfile?gid=kai@rpgww60462>Kai</A]&nbsp; Image at: 8/4/06 1:58

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Re: Ah, yes. My Hideki. Here's some backstory!

Unread postby Kai » Fri Aug 04, 2006 1:56 am

They stayed in Nekonia, but around the dojo Myrnal deviated from tradition and avoided using Nekonian. Hideki began learning more polished Common, and spent his days working, much to his sensei's delight.

He and his Minaru-sensei took to one another quickly, each understanding the tension between loneliness and a necessary private distance. He didn't forget his parents, nor did he abandon his old friends still living on the city streets. However, his life had taken a new direction, and he had advantages they did not. He had a home, and a teacher who cared for him.

Years passed, and Myrnal officially adopted him. She was everything to him. She was his mother who watched over him when he was sick or frightened. His father who taught him how to talk to girls. His master who instilled self-respect and discipline along with a sense of his own potential. She was all he had, and there was always the unspoken acknowledgement that the feeling was mutual. They were a family.

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Re: Ah, yes. My Hideki. Here's some backstory!

Unread postby Kai » Fri Aug 04, 2006 2:48 am

Hideki was always left with the closing shift. No one else wanted to do it, but it was hard to complain. It was quiet, and all he had to do was wash and sharpen the knives before bringing home whatever sushi he'd made and hadn't sold. No one cared, especially since they wanted to get home as much as he did.

He locked up the restaurant, balancing the covered plate on one arm while he handled the keys. He cracked his neck and regretted that he hadn't been able to train for the past day or two. His muscles were already getting stiff, and he was full of nervous energy.

At this point, there was only one thing to be done about it.

He took a right turn, choosing the scenic route through the woods to get home. Someone was always getting robbed or raped or murdered back here, though certainly less so since the young ninja had taken to diverting his path through there.

Oh, look. Another one.

Sure enough, there were several guys beating on each other, grunting with pain and occasionally hissing profanity. Oh, and wonder of wonders. There was a woman there. Wasn't there always a woman there? Hideki balanced his plate in the fork of a tree and crouched down for a moment.

Two and two, plus the girl. Two on each side? Sounds good. Maybe I can tip the scales a little.

He lifted himself up into one of the trees and hung upside down above the girl and one of the men trying to keep her out of the fight. This was a noble enough gesture that Hideki was inclined to side with the two of them, at least until the girl was out of the picture.

He rolled back his sleeves to uncover a pair of black-finished bladed tonfa, and hung a little longer to enjoy the increasing rush of blood to his head. Upside down is a good way to be, especially when it's going to make an ambush easier.

He dropped down onto one of the men he'd decided was his enemy, and the moment his hands touched him he tucked down to roll across the ground, dragging the man into the undergrowth. Quickly snapping the man's head back, he cracked it against a tree and left him where he lay, alive but boringly unconscious. Now there was only one man, and the girl's companions were handling him just fine. She must have run away, because the men were the only ones left. When they'd taken out the last one, Hideki shoved his opponent out into the clearing, hopping back up into a tree.

Lifting himself down gently next to the tree where he'd placed his plate, he noted with mild annoyance that it was gone. He resigned himself to settling for whatever he found around the dojo, and took one last glance over his shoulder into the clearing where the girl and her friends were standing.

Shit! She's got it! How the hell did she get that? ...so that's where she went. Took my damn dinner. That's nice.

"Hey!" she shouted. "Is someone out there?"

Oh, hell. Ninja vanish... get my dinner. Stealth....food. Damn it.

"You're that boy from the restaurant, aren't you?"

That got his attention. She couldn't have gotten a good look at him just now, which meant she'd noticed him before. He sighed. Only one way to know.

He entered the clearing behind her. "I think you may have my leftovers, miss."

She turned. "Sorry," she said sheepishly, handing the plate over.

"I remember you," he said. "You'd order all kinds of food and not eat any of it."

She shrugged. "I just enjoyed the service, that's all." Her companions glanced at each other but remained silent.

"I.... I see." He gestured to the guys. "Friends of yours?"

"Friends of a friend, yeah. You helped us, right? Call me Akiyo. Will I see you around?"

He glanced at her friends. They didn't look extraordinarily comfortable with this exchange. "Shigetomi Hideki. And probably not outside the restaurant. I only came back because you had my food," he finished with a smirk.

One of the men with her tipped `his head to one side. "Shigetomi? You know a guy named Hinata Michio? I think he mentioned a Hideki once. At any rate, you should come by and meet him. Shouldn't he, Akiyo-chan?"

She sighed. "Yes, yes. He should, thank you. I'm sure Michio-kun would love to meet you if nothing else." Annoyed at having her flirting interrupted, she gave Hideki a quick bow. "Accept our invitation?"

"Hinata? Yeah. I think I knew him back when we were kids. Maybe you guys could drop by the restaurant and ...maybe I can see my way to finding an old friend and his lady a discount."

That brought the smile back to her face, though his point had been made clear. She was Hinata's girl, despite what were apparently her best efforts. "It's a date, then." Satisfied, she allowed herself to be taken home.

Edited by: [url=http://p068.ezboard.com/brpgww60462.showUserPublicProfile?gid=kai@rpgww60462>Kai</A]&nbsp; Image at: 8/4/06 2:56

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Re: Ah, yes. My Hideki. Here's some backstory!

Unread postby Kai » Fri Aug 04, 2006 3:26 am

He recognized Hinata Michio the moment he laid eyes on him. Tortoiseshell-patterned fur and mismatched gold and green eyes. How could he have forgotten? Hideki and his old friend had a lot of catching up to do. Hinata had been one of the boys who'd left early, starting what was often a very short life on the street. Lucky for him, Hinata had managed to find others, and they helped each other survive.

He introduced Hideki around, and the ninja found that he knew at least a handful of these people from the orphanage. Cities feel much smaller when half the people you knew as a child never had a chance to go anywhere but where they started. He spent a lot of time with them, and despite the fact that he generally disapproved of their occasional criminal activity, he wasn't above aiding and abetting when the occasion arose. He knew what their lives were like, and he couldn't ask them to go without. They couldn't eat lofty principles of ethical behavior, or burn them to stay warm at night.

When they had problems with other gangs, Hideki would occasionally cover his friends to make sure no one got hurt, or act as a sentry during the occasional theft. There was a fine line between stealing what he didn't need, and making sure his friends could afford food aside from what he brought home from work.

His master chose not to comment, though she had to have known. From what Hideki had heard, her own mother had been a thief. She might even have helped if he'd asked, but he couldn't involve her in any of it. Didn't seem right. Better that he handle it himself.

As long as his friends stayed within his lines, he helped out. No dealing drugs, nothing gratuitously brutal. There was no need for viciousness on these streets. There was enough to go around without them making it worse. Hideki was no stranger to violence, not with his training. But at the same time, he didn't like to see anyone victimized, even by people he called his friends.

"If the cops won't keep order," he'd told them once, "we will be the order. If the police won't protect us, we'll protect ourselves. This is our part of town, and it'll stay as we like it. As we want it."

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Re: Ah, yes. My Hideki. Here's some backstory!

Unread postby Kai » Fri Aug 04, 2006 3:28 am

His friends rarely pushed him on the issue. He acted as a legitimate front for them, as an occasional errand boy, and more often than not, a negotiator between groups, firm with both and biased against neither. There were times when he had to make his point at the end of a blade, and at these times Hideki did what he had to do in order to ensure the survival of the people he cared about.

Sometimes he had to stop Hinata during a fight. Sometimes the brown-furred man would just go too far, lost in his own anger. They only came to blows on the issue once, and it was the last time.

Hinata had been fighting for several minutes, rejecting offers of assistance from his friends. Finally, he gained the upper hand and shoved his opponent's face down to the curb of the sidewalk. Hideki watched in shock as he ordered the other man to bite down on the curb. It only took a moment for Hideki to be at Hinata's side, pulling him back.

"Michio! Cool it! You don't need to be curbstomping anybody. You made your point. Let's just leave him."

He turned on Hideki. "You know what? I've had about enough of your shit. Enough of your interfering, enough of your influence, enough of my girl looking at you!"

"Michio, I'm not--" Hideki's sentence was cut off by a quick blow from Hinata to the side of his face. He gritted his teeth and turned back to the other man. "Hinata. I'm not fighting you."

"Well I'm damn well going to fight you! Come on! I'm taking you back. We're going to settle this. I'm done!" Shoving Hideki in front of him, Hinata forgot about his former opponent in favor of a new rival.

They returned to the battered tenement building the gang called home, and Hinata shoved Hideki through the door. Hideki was losing his patience with this. Akiyo ran to the door, confused and afraid of whatever might be happening.

"Don't run to him!" Hinata screamed, cuffing her across the face. Without missing a beat, Akiyo swung back and dealt him an equal blow across the face.

"Dammit!" Hideki spat.

"What are you so worried about, Shigetomi?" Hinata asked, shoving Akiyo aside. "That she'll see you're no better than the rest of us?" He took another swing at Hideki and missed. This was really getting old quickly. "If you don't like the way I run things, maybe you should hurry home to your master and take your damned principles with you. Let her deal with you if she can stand you."

There was a blur of slate-colored fur and Hinata was knocked back a few steps. He shook his head and recovered quickly, but when he looked around the others were shrinking away from him. Hideki was gone.

From the rafters was the sound of metal sliding against metal. Hinata looked up, and there was no one there. Laughter echoed first from one corner of the room, then another.

"Ninja are nothing but cowards," Hinata sneered. "Hiding until they stab you in the back."

"Heh." Hideki dropped down behind him and waited for Hinata to turn. "See? Right in front of you." The next thing Hinata saw was the front of a bladed shinguard flying toward his face. There was a hard cracking noise and Hinata dropped to the floor. "I'm not after your girl, and I'm not after your gang. But when it comes to my master, you'll keep a civil tongue in your head or I'll cut it out. Clear?"

Then he was gone. Hinata lay back down on the floor with a growled curse as Akiyo rushed to make sure he was all right.

Edited by: [url=http://p068.ezboard.com/brpgww60462.showUserPublicProfile?gid=kai@rpgww60462>Kai</A]&nbsp; Image at: 8/4/06 4:38

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Re: Ah, yes. My Hideki. Here's some backstory!

Unread postby Kai » Fri Aug 04, 2006 3:45 am

Hideki didn't see any of them for two weeks. Then, something Hideki could not have predicted in a thousand years. Hinata showed up at their front door. Myrnal called Hideki into the main room and when he got there she was reclining with her feet propped up on the living room table, tossing darts into a board on the wall directly behind her. With each sharp thud into the red center of the board, Hinata flinched with his hands in his pockets. Myrnal grinned.

"What do you want, Hinata?"

"Akiyo-chan is gone."

"...You have my attention."

"I Just..." he muttered. "...thought you might know where she'd gone."

"Hideki-kun?" Myrnal asked, getting up from the couch. She pulled the darts out of the board. "You going?"

Hideki looked from his master to his one-time friend. Hinata was really worried. "Yeah." Myrnal wordlessly tossed him a set of keys. "You come with me," he ordered Hinata. Without waiting for a response, Hideki walked ack through the kitchen, unlocked the pantry. "You know how to use anything for a weapon besides broken bottles?"

"What the hell is this?" was the reply as Hideki opened the pantry to reveal another door.

"What doesn't answer my question. Do you want anything or not?"

"Yeah, I can-- Hey, wait!" He ran to catch up to Hideki, who'd opened the second door and started down a dark staircase. When he reached the bottom, he was standing in what felt like tangible shadow.

"Not afraid of the dark, are you?" Hideki laughed. "Light," he commanded.

The sudden illumination, flashing and glaring as it did on lengths on curved polished metal, was momentarily blinding. Before the street thug could comment, he was already chasing Hideki again. "I--Hey! Shigetomi! How much more of this is there?"

"One more room. You don't thik I'm going out with glittering metal all over me, do you?" The next room had black walls, floor and ceiling. It was filled with weapons finished in solid black.

Hinata laughed. "So that's why we never noticed you were armed."

"I'm always armed," Hideki said grimly. Because you never know when your friends will turn on you. "Now it's your turn. What do you use?"

"I... just... you got a wakizashi in here?" There was a blade in a black sheath in his hand almost before the question was finished. "Oh. Okay then."

"Come on."

"But you're-- right. Always armed."

When they walked out the front door Myrnal had returned to her station on the couch. "If you aren't back by dawn, I'm coming after you."

Hideki smiled. "You worried?"

She turned around and smiled back. "I know you better than that. Keep an eye on your friend," she said, flicking her eyes to the other boy. "He looks a little jumpy."

Hideki snorted his laughter and shoved his one-time friend out the door.

"So... Shigetomi, where we going? I already checked everywhere."

"We're going to see her dealer."

"What? She has a--"

"Yes. And we're going to kill him if she's there."

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Re: Ah, yes. My Hideki. Here's some backstory!

Unread postby Kai » Fri Aug 04, 2006 4:09 am

That set Hinata back a moment. He stopped in his tracks and watched Hideki walking ahead of him. He was well aware that Shigetomi had killed before. Who hadn't? But it was more than a little unsettling to hear his childhood frind lay down something like that so.. casually.

"And what about all your fine morals? You're just going to kill him?"

When Shigetomi spoke, it was with a touch of his old humor, a reminder of the friendship they'd once had. "Hinata. Ninja." Suddenly they were kids again just for a moment before more recent strains came pressing down again.

Hideki led them to a house that was so near to collapse it seemed to lean on nearby structures like a feeble old woman. "Here. It's just some Valthi bastard with connections back home. Bet you my left ear this is where we'll find her."

"How did you know about this?" The real unspoken question was... why didn't Hinata?

"I followed her once. All those times you thought she was running off to flirt with me, your girl was here getting high. Half the time I was the only reason she even made it home," Shigetomi said with a bitter sneer. "You're welcome." Hinata scowled. "You knock on the door. Say whatever you want. I'm going in the back."

Hinata nodded and waited for Shigetomi to disappear. When he was sure the ninja was gone, he rapped on the door. A human answered, with white hair spiked from the tips and eyes dark with menace. "I don't know you," the man said. "But if you're looking for me, you're going to have to wait until tomorrow. I'm busy."

"Busy? I need--" Screw it. "I need to find Akiyo-chan. I know she comes here. Do you know where she is?"

The dealer's eyebrows flew up nearly to his scalp in amusement. "Akiyo-chan, eh? I think I know her. Cute little white longhaired number?" Hinata bared his teeth in irritation, and his ears flattened back against his scalp. "I can see I'm right. Yeah, I know her. What business of yours is it if she's here or not?"

"Because if you don't tell me my friend is going to cut your throat." Hinata said, a note of smug pleasure entering his voice. It had been a while since he'd called Shigetomi his friend, but it didn't feel so unnatural after all.

"Oh, is he now. And I suppose he's hiding until you give a signal?"

A pair of arms circled the man's neck, spinning his head until the vertebrae snapped. He dropped to the ground.

"No," Hideki said from behind him. "Just waiting until I knew she was here." He disappeared back into the house.

"Hey! Hideki-kun!"

Hideki turned at the familiar address. "Yeah?"

Hinata's voice was low and tight with concern. "Is she okay?"

"She'll be fine. Just get her home."

Hinata nodded and followed Shigetomi back into what may once have been a spacious master bedroom. Akiyo was sitting on the floor, leaning on the side of the bed in a daze. He knelt down in front of her, and she barely registered his presence. He handed Shigetomi back the wakizashi and put an arm under her shoulder to pull her up. "You do this often?"

"Yeah. And here. Keep this," he said, shoving the wakizashi back into Hinata's belt. "Take care of her. I wasn't here."

"Wait! You mean... you really weren't ever interested in her, were you?"

"No." Hideki looked back to the dead man in the doorway. "No, I wasn't." Then he was gone again.

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Re: Ah, yes. My Hideki. Here's some backstory!

Unread postby Kai » Fri Aug 04, 2006 4:10 am

When Hideki got home, it was still dark. Myrnal was still awake and poured him tea.

"She okay?" the ninja asked her student.

He shrugged, then nodded. "He's taking care of her."

She sighed and laid a hand on the side of his neck. "You've grown up to be a very good man, you know that?" He looked down into his tea. "Though I guess that doesnt help much, does it?"

He looked up and gave her a thin smile. "More than you think."

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