when he finds her, her entire family’s been slaughtered. had he not rushed in to knock out the lone hunter cornering her, she would have been next. derek had been in the business of saving people, hunting things, ever since his own family had been killed and he knew a kitsune when he saw one. but he also knew what it was like to watch your family burn and he was not in the business of murdering teenage girls.
her name was kira, and she didn’t even know what she was. once she was safely in his car and they were on the road to some place far, far away from the ashes of the yukimura family, he tried explaining. when he looked over to see if she understood, she was asleep.
he asked her where he should drop her off and all he got back was her confusion. aren’t you going to take me with you? derek couldn’t comprehend what she was asking. it’s too dangerous, he said. (you’ll die, he thought.) i can’t be responsible for someone with no experience, no training, he said. (you’ll die, he thought.) she smiled, reached across the table to steal the other half of his burger. so train me.
so, he does. and she’s good. not as good as him obviously, but her newly realized kitsune abilities certainly don’t work against her and he can’t deny her when she badgers him about whether or not her eyes look just as cool as her parents’ had that night they’d met. i’m they’d be very proud, he concedes. he means it.
i’m better than you now, aren’t i? she asks later, when her hands have hardened with training and derek has softened, with just as much practice. his only response before launching himself back at her is a smirk, but she matches his strike and he thinks she might be right. (when it comes to katanas anyway.)
they save people. they hunt things. although kira takes great offense at the motto (i am a “thing” you know) and demands a change. derek’s fine with that. the words don’t feel the same anymore.
they sleep in the car some nights and in cheap motels others. more often than not they sleep so close together that derek’s reminded of the constant weight that used to press against his chest. when he thinks of it those nights, he smiles and pulls kira closer.
they save people. they hunt people. they hunt some things that only used to be people. and although they’d both lost their families, they’d found each other.