"It's the beach, Kujo!" Victorique's eyes were bright with excitement. "We made it again."

Kujo nodded happily. Their luggage was piled high on the side of a pier, but neither he or Victorique had been able to resist the idea of spending some time at the beach. It was in many ways their place, their promise. He wondered if there would be a beach in New York that they could live by. But at the very least they had this opportunity to watch the shimmer of water again. It was almost enough that he wished they could live on a boat, constantly in and out of ports so that they could visit beaches all the time.

Victorique fell back into the sand, with what seemed like a splash from all the sand that her fall poofed into the air. Kujo winced at the thought of cleaning all that sand out of her hair later, then he brushed it off. What did it matter if her hair was disastrous and needed clean up? They were at the beach and could watch the ocean together again. The enjoyment of that was surely worth the pain later.

Kujo stared out at the ocean and breathed deeply to taste the air. He liked being by oceans, it reminded him of his childhood in Japan. Ruri used to take him to the beach during the summer, it had helped distract him the loneliness of a distant father and brothers who had gone off to war.

"Kujo," Victorique spoke in one of her sulkiest tones.

He glanced down at her.

"Why aren't you sitting by me?"

Kujo chuckled and plopped down beside her. "I was enjoying the American side of the ocean."

"You can do that next to me." It amused him that she could be so grumpy, but he knew that it was the easiest way for Victorique to express affection, even if it didn't entirely make sense.

"I'm here now. We can sit on this beach for as long as you like."

Victorique grinned dreamily and stared up at the sky. "Make sure we don't miss our train Kujo."


Kujo yawned and tried not to nod off. Their train wasn't scheduled to leave until almost midnight and one of them had to stay awake to know when the train arrived so they could board. Victorique had nodded off hours ago, her head resting lightly against Kujo's shoulder. Her soft breathing only added to the sleepy atmosphere. He glanced around the platform again to examine the other passengers.

Almost everyone seemed to be in a daze. There was one figure seated alone on a bench at the far end of the platform that broke the sleepy mold. She sat stiffly erect, eyes seeming to constantly scan the space in front of her. She looked rather well-to-do in a deep burgundy colored dress and her hair pulled neatly back in a bonnet. A single golden strand of hair had escaped and framed the profile of her face. Kujo watched her curiously, wondering why she might be so alert at such an hour. He hadn't noticed her arrival, but he hadn't been trying to specifically observe his fellow passengers so closely until this moment either.

In the distance he thought he heard a faint whistle, perhaps the train was finally arriving. Several of the other passengers' heads bobbed as if they'd caught the sound as well.

Kujo nudged Victorique gently. "The train is coming."

Victorique grumbled incoherently, but didn't stir.

Kujo sighed. "Victorique. You need to wake up, it's time for us to get on the train. You can sleep more there."

More grumbles.

Kujo gritted his teeth, if she was going to be so stubborn he would just have to carry onto the train, it wasn't his first choice but with Victorique, sometimes it came down to doing things that he didn't want to do. He just hoped he had time to get her settled and get all their luggage on board.