The Highland Diclonius : Nana's birthday party

In the restaurant courtyard where guards wearing black suits and had white plugs in one ear watched over the elites that were having their formal party, a woman with thick red hair wandered through the crowd holding a glass of champagne as she scanned the party goers. Slim and sexy with a nice rise to her chest and wrapped in a black dress, she caught the eye of many men. Her crimson tresses cascaded down around her shoulders, the big sunglasses hid her eyes that were searching the crowd of men in tuxedoes with women in expensive dresses on their arms. The party with all these wealthy people meant nothing to the woman. There was only one thing that concerned her. After wandering around for a half hour, she found the one she was looking for.

The pudgy, balding man that was bracketed by a pair of pretty young things hanging onto him was why she was here. This man who made his living laundering money and helping to move females country to country in his human trafficking ring had a bad habit of making anyone who disagreed with him, or suspected him of wrong doing go away.

Even when a body was found, nothing could be connected to him. Not even when a Politician and his family had gone missing. The missing politician was found half submerged in a peat bog. Digging into the bog, the man's children were found. Well, so far his son and one of his daughter's heads and all three kids bodies were recovered. His wife's pieces were also pulled out. The youngest daughter's head was still being looked for.

Angling behind the man and his entourage, the red head watched him out of the corner of her eye. She got a glimpse of the back of his neck and struck. An invisible arm shot out to drive into the base of his brain. a quick twist and all the nerves going to his body were severed without breaking the skin.

Bye bye, asshole.

The red head walked on as the man collapsed like a felled tree. One second, he was acting normal and smiling. His smile faded and he fell dead. The group around him crowded close, women screamed, a man called for an ambulance.

No doctor was going to fix a severed spinal cord, the red head knew as she walked on. If the doctor could even tell the cut nerves caused his death, she would be surprised. Unless there was some obvious external trauma to give a hint she has literally unplugged his body from his brain, they would attribute his death to a heart attack. Well, his heart did stop beating when it stopped receiving signals from his brain, so why not blame it on his heart?

Slipping back over behind the catering truck, the red head tossed her glass to the side and jumped the 12 foot perimeter wall in an easy leap and walked down the street. Turning the corner, she went down the street to her cargo van. Climbing in the back, she stripped off her long gloves, dress and pulled her wig and sunglasses off. She shrugged on her mohair pullover, capped her pink haired head with her SEAHAWKS wool cap to hide her horns, got her jeans and work boots on, then got up into the driver's seat.

Kaede pulled out to the main street. She had to stop and wait for the ambulance that came by, wailing it's siren. Once it and the excitement passed by, she pulled out into traffic and headed home. It was nice of her target to come to Glasgow to have his party, doing so saved her from having to miss Nana's birthday party tomorrow.


Jeff Cowell had Nana's present wrapped and ready. Although he had no idea what Nana wanted, he was afraid to ask her since Mayu had told him Nana's party was suppose to be a surprise and warned him not to ruin it. He knew girls liked fluffy and glittery things. His older sister Clara took him to one of the 'girly' shops that had trinkets and stuffed animals all over the place.

Under Clara's guidance, Jeff bought a silver friendship bracelet and a small floppy eared stuffed dog that was made with a big-eyed sad puppy look to it. The stuffed dog came with a box, so he put the bracelet in with the dog and even paid to have it gift wrapped and a fancy card that read 'to Nana from Jeff'' on it. Hopefully, Nana would like it and he didn't see how her sister Mayu could possibly think it was perverted.

Jeff was careful around Mayu. He understood Mayu was very protective of Nana. Jeff did like holding Nana's hand and looking at Nana. Nana was really cute, and he thought her naturally purple hair was just plain awesome. If Mayu was around, Jeff restrained himself. Nana's bubbly personality made Jeff smile. If he looked at Nana and grinned though, Mayu frowned and stared at him, sure he was having perverted thoughts.

One thing Jeff would never forget was the first day he'd gone up to the castle to see Nana. Mayu had been watching him closely and was accusing him of trying to be perverted with Nana every time he even looked at her. Mayu and Nana got in an argument during dinner, Mayu saying he was a pervert who wanted to hurt Nana, and Nana defended him. In her anger, Nana had grabbed his hand and planted it square on her breast and exclaimed, "See, it doesn't hurt at all!"

Jeff had been shocked, as was Nana's whole family. At the time, Jeff was very embarrassed. Later on after he got home, he remembered the feel of her soft mound. That had felt really good. He swore his fingers remembered the soft rounded curve he'd felt.

Jeff was tempted to ask Nana if he could do that again, but if anyone ever saw, Jeff knew he would be in big trouble. Mayu would surely make sure everyone knew if he did, and besides Mayu's wrath, Nana's mother was the Witch of Glen Finnen. Kaede was a nice woman normally, and well respected in the community. She was also a killer. Someone had kidnapped Mayu and taken her to the ruins in the tidal bay. Kaede had not only killed those men, she had used her power to rip them apart. He'd gotten to see a picture his father had found of the inside of the castle ruins. It was hard to believe there was so much blood in a body. There was no way Jeff was going to do anything to get the Witch angry with him.

Nana's birthday party was going to be 10 AM Saturday at Nana's house, or rather, castle. Jeff's whole family was invited. Being early spring, it was still cold outside. Saturday morning, He got in the car with his family and began the trip up to the castle. His mother and sister had never been up there. They were eager to see a real medieval castle. Jeff just wanted to go see Nana. And since it was her birthday, he was going to dress up nice to go see her.


Nana had been asking to help out more, so Kaede took her down to the Lenui Inn early Saturday morning to help Rachel. Like Kaede normally did now, Nana got dressed in heavy clothes for the early spring weather and they left on the overland route, bouncing in long leaps over the countryside. Nana liked the scenery and wanted to stop to look at a steep sided valley along the way.

"Nana, we gotta go," Kaede prodded.

Nana took another long look from atop the cliff they landed on. "But it's so pretty!" Nana complained.

"We kin come back later. Rachel's expectin us," Kaede told her.

"Oh, OK," Nana reluctantly agreed. "Nana wants ta bring a camera next time. There's all kinds a pretty things out here!"

"We will."

Bounding up another hill, they got over the top. One more bound and Kaede walked on. Pointing, Kaede said, "The Inn is right down there, we have ta walk now."

Nana didn't mind. The snow wasn't that deep and this was another pretty view looking down the hill. Following Kaede, Nana went in the back and into the small room Kaede hung up her coat and traded her SEAHAWKS hat for a tartan cap. Nana kept her wool cap on, and hung up her coat.

Rachel hadn't come down yet. Kaede had Nana stacked the chairs and tables up on one end of the room so they could sweep and mop, then shifted it all to the other end of the room to do the other half. While the second half of the floor dried, they cleaned behind the bar. Nana dusted the whiskey shelves by picked up a few bottles, wiping under them, then picking up the next few.

"It's alot o work, Kaede. Ya do this all the time?" Nana asked.

"The customer floors and tables, yes," Kaede told her. "Behind the bar, normally once a week on Sunday," Beaming Nana a smile she added, "But since yer helpin, today's good."

Nana giggled at Kaede. She liked seeing Kaede in a good mood. "Nana kin come'an help whenever Kaede or Rachel wants," she stated.

Kaede glanced at the overhead lights. "If Nana is feelin like workin, the lights up there need ta be dusted when yer done with that."

Rachel came down and paused at the bottom of the stairs. "Wow, wasn't expectin a cleanin crew," she said.

"Hi Rachel!" Nana called, waving her rag at Rachel. "Mum said I kin help!"

Rachel chuckled and said, "I heard ya were comin, Nana. Ya think ya wanna be a waitress like yer Mum?"

Nana grew a smile and asked, "Nana kin do that?"

"Not yet, but we kin git ya started after ya turn 16," Rachel told her.

Nana frowned. She asked Kaede, "How old is Nana now?"

Kaede knew Nana was only 11, but due to her rapid growth, she looked much older. She told Nana what her and Dad decided on for Nana's official age. "Fifteen, Nana."

Nana smiled. "Then, next year!" she said happily.

Rachel returned Nana's smile. Rachel had noticed Nana had grow up during their year of staying here in Glen Finnen. She swore Nana had shot up in height, and Nana's hips and chest had filled out considerably, though Nana was by no means fat. Nana looked to be spurting into a taller and thinner stage. "I'll be expectin ya fer weekends then," Rachel told her.


Nana had a good time with Kaede and Rachel doing small jobs around the Inn to spruce it up. She went upstairs with Rachel and dusted the guest rooms, then helped Rachel and Kaede 'inventory' the supplies in the back room. Once that was done, Kaede brought out a bag of new clothes for Nana. "Nana, I got ya a new outfit fer yer birthday, put it on fore we head home," Kaede told her.

Nana thanked Kaede and went into the dressing room and stripped to her underwear. Pulling out a red dress with purple trimming that was very close to the color of her hair, Nana also saw there were stockings and new shoes in the bag. In her underwear, Nana opened the door to see Rachel and Kaede talking. "Mum, this is a dress and new shoes and stuff. It's really nice but if Nana puts it on now, it'll get ruined on the way home."

"I'll be drivin ya home, Nana," Rachel told her. She'd been right, there was hardly no fat on Nana. With that flat tummy and those long legs, Nana was going to attract Boy's attention for sure. Especially with that over-stuffed bra. The bra looked to be an 'A' cup, but Nana obviously wasn't, being pushed out to the sides like that.

"We're ridin home, so get dressed," Kaede told her. "That bra's too small, let's loose those straps out so yer nay so squished."

Nana stood still as Kaede loosened the bra straps as far as they'd go. She also found the back strap was at it's limit too. They had to go shopping soon. Nana closed the door to put her clothes on. Rachel quietly said, 'Nana's growing up fast."

"Aye, Nana's explodin outta her clothes. I'm sure Jeff'll take notice," Kaede added with a grin.

When Nana came out to show them her dress, Kaede thought it looked fantastic on her. The light purple stockings matched like she hoped. The only odd thing was Nana's wool hat looked out of place. Oh well, she wouldn't be wearing that at home anyway. All that was left to do was brush out Nana's hair and ponytail it with the light purple ribbon.


Clara peeked into the bathroom where her brother was looking at himself in the mirror, adjusting his shirt collar over his sweater. "Wow, yer lookin dapper. Gettin all gussied up ta see yer girl?" she asked.

Jeff frowned at her. "Clara, it's Nana's birthday," he said defensively.

Clara had seen Nana around school. To Clara, Nana was strange. She talked funny, had purple hair, and always wore that stupid hat. "Doan fergit yer hat. I'm sure Nana will be wearin hers," she chided.

"Nana doan wear a hat at home," Jeff told her.

"Ain't bald on top, is she?" Clara asked with a giggle.

"No," Jeff stated with a whine. "An doan pick on Nana! Nana's really nice."

"Ya gonna give'er a smootch fer her birthday?" Clara asked.

"Clara!" Jeff cried as his cheeks reddened.

Clara left giggling. Running out to see her mother in the living room, Clara said, "Jeff's gittin ready at see his sweetie. Ain't never seen him get dressed up without no one askin him to."

Her mother grinned and shook her head. "Clara, doan tease Jeff. He really likes Nana." In a stern tone she added, "An keep the teasin at home. Ya doan wanna be teasin once we git there."

"I'm just havin a bit of fun with'im," Clara explained.

"I know dear, jus keep it here. Ya do know who Nana is, doan ya?" her mother asked.

Clara shrugged and said, "Seen her round, haven't properly met her."

"Nana's the one of the Witch's daughters."

Clara sobered up fast. "She is? For real? The same Witch that kilt all those men in the ruins?"

Her mother nodded. "Aye. Ya keep the teasin here."

"Why does Jeff wanna witch fer a girlfriend?" Clara asked.

"Doano. He just does. They do git along good tagether," her mother said with a shrug. "Ya goin or stayin?"

"I'm goin, I wanna see this castle they live in," Clara stated.

Jeff came out ready to go. He'd even polished his shoes. He looked at the clock and said, "Mom, it's near time ta go."

"We will, soon as yer father gets back," his mother said.

Jeff went to the window to see if he was back yet. "I doan wanna be late" he said.

"We'll git there," his mother said firmly.

Jeff still had the note Mayu has passed to him. It was the only time Mayu had ever willingly talked to him or got his attention. She'd stopped him in the hallway to hand him the note that read : Saturday, surprise birthday party for Nana. 10AM, don't be late!

"Mom we gotta be there by ten," Jeff said.

"It's only nine, calm down," his mother replied.

Clara cast Jeff a wide grin and said, "But you told Dad eleven."

Jeff spun to gape at his sister. "No, I said ten! Mom saw it too!" Turning to his mother, Jeff asked, "Remember Mom?"

Clara laughed at Jeff's panic.

"We know it's ten, Jeff. Calm down. Clara's teasin ya."

Jeff paced until his father got back, then sweated when his father went in to change. Despite all Jeff's worrying, they got out the door at nine thirty. Jeff even ran out to hold the car door open for his sister to get her in faster, which she used to go a little slower and tease him just a bit more. He then ran around and all but jumped in the car.

"Jeff, ya got Nana's present?" his father asked.

Jeff gasped and jumped back out to run in the house to get Nana's present.

On the way, Jeff pushed on his pretend gas pedal to make them get there a little faster. He didn't relax until they were on the dirt road to the castle which was currently snow and mud. It was early spring and the weather changed by the day. Upon the castle coming in sight, Clara leaned up between the seats.

"Wow, that is cool!" Clara said. "I can't wait to see the inside!"

Going into the courtyard, Jeff's father added to the short line of cars parked along one wall. "This castle is the real deal," he said. "It's been standin since the 1500's. It's gotta be expensive ta heat."

"I'm sure they got the money," his mother assured him.

"Ahhh so that's it!" Clara announced, "Jeff's after Nana cause she's rich!"

"Nooo," Jeff complained.

"Enough teasin," Her mother said firmly.

"Doan fergit the present," Clara said with a grin.

Jeff held the box wrapped with colorful paper tight to him and said, "I got it."

Guarding Nana's present, Jeff went to the door with his family. Seeing the big brass knocker, Clara went up and banged on it.

When the door opened, Clara was sure it was going to be a butler. A dark haired man opened the door. "Ahh, the Cowells, come on in," he said with a pleasant smile.

"Hi Mr. Mc Leod!" Jeff said eagerly.

"Hey Laddie, Mr. Cowell, Mrs. Cowell," Duncan said.

Clara missed the introductions, she was staring at the large entryway and the high ceiling. She viewed the wide stairway up with awe. This really was a castle!

While the adults exchanged greetings, Jeff got his coat off. "Mr. Mc Leod, where do I put Nana's present?"

"In the dinning room, the table to the left of the fireplace," Duncan told him.

Jeff went in and found the table. Seeing a few other people, he waved to them. He put his presents with the others. Coming in with his parents, Duncan was saying, " … they should be here soon. This is my wife, Inari, Kouta my son-in-law, There's his daughter Mayu..."

"Oh good, ya did come," Jeff heard. He saw Mayu by the table putting down some plates and casting him a frown. "Nana would be real upset if ya didn't come," she said firmly.

Indignantly, Jeff told her, "This party is for Nana, of course I'll be here."

"An doan try anything wit her!" Mayu said firmly.

"I won't," Jeff said indignantly.

Clara was too busy looking at the thick overhead rafters with the lights dangling from them to comment.

With his parents, Jeff met Kouta and David, Kouta's other truck driver. He already knew Mayu and Inari. Here also were two of their friends, Gretchen and Dawn from the Inn. Clara looked down from the ceiling to see the red haired Inari. "Ya got horns?" she asked loudly.

Everyone turned to her and laughed. Holding her own smirk, Inari said, "I do. Never seen'em before?"

"no," Clara said weakly.

That made Jeff laugh. Was Clara in for a surprise! Thinking about that, he asked, "Were is Nana an Kaede?"

"On their way," Kouta told him. Taking note Jeff had dressed up, Kouta said, "That is a good combo. It will go good with Nana's dress."

"Nana's got a dress?" Jeff asked. He'd never seen Nana in a dress before. This time, he got chuckled at.

"Girls do have dresses," Inari said, smirking at him.

The dining room door opened and shut quickly. Kaede appeared and said, "She's comin, everyone, gather round here!" Clara stared at the pink haired woman who also had the same triangular horns on her head. Kaede gathered everyone in front of the table facing the door. She guided Jeff to the front of the pack to face the door.

From the other side of the door, Jeff heard Nana say, "Where'd me mum go? She gitting dressed up too?"

"In here."

The door opened and a confused looking Nana walked in.

"HAPPY BIRTHDAY NANA!" everyone cried, except for Jeff. His jaw just dropped open.

Nana was in a very becoming red dress that had purple trimming the color of her hair that wrapped her perfect form close down to her hips where it spread out to fall down below her knees. With her hair tied back in a pony tail and the open look of surprise on her face, Nana's beauty stunned him. Even her chest looked bigger. It wasn't until after the initial yell of happy birthday, did Jeff manage to yell out, "Nana, you're beautiful!"

Nana blushed. Everyone behind Jeff laughed.

"Jeff really thinks so?" Nana asked meekly.

"Nay there be a prettier lass than you, Nana," Jeff said as he drank in the sight of her. He never knew Nana had such a nice shape. With her hair tied back, Nana's face seemed to glow.

"Ohhh Jeff!" Nana cried, and ran at him, arms open wide. Her chest bounced wonderfully, then he had those puppies pressing against him as she hugged him tight. Jeff had to hold onto Nana to keep from falling backwards. Nana felt really good against him. He flushed back to his ears. All his brain could think was, 'WOW. I'm touching Nana!'

Releasing him, Nana put a finger to her lips, blushing as she said, "Nana thinks Jeff is very handsome too."

Mayu appeared from nowhere to glare at Jeff. "No hugging!" she snapped.

Nana frowned at Mayu. "Nana hugged Jeff, so don't yell at Jeff!"

"Mayu, it's OK," Kaede said coming up beside her. She guided Mayu to a seat with one arm, and Nana with the other. Nana clasped Jeff's hand to be sure he sat beside her.

Inari came out with the cake. They sang happy birthday to Nana who bore happy tears in her eyes and gripped Jeff's hand in hers.

"Make a wish!" Mayu cried.

Nana did. She took a deep breath and blew the candles out. Amid the clapping and cheers, Nana cried out, "Nana's so happy!"

Nana cut the cake and gave Jeff a big piece first (with a candle still on it). Inari held a hand out and plucked the candles off with her mind hands to keep anyone else from getting a candle. Jeff pulled his candle off, licked it clean and put it in his pocket.

"I've got one of Nana's candles," he said proudly.

"This is like Mum's birthday," Nana said happily, and beamed Kaede a smile.

"Almost," Kaede said with a grin. To Kouta she quietly said, "At least we won't have to peel Mayu off Nana's ceiling."

'That was embarrassing," Kouta grumbled. He remembered Yuka charging into their room when he and Kaede were making love. Yuka tried to punch Kaede, and Kaede planted her hard against the ceiling. Kouta was sure Yuka was going to die that day.

"Let's not think about that," Duncan offered.

While the cake was being passed out, Clara noted the one young man, David, was casting smiles at her. He was good, rugged man. She returned a blushing smile back at him. She'd been shocked at all the girls with horns, but not enough not to notice a handsome man.

Nana was high in her glory. Not only did she get a nice birthday, but Jeff was here with her, and Mayu wasn't being too critical of him. For some reason, then cake was really good, so she fed Jeff a piece off her fork. He blushed and returned the favor.

Seeing the tenderness Jeff and nana used feeding each other, Kaede leaned to whisper in Kouta's ear, "Be thinkin bout birth control fer Nana next year. Maybe earlier if they kin get away from Mayu."

Kouta coughed out a snort of a laugh. Then again, how Nana and Jeff were looking at each other, he realized Kaede was more right than he cared to admit. "Least the whiskey cellar's locked," he said.

"Aye, doan want Jeff hobbling round with swollen knees," Kaede said with a grin.

"Have experience with that, do ya Kouta?" Inari asked with a grin.

"Just a little," he replied, returning her grin.

Mayu also noticed how starry eyed Jeff was looking at Nana. Of course, Nana was beaming smiles, being happy as always, and not seeing that glint in Jeff's eyes. Mayu remembered Kouta and Kaede going down into the cellar together. They got real touchy-feely after that. She decided she was going to watch Jeff extra-close today. Jeff looked way too happy when Nana had hugged him.

Inari had made a pot of beef stew for the lunch, mostly for the adults. Kouta, David, Rachel and Kaede all had to work this afternoon, so they needed a good, hearty meal.

Jeff wasn't paying attention to Mayu's cold gaze, nor the banter. His dazzled eyes were focused on Nana. It amazed him how pretty she was. He vaguely heard Duncan offering a tour of the castle after Nana opened her presents.

"Jeff, do ya want a tour?" Nana asked brightly.

"Sure!" he beamed back at her. Any time with Nana was nice.

Their cake done, Nana led Jeff by the hand to go open her presents. Jeff looked on as Nana opened each one, and thanked whoever gave it to her. Nana got a new hat, a new phone, and girly things like a makeup kit and fingernail stuff. She was so happy getting these, Jeff wondered if she would like that silly little dog he'd gotten her. When Nana went to open his gift, he cringed, afraid she wasn't going to like it.

Nana took the paper off and opened the box. "Ohhhh, he'd soo cute!" she cried and pulled the little dog out. When she did, the bracelet dropped out. Nana stare at it briefly and picked it up. She cast a surprised look at Jeff. "For me?" she asked.

"Yeah, for you, Nana," Jeff said. He was then face planted onto the top of Nana's chest as she cried, "Thank you!" His brief very close contact with her flesh was broken as Nana pulled back. Holding up the bracelet and her arm, she asked, "Put it on me?"

Flushed from nearly being planted into her boobs, Jeff did as she asked and clasped the bracelet around her wrist. "I hope you like it," he offered meekly.

Hugging the stuffed dog to her, Nana said with a big smile, "Nana's going to name him … Rodney!"

"Rodney?" Mayu and Clara asked at the same time.

Nana bounced her head in a nod. Holding the little dog up, she asked, "Doesn't he look like a Rodney?"

"Sure, why not?" Kaede asked with a grin.

Nana gripped Jeff's hand and said, "Nana will show Jeff and Rodney around."

"We're all going," Mayu said firmly.

Many did go. Duncan led with Victor Cowell, Denise Cowell and Inari behind them. Clara and David walked along together, then Nana and Jeff, their hands clasped, fingers intertwined. Mayu walk behind them, paying close attention to Jeff. Seeing how close they were walking together, Mayu noted Jeff's fingers were pretty close to Nana's butt. Spying a stick of wood Kouta had left from fixing a window, she snapped it up.

While Duncan and Inari were talking about the castle, Duncan giving some historical information on it, Mayu kept a hawk eye on Jeff's hand. Sure enough! Partway down the second floor hallway, Nana went to itch her lower back with the hand she was holding Jeff's with. As she loosened her fingers, he did too. He touched her butt.


Mayu cracked Jeff on the back of his head. "Keep yer hands off Nana!" she barked.

Jeff recoiled forward and gripped his hurting head. Turning he asked, "What was that for?"

"Mayu!" Nana scolded.

Pointing her stick at Jeff, Mayu said, "He touched yer butt, I saw it!"

"Jeff did not!" Nana cried. "Stop bein mean ta Jeff!"

"He did too!" Mayu insisted.

Everyone turned at hearing them. The stick lifted up out of Mayu's grasp and floated up to Inari. She plucked it out of the air and said, "Mayu behave yerself."

"But… Jeff touched Nana!" Mayu cried.

"Nay, Jeff didn," Nana insisted.

"Well, he was very close ta doin so!" Mayu said firmly.

"What's up?" Kaede asked in a tired voice as she came up behind the group.

Mayu spun to face her. "Mama, Jeff's tryin at get perverted wit Nana."

"Nay Jeff wasn't," Nana insisted.

Kaede held her hand out to Mayu. "Come on, sweetie."

"But… what if Jeff tries to touch Nana again?" Mayu cried.

Kaede grabbed Mayu's hand and quietly said, "We had a talk bout this, didn we? Come on, Ya need ta calm down."

Mayu went with Kaede back the way they came. She cast a glare at Jeff as they departed.

"Wow," Clara said.

Nana petted Jeff's head and asked, "Ya Ok, Jeff?"

"Yeah, just surprised," Jeff said and offered Nana a smile.

Looking at Victor, Duncan explained, "Mayu was …badly abused when she was kidnapped. She has no trust at all in boys. We're havin a hard time wit her trustin anyone."

"Aye, Mayu sees all boys as bad. It's a hard thing ta git over," Inari agreed.

"Fer a while we were afraid ta send Mayu ta school, it was so bad," Duncan added.

"That must a been horrible fer her," Denise said.

"Twas, all of us were affected," Inari admitted. "Mayu was the worst. Wouldn't even speak for the first couple days."

"What was all that about?" Victor asked.

Duncan winced and said, "Some greedy folks wantin money. They beat Kouta and Nana and kidnapped Mayu. I distracted them, Kaede took care of'em. When she seen what they did ta Mayu, she didn let a one live."

"Can't say I blame'er," Victor said.

"Aye, abusing a youn'un, they had it comin," Denise agreed. "Least they won't be doin that any more."

Perking up, Inari said, "Ya gotta see the windmills Connor put'em in. An the view from the towers is great!"


Kaede sat on the steps with a pouting Mayu. Softly she said, "Hon, ya gotta let Nana deal wit Jeff. If she's yellin at im, that's one thing. If she ain't, ya can't interfere."

Mayu tightened her fists. "I just doan want Nana ta be sad like I was. That was horrid!"

"I know," Kaede said gently. She put an arm around Mayu and held her close. "Not all boys are bad, Mayu. I'm hopin one day you'll see that. If Jeff ever does Nana harm, ya know we'll be comin down on'im. From what I've seen, Jeff isn't like that."

Mayu snuggled into Kaede. "I hop yer right. I'm just scared fer Nana."

"Wit all that's happened to ta, I'm scared fer you, Mayu, that you'll never have a happy life," Kaede told her.

Mayu looked up at her. "Really?" she asked.

"Aye, hon. Having a mate makes ya feel good. It gives yer life more meaning. I'm afraid you'll never experience that," Kaede explained. "It makes me sad thinking bout it."

"What if I doan wanna mate?"

"Then ya doan want one. I'm just sayin ya may wanna think bout it later on," Kaede told her.

Mayu let out a huff and said, "I doan know."

"That's fine, ya ain't gotta. Just doan gittin in Nana's way if she wants one."

"It's hard, Mama."

"Aye. We gotta do what's best fer our loved ones, though."

Mayu sat in thought for a moment then asked, "Mama, have we heard from Yuka at all?"

"Nay, did ya wanna see if we kin look'er up?"

"Yeah, if we can!" Mayu said, perking up.

Kaede sat in thought, then said, "Ya know, we got the contact info fer Kouta's aunt. We kin see bout lookin up where Yuka is now. Let's go."

Kaede and Mayu went up the stairs to find the information.


Holding Rodney to her chest with one hand and Jeff's hand in her other, Nana was still having a good birthday. Jeff swore his head didn't hurt where Mayu had whacked him, but he couldn't hide the occasional wince.

"Nana's sorry Mayu hit Jeff," Nana offered. "Nana's gonna yell at Mayu fer that."

Jeff shook his head. "Please doan do that. Mayu was just tryin ta watchin out fer ya, Nana."

Nan cast Jeff a blushing smile and said, "Yer a nice boy Jeff."

Returning her smile, he said, "Yer a real nice girl, Nana. That's why I like ya."

As they wandered and talked, they'd gotten lost from the rest of the group. Coming to a door, Jeff asked, "Where's that go?"

"Out on top'o the walls, wanna see?" Nana asked eagerly. Pointing to a stairway they passed, Nana said, "That goes down ta the first flood in a big room." She then opened the outside door and a waft of cold air blew in. It was raining outside. Nana shut the door. "Maybe later," she said with a wince.

"Yeah, later," Jeff agreed. Something about the face she made caused him to grin. "Nana, when I said ya were the prettiest lass I even seen, I meant it. An ya really look great in that dress."

Nana beamed him a smile. Her face softened. She looked down the hallway, then went to the stairs and peeked down.

"What ya doin?" Jeff asked.

"Lookin fer Mayu," Nana said. She then came back over to him. Holding Rodney tight to her, Nana's face blushed. She quietly asked, "Jeff, ya think ya might .. wanna kiss Nana?"

"Really?" he asked in a squeak.

Nana nodded.

Jeff drew closer slowly. They both blushed as they came together in a tentative kiss, barely touching lips. Becoming a little braver, Jeff put her arms around Nana, holding her loosely. Heart pounding in his ears, he kissed her a little firmer. Nana's free arm wrapped around him. Hearing someone down the hall, they separated quickly.

He kissed Nana. He really kissed Nana! Feeling the heat in his face, he said, "Thank you, Nana. That was real nice."

"Nana liked it too," Nana said softly.

They stood looking at each other, then moved towards each other again.

"Nana, ya down here?" Duncan's voice called.

They separated so fast, Jeff hit the wall behind him, bouncing his head off the stone. He gripped the back of his head. "Ouch!" he complained.

"Nana's here! Coming!' Nana called. She grabbed Jeff's hand. "Jeff, ya hurt yerself?" she asked, eyeing him.

Cracking a grin, he said, "I'm Ok, I got a kiss from Nana."

They smiled at each other. Holding hands they hurried back to the rest of the group.


Kaede found the phone number and called Kouta's aunt. She put the phone on speaker so Mayu could talk too. They listened to it ring a few times, then a woman's voice said, "Mushi mushi."

Right, Kaede had to realign her thinking to Japanese. The voice was younger, and sounded like Yuka. "Yuka? It's Kaede, Mayu wanted to talk to you."

Mayu was about to say hi, when Yuka asked, "Mayu? Who's that? She's not one of our girls."

Mayu's face dropped in shock. Kaede also noticed Yuka sounded a bit tipsy.

"Yuka, It's Kaede Kikumura? Kouta's wife? Mayu…"

Yuka let out a sarcastic laugh. "The pink haired harlot? Yeah, I remember you! Hey, if you want to earn some yen, Come on back. We got a good thing going here. Our pimp only takes thirty percent."

"Yuka!" Kaede snapped, embarrassed at what Yuka was saying. "Mayu, Kouta's daughter, wanted to talk to you."

"I don't think she's old enough yet," Yuka said in a musing tone. "OH! and if she gets sterilized too, she can make a ton of yen. Guys pay extra if they don't have to wear protection!"

Mayu flushed with embarrassment, Kaede flushed with anger. "YUKA! Mayu can hear you!"

"Good, put her on. Even if she can't service customers, she can be some eye candy…"

Kaede hung up. She stared at the phone, as did Mayu. After a moment, Mayu began weeping.

In a daze at what they'd just heard, Kaede said vacantly, "Mayu , I'm so sorry."

"How? How can Yuka be like that?" Mayu cried.

"I doan know," Kaede said quietly. "I fear Yuka's gone off the deep end."

Mayu looked at Kaede's stricken face. Still sobbing, she hugged Kaede. "Mama, it's not yer fault! Yuka chose to leave! Yuka left us … To be a prostitute!"

"I doan think she planned that," Kaede said softly.

"It's still not yer fault!" Mayu cried. "Yuka left on her own. It's really sad, but Yuka chose her life away from us. She left us, we didn leave her!"

Kaede hugged Mayu back. "I never shoulda called," she said. "I'm so sorry."

Pulling back, Mayu sniffled and said, "It's OK, Mama. You wanted ta cheer me up. Ya didn know what Yuka's like now. It aint yer fault."

Kaede offered her a brief smile. 'I'm just sorry ya had ta hear that."

"Me too," Mayu said. Her face firmed up a she said, "Mama, ya do yer best. I know that. Ya go workin wit Rachel every day, an that other job that ya won't tell about. There is somthin else I'll nay ferget. When those men had me, it wasn't Yuka who came flyin down outta the sky ta rescue me. It wasn't Yuka who got me outta there an stayed by me. It was you, Mama. Ya did yer best an made them pay fer what they did! It's you who watch out fer us. So doan go feelin bad cause Yuka's a whore. She chose ta give up, you'll nay give up cause yer our real Mama!"

"Thank you for that, Mayu." Kaede said sincerely. "It's nice ta be appreciated."

"And I'll do me best ta put up wit Jeff, so long as Nana's happy wit'im," Mayu stated.

That made Kaede smile. "Good. Glad ta hear it. Shall we go see what their up to?"

Mayu nodded. "An we doan tell noone bout that call," she said firmly.


Nana and Jeff held hands and cast each other blushing smiles as they followed the group back down to the first floor. Where Rachel, Kaede, Kouta and Mayu were talking in the foyer.

"Nana!" Rachel called. Going over to her, Rachel gave Nana an hug and said, "Happy Birthday, lass. I'd stay longer but we gotta git to work. See ya soon."

"Thank fer coming Rachel, and thanks fer the makeup stuff," Nana beamed.

"Yer welcome Lass."

"See ya later, an Nana, doan go givin Jeff a hard time," Kaede said. She gave Kouta a hug and a kiss and left with Rachel.

"I gotta git back to work too. The boys are waiting for me," Kouta said.

Nana watched them go, then noted Mayu was eyeing Jeff. Mayu approached, Nana got between them. "Mayu, please doan be mean ta Jeff," Nana begged.

Mayu offered Nana a grin. "Nay, I think Jeff knows what'll happen if he hurts Nana. Doan ya Jeff?"

"Mayu, I will nay hurt Nana," Jeff said firmly.

"Long as Nana's happy wit ya, I'll be too." Mayu told him. "So lets go see bout that new game Nana got."

Watching them head into the dinning room, Inari asked, "Is it me, or did Mayu just approve of Jeff?" she asked Kouta.

Kouta scratched the back of his head and offered, "Maybe, but I think we should keep Mayu away from the fireplace pokers, just in case."