I own nothing! Happy Kyoko/Ren Week. This is for Lost/Found. Thank you, duck, for the idea for this!

The day had begun like any other: Kyoko had skipped into the woods, eager to play with her forest friends and reap the bounty of the wilderness. And she'd done that - she'd frolicked, and played, and generally had as good of a time in the woods as any young woman could.

She had just finished picking wild raspberries when she caught a glimmer out of the corner of her eye. Strange, she'd thought, I don't remember there being a river near here. I don't hear one, either. Perhaps it had just been a beetle. Still, she turned to look. Nothing.

She put it out of her mind and walked further down her oft-trod path, heading to the next berry patch. Halfway there, she saw it again, more clearly this time: a flash of crystal-blue, almost out of view. She spun, trying to see what it was, but once more it evaded her.

Kyoko, wise to the ways of the forest, shook her head and shouldered on, eager for the sweet, juicy reward of fresh-picked raspberries. If she snuck a couple from her basket on the way, no one could blame her.

She emerged from the next patch with some scratches on her arms, but with a much fuller basket. She had one more patch to hit, and then she could return to her cottage. Maybe she'd make a pie. Ooh, or maybe a tart! Or there was that bread she'd made with chocolate last year - that had been so good. She just wished that she'd had someone with whom to share it. Being a hedgewitch got lonely… she didn't even have a coven. Or a familiar. Sure, she had her spirits, but they were more of an extension of her. And you could only have so many conversations with yourself before getting bored. She was so lonely since….

So maybe there was a reason, as she was dreaming of having a friend - of having someone with whom to share her raspberries - that she decided to step off of the path. Maybe there was a reason that she wasn't as careful with her footing. Maybe there was a reason that when she saw the blue glint again, she sprinted after it. Maybe there was a reason that she stepped into that faerie circle.

And found herself in the Other World.

LINE BREAK

Two hours and a half-empty raspberry basket later, Kyoko had to admit that she was well and truly lost. This wasn't her friendly woods, with its lovely raspberry patches and chittering wildlife - this was a Wild Forest. It was olde, olde enough to have the 'e' on the end. Olde enough to know that she was there, and have opinions. Fortunately for her, it seemed like it was still deciding what it thought of her. She was a hedgewitch, after all, and they tended to be liked - or at least tolerated - by their own wild places. She just hoped that her own woods had left enough of its approval on her for this Forest to accept her presence. It wasn't like she knew how to get home, after all.

She kept her spirits close to her as she walked, snacking on her raspberries. She felt distinctly watched - and not just by the Forest. There was something else there, something younger. But it didn't feel dangerous. More… curious. And strangely familiar, as if it knew her somehow.

But that was impossible, even with all the magic in the world. She didn't have anyone. Not since she lost him - no, since he was taken from her.

So no, she wasn't exactly upset to be in the faerie realm. She just wished that she'd come a bit better prepared. At least she had her pocket knife.

No sooner had she thought this than did she find a use for it: She'd come across a fox, trapped in a net. There was something haunting about its green eyes, something a little too aware. Regardless, she set it free. The scamp stole a mouthful of her raspberries before darting off into the bushes. Foxes. She just rolled her eyes and continued moving forward.

After what felt like at least another hour, she finally heard it - the tell-tale sounds of a river. She followed them, not for a drink (she had her own flask of water), but for a path to follow. It was there that she met the fox again, its tail trapped between some rocks under the water. She knelt down and freed it, noting how it did not thrash or snap at her; it just watched her with its vividly green eyes. Once free, it stole another mouthful of raspberries from her basket and darted away.

She dried her hands on her skirt with a huff, picked up what was left of her harvest, and started following the river downstream.

She eventually found her way to a small village, but knew better than to approach it right away. Instead, she hovered behind the treeline, observing. Or at least, trying to. There wasn't much to see. Instead, she felt something - a gentle tug at the hem of her skirt.

Looking down, she saw (of course) the fox. "Back to steal more of my berries?"

Its eyes narrowed, and it dropped her skirt. It yipped once.

"Fine. Here -" she said, and scooped out a handful, extending it to the creature. Which ate, and promptly turned into a man. Kyoko swore in three different languages, two of them dead.

"Oh thank the Old Ones," the man said from the forest floor, unclasping the fox pelt from around his neck. "I was starting to think I'd have to get myself stuck again." He looked up at her, his green eyes catching the dying rays of light.

Only for him to get smacked with her now-empty basket of raspberries. "Where were you?" she fumed, raising the basket to smack him again.

"Uh…" he dodged the basket, then caught it, standing up and hanging it on a branch she couldn't reach. "I was a fox." He held his arms out to her, and she dove into them, her hands balling up the fabric of his shirt.

"Do you have any idea how worried I've been?" She looked up at him, fury and joy intermingling in her tear-rimmed eyes. "What happened, Kuon?"

"Like I said, I was a fox." He grabbed the basket off the branch with his free arm - having sensed that her fury had ebbed some - and put the pelt in it. "I thought I'd heard you calling me from outside, so I went out to check, and - bam. I was fox-ified."

"Have they been hunting you?" She reached up, then, and stroked his face.

He closed his eyes, savoring the contact. "Every day since. And every day, I've eluded them, trying to get back to you."

"Did you send the pixie in the woods to me? The blue one?"

He nodded. "Called in a favor." He opened his eyes again and squinted up at the sun. "C'mon. It's almost sundown - we've got to get to the circle if we're going to get home."

"You know the way back?" she asked, truly asking Then why didn't you come home?

"It requires thumbs," he replied, answering her real question. He let her go, but took her hand. "This way."

They trekked back through the Forest and through the circle, which, true to Kuon's word, required thumbs to activate. By the time the sun set, they finally fell into their marital bed again. What had been lost was now found.

And Kyoko, once again, had someone with whom to share her raspberries.