Cutscene: Before It's Too Late
IC Date: July 29th, 2011
Reaching at last the increasingly isolate refugee center her father had evacuated to not long after the invasion started, Miwa had exchanged a bare few polite words with the staff, inquiring rather quickly about the safety of her father. They had been perhaps slightly bewildered by the intensity of her request, but it had been confirmed--
He was all right.
The faith that she'd clung to tightly over the last few miles of her journey was finally allowed to blossom into relief. Thanking them with a bow, she had set off to find her father among the residents of the hopefully-temporary shelter.
There wasn't a lot of space. Even for Japan, there wasn't much personal space here at all, with sections of the former office building, far beyond the formal limits of Sumaru, delineated by sheets. Somehow, the organizers had collected enough cots and mattresses, but even someone who stepped into this communal living space for the first time could see that supplies were tight. The government had lent some assistance, of course, but...
For those like her father who had fled with only the clothes on their backs, it wasn't enough.
He looked so tired. Just as the Duchess said, the exhaustion he carried with him seemed to do more than simply weigh on him. It bore him down under its burden. How had she never seen it before--?
She must have looked stricken, some vestige of her thoughts crawling their way onto her face. His own expression sharpened, lines creasing around his mouth and eyes. When did he get those? When did he get that old?
"Are you all right, Miwako?"
She had shaken her head. "No... I'm fine. What about you?"
Kouhei Saitou had paused. It had been a very long pause. Then, finally, he had replied to her question. "...This isn't a bad place. They take care of us." Inwardly, Miwa had flinched. That wasn't what she was asking. Hesitating herself, the young woman had glanced behind her, had dragged the makeshift sheet 'door' closed. And, regarding her father, she had shaken her head.
"No, that's not what I meant. Dad, have you been able to sleep...?"