He stood in the doorway, his back to the woman who looked at him with heartbroken eyes. He'd made his choice, and though he understood her feelings, he wasn't going to change his mind. Nothing she said would make him turn back; if anything, it was just re-affirming his need to leave.

"I'm going now."

"Kippei, please... You are my only son."

"I know that, Mother, but it doesn't change anything. I can't give you want you want anyway. I'm just a disappointment to you and Father, remember?"

"You can carry on the family name," she said, still trying to get her child to see the light. "Just...give up-"

"I can not!" He paused a moment to take a breath and gather his thoughts. To hold his temper. "I love Renji and I'm going to be with him. Forever."

"Kippei... Yanagi-san is great, but we're your family."

Now Tachibana turned back, looking over his shoulder to face his mother. "He's my family now too, and he accepts me completely."


"Goodbye now, Mother."

And then he left. His life-partner waited for him at the end of the walkway, and he took his hand and kissed his lips when they met, making a final point to his Mother, whom he knew was still watching. He was leaving the house and family he'd always known. Walking away from his past life, walking toward his future. He was leaving his familiar house.

And he was going home.