The girls were underneath the floor.
“Hound,” Katsuko said, calmly. “Show me where you found them?”
Kakashi looked at her, something in her voice giving him pause, but turned and went back into the house at Raidou’s short nod. Katsuko followed, stepping over the threshold as the stench of dried blood curled out to greet her.
Fujiyama’s house had been neatly kept, before the fight that had ravaged the walls and floors. The bookshelves and tables that had been untouched were precisely arranged and free of dust. Near the back of the house, Kakashi had pulled up a section of the ruined tatami. He’d left a crimson handprint on the small part of the weave that hadn’t already been stained with blood. Katsuko moved closer, sinking into a crouch by the edge of the matting, and looked.
Fujiyama’s daughters had been very small, but whatever killed them was savage. Their bodies weren’t... whole. Lifting them out with only her hands would be difficult.
There were blankets in the back room’s closet. Katsuko chose one at random—red fabric, cherry-blossom pattern, hand-stitched and sewn—and spread it out next to the pulled-up tatami.
No clones for this. The girls deserved someone real to take care of their bodies.
Very carefully, Katsuko reached into the space underneath the floor and began picking up the pieces of the Fujiyama daughters. She could tell them apart by their clothes; one was wearing a blue sundress, the other a yellow tunic. She started to place them next to each other on the blanket, her hands gentle as she could manage.
The last time something like this had happened, she’d been thirteen. She’d been forced to watch as the bodies were bricked up behind the walls; when there was no more space, the dead had been buried beneath the floor. No one deserved to be trapped like that.
Footsteps. Katsuko glanced up as Kakashi knelt beside her, his mask as blank as ever. She shifted over to give him space as he reached into the hole underneath the tatami and started to help her with the grim task.
When Kakashi and Katsuko were done, she folded the blanket carefully around the Fujiyama girls and picked them up, cradling them against her chest. The family shrine was near the entranceway; she set her sad little bundle down on the floor in front of the incense holders and plaques, then stepped back and turned to face Kakashi.
Kakashi looked at her for a moment, level. Quietly, he said, “Your chakra’s surging.” For once, there was no judgement in his voice.
There was blood on Katsuko’s hands, her uniform. Red streaked across her chestplate from where she’d held the Fujiyama daughters. She inclined her head at Kakashi in a nod and closed her eyes, reaching for her chakra.
It was difficult, searching for the quiet core of herself. Her chakra seethed like a wounded beast, volatile and angry. Katsuko pulled calm around her center like a shield, waging war to regain her serenity.
When her chakra was again leashed and mastered, Katsuko opened her eyes. Behind her, she could feel Raidou’s presence entering the house. There was a pause as he took in the scene, then his calloused hand settled on the back of her neck.
“Ram’s taking the civilians back,” he told her and Kakashi. “Tanuki’s tracking drag marks outside the window; looks like the husband might have been pulled straight up the wall.” Then in a softer voice he asked Katsuko, “Got a lock on it?”
Katsuko let herself lean back against his hand for a moment before she straightened. “Under control, captain.”
Raidou tightened his grip briefly, then let his hand drop. “Good job.” He lifted his voice again. “Hound, find anything else?”