The room is still dark when Utsusemimaru stirs, and though it was not a nightmare that woke him, he still feels morose. It is always his most peaceful dreams that end too soon. He's about to start wallowing in disappointment when his eyes adjust to the darkness, and he realizes the position he's in.
In an instant all of his dispirited feelings melt away.
It's not so much his own sleeping position as those of his companions that brings a smile to his face.
Lilo is sleeping on top of his chest like a kitten, her arms curled tightly around her handmade doll, Scrump. Utsusemimaru cannot help but wonder at the trust implicit in her actions, the comfort she must find in him to select him as a pillow over his far more charismatic partner. He feels almost unworthy, but there she is, sleeping soundly, and there's nothing in the world that could convince him to wake her. Certainly not his own insecurities.
He knows what it is like to be alone, to wish with all his heart for someone to understand him and love him. Too soon had he been forced to grow up in the Sengoku Period; too soon did he have to accept the benevolence of his lord in place of parental affection. But that was the past; it should not still be this way for children, and yet there was Lilo, bereft of her parents and separated from the only family she had left. These things happen even without war to cause them. Utsusemimaru knows that he can never take the place of Lilo's parents or even her sister, but he is determined to try his best to fulfill the role of guardian for her sake. It is the promise he made to himself when he took her in. But more than that, there is something inside his own heart that feels eased by Lilo's presence, that simple, selfless bond of familial love he hadn't realized he was missing.
He strokes her hair gently, feeling his heart ache with love when she smiles in her sleep and cuddles closer.
There's a murmur near his shoulder and Utsusemimaru turns his head to look at his other sleeping companion.
Daigo is nestled against Utsusemimaru's side, his own futon all but abandoned in an unconscious quest for closeness. His cheek is smushed where he presses it against Utsusemimaru's bicep, and he wears the same lopsided grin he had on when he went to bed hours ago. While Utsusemimaru had been inclined to compare Daigo to his lord when they first met, at times like this, watching him snuggle close and start to snore, there really is no one else Daigo could be but himself. Perhaps if his lord had been born in the same day and age he would have grown up with more of Daigo's personality... but even then Utsusemimaru does not think they would be the same after all.
Though he loved and respected him dearly, Utsusemimaru had always seen his lord as a guiding figure, a man responsible for the growth and development of his soldiers. Daigo does not demand change but somehow he encourages it, unconsciously, in those who gather around him. He is less a driving force than he is a powerful sun, the source of light and strength for those who orbit him. He does not ask anyone to be better or worse than they are; he simply asks them to be themselves and accepts them as they are. For all his magnanimity, Utsusemimaru's lord demanded change and improvement; Daigo, by contrast, only ever demands it of himself, inspiring others to similar action of their own wills.
It is fitting that Daigo's soul was the one that brought Utsusemimaru to the light after so many centuries in darkness. But... Daigo, for all his charm, has drifted longer and farther through the world than Utsusemimaru could even fathom, never settling down, never knowing the comfort of home. Utsusemimaru is steadfast and constant, unwavering in his devotion to Daigo. And Daigo himself is light and laughter and safety such as Utsusemimaru has never know before. They fit together as perfectly as Daigo pressing against him, two wandering souls who found each other against all odds. Who found something together they both missed in their individual lives: the kind of love that means home.
Utsusemimaru leans down to kiss Daigo on the forehead, smiling when he hears Daigo murmur his name in his sleep.
He holds the two of them close, these two precious people who have become everything to him. His home. His family. His love. Even if every one of his peaceful dreams is interrupted, Utsusemimaru will no longer mind. The peace he feels with his family around him could never be surpassed anyway.