You are not connected. Please login or register

Go to page : Previous  1, 2

View previous topic View next topic Go down Message [Page 2 of 2]

Kyohei

avatar

Special Jounin
“I’m not afraid of-“

Kyohei stifled his protest before finishing his sentence, not viewing the jab as something worthy of the level of exertion it would require to argue with Shinako. Instead he would just breathe deeply and exhale in an audible sigh. The sound of glass being set down on the table made him consider sitting up and going for the hot drink the kunoichi had prepared for him, but he was comfortable and in no particular rush to move from the spot. In fact, he was in the perfect position to return to sleep. At least he was until his companion reached for the towel that was still draped over his face, allowing the light from the ceiling lamp to shine down directly onto him.

Kyohei’s eyes narrowed at the intrusive brightness that engulfed him, tilting his head back and turning his neck towards the back of the sofa to look up at Shinako. It took him a moment to register what she was trying to convey with her comment about his co-workers and “professional picnicking business”, lifting his eyebrow inquisitively at her before realizing that she had dropped by HQ, which of course only raised further questions.

“You went to my office? Did they tell you to come here? How did you get in to find me?”






223 | 7,510


____

Shinako

avatar

Special Jounin
“I came to surprise you, is all. I just got a red envelope from the Hokage’s office.”

Of course, she was referring to the mail correspondence sent out to summon lower-ranking Shinobi to their active duty rotations. They were mostly used to fill in the gaps in scouting, delivery, and retrieval missions. Every now and then they would be used to infiltrate or demolish something. However, there were always horror stories of those who died in the field during routine maneuvers. As an inconvenience at best, and a mortal threat at worst, no pencil-pusher liked to receive a red envelope.

“It would have been a shame to have perished in the field without seeing my pen-pal one last time.”

Shinako smiled and laughed easily, pushing away any anxiety she might have been feeling about the upcoming mission.

“I remembered your address from the dossier of my babysitting mission, and stopped by to leave you a bottle of booze. That’s when I heard you hit the floor. I came in that way.”

The Kunoichi tipped her teacup and nodded toward the window. The portal was still open, as Shinako had neglected to close it in her haste to help her fallen friend. The breeze outside was gentle enough that the draft could not be felt from inside the home. Looking out into the beautiful sunlight of the afternoon, Shinako sipped her tea, allowing her nostrils to take in its cool, rich scent. That Kyohei was curious enough to attempt to put the pieces of the puzzle together gave Shinako hope for his condition. She gave a pleasant humming noise to punctuate her satisfaction at the observation, wiggling her toes to warm them in her borrowed socks. She didn’t notice that her tea was already beginning to feel cold in her hand.

300/8,245


____


Ninjutsu: S|Genjutsu: A| Fuuinjutsu: B
Inton: A|Katon: A

Kyohei

avatar

Special Jounin
Kyohei listened silently as Shinako explained herself, waiting until she had seen her thoughts through to completion before shifting his body on the sofa, grunting softly as he forcibly pushed himself into an upright seated position beside his savior. Silence hung in the air for only a moment, allowing the Uchiha to discover the appropriate manner through which to respond. During this pause Kyohei would reach both hands down to the coffee table before them, grasping the mug his companion had left for him and raising it up to his lips to take a sip.

“Well, you surprised me alright. I can’t say the spontaneous ice shower was high on my list of things to wake up to, but I can think of worse ways to wake up than with my head laid on your lap.”

The comment was laced with the familiar playfulness that the duo had become accustomed to very early on in their interactions with each other, although there was a clear weakness in his voice, even as he pushed the words out. Kyohei was well enough acquainted with both the general anxiety that surrounded young shinobi early on in their careers when that red envelop inspired a range of emotions, not the least of which was fear, as well as Shinako’s own apprehensiveness with the shinobi lifestyle. She would try her best to hide it superficially, but there was no way the Uchiha could imagine that it was not weighing on her.

On top of that, he had only minutes earlier added to her stress by allowing her to find him collapsed on the floor of his apartment. It seemed as though he had unintentionally caused his friend to suffer undue worry at a time where she likely visited him looking for an escape. The only sensible way to reconcile this transgression was clearly to grant her the escape she had come searching for.

“You were really just going to leave a bottle? That’s no fun at all! If I just wanted to get drunk alone I’d go to some hole in the wall bar. Drinking is always better with good company.”






360 | 7,870


____

Shinako

avatar

Special Jounin
The corners of Shinako’s mouth turned upward at Kyohei’s words. However, by her estimation, her friend could scarcely afford to use humor as a crutch. Actual crutches would have been far more appropriate, but the man seemed more and more normal by the minute. In her studies, Shinako had read that the Uchiha bloodline made its bearers capable of truly amazing feats. Unlike many of the Jutsu in the stories, the Sharingan and the Uchiha clan still remained relatively undiminished. Few had observed the secrets behind the dark eyes of Konoha’s oldest weapons, and few had the stomach for it. Unlike the stories of the Yellow Flash and his teleportation magic, or Naruto and his inner monster, Shinako could have reached out and touched a wielder of the Sharingan Eye in that very moment. Something about watching Kyohei recover so quickly excited her.

“You really shouldn’t drink right now. I’m no doctor, but it can’t be a very good idea in your current state.”

With that, Shinako placed her teacup on the table and unfolded her legs. The next moment found her standing and moving toward the front door of the apartment. Though her resolve to keep Kyohei safe remained strong, she could not see the harm in at least showing him the lovely gift she had brought. The dark-haired woman turned the lock and opened the door, looking briefly out into the hallway for signs of the neighbors. It would not do to embarrass her friend with rumors of a strange woman in a state of undress, retrieving a bottle of liquor, no less. Seeing no one, Shinako stooped to retrieve the picnic basket and the posh blue bottle, savoring its weight in her hand for a short while before closing and locking the door again.

“Perhaps you’ll save it. Maybe for a special occasion?”

Shinako gripped the bottle by the neck, and placed her left hand under it, displaying it like she had often seen the hostesses of game-shows do with lavish prizes. However, instead of presenting it to her fair-haired companion, the woman ducked into the kitchen where she deposited the picnic basket unceremoniously on the tile floor. The bottle she placed on the counter delicately. She eyed the kanji carefully carved into the porcelain of the bottle affectionately. Her father’s pottery and glass still gave her pause whenever she looked at it. She was careful not to linger too long out of Kyohei’s sight, and soon returned to cross her arms and lean in the doorway to the kitchen. Her dark eyes did not quite lose their warm, tender quality as they settled on Kyohei where he sat. After a few moments, she let out a sigh, laced with emotions she herself had not quite figured out yet.

“It’s Awamori, though it’s not too sweet, and goes down smoothly. My father never cared for the finer spirits, and couldn’t stand sake, so he distilled this himself. He used to call it his special Kusu….”

Shinako smiled and laughed in a way that only the purest sense of nostalgia could produce, and unfurled her left arm to brush the limp, damp hair out of her face.

“….his high-society guests, the other patriarchs of the Nara clan and other noble families used to turn their noses up at the stuff at dinner parties.”

555/8,800


____


Ninjutsu: S|Genjutsu: A| Fuuinjutsu: B
Inton: A|Katon: A

Kyohei

avatar

Special Jounin
The smile that showed upon Shinako’s lips brought Kyohei some comfort, seeing that his attempts to change the tone of her visit were working, even if only a bit. The Uchiha registered the dark-haired woman’s concern regarding him drinking in his current condition and even though he disagreed with her insistence that he needed to take it easy, it was not something he felt particularly inclined to fight her on. While his Uchiha body was resilient, even by the standards of the near superhuman shinobi classification as a whole, he couldn’t imagine a scenario where explicitly acting in a way that would feed into her fears for his well-being would serve his goal of cheering the Nara up. That being said, he couldn’t simply allow the opportunity to pass without some of his classic, clever commentary.

“Bad ideas and alcohol are at least 60% of my life’s story. And it can’t have worked out so badly if you’ve stuck around this long. I have to be doing something right.”

Kyohei would look on with silent curiosity as Shinako raised herself from the sofa and made her way towards the front door of his apartment. The Uchiha tilted his head as he continued to observe her unannounced, apparent departure, but strangely, after looking about the hallway, she did not step out. Instead, she knelt down to retrieve something which the detective could not identify, her relatively slender build widened by the draping clothes she had borrowed enough to obstruct what she was retrieving. Her comment about saving something for a special occasion did not serve to satiate his curiosity until she turned back around with bottle and basket in hand before once again mysteriously cutting out of the room and into the kitchen. His gaze would follow Nara kunoichi all the way back to the kitchen, twisting in his seat to adjust as he pondered what all of the secrecy was about.

Kyohei’s eye lingered on the kitchen doorway for a moment before he felt compelled to raise himself off of the couch to go investigate himself. He felt a moment of slight relief as he noticed a distinct lack of shakiness in his legs beneath him, giving him the assurance he needed to walk towards the kitchen to meet Shinako. Before he could enter the kitchen, however, the dark-haired woman would slip back into view, leaning into the doorway. Their eyes met and the Uchiha could help but notice a stark change in the look of her eyes between this moment and him waking up to see her. Something about how she looked at him stopped Kyohei in his tracks, as if he knew to wait for her.

They allowed the silence to linger for a few moments before Shinako let out a deep sigh, releasing some of the tension in the room. Kyohei simply listened as she spoke of the bottle, recounting tales of her father all the while. The genuine smile and laugh she let out brought a smile to his face, but the words “used to” weighed heavy in her tone. During all of their conversations, the subject of families or their pasts never came up much beyond a superficial level. The Uchiha, however, was fully aware of what context that phrase was used in and what might illicit such an emotional shift in the typically strong and steady Nara. He would lean himself at the corner of the wall perpendicular to the doorway, standing beside, but allowing some space between them as he gauged her state. His mind went back to their first meeting, and the look of horror she gave him when he grabbed her wrist. It wasn’t a look he ever wanted to see again.

“It doesn’t exactly sound like it’s just any old bottle of booze. Are you sure you’re ok with giving me something like that? It seems valuable to you. I’m not exactly the kind of high-society guest that he wanted to get to drink it.”






682 | 8,552


____

Shinako

avatar

Special Jounin
Shinako gave a quick half-smile, biting the inside of her lip pensively. She released the gesture with a laugh, and waved her hand toward the bottle dismissively.

“His friends never touched the stuff, and he really only made it because he enjoyed it. Besides, I can’t keep it around to ripen up. The fumes are a fire hazard.”

In truth, there were still dozens of Nara Shikanaoe’s personal brand in the cellar of Shinako’s home. Having long been excused from active duty, her father had been a devoted craftsman whenever he was not working at the hospital. The whole house bore his fingerprints, and his daughter did not feel so bad about giving away this little piece of him. There was no way that she could have anticipated this feeling while executing his will just a few short months ago. Perhaps his loss was a wound that time would heal, helped along by the fact that she still found her father in just about everything. For a brief moment, her shadow on the tile floor of the kitchen seemed to have very broad shoulders to be a silhouette of the slender woman in the doorway.

Shinako stayed planted firmly in Kyohei’s path, though she did not uncross her arms. She was relatively sure that he was joking about having a drink in his condition, but she could never be too sure. Some jokes were just too telling. Her own drinking had gotten out of hand recently, and she did not have nearly the traumatic past she imagined for Kyohei. A man’s official profile did not receive that much redacting if the village did not want his dark deeds forgotten; even if he might never forget them himself. Behind Kyohei’s kind face, somewhere not-so-deep down, was a killer. Then again, the same could be said for almost any Shinobi in the village. The same could be said about her. There was a reason for all of this drinking and escapism. These cries did not escape the red roofs of their mouths for nothing, after all.

The Kunoichi bit her lip again, looking pensively out over Kyohei’s shoulder to where her clothing was hung out to dry.

365/9,165


____


Ninjutsu: S|Genjutsu: A| Fuuinjutsu: B
Inton: A|Katon: A

Kyohei

avatar

Special Jounin
Shinako’s forced smile did little to put Kyohei’s mind at ease in their conversation. Something about a woman like Shinako, so well-versed and experienced in the “walking on eggshells” act of navigating the social circles of high society, being so incapable of masking her uneasiness would have been ironically humorous if it wasn’t so alarming to him. This wasn’t simply a matter of concern for him, although he was sure that his own actions had not been particularly helpful in assuaging whatever concerns were ailing her. The dark-haired woman had swooped in and caught him as he was falling, and it appeared as though now it was time to return the favor.

Shinako’s body language told Kyohei everything he needed to know to get an idea of what she might be feeling. Not once since he had approached had she ever completely relaxed her arms, keeping them largely crossed in front of her, creating an imaginary buffer between the duo. The detective could see the faint tug on her bottom lip inward, signaling she had resorted to biting her own lip, a common anxious quirk. And her eyes, just moments ago so full of warmth, had cooled, the affection and nostalgia that once radiated from them replaced with the pallid malaise of anxiety and fear.

“Well, thank you. I’m sure it will be delicious. As far as saving it for a special occasion, we can drink it together, the next time you come over. As much as I look forward to receiving your letters, I think I prefer seeing you in person. Besides, because of me your plans for a picnic didn’t go so well, so the least I can do is make you dinner. After you get back from your assignment, maybe? I don’t want to have to wait through these month-long breaks every time I want to see you. Who’s going scrape me up off my living room floor if you’re not around?”

While Kyohei wanted and tried to present a comforting smile and laugh, he could not pretend that all was well after his last words left his lips. A part of him could not help but feel he was partly to blame for the uncharacteristic state he saw Shinako in. A brief frown would be replaced by a stern, but neutral expression as the Uchiha pushed himself up from the wall to stand up straight directly in front of the Nara woman. Without saying a word, Kyohei raised his hand to about chest level between them, presenting Shinako his palm, flat and fingers neutrally spaced, as if he were a mime whose path was obstructed by an invisible wall. He considered speaking the words that would instruct her to place her hand against his, but he felt the gesture would suffice to convey the message. And more importantly, he wanted to gauge where Shinako was at this moment.






495 | 9,047


____

Shinako

avatar

Special Jounin
Shinako’s confusion at Kyohei’s gesture registered for a brief moment. She viewed him skeptically, as one might eye a prankster who had pulled off one too many jests at others’ expense. Her dark eyes settled first on his hand, and then searched his own eyes for an answer. She saw a certain softness there, and her shoulders relaxed as her arms began to unfold. Once she realized what was going on, Shinako could not stop a shy smile from touching the edges of her mouth, and a blush from coloring her cheeks. She let out a puff of air that did not quite rise to the level of a laugh. After a short pause, she separated her shoulder from the wall which had been supporting her, standing straight and square, to match Kyohei.

The next moment, she raised her left hand to meet his right, lacing her fingers through his and gripping tightly. At the same time, Shinako stepped forward, drawing herself closer to the tall, fair-haired man. The pair still smelled like cold water, but the Kunoichi felt almost impossibly warm now as she pulled herself nearer and wrapped her right arm around Kyohei’s waist in a tight embrace. With a sigh, she pressed against her friend and laid her head on his chest, letting her gaze fall on the space where their hands connected, suspended in the air. For several long moments she did nothing but listen to the sound of Kyohei’s heart, strong and regular beneath the muscle, bone, and sinew of his chest. There, Shinako felt something she had not felt in a very long time. As a girl, she had sometimes felt that she could hear others in the village, and travel toward them without moving. In her own way, she could imagine them, as though they were connected like so many blades of grass, sharing a root system. As her fingers found his spine, her backbone tingled in kind.

“It seems to me we’ll just have to stick together, then.”

She spoke the words as barely more than a whisper, trusting that the vibration through their bodies would convey them.

355/9,520


____


Ninjutsu: S|Genjutsu: A| Fuuinjutsu: B
Inton: A|Katon: A

Kyohei

avatar

Special Jounin
Kyohei was pleased that Shinako seemed to understand his gesture as she stood upright and connected her hand with his. He would be remiss to say that a part of him feared her pulling further away from him as he tried to reach out to her in a way that was new to him. Flashes of the night they met played in his mind, imprinting in his mind the look of fear and distrust the kunoichi fired his way after he reflexively grabbed her wrist in the back of that rickshaw cart. Even if their relationship had grown past that point and she never again gave him that same look, there was a part of Shinako that never seemed completely open to him, that viewed him as something other than a man; something more sinister. Even as he stood right beside her, there were moments that felt like they were worlds apart. This would not be one of those moments.

Kyohei would find himself in the midst of a rare moment of surprise as Shinako not only reciprocated his gesture by lacing her hand in his, but also brought herself into a tight embrace against him. The Uchiha hesitated for a moment, unsure of the appropriate reaction to this uncharacteristically warm response from his companion. Once the man was able to properly assess the situation he would begin to return the kunoichi’s warmth in kind, wrapping his free arm around her and holding her close to him with his hand placed at the center of her back.

Kyohei bowed his head forward, allowing the lower half of his face to rest against the side of Shinako’s head. Even through the dampness of her hair the man could still make out the lingering scent of orchids, the aroma that he had now come to associate with her. It was comforting in its own way, knowing that familiarity remained, even as the experience was new to them. The Uchiha knew he should speak, but even so allowed himself a few moments to take in Shinako’s embrace and her words. As he spoke his fingers locked between hers and his and keeping her close to his chest would squeeze just a bit tighter, as if preparing for her to pull away, a concern that was likely irrational, but to Kyohei was real all the same.

“Thank you.”






397 | 9,444


____

Shinako

avatar

Special Jounin
Kyohei’s voice reverberated through his chest, as though he was speaking under water, or in a chamber made of tin. Shinako quite liked the sound of it, and hummed back to it in a low tone. Her fingers pressed into the skin of his lower back as he held her more tightly. When she had rescued him from the floor, he had seemed incredibly fragile. Now his vitality almost radiated through his chest and into her own. She felt small, but safe.

“I’d save your life any day, Uchiha Kyohei….beyond a shadow of a doubt.”

The corners of Shinako’s mouth curled upward at her shadow pun. The mental depression from her earlier Inton conversion had faded, and her sense of humor was beginning to return. The joke was bad, but she always cherished those moments she spent coming back from that dark precipice of Yin Release techniques, where her only Shinobi talents seemed to lie. She could not help but become acutely aware of how her their shadows crossed on the floor, but she didn’t want to think about that. Shinako could barely remember a time before she could feel the presence of her umbral companion, but she did remember a time when she did not think of it as a weapon. Any distraction would do, so her eyes studied the creases of Kyohei’s hand, and where they met with hers.

Her friend did not seem uncomfortable, and she chalked up the advent of the pleasant warmth of the moment to their proximity. They wore barely any clothing, and had only just escaped the icy cascade of the shower, yet Shinako felt as though she was standing next to a cozy fire. It may have been that Kyohei’s fever was returning, and that his condition needed more attention than she was currently giving it. With one last squeeze, Shinako peeled her chest away from his, and looked up into his eyes, searching for signs of clarity.

“Do you still feel feverish? More of the tea I made would help that.”

340/9,860


____


Ninjutsu: S|Genjutsu: A| Fuuinjutsu: B
Inton: A|Katon: A

Kyohei

avatar

Special Jounin
Kyohei moaned and let out a chuckle at Shinako’s shadow pun, pulling her into his embrace tighter for just a brief moment. His sense of humor was not a trait that most who have encountered the man would pin as remarkable… or even present in most cases, but with her, behind closed doors, there was no reason for him to keep his normal social barriers up. Puns were of course notoriously bad jokes, but the attempt was endearing, bringing a smile to the Uchiha’s face, although concealed by his companion’s hair. He would put just enough distance between her and his mouth to ensure his amused reply wasn’t muffled.

“You just couldn’t help yourself, could you?”

When Shinako did eventually peel herself away from Kyohei, he put up just the slightest bit of resistance, not wanting to let go, but allowing her to put the distance between them that she sought. At another time their proximity and the moment the woman took to look into his eyes might have been awkward, but somehow he found comfort in that recess. Her gaze was warm and caring, almost as much as her words, a stark contrast from the sharp glare he recalled from their first encounter. Part of him still wondered whether some part of the kunoichi still feared him, still viewed him as the monster her eyes had betrayed that night, but he pushed those doubts back from whence they came in short order. Such concerns and insecurities were the business of another time. This kind of intimacy and warmth had been largely absent from the Uchiha’s life since before Orochi Risu disappeared from his life. He was in no rush to see it end so soon over something so trivial. Letting out an amused huff, he would address her concerns.

“You shouldn’t worry so much. I’m fine, thanks to you, but I’ll take whatever you want to give me, Shinako. I think you’ve earned that.”


____

Shinako

avatar

Special Jounin
As the two stood so close, Shinako became acutely aware of Kyohei’s arms; their strength. She felt, distinctly, their desire to keep her near to him. There was something indescribable about that; something Shinako had not felt before. It excited her, and raised a spiky barricade of caution in the back of her mind. The Kunoichi had always been one for proceeding deliberately, and was careful when interfacing with emotions she did not understand. It had taken her decades to know her own mind, and she was starting to feel like whatever drove her id was beginning to know her as well. However, this echo of doubt in her chest sounded from somewhere deep, and unknown. It frightened her.

Shinako didn’t pull away quickly, but did so in a way that made it clear she would not be held any longer. She thought back to her training for when social encounters became too emotional. Such a maneuver would be difficult, especially with her concern for Kyohei’s health, but it seemed necessary. There was something in the tone of Kyohei’s last statement that Shinako could not simply accept at face-value. It was best to retreat to ground where nothing really mattered that much; not the good or the bad. It was an art, creating a place of mutual amusement, and Shinako was reasonably good at it.

“Oh, the things a girl could ask for once she's 'earned' them.”

A peevish smile crossed Shinako’s features, and she sauntered toward the couch once more. She didn’t look at Kyohei for quite some time as she feigned greater interest in the furnishings of his apartment and looked for an escape. Most pressingly, she wanted to ask about all the downturned photo frames, but knew that a man did not do such a thing without some intimate feeling. Instead, she would angle the conversation at least slightly back toward their work.

“So….”

She turned back to Kyohei, examining his posture for steadiness casually. Skirting the far arm of the furniture, she took the furthest seat from him and adopted a cocky tone.

“What did you think of my heavenly scent technique?”

360/10,220


____


Ninjutsu: S|Genjutsu: A| Fuuinjutsu: B
Inton: A|Katon: A

Kyohei

avatar

Special Jounin
Kyohei frowned as Shinako pulled away from him and proceeded to put distance between them, retreating from his embrace and to the far side of the sofa just a few paces away. The way she had so deliberately retreated from him was unexpected, but not surprising. The Uchiha racked his brain for a moment, wondering what he had done wrong to cause such a drastic change in her behavior towards him, but ultimately he decided that he had been incorrect in assuming that the way she viewed him had changed since the rickshaw cart ride back then. She may now have cared for him on some level, but still saw in him the monster she believed him to be deep down. The realization was disheartening, but to turn cold now after what she had done for him would be nothing short of ungrateful.

Kyohei let out a deep sigh before trudging his way over to the couch himself, taking a seat at the furthest spot opposite of Shinako, leaving more than two person’s worth of space between them of empty cushions. The man could feel his companion’s eyes on him, but did not meet them in turn. Instead, the Uchiha began gathering his belongings that had been left on the coffee table and floor from when he had lost consciousness earlier, including the letter he had been writing the very woman who sat next to him now, turning it over so that the ink faced downwards.

“Oh, so that’s what you call it? How fitting.”

Kyohei managed to feign a smile and amused tone as he continued to organize his belongings into a neat pile. He folded the letter he had written for her into thirds, so that it might easily slide into an envelop for mailing and set it back down beside the pile of notepads and paperwork. As he began stuffing those files and leatherbound pads neatly into his briefcase he would continue to address her inquiry.

“I feel like the thoughts that were going through my head while I was under its influence are better left unsaid. Since it’s your technique I’m sure that you can imagine its effects. It does seem a bit redundant to me, though, don’t you think? I remember the night we met very well, including the impact you had on those boys at the restaurant. You hardly needed a jutsu to illicit similar responses.”

From the corner of his eye Kyohei spotted the small, face-down picture frame holding a photograph of him and Risu in traditional garb, posing for a picture at a festival they had attended in a town not far from the forests that surrounded Konoha on the table near Shinako. As the smile faded from his lips, he would reach across the table towards the Nara woman in order to slide the frame across the table, face-down all the way towards him with the intention of stuffing it into his briefcase to hide it as well.






505



Last edited by Kyohei on Thu May 18, 2017 11:37 pm; edited 1 time in total


____

Shinako

avatar

Special Jounin
Shinako was pleased with the steadiness of Kyohei’s movements, and with the natural cadence of his speech. Were it not for the unnatural heat she had felt radiating from his chest and limbs just moments earlier, there would scarcely be any sign of his recent episode. His fingers were steady as he folded and packed his papers. The Kunoichi kept her tone casual as she watched his hand sweep slowly across the table to take the downturned frame.

“It comes in handy as a distraction, though I hadn’t contemplated its possible uses as a Medical technique.”

Her senses were feeling sharp today, but Kyohei’s hand-craft was good. She was unable to catch a glimpse of the picture in the frame, but it did not take too much imagination to decipher the mystery. It turned out that Shinako had literally stepped through a window into a private space she was just beginning to see clearly. It had always seemed to her that the privacy of a home was the only place a Shinobi could live a half-way decent life. The Nara woman was no shining example of martial vigilance, but she had always found her home to be a place of physical and mental relaxation. Home was a place free of hidden knives and intrigue; free of worry, where a Shinobi could go to love and to be loved. Shinako guessed that just such a thing had happened here.

She herself had never been loved; often coveted, but never loved. Just like in the restaurant the night of their meeting, Shinako had never failed to turn heads. She had never thought of her physical attributes as either a blessing or a curse, and had often chastised her former Jounin Sensei for his obsession with appearances. Before their relationship had grown reckless and complicated, she had told him how silly it was to like a person because they were beautiful, like judging the value of a gift by its wrapper. Still, in the moment, there was something about the way the light struck Kyohei’s eyes as they fell on the back of the picture frame….beautiful.

Shinako shifted her weight toward him, sitting cross-legged on the couch to face her friend and folding her hands over her lap. The closed posture might help her contain….whatever it was she was feeling. A slight shiver touched her spine as her internal temperature rose. Perhaps the fever was contagious. She needed a distraction, and badly.

“Kyohei-san….”

Too formal. Shit. She bit her lower lip briefly before she continued.

“I was scared when I found you like that. I’ve been scared a lot lately, and stressed. So, I suppose….”

Shinako reached up to brush a strand of hair behind her ear with her left hand.

“….what I’m trying to say is: I’m through with feeling helpless, and scared. I was wondering if you could teach me some battle techniques?”

480/10,700


____


Ninjutsu: S|Genjutsu: A| Fuuinjutsu: B
Inton: A|Katon: A

Kyohei

avatar

Special Jounin
In an instant the topic of conversation had shifted so rapidly that Kyohei took a moment of pause before answering, his head recoiling back slightly upon hearing Shinako’s request. With his right hand the Uchiha would swing the leather cover of his briefcase back over the pocket, concealing the items he had removed from the coffee table. Once those sensitive items were safely tucked out of sight the man’s head would swivel to the right, locking gaze’s with the Nara woman who had now shifted herself on the couch to face him directly. His cocked right eyebrow and stern expression conveyed his initial reaction to the inquiry, halfway between confusion and skepticism.

“You want me to teach you how to fight?”

With his left hand Kyohei grabbed the top handle of his briefcase and moved it to the side of the sofa, clearing the space around his feet and enabling him to move about freely on the furniture. With that newfound freedom the Uchiha would reposition himself on the couch, bringing his right knee onto the seat, allowing him to turn his body to face Shinako in kind. The man’s right arm would swing over the back of the sofa, resulting in him leaning his weight against the back cushion. He remained intentionally silent for a few moments, gazing directly into her eyes as if to test her resolve. Only after getting a view of her reaction to his glare would he continue to respond.

“That’s… unexpected.”






252


____

Shinako

avatar

Special Jounin
The woman squinted, meeting Kyohei’s steely gaze with a bit of skepticism. She had written that the village administrators had been testing her more and more with dangerous assignments. Searching his eyes, Shinako determined that Kyohei’s staredown was a test of some sort. Of course, she had been feeling paranoid, lately; feeling like someone had been watching her.

“Just enough to survive.”

She was too caught up in her own thoughts just then to get a good read on Kyohei, and whether he was likely to grant her request without further information. Uchiha Tenzo had often expressed his frustration at training her in battle-oriented strategies. The vast majority of her skills were tailored for a support role, and she crumbled like rice-paper when she was exposed to strenuous physical activity. Perhaps further explanation was required.

“Nara techniques are good for stalling and support, but with my assignments growing more dangerous, I might need something that will give would-be attackers pause….perhaps deal some damage and allow me to escape.”

Shinako felt almost silly for asking. Every combat specialist she knew had spent years devoted to the practice of martial techniques. Most of them had been flagged for such talents in childhood. She had no hope of ever catching up to someone like Kyohei, but that was not her concern. Maybe, with enough practice, she could learn to parse out survival strategies against aggressive techniques, just as Nara Shikamaru had.

“You’re….”

Now came the hardest part of her ask.

“….you’re the only person I trust enough to do this with me.”

260/10,960


____


Ninjutsu: S|Genjutsu: A| Fuuinjutsu: B
Inton: A|Katon: A

Kyohei

avatar

Special Jounin
Upon hearing Shinako’s answer Kyohei would re-adjust himself in his seat once more, this time turning his body to sit on the sofa properly and facing straight ahead, rather than the direction from which Shinako looked his way. The Uchiha closed his eyes and leaned back into the cushion behind him, tilting his head back to point his face toward the ceiling. He then folded his arms in front of his chest before taking a slow, deep breath, exhaling through his mouth demonstrably creating what could only be described as a long sigh.

“Well, I can’t exactly say no after today, now can I? But, I have a condition.”

There was a fairly dramatic pause in Kyohei’s speech at that very moment, not simply to keep Shinako on the edge of her seat, but largely due to needing time to gather his thoughts on the matter at hand. So rarely had the Uchiha ever been turned to as a source of comfort or aid in difficulties other than times of conflict that it felt awkward for him. The man raised his head once more and open his eyes, turning his gaze directly into the eyes of the woman sitting further down the sofa.

“I’m not going to ask you for details if you don’t feel like talking about it. I know what it’s like to have some things you just prefer not to speak of. That being said, if you’re really done with being scared, you have to stop trying to pretend everything’s ok and trying to deal with everything on your own. You’re not the only one with skin in this game. You told me you’d save my life anytime, didn’t you? I intend to hold you to that. You saw what condition I was in before you got here. I’d clearly be a mess if you weren’t around. I need you. Who else is going to scrape me off the floor? I don’t have friends!”

Kyohei ended his monologue with an emphatic, satirical statement, trying to lighten the mood for Shinako. They may not have had the most exposure to one another, but it was clear enough for him to see that something was weighing heavily on the woman and had been as far back as he could remember having known her. In order to salvage some manner of sternness, however, he would smirk up at the Nara before continuing.

“So, you aren’t alone anymore. Do we have deal?”






427~


____

Shinako

avatar

Special Jounin
“We have a deal.”

Shinako was relatively sure she knew what he was talking about. Over the past year of her training, she had become more and more withdrawn. Her conversations with him held a familiar pattern of attack and retreat. She hated to admit, in any tangible way, that she had become damaged goods, but that seemed to be the unfortunate reality. There was small mercy in the fact that he would not ask her for details about what was going on, and somehow greater mercy that he would not allow her to present a jovial façade. Perhaps she had been alone for long enough.

“I’ll try to be a good friend and a good student, it’s just….”

Shinako paused, meeting Kyohei’s eyes with a hint of self-deprecation and honesty in her voice.

“….a little difficult these days. Sometimes it takes time to be a person again. I’ll tell you all about it some day. It just takes time.”

Shinako gave her most genuine smile, suddenly feeling both emotionally and physically drained. For the first time in a long time, she felt like she was not in pure survival mode. She still didn’t think of herself as a Shinobi, but at least she knew she was capable of fighting for something now. Maybe Kyohei would help make that easier.

“It takes a while to learn how to survive. I’m not saying that everything in this world of ours is survivable, just….”

The woman’s smile intensified. Shinobi were known for their use of gallows humor, though it was not always her cup of tea.

“….everything but the last thing is.”

270/11,230


____


Ninjutsu: S|Genjutsu: A| Fuuinjutsu: B
Inton: A|Katon: A

Kyohei

avatar

Special Jounin
The man found himself relieved by Shinako’s smile, on some level viewing it as a first step towards putting her at ease about whatever it was that was weighing on her mind. There was no more virulent a poison in the shinobi world than a clouded mind or shaky resolve. In their line of work there was nothing more likely to get you killed than being unsure. But beyond that, on a personal level, Kyohei wished to help the woman he cared for receive some relief. For the few months since their first meeting there was never a point during which the Uchiha felt the Nara truly at ease. From their very first encounter there seemed to always be something looming beneath the surface, something she tried her best to push back down whenever it snuck back into view.

“Yeah, yeah. Like I said, you don’t have to worry about explaining yourself. Just… come here, would you?”

As Kyohei made that last request he would extend only his right arm outwards, pressing against the cushioned back of the sofa, in a manner similar to how one might extend their arms when offering a hug. Feeling embarrassed by the thought of soliciting an embrace with his gesture the Uchiha turned his head to face forward rather than towards Shinako, attempting to hide the slight reddish coloring on his face. After all, the man still had his reputation as a brooding and unfeeling boogie man to maintain among his colleagues.





250


____

Shinako

avatar

Special Jounin
A slight tear came to her eye, and Shinako tongued the inside of her cheek, biting back a toothy smile at the same time. Her eyes stayed glued to Kyohei and his feigned disinterest. She hesitated to move closer to him, but made sure he knew she was coming, in her own time. Slowly but surely, she placed her left hand atop his right wrist. A slight chuckle escaped her throat, rich and raspy. As it hit the air, it was as though the physical space between them evaporated. Shinako rose to her left knee and slid across the couch, reaching her arms around Kyohei’s neck and placing her forehead against the space just below his ear. She sat back down and pulled her feet under her with a sigh. Once she was comfortable, she shut her eyes.

“You’re still feverish.”

As before when they had embraced, she could feel her voice reverberating back to her through his body. Once again, she could not tell if the heat she was feeling was her own. She knew that the two of them had just gone through something. She wasn’t sure what exactly it was, but she knew that it was important to have gone through. Their hair was still damp, like nascent babes just born into something they could not understand just yet; something they perhaps would not understand for years to come….or ever. Somehow, Shinako was alright with that for the moment, and tried not to think about it too hard.

250/11,480


____


Ninjutsu: S|Genjutsu: A| Fuuinjutsu: B
Inton: A|Katon: A

Kyohei

avatar

Special Jounin
It would take a while, but the notoriously reserved Shinako would eventually give herself in to moment and cross the expanse of the couch, which had previously seemed an insurmountable distance between them, wrapping her arms around Kyohei’s neck in an embrace. Even in that position, however, the headstrong Nara couldn’t help but remark on his condition, in what he could only assume was an attempt to resist allowing herself to let go of her reservations and defenses fully. The Uchiha enjoyed her company, but if their interactions up to this point were a reliable indicator of future behavior, teaching her was going to be yeoman’s work. Even so, he couldn’t seem to bring himself to leave her alone.

Feeling Shinako’s forehead pressed just below his ear, Kyohei would wait a moment before responding, taking a brief pause to feel the warmth between them. After that moment of hesitation the Uchiha would bring his right arm down from against the back of the couch and wrap is around the woman, resting his hand around her side and using it to nudge her into him slightly. The man would then slowly turn his head ninety degrees in her direction, replacing the lower side of his head against her forehead with the lower half of his face, the distance between his lips and her skin virtually non-existent.

“You worry too much. I’ll be fine. I’m too stubborn to die.”






245


____

Shinako

avatar

Special Jounin
“You might manage to convince a girl that ‘stubborn’ has anything to do with it at all.”

Shinako laughed again, this time just a short humming sound. Shortly after, she relaxed her grip around his neck and pulled away slightly before leaning up and planting a firm kiss on Kyohei’s chin, just between his cheek and the corner of his mouth. Looking back on the moment, she would be unsure whether she had missed his cheek or his lips. She would try not to attach too much significance to it either way.

“I’m not sure why you’re okay, but I’m glad you are.”

Untangling herself from their embrace, Shinako stood and crossed to the balcony to make good on her mental promise to chide Kyohei about the bizarre circumstances of her visit. The Kunoichi made a big show of checking for signs of life before stepping outside to grab her clothing from the line.

“It’s getting pretty late, and old Mrs. Ito two doors down would never stop gossiping if she were to see a lady’s dress hanging from your clothesline.”

Shinako turned back to her friend with a smile and a cartoonish wink. Her silk kimono was still quite damp, but the sun had dried her leggings and undergarments rather nicely. The walk home would be brisk, but not terribly uncomfortable. With that, she ducked into the bathroom and dressed, keeping Kyohei’s shirt as a buffer between her skin and the wet kimono. She called through the door, asking permission, but not really.

“Okay if I borrow your shirt? I promise I’ll bring it back.”

She found herself humming as she fixed her hair in the mirror, frowning slightly at her pallid complexion. She wasn’t getting enough rest, and incidents like this didn’t help. However, in the moment she felt content in a way that she hadn’t felt in a while. As she wiped away the runny edges of her eyeliner, she took a few deep breaths, noticing that the burning sensation in her chest had faded, and her heart was beating normally again. She readjusted her jade comb, and wondered where she had misplaced her sunglasses.

Shinako tied her sash loosely as she exited the bathroom, heading straight toward the kitchen with a sense of urgency. She unpacked the picnic basket, placing the meat and cheese in Kyohei’s fridge.

“I’m going to leave the food I packed, in case you’re not feeling up to cooking later.”

With that, she slung the empty basket over her elbow and stood in the doorway of the kitchen, taking in the sight of the apartment once more. Her dark eyes settled on Kyohei, searching once again for signs of unsteadiness. Finding none, she gave another half of a smile. She was exhausted, and could only imagine how Kyohei must have been feeling.

“Okay….I’m hitting the road. You know how to get a hold of me if you need anything.”

Shinako turned to leave, making it half-way through the door before looking back over her shoulder.

“….and Kyohei….”

She paused for a moment to find the words, knowing he probably wouldn’t listen.

“….try to take it easy.”

525/12,005

~~~~~~~~~~Exit~~~~~~~~~~


____


Ninjutsu: S|Genjutsu: A| Fuuinjutsu: B
Inton: A|Katon: A

Sponsored content



View previous topic View next topic Back to top Message [Page 2 of 2]

Go to page : Previous  1, 2

Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum

Naruto and Naruto Shippuuden belong to © Masashi Kishimoto.