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Shimada

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Chuunin
The wind ruffled bloody strands gently in its wake, and messed with a scrap of paper clutched between forefinger and thumb. Belonging to the scarlet haired woman that continuously glanced between the piece and the surrounding area to ensure she was headed in the right direction. Her sandals shuffled lightly against the ground, taking her through the maze-like structure that composed some of the residential section of the village, and she scanned the houses carefully.

Some good days ago, she had gone through a strenuous series of events with a companion that resulted in directions to his residency, and an offer to travel with him outside the village. Long story short, of course. The Hattori woman put thought into the proposition, the idea of leaving the gates to a land she had never been to, and of the few responsibilities she would leave behind, but concluded it was worth the invitation. How could she refuse such an opportunity? Traveling together was always, in the best sense, safer anyway, and it was not until the night prior had she made her decision.

Muttering words of acceptance to no one but herself in her gloomy bedroom. 'Better than trapping myself home while he's off gallivanting towards what I can assume is to be danger in disguise.' She mused somewhat bitterly in her head, taking a turn around a street corner and strolling lazily up a paved road; pale hands shoved deep into the pockets of her coat, ready to whip out the scribbled-on paper if she felt she was becoming lost.

After a few more minutes of watching her shadow thrown thin across the ground, counting how many footsteps she could get in before having to meander around an early morning straggler, she arrived. The house which she assumed to be the Nozara residence was not extravagant, but average, and the young woman approached the entryway in a mild form of trepidation. It was not like her to grow wary, apprehensive. Gazing with tired yet sharp eyes the door she readied a fist to knock on. It was quite possible a parent - his father, she believed he may have once told her long ago - would answer and she would have to explain herself. Or, perhaps, he would not be home. Shimada had a knack for coming unannounced, and Nayoko was no exception.

'Hope I didn't come down this way for nothing...' Checking the address one more time, she noted it was correct and, cramming the paper back into a pocket, rapped lightly on the door. Shimada stood in silence, simply listening to any sound of movement behind as she swiveled her head to gaze at the quiet street. The morning sunlight filtering through a plethora of shadows conceived by everyday structures.

At least the wind calmed a portion of her frayed, exhausted nerves. Brought on by a few day's worth of sleepless nights and distracted thoughts. The Hattori could not get the events that had last transpired between her and her friend - the one she came to see and potentially plan travel arrangements with - and was left contemplating. She had mulled over the conversation multiple times, letting the heavy meanings rattle against her skull without mercy. She wouldn't admit to Nayoko that it had affected her - that, despite her vow to slowly grow more accepting of herself, she continued to feel the same self-loath. Back to square one on a long road of trust in herself.

But, perhaps, the journey would take her mind off of it for a while.

Sighing, breath mingling with the cool air, she shifted through a pocket of her coat and pulled out an opened box of cigarettes which the woman dispensed; slipping out one, and pressing the carton back into the fabric of her clothes. She patted herself down to find there was nothing to light it with and permitted a faint scowl to tip her thin lips downwards.

"Damn. That's a drag."

[665]


____


"The world is cruel and bitter, and offers you no guarantee for a future.
If I had my way, I'd just want to sleep forever... but where's the fun in that?"

| Shimada | Hattori | Jutsu | Locker | Plot | Personal Theme | Battle Theme |

| D - 1 | C - 2 | B - 0 | A - 0 | S - 0 | SS - 0 |

Nayoko

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Jounin
It was one of the mornings during the week when Nayoko’s father had to leave for work early, leaving Nayoko and his sister alone to make breakfast and get ready for the day. It also happened to be Nayoko’s day off. Despite that, Nayoko found himself waking up early and preparing breakfast for his younger sister before she headed off for her day at the academy. The smell of eggs and bacon wafted through the kitchen even as he finished cooking and began to eat himself. Their meal was a mostly silent one, both of the siblings taking their time to wake up at their own pace and savor their food. Nayoko smiled as he looked at his sister across the table. She’s growing up so quickly. Mom would be so proud of her. Though his thoughts were biased, he was not entirely incorrect. Kioko was learning more every day, and though she was still just part of the academy, she was becoming a decent kunoichi in her own right. Soon enough she would be graduating too.

As Kioko finished her meal and ran upstairs to get ready for her day, Nayoko started to wash the dishes, thinking about what the day ahead held for him. He was going to leave soon. It had been a number of days since he had invited Shimada to travel with him, and her lack of response was beginning to tell Nayoko that he would be travelling alone, possibly meeting Daiko when he finally arrived in the Land of Water. He sighed, shaking his head as he pondered the events from the past few days. Was he too forward with inviting her? He wasn’t sure. But regardless, he was glad that he had at least asked. After all, he thought to himself, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Soon after the dishes were done, Kioko ran down the stairs and bolted out the door toward the academy. Nayoko called out his farewell and thought he heard one from his sister return, and could not help but chuckle at the energy his sister always seemed to have. He continued to clean up until he eventually found himself plopped into a big armchair in a tank top and sweat pants, reading a fantasy novel that he had read at least a thousand times before. He smiled as he settled back into his chair, taking in the sounds around him, both in his imagination and reality. The wind seemed to be blowing fairly hard today, and that ambiance added a great deal to Nayoko’s experience of the familiar story. He did not feel it at first, but ever so slowly Nayoko began to drift off while reading, until finally sleep had overtaken him.

Nayoko was awakened with a start from his nap by a slight rapping on the front door. He sat in the chair for a moment longer than he should have, listening for another knock or some kind of indication as to who was at the door. The slight paranoia that he had developed in the last week or so was beginning to show, and without any further indication as to who was at the door, Nayoko willed himself to get up and head toward the entrance. He heard someone sigh on the other side of the door as he approached, and wasted no further time by opening the door to whoever was looking for his family.

He was not completely shocked, but was slightly surprised when he opened the door to see Hattori Shimada, his fairly new friend, standing at the door, an unlit cigarette handing from her lips, the wind whipping her blood colored hair around her face, perfectly framing her ruby-red eyes. Nayoko instinctively smiled as a warmth of recognition flowed through him. He watched on for but a moment longer before finally speaking. “Hattori-chan! It’s so good to see you,” his genuine smile spread across his face as he stood in the doorway, holding the door open. “Come in! I’ll put some tea on.” He stepped out of her way and allowed her to enter.

He continued to talk as she stepped into his home. “Sorry that you’ve got to see me in my relaxed clothes. I would’ve dressed properly if I had known you would be by! My family are all out for the day so feel free to make yourself at home.” He stepped toward the kitchen, walking quickly so that he could avoid her gaze for the time being. Is she here to say she wants to come along? Is she just saying goodbye for now? In any case, I’m glad she’s here at all…

He tried to hide the honest happiness on his face as he set the water on the stove top to boil and turned back toward Shimada. He leaned back onto his counter top and gestured toward some chairs and couches in the area, inviting her to sit. “So Hattori-chan, what can I do for you today?”

WC: 865


____

"I've made a deal with the devil in me. Pray you don't see the product of that deal."




Profile | Plot | Jutsu | Stats | Locker | Personal Theme | Battle Theme

~Ninjutsu {S} | Taijutsu {S} | Senjutsu {B} | Suiton {S} | Fuuton {A} | Doton {C}~
~D [2] | C [2] | B [7] | A [2] | S [0]~
Passives: Speed: +2, Perception: +1, Reaction Time: +2

Shimada

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Chuunin
At the silence that continued, Shimada wondered if the household really was empty, and she was just wasting hours of precious daylight; idling in front of a residency appearing out of place, and out of luck. Distaste curled thin lips downwards. The Hattori woman quietly lifted a hand to run fingers through messy crimson locks, simultaneously contemplating her position. He would not have left without telling her, correct? Nayoko was not the kind of person... The young kunoichi permitted another sigh to escape and considered simply turning around and heading back home to come back later that day. She made a motion in her thoughts, but before she could take one step to cement her decision, a voice broke her concentration. Distinctly familiar.

She refused to let a faint smirk break through her passive expression. 'Just in time.'

“Hattori-chan! It’s so good to see you,” the man in the doorway spoke up, and she twisted her head to peer over a shoulder at him; taking in his confirming smile, and, more importantly, his appearance. Tank top and sweatpants. Nice. Shimada held her tongue, and continued to listen in a form of amused silence. “Come in! I’ll put some tea on.” The woman accepted his offer with a curt nod and a dismissive wave of a hand as she stepped through the doorway and into his home; sharp eyes flashing - analyzing - the room and points of interest. After a few seconds, she saw nothing of remarkable note, and, in gesture of politeness, lowered a portion of her stiff guard. Shimada murmured quietly between the cigarette still hanging from her lips.

"Quaint place you have here, Nozara-kun. Pretty homey." Absentminded was her comment, but she turned her attention back to him in display she was still aware of his greetings and explanations of his casual attire; the tall man's dress amusing to the point Shimada almost wanted to laugh. Almost. "Forgive me if I dropped by without giving you warning, but I've always been one for abrupt visits. Planning these things have never been my forte, though I assure you it probably will not happen again." She addressed him sincerely, glancing at him in a non-scrutinizing way. Taking in the warm darkness of his eyes, openness of his stance, and even the friendliness painting his narrow face. The strands of his brown hair reminding her of overcast autumn days. In the sanctuary of his own home, it was understandable to be relaxed, so she shook her head carefully and glanced into his face. "Please think nothing of it in regards to proper attire. The blame is on me, of course." Concluding her quip on the matter, she happily accepted to take a seat from his invite; back straight, and one leg crossed over the other. Shimada gazed at him for a moment, finally lifting two fingers to remove the unlit cigarette from her lips as Nayoko brought up the question that most likely weighed in the back of his mind.

“So Hattori-chan, what can I do for you today?” His slouched position against the counter bore no suspicion, and she allowed herself to relax a little further into the chair.

'Here goes nothing.'

"Travel plans, my dear Nozara-kun." She smirked lightly, and extended a free hand outwards in a gesture of mock grandeur; a teasing mood overcoming her. "I happily bestow upon you my services in your adventure to the Land of Water so your travels may be a it more... secure." Shimada added, having paused for just a moment to deduct the right word from her mind. As she considered, it was always safer in numbers, and he was to be no different. Leaning back further, the woman awarded him a dry, airy chuckle. "And besides, I can't have you gallivanting off on your own, getting yourself into either fame or trouble while I opt to stay behind the gates of this village. It is an opportunity I would surely miss." Explaining, Shimada tipped her head to the side and blinked slowly; shutting her eyes to the world before making a feigned - and obviously very fake - expression of hurt. "Leaving me behind? Oh, how cruel..."

Shimada quieted, taking the time she left to ponder his reaction to her abnormal display of emotion. It had been a bit of a stretch, prompting herself to offer up a livelier side, but, to her, was necessary to diffuse any awkward tension left over. That is, if there was any. To the devise of her own thoughts, the pale skinned woman counted the seconds slipping away, and when it became too much for her, finally broke her vow of peace.

"Ah, before we start this whole planning thing and sit down for a cup of tea, do you have a lighter somewhere by chance?" Though it may have seemed rude to ask, the cigarette clutched in the fingers of her right hand was not growing any smaller, and she had not had a dose of tobacco in a while. "I promise to smoke out a window, of course. I'm not that bad to endanger the health of others."

She just hoped she had not offended him in any way.

[875 + 665 = 1540]


____


"The world is cruel and bitter, and offers you no guarantee for a future.
If I had my way, I'd just want to sleep forever... but where's the fun in that?"

| Shimada | Hattori | Jutsu | Locker | Plot | Personal Theme | Battle Theme |

| D - 1 | C - 2 | B - 0 | A - 0 | S - 0 | SS - 0 |

Nayoko

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Jounin
Nayoko continued to smile as he watched her eyes look over him. She’s a very perceptive one…taking everything in when she can. Either that or she’s just checking me out. Nayoko almost laughed at his own joke, following her with his gaze as she sat down at the small table in his kitchen, crossing one leg over the other and sitting up straight, light from the nearby window cascading off of her face and hair. Nayoko’s smile could only grow as she extended her hand out jokingly and told him why is had come. "I happily bestow upon you my services in your adventure to the Land of Water so your travels may be a bit more... secure." Nayoko laughed out loud at that, genuinely happy about the turn of events. "And besides,” she continued, “I can't have you gallivanting off on your own, getting yourself into either fame or trouble while I opt to stay behind the gates of this village. It is an opportunity I would surely miss." She then tipped her head to the side, unlit cigarette between her fingers and a mock frown forming on her lips that once held it. "Leaving me behind? Oh, how cruel..."

Nayoko, of course, could not resist responding in kind; her lively display almost making him forget about her normally apathetic nature. He stood up straight, stepping over to her before flourishing and bowing eloquently for her amusement. “I would not dream of it my lady! How could I bear to live with myself if I had put you through such a circumstance?!” He sighed, straightening himself and continuing to smile. “In all seriousness though Hattori-chan, I’m glad you’ve decided to come. Not only will the trip be far more ‘secure’ as you put it, but…” he paused a moment, “It will be far less lonely.” He let that hang in the air for a moment, searching her eyes for any sort of hesitation or regret. He could not find any.

After a few seconds she broke the silence, requesting a lighter that she may smoke. His smile turned to a slight frown as he thought to where the last place he had seen one in his house. Nobody in his family smoked, but he knew that they had one. “Ah, one moment,” he said, slipping out of the room and rummaging through some drawers in the next room before emerging with a smile lighter in his hand. Even if she smokes out the window, I’m going to have some explaining to do when dad gets home. Oh well…He stepped back over to the stove top and made eye contact with Shimada before tossing her the lighter. “Enjoy,” he smiled, hoping that the smell would not linger. He then grabbed some glasses from the cupboard and began pouring tea for the two of them. Stepping over to the table and sitting opposite his friend, he began to broach the topic of travel plans.

“Well, I’m hoping to wait for my promotion to chunin to come through before we leave, it shouldn’t be more than a week or so before that is approved. Then I’m happy to head out when you are! We can travel light, stay in towns along the way and get a couple of hotel rooms once we make it to the village itself! Unless of course you want to cut some costs and share one.” His exaggerated wink made it clear that he was only joking. He paused for a moment and sipped his tea, allowing Shimada to react and hoping that he hadn’t crossed any lines. But he was fairly comfortable with her by now, so he was confident in her sense of humor though she rarely showed it.

“I feel like we could spend a few days in the village and get acquainted with the area, maybe even some other shinobi there who can take us around and show us to the Swamp of Sorrows. We could even do some missions there together if we get permission. It would be a good way to pay for our accommodations.” He paused again and waited, mulling over the next thought in his mind. He decided to hold onto it for a little longer before bringing up the topic of his true purpose for the trip; instead hoping that Shimada would offer up some ideas for travel before they had to move on to such dreary business. He leaned back in his chair and took another sip of his tea.

“What do you think?”

WC:810+865=1675


____

"I've made a deal with the devil in me. Pray you don't see the product of that deal."




Profile | Plot | Jutsu | Stats | Locker | Personal Theme | Battle Theme

~Ninjutsu {S} | Taijutsu {S} | Senjutsu {B} | Suiton {S} | Fuuton {A} | Doton {C}~
~D [2] | C [2] | B [7] | A [2] | S [0]~
Passives: Speed: +2, Perception: +1, Reaction Time: +2

Shimada

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Chuunin
Shimada caught his laugh, light and echoing in the quiet home. It was a warm and genuine sound, and she decided she preferred it much better to the silence. Carefully, she stared at the tall young male in an analytic way, thin lips a wisp of a smirk on her face as he stepped over to execute a similar gesture to her playful one; evident he was joining in on the Hattori's game. 'Ah, good sense of humor, that one.' Musing, the red haired kunoichi broke off her thoughts just in time to focus on the graceful, poised bow he performed for her, and she had to fight back the dry chuckle wanting to fight its way out of her chest. It threatened to break her composure, and in retaliation, she slipped a pale hand over her mouth to hide any sight of a widening smile.

She may have been relaxed around him, but she had a reputation to keep.

“I would not dream of it my lady! How could I bear to live with myself if I had put you through such a circumstance?!” His sigh was one of mirth, his posture held loose against the early morning light filtering in through the room; highlighting brown eyes and hair a shade Shimada considered akin to cocoa. It suited him in an odd way. The Hattori woman kept her peace, however, and listened to him continue for a brief moment. Ruby orbs tracking his face observantly. “In all seriousness though Hattori-chan, I’m glad you’ve decided to come. Not only will the trip be far more ‘secure’ as you put it, but…” he paused for a distinguishable amount of time, “It will be far less lonely.” As the words escaped him, the shorter woman froze ever so slightly; a rigid stiffening of the spine that would escape the unperceptive, but knowing Nayoko, would be highly impossible. The meaning tightened in her throat, throbbed in her chest, and she was unsure of the tension she felt. Those words... Why did they affect her so? Perhaps, it was simply she had lived alone for so long she had forgotten what it meant to feel wanted; enough for someone to desire her company. Shimada, however, felt embarrassed about being worked up over the basic comment, and rearranged her face in a guise of carefully held passiveness. Meeting his eyes when they searched for hers, unwavering in determination, but resisting the urge to scowl at the conflicting emotion broiling against her rib cage. She was never one to get emotional, no, and yet, he had made her feel something with only six words.

'What an anomaly you are to me, Nozara-kun. You keep me surprised... and hopefully, you'll continue surprising me for a long time. That much I do not doubt...'

The Hattori woman let settle a thoughtful look on her face, and only lifted her head to respond to Nayoko's quick “Ah, one moment,” before he slipped out of the room to find the lighter she had requested. The frown he had produced unnerved her, however, and she wondered if it was directed more towards her then anything else. It was true smoking was a dirty habit, and Shimada hoped it would not damage his respect towards her; a reason she had never attempted to smoke in front of him before, or inform him of her ill-conceived preference for cigarettes. At the thought, she produced a shuddering sigh, but managed to catch his eyes as he stepped back into the room, approached the stove, and then proceeded to expertly toss her a lighter. She caught it with a free hand, and stood up from her seat to open the nearby window while he began to pour tea. Pushing, she freed the pane, permitting a gust of cool air to gently seep into the cozy home. The woman took a deep breath of the refreshing air before snapping the lighter into producing a small flame and pressing the end to the unlit cigarette. Once it was all completed, she flipped it off, twisting her wrist to flick it back over towards Nayoko with careful precision. He had already sat down with two glasses of hot tea, and though she reckoned it could get cold without her safeguarding it, she had to finish the burning object clasped between her fingers first. Shimada took a long and slow drag, exhaling quietly out of her nose through the open window as she focused quietly on Nayoko. She hoped he would not be affected by the foul smelling smoke, and did her best to keep her head turned away form him. Listening to the taller male was enough.

“Well, I’m hoping to wait for my promotion to chunin to come through before we leave, it shouldn’t be more than a week or so before that is approved. Then I’m happy to head out when you are! We can travel light, stay in towns along the way and get a couple of hotel rooms once we make it to the village itself! Unless of course you want to cut some costs and share one.” She nodded appropriately to his response, but nearly choked on the smoke in her lungs when he mentioned sharing a room together. Now that was something worth chuckling over, and she did not stop the quiet laugh rumbling in her throat. His wink, completely exaggerated and displaying his own teasing manner, made it all the more better.

Grey plumes drifted from her lips as she commented in an equally playful manner. "Now that's what I call a plan. Go ahead, share a room. I don't mind having the extra company, unless," Shimada turned from the window with a wry smirk, "you can't handle a woman changing in the same room as you." It was a mocking sense of humor she displayed, but one she was sure would not offend. It was all in good fun, right? The Hattori immediately quieted her snickering down to take another drag of the cigarette, looking like a dragon with smoke pouring from its nose. She smirked lightly as he began discussing plans once more.

“I feel like we could spend a few days in the village and get acquainted with the area, maybe even some other shinobi there who can take us around and show us to the Swamp of Sorrows. We could even do some missions there together if we get permission. It would be a good way to pay for our accommodations.” Nayoko paused for a long while, and she did not need the time to now he was contemplating the deeper complications in his mind. At least they were not brushing the darker truths for now. "What do you think?" She glanced at him as he asked, and, in response, took the cigarette from her lips and crushed it in the palm of her hand; making sure to grind up the tip to cease its fire. Ignoring the burning soot marking her pale skin, she set the slightly smoking object onto the windowsill before wiping her hand on the front of her pants and settling into the seat across from him. Shimada folded a leg over the other, and reached for the cooling cup of tea with narrowed eyes. She left him in dramatic pause as she took one sip, letting the warm liquid wash over the back of her tongue and mask the tobacco taste lingering in her throat.

The woman rested her chin in the burned palm of her hand. "A pleasant idea as long as the villagers are not hostile. Foreign shinobi have always been a tricky matter, but I believe we will be well off." She mumbled calmly, taking another sip of the tea; eyes flickering up to meet orbs of murky yet friendly brown. A smirk tugged at her lips. "Travel plans to far away lands, right? That only comes once in a long while, so let's experience it for what it will hold. A journey not just to find out hidden truths, but also to enjoy the Land of Waters while we are there. And who knows?" Shimada ceased speaking for just a moment, peering into the glass to see her image reflected brokenly back up at her.

"Maybe you'll find a foreign beauty you can't live without."

[1404 + 1540 = 2944]


____


"The world is cruel and bitter, and offers you no guarantee for a future.
If I had my way, I'd just want to sleep forever... but where's the fun in that?"

| Shimada | Hattori | Jutsu | Locker | Plot | Personal Theme | Battle Theme |

| D - 1 | C - 2 | B - 0 | A - 0 | S - 0 | SS - 0 |

Nayoko

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Jounin
Nayoko watched the Hattori woman stand, stride over to the window and open it, a gracefulness in her movements that did not escape his gaze. It was a stark contrast to the stiffness that had overcome her but moments prior when he had mentioned the fact that he was happy for her company. It confused Nayoko to say the very least, but regardless he had continued with his playful banter and plan making. He saw Shimada send the lighter flying back to him with a flick of her wrist, which he caught deftly, not missing a beat and barely looking up from his tea. He smirked at her response to his joke about staying in a room together, glad that she had taken it as it was intended to be taken; it was merely a joke between friends and nothing more. “Oh I’m sure I could handle it just fine,” he said, winking once again before explaining his plans to her.

She seemed to agree with the plans for the most part, nodding along and continuing to smoke out the window. Nayoko found himself wishing that she would finish so that he could talk to her face to face once again, not that the view from behind was anything to dismiss, her hair falling over her shoulders as the light from outside framed her as a silhouette, but her eyes, he could not help but admire the way they shimmered like rubies set into her skull. Alright Nayoko, enough day dreaming. He cut off those thoughts as he watched her crush her cigarette in her hand and placing its remnants on the windowsill before returning to the seat across from him. Note to self: pick that up before dad gets home. She sat for a moment, folding a leg over the other as she had done before and narrowing her eyes while pulling her tea to her lips. Nayoko raised an eyebrow, waiting for a response but enjoying the strange tension that had entered the room.

Shimada rested her chin in the palm of the hand that she had crushed the cigarette with, causing Nayoko to inwardly cringe at the pain he would have felt if he were her. Fire had never been his thing. "A pleasant idea as long as the villagers are not hostile. Foreign shinobi have always been a tricky matter, but I believe we will be well off." She mumbled calmly, taking another sip of the tea; eyes flickering up to meet his. A smirk tugged at her lips. "Travel plans to far away lands, right? That only comes once in a long while, so let's experience it for what it will hold. A journey not just to find out hidden truths, but also to enjoy the Land of Waters while we are there. And who knows?" Shimada ceased speaking for just a moment, peering into the glass to see her image reflected brokenly back up at her. "Maybe you'll find a foreign beauty you can't live without."

And there it was again, the strange but enjoyable tension that lingered between their words. The way she said it made him want to retreat away from the words, paying them no heed. But part of him wanted to push, and ultimately, that half won out against the more sensible one. Nayoko set his tea down on the table and placed both elbows on the table, knitting his fingers together and resting his chin atop them. He then leaned him, as he had once before the night they had first met. He got close, but not so close as to make her feel uncomfortable, and then said words that he knew were flirtatious in every sense of the word, but for some reason he could not resist uttering them. “Now Hattori-chan, why would I ever want to find a foreign beauty when, by all accounts, I’ll have you already staying in a room with me? I don't think any woman from Kiri could ever compare.” He blinked slowly, letting his words hang in the air, a confidence that he was unfamiliar with taking over his actions. Only this time, there was no sake egging him on.

He then abruptly leaned back and downed the rest of his tea in one quick gulp, set the cup down, and stood, heading over to the countertop where he had left the teapot. He stopped to look back at her, moving on to a different topic. “In any case, I would not worry about trouble while travelling, seeing as Kirigakure no Sato and Konoha have an alliance and open boarders right now. We should be welcomed as if it is home away from home. At least, that is if all goes well.” He walked back to the table while carrying the teapot and filled his glass once again, leaving the teapot on the table this time. “You’re right though, it will be a great experience! I’ve never been out of the country before so seeing a new place will be exciting to say the least.” He paused, sipping his tea and searching Shimada’s face for any reaction to his comment from earlier. “I’m happy you’ll be there with me. Especially since it won’t just be a pleasure trip.”

His voice trailed off as he let the true reason for the trip slip back into his mind. “Far from it…”

WC:941+1675=2616


____

"I've made a deal with the devil in me. Pray you don't see the product of that deal."




Profile | Plot | Jutsu | Stats | Locker | Personal Theme | Battle Theme

~Ninjutsu {S} | Taijutsu {S} | Senjutsu {B} | Suiton {S} | Fuuton {A} | Doton {C}~
~D [2] | C [2] | B [7] | A [2] | S [0]~
Passives: Speed: +2, Perception: +1, Reaction Time: +2

Shimada

avatar

Chuunin
She had noticed his previous wink, referencing to the teasing about sharing a room together, and she simply felt an inward sigh of relief at his gesture. That the joking had not gone too far. His response was amusing enough as it was, and Shimada left slip a faint smirk; pressing it away with the heel of a hand. But it nagged her endlessly in the back of her mind. The playful teasing, the implications, the odd heaviness settling in the room. What was it? Unsure, the Hattori woman leaned back in her chair and fixed her half-lidded eyes onto the man seated across from her. Scanning his expression - prodding for information - to a reaction towards her side comment on finding women on their travel. Anything to still thoughts flickering in an overactive mind.

The kunoichi was caught off guard, however, when instead of pulling away, he leaned forward. Long fingers steepled together and his chin resting there balanced. The young man drew close to her, an echo to the night when they had first met; intoxicated by sake, unaware of half of their actions and the meanings to them. But this time, it was laid bare. Completely intentional. Shimada sucked in a breath, locking it in her throat as Nayoko - all brown hair slightly messy in the front and eyes the fluttering color of brown like that of autumn days - spoke. Words sending a chill up her spine. “Now Hattori-chan, why would I ever want to find a foreign beauty when, by all accounts, I’ll have you already staying in a room with me? I don't think any woman from Kiri could ever compare." It was not what she expected, and she froze once more. Brain, normally filled with endless thoughts, quiet. It was a genuine flirt, a compliment, that Shimada almost could not comprehend.

What had brought him to confess such a statement with confidence? The Hattori never believed herself to be that beautiful, perhaps average at best, but here she was given a string of words that placed her above comparison. And she was both embarrassed and strangely pleased. Letting out a faint laugh of air, she rubbed the back of her neck with her burned hand, desperate to conceal the flush prickling up her throat. There was a heat trapped in the collar of her coat yet she refused to loosen it in the slightest. Shimada did not want to give him the satisfaction of witnessing her composure crack.

But it was already shattering between her fingertips.

"A-Ah, Nozara-kun, quite the gall you have. Such a flirt, where did you get all that confidence?" Though it was a weak question, the woman further attempted to mend what passiveness she could contain; to get a last word in and top Nayoko's claims. "With an exaggeration like that I'd say you where in love with me, but come now." The loose grin she plastered to her lips was still sharp even in her panic-stricken mind. "We barely know much of each other, and I haven't even met your family yet. Oh, shocking, though I appreciate it all the same..." Folding her arms on the table, she gazed warily at him, eyebrows furrowing as he abruptly sat back in his chair and attacked the rest of his tea. Eyebrows furrowing together, she allowed herself to breath again as he stood to head into the kitchen, returning dutifully with the teapot. At least the conversation switched topics. Just in time to prevent Shimada any further damage to her calm face. She did appreciate it, his tactful flirt, really, but kept the fact to herself. Her honest personality, counterproductive this time, would not permit.

“In any case, I would not worry about trouble while travelling, seeing as Kirigakure no Sato and Konoha have an alliance and open boarders right now. We should be welcomed as if it is home away from home. At least, that is if all goes well.” The bloody haired woman managed out a gentle nod, taking in the pause as he set the teapot on the table to take a sip of her own tea; feeling her once tight throat grow slack. She would definitely have to contemplate another way to get back at him later.

"That is good news. We shouldn't have any problems, then, as long as we keep ourselves out of trouble." Shimada reiterated, maintaining an apathetic face as best as possible. The earlier comment still left her off guard.

“You’re right though, it will be a great experience! I’ve never been out of the country before so seeing a new place will be exciting to say the least.” He paused and proceeded to comb her face for any expression. “I’m happy you’ll be there with me. Especially since it won’t just be a pleasure trip.” She could agree with his words, but at the way he ended his statement, the woman could tell where it was headed. The lightness in his low voice taking on another turn. Shimada tensed, finally aware of the underlying content behind the conversation. In response to the change of expression, she shoved the embarrassment lingering in the back of her mind and put on a thin-lipped scowl. He was entirely correct.

"Will you be alright?" Suddenly inquiring, she fixed him a tired stare. "When we get over there and encounter the man who had given you the letter? I mean, he most likely will know of our arrival, especially at the place of meeting. Whatever it comes down to at the end..." Shimada blinked slowly at him, head tilting ever so slightly to the side.

"Do you think you could kill him should the need arise?"

[965 + 2944 = 3909]


____


"The world is cruel and bitter, and offers you no guarantee for a future.
If I had my way, I'd just want to sleep forever... but where's the fun in that?"

| Shimada | Hattori | Jutsu | Locker | Plot | Personal Theme | Battle Theme |

| D - 1 | C - 2 | B - 0 | A - 0 | S - 0 | SS - 0 |

Nayoko

avatar

Jounin
Nayoko couldn’t help but chuckle at her response to his flirting. She was caught off guard, and he was loving it. Though he had just met Shimada a few weeks earlier, he knew that she was not one given to outbursts of emotion, nor to showing how she truly felt. As he watched her now, he could see her composure crumbling ever so slightly, and that reaction was enough to make him happy that he had taken the risky move. Listening to the attempt at apathy in her voice, Nayoko could not help but add one final quip before moving on, the smirk on his face never fading. “In love? Hmmm, I don’t think so. Maybe infatuated? I guess only time will tell.”

After that, the mood of the converstion shifted almost palpably, and Nayoko put aside his strange new confidence for the time being. Leaning back in his chair, he listened to his friend voice her concern as his face fell to a somber state. "Will you be alright?" She asked suddenly, staring down at his lowered eyes. "When we get over there and encounter the man who had given you the letter? I mean, he most likely will know of our arrival, especially at the place of meeting. Whatever it comes down to at the end..." Shimada blinked slowly at him, head tilting ever so slightly to the side. "Do you think you could kill him should the need arise?"

Kill him…do I think I could kill him? Truly Shimada, I do not know. But you don’t need to know that. He looked up at her, his eyes displaying a weariness and uncertainty that had replaced their playfulness from but moments earlier. “I believe…I believe that I will be able to do what I need to. What that means, I do not know. But I’ve always been one to get the job done. So I think...I think that I will be fine. Besides,” he let a weak smile spread onto his face, “I’ll have you there for backup of course!” He sipped more of his tea, thinking about all of the facts that he knew and all of the questions he needed answers to. “I want to find out what he wants from me. I need to know why he cares about a young shinobi that isn’t important at all. Once I have that information, I’ll be able to take him out, if need be. But Hattori-chan, I need answers first.”

His eyes betrayed him. His jaw was set strongly and his voice was confident, but deep down, Nayoko did not know if he would have what it takes to kill the man. The truth was that Nayoko had never killed another person before. He had only incapacitated his foes. It was not that he was incapable, as his fallen foes would have testified to. His jutsu were powerful enough to break bones and knock unconscious, and in a state like that, a fallen foe would be easy to kill. But Nayoko had never done it. He had watched it be done by Shimada and Daiko just days earlier, and it did not make him sick or make him upset even. But taking a human life was a big deal in Nayoko’s mind, and when faced with the need to do so, Nayoko was not sure that he would be able to.

But I won’t tell her that.

Suddenly very fidgety, Nayoko stood again and walked over to the window, where the smoldering remnants of Shimada’s cigarette still lingered, pale wisps of smoke trailing upward and out into the open air. He gingerly picked it up and crushed it against the sill, ensuring that it was out, before heading back over to the garbage can. I hope she was done with that… "Sorry, gotta clean up for dad, he would not approve if he thought I was the one who had been smoking." He then stepped over out of the kitchen, waving Shimada over, “Come on, we can sit on comfier chairs than these.” He stepped over to a large, navy blue leather couch and took a seat at one end, gesturing for Shimada to sit wherever she would like in the room. “I figure if we are going to talk about such troubling topics, we can at least be comfortable.” He let out a tired sigh, and watched Shimada as she responded to his invitation. “Whatever happens, I’m glad you’ll be around. Whoever this guy is, he’s linked to my mother somehow, and I have to get to the bottom of it all. But when we get back, I promise I’ll do anything you want to repay you. I already owe you one for the other day, but no matter what happens over in the Land of Water, know that I stand ready to repay my debt whenever you call.” He smiled warmly and leaned back in the couch, lifting his legs up onto it and getting comfortable, but leaving room for Shimada should she choose to sit on it as well. I really am comfortable with her, aren't I?

“It will be an adventure, and above all else, I’m excited. I hope you are too!”

WC:935+2616=3551


____

"I've made a deal with the devil in me. Pray you don't see the product of that deal."




Profile | Plot | Jutsu | Stats | Locker | Personal Theme | Battle Theme

~Ninjutsu {S} | Taijutsu {S} | Senjutsu {B} | Suiton {S} | Fuuton {A} | Doton {C}~
~D [2] | C [2] | B [7] | A [2] | S [0]~
Passives: Speed: +2, Perception: +1, Reaction Time: +2

Shimada

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Chuunin
She had heard his rumbling laughter, the boyish chuckle he gave her, and did not know whether she felt relieved about it or not. Her own teasing had surprised the young woman, enough to wonder how she managed to utter such strange words. Further concreted by Nayoko's smirk-filled input. “In love? Hmmm, I don’t think so. Maybe infatuated? I guess only time will tell.” Infatuation, huh? Simple attraction seemed along the lines of the underlying strain between them, and even if it wasn't tension, it was more of fluttering shadow. Out of sight, but resting beneath the surface. Shimada almost wanted to laugh at the idea. Almost. But, in the solemnity of the mood, the transformation into the deeper reason of the conversation, she remained silent. Peering into dark orbs of molten brown that bore a tiredness - a confusion - she was all too familiar with. Playfulness gone, the Hattori wondered if her words had an effect on the young man, but it was mostly the truth. Survival was the only option, and if a life is on the line... best not to finish the thought.

“I believe…I believe that I will be able to do what I need to. What that means, I do not know. But I’ve always been one to get the job done. So I think...I think that I will be fine. Besides,” a weak smile broke across his lips, “I’ll have you there for backup of course!” At his claim, the crimson haired woman only nodded mutely; pale hands balling into fists at her knees. Of course she would aid him, guard him if necessary - even kill if the time arose for action. She never had any qualms with dirtying her hands to protect the ones she cared for, and did not intend to stop now. She tuned in just in time to catch the end of his last phrase. "Once I have that information, I’ll be able to take him out, if need be. But Hattori-chan, I need answers first.”

Thin eyebrows knitting together, lips pulled back into a thin line, she studied him carefully. "Nothing less... Knowledge comes first, definitely. That is the more important matter, but if that man decides it is best to threaten a 'young shinobi that isn't important at all'," the woman fixed him a tired stare, "there cannot be room for hesitation or mistake." Shimada hand-picked her language carefully, trying to implement the meaning of what may be the outcome of the journey. There was no assuming what could be planned by the mysterious man bidding Nayoko to the Land of Water, and the kunoichi simply wanted to express her concern in the only way she knew how.

Advice.

"You cannot be careful with a man like that. If he strikes first, strike back harder, because when the final curtain falls," long fingers wind through crimson hair idly, "someone may not walk away breathing. And damn the world if it so happens to be you." Shimada hissed under her breath, hoping the young shinobi across from her would not pick up on her muttering. "I could not bear that fate." Heaving a sigh as if the conversation had sucked all the energy out of her, she dragged her eyes away from the surface of the table and pinned them back onto Nayoko's face. Ruby irises lazily sweeping across his narrow face for signs of deception.

It was there - the brave face plastered on in display of courage - but it was weak around the edges. The jaw set strong, but faltering; low voice carrying determination, yet lacking in bravado. And the eyes. Shimada locked her own orbs onto the ones staring back, and witnessed the torrent of emotions swirling beneath. There was an uncertainty there, an innocence unpolluted by the sin of murder, and though he had never cut down a person's life, there was no doubt he would one day. Perhaps trapped in a fight with no way out; life or death stuck between a hard spot and an adversary who knew no guilt. It was simply the shinobi way. But could he possibly bring himself to kill? Shimada frowned ever so slightly at the unsure light wedged in the shadowy pools of his eyes and could not help but to compare herself to the idea.

She never had a problem with stripping someone of their life even at the very beginning, and despite the nightmares that came with it, she had learned to push it to the back of her mind. Keep it under lock and key with the demons that pounded against her subconscious only in her sleeping hours. The waking spent occasionally regretting and forgetting the past. Shimada wondered if her desensitization to spilling blood over her hands - hands that barely resembled a killer's - was due to the tragedy of both aunt and uncle. The childhood ignorance to the weight of cutting a breath short completely erased the night her life had changed. And yet, what consequence would it have on Nayoko's mind, one still untarnished? Shimada had hardened hers to the guilt years ago, but he still remained unsullied. Hands not stained; conscious still clear. If she could save him that fate for now, perhaps she would take on the burden if it ever arose.

'I cannot let it change him... If that time ever comes, and it is something I can prevent, what is another life under my belt? Better me than ruin him.'

Musing bitterly, the woman made a vow inside her head as she watched him suddenly stand and approach her discarded cigarette. His actions quick to press it against the windowsill to ensure the flame was completely burned out, and then throwing it away in the garbage can. From where she sat, she could pick up the faint scent of smoke. Her hand waved slowly in dismissal as he prompted her with the reminder of his father. "Please, it is alright. I would have taken care of it myself if you had not done so right now, but I appreciate it. If he asks about the smoke, just tell him it was me. It is fine if he decides to disapprove of me now since I can simply apologize later if he is really bothered by it." She explained coolly, toying with a strand of hair as she watched him gesture for her to come and sit in a more comfortable location to speak further about the troubling topic. The woman paused for but a moment to gather herself and stand, knees a little stiff from having been seated for the time. Shimada approached slowly, sandals shuffling quietly against the floor, movements sharp with every calculated step she took. Observing his folded position on the couch as she listened quietly to his rumbling voice.

“Whatever happens, I’m glad you’ll be around. Whoever this guy is, he’s linked to my mother somehow, and I have to get to the bottom of it all. But when we get back, I promise I’ll do anything you want to repay you. I already owe you one for the other day, but no matter what happens over in the Land of Water, know that I stand ready to repay my debt whenever you call.” She noticed his warm smile, genuine despite the tense atmosphere of the earlier topic lingering in the air, and she lowered herself onto the opposite end. Swinging a leg up over the other, crossing it at the knee. He really did owe her one, didn't he? Well, she definitely would have to take advantage of that one day; the kind offer.

Nodding, the Hattori stared wearily at her hands, unlocking her jaw to find the right words to say. "Sounds like a fair idea, then. If I ever need you, or have some odd task for you to take care of," she fixed him a weak smirk, "I'll happily enlist your company." Concluding, she leaned back into the couch, unwinding her spine and slumping further into the fabric. The stiffness in her back had persisted for too long on the account of the stressful subject that had previously reigned dominant over them. At least he seemed to be in a better mindset with his proclamation of the excitement the new adventure would hold. But was she excited too? In the lightest sense, she supposed she could be, but it was muddled with a fleeting expression of apprehension. One that gnawed languidly at the back of her mind. Bestowing upon her a sense of anxiety. It was not like her to feel that way, but with Nayoko in mind - the potential danger in wait for him - she was experiencing uncommon emotions.

And she needed to inform him. "I'm unsure as to what excitement I feel. It is there, somewhere. Mingling with a paranoia I cannot shake. Because of the matters at hand, the occurrences that may arise in the near future, I believe a confession is in order. Nozara-kun," lifting her tired eyes, Shimada gave him a sideways glance, something like determination heating a fire in the ruby color, "whatever happens over there, I will not let you stain your hands. As long as I may, I will prevent you the guilt of such a burden. Murder is not the easiest thing to commit, even in self-defense, but I have no qualms over the subject. Should an adversary ever prove defeat only in death," she paused to inhale shakily, "it is better my conscious over yours. It is not like I can fall any further..."

'...or break any faster. I do not fully understand my own reasons behind this, but I do not want to witness that innocence gone. The light in his eyes... I do not want to see it dampened by guilt. Nozara-kun, if I could save you from that fate... that is all I ever want in repay.'

[1674 + 3909 = 5583]


____


"The world is cruel and bitter, and offers you no guarantee for a future.
If I had my way, I'd just want to sleep forever... but where's the fun in that?"

| Shimada | Hattori | Jutsu | Locker | Plot | Personal Theme | Battle Theme |

| D - 1 | C - 2 | B - 0 | A - 0 | S - 0 | SS - 0 |

Nayoko

avatar

Jounin
Nayoko was please that the Hattori kunoichi before him understood the importance of gathering information on this trip. It was, after all, the whole purpose for the trip in the first place. As he watched Shimada’s brow furrow and lips pull into a straight, taught line, he could tell that she was thinking very carefully about what she wanted to say, but also about what needed to happen. The shift from playful comfort to tactical advice was one that Nayoko could not ignore. His playful confidence that had arrived so suddenly had left just as quickly, leaving him concentrated on every word Shimada was saying. "You cannot be careful with a man like that. If he strikes first, strike back harder, because when the final curtain falls," her fingers slipped through her blood red hair without thought, "someone may not walk away breathing. And damn the world if it so happens to be you." Shimada the mumbled words that surpirised Nayoko, and had he not been listening so intently, he would have missed them. "I could not bear that fate."

Nayoko did not falter in his expression as he heaved a heavy sigh and began to search his own eyes in return. Nayoko had heard what she said, but for now, he let it be. I can understand her feelings though. Having lost so many people that were so close to her…If I was in her shoes, I’d feel the same way. Nayoko waited patiently, trying to discern what could possibly be going on in Shimada’s mind before he finally gave up and moved, as he had planned to do. He watched as the young woman took his words as seriously as he had intended, and nodded approvingly as she sat at the opposite end of the couch from him. She then leaned back in the couch, one leg stuff crossed over the other, almost formally, and settled into the comfortable leather. Nayoko could see her visibly loosening as she relaxed for what seemed like the first time during the whole visit. Even the playful banter had been under more tension than this moment.

After a few moments of sitting in comfortable silence, Shimada finally spoke up. "I'm unsure as to what excitement I feel. It is there, somewhere. Mingling with a paranoia I cannot shake. Because of the matters at hand, the occurrences that may arise in the near future, I believe a confession is in order. Nozara-kun," She lifted her tired eyes and glanced at him out of their corners; a fiery determination that reminded Nayoko of the jutsu she had used in their previous battle together burned in their ruby color, "whatever happens over there, I will not let you stain your hands. As long as I may, I will prevent you the guilt of such a burden. Murder is not the easiest thing to commit, even in self-defense, but I have no qualms over the subject. Should an adversary ever prove defeat only in death," she paused and inhaled shakily, "it is better my conscious over yours. It is not like I can fall any further..."

Nayoko was taken aback. It was a very sudden shift to something that Nayoko was not expecting. Obviously she had seen right through his attempt at apathy toward the subject of death. She had always been very perceptive, but this time it was embarrassing to him. He felt that he should comfort her, that he should tell her something encouraging about the need to kill sometimes. But something was stopping him this time. Somewhere deep down, Nayoko was almost offended. He was a shinobi too after all. He was strong and fast and had trained to do what was necessary, whether that be to kill or to take prisoners or to save cats in trees. He was proud of what he had become, and he knew that part of the job may involve killing. So what made Shimada more responsible for it? It was then that he decided he wouldn’t be the comforting friend this time. No, today he would be a brother in arms. Nayoko furrowed his brow and raised his eyes to hers. “Hattori-chan, I appreciate what you’re saying, but in all honesty, I am going to have to refuse this offer of yours.” Nayoko paused for a moment and took a deep breath, “I understand that you are trying to protect me and my soul from carrying such a burden, but should the need come to pass, it will be mine to bear. I am a shinobi too Hattori-chan; and sometimes shinobi have to kill.”

He sat up slightly and pulled himself toward her so that he could be at her eye level, no longer slouching back into the couch. “I know you’ve been through a lot more than me and I know you have seen more death than any person should by your age, but that doesn’t mean that you should carry all of the weight alone. I’m strong too. I won’t buckle under the pressure of killing someone who would do me or the people I care about harm.” He placed his arm along the back of the couch so that his hand was nearly behind her head, careful not to make contact but close enough to envoke the air of a very clear seriousness to his words. “That’s the difference between killing and murder. Murder is done in cold blood, without feeling or remorse. Only a monster can murder. But you’re not a monster yet. You can fall farther if you let yourself.” He felt the usual warmth of his tone flood back into his voice. He could not stay upset at her for long. “I can tell by the way your voice has started to shake. Whether you know it or not, you care that you killed the people you have killed. And you want to spare me from that pain, that guilt that you feel. But Hattori-chan, you don’t have to feel it. You killed them to protect. And though you are right, even in self-defense taking another life is difficult. But it is because it is difficult that we know we are still human.”

Nayoko let a smile come back to his face as it began to soften. “So stop feeling so sorry for yourself!” he commanded mockingly, “After all, such is the life of a ninja!”

WC:1129+3551=4680


____

"I've made a deal with the devil in me. Pray you don't see the product of that deal."




Profile | Plot | Jutsu | Stats | Locker | Personal Theme | Battle Theme

~Ninjutsu {S} | Taijutsu {S} | Senjutsu {B} | Suiton {S} | Fuuton {A} | Doton {C}~
~D [2] | C [2] | B [7] | A [2] | S [0]~
Passives: Speed: +2, Perception: +1, Reaction Time: +2

Shimada

avatar

Chuunin
She had expected his reaction; the downwards fall of his expression, shifting into something almost... offended? Insulted? Perhaps, as the woman had figured in regards to her abrupt proclamation, he may simply experience belittlement in the face of her stepping up to shoulder the burden. Pressing down his strength - the masculine thought of being able to protect and even hold the responsibilities that came with the occupation of being a shinobi. Even if it meant blood spilled down the long and winding road. Shimada could see him staring at her, the gears of his mind clicking away in the silence of the room, and she wondered if the oppressive heat was from the house itself or the warmth trapped in the collar of her coat.

The Hattori woman decided on the latter, and though it slowly grew uncomfortable in the quietness, she refused to shed the article of clothing. Keeping her attention locked on Nayoko's profile, instead, until a sign of movement broke her concentration. His dark brows knitted together, an expression of thought, and brown orbs met with ruby red. There was something in his eyes Shimada could not distinguish. “Hattori-chan, I appreciate what you’re saying, but in all honesty, I am going to have to refuse this offer of yours.” Nayoko took a moment to pause and inhale, “I understand that you are trying to protect me and my soul from carrying such a burden, but should the need come to pass, it will be mine to bear. I am a shinobi too Hattori-chan; and sometimes shinobi have to kill.” It almost startled her, hearing him utter the words, but at the same time, relief coursed cold through her blood. What he said was a matter of truth. The Hattori sighed, however, and frowned ever so slightly. Her eyes scanning the young man's narrow face in observation.

Determination set in his jaw. "Shame, though. I really could have used more target practice..." Shimada shrugged off his refusal with an off-hand comment, trying to ease the tension if just a little. If anything, she did not feel disappointment, but acceptance in his answer to her offer. It was just what she had wanted to hear from him, even if it was of a morbid topic, and she did not reveal her relief. The kunoichi had no difficulties when it came to putting a kunai to someone's throat, aiming to kill, yet Nayoko's explanation of acknowledging to his duty - even the bitter work that came with it - brought Shimada appreciation. More appreciation to the man sitting near her she had not felt before.

'In the end, I trust in him to do what is right when the time comes. At least, for now... that is one less person I will have to think about...'

The crimson haired woman thought carefully, diverting her focus away from her thoughts as soon as Nayoko shifted closer, eye level at the best; attentive in his posture at the worst. “I know you’ve been through a lot more than me and I know you have seen more death than any person should by your age, but that doesn’t mean that you should carry all of the weight alone. I’m strong too. I won’t buckle under the pressure of killing someone who would do me or the people I care about harm.” It echoed words she had vowed to herself years ago, and Shimada could only listen in silence. Wary of his arm positioned on the back of the couch, hand resting just by her head as if to prevent her from moving away; determined to ensure the severity of his statement was heard. “That’s the difference between killing and murder. Murder is done in cold blood, without feeling or remorse. Only a monster can murder. But you’re not a monster yet. You can fall farther if you let yourself.” The warmth regained its place in his low voice, and Shimada could not help the sigh escaping her lips. The frustration he had no doubt felt had most likely ceased to be. “I can tell by the way your voice has started to shake. Whether you know it or not, you care that you killed the people you have killed. And you want to spare me from that pain, that guilt that you feel. But Hattori-chan, you don’t have to feel it. You killed them to protect. And though you are right, even in self-defense taking another life is difficult. But it is because it is difficult that we know we are still human.”

He mentioned wise words the young woman had not considered in a long time. Shimada, in response, drew out another heavy breath and provided him a faint tilt of her head. Nayoko may not realize it, but the reassurance she felt bloom against her chest was hopeful; evident enough for her to know she could, one day, make adequate peace with the lives cut short. It was only further strengthened by the softening expression against Nayoko's features, and the gentle smile regrowing. Natural in its place against his lips. “So stop feeling so sorry for yourself!” The young man commanded mockingly, “After all, such is the life of a ninja!” For once in the lengthy nihilistic conversation of death and destruction, the Hattori's mouth twitched, enabling a smile to be held. Almost unnoticeable, but there. The tall male always seemed to know at least one thing to make Shimada feel a little better.

And she decided to join him in his mocking. "Oh, but how, dearest comrade? If it is my ninja way to feel sorry for myself, nothing but bitter thoughts and heartache, how am I supposed to go against my own self-instilled code?" Shimada slowly clasped a hand over her chest, eyes narrowing as she peered into Nayoko's face; displaying a fake expression of pain. "The only way out is but one option, and I accept my fate. I choose," slipping a slender index finger to her neck, she crossed it horizontally over the skin, "death! But, alas, I have nothing more to fret about." She sighed, dropping her hands into her lap, and ultimately her gaze. Pausing in her murmurings to reward her companion with a dry chuckle itching up the back of her throat. "I was rescued by a friend who seems to have more wisdom about the tragedies of life than I do in four years, and for that, I thank you..." Her gratitude was genuine, and though the uncomfortable heat lingered deep in the back of her mind, she shoved it away to focus on the present. On the man who brought some well-needed clarity to a situation she only saw in one light.

Glancing down at her palms, upturned on her knees, she blinked slowly and rubbed them together absentmindedly. Her voice was soft in comparison to the emotions she felt bubbling in her chest; unnameable and tense. "No, but in all seriousness, I truly appreciate it. Your explanations somehow make more sense to me than my own reasoning, and I guess I just needed someone else to see that. Thank you, again, for making me feel a little more... human. As long as I have people to protect, I can reassure I will never fall so low as to become a killer in cold-blood. Just as everything else is, however, detaching oneself from guilt is never simple, but you've made a proper point and I agree. Nozara-kun," lifting her eyes, she looked into his own murky orbs, staring into the dark depths of brown, "I applaud. Calling you a saint would be far too extreme, but I will admit I owe you one or two by now." Shifting her weight on the couch, Shimada closed one ruddy orb in a mockery of a wink; unsure whether it was inappropriate for the moment, but spurred on by abrupt gall.

"Just know that I stand ready to repay my debt whenever you call." She quoted him thoughtfully, feeling a bit of the tension from earlier in the conversation lift off her shoulders. "That I owe you for what you've said to me. Makes me feel a bit more... comfortable to sleep at night."

[1393 + 5583 = 6976]


____


"The world is cruel and bitter, and offers you no guarantee for a future.
If I had my way, I'd just want to sleep forever... but where's the fun in that?"

| Shimada | Hattori | Jutsu | Locker | Plot | Personal Theme | Battle Theme |

| D - 1 | C - 2 | B - 0 | A - 0 | S - 0 | SS - 0 |

Nayoko

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Jounin
The tension that hung in the air of the quiet room was growing uncomfortable, almost to the point where Nayoko wanted to stand up again. But after delivering is last joking command, he saw Shimada’s lips twitch, and finally watched a smile barely form on her face. If he hadn’t been so close, he would not have seen it. But there it was. He let out a breath that he had unconsciously been holding in and allowed relief to flood over him. That was a lot more tense than I thought…It did not take long for Shimada to adopt his joking tone, like she had so many times before. "Oh, but how, dearest comrade? If it is my ninja way to feel sorry for myself, nothing but bitter thoughts and heartache, how am I supposed to go against my own self-instilled code?" He watched her slowly clasp a hand over her chest, her eyes narrowing as she peered into Nayoko's face; an expression of false pain splayed across her visage. "The only way out is but one option, and I accept my fate. I choose," slipping a slender index finger to her neck, she crossed it horizontally over the skin, "death! But, alas, I have nothing more to fret about." She sighed, dropping her hands into her lap, followed shortly by her gaze. A dry chuckle seems to claw its way put from the back of her throat, and Nayoko chuckled along. "If that is your chosen ninja wa, I think you need to start looking for a new one!" She continued, "I was rescued by a friend who seems to have more wisdom about the tragedies of life than I do in four years, and for that, I thank you..."

Nayoko smiled, holding his close position for reasons he could not determine, but taking her words to heart. “Everything I’ve learned I’ve either learned from the academy, my father, or my mother. That little nugget of wisdom was from my father. He’s a smart man, I’m sure he’d like you.” Nayoko caught himself, unsure as to why he had said those last few words. I hope she didn’t notice. But who am I kidding? He shook his head and allowed Shimada to continue. She stared down at her hands and began to rub them together before she resumed speaking. She was thanking him once again. For what? For being a friend? Maybe the extent of her previous lonliness was far greater than Nayoko had come to understand. Nayoko nodded along with her thanks, unsure of what to say and growing slightly embarrassed. Eventually, she raised her eyes to his own, the colors and shades of them mingling once again. “Nozara-kun, I applaud. Calling you a saint would be far too extreme, but I will admit I owe you one or two by now." Shimada shifted her weight, and closed one eye in a playful wink. Nayoko leaned back slightly, confused at the meaning of the wink but smiling none the less. Something about the way she had said it confused Nayoko, it set him on edge; not in a danger-based sense, but something more akin to the tensions from earlier. As she continued, it only furthered Nayoko’s curiosity. "Just know that I stand ready to repay my debt whenever you call." His own words echoing from her lips, lowing the serious tension in the room but growing the strange one that Nayoko was feeling. "That I owe you for what you've said to me. Makes me feel a bit more... comfortable to sleep at night."

Nayoko’s eyes narrowed lazily as he tried to read her expression. Much to his dismay, he could not. Was it the way she was saying these things? Was it her choice of words? Nayoko could not be certain, but he felt a strange energy enter the air around him. Or maybe you are just reading for too much into this stuff. Maybe you’re just crazy Nayoko. Now that the joking mood had returned to the room and the serious business had been taken care of, Nayoko could not help but shift back into his comfort zone; humor. “Well Hattori-chan, I’m happy to know that I’ve made your sleep more comfortable…but I have a confession to make now as well. I have no idea what I could possibly ask you to do in order to repay that debt.” He smirked playfully, “But I’m sure I’ll have plenty of time to think about it in our travels together.”

He turned and sat forward once again, spreading his other arm across the back of the couch as well, and looked into the empty room before him. His smile remained as he addressed Shimada once again. “I’m glad you came by today, at this time no less. I’m sure if my father and sister had been home they would have made a big deal about a woman like you visiting me on my day off.” He chuckled and turned his eyes toward the ceiling, running a series of scenarios through his mind that all involved his sister mocking him in a sing-sing voice for days after the event. “Not that I don’t want you to meet them someday, they’re both great. But the time alone made for an easier planning session. I guess we were lucky you chose now to drop by.”

He turned and looked back at her, smiling while his eyes locked with hers for what seemed like the hundredth time that day. “Thank you again for coming along. I’m um…” he stuttered, and found the confidence that had been filling his words so far begin to falter. He closed his mouth abruptly and looked down to his lap, cursing himself for not continuing. Come on Nayoko, just say it! What’s wrong with you? What happened to all that bravado? Shaking his head, he turned back to her, “I’m happy that I’ll get to spend so much time with you. I um…I really enjoy your company.” With that he looked forward again at the furniture in the room, unsure of how to continue, and hoping he hadn’t just lowered himself in her eyes.

Although he was older than her by four years, it seemed like his maturity would only manifest itself at certain times. Now was not one of them…

WC:1059+4680=5739


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"I've made a deal with the devil in me. Pray you don't see the product of that deal."




Profile | Plot | Jutsu | Stats | Locker | Personal Theme | Battle Theme

~Ninjutsu {S} | Taijutsu {S} | Senjutsu {B} | Suiton {S} | Fuuton {A} | Doton {C}~
~D [2] | C [2] | B [7] | A [2] | S [0]~
Passives: Speed: +2, Perception: +1, Reaction Time: +2

Shimada

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Chuunin
She smirked lightly at him, fortunate he had taken her turn of words warmly. A better outcome then she had at first anticipated. Relaxing back into the couch, Shimada kept her gaze on the young man as he spoke, noting the smile lifting his face, but the stress that lingered between them. The Hattori was unsure of its nature, the stifling sensation, and attempted to push aside to the back of her mind. There were more important matters at hand in her contemplating.

“Everything I’ve learned I’ve either learned from the academy, my father, or my mother. That little nugget of wisdom was from my father. He’s a smart man, I’m sure he’d like you.” Those words slipping past his lips, almost as if unconscious, seemed to startled the male beside her, and she watched as he shook his head; dark hair ruffling at the sharp motion. Clearing his thoughts, perhaps? It was a rather interesting statement, however, and Shimada let a light smile curl her mouth upwards. 'His father, huh? Well, if he thinks a woman who smokes and is trying to get over years of self-loathing would be 'liked' in the eyes of a parent... Hmm, odd. I'm no more likable than anyone else who comes off as apathetic at best.' Shimada mused for just a moment, swiveling her gaze upwards to see him settle back slightly; uncertainty dancing in the dark eyes of brown. Her previous actions must have been performed vaguely, evident by the confusion drawn across his narrow features, but it was what she had wanted to see. An obscured meaning to her words, hard to decipher into the proper truth. The crimson haired kunoichi felt a small sense of pride well up within her chest, all in due to her twisting of language, and kept the smirk on her face steady. The emotion reflected more in the eyes of ruby then the lips smiling.

A game of tangled meanings she played. 'Fair enough, though I have a hard time recalling if giving a two-way meaning was intentional or not. No matter the intent, however...' She glanced curiously at him. '...he'll conclude something within his own thoughts.' The young woman knitted her fingers together, pressing them into her lap as Nayoko permitted a sweep across her face, dismay and curiosity there. It seemed he found no purchase in deducing the expression she produced, and adopted a more relaxed stance in false defeat. She remained silent as he ventured to speak further.

“Well Hattori-chan, I’m happy to know that I’ve made your sleep more comfortable…but I have a confession to make now as well. I have no idea what I could possibly ask you to do in order to repay that debt.” A smirk lit up his face playfully, “But I’m sure I’ll have plenty of time to think about it in our travels together.” An echo to her words as well? Ah, he surely always proved to be an interesting conversation partner, and for that, she was grateful. Permitting a low noise, something akin to that of a strangled laugh, edge out into the silence, Shimada nodded approvingly at him.

"That is something I can always appreciate, Nozara-kun. Keep me on my guard, you tend to do. I never can truly predict what you have to say next." The woman murmured carefully. "That makes you quite the unique conversationalist. I haven't had this much amusement before I walked into that pub and was asked to drink with you." Recalling, she quieted down as she was left to her own thoughts; recollections of that seemingly distant night swirling around her mind. An event a blessing in disguise. Shimada gazed over in his direction as he spread both arms across the back of the couch, glancing at the quiet room laid out before them. His words held a warm tone.

“I’m glad you came by today, at this time no less. I’m sure if my father and sister had been home they would have made a big deal about a woman like you visiting me on my day off.” He chuckled, tilting his head toward the ceiling, appearing to get lost on a memory or such form for but a moment. “Not that I don’t want you to meet them someday, they’re both great. But the time alone made for an easier planning session. I guess we were lucky you chose now to drop by.” The woman caught his smile, feeling more at ease as he turned his attention back towards her. How many times had they caught each other's eyes that day? Countless, it would seem.

The young kunoichi waved him dismissively with a hand. "Of course. If it made it all the easier, than I suppose it was not too bad I dropped by without warning. I'll be sure to address my presence in the future next time, though." She jerked her head in agreeance with him, exhaling a small breath as she peered at him tiredly, but with a glint of humor in her eyes. "Your family, however... Would they tease you if they saw me here? I wonder how they would react. Oh, scandalous, perhaps, to find their son with this strange woman whose been unknown to them; weaving her dry charm as if she knows the first thing about appeal." Teasing, she smiled lightly at her attempts at amusement, and brushed away a few strands of bloody red hair from her face to allow him time to contemplate.

It never failed to humor her in teasing.

"Thank you again for coming along. I’m um…” Nayoko's stutter surprised her. Unlike him, of course, and Shimada tilted her head to the side, gazing at the older man in a form of dulled confusion. The smoldering determination behind his eyes appeared to have died along with whatever confidence that had been carrying him, and she watched as he lowered his gaze. Mouth clamping shut. It couldn't have been something she had stated, could it? The woman continued to observe carefully, eyes narrow slits, until he finally righted his posture and faced her. “I’m happy that I’ll get to spend so much time with you. I um…I really enjoy your company." It was much better than his previous attempt, but she could see the torrent of emotion within Nayoko; turning himself towards the emptiness of the room as if to prevent him embarrassment in her eyes. She sighed softly, warranting in her head if it was too out of character for her to utter the words she was about to, but pushed away reasoning altogether. He needed the confidence he lacked in at the moment, and though she was unsure as to why he suddenly faltered, it was the best she could bring herself to do.

"Hey, where did all the fire go? That doesn't seem much like you to suddenly drop like that." Shimada tried softly, keeping her voice low and calm. "You're normally more active than this, so... why don't you try to smile, Nozara-kun? You're going to make this kunoichi think your lovely speech on being happy to spend so much time with her is a false claim, and then what? Oh, the irony; the crushed spirit!" Breaking through more of her own passive mask by will, she excessively acted up the pained expression she produced; bringing a hand to her heart, and curling pale fingers into the fabric of her coat. Her eyes bore mirth, however, and thought it was almost embarrassing for the woman to act in such a way, she desperately hoped it was not in vain. Her pride could only take so much lowering. "Why, Nozara-kun? Why? I thought what we had was special..." Drawling, Shimada eventually ceased her act, straightening out her back with a carefully constructed smile.

It may not have been much of a real one, but she wished it would be enough to level her companion's spirits. After all, she preferred him much more when he was grinning rather than crestfallen.

[1372 + 6976 = 8348]


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"The world is cruel and bitter, and offers you no guarantee for a future.
If I had my way, I'd just want to sleep forever... but where's the fun in that?"

| Shimada | Hattori | Jutsu | Locker | Plot | Personal Theme | Battle Theme |

| D - 1 | C - 2 | B - 0 | A - 0 | S - 0 | SS - 0 |

Nayoko

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Jounin
Nayoko could not help but smile along with Shimada as she joked along with him regarding his family. She did not like to show it, but she loved having fun as much as the next person. He found that being teased by her was not met by his usual annoyance. Most of the time when peers mocked him, even playfully, he would get more agitated than anything. But being with her, none of that seemed to matter. He laughed along with her jokes and was happy to take all the teasing on the world from the young woman sitting beside him.

As he turned back and faltered his way through his statements of thanks, he watched as her eyes seemed to lose the light behind them as his countenance dropped slightly. He himself was not sure why his bravado had wavered in such a way, but he cursed himself for allowing it to happen. The soft tone in Shimada’s voice caused him more frustration as she tried to calm him, but he refused to let that emotion show though. So now I come off as the weak, whimpering shinobi…nice work Nayoko. Like she needs something else to feel sorry about. Nayoko made sure to listen carefully to her words as she tried to raise his spirits once again. “Hey, where did all the fire go? That doesn't seem much like you to suddenly drop like that." Her voice was light and low, calm and soothing. He started to smile even before she asked him to. "You're normally more active than this, so... why don't you try to smile, Nozara-kun? You're going to make this kunoichi think your lovely speech on being happy to spend so much time with her is a false claim, and then what? Oh, the irony; the crushed spirit!" The pain that showed on her face was so expressive, so real, that for a moment Nayoko wasn;t sure whether she was acting or truly showing her feelings. She gripped her coat with an intensity that Nayoko was not used to seeing in her. It wasn’t until he saw her eyes that he knew she was just being dramatic. Huh, that’s a first…"Why, Nozara-kun? Why? I thought what we had was special..."

Her voice was drawling on, and Nayoko thought she was laying it on a little too thick until she finally straightened her back. The smile that she wore was carefully placed, almost too perfect. But Nayoko was too surprised at the turn of events to question it. He sat up and turned toward her again, the smile from earlier now remaining on his face. “Well, how could my confidence stay missing after a…reaction like that! My apologies Hattori-chan, I guess I am not the perfect picture of a strong and confident shinobi that you thought I was. To be honest, I’m usually fairly shy around beautiful women such as yourself, but like you said, what we have must be special. As cliché as it sounds, it’s not you; it’s me.” He laughed aloud at that, sounding like a character from one of his many fantasy novels that he enjoyed so much. “I’ll do my best to stay smiling for you from now on. But I must warn you, if we are going to be sharing a room, that means you’ll see me in the morning, and I must admit, I’m not much of a morning person most days unless I’ve got some training planned!” His smile turned into a smirk as he gauged her reaction.

At the mention of training Nayoko realized that he had not been to the fields in some time. He made a mental not to try to go there before he left for nostalgia’s sake. Maybe he would even be able to take on a mission before the travel began. But the travel would have to happen soon. A lot was riding on this personal mission of his, and he was tired of waiting around for another stranger to attack him and his friends. He only hoped that he would be able to protect Shimada if he had too. Sure she was capable, and looking at her now he could see once again the signs of a strong kunoichi who could defend herself. But Nayoko was her senior, and he was stronger in the basest sense of the word. In that moment he realized that he did not know what he would do if something happened to her on his watch.

It took a moment but he was suddenly aware that he had furrowed his brow while looking at Shimada, and instantly he could feel warmth spreading up his neck. He chuckled nervously in what sounded like a dry cough. “Ha…it seems I’ve been caught staring again. I apologize once again. Sometimes my mind wanders and I just…lose myself for a moment.” He paused as his chuckle bubbled forth once more, “I hope I didn’t make you uncomfortable…”

As Nayoko waited for her response, his mind turned once again toward the journey that they would betaking together so soon. Man, I hope I don’t embarrass myself like this when we are staying together!

WC:917+5739=6656


____

"I've made a deal with the devil in me. Pray you don't see the product of that deal."




Profile | Plot | Jutsu | Stats | Locker | Personal Theme | Battle Theme

~Ninjutsu {S} | Taijutsu {S} | Senjutsu {B} | Suiton {S} | Fuuton {A} | Doton {C}~
~D [2] | C [2] | B [7] | A [2] | S [0]~
Passives: Speed: +2, Perception: +1, Reaction Time: +2

Shimada

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Chuunin
It had not taken long to get her companion grinning once more - back to his usual self with a warm smile and a glint in dark eyes - and she was surprised she had managed to do it well. Perhaps a little too well, as she contemplated on her overly dramatic actions and the embarrassment that threatened to come with it. Cheering up others had never been the young woman's forte, so her idea of the notion was a bit diverted. But, however, as long as Shimada caught his smile, it was enough to know she had done something right.

Even if it was more exaggerated than to her normal liking.

"Well, how could my confidence stay missing after a…reaction like that! My apologies Hattori-chan, I guess I am not the perfect picture of a strong and confident shinobi that you thought I was." The Hattori listened quietly, languidly chewing on the words in her head as she analyzed the information carefully; pale fingers tapping idly on her knees. Perhaps it was true she had taken him for owning more confidence than he really had, but people were always deceiving. Deep down, somewhere, she figured he possessed strength he had not yet fathomed, and may not until later. Perhaps much later, a time and place requiring such inner determination - and even confidence -when all else failed. But for now, Shimada was content with him; all flaws and virtues. The kunoichi did not care whether he was or was not the 'perfect picture' she may have envisioned him as before. He was, in her eyes, fine the way he was.

And yet, she would never confess such a fact aloud.

"Please, think nothing of it." Craning her head, she nodded in his direction; banishing the torrent of thoughts from her conscious to the back of her mind. "Confident or not, your personality makes up for all that. I'd," sharply, Shimada trailed off, keeping her words to a whisper under her breath as if in an attempt to prevent the older male from hearing them, "prefer it no other way." She leaned further back into the couch, fighting back a wave of red threatening to prick up the back of her neck, and to combat this, she hitched the collar of her coat further upwards. Concealing the flush and quieting to further focus on the rest of Nayoko's words.

"To be honest, I’m usually fairly shy around beautiful women such as yourself, but like you said, what we have must be special. As cliché as it sounds, it’s not you; it’s me.” The man's laughter was pure, rumbling, and the Hattori woman could not help the chuckle slipping past her lips; his mirth somewhat infectious. Cliché as it was, it was no doubt humorous, and she flicked a wrist over her mouth to hide the growing smirk. Stifling her snickers to allow him room to further speak. “I’ll do my best to stay smiling for you from now on. But I must warn you, if we are going to be sharing a room, that means you’ll see me in the morning, and I must admit, I’m not much of a morning person most days unless I’ve got some training planned!" Now that was an interesting fact.

The ruby eyed woman gazed curiously at him; coy light flickering through those red orbs. "Flattering of you, Nozara-kun, to call me beautiful. How many times have I heard that word from you?" She closed her eyes slowly, taking a short pause to recollect. "Hm, I can only seem to recall a couple times, but I'm sure you've internalized it more than you've admitted it. Am I correct?" It was a light teasing on her part, but she felt in a better mood now that things seemed back to normal. Balanced and mostly stable, once again. Enough to forget her previous embaressment. "But you, not a morning person? Why, that's almost hard to believe. Seeing how lively you normally are, I would assume you simply wake up   that way. But I suppose I'll give you a fair warning myself. Come mornings, I'm not the most... pleasant person to be around either, but I suppose we'll just deal with the complications when it happens." Adding thoughtfully, the young woman turned her focus back towards him. Finished in her commentary and playful gestures.

'Conversing with him is always an amusing event. Something, I hope, will never fail to humor me...'

Shimada watched him for a moment, eyes tracking the contours of his face, and then the furrow his dark brows decided to take. It was like he was thinking, lost deep in thought, before Nayoko's expression broke. She saw the red snaking up his neck; the dry anxious laughter disguised as a hasty cough. “Ha…it seems I’ve been caught staring again. I apologize once again. Sometimes my mind wanders and I just…lose myself for a moment.” A nervous chuckle escaped him once more. “I hope I didn’t make you uncomfortable…”

"Ah, no, it is no problem. No need to apologize, really. It was never a problem in the first place." Shimada answered truthfully, gaze held lightly against the young man's. "If I had everything that was on your mind in my thoughts, I believe I would be staring, too. Nothing wrong with it." Rubbing a hand under an eye, feeling the tiredness lingering there, she dropped the pale appendage onto a knee and inclined her head towards him. An idea suddenly thrusting itself within the confines of her skull. "I recall you speaking about your family; how they'd be interested in meeting me. So tell me, then," her lips curled up ever so slightly at the edges, "who is your family? What are they like? Oh, and my apologizes for the change in topic, but I suddenly found appeal to the thought and could not help but share it with you."

'Hm, it may do me some good to learn a little about them. After all, if they return and find me here, I'll have to live up to a few expectations, right? I am traveling with their son, of course...'

[1051 + 8348 = 9399]


____


"The world is cruel and bitter, and offers you no guarantee for a future.
If I had my way, I'd just want to sleep forever... but where's the fun in that?"

| Shimada | Hattori | Jutsu | Locker | Plot | Personal Theme | Battle Theme |

| D - 1 | C - 2 | B - 0 | A - 0 | S - 0 | SS - 0 |

Nayoko

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Jounin
Nayoko listened carefully to Shimada’s words, taking in each pause, each breath, and each emphasis. He still did not know what made her tick, per say, and so he kept his attention fully on her after being returned from his brief regress into a lack of confidence. Once again, he heard what she said so softly under her breath. He heard her say the words that she only semi-hid from him. She liked him exactly as he was. Imperfect and broken like her, but still happy enough to smile whenever he could. He had not hidden anything from her. In the brief amount of time they had known each other, they had laughed together, fought together, and cried together. Despite the short existence of their friendship, it was a special one.

He managed to smirk his way through her insinuation that he thought of her as beautiful more frequently than he vocalized it. If only she knew. From the moment she walked into the pub I thought she was beautiful. But I would never tell her that. No, she will have to survive on the odd comment once in a while I guess. Her next question, however, was one that took him by surprise. "I recall you speaking about your family; how they'd be interested in meeting me. So tell me, then," her lips curled up ever so slightly at the edges, "who is your family? What are they like? Oh, and my apologizes for the change in topic, but I suddenly found appeal to the thought and could not help but share it with you."

Nayoko was taken aback at first, but it did not take him long to adjust into telling the woman in front of him about his favorite people in the entire world. Besides, he thought, if we are going to be travelling together, might as well get to know one another even more! “I must admit, I wasn’t expecting that question. But I’m happy to answer it.” The smile on his face spread as he began to describe his family to the young Hattori woman. “Well first, there’s my father. Nozara Hisaki. He’s a great man. A builder actually; he works at the construction site in the village. He’s done that job all my life. He’s very hard-working and determined, which is probably where I get it from, but he has never been interested in being a shinobi, nor having myself or my sister be shinobi. He is happy that we have both done so well as of late, but he still worries.” Nayoko sighed and paused for a moment, running through all of the times he had underexaggerated his injuries and battles for his father’s sake. “Ya, I don’t tell him much about what I do, it would worry him to death…Plus then he would take my sister out of the academy! Speaking of which, Kioko, my sister, is a student at the ninja academy!”

Nayoko demeanour immediately became one of pride and joy. He loved his sister so much, and every time he looked at her, he could see his mother. Her memory, coupled with the woman Kioko was becoming made Nayoko a very proud older brother and senior shinobi. “Nozara Kioko is at the top of her class in the academy right now. Before too long she will be a full-fledged ninja like you and I. It’s pretty exciting! She’s gifted with water-based ninjutsu, like myself, and is training herself to use genjutsu too.” It was at this point that Nayoko realized that he was sitting up with his legs crossed on the couch and facing toward Shimada, and was relating the description of his talented sister with exaggerated hand gestures and facial expressions. Huh, must’ve shifted to make sure she was paying attention or something!

He smiled sheepishly, lowering his hands into is lap and letting out a contented sigh, staring down at his hands. “I love them very much. They’re my whole world and I would do anything for them.” He raised his eyes to meet Shimada’s before continuing. “But I have to ask, why do you ask? Curiosity? Courtesy? Or are you just trying to keep me talking so that you don’t have to leave?” He winked with the last question, trying to keep her on edge. But he knew that she was always ready with a reaction. He very much enjoyed their back-and-forth teasing, and hoped that the appeal of it would not wane with time.

“So which is it Hattori-chan? Caring curiosity, or something…else?” The smirk ever lingered on his face.

WC:789+6656=7445


____

"I've made a deal with the devil in me. Pray you don't see the product of that deal."




Profile | Plot | Jutsu | Stats | Locker | Personal Theme | Battle Theme

~Ninjutsu {S} | Taijutsu {S} | Senjutsu {B} | Suiton {S} | Fuuton {A} | Doton {C}~
~D [2] | C [2] | B [7] | A [2] | S [0]~
Passives: Speed: +2, Perception: +1, Reaction Time: +2

Shimada

avatar

Chuunin
The smirk he had provided her offered the young woman no insight onto his thoughts; the words that clicked away in his mind he currently hid from her. Of course he would not admit much of anything when it came to her allusions of the man's contemplation, and she had to settle for the grin loosely plastered to his lips. No matter. It was not an entire loss of information towards the topic, but the kunoichi let it dissolve with an alteration in conversation. She inclined her head towards him, permitting a stray strand of crimson to sweep into her eyes as she studied his still expression. It was not difficult to understand his momentary stall at the change of subject, but as Shimada desired, attempting to keep him on his toes was an interesting reaction. The dark haired young man switched so smoothly onto the new focus of interest, however, that the Hattori could not help the fragile smile uplifting the corners of her mouth.

It must have been easy to speak of them - his family. It was a precious display Shimada almost appreciated. Almost.

“Well first, there’s my father. Nozara Hisaki. He’s a great man. A builder actually; he works at the construction site in the village. He’s done that job all my life. He’s very hard-working and determined, which is probably where I get it from, but he has never been interested in being a shinobi, nor having myself or my sister be shinobi. He is happy that we have both done so well as of late, but he still worries.” The crimson haired woman caught the heavy sigh that escaped him, and wondered if it was exhaled more out of guilt than pause. In the brief moment of time he seemed to take to reclaim his thoughts, the Hattori concluded in her own mind only one thing: dishonesty. A deliberate lie the man near her had told to his father perhaps multiple times, but for the sake... For the sake of what? Shimada ran out of evidence in her conscious, and stifled her mind to tune in on Nayoko's conclusion to the situation. “Ya, I don’t tell him much about what I do, it would worry him to death…Plus then he would take my sister out of the academy! Speaking of which, Kioko, my sister, is a student at the ninja academy!” There it was, the honest truth to a confession of deceit. Honorable in some ways to prevent his father the stress - despite him depicted to already worry in Nayoko's words - and his sister a leave from the Academy. On his broach of the aforementioned facility, Shimada leaned closer in peaked interest, hands on her knees as she regained attention.

“Nozara Kioko is at the top of her class in the academy right now. Before too long she will be a full-fledged ninja like you and I. It’s pretty exciting! She’s gifted with water-based ninjutsu, like myself, and is training herself to use genjutsu too.” There was so much pride in his voice, so much pure happiness that could not be corrupted lingering there, that the Hattori smiled gently in reply. In a way, it hurt, hearing him speak of her so fondly as it only filled her head with muted, faded dreams of her own family prideful of her success in the academy. But, it was not a time for reminiscing on the unobtainable. Right now, it was about Nayoko's sister, an upcoming kunoichi he had all the right in the world to be speaking of, and all the forefront in Shimada's mind to meet.

"You mentioned she is training in genjutsu, Nozara-kun?" The Hattori approached subtly, keeping the thin smile spread across her face as she turned to mimic her companion's posture; legs crossed on the couch, hands resting palms down in her own lap. He had gotten carried away in the topic of his sister, and it was amusing to see how expressive the dark eyed man became with time. Excitable in his own special way. His family did really mean a lot to him. "Interesting you mention it, but I, too, am steeped in the ways of hallucinations. Call it a hobby if you will, but I find it pleasant to know another is training in such arts given they can be a bit..." Shimada fumbled for a second to locate the right words. "...difficult to learn how to dispel and control. I'm sure it wouldn't be difficult for your sister, however, since you speak so highly of her." Tapping a slender index finger against her knee, she produced a crooked, sly smirk; ruby eyes glinting with a concealed, yet polite, intent.

'I certainly would like to hear more of her another day...'

She trained her gaze on him, analyzing his movements as he dropped another sigh and settled with a sheepish smile for all his self-conscious gestures. “I love them very much. They’re my whole world and I would do anything for them.” His eyes, pits of burned honey on an autumn day, locked with hers as she incorporated into her understanding of him his proclamation. He certainly was someone to be respected. “But I have to ask, why do you ask? Curiosity? Courtesy? Or are you just trying to keep me talking so that you don’t have to leave?” One brown orb slipped shut in a wink, and she very nearly lost her passive composure. To hide the ever widening smirk from growing, Shimada tilted her head downwards for a brief second to collect a breath of air, then straighten out with greater confidence. She wasn't going to shatter so easily this round of teasing. “So which is it Hattori-chan? Caring curiosity, or something…else?” That widening grin of his was contagious, and she struggled to keep her display of amusement under the mask. Failing, of course.

"A little bit of both, I suppose." The woman flicked a hand towards him as if dismissing his subtle implications. "I'm curiously caring about who your family is, and bluntly speaking in an attempt to keep you open to conversation. Diverting to topics about things people care about is always a good way to get them to talk, and I, perhaps, had exploited you on that. My apologies, but now that I consider it carefully," she threw back a wink at him in imitation, "best I know about your family in case I meet them anytime soon." She reiterated a point she may have touched on briefly, but did not care to point out, and instead rested her chin into the palm of a hand. Contentedly exhaling out a breath of air. Might as well return the favor. "Of course, if you wish to exploit any of my interest in topics, feel free to do so. You may learn something new about this kunoichi that is not about depression, nihlistic behaviors, or death." It was morbid humor, but she hoped her infusion of amusement was not taken too seriously as it was meant to be done jokingly. As if to atone for any misconception, she immediately backtracked seconds after. "But if there is nothing of focus, so be it. This Hattori can politely take her leave if finished up with the true matters of this meeting. However..." she grinned wanly.

"...what an opportunity you may miss. Not everyday I ask for questions..."

[1256 + 9399 = 10655]


____


"The world is cruel and bitter, and offers you no guarantee for a future.
If I had my way, I'd just want to sleep forever... but where's the fun in that?"

| Shimada | Hattori | Jutsu | Locker | Plot | Personal Theme | Battle Theme |

| D - 1 | C - 2 | B - 0 | A - 0 | S - 0 | SS - 0 |

Nayoko

avatar

Jounin
Her genuine interest in his family was endearing to Nayoko. The soft smile that appeared on her face was a rare sight, and it made Nayoko all the more willing to talk about his father and sister. Like he said, they were his whole world. He was surprised to hear Shimada respond to the stories about his sister with a revelation about herself. A user of genjutsu huh? I seem to run into those all over the place. First my sister, then Daiko, and now Shimada. Interesting to say the least. “I would have never guessed you were a practitioner of genjutsu from the one fight we were in together. I’ve only ever seen you use your ninjutsu, which was pretty impressive in and of itself! It looks like I’m learning more about you already.” He continued his thoughts about his family, watching her sitting in front of him, tapping her finger on her knee, legs crossed and eye’s twinkling as per usual.

Upon the submission of his joking question regarding her intent, he could see her apathetic composure faltering, and was happier for it. He loved seeing her smile; it was encouraging to know that one who had lost so much could still find some semblance of temporary joy in his words. It filled him with a sense of purpose that he was grateful for, even if he could not recognize his own need for it on his own. Her response was one a semi-playful one as well, but honest. "A little bit of both, I suppose." The woman flicked a hand towards him as if dismissing his subtle implications. "I'm curiously caring about who your family is, and bluntly speaking in an attempt to keep you open to conversation. Diverting to topics about things people care about is always a good way to get them to talk, and I, perhaps, had exploited you on that. My apologies, but now that I consider it carefully," she threw back a wink at him, imitating his own from just moments earlier, "best I know about your family in case I meet them anytime soon."

He nodded in mock approval as she leaned forward in her seat, resting her chin into the palm of her hand. The sigh that passed form her lips was not one of exhaustion or frustration, but one of content. "Of course, if you wish to exploit any of my interest in topics, feel free to do so. You may learn something new about this kunoichi that is not about depression, nihilistic behaviors, or death." Nayoko was taken aback for a moment. An invitation into her thoughts? Now that is intriguing. Nayoko leaned back, still facing her and seeing the grin spread across her face. "But if there is nothing of focus, so be it. This Hattori can politely take her leave if finished up with the true matters of this meeting. However…what an opportunity you may miss. Not everyday I ask for questions..."

“Hmmm,” Nayoko wondered aloud, brushing off her gloomy attempt at humor that she had taken. “What an opportunity indeed…I must think carefully about what to ask you if I am to unravel the secrets of Hattori Shimada. That much is certain.” His smirk widened into a grin as well as he shifted himself closer to her on the couch, taking full advantage of the informal atmosphere that had entered the room. He shook his head for a moment, contemplating what to ask her. He hadn’t realized until he was asked, but he had a great deal of questions for the woman before him. What had her family been like? Did she always live in Konoha? Was she able to use any elemental chakra other than fire? How does she feel about training some day? These questions and more washed over him in an instant, but one rang out above the rest.

He leaned forward “How about this? Since you asked me one question, I’ll ask you one as well. Then after that, we can save some of this learning experience for when we travel together. After all, half of the fun will be getting to know each other even more over the duration of the trip. Plus, I do love a good mystery, and you are one for me right now Hattori-chan.” He paused, letting the tone settle in the room before continuing. In these past few weeks he had learned a great deal about Hattori Shimada’s past, and about the struggles she had faced. They were far greater than his own trails in his mind, and so he had grown to admire this woman before him. Not only that, but she was now willing to travel to a new country with him, and they barely knew one another. The trust they had built was special, and he could not help but be grateful for that. Finally, he presented her with his question. “So, what is something that makes you happy Hattori-chan? Now I don’t just mean like…a cute puppy that walks by and makes you smile. No, I mean truly happy. Content, even. For me, it’s a day in the training fields, honing my skills and practicing what I’ve learned. It’s hard work and it ends up being exhausting, but there’s nothing quite like it to make me feel refreshed and ready for anything. It makes me…well…happy! So, what is that for you Hattori-chan? What makes you tick?”

He crossed his arms and sat back in his chair, awaiting her response to the only question he would allow himself for today. But perhaps….perhaps I can ask her more on our travels together…

WC:961+7445=8406


____

"I've made a deal with the devil in me. Pray you don't see the product of that deal."




Profile | Plot | Jutsu | Stats | Locker | Personal Theme | Battle Theme

~Ninjutsu {S} | Taijutsu {S} | Senjutsu {B} | Suiton {S} | Fuuton {A} | Doton {C}~
~D [2] | C [2] | B [7] | A [2] | S [0]~
Passives: Speed: +2, Perception: +1, Reaction Time: +2

Shimada

avatar

Chuunin
"Hm, is that so?" She pondered aloud at his confession of not considering her a user of Genjutsu, but produced a thin smile nonetheless. Fingers steepling together thoughtfully. It seemed she had managed to keep most of herself an enigma. "It is not something I display so readily or simply, given Genjutsu requires contact of some form; physical or from the eyes. In practicality I prefer ninjutsu due to its wider usage, but weaving hallucinations onto the minds of the unwary has its merit. A bit of dark fun, if I say so myself, even if I find it a bit more draining. You, however," the Hattori paused in her explanation, ruby eyes flickering up to meet his carefully, "prefer quite a bit of taijutsu thrown in with ninjutsu as well, don't you? Quick and not as likely to result in, well... Let's not finish that thought, shall we?" Shimada murmured quietly, resting casually as she stilled her tongue to focus on the matter at hand.

The invitation she had so openly prompted Nayoko to receive.

If it had been any other person, any other location, the Hattori would have foregone the inquiries altogether and simply take her leave in a professional manner when finished with business. Disclosing no information beside what was necessary to bring to light. But, oddly enough, the young woman was in a good mood, the exhaustion in the back of her mind not as heavy that day, and she was willing to lay her cards on the table. The ones she was risking to answer to, of course. The kunoichi stared quietly at the man across from her, free of her ensnaring thoughts as he made a show of contemplating the idea of learning more; the woman Shimada contained behind her masks and her shows of occasional playfulness.

“What an opportunity indeed…I must think carefully about what to ask you if I am to unravel the secrets of Hattori Shimada. That much is certain." She nodded cordial at him as he shifted ever closer, taking up more space between them and evaporating the considerations of maintaining practiced behaviors. The smile he gave, wide against his lips, was enough to reassure she had mentioned the right thing somewhere, and she coiled a scarlet strand of hair around a finger casually. It would, no doubt, take him a moment to conceive a question adequate enough to dispose onto her. After all, an eye for an eye, as they say, but more a question for a question in their situation. There certainly would be no stealing eyes this day, morbid as the thought was.

"Perhaps I can also unravel the secrets of Nozara Nayoko at a later date." The Hattori mentioned, glancing at the room once in wait for the sound of his voice rumbling through the quietness that had settled over the homey house. She did not have to stall her wandering eyes long for her attention to immediately dart over to the older man as soon as he took in a breath to speak.

“How about this? Since you asked me one question, I’ll ask you one as well. Then after that, we can save some of this learning experience for when we travel together. After all, half of the fun will be getting to know each other even more over the duration of the trip. Plus, I do love a good mystery, and you are one for me right now Hattori-chan.” His words were an echo to Shimada's own thoughts; the aspect of acquiring more details of each other over the trip. It seemed like a perfect way to pass the time during the lengthy travel, and she could not agree more. In the back of her head, taking the pause the tall male committed to, the woman was already working away on the slew of questions she would, hopefully, come to ask him. Life; hobbies; disinterests; motives; passions. It would be interesting to get to know the motivations and dreams he carried, but she contented herself with listening to his inquiry instead.

It could wait a little longer.

“So, what is something that makes you happy Hattori-chan? Now I don’t just mean like…a cute puppy that walks by and makes you smile. No, I mean truly happy. Content, even. For me, it’s a day in the training fields, honing my skills and practicing what I’ve learned. It’s hard work and it ends up being exhausting, but there’s nothing quite like it to make me feel refreshed and ready for anything. It makes me…well…happy! So, what is that for you Hattori-chan? What makes you tick?” She was taken aback by the question, the answer she would have to try and provide. It was not a concept she had contemplated in a long time - things that made her genuinely happy - and in response, thin brows knitted together in concentration. Genuine happiness? Well, it almost seemed like a joke in a cruel way, but she figured, deep down, there had to be something that made her the way he described.

She just had to recall from the depths of her mind what it was.

"Hah, ah, well, you got me there..." She shrugged her shoulders carelessly, leaning back further to pause in her murmuring; breathing a heavy sigh out of her nose. It was a question she may have forgotten the answer to, and for a moment, she simply let it hang in silence. Desperately wracking her brain to come up with a spool of words she could phrase into a coherent sentence and provide. The Hattori ran through the scenarios that rattled in her skull, and finally, after what felt like a drawn out stillness, a wire connected. Her voice crawled out quiet yet peaceful in its conclusion. "Rain." Eyes lifting up to meet his, Shimada made a little smile. "I really like sleeping with my window open and hearing the rain against the street and roof. It's really soothing." Crossing her arms over her chest, she relaxed further as the phantasm sound of rain was conjured up briefly in her imagination, a gentle smile playing faintly on her mouth.

"But what about you? What makes you tick, Nozara-kun?"

[1051 + 10655 = 11706]


____


"The world is cruel and bitter, and offers you no guarantee for a future.
If I had my way, I'd just want to sleep forever... but where's the fun in that?"

| Shimada | Hattori | Jutsu | Locker | Plot | Personal Theme | Battle Theme |

| D - 1 | C - 2 | B - 0 | A - 0 | S - 0 | SS - 0 |

Nayoko

avatar

Jounin
He watched her carefully as she twirled a strand of her long crimson hair around the tip of her finger; playful, casual, calm. She glanced around the room while he thought if his question, and her presence was actually distracting to his thought process. Though he had told her that he believed her to be beautiful he would not tell her the extent to which that was true. Nayoko had always been a sucker for attractive women, falling to pieces at the slightest hint of attention from them. But Shimada was different. For some reason, he could push past that, even since the day they first met. Perhaps in his slightly broken state, he was able to sense hers as well in those first minutes together. A kindred spirit, loaded down with loss of people precious to her; it was a poetic thought, one that was almost romantic. But Nayoko let that filter through is mind and out of sight before he became too far gone. After all, he couldn’t let thoughts like that roam unchecked in his psyche if he was to be travelling with her. The repercussions could be as undesirable as they were desirable.

She seemed to be slightly surprised by his question, as he had been by hers. Good, Nayoko thought to himself. I can’t be the only one being kept on my toes in all of this. Her brow furrowed in concentration to a point where Nayoko began to feel sorry for her. Was it really that hard for her to think of something that made her genuinely happy? He frowned with empathy, hoping against all hopes that she would be able to come back to him with an answer and not just an excuse for not coming up with anything. "Hah, ah, well, you got me there..." Her shoulders shrugged and she sighed a heavy sigh out her nose, clearly thinking very hard about something so simple. It almost broke Nayoko’s heart. Almost.

"Rain."

It was a simple word, one syllable referring to precipitation that most found dreary. But as she lifted her eyes to meet is, he could see the contentment twinkle in the rubies even as a small smile came across her face. "I really like sleeping with my window open and hearing the rain against the street and roof. It's really soothing." She crossed her arms and continued to smile, looking like she could hear the sound in her mind in that moment, Nayoko smiled along. “Mmmm yes. I also like the rain. The sound on the roof of my house always makes me feel far more…cozy inside. It makes me grateful for the roof over my head. Its even better in a large storm! Not to mention the smell of a fresh fallen rain the next morning, when the haze of the rainfall evaporates away. It’s beautiful.” His smile remained, thinking through that very scenario for a moment, picturing the fog as it rose from the dew on a warm spring morning. He closed his eyes and sighed, turning and sinking down into the couch, but not moving away from the young woman. He was comfortable in that moment, and he did not want to change that.

Nayoko was pulled back from his daydreaming by that Hattori woman, "But what about you? What makes you tick, Nozara-kun?" Nayoko’s eyes flickered open and he glanced over to Shimada’s sighing contentedly before speaking. The playfulness was gone from his voice, and it was replaced by a soft tone that was relaxed and genuine. “Well, I suppose that is only fair play,” he said, turning his head toward Shimada. “Very well, but this is the last question I answer tonight. I don’t want you to be the only mystery that needs to be solved in this friendship.” He chuckled lightly to himself, and looked up to the ceiling, thinking for but a moment before answering. “What makes me tick? Well, there are a couple of things if I’m honest. Like I said before, there’s little I find more refreshing that a good day of training. I love working up a sweat and feeling like I’ve improved or, at the very least, helped someone else improve.” He shifted himself back further into the cushions of the couch, his posture becoming extremely relaxed in his casual attire. “I like spending time with my sister, seeing her grow and laugh. I like to swim. In fact I love to swim, it’s one of the best parts about summer! Oh, and I love to read.” He stood up abruptly and strode across the room to pick up the book he had fallen asleep reading earlier. He returned to his former position with it in hand, flipping it open to his last page and scanning it before closing it once again and handing it to Shimada. “I like history books, and learning about different techniques to fight and use jutsu, but if I’m honest, my favorite books are those. I love fantasy novels, as embarrassing as that is.” He did his best to suppress the flush that was threatening to spread from his neck to his face. “I know it’s childish, and I know some people might think of it as an escape from reality that is a waste of time, but to be honest, I don’t care what they say! I like them.” He smiled again, trying to appear confident in his words, though he really did care what others thought. After all, he had told very few others about this, and is sister was sworn to secrecy about his small obsession.

He waited a while for her response, before sitting up once again, but remaining relaxed, putting his arm across the back of the couch again. “But that’s enough exposition for one day I think! Must leave some conversation topics for the trip, don’t you think? Thanks again for coming by today. I’ll let you know when all of my affairs here are taken care of and we can head out whenever you are ready. Like I said earlier, I’m very excited!” He paused, thinking for a moment to ensure that everything he could think of had been covered. “Is there anything else we need to discuss or do before we head out?”

WC: 1068+8406=9474



Last edited by Nayoko Nozara on Thu Mar 16, 2017 4:40 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : WC was in the wrong spot for some reason)


____

"I've made a deal with the devil in me. Pray you don't see the product of that deal."




Profile | Plot | Jutsu | Stats | Locker | Personal Theme | Battle Theme

~Ninjutsu {S} | Taijutsu {S} | Senjutsu {B} | Suiton {S} | Fuuton {A} | Doton {C}~
~D [2] | C [2] | B [7] | A [2] | S [0]~
Passives: Speed: +2, Perception: +1, Reaction Time: +2

Shimada

avatar

Chuunin
It was a pleasant edge to the conversation, things about mirth, and Shimada felt she somewhat enjoyed the topic. Lulling her into a more relaxed state of ease. Nayoko's perception of rain, however, only further cemented the thought, and she could not help but go along with his grin.

“Mmmm yes. I also like the rain. The sound on the roof of my house always makes me feel far more…cozy inside. It makes me grateful for the roof over my head. Its even better in a large storm! Not to mention the smell of a fresh fallen rain the next morning, when the haze of the rainfall evaporates away. It’s beautiful.” She swore, just like herself, that the imagery was cycling through his mind, painting pictures of what he described in voice to the woman who could not agree more. Nodding to him, head inclining ever so slightly downwards, the Hattori addressed the statement aloud.

"Sounds pretty romantic. Hn, didn't take you for the dreamy type." Shimada mumbled quietly, a light smirk etching the contours of her face into a playful yet calm expression. In the silence of the room, she studied the man beside her carefully, watching as his dark eyes fluttered open, the trance he had been in shattered by the presence of her other question. The older male's voice was gentle, soft in the tranquility of the room.

“Very well, but this is the last question I answer tonight. I don’t want you to be the only mystery that needs to be solved in this friendship.” Shimada smirked faintly at him as he turned to glance in her direction, ruby eyes narrowing in mild amusement. He had her there, and, with the quietest of chuckles disguised as a cough, she crossed one leg over the other and consented to the game he was playing. Mysteries went both ways, after all. “What makes me tick? Well, there are a couple of things if I’m honest. Like I said before, there’s little I find more refreshing that a good day of training. I love working up a sweat and feeling like I’ve improved or, at the very least, helped someone else improve.” He sunk back further into the furniture, seemingly in a content peace.

The Hattori's mind was in a mild torrent of thoughts. 'Well, if he enjoys training so much, perhaps I'd have to take him up on that one day. Think I'll definitely keep that in mind...' She remained silent, watching as he touched first on the subject of his sister, then swimming in the summer, and then, finally, reading. Nayoko stood, starting her out of her thoughts as he moved across the room to pick something up and then glance at it. The man hesitated for just a moment before handing it to her with a careful motion, and upon looking at it, Shimada saw it was a book. “I like history books, and learning about different techniques to fight and use jutsu, but if I’m honest, my favorite books are those. I love fantasy novels, as embarrassing as that is.” Glancing up at him as he spoke, the woman saw a red flush just beginning to creep up the back of his neck, and she had to suppress a sly smirk. So he was embarrassed about the books he read, huh? She didn't know what the problem was, but handed the novel back to him anyway.

"What's wrong with enjoying a genre of book? That's nothing to be ashamed of, at least," Shimada craned her head to look at Nayoko, "in my opinion. Besides, it shouldn't be childish. Books are a way of deepening creativity as well as a break from the stress of life. Being a shinobi gets stressful after a while, don't you think?" The young woman addressed him genuinely, blunt in her honest thoughts. Though she may not have had a huge fondness for literature, it was not something she disagreed with. Reading was meant to be enjoyed, more so if one was reading a novel they favored.

The topic of the conversation, however, changed, and Shimada paused in her contemplation to listen carefully.

“But that’s enough exposition for one day I think! Must leave some conversation topics for the trip, don’t you think? Thanks again for coming by today. I’ll let you know when all of my affairs here are taken care of and we can head out whenever you are ready. Like I said earlier, I’m very excited!” In the moment of his pause, she gestured with a hand in appreciation, further acknowledging with a bow of her head. It seemed business was being wrapped up at last. “Is there anything else we need to discuss or do before we head out?”

Her crimson hair swayed with her as she motioned with her head in reply. "Ah, well, at this point I think everything is accounted for. Of course, you finish your own business, but I believe I am able to go as soon as you give a signal." Shimada straightened out her back, arching it to pop the vertebrae back into place after resting for so long; a couple quiet snaps piercing through the air. She could feel a fatigue, caused by the long conversation, weighing onto her shoulders, and considered a nap in order when she returned home. Later, however. "If you believe everything is concluded, I will happily agree and head back for some rest. Probably going to need it for the journey ahead." Eyes flickering towards him, the young kunoichi glanced passively in his direction; fingers tapping lightly against her knees a random rhythm.

"But I gotta say. It's going to be a pleasure traveling with you."

[974 + 11706 = 12680]


____


"The world is cruel and bitter, and offers you no guarantee for a future.
If I had my way, I'd just want to sleep forever... but where's the fun in that?"

| Shimada | Hattori | Jutsu | Locker | Plot | Personal Theme | Battle Theme |

| D - 1 | C - 2 | B - 0 | A - 0 | S - 0 | SS - 0 |

Nayoko

avatar

Jounin
She must have a deep dark secret…nobody is this perfect, Nayoko thought to himself, half-joking. She was not only okay with his love for fantasy novels that many would call childish, but she even went so far as to encourage it as a good way to relieve the stress of their positions. She just keeps getting better and better. He shook his head and smiled along with her statement about the tension involved with being a shinobi. “I’ll agree with you there. Once you get past all of the cat-chasing missions life can get pretty dangerous. It’s nice to escape every now and again.” His mind wandered to the first mission that the false Nara had asked him to take of, remembering the near-death experience. That was the same day I met her though…so not bad all around.

Nayoko’s eyes followed the flowing of her blood colored hair as she bowed her head slightly in response to his question. "Ah, well, at this point I think everything is accounted for. Of course, you finish your own business, but I believe I am able to go as soon as you give a signal." Shimada straightened out her back, and Nayoko winced as he heard her back crack aloud before her eyes flickered toward him, her fingers tapping in a chaotic and non-uniform rhythm against her knees. "If you believe everything is concluded, I will happily agree and head back for some rest. Probably going to need it for the journey ahead." Exhaling, Nayoko sat up and began to stand as she concluded her thought, "But I gotta say. It's going to be a pleasure traveling with you."

The young Hattori man smiled as he stood, turning back toward the young woman with whom he had grown so close in such a short time. “The pleasure will be all mine, I’m sure.” His reply was sincere and soft, full of the peace that came from a place of knowing that even though his business in Kirigakure no Sato was not going to be pleasurable in any way, shape, form, or fashion, the company he was going to be keeping would more than make up the difference. Nayoko walked slowly toward his front door, understanding that the meeting was coming to a close despite the fact that he would spend all day with Hattori Shimada if he could. I guess I will be soon enough, the twenty-two year old thought to himself.

As he arrived at the door he slowly grabbed the handle and pulled it open for his friend, running his other hand through his thick, dark hair and smiling. “Rest does sound like a good idea before this trip. I’ll let you know as soon as I’m ready, and then we can hit the road. I’m looking forward to anything and everything that we are going to encounter together, despite the danger. Thank you again Hattori-chan, I don’t know what I would do without you around.” His ever-present smile reflected his playful mindset as he stood, holding the door for the young woman. He would never admit it, but he did not want to be the first person to say goodbye. And so he stood, waiting for her to react, and hoping to every higher power imaginable that neither of his family members would show up at this very moment…

WC:577+9474=10051

OOC:
Sorry for the short response...I honestly did not not where else to go from here! The next (and probably last) one will be better for sure haha!


____

"I've made a deal with the devil in me. Pray you don't see the product of that deal."




Profile | Plot | Jutsu | Stats | Locker | Personal Theme | Battle Theme

~Ninjutsu {S} | Taijutsu {S} | Senjutsu {B} | Suiton {S} | Fuuton {A} | Doton {C}~
~D [2] | C [2] | B [7] | A [2] | S [0]~
Passives: Speed: +2, Perception: +1, Reaction Time: +2

Shimada

avatar

Chuunin
The young woman, still tapping away on her knees, nodded politely in his direction. After all, it was best to encourage others in their pursuits of enjoyment when possible, right? At least in her opinion on leisure activity. "I'll second that idea, Nozara-kun. It is good to sit back once and a while, and just watch the world creep by." She stated quietly, referencing to his latest statement about books and stress that came with the occupation of being a shinobi; a protector, fighter, and even killer in the worst of times. The Hattori ceased her mindless tapping and glanced one last time around the room. "That or live with a mind brimmed in tension. I think its best you have one thing you care about then nothing at all." Eyes flickering up to meet the male's, she watched as he stood, realizing somewhere in the back of her mind their business was nearly finished.

But it wasn't a bitter resentment at the time almost gone.

“The pleasure will be all mine, I’m sure.” Just in time, Shimada was snapped out of her staring by the dark haired shinobi's soft voice - genuine in all the aspects - that she knew she had said something right. And it was an appreciative feeling, knowing she had made his journey all lot more easier by simply opting to travel with him. Smiling ever so slightly to herself, she finally stood, trailing behind Nayoko as he made his way to the door, and thus the conclusion of their meeting.

She studied him in his pause, his long fingers carding its way through his thick ruffled hair. The grin on his face without any lack of mirth whatsoever. Shimada would never understood what gave him the power to smile like so without deep thought, but it was an idea to be saved for a later contemplation. Now was the present, standing in front of the man she would be journeying with for days to a location no doubt holding deceit and danger. 'But we'll have each other's backs for sure...' She mused in her head, focusing her attention back onto the young male as he went to speak once more.

“Rest does sound like a good idea before this trip. I’ll let you know as soon as I’m ready, and then we can hit the road. I’m looking forward to anything and everything that we are going to encounter together, despite the danger. Thank you again Hattori-chan, I don’t know what I would do without you around.” There it was again, that expression that showed no hint of hidden intent or suspicion; just like the first day they had met. And it proved to be one of the reasons why Shimada had taken an interest in him since the initial meeting those nights ago. At the thought, and his words, the ruby eyed woman produced a faint smirk.

"Hey, what are friends and fellow companions for? Just thank me later when the matters all said and done, and we're sitting at a pub or something drinking sake and reminiscing on the not so distant past." Shimada murmured quietly, turning her gaze from him towards the open door, and then back at the tall male. Standing there, she thought for just a moment, the smirk on her lips growing wider. 'I think I can get away with this one more time...' With a quiet grace, the young woman edged closer, and, placing a hand onto one of his shoulders to steady herself, balanced onto the tip of her toes. Echoing to the first night they had ever met, she leaned in and gently brushed her lips against his cheek; a light, phantasm motion that garnered little touch, but enough to know it had happened. Smelling of cigarette smoke and tea. The Hattori, a sliver of playfulness lingering, flicked an eye close in a mockery of a wink. Her grin sharp. Faint. "That's for your gracious hospitality and tea. Thanks for everything, honestly. Without meeting you, I honestly wouldn't know where I'd be right now, so... I appreciate it." Shimada backed away from him, speaking as she slipped around him and through the open doorway with a quickness in her step. She peered over her shoulder. "But I'll catch you up later, yeah? Just drop on by or whatever when you've decided to leave for the trip, and I'll try to have supplies ready by then. Other than that..." The young kunoichi waved languidly at him, replacing her expression with another mask of porcelain passiveness. "...have a fair day, and I'll see you soon."

With her farewell bid, she did not hesitate to turn down the road and head on back towards her own place of residence for the nap she so dearly desired. Mirth lingering in her chest, and thoughts of venturing with Nayoko in her head.

'I think that went rather...well. I'll just have to see the outcome the next time we meet, however, but no matter. To the next time we convene, Nozara-kun. May you experience prosperity before our trip as well as an inquiry from your family.' She fought back a smirk. 'I'd really find amusement in what your father and sister would say about me. Oh, the scandal...'

[Exit]

[900 + 12680 = 13580]


[Training]
Heart Of Iron (Hagane no kokoro - 鋼の心) (C-S Rank Scaling Jutsu) [13580 - 3500 = 10080]
Trained Genjutsu B --> A [10080 - 3000 = 7080]
Trained Raiton B --> A [7080 - 3000 = 4080]
Strength D-0 --> D-2 [4080 - 725 = 3355]

Remaining: 3355


____


"The world is cruel and bitter, and offers you no guarantee for a future.
If I had my way, I'd just want to sleep forever... but where's the fun in that?"

| Shimada | Hattori | Jutsu | Locker | Plot | Personal Theme | Battle Theme |

| D - 1 | C - 2 | B - 0 | A - 0 | S - 0 | SS - 0 |

Nayoko

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Jounin
He did not want her to go; not really. He knew she had to, and he knew that it was the only logical thing to do, seeing as the planning was over. But he did not want her to leave. And why is that Nayoko? Have you allowed yourself to become enthralled with her? Or are you just happy that someone has stuck around for longer than a few days in your life? Which is it? He did not know the answer. The words she had said spun around in his mind, churning endlessly as Nayoko thought to himself while she approached him to leave, “I think its best you have one thing you care about then nothing at all.” And what is that thing which you care for Hattori Shimada? Your ailing aunt in the hospital? Or something else? Someone else, perhaps? He felt her approaching him then, and he turned to bid her farewell, nodding along to agree with her proposal. “That is one night of drinking a promise to not pass up on.” He followed her gaze out the open door into the sunlight. The wind was still blowing through the village, but the breeze was a warm one. Taking a moment to himself, Nayoko closed his eyes and let the wind caress his face. It felt wonderful after a day inside.

He almost did not notice, but at the last second he saw Shimada inch ever closer to him, placing a hand onto his shoulder, like she had done that night that seemed so long ago. Is she really going to…again? As if in slow motion, Nayoko watched the young woman rise up gracefully, balancing on her toes that her face might meet his. She leaned in, and though he stood still, ensuring that she would not lose her balance, he could feel the blush from before returning to his face. Like a child Nayoko…just like an innocent child you are. He felt her lips brush against his cheek for the second time in his life, the closeness of the two of them allowing the scent of tea wafting from her breath to mingle with that of her cigarette smoke. In that moment, Nayoko allowed himself to close his eyes once more, just for a second. He stifled a sigh of content, and took every once of his willpower not to grab her by the waist and pull her into an embrace.

Why Nayoko? Why are you letting her get this close to you? Why do you let these emotions run over you like a waterfall? She’s a friend, and nothing more. You know it as much as she does. So why do you let yourself feel like this? This attraction will lead to nothing but complication. So its time to move on. Move past this. She’s opened up to you. She’s cried with and told you her life’s story. She’s allowed you to see her vulnerable and broken. Don’t take advantage of her like that. Don’t twist that trust that you’ve developed. It’s not your place. So grow up Nayoko. Grow up.

Her voice brought him back from his inner turmoil in an instant. She was grinning ever so faintly, as was her way. "That's for your gracious hospitality and tea. Thanks for everything, honestly. Without meeting you, I honestly wouldn't know where I'd be right now, so... I appreciate it." Shimada backed away from him, speaking as she slipped around him and through the open doorway with a quickness in her step. She peered over her shoulder. "But I'll catch you up later, yeah? Just drop on by or whatever when you've decided to leave for the trip, and I'll try to have supplies ready by then. Other than that..." Nayoko watched has the mask she wore so well return to her face as she waved to him farewell, "...have a fair day, and I'll see you soon."

Nayoko watched her walk away until she turned down the street. He stayed in the doorway, leaning against the frame, once again letting the breeze blow his hair around. He chuckled to himself as he ran his fingers through his hair, shaking his head and thinking about what was to come. Soon the real adventure will begin. A new country, a new journey, a new…test from this stranger that bares my mother’s name. I am nervous, but I've gotta admit…I’m a little bit excited.

As his smile to himself grew it almost immediacy became a wince as he heard a voice cry out to the heavens; the voice of his sister rounding the side of the house. “BROOOOOOTHERRR!!!! Did that girl just KISS YOU?!?!?!?!?!”

Oh boy…

[Exit Thread]

WC:803+10051=10854

Training

All Stats from C-Rank to C-2 (5875/5875)
Speed from C-2 to C-3 (700/700)

A-Rank: Water Release: Tearing Torrent Technique (Suiton: Hahonryū no Jutsu ~ 水遁・破奔流の術) (2000/2000)

B-Rank: Water Release: Thousand Flying Water Needles of Death (水遁・千殺水翔 ~ Suiton: Sensatsu Suishō) (1500/1500)

Remaining WC:779


____

"I've made a deal with the devil in me. Pray you don't see the product of that deal."




Profile | Plot | Jutsu | Stats | Locker | Personal Theme | Battle Theme

~Ninjutsu {S} | Taijutsu {S} | Senjutsu {B} | Suiton {S} | Fuuton {A} | Doton {C}~
~D [2] | C [2] | B [7] | A [2] | S [0]~
Passives: Speed: +2, Perception: +1, Reaction Time: +2

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