How We’ve Changed


Jon, Amaya

Date: June 11, 2011


Jon and Amaya go out for a nice relaxing dinner, and have some honest discussion.

"How We’ve Changed"

Tenkyu Restaurant [Kumogakure]


Then Tenkyu restaurant is a rather new styled building, with a multitude of tables that seat 4 all across the room. There is also a bar, and a series of stools along the bars length for those stopping in for a quick drink. There is a large selection of food and drinks and deserts available above the bar top, and on menus that are left at every seat. They seem to serve all kinds of fineries, and other not as rare foods.


Sometimes, you just gotta get out and splurge a bit. Forget cooking, forget your budget (although hopefully you made provisions in it for times like this), forget what's going on tomorrow, just throw on your best outfit and head out for a night on the town. That's what Jon and Amaya are doing tonight, thanks to an unexpected bout of free time together. Jon has exchanged his usual attire for a semi-formal slacks and sport jacket combo, and Scruvo has been left far behind. The crow still has a habit of trying to advise Jon on how best to please Amaya on occasions like this, but he can be bribed into being content on his own for a few hours with a generous helping of shrimp.
On arrival at Tenkyu Restaurant, Jon holds the door open for Amaya. "Have I told you lately how beautiful you are?" he asks, his voice not quite reaching a teasing tone. "It runs through my head so often, I forget that you don't always hear it." :)

Amaya has had reason to need a break lately. With all the chaos regarding uprisings and 'mercenaries' (aka hired goons) and political upheaval and so on and so forth, a lot of people would be rather stressed out. But on top of that, Nagayama Amaya is a member of the 'Kamen Raidaa', and thus she has to perform more clandestine jobs than simply supressing rebellious elements. There's bad stuff going around these days. Not just in the Land of Lightning, but in many different lands and amongst many different people.
After awhile, the human psyche can only handle so much bloodshed before it snaps. Amaya is hoping to avoid snapping by taking a night out to eat dinner with her husband. She is wearing a black mini-dress that suits her personal preferences in terms of showing skin, while remaining socially-acceptable — and something she can run and jump in if an emergency pops up, though not without modesty being discarded utterly. Her snow-white hair is pulled back in a single braid that hangs down to between her shoulders. She has black slip-ons on her feet, but not heels. She can fight a running battle in six-inch stiletto heels without losing her balance, but that doesn't mean she >needs< to.
So, all leggy and buxomy and ready to relax and eat, she accepts the invitation to go first. In passing she delivers a not-entirely-quick kiss to Jon's lips that follows her habit of using her tongue in a cat-like manner to lick when she is feeling very affectionate. "Not since this morning, Jon-honey. Better keep it up if you want to do more than look tonight when we get home," she teases in response. She turns sideways as she kisses, speaks, and passes through the door, so that she brushes against her husband as she goes, but there is little else done other than to venture into the restaurant and wait for someone to notice her.
Noticing her shouldn't be hard, of course. But if somehow no one does so, she is not above making herself known loudly and boldly. She is no meek woman!

Jon takes the kiss gratefully and follows Amaya inward. "Well then…you're a foxy feline with silky-smooth fur. You're a resplendent melody played on strings of silver. You're a full-course banquet fit for a daimyou, with wine from the heavens and a creamy dessert." Jon's stomach interrupts his fanciful descriptions. "…Hmm, I must be hungrier than I thought." X) The young greeting host, who looks as if he couldn't agree more with Jon's assessment, snaps out of his reverie. "Oh, uh…party of two?" c.c;

Amaya grins and flutters her eyelashes at Jon, but she does not give the girlish giggle that she would have a number of years ago. She has maturity and experience on her side, and while the compliments of her beloved are treasured and enjoyed, they do not overwhelm her ability to behave like an intelligent person or embarass her into fits of embarassed laughter and blushing. Instead, she responds with the confidence and sultry demeanor of a woman full-grown (and then some).
"Flattery will get you everywhere, Jon-honey. Expect your 'dessert' to be extra sweet tonight when you eat — " then she pauses and waits a few seconds longer than is necessary to complete the sentence, letting the awkwardness build until she finally , " — the icecream all up." Then, the white-haired wife of a Kumogakure Jounin turns casually to the 'greeting host' as though not caring about the blatant flirting she and Jon are doing right in front of relative strangers.
"Yes, thank you. Party of two." Hey, maybe she and Jon aren't newly-weds, but if they still have fun romancing and being suggestive towards each other, why not indulge? It's the key to keeping a marriage alive!

Something appears to have boiled over in the greeting host's brain. *x.x*; Fortunately, a waitress has noticed the situation and steps in to take over. "Right this way, folks. We'll give you a table with, um, a little privacy." The waitress leads them to a relatively deserted corner of the dining room. Jon pulls Amaya's chair out for her (not that she of all people needs assistance), then finds his own seat. "Thanks. Sorry if we caused any trouble back there." The waitress gives a wry look as she sets menus before them. "Oh, he'll recover. That's nothing compared to what happened when poor Miru-chan was on duty up there. Fainted clean away. Might not have happened if the bouncers had enforced the dress code, but I can't blame 'em — I sure wouldn't have had the guts to tell the Head Ninja to go put on a shirt."

Amaya shrugs. She doesn't feel any regret or shame. She >loves< Jon, and he >loves< her. Reinforcing it like this, not just to themselves but to everyone else as well, is therapeutic to her. Too much of her time is spent worrying about if she's as much of a mere beast as she sees herself. Too much of her nightmares involve how the ones she is sent to hunt down or 'eliminate' see her — as a faceless, murderous, monster who stalks them and kills them in the dark. She's not just showing everyone else that she's a wife, a woman, and a human being… She's also trying to confirm it in her own mind as well. She has written letters to Jon before that sometimes convey these worries and fears to a certain degree…
But it is unlikely he really knows the depths of her self-loathing and doubts. She doesn't keep things from Jon. She doesn't keep secrets from him. But she worries sometimes when she is alone in the field… That if she confesses her terror of being rejected, the nightmare will become reality. Jon will admit he sees her as less than human — a danger to everyone around her that only he can control. She fears that the Genjutsu that Uchiha Fuyu used on her during the tournament was not just the manifestation of her inner-doubts, but based on facts and truth.
Right now, though? She manages to pull herself out of these dark thoughts, the only sign she was ever dwelling on them the fact that her eyes were not as wide as usual — seeming to be slightly hooded — and the smile on her lips would ring hollow to one who knows her so well as Jon. But now, she comes back to herself. This is a happy evening. This is a night out at a nice restaurant. She is going to eat enough to feed her considerable appetite and metabolism, and then she is going to ensure that neither she nor her husband gets out of bed until noon tommorow.
Smiling again, eyes returning to their usual liveliness, she says, "I haven't met him yet… He sounds pretty self-confident!" Then she looks across at Jon and drinks him in with her green eyes.

Jon chuckles as he glances into the menu. He lowers it again just in time to see Amaya's expression change subtly…now what was that? The detective in him wants to know. For that matter, the husband in him wants to know too, though for better reasons.
"Can I get you something to drink?"
Jon blinks and turns his gaze toward the waitress. "Ah, a mikan chuhai for me." After the waitress has gone to fetch their orders, Jon studies Amaya's face again. Well, she looks happy enough for now…must've just been a passing thought. "Anything on your mind, Whiskers?" Jon asks. He doesn't want to make her dwell on anything she'd rather not, but he knows that talking about something that bothers you is nearly always more helpful than letting it sit.

Amaya considers feigning ignorance of what Jon is referring to. It is a very lengthy consideration that, while the option is far more than simply tempting, ultimately renders taking such an option non-viable. If she weren't thinking of something she would have acted confused or denied it immediately. By taking so long to think about whether to deny it or not, she has more or less confirmed that there >is< something on her mind. Normal people would just dismiss it if she >right now< said, 'Hm? No, not really. Just enjoying the atmosphere!' or something similar. Why? Because most people prefer to mind their own business. If it is not their problem, they would rather not >make< it their problem.
Jon is not most people. Not only does he care, but he is smart enough to identify there is a problem to begin with. So eventually she sighs and says, "Thinking about the difference between being here and being out there." She gestures vaguely at the air. "It's the difference between going out to dinner and being knee-deep in the corpses left behind by an exceptionally sick serial killer when he was done with his victims. It's the difference between expecting a >very< pleasant night when we get home, or expecting to have to kill a dozen petty criminals, some guilty of no more than being hired onto the wrong security job, in order to get to the one person you >really< want."
She sighs, the good mood that she had resumed displaying now much more definitely absent from her features and body language. She runs the tip of her index finger around the edge of her water glass in a circle, around and around, just to do something with her hands. "It's not just who I deal with and how I deal with them, though. It's that I don't think I'm the same person I used to be when I started out. And I know that technically that's relative and subjective. Are you the same person you were yesterday? The you from yesterday hadn't seen or done all the things you've seen and done today, had he? Does that make him a different person? Not in the sense I mean."
Her finger is pulled away and she folds her hands on the table in front of her. "I mean that… The dreams I had, the convictions I held, the morals I ascribed to, the limits of what I was willing to do, regardless of how much I was told it benefitted the 'greater good' or whatever, all were different 10 years ago. Infact, they were different as little >5< years ago. Half a decade. That's all it took. If I met my younger self, she wouldn't even recognize me."
Lips pouting out slightly in a distinctly displeased manner, Nagayama Amaya finally stops talking and just stares at her reflection in the water within her drinking glass. The reflection is being bounced off the far side of the glass's interior onto the water's surface, so due to how the physics of light work, her reflection appears to 'upside-down'… This gives the impression that there is a second Amaya sitting across from her, casting that reflection. Amaya scowls more deeply, her white eyebrows coming down sharply, and her already half-closed eyes squinting angrily. She flicks the glass with her index finger, and it produces a single, high-pitched tone that rings in the air for several seconds. It also makes the water ripple and distort her reflection further.
'How annoyingly symbolic,' she muses silently.

Jon folds his hands under his chin and listens attentively. If he were a psychotherapist, he'd be inclined to say something along the lines of, 'Well, I think we've made excellent progress in bringing these feelings out into the open.' As a detective, this might be the point where he would place a little cup of coffee before his interrogatee and remark, 'You're doing the right thing, tell me more.' As Amaya's closest companion, well…maybe there isn't a best thing to say. Maybe just listening is the best response.
After a minute of silence, Jon shifts in his seat and leans against the table. "I sort of know how you feel," he remarks. "My job doesn't require me to kill as often as yours does, but the longer I work at dismantling criminal organizations, the more I study how they think and operate…the more I feel like I'd be justified in using their own tactics on occasion. Conduct an off-the-record interrogation, make sure that 'necessary force' results in a key figure being taken out, that sort of thing." Jon glances around and checks for any gut feeling of being listened in on, then leans forward and lowers his voice. "Five years ago, I wouldn't have thought to falsify the deaths of two genin. I'd have tried to confront the problem within the boundaries of the law…probably would've landed somebody on the slab that way, and me being that somebody would've been the least painful option." :P
Jon sits back and gives a rueful smile. "Yeah, we've both changed, Whiskers, and not all of the changes are for the better. But even though you're not who you were before, you're still the person I want to be with all my life." Just then, a soft, slow dance tune starts playing over the restaurant's sound system. Jon extends his hand across the table, palm opened upward invitingly. "Shall we?"

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