Date: August 8, 2013
Kiyoshi and Yuriko take on the E-ranked mission to get grocery items for Baa-chan. With only minor straying from the goal at hand.
"Mission Possible: Shopping!"
Ah, the bustle of the heart of the village; It's wallet. This is the village's main marketplace, where a variety of wares, goods, and services are traded and bartered. A number of stalls here are rented out and occupied by food vendors, most of which offer cuisine with distinct foreign influences and variety as they are manned by people who have brought their goods from outlying islands and distant nations alike to sell, and are attempting to earn a bit of extra cash for their time here.
Of the more local, permanent stalls, there are many. Their wares ranging from kaguya-done scrimshaw carved out of fish skulls and bone, to vegetables grown by other villagers and sold here, to a bit of fresh fish brought further inland than the ain market, if it is to be found in anywhere in the Land of Water, it is likely to appear here, in the massive marketplace within the land's shinobi village.
So many questions flitted through Kiyoshi's mind but the most prominent one involved a single word: Why? Why did he even bother getting out of bed knowing that today's mission involved assisting the elderly… again!? Why did the mist let up this day? And most importantly, Why did he invite Yuriko to assist him? The latter question in particular was under particular scrutiny because the boy honestly could not remember if he invited her the day before, or if she just happened to be around enroute and decided to tag along. Frustrated, Kiyoshi tried to put such questions out his mind to try and focus on the positives.
One, The weather on this early afternoon was rather pleasant. Two, old lady Baa-chan (old lady old lady?) did not seem to be one of those 'I hate you young people' type of senior. Three, Yuriko was about. Four, the fire red hair dye he administered did not stand out in a bad way. Technically. And Five, Meruin or his brothers were in sight.
"… Mah-ee… Are you two ready to go?" Kiyoshi asked, scratching the back of his head irritably as he looked over at the two girls, women, etc.. over. Unfortunately for the youth, Baa-chan at least does not even bother to answer. She just keeps on staring off at some gourd stall a little further down the way, humming absent-mindly. "This is gonna be a long day…" Kiyoshi muttered.
The marketplace seemed particularly busy today, and Yuriko suspected it may have something to do with the good weather. Sunny days always brought out more people than usual to open places like the marketplace, or the docks where the fishermen most often are. Still, she was pleasantly pleased to be invited out to play, even if there was the little old woman that manages the Restaurant. Why was she here with them anyways? Holding lightly onto the loose part of Kiyoshi's sleeve, Yuriko follows him through the market, trying to keep from being underfoot while people stream around them with activity. At his question she blinks her bright eyes up at him, then glances at Baa-chan. "Hm. Should we just leave her here to look at the gourds? We can probably do the shopping quicker without disturbing Baa-chan. It would be like playing a scavenger hunt."
Kiyoshi quirked a brow at Yuriko, and then turned to regard Baa-chan for a moment before stroking his chin thoughtfully with his free hand. When nothing came to mind about needing to actually escort the old lady (though more questions popped up regarding he presence in the first place), Kiyoshi nods curtly and patted his palm with the fist of the other. "Sounds like a good iea to me." He admitted openly. And yet, just as he took a step forward to commence with the impromptu scavenger hunt, another thought gave him pause. Two to be precise. "Eto… You've been to Nanami's Restaurant before right?" The genin turned to ask, glasses adjusted near the end out nervousness.
Yuriko smiles just a bit brighter as Kiyoshi agrees, her tiny feet quick to keep up with him as she holds onto his sleeve, though when he pauses she comes to a stop as well. Her vivid aquamarine eyes blink up at the boy for a pause before frowning. "I know where it is, but I've never been inside. Kaa-tan says there's mean people inside sometimes. It's a grownup place." Yuriko gently shrugs her small shoulder with indifference. "Grownup places aren't really fun." Her bright gaze blink at him again with curiosity as she tilts her snowy head at him thoughtfully, bangs falling partly in her face. "Why?"
Kiyoshi head dipped downward the instant Yuriko mentioned never being inside personally. "I… Ah…" He murmured thoughtlessly in dismay. As disappointed as the genin had been with the news, Kiyoshi did try to remain attentive to the rest of what was spoken. Albeit the boy teeters on the edge before the light of liveliness flickers in those mud brown eyes of his. The spark eventually becomes a flame, invigorating the youth enough to raise his head and "hmm" thoughtfully for a moment or two. "They never are that fun." He comments off-handily. Then belatedly takes note of Yuriko's last question and sweeps his hand about the market place stretched before them. "Kinda hard to shop for a place we know nothing about. Plus—" He points a thumb over at the gourd oogling senior. "She is not going to be of much help either… Though, mabye that's a good thing?"
Yuriko blinks once more before she frowns with confusion again. "Wait, Baa-chan didn't give us a list?" she asks. "Don't stores usually have an inventory list they keep to make sure they have everything they need or need to by on record?" The question was an honest one, but there was no doubt something exceptionally odd about it. Though it came from the girl, it wasn't worded the way that Kiyoshi would normally expect from her. Leaning back, Yuriko glances past him at the old woman. "I don't think they would send her unless she had something along those lines with her."
Flash back No Jutsu
"Hmmm… Awful lot of sake on this list but… hmm… Hey Souta-nii-chan! You stocking up for a party?", An dark haired, twenty something young man calls out from the kitchen. And as the reply is given, Kiyoshi is kneeling at the dining room table, sketching out a few new ideas for his gas mask. The boy is extremely focused due to fear of missing out on another inspiration streak. Not this time! Flash back Kai
"No." Kiyoshi stated firmly, and yet was sweating bullets up until and during the answer. In effort to deflect in suspicion the Moto says, "Let's not bother her right now. Chances are she's only here because of.. of.. uhm… because, she, needed, to… grab something special but secret." He cracked a weak smile. "Besides, It shouldn't be too hard to do this without having our hands held the whole time."
The frown returns to her delicate brow as Yuriko looks from Baa-chan back to Kiyoshi, confused again by his answer. "'Something special but secret'…" she says slowly. Yeah. That's believable. And with a small breath she releases the bottom hem of his sleeve. "Normally no, but normally to complete a mission we need to know how to follow through in the first place. I don't think taking jabs in the dark is going to get us anywhere." Her vivid sea blue eyes glance to the headband that hangs from his neck, giving the little girl pause as she frowns thoughtfully. "Kiyoshi… even though you where that, have you done a mission before?"
Brain Farts. Never again, Kiyoshi decided, will the youth deviate from his usual train of thought just to cover up for his ego. That is the kind of things dumb adults do. Kiyoshi hated dumb adults. Ashamed of himself, the young Moto turned away instead of answering, intent on remaining silent. Belatedly did he realize how his silence could be misconstrued. And thus with great reluctance, Kiyoshi sighed before nodded his head. "A few times." -an all always on my own. "… Mine as well call this mission a failure though. Not like we're getting paid in more than food and pocket change." Kiyoshi deadpanned.
Yuriko pointedly frowns at the older boy as he turns away, his back towards her with silence for a longer moment still before answering, and his followed up conclusion. Her frown deepens. She really hadn't expected for Kiyoshi to give up so easily, and for what? Not knowing what they needed to get? "Hm." her small hand reaches up to scratch at the side of her head. "If you think the pocket change is what it's about, than the reward you get will be the only thing you'll ever receive. Or not." The young girl's expression relaxes as she smiles lightly. "I'm going to take Baa-chan back to the restaurant, but while I'm there I'll get the grocery list. It's okay. I can do it without you." Yuriko nods, trying to reassure him that she can do this on her own.
Kiyoshi narrowed his eyes at the younger girl. What else was there to gain? He did not recall anything from the missive that stated more than food and pocket money being gained. Plus, the mission was not even a real mission in Kiyoshi's eyes. Stated clearly at the top of the missive was a rank unheard of before now: E-rank. A Joke as well as an insult. Knowing this, Kiyoshi could not help but exam Yuriko more carefully through those narrow slits, all in attempt to ascertain her motivation for seeing it through to the end. "Do what you want." He stated bitterly without even once softening his gaze. Afterwards Kiyoshi made a point in walking off into the Marketplace without another word or so much as a glance back in her direction before the crowd consumes him.
If Yuriko decides to follow-up on her original decision to escort Baa-chan, said target would agree after a few moments of examining one particular gourd in hand. Then comment off-handily, "That boy certainly has a lot of pride for one so young."
And as Kiyoshi narrows his gaze at her, the corner of her lips tugs with some amusement. As if she could see the gears actually turning in his head while he peers at her. Walking off and leaving her behind, Yuriko frowns softly for a longer moment before sighing, feeling a little alone now that he was gone. Turning her attention towards Baa-chan, the little girl tries to smile as she waits, and when the elder is ready they begin their walk back to get the grocery list. Turning her snowy head, Yuriko glances to the woman, who couldn't be but a foot taller than she was, and listens. Something flickers through her expression, as if they had shared a secret connection for only a moment. Her expression changes and she turns her gaze away. "Yeah, but he has a good heart." Yuriko murmurs quietly. "Maybe he'll get what I'm trying to do someday, but it's okay." She just doesn't want him to be pushed away. "He's my only friend."
Baa-chan offers a very grandmotherly smile in response, but refrains from speaking well after Yuriko had spoken her piece. Seeing and overhearing the conversation between Kiyoshi and Kiyoshi had sparked a memory. A fond one at that given how her smile brightened for a moment before transforming into a more melancholy one. "Deary… Man are thick-head. Boys like your friend are even more so." She says, nodding sagely at the lass before setting her gaze back on the path ahead. "Trust this old bag 'o bones. I've dealt with his type plenty of time in life." Baa-chan pauses to let her words sink in and even offer the Kaguya a chance to 'defend' her friend. Regardless of the matter in which she -does- decide to reply, Baa-chan's next question is a simple, "Do you want to know a secret dearie?"
Yuriko quietly turns her snowy head to glance at the woman beside her while they walk, the marketplace fading behind them. Her expression softens. "Yeah, they are. Especially if they're Kaguya. But I'm used to it." And it isn't as if Kiri wasn't known for its stubborn villagers, so she doesn't mind. Not really. Walking together, Baa-chan's curious hint of a secret gains the little girl's attention, her bright eyes pulled up towards her. "Secret?" About boys? "I guess. What sort of secret?"
A strange glint appeared in the eyes of the elder woman, and just as she opened her mouth to reply she pauses and turns her sights back on the ground ahead. "What was that secret again?" She muttered worriedly more to herself than to anyone in particular. After a few minutes of silent musing slips by, Baa-chan turns to look upon Yuriko. "Do you remember it dearie?" She asks warily. A moment or two is given to allow Yuriko a chance to reply. After which time the elder woman's expression almost instantaneously transforms from confusion to that of a broad smile. "Just, kidding." She laughs. "You need to be blunt without being blunt." She states simply.
The glint in the old woman's eyes suggests that she knows more than she lets on, making Yuriko wonder just how much of her dementia is real, if at all. Though when Baa-chan asks about the secret, the little girl frowns to herself, letting her reconsider yet again. Perhaps she's that good though at faking it. Who can tell. "Um, I think you were telling me." Yuriko murmurs. And just after the elder smiles deeply and laughs. Wiley old woman. The 'secret', once revealed, earns another small frown, allowing the little girl to become thoughtful. "Is… that like being honest, but preserving his ego?" she asks uncertainly.
"Mmm, yes. I suppose that is one of the other ways to look at it," She admitted and nodded. Albeit the look in her visage suggest a certain level of uncertainty. "Your mother has taught you well." She commented off-handily with a shrug, and then folded her arms behind her and began to hum a little tune. "Ah, now I remember… oh wait… mmmm… A, nother way to deal with men like that is to be a little more 'forceful' with your approach. It tends to catch some of them off-guard. 'specially if you add a little pressure. Though-…" She glanced at Yuriko from the corner of her eyes. "Probably end up with a lot of mix results if a little thing like you tried it." She admitted before refocusing on the road ahead with her chin raised a little higher.
The confused frown deepens in her young features as Yuriko listens, taking in what's being offered but unsure what to make of it. "With my approach?" she asks. Hadn't she just been talking though? She hadn't realized she had touched a sensitive nerve until after Kiyoshi had stormed off. Making a face, the young girl exhales a long breath and puffs upwards to blow her wavy bangs from her face. "I don't know what that means, applying pressure. I just want him to be my friend."
Baa-chan listens, but kept her eyes upon the road ahead. Her expression in time sours from disappointment. However, when Yuriko mentions only wanting Kiyoshi to be her friend her eyes light up in realization. Soon after, her lips tilt upward into a small, sagely smile. "I'm sorry my dear. I misinterpreted something earlier and made a big mess out of things. But if you still want my advice, then listen to what I say closely." Baa-chan takes in a deep breathe, then releases it slowly. "All you have to do is stay by his side."
Yuriko turns her head to glance at the woman, frowning still and confused. What had she thought was going on? Her pale brow furrows for several moments longer as she looks away, unsure exactly what was going on, or just what kind of advice Baa-chan was trying to give her originally. Finally, she presses her soft lips together and dips her chin. "I've been trying to do that. But that was the first time Kiyoshi-kun has stomped off like that…" Yuriko was genuinely worried. "The other kids in my class… they don't really like me. And Kiyoshi is my only friend…" Her free hand reaches up to rub lightly at the back of her snowy head. "We should get that grocery list."
Baa-chan pursed her lips in disapproval when Yuriko mentioned the other kids. However, just as she opened her mouth to intercede and comment on the subject further, the young Kaguya changes the subject on her. Dejected but undaunted nevertheless, Baa-chan says, "We're almost there dearie, so don't you fret." Afterwards she let a minute or two to slip by before asking, "… What makes this Kiyoshi-kun of your so special anyhow? Because it almost sounds like…" She trailed off purposely there and half-turned to look at Yuriko with the intent to gauge her reaction.
The quiet seems to linger before Baa-chan begins talking again, asking about the boy. Yuriko turns her snowy head, her bright aquamarine eyes blinking up through her bangs as she considers the question. "Hm." A tiny hands reaches up to brush back her white locks from her face. "He might seem mean at first, but Kiyoshi-kun is really nice. And when he thought I was in trouble once, he tried to save me, without even thinking about it. And he also doesn't resent me because I can learn all sorts of things fast. And… I think Kiyoshi-kun might be lonely too." she murmurs. "What does it sound like?"
"Hmm…" She emits, as hands worn and spotted by time and past experiences are folded over one another before being allowed to rest upon the elder woman's obi. She had misread the duo's relationship again. A sad thing indeed despite the obvious factors that may have possibly made of mess of how things were taken on her part. "… If there is one thing you'll learn after living for as long as I have, it is that no matter how close people are to one'nother, it is that they'll fight time to time. Does'n mean they actually hate or dislike the otha person. Just that people can be a little stubborn some time."
Baa-chan smiles faintly. "True friends don't always see eye to eye. Not how we're built. But in the end, they'll always come back to one another." She paused, considering that last bit of wording before shaking her head in exasperation and continuing, "They do it because their friends. Because deep down inside they like each other. Perhaps even love each other for whatever reason… Speaking of which, Isn't dat boy there the one from earlier?" She asked as she drew to a stop, narrowed her eyes, and made a roof for her eyes with a hand.
And indeed it was Kiyoshi. A maskless, sweaty youth trying to play off exhaustion by resting against a thick, wooden stall post with arms folded across his chest and a look of disinterest in his eyes.
"Hm, I hope so. He's never done that before." Despite the reassurances, Yuriko still felt a little worried. Maybe its because she doesn't know what its like to have a friend, what they usually do during fights. Was this even a fight? Maybe his pride was bigger than the thin thread of a connection they had to one another. Her lips part with a longer breath of a sigh, nodding quietly, though still disheartened. When Baa-chan points out the boy, Yuriko blinks her bright eyes up at him, seeing Kiyohi leaning against the stall post. Exhausted, but playing it off like he didn't care. Something flickers through her young face as she hesitates, unsure of herself before the young girl lifts a hand to wave at him.
Kiyoshi catches sight of Yuriko and Baa-chan from his peripheral, but pride kept the youth from visibly acknowledging their presence just yet. At least, not at first. A fair-skinned hand waving back and forth proved too much of a curiosity to ignore. Unbidden by conscious thought, Kiyoshi half-turned to peer at Yuriko for an extended moment. His next action is sluggish, hesitant, but eventually he manages to raise a hand and wave back mechanically. During the wave Kiyoshi disintered look began to melt into an expression that harder to read, though, it did appear akin to nervousness and relief.
"Well? What are you waiting for? Those wolves back at my resteraunt can wait a little longer," Baa-chan assures. And if that is not enough to get Yuriko moving, then a literally push forward will be made.
Yuriko isn't quite sure what to make of Kiyoshi when he finally glances their way, peering, though when he finally does wave back in return her small shoulders relax with a little bit of relief. He wasn't mad. Well, maybe not that… he'd come back after all, even if he tried to play it off. And he looked a little relieved too. Baa-chan practically pushes her forward, before literally pushing the girl forward several fumbling steps. Yuriko is able to catch herself briefly and she blinks her bright eyes up at Kiyoshi again, hesitation in her expression. And biting at her bottom lip, she steps closer. "You okay?"
Kiyoshi opens his mouth as if to speak, but is given pause after catching movement a little ways down the way Yuriko came. It was baa-chan, waving and smiling knowingly at him. His brows furrow, eyes narrowed, and lips began to tilt downward at the corners. Her smile only broadens before she wanders off on her own. Aggravated though he was by the elder woman's flippant attitude, Kiyoshi managed to refrain from pursuing her only because of the little lass before him. Fingers twitched at his sides for a moment or two before Kiyoshi committed them towards the act of ruffling Yuriko's hair a little roughly. "…Yeah… I'm alright."
Yuriko wasn't entirely sure if she believed him or not, but for now she decides to believe him. She dips her chin with a small nod, making a face when he reaches out to rub at the top of her head, though after a moment her pensive expression relaxes if only slightly. The young girl also decides not to pursue the matter any further, hoping that everything was forgiven. "Baa-chan said that she had a list, I think. Would you want to divide it in half and get everything at the same time." Her bright eyes glance over her shoulder, thoughtful. "I'm not sure how long the shops will be open. I think we still have time though."
Kiyoshi listens. However, around the time the list is mentioned again. The wish to speak burned at the tip of his tongue, but out of respect and fear, the youth remained quiet until Yuriko had said all she wish to say. Even with the way cleared Kiyoshi is hesitant to speak, though the guilty look in his expression plus the fact that he could no longer quite look Yuriko in the eyes gives away much about how his reply might just be. "Yeah, Uhm, About that Yuriko-san-…" He digs around in his pockets until a small scroll is fished out the back end. "I ran into Surumu-o-baka-niisan earlier. Apparently, he bought up a good chunk of the list before realizing the mix-up, but was still willing to re-route the delivers to the restaurant." He admitted calmly, though the corner of an eye kept twitching in agitation.
If Kiyoshi had not lost the list then he would not be indebted to the Moto's again…
"So.. *gulp*.. if it… ah, never mind. Let's just take a peek at this now first." He amended on the fly and unrolled the scroll at a point where they both could read it.
When Kiyoshi begins speaking again, Yuriko blinks her bright eyes up at him and tilts her snowy head ever so slightly, curious. He looked… guilty. She frowns at him as he begins digging into his pocket, glancing down at the small scroll when its finally revealed. Stupid brother? Yuriko blinks at him again with some surprise. "Kiyoshi-tan has a niisan?" That's news to her. She glances back at the scroll thoughtfully. "Well, that should make the shopping easier at least, and we wouldn't need to split up either.
Kiyoshi double blinked in confusion then lofted a brow in wonder. Then made a silent 'o' with his mouth and nodded sagely in understanding. He was never one to talk about himself personally, and life before now has rendered the subject a weapon he did not wish to have turned back upon him. "Yeah, though its really Souta-o-niisan that made this even possible." He commented off-handily, and then as if realizing his mistake, Kiyoshi gave the scroll a quick shake before offering it to Yuriko for safekeeping. "W-w-we should probably get s-started now… hmm… like where the seasonings are perhaps?"
Yuriko dips her chin with another small nod in understanding, secretly glad to know something else about Kiyoshi now. The scroll is handed to her and she grabs it with both hands, making sure that its rolled up straight. When he starts stuttering however, her bright aquamarine eyes blink up at the boy once more with a curious glance. "Uh huh." She tilts her snowy head at him. "Are you sure you're okay? You sound a little funny." Or maybe Yuriko's just imagining it. Things were supposed to be alright between them now.
Kiyoshi gritted his teeth behind closed lips and nodded firmly. "Just a little winded," He lied, though doing so caused him to cringe a little. Out of the hope to dissuade any more questions about the slip-up, Kiyoshi promptly stuffed his hands into his pockets and started to take off. He only makes a few steps away from his original starting point before being reminded of a bothersome truth. His shoulders sagged under the weight of having proved himself a fool in front of Yuriko again. He still however retained some semblance of hope, and would turn to ask, "Since you got the list now, mind leading the way?" He asks with a wiry grin.
Watching him quietly, carefully, Yuriko is silent for a moment longer still before she presses her soft lips together. She smoothly falls into step beside him, scroll in hand while they walk together, her eyes forward on the path ahead. "You know." Yuriko murmurs lightly, her voice lower than usual. "It's scary for me too, telling you things I rather keep to myself." her lips press together again. "But more so I rather be honest than feel like I'm walking on egg shells." She has to keep herself from releasing the smallest of sighs. "The first thing on the list is a bag of flour."
Even though Yuriko's words have a certian bite to them, Kiyoshi listens without interruption for reasons that went beyond just respect. Until the very end his expression remains unreadable, though those deep brown eyes of his do betray some signs of an inner turmoil. Reading them however comes with its own difficulties. In particular, the simple fact that he refused to let his gaze waver from the ground ahead unless foot traffic forced him to do otherwise.
Kiyoshi simple bows his head even further in defeat. Then asks softly, "What do you want me to say?" This is spoken knowingly that their surroundings were just quiet enough at the moment that his words could be perceptible, if only barely.
"Nothing." she murmurs quietly, spoken honestly and without spite. Yuriko reaches up with her free hand to hold onto his sleeve again, as she had before. "I don't want you to feel like you need to tell me anything. I don't care if you keep stuff from me, just be honest." the girl beside him shrugs softly. "And know that… I'm trying. Really hard. Because I think you're cool and you're worth trying hard for." She certainly sounds older than what she is right now. Her soft lips part with a small sigh as Yuriko releases his sleeve. Turning her snowy head, Yuriko gives the boy beside her a glance out of one visible bright blue green eye.
Kiyoshi is taken aback by Yuriko's immediate response. Nothing? He could not believe right off the back that her initial admission was truthful, but her sincerity does eventually pierce that thick skull of his. Kiyoshi does not shrug her off or try to pull away when he feels his sleeve being grasped by the young girl again. He turns instead to give her a sideways glance, eyes revealing a certain sense of expectancy for clarification to her statement before. It is not the explanation he had been expecting. Definitely not from the mouth of a girl as young as her. If he were to be honest and spoke his thoughts now, the change in demeanor nearly terrifies him.
What could have possibly happened to her as to have such wisdom beyond her age to be buried into her being?
Or perhaps better yet, what old spirit lay dormant within?
Once more, Kiyoshi finds himself snapping back to reality at just a simple gesture from the girl; specifically, the release of his sleeve. After a pregnant silence on his part a hand is extended out towards her, though his eyes remain steadily on the road ahead: determined and intense. Regardless of rather or not she takes his hand (albeit in the case of the latter he would certainly be disappointed), Kiyoshi would take deep breathe before finally breaking the silence completely. "I'm not all that cool Yuriko-chan. I'm bull headed. Boring… My only worth has always been to carry burdens… Always, that has been my perspective. But… I can try to be… more."
Yuriko glances to the extended hand with a little bit of surprise, hesitant briefly before reaching out to take his hand also. Unsure what was to be expected now. The young girl watches Kiyoshi out of the corner of her eye, quiet when he finally speaks, and something in her expression relaxes with a small smile to play at her lips. "Yeah, you're bullheaded." she agrees. "But I still think you're cool. And really confusing at times." There's a bit of teasing in her voice as she chuckles, turning her gaze forward to the road. It was turning steadily into the marketplace. Its several quiet moments before Yuriko murmurs lightly, "Mom says that the good thing about burdens is that when you share them with your family and friends, they become lighter." Her smaller hand squeezes his subtly. "But… it's okay."
Kiyoshi face-palmed and shook his head the instant she agree with him. Furthermore, he mentally chided himself for not having seen it coming; especially when she gave herself away with that playful little smile of hers. Before his mind could sink into the bog of self-depreciation, Yuriko's follow-up draw his attention back to reality. He groans in response to the part about his being 'cool', and lets fall the hand covering his face in order to better weakly glare at the girl, emphasizing his displeasure. Although if the look so much as frightens the lass at his side, Kiyoshi would be quick to soften his gaze before averting it to the ground. "Mmpf… Some burdens maybe, but.. not all can be shared even with family," He replied with a bitter undertone tainting his words near the end along with his gaze hardening. A breath is taken by the Moto. Followed by his giving Yuriko's hand a squeeze after a moment's pause. "Though someday, that might change too… Hnn.. Kind of like, today." He added, eyes wide in surprise at the revelation.
Kiyoshi groans to herself in response to her thoughts, though Yuriko merely shrugs her small shoulders. "My opinion trumps yours." she replies easily, as if it was simply fact. The small smile that had been on her lips fades while she listens and they begin moving with a bit more care to make sure that they don't bump into anyone else in the crowd. Which was becoming more difficult as things progress. Yuriko tightens her hold on his hand to keep from being separated. Whatever thoughts she might have on burdens goes unspoken in the building current of people.
Kiyoshi groans to himself in response to her thoughts, though Yuriko merely shrugs her small shoulders. "My opinion trumps yours." she replies easily, as if it was simply fact. The small smile that had been on her lips fades while she listens and they begin moving with a bit more care to make sure that they don't bump into anyone else in the crowd. Which was becoming more difficult as things progress. Yuriko tightens her hold on his hand to keep from being separated. Whatever thoughts she might have on burdens goes unspoken in the building current of people.
Kiyoshi smirked absent-mindedly to Yuriko's reply; but aside from that response, the boy remained pensive as they walked. If not Yuriko grasping his hand and perhaps even given him a polite tug here and there, Kiyoshi would have certainly bumped into a few people along the way. As things stand however he still earns a leer or the "watch it." from passerbyers he brushed into. The particular strong "scent" of malice directed towards him snaps him instantly out of his reverie. However, the anxious glances he spares their surroundings reveal not even the faintest of clues as to who was directed the negative feelings.
"…Hmm… Must've imagined," He murmured quietly, though his own words are not enough to calm the disquiet in his soul or to keep him from paying closer attention to their surroundings. "… Say, Yuriko-san?" He risks a glance in her direction. "Mind if I ask ya something?"
Whatever it was that Kiyoshi must have sensed, or thought he had sensed, isn't caught by Yuriko. The little girl seems rather oblivious, focusing on maneuvering through the sea of people, sticking close to Kiyoshi just in case. There's soon so many people that she can't see through the limbs where they're going, so she tugs on Kiyoshi's hand to pull him to the side of the road, against the side of a building. There they have a bit of a reprise. Yuriko exhales a longer breath, but blinks her bright eyes up at the boy when he speaks up. An easy smile tugs at her lips. "Besides that one? Sure. What do you want to ask?"
Kiyoshi fought back a growl and instead channeled his agitation into a roll of his eyes. "When you go to the academy are you-…" Kiyoshi trailed off from there for nervousness held his tongue and check. By rubbing the back of his neck the youth seemed to eventually regain his courage, though when he speaks his tone still carried an edge of discomfort. "Are you planning to become a shinobi?", He finally asks. However once those words leave his mouth, Kiyoshi can not keep his eyes on Yuriko for longer than a few seconds. Granted the thicker crowd certainly made it easier for him to do so.
Yuriko blinks her bright aquamarine eyes on Kiyoshi curiously for a moment, tilting her head slightly and her wavy bangs falling into her face as she frowns subtly. And the question, the way it was asked, was an odd one. The frown in her delicate brow deepens for a longer pause before the young girl releases his hand and leans back against the wall. "I'm in the academy for a reason." Yuriko murmurs, her voice lower than before with a serious overtone. "I was raised around combat so I take to it like a duck to water." She isn't sure if he would quite get it, or why he's asking. Could it be that he's worried?
The very fact that Yuriko had to remove her hand from his places Kiyoshi on edge; but out of respect, he turns as well to face the Kaguya directly. Only his gaze — trained at forehead alone — continues to betray his inability to meet her gaze. Still, he is attentive, though his expression is left blank like a mask: unreadable and unchanging. By the time she is finished the boy finds it too hard to speak. Thus there is a pregnant pause between. Everything was as he had expected, but still he found the truth to be harder to swallow now that he had allowed Yuriko to get even this close to him.
"Ah, I-…" He hesitates after having caught himself mid-attempt at an omission. Yuriko had not forced or coerced him to be honest earlier, but even so, Kiyoshi could no longer bring himself to lie to her unless her life depended on it. "Even if it seems easy now, later on…" He sighs. "What I'm trying to say is that I don't think you should continue on the path of a shinobi."
Her bright eyes quietly watch him, her expression carefully masked as her bright eyes observe note Kiyoshi in return. There was something tense in his shoulders, the way that he avoids her eyes, and the hesitation when he does try to speak, only to doubt himself and start again… Yuriko lightly presses her lips together. "Of course it seems easy now. We're at the beginning. If it was always easy it wouldn't be any fun, and it would be much of a challenge." His last words, her gaze hardens subtly as another carefully measured moment passes. "Why?"
Kiyoshi listened, but could no longer keep his feelings in check for her naivety and — dare it be said — arrogance had made it so. "Yuriko-.." He trailed off and closed his eyes in a poor attempt to mask his growing anger, though by unconsciously continuing to clench and relax his hands at his side, his efforts or more than likely in vain. It is not long after he trails off that he lets out an agitated huff, diffusing much of his anger. Still, there are remnants of his frustration left within his eyes like smoldering coals. "Being a shinobi-…" He shook his head. "To be a real shinobi is not fun. Not. One. Bit." A moment is taken to let his words sink in. Then, either at the first sign of protest or understanding being read from her body gestures, Kiyoshi would continue. "I'm not saying any of this to be mean Yuriko. I'm saying this because I don't want—" You to get hurt. The words were just on the tip of his tongue but catch in his throat. "…I don't want disappointed later on." He finished weakly.
The way he said her name… whatever irritation she may have had melted away as Yuriko frowns quietly up at him, confused and concerned for the boy. What could upset Kiyoshi so much that he struggled even to keep his emotions in check? The pause lengthens before the little girl reaches up to take the sleeve of his arm with quiet reassurance. But his answer… was unexpected. Her bright aquamarine eyes blink at him with a small frown as she continues to listen. "Hm." Yuriko glances down at the ground, quiet as she holds onto his sleeve still. "I'm not sure how I can describe it, but… combat is part of me. For Kaguya. Whether or not you take it as serious or as play, it's something I've always known and this isn't just something that I can quit. It's part of my life." Her bright eyes look back up at Kiyoshi. "But I do think that its better if you enjoy what you do, because it makes the experience better. So… I guess the real question is," She lifts her free hand to lightly scratch at the side of her snowy head. "Why isn't it fun for you?"
Kiyoshi listened as he always did — as he promised himself to do — and gradually began to understand why she chose her path. But then a mistake was made: Two to be exact. While he could easily agree that it is better to enjoy what one does, the youth simply could not see how such a thing was possible for a shinobi; barring those with special privileges or unique skill set. Her second mistake… a simple question.
Kiyoshi bristled at the question. "Because taking a life isn't fun or funny." He replied pointedly and without hesitation. Once that statement was spoken the boy immediately crossed his arms across his chest and fixed a steel hard gaze upon Yuriko's aquamarine ones. He would not be moved on this point. Not even in the slightest. He relented after a few moments of staring only out of regret for having been so vehement with his response and mild discomfort from the side-effects that came with the feeling. Not to mention the fact that he did yank his sleeve out of her grip on accident too. "…Gomen." He glanced off to the distance. "I have no right to judge another.. *gulp* especially you, Yuriko-san."
That small frown of confusion in her young brow deepens with the curt reply. It was an honest one though. The fingers scratching the side of her snowy head fall to her side for thought. "Well… no, it isn't." Yuriko agrees. "Death isn't fun… but, I do think that if its the life of my team mate or someone else, I rather save my team mate." she says softly. Sadness flickers in her bright eyes as she lowers her gaze, the sleeve pulled out of her grip. "Death is never avoidable…" From the sound of her words, Kiyoshi would know that she spoke from experience. Something had scarred the young girl deeply at such a young age. "But death isn't always the end of a mission, and if we can always aim to avoid it during missions… but sometimes it can't be helped…" A small sigh escapes from Yuriko as she leans back against the wall, appearing defeated. "I'm not sure what else to say, Kiyoshi," she murmurs, without an honorific. "If I can use my skills to maybe save a life, or several lives, or even your life… I couldn't say no."
If Kiyoshi only felt bad before, hearing Yuriko's words and the sadness behind her tone that bespoke of personal experience had certainly made the boy feel worse. A small part of him had chided his past self for having even brought the topic up in the first place. But then again, Can one really say that they are friends without eventually find themselves discussing such serious topics? Perhaps. Although in which case their friendship is at best an illusion of some sort.
A heavy sigh escapes Kiyoshi's lips. Followed by his shoulder sagging and head being shook in defeat. "Never avoidable… only prolonged." Kiyoshi muttered under breath, and then started from his mind catching up to the fact that she said his name without honorific. A small grin blooms into being in Kiyoshi's expression. Then falters as his mind went right back to darker places. "I can understand if it is to save a life. I'd… If your life was in danger…" He trailed off there, unable to say what he wished but hoping to convey his words through eye contact. If Yuriko's life was ever in danger there would be no one or nothing in the world who could stop him from charging to save her. Not even a bijuu. "But—" His eyes hardened once more. "If you ever did it simply because its 'fun' and nothing more, then… I don't think I could be your friend anymore."
Leaning against the wall still, Yuriko quietly slides herself downwards and sits on the ground, her bright eyes distant while she listens. Another silent moment or so passes, her jaw clenching visibly as she watches the ground in front of her. "I'm not sure if you've heard of this… but not long ago, just a couple months back really, there was some problems inside of my clan." she says softly. "My mom probably think I don't know any of this. But there were a few people that started spreading these… ideals, I suppose." Yuriko exhales a small sigh. "Kaguya used to be bloodthirsty. It didn't matter who or why, so long as there was combat and blood spilled, that was the whole reason for existence. But my mother and the other Elders, they were accused as being pacifists. Or rather, a portion of the clan was saying that they were abandoning our heritage."
Closing her eyes, another pause lingers as her lips part just slightly. "But I listen. She told me that we must use this… bloodlust, as a weapon, instead of letting it use us instead. And… I've even felt her struggle sometimes." Yuriko opens her eyes and pauses a breath before lifting her bright eyes up at Kiyoshi. "I don't know if I can make that promise, because I don't know if its really that simple."
Stubbornly, Kiyoshi refused to let his gaze soften again; especially just because Yuriko seemed even more down the ever thanks to his bluntness. As time progressed and was passed in silence at first, the young Moto's resolve was tested beyond his ability to cope. Words burned at the tip of his tongue: an apology, in short. The flame eventually grew too powerful to hold back. Thus, he opened his mouth to speak, only to nearly bite his own tongue off upon catching the first signs that Yuriko was planning to speak.
In pain from the close call but undaunted overall, Kiyoshi focused on her words to listen with the nook between thumb and index finger cupped beneath his chin and elbow at rest upon his opposing hand as the story is absorbed. Anger, Sadness, Disappointment, Annoyance, and Pity all flashed before his thoughtful gaze at one point or another as she spoke, though by the end his expression became as blank as a porcelain mask. When it falls, the only thing that comes out of his mouth is, "Grrraagh! Ahhg! Hmpf!" due to frustration, and his hands being kept busing digging through curly fire red hair.
If surprise is not drawn out of her by such actions, Kiyoshi's next move is certain to elicit a stronger response. He steps quickly, closing what little distance is left between them, and then takes both of her shoulders (if allowed even that far) before hoisting her back up and onto her feet. "Fine. Don't promise me that because I know stuff like that ain't never simple." His grips tightens somewhat but not quite enough to hurt her yet. "Just-…" He huffs through his nose. "Just do what you can about it when you can, and when you can't, just come to me." He stated boldly.
Yuriko blinks her vivid aquamarine eyes at Kiyoshi with honest surprise at the weird sounds that were coming out of his mouth, unsure exactly what was going on with him really. But the confusion was swiftly replaced with surprise yet again as he reaches down and literally yanks her up to her feet, a small 'eep!' sound escaping before she's finally standing straight. Several inches shorter than the boy. Through the surprise she watches him, tilts her snowy head subtly, and eventually her expression softens.
Pulling gently out of his grip, Yuriko leans forward and for the first time wraps her arms around his middle to give him an embrace. "That I can promise." she murmurs. "And you can come to me too." He probably wouldn't. He has secrets, or things he just didn't want to tell her, but she gave that offer anyways. So that he knew that she would listen if he ever needed her. And before the hug became awkward she loosens her grip and lets go of Kiyoshi. Looking back up at him, Yuriko tries to smile. "Hey, when I graduate from school, would it be alright with you if I requested being on a team with you?"
A sort of dread filled Kiyoshi's heart as he stared back into Yuriko's eyes. One that grows by each passing moment, and faster still once she pulls out of his grip. His heart races, palms begin to sweat — What was he thinking man-handling a little girl like that?! If only he had just stuck with — Wherever that train of thought might have went is left at the wayside in the wake of Yuriko's embrace. The only thoughts that pass through his mind are a jumbled mess that leaves him both stiff and uncomfortable physically, as well as confused and embarrassed mentally. Needless to say, the embrace is still a little awkward despite how brief.
"Th-tha-that'd be—*gulp*…" He takes a breath. "If Meruin-sensei doesn't mind then I don't see why not." Kiyoshi just barely manages to spit out without stumbling over his words again. Albeit his eyes find it hard to meet Yuriko's own throughout it all. He starts. "…We should probably get back to the mission."
Seeing him stammer, Yuriko meets his eyes and gently lifts a pale brow at the boy. This hadn't been the first time he's stumbled over his words. Maybe there was there something wrong. Still, the small smile grows some. "Yeah. We can do it." she was certain of it. And she's rather excited about finishing her first mission, regardless what rank it is. It's just the first step after all. The beginning of even more adventures. "I hope we can do more missions together too."
Kiyoshi starts to tremble at the sight of her smile. The innocence and purity behind is simply too unnerving not to felt shaken by it, though at least this time he managed to keep from breaking eye contact and even return it with one of his own; nervously, and yet dauntless in a way. "…I…" His courage wanes, resulting in his focus being turned back towards the crowd. "I hope so too, though not for a long time to come." Kiyoshi states before walking off to rejoin foot traffic again, but stop and turn back if it look like Yuriko would lag behind.
His tentative smile only further encourages Yuriko's as she smiles a bit bigger as a result. However, the last comment earns a curious look, before Kiyoshi turns to step into traffic again. The afternoon was lengthening, and they were running short on time. The little Kaguya doublesteps to catch up with him, a hand catching his sleeve once more to keep from being separated. "'Long time' depends on the person." she replies. "So what's next on the list now?"
Kiyoshi spares the tiny, pale fingers only a brief glance before resolving to dismiss that odd sleeve-grabbing habit of hers with a roll of his eyes. A smirk tugged at the edge of his lips in response to her reply. However, for the time behind the boy chose not to pursue the matter further. Not that it truly needed pursuing given who her teachers were or he suspected of being her tutors based on the names she offered before now. "…We never picked up the first item, Yuriko-san. And… you still have the list." He deadpanned and sweatdropped.
Yuriko blinks her bright eyes once at the realization. "Oh." She makes a frown at herself, but quickly shakes her snowy head as if to brush aside the fact that she forgot in the first place. Her free hand shuffles and pulls out the list again, smiling brightly as she holds it out for him to read over with her. "I remember the first one is flour!" she beams brightly.
The pair of younglings quickly go from store to store, or booth, and gather up the items on the list, and by the end Yuriko's huffing, holding onto a bag of flour about half the size of she is with both arms. And still she smiles.
Struck helpless by her response, Kiyoshi smirks without remorse and even chuckles a little at the sight of her expression. The one saving grace of his is the fact that he least tried to cut himself off the instant it looked like Yuriko would become annoyed or even angry. Even if he does not come out unscathed for his reaction, their tireless search for the items on the list provides the perfect opportunity to ease any tension between them. Once the time is passed however and the duo are left with only the trip to the drop off point itself, Kiyoshi cannot fully fight back a frown. The goods weighing down both his arms did little to lighten the mood, Not so long as the thing that kept nagging him happened to be in Yuriko's hands, and while she appeared largely oblivious to his mood.
Their list completed, the pair heads out of the Marketplace eastwards. Yuriko makes a face of concentration as she shifts the weight of the bag in her arms, the tip of her tongue sticking out at the corner of her mouth while she makes sure that the woven bag doesn't slip out of grip by mistake. After a moment or so of this, and managing to keep from dropping her bag, Yuriko shifts her attention to Kiyoshi beside her and sees the frown. Again. Her nose wrinkles some as she watches him a moment longer, "You look like something's on your mind."
Kiyoshi starts, and then looks away to chew on his upper lip as he mulled it over. A tactic necessary to ensure that however and whatever he said next would not be as heavily influenced by those aquamarine eyes of her as was done several times in the past. Never intentionally on her part, perhaps, but nevertheless they were too influential and for once he wished to avoid stammering over his own words again. "I think it would be better if you let me carry the groceries there, and… you for you to anything else that might come up." 'Like smoothing things over with Obaa-chan for taking so long' He said and added in thought but dared not to say.
The little girl beside him gives Kiyoshi a curious glance, seeing him start from just asking. And chewing on his bottom lip was a clear tell. Yuriko cants her snowy head at him, wavy bangs falling into her face as she simply waits for him to answer back, on his own. And when he does reply, confusion flickers through her expression. "How are you supposed to carry the stuff and me there too? That seems like allot. Are you really that strong?" He doesn't look like he could, but still Yuriko gives his arms a curious glance.
If it were not for his hands being full at the moment, the young Moto might have just facepalmed right then and there after hearing Yuriko's reply. Instead, Kiyoshi just stared flatly at Yuriko while trying to keep from dropping the bags and facepalming anyways. Once the initial shock — among other feelings — passes through his system, the boy shakes his head to clear away whatever lingers, then straightens up and takes a deep, cleansing breathe. "Yes." At just glance the boy might not have looked all that strong, just pudgy and a little tall for his ege, but between the hellish training Meruin puts him through as well as the conditioning from his brother, the boy packed some serious strength. Strength that even chuunin envy. Unless of course their specialty lay in a vastly different department.
"Just set the bag of flour on—there." He directed her towards a nearby bench. "Then hop on my shoulder. I can handle the rest from there." He explained, and unless she disapproved of the plan, Kiyoshi would take a kneel before Yuriko. As calm as he was on the outside, the boy was conflicted, confused, and annoyed. The latter being directed mostly at himself since he chickened out on correcting Yuriko instead.
Okay. Yuriko's just outright confused. She got that he wanted her to give him the flour to carry, but the part he had said just after didn't make much sense to the little girl. He stares at her flatly, and she frowns deeper with even more confusion. Whatever it was that was going on, he didn't explain anything. Just went with her best guess. Looking past him at the bench, her steps come to a slow stop as Yuriko presses her lips together, bright eyes glancing back to Kiyoshi when he kneels down for her to hop onto his back. It isn't as if she minded piggyback rides, but this was a different matter. "But, I like doing this with you. We're both working hard." Was he underestimating her again? The young girl makes a face to herself, and quickly setting the bag on the soft ground to move in front of him. Her expression serious. Twice now he's second guessed her. "What do I need to do to show you that I'm just as capable as you are?"
Kiyoshi had, more or less, anticipated such a response from Yuriko. But even so, the boy was taken aback by it, and barely manage to hold onto to resolve to stand his ground. He snorts and stays kneeling despite the potential consequences because he wished to remain on eye level with her. "I'm not saying that your are not as capable. Your just… Your just better suited for handling what I said earlier." He stated bluntly, though weakly in the end since speaking what he thought sounded only better in thought. "But if you really think I am, then—" 'Fine' Another word and he might have stomped off again without glancing back once. Logic, however, saved him from another foolish error. Albiet not without something perhaps even more foolish taking the place of his earlier intentions.
"… If your that determined to prove something, then beat me at Ninja Jaken or Arm Wrestling." He continued, eye twtiching every now and then as he spoke until the awful words had left his body.
Kiyoshi's bluntness earns a brief, flat glance, but she isn't upset by his choice of words. Regardless what he might think she react, he earns a bit of respect from Yuriko at that moment. Still, she presses her lips together as she makes a face at him, if only a moment. "'Arm wrestling'?" she repeats. "Are there special rules to Ninja Jaken or is it just like regular arm wrestling?" She'd seen her father arm wrestle before with other men in the Kaguya village, and it didn't look all that hard.
Kiyoshi stood up and nodded firmly in the affirmative to her first question. Those that follow on the other hand earn a head cant and a brow being lofted from confusion. "Ninja Jaken Wrestling?" He asked softly more to himself than of Yuriko, only to right it again and shake it. "Arm wrestling is just… arm wrestling. Just like you've probably seen more than once around your village. Jaken is something else entirely." Kiyoshi deadpans, then frowns and inclines his head solemnly. How could he forget how the others treated her at school? Or the fact that the Kaguya were known more for their savagery than anything else. Granted their techniques were based off of a kind of dancing. Sort of.
"Jaken or Rock-Paper-Scissors is a game where two people shake their hands before one another, count to three, then stop and reveal at the same time that their choice is either rock, paper, or scissors." He explained as he showed each of the positions for each choice. "Rock beats Scissors, Scissors beats Papers, and for reasons I still haven't figured out yet, Paper beats Rock." He paused and looked up from his hand to peer at Yuriko to make sure it all sunk in or speak up. "Ninja Jaken follows the same basic rules, but there's a catch. Cheating. Like Genjutsu, Split Second Change of your choice, and that general type of stuff… The catch however is that you can't get caught doing it. Understood?" He asked dryly and with a hint of irritation behind his tone. Why? Because he really hated talking so much.
Yuriko is silent as she listens, a small frown etched into her young face as he explains the rules about Ninja Jaken. There's no real test of skill with rock-paper-scissors, but with the new rule there is. She dips her chin with a small nod when he asks if she understood the rules. "If we arm wrestled, would that prove to you that I'm capable?" she asks. If he couldn't rely on her on a mission, Kiyoshi might think of her as a liability instead. Yuriko need to show him that she can do what he can do.
Instead of an immediate verbal reply Kiyoshi set the rest of the groceries down, pulled back one of his sleeves, then presented the arm to her with the palm facing the sky. "Guts!" He exclaimed mockingly as he clenched the outstretched hand into a tight fist. Afterwards he let the hand fall to the wayside carelessly and smirked at Yuriko. "That's how meat heads like to explain, but that ain't the real case. It is a test of strength, true, but for me is something more important." He let the smirk fall away just to replace it with an expressionless mask. "Determination. Willpower. Courage. The opposite of Ninja Jaken which tests Wit. Speed. Patience. But…" Fault lines begin to appear within the mask, revealing little except agitation and shame. "—You already have that in spades. So, there's need for you to worry about proving anything to me."
Blinking her bright eyes at him as Kiyoshi makes a showing of his arm, before it falls to his side. And she remains quiet as she listens. Its after his explanation that silence grows between them for a longer moment still before the little girl exhales a small breath. Bending down, Yuriko reaches for the bag of flour with both arms. "Then I'm not sure what else to do, or what this is even really about even." she murmurs. "Maybe I don't have to prove anything, but I do need to get your trust so that when I say that I can do things, you'll believe me."
Kiyoshi tried to keep from exploding, truly he did. But after hearing what Yuriko had to say last, the boy could not contain his anger any longer. Thus, he roared to the heavens with his fingers dug into his scalp as they combed through his fiery mane, freezing or startling just about everyone within earshot. And while his outcry is a short-lived one, most remain locked in place from confusion and/or terror well after. A heavy, exasperated sigh is released, breaking the silence on the boy's part before he roughly picked up the groceries once more. "Look Yuriko-san, I do trust you. Maybe not with everything just yet… But with enough. I just wanted an excuse to avoid apologizing to Obaa-chan later about running off earlier, and… those, other mishaps." He explained in desperation. "That's it."
Kiyoshi's never roared before. And it was a strange sight to watch as he dug his fingers into his scalp with frustration. Her bright eyes watch him with a small amount of surprise, but when his attention turns back to her Yuriko tilts her head at him. With his response, she gives him a flat glance. "Then you should have just told me that in the first place." she counters, straight to the point as usual. It's probably then that she began to realize that he was the opposite. With a small sigh, Yuriko frees a hand and reaches up to pat softly at Kiyoshi's cheek. "I'm sorry I frustrated you." And her confusion also meant that they took even more time to do their small mission. She has to fix that now. Pulling her hand away, she quickly nods and turns to continue their trek eastwards.
Kiyoshi bristled at the comment but held back his tongue until everything Yuriko had to say was said, and longer still due to shock from from having her pat his cheek. When he finally does recover — a process made sluggish by his overthinking things — Kiyoshi look at Yuriko as she turned away, searching for something that his mind could not quite comprehend. Frustrated, he closed his eyes with a huff, and then readjusted the bags in hand before speed walking until they were at each other's side once more. Unless prompted by Yuriko or some other unfortunate event, Kiyoshi stays resolutely silent, face stretched taut from the apology that burned upon his tongue as well as stress from trying to keep from glancing down at Yuriko.
Yuriko hadn't stopped to check to see if Kiyoshi was still behind her, or if he was following. Her aquamarine eyes trained themselves forward on the path ahead of them while he catches up with her steps. And then the silence envelopes the pair. It was difficult to tell just what may have been churning through her head as her expression was a mask, the total opposite of what the young girl normally was. Every once in a great while Yuriko readjusts the weight of the flour in her arms, but otherwise the only sound there is are their footsteps.
Kiyoshi is accustomed to silence after having spent the majority of his young life with only silence and his own thoughts to keep him company, but not once did he suspect that the embrace of the former could be so painful to endure. Bull-headed though he may be, Kiyoshi could only stand this newfound pain only so much before growing too weak to stop himself from glancing over at Yuriko. The mask she wore spoke volumes. She hated him now. She never once spoke of or hinted at disliking the boy before, but the look or lack thereof expression certainly made it seem so.
Saddened, Kiyoshi only one half-hearted attempted to strike up a conversation in attempt to at least relieve himself of the pain that came with silence at least, only to drop the idea without voicing a single word, and to press forward with his shoulders slack from all the walking.
It takes a few minutes, but eventually they see building of the restaurant and make their way around the side to get to the back door. Yuriko bumps against Kiyoshi's arm lightly, right before she slides open the door and enters ahead of him. Baa-chan was up in her years and didn't have as much energy as her sons, but she had pulled up a seat to help prepare the food anyways. The little Kaguya smiles, "I'm sorry it took so long. I hope we brought everything in time for dinner!" Yuriko says, huffing a breath when one of the busboys takes the bag of flour from her arms.
Kiyoshi finds some relief in seeing the building but little else. If anything the boy began to dread entering the building since it would mean the end of their mission, and with it his parting ways with Yuriko. Hope briefly lights up his eyes when Yuriko bumped against him. However, without so much as a glance back the boy remains hesitant to speak. Only blindly follow in after her while trying to keep his gaze from meeting the client's own. So caught up in his own mental drama is he that Kiyoshi does not hesitate to level a glare at the first busboy to try and relieve him of his burdens.
"Gomen." He murmured roughly as his gaze softened and the bags are taken off hand one by one. Once free the boy quickly made his way over to the wall closest to the way they came; hopeful that Yuriko would handle the rest from here, despite their earlier confrontation.
One by one the grocery items have been checked off the list and there's an exchange between Baa-chan and Yuriko. In the middle of their conversation, Baa-chan glances past the little girl, glancing at Kiyoshi with a speculative moment, though she simply smiles and glances back to Yuriko. Then, she turns, disappearing into another room before returning with two boxes. The lunches they were promised. Yuriko smiles and accepts them, giving the elderly woman a small bow. Then turning around to face Kiyoshi, the young Kaguya smiles and holds out a box for him. "Here! This one is for you."
Kiyoshi sneezed and rubbed his nose thoughtlessly at first, and then tensed up and started to look around warily. Somebody somewhere was conspiring against him… Interesting. So very interesting in fact that he did not even notice Yuriko approaching until she speaks up, giving the boy a start.
"Don't—" He started to say, only to claim up at the sight of the bento. His stomach growled, demanding that he snatch the prize away before Yuriko had a chance to change her mind! It deserved it after all that running around it — by a technicality — had to do! Alas, the poor organ would have to deal had a prideful and distrustful master. One who tirelessly insisted on giving the box a great deal of time consuming scrutiny — without barely a change in expression — before nodding hesitantly and accepting the offer. "…Are you not mad at me?" He asks softly as mud brown eyes peered into aquamarine ones.
Yuriko blinks once when Kiyoshi begins to snap at her, only to grab at the box offered as his stomach audibly growls. "You want to go eat them in the park?" she asks. She's a little hungry herself after all. Then he asks what's on his mind and meets her eyes. Yuriko blinks her rich blue green eyes for a moment, thoughtfully glancing up at the ceiling for a pause. "Not really. Just, you don't seem to speak your mind much, and I'm not used to that." she answers, quietly shrugging her shoulders and returning her gaze back to Kiyoshi. She gives him a small smile.
The smile makes Kiyoshi hesitate for a moment before he snorts and frees up a hand so that he can ruffle Yuriko's hair; presumably if she doesn't cut it off first. "Get used to it, cuz I ain't changing that part of me anytime soon," Kiyoshi replied bluntly with a smile. "Now c'mon. Best we get out of here before we get roped into doing chores next," Kiyoshi added before straightening out fully and turning to take point on their trip. "Hnn… Where is the park again?" He muttered off-handily.
Yuriko makes a face when he ruffles her snowy hair, making it poof slightly. She huffs a breath to blow her bangs from her face before pinching at his side, dodging whatever retaliation he might have as she dashes out of the back door. Should Kiyoshi catch up with her, the little girl slows down so they can walk together again. "Well, it's the Boneyard Gardens. But its kinda like a park." Yuriko offers. "And it should be a little west, then south."
"Ow! Oi!!" She's out the door before the boy can barely even finish his last word. Without hesitation, Kiyoshi is after Yuriko at top speed, and as a result nearly tears the door off its henges on its way out. A hasty sorry is yelled behind him, but beyond that the boy does not slow down or stop to make sure everything is alright. He wanted Yuriko to pay for that sly attack… BUT, as soon as got within arm's reach of the little girl, red-headed youth could not bring himself to tackle her as intended, let alone pinch her back.
Thus, the boy is left to fume as she offered directions. "Meh, I suppose your right Yuriko-san. I just hope the old groundskeeper is in a good mood today." He stated off-handily with a shake of his head. Then lapsed into silence for a time in order as they made their way to their next destination.
"So… What were you and obaa-chan talk'n bout earlier?" He asked nonchalantly.
"Hm." The mention of the groundkeeper makes Yuriko appear thoughtful. He had a point. It's likely that the Gardens would be closed relatively soon seeing as it was getting later in the evening. "I got a better idea." she says, without further explanation. Instead she makes and abrupt turn westwards again, passing through the road that had originally led them to the marketplace and choosing another, worn path through the earth. Soon enough the ground begins to slope beneath their feet. When Kiyoshi asks about Baa-chan, Yuriko blinks her bright eyes up at him, shrugging a moment after. "She just wanted to know how the trip went, if we had any trouble. That sort of stuff."
Kiyoshi lofted a brow and started to open his mouth to speak, only for Yuriko to derail his line of thought by change course abruptly and forcing the boy to adapt first. Grumbling but grudgingly, Kiyoshi pursues her; albeit with a bit more caution now.
"Mmhmm," Is Kiyoshi's only response to the explanation. And while his response alone might not have given it away, a glance back at the boy's expression would reveal just how disbelieving of her story… which is greatly. "Yuriko-san…?" He pauses to focus on avoiding a rock that would've sent him tumbling down the slope. "Just where are you taking me now?"
Cliffside Memorial [Kirigakure]
A strong frigid wind always whips through the air here, clearing it of any mist that might linger. The cliff face extends fifty feet out over the water, at the end of the face is a large obsidian memorial obelisk. A single dirt path heads back westward.
Yuriko really doesn't care if he doesn't believe her. She navigates the worn earth path easily ahead of Kiyoshi, and after a few moments when he asks where they're going, she merely glances over her shoulder at him with a big grin. Clearly she has something planned that she isn't telling him. They move deeper through the forest, the slope finally leveling off as the trees part ahead of them. Yuriko slows her steps and stands aside for Kiyoshi, smiling. A bit proud of herself. Ahead of them is a cliff that faces over the village, gracing them a view of the sun setting in the sky above Kirigakure.
Kiyoshi gulps at the sight of Yuriko's grin. She's was leading him into some kind of ambush! Or so the paranoid side of him had told him. Kiyoshi however chose to continue placing his faith in Yuriko, because even if things did turn out badly, at least his conscious would be clear when it came to how he treated her earlier. Still, the boy is far from fully resolute and made a note to keep a keener interest in his surroundings as much as the girl leading the way. Especially if it turned out he needed to escape, though the chances of him fleeing 'needlessly' were slim to none.
Once all there is left is for Kiyoshi to pass Yuriko in order to reach their surprise destination, the boy comes to a stop at her side, and then examine her for any signs of deceit. Even when nothing is found — as to be expected — the boy is not entirely satisfied… but enough to take those last few steps that would give him the clearest view of what she wanted to show him. The sight itself…
"…A… mmm… How did you find this place?" Is all that is asked for no other thought could be diverted away from absorbing every detail of the scene before him.
Kiyoshi may not seem overly impressed, but still Yuriko grins. "It's always been here." is all that she says, lowering herself on the ground just a foot or so away from the edge itself. Her box of food is plopped into her lap and opened, and after plucking one of the rice balls and taking a bite out of it the little girl glances up at the view. "This is one of my favorite spots." she murmurs softly.
Yuriko's candid response elicits eye roll from Kiyoshi before his attention focuses right back onto the scenery. A small, absent-minded smile begins to make its way in Kiyoshi's features the longer he looked. But by the time Yuriko has spoken again, the smile begins to falter, and then dissolve outright before he spares Yuriko a glance. "It has a nice view," Kiyoshi comments off-handily, feigning nonchalance in favor of souring the mood further. Afterwards he made his way closer to the edge and daringly sat down with his legs dangling off it and bento in his lap. "…Yuriko-chan… You love this village, don't you?" He asked softly before beginning to devour his meal.
The young Kaguya dips her chin with a small nod as Kiyoshi more or less agrees with her, taking small bites from her food as he boldly sits on the edge to dangle his feet over the edge. A comfortable silence falls on them, simply enjoying the view and each other's company before the boy asks his question. It was a curious question. "Over all, yes. Some individuals I can do without." Yuriko murmurs lightly. "But I think that's just part of what makes a village. Nice people and not so nice people, because if everyone was nice, then how interesting can that be?" Her bright eyes glance down at the village, and a small smile tugs at her lips. "I do. I can understand why my mommy works so hard too."
Kiyoshi cannot help but to cringe at the part about the village being better off without some individuals, because certainly he could be counted amongst those numbers. At least as far as he was concerned. Thankfully a beacon of hope reveals itself when next she speaks, and like a drowning man flailing for a life preserver, the boy is quick to latch on to a sign of hope. What is heard however is… confusing, to say the least. So much so, that the boy spent a good minute or so scratching his head as he puzzled it over before asking uncertainty, "She works so hard because of how interesting people here are?"
It takes a few moments, but Yuriko eventually gathers up the courage to scooch herself closer to where Kiyoshi sits at the edge, inching nearer so that she can sit beside him without dangling her feet over the edge. She doesn't dare glance over the edge though. The thought alone gives her a small shiver.
The young girl takes another small nibble of her rice ball as she turns her snowy head, glancing at Kiyoshi with part of the rice ball in her mouth while pale bangs fall in her face. "Hm." she chews thoughtfully. "Well, mommy likes everyone." Yuriko murmurs. "She always accepts people how they are, so she tries to fight hard to protect them."
A great deal of self-control is all that keeps Kiyoshi from scooting away from Yuriko, and subsequently off the cliff. This almost instinctive need to put some distance from Yuriko is by no means her fault. Being in close proximity with others just tended to bring out the worse in him. In fact, the boy is quite twitchy even as Yuriko spoke. A prelude to darker impulses gnawing their way to the surface for a time before her words begin to calm him down again.
Just a smidgen.
"Ah.. That sounds… Admirable." He admits warily. "Though-…" 'Unrealistic.' The word catches in his throat. A mistake. And worst yet, one that threatened to make things awkward for the duo again. Thinking fast, the boy quickly stuffs a rice ball down mouth to delay and think. The latter becoming progressively harder due to the distracting deliciousness of the ball and nervousness. "*gulp*…Do you plan to follow in Yuuka-sama's footsteps then?"
Yuriko nibbles as she listens, curiously watching his expression as it changes with his thoughts and when the word catches in his throat she lifts a pale brow at him. And then he stuffs a whole rice ball in his face. Whatever it was that he wanted to avoid saying, was it that bad? She wiggles her nose at him, but decides ultimately to ignore it.
The young girl exhales a small breath as she turns her eyes back towards the village, silent. "My first daddy died to protect the village." she murmurs. "And mommy still thinks about him, but I've never felt regret from her." Yuriko glances down at the partially eaten rice ball in her hand. "I don't know about fighting for the whole village, but I do know that I would try my best to fight for you. And… even if it's just one person, that's important I think."
Her murmured words are heard but the boy refrains from commenting. The young Moto even goes as far as to examine a rice ball to improve the facade. But ultimately the words that followed were tenacious in the sense that he found himself unable to keep from turning his head and peering at Yuriko. A shadow of despair passes through the boy's mud brown orb briefly, only to be replaced by a pained smirk and a shake of his head. "Yeah. That's important 'nd all, but I don't think it'd be a good idea to fight for me in particularly." He admitted with a casual shrug.
And Yuriko grins and takes another bite from her rice ball, finishing it. "Mm." she chews, swallowing. "There you go trying to be cool again. You don't have to try so hard." she teases, giving his arm a nudge with her elbow. Picking up a little octopus cut wienie bite from her box, the girl wiggles it back and forth with a bit of amusement. "What about you? What do you fight for?"
Kiyoshi's gives her a flat look in response to the teasing, and would've gone on to wave in a manner to further emphasize his point if not for the arm nudge through him for a second too long. "Not trying to. And when have I ever claimed being cool anyhow?" He asks as he rubbed at the spot she nudged thoughtlessly. Then gradually began to focus on his food again. Decisions, Decisions — "Hm?" He emits, thoughts scattered to the wind by a simple, unexpected question. "Me?" He frowns with a brow lofted. "I fight for…?"
'Should he tell her honestly?'
Should the whole beans just be spilled now?
Should he lie?'
"I fight to fulfill a promise I made to Aniki, Akio-sama." A vague question, but all he dared to respond with in the hope that it is enough to satisfy Yuriko's curiosity. The frown deepening near the end and the fact he kept his eyes focused solely on the village however may prove to be his undoing.
The young Kaguya girl watches him curiously, waiting for his answer until it came. Whatever the promise was, Kiyoshi clearly avoided mentioning what it was. She didn't even know who the people he had mentioned was, only that he respected them. Making a face, Yuriko lifts her free hand to poke her fingertip at the frown in his brow. "You're frowning so hard. This promise must be really serious." As if to emphasize the point, she makes a serious face. Tries to in any case. The girl doesn't quite have a knack for it it seems.
Still, the hand pulls away and Yuriko frowns at him a moment longer. Something was off. And once more Kiyoshi wasn't trusting her. Making some sort of a light grunting sound, she pops the little octopus wienie into her mouth. "Its your turn to ask a question. And no more evasive answers. They're getting annoying." she mumbles.
With his eyes so keenly and increasingly focused on the horizon, Kiyoshi misses Yuriko's attempt at appearing serious. Her comment however provides enough insight to elicit a low growl out of the boy for 'mocking' him again. The glare from the setting sun eventually forces the boy's gaze away from the horizon, and as a result, the phantoms that played in his vision dispersed. The after-effect of it all left him with a newfound dislike of the sun and a mild headache; but also an appreciation for it as well, given the fact that it spared him greater pain and embarrassment in the long run. Like say inconveniently missing a friend's question.
"…I'll try." He replied by way of apology and let out a soft sigh. "Not very good at this stuff." He murmurs, then asks more clearly, "Have you… no, that's a bad one too… Mmm… If.. If you something bad happened to your mom and if that something was because of a… frie—someone else you cared about… What would you do?"
It was… an odd question. Yuriko frowns quietly to herself for a moment longer, then another, then another. Thoughtful. "Hm." she lifts a small hand to brush the wavy bangs from her face. "Not sure. Lots of things can happen to her because she's a Seven Swordsman, so… something bad can always happen." she shrugs her small shoulders. "If it was from someone we cared about…" Her frown deepens. "I know what my mommy would do, but I'm not sure what I would do."
"Neh? What happened to no more evasive answers?" Kiyoshi teases halfheartedly with a weak smile. Then after a moment he narrowed his eyes, signaling for all jokes to put aside. "What would Yuuka-sama do then?" He asks somewhat warily. A twinge of pain shot through his chest soon after the question leaves his mouth. But despite it Kiyoshi pressed on. He wanted to catch a glimmer of what may be. He needed to at all cost.
Yuriko gives him an equally flat look when he teases her back. "If I knew, I would tell you." she murmurs, though his following question is more serious. Having eaten half of her bento, she reaches for the cover and places it on top of the box. "Mommy would hug them." she murmurs softly. "She would hug them and say its okay." It was the way her mother was after all. It was part of who she was, and one of the things Yuriko admired in her mother.
Kiyoshi shrugged off the first reply since it was mostly what was expected. What truly had his attention was an answer of a different sort. One that made Yuriko the sole point of interest, and all else — even food — paled in comparison. Simply put, if the boy had been standing he would've face-faulted after hearing the reply. It was illogical, improbable, and just plain silly! To even think that Yuriko's mother would hug the person that killed — Kiyoshi gritted his teeth, turned away, and shut his eyes tightly.
What felt like every fiber of his being demanded that her words be denied. Everything except what felt to be a few cells tied closely with memories of a warm embrace from just such a figure. "Even if that someone was a monster. The same one that killed you?" The words slipped out of his mouth before they can be censored, though even after becoming aware a few seconds later, Kiyoshi hardly reacts beyond opening his eyes and peering at Yuriko from the peripheral.
The young girl turns her snowy head to glance quietly at him, wavy bangs falling partially into her face as she watches Kiyoshi tense, the words slipping out of his mouth making her frown. A silent moment passes, then another. "I think if you really want to know that, you should ask her." Yuriko murmurs, shrugging her slender shoulders. "But she does say that some things are better asked in person, if that helps any." She might not be sure what this is about, but it seemed fairly serious.
Yuriko pulls her gaze away from Kiyoshi beside her to look up at the sky, the last of the sun's rays now gone and the first couple of stars just now becoming visible in the velvet sky. "If we get on the same team, can we do this at the end of every mission?"
The moments of silence are nerve wrecking for Kiyoshi, but by some miracle he manages to keep from letting the effect show on the surface. He tenses up the moment she starts to speak, then turns his head to better look upon her. Her answer brings him no comfort. If anything he appears apprehensive at the thought of broaching the subject with Yuuka. So much so in fact that he turns away and starts roughly combing a hand through 'burning' locks. A guttural growl soon emanates from the boy, but before whatever the growl preluded to could be acted upon, Yuriko's voice brings him back to reality.
"Do what?" He asks warily as the hand falls to the wayside and red curls fell, or better yet bounced back into place just above his eyes. "Wax philosophy?" He joked half-heartedly.
Yuriko blankly blinks her vivid blue green eyes back at the boy beside her, seeming confused for a moment. "This. Eating a bento box right here at the end of mission." A small smile tugs at her lips and she looks back out to the village, spying distant lights beginning to light up the streets and inside of buildings. "I think it would be something nice to look forward to." Maybe it was silly. It's hard to tell, but Yuriko was fairly certain that Kiyoshi would just shrug it off.
Kiyoshi did indeed just shrug it off before going back to polishing off his own bento. A healthy burp and a pat of the stomach signals the end of the boy's meal. Soon after, Kiyoshi leaned back with his hands propping his upper body up at the side in relaxation. A brief moment of silence pass before he lets out a soft sigh. "That would be kinda nice, Yuriko-san," He admitted with a smile at first, then grimaced as the words sunk in. "That is, so long we can stand each other." He stated flatly after turning to look at Yuriko. Then just before his words could do too much harm, the boy smirked and started laughing.
There's a coarseness behind the laughter, revealing that laughter is (or perhaps 'was' now) something the boy does not do very often.
The young Kaguya girl is almost surprised when he agrees with her, and Yuriko couldn't help but give him a mildly skeptical glance to see if he was just pulling her leg. But, he looked relaxed at first, though his expression shifting with his follow up reply. Yuriko scoffs back at him and leans in enough to nudge at his arm with her shoulder. "If you stop being so interesting, maybe." she agree, giggling with him. And just like that she leans against that same arm, content with the moment as she glances back up at the stars. "This was a good day."
Kiyoshi immediately nudges Yuriko back in retaliation and snorts at the comment that follows. For a moment he teases with the idea of revealing his greatest secret. The desire fades in the moment that follows, and is marked by a scowl twisting his features. The scowl is hardly present for more than a second or two before a surprise from Yuriko startles him by leaning against his arm. His whole body stiffens instantly while his mind raced to try and compute what just happened. Once more he found the reservoir of self-control within his being being put to the test.
A wary glance between curly throng of his bangs is directed towards Yuriko. So innocent, so content, so nerve wrecking! It is truly a miracle that he didn't toss her off and jet off again; only this time without looking back. "… Yeah," He murmured in agreement after having ultimately managed to calm down enough to try and just enjoy the moment.
'The greatest day… so far.'