Progenitor's Keeper


Sei, Kiji, Tsubaki, Kiyoshi

Date: January 7, 2015


Sei and Kiyoshi discover Kiji's Progenitor, though the results of this meeting are not completely pleasant. By chance, Tsubaki, a student of Kirigakure Academy find herself caught up during the worst of the unpleasentness.

Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.

"Progenitor's Keeper"

Boneyard Gardens [Kirigakure]


As you enter the gardens from the street, you realise that the curved white fence-posts with the strange-seeming cross-baring between them are large, curved rib bones; Likely from a whale, if their size is any judge. Within the walled off area, however, the ground is rich and lush; Tall fruit trees, staggered so that during any given season at least a few of the barrier-ring of trees would be in bloom and part giving fruit, rest covered with a network of creeping vines along the trunks. The ground seems almost carpeted by herbal beds full of mint, garlic, any number of things that one can imagine are likely here, growing.
The area seems to be a large, circular space; Trees at the far outside, concentretic rings of herb beds, and then a ring of low to the ground fruit-bushes. Where the ground is visable, it seems that the dirt has a strange consistancy, like light, bleached woodchips. In the center of this large garden is a grassy field, perhaps 60 feet across, at the very center of which is a water fountain; Upon the fountain's central pillar, in very small text, lists of names are written. When you find the name of someone who you had heard died within the last few months, you realise the morbid truth; This place of lush, nurtured growth is a graveyard.


The day was cool but the snow had melted some in the gardens, leaving the winter plants open and ready for harvest. A female crouched by those plants, carefully choosing which to pick and which to leave behind. At her side was a clipboard and a small bag. She wore loose pants similar to how Kiji once dressed, though her shirt did nothing to hide her figure. She bore the shimizu crest on her sleeve as well. Long raven hair was in a thick braid down her back, her eyes were a pale blue and she .. looked like Kiji, smelled like Kiji…. A few things might have been different in clothing and such but she appeared in every other way to /be/ Kiji. The biggest difference was that she did not have the scent of Sei on her at all. She clicked her tongue and wrote something down on the clipboard before moving to the next grouping of plants.

Sei was around for his own reasons. That's usually how it went anyways, so this wasn't nothing new. However, he did happen to catch that Kiji was there.. only.. not.. Kiji? This was odd. Looked the same. Same scent the brood said.. and yet.. no spiders. The first thing done was part of the brood would approach Kiji and where she was noting down stuff, five of the spiders scoping her out basically, as Sei would stay nearby. Not exactly hiding.. but not in sight either.

Kiyoshi meant to ignore the scent, and everything associated with it. Kiji did not need him dragging his problems to her. Not now. He could endure the renewed sense of distrust and even outright hate in the eyes of the villagers as he did before. The intensity was greater perhaps, but ultimately no different. It isn't until the Kirryu began to realize how clear the scent was becoming that he learned of his body's betrayal. He had walked unerringly towards the source, and after a moments pause to reign in his annoyance, Kiyoshi entered the Boneyard gardens.
He sees her before long, and approaches from behind with a faint smile playing at the edge of his lips. The smile falters by the time he actually reaches arms reach her. Something… was off. She smelled and looked like Kiji. Heck, she even moved like her too. Almost. But… something was definitely missing. "O… Ohayo, Kiji-chan." He says awkwardly with a nervous smile.
Kiyoshi hasn't noted Sei's presence yet, but his brood's proximity made it only a matter of time before he caught on.

The woman looked down as the spiders approached and tilted her head. After a moment of watching the spiders watch her, she put her hand down to let them crawl onto her hand if they liked. The information they would find was all the same as Kiji, just..a little off. She turned as Kiyoshi came closer, eyes ice blue and peered up at him, almost curiously. His greeting made her blink a few times before she stood."You are not hiding very well, Okumo." She spoke toward Sei then peered up at Kiyoshi, eyes still the same. "Ah yes… I heard of you. The Kirryu." Yup definitely not Kiji. Her eyes did not shift, her tone was more sure of herself, and she referred to Sei as Okumo. But she /looked/ the same. She /scented/ the same.

The spiders started to climb onto Kiji's hand, only to immediately hop off once she lifted up. How she acted, what she did.. This wasn't Kiji. Sei shifted where he stood, a small nod was given towards Kiji as his brood scattered. He'd glance to Kiyoshi, giving a shrug and turning away. Something wasn't right and her eyes weren't shifting.. He needed to find the real Kiji. Maybe Kiyoshi would be fine with the clone.

The nervousness about the giant lessens once the meet face to face. His eyes were narrowed in speculation until Kiji mentions an Okumo. "Wha..?" But the answer becomes clearer with a proper look about the area. Seeing Sei's reaction puts the final nail in the coffin. Still, the Kirryu is startled from his thoughts by Kiji — the Progenitor's(?) speaking up with her voice. "Ah.. Mm.. And you… You are the.. You're her. Kiji's sister." Not quite true, but it was a close enough definition for the first. "She.. er.. uhm… There's…" Try as he might, the giant just can't get his tongue untied long enough to get anything solid out. So ultimately, he just sighs, inclines his head, and rubs at the back of his neck awkardy.

The Not Kiji smirked as Sei shrugged and turned away. Icy eyes turned to appraise Kiyoshi. And when he stumbled over the words calling her Kiji's sister the woman frowned. "Oh? she was not to divulge those facts. My, my, /someone/ has been a bad little experiment hasn't she? I wonder how Mizukage-sama would take that." Another smirk, predatory on her lips. She knew exactly what Kiji was, knew everything that happened with her and had spent 2 years drilling the blood skills into her in the concentration camps. "And you're the one she's with hmm? I might live out of the village but I am well aware of what goes on with .. /her/." She wrinkled her nose in a bit of distaste. Perhaps she regreted what had happened or she simply found Kiji distasteful. Either way she could be trouble. "What was your name again? Ah right Kiyoshi. Tell me, does she have a birthmark on her hip?"

Sei stiffen at the words of the clone. Related? Well could be possible. Experiments of the Okumo were very viable like that afterall. He glanced over his shoulder at the Kiji-clone with narrowed eyes. Turning slightly, the spider silk harps that were being set up suddenly burst into music, reaching out to try and grab Kiji-clone and Kiyoshi. "We highly advise you not speaking of this matter to Meruin. Otherwise we will deem you a high enough threat that will need to be ended. If you know We-Sei from knowing Kiji.. Then you know we are not faking this, nor hesitating in seeking to kill."

Kiyoshi kept alternating between looking elsewhere and back at the Not Kiji until the frown is caught. A raised brow in befuddlement is quickly joined by its counterpart from surprise before furrowing as his eyes slammed shut. Within practically five seconds of making contact with his girlfriend's past he blundered. Every curse in the book is screamed in mind until the man is spent. When he opens them again, and sees the predatory smirk on her lips briefly the man wanted to turn to physical self-punishment for the error.
But the Kirryu cannot at the moment, so he grits his teeth, steeling himself to try and make amends… somehow. "It is as you say." He replies somewhat testily in response to the first question. Did she dislike her clone, or were there circumstances he wasn't aware of? The question is on the tip of his tongue, but is destined not to leave it. With just one simple question Kiyoshi is back to being flustered and so red in the face that only a ripe tomato could beat him out in intensity. "Wha-Wha-wha.. Hu-huh? I-I wou-wou-well, er… eh?" He emits.
So distraught is he that he doesn't even register the fact that Sei invaded his mind without permission. Kiyoshi turns to him with a frown, but offers nothing. While he wanted to protect Kiji, allowing the original to be slain did not exactly sit well with him.

She smirked, but did not look like Sei's threat impressed her much. In fact, unlike Kiji, she almost seemed to want to tempt him, but held herself back. She flipped her hair behind her and looked through the clipboard she had. "Okumo Sei. Experiment still under observation?" She paused then to listen to his spider's harps and tilted her head, so much like Kiji, if only her eyes would shade to purple she would be just like Kiji. She listened quietly for a moment. Then made a note on her clipboard. "Okumo Sei-kun, I must say I believe I have a use for you. I will talk with you later about it when you are done proving your prowess."
She promptly turned to Kiyoshi and saw the by was as bright red as she thought he could turn. She chuckled and made a note on her clipboard. So it was true he still reacted as a boy. "I am curious if she has marks but I will just check for myself. It seems she has fallen behind and embarassed herself iin the pits against a Kaguya. I plan to change that. Perhaps she has too many distractions."

Kiyoshi couldn't help but smile grimly at Sei's response, or more accurately, lack thereof. Kiji or not, the insult implied would've grated on the Kirryu too much to allow it to pass. The chuckle draws the man's hardened gaze back to Kiji. "And what exactly are you implying?" He turns fully about to ask, feeling his finger tips begin their transformation into something harder than steel. Before Kiji — /his/ Kiji — had challenged him to get over one of his greatest aversion, the Kirryu would not have been able to even remotely conceive the idea of harming someone wearing her face. But now? It lingered still, but truthfully only the fact that the original was a shinobi of Kirigakure kept him from acting upon impulse in the heat of the moment.

The woman's smirk settled as if she were used to looking down on others. Ahe also looked a bit bored, though. Tapping her clipboard with her pen a few times she tilted her head and again it was just like Kiji.. Just how much of this behavior was nature and how much was nurture? "What I'm implying is that clearly the two of you are drawn to her. Perhaps that is why she is not progressing at the appropriate rate. It does not matter. She will improve and she will do it quickly." No questions there really, she was intent on forcing Kiji forward in her training. "My name is Sorako. Just in case you are curious about the real one. Are you happy with a copy? Do you know she has to dye her hair?" She laughed as if that were disgraceful.
His hand was not below her notice, though and she looked at the shifting form. "Oh very intriguing." She made another note on her clipboard.

It was mutual. Kiyoshi was hesitant to believe that what was done to Sorako had been anything but forced upon her. Before today he had even thought the woman was still trapped in the concentration camp to avoid any trouble. But now he saw the truth for what it was, and it… it angered him to no end. His guts churned from the feeling, because he knew without Sorako agreeing to the Okumo's experiments, he would never have met Kiji. And the way the Sorako behaved… As much as he tried to ignore it, just how much had he been ignoring up to now? Was what Kiji was apart of the tweaks they made, or — Kiyoshi squeezed his eyes shut tight and gritted his teeth.
"Do you hate her, Sorako-san?" He asks evenly. "Are you jealous of her? Jealous of the fact that she has the Mizukage's attention perhaps, or… maybe it is because she seems so happy." Is added non-chalantly, a guise for his gradually building anger.

Sorako watched Kiyoshi's expression, read the evolution of his thoughts to an extent. She was very much a scientist herself and Kiyoshi's attachment to the copy was intriguing to her. The truth that Sorako had been a willing participant in Meruin's experiment and had in fact trained Kiji for 2 years after she graduated the academy was plain. Sorako did not seem to care much about it since Kiyoshi already seemed to know the sensitive information.
His comment made her blink, those icy eyes watching him with amusement. "Oh she's happy is she?" Another laugh. "No, I do not hate her. I would have to care about her to hate her. Honestly I'm simply annoyed a Shimizu would embarass herself so badly. I do not care if she knows nothing of her own clan, that kind of behavior will not be tolerated."

So much for getting a rise out of her the glum look Kiyoshi and sweat-drop gives seems to say. In hindsight, Kiyoshi should've known better. Sorako seemed far too.. sciency to fall for anything he had to offer. Even so, the effort had to be made if only to vent some of his annoyance with the look alike.
"Why… do you not care?" He asks, sounding openly curious for the first time. The feeling is sort of reigned back in quickly, though hints of it linger on as speaks on. "You've spent a great deal of time working with her, and… I'd like to not believe it, but she is of your blood. And why is it so important that she advances quickly?"

Sorako read the sweatdrop for what it was. She might look like Kiji but the truth was she was 16 years older than the girl Kiyoshi knew. She was more 'mother' than sister. The question though made her blink. Why didnt she care? When she spoke the tone was simple and honest. "The thing you know is just an experiment with many flaws. I spent 2 years with her, yes, btu I merely trained her. We did not want her to fail at one of the simplest kekkei genkais out there. It would have been an embarrassment on my genetics and on the Mizukage's experiments." She shook her head and looked down at her clipboard again. "She has fallen behind and will improve then I can go back to what I was doing to start with." She sounded annoyed. Yes, Kiji was an annoyance in her schedual. She had more important things to deal with.

Thing. Copy. Embarrassment. Experiment. Kiyoshi could not recall her even once speaking Kiji's name, or regarding her as less than human. He could no longer stand it, nor ignore the fact that Sorako was a threat to Kiji. A threat that should've known better to look away from him, because if she had, the Shimizu might've been more prepared for what was to follow barely a few seconds after she finished speaking.
A hand bearing blackened and sharp tip digits will find her neck if luck or the Shimizu's skill doesn't save her, uplifting her from the ground, and leave her dangling at his mercy. Even in his enraged state, Kiyoshi was no fool. He took care not to prick her skin too deeply, or leave the arm holding her up in its natural state. The real trick was keeping his other half's chakra from boiling to the surface, corroding flesh, blood, and bone if given the chance. Aside from what power he had to borrow to maintain the transformation, the rest the Kirryu meant to remain in his hand, for this was /his/ problem.
Rage. It showed in his eyes and the gradually increasing vice grip locked around her throat, but the rest remained like stone. Kiyoshi offers nothing except that and just enough room for Sorako to speak, though the window of opportunity in the latter's case grows smaller with each passing second.

Sorako sensed the spike in Kiyoshi's chakra. As Kiji was a sensor, so was Sorako. But she allowed the boy to get his grip. She felt her feet leave the ground and made a note on how he had not pricked her skin in the slightest. He was smart. Even smarter as she watched his arm shift in makeup. Very interesting.
However, she did not once look afraid or concerned. Her icy eyes watched him as his rage built and her only real reaction was annoyance. "Do not underestimate me, boy. Do you think I could not kill you right here? The paperwork might even be enjoyable."
She scowled and lifted one hand to point at his chest, leveling it with his beating heart. Then she suddenly breathed out a haze of blood, like the mist Kirigakure was associated with, it would threaten to cling to Kiyoshi's skin if it touched him, where it would find pores and try to sink into his flesh, a set up for what could potentially be a devastating attack. Wherever there was soft flesh the blood moved. Unless he stopped it she would form caps over his eyes to blind him temporarily…. "I suggest you release me, boy." That tone was so deep, so dark.. but it was still Kiji's voice!

She still had the audacity the try and threaten him? Then, the mist began to pour from her mouth, confusing the man for a second further before her intentions truly clicked. He could snap her neck faster than her jutsu could be implemented, but something held him back, straining his focus. As a result, his restraint of his Bijuu's chakra slips, allowing it to truly gush out from the seal, and burn the titan from the inside on out.
Soon, it would no matter whether or not Sorako's blood found purchase inside or out, nor even if it covered his eyes. Demonic chakra burns away his flesh, revealing the tainted mixture of blood and itself as it rapidly transformed the the boy into a miniature version of his Bijuu. His thoughts with its completion grew hazy, distorted, but as he grew more comfortable, he regained a degree of focus; reasoning.
Belatedly does it occur to him that Sorako might have been prepared for such a transformation. Then again, Kiyoshi never once showed this form to Kiji, so the possiblities were remote. "You see our mate as nothing… You /threaten/ our mate!" His grip tightens, burning the skin around her neck, and gradually invading what lay beneath it.

The boneyard gardens has become a good place for Tsubaki to hang out. And it probably would have been fine if she had chosen to visit any other time but now… The girl can feel the air is thick with blood from the entrance, which concerns her greatly. And the next thing she does is try and see why this is. The sight of more people she doesn't know greets her. Or rather, a person and a beast that she seems to be facing off against.
Seeing a Jinchuuriki for the first time is shocking, and seeing one at Kiyoshi's current level is even more-so. Tsubaki halts in her spot, eyes wide as she just stares. The girl finds herself unable to move, too. There's a large amount of chakra here, and she can tell even though she's not a sensor.

Sorako's eyes narrowed as she watched him transform, the skin melting away, the blood roiling and the cloak covering him. She looked excited at first, seeing a bijuu so close was a rare treat for he scientist in her.
Her eyes flicked to the side and spotted the child. Her icy eyes narrowed. This was not a good place for that girl to be right now, but Sorako had to deal with Kiyoshi first. She had to break away or do soemthing to stophis rage.. She had not counted on his feelings for her 'daughter' and it presented a problem. But then Kiyoshi's words clicked in her head. his mate?!
But then the coak began to corrode her skin and the pain proved she was not Kiji. Kiji had accepted the pain last time, had even urged him on. Sorako clearly felt the pain and reacted to it. "Let me go!" She kicked out and blood forced it's way between his hand and her throat, forming a barrier there, trying to protect herself. Her earlier attempt to invade his skin was mostly thwarted, though the exposed muscle made for an easier second attempt. She flung a powerful spike at his chest, looking to knock him backwards and hopfully off of her. It was stronger than Kiji would have been able to throw just yet, but it was unrefined, not practiced. Kiji trained. Sorako studied.

Whispers. Flashes. They assaulted his mind, blinded his gaze, and weakening his grasp on Kiji — Sorako further. They were memories; past mistakes. With a start, Kiyoshi is both literally and figuratively thrust back into the present, floundering until everything that happened came rushing back. It was a fool hardy effort on her part. The titan hardly moved from the force of the impact, nor did the cloak really give into the spike. Even if by some miracle her attack succeeded, Kiyoshi's Bijuu was infamous for more than its great size. Morbidly curious, Kiyoshi glances down to see the 'damage' for himself. By the time his gaze actually reaches the spot, the blood spike was already rapidly disintergrating from the Bijuu's corrosive influence; including the portions that had not even come in direct contact with the cloak.
"Foolish…" Kiyoshi growls out as his grip tightens, severely straining if not cracking the makeshift barrier of blood surrounding Sorako's throat. The Jinchuuriki cocks back his friend, forming a spear with his hand during the motion. Kill or Maim. He was still deciding on which to go with first before his nose picks up something. He turns it to the air and gives it a few whiffs before snapping his head around to glare at Tsubaki.
A guttural growl comes out unbidden before he slowly makes his way towards Tsubaki with Sorako in tow. He'd drag her, but a subconscious warning about giving her a chance at support kept him from dragging her along the ground at his side.

Tsubaki stares at the scene for a while longer before Sorako screams 'Let me go!'. It's the loud voice that forces her to take action, and fortunately she wasn't stupid enough to try and get in the way of all this. The girl stepped closer to the shadows, trying to keep as small as possible so she doesn't draw any attention to herself. She isn't sure if anyone needs help. Maybe Sorako? The monster before her was certainly troublesome… Nothing she could face.
And then Kiyoshi makes his way towards her. Despite the fact that she was trying to stay small, he still noticed her… She ends up frozen in her spot, every instinct telling her to run. But she can't. Nor can she make a sound other than a small *squeak*. Having a Bijuu stare you down is a terrifying thing, especially if you're merely a student!

Sorako watched the spike disintegrate just as morbidly fascinated perhaps as Kiyoshi. It was a fascinating process, but it was starting to occur to her that she might not get to write a report about it… Not if this monster continued on this path. And then his grip tightened, cracking her blood barrier and constricting her throat even more. both of her hands went up to try and get a good grip on him but she didn't have Kiji's pain tolerance and let out little gasps and hisses every time the cloak touched new skin. On the other hand, her regeneration abilities were above Kiji's. The skin grew back almost immediately.
When she saw Tsubaki frozen in place, she struggled harder. "Run, kid! NOW." She didn't know what Kiyoshi planned to do.. but she showed a hint of caring about /something/ at least, by telling tsubaki to get to safety. She tried kicking Kiyoshi again, aiming for a pressure point to one side of his spine but her angle was pretty poor and she had no purchase to gain power from.

It would not be long now before other shinobi arrived. Every since the incident involving the pits, the sensor corps were more leery of him. Granted, whether or not it was truly because of the incident, or just orders from above were beyond him.
He needed to act quickly…

Until his shadow engulfs Tsubaki the Jinchuuriki never slows or stops his approach. He could see her more clearly now. The scent of her fear was… it felt right. Why did he ever hold Kokuo back? Why shouldn't he protect what was his? And why — "GRRRRAAAAAAGHHH!!!" The strike elicited no pain from him, but her defiance and false sympathy for Tsubaki was a step too far. Without hesitation, Kiyoshi tries to drive Sorako down into the ground at his side, making a human shaped impression of her in the ground. If he hadn't accidentally snapped her neck in the process, the woman is in luck when it came to local, seeing as how the patch of earth was already thawed out for the most part.
"….. Leave." It is not a request, but a command that slips past his lips. Knowing the cloak would distort his eyes, Kiyoshi turns just enough to make sure Tsubaki knew the command was for her. Then, Kiyoshi slowly straightens himself out, and gradually allows the cloak to disappat from his form. Just about every inch of skin was raw from the transformation, but given a few minutes to recover and everything would be alright again.

Again the shouted words seem to prod Tsubaki into action. She stumbles back, though doesn't fall, and then starts to sprint as fast as she can, terror making every beat of her heart pump adrenaline through her. The loud inhuman roar makes her stumble a second time, but she continues on with only a few glances behind her. Eventually she reaches the exit of the gardens. Though it was only a couple yards, it felt like a mile away.
A final glance back would reveal a human figure instead of a beast, but Kiyoshi's identity was still unknown to her. If she met with him under normal terms, she probably wouldn't recognize him as the Bijuu. And she sprints out the door and aims to get back home, thoughts turning to 'what would she tell people if they asked why she was scared?'

Sorako could sense the awareness of others approaching, though from a distance still. It was only a moment and then Kiyoshi slammed her down into the ground, cracking bone and bruising muscle. She coughed up blood, her lungs bloody from the impact. She tried to move, but barely rolled onto her side before she coughed again. Her glare showed just ice blue eyes, angry and promising retaliation, though not physically, clearly. A hand went to her throat, reinforcing the barrier there and gathering her chakra to focus on healing herself.
Outside of the gardens Tsubaki's headlong sprint would find her running right into a pair of kiri shinobi, a chuunin and a jounin by the look of them. One caught Tsubaki by the shoulder deftly. "Whoa there, what's going on?" He asked of her. The chuunin beside him looked up at the gardens suspiciously but he waited to suggest anything, waiting for Tsubaki's answer to the jounin.
Meanwhile, back int he gardens, Sorako had made it to her knees, blood trailing down the corner of her mouth, though not falling wasted to the ground. She looked up at Kiyoshi defiantly. When she spoke her voice was gravely, rough from Kiyoshi's treatment. "What are you /thinking/?! Do you want her to stay as she is forever? And what do you care?! You almost killed her yourself if the reports are true!"

Kiyoshi doesn't say anything at first. He doesn't even so much as look in Sorako's direction for that matter. The stubborn boy in him did not want to associate with her further, but the knowledge that eventually — soon perhaps — he would have to face his Kiji made him hesitant to leave things as they were. So, the Jinchuuriki turns to her with eyes devoid of their usual warmth, and approached her until only roughly a foot remains between them.
"She is Kiji. She is my… ma-… my girlfriend." He states evenly before crouching down, lowering himself closer to the Shimizu's level. It was difficult looking at her afterwards. Closer up the resemblances and the damage he wrought twisted his heart to the point the Kirryu cannot help but cover the spot under where his heart rested. "I do not… I cannot expect her to remain as she is.. What you've done…" Kiyoshi inclines his head, masking his eyes behind a curtain of moss-toned bangs. "It was not my desire to kill her… and I will not tolerate you or anyone else treating her as if she is less… Especially not you. So-…" He raises his head, and for the first time in his life, allowed for genuine murderous intent that was of his own making flow freely from his eyes. "You would do well to remember that."

"Don'teatme!" is Tsubaki's first exclamation, the fear still clouding her mind. And then it fades and she realizes whose grasp she's in. "Ummm… There was fighting in the Boneyard gardens," she says. "And they told me to run before I got hurt." That doesn't really explain the fear that she's feeling, but it /does/ explain why she's sprinting away. She tucks some of her black hair behind an ear to keep it out of her face, her gaze even now that she's no longer facing Bijuu-Kiyoshi.

The jounin bent, concernedly when Tsubaki mentioned fighting in the gardens. There were designated places for fighting and spars and the memorial of fallen wariors was NOT one of them. He stood up and gently passed Tsubaki to the chuunin. Then he set off, for the gardens, leaving the girl with the lower ranked shinobi. The chuunin dipped down to one knee and checked her over for injuries. When it was clear she had simply been scared he patted her shoulder. "You're going to be a Kirigakure Shinobi one day. try not to show fear." He dusted off her shoulder then looked up toward the gardens. "Others will be coming, why don't I bring you home?"
In the gardens, Sorako watched Kiyoshi come closer to her and shrank back, something Kiji would not do, not from Kiyoshi anyway. She peered up at the jinchuuriki with a hint of fear in her eyes, an expression that should have ben on Kiji's face many times but never was when it seemed appropriate… Kiji had a special way about her when it came to accepting others. Sorako was pampered and it showed.
She listened to Kiyoshi's words silently and when he looked at her like that she barely contained a shudder. But his intent went through loud and clear.
From behind him suddenly came arms, small and not physically strong, wrapping around his shoulders and neck, covering his back with a familiar chest. Kiji's scent grew stronger and then a hint of Sei's brood wafted down as the girl in question clung bodily to Kiyoshi. Fear was there in her scent but it was mostly concern /for/ him not of him. Sorako's eyes hardened but took advantage of the moment's opening to scramble backwards on the ground, her blood shield and bruises already healing.
Kiji spoke into Kiyoshi's ear. "Kiyoshi! What are you doing?! I could feel you all the way in the Oasis! What happ—" She froze then, as she spotted Sorako….

Pitiful. The violent spirit Kirigakure cultivated with him wanted nothing more than to gouge Sorako's eyes out for daring to ruin Kiji's good name with such a look. A moment later Kiyoshi shudders, clenches his eyes shut, and massages the bridge of his nose.
'I've been here too long…'
A weary sounding exhale abruptly comes to an end at her touch. The body was drained, but by no means were his instincts so dulled as to not warn him ahead of time. Kiyoshi does not dwell on the odd occurrence for long before letting out a guttural growl and adjusting himself to toss off the… the… "Ki—" Is all he manages to get out before the girl exclaims his name in his ear. He cringes, and if not for her being in the way, he would've tried clearing out the ringing in his ears, the tension from before all but forgotten as she embraced him. "I-I…Its…" He starts, only to give up as it becomes clear her attention is on Sorako. Uncertain, Kiyoshi sealed his lips and kept from making a single move until he knew which way the wind blew…

Sorako saw the building emotion in Kiyoshi and expected more violence… The irony of Kiji saving her wasn't lost on her but it did annoy the steward out of her…. Meanwhile Kiji tucked her head down a little, resting against Kiyoshi's shoulder and for a split second she almost hid there. Her heart slowed down though and she let go enough so Kiyoshi could stand up. Her eyes were devoid of all color and she watched Sorako for the longest time. Finally she turned and inspected Kiyoshi for left over injuries. He regenerated fast.. though she was still careful with his regrowing skin. "Are you alright?" She looked up at him worriedly. "Jounin are coming I can feel them…"
Sorako made it to her feet and wiped the blood from her lips, eyeing Kiji closely. Slowly so as to not startle Kiyoshi she gathered her things. Pulling an official looking envelope with the Shimizu crest she threw it to the ground at Kiji's feet and tried to walk off.
Kiji bent and opened the letter, her face going as blank as her eyes. "I'm to go train with her again…"

She had not acted, so Kiyoshi refrained from doing so as well for the most part. The Kirryu simply kept his focus on her even after smelling Sorako's building annoyance over what he could only assume was precieved disgust over Kiji's actions. The knowledge in fact spurred him to nuzzle against Kiji's cheeks as much as their positions allowed before she frees him to stand on his own two feet once more. He doesn't of course, or at least not immediately. Without adrenaline coursing through his veins, ignoring the phantom pains and itchiness of rapidly growing skin was a matter of will.
Inevitably, he does find his feet and regards Kiji with a look that was both filled with guilt again and relief. A simple nod is given in response to the first question. Seeing that blank colored eyes again….
"I know…" He says, conveying resignation as well as acknowledgement with his tone. He would not run. There was no point to do so. No matter what happened afterwards he would be found out and punished. Better to have owned up to his "mistakes" now, rather than cower or disguise them.
More disrespect. It was as if Sorako was daring him to punish her again for mistreating Kiji. He is tempted to… but restrains himself to a glare at the retreating Shimizu while Kiji took up the letter. "… Mm… We could try to get the decision appealed…" Kiyoshi suggests despite knowing what kind of resp
«IGA» Ayumu says, "doh"

She had not acted, so Kiyoshi refrained from doing so as well for the most part. The Kirryu simply kept his focus on her even after smelling Sorako's building annoyance over what he could only assume was precieved disgust over Kiji's actions. The knowledge in fact spurred him to nuzzle against Kiji's cheeks as much as their positions allowed before she frees him to stand on his own two feet once more. He doesn't of course, or at least not immediatly. Without adrenaline coursing through his veins, ignoring the phantom pains and itchiness of rapidly growing skin was a matter of will.
Inevitably, he does find his feet and regards Kiji with a look that was both filled with guilt again and relief. A simple nod is given in response to the first question. Seeing that blank colored eyes again….
"I know…" He says, conveying resignation as well as acknowledgement with his tone. He would not run. There was no point to do so. No matter what happened afterwards he would be found out and punished. Better to have owned up to his "mistakes" now, rather than cower or disguise them.
More disrespect. It was as if Sorako was daring him to punish her again for mistreating Kiji. He is tempted to… but restrains himself to a glare at the retreating Shimizu while Kiji took up the letter. "… Mm… We could try to get the decision appealed…" Kiyoshi suggests despite knowing what kind of response they would receive.

Kiji looked up at Kiyoshi as he spoke, suggesting they appeal the decision for her to train with Sorako again. She looked tempted to try but then shook her head. "This says it's only for a little while. I can come home every night…" She knew what answer they would get as well and Meruin's words to her about not advancing fast enough made her cringe. But that could be dealt with later. She turned to Kiyoshi and hesitantly touched his arm.
"Are you ok? Does it hurt?" Her eyes were a deep blue, concerned for her friend more than over the letter. She checked him over little by little and if told it didn't hurt she'd move in closer to him again, touching his arm with hers. "I'm sorry if she confused you, Kiyoshi."

Kiyoshi inclined his head and sighed lightly in defeat. It was a nice thought, if nothing else. The Kirryu perks up quickly as another thought occurs to him. He turns to her with hope once more in his eyes and asks, "Want me to walk with you?" That… was a dumb question. Short of her specifically asking for him /not/ to be around, the chivalrous goofball was bound to take steps to make sure she made it home alright. Even braving the evil eyes of the villagers was well worth the risk.
"Huh? Mm.. Heh.. I'm used to it." In other words, yes, but she didn't need to worry. Right? Well, the plan backfired to a degree, but Kiyoshi was okay with the end results. He hesitates briefly, but eventually his hand found one of her own and squeezes it lightly. "Eh… It was only for a second. She doesn't make for a very good /you/." He says teasingly. Kiyoshi meant it too, both figuratively and literally.

Kiji canted her head disapprovingly at Kiyoshi brushing off the pain he must have been in from the cloak. Her own throat itched where she'd felt it in memory. But when he took her hand and asked if he could walk her home the grey melted away from her eyes, leaving her with pale blue tones and a soft smile. She reached up and kissed his cheek softly. His comment that Sorako did not make a very good Kiji made her laugh. Especially as Sorako was the 'real' one of the two. She let him take her hand and the tension seemed to melt away.
She took a long route to go home, one that took them around the village where fewer people would be and so they had a bit more privacy. About half way home, she reached up and wiped away wetness from her eyes. What was this? Had the wind gotten something in her eyes? She wiped again then dropped her hand and turned to look off to one side. Finally she couldn't take it anymore and she turned, wrapping her arms around Kiyoshi's torso and pressing her face into his chest. "I… I do.. I do care.. I dont know what Love is but I.. I don't think I could survive without you Kiyoshi…"

Kiyoshi had meant walking her home after training, but after the kiss well… he could deal with his hunters later. Right now, it was more important that he got Kiji home, and… yeah, just that. His keeping his mouth shut and going with the flow had nothing to do with his own built up tension finally and truly easing from his shoulders once they began moving. Nope. Not in the least.
Throughout the entire journey Kiyoshi remained as close to Kiji as he possibly can. It was foolish, and perhaps unecessary, but he did so anyways. So caught up in the comfortable silence is he, that Kiyoshi doesn't notice that Kiji condition until she has her arms wrapped around him. Wide-eyed in both terror and surprise, the Moto can do no more than stare until she spoke. "Kiji…" He says quietly as his gaze softened. This time without hesitance Kiyoshi laid a hand atop her head, petting her. He… honestly did not know how to respond to her statement. It was love, if perhaps albeit twisted by some perspectives, but… it is what he had longed to hear. He closed his eyes as a slow but genuine smile grew on his face.

Kiji felt him tense up and was half afraid that she would upset him, but then he relaxed and she could feel his hand on her hair, petting her. It was strange that such a motion could soothe her but she relaxed as well. She tightened her gip on him and after a long moment finally peeked up at him. The warm smile that greeted her mad her flush but also smile back. She rested her head against his chest again enjoying that closeness with him in quiet for a long moment. When next she looked up she had to wipe away a few tears. Admitting how she felt was hard. Hard to articulate and understand and hard to admit she wasn't a pillar, alone and facing the world. She was human and it was nice for once.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License