Date: July 29, 2014
Kiyoshi escapes to his secret hideout to avoid his troublesome brothers, only to be rewarded with a pleasant surprise that is Kiji's presence and the additions to make the cave more hospitable. Such good fortunes however are not meant to last following the posing a very serious question…
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
Hidden Cave - Coastal Cliffs [Kirigakure]
The Coastal Cliffs are some rocky, water-worn cliffs on the southernmost edge of Kirigakure. Though it appears that the cliffs below Rice-Paddy Road are open to the ocean and leave approach by ship and cliff-scaling ninja invaders as potential dangers, the cove that this cliff surrounds is an extremely unhealthy place to attempt to invade from. The currents are treacherous, there are numerous jagged rocks hidden just inches below the steel-gray waters — perfectly suited for tearing open a ship's hull — and on top of that there are observers and ninja traps situated around the cliffs and cove that make this area far from being a blind-spot for the Hidden Mist.
A small cave tucked away in one of the cliff-faces appears to be too shallow for anything of importance to be located within. However, there is a tattered blue cloth lying in a corner, seemingly fused into the rock somehow.
Rice-Paddy Road's terminus lies above. The open ocean lies to the south. The small cave doesn't SEEM to lead anywhere, but someone can certainly go INSIDE. Maybe there's more to it than meets the eye.
The first sign that something had changed around the cave was that there was a bit of dirt on the cliff face as if someone with muddy boots had been tree-walking on the cliff. The next hint was a brand new blanket hanging over the entrance a bit inside the cave. It would keep out the cold wind better than the older one he'd had but it was still 'new'.
Kiji was in the cave alone for once but she'd brought a few new additions. She'd noted that there were a few things she could do to help make the cave more homey. She hoped… First, she brought a nice thick rug and after much maneuvering had finally gotten the furniture on top of it, though she left one wall mostly bare. She'd put up a few blankets like hanging tapestries on the other walls as well and, knowing Kiyoshi's Kirryu heritage, had bought him a new pillow, just like the old one but this one she'd slept with for a week (and had made certain the spiders were nowhere near it). She'd been working for a few days on this and today things were a bit more complicated. She'd brought in a kind of space heater that she put against that bare wall, but the front looked like a glowing fireplace. Granted this last item was a bit expensive but she had made sure that it could be used for just a fan in the summer and she had a bit of excess cash at the
She was currently half buried by the rug, on her back messing with the space heater, trying to get it set to the proper level. The cave didn't need a lot of extra heat so she was fidgeting with the low control. She let out a little yelp as her wrist brushed a heating coil (no her hand was not supposed to be in there). But for the most part she was fully open to being plucked up from the floor once spotted.
With everything else on his mind, it has been little over a week since Kiyoshi so much as thought of taking refuge in his humble yet dangerously placed secret hideout. He might have very well gone on not thinking or caring about it for longer if not for his brothers' insistence that he went out with his brothers. He loved them — though still refused to openly admit it — but even he had his limits, and would sooner jump off a very, very, VERY high cliff before going with an idea sparked by Surumu initially. So with more than enough inspiration fueling him, Kiyoshi escaped…
He isn't surprised so much by the mud adorning the cliff face, but where they inevitably led to. Most of the shinobi he knew that handled making sure the defenses of the cliff face was intact typically took a different route. Then, there was the smell as well, faint against thanks to the salty air, but just noticeable enough to send off a few warning bells and prompt the desire to proceed cautiously.
Clue after clue of his abode being disturbed stack up seemingly with every bare footed step he makes. He hoped it was just something Kiji decided to do of her own accord for whatever reason, but groped for his usual heavy weapon in preparation of a worst-case scenario. His hand comes up empty. He pauses and curses inwardly before proceeding on.
If Kiji has not registered his presence before hand (a chakra spike from partial shape shifting), she may very well be caught off guard by being plucked up by a leg and raised high enough to where her face would be around chest to neck level. The source of said yank growling behind closed lips up until her face registers or she speaks up.
Kiji went from watching the burn on her wrist slowly heal itself to being plucked from the ground by an ankle and hung upside down. She could feel the spider's nest in her hair get a bit squished by her thick braid and her shirt fell down (up?) nearly exposing her chest if not for the bra she wore. She scrambled to catch the shirt and hold it in place and squeaked, cheeks flushed. After a moment — it took a second to see things upside down — she recognized Kiyoshi and blinked several times.
The growl put her on edge. He wasn't in a good mood it seemed. Solid. "Uh… I'm sorry? I'llhaveitbacktonormalrightaway!" She waited then a minute, hoping against hope that those spiders wouldn't come out to defend her… She leaned forward and quickly placed a little kiss on his growling lips with a sheepish look on her face. "Uh..Can.. Can you put me down now?"
It would not have been even a remotely good thing had the spiders interfered. He was already dancing on the border between dopey eyed lover boy and territorial man beast as things stood at present. Best case scenario, he would set (or toss her towards the bed) and storm out with every intention of trying to rend Sei limb for limb for 'using' Kiji to try and spy on him. Worst case…
In any event, he is spared one break down in favor of a less volatile one when she kisses him, snapping him out of the grey and red tinted haze in favor of the actual present. "Kiji… *blinks*… Right.. right.. Gomen." He murmurs before looking about for a place to set her down. She only has to deal with being manhandled for a few long strides before being set down on the ouch. Kiyoshi retreats a step rather quickly as soon as she's set down, face still a pretty flush from embarrassment over the whole incident.
Kiji chuckled a bit as he apologized and set her on the couch. She used her hands to keep pressure off her head and rolled easily onto her butt before looking up at Kiyoshi. The blush on his face made him look a lot younger than his body was. It was cute. Either way it made her flush too and she couldn't help but smile. Just as in the arena, she went from broody to smiling around Kiyoshi. But then she looked sheepish. Glancing around she licked the burn on her wrist. "Sorry.. About the room I mean.. I thought you might like it… I can put it back to how it was."
Kiyoshi found himself looking away and combing his fingers through still somewhat curly hair from days long past. The bounce right back into place with each pass, prompting him it may seem to pass over them again. "Hm?" He turns with a brow aloft as he regarded the kunoichi. A barely perceptible frown graces his lips before he turns about to examine the room again, a cursory glance that ends with his attention returning to Kiji. "I.. don't really mind. It's more… homey, I guess." He says before shoving his hands in his pockets. "It's good… But, you didn't have to do this for me."
Kiji tilted her head, eyes shading from a faintly excited tone to purple in a few seconds. She looked at him curiously for that moment and then her eyes shaded into a bright happy blue, a smile on her lips. "I wanted to do something nice for you. You've been really stressed out lately so …. So now you have a nice cozier place to hide." She pointed at the heater. "But watch out for the coils that thing's hot!" She licked the burn again, though it was fast becoming a simple mark.
"And if that's not good enough then pretend it was to give me something to do besides destroying myself in the arena or sparring genin…." She'd taken on 3 at once this last week and barely been scratched. She had also been quite hard on the genin in the testing area. Her eyes had grown quite dark around the village as of late. But here now she looked relaxed and happy. She didn't have to think about what was going on outside or how she'd 'failed' to please Meruin unless she chose to speak of it.
She frowned a little, almost pouting. "Everyone was leaving for a while there… Are you done with Meruin-dono?" She knew he had training to do.. training she felt partially responsible for since he had flipped out after he'd run his arm through her. A little shiver ran through her at the memory and she scratched at her sternum as if it itched.
Kiyoshi watched her more attentively since last he spoke, adoring the way she moved and her eyes shifted tones with her mood. His expression only seems to falter for a brief instance from remembering just why that is the case. He remained, to a degree, uncertain how to feel about the lengths the Okumo went to ensure that one of their own remained hail and in power. Such thoughts are quickly pushed aside upon hearing excited tone. He winces upon noting the injury, and found himself licking his lips a little over the idea of personally seeing to its quick mend.
"Why would you-…" He catches himself mid-question and makes a silent 'o' with his mouth. The giant had almost forgotten her admission of Meruin's response to her growth. It is another thought that brought about a negative change in the man-child. One reflected in a dark countenance for a time before he dispels it with a shake of his head following the question.
"You don't have to feel guilty about it." He states, crossing his arms over a broad chest. "It had to happen eventually…. And no, as far as I can tell he has a lot of things still on his plate that needs settling first." He says, smiling weakly near the end as if it would help keep the mood light. "Kiji-chan.. Have you really been pushing yourself that hard since…?" He trails off there, figuring she knew just what he meant.
Kiji saw the dark expression cross Kiyoshi's face and she figured it had to do with Meruin's training. She also saw him lick his lips and flushed again, though did not fully understand why. He began a question and then made an 'oh' face. She grinned. At first it was a playful grin but it settled into a softer smile as she followed his train of thought. Again he looked not so happy but she let it go. "There are a few that have potential. Not that I'm anything compared to you or Sei-kun of course." She wasn't upset by the thought, on the contrary, she looked rather proud of Kiyoshi's and Sei's achievements. She only meant that she shouldn't be talking big like she knew potential.
His concerned question about if she'd been pushing herself hard since Meruin told her she wasn't growing fast enough made her look to the side but she nodded, her eyes seeping into a darker blue. "I don't want to fail at my purpose… I don't want to lose to the new medics…" She scowled a bit at herself then. "My own cousin might replace me."
Kiyoshi grits his teeth behind closed lips to stop himself from commenting on Kiji's self-depreciation. While it was true that she still had a long way to progress before being able to compete with both himself and Sei on equal grounds, it still felt kind of… wrong. His tension eases relatively quickly, though only because he belatedly noted her pride.
It returns just as quickly, though not to the same extreme due to Kiji turning away from him. He didn't fully understand why she felt so distraught over the idea of being free from Meruin's shoulder. But he would seat himself down next to her on the side that didn't immediately force her to look at him. Let it be her choice in that regard, or so his subconscious told him. "Kiji…" He paused, granting her that moment to look at him before taking a deep breath and moving on. "You won't be doing yourself any favors by letting your fear push you to pushing yourself too hard… If you break — which I am not saying you will, but.. if you do then…. What I'm trying to say is not to force yourself." He states firmly despite feeling somewhat uncertain himself on the inside.
Kiji hadn't looked away from him in order to reject him, on the contrary, she felt somehow insignificant compared to him, like she shouldn't be able to look him in the eyes because of his ability over hers. But when he sat down beside her she turned to look at him easily. As was typically the case she could relax near him and she'd missed being beside him. Her eyes turned purple and she tilted her head when he suggested she was afraid of something. Fear was an emotion that (though she did feel it) she did not understand or recognize as fear. She would typically get angry rather than afraid, a trait that made her more able on the battlefield. But she listened to Kiyoshi's words and tone and noted concern.
Smiling a bit more and her eyes fading back to blue she leaned against his arm lightly, happy with the small touch. "I don't think I would break… But I see what you mean. I do no one any good if I injure myself and cannot operate on a mission…" OK So that wasn't what he was aiming for maybe but it achieved the same result. She basically agreed to take it easier. "You don't have to be so concerned about me and Meruin-dono, Kiyoshi-kun… He won't throw away a….um.. an asset… easily… I know that."
It wasn't exactly what he was after, but he understood the meaning behind her words and how it coincided with his own desires. He felt, sort of, bad though. Kiyoshi still wasn't entirely used to having someone this close to him, and more importantly being able to influence there decisions to such an extent. Perhaps odd would be a better word to describe it all… but that aside, he nodded and smiled absently in regards to her taking it easy.
"I… won't be able to help that, Kiji-chan." He admitted, frowning a little. "I… When I said I loved you back then, it wasn't just because I thought of you as a friend. We would not… I would not have…" He trails off from there, far too flustered by this point to try and get his point across. It aggravated him to no end how it kept happening whenever he was around her. A part of him long to regress to the more simpler method of expressing his thoughts and feelings. But, he knew in his heart that they couldn't keep falling back to that without it coming back to bite them. Which reminded him of the scent of Sei in her hair…
Kiji blinked at Kiyoshi's words. For him to express that he couldn't help but worry about her made her wonder why in her innocence. He was stumbling over words, having an obviously hard time with what he was trying to say and that left her feeling like she should wrap him up in her arms (if that was even physically possible) and comfort /him/. She blinked her purple eyes again as he spoke of love and then stumbled to a halt. She could tell something was bothering him.
"Kiyoshi…" She dropped the -kun experimentally. "If you want to say something please say it… I.. I'm not so good at talking about this stuff and . I really do care how you feel and what you're thinking." She turned so she was on one of her knees and facing him, her hand rested lightly on his knee. "So, no matter what you want.. just say it and we can work it out from there… Okay?" Her eyes pleaded with him and her expression was one of honest concern.
Kiyoshi had become so embroiled over the thought of what his 'former' rival had possibly done to Sei that he almost misses what Kiji says. His eyes widen just a little as her words, both spoken and unspoken, truly click. The Kirryu pouted a little, wishing in the moment to yell out he was little better than her at talking about these kinds of things. The expression falters, and eventually falls away altogether once she turned about to face him fully, a hand rested on his knee. Considerably warmth flooded to his cheeks… as well as much lower.
Embarrassed, he began to look away, only to halt upon catching the pleading look behind her gaze. From that moment on he could look nowhere else except at her, involuntarily or otherwise. "I want to see you happy and.. I want to be the one that makes it so… And I know how selfish and dumb this may sound, but I want you all to myself. An…." He trails off with a heavy sigh and averts his gaze finally, scratching his cheek awkwardly. It still felt as if it didn't come out right but… it was the best he could muster at the moment. Every once in a while he would glance over to her direction to see how his words were received. He dared not hope for favorably, but…
Kiji blinked and sat back a little when he looked away. His words were a bit confusing at first. She didn't quite understand. His suggestion that he wanted to make her happy made her flush to match him embarrassed color, but like him she couldn't look away. Then he insisted that he knew it was selfish but he wanted to be the only one to make her happy and that stumped her flat out. She sat back a little, her eyes back at that neutral pearl tone as she tried to figure that last bit out. Why would he want her all to himself and who else would…
"Meruin-dono?" She shook her head then, knowing somehow that that was the wrong answer. Then she blushed and looked down at her hands. "Sei-kun." She said quietly. "You mean you don't want Sei-kun to have me." She looked to the side and then down and back up again, finally zeroing in on Kiyoshi again. "Is.. is that right? Is that what you mean? You don't want me to be friends with him?" She knew that couldn't be what he'd meant not precisely. But she had to have confirmation. She was quite new to this sort of thing. And Sei had said something somewhat similar.
Kiyoshi… honestly did not know how to respond to the Meruin question. He simply peered at her with confusion clear in his eyes and expression until what she suggested finally sunk in. A smile is almost cracked before an even more disturbing thought arise. She couldn't really have a thing for the Mizukage, right? Thankfully, he isn't given much time to worry over >that< before the topic comes closer to home.
'Sei..' He almost nods in agreement, but stops just short as she went on. Kiyoshi bit his lower lip, turned his attention to her hands out. After a moment's pause he shakes his head reluctantly. Despite his personal feelings regarding the Okumo, he neither had the right or the overwhelming desire to try and forbid her from being friends with Sei. "No.." He sighs in exasperation, then looks up to meet Kiji. "Remember back when I said there were things that just friends do not do? And… those things we did do that not just friends do?" He asks despite inwardly yelling at himself to quit pussy footing around the subject! Kiji was innocent(-ish), true, but surely she knew where he was starting to head to…
Kiji saw him hesitate and look confused when she asked about Meruin. If he'd asked her to clarify it would have opened an entirely new avenue to argue about for if Meruin asked it of her she would comply. But she did not think herself good enough for the Mizukage's attentions. She did look relieved when he shook his head and continued. She followed his words closely and slowly nodded as he explained what he meant. She did not take offense to how he was speaking since she was on that level for such subjects. Blue returned to her eyes as she slowly nodded as it became clear — even to her — what Kiyoshi wanted to restrict. "So you want to be the only one that 'that' happens with." She sat back a little to think. She's only done that once with anyone other than Kiyoshi and it hadn't been her choice exactly. But she also understood that this had to do with relationships. So she thought hard with herself about how she felt rather than what was common
Her hand went up to smooth lightly over her hair then, once more assuring that the nest was unharmed. She slowly came to a conclusion but felt the need to talk it out. She turned pale violet eyes on Kiyoshi a sign she was still slightly confused. "I really care about Sei-kun. But I care about Kiyoshi too. But it's …different… Sei-kun is nice to me and when I…he helped me not feel so alone when you both left… But… I did this…" She motioned to the room. "Because it made me feel warm. So…" She paused then looked up again, a little more confident. "So that means it's different than how I feel for Sei-kun." She was talking in circles… "I think I understand… But can you tell me why that's so important?"
Hope flickers in Kiyoshi's eyes once he sights realization — or at least some semblance of such — don upon Kiji. It dims a little at the initial response given, but he nods slowly and sweat-dropped. The both of which go missed since her focus seemed to turn inward. The entire time she considers in greater detail what Kiyoshi propose, the boy sat there, calm (mostly) on the outside, but a nervous wreck on the inside. He did not know exactly what he would do if now she decided to reject him after everything else they've been through…
Ignoring his irrational aggravation over her moods being easily discernible by simply noting the color changes to her eyes, Kiyoshi took a deep breath to girder himself for what was to follow. A touch a sadness still breaches his defenses when she mentions what Sei did not think to do… or could really for that matter beyond what he already provided to her, his cave — his home away from home — as a place of solace. But then she moves on to him and what her connection to him made her feel like doing.
"It's… complicated." He settles against the couch more and pulled his closest arm to her up so that it rested along the top of the back rest before falling partway behind her. "For some, like my Surumu-niisan, it doesn't matter all that much… but for most or.. I'd like to think for most people, being.. intimate on that level with someone should only be with that special someone. That person that you feel truly closest to, but not like family… Someone you could trust your darkest secrets too, and they you without fear of being betrayed.." Kiyoshi paused there for a brief moment and closed his eyes to focus on shutting out his past failings on that front. Even if it wasn't to the extreme most would consider a true betrayal, not a day goes by he doesn't feel a twinge of pain for having done what he did to his first true friend.
"… It's important because 'that' is a side of yourself you only wish to show to another, the person you can be truly vulnerable to…" He says before cracking his eyes open a little to regard Kiji. In that moment he both hated and was thankful for the changes wrought by the age seal removal. Bad enough he felt old…
Kiji listened to Kiyoshi speak, nodding slowly as she listened. The whole concept was new to her and a little confusing but she was getting the gist of it at least. It had never occurred to her that when she'd seen couples they were just that. couples. Two people. So apparently that was expected. But things seemed so complicated and she saw on Kiyoshi's face that he was nervous. It was in the way he sat and the way his lip moved. But she was also aware that they were not alone. Sei's spiders were in her hair and she did not want another fight between them.
Also.. she felt a little panicked and her eyes reflected that by shading toward gold, an adrenaline-type reaction usually only seen in battle. Meruin basically owned her. She hesitated, chewing her bottom lip and knowing that if she divulged any information here it would be to both of them… She looked up at Kiyoshi, tense and nervous. "K..Kiyoshi-kun… I… You know that I have a connection to Meruin-dono…But.. But what do you know about it really?"
He had meant to — But it is far too late to worry about it now, so Kiyoshi did what he could to act as her anchor, calm and collected both inside and out. The inside management being a little more difficult to manage considering the fact she hadn't given him a clear response just yet. The fact that the source of her panic is Meruin makes it all the harder. Nevertheless, he did what he could to shut out his own feelings regarding the man for the moment.
"I remember…" His brow knit together for a moment or two, then relaxed as he raised his far hand to cup her cheek. "Your eyes were apart of it.. something to do with his being able to read you better." He says, cursing himself inwardly for allowing the memory to degrade. Stupid brain…
Kiji blinked and the bright panicked tone faded a little from her eyes as he cupped her cheek, the touch a calming source. She nodded a bit when he mentioned her eyes. But she knew there was a lot more to it and she closed them for a long moment before looking up again. "Please.. you can't say anything to anyone I'm not allowed to tell…" She was earnest about this. Fearful even. A cold almost iced-over expression in her eyes. "I… I was created for Meruin-dono. I was..raised……in.. in a lab and then went to ..'my father' in the concentration camp for training as a Shimizu after I graduated the academy… My reason for existing is to serve Meruin-dono." It was programed and yet she honestly had a loyalty toward the man. She looked paler than before as she realized what she'd just told him, glancing around as if expecting Meruin to leap out of the shadows.
Kiyoshi remained patient with her. She would talk at her own pace, and there was nothing to gain from rushing her; especially given the subject matter. His hand on her cheek shifted to cover enclose one or cover both of her own should they be close together, lending her strength. His eyes widen in response to the plea, then narrowed as he nodded curtly. It hurt to think she even consider him the type to gossip about something like this; but he understood where she was coming from. He thought he saw her truly fearful before, but what troubled her now made it paled in comparison.
It should not have surprised him, the extent to which some clans would go to secure their position within the villages hierarchy. And yet, it did. Kiyoshi remains silent for a long moment as he digested what was spoken. He isn't… disgusted or even angry, or at least not at her. What agitation flickers in his eyes has no real direction. The same could be said of the confusing whirlpool of emotions that swirled about in his normally warm eyes before he closes them and inclines his head.
All this time he thought he knew what it meant to owe his continued existence to another. Now even his somewhat naïve mind knew better… and hated the knowledge. He opens his eyes again, still uncertain of just how he should reply until they met her own. Later he would probably ask himself if what followed next was the right response or just a means to avoid tripping over his own tongue again. If allowed to, Kiyoshi leans over and embraces Kiji.
Kiji saw the negative emotions that warred in Kiyoshi's eyes. She could tell something had upset him but she couldn't tell what. Figuring he would want nothing more to do with her after finding that out she looked at her hands, clouds moving into her eyes. Of course he wouldn't want her knowing that Sei had an interesting her and Meruin owned her.
So when he embraced her she had a moment where she was tense in shock. What was this? After that initial moment passed she relaxed a bit and rested her head against his shoulder, still careful of her hair, but glad he hadn't simply told her to leave. She even found her hands going up to hug him back. Kiyoshi was certainly a person she felt she could be vulnerable around…. "I'm.. I'm sorry Kiyoshi… If that's bad…"
His heart grew at ease once she hugged him back. Just a little, but even so, it was better when compared to dealing with recently caged emotions seeking freedom. Kiyoshi merely shook his head at first with the intent that would be all he would answer regarding such. As much as he desired it, the Kirryu knew better than to be so vague. So…
"It makes things… complicated… but I don't wish to lose you because of it." He says quietly before squeezing Kiji a little more. Soon after, he pulled away just enough so that what the rest of him may have failed to convey, his eyes would say it all. He meant what he said, and truly wanted nothing more than to stay connected to Kiji in that moment. Even /if/ that meant having to deal with the Okumo.
Kiji felt him shake his head. She bit her lip and when he spoke, she listened quietly. Complicated? yes. Life was complicated. The fact he did not wish to lose her because of her connection with Meruin made her bite through her lip just enough to draw blood. It would heal in moments of course, but she still felt her chest tighten. Her hands tightened in his shirt too. The panicked color seeped from her eyes and she was left with a very faint blue. She could see in his eyes that he was telling her the truth and she pulled him back into a bit of a hug before letting go again. She didn't want to make him feel trapped.
"I..I'm glad… I don't want to lose you either Kiyoshi.. But.. But I think I don't really get what you're talking about.. Can.. Can I think about it? Maybe.. uh.. maybe talk to Ishino-sama about it? he's married right? So he'd be good at knowing this stuff…" She looked down then. "I just don't want to hurt you later if .. if it's not what i think it is.."
The moss-haired man gritted his teeth and narrowed his eyes slightly as the smell of her blood hitting the air reaches his nose. Even a little felt intoxicating, even though not a drop had touched his tongue. He felt sick a moment later, and even more ill when he began to question if perhaps his infatuation with the girl had everything to do with her blood. Before his emotions could get the better of him once more, Kiyoshi focused on the last glimpse of her faint blue eyes and the feeling of her arms wrapped about his frame, drawing what strength he could to rebuild his resolve to remain an anchor point.
It is impossible for him not to look shaken by her words. Nevertheless, he would not try and force her to decide now when she still felt so uncertain. Still, he could not find his voice, so he simply offered a pained smile and nod his agreement. Kiyoshi would wait however long it took..
Kiji spotted the expression on his face and she felt a pang in her chest that made her wrap her arms around his neck tightly, pressing her face into his neck. "I'm sorry I didn't mean to upset you…" She kissed him on the cheek and pressed her cheek to his before backing up a little, more to give him room than for her benefit. "I can tell you're trying to be nice to me. Kiyoshi… I just really don't want to hurt you. I really do care about you I just.. don't know if I understand everything and I want to. I really want to." She rested her head against his shoulder lightly, and he might get a hint of Sei's scent again from that position. "Are you sure it's ok?"
Kiyoshi lets out a weary sigh as she embraced him before returning the gesture and holding her closely. He almost shakes head, meaning to dismiss her apology and answer with an "It's alright.", but the kiss gives him pause. Try as he might, there is just no fighting back the rush of blood to his face once she pressed her cheeks to his, or wishing that things were different again…
Seems these days he's always wishing for such…
"I don't like it but… I understand." He murmurs, pushing past the Sei's scent in favor of breathing in her own. Absently, Kiyoshi rubbed her backside, and after a moment or so of silence finally adds. "You do whatever it is you have to do to figure things out." He says, knowing full well, at least in part, meant that one of the very things he wanted to be only between them might be shared with another for the sake of certainty. His gut twisted at the thought, and yet, he would not take back what was said and done.
He cared for Kiji far too much..