Tender Firsts


Sumiko, Meruin, Ishino

Date: April 7, 2013


Meruin and Ishino try to help Sumiko make a break through so she can get her water clones to do more in combat than get hit.

"Tender Firsts"

Land of Water - The Deadly Reef

Meruin stands at the shore of this deadly reef, looking out over the waters. They were turbulent, the gray mass egged on to a near frothing by the strong winds that whip throughout the area. The light grey skies were darkening to match the sea, and soon enough they would like as though they melded on that far horizon. It appeared nearly as though the sea life had escaped to avoid the storm that would soon wreak havoc on the land. It'd be perfect for training, he'd decided.

Having followed Meruin out to the shore, Sumiko's expression is solemn. Looking away from the young man for the moment, she looks up at the darkening sky, then towards the reef for a moment. Having traded her kimono for more standard shinobi wear, she absently adjusts the leather vest she's wearing and finally turns her dark gaze to the Okumo, "This is suitable, then?" Her hands clasp together before her, "Is there some particular training you had in mind, Meruin-san, or are you simply wishing to test me?"

Ishino, along with that older man behind him, made his way towards the reef. He'd pause, slowing as he studied the storm that was approaching. A small shake of his head was given. Ishino looked back at Time Keeper, then forward to the others. Approaching close, he'd give a sweeping bow to Sumiko and Meruin both. "Greetings. I have come as requested. This does seem to be a valid point of contact. So, how shall we handle this situation?"

Meruin turns his gaze towards Sumiko as she asks her question, nodding to her. "Suitable, yes. It is why I'd chosen the location." His attention shifts notably to Ishino as he approaches from behind the woman, the jounin inclining his head to the other man. "We are here for your training in water clones and broadening your abilities with them. I am not the type to randomly choose subordinates for beatings masked as training."
He nods to Ishino once more as he arrives, a "Tidings, Doihara" accompanying the act. "You are here because of the advanced understanding of outward manipulation inherent in puppetry and clone work, your own advanced levels of chakra manipulation, and because you're an attractive male. She's far more likely to be able to stomach your presence than mine."
He looks towards Sumiko. "Make a clone."

Sumiko's eyes remain on Meruin, a small nod given as she listens to him. At the sound of Ishino's voice, the girl turns to look over her shoulder at him, a soft greeting offered, "Ishino-san, hello." Attention drawn back to Meruin, "I will appreciate your insight into the subject, Meruin-san." A small frown flickers across her expression and disappears, there and gone in an instant, "I have been practicing. I am getting better with them." Color rises to the young woman's cheeks as the Okumo continues speaking. She takes a few moments to find her voice and then says, "I..W-what does that have to do with my training?" The command to make a clone is lost in that moment of embarassment.

"Simple. Okumo-san is an Okumo. His focusing on strengthening abilities would be something akin to a nightmare coming to life. As the idea is that you are seeking to be able to focus on the target, something more appealing is better." Ishino chuckles softly, stepping up closer to Sumiko. "Sayomi-san, please, do not worry about it. We shall both work under Okumo-san's guidance to assist you in getting better on your capabilities. Please create the water clone and we shall begin."

Okumo Meruin's gaze shifts over towards Sumiko as she asks the question, his face stiffening, the impassivity present on it becoming firm and whole. Despite his expression never changing and his stance never moving, there was an intensity to the way that he simply… stared. Throughout the time that Ishino offered his explanation, he did nothing but watch, his eyes a slowly shifting red.
"Make… your clone."

Sumiko looks towards Ishino again, nodding slowly as he speaks, her cheeks still flushed, "Alright, Ishino-san." As the pair both instruct her to make a clone, she does so, fingers flicking nimbly into the series of handseals required before water drawn from the sea and air manifests into an exact copy of the small woman, standing at her side. She glances to the clone briefly and then nods slightly before turning her dark gaze back to the Okumo, waiting.

Ishino would retrieve the umbrella from Time Keeper. As the clone was created, Time Keeper stepped forward, falling in line with the clone of Sumiko to look towards Meruin. Ishino himself gave a nod. "Good job, Sayomi-san. As I mentioned before.. Okumo-san can be intense.. so the best thing to do is listen. Do, worry about questions only relevant to the situation at the time. The rest can be discussed after the training."

"I wish to make one thing clear before we begin," states Meruin, head canting just so as he regards the woman before him. His hair lifts from his back, long tendrils beginning to move of their own volition, slow sweeps starting a complex braid. "Doihara Ishino is correct in his recommendation of obeisance. It'll save the both of us effort, and you pain. Your mistake is believing that your question holds more import than my order. This is your only warning to the proof that I have that says otherwise. Obey. Then you may ask your questions.
"Have I made myself clear?"

"I understand," Sumiko answers Ishino quietly, the flush having returned to her cheeks, mostly at what she perceives to be being treated like a child. She turns her full attention back to Meruin, her clone doing the same. Her dark gaze studies the man as he regards her, listening in silence. "You have, Okumo-san. I will obey," the small woman says with a dip of her head. The girl glances to her clone briefly

Ishino sighs softly, shaking his head for a moment before stepping back. Ishino's attention then turned to Meruin, the clone created, the order set. There was a definite attention to detail that he was going to have to watch with Sumiko. Meruin hit on something, although if it is her own surprise, or being caught, would have to be sorted out. Contemplative, Ishino prepared himself, readying for whatever potential training that Meruin may create for them.

It is only now that the impassivity on Meruin's face loosens, allowing the usual undercurrent of emotion to flow. "The reason that it is relevant," he begins, answering her question now that order is set, "is because the utilization of a clone is all about the manifestation of an expression of your desire. And you, Sayomi Sumiko, are either walled off or stunted in your emotions. From my experience with you, I believe you to be walled off. What this would mean is that you are able to use clones in a defensive manner, as defense is an instrinsically personal act, but have difficulty using them as offensive tools, as that involves expressing yourself to others. And that is something you tend to balk from." He looks towards Ishino. "You are willing to serve, yes? Happy to help, I believe is what you'd said the week prior."

Sumiko nods slowly as Meruin starts speaking, her attention on him. As he continues, the small young woman blinks slowly, her lips curving into a little frown. She sniffs quietly, but remains silent aside from that for a time. She glances sidelong at the water clone of herself, and as Meruin finishes, asks, "It requires emotion to -do- something?" As the Jounin addresses Ishino, she glances towards him, staring for a moment before turning back to Meruin, clearly not understanding what Ishino's role is to be.

Ishino nods in affirmative to Meruin, smiling lightly. "Of course Okumo-san. As always, happy to help, you and Sayomi-san both." Attention shifting to Sumiko then. "If I may, Okumo-san.. Sayomi-san? Emotion is a power. It's very strong. A passionate person can go for longer and resist more, than one who does not have passion.. For those whom wall off their emotions.. they deny a font of power." Ishino chuckles softly, "I believe the reason that Okumo-san requested my assistance, is due to my look, it would be easier for your emotions to relate to me, then him.. Good, bad, otherwise, the fact there is an emotional response, an assertion of what feelings you may have, allows you to harness that into an offensive clone. Afterall.. gathering chakra is focusing your self into that energy that we use to do our jutsu, hmm?"

Meruin nods towards Ishino. "In truth, it is less that emotion is required, and more that it is simply the closest example to the difficult to describe act required in the focusing of a clone to action. A clone is a construct. It's existence is purely chakra and catalyst. It's function is purely mental. The mental aspect is where you're having your blockage." The Jounin gestures towards the clone. "It is an extension of your will. Employ it. Make your clone kiss the test subject. And do try for success. Should you fail, we'll step onto the deadly reef, and your desire to survive will become your motivation."

As Ishino speaks, Sumiko glances to him, listening. As he describes the 'power' of emotions, the young woman shakes her head slightly and says, "I am not certain I agree, Ishino-san. They are power. But, power for other people to use against you." She blinks slowly, her dark gaze looking between the two men, studying them both before she blushes again at Meruin's words, her eyes snapping to him. Her lips part, but no sound comes out. After a moment she closes her mouth, her cheeks bright red and her eyes narrowing, "Is this some sort of jest? I do not appreciate being made fun of." Hesitating, she glances to Meruin again, frowning. Another moment and her clone begins to move, stepping closer to the tall Chuunin as Sumiko's gaze returns to him and she says in a sullen voice, "This is not amusing."

Ishino looks probably as surprised as Sumiko did. Eyeing Meruin, he'd shake his head. "No.. No, Okumo-san does not jest when training. Although I have not really heard him jest otherwise either. I believe he's completely serious." Ishino's eyes shift from Meruin to Sumiko then, studying her for a moment. "I knew nothing of what his plan was, before this. So please do not assume this is some ploy." Ishino would look to the clone then, watching it attentively as he'd wait for her action.

At Sumiko's questioning of his order, Meruin's hair stops braiding itself, his impassivity affixing itself to his face. The hints of webbing begin sliding past his fists when the clone begins to move towards Ishino. The webbing stops and retracts. "Nay," replies Meruin, answering many things with the word. "This is a wholly serious affair."
His eyes turn towards the clone, watching it approach the puppeteer. "If this does not work, we will walk over the waters of the ocean. Within approximately seven minutes, a shark will attack you and you will slay it. And it's blood and body will draw others. And you will need at least your clone to fight off the pod of sharks that arrive long enough for you to make it back to shore. And then once you've proved that you could utilize your clones in such a manner, we'll come back, and you'll do this. If you fail again, we'll be forced to take a second trip. You will want to complete this before the storm hits. Trust."

The clone continues onwards with slow steps, getting within range to touch Ishino, both of the Sumikos have a frown on their face. And as the real girl watches, her cheeks are nearly scarlet. The clone stops where it is, easily close enough to lift a hand and touch the tall Chuunin. Sumiko glances back to Meruin, listening to his description of what is going to happen if she fails. The girl takes a deep breath, and, keeping her gaze on Meruin, the clone begins to lift an arm towards Ishino. And promptly collapses into a puddle, splashing the puppeteer's feet. Cheeks crimson, Sumiko stammers out, "I..I.."

Ishino went still at the approach. Watching the clone intensely, he'd tense slightly as it'd go to reach up.. only to collapse into a puddle at his feet. Frowning, he'd lift a shoe.. it got wet. Shaking his head at the minor irritant, attention would shift to Sumiko then. He knew what was going to occur, Time Keeper had already started gathering itself for the initiation of conflict ahead. "Sayumo-san? You have never been kissed before, correct? I.. do not wish to intrude too much, my guess, as from our initial contact, is that you normally have someone close whom you train with.. You've also mentioned your mother in past conversations, so I am corrilating those two together." Ishino muses for a moment, that hesitation in his voice before continuing. "This whole thing is new to you. Rather you wish to kiss me or not.. a disjunctioned kiss is still something extremely personal." Ishino nods towards Meruin then. "I do not question Okumo-san's technique.. I seek the information as mayhap a real kiss first, would help alleviate that stifling that is causing you trouble with the clone?"

Meruin shakes his head, eyes on the puddle. "This should be easier. It allows for a certain detachment even while performing the act." He lifts his eyes towards Sumiko. "You do not even have to watch your clone kiss the puppeteer. Only to will for it to do so." He gestures towards the water at the puppeteer's feet. "Reform the clone, close your eyes, and tell it to kiss Doihara Ishino," he orders.

As Ishino speaks, Sumiko suddenly finds herself with an overwhelming desire to turn and run back to the Village. The comments about her mother cause her to glance towards the tall young man, cheeks still flushed. She nods slightly, "My mother trained me, and then brought me to the academy. I have been here for a few yeas now." As the conversation gets back to the kiss and she is instructed to do it again, she clenches her hands into fists and lowers her gaze to the ground, her mother still on her mind. She breathes quietly, thinking about how to separate herself from the act. Taking a long breath, the small woman turns towards the ocean. While still flushed, her expression seems to have smoothed. She makes the handseals again, beginning to walk towards the shore as she does, dark gaze on the raging waters. A clone appears a few steps away, it turns to face Ishino and begins walking to him, a hand lifting to settle upon the tall Chuunin's chest.

Ishino nods slowly, watching Sumiko. There was definitely a war of concern there mixed with that curiousity. He still didn't move, simply staying still, that minor squish of water in his shoe reminding him of the irritation of the first time. Ahh well.. it's not like he didn't have a change of clothes. As the clone would step closer, Ishino would go still, watching it attentively as it'd touch his chest. He didn't move, focused on that moment. The irony of the whole thing is that this will be his own first kiss.. so it's not like he had a lot of experience here either. But.. what the sensei says, goes, right? … or something like that.

"There we are," murmurs Meruin, eyes on the clone as it raises a hand to the man's chest, seeming largely unaware of the emotions warring within the other two and getting mastered. "Make the command. Let the clone take it… Do not fight it. You've pushed it to the clone. Now let it take it…" He watches closely, examining, continuing his quiet murmurings.

The clone's hand starts to slide upwards as Meruin speaks, curling behind the tall Chuunin's neck. Sumiko herself doesn't stop until she reaches the shoreline, her gaze on the water, letting the sound of the crashing waves fill her ears and her mind. Being as short as she is, after a few long moments, that hand tugs lightly, beckoning Ishino to lower his head even as the clone rises onto her toes, intent on pressing her lips to the puppeteer's.

Ishino's eyes darken slightly. The ticking from Time Keeper increased slightly in volume, that second sound not changing in duration, and yet, it's every tick felt longer and longer. At least.. to him. He'd lean in then, arms slowly curling at Sumiko clone's waist, to lean in for that kiss. All said, as long as it didn't suddenly collapse on him, it would indeed work and that moment's kiss would occur. Quietly, he'd release her after a moment, letting the clone pull away as well, or if the worse happen and it collapsed after that kiss, he could at least attempt to avoid too much further water damage to his shoes. Absolutely ruined now, he was going ot have to get a new pair it seems.

Meruin quiets slightly, allowing his words to become background noise. Less obtrusive than the waves the woman with the clone is listening to. The Jounin keeps his eyes on the water clone, expression entirely clinical. Would the kiss go through or would he have to risk a comrade's life?

Sumiko remains at the shoreline, dark gaze staring up at the gathering storm clouds, trying to calm her thoughts which are mostly revolving around how embarassing and miserable it is that someone felt the need to implement kissing as some sort of training routine to work around her flaws. The clone would survive the kiss, though there is no passion to it, a relatively chaste touching of the lips. As the kiss breaks, the clone's hand remains behind his neck, lingering there as the clone stares up at him and makes no further movements. Sumiko herself makes no move as it finishes.

Ishino stares back at the clone. Thoughts swirling about. For once he didn't have that grip on reality he normally did. Time Keeper developing a small twitch. Finally, a slow breath taken and a slower one released, he'd gently disengage from the clone. Unless it actively clung to him, he'd step back and look to Meruin with a small nod. "She succeeded, Okumo-san." Attention shifted from clone to actual woman, then back. At a lost for words, his hands would slip into his pockets as he'd watch in silence, waiting for the next step of this potential situation.

Meruin turns away from the clone and Ishino as the contact is made, giving the pair their privacy. The first sign that he had any sense of empathy at all. Once success was reported the Okumo would nod and say, "Excellent." He'd look towards Sumiko. "You'll find that this emotionally difficult endeavor will make the next far easier, though it's likely that you won't be wholly successful in it." He begins walking forward, towards the ocean. "Your reward for your success," he says as he passes by Sumiko, stepping onto the waters and continuing as if it were land. "Is that only a clone will have to accompany me to the sharks." He rakes sudden black claws down his arm, sending a spray of blood into the roiling waters.
"Be swift about it."

The clone's hand falls to its side as Ishino steps back from the watery Sumiko. Its eyes follow him, and then as Ishino and Meruin begin to speak, it collapses back into its element. Remaining near the water, Sumiko doesn't look towards the pair, or move at all until Meruin instructs her to send a clone with him. That causes the small girl to blink, dark eyes looking to him, and then she makes the handseals again, a clone manifesting from the sea and moving to step to Meruin's side. The girl herself looks to the now bloodied waters, expression solemn, though to anyone who looks her way, her cheeks are still flushed.

Ishino watches the clone dissapate. Just like that. The woman who Ishino had his first kiss with.. was gone. A slow breath taken and released once again, Ishino walks over towards where Sumiko stood, staring out towards Meruin and the clone. Time Keeper took a seat where it had stood, elbows on knees as wooden chin rested on metal knuckles. "I.." There was that pause. Right.. how exactly does one handle this sort of situation? "Sayomi-san.. I.. did not know he'd ask this. I.. study people.. but.. I would not confront that weakness this way.. It would be something worked on.. in gradual steps.." Not that he'd apologize for the Okumo. That wasn't his place. Ishino gave a sidelong look towards Sumiko. "please.. don't be embarassed of such.. Alright?"

Meruin continues off over the bloody waters, the liquid-cored Sumiko at his side. The rivulets of blood slowing, he finds himself having to slash another gash into his arms, further tainting the waters with his ichor. At the appropriate distance, he paused and faced the shore, waiting. The two back on land were together now, Ishino having moved to Sumiko's side.
"Do not get too distracted, little bird," murmurs the Okumo, lightly shaking his arm as the cuts close over. "Do too poorly and I'll find myself with more wounds than I would like." The pair don't look the most comfortable together. Or the most pleased. But the both are definitely different than when they'd first arrived.
"Well, then…" he murmurs, gaze shifting to the side. Cutting through the waves is the dorsal fin of what appears to be a very large shark, speedily racing towards the small pool of blood he'd made. And the bait, of course. Himself. This would be a fun water clone training session. He arches a brow, a faint wryness coming to his lips. He sends the clone a glance.
"Are you ready?"

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