Date: February 8, 2012
Kagetsu meets an interesting character while on guard duty.
"Where art thou?"
Veteran Chuunin of Sunagakure Kagetsu was on watch duty today. He was just relieving another shinobi of his position. With the chuunin exams going on the patrols have been turned up. Kagetsu arrives seemingly from thin air next to the shinobi he was supposed to relieve. "Osu Lei, ready for your break?" he asks cheerfully. The other chuunin, also known as Lei smiles and nods. "You have no idea man. Good to see you're doing good. How's that adorable sister of yours?" Kagetsu gets ready to move into position while he chats it up with Lei. "Hehe she's just fine. She had me playing with her earlier. I taught her how to play shogi. She's a fast learner." Lei laughs and pats Kagetsu on the arm "Just like her brother. Ok then. It's pretty boring out there so I hope you got some sleep before you came. See ya Kagetsu." Kagetsu nods before Lei takes off. He turns to face the outer desert and sighs. Kagetsu pulls out a book now. He smiles "I hope Hikaru-san doesn't mind me barrowing one of his novels." He says leaning back against a pillar. Facing the desert Kagetsu looks up from his book occasionally. As hours go by the anxiously awaits the end of his shift. "Just 5 more minutes."
In from the direction of deep desert comes a single figure, cloaked in a usual nomad's tan cloak. The hood is up and he wears a long desert styled scarf around his lower face. Other than that the only thing visible at first are his black leather boots, dusted with sand of course. He carries no packs as a nomad would and the way he moves telegraphs to anyone near him that he's armed. Kuroyosai remains thus enshrouded until he's well within the field of vision of the gate guard. The figure steps easily forward, ignoring the guard entirely, and doesn't seem to think he should pause or nod or otherwise deal with such a person.
Closing his barrowed novel Kagetsu sighs in relief as he didn't have to deal with much today. "Today's turning out to be pretty good." He praises. As he waits he notices a snake slithering up by his foot. Kagetsu inclines his head and shuffles kicking the snake to the side. "Too close there pal." He smirks. Kagetsu is then reminded of something as reflected in his eyes. He kneels down taking the scroll from off his back and laying it out opened partially before him. "Let's see did I remember to….?" He then notices someone is coming from beyond in the desert distance. Kagetsu rolls up his scroll and secures it behind his back. He waits for the individual to approach him as he expected most travelers to do. Kagetsu stands firm just watching the person. It was strange seeing them just waltz past him. Kagetsu blinks and starts to speak. He stops halfway and groans before flickering over before the cloaked figure. "Slow down there chief." He chuckles softly halting progression with his hand. "You need to check in with me before you can go any further. It's not that long just gonna ask you a few questions and check you for….well the usual stuff." Kagetsu lowers his hand and smiles. "I bet you're just here for the exams right?"
Kuro stops and tenses as someone flickers in front of him, one hand shifting under his cloak to his weapon.. Then he freezes entirely, taking in the boy before him. It was …creepy… Suddenly, a gust of wind takes him off guard and yanks down his hood, revealing long raven hair held in a high ponytail, long enough to reach mid-back even while tied back. Shaggy bangs frame the boy's face and when he opens his eyes again, surprised by the wind, one could see they are mismatched, one pale blue the other amber. They're hard and, now, irritated by the wind. One black gloved hand comes up to hold his scarf in place, keeping most of his face obscured.
The odd eyes look Kagetsu over from the tips of his toes to the ends of his hair with a strange expression in them that only makes him hold harder to the scarf. If he had been another man he might have fallen back a step, but he holds firm and only clutches his weapon harder…. -That voice…What is this..- He blinks several times as Kagetsu speaks, his mind taking that extra time to process the words coming from the other boy's lips then his eyes narrow, taking the boy's appearance in completely the wrong direction. He practically growls his words, tone dripping in threat. "Who are you and why are you here?" He demands his gloved hand still holding the scarf in place.
Kagetsu shields his face as the wind picks up. He noticed the man's hood feel revealing a bit about this identity. Kagetsu wasn't paying too much attention though. He was more concerned the odd question he just received from a stranger. Kagetsu found the person's voice familiar slightly but he was almost certain he'd never seen them before. Kagetsu deadpans at this man and scratches his cheek boyishly "Uh, I'm supposed to be asking you that."
Kagetsu now begins to rub his head feeling that his day was just about to get difficult. "Well I'll humor you I guess. But only if you'll cooperate. I'm a Sunagakure Shinobi on guard duty. He points to his headband secured on his bicep. My job is to make sure mysterious people" he points at the man "Like you." He nods "Are not planning anything naughty before entering the village. We're on high alert with the chuunin exams going on so I kinda have to check you out." He explains. Kagetsu folds his arms now trying not to be annoyed. "Ok. Now it's your turn. Who are you and why are you here?"
The fact that the boy humored him and actually explained everything makes Kuro blink a few times. In his experience gate guards tended to get angry when they were messed with. In fact he wouldn't have if he'd been thinking straight. But so far so good he supposed. Still this was the creepiest thing he'd ever experienced up to and including the sandstorm that had separated him from his family years before…. And yet.. "There's no way…" He mumbles softly, not even realizing he'd spoken.
His hand clenches in the scarf as he listens to the question and he pauses before he mumbles an answer in a kind of face-heel-turn from badass nomad to stunned teenager. "I… I'm just a …traveler. Yea. The exams. Heard it was a good place to …." he catches himself suddenly and changes what he was about to say. "A good place to make contacts."
Carefully, so the guard doesn't think he's actually drawing a weapon, he pulls his Kodachi from his belt and lets one side of the cloak fall behind his shoulder exposing roughly half his body. The clothes he's wearing are the exact opposite that a nomad would usually wear as the color — black — would draw too much sun. A black t-shirt over black pants and boots. The black gloves he wears go up to elbow level, one holding his scarf in place firmly over his face, the other holding the sheathed Kodachi. "Nothing suspicious here."
Kagetsu mutters "There's no way? The heck is this guy talking about?" The chuunin shrugs and just contributes that to something weird that weird people say. Kagetsu rolls his eyes at the man's answer. "Yeah I figured as much." He watches thee man reveal himself and remove his Kodatchi. Kagetsu nods and circles the man eyes scanning him. So far the only thing this guy seemed to be guilty of is making stupid decisions. All black…in a desert? Definitely not from around here.
Kagetsu nods and pats him on the shoulder. "You're all good. Lemme just get you a map so you know where everything is." He says moving back to the guard post. As he searched for the map he couldn't help but feel something strange about that man. Besides the all black and the random sentences he splattered out. "He seems about my age too. Whatever. Let's just hurry up my shift is just about over." He returns to the man with a map of Sunagakure pointing out major locations like the Sunadome, Apartments, and what not. "Here you go, enjoy your time in Sunagakure."
Kuroyosai tenses visibly as the chuunin determines to walk around behind him, and he flinches sharply away when he's patted on the shoulder. He'd have snapped for him to keep his hands off if the guard hadn't already been heading for the post station again mumbling about a map…. Like he'd use a map… He probably already knew most of the ways to get in someone's back door without waking thier dogs… Oh well, He'd never actually been to Sunagakure itself before…and this… creepy boy…was sure it would help.
Another wind comes up as Kagetsu returns with the map and though Kuro manages to keep the scarf firmly in place around his lower face, he can't control the way his hair flies off to one side. The result is that the one earring he's wearing is exposed. A single moonstone dangle that seems to shimmer in the sunlight. Once the wind dies down again, he replaces his Kodachi at his hip and reaches out to take the map from the guard. "Uh…thanks…."
"Argh darn wind." Kagetsu curses as it picks up again. He nearly lost the map. When it dies down his eyes meet those of the traveler. He stares into them simply shocked by their color. Something else catches his attention though. The gleaming light from the sun is what drew Kagetsu's eye to it. A moonstone earring identical to the one he's wearing right now. He would've written it off as a coincidence but his mother handmade the only pair of earrings like that.
He stares into the earring vexed by it. He doesn't hear what the man has to say and his grip becomes locked on the map, he wasn't letting go. He just stares trying to find a difference, if any. Frighteningly things began to line up. The eye color, the familiar voice, and now the moonstone earrings. Kagetsu knows that the only other person who had the matching earring to his was his brother Kuroyosai. But Kuroyosai is dead. "Where did you get that?"
Kuroyosai blinks as the guard's grip becomes like iron on the map and he looks up, curious and slightly confused. The expression on Kagetsu's face gets a stronger reaction and he simply lets go of the map backing up one good pace. The hand that was so jealously guarding the scarf is now on the Kodachi's hilt while the other hand has hold of its sheath. Kuro looks like he's about to draw on the guard which of course brings attention to them. A crowd slowly starts to form around them.
When he finally speaks, his tone is hard but his voice betrays just how much his tension has shot up. "None of your business. I don't care how similar you are… I'll take your hand off if you try to touch it." More people gather, whispering about some idiot challenging a guard, by now someone's most likely alerted one of the other Chuunin assigned to guard duty. One comment that floats to Kagetsu's ear might be that the stranger looks like a bandit.
The man's reaction to his question seemed even more strange to Kagetsu, yet oddly appropriate. Kagetsu's stare breaks away and he now is alert of how the man was reacting. He looked like he was about to draw. Kagetsu just now noticed the crowd too. His shift was over and the chuunin assigned to take his place showed up. "Kagetsu-san!" he calls out moving up to Kagetsu's side. He glares at the man. "This guy giving you trouble?" he asks.
Kagetsu looks at the man shaking his head softly. The eye color and the moonstone earring, it was all too much. No matter how slim the possibility he had to give it some thought. Kagetsu pulls his hair back on his left side revealing his matching earring. He makes sure the man can see it and watches for his reaction closely. "That earring belongs to my brother. He died years ago in the desert." Kagetsu's eyes narrow "Give it to me. It doesn't belong with you." The chuunin next to Kagetsu glances between the two. "Let's take this guy in. He just looks like a regular old bandit to me." Kagetsu glances to the chuunin "You can do what you want with him AFTER he gives up that earring."
Kuroyosai is well aware of the crowd and is mostly ignoring them as being no threat. He doesnt know why this guard is so interested in his earring but he's about to find out that Kuro wasn't the kind to be messed with easily. He's very, very close to drawing his weapon when the other chuunin comes up and calls the boy…what? Massaka… His eyes lose all focus for a second, pulling back his left foot into a more natural battoujutsu stance, watching the two chuunin closely. One kid he might have been able to take, but not two.. And he'd die before he gave up that earring…
But even that intent fades from his eyes as Kagetsu shows off his own earring… He even goes so far as to say it belonged to his brother… By the gods if only it could be this easy, he thought. His hands, once firm and ready to draw blood from an enemy, start to shake so badly he almost loses the grip on his sword hilt. His eyes are locked on Kagetsu so he's oblivious to the second chuunin's actions, let alone a third that's come up through the crowd behind Kuroyosai.
Therefore he fails to spot the single nod from the first chuunin telling the new arrival to act. The take down is as anti-climactic as they come. The second chuunin steps up and kicks the backs of Kuro's knees, his hands shoving the boy to kneel on the ground then placing a blade at throat level. The first chuunin steps forward with a flicker technique and effectively disarms Kuro by simply taking the sword away. The first chuunin, Kira, looks at Kagetsu and says simply. "If you want it, it's easier after he's disarmed, Kage-kun."
The second chuunin, who is in fact Lei from earlier, nods in agreement, one hand fisting in Kuro's raven locks to hold his head still while Kira reaches out to yank the earring out of Kuro's ear. He's not gentle but he doesn't cause harm either. Kuro's reaction to that is a struggle so violent that Lei has to pull the blade from the boy's throat before he damages himself. "GIVE IT BACK!" Kira just shakes his head and offers the earring to Kagetsu.
Kagetsu watches the take down and sighs. "You're right he's just a bandit." He says softly. Old ghosts of his past could've cost him his life. Kagetsu moves to take the earring from Kira "Thank you. I don't know how he got this but it's very important to me." Kira looks to the man who is now a bandit and grunts "So you're not really Hikaru-san's child." Kagetsu nods softly moving up to look at the man. "He found me next to my parent's corpses." Watching the man violently shake about demanding that the earring be returned made Kagetsu frown. "Hey gimme a hand here." Lei asks struggling to keep the man from injuring himself. Kira steps up and delivers a nice kick to the man's solar plexus. "Quiet down."
Kagetsu shakes his head and turns to clear the crowd out. "Alright nothing to see here. Get back to your lives please. Come on move it move it." He shoos them away. The crowd slowly dissipates into the village. Kira yanks the scarf off of the man while Kagetsu deals with the crowd. The look on Kira's face is alarming. He gasps softly staring at the man. "Well I'll be damned." With his hair held up by Lei's Kira could get a good look at the man's face.
"Kagetsu-san. This guy. He looks just like you." Kira says turning his head to look back at the young chuunin. Kagetsu turns around not really catching what Kira had said. He stares at the earring in his hand. Images of his brother's face flash in his mind. He clenches the earring tight and sighs. "At least I have a piece of him to keep with me." He mutters. Turning around now in response to Kira's words Kagetsu tucks the earring in his yukata. "What was that Kira-san?" His eyes fall on the face of the man. It was shocking but Kira was right. He looked just like him. With his entire face revealed Kagetsu had no choice but to accept the possibility. "Younoyou're dead." He whispers. Kira blinks and looks back at the man. Lei was still struggling to keep the guy restrained. Kira takes the kodatchi he confiscated from the man and hits him in the side of the head with the butt of the handle. He was aiming to knock the man out. "Take him to the holding place. We'll decide what to do with him after interrogations. Kagetsu go alert…..Kagetsu!?" Kagetsu had fallen down seeming to have fainted. The shock overwhelmed the young man. Kira rushes over to Kagetsu "Lei get that bastard to the holding place now." Lei nods and hoists the man over his shoulder.
Kuroyosai was far too distracted by his own struggles to protect himself from the kick. He chokes as suddenly his lungs have no air left in them. Only held up by the grip on his hair, Kuro looks dazed and it's the perfect chance for Lei to let go of his hair and bind his wrists behind him, keeping him from forming hand signs and effectively stopping any other attacks. Kuro recovers quickly, however, and his eyes flash to glare in the utter defiance of a man used to this kind of treatment. Silent, waiting.. Like a viper poised to strike. Lei thinks to himself it was a good thing that they snuck up on the guy.
He bears his teeth threateningly as Kira yanks down the scarf to expose his features. The man's words only serve to confirm what he'd already thought: Kagetsu looks just like him. Kagetsu has his brother's name. Kagetsu has the other earring…. His wrists twist and he continues struggling against Lei's hold, eyes locked on Kagetsu's face. Just as a glimmer of hope swells in his chest, though, he's hit by the hilt of his own sword and it's hard enough to put him mostly unconscious. He's aware long enough to see Kagetsu drop… Panic wells in him just before he blacks out with a groan of words that, if repeated to Kagetsu later, will show yet another link to Kagetsu's brother.. An old nickname… "my…sh..shadow…" A play on Kage's name, and the fact that he'd been named for the bright moon, Kuro used to call him that all the time before the sandstorm…
As Lei takes the man off to be incarcerated Kira takes Kagetsu to a medic to see what was up with the boy. After about half an hour Kagetsu awoke on a bed in the hospital. As he awoke the nurse walked in. "You're awake? How are you feeling? Dizzy, aching, anything at all?" She inquired. Kagetsu shook his head and sat up. His head was still a little dazed like he had taken a nap. A voice whispered in his head saying only one thing "My shadow?" he repeats out loud. The nurse inclines her head "Excuse me?" Kagetsu looks to her "It's him." He muttered. "The black to my light, from my shine you hide. By and by my dark knight, always by my side." He recites checking himself for earring he'd taken from the man. The nurse shrugs "If you're feeling aright then you're free to leave." Kagetsu nods and looks for his things "I….I have to go."
Kuroyosai would awake in a sandstone cell hand bound within a thick wooden plank. It restricted wrist movement as which kept handsigns from being formed. Lei would be standing outside his cell watching him making sure he remained where he was. Kagetsu appears in a flicker beside Lei. Lei jumps a bit "Kagetsu-san? You're alright?" Kagetsu nodded but kept his eyes locked on the man in that cell. It was all so clear now. Nothing obscured his vision in the slightest. No doubt about it. He and this man were utterly identical. They're eyes mirrored each other now just like back then. Lei looks to Kagetsu "He just woke up. I'll go tell Kira so we can start the interrogations. Watch him for me." Kagetsu nods silently. Kagetsu looks back to the man and presses himself gently against the bars. His eyes tremble set upon the 'bandit' he reaches into his yukata and pulls out the moonstone earring. He sighs not sure what to say. He wants to believe this man is his brother but he's also scared. "Well….say something." He demands
Kuroyosai had woken to a headache and the sticky feeling of dried blood on his temple. He noticed the man, Lei, watching him and just sighs softly, not wanting to move too fast lest he aggravate the head wound. The plank restraints only serve to irritate him as he reaches up to try and test the bruise over his temple. Then he just sat up slowly and leaned against the cool stone of the wall, mismatched eyes watching Lei for any sign of stupidity. He wanted out of this place. He wanted to find the look-alike… He wanted his goddamn earring back.
Voices pull him from his reverie and he looks up only to see the very man he was thinking about. Kuro sits up a little straighter, wincing slightly before taking Kagetsu in. The other boy got rid of Lei pretty easily… Though he didn't like the sound of 'interrogations' he wasn't about to show fear. But now, alone with Kagetsu, his mind shifts back to the earring…and how this boy looks exactly like him.
The demand for words is answered with a slightly scratchy voice, he hadn't gotten any water and his throat hurt, but he's also speaking with a half-dead hope. "I want my earring back. Besides.. Your friends won't get anything good out of me. Trust me. I've lived through worse." He shifts his weight and slowly comes to his feet before walking over to the bars and leaning his head on the cool metal. His voice drops. "Do I look familiar? Is that why you came back?" He coughs a bit and clears his throat before bravado kicks in and he quirks a very familiar lopsided smirk. "Got any water?"
Kagetsu shakes his head "No…sorry I don’t have any water." He pulls away from the bars. If this man wasn't his brother then he must've been a reincarnation or something. But Kagetsu couldn't shake the feeling. The feeling was frightening yet exciting. It was like something he'd been longing for but now was skeptical and afraid to believe in. He holds the earring in view of Kuroyosai "Why is this so important to you?" he asks.
"Oh by the way. They don't have to torture you. There are masters of Zuno Genjutsu that can probe your mind. Whether you resist or not all your secrets will be revealed." Kagetsu frowns slightly at the thought of his brother being put through that. But wait this man wasn't his brother. "You're supposed to be dead." He mutters
Kuroyosai makes a face even though he figured he'd get nothing from these shinobi, he'd still had a bit of hope for water. Ah well. The reaction to seeing the earring is instantaneous. Despite his hands being restrained he still tries to reach through the bars for the earring. He scowls darkly at the bars as if they were purposefully taunting him. Kagetsu's first question is met with a bit of a scowl but he shrugs. "My mother made it. The other one belongs to Akirako Kagetsu…." He pauses then rests his forehead against the bars, eyes wavering. Kagetsu's feelings of forbidden hope are felt as a mirror in Kuroyosai, perhaps a touch more desperate.
Again the promise of interrogation is mentioned and Kuro sighs softly, sliding to sit on the floor, back and side against the bars now he looks exhausted. Then he shakes his head a little. "Don't be naive. After what I pulled earlier they're not going to be so humane." His ears catch the muttered words… So he was supposed to be dead huh? He can't take it any longer. The whole possibility of finding Kagetsu… like this…is so small and yet it feels like it's burning a hole through his belly. His eyes drop to the floor and he just says, "I never stopped believing you were alive…If I could… survive that… alone.. You had our parents… Kagetsu had our parents." He corrects himself with a faint flush. H hears the sound of movement and talking down the hall as Lei and Kira prepare for interrogation and he looks up at Kagetsu as though simply resigned, he asks softly. "Are you happy? Living here… Are you happy?"
"Ku-Kuroyosai?" Kagetsu murmurs, his mismatch eyes widened by the confirmation. When he was salvaged by the shinobi of Sunagakure he'd thought he was the only survivor of the caravan. He was grief stricken for so long and alone too. He missed his parents but seeming to have lost his brother left him hollow and empty. As the sorrow took him he had to fabricate something in order to cope. Kagetsu's eyes become stern as Kuroyosai comments about the interrogations not being human.
He'd just discovered his brother was alive. Though there was a feeling of mortification as he learned of his brother's faith. "I gave up on you too easily." Kagetsu looks down the hall seeing Lei and Kira heading his way. He looks back to Kuroyosai, still in awe that he's been confronted with his brother. Kagetsu reaches through the bars and holds out Kuroyosai's earring. "This /is/ yours." He nods certain of it now. "Iwe lost our parents to the desert. I was alone and didn't have anyone." Lei and Kira are within earshot now. "But I won't lose you. Not again." Kagetsu looks Kuroyosai in the eyes, those that mirror his so flawlessly. "I promise." He stands looking to Lei and Kira. "Kagetsu glad to see you're doing well. Anything from the bandit?" Kira asks. Kagetsu shakes his head "He's not a bandit. He's my brother."
Kuroyosai blinks up at Kagetsu as he says his name. It felt so right, to hear his name spoken by the chuunin. For that moment he was content for the first time that he could remember. Even if he didn't have the earring, even if he'd never see his brother again, he would know he was alive and, he hoped, happy, though he does notice that the other boy hadn't actually answered his question.
He was in for another shock, however, when Kagetsu puts his hand through the bars to return the earring. The young nomad stares at the moonstone piece for several heartbeats, stunned first, then grateful. Hands still bound by the plank restraints, he accepts the small piece of jewelry and palms it tightly. Kuro would be unable to put it back in until his hands were released but at that moment, he was just happy to have it back in his gloved hand. The boy lifts his mismatched eyes in surprise as Kagetsu promises not to lose him again. But then it seemed their time was up. Lei and Kira returning marked an end to simply being with his brother again and as they ask if he'd said anything a cold sort of expression takes over both on his face and in his eyes. Lei frowns at him, thinking that he might be hard to break no matter what route of interrogation they took.
Then Kagetsu is telling them that they're brothers and Kuoyosai is staring at Kage. He's not the only one. Kira and Lei both look like they worry for Kagetsu's sanity. Lei reacts sharply, reaching in and grabbing Kuro by the front of the shirt, yanking him hard against the bars. Kuroyosai once again flinches from the contact as he had when Kage patted his shoulder, but stares him down as the Suna nin yels, "What did you do?! Cast a Genjutsu?! Release him!" Kuro just stares at the chuunin with a 'really?' kind of look before sighing and, using his legs against the bars, jolts out of Lei's grip, coming to his feet in the cell. "It was all a misunderstanding." Then he looks at his twin and his voice is firm. "Kagetsu… Don't endanger your position in this village. Like I said before, there’s nothing to 'get' out of me." Which was technically not true, but he means specifically that there was never any mischief afoot.
Kagetsu looks on to Kira and Lei with a straight face waiting for them to respond. Lei's actions get a rise out of Kagetsu he moves quick flanking Lei and placing a hand with a tight grip on his shoulder. Lei peers back a bit nervous now. Kira also took a stance "Easy Kagetsu think about what you're doing." Kira suggests. Lei smiles nervously his grip on Kuroyosai loosening. "Y-yeah….you're just tired. You worked a long shift, you're under a lot of stress." Lei speaks. Kagetsu hears Kuroyosai's warning and finds that he's naturally defiant of the man's orders. He smiles mimicking Kuroyosai's earlier smile perfectly. "Shut up."
Lei groans "Kira please help me out here." Kira looks to Kagetsu "Ok start talking Kagetsu." Kagetsu glances back to Kira "He's my twin brother." He stated simply. Kira inclines his head. Lei blinks "But Kagetsu-kun? I thought you were the only survivor." Kagetsu looks back to Kuroyosai "So did I. But there's no way this can be a coincidence. We're identical. Our eyes mirror one another. My mother's earring…." Kagetsu's voice softens as well as the gaze he has aimed towards Kuroyosai. "His name is Akirako Kuroyosai." He states. "Isn't it?" he now asks the man for proof.
Kuro blinks as he's told to shut up then smirks at his twin wryly. He must be something if he's got that Lei guy freaked out. A sense of pride wells up for his brother.. Yes, that had to be the truth. He'd finally found Kagetsu. Finally. A moment passes and he watches Lei and Kira try to figure out what's going on. The explanation from his brother is short and to the point, and when he's asked for proof of his name he nods slowly, thinking…
"I can agree that’s my name all I want but I don't think these guys are going to believe me… But maybe…" He frowns as he thinks. Then it's like a light comes on. "The razor rocks!" He is of course referring to a specific incident that happened in their childhood. Kuroyosai had been running ahead of their parents one day on the trail and, as 4 year olds tend to, he tripped and fell on some rather sharp rocks. They cut his leg like knives and that was why they'd called them Razor Rocks. He kept quiet with the story, however, knowing that if the information came from him, Lei and Kira might still assume he's controlling Kagetsu. His eyes light with a bit of hope and a lot of faith that Kage will remember the incident and the scar that is now covered by his left pantleg.
Once Kuroyosai nods Lei looks back to Kira who nods slightly. "You sure Kagetsu? You didn't seem to recognize him earlier." Kira prods. Kagetsu is a bit ashamed of that and nods silently. Kuro's words were true. A name could easily be fabricated. Kira was very much so a skeptic. He sighs "Very well then. Lei." Lie looks to Kira wondering what the senior chuunin had to say. "Apprehend Kagetsu on the grounds of mental sabotage." Lei's eyes widen. Kagetsu blinks taken aback by Kira's order. "What? Kira you can't!" Kira frowns aiming his eyes at the ground "I'm sorry Kagetsu but we have to be sure. If it all checks out then you'll both be free to go."
Kuroyosai's blurt about razor rocks gets a funny reaction from everyone except for Kagetsu, who was smiling appearing to remember that incident. "Excuse me?" Kira says. Kagetsu chuckles "There was this time where Kuro got too excited and went ahead of our parents." He looks to Kuroyosai's legs "He tripped and fell on some infamous rocks that were so jagged they were called 'Razor rocks'." Kagetsu smile wide enjoying the memory. Kira blinks and shakes his head "Ok ok look Kagetsu just please cooperate. I don't want you to make this difficult." His eyes were sincere resting on Kagetsu like a father would his son. Kagetsu frowns "Fine. On one condition." He looks to Kuroyosai. Kira smiles and motions to Lei. Lei looks to Kagetsu and Kuroyosai he sighs "You're both stubborn that's for sure." He opens the cell and lets Kagetsu walk in. Kagetsu turns around as Lei closes the door. "Just sit tight ok Kage? We'll have this all sorted out." Lei says before moving off with Kira. Kagetsu watches the two depart until they're out of view. He turns around with a smirk on his face. "That was cool right?"
Kuro looks like he'd expected resistance from the Suna shinobi, but when Kira orders Kagetsu's apprehension, something inside Kuroyosai snaps. The look on his face is pure murder and he's about to start yelling again when Kagetsu talks about the memory. His eyes remain hard and cold toward Lei and Kira for doubting Kage. Being the prisoner here allows him no leverage over the situation. He clenches both fists tightly as Kagetsu is confined, remaining silent as Lei and Kira leave… Kagetsu's words of 'that was cool right?' get a serious eye twitch and he reaches up — both hand still in those damned restraints — and smacks Kagetsu upside the head. "IDIOT! What the hell?! Throw me to them! I don't care! I'm not going to screw this up for you! I can deal with whatever they dish out I told you that!"
It was a pretty comical switch…if one wasn't the one being smacked of course. Kuro went from a stereotypical example of a prisoner getting huffy to a look that promised a slow and agonizing death… But once Kira and Lei are gone and he was able to be alone with Kage again he slides into yet another role: Protective Big Brother.
It's all too much for his 16 year old mind to take in and he turns to slam the restraints against the wall hard enough to cause a few splinters in the wood. But that's as far as his tantrum goes and he deflates quickly, dropping down to sit on the floor and rubbing his one un-bruised temple. His hair falls around his face and hides him from Kagetsu's view, tension radiating off his black-shirted shoulders.
Kagetsu was expecting a pat on the back and playful nudge on the shoulder. Instead he got a hand upside his head. He winces and whines "I-itai."Kagetsu starts rubbing his head trying to ease the pain. Being scolded by Kuroyosai did bring back memories….or maybe it was the trauma from the slap. Either way his tough guy routine was unforgettable and sent a nostalgic rush through his head once the pain settled. He watches Kuroyosai flip out and slam the restraints. As his brother throws his tantrum Kagetsu considers what he's done.
It seemed like a good idea to him. No one would be hurt now. Even if they did question Kuroyosai once they see that Kagetsu is telling the truth they're more likely to be lenient. Kagetsu finally moves up to Kuroyosai when he's done lashing out. He grabs the plank and squeezes with an impressive grip. The plank begins to crack and give. A visible split can be seen now going down the center of it. Kagetsu lets go and smiles. Kuroyosai would have no trouble breaking out of the restraints now. "What are you so mad about? We're finally together again." He beams.
Sitting half slumped, he's caught by surprise when Kagetsu simply cracks the plank in a grip… He blinks at it for a few minutes before twisting his arms and snapping it the rest of the way, setting his hands free. The first thing he does is to put his earring back into his ear. Then he looks up at Kagetsu's question and that big smile of his.. Kuro reaches over slowly as if afraid to touch a porcelain doll then wraps his arms around his brother in a tight hug. "I looked for you for so long… I'm glad you found a family."
He takes several moments to collect himself before he lets go of Kagetsu. When he pulls back there's moisture on his cheek. He quickly rubs it off and looks to the side, embarrassed. But he does feel lighter in heart than he has for a long time. "Yes, 'Shadow', we're together…In a cell. And I might have screwed up your good life for you. I can't forgive anyone that harms you…not even me. If they lay a finger on you I’ll kill them." The bad part is that Kuro's tone suggests that not only does he mean what he's just said, but that he has the will to carry it out. He might have the same tough-guy act he'd always had as a kid, but now he seems to carry the weight of action as well as attitude. It's a hardening o the eyes that shows in many vetted Jounin and of course criminals.
Kagetsu watches Kuro's hand travel apprehensively upwards. He snickers at his brother but yelps when he's pulled in for a hug. Kagetsu feels a particular warmth from his brother's embrace. It was a sensation more pleasant than any he'd experienced before. His hollowed heart made whole again Kagetsu returned the hug not wanting to ever let go. When he's released Kagetsu noticed Kuro had started tearing. Kagetsu smiled and moved his brother's hair out of his face with a tender hand. "I always felt out of place without my real family there beside me. I needed my brother more than anyone else."
Kuroyosai's words make Kagetsu sweatdrop sensing the serious tone and truth in his words. Kagetsu's eyes dart left then right "Uh it's talk like that that gets you in trouble Kuro." He shakes his head. "I'm not the small timid frightened Kagetsu from 11 years ago." Kagetsu smiles and nudges Kuroyosai on the shoulder "Trust me. Don't worry about any of this ok?" Kagetsu's eyes head down "I have so much to tell you."
Kuro flushes and shifts tensely, concentrating hard to keep still as Kagetsu moves his hair. He finds that he's glad Kagetsu never quite felt right in his new family, a feeling followed instantly by a wave of guilt for even feeling that way. He knew how Kagetsu felt about needing his brother. It had been the belief that Kagetsu was still alive somewhere that had gotten Kuroyosai through the events of the past 11 years. So he allows Kagetsu freedoms that no one else would ever dream of receiving, including the right to touch him, which was proving difficult but manageable. Also was the right to scold him. He knew Kagetsu was right about his words getting him in trouble, but he couldn't seem to control that anymore than he could control flinching away from contact.
So he just nods at Kagetsu's claim that he's not the small frightened boy he used to be. The nudge on his shoulder gets another line of tension but he manages to keep the full reaction off his face. Taking a breath to calm himself and hopefully relieve some of the pressure in the side of his head, he listens to Kagetsu quietly. Then he reaches up to snag a wrist and tugs his brother down to the floor so they're on the same level. "I'll listen to anything you want to tell me, Kage…I missed you too…You have no idea what…" He stops himself, covering his expression and the end of his words by moving suddenly, turning and laying back, trying to use Kage's leg as a pillow. Though the spinning and motion didn't feel good, being that close to the floor did.. it was cooler down here. It was also an odd inversion. He'd always let Kage fall asleep like this when they were kids. Truth be told his head felt like a split watermelon and despite his efforts to hide it, the pain showed in his eyes as a slight pinching of the skin and an unfocused gaze. He'd never been dropped with a single hit before. He made a mental note never to let it happen again. "So…" He prompts. "I'm listening…"
Kagetsu noticed Kuroyosai's subtle reaction every time he was touched. That was something new. He'd never seen his brother act like this before. He wondered what happened 11 years ago. It is then in the midst of his thoughts that Kuroyosai is able to yank him down. He is then taken aback by what occurred next. With Kuroyosai lying on his leg Kagetsu blushes remembering this. It was just a little different from when they were kids. Kagetsu smiles though. He can hardly believe any of this. It was too good to be true. There in true bliss with his brother. Reunited after so long, Kagetsu indeed had much to tell Kuroyosai.
The young man smiles "You always did listen." Kagetsu pets Kuroyosaii softly on his head. He knows the hit he took earlier is bothering him, somehow. Kagetsu sheepishly smiles "Sorry about what happened earlier." Kagetsu sighs and looks out the cell bars. "I don't want to tell you…not here. Hehe in a cell isn't exactly how I pictured this moment. We'll share everything once we get out."
Kuro flinches at the first touch to his head then his eyes close and he relaxes under the cool fingers. He was ready to listen to anything and everything his twin had to say, and it a little surprised that the place matters to him so much. His eyes open and he looks up at Kagetsu curiously. But Kage's regret at what happened earlier makes him frown lightly. "I've never been here before, so I didn't think about checking in. Few of the other villages have gate guards like here. I could have handled the situation better…" He looks away then. "I was so shocked by your face that I wasn't really thinking straight. Then you demanded the earring… It was too much too fast, All I could think to do was fight. You always were the smart one…." He lays there for a few moments…then suddenly opens one moon-shaded eye. "And now you get to see how you'd look with long hair!"
Smirking, he waits for that one to sink in before he continues. "I wondered about chopping it off a few times but ….." He stops again and looks away. He seemed to be having a hard time making conversation, like there was something fundamental he was trying to avoid. "But hey, look at you all punked out with that village symbol on your sleeve! Hotshot."
Kagetsu rolls his eyes at his brother's raw nature. But the only reason there was this much of a deal about it was because of the chuunin exams. Kagetsu wonders what must've been on Kuroyosai's mind to cause him to handle the situation like he did. Oddly enough Kuroyosai explains himself and Kagetsu nods understanding it. That sounds like Kuro. Kagetsu just smiles softly at the 'smart one' claim. He was smart but he lacked the gull or drive to do much of anything. He wished he could be like Kuro sometimes. He marveled his brother's determination and modeled himself after Kuroyosai when he was becoming a shinobi. "Yeah but I still looked up to you." He remarks. Kagetsu runs his fingers threw his brother's hair after he made that comment about the long hair.
Kagetsu gave a 'pity laugh' at the joke, or what he believed was a joke. The silence grew awkward too so it seemed best to do something rather than just sit there feeling weird. As Kuroyosai moves on to speak Kagetsu can tell that he's having difficulties trying to express himself truly. "KuroI forgot to answer your question from before. Sorry. Truth is I don't know if I'm happy here." He admits. "It's like I didn't belong but I had no choice. That is until Hikaru-san." Footsteps can be heard suddenly now. It appears judgment day came early for the twins. Kagetsu looks back wondering who they'd be confronted with.
Kuroyosai watches Kagetsu as he listens to his brother's words. He frowns slightly and looks away when Kagetsu says he looked up to him. The memory of him, an Idealized version probably, he thinks, and again he has to fight a nagging feeling that maybe he shouldn't have forced his way back into his brother's life. He hadn't stopped to think what impact his rough, wild life would have on Kagetsu if the boy had found a safe haven… A home. Kagetsu's comment that he doesn't know if he's happy gets Kuro's attention again and he looks straight at Kagetsu for several seconds, thoughts and ideas running through his mind, things he could say, things he could offer. He was used to the nomadic life and had pictured the two of them traveling together before, but now, seeing Kagetsu with a family and a rank, a place to belong makes him hesitant to spoil it.
The footsteps break through Kuro's thoughts and he speaks quickly and low. "If nothing else, I'll take you with me." It's meant as an offer, and it's presented like a last resort. As the footsteps get nearer Kuro shows he's still got a bit of a mean streak in him and he lays one arm across his own stomach, boldly showing his lack of restraints, the other he just let fall on the floor, still laying with his head on Kagetsu's lap. Then he closes his eyes, head turned just a little so the wounded temple is on display. Kagetsu would be privy to this bit of staging, but whoever was approaching would not be aware that Kuro was testing thier reactions.
Kagetsu's eyes widen shocked deeply by what his brother said. His body was frozen and he came to terms to what Kuroyosai was suggesting. As he sat there frozen he didn't notice his brother's ploy. Going with Kuroyosai? He'd be lying if he said it wasn't what he wanted. But it would also taste a lie to say that he could just leave everything he'd worked for behind. His surrogate family had grown on him. Kuroyosai would know from their past that Kagetsu always did his best to make sure he didn't let anyone down. Trying to please everyone is something of a bad habit of Kagetsu.
Three men stand before them outside the cell. Lei, Kira, and another man with pale white hair and an 'X' scar on his left cheek. They stare at the sight before them. "Uh…Kagetsu-kun?" the white haired man called out. Kagetsu's state of shock comes to the end at the sound of the familiar voice. "H-Hikaru-san…" He looks down at Kuroyosai and groans seeing what his brother had done. "Baka." He murmurs. "How did he get out of his restraints?" Lei asked. Kira folds his arms looking directly at Kagetsu. "Hikaru-san you sure you wanna do this?" Hikaru looks to Kuroyosai and smirks. "Looks just like him. Uh yeah I'll take responsibility. Trust me though. Kagetsu sucks at lying but he's been talking about his twin brother ever since if found him." He motions to Lei. Lei nods and seems a bit cheery. "Looks like today is your lucky day." He opens the cell and waves Kagetsu on. "We're free to go? Just like that?" he asks. "Yeah yeah no get out before I change my mind. Katsuya's been asking about you." Hikaru answers. Kagetsu looks down to Kuroyosai. He smiles but recalling the offer Kuro made he slowly starts to frown. Out of the frying pan and into the fire.
Kuro remains silent as he hears three pairs of boots approaching, looking for all the world as if he was asleep. But he was fully aware of his surroundings, relying on sound rather than sight for the moment. The hesitant questioning voice gets him to open his eyes and stare at the new-comer. White hair… interesting scar. Kuro files the information away for future reference. Whoever this was he might end up a hindrance…
Kuro glances at Kagetsu then, and has to keep from laughing or smiling when he sees his brother frown at him for the stunt. However, the question about restraints gets him back to reality and he speaks up before Kagetsu could take the credit for it. "I needed both hands to put in my earring." He sits up carefully as he says this as if it were obvious. Lei's cheer gets a bit of notice from Kuroyosai and he winces as he comes to his feet, a little dizzy from the motion. It seemed that they were going to be released based on this pale-haired man's word. Kagetsu's acceptance of this Hikaru person makes Kuro actually behave for the moment and he stays quiet, leaning against the wall as Kagetsu is waved out of the cell, he crosses his arms, waiting.
Lei blinks at his hesitation and answers Kuro's lifted eyebrow with a wave of his hand, but a bit less cheer. Kuroyosai blinks and steps out of the cell, eyes flickering between the three men. Coming to a decision he sighs deeply and brings up a veil of formality that should probably have been reserved for the gate guard… "My name is Akirako Kuroyosai. I'm here looking for my brother and I don't have any other objectives." Better late than never he assumes…then he tilts his head, long hair falling over his shoulder. "Can I have my kodachi back now?" Lei looks at Kira and Kira look at Hikaru who hands him the blade. Kuro pulls it out a couple of inches, verifies a blemish on the blade and nods, re-sheathing it and slipping it into its normal place at his hip. Now Kuro's full attention is turned to Hikaru. He's unsure what relationship he has to Kagetsu or what it might have to do with him. Would he be asked to leave or offered a chance to stay? He seems to understand that Hikaru has some kind of cornerstone place in the situation now. He waits quietly for him to act or speak or for Kagetsu to explain.
As they're lead out Kagetsu avoids looking at Hikaru or Kuroyosai the entire way. "Kuroyosai sounds right. Kagetsu never stopped talking about you. Even more than his….your….both of your parents." Hikaru explain. He reaches behind Kagetsu and pulls a tag off his back. "You were bugged. Gotta say it was heartwarming. Touched us so much that we decided to let y'all go." Hikaru smiles balling up the tag. Kagetsu just blushes one shade after another as Hikaru speaks. He's too sullied to speak and just keeps quiet. Hikaru stops suddenly and Kagetsu does as well. "Well I've got work. You two behave. Kagetsu you've got the rest of the day off. Please do go see your sister she's getting restless and your mom can't contain her for much longer." His eyes drift to Kuroyosai "I assume you two have more to talk about. Nevertheless Kuroyosai is welcome at our home so long as he doesn't pull another stunt and get himself arrested…again." Hikaru pats Kagetsu on the head before taking off.
Kagetsu was now between a rock and a hard place. He could see it now. Kuroyosai's furry. Kagetsu was certain Kuroyosai would feel betrayed by him. He loved his brother too much to just tell him straight out that he had a life here that he couldn't leave behind. Kagetsu begin breathing a bit heavily. "I'm sorry!" he blurts out looking down at the ground. His voice was shaken showing that Kagetsu was disturbed truly. "Please don't hate me."
Kuroyosai followed silently, wary and careful… Things had gone too easily.. something was off here.. And then Hikaru admits to it. They were bugged. Kuro's surprise is short-lived, replaced almost instantly with a cold fury, his eyes seem to darken but he manages to keep his eyes from boring holes into Hikaru. His fists double, however as he thinks to himself. Ridiculous! That was just plain… Wait…
Kuro blinks as Hikaru's words start to register in his mind. Sister. Mom. Home.. He stares neutrally at Hikaru when he's told he's welcome as long as he behaves… Suddenly he's confused and off balance… So the one thing he knows on instinct is to show a hard front. To an onlooker, he'd look tense and silent, not fighting and not visibly angry but not exactly happy either. His eyes flash when he sees Hikaru ruffle Kagetsu's hair. It's all he can do to keep from yelling at the man to keep his mitts off his brother. Was that…jealousy he felt? No, he wouldn't allow that either. If Kagetsu wanted to let this man ruffle his hair… fine.
So he's left with the expression of high irritation on his face and in his eyes when Kagetsu turns to face him… And the next thing he knows, the kid's apologizing and upset. What the hell had just happened… "Hate you?" He blinks then tilts his head, catching the speed and depth of Kagetsu's breathing, the expression on his face and Kuro raises both hands, waving one in Kagetsu's field of vision to gain attention and then going palm outward once said attention is gained. It's a posture of surrender and the nomad looks panicked. "I don't hate you how could I hate you what are you talking about?! You didn't know about that damn tag… It's not your fault." He just assumes Kagetsu had caught his look of fury earlier and thought it had been aimed at him…
Kuroyosai makes it harder on Kagetsu when he mistakes the reason for the apology. Kagetsu bites his lower lip trying to find the strength to look at his brother. When he does his mismatched eyes are wavering. He sighs trying to find words to express himself to Kuroyosai. He once again becomes the timid apprehensive Kagetsu of the past. He was ashamed but it was the only thing he could do to repress his anxiety. His breathing doesn't seem to slow down any in fact it increases. "I have to tell you what happened these past years. II have too." Kagetsu moves forward taking Kuroyosai's hand. "Please just let me" he starts to say his hold increasing "Just hear me out before. I'll understand if you don't want anything to do with me again."
"After you got separated mom and dad died right in front of me. The sand storm it took all of our supplies. II was sure you were dead and I figured I'd join you but" his grip loosens up as he starts to reflect on the situation. "That's when Hikaru-san found mehe saved me and took me in." Kagetsu sighs and looks away as he knows this is the hard part. "I was still shaken up….it hurt. To lose everything. It was like being abandoned." He looks up to Kuroyosai "I'm sorry for not believing in you. I honestly thought you died. I mean I couldn't think of anyway you could've survived." He's on the brink of tears when says this to his brother. "Please believe me if I had known or even suspected I would've searched for you."
After telling Kuroyosai how he felt trying to make amends for his lack of faith and ease the grief on his soul Kagetsu goes on with the story. "Hikaru was nice to me. He had a wife and they couldn't have a child so they adopted me and treated me like family. They never wronged me. He never put me in harm's way. He was the one who pushed me to be a shinobi." Kagetsu starts to blush here. "But I really did it because I remembered how strong you were. I thought that if I did it and succeeded I'd be strong like you and would be able to abolish my grief." Kagetsu's head sinks expecting Kuroyosai to laugh at that part.
"I….I became a shinobi. Then Hikaru's wife had a child. He….he wanted me to protect her like a big brother. Like you did for me." Kagetsu lets go of his brother's hand finally. "I'm sorry. I want to be with you more than anything but I can't abandon them…not after…I. I just can't. Please don't ask me to. I couldn't bear it." Kagetsu falls to both his knees and bows his head apologetically. "I am truly sorry for this. But you're my brother. You're my only real family. You'll always be my brother. I hope you can forgive me. I don't know what you've been through but you don't deserve a brother like me." He remains in the apologetic position until Kuroyosai says something.
Kuroyosai blinks as Kagetsu seems to get even more upset and takes his hand. Kagetsu didn't need to beg to be heard so hard. Kuro was fully willing to listen to anything his brother had to say. So he simply nods in ascent when Kagetsu stops begging and widens his stance a bit, like he's settling in for a long wait.
Pain born from his heart slides through his eyes when Kagetsu mentions the sandstorm and watching their parents die right before his eyes. Kagetsu's grip on his hand loosens as if he's losing the ability to continue and Kuro simply stands there, letting the boy continue his explanation. So, he thinks, Hikaru was his new father then. And he had a little sister. And a new mother. He swallows as his mind processes all that means and more. It means that Kagetsu's found.. or made.. a new home. He has friends and comrades, perhaps he even had rivals or a girlfriend…. That last bit irritates Kuro a bit but he can't really say why.
He hears what Kagetsu had said before about thinking he was dead, and why not? He very nearly was himself, and besides, what 5 year old can survive both a sandstorm and getting lost in the deep desert? Of course he'd been thought dead. Kuro himself would have thought the same thing but his situation hadn't allowed for it. His eyes slide away, still silent as Kagetsu makes it plain by words and expressions that he feels guilty for that and Kuro shakes his head silently. He doesn't want to interrupt just yet and he doesn't really trust his voice at the moment.
He listens to the story of how he was adopted and then the family had kept him even when they'd born one of their own blood. He grudgingly admits to himself that Hikaru had done a good job of safeguarding Kagetsu in mind and body and he found himself grateful to him and his wife. He would have chosen people like that if he'd had the chance. He would have placed Kagetsu in someone's safe care if he'd had the power. Then again if he'd had the power, he would have saved them all. A moot point. He'd been 5 and had only barely survived his own ordeal. Briefly Kuro wonders what would have happened if he hadn't let go of Kagetsu's hand that day, what if they'd both been there when Hikaru came by? Would he have been placed in such a home as well? Kuro shakes himself to free the thought. It was stupid to even think like that.
Blushing at the words that he was a role model even though he'd been absent. He can't say the same about Kagetsu, and it brings fresh pain to his heart. He tenses up as Kagetsu drops to the ground, at first worried that the boy had been weak from something or sunstroke or… whatever. It takes him a few moments for him to realize Kagetsu is affecting a rather graceful bow, lowering his head in apology. Kuro swallows hard and breathes through his nose in deliberately long breathes, struggling to keep calm and in control. His eyes stung but he still doesn't move or speak, allowing Kagetsu to say what he wants to, or what he needs to say.
The statement that Kage didn't deserve Kuro as a brother was the final straw. He drops to one knee and snags a handful of Kage's collar, yanking him up to his knees so they're on relatively equal footing. His mismatched eyes are watery and angry for a split second before the anger melts into pain. "Raise your head!" He snaps. "You're right. You don't deserve me. You don’t deserve what happened or what you gained from it." Belatedly, he realizes how that might sound and hurries to correct it before he does actual harm to Kagetsu's psyche. "You deserved a hell of a lot better than any of it. Don't apologize for something like that." Kuro lets go of Kage's collar, dropping his other knee so they're both kneeling facing one another. "I'm not going to ask you to leave this place…. I wasn't going to demand it anyway… Earlier I meant if you couldn't stay… I… I meant if you had to go that you'd just come with me. I know where you are. I can find a place to stay here maybe…or just visit…Whatever you want."
Here he pauses and looks at the ground, both gloved hands clenching into fists on his knees. Tension radiates from his back and shoulders and he refuses to look up. "I.. I didn't consider what would happen once I found you… I couldn't think that far ahead because then I'd have to think of what if I never found you.. What if you /had/ died and I was just using you to survive? So… so I don't know what happens now either…"
Kuro drops into silence, tension increasing in his back and shoulders, his jaw clenches as he finds he's shaking. Such a show of weakness… It could only have been brought out by Kagetsu, he thinks. Finally, after swallowing a few times he trusts his voice once again. However, his tone expresses nearly as much guilt as Kage felt. He has yet to actually speak of his past and he’s loathing to do so now. Kagetsu had been put through enough.
So he stays there, waiting and unsure. His expression is like unto a man waiting for judgment, waiting to hear the order of execution to fall on his neck. He is serious. If Kagetsu had wanted to pretend nothing had changed, Kuro would disappear so he could have his life back. His heartbeat shows plainly in his jugular, speeding so fast and hard that it seems to shake the skin around it. Kuro feels lightheaded, still shaking. For a second he wonders if he could go through with it, then finds his resolve again and simply waits for Kagetsu's decision.
Kagetsu remains in the assumed position until he is brought to a rise by his brother's angry hand. His bellowing words and thundering voice shook Kagetsu. As he peers into his brother's optic stems he can see truth blossom from within. He can see decadent petals of both anger and serenity. He can see the strife that pollinated the majority of his growth. But what stuck out the most in his brother's eyes was the pain. When he's released and once again back on the ground Kagetsu is stricken dumb by his brother. At eye level again with him he could see everything he saw before just as clear and just as authentic.
In his mind he spoke up when Kuroyosai mentioned his stay in Sunagakure. A insurmountable amount of bliss took Kagetsu and he fathomed the options his brother presented. He didn't have to leave. He could stay but that would be selfish, or so Kagetsu thought. His brother was the closest person to him yet he was unaware what he had been doing these past 11 years. Such a strange and unorthodox mixture of mystery and familiarity shrouded the two and such was the definition of their relationship. So different yet so similar. Even now as Kuroyosai explains how he hadn't planned or even any thought as to what he'd do upon locating Kagetsu, Kagetsu could see the distinction between them. The rashness of his brother was something he didn't have but understood as if it was his own. Kagetsu feels a cool streak traveling down his cheek.
Now here they both sat in silence and in the midst of the thickest tension. Without exchanging a word Kagetsu could feel the resonance. He felt something tugging at him and it was drawing him to a conclusion most confounding. It told him that Kuroyosai needed him now. He could see his brother's contempt and sense it in his tone. Kagetsu inclines his head slightly as a nostalgic notion presenting him with a means to dissolving this situation. Desperately Kagetsu clings to the idea and moves to take his brother's wrist. He pulls it to his chest and has it overlay his heart. He holds it there for a few moments and looks Kuroyosai dead in the eye. He places his hand over his brother's heart now and keeps his gaze upon Kuroyosai. The message is clear here. No words were needed. Kagetsu's only other action was a smile a soft as the look in his tender eyes and a nod. Their hearts bridged now so trust could travel freely between them. Kuroyosai would find Kagetsu's answer there.
As the silence stretches Kuroyosai's panic grows. His head throbs as he waits, the more time that goes by seems to suggest that he's going to be cast out officially. So when Kagetsu goes to take his wrist, he's too distracted to jerk away, though the flinch is in his face at the contact. His hand, still shaking is laid over his brother's heart and Kuro's breath catches. The feel of Kage's hand on his own chest, over his own heart brings his world to a crashing halt. The air leaves his lungs, his heart stops. An eternity passes as he freezes, afraid to move on lest he hear something he'd rather not…. And then understanding crashes against him like a tidal wave. He can stay. Not only that but he's not under any obligation to be someone or something other than himself. Thunder seems to crash as his heart starts again and blood rushes through his veins. He's unaware of when exactly it happens, but the tears in his eyes overflow and cover his cheeks.
Though he's still shaking, the stressor causing it is more akin to giddy victory than the defeat he'd expected. He felt like he'd been in the dark forever and suddenly he was presented with a tiny flame. Just enough light to direct and guide him. Kagetsu had always been that flame for his survival, true. But now he represented the future. He takes his free hand and lifts it to tremblingly cover Kagetsu's hand on his chest, a wordless acceptance of what Kagetsu offered.
Whether or not he deserves such a thing is thrust aside now. He felt greedy but he reached out to grasp his new opportunity. He would stay here, in this village, and give his brother everything he needed or wanted. He would protect him again, even from Kuro himself. His resolve to keep the past in the past hardens further. Kagetsu never had to know. No one ever had to know any of it. He nods once before embarrassment takes over and he drops his eyes, blushing. He would find an apartment and run errands or something in town for money, but later. Now he needed to stay close to Kagetsu, so in that second he decides to accept Hikaru's offer of a bed for a few days. In that time he'd find his bearings in town and go from there. For the first time in a long time, Kuroyosai feels weight lift from his shoulders as he submits to the moment, no planning required. "T…take me home?"
'Sure' is a powerful word. Sure can be the tide changer of someone's entire day. Sure can bring to light someone form within the deepest abyss. Sure can make one of the most stressful situations dissolve into nothing more than a matter of time. Kagetsu felt for a moment that the person sitting across from him had vanished. Into a void of perpetual stagnation he'd thought he lost Kuroyosai. His heart sunk as he feared the link he and his brother shared had grown weak and ultimately broken. He'd already lived in a world where his brother was lost to him. To return to such an existence was something insufferable now that he had found him. Would he be left to suffer this dismay again? 'Sure is powerful' it can also destroy hope down to the very last strain.
The tears that stream down Kuroyosai's face help Kagetsu to realize his own. He wonders if his brother came to the same frightening conclusion. Then as quickly as he came into his life it seemed Kuroyosai would be exiting it. But before he would give it completely something wondrous befalls him. He feels his brother's hand over his. He looks to Kuroyosai now. He'd mistaken his silence as a default to despair. He'd been away from Kuro too long. He should've know his brother wouldn't leave him after coming all this way, not unless he was told to by Kagetsu himself.
Even though he was now elated there with his brother his eyes continue to rain tears upon his face. Kagetsu wanted to know so much about his brother. He wanted to know everything actually. But he knows Kuroyosai. He knows it would be wrong of him to ask. While Kuroyosai thought Kagetsu deserved better Kagetsu felt completely the opposite. Kagetsu didn't deserve to have someone like Kuroyosai but what one deserves and does not deserve is irrelevant. All that matters is what one has and how they cherish it. Kagetsu would cherish Kuroyosai and let him move at his own pace. He could tell his story now or 5 years from now. No matter what the time span Kagetsu would be there. Threw the tears a grin widens and widens on the happy face of a grateful Kagetsu. In response to Kuroyosai he chuckled and answered "Sure." It's a powerful word indeed. "The moonshine doesn't look as beautiful without the dark." He rises to lead his brother to begin where their lives had left off.