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 Hanging Out (With Kozai) [Open]

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Ayatsuri
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PostSubject: Hanging Out (With Kozai) [Open]   Wed Sep 16, 2015 2:13 am

The young woman sat plainly upon a bench, resting along a walkway in the village. The day had reached the late afternoon, the sun, little more than a glowing throb behind the gossamer cloud cover, fell lazily to the far off mountain ridge which would extinguish the glow. She had already completed her practice for the day, had already wielded her blade and moved her body, had flexed her fingers and the delicate threads spun from the pads of her fingers. Generally, she would retreat to her home after such a time, or perhaps meet up with someone, though such occurrences grew rarer and rarer as time went on. She knew few people in the village and those she did know grew farther from her. She was, it seemed, bored.

And so here she sat, on a bench, on a street, in the village. Alone. The clouds passed by in slow waves, sending down splinters of soft light like looking upwards towards the surface of a body of water under which one had submerged herself. She idly looked up to the puffs every once in a while, taking no particular pleasure in the looks. Her own restlessness seemed to prevent her from any form of pleasure, at least at the current time. The village was boring. This simply was fact. There were few people. Another fact. There was nothing to do. Perhaps more of an opinion, but one she held. Training all day and building all night, while on some level enjoyable, did not occupy her mind, did not send her eyes alight with mirth or sadness. Training was like a tree; it existed, it was there, it was true, but it did not entertain or occupy or instruct. It simply was.

So she sat, looking periodically up and down the street, a mostly abandoned strip of gravel and dirt, a few ramshackle shops scraping by in this particularly part of town. This was not uncommon, either. This sort of scene did not play out only here in the village. She had not even moved to a dangerous or unpopulous part of the village. Rather, there was simply no one here or anywhere else in the village. Perhaps she should just go home, grab some food, and read for a while.

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PostSubject: Re: Hanging Out (With Kozai) [Open]   Wed Sep 16, 2015 2:51 am

Kozai was scared. He hadn't wanted to go out during this time of the day, but he had run out of food and drink, and had waited a whole day without eating before the pangs of his body compelled him to go forth. He had shuffled out of the apartment building, then practically flew down the sidewalk, like a night bird flitting about, trying not to be noticed. As always, he failed at this. How could people NOT notice the boy? The only jonin in Kumo to look like a 10 year old... it wasn't his fault that his growth had been stunted by-

No. Don't think about it. He was getting better at catching himself now, and diverting his thoughts to other, better things. Like his shopping list. His bare feet made small noises against the ground as he pattered into the lane with a few old shops. Not many people... good. He had expected more at this time of day, but the place was unusually quiet. He forced himself to move, walking slowly up to a shop. Purposefully looking at the wares rather than the man to whom the shop belonged, he quietly mumbled what he intended to buy.

A few seconds later, he was heading out of the alleyway from the opposite intersection, heading across town to buy some basic things, like toothpaste. He was starting to panic a little. Just stepping up to the first vendor had taken almost everything he had. He remembered the last panic attack he had... would that kind of thing happen again? He was afraid. But even more intimidating than the prospect of facing another person was the large park before him. No... he couldn't pass through there. Too open, too threatening. Gritting his teeth, he shuffled to a building to his right, hoping to go around the edge of the part. As he moved, he saw something out of the corner of his eye; across the park, there was a woman on a park bench.

No.... no... there was someone there! He peeked at her, then his gaze automatically went back to the ground. Move, move! He flitted from building to building, hiding behind walls and attempting to get around the park, hoping the woman wouldn't notice him and call him over or something. He didn't know if he could handle that...

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PostSubject: Re: Hanging Out (With Kozai) [Open]   Wed Sep 16, 2015 4:07 am



The clouds rolled slowly by in their unending journey to… wherever it was that they were going. They never rushed, though certainly moved with swiftness, much like Ayatsuri did whenever she had places to be. For now, she simply continued to look at them and wondered, wondered at the village and the banality of it all. She loved peace, but this was not it. This was a creeping death, a poison in and around the village as it plunged further and further into misery. The whole place wilted like a flower and, it seemed, no one had taken a single notice. No one seemed to care at all. None of the clans attempted to help and the artisans and tradespeople simply moved away.

She exhaled a long, slow breath, moving to get up from her seat, when she caught something peculiar from her eyes. What appeared to be a small boy skittered about to and fro, seeming to come to a painful decision as to whether or not he should go through the park or the alley. The two’s eyes caught for the briefest of moments, his a brilliant green, before the connection vanished. He averted his gaze to the ground and made to duck away, but Ayatsuri had just raised her hand in a wave, a small, shy smile creeping over her face. Not a shy person by nature, the boy seemed terrified and this tempered, for the time being, her otherwise exuberance.

“Um, hello there? Are you alright?” Her voice hesitated for a moment before coming out in full, rich tones loud enough to carry across the small park but not so loud as to be a grating yell. Perhaps he’s in a hurry? She awaited a response, a look of acknowledgement, anything at all to signify that he had a moment to spare, perhaps even in some idle chit-chat. She did not hope for much, but still felt a small smile growing in anticipation. It had been such a time since she had last spoken to someone.


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PostSubject: Re: Hanging Out (With Kozai) [Open]   Wed Sep 16, 2015 5:02 am

He had really thought that he could make it. Of course, like all his hopes, this too was not to be. The woman's voice floated to him across the breeze, which was probably what was causing the fluffy white clouds up above to be moving so quickly. As a cloud shifted, the sunlight glinted off of his Kumo headband before another cloud moves to obscure it. He froze as he heard the woman's words, like an animal in front of a headlight, realizing that it was about to die. The sudden stop of motion didn't seem guilty, but more like a wince than a pause.

What could she possibly want him for? Considering that he was a ninja of the village, maybe she needed something in that aspect... he briefly considered simply running away and hiding in his room, the fingers on his right hand twitching slightly. He had only been a few minutes away from home, and he was already missing his teddy bear to squeeze and give him comfort from the scary things in the world. He couldn't look at the woman, but rather, stood up and, with eyes to the ground, began to walk toward her like a prisoner towards his execution. Slightly plodding step, and a bowed head, the shackle on his left ankle shifting slightly, the band of metal being displaced as he walked.

His feet kicked up a little dust on the unkempt park sidewalks of Kumo. This was from the dirt that had been compacted there for so long that the light breeze that was running through the village wouldn't kick it up and bring it elsewhere. It didn't bother him too much. He was too frightened to even pay attention to mere dirt. After what seemed like minutes, though, it had only been mere seconds, he had reached the park bench. When he spoke, it was just above a whisper.

"Y-yes...?"
Was all he said. He coudln't force any more out of his mouth. All he had to do was wait for this to pass...

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PostSubject: Re: Hanging Out (With Kozai) [Open]   Fri Sep 18, 2015 1:08 am

317|1038

Her words had a peculiar effect on the small man darting out of the alley. When they reached him, he froze, like a wild animal who suddenly realized he had been seen. The whole situation unsettled the woman and she felt herself grow increasingly uneasy as the man wandered, slowly, over to where she sat, shuffling almost guiltily. Her eyebrows rose noticeably as she watched and she rocked back and forth lightly in her seat. Should she get up? Stay seated? Flee? She could not decide and, at any rate, failed to come to any meaningful conclusion before the boy slid up next to her.

”Y-yes…?” He stuttered out the words out as though they may, upon slipping form his lips, turn around once more and bite him. Ayatsuri stared openly at him a few long beats, her eyes searching his timid and flinching face. Normally she would speak openly, even bordering on flirtatiously, but it seemed inappropriate now. She leaned slightly back from the boy, her body remaining open. He seemed utterly terrified and the woman wondered once more if she should have simply ignored him and suffused herself in the endless boredom of the village. Too late now, she supposed. She righted herself once more, squaring her shoulders and looking to meet the boy’s eyes.

”Oh I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to interrupt you. I just…” she trailed off for a moment, not entirely sure why she had called out to the man. She was just bored but felt that such an admission would seem foolish at best. ”Anyway, my name is Ayatsuri. What is yours?” She winced slightly at her own voice and the awkwardness of the scenario. Hopefully he would begin to open up a bit and give her something to go on. If not, she may end up home sooner than she expected. She sighed even at the simple thought of it.
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PostSubject: Re: Hanging Out (With Kozai) [Open]   Fri Sep 18, 2015 2:51 am

The woman seemed somewhat taken aback by him, which made him feel guilty and ashamed at the same time. He looked like a thirteen year old scamp from the ghetto... only now, when he was forced to stand in front of someone else and feel the burn of their eyes on him was he fulling aware of what kind of impression they had on him. Usually, his nightmares or wracking pains made him too delirious to notice much of anything, but as of that moment, he was as lucid as it got with Kozai. Once again, as he stood there, his eyes would meet with hers, and again, his would quickly flick away, staring down at his toes.

But, rather than just looking at him with disgust and walking away (which would have been a great mercy), she actually spoke to him. Even worse, she asked for his name. Why...? Why did she have to notice him?? He was nothing. He unconsciously clenched the fabric of his shorts with his left hand, whimpering slighty at the same time inadverently. He didn't know if he'd be able to talk to her a second time... what if she asked about his past? Then he'd have to think about-

"Kozai", He spit out, almost like a sob. The fact that he had used his own name with such a repulsive tone only made him feel worse. He bowed his head and clenched his eyes, as the knuckles on his clenched left fist grew whiter. In this posture, his black hair would only partially hide the tiny beads of sweat that were forming on his now-cold forehead. His skin in general had become a little paler as the situation had unfolded, and his blood pressure was decreasing as well, even though he wasn't overtly aware of it.
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PostSubject: Re: Hanging Out (With Kozai) [Open]   Sat Sep 19, 2015 3:28 am

429|1467

The boy, young in his looks, choked out his name after a visible struggle of his face, his features contorting for a long moment as he seemed to feud with himself all over again. This had clearly been a bad idea. Calling out to him had been a bad idea. Trying to speak had been a bad idea. Contact with people of the village seemed a bad idea. Being born in this accursed land of clouds had bee, though no choice of hers, a bad idea. She may as well go back to her workshop and tinker with her puppets some more. They provided about as much conversation as this child currently was, and they didn’t cry when she spoke to him… though she didn’t do that often.

His name was a sob though. Kozai, but with a fearful, tear filled tone. His voice waivered as he spoke as though he may have a break down at virtually any moment. She had to restrain herself from rolling her eyes at this point, the whole situation moving effortlessly and quickly away from uncomfortable and a bit pitying and arriving almost instantly at pathetic and absurd. This was, to say the very least, absolutely ridiculous. She probably looked crazy, tormenting a child as she was, though she had no idea why her words tormented him so. And even were he a fully grown man it would prove no less ridiculous as he flinched and squirmed at every turn of the conversation.

”Well I… uh… it’s nice to meet you at any rate. I’m sorry I kept you from...” she looked around, up and down the street and across the park, seeing nothing noteworthy in any direction, knowing of nothing noteworthy in the whole village. ”…from wherever you’re going. I shouldn’t keep bothering you here.” She rose quickly and elegantly, her body seeming to float forward off of the bench as though propelled by a subtle wind. Her silver hair flowed behind her as she moved. ”I suppose I’ll simply retire. Goodbye, Kozai.” Part of her wished that the boy would stop her, would reach out, would say or do anything, but such was in vain. She harbored no actual thoughts that he would do anything of the sort. Her evening had been, it seemed, wasted. Her mind moved to her sword, slung at her side, and to her training. Perhaps she would go learn another of the ancient arts of the samurai when she got home. A pity, though, that she had been so let down once more by the village.

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PostSubject: Re: Hanging Out (With Kozai) [Open]   Sun Sep 20, 2015 3:00 pm

It was then that the full realization of what he was broke through into his mind. All this self-pitying... all of the nervousness, the stress, the anxiety... it was immature and off-putting. Sure, he hadn't had time to really grow up much after he had been released from...
...
... from his captivity (there, he had thought about it, and felt no different), but that wasn't an excuse to remain a pathetic person forever. As much as he loathed talking to people, he hated himself even more for being this way. As the girl gave her exasperated speech and departure, Kozai hesitated for a couple of seconds, then turned around, looking at the girl's back.

He stretched his arm out, as if to vaguely seize something, and spoke.
"W-wait...!"
The sound of his own voice speaking to another person, actively willing them to come back to him, surprised him somewhat. What was he doing? Didn't he have something else to do?
Excuses, excuses, he thought to himself. If I don't talk to her now, I may never get another chance.
"I... I'm sorry for being so rude. It's just... I'm not used to talking to... well, people."
Now, how had his parents taught him to respond to a situation like this? Oh, that's right!
Kozai put his hands by his sides and bowed slightly in apology.
His flesh had warmed slightly, indicating that his blood pressure was rising a little. His heartbeat was still fast, however, so his cheeks now had an unusual blush on them, both a sign that he was nervous, and an indicator of his embarrassment.
He had wanted people to leave him alone... but never, ever, had me meant to chase them away. He shuffled his feet a little at this, and chewed on his lower lip a little, the actions provided him negligible satisfaction. Hopefully, the woman would respond well.

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PostSubject: Re: Hanging Out (With Kozai) [Open]   Wed Sep 23, 2015 2:11 am

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As she was departing, turning away after having excused herself from the other man’s presence, she heard him speak, a hushed tone, timid almost. He’d called for her to wait, not to go, to stay for a while, and it seemed that her little internal prayer had been answered. She paused, turning slowly back to the child-like man behind her, her deep purple eyes looking upon him, one brow raised in a questioning manner, employing him to explain himself. She’d hear his call for her to wait and certainly she would comply, but she had no intention of keeping up this conversation of her own accord. If he wanted her to stay and talk, he’d have to ask it.

He did not disappoint. As she waited for a brief moment, the man spoke once more, hesitantly apologizing for his rudeness. The woman, Ayatsuri, smiled at this, her whole face and body lighting up as her posture sharpened. He need not apologize for rudeness as she had not perceived his awkwardness as such, but she was happy that he wanted to continue the conversation at least for a while. She did not know very many people in the village at all, a likely result of her spending so much of her time training, but even ignoring that it seemed that none of the people that she had met ever showed up again. Sure, the shopkeepers and the like remained eternally in their areas as though they were meant to be there, but aside from that no familiar faces every showed themselves. The village was a sad place.

After explaining himself he bowed, which was something Aya found totally unnecessary and a bit flattering at the same time. She continued smiling alone at him, bowing herself even as she began to speak a bit excitedly. ”Oh it’s no problem, no problem at all! I’m honestly just so happy to finally have someone to talk to at all that I probably came on a bit strong. I tend to do that when I’m excited, so I apologize as well. And I am sorry if I am keeping you from something. If you have somewhere to go, by all means go ahead. But if not, maybe you’d care to stay a while? Perhaps we could go across the street and get some tea? It is nice to meet me.”


I have no idea what rank I am!

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PostSubject: Re: Hanging Out (With Kozai) [Open]   Thu Sep 24, 2015 12:53 am

She... she had actually stopped. She had stopped and turned around and smiled at him! It was, probably for the first time in his more recent years that Kozai had seen someone smile at him like that when he talked to them. He found himself averting his eyes to the ground, but for a different reason. She was... a little cute. Having the social awareness of someone much younger than he, he didn't know how to "act cool" around girls, so that behavior pattern had instead been replaced by a childish kind of embarrassment. Small blushes appeared on his cheeks as he gripped the upper part of his left arm with his right hand.

The woman seemed a lot less crude and more dignified than many of the other people he had met... but what did he know? He hadn't really gone out of his way to meet new people or get to know them personally... because they were so abrasive! Or was it because he was just too sensitive or cowardly...? Maybe it was both? Regardless, he had made up his mind, even if it was only step at a time, to open up to someone. If there was anyone, it might be Ayatsuri. He decided to take a chance.

"Um.... t-tea sounds good..." In reality, he loved tea. It wasn't too bitter (at least, to him), and the fact that it was a mild stimulant always made him feel a little better. It was warm, and not hard to prepare, like coffee.
He forced himself to look up, his green eyes meeting hers. He was a fair bit shorter than she was... it didn't make him feel any more comfortable. Even though he knew it wasn't his fault, there was always an inferiority factor in being physically shorter than someone.

"I... don't know any good places, though... do you?" It was true, he didn't. Even after the years that he'd lived in the village, all the tea he'd ever had was home-brewn. He didn't know whether his was any better than other peoples' (he'd just followed the instructions on the packets, and fumbled a few times before getting it right). So, he was now reliant on Ayatsuri to show him the way, even if it was just to a place where they could have tea.
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PostSubject: Re: Hanging Out (With Kozai) [Open]   Thu Sep 24, 2015 2:31 am

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The boy, having caught her attention, averted his gaze after a time, blushing, perhaps, at his outburst of speech. Ayatsuri grinned at him, her full smile shining even in a moment of awkwardness. Maybe she had been wrong about him and he simply was a bit of an introvert. No matter, outgoing or a homebody, she cared not; she simply needed someone to talk to, about anything, for any amount of time. The village was small and desolate and lonely. Even had she spent less time training, it would matter little. There simply did not exist many people in the village for her – or anyone – to meet. She may have pounced a bit too much at her sighting of Kozai, but could she truly be blamed for her eagerness?

She listened as he spoke, her deep, lilac eyes taking in his face as his mouth moved, meeting with his green ones only to shift along the rest of his face. She did not look with overt want, though many over the years had mistaken it as such, but instead she enjoyed studying the face, watching the jaw work as a man spoke, watching a woman’s eyes as she ate. There was something there, something in such a basic human motion of the face, that never ceased to amaze her and Kozai was no exception. So perhaps her stare was too intense, not quite polite enough, but she, again, could not help such a thing. She lit up when he agreed to grabbing some tea, a favorite hobby of hers, and immediately began thinking of places the two could go.

”Oh no worry no worry, I know a few good places.” She paused, her face turning away from the boy for a moment, her hand making the sharp of a gun with her index finger and thumb, placing it below her chin as she squinted in concentration, mentally searching for the perfect place. She turned back suddenly, her eyes bright once more. ”There is one place a ways away that makes the most amazing cold blossomed tea, but it is a bit chilly out, so I think some hot tea would be best, yes? Hm… I know! Just around this corner and down the street is a lovely little place! Apparently the owner grows all of the leaves herself, but I don’t think anyone really believes that. It’s a good story though, huh?” She reached out for the boy’s arm lightly as she chattered, already moving to lead the way. If he accepted her grasp she would simply lead him on, not dragging him around or anything. She did this sometimes, taking another’s hand, without thought. If he chose to decline it, she would not be bothered. They had tea to drink!

Have I found a friend?!
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PostSubject: Re: Hanging Out (With Kozai) [Open]   Thu Sep 24, 2015 3:31 am

Oh... was she actually trying to be kind to him? He hadn't felt something like this since... his parents. Kozai felt like crying, but didn't show it. He barely repressed the emotions he felt as best he could. There would be time for tears of joy and memory later. Right now, he needed to behave his best for this woman. What person would appreciate someone bawling out on them after meeting them for the first time? He couldn't help but feel that she was gazing at him for some other purpose than to mark down his features in her memory... but he wasn't a mind reader.
Upon her suggesting a specific place, he nodded. He'd have to ask her for the place that served the cold tea later... wait, what? What was he thinking? A tea shop would be crowded with people... and they'd all stare at him, with those cold, judgmental eyes... but he had to do something sometime. The only legitimate concern, though he knew it not, was that he might have a panic attack. However, he felt that maybe if he found a little corner to enjoy his drink in, he'd be alright. Well, hopefully, at the very least.
If Ayatsuri led the way, he would follow beside her. The two would look akin to a big sister taking her little truant brother somewhere, though a more careful analysis of the two would reveal that they didn't really look alike. The vast difference in their attitudes as well played a factor here. To Kozai, Ayatsuri seemed like a bright beacon of sunshine... should he look too much at her, though, he'd be blinded (well, the analogy kind of fell through there, but that's not the point!). He knew to tread carefully, but couldn't shake the feeling he had in his gut.
When the woman mentioned the "great story" to him, he nodded again, then spoke hesitantly.
"I've never heard that one before. I'm... I'm sorry, I don't get out a lot." She could probably have told that from looking at him, but he still said it anyway. He felt himself starting to loosen up, and his breathing starting to become easier. Was this what he needed all along? The company of another person, the very thing he had been trying to avoid this whole time? It seemed preposterous... but yet, how else could he explain what was happening?
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PostSubject: Re: Hanging Out (With Kozai) [Open]   Fri Sep 25, 2015 3:18 am

Prima dona
First lady of
the stage

Kozai, as it seemed, had gone along with the little diversion to head to the small teashop rather well, much to Ayatsuri’s delight. By the time she had finished talking and in turn had listened to her companion respond, saying he did not now the story about the shop, they were just about there. He sounded maybe just a bit put out about not knowing the tale. She smiled at this too, turning slightly over her shoulder as she looked at the man, pushing her way into the shop with one arm and talking to him at the same time. ”Hm.” She paused the door hanging ajar. ”I suppose not many people do know about that tale.” She leaned a bit closer and lowered her voice to a whisper. ”This store is pretty small and they don’t get a whole lot of customers. The village doesn’t seem to be doing very well. But still, they make wonderful tea!”

She led the way in and over to a small booth along the right side wall, the service bar directly across from the two. The whole place was almost entirely abandoned aside from another couple, clearly on a date of some sort, on the far end of the store, near the door. They sat at a tiny table that looked more for show than anything and whispered quietly to one another, sipping from one large cup of tea and leaving the second empty and untouched. Ayatsuri rolled her eyes and giggled a bit at them before sliding into her seat, ordering some tea from a waiter who came up as she did. ”Oh, I hope you don’t mind too much. Their blueberry tea is really quite good and my favorite here. We could get something else if you prefer.” She hesitated for a moment, hoping she had not unduly stepped on the other man’s toes.

She glanced around the room, habitually scanning for any potential danger, before settling back on Kozai. He seemed… lighter perhaps? At any rate he stuttered less and looked a bit stronger, standing a bit taller and throwing his shoulders back more. Ayatsuri felt a wave of happiness come over her at the small development. Introvert or not, there was no reason that he could not have some friends. Well, he likely had friends, but he could always have more. The women felt herself smile calmly at the whole event, almost unreasonably pleased that she was able to have a conversation with someone in the otherwise mostly abandoned village. It seemed there were still a few good souls around.

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PostSubject: Re: Hanging Out (With Kozai) [Open]   Fri Sep 25, 2015 5:22 am

Even at his own inadequacy, Ayatsuri seemed to be very accomodating. Whether or not many people had actually heard the story, she still attempted to make him feel better. Most of all, though, Kozai liked the look of her eyes. Whenever people looked at him, he got several kinds of looks. The first was from people who knew who he was, and what he had been through. It was that kind of acidic gaze of pity that he hated so much. He had a hard enough time dealing with his own personal issues; he didn't want to know that other people would soon be upon him, burdening him with their fussing. The second kind was the ones that knew that he was a ninja. A look of fear and awe... why? He was nothing. Finally, there was that look of scorn from those who thought that he was some kind of vagabond. This was by far the worst. It wasn't his fault that he was this way... was it?
Ayatsuri was kind, though. And for that, he was so grateful. As he followed her into the small building, he heard her mention that the village wasn't doing too well. Externally, he nodded, not really having anything to say. Inwardly, though, he wondered why. Was it their lack of a definite leadership? Was it because their labor system was inefficient, or whatever? Kozai didn't know much about things like that, but he couldn't help but think about it and ask himself. Still, his brain could't come up with any definite answers. He hadn't talked to enough people to know much about the village's status in the world and all. At any rate, they had come to a small booth... it was perfect. Very private and small. He, too, would sit down, getting comfortable.
Drawing his legs in close to him, knees close to his chest, he'd smile at Ayatsuri, hoping to look content. Instead, he only ended up looking super cute, with the remnants of the blush still on his cheeks.
In response to what she said, Kozai would also speak.
"Oh, it's fine... blueberry's nice." In truth, he had only ever had blueberry tea twice, and had thought it to be pretty good compared to many of the others that he had tried over the years. However, he'd always tried it cold... having some of it warm would be a new experience for him.
However, there was always that slight fear in the back of his mind... he probably didn't look like a normal kid to Ayatsuri. What if she became disgusted with him? He didn't want that to happen... in his heart, he really needed to hold on to someone.
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PostSubject: Re: Hanging Out (With Kozai) [Open]   Sat Sep 26, 2015 1:52 am

Prima dona
First lady of
the stage

The whole affair was going quite well, the conversation having opened up after entering the shop, two young people sitting down to a nice cup of hot tea. Ayatsuri could not keep the smile from creeping into the corners of her mouth, from touching her eyes and coloring her pale face slightly. Having gone so long with only those who lived and worked in her house, she was thrilled to find someone to spend a simple afternoon with, not training or delivering food or running missions, but just enjoying some nice company, some nice conversation, and some nice drinks. The waiter arrived shortly after the woman ordered, having ascertained that Kozai indeed did not mind about the blueberry tea. He dropped off the steaming pot, bowed, and then moved away.

”Oh I’m so excited for this, do forgive me! Oh and,” she reached across to the far side of the table, nearest the wall, grabbing a small jar of honey from the corner, ”here’s some honey if you like. It’s quite good in this tea, though I don’t always put it in. Hm… maybe you should have a sip first and then try some with honey? Unless you definitely want the honey, then just go for it!” She bubbled on, preparing her tea with a tiny dab of honey, preferring it not to become too sweet. When she finished she returned her gaze to the boy across from her, taking him in once more with her dark eyes. He looked, perhaps, just a bit disheveled, but then again she had caught him out of the blue, so maybe he had only recently completed some errand. No matter at all for he was here now!

”So tell me about yourself, if you would. I don’t mean to pry, but it’s nice to get to know people over tea, you know? I can start though, if you would rather. What to say what to say…?” She mused aloud for a second, stirring at her hot tea with a small rod before bringing it up to take a taste. ”Oh it’s very good today!” Her voice rose at this, not yelling, but filling with volume that the staff could hear, a few of the boys smiling and nodding at her. ”Oh yes. Well as you know, my name is Ayatsuri. My favorite color is… maybe all of them, but probably red.” She looked down at the dress she wore, a short thing which extended past her right knee but, on the left side, stopped at her mid thigh. ”And I,” her face grew serious for a moment, ”come from a proud lineage of samurai warriors.” She smiled once again. ”My dad likes to say that a lot, so sometimes I make sure to point it out to please him.” She leaned forward a bit, moving her face to meet with her raised mug to take another sip, eyes leveled on the boy across from her as she awaited his response, eager to learn about him.

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PostSubject: Re: Hanging Out (With Kozai) [Open]   Sat Sep 26, 2015 6:44 am

Having not lived a "normal life" for quite a while, Kozai didn't really know how to do "small talk" or "simple conversation" very well, despite knowing in full what those terms meant. Thus was the life of a shut-in. Still, he felt that he could learn these things from being around Ayatsuri. It couldn't be that hard, right? All he had to do was listen closely, and do as she did. Now... the first and most obvious thing to fix was his posture. He had noticed the odd stare that the waiter had given him, and knew that it was probably because he was hunched up on his seat, his dirty feet on the cusion that he was sitting on.
He quickly sat in a more "normal" position, feet down. Alright, goal achieved. He gazed at the steaming pot of tea in front of him. Mmm...
Pouring himself a cup, he noted that Ayatsuri was now offering him some honey. Ooh... he had always been too poor to add things into his tea other than dried things like cinnamon (or, on accident, paprika. How embarrassing), so this would be a new experience for him. Nodding gratefully, he put about a quarter sized amount of honey into his teacup and stirred deliberately.
Despite the occasional giggle and such, she seemed so much more elegant and composed than he. Was she like that in combat, too? Kozai knew from the few combat situations he had been in (and those were VERY few) that he tended to be a little narrow minded when fighting, repeatedly trying to beat his enemy regardless how strong his opponent was or how beaten down he felt. It was among his more practical faults, he knew, and would probably get him killed someday. But it was a kind of balance that he just couldn't help: timidity vs. temerity.
... but telling her more about himself?
...
Better now than never, he supposed. He'd keep that dark section of his life a secret for now... little steps at a time. But for now...
"I'm Kozai... and I'm, uh, a jonin. I didn't really do much outside of training by myself and a few missions up till now... I guess my workload increased. I never really led a team or had students..."
Then, he realized that he was missing something.
"Oh! My favorite color is yellow."
He smiled a little wider at this.
"My clan's originally from Konoha or somewhere down south... I think."
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PostSubject: Re: Hanging Out (With Kozai) [Open]   Sun Sep 27, 2015 5:36 pm


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0328|3584


Ayatsuri watched as the man across the table added some honey to his drink, looking at it with a look of near reverence, as though the substance was something he’d never had before. Maybe he was unused to honey, or maybe he simply liked it so much that he always looked at it with such strange joy. No matter, for he seemed to enjoy the tea and the addition of honey. She listened intently as Kozai spoke, talking briefly about his status within the village and a bit of his work history, highlighting that he’d never taken any students and spent most of his time between training and carrying out missions for the village. It was a rather common story, ninjas being quite busy most of the time. The woman could relate.

”Yes, I understand. I spend almost all of my time training, so I don’t get to get out to places like this much. But you’ve never taken a student?” She mused over this for a moment, unaware that such a decision was even an option. Having paid almost no attention to the affairs of most shinobi, she had always assumed that the higher ranking ones either took on students of their own accord, like an unwritten rule, or that it had been some kind of village mandate. The boy spoke up once again, telling her his favorite color and a bit about his clan.

”A jonin though? You must go on some pretty important missions then.” She thought back to his mention of his clan. ”Konoha you say? I’ve never been, but I hear its lovely, though maybe a bit too warm. How did you end up here, so far from the Land of Fire?” She took another sip of her drink, observing the man across from her, trying to ensure that he was not too uncomfortable by the conversation. ”Oh, and yellow is a wonderful color!” She smiled brightly again, flashing her teeth at Kozai.

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PostSubject: Re: Hanging Out (With Kozai) [Open]   Tue Sep 29, 2015 5:09 am

As Ayatsuri began to speak again, Kozai would blow softly on his drink, attempting to cool it down to a point where he could drink it without scalding his toungue. Soft gusts of wind from his mouth rippled across the dark, steaming liquid. After doing so, he would continue to stir the tea quietly while he listened to what the woman had to say. It seemed that she was really interested in his past... something that made him a little uncomfortable. Sure, maybe he had started to heal; that remained to be seen. But even if he was, it was still a part of him that hurt when other people tried to touch it, for lack of a better metaphor.
"Y-yes... I've never had a student..." Kozai gave a half-hearted kind of fake laugh. "I don't think I'd be too good of teacher... like I said, I don't do very well with people..."
It came to the point in the conversation where Ayatsuri postulated that Kozai had done some "pretty important missions". He stared at his tea for a few seconds, then answered, not looking up.
"Actually, I think the village considers me to be in a kind of... uh, th-therapy, I guess you could call it. I don't really do many missions that involve... talking to others. You know, mostly animal control things." It was a slight point of shame for him, but what was one to do?
...
Then she asked it. The question... how had he come to Kumo? Kozai carefully separated his hands from the teacup handle, and brought them together in a sort of slow clenching motion, his frame shaking slightly. The color drained slightly from his face again.... no, he had to stop thinking about that time!
You're going to be my special pet... the man had told him.
"I..." His words were interrupted by short breaths, like small chokes.
"I was.... taken." The staring, wide-eyed expression on his face was one of trauma and sorrow, as Kozai looked into the dark waters in his teacup.
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PostSubject: Re: Hanging Out (With Kozai) [Open]   Tue Sep 29, 2015 11:30 pm


Prima dona
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1301|4885


Oh dear.

It seemed she had accidentally stumbled into some awkward territory. She heard Kozai comment about his life as a ninja, doing seemingly menial work, and thought to herself about how similar that sounded to her own situation. She was not, of course, a ninja, not in the traditional sense at least, but she still helped out around the village, doing missions and acquiring money from odd end jobs. ”I know what you mean, with the animal control. I help out by doing missions around the village and stuff, just small things to help people out in my neighborhood, and this one man keeps losing his dog. I swear I’ve returned that poor creature to him more times than I can count. But I guess it isn’t so bad.” She allowed a small lull in conversation as she took another sip and Kozai continued to stir his tea.

”Oh my gosh.” Taken. Her eyes widened for a moment in horror. ”I’m so sorry. I did not intend to dredge up painful old memories.” She averted her eyes, staring at her teacup in a moment of shame. How rude of her to bring up something which could so easily have been painful for the boy. No, even worse: so many ninja had such awful stories of their childhood. She really should have known not to speak so candidly of this. ”At any rate, I’m glad that you’re here and ok. We might never have met if you didn’t end up as a shinobi of the village, and that would have made me sad.” She smiled once again, returning her eyes to the other boy.

She took another drink of her tea, thinking about other, safer topics of conversation. She’d listen to the boy’s past, but only if he wanted, and she had no desire to force him into something painful or uncomfortable. ”So have you any significant plans for the future? I don’t really have much planned out I guess. The village is very boring, but I don’t suppose I can just up and leave.” She looked over, out to the window behind her towards the entrance of the shop. ”And it is very lovely here. I think I’d like to see the world at some point though, you know? Maybe go see the Land of Wheat in the fall. Not forever, but just to see.”

She waited a while, thinking to herself about the day so far. The impromptu tea date had been going quite well indeed, the pair of friends meeting up randomly and quickly making one another’s acquaintances. It had been a bit rocky at the start, with Ayatsuri blaming herself in part for such difficult beginnings; Kozai had been rather unwelcoming, but she had found herself so wrapped up in her own head, so consumed by her own negative opinions about the village, that she could hardly bear the thought of yet another person proving themselves a social outcast incapable of even the most basic forms of human contact. But luckily, her worries had been falsely placed as the two were having a rather nice time out, enjoying some tea and getting to know one another. She smiled, genuinely smiled, as the boy across from her opened up and told her about his life, a bit about his past as well.

He seemed to have stopped responding though and perhaps he was just thinking. She waited longer, finishing her tea, and thinking to herself. Maybe she had been wrong. Maybe he was not what she was looking for. Maybe he was simply wasteful. In the wake of all the recent events, of her boredom in the village, of the corrupt nature of the politics and the run down state of the whole place, she had changed. She hated violence, hated fighting for no reason, but she no longer refused to partake. She’d vowed, in her daily training, to become powerful, to become strong. And he did have a lovely face. Her thoughts moved along to her puppets, her prized creations which she adored, perhaps even above all else. This boy, sitting across from her, lonely and seemingly afraid, had no one. He wasn’t from around here, had never taken a student, and was not good around people, something the woman could attest to. He went on missions which required no human contact, and no one was in charge of the village. No one would notice him missing. She thought harder to herself, weighing her options.

She was a master craftsman. She could make a person into a puppet. She could make this man into a puppet, if she wanted. She nodded to herself. Yes, she could do it. He’d been taken, as he said, but now was free. Yes yes, this could work. She just needed to figure out how exactly. She’d have to look a bit at the body, figure out what to keep and what to remove. She’d probably need help, if she was being perfectly honest, as while she was educated in the body, she doubted she had enough proficiency to properly modify one. Not like this anyway. Still, she felt confident that this was well within the realms of possibility. She could even replace his bones with hers, regrowing and adjusting them to match his frame. He was from a clan as well, an admission which did not generally come with some level of pride. Perhaps that too could be incorporated in some way.

The woman, watching the boy across from her, became uneasy as she spoke about the Land of Wheat, her eyes wavering as she took in the unmoving face of the other boy. She felt he no longer cared about the conversation, or maybe that he’d become trapped in his own nightmarish memory of the events that had taken place in the past. She could deliver him. She grabbed the pot from the center of the table, pouring herself about half a glass of refill, but the wavering in her hands, the product of her worry about the boy it seems, caused her to drop the cup, the mug tumbling down the few inches to the table, sending a bout of hot liquid at the boy. She flared her hands in front of her, moving from her seat almost immediately upon seeing what she had done. ”Oh heavens, of heavens what have I done? I’m terribly sorry,” she said, napkin in her hand after having moved round the table, standing at the boy’s right and dabbing at him with the cloth. The spill would have struck him in the chest and poured onto his lap and so she moved to attempt to dab some of it up.

”Oh I’m so sorry. I can be quite clumsy some times.” She said as more tea ran from the table. The store was almost entirely abandoned now, only a bored looking man remaining behind the counter, the single couple having since left the place. As she dabbed up toward the top of his chest, trying to dry up the scalding liquid before it burned his neck, a bone extended from her wrist, thin and deadly, aimed to pierce his throat, simultaneously silencing him both literally and metaphorically, before retracing once more. Her back, facing the bored worker, obscured all vision of the boy, and she would slap the napkin powerfully over the wound not a moment after she’d made it. ”Oh my goodness, we’ll have to go and get you cleaned up back at home.” She, with her left hand, pulled a stack of bills from her pocket and set them upon the table, turning over her right shoulder to thank the worker, who barely looked at her. Her back continued to block vision of the boy.

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PostSubject: Re: Hanging Out (With Kozai) [Open]   Mon Oct 05, 2015 11:40 pm


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A set of threads then issued from her fingers, attaching to the now wavering man, likely unconscious due to blood loss. She grabbed another large stack of napkins and placed them over the first, masking most of the blood. Her talking blocked out any sound the boy could have made from his gurgling throat, preventing the sole remaining employee from even directing any curiosity at the pair. The threads attached to him then, granting her control over his waning body as she puppeteer him up and out of the seat, fluttering around him as though she were still fussing about the hot tea. The two walked out then, exiting through the back door, Kozai opening it for her, angled so that the worker could not, had he even attempted to, see the boy’s face. She then walked them back to her house, a short jaunt away, through vacant side streets. She recalled thinking of this earlier, of the abandoned nature of the village, and inwardly laughed to herself about it now. At least it was good for something, she figured.

Arriving home, she would store the body, long dead by now, in a small scroll in her workshop. She’d managed to avoid any spillage of blood, save for on the boy’s threadbare clothing, so little cleanup was required. From there, she calmed herself, meditating inwardly before eventually exiting this meditation and beginning to go about a few blade forms of hers, particularly that of the Iado form. In this new found calm, and in her great anticipation, she found herself able to fully master the form. Then, thinking over some new puppet designs and incorporating her bones, she began to grow bones from her coccyx, forming a powerful tail, before focusing her chakra powerfully to her bones and finding them even more powerful and durable that ever they previously were. She concluded her little time of training by developing a kind of poison by liquefying certain bone cells and storing them away for later, something she realized would be intensely useful in the further expansion of her art of puppetry. She looked around then, playing with her puppets and her own body using the miraculous strings which sprung from her fingertips.  

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