Spinning in Retrograde.

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Spinning in Retrograde.

Post by Nafan~ » Wed Oct 09, 2019 9:56 am

It had been a while since he'd been back here. A while since he'd felt the sun kiss his skin, now unnaturally pale from the time spent underground. A while since he'd spoken to someone and had a real conversation. He'd managed to grasp just how out of practice he was when he spoke with his parents. They'd been scared, but relieved that he'd returned from his 'long mission away'. Senji dealt with it poorly, and sought an out by asking after his friends. That's when they told him.

He looked up at the sky, covered in clouds as always. The way the white vapour softly caressed the white stone of the buildings, yet shied away from the burning lightning lights, it was somehow comforting in how familiar it was. He kept it in the corner of his eyes while he walked past the crowds, ignorings the vendors as they hawked their goods. The small piece of paper he fingered gently in his coat pocket kept him far away, locked in his own thoughts. His feet found their way down the cobblestones, following through the familiar streets though he had not seen them in so long. It was funny, the things that changed and the things that stayed the same. Clearly he was still in the village he grew up in, but there were different shops open in the main thoroughfare. New faces stared at him as he passed through the streets, with no twinkle of recognition in a single one. He doubted he'd find that anywhere, not now.

His feet stopped outside a humble building. A home. Senji turned and looked up and down the street, finding a bench to sit on to wait. He didn't want to disturb them, and it wasn't like the person he was looking for had any idea who he was. How his parents had even managed to find out who they were was a mystery, and likely something Senji did not want to hear. It must have cost dearly.

So there Senji sat in his navy robes. Through the curtain of his fading fringe he peered with green, glassy eyes. He looked for the young girl, and the telltale spikes that would protrude from her arms. Those hellish signposts of a sinister spirit, and the third unsuspecting host that Senji would lay eyes on.

"Tululila, Talila Tulula."
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Spinning in Retrograde.

Post by Aes Sedai » Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:08 am

The home was rather humble from the outside, but a peak into a window would betray the simple fact that Yasu's family came with money. The front window of the home looked into a rather large room that seemed empty, but it was a space that Yasu's mother often used to practice her dance. Even now music wafted out of the slightly open windows as Yasu's mother played, and it was Yasu herself in the empty space. Sweat run down her forehead as she danced once more, going up on the tips of her toes briefly before losing her balance and dropping to her knees. Her mother's yells could be heard echoing over the music. "You need to focus, Yasu! Keep your mind in the hear and now!"

Yasu did her best to tune her out, pressing her hands against the floor as she pushed herself up and picked up a towel from a chair, dabbing at her forehead before walking past the woman. "This is pointless." she muttered, heading for the door. Out of sight of the window, her mother tried to grab her by the arm, demanding to know what Yasu said, but for a flash of a moment Yasu had enough and shoved the woman back. "I have bigger concerns than twirling around the floor for your stupid games!" It was uncharacteristic of Yasu, the piano music ended in a jumble of keys as her father jumped up to get to his wife's side, but Yasu was already stepping out the door.

A lone tear had snaked its way down her face before she wiped it away, suddenly pausing in her steps as she noticed someone on a bench across from her home, staring. The girl readjusted her sweater which of course just fell right off her shoulder again before she turned and headed towards the market, obviously seeking some distraction.

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Spinning in Retrograde.

Post by Nafan~ » Wed Oct 09, 2019 11:43 am

The door opened, and the planet ceased its endless rotation around the sun just for a moment. For that blessed moment the world saw fit to slow and allow Senji the perfect view of her as she walked through that door. The slam of the wooden portal only served to focus him further onto the person he was seeking. The child-like curvature of her face, and the pout that was on her face as she left the building brought an unbidden smirk to the man's face. It had been a while since he'd seen such free emotion, even as negative as it was.

Senji stood and he watched her step down onto the street from the landing. The spikes from her elbow singled her out, there was no doubt that this was who he was looking for. And yet she was so young. Barely more than a child, someone forced into a position they never should have been. His fist tightened as he considered that he was the same, at her age he had seen friends hanging like crimson flags from dread posts. But the meagre anger and adolescent frustration that glimmered behind those eyes as the girl flounced down the way, it was clear that she still held on to the naivete of youth.

After a short time, he began to walk after her. He knew he had to speak to her, but he was uncertain yet as to what he should say. He thought about what he should say, how he should approach her. He had proven himself terrible at speaking to adults earlier, and his ideas for speaking to those younger than him were even more vague. It had been too long, and he felt the chafe of his absence from civilisation. So he followed her silently for a time, keeping what he thought was a respectful distance. At least, until he could think of the best way to approach the heir to those he loved.

"Tululila, Talila Tulula."
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Post by Aes Sedai » Wed Oct 09, 2019 11:55 am

'I don't understand what upsets you so much about it. The movements she teaches you can help you with your prowess in taijutsu. You keep telling me you wish to use the whips you carry, you'll need that elegance.'

Yasu rolled her eyes as she walked, crossing her arms under her chest as she sniffled and shook her head. "Just stop." she muttered. "Stop trying to cheer me up, as if that is at all what you want to do." Yasu glanced around to make sure no one was in earshot of her words, suddenly realizing she was talking aloud. She didn't want to appear crazy, but at the same time she realized she wasn't sure if she cared if anyone else heard her or not.

'You want to be stronger as a shinobi and you think her teachings are a waste of time. But you need to protect them too. You misunderstand, I am trying to make you stronger, not cheer you up. I can give you more power, I can help.'

Yasu shook her head vehemently at no one. "Tch. No. Last time you made me think I wanted it. What you did... I'm still suffering from. My own guardians don't trust me.. I used your power in front of who knows how many villagers from different countries?! Or criminals?! I should never have gone to Starfall, it was a stupid idea and you egged me on!" Her words were in hissing whispers, and more than once she noticed the weird looks she was getting but Yasu ignored them, pressing on until she found what she was looking for. She sighed in almost contentment when she found the little restaurant with its outdoor seating. She stepped into the area and wove between tables to the front, sitting at what was essentially the ramen bar and relaxing in her seat. "Raspberry green tea." she said quickly as a waitress looked to her.

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Post by Nafan~ » Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:17 pm

It was only moments before he was close enough to hear what she muttered under her breath. He listened intently, and determined correctly that it was no mere self-talk. She was conversing with the beast. His fist contracted once more, but only for a moment. His temper did not escape him anymore, he reminded himself. It was he whom controlled his emotions, not the other way around. No matter how abhorrent an act he knew to be occurring.

Swallowing the taste of bile and thoughts of the spiritual incarnation of hell into the back of his throat, he turned his mind to more pressing matters. Like how he was going to solve the awkwardness of the fact that he was following a girl nearly half his age down the street into the marketplace. It would only be a matter of time before somebody noticed what he was doing, he knew. Assuming whoever was keeping an eye on the girl hadn't already clocked him. The thought made him glance around for prying eyes, but he found none. Not that he expected either the Raikage or Banri's agents to be so obviously revealed.

He watched her approach a somewhat modern establishment. She had become somewhat distressed, and her frustration was plain from the way she addressed the waitress when she placed her order. In truth, Senji was equally perplexed by both the order itself and the frustration. His momentary distraction had diverted him from her conversation with the phantom spirit, and he had no idea why anyone would subject themselves to placing tart raspberries into already bitter hot green tea. He knew he had to approach her, as a normal person would, soon, or risk appearing like a... somewhat strange individual. With questionable moral fibre.

So, he cleared his throat, checked his breath, and gathered his courage. He strode into the establishment and sat right across from the girl, at the same table, and looked directly at her. Unhelpfully, he added a somewhat unsatisfactory "Hello." before becoming properly self aware enough to blush.

"Tululila, Talila Tulula."
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Post by Aes Sedai » Wed Oct 09, 2019 5:57 pm

"Child... this one next to you..."

Honestly Yasu was trying her damnedest to ignore Konegu even as Senji sat beside her. When the waitress dropped off the tea, she thanked her quietly, only turning her head as Senji spoke. "Um. Hi." she said simply, feeling herself bristle a bit even though the man beside her had only said two words. She took a sip of tea and ordered something to snack on before it dawned on her and she turned to look at him again. "You were outside my house." she said, blinking a moment as suspicions rose in her mind. "Did you follow me here?"

"Don't trust a man who follows you like this, child. He appears to be a grown man, while you are a child. You should walk away. Now."

Yasu's nose twitched at Konegu's words but she did her best to ignore them, instead waiting to see how Senji would answer her.

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Post by Nafan~ » Thu Oct 10, 2019 11:18 am

Senji shifted somewhat uncomfortably as the girl glared at him in suspicion. "Uh, Yes I was. I did." He said somewhat bashfully, before quickly following up with "I'm Ryakketsu, Senji. Special Jounin. I believe that you're, uh..." He paused for a moment to lean over so he could pull the piece of paper from his pocket. "Kenshin, Yasu - san, right?" He finished.

He watched as her eyes grew momentarily distant, and she twitched her nose. It was speaking to her. Senji felt his jaw tighten momentarily, and the paper crinkled as his thumb pressed momentarily harder into it. Senji's eyes strayed down to look at those spikes again. His mind lingered on memories of the boy who had them last, and covered them with bandages. The time he'd spent talking to him, and learning from him. He managed to suppress the sigh gathering in his chest, and instead smiled at her and spoke softly, "Did he just speak to you?"

"Tululila, Talila Tulula."
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Post by Aes Sedai » Fri Oct 11, 2019 2:25 pm

Yasu's gaze didn't soften as Senji answered her, and seemed to know her name already. She nodded slowly, not even turning her eyes away from him as the waitress dropped off one of her favorite treats, and few that her mother ever allowed, kuzukiri. In truth some part of her hated it, it was cold, slimy even, but it was one of the only things permitted her by her mother on the strict diet the woman tried to keep her on. Her mother had always told her it would help her with her muscle pains from her dancing, and that was why it was permitted. But Yasu didn't look at it as it was dropped off, and instead kept her eyes on Senji. She opened her mouth to ask how he knew of her, but instead she flinched a bit as Konegu spoke once more.

'I told you to stay away from him. Now. Walk. Away.

Yasu might have laughed if it weren't for Senji asking her about it. She blinked a moment, glancing around to make sure she wouldn't be overheard before looking at Senji. "You... you know about him?" she asked quietly, suddenly stunned. "I... I haven't seen you before, are you one of my other guardians? You work with Ieyasu?" She couldn't be sure as she hadn't met the others, but it was the first thought that came to her mind as to why the man might know both her name and about Konegu.

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Post by Nafan~ » Sat Oct 12, 2019 11:49 am

"Ieyasu?" The query escaped Senji before he could properly control his tongue. His thoughts had run away from him, and his mind had cycled back through the people he had seen with Sou. Had any of them been named Ieyasu? He didn't think so. And from his knowledge, none of that man's agents had the name either."Uh, that is, no I don't know anyone named Ieyasu. I... well I have a somewhat complicated history with your companion." He explained, somewhat unsatisfactorily.

His eyes darkened with sympathy as he saw her twitch a second time. Apparently the beast was talkative today. He wondered what it was whispering to her? Did it fear him as much as he feared it? He doubted it. He'd grown considerably in his time away, but he was still nowhere near the level where he could be a threat to such a monstrosity. Although, he supposed he did possess certain advantages over it. "For starters I was born when my birth mother held it. Then, some number of years later, I became close with a boy that ended up being chosen as you have. And, well, I had to go away for some time and when I came back..." He faltered, emotion welling up within him. He'd made headway with keeping the feelings under control, but the pain of losing Sou was still fresh, and the rawness of the pain made it stronger. While tears didn't make their debut yet, the magician did have to sigh and cover his face for a moment to collect himself.

"Tululila, Talila Tulula."
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Post by Aes Sedai » Sat Oct 12, 2019 8:45 pm

"Oh." Yasu wasn't sure what else to say as he explained things to her and for a moment the girl fell silent as she processed what he'd said. "Well, uh, to start, Ieyasu, or Roku-Sensei, is one of my guardians. He's the only one I see anyway, he helps to train me, helps me stay on task and try to keep me from losing myself I guess." she explained, blushing slightly as she thought it all over. She couldn't confirm anything Senji said of course, but every time she looked at him she felt like he couldn't be lying, and the way Konegu was barraging her with demands to leave, she felt it had to be some form of the truth.

"Is that why he keeps demanding I walk away from you?" she asked. "Does... does he view you as a threat? He isn't telling me, just keeps insisting that I leave." she explained, glancing around a moment as she wondered how many people could hear her, and might think she was mad if they did hear her. But suddenly something in particular hit her, it almost felt like a slap to the face. Something she had never considered was brought to mind by it and suddenly she wondered if the Raikage had left something out when he'd spoken to her and to her family. "Senji-san... did... did he... I mean, your birthmother... did that, affect you?" she asked carefully, a silent fear working its way into her gaze and her voice.

'Does this mean... I shouldn't have children?' She had never spent much of her time thinking about having kids or even boys too much, but the thought felt like a slap to the face. She had never assumed she wouldn't either, and now wondered if she'd chosen this thing without knowing what it would truly do to her life.

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Post by Nafan~ » Sun Oct 13, 2019 10:55 am

Senji simply nodded as Yasu explained who Ieyasu was. In truth he was only mildly interested in the man, and he used the time to further suppress the loss and grief he felt for his friend. As she spoke Senji politely indicated on a menu card for a drink to be brought to him, and nodded appreciatively to the waitress he had ordered from. It was placed before him shortly afterwards, and a sip of the sweet concotion managed to cheer him slightly.

Then she started asking questions, ones Senji had considered many a time before. "I would imagine that our history is a part of why he dislikes me, yes. As for whether I'm a threat, I doubt I'm anything close to a threat to the likes of a demon like him. But, I think he's worried about what my future will bring, and I doubt he wants to be around to find out." He began, taking a long drag on his multicoloured straw to taste the restorative powers of flowery fruit punch. "I'm unsure of how much you know of his power, but Konegu's chakra is by its very nature a type of poison." As he spoke he extended his left hand over the table. A spark of blue appeared in the palm of his hand, his chakra dancing along his fingers as he played with it. "Pregnancy weakens the strength of the seal that binds a jinchuuriki with a spirit, and it allowed his chakra to seep out little by little. He intended to try and escape by being 'born' either as or within me. So yes, it did affect me. For some time I needed... special attention. It's part of why I was away. It's also probably best if I never come into direct physical contact with you." While Senji continued, he turned his hand over. As the spark of blue passed over the ring on his ring finger, a bolt of red lashed out and swallowed the blue. Now a jolting, jagged spark of red danced the last two fingers before fading into oblivion. "Whether you decide to have children in the future is your choice, but the seal is weakest of all during childbirth. The strain from the birth itself and Konegu taking the opportunity to attempt to escape was too much for her and she was slain. Whether that is your lot or not is undetermined, though I would suggest if you wish to go through with it you make appropriate preparations." As he finished, Senji stared at the space where the red spark had fizzled out wistfully, remembering all the pain he now associated with it.

"Tululila, Talila Tulula."
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Post by Aes Sedai » Sun Oct 13, 2019 11:32 am

'He is lying to you. This one here is just a pawn, sent by the village, you can have children without me affecting them. He lies to keep you under the village's thumb, to keep you a pawn.'

Yasu didn't acknowledge the words of Konegu at all now, her mind still fixated on what Senji said. "But even with preparation, even trying to have a child means risking my death... and his release..." she said quietly, looking at Senji a moment. "Doesn't it?" She asked, though she felt like she already knew the answer. For a moment she turned in her chair, her mind going over everything that Senji had just told her as she pulled the small bowl of cold, sweet noodles towards her and frowned at them. She managed to eat one, and sip at her tea before trying to calm herself. "And even if I had all the preparation in the world you're saying a child I have could... have permanent results of it." She poked around at the bowl of sweet and cold noodles with a chopstick for several moments in silence.

"I wonder if Roku-Sensei knew about this... or why Raikage-Sama didn't tell me either..." She turned her head and looked at Senji a moment, tears threatening to spill as she suddenly looked away. 'I wish he hadn't told me...'

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Post by Nafan~ » Sun Oct 13, 2019 12:10 pm

Senji recognized the look in her eyes. That particular type of hurt he knew all too well. He'd seen it on Sou, whenever his friend had thought of his sisters. He'd felt it for those five long years while he 'trained'. Isolation. To think that you were different, and alone because of it. That you'd never have anyone truly be on your side, because how could they ever understand. Senji looked on in sympathy as she asked her questions, and answered both times with a soft, sorrowfull "Yes.". He allowed the weight of the facts to speak for themselves, and waited for the girl to properly deal with her current situation. She was only so young, and yet he had given such heavy information to her. As he waited patiently, he sipped away at the rest of his drink.

"I cannot pretend to know the mind of either your teacher or the Raikage, but there are undoubtedly reports." Senji replied. He knew one person that did know, though he doubted that man had visited Yasu. The enigmatic shadow of a man seemed to have moved away from harrassing the jinchuuriki lately, and for that at least Senji was grateful. "I'm sorry I had to be the one to tell you. I'm sorry that you've had to make such a large sacrifice for your village. And I'm sorry that I couldn't fulfill my promise to Sou so that you didn't have to." He apologised, wholeheartedly. He truly felt for the child, and a few tears threatened to fall from his own eyes as he looked upon her. He couldn't believe that a child that looked so frail had been allowed to volunteer for such a dangerous task as this. "I wanted to come here today to apologise for that. And to warn you to be cautious of the demon, it's honeyed words are worse than lies. They are half-truths. And they always serve his ends. The final thing I wanted to say was to the mad beast himself. Know that so long as I draw breath, I will ensure that you will not be free until the day I can destroy you myself. I'll always be watching. For your safety too, Kenshin-san." with that he intended to leave the girl to her thoughts, and he placed enough money to cover the whole bill on the table.

He stood with a sigh, pushing his chair back in after him. "Thank you for seeing me. I'll leave you to think about things. And we will meet again." Senji said, turning and walking out of the shop.

As he strode down the road, his breath came in and out of his chest in ragged gasps. He hadn't expected it to be so hard to stare at the successor to his best friend for so long. He thought that, perhaps, coming face to face with his friends' mortality would have been easier the second time around. First Daiichi, then Sou. It never got any easier. But with luck, he could prevent an old enemy from claiming a third.

"Tululila, Talila Tulula."
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