Say Anything Else

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Amy
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Say Anything Else

Post by Amy » Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:48 pm

Walking without a purpose was something that had taken a few months to get used to. When her travels had started Tsubaki made sure that she was always on a path or a road or following something in a distinct direction, anxious to not leave any stone unturned. Terrified that if she strayed she would never find her way back. The longer she wandered though the more she realized that she didn’t have anywhere to find her way back to. What was the worst thing that could happen? She would get turned around and be back in a town or a village that she had already been in? That could be seen as a waste of time except that she didn’t know what she was looking for so what did it even matter.

She was following a stream now, toes kicking the dirt as she walked, an unshakeable exhaustion settled over her being. The desire to lift her face to the sun, to let the sounds of nature calm her anxieties weighed heavy on her heart, her eyes never lifting from the ground. The reality was setting in that it wasn’t a question of if she would give up and settle down somewhere but that it was a matter of when. She couldn’t keep pretending like there was no time limit to searching for the shadow of a fleeting feeling that there was something out there that she was missing. Maybe even someone that was missing her.

For now, Tsubaki let that be something she figured out another day. For the time being she wanted to bathe and wash her clothes and maybe get a good nights sleep so she was betting on the stream ending in some sort of body of water. She had passed other, better, more accessible places but those all held the promise of other travelers stopping by and that didn’t lend itself to the “good nights sleep” part of her plan. Or any of the rest of it really. She had always been relatively distrustful of others but it had only gotten worse now. She avoided human interaction as much as possible save for when she was working. It was always easier if she providing care.

Right about the time the stream started widening and Tsubaki’s hope started growing, an odd sound started to reach her ears. Her first thought was the sound that a rabbit made when it was on the verge of being killed but this sound warbled and changed too much to be a rabbit. A larger animal was possible but...Tsubaki somehow knew that that wasn’t right either. A feeling of dread crept around the edges of her heart, urging her to turn back but the curiosity had set in and she continued to move forward, sinking lower to the ground as the brush started to clear around the pond. Hiding behind a tree, Tsubaki peeked out and about fell over in an uncomfortable mixture of confusion and shock.

Of all the things that could have been making that noise a grown ass man was not one of them. Almost anything else would have been less surprising. Shaking her head quickly to herself, Tsubaki turned and began walking quickly away from the pond. Not today, today was not the day to deal with…that. Why was he making that noise and...writhing...WHY was he doing any of that? He was probably just some sort of...pervert or, something. That, or he was dying. Foot poised in the air, Tsubaki stopped as that thought came to mind. Taking a deep breath, foot still hanging in the air, Tsubaki started a great battle with herself.

IF she left, and walked away now, she could just pretend that he wasn’t dying and that he was just a pervert and she saved herself from a very uncomfortable interaction and possible harm. Of course if he was a pervert that also meant that she was leaving him there for some other poor soul to stumble upon and possibly a poor soul who was less capable of defending themselves. And if he was in fact lying there sick, hurt, or dying, she was a terrible person for leaving him. Groaning loudly to herself, Tsubaki spun on her planted foot and stormed off back towards the pond, unsnapping her weapons pouch. If he was a pervert there would be no mercy today.

Her plan worked really well until she was about fifteen feet from the pond and found herself spinning away again. Really, if one stranger died would it really be that big of a deal she thought to herself before spinning around again when her own answer to herself was that yes, it would be bad if she let a stranger die. But...how bad? That would take some contemplating, she decided as she continued to walk back and forth.
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Say Anything Else

Post by Toshi » Thu Oct 10, 2019 9:55 am

"OooooOOooohhhhhhhh..."

















"Hnnnnngh... Pffffbbrrrrpppptttttt..."
















"GARF. UGHUUUU. Keepittogetherkeepittogether..."















"Oooooohhhh the pain. Lord I'm a-comin' on home! Your baby boy's ready!"













"Hey fishy fishy fishy shishy shishypooopoo- FLRRRBTTTRRTTLLLGGGRHLLL-" The man was interrupted as he collapsed into the pond. Slowly he began drifting away from the shore, laying face down and gurgling as his aimless shape was carried off by the water.
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Post by Amy » Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:44 pm

After working up enough heart, Tsubaki finally headed for the pond, determined to make sure this man wouldn’t die alone and suffering. She wanted to walk forcefully there, with a purpose, so that she would look authoritative and confident when he saw her for the first time. But instead she found herself walking deliberately behind any large batch of foliage or trees that she could find. Afterall, she didn’t want him to see her too soon or she might not be able to go through with it. When she finally reached the clearing she peeked out at the area he had been in before only to find the spot empty. And that was also when she realized it had gotten...quiet.

Stepping out from the tree now, it didn’t take long for Tsubaki to notice the body floating in the water. The first thought that came to mind was that her problem had taken care of itself but she quickly shook those away. Walking, slightly more hurried now, to the edge of the pond, Tsubaki called out softly.

"Uh...are you okay?" When there was no movement Tsubaki took in a sharp breath. What if he was already dead? She really didn’t want to drag a dead body out of the water. But if he wasn’t dead she also didn’t want to just...be there while he died. That wasn’t a good look not that anyone would know. Looking around, trying to figure out what to do, Tsubaki noticed a relatively long stick lying on the ground, crudely carved but it should be effective for this.

She waded out until she could poke the man’s abdomen with the stick. If he was dead well, he would probably just...float away. But maybe he he was alive he would...do something.

This was not how she expected her bath to start.
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Say Anything Else

Post by Toshi » Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:09 pm

Still laying face down and floating inconstantly on the water's surface , a congregation of bubbles gurgling up on either side of his submerged face, the man seemed ignorant of the woman's cautious approach. Even as the passerby called out to the vagabond he remained stalwart in his commitment to apathetically drifting across the pond like an errant log. It wasn't until the woman snatched up a carved stick from the bank, waded into the water and poked the floating man that he twitched, obviously annoyed at someone interrupting his very important endeavor.

With a surprising abruptness the man flipped over, spraying pond water from his mouth with no small amount of exasperation. The black haired man was still floating on his back as he stared up at the woman, clumsily grasping at an outraged expression.

"Hey! Leggo my fishering stick!" he said, pointing an accusatory finger at the pitifully carved pole in her hand. He waggled a finger and shook his head while adding, "Noooo touchy. Very rude."

The man's pale skin was flush across the nose and cheeks in a less than healthy hue. At first glance the discoloration could have been confused with the flushed face of a drunkard, or someone on the awkward side of a flattering complement. However, any medic worth half her weight in salt would be able to deduce that the man was suffering from an acute case of poisoning. The unfocused stare, the dark bags under the man's eyes, the sickly pale skin. The symptoms were out in force and weren't bothering with subtlety as they wracked the black haired man's body.

Losing strength by the minute, the vagabond's hand flopped limply back into the water with a sad splash. "Mmmmmmmm..." the man moaned, his eyes flitting open and closed as he struggled to stay awake. "I've got the tumbly grumblies, lady."
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Say Anything Else

Post by Amy » Sat Oct 12, 2019 3:23 am

Tsubaki let out a shriek before falling backwards on the water, barely having time to spread out a layer of chakra between her and the water. She pulled herself two body length back before pulling her feet up underneath her. Her hands spread out in front of her while she stayed crouched down, the stick now lying by her side. A glare settled on her face as he tried to lecture his, his expression passing between constipated and mildly annoyed. She heard what he was saying, listened to his every word really closely in reality in case there were any warning signs. He was flushed but also pallid. His chest was heaving, and he certainly wasn’t in his right mind. Afterall, he thought that the stick she picked up was a fishing pole.

Clearly he was delusional.

But he also clearly needed help. And now that she was there there was no way she could leave. As his hand slipped back into the water she lessened her chakra and let her legs slip back into the water until she was standing upright. She had decided that he was harmless. Even if he had bad intentions he was clearly too messed up to do anything about it. She wasn’t crazy confident usually but in this case she was sure she could get away if necessary. He looked like he was going to pass out at any second.

She grabbed his hand and pulled him towards the shore.

"Don’t worry, I’ll take care of your tumbly grumblies. I’ll also fix your fishing rod."

It was really a really pathetic fishing pole.

After she dragged him back to the shore she would start off by making a fire. If he was sick he would need to keep warm, no matter how he felt. His body temperature was definitely high so he might be uncomfortable but she didn’t really care. Even if he felt hot, he needed it. She was committed now.

"Ey, mister, what did you eat before you got sick?"

She knew a few different natural remedies but not for every region and if she didn’t know what he ate then she definitely couldn’t help him.
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Post by Toshi » Mon Oct 14, 2019 1:51 pm

"Wheeeeeee..." the man said weakly as the woman dragged him back to the shore, a lazy grin plastered on his anemic face. He giggled through the woman's question about what he'd eaten, clearly amused by the free ride across the water's surface. Laying motionless on the pond's pebbly beach, staring up at the darkening sky, the vagabond's expression suddenly grew serious as he put a tremendous amount of thought into what she'd asked.

The man raised a finger in realization before hopping to his feet, swaying and simply stating, "Muh-shrooms."

With that the stranger bolted off, his arms flopping unceremoniously in the wind. He came to a skidding halt near the treeline and bent down to pick something off of the forest's floor. In mere moments the man returned to the woman's side, holding a few bright blue speckled mushrooms. He raised them to her face proudly, as if revealing some wondrous treasure.

"Fishes being difficult," the man explained, one eyelid drooping. "Tried to eat but they said, 'Nah, man. Not gonna be ate.' I said okay then, fair enough, fishies."

Then the vagabond jostled the mushrooms in his open palm. "Find these guys, fun-guys. Waaaay easier to catch. Put them in my tum-tum."

Losing focus for a moment, the stranger grabbed one of the mushrooms in his other hand and slowly raised it to his mouth with a satisfied look.
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Post by Amy » Tue Oct 15, 2019 11:52 pm

"No! No, no, dammit! " She had turned around for one second to figure out what supplies they had combined and he was running off. He was practically dying and he somehow had the energy to hop up and run!? She hadn’t even decided if she was going to follow him or not by the time he was back in front looking very much worse for the wear. And she understood why when he held up the mushrooms for her to see. Of course, he had chosen one of the most toxic mushrooms that grew on the whole fucking continent.

"STOP!" Tsubaki shouted but her hand was already wrapped around his wrist before the word had even escaped her mouth. Shinobi reflexes were useful in situations like these. She scooped all of the mushrooms out of the man’s hands and stuffed them in her pockets. They were going to be necessary for the antidote. Staring as directly at the man as she could manage as he sort of swayed back and forth she jabbed at the ground.

"Sit. Down. And just…Stay. I have to go get some other ingredients and if you keep moving around you will die. So just stay here. "

Tsubaki didn’t trust him at all. None. Less than none. Shaking her head, Tsubaki moved her hands in a set of seals, figuring it wouldn’t take much to keep him in place or at least distract him. Within moments a clone of Tsubaki splashed up next to her and she pointed at the man one last time though she didn’t say anything. But her expression clearly warned him not to leave. At the very least if her clone disappeared she would know to hurry back.

It was a fairly short list of ingredients that she needed, luckily, but they weren’t all going to be found in that direct area. If anyone got close enough to hear Tsubaki mumbling to herself they would likely be confused as she went on and on about how could someone not know that bright things in nature were usually toxic and inedible. What kind of person thought that you could take a stick, a thick stick and just put it in the water and hope that a fish bit it! It was mind boggling and Tsubaki couldn’t get over it.

By the time she was walking back into the clearing she had a new attitude. A good attitude. She had talked out a lot of her frustrations and was ready to get this stranger back on two solid legs.
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*Suiton • Clone
C-Rank Ninjutsu
After performing the correct hand seals the user creates a clone of themselves comprised completely of suiton chakra. This clone is incapable of jutsu, however it's liquid nature makes it a very capable taijutsu combatant. This clone lasts for 5 posts.
Taijutsu: 6
Stamina: 8
Strength: 7
Speed: 6
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Post by Toshi » Thu Oct 17, 2019 12:25 pm

Looking rather sheepish, the black haired man could only watch as the woman confiscated his mushrooms, slipped them into her own pockets, and promptly instructed him to sit down and wait for her to come back. The man watched, slack jawed and unfocused, as she rounded off a string of hand seals before shaping the nearby pond's water into an identical replica of herself. If the stranger was impressed by this feat of chakra control he didn't show it.

Whether it be that his capacity for articulating excitement and wonder was somewhat hampered for the moment or if he'd seen the trick before is up for anyone's speculation.

"I'll be good," the man said, resigning himself to being babysat by a made up water person. With an old man groan the vagabond plopped himself onto the pebbly beach and sat like a pouting child. "I didn't want those mushrooms anyway, they're dumb."

And so the man sat in silence as he watched the responsible woman disappear into the woods on a hunt for ingredients that would "fix him." Typical. He was out in the middle of nowhere and he still managed to find some lady who criticized every little thing he did. Yeah, sure, so eating some mysterious fungi off the ground might kill him. So what? He was a big boy, he could eat stuff off the ground if he wanted.

All of these thoughts and more ran through the black haired man's head as he waited for the woman to return. Eventually his gaze fell onto the Suiton clone, which was glaring back at him with more discontent that he thought possible for water.

"Water you looking at?" the man asked, maniacally cackling at his own joke.
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Post by Amy » Sat Oct 19, 2019 10:55 pm

Tsubaki didn’t hear what the man was saying to her clone but she figured it wasn’t very important seeing as he started laughing after. Probably just telling dumb jokes like men enjoy doing. Before squatting on her heels next to the man she stopped by the pond she had stopped to fill her bowl with water. After pouring a little bit into a concave stone that she had picked up in the woods she set the bowl next to the man along with an apple like fruit.

"You need to eat and drink before you take the medicine. If you don’t you’ll just vomit it back up."

It wasn’t very many ingredients to neutralize the poison the man had ingested when he ate the mushroom. A few herbs and roots and a specific type of bitter berry and of course, another bit of the mushrooms themselves. She had always found it odd that you usually needed the thing that made you sick to make yourself better. The ingredients that she needed went into the concave rock along with the bit of water and with a fist sized stone Tsubaki began grinding it all down. She didn’t smash it instead keeping the two stones together only lifting up enough to catch more bits and pieces underneath. Slowly, a paste started forming.

The silence may not have actually been awkward but it felt that way to Tsubaki as she criticized herself silently. Telling herself that she should sit and look more comfortable but if she sat it would be that much harder to get away if necessary. It was silly, of course, to think that those milliseconds would matter but in her head they absolutely would and she couldn’t bring herself to compromise. Instead, she decided that the least she could do was offer her name.

"I’m Tsubaki, by the way. Don’t worry, I have done this before."

Even as she spoke, her eyes stayed dutifully fixed on her task at hand. Finding comfort in the repetitiveness of the action.
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Post by Toshi » Sun Dec 15, 2019 10:55 am

Not long after he told a dumb joke that men enjoy doing, the vagabond's mushroom-addled stare turned to the woman emerging from the treeline. The man watched her quietly, if not intentively, as she scooped a makeshift bowl full of crisp, clear pond water before crouching down next to him. Obediently, he took the bowl in his hands and drank. Several long, content gulps later and the stone bowl was empty.

While the woman methodically added a few ingredients in her mortar, mechanically grinding them down into a surprisingly tasty looking paste, the dark haired man grabbed the fruit she'd foraged. With an absent minded stare the vagabond began eating, quietly enamored with the fruit's subtly sweet flesh and smooth skin. It would be several long minutes before the almost tranquil silence hanging around the pair was broken.

The man blinked a few times as she spoke, surprised by her reassuring tone. "Tousha. Charmed." the man said simply, swallowing down a mouthful of food.

After a moment of consideration he added, "It's my first time. Breakfast doesn't usually try to kill me."
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Post by Amy » Wed Jan 01, 2020 2:14 pm

Despite all attempts to remain stoic Tsubaki couldn’t help the corner of her mouth creeping up in a smirk. It would take more appendages than she had to count the number of poisoned patients she had treated but none had had quite the humor that this man had. Or the resistance. He should most certainly have been incapacitated by the toxin long ago. She was curious but couldn’t find a good way to ask him why he wasn’t dead yet.

"Well, Tousha, " Tsubaki said as she continued to grind down the paste adding bits and pieces as she went. "There’s a first time for everything."

Finally, she sat back on her heels and though her head picked up her eyes stayed noticeably downward trailing. Giving the illusion that she was looking at him without actually risking meeting his eyes. She used the rock to drag the paste to the center, passing it towards the man.

"Eat it slowly. If you start to feel worse, stop eating it and I’ll get you some more water."

Rubbing the the back of her hand against her forehead, Tsubaki debated telling him the effects of the antidote. It seemed a hit or miss how he would react. It’s not like he would feel worse than he did now, just...different. The shakes and cold sweats and probably a bad fever. It would likely only last the night though and she would be there to care for him the whole time. Eventually, she landed on the decision that telling him before he took the medicine would be pointless. He would figure it out soon enough after ingesting it.

Dragging her hand down so she could prop her chin up in it, Tsubaki watched him carefully to make sure he didn’t have another episode and try to avoid eating the medicine. Even if he seemed more fine than he should have he would eventually run out of time.
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Post by Toshi » Sat Jan 11, 2020 3:47 pm

"Thank," the dark haired man said simply, the challenge of articulation far to great too overcome. So instead of using the words he knew to convey normal appreciation the vagabond took the stone bowl carefully into his hands and nodded decisively, as if dedicating himself to completing an intricate task to the best of his ability. He made a motion to scoop all of the paste into his hand and force it into his face all at once but Tsubaki's warning caught him mid-stuffing.

The man made an 'oooooo' kind of sound, childlike and curious. He carefully pulled away a small portion of the healing forest goop and popped it into his mouth. Tousha chewed with an air of contemplation once, twice, and then his face screwed up into a mask of disappointment and betrayal.

"Ugggghhhnnn," the man groaned, still chewing at the concoction but not at all thrilled about it. "Uckkkllllkfnnnr-NRRRGHHHHHHH."

Several painstaking chews later the man swallowed the first of the antidote with a mighty effort. He groaned in a characteristically inarticulate manner and flapped his free hand around, shuddering from head to toe.

"Maybe... No thank," he mumbled, poking at the rest of the paste in the bowl with his finger, as if to test it. For science reasons.
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Post by Amy » Sun Jan 26, 2020 4:18 pm

"I never said it was going to taste good," Tsubaki said, some semblance of a grin on her face. There was absolutely no way that the paste tasted worse than the mushrooms he had eaten to get himself into this predicament. Maybe slightly more bitter and a less appetizing texture but much the same none the less. He had to eat it though, if he wanted to live at least.

"You shouldn’t think about it so much. Why don’t you tell me a little bit about yourself and you can eat it inbetween. You can’t be too slow about it or I can’t guarantee effectiveness. "

Tsubaki was pretty sure that in his current state there was nothing this man could do to hurt her. But if she stuck around until morning when the poison had worn off completely and he was feeling in better spirits there was no telling what he might be capable of. Now, in his weakened state was probably the best time to learn a thing or two about him so she could better prepared for the coming hours. Plus, realistically he wouldn’t be completely okay for a few days though if he made it to morning he would technically be fine. Just...not well.

"Of course, if you don’t want to eat it willingly I’ll have to force feed it to you. I’ve already put this much effort in so I’m not going to let you die just because you think it tastes bad. Your choice though. "

Once again, just the smalled of grins lifted the corners of Tsubaki’s mouth as she waited to see what he would do. She may have sounded jesting but she had been completely serious.
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Post by Toshi » Sat Feb 08, 2020 8:24 pm

The man's eyes darted from the unappetizing paste to the woman's telling smile. He didn't doubt for a moment that if he delayed in his munching duties she would get it in him, one way or another. With another shiver and a groan the vagabond pulled away an even larger portion of the paste and stuffed it into his cheek, careful to avoid the tongue for as long as possible. With a few strained but successful chews he swallowed and reached for another helping.

"Oh, I'm afraid there isn't much to tell, young lady," Tousha began explaining through mouthfuls of Tsubaki's lifesaving spoils. "I'm just some guy who's a little lost. Like how we all get sometimes, you know."

He gestured to the surrounding forest, the lake, and everything and added, "I wander wherever the wind takes me and when I get tired I stop. The world is my oyster, Tsubaki, and I find it all very charming."

Looking quite pleased with himself, or at least as pleased as one could look in the throws of acute mushroom poisoning, the man stuffed another pinched morsel into his mouth. He flashed a warm smile through his chewing and gave the woman a long, knowing look. A flicker of a higher intelligence sparked in those dark, thin eyes, like two flecks of flint struck by steel. The vagabond's suddenly discerning eyes seemed to take Tsubaki in for the first time, looking through her rather than simply at.

Those eyes, wiser than they appeared, noticed something he was sure others had overlooked. And in his current state, Tousha didn't try to hide his intentions to try to figure the woman out with just a glance.

Another swallow, a less than content sigh, and Tousha finished the paste. He placed the empty stone bowl down carefully and coughed into a fist, his throat suddenly parched.

"Water, please," he asked, suddenly looking very tired.
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Post by Amy » Sat Feb 08, 2020 9:17 pm

Well, for someone who was supposedly so sick he sure was feeling good enough to avoid her inquiry like an expert. She couldn’t have asked for a more textbook vague answer to her rather simple question. There were many reasons why someone might not want to talk about themselves. Maybe they didn’t like themselves or they were hiding something about themselves. Maybe they were scared and in hiding or maybe there was just nothing to say. But something about the simply perfect way in which he avoided her question annoyed Tsubaki. She found herself not answering and not smiling back at him as he slowly but surely choked down the paste.

She just watched him, unintentionally looking quite grumpy as her unhappiness grew. Until his eyes left hers she didn’t look away, noting the suddenly clear manner in which he observed her. Eyes that said volumes more than his mouth had. At his request though she unfolded her body, showing no signs of muscle weariness from holding a squat for so long. What was she supposed to say to him now, she thought as she gathered more water from the lake. Calling him out would just be asking for an argument and would likely get her nowhere. Ignoring him would be awkward. And she sure as hell wasn’t going to fill the silence with information about herself.

Back to talking in circles it was.

Setting the water next to Tousha, this timeTsubaki sat down on her butt, leaning back on her hands. Her face was more relaxed after the brief stretch but the annoyance in her eyes was still apparent to anyone who was even decent at reading people.

"You do seem like the kind of person who would find the world charming. I tend to find it more tiring than anything else. But, I suppose that’s what comes from spending days of my life keeping other wanderers from dying to a mushroom. "
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Post by Toshi » Sat Feb 08, 2020 9:56 pm

Tousha didn't have a way with women, but he had more than enough experience with them being upset at him. And, as Tsubaki gathered up some water and placed it at his side, he could see the annoyance in her stare. Just as he'd spotted something hiding in her she had noticed something in him, or maybe a lack of something. Clearly they were both withholding information and it was already casting a tangible tension between them.

She was on guard more than ever, which wasn't Tousha's intention. If his face hadn't been paralyzed in a pained mask of mushroom backlash he might have looked guilty. Regretful, even.

As the woman spoke, explaining her own views on the world, Tousha gratefully drank a few gulps of crisp, clean lake water. He managed something resembling a smile when she mentioned saving people from being tricked by their food. No matter how convincing it had been.

"Well, I appreciate it, whatever that's worth," he said, raising the water skin in her honor before taking another swig. Try as he might, the vagabond couldn't hide how hard the poison was hitting him. Tsubaki's antidote was clearly taking effect but the pain of the paste intermingling with the toxins coursing through him were taking their tole. Droplets of sweat were forming across the man's brow, his skin was growing even paler. Even his breathing was becoming labored, his eyes losing focus by the second.

He coughed again, weakly, and wiped a hand across his mouth. "Oh boy..." he managed to mutter before collapsing forward.
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Post by Amy » Sat Feb 08, 2020 10:19 pm

In a smooth motion, Tsubaki swung her legs underneath her body and caught Tousha around his chest before he hit the ground. As expected, now that the poison was starting to be neutralized the wear on his body was taking its toll. He was going to be exhausted, sore, and nauseated for a while and this was only the beginning. While the man wasn’t unconscious, yet, he probably wasn’t going to be giving her anymore worries about him running away. Laying him down gently on his side, positioning his body so that he wouldn’t choke on vomit and wouldn’t fall onto his face and suffocate she patted him gently, awkwardly, on his shoulder.

"You sit tight here, I’m going to get your camp set up for you. Don’t go running off now," she said, smiling ruefully though he wouldn’t be able to see it.

Glancing back once or twice to make sure he was staying in the position she left him in, Tsubaki headed over to the small camp he had already set up before she arrived. First things first was getting a decent fire going. The motions that she let herself move in were all memory movements, her mind drifting off almost immediately. It had been a long time since she had been around someone for this long. It wasn’t...as bad as she might have expected before it actually happened. Something in her maybe was even enjoying having some form of a companion. Her imagination was trying desperately to run away with her but she refused to let it. This was something she had to do. Not something she wanted to do. Not something she would keep doing.

Forcing herself to focus much harder on the simple tasks in front of her than she needed to, Tsubaki reined herself in. After the fire was going pretty well she rolled out the bedding and piled a blanket up as a pillow. There wasn’t any food but she could easily catch some fish, unlike some people, and he wouldn’t be able to eat until the next day at the earliest. What was most important now was rest and staying hydrated. Going back to the man who had dutifully not moved at all she reached down to lift him off the ground, placing his arm over her shoulder. She could pick him up but getting puked on was not high on her priority list.

"Let’s get you comfortable," she said quietly, real compassion leaking into her voice for the first time.
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Post by Toshi » Sat Feb 08, 2020 10:41 pm

"Wouldn't dream of it," Tousha groaned as Tsubaki mentioned running off. He appreciated the woman catching him before he could meet the ground in a less than gentle way but taunting him was uncalled for, definitely crossing a line. The dark haired man made a mental note to voice these concerns of verbal abuse the moment his skin didn't feel like it was on fire.

When Tsubaki returned the vagabond did what he could to help her move him over to the campsite but nearly all the strength in his body had vanished. Leaning heavily into the woman, Tousha slowly stumbled his way across the pebble-ridden shore until they finally reached the bedroll she had laid out for him. With a pained groan Tousha sprawled out on his back, allowing his head to rest on the folded up blanket at the head of his makeshift bed.

Still visibly shaking, Tousha gave Tsubaki a thumbs up. "So comfortable," he said, his voice hollow and thin.

The man's hand fell to his side and he stared up at the sky, his brows knit tightly together as another lance of pain wracked his entire being. His skin practically radiated with heat as fever struck him unmercifully, his body breaking out into a cold sweat. His teeth chattered uncontrollably and Tousha's hand gripped at his stomach, which roiled and churned angrily. The man turned onto his side abruptly and unceremoniously vomited onto the ground, though he still retained enough insight to not turn towards Tsubaki.

"Errghh..." Tousha grumbled, falling onto his back on top of the bedroll. "Sorry," he muttered.
Last edited by Toshi on Thu Feb 27, 2020 4:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Amy » Wed Feb 26, 2020 11:48 am

"Don't worry about it, " Tsubaki said. He hadn't puked on her so it really wasn't a big deal. What kind of medic would she be if a little vomit bothered her? A silent count in the back of her mind told her that the medicine had been in his system long enough to not have to worry about the bit that was no longer there. What she did still have to worry about was him inhaling his vomit if he did it again. So, as comfortable as he looked, she once again pulled him into a recovery position in order to keep him safe. She needed to clean up and gather some food and keeping him like that was the only way to ensure his safety when she couldn't actively watch him.

Once he seemed relatively settled she used the rock the paste had been in to dig a hole to scoop the mess into before covering it. She may not have minded it but she sure didn't want to accidentally step in it later. A small sack made its way out of her bag and, sparing one last glance at Tousha, she slipped into the woods to gather some of the berries she had seen earlier. Really, hunger wasn't what was on her mind. What was on her mind was what she was going to do next. At this point she could leave him with some food and water by his side and he would have about a 75% chance of being ok. Or she could stay and wait until he was a fully functional human being and deal with everything that that entailed. She had been telling herself lately, that same day even, that she had to stop pretending she didn't need people in her life. And as much as she might try to convince herself that people didn't mean strangers she met in the woods the truth was that everyone was a stranger to her. It's not like sticking around for another few days would hurt her or make her more obligated to stay. Plus, she could use him as practice. If she ever wanted to settle down somewhere she was going to have to get used to getting to know people. It would be a good challenge, she thought, smiling to herself as she re-entered the clearing, feeling somewhat refreshed by her new outlook.

Deciding the berries would do for the time being, Tsubaki checked on her ward and discovered his state unchanged which was a good thing for now, and started to settle in. Grabbing the unused blanket and moving to unfurl it in one smooth motion Tsubaki realized too late that the blanket was significantly heavier than it should be. Catching the items that had been tossed into the air before they could crash to the ground it only took her a second to take in what they were. A knot formed in get stomach and any trace of happiness in her eyes had hardened. At the very least, at least she had already made up her mind to stay. If she hadn't been before she certainly was going to now.

Eyeing the man with heavy suspicion, Tsubaki clasped the weapons onto her person. Him having the blades didn't necessarily mean anything to her but she had never before met anyone who carried around kunai that wasn't also a ninja. The possibility existed that this could be a first but Tsubaki didn't trust chances, she trusted experience. And her experience told her that this was what her unease had been trying to tell her. Grabbing the useless fishing pole with more anger than was necessary given that the only other person around was unconscious, Tsubaki stalked off to the waters edge and threw herself into the sand. Taking one of the kunai she began carving the pole into something usable as she tried to figure out what she was going to do next.
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Post by Toshi » Thu Feb 27, 2020 10:54 pm

Tsubaki's words sounded muffled. Distant somehow. He knew she was kneeling next to him, close enough to touch, but she sounded so far away. Her voice echoed and bounced around the recesses of his mind, 'don't worry about it, don't worry about it, don't worry about it.' For some reason he clung to the sound of her, his consciousness instinctively trying to ground itself as the fever washed over him. 'Don't worry about it' became something of a lifeboat, the only thing he could hold on to with any solidity.

Even the ground beneath him seemed to shake, threatening to shatter. His skin burned as if left to bake in the sun for days. The thin sheen of sweat soon turned into fat, bloated drops that rolled across his pale skin yet did nothing to cool it. The man's breathing became more labored and ragged, his chest falling and heaving with irregular swells. The world around him tumbled over and over itself with a cruel indifference, tossing him like a child's plaything from one wave to the next in an unending sea of nausea and delirium.

He couldn't tell if he was awake or asleep, he couldn't process the time as it passed. How long had he been laying there? A few minutes? An hour? A week? How could he possibly know?

What seemed like an eternity later, the man's eyes fluttered opened. His stare was so unfocused he could have easily been confused as being blind. But, through the haze that was his vision, he could see a woman sitting by the water. Toiling at something by the looks of it. Her red hair was neatly tied up in a braid that hung over a gently sloping shoulder. Her thin frame was clothed in simple garb befitting a practitioner of the healing arts. The woman's back was turned to him, but even without seeing them he knew her eyes were blue.

Bright and clear. He remembered they put a clear summer's sky to shame, every time.

"Meriko."

The man's voice was firm. He wasn't calling out as if trying to get her attention, to get her to turn towards him. He simply said it because it was the only thing to say. His sightless eyes struggled to stay open as he watched her, the woman's shape threatening to scatter like wind through a could of mist.
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Post by Amy » Sat Feb 29, 2020 10:12 am

Hearing Tousha's voice behind her was equally comforting and irritating. In the few hours after she had found the stowed weapons his condition had deteriorated. Not in a way she hadn't expected but it meant that any sort of confrontation would be impossible. Not much point in screaming at a man so wracked in fever the sand beneath him was damp. Not that she hadn't considered it, merely for therapeutic reasons of course. In the end though she had been left to stew in her own emotions, growing more confused and bitter with every passing hour. Trying desperately to fool herself into thinking she didn’t know the cause of her distress.

She had been inconsolable at first, unable to let go of the betrayal she felt and had no reason for. She knew this and yet the emotions continued to flow through her body faster than she could keep up with. She was mad that he hadn’t said anything when she used her jutsu, she was mad that she used it at all. It was uncharacteristic of her to use it anyways but she had felt it necessary at the time. Now, it felt like a huge mistake. She didn’t know anything about this man and it was nothing more than the impression of helplessness that oozed off of him that had made her stay and help. She was always inconveniencing herself trying to fix others and never thinking about herself. It had always been like this and every time she thought she was improving she got herself into another situation.

Such heavy angst could only keep up for so long though and before night had fully settled on the beach she had started to calm down. Sleeping was impossible as he got worse, constantly needing attention. Cool rags across his body, keeping him as clean as possible. Making sure he didn’t hurt himself with the thrashing. She searched through the rest of his things but found nothing to suggest he was hunting her. If he was good though, of course there wouldn’t be. It was possible he was also a missing ninja which, hypocritical as it was, Tsubaki also didn’t like the thought of. Most didn’t have the type of story she had. If she knew his story would it even make a difference to her, she wondered.

The next day wasn’t any more relaxing. She could feel the truth coming to the surface and it knocked her to her feet. No more than required was accomplished that day. She kept them both alive. No more, no less. Tsubaki spent most of the day staring off over the water wondering who she wanted to be when Tousha woke up. It was likely that he would remember she was a ninja and hiding that was usually the biggest part of her identity. She didn’t know who to be with that information out in the open. It was a wall that she gladly kept between herself and those she came across. It didn’t feel hindering in the least when she could lean against it and it was something real, something that protected her when she felt she had nothing less. Her secret was her anchor but now she had lost it.

When Tousha woke, two and a half days later, Tsubaki had finally let herself realize the truth. She was upset because she had planned to take a leap of faith and maybe stick around for a few days at least, test out getting to know someone, see if traveling with someone was something she could handle. And now, it felt impossible.

Standing slowly, the completed fishing pole in one hand and a string of fish in the other, Tsubaki turned towards the camp. His voice might not have been loud but it was clear to her. He had called her by another name which wasn’t uncommon and as long as it didn’t persist for too long it wasn’t worth any worry. So for now, she didn’t bother to correct him. If it was what he needed to see, she was going to let him.

"Feeling any better?" Her voice was strained, no forced kindness in it but a distinct effort to be civil showing through. Now that she had come to accept why she was feeling so slighted she didn’t know how to bring up the problem anymore because it was only a problem to her. She used the excuse that he still wasn’t stable to continue avoiding the issue. The only clue that she knew was the fact that his weapons were still on her person.

Helping Tousha sit up, piling a few things behind him that he could lean on. She brought a container of water closer to his reach while she knelt by the fire.

"You should drink something, if you feel up for it, slowly though. I’m going to make some fish, if you don’t start eating you won’t start getting better. "

Tsubaki didn’t look at Tousha as she spoke, overly focused on her work as she had been when they first met. That was the problem with being a coward. She knew what she wanted but not how to get it. Though in this case she wasn’t even sure that she knew what she wanted. Hopefully she could figure it out before it was time to make a decision.

And hopefully he wasn’t mad that she had this things.
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Post by Toshi » Sun Mar 08, 2020 12:04 pm

The woman turned to face him, her bright red braid of hair tumbling over before resting happily at the crook of her neck. Tousha's eyes strained and shuddered to see through the fog that shrouded her face, whether the mist be real or imagined he was unsure but its impassivity remained the same. He knew her features almost as well as his own and a pang of desperate frustration overcame the man as, despite his best efforts, they remained reticent. Their familiarity and comfort had abandoned him and left him with nothing but a base want even as the woman stood and approached where he lay on the lake's pebbly beach. Her face became no more apparent and her form shifted hazily as if lacking solidity.

Tousha's lips moved to say her name again. The woman's form scattered like the ocean's spray being caught suddenly by the wind, tossed about the air around him. Another woman stood in her place, her hair honey brown and skin more than lightly touched by the sun. Tousha's thin, dark flecks of eyes met hers of a deep hazel, openly sharing the disappointment he only afforded himself a moment to drown in.

Then came confusion, shortly followed by realization. 'Tsubaki,' his gaze seemed to express. 'I know you.'

Her voice pulled his addled consciousness back into place. With a groan he allowed himself to be helped into a sitting position, grateful for her assistance. He leaned heavily on the traveler's pack resting behind him and watched quietly as Tsubaki placed a bamboo shoot of fresh water next to him. Tousha picked up the container with an almost complacent nod and took a measured gulp. The water hit him like the first warm breeze of spring after a long, harsh winter. He sighed contentedly and took another drink before turning his attention to Tsubaki.

"Much better, thank you," he said quietly, his voice a shade more fragile than it had been when he'd called out to her. He watched her intently as the woman knelt by the fire, readying the fish she'd mentioned. It was then that he noticed the weapons secured to her person. The dark haired man's head casually turned to the blanket he'd wrapped his Shinobi gear in and smirked at seeing it laid open and unrolled.

He let a few moments of strained silence linger between them, knowing that Tsubaki was wondering how he'd react to his belongings being confiscated. She was a Kunoichi herself, or at least well enough trained to conjure a water clone with what looked like ease. Even though the last few days remained something of a cluttered mess of muddled memories he remembered how she had found him in dire straights, cared for him when she could have easily just walked away.

Some air passed through his nostrils in an amused snort. He'd probably be a dead man if she hadn't found him here by the lake, wallowing in delirium. She'd more than earned to find a little skepticism in uncovering that he was a ninja.

Tousha scratched at the side of his head and asked, "Any chance I can convince you I just found those in the woods somewhere?" He figured she'd know what he was drawing attention to.
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Post by Amy » Sat May 16, 2020 1:27 am

Tsubaki glanced over her shoulder, unable to hold back a smirk. A little bit of the tension she was feeling melted away when he showed he could be a good sport about her suspicions. She spun the fish slowly over the fire, shifting her body slightly so they could converse better.

"No more than I could convince you that I learned how to make water clones in a dream, I’d imagine. " Now that he was awake and a person instead of a terrifying enigma, Tsubaki was finding that maybe she wasn’t so mad at him as she thought. "We can discuss it if necessary but to be honest I would feel more comfortable hanging onto these things for the moment."

Her movements as directed and calm as always, Tsubaki removed the fish from the fire and separated it out onto two large leaves that she had gathered and cleaned while Tousha was still unconscious. She set one of the leaves on his lap and took the other and settled across from him. They had been together for days but it was about time they had a real conversation with one another. But that posed the question of...how? They were in this weird place where they knew each other’s names and she had been taking care of him for days and built that sort of bond but they hadn’t had a normal conversation yet. It’s not like they could go back now and have a normal sort of first conversation. There was no choice but to jump right in, she supposed.

"I’m not dangerous, if you’re concerned. The scariest I get is if someone risks ripping stitches I just put in. " If she wanted real answers it made sense she should give up some real information about herself first. "I was traveling between villages when I found you and well..you know the rest from there. Well. Maybe. How much do you remember? "

Ordinarily he shouldn’t remember anything but being a Shinobi he likely remembered most, if not all, of what went on while he was sick. It would be helpful if he remembered.

"I don’t suppose you’d fess up if I just spent the better part of a week saving some seriously dangerous S-Rank Missing, huh? I promise I won’t tell anyone else. I’ll even throw in a new and improved, and more importantly functional, fishing rod if you’re honest with me. " This time, her smile was more nervous, her eyes guarded. She had to hope that she could read him well enough to know for sure if he was being honest with his answer.

There was still a tiny flame of hope in her heart that this could all work out in a beneficial way for both of them.
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Post by Toshi » Fri May 22, 2020 11:22 pm

Tousha snorted and smirked back, glad to see they were at least more steps away from each others' throats than he'd feared. Not that he was in any mood to fight, what with his stomach feeling like it was still doing somersaults and all. Despite feeling markedly better than the past few days throwing down with some stranger in the woods didn't seem like the smartest play. Besides, Tsubaki had saved his life, and Tousha's momma had taught him better than to act rudely towards people who were just trying to help.

The black haired man waved a hand at Tsubaki mentioning hanging on to his weapons. "By all means, keep 'em. Haven't been of much use lately anyway."

Tousha took one more swig of water before putting it aside, gratefully taking the fish Tsubaki had cooked for them both. He bowed his head respectfully before rubbing his hands together excitedly. "Thank you for the meal," he said out of habit, as if speaking to himself. Without any utensils at his disposal the man resorted to eating the piping hot fish with his fingers. After plucking each morsel of seared meat and plopping it into his mouth he'd waggle his fingers in an attempt to cool them off.

The vagabond's mouth was thoroughly stuffed as Tsubaki continued speaking and asking questions. He fought back the urge to answer her immediately and instead let the poor woman get everything out of her system. She'd been taking care of him for what seemed like days and Tousha doubted he'd been a competent conversationalist during a single second of it. Of course she had questions; she'd found some stranger shroompaging in the woods and after helping him, out of the kindness of her heart no less, she'd found out that he's a Shinobi. Probably the last thing someone like her would want to run into.

That would make anyone hesitant to say the least. She'd earned more than a few questions as far as he was concerned.

"What do I remember?" Tousha asked after downing a mouthful of spectacularly seared fish. The man scratched at the stubble riddling his jaw and cheeks and said, "Well, I remember eating some mushrooms I found on the ground because the fish weren't cooperating. Everything got a little trippy for a while, might have seen some dead relatives in the woods, and then you showed up." He shrugged before adding, "Last few days have been a blur if I'm being honest. Felt like my whole body was on fire, but it's tough to forget about something like that."

Then Tousha noticed a change in Tsubaki. She suddenly became more reserved and defensive, as if her eyes were desperately trying to build a wall between them. But, as the Kunoichi's demeanor grew more guarded, Tousha's relaxed. He shot a knowing grin in her direction and couldn't stop himself from chuckling.

"No, young lady," he said, poking and prodding at the fish a little. "Not an S-rank Missing. Just some lost fool."
Last edited by Toshi on Sat May 23, 2020 11:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by Amy » Sat May 23, 2020 2:33 am

If nothing else, Tsubaki was glad he wasn’t interested in fighting her about the weapons. It narrowed her down to two trains of thought - he was as nervous as she was or he didn’t need his weapons to protect himself. For her peace of mind, Tsubaki currently chose the first option to believe. Along with that she could believe that he was underestimating her and what it meant that she had his weapons as well as her own. She may be small, but he didn’t know what she was capable of. It wasn’t much, but the point was that he didn’t know that. If he wasn’t careful she would be able to catch him off guard. IF he tried anything, which, if Tsubaki was being honest with herself, she didn’t think he would. People’s truest forms often presented themselves when sick, drunk, or otherwise incapacitated and he had been nothing less than a perfect, if not annoying, gentleman when poisoned. But that did not mean that she was just going to blindly trust him.

However, she was willing to listen to his answers to her barrage of questions. It was the least she could do after bombarding him so quickly after he woke up. His answers did make her feel better - marginally.

"The fish weren’t agreeing because all you had was a stick with a string on it. " She couldn’t help but latch onto that train of conversation. She was missing years of her memory and yet she could still remember how to make a useful fishing pole. And this man, who was definitely older than herself, was confused as to how a stick with a string tied to it didn’t make a useful fishing pole. Somehow, throughout the whole ordeal they had been through, it was this fact that Tsubaki could not get over. Because she just could not gather how this grown man made it this far in life being this seemingly helpless. His remark about lost people did manage to draw her attention however.

"Stop picking at the food, " she murmured while she ruminated on what he said. Was she lost? Is that what happened to her? She was a missing ninja, but she wasn’t exactly what she would refer to as evil. She also didn’t think anyone else could really refer to her as such. He didn’t seem like he was lost but that was the trick, she supposed. No one liked to instantly be pegged for what they really were. That’s why people smiled when they didn’t want to, listened when they were tired, and stood up for those they didn’t really care about. Most people wanted to be better than they were.

"I won’t lie and say I’m not relieved. Though that does leave us in a bit of a predicament. If you were a big old bad I could just up and leave and tell you good luck on your own and I wouldn’t have to feel bad about what happened to you. But see, if I’m to believe you, we have a problem. I don’t know everything about the mushroom you ate which means you could experience symptoms days, weeks, or even months later. So if you’re actually a good person who is just lost...how am I supposed to let you go off on your own? "

Half lies, half truth. He very well could get sick again but not so sick he would die. Not that he knew that and not that she felt compelled to tell him. She was ashamed but a small part of her hoped that she could scare him into asking her to join him until they were sure he was healthy. It would be a great cover for her trying out having a friend… otr at the very least an acquaintance. She had no faith it would work but stranger things had happened in the past week so she couldn’t completely discount her chances.
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Post by Toshi » Sat May 23, 2020 9:45 pm

Tousha pouted mildly as the woman told him to stop picking at his food, but decided to comply. No point in souring an already tenuous rapport over a lapse in etiquette. So, as Tsubaki voiced the concerns she'd been surely struggling with for days, the dark haired man finished his meal in a contemplative silence. By the time she'd finished exploring her thought process, ruminating over the morality of leaving a still recovering stranger to fend for himself in the wild, Tousha was picking at his teeth absent mindedly with a thin, sharp fish bone.

"Sounds like a real moral quandary you got there," the vagabond proposed, smiling easily at the young woman. "Gotta say, can't remember ever meeting a Missing who'd bother helping a stranger as much as you have in the first place."

The black haired man stood to his full height with a groan and raised his arms high into the air, stretching the last three days of discomfort out of his aching muscles. He exhaled slowly, bent at the waist and pressed his palms into the pebbly beach, his fingers splayed and wide as he sighed with a relieving discomfort.

"Definitely never met one who hasn't cut and run at the first sign of another Shinobi. 'Specially one they don't know." Tousha lunged to the side, showing a scandalous amount of leg as he continued his tried-and-true morning stretch routine. Finally he arched his back, hands placed firmly on his hips, and groaned loudly as his entire upper body dipped backwards. He held this for several long seconds, unabashedly rotating his hips in small circles to get the most he could out of the pose.

Finally he stood upright again, tilting his head from side to side as he met Tsubaki's gaze. "The way I see it, I owe you one. A big one, no question about it," he started, shifting from foot to foot to test the strength in his legs. "So how about this: you said you're traveling between villages, right?"

He took a few steps towards Tsubaki before sticking his chest out and pointing a thumb at himself. "Let me walk you to the next village. I bet there's some real weirdos hanging out in these woods. Wouldn't want you running into anyone like that, h-uh?"
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Say Anything Else

Post by Amy » Sun May 24, 2020 12:21 am

Tsubaki crossed her arms over her chest as Tousha pulled himself to his feet for the first time in days. He certainly wasn’t wrong in his comments and in most cases she would have done exactly as he expected. Cut and run was sort of her thing, it was what she was good at. She didn’t like people getting too close and if she even suspected someone was a ninja or a missing, she was gone without ever taking the time to prove her instincts right or wrong. Being right wasn’t worth the risk and being wrong wouldn’t make the uneasy feelings go away. So she tried not to put too much thought into it.

But now, she had acted so far out of her comfort range. And...she didn’t hate it. It was uncomfortable, sure, but not as much as she would have guessed before actually doing it. She was carful to listen to what he had to say while also playing with her own thoughts and watching carefully as he continued to stretch his likely stiff body. The level of seriousness that she was regarding the situation with kept dropping, though, the more absurd the stretches got. It was really hard to be serious when a grown man was gyrating his crotch in your general direction.

Steeling herself, resisting the urge to step back as he stepped towards her, Tsubaki almost didn’t believe what she was hearing. She was sure that somehow she had hoped for this so hard that she was hearing imaginary things. And then, all at once, a bubble of laughter burst from Tsubaki’s lips, her eyes flashing brightly but only for a moment. She quickly brought her hand to her mouth, smothering the joyful sounds and returning the serious look to her eyes. The very simple thought had crossed her mind when he spoke that he was exactly the type of weirdo she would usually want to avoid running into. But she was much too kind to share that thought. The momentary bought of laughter did loosen her up though, her posture relaxing just slightly.

"I...would not be entirely opposed to that. As long as it’s not too inconvenient for you. I’m not really one for tracking debts and you didn’t exactly ask for my help. For all I know you ate that mushroom on purpose and I ruined your very elaborate suicide plan." Grasping her fists slightly tighter, working hard to manage the anxiety felt as she instantly started believing that she was accepting his offer too soon. Thinking that maybe she should have put up more of a fight. But that was stupid because she did want to use him as an experiment to see if she liked traveling with someone else and if she denied him he might retract the offer. She supposed that she should say something else but instead silence surrounded Tsubaki as she got locked inside of her own thoughts, not even aware that she had fallen silent.
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Jounin • Konohagakure no Sato • Inuzuka Shinrai and Kuro & Toraeru
Chuunin • Iwagakure no Sato • Tanaka Aimi
B-Rank MNKatō, Tsubaki
Sp. Jounin • Kirigakure no Sato • Araki Kiyo
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Toshi
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Say Anything Else

Post by Toshi » Thu May 28, 2020 11:52 am

Tousha's cheeky grin only widened as a burble of laughter found its way out of Tsubaki's serious demeanor. Even if it was for only a moment, some humanity had lit up that sterile, guarded gaze of hers. He wondered how long it had been since the Kunoichi had allowed herself a moment to laugh like this, to just be vulnerable and open with another human being without fear of bodily harm. And, as the young woman's mask of apprehension slipped ever so slightly and the kindness of her person peeked through, Tousha wanted nothing more in that moment than to help her keep that part of herself.

A pang of sadness stirred in Tousha's chest, though he wouldn't allow it to reach his eyes. He knew almost nothing about her, this Tsubaki, but he'd seen what the Shinobi lifestyle had done to people. Terrible things that had left them twisted and broken, a mere shell of the person they used to be. Few people deserved that fate and Tousha's intuition was screaming at him that a woman who had saved the life of a dying stranger with little hope of reward or compensation deserved more than wandering the wilderness, terrified of others.

At Tsubaki's mention of elaborate suicide the vagabond shrugged. "I like to think I'm capable of killing myself in a less embarrassing way," he said matter of factly. "That said my suicidal proficiencies have mushroom for improvement."

He noticed that the Kunoichi had grown silent again, seemingly lost in her own thoughts. Tsubaki's guard was back up in full force, the laughter in her eyes had sunk below the surface of an ocean of reservation she carried with her. And so Tousha offered a lifeline, or what he hoped would be a lifeline.

The seasoned Shinobi stuck a hand out towards Tsubaki, his expression amiable. "So it's agreed?" he asked tentatively, still offering a handshake. "I'll watch your back if you watch mine. What do you say?"
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Former Hokage • Konoha • Nara Tousha

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