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Curry Conversation [Yuugao, Kakami] [Log]

[Backdated to a little after Chocolate Pudding.]

It had been a bad week. And an awful, terrible month. And Yuugao was very, very tired of it.

Kotetsu and Izume were good friends, but they would be too busy this time of day. And...he really couldn't trust them not to figure out who Nejiko was (and connect her to his story about an unreachable crush) and start pestering her. That was the last thing she needed. Let alone how it would only make things even worse between Nejiko and himself. And so it was that Yuugao made his way to Kakami's place.

He had changed out of his uniform after volunteering to cover a night shift - it was good to work with other ANBU who might not have connected him with the captain that just lost a teammate. He traveled at a slow pace, looking more like a civilian than he had in years. He had been more observant than days previous, but only because he was only half-way through his day. Odd sleep schedules made for very strange days. Maybe he could stay awake long enough to sort out his sleep and wake up at a proper time the next day...

As he spotted Kakami's house he felt a weight lift from his shoulders and felt his strides become more confident. It had been far, far too long. Yuugao even felt a smile begin to come onto his lips as he stepped up to the door and knocked. His patient waiting was paid off in the form of the door opening...and a huffing Pug.

"Pakkun!" Yuugao smiled.



Pakkun dropped the thin rope that was tied to the handle from his mouth and stared up. "Yuugao-san." he said in his gruff voice, claws skittering on the smooth floor a little as he backed up. "Come in. Kakami's in the back but I can take you back there."

The pug waited for Yuugao to close the door and then trotted to the kitchen, through the door and out past the garden where the sound of many small muzzles yapping could be heard. Kakami was crouching among five puppies while Miako sat off to the side with a bored expression. The woman glanced up as they approached, blinked, then smiled under her mask as she stood.

"Yuugao-kun...this is a pleasant surprise." she said warmly.



"Kakami-senpai," he bowed his head and glanced over the large pile of puppies. "I can see you've been busy. How are they doing?"

It was good to have another topic to start this all out... the topics that would follow (and had to be addressed) would be more than painful enough. Yuugao crouched down to pet Pakkun and looked up at Kakami. "And how are you doing?"



"They're very lively." Kakami stated as the puppies started to crowd around Pakkun and Yuugao, sniffing eagerly at this new person. Kakami let them inspect Yuugao for a few minutes and then gave a firm command. They reluctantly toddled back, looking at Yuugao as they sat obediently, tongues lolling out. Kakami glanced at Miako, telling her to watch them for a little bit and then looked back at Yuugao.

"Why don't we head back to the kitchen?" she suggested. "I could use a break." Then, as they started to walk back to the house, she added, "And in answer to your second question, I'm doing well."

Very well... An inner voice added. And it was true. She was really, truly happy....and Yuugao looked tired, bordering on exhaustion, which kept her from speaking more on the subject. She pushed open the kitchen door and led the way inside, stripping off the gloves she'd been wearing (the only really 'official' item she had on at the moment. Simple, dark pants and shirt were best for training sometimes). "Would you like a drink?"



"Just some water," he leaned against a counter and kept up his smile. "It's good to see you, y'know? It's been too long." Yuugao toyed with his shirt hem and let his gaze drift to the floor. "Far too long."

He felt his mood dip and then closed his eyes for a moment, breathing in deeply and lifting his head again. "I'm glad that it looks like life has been kind to you. It's been hell for me recently. I almost...feel like I'll ruin everything for you by telling you what's been going on in my miserable excuse for a life."

Yuugao shook his head and looked to the ceiling. "Sorry. I've been...holding it in too long."



Kakami listened, as she fetched the pitcher of water kept in the fridge - to be kept cold - and poured him a glass. She handed it to him and poured herself some water as well, although she set it on the counter rather than drinking from it right away.

She was silent for a few moments, measuring what to say and the right way to say it - always she felt rather inept at that aspect - before slipping the pitcher back onto its shelf and shutting the refridgerator door quietly. Kakami looked at him, hand still on the handle and then leaned against the counter herself, near but not next to him. "...Don't hold it in too much longer then." she advised softly. "Even if you'd rather not talk to me."

A short pause, before a "I wouldn't mind though" was uttered with just the barest hint of hesitation. Hesitation more for herself in what she should do or say in response to whatever he was carrying more than not wanting to hear what was troubling him.



"It's not..." He set down the glass and sighed heavily. "That I don't want to talk to you, I just...it's all just gone wrong. If anything, I know you can keep a secret and you...you would understand." Yuugao glanced over and tried to smile, but his lips trembled as he tried to sort through the words and emotions that swirled through him. He wanted Kakami to understand. If she understood, then perhaps she could fix things. Or at least talking it out would help him fix them. He just...

Needed someone.

"It's...a little complicated, too."



"Isn't it always?" her voice was just slightly wry, even though she tried to soften it. She didn't move, figuring that if Yuugao would be more comfortable sitting at the table, he'd move to do so. Kakami glanced away, at the opposite wall and let out a soft breath. Then she looked back at him, an eyebrow slightly raised.

"Maybe you should start at the beginning then and see where it takes us." she invited.



"I...my...libido has been on a crazy new adventure." Yuugao rubbed his forehead and shook his head. "Since I've gotten over Hayako I would get a new crush every once in a while. Most faded and died. But I...developed one that hasn't gone away." He slumped a little more. "I was partnered up with Hyuuga Nejiko for ANBU missions. We got along fine, worked well together. And then...my libido had to speak up. I tried to ignore it, I really did. But it still hasn't shut up. I ended up admitting it, if only so she could know why I was acting so strange. We had a silent agreement that I should ignore it, she wasn't interested."

The more he thought about it, the more it was starting to sound like a bad romance novel. "And then her love interest went missing. M.IA. kind of missing." He frowned. "And then she started starving herself, couldn't keep food down. She got herself stuck in the hospital and I tried to cheer her up, like I did with Asuka way back when. Y'know, bringing chocolate pudding, daring her to eat by eating the nasty hospital food..."

He glanced over at the window and watched the puppies tussle, smiling for a moment before it faded.

"And I did my best at being the best friend I could be. And I didn't want to push it, didn't want to force anything. But then...life felt like throwing another problem. Though it was my own fault."

Yuugao sighed and rubbed at his forehead again, running his hand through his hair. "I neglected my team. And..." his voice wavered for a moment. "Hawk went AWOL. We managed to stop her before she got outside the village, but she was...too far gone."



Kakami was quiet, digesting the information he'd given. Well...admittedly it was not the type of situation she'd ever really dealt with. Her professional life had always overshadowed her personal life - and that had frequently led to bad things too. She looked at him and then shifted, to face him a little.

"That's...well, I guess you weren't kidding." It was gently said. Every captain lost people - it was unavoidable although the reasons were many. And inevitably, no matter what you said, or had thought, you always felt responsible when it did happen. Kakami wasn't sure that was what Yuugao needed to hear at the moment; soon he would but not now.

No, the problem was she had no idea what to say. The only thing she could reach for was after Rin's death, how she found out she could move on - but then she hadn't been in love and he'd come back so it really wasn't anything like it at all. For him to move on from Hayako's death was natural, just as natural as it was for him to start wanting or needing something to replace what had been left. Even if the fact that it was Hyuuga Nejiko; that had thrown her for a loop.

"I'm sorry." She stated finally. And she meant it. Sorry that he felt like this, that he was going through all this, and sorry that the only thing she could reach for were words that felt rather empty when she tried to say them.



It was just what he had known could happen. There wasn't much to say to him. 'Sorry' just about covered what could be said without sounding foolish. He was glad she hadn't turned on him and just scoffed at his incompetence or told him he was being weak for letting it affect him. Or...whatever else she could've done. At least 'sorry' was gentle.

He rather wanted to leave things like that. He'd...said something, she tried to understand. It was all done. Except, he hadn't said everything. There wasn't much to be done about Hawk. But about Nejiko...well, there was plenty that should be done there.

Yuugao gave a weak smile and kept his voice low and as neutral as his emotions would allow. "The worst part is? I wasn't even done yet."



Kakami responded with a slightly stronger smile that she hoped was encouraging although it could be hard to tell, what with half her face covered and all.

He didn't seem to take any sort of offense to her previous response, which had been rather limited. So she was quiet, waiting for him to go on when he felt comfortable doing so, letting him gather his thoughts or catch his breath or whatever it was that he needed to do before continuing.



He'd been around her long enough to still interpret how the material moved and shifted - Yuugao saw the smile. Shaking his head, he ran his hand through his hair again.

"I...well, I did something stupid. Instead of just going home after getting grilled by T&I about Hawk I went to see Nejiko. I was so tired and off, that she had me collapse on her bed and took a cot for herself. I was out for a day or so. But...apparently..." How was he even supposed to say this? What did...what had he done to deserve all of this?

"I don't know what I was thinking or what caused it, but...I uh..." The color came to his cheeks and he dipped his head forward, hoping the purple locks would hide his face. "I...had an erotic dream. I don't doubt she heard it. When I went to visit her next at the Hyuuga compound it was..." Yuugao shook his head. "It just all felt wrong. I felt dirty, she was nervous. I...screwed it all up."

Yuugao grumbled. "All because my libido had to go and get excited."



"Oh." Kakami's eyebrows lifted high. "I...see."

Despite the obvious humor of the situation because it was sort of funny, she understood the embarrassment that was inherent in that kind of situation. Never quite this, though...

"...It happens." Kakami shrugged and gave him a wry look. "And it happens in some way to everyone." She paused, once again realizing just how bad she was at giving advice, and wishing she wasn't. Things had seemed a lot simpler in even the hairiest situations when they'd worked together in ANBU. "Have you tried speaking to her again?"



"No. Though her cousins tracked me down and tried to weasel information from me. It's tough to sneak out of the Hyuuga compound with your tail between your legs without being noticed." He shook his head and sighed. Kakami-sempai was still his sempai, but he knew better than to expect her to suddenly be the advice-guru of relationships. Sure, she'd finally worked things out with Rin-san, but...that didn't mean she knew how to fix his problems.

He had no clue how to work them out, but he was also so confused and deeply involved that he wasn't sure he could see an objective view. Perhaps...perhaps that was what he was hoping Kakami could do.

"Funny thing is, she isn't even talking to them about what's going on with her." Yuugao pursed his lips and sighed. "Though they were nosy and irritating enough, I couldn't blame her from wanting them not to know anything."

"It's just...so tangled up. She's confined to the compound, though I suppose she could take small walks outside of it. I just...we've never spoken of the incident, but it's painfully obvious she's uncomfortable around me. I've been behaving myself incredibly well, but I can't...shake these feelings." A particularly high pitched yelp caught his attention and he glanced out the window - only to see Miako breaking up the scuffle and growling at both puppies.

"She's so stuck on this guy who might as well be dead and I...feel like a wretch for even contemplating trying to make an advance on her. Especially now that I've made her feel uncomfortable around me."



Kakami watched him as he spoke, concern building slowly. Once again she was quiet after he finished, searching through her mind and heart to try to come up with something, anything that might help. Even if he only had needed someone to talk too, it almost felt like she needed to have some sort of answer a self imposed condition, but there none the less.

"Wait." She finally said quietly then met his eyes. "...She...might not be over this boy yet. I mean, she might still believe he could show up. Its something that we both know doesn't happen very often but a lot of the time it doesn't matter. When there's not a body...nothing tangible to see and bury it doesn't seem that real." She glanced at him. "And you probably know that too..." So she was just being a bit redundant.



"I know," he whispered, hand over his face as he felt miserable again. He should have been better about keeping his feelings quiet, about keeping things platonic. Her boyfriend might yet return - who knew? And here he was trying to rationalize pushing things even harder.

"I'm...turning into an old, miserable lecher." Yuugao blanched. "Ugh. I should be turned in or something."



"That's not what I meant exactly." Kakami stated, making a slight face. "I really did mean wait. At least for a little while."

Then she arched an eyebrow at him. "And if you're an old, miserable lecher, I'm positively an ancient one, so you're not in bad company." A shrug. "Depending on, of course, who you ask."



Her comments were reassuring, especially since the last bit actually got him to smile and glance over at her. "I guess we can plan the downfall of the younger generation together then, huh?"

Yuugao shook his head and chuckled for a second, feeling some of the despair and tension seep out of him. "But I do understand. And I'm willing to wait, I am. I just...have to wonder if it's just my libido going into overdrive or if I really should pursue it. We got along well before this all...happened, and she's definitely attractive. I just...sorta do feel like I'm robbing the cradle, y'know?"



She shot him a vaguely helpless look. It was a little...odd for her as well to think about. After all, Nejiko was only a year older than her kids former students which made her seem very young still. But Kakami didn't know her and did not have much contact with the girl, so she couldn't speak for what Nejiko was really like.

"I think the term is relative," she finally stated with a quiet stretch of the lips which made a gentle smile. "But yeah, I guess I could see why." The woman cocked her head to the side a bit. "As for whether or not this is all just...libido related maybe you should...I'm not sure...pursue some sort of casual relationship?"

It was advice hesitantly given. Kakami had never really had anything that could have been termed casual but then again she'd spent most of her life alone - always emotionally if not physically at times. But maybe it would help, give Yuugao a starting place to stand on so he could be sure of himself.



It wasn't a bad plan. But it seemed so impossible to even begin it. There-in lay the problem. He was already too edgy to be comfortable around her and she had reasons (which he wasn't sure of) for being uncomfortable around him. Perhaps...he could just apologize. In a letter, a card, something that wouldn't force her to have to invite him in and be polite. A card could be harmless enough - and could be the first step towards recovering their relationship - platonic or not.

Yuugao nodded and spoke little louder than a whisper, though it was not done with an intention to leave out Kakami. He knew how well she could hear.

"I'll go slow. Getting her forgiveness will be first. And then we'll get comfortable around each other first. And I'll...just have to take it from there." And he'd visit the psych ward. That should...do something about Hawk. Even if it was painful to see her like that...at least he could become used to it. The wound wouldn't heal immediately, but he could always hope the medications and help of the medical staff would get her manageable again.

Perhaps he could even apologize to her. That might purge the worst of the wound.

Perhaps.



Another half smile, this one meant to be encouraging rather than unsure or wry. There was an inclination to reach out and touch him, lightly on the arm as if to make some sort of connection, but Kakami still wasn't really comfortable at easily doing that with anyone but Rin. Instead, she simply shifted a little.

"Time is all we can give it. And I mean that for everything," she said softly, referring not only to Nejiko, but to Yuugao's unfortunate teammate as well. He had a lot to think about; it was no wonder he'd seemed so tired when he had first arrived. But now, it seemed he might have an idea of what he needed to do. And that meant it was probably a good idea to move on. Besides it was getting towards noon and Rin had made enough curry last night for leftovers that would be easy to heat.

Kakami pushed away from the counter and went to the fridge. "Come on; I'll at least feed you since you came all the way out here to see me." Her voice was quiet, but a little humorous. It was as close as she could get to telling him that everything would be all right without actually saying it outright.



Food? Well, he could do food. He was awfully tired. And hunger easily followed exhaustion.

"I won't say no to a lady. Especially if she's offering food," he had to force the smile at first, but it started to become easier the longer he wore it.

Yuugao dipped his head and eased himself off the countertop. "Is there any way you want me to help?"



Kakami smiled at his first statement...there was some of the Yuugao she normally saw - the polite, sweet almost boy-next-door type that had made her start thinking of him as some sort of younger brother figure in the first place. She pulled the dish of curry and the other dish of rice out of the fridge as he offered to help and nearly raised an eyebrow at him. It was just a re-heating...relatively safe although it was surprising that there hadn't been any awkward pauses or questions about who exactly had cooked the food in the first place. Either Yuugao had more faith in her abilities than people who knew better did or he was just to occupied with other thoughts (which was probably more likely).

"Not much to do...but you could get out some dishes for us." Kakami stated, dumping food into a pan before lighting the stove top (Rin had an aversion to microwaves and Kakami didn't care either way to be honest). "The plates are above the counter there and the utensil drawer is nearest the sink."



"I'm on it," he gave her a mock salute and set about finding the plates and utensils. They were easy enough to find and he set them down on the table. He straightened them in front of the two chairs and then caught himself wiping away a small collection of dust.

...maybe he should give his apartment a deep cleaning, if he was paying that much attention to detail. And it certainly wouldn't hurt his apartment to be just that little bit cleaner.

Yuugao looked over and watched her heat up the food, smiling softly. It was highly doubtful that it was Kakami's cooking. He'd been on enough missions to know that her culinary skills were...in progress. And hampered past the 'attempt' stage. (Though he really didn't like to think of her that way.) "How's Rin-san doing?" It had to be his cooking.



"He's doing well." Kakami's voice unconsciously softened, as it tended to do now when Rin was mentioned. Grabbing a wooden spoon to break up the still cold rice, she threw Yuugao a smile over her shoulder before pounding the white grains a bit. "I've gotten...rather comfortable here. Its nice."

More than nice, and yes she was still a little surprised now and again about her fortune which, from her point of view, did seem a little undeserved. For her, not Rin really.

"And you? You still have your roommates?"



The calm and contentment that was so prevalent in Kakami left Yuugao both warm and empty inside. He was very glad that she was happy - especially after so many years of being cold, alone, and...solitary. But the stark contrast to his own life was harder to smile through than he had anticipated. He had his parents and his sister, yes, but he hadn't seen them in ages. And he did not feel half as close to them as he would have liked.

...perhaps he should try to see them more often.

"Not unless you count the dust bunnies," Yuugao forced himself to lighten up. Kakami-sempai was trying to cheer him up. It wouldn't do to dampen the mood because of something that wasn't her fault. "No, Izume-chan and Kotetsu-chan are living as civilians and own a dress shop. Well, they sell more than dresses, but...y'know. Fancy clothes. That is, when they're not cleaning up after Hokage-sama's paperwork. He forced them back into it after shinobi retirement."

He shook his head. "I haven't seen them for a few weeks, but they're due a visit. Even if they do try to get me to...get twisted around their little finger." He had almost slipped up and mentioned how they had made him strip down to his boxers to get proper measurements for clothing. ...no, that would stay a little secret. One that hopefully never, ever came out.



Ah, poor Yuu. He did tend to be a little easy to convince in certain situations - as an ANBU he was just as steel willed and deadly as the next. Maybe that was another reason she felt a little protective of him at times, because he was sweet and had still managed to retain that human quality for the most part. Something she'd always had so much trouble doing, which had her slightly envious of those that could avoid moving between extremes.

As for the Paper Dolls...well...Kakami had noticed their absence but she hadn't known them very well, other than they hung around Aki a fair bit. And that they'd been Yuugao's roommates. Kakami smiled wryly.

"I wonder what he had to offer them." she mused, almost to himself, referring to Tsurude. That was possibly the one job she'd consider turning down although it was highly unlikely that anyone would want her handling a majority of the village's documents and reports.

The curry gave a little hiss, as it began to get warmer. Kakami poked it with a wooden spoon, just a little doubtfully. Maybe a few more minutes...?



"The way they talked about it, Hokage-sama didn't give them much of a choice." Yuugao shrugged and stretched his arms out above his head. They were more stiff than usual - it might not be a bad idea to work on his kenjutsu or even his taijutsu. He could find someone to spar with - either in ANBU or at a nearby dojo.

Yuugao scratched at his head and then glanced around the room for a conversation topic. "You...seen your team much?"



Kakami half paused before answering, digging around several drawers for the potholders Rin kept.

"No, not really." she admitted quietly. She grabbed some faded yellow ones and picked up the now hot food to place it on the table, a thoughtful look in her eye. "I guess...well, I've seen Sachiko a fair bit." When the girl needed her but at least that was something. They had yet to have any sort of relationship other than a former sensei and student. "Naruko seems to flit in and out so often I hardly catch her when she is around." Not that it was surprising. The blonde girl was always full of energy and action, always needing to do something. Kakami still missed her though. "And Sakurai...well, he's really busy." Poor kid. Sort of. He seemed satisfied with where he was, from what she'd seen.

The fact that they'd seemed to have grown past her was sad, but not unexpected. It was what happened - what was supposed to happen, even if a very small part of her still sort of wished they were all twelve again. She pulled out a chair and sat in an easily graceful movement, waiting for Yuugao to sit as well before she offered him the serving spoon first. "They seem to be doing well for the most part though, so that's good."



For a moment he did have a rather morbid thought - all three students had survived to almost adulthood. With Kakami-sempai and his own childhood thing had been...different. Yuugao pushed it aside and smiled, taking a seat and accepting the serving spoon. "Thank you," he said, taking a small portion for himself.

"It's good to hear they're all doing well, even if life has them busy. Guess life is starting to pass the rest of us by, huh?"



"Ah, see, you say things like that and make me feel old." Kakami teased, taking the spoon as he finished getting his own food. The statement was mostly a joke; after everything she and the others she knew had gone through and seen, one couldn't help feeling old once in a while. But she'd stopped feeling that way and felt more...settled. Like she was exactly where she was supposed to be.

She shot Yuugao a short smile.



Yuugao just laughed, his food still held in front of his face. The lack of...joy in his life recently made the laughter even more addictive and he continued to laugh to himself, setting the curry back down as he shook his head and grinned at Kakami.

"Sorry, I just...I guess I needed that. But don't feel too old, I'm sure you could still whoop plenty of the young jounin. Experience certainly adds to prowess in battle." Which...meant he should be one of the best in ANBU. Yuugao wasn't sure he actually fit the bill, though. Oh well, that was another issue for another time.

With that worked out, he resumed eating, the smile still very prevalent on his face. It had been a very good choice to come see Kakami-sempai.



Kakami watched quietly as Yuugao laughed, long fingers slightly toying with her utensil, and then smiled at his comment, eye lighting up just a little. He was starting to relax and Kakami felt her own shoulders un-tense just the slightest, before she quietly changed the subject about non-consequential things, pursuing the small talk she was normally so bad at with a little more confidence.

Happily, Yuugao seemed quite content to do the same and the two of them lingered a while longer over the curry, both reluctant to end the visit.

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