Vanishing Friends [Private]

Uchiha Asuka

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Asuka stood outside the doors of the familiar establishment, if she wasn't mistaken. This was her teacher's establishment, she hadn't been here in a long time and decided to kill some time in this place. She's been having some thoughts in her mind about the new stuff coming along. But in the end, it was all in the back of her head. Taking a deep breath she took steps forwards and walked in.

The air was full of laughter and chatter, it was the time of day where people got off work and took time for themselves so she wasn't that surprised about how it was. She just hoped no stranger would come towards her, in no mood to talk to people she didn't know. With a sigh she sat at the corner of the bar table, waving over the bartender and asking for a bottle of his finest Sake. The night would be expensive but what the heck, you only live once. Asuka looked over her shoulder as she waited, seeing a table of a group of guys staring at her and whispering. She sighed, only hope she had is that whispers would stay whispers and no further action would be taken.

A few minutes later her bottle came, she looked at it for a bit. It certainly seemed quite expensive. Before opening it Asuka stretched her head a bit. Half of it dissapearing into thin air which did come as a gasp to the some that noticed. Having said that, few second later it returned to normal. "Yep, enough money." She said waving off the gasps. She opened the bottle and poured herself a large cup of it. Taking a big swing, this was going to be quite a night.
 

Maikeru

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Konoha. His home, his birthplace, the location where all of his dreams for the future had started. Now, however, it seemed nothing more than a shadow of what it had once been. With a sigh and a heavy heart, he walked through the gates, giving a small nod to the gate guards who stood at the ready. He flashed them the Kumo headband that hung loosely from his neck with his right hand, his left arm being wrapped up in a large sling. The men at the gate nodded back, before allowing passage of their allied nin.

It was almost ironic to Maikeru, that the festival would lower their gate security so much, despite how high of a priority it had always been. It certainly made him think about the pointlessness of things that had happened in the past. Actions that had consequences to them, that now seemed so pointless. Regardless, with no passport to his name save his old Konoha one, it would be a nice excuse to visit his father, as well as the graves of his fallen family. Before that though, a drink was needed, something to calm his nerves and set him right.

He was surprised, however, to see Asuka sitting in front of the counter. With his new appearance, he was sure she would never recognize him, it would certainly be impossible after all. It brought a smile to his face as he thought of the ways he could easily mess with her, which was exactly what he was doing when he took the stool next to her.

"Are you even old enough to drink?" He asked, running a hand through his mess of white hair before holding up two fingers to the bartender. "Where I'm from we don't let academy students drink. Imagine if you're sennin saw you breaking the rules, you don't wanna set a bad image for Konoha during the festival do you little one?"

[Topic entered as Alias and changed appearance "Akira"]
 

Uchiha Yukio

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The bar itself seemed off from the entrance though the door was wide open a sign lay outside on it's side reading closed though it was haphazardly put together inside was another story however. From the entrance to the door leading to the back room a line of tilted tables and knocked over chairs lined the way as a nervous waiter peered into the storage area. "Um sir i know you own this establishment but..you can't just." A loud roar rushed the man away before he could finish speaking Chinatsu's twisted form flying out the open door slamming against the counter his voice echoing through the bar.

"You complete dumbass! I'm attached to you throwing me isn't going to get rid of me." His twisted form turned to face Asuka as she sat in the corner a grin spreading across his features looking upon the man who approached her before slowly going back into through the door. The following moments were loud a few clattering sounds the thuds of heavy footsteps moving across the floor before a bottle flew out the room missing the duo before smashing into the wall behind them the Hyuuga exiting with a grimace look on his features shoving past the waiter moving towards the table another bottle in hand.

"Can't you all read the sign! It says closed or are you all incapable of reading." He was not pleased to say the least though his eyes came to rest on the Sennin a smile coming across his face as he picked her up spinning her. "Asukaaaa! I never thought you would drink here come come let us drink the night away!" Chinatsu moved away from his partner sighing slightly attention turned to the one who sat with her. "You probably won't find much in a moment, the red rose is owned by my companion here and as it stands he has little interest in serving patrons."

[Topic entered]
 

Uchiha Asuka

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Asuka took another big gulp from her Sake. Finishing the cup, the taste was bitter but quite sweet. She liked it, grabbing the bottle she poured herself another drink. What a night it would be. Unfortunately it didn't seem the peace she wanted was going to happen. In a fall swoop a guy sat next to her. She did hear him, although she found little, if not none, interest in what he had to say. She wasn't in the mood for talking.

"Not in the mood for company." She said grabbing her bottle and standing up, ready to go someplace else. Just before someone burst through one of the doors, first thing she saw as a bottle flying straight at her. With a quick tilt of her head she dodged it just in time. She turned her head to look at where it landed before turning her head back and smiling widely. Apparently a familiar face was all she needed. "Yukkkiiiooooo!" She yelled out, holding the recently purchased bottle in one hand and her cup in the other, the motion making the drink inside the cup to spill out.

She giggled as Yukio spinning her around, her head flying back in happiness. Yeah, this is what she needed. "Till tommorow's afternoon it is!" She yelled out as if a challenge was given to her. Letting Yukio carry her wherever it is he wanted to go.
 

Maikeru

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Akira simply smiled at the wicked, shadow and liquid-like form of Chinatsu, resting his chin on his one unimpeded hand. The young man looked between the 'three' patrons in front of him, before closing his eyes and letting out a tired sigh. He seemed like he was doing that a lot lately, though, it was to be expected with the things he had to deal with of late. Standing from his stool, he once again adjusted the cloud headband around his neck, before walking towards the door. As he got to the entrance, he bit at his tongue, before turning to face the two shinobi behind him.

"So, this is how you treat allied shinobi, is it?" He asked, looking between the two of them. "A cloud shinobi comes into this establishment looking for a drink, and is turned away by one of the Sennin of the leaf? After you invited our village to this festival? After we've taken in so many of your refugees, this is how you would treat us?"

Akira playfully held his hand in front of his mouth, as if he had spoken some unknown secret. Moving his hand from his mouth, he stuck it into the pocket of his jacket, leaning back on the heels of his feet.

"But, I suppose your treatment of those you'd consider allies is not surprising. With all the stories the refugees have told us, about how you treat your own shinobi, I guess I should just be glad I wasn't executed in the streets like a beast." Akira said, his eyes drawing into a tight scowl. "The world knows of what goes on in this village now, and that should scare you far more than the frost digs biting at your heels."

Akira kept his face serious for a moment, looking between the two, before tossing on a large smile. His posture became more relaxed as he waved his hand dismissively towards the two of them.

"Ah, but what would I know? I'm just a Cloud Genin, after all, there is no way I could know more than you, Hyuuga Yukio, sennin of the leaf. Or the Head Jonin Uchiha Asuka." He gave a small bow to the two, as mockingly respectful as possible, before continuing. "But, I should be on my way. After all, I wouldn't want to upset the new, edgy Yukio. Or you, Chinatsu-san. I know you're the real power behind your team."

With that, he turned on his heels, wondering if his words would have any effect on the trio.

[Topic left unless stopped]
 

Uchiha Yukio

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Chinatsu snorted at the mans words before breaking out into laughter he had no intention to stop him shaking his head. "I feel ashamed I took him seriously for a moment coming to this place to simply spout his views, Apologies for turning my attention it appears he knows little of what down time is. The fact he failed to grasp the concept that Yukio gained this power alone says enough about that." With that the being vanished back into his gauntlet seeing his companion was content and ready to sleep the rest of the night away.

Yukio on the other hand completely ignore the man not really caring for the serious atmosphere and not in the mood to let things ruin the mood at this point in time continuing to spin the young Uchiha until he hit the counter coming to a stop and falling over it thudding into the floor but still laughing taking a drink waving his hand to the door. "The back room, the back room I keep the good stuff back there. Waiters hold down the fort and give the guys here a round on me." It was clear he may be drunk but still logical enough to get the two of them away from the bar so as not to make a mess.

His attempts to get through the door were somewhat pitiful flopping across the floor turning to Asuka whatever condition she may be in waving a hand. "Help you fellow, I appear to be unable to make a move there are two of you it should be fine right?" It was clear he had been at the bottle for a while the reason for doing so more than likely being quite obvious to his fellow Sennin. Though he didn't speak of it the man had much on his mind he would rather move on from and forget rolling on the spot for a moment with a wide grin on his features.
 

Uchiha Asuka

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Asuka simply looked back at the strange man while she was spinning. Laughing she simply saluted the guy. "Smell ya later Snow flake!" She giggled harder as they slowly started to move towards the back room. Asuka kept spinning around not exactly seeing what was in front of her. She felt a hard pull as she tumbled unto the floor, it seemed as though Yukio had tripped on the bar table... for some reason.

She took a sip from her bottle and listened to Yukio taking about the good stuff in the back room. "The good stuff is back there?" She asked with a pout on her face "The hell is this stuff then?" Asuka complained showing the new bottle she had just bought. She looked at it closely and saw that it was empty, probably most of it had spilled on the floor... or had she actually drank all of that so quickly. Sheesh.

Asuka followed Yukio, looking at him closely. She felt something was off, she had never seen Yukio like that. What could have happened? Or was she just imagining things? No... something was up. But she kept smiling and laughing at just seeing drunk Yukio. She got even more worried once he saw two of her. "Wish there was two of me." She said opening the door, which is when she figured out what could've happened. Of course it was the recent event... how could she not have seen it.

Asuka opened the door for him and let Yukio walk in first, in whatever way he could. She closed the door behind him and sighed. "Yukio... I...." She couldn't find the words exactly, what to say to make it better. Could it be made better? There was only one thing she could do.

Turning around to face him, Asuka held her hands together. Looking down on the floor, moving her thumbs around. She sniffed, slowly looked up to Yukio and open her mouth, speaking five words.
"It's not your fault y'know."
 

Uchiha Yukio

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Looking at the bottle the Uchiha held the Hyuuga chuckled shaking a finger towards her. "ah that stuff is kept in the back for special occasions believe it or not there is such a thing as limited supplies." He had a point though given the state he was in it was doubtful he cared all to much about his supplies at that moment in time hearing her statement with a slow nod. "I think we all do sometimes would make life easier being in two places at once at all times."

Seeing the door open the Sennin seemed pleased she approved of the idea of getting out of the crowds way safe to say a rather large one had gathered to observe the pretty out of it man as he pulled himself off the floor stumbling through the door in a rather unprofessional manner slumping against the far wall reaching for a bottle as Asuka spoke. It was almost like he froze on the spot a long pause following as he slid down the wall landing on the floor with a thud as he stared blankly at the floor silent and unmoving.

When he finally came to speak he raised his head a tear running down his cheek a familiar feeling of guilt long hidden rising to the surface. "Is it, It makes me wonder sometimes what makes the effort worth it. After I lost my sister I thought all i needed to do was become strong enough to protect the village I called home and the people i cared about." A moment of pause followed, he did not drink his mind a jumbled mess of thoughts and feelings hand waving in the air a moment attempting to make a gesture for words he could not form.


"It didn't seem to matter, When Kenshin was in trouble i couldn't get there in time to stop it. When you called for my help at the gates I was late again only to discover what happened in the aftermath. It seems when I claim to care for someone it's like life finds a way to take them away from me." The first layer had been peeled away as most who knew Yukio these days could say it was rare for him to show emotions at all never mind spill what was on his mind looking up to the Uchiha tears dropping from his face.

"Is that how it goes, is it so bad to become close to someone. Do we have to live life paranoid that those we love will be stripped away one after the other like branches from a tree You, Soku, my clan how much do I have left to lose."
 

Uchiha Asuka

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Asuka sighed, holding her arms to herself as he started to speak. Maybe she shouldn't have spoken about it. But the bottle was open and she couldn't close it now. But she was kind of glad, doing this type of things may help. She may be able to help him in this instance. "Power is a good way to start though." Asuka said cleaning the tears of her face, slowly moving towards him "But it isn't everything, right?"

Asuka stood next to Yukio and Slowly slid down, sitting down next to him. She kept listening to him, thinking carefully on his words. It was pretty intense but she would at least listen and offer any advice that could be given. "Don't think you can do everything. Otherwise it will eat you up like it's doing it now."

She didn't speak as he continued, to be fair she didn't exactly wanted to stop this but she didn't want to insult either, because Yukio was right. Even when powerful... it's note enough... it's never enough. She smiled. "You know, my mother died in front of me. Walked towards Konoha sourrounded by death and destruction. I was homeless in life at first, didn't have anything. Then you fucking show up.... and save my life from walking into poison." Asuka chuckled to herself, taking the bottle from Yukio and taking a big gulp.

"Fucking stupid from me." Asuka laughed "In the end you can get strong... but you won't be able to save evryone. That's the problem with life."
 

Uchiha Yukio

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Looking down to his hands the Sennin listened to the Uchiha's words knowing that she spoke the truth and he couldn't help but feel disappointed in himself for becoming blind to that fact. "I gave up so much thinking what I was doing was right but in the process of doing so became blind to things that wouldn't make me stronger. Family, Emotions even my body were given over thinking that just being strong would make things better." It was something of a realization for the man one he should have realized much sooner than this.

Looking down to his arm before rolling up the sleeve the Sennin revealed the gauntlet fused to his arm a sad smile coming across his face. "I understand what you mean, Learning to rely on others is a part of being a Shinobi and non of us should feel above such things." It seemed after a few drinks the man had a tendency to ramble listening to Asuka in the aftermath finally chuckling at her words. "I remember that day, quite a turn of luck that i had just learned how to extract poison a few weeks before hand or we would have had to get you to the hospital in time."

There was no resistance when she took the bottle leaving him to reach over to the shelf to grab another and take a drink. "It may have been stupid but we all make mistake at that age do we not." Thinking for a moment he tilted his head over to Asuka a slight smile resting on his features as he spoke. "We may not be able to save everyone but we should be able to save those we care about the most, is that not part of why most of us walk the path of the Ninja."
 

Uchiha Asuka

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"Your decision wasn't wrong. No decision is entirely wrong." She sighed, taking another gulp from the bottle. She chuckled, thinking on what it was that had changed her so much. "You made it based on the need to protect. Don't hit yourself over the head."

Asuka leaned slightly to look closer to the gauntlet, it was certainly beautiful but she wondered the weight Yukio has to endure every day to have this power. She understood the cost of gaining power like that. "Exactly, trying to take the world alone will just end up crushing you." With his recount of events Asuka smiled. "Never been one to have self preservation as a priority. Gives Soku quite a headache."

Asuka didn't look back once he uttered those last words. She sighed, in that instance she believed he was wrong. Taking another big gulp, Asuka spoke. "Not really." She sighed remembering Rayne, remembering hoe powerless she was to help. How weak. Asuka cleaned a tear off her face. "Expect the worst. Hope for the best. We aren't able to save everyone, hell... sometimes we're not able to save the people we care about. It's all about trying our best, but... no matter how hard we try. Sometimes it isn't enough... we're not gods."
 

Uchiha Yukio

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The man's smile grew wider hearing his fellow Sennin speak taking another drink before resting back further pondering on what she had said. "You've really grown Asuka, both mentally and physically though you still pull pranks and act like a kid sometimes that's just part of who you are we all have our problems and it's just a matter of coming to terms with such things. I know i should have realized this long before now but that's all part of learning through experience." Turning to face her to him it was like looking at a different person or at least seeing the young women in a different light.

"We've all done things we come to regret, I think I even told you that once upon a time but coming to terms with those things is what makes us stronger in the end and not forgetting what we've done in the past and how it changed us." The smile on his face was warm and gentle a light in his eye showing that beneath the layers part of him was still capable of feeling something. "I came here to forget, to drown my failures and come to terms with everything that's happened and now you've helped me. Showing your more than just the perky student i meant in the beginning willing to make every mistake to help another."

It was interesting what meeting people could do just a moment ago the Hyuuga had been willing to just cave in, ready to drown in his own sorrows but things felt different now regardless of how foolish he may have felt about not realizing this sooner but as with all things time and company would mend wounds. "I guess what I'm trying to say in so many words.." There was a pause as the man sat up his forehead bumping gently against the Uchiha's.

"Thank you"​
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Uchiha Asuka

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Asuka waved the silly man away, grown... please. She was still the same idiot all those years ago. She had just grown older. "Pfft. I'm still the same idiot you met all those years ago. I've just grown. Disadvantage of having a mortal life. I can no longer get away with stuff cause I'm a kid." She laughed, sighing happily. Right before he turned her face towards him... she had never seen Yukio cry, she had never thought it was possible. But it seemed, everyone had their breaking point.

She was confused though, his words were deep and meaningful. His words seemed genuine... she never expected this type of reaction and was at a loss of words. But he was right, it all came to letting the past go, learning from it, becoming better thanks to it. She didn't speak, in reality she was speechless. Couldn't really answer to what he was saying, but his words hit home. As if someone had opened a bottle of water, tears started pouring from her face. She never thought she would be able to cry again... "You're giving me too much credit..."

His next action made her stiff, not a single muscle moved. She had never had been given this sort of affection before, Asuka was usually the one showing it... and it felt... warm. Asuka placed her hands around Yukio's neck and simply smiled. "You give me too much credit Yukio... I'm just leaf's biggest idiot."
 

Uchiha Yukio

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He continued to rest his head against her own body waving slightly from side to side in a gentle rocking motion shaking his head at her words with a slight laugh. "That may be the case but the idiot you see yourself as has saved me on more occasions than I can entail, especially now. I was in a dark place one I thought I could never come out of and sitting here thinking where do I go from here." Raising a hand he wiped away some of the tears running down her face.

"Honestly I don't think I could give you enough credit in this moment, When it looked to me like everything was lost you came to my side even with the state I was in spoke the words that needed to be said and brought some light into the dark." His arms began to wrap round the Uchiha pulling her into a warm embrace head still resting in position thinking on her opinion of herself. "Maybe you are, but I think that's part of your charm maybe some of us are too serious for our own good and your perky and light hearted personality brings a little bit of excitement to the room at least that's the way I've come to see it."

There was a moment of pause a slight flush in the man's cheeks thinking on what he had said. "I think maybe you just needed someone to tell you that just as I needed to hear the words you spoke to me. In the end all we have in our short lives is each other maybe it's that fact we should appreciate and try to make each moment count so by the end we can look back on everything with a smile and a laugh." He didn't have to think on those words simply speaking from the heart feeling anything else would have come across as false or forced.
 

Uchiha Asuka

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Asuka laughed at his first words. It was certainly true, although she couldn't recall another time they had a conversation like this. She remembered the time Yukio listened to her worries and gave her advice. She saw this as a simple way of paying him back for all the good things he had done for her, although the debt not fully paid. She could maybe help him this way."Wherever you please, advantage of having free will."

His next words though, didn't hit in the right place. Her face fell, and she moved a bit away from him. In this instance she didn't know if she should speak or not, she took another big gulp from the bottle and cleaned the tears of her face with the sleeves from her Kimono. She didn't want to speak over him, so Asuka decided to wait until he finished.

His words were wrong, she wasn't what he thought she was. Hell, she was probably taking credit for things Yukio found out himself. Cheerful personality.... that was a first someone had actually uttered the words she was hiding behind all this time. Maybe... it could be time to let go? She sniffled, cleaning snout from her nose. "But... I-I." She stuterred to find the right words, to find a way to explain without giving everything... because... who would believe her? "It's all a mask...... all a mask to avoid solitude."
 

Uchiha Yukio

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He listened realizing he had somewhat rambled his own view without considering her's something he should have seen by now though everyone had their secrets. It was strange to him thought they had walked in opposite directions by being in the place he found himself in it gave him an understanding of what made being Isolated so terrifying. "I see what you mean at least...I hope I do." He paused for a moment though didn't drink remaining still as he thought on how to word his thoughts. "You use it to make yourself approachable, to make sure that someone will always be there even though you yourself know that your not actually being who you are."

Standing for a moment he took a few steps kneeling in front of the Sennin with a warm glow in his eye. "You think that if you just be yourself you'll be faced with a life of solitude." There was another pause another moment a slight hesitation from the Hyuuga wondering if he should keep speaking his mind, quickly shaking it off he carefully took her hand placing it between his own. "I know I may never come to understand what you've been through that's what makes our personal experiences so unique but I do know one thing."

"Though such things take time to heal, to feel there's someone you can trust at this moment. In the here and now I know that I want tonight to be different, because even after everything we've been through your the one who's made me reflect on the way I've been living I finally know what it is to feel something again, and in the end your the first person in a long time who's shown me such care and to that end even if just for tonight I want to smile to be merry and let you know that no matter what you'll know that your the person who let me feel love again. I want to let you into my life without feeling that it's all going to collapse again."

Though his words could be taken as something of a confession all Yukio knew in that moment was he wanted Asuka to be able to enjoy herself, to know what she had done for him and how it had effected him after spending so long isolated and alone he wanted to take the chance, to try and let someone in to see what he really was beneath it all.
 

Uchiha Asuka

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Asuka looked away, trying to hold back the tears that were welding in her eyes, he was smart to say the least. Hit the nail right in the head, maybe... it wouldn't be so bad to let go.... in the end she knew Yukio for a while back and he didn't seem the kind of guy who would hurt anyone without proper motive. "And what may that be oh so wise Sennin." She chuckled, wanting to listen to his response.

His words hit home, he was right. She needed to let go, "Huh... who knew a big fat liar could make people happy." She simply answered with a smile on her face. But something in the back of her mind told her to stop, to not go too far. She had an internal struggle for a few moments before coming into a conclusion. Better safe rather than sorry. Baby steps as one would say. "Maybe you're right. It ain't easy to let go of the past, but we gotta try. Don't we." She spoke taking another gulp from the bottle.

She laughed, imagining a time when they were kids. Just worried about when was day and when was night. "Well, we can give Snow Flake back there a piece of Leaf's Hospitality." She said "Still got spare horse poop."
 

Uchiha Yukio

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Flicking her forehead in a playful manner shaking his head slowly. "yes we do but we can take that one step at a time for the time being let us simply enjoy the moment." Taking his seat beside her once more he opened an arm to her should she choose to accept it thinking on her idea with a mock pondering face. "I feel it would waste the horses efforts, maybe a gardener would appreciate it more if I'm getting my facts right." He took a few more drinks finally feeling completely calm and content red marks under his eyes from crying though the smile still rested on his face.

It was a special moment he would remember for sure thinking a moment before looking around the room with a pondering expression. "Do you wish to stay here for now? Or go somewhere a bit more comfortable, not in that way more so my people can do their job without moving around two sleeping sennin." His words were spoken with a laugh thinking what those outside must be thinking at that moment in time considering they weren't being too quiet.

For all everything seemed calm they were also content the man learning from his past and not pushing things further wondering how this would change life for the both of them from this point onward though he did have something in mind. "If I could ask one thing, Could you come to the festival with me for dinner, just the two of us. Though i would have to find something appropriate to wear my old Kimono's are a bit too small these days."
 

Uchiha Asuka

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Asuka held a hand to her head. "Hey!" But she quickly forgot it and later gave out a happy sigh as she leaned on Yukio. "Enjoy the little things." She chuckled, getting her hair behind her ear. Another big gulp from the bottle. This was certainly a very nice change of pace. A different type of meeting. A nice type of meeting, and she certainly was comfortable.

"Entirely up to you grumpy old man." Asuka chuckled, referring to his offer on leaving or staying. "But I do like the peace and quiet of this place." She held her bottle up. "Plus the booze is amazing! No wonder this stuff is so limited."

His offer on dinner... took her off guard. Was... was someone actually asking her out? This would be a first. But why would Yukio take interest in her out of anyone else. What was the special thing that called out. But, she didn't ask... and she wouldn't I mean not a first. "Oh." She simply said in a mocking voice. "Is the edgy strong ANBU Sennin asking little ol' me on a a date?" She waited for his reaction, no matter what would it have been she would've laughed. "Sure." She said after a quick laugh. "That is if you pay. I'm gonna eat every penny out of your pocket."
 

Uchiha Yukio

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Placing an arm around the Uchiha as she leaned against him the man nodded slowly sharing the sentiment. "That we do, sometimes its these simple quiet moment that we have to appreciate the most." Seeing how comfortable they had become it would seem to spoil the moment trying to move elsewhere looking down to the Sennin a moment before smiling chuckling slightly with a shake of his head. "Well this grumpy old man is happy to see you enjoying yourself however I would save some for later it's better to savor the taste of finally aged booze."

The fact that she accepted his request to take her out filled the man with new found strength and determination it would be a matter of learning from past experiences, letting things come naturally rather than pushing things where they didn't need to be pushed resting his head against her own. "That i am because little old you is worth that time to stay beside and enjoy the moment with."

Her next statement turned his smile to a slight smirk wondering if she would back up that claim. "Oh are you now? Well I lay down the challenge for you to try though I might need some help before hand after all a festival is just that and unlike you I doubt I have a spare Kimono lying around given my preferred choice of clothing." It was something he hadn't prepared for since the start of the festival he hadn't bothered too much with clothing thinking he would spend most of his time alone rather than seeing other people for the most part. "We'll even go to a place of your choice you can pick the grounds of this challenge." His tone was teasing inviting her to take him up on the offer.