Hope y'all enjoy it! All thanks go to the gals UnicornForceWinds and Ardsohulb for proofreading this story!
Tsuruga Ren was a national tv icon, the best in the business some might say. He was the last person you would expect to do a hand delivery, but things being what they were, Ren found himself ringing the bell of the Darumaya, at 11pm on a thursday night. Even if the boss hadn't demanded his help, he would've gladly taken any excuse to visit Kyoko unannounced any day. Ren had just arrived from Guam, two days earlier than planned, and after so much time keeping Kuon at bay, a relaxing visit with his talisman was all he needed. Even though it was unusually late, the restaurant door opened after some minutes.
'Oh my, oh my' Exclaimed Okami-san with a broom in hand, a little startled by his presence.
He was used to inspiring that reaction in people.
'Okami-san, hello. I'm sorry for having to bother you at this late hour, but Mogami-San forgot her school uniform at work.' He calmly explained, rocking his paper bag, the delivery excuse. 'Is she home?'
The older woman glanced inside, looking a bit uncomfortable at first, but then she laughed and kindly replied.
'Oh Tsuruga-san, you are never a bother! In fact, you came just at the right hour. We are celebrating, please come in!' She said, stepping away from the door.
'A celebration? You don't say, did Mogami..." Ren entered the dining room, politely chatting with Okami-san.
'BEHOLD! THE NEWLY EMPLOYED NINJA GIRL!' The excited voice came rushing from his right, and he laughed softly.
Kyoko was awfully cute that night, as she was all nights, and days. She was already in her pajamas, a casual set made of an oversized worn out Darumaya t-shirt and plaid shorts. Kyoko ran smoothly to him with bare feet, waving a long ninja headband behind her. Her face was pink and happy.
'Congratulations, though I never doubted you would do it' He laughed at her cheerful presence, already feeling less tired. 'You are a great actress.'
Kyoko stopped her run centimeters away from him, grabbing his shirt sleeves and squeezing tightly. 'You are too kind!' She smiled pink with happiness.
Ren looked startled, trying his best not to show how that the tiny interaction blew the air right out of him. Her smooth fingers were squeezing, actually squeezing his arm. Something was off. Not that he minded that liberty, of course, but Kyoko never behaved less than strictly polite and respectful with him. Normally, she was always giving the man all personal space he didn't need. Kyoko wouldn't initiate physical contact if she could avoid it.
'Ah, Mogami San, could you be...' Ren started to ask, suddenly realizing the most probable cause.
'Drunk. Yes, I'm terribly sorry Tsuruga-san.' Explained somewhat embarrassed Okami-san, bowing to him while holding her broom. 'We didn't expect any visitors tonight, so me, Kyoko and Taisho were celebrating her new role with some spirits from the bar.'
'Ah.' Was all that he managed to say.
'Nonsense. I'm just fine, see?' Kyoko replied, looking at his eyes. She let go of his sleeves, brushing her hands down the length of his arms, and interlaced their fingers at the end. While Ren processed this new information, she opened her legs as if ready to walk, but slowly dropped her hips to the ground instead. 'I can even do the splits! I'm just a little tipsy, that's all.' She looked up defiantly.
Ren's heart skipped a beat. The cute t-shirt suddenly became a terribly sexy trap. From his vantage point, he could perfectly see her bare skin from neck to belly. There was nothing in the way to block his view.
'Ah...' He repeated, going into overdrive. This was something he was not prepared for. Was a tipsy Kyoko more talkative? Or more sensitive? Would she remember these interactions later, when sober? Would it be wrong to interact with her in this state? Maybe he should leave, but then he'd be wasting the opportunity.
'I... I can see that those stage combat classes paid off.' Ren tightened his grip on Kyoko's hands, pulling her up.
'Yes!' Kyoko laughed again, letting go of his hand to steady herself. 'I couldn't have made it this far without Kotetsu-san's classes. Please, come have dinner with us!' She started to walk in the general direction of the tables.
Ren sighed internally. See? A normal interaction. He could stay, he just needed a plan of action. One that accounted for both her guardians being present in the room. Damn, he cursed, quickly turning to look for them.
The restaurant was empty, with all chairs on top of their tables. It looked like Okami-san had finished cleaning the floor while they talked, and now was sitting in the corner of the dining hall, where she could see the TV. So Okami-san didn't seem to notice anything odd, Ren sighed, but what about Taisho? He quickly turned his neck, bones cracking, and saw something that made his blood turn cold. The man was in the kitchen, sweating in front of a hot stove, looking directly at him while sharpening his knives. That was not a welcoming sight. When Kyoko spoke again, his focus shifted to her. She turned to him, bringing the headband in a circle around her.
'Here, please have a seat'. She waved at a table with a single upholstered bench. Just one.
'Sure, let me just grab a chair.' Ren said, following his "extra polite senpai" plan of action.
'Why? There's enough space here for both of us.' Pink Kyoko moved closer to him, making her cleavage obvious again. She said in a loud whisper, inadvertently blowing in his ear. 'Hell, we did sit together in smaller places than this before.'
She winked at him in secrecy, with all the fineness of a high school kid. He sat quickly with a loud thud, elbows on the table.
'Kyoko, food is ready.' Taisho called.
Ren let out the breath he didn't know he was holding and rested his head in his hands. What was this? Was Kyoko a talkative and friendly drunk? That didn't seem to be it because she already acted that way while sober. He looked around once more, almost fidgeting now. Okami-san was quite close to their bench, but she kept a straight face and didn't appear to have moved. Kyoko's words didn't provoke any visible reaction from her, but maybe she couldn't hear them over her soap opera.
After a couple of quick trips back and forth, a double set of udon, miso soup, salad, water and dango sticks were placed on their table. There was also another cup, filled with pink liquid, that had been on the table from the start. The culprit, Ren thought.
'So, how was the audition?' He asked, opening his chopsticks and moving the conversation somewhere safe. 'If I'm not mistaken, it's been a while since your last one.'
'Oh, it was quite thrilling.' Kyoko said, mimicking his actions, and a little less pink now. 'At first, I thought I was disqualified right away. You see, everyone but me had their hair dyed black! The producer looked at me for one second and decided I was out. It was frightening.' She told him, with big, fearful eyes.
'Really? Ren asked, resting his elbow on the table. 'The producer was Kuresaki-san, right? He's very strict.'
'Yeah, the worst was that Yashiro-san knew him! He could have warned me that he was like that but nooooo, just the hard way for newbie Kyoko.' She said sipping the miso. 'But, I managed to get in the test anyway. It was so awesome! I could feel Momiji's spirit clearly from the start.'
Ren rested his check in his hand, watching her speak.
'I was super excited, I did so many stunts!' Kyoko enthusiastically told him, ferociously grabbing pieces of salad with her chopsticks. 'I gave my all in The Dust Whirlwind against the producer. You should've seen everyone's faces when I squeezed that Dragon's Claw Storm Fang in the combat sequence! Ha! Honestly, everything just worked out so well because the stage combat fighters were sooooo good. I'm really grateful for how well we coordinated without any rehearsal. Pros are. Out of this. World!'. Kyoko said between slurping sounds, attacking the Udon this time.
'I'm sure your talent was also the key there.' Ren chuckled, delighted with her enthusiasm. 'Did they have any performance-focused tests too?'
'Oh yeah,' She mumbled, licking her wet lips clean of Udon broth. Ren shifted uncomfortably in his seat.
'There were three of those tests, one for each Chiori. Ah, and I could act with Moko-san again! It was so magical! I would be soooo lost if it wasn't her brilliant clues. I was so distracted I didn't hear a world the producer said before we started the scene.'
'Distracted, at the audition?' Ren asked curiously, lifting his head from his hand. 'By what?'
Kyoko stared blankly at him for a few seconds, her mouth open.
'TSURUGA-SAN! YOU DIDN'T TOUCH YOUR FOOD!' Kyoko slammed her hands on the table, blushing in her terrible wrath, so much so that the ends of her headband flew upwards.
'I'm not really hungry...' Ren tried to craft a last-minute excuse, but he didn't stand a chance. Kyoko bent her torso to his side, grabbing his udon and chopsticks. Once again, her t-shirt neck dropped and she brushed her arm against his, unleashing a wave of goosebumps all over his skin. Kyoko hastily placed the bowl between then, expertly maneuvering the chopsticks, and brought a clump of noodles to Ren's mouth.
'Eat.' Was the simple command.
He stole a quick look at Okami-san, who was still watching the tv and smiling.
'Well, Mogam...rrrm,' he started, interrupted when Kyoko pushed the chopsticks into his mouth. 'More eating, less talking now.' She said, mimicking his chewing, her pink cheeks full of air. Ren choked. They were doing so good before, what the hell happened to the conversation?
'Honestly, you never take care of yourself' Kyoko handed back his utensils and patted him on the back. 'What should I do with you?' She said softly to her hands, the headband sliding down and hiding her eyes.
'Whatever you want,' Ren said, still feeling a bit disoriented. 'I'll do it.'
'Oh, really?' Kyoko didn't look at him directly but reached for her pink drink. Damn. Did he go too far? Ren watched her gulp all the liquid at once. That couldn't be good.
'You are always saying these things, you know? Things with a double meaning. I could take it in the wrong way anytime.' Kyoko tapped the glass loudly on the table. 'You should be more careful with your word choices, Tsuruga-san. My heart can't always take it.' She looked directly at him, headband up, face completely flushed.
'So, should I take this as a confession?' Ren asked from above her, sliding closer to her on the bench. He lost all pretense of looking like the polite senpai that he wasn't.
Kyoko turned around quickly, her headband brushing his face. Ren could see her flushed cheeks when she picked a dango stick and quietly chewed half of a ball. After a long silence, Kyoko looked up, her aura completely changed.
'Why don't you kill me?' She looked directly at him, eyes cold. 'If you didn't exist, my father would still be alive.'
'What?' Ren's eyes widened.
'I'll not be satisfied until you pay with your life.' Flushed Kyoko shoved the dango stick in his face, angrily shaking it.
Baffled, Ren looked at the stick. Kyoko shook it again. He picked up the signal this time, eating the rest of the bitten piece.
'This thing that you desire to see with your own eyes…' Kyoko said, sounding more hurt than angry now. 'Is it Sakagami Shizuma?'
'Wait...' Ren asked, mouth still full. 'Was this the performance test dialog?'
'Yes. That was my scene with Moko-san.' Kyoko smiled her pink smile, completely relaxed. 'I think sharing this dango counts as an indirect kiss, don't you think? Better safe than sorry.' She bit another dango piece, thoughtfully.
'Kyoko, bring back the tableware.' Taisho's yelled from the back.
'Tsuruga-san, I'll accompany you to the door.' Okami-san said from his side, helping him up from the bench.
'Thank you for bringing my uniform, Tsuruga-san,' Kyoko bowed at him, still seated.
'You know, my husband and I think that it's better to ease children into drinking at home, where we can watch them,' explained Okami-san, as they walked to the door. 'They are going to try it anyway. At home, they can learn their limits in a safe place.'
'Wise,' Were Ren's first words in a while.
'Please Tsuruga-san, come again!' Bowed Okami-san, deeply.
'That's what she said,' Ren thought he heard a small, muffled voice say from afar.
'Really wise,' he sighed. Okami-san chuckled, looking around suspiciously, before stepping into the street after him.
'I think you should know,' Okami-san whispered, 'Kyoko-chan's favorites drinks are cherry cocktails' She blinked at him, expertly.
Ren sighed, walking to his car and opening the door. All he could think about right now were tornadoes; how they suddenly appeared and left a path of devastation in their wake. He collapsed, resting his head on the wheel. That was it, wasn't it? Ren looked up at the stars, finding his answer. Tipsy Kyoko was a Kyoko tornado.