/The Path Less Travelled by Jugger, Katreya & Lily
:Featured Characters - Sorou Hayashi, Xunera Matsumoto, Zenritsu Veidala, Yoshitoru Furukawa
Jugger wrote:Today was the day. Sorou had put it off for long enough. It was time for his friends to become aware of the choice he made, aware of the fact that after today they were no longer his friends. Today was actually the perfect day to do this, as it happened all the people he wished to inform would be working this shift.
At the beggining of every shift the shinigami on duty showed up for roll-call and duties were assigned. Sorou was usually one of the first to arrive, but today Zen, Yoshi and Xunera were already there. Sorou had come later than usual, hoping to avoid any conversation beforehand. Vice-captain Abarai Renji began going down the line with a clip-board, checking off names and giving out tasks. Sorou had trouble remaining composed as Renji got closer. It was finally time.
"Nice to see you again, Sorou-kun. Today you'll be on patrol duty." Renji was just about to move on to the next shinigami when Sorou put his hand on Renji's shoulder.
"Excuse me, Abarai-fukataichou. Please refer to me as Hayashi-san from now on. That goes for everyone." Sorou said coldly. Renji almost laughed, thinking this was some kind of joke. But by looking into Sorou's eyes he could see that it wasn't.
"....sure....Whatever you prefer, Hayashi-san." Renji said, slightly puzzled. As he continued with the roll-call, Sorou left out the back door. He waited in the hall, knowing that as soon as they were done with the roll call his friends would want to confront him.
Katreya wrote:Bristling women made way as Xunera carved a path through the busy intersections and streets, red hair striking against her newly whitened uniform, curvacious figure somewhat shown off yet not in a manner that wasn't classy. The alluring smile was present, directed at no one, simply smug in her own world and thoughts, one hand trailing on the hand of her zanpakuto, body emanating contentment in waves that were more than likely arrogant at face value. When she arrived at the Sixth division quarters, she was surprised to find she was actually the first one there. Checking her watch, Xunera sighed and rolled her eyes, contemplating leaving so she could arrive late again. What was the use of an extravagant arrival if no one was there to witness it? But her lazy and laid back side got the best of her. Instead, she pulled up a chair, threw her feet on the table and lounged back, fingers intertwined in thick locks of crimson hair that languidly flowed through the air like water.
It was only twenty minutes later that everyone was seated. Having hardly moved an inch except to wave and smirk at her closer friends, Xunera turned her attention to Renji with brows raised, quietly mocking and teasing, as usual. They got on well. Two flaming red heads that clashed at most times, yet it was an unusual display of friendship as they understood it, nothing negative. At Sorou's arrival, however, Xunera's head finally shifted more than a few inches. She hadn't really seen him in a while, and had been beginning to think he actually detested her company. Well, that would have to change, considering they were meant to be friends and she had shown him a tad more than she would to even Zenritsu. Seated next to Yoshitoru, Xunera swung her legs off the table and made a mock salute as Renji called her name, then gave a flap of her hand to show she was meaning it in jest. As he passed her, she leaned over to Yoshitoru.
"Where has Sorou been lately, anyway?"
she asked him, only to hear the man himself speak up. Hayashi? Xunera frowned. Since when did he only want to be called by his last name? That wouldn't hold up for his friends, she hoped he understood that. With the group now dispersing to its duties, Xunera hopped up almost last, but somehow made it to Sorou first. From behind, she smacked him sharply on the head with a rolled up newspaper.
"Sooo, Sorou-san, what's your explanation for leaving us in the dark, oyo? You didn't really think you'd be able to avoid us forever, did you?"
she wrapped her arms around his shoulders in a squeeze before circling around so they were face to face, sighing as she cocked one leg and a brow to match, arms semi-folded save for the hand that still waved the newspaper half-heartedly. Xunera was waiting for Yoshi and Zen now.
Lily wrote:Yoshi heads with Zen to get their duties for the day. He holds his hand lightly, a gesture he has enjoyed doing since the day they said their vows, which wasn't too long ago. They agreed that they wouldn't show much affection when on duty, the most they planned on doing would be holding hands and hugging. The reason for this is they didn't want to make their friends and fellow division members to feel uncomfortable, plus they are suppose to be profressional when on duty. They enter the room to get their duties from Renji and Yoshi is rather surprised to find that Xunera is already there and Sorou is not. He takes his seat, sitting down beside Xunera for some odd reason with Zen on his other side. Usually it is Zen who sits down beside Xunear, but Yoshi supposes that now that he is higher seated than Xunera, he's not as uncomfortable to sit by her. He's not sure if uncomfortable is the right word, but he surely isn't frightened by her. Perhaps imtidated? Anyway, as Renji starts giving out duties, Xunera leads towards him and asks him where Sorou has been lately. Truth be told, Yoshi hasn't seen much of Sorou lately, which is rather said. He was rather surprised to see Sorou at his and Zen's wedding and was greatly honored that the man took the time to show up. Yoshi shrugs his shoulders in response to Xunera's question. "I think he's been busy lately. I think he's been taking up extra duties and doing a lot of training, but I can't be sure. I really haven't gotten much of a chance to talk to him. It's like he's been avoiding me or something. I was surprised he showed up at the wedding. Perhaps e should see if we can drag him from his duties some time soon. It would be great for the four of us to have dinner again," Yoshi notes quietly to Xunera.
Sorou's voice suddenly reaches Yoshi's ears and he glances down the line when he requests to be called by his last name. How strange. Yoshi looks at Zen curiously for a moment, as if asking her what that is all about before looking over at Xunera. What is wrong with Sorou? He use to be so friendly and now suddenly he seems so snobbish. Yoshi doesn't really like this side of Sorou. It was so much better when it was the four of them, hanging out and having fun. Yoshi can't picture being the only guy in the group, though it seems to Yoshi that that is where this is heading, and fast. They are dismissed and Xunera heads out quickly, probably to go after Sorou and ask him what's up. Yoshi looks over at Zen. "What do you think that is all about?" he asks her curiously before taking her hand and guiding her out of the room and to the hall where Sorou and Xunera is. Figuring he should at least compile with Sorou's wishes as not to anger him and hope that he is informed that he can still call him by his first name, Yoshi calls him by his last. "Hey, Hayashi-kun. How are things going with you? We don't get to see you a lot anymore. Would you like to catch some dinner with the three of us one night? You know, like old times? You can join Zen-san and I on the no drinking side. We won't let Xunera-san bully you into drinking," Yoshi says, the last bit meant to be teasing and a friendly smile on his face.
Katreya wrote:Fingers slipped neatly between Yoshi's, Zen's surveying of the world around her remained poised and imperial, as if the crown of the Soul Society rested on her own shining silver head. With the ends of her lengthy locks given a slight curl and bounce that morning, and a pristine blush gracing her cheekbones, it was evident that the woman was glowing with some kind of internal joy that couldn't be hidden. Even her eyes sparkled in a more dazzling fashion. Every time people would pass them, it was an excuse to brush up closer to her husband, where she would squeeze his arm before parting back a little, fingers still tied. Of course, when they arrived at the division, she toned that all down, much to her own dismay. It was inappropriate, and she still recalled her duties. Winking once at Yoshi, she let his hand go and sat down beside another woman she had befriended, while Yoshi sat between her and Xunera. Only a few moments later did she realize Xunera was actually there - usually, she was late.
Leaning forwards, she tried to catch Xunera's eye and smile, which she managed quite easily before focusing on Renji. Expression polite and attentive, she settled back in her chair and listened, trying not to day dream about the wedding or what happened after, or what would happen in the future. All her stress and worry had melted. Even Turaqia seemed a little more lax these days, able to smile a bit more. Maybe that had something to do with the captain he had invited along to the wedding - technically speaking, Zenritsu had done that but Turaqia had encouraged it quite obviously. Wonder what's going on there. She was startled back to reality when Sorou's demands met her ears. Twisting, she looked at him oddly, stared at Yoshi with the same confused expression, then shrugged her brows and turned back to see Renji's reaction. Quite similar.
With all that said and done, Zenritsu rose in a flurry of activity as everyone else did, loosely taking Yoshi's hand again and raising her free one to get Xunera's attention before she ran out. Too late. Zen huffed a little - Xunera wasn't the best at handling a situation with sensitivity, and right now, she suspected that was what their friend needed. Looking at Yoshi hopelessly, she let him guide her to the halls where she spotted the pair of friends already. Once there, she let Yoshitoru speak first, nodding her head in agreement. She grinned broadly.
"Indeed, or spike you into being drunk,"
she added pointedly.
Jugger wrote:Xunera was the first to come out. Sorou felt the soft blow to the back of his head as she smacked him with the rolled-up newspaper. Other than a small involuntary twitch of surprise, Sorou did not react. Even when Xunera squeezed him, he did not move. It was as if he was completely ignoring the fact that anyone was touching him at all. When Xunera swung around so that they were face to face, she was met with cold eyes.
Zen and Yoshi came out then. Sorou freed himself from Xunera with a firm hand. While Zen and Yoshi correctly addressed Sorou by his last name, they also invited him to hang out. Once they had finished talking Sorou waited a few moments before replying, to make sure he had everyones full attention.
"I have something to say to you all, please allow me to finish before you say anything more. When I said that I would like everyone to call me Hayashi-san, I meant everyone. Including you three. Also, I must decline your invitation. For my own reasons, which I don't intend to discuss, I have decided that from this point on we will only be colleagues. I would ask you all to forget about the Sorou who was your friend. I am a different person than he was. I hope we can work together without any animosity. You should all know it was nothing you did to cause this change. I hold no negative feelings for any of you." Finally, Sorou had said it. As well as he could anyway. Now he waited for their reactions, which felt like the calm before a storm.
Katreya wrote:For the first few seconds, Xunera simply dusted her hands and investigated the dirt under her nails, allowing her friends' words to roll over her. A quick nod. Of course, no spiking. When her eyes paused, it was the only visible factor that said Sorou's words had sunk in. Her gaze shifted, eying him for a while as if he were mad, but while her outward appearance looked scornful, something he had said, perhaps the way he had said it, had resonated within her. Sorou meant it. Lifting her chin, Xunera's eyes narrowed. Just wait till I have you alone then. She thought levelly, trying to decide upon the most appropriate course of action at that time, instead of wresting him to the ground and pinning him until he giggled. With no forthcoming evidence of what could or should be said or done, Xunera did what she knew best for these situations where the end result was that their friendship remained intact (otherwise, deftly stated, a quick knee to the gut would suffice) - she laughed.
"Ooh no, tough guy's here, what do we do?"
she said, feigning fear and batting her eyelashes with a flap of the hand. With that spat over, she stood beside him and let a deceivingly delicate hand drop on his shoulder. With her grin still visible, she said,
"Walk with us!"
however, while Zen & Yoshitoru may have believed that Xunera in turn believed Sorou was joking, she herself let it be known to he alone that she knew damn well what was going on - said hand applied far more pressure than was necessary, though not enough to cause undesirable pain. Maybe he's possessed. she debated. Inwardly, Xunera felt something deeper than she usually would have. While most things rolled off her shoulders, this thing was wedged enough that it was irking her. Friends had always come and gone, but she found herself especially fond of these three. And now one didn't want to know her?
Her expression remained humorous, but inside, a new confusion had arisen. What about when she and Sorou had gone off on their own adventures together? When they had been stationed together and fought together? All the laughs, all the danger. They had become quite a team, or so she thought - she knew how he fought better than most and was able to choreograph her own attacks in time and line with his. While there was a strong brotherhood amongst the Sixth division anyway, their quad-group had a unique bond. Hell, bloody Yoshi and Zenny are married. She was guiding them all further down the hall, outside, where they could talk more freely without prying ears or eyes.
What's happened to him? Xunera's eyes flicked to look at him as she let go of his shoulder, letting her hair slide over his neck and arm as she moved past him and squinted against the sunshine. The truth of the matter was, she actually cared too much to let him distance himself from them. She assured herself that if Yoshi or Zen said the same thing, she would react the same way. Arms folded, she smiled coyly and tilted her head.
"Is the gig up yet?"
she inquired, knowing full well it wasn't. Why did he have to go and ruin it? For once, she had actually let herself get properly attached, and of course the moment that happened; this did. There was a flicker of hurt visible, only a flash of pain and sadness, wiped clean and replaced by a calmer look as she surveyed their surrounds, avoiding his eye, waiting for Yoshi or Zen to speak for her, because truth be told, right then she couldn't. Friends weren't meant to do this to each other. Why do I even have to care? her mind hovered over the switch. But could the emotions be overridden that easily? She hoped the others could convince him otherwise, eyes narrowing against the heightened sunshine. The setting wasn't fit for the moment. I'm doing way too much thinking.
Lily wrote:Will only be colleagues? Forget the Sorou that was their friend? What kind of talk is this? Is Sorou dumping them as friends? Is he turning their back to them and just brushing them off like a few flakes of dust? Yoshi just stares at him for a moment. He is unsure of what to feel. Hurt. Understanding.... Betrayed. Much like Xunera, Yoshi has few close friends. He considerd Sorou to be one of them. Him and the girls didn't have to invite Sorou into their circle. Even when Yoshi was fifth seat, he was still three seats higher than Sorou. He didn't have to be as nice to him as he was or help him out, but he did. Hell, he even made the man his groomsman at his wedding! He trusted him with his life, trusted him with the life of his wife and he just brushes them off as if they and their friendship meant nothing! What about all the things they've been through? What about all the conversations and good times? Was it all just a ploy? And for what? Did he use them in some matter? Typically, Yoshi is lazy when it comes to these things. If he didn't consider what he had with Sorou as grand as he did, he would simply shake his head, laugh at Sorou and tell him he's weird before wishing him luck and leaving. This is different though. There is a difference between friend and best friend. Sorou was a best friend and to just break it off like that without even giving a reason is cold in Yoshi's opinion. And he knows cold. He has Hoshi for a sister.
They must have been nothing but chopped liver to him. They obviously don't warrant enough for a decent reason, an apology and a friendly smile. They are nothing but scum beneath his so high shoes. Yoshi's face remains straight, not giving away his inner feelings. A smile spreads over his lips, forced upon request to try and keep this civil, though the urge to strangle him due to the feelings of betrayal and being used are strong. The only sign that he isn't happy about this is the tightening of his grip on Zen's hand that only she would know. He's just going to politely walk away, because obviously, unlike Sorou, he can be polite about it, and then reveal his true feelings to Zen in private where he hopes to be comforted and recieve wise words from his wise wife that will chase these feelings of betrayal away and truly leave him at peace with Sorou's rather stupid decision. Can't fix stupid, after all, Kyoko rumbles in his mind, angry as well about this, but she's far more emotional about it than Yoshi. During his musings within his own mind, he has followed Xunera and Sorou out a bit, coming upon the two now with Xunera standing before Sorou, seeming to try and get him to reveal this as a joke. His smile is in place and pretty convincing, if he might add. "Well, if that is your dicussion, I guess friends such as us can do nothing but respect your dicussion. Shame, really. We had such fun together. Hope this path you choose pleases you," Yoshi says, trying not to seem to gruff, but the hurt is in his voice. He looks over at Zen, his smile a bit more true for her and kissing her lightly on the cheek. "I'm going to go start my duties. No point in hanging around when I'm not wanted, ya know?" he says and then releases her hand before walking away, giving her a chance to do what she wishes with the knuckle head and his dumb dicussion. Personally, Yoshi thinks they should just leave him there with Xunera. She could kick his ass any day and probably, and hopefully, knock some sense into him too.
Katreya wrote:'I hold no negative feelings towards any of you.' Well. That was the one line that stuck in Zenritsu's mind. Delicate fingers twined with her husband's, her entire body was stilled as they stood in the hallway, only a slight shift around her lips symbolizing the loss of a smile. Instinctively, she pulled a fraction closer to Yoshitoru, pressing her chest to his arm, a frown now blossoming. Before she could mouth any silent instruction to her own best friend though, Xunera was handling the situation in a way that most would find perhaps appropriate - any passers by wouldn't notice, but Zen could feel the tension from her aura. Maybe it's my own I'm feeling. For once in her life, she wasn't sure on the course of action to take. She didn't want to let this happen whatsoever, but like the others, they knew it was not in jest. Hayashi-san meant what he said. Hayashi-san... More like Hayashi-kun! she thought in a child-like voice. Veidin stirred to offer little more than a shake of his great serpentine head, obviously saving his choice words for later so he did not rile her up enough for her to say something right then and there, to Hayashi-kun.
Like Yoshi, she followed a few steps behind. Maybe for once, she decided, Xunera's lack of tact might actually do some good. Her feelings had shifted from hurt and regretful to almost prideful and snobby. A noble shining through. In her mind, she already knew it was just a way of shielding herself. I'm surprised Xunera hasn't given him a back kick to the gut and blown him off already. She mused, training her eyes on Yoshi, adjusting quickly to the sunshine outside. When her husband spoke, she understood what he was feeling already, and rode currents of emotion very similar herself.
There was still no place to talk to Xunera alone either. 'Maybe a kick in the nethers will bring the boy around,' Veidin suggested finally. 'Either way, the decision is his, and like Yoshitoru, I suggest we accept it for now and find out more later. A choice like this does not arise from nothing, there will be a story behind it, reasons and explanations. Perchance, even, a solution.' It was all it took. Nodding slightly to no one but herself, she watched Yoshi walk away and blew him a kiss.
"We will always remember, though. You may have forgotten, but we haven't. I'm needed elsewhere... and there's nothing more for me to say right now. You said your feelings weren't negative, but they don't seem too positive either, but I will let you know that we do have to work together... and I look forward to it,"
she dipped her head, raised her chin. Nodded to Xunera. Spun on her heel with a noble-esque pout and swept past them, heading after her assigned tasks, which would later allow her to meet up with Yoshi, luckily. She had so much to vent right then, and she knew he did too. I'll just wait for Division 4 to sprint past... then I'll know the fight's over. Would it come to that?