Shinigami - Kin Sasaki - A-2 Apr 30, 2015 9:27:12 GMT -5
Post by Wicked on Apr 30, 2015 9:27:12 GMT -5
Name: Sasaki Kin
Actual Age: 165
Appearing Age: 16-17
Small in stature, Kin weighs a petite seventy pounds and stands at four foot nine. Having not yet hit her growth spurt, she retains a baby-faced appearance. Her build is slim, though not quite lanky. Her skin is naturally tanned a chestnut hue. Overall, she looks immature and youthful, leading people to sorely misjudge her age.
Starting from head to toe, Kin's hair is a very bluish purple, smooth and long. Her round face is framed by two long pigtails ending just below her rib cage. At her shoulders, where the pigtails are bound, there are two, loose, navy blue bands tying them together. Though loose, the bands are several inches long. Her bangs are, as the rest of her hair, well kept and they tilt to the right side of her face. Kin has cut her hair much shorter than it was, so rather than dangling down in front of her it is tied tightly in a blue ribbon and ends sharply after.
Her eyes are large, round, and youthful. Her irises are bright and blue - a light, aqua in hue. Her eyelashes are surprisingly dark compared to her hair, as are her eyebrows. As stated above, Kin's face is very round and childish, her features soft and smooth. Kin's face still has an overall round shape, but her features are more defined than they were as she has lost some of her baby fat.
Like most shinigami, Kin wears a shihakusho consisting of a black kosode, a white kimono, and a black hakama. Her kimono is long-sleeved. Unlike other shihakusho, Kin's has been adjusted to better fit to her body. As such, she ties her obi higher than other shinigami.
Another adjustment Kin has made is a magenta-colored sash around her waist in place of the typical white obi. It is long, made of a seemingly discarded piece of cloth which Kin spruced up and cropped, and thin. Aligned perfectly with rib cage, the obi is tied into a loose bow, almost like a shoelace. The bow hangs down to the middle of her thighs, whereas the rest of the cloth hangs down to her knees.
Unlike other shinigami, Kin prefers to go barefoot, thinking it keeps her from slipping as much.
Despite her meekness in size, Kin isn't all that meek, most of the time. She's actually quite loud and boisterous, always shifting from one task to another. She tries to do her work to the best of her ability, though often falls off task and finds herself doing something else entirely. She tries very hard to overcome her lack of attention. Each and every time, she fails. Miserably. Because she lacks focus, she has a lot of trouble finishing what she's started. While Kin is still easily distracted from most tasks, when it gets down to crunch time, and when someone needs healing, she's a good multi-tasker and a dedicated healer.
Despite this, she absolutely loves to draw. A competent artist, she doodles on every piece of paper that comes her way, be it intentional or absentmindedly. Unfortunately, this can get her in trouble, as she draws on pages she shouldn't be drawing on, such as documents, or notes she was supposed to deliver. In her academy days, she was often scolded for drawing on tests and quizzes. Like all artists, she worries that her art isn't good enough. Because of this insecurity, she hangs her head when people insult her art, though she beams with pride at even the slightest praise (or possibly argues and says it's no good anyways).
Somewhat of a con-artist, Kin is very creative and is very well aware of this. In light of this, Kin can be quite manipulative. If she sees something she wants, and a way to get it, she usually gets it in the end. Usually this ends up being used on trivial matters such as keeping her kept in paper and ink, as Kin possesses the ability to run through large stacks of paper in microscopic fragments of time. However, she tends not to plan out what she'll do if her little plots don't work (that's ridiculous, why wouldn't they work? ...Right?), and thus finds herself trapped when they don't.
When in a one-on-one situation, Kin feels she can take hold of everything and direct it in her favor. When in groups, Kin shrinks to the back. When alone with another person, Kin feels in control and exercises whatever control she does have. She's quick to make decisions and quick to force her ideas into action. She could even be perceived as arrogant. When in a group, however, she's quick to shrink to the back and follow the crowd, not wanting to make a fool of herself. Kin is terrified of groups. Because of a few incidents in her childhood, when she was criticized in groups, she dislikes speaking out in a crowd and aims to sink in quietly. Because people were kinder to her alone, she enjoys solitude and very small groups consisting of two or three people. If she trusts a person enough, she may speak to them as though she were alone despite being in a group. Though Kin is still not confident in groups, she's become more assertive than she once was, willing to correct people on anything she can bring proof to. She's more willing to present her ideas if she truly believes in them. She still prefers to listen than to lead in these situations though.
Kin is not one to immediately trust people. Her trust is hard-won, but easily lost. Once her trust is lost, however, it's impossible to regain. Kin is very stubborn about people, and once she's decided they are not trustworthy, she will act on that. Often times, however, she doesn't know how to back up her anger. Because of this, she tends to shun those she does not trust.
Kin is very awkward when it comes to fighting, not knowing how to fight effectively. Though she was trained in the shinigami academy, her powers make fighting an awkward practice. Though she's alright with dishing out a few punches here and there, she's not strong enough to back it up. She thinks of herself as support in case of an emergency rather than a warrior. Nevertheless, she's more than willing to help out a friend or an ally in any way she can, though she's terrified of doing so. When she steps in to help an ally, it's solely out of duty, and when she steps in to help a friend, it's only because it's her friend. Kin has become more confident in herself, and when it comes to Izaya she wants to be on a level field with him. Though she relies mostly on her Kido expertise, she has more of a mind for strategy than she used to. This has come partially from playing chess with Izaya. Actual chess, not just blasting him with Kido.
There is a very long list of things that Kin likes, and her top three favorite things are frogs, butterflies, and dogs, which she goes out of her way to draw often. There is a very short list of things Kin does not like, and amongst those are liars, cats, and shoes. Because of the latter, Kin refuses to wear her sandals or her tabi.
For little kids like Kin, the rukongai was a sad place to be. Reborn in a mid district of the eastern rukongai - Kin does not recall which one (though it was in the 40's) - Kin was small, and afraid. Though she lived with her parents, her father was an alcoholic, and her mother seemed indifferent. As a little girl, she grew withdrawn and nervous. She took solace in being alone. Reclusive and introverted, Kin hid in her own little space, hoping to avoid her father and stay out of her mother's way.
Though her father was an alcoholic, he was not violent. He was sad. He would sit on the floor against the wall with a jug of sake and just drink. Drink and cry, drink and cry, and it worried Kin. She wondered what he was crying about, and if it was, maybe, her fault. No more than forty-years old, Kin scrambled over to her father and sat down beside him.
"Tou-chan?" she squeaked to her father. The man gave no response, so Kin just repeated herself. "Tou-chan?"
Her father turned his gaze onto the blue-eyed youth, frowning to her. He said nothing, but Kin continued anyways.
"Tou-chan," the child repeated, "Why are you so sad?"
And she would wait for an answer, but none would ever come. The little girl would sit beside her father until she fell asleep, until she slumped over, lost in her slumber, against her father's arm. Against his long, lanky arms, she fell asleep. He would pick her up and set her on a bedroll, and then he would return to his drinking.
"Kaa-chan?" Kin asked her mother one rainy day. As she held a small pail up to a leaky patch in the ceiling, she frowned to her mother. "Kaa-chan, why is Tou-chan so sad?"
Her mother frowned as she set a bucket down beneath a drip. "It's his own business, Kin-chan."
"Does that mean you don't know?"
Her mother didn't answer.
Funny how adults in her family never seemed to have an answer. Kin could entertain herself for days with the very thoughts of what might be running around her parents' brains, but she could never be sure that they were correct. By the time Kin was sixty, she had taken to leaving the house in order to find a distraction. This was when Kin discovered a beautiful thing.
As Kin wandered the streets of her district aimlessly, not truly searching for anything, she found a man in the middle of the street with a large board before him. Curious, the beaming youth trailed around the man to see what he was doing. Her eyes shot open wide as she saw what he was painting. The first painting Kin had ever seen was of a frog. And it was beautiful. Whimsical, colorful, and just plain pretty.
"Ossan, how do you do that?" Kin asked, stepping towards the man. The man seemed taken off guard by the sudden intrusion and swung around, splattering pain on the ground, on his yakuta, and on Kin herself. The tiny child merely reached up and wiped the paint from her face, staring at her newly-stained wrist.
"Oh, you shouldn't sneak up on people like that," the man murmured, rubbing the back of his head. "It's dangerous out here you know. You got a dad?"
"How did you do that?" Kin persisted.
The man looked Kin up and down and smiled. Tapping his head, the man spun in a full circle and grinned. "It's all up here, kid."
"But how do you get it from here," Kin tapped her head, "To there?" she asked as she pointed to the canvas. The man looked to her, then looked back to the canvas. Question unanswered, a very pestered-appearing Kin shot the man a glare. Was he ignoring her? "Ossan?"
"Oh, sorry about that kid," the man murmured. "Do you know how to write?"
"Do you know how to hold a brush?"
Kin shook her head. The man shook his head and ran a hand through his graying hair.
"Ok, come back here tomorrow morning and I'll have a surprise for you."
"Can't you tell me now?"
The man laughed light-heartedly and shook his head. "No, no, that would take too long. You should go home before it gets too dark."
So Kin grudgingly returned home that day. She didn't tell her mother or her father about the man, she merely said, "Hi, Tou-chan, hi Ka-chan, and went to sleep early. She was going to get up early so she could meet the painter.
The picture hung vividly in her mind. The belly of the frog, shadowed over by the angle. The light came from above, as it swam through crystalline waters, as it floated through the pool. As it pulled itself forward, the waters moved around it, light crackling through their ripples and shining through the aquatic scene. Swirls of blue and green and yellow paint came to life in Kin's mind, and, that night, she dreamed about that frog. Where it came from. What it was doing. Why.
The dream went forgotten, but that painting did not.
The man seemed taken aback, his brows shot up, his eyes widened, and he frowned with incredulous shock. Kin did not pretend to know what surprised him so much. Cocking her tiny head, the little girl mumbled, "Ossan, are you ok?"
"Well I didn't think you'd get here before I did," the man murmured. Kin was sitting on a stool, beside the easel where he had worked on his painting. The canvas, and the frog, were gone, but Kin figured the man had taken it with him. "Alright, well, I got you something."
Like a child on Christmas, Kin's eyes sparked with joy. She hopped off the stool and scurried beside the wiry man, wanting to see what he had brought her. What he gave her was a brush and a vial of black ink. Nothing special, just ink. It didn't matter to Kin. She brushed her thumbs over the vial of ink, peering at a little kanji carved into the side. She had no idea what it said. It didn't matter though. She shot her beaming gaze back to the artist and exclaimed, "I get to keep this?"
"It's all yours."
And so the man, Sataro, began to teach Kin. It started with how to write. Kin learned quickly enough, and within a few months she could write as well as she could speak. Kin proved to be a very fast learner, very gifted when it came to learning. She was no prodigy, however, her handwriting was sloppy and slow. The man tried to fix this throughout the months he taught her to write but found no luck.
"Kin, which hand do you use to write with?" the man inquired one day.
"Try holding the brush in your left," Sataro murmured.
So Kin switched the hand she used to write, and, although her handwriting was still smudged and slightly messy, it was faster and easier to read. Kin was left-handed.
Kin and Sataro shared a master and student relationship. Kin would, each morning, beat the man to his studio and would remain there for a good portion of the day. The man would teach her about art, telling her how to improve, how to hold the brush, and one very thougthful lesson which stuck to the little girl.
"So when you paint," Sataro told her, "You don't have to paint the truth. I don't see most of what I paint. I don't have to. I just have to imagine. See?"
"Isn't that lying?"
"See, you're not lying to anyone. You're not saying it's true, you're not telling them it happened. Paint a story... like a fairy tale."
Kin took this to heart. Like Sataro, she began to paint what she imagined, rather than what she saw.
One day she showed what she imagined to her father.
"Where did you get that?"
Kin frowned to her father, persisting and holding up the tiny canvas. It was large compared to her tiny hands, and, for a small child, the painting wasn't horrible. "Sensei told me to paint what I imagined."
Her father recognized the picture at that point. The wiry strands of black hair, rolling from the skull, the pale flesh, the blue eyes, and the ever-present arch in his the nose. It was him. And he was smiling.
For the first time in years, Kin saw her father smile. He took her into his arms and hugged her.
It was truly a Kodak moment.
Though Kin improved quickly, it was her master who always told her, "You need to draw things with meaning to yourself, and pray that it has meaning to others. Dig deeper."
And so Kin would create another drawing and present it to Sataro. It seemed that his praise was slowly falling out of reach. No matter how Kin tried, she found his praise growing more and more hard-won.
So she asked Sataro.
"Sensei," she asked one day. It had been at least four years since she met him. She couldn't prolong this question, the one that had been bubbling up inside of her, for the past six months. "Is something wrong?"
"Hai, I suppose there is," the man grumbled. He took a seat on a stool, setting a brush down beside his easel.
Kin frowned. "What is it?"
"I think I need to travel again," the man answered, abruptly standing up. Kin frowned up to him. "I'm running out of ideas here."
"You can borrow some of mine."
Alas, Kin could not convince Sataro that he had reason to stay. As abruptly as he came into her life, he left. Kin was left feeling lonelier than ever, and she fell into a slump. She would sit in front of her family's shack with a stick and trace doodles into the ground. Almost always, they were of footprints.
Kin saw no point in making actual paintings at that point. It was during this time that Kin began to feel hunger. She tried to hide it from her mother and father, simply eating when she could and toughing it out when she could not. She grew scrawny and weak. The worst part was, not even her mother seemed to care.
So Kin spent less and less time in their house.
She would linger in the streets, walking aimlessly and quietly. She was afraid of the people on those streets, but she tried not to show it. As evidenced by the following encounter, she failed.
"Why're you out here?" a boy, a little older than her, asked. Kin spun around, looking up to the boy. He was about four feet tall, and she was just over three feet. He was tall and thin, not quite bony, but thin. She was skin and bones, and she was shocked. In the midst of the crowd, she just continued to walk backwards.
She never had liked crowds.
"If you're so scared of everyone out here, why're you here?" the boy asked.
Kin gulped. "I-I'm not scared at all!"
"And you're shaking like a leaf," the boy pointed out.
"Ok, I'm scared," Kin admitted.
But the boy smiled. Suddenly, he remarked, "You don't have any friends, do you."
Kin shook her head. Not since Sataro left.
"Hey, I want you to meet someone."
Kin was hesitant to follow, but the boy enthusiastically started running. She wondered if she should follow or if she should stay, but, eventually, she followed him through the crowd. It was a choice made out of a desire to flee the crowd and avoid her home, seeing as her home was still just as depressed as it always had been. It was true, her drawings could elicit brief smiles from her father, but her mother would always cry. She didn't understand it.
But perhaps this boy would help her some how, just as Sataro had helped her.
So she followed the boy, and slowly they trailed away from the village and into the surrounding woods. Kin, however exhausted by the time she reached the destination, was slightly curious and interested at the same time.
"You're good at drawing, right?" the boy inquired, turning to face Kin. The child gave a nod as a response, and the boy grinned. "So, what I was gonna ask you..."
"I thought you wanted me to meet someone," Kin murmured.
The boy shrugged. "Ok, I fudged it a little... But y'know, I just wanted to know if you could do it."
So Kin decided to listen to the boy. His odd request - very odd in Kin's mind - was to draw him. Not to draw him something, but to draw him. Kin was very confused as to this task and attempted with all her skill to recreate the boy on paper. But she could not produce a likeness. She would always find something wrong with the picture and would rip it to shreds before the boy ever got a chance to see it. After a week of repeating this routine of meeting the boy in the rukongai, following him out to the woods, and attempting to draw him only to fail, Kin finally gave up.
"I'm no good at drawing people, and... and you lied to me anyways! Why do you want me to draw you? And no tricks!" Kin demanded, throwing the last page on the ground. The boy frowned to her, eyes saddening slightly. The nameless boy, who Kin had never asked for so much as a name - he had never asked for hers either - was sad. Like her father.
So the boy shrugged to Kin and murmured, "I was hoping you could draw me cause you're kind of good at it... so I was wondering if you could."
Kin had had enough. She folded her arms over her chest and demanded, "Gimme a real reason!"
And the boy turned tail and ran, leaving Kin alone in the woods. At first it wasn't so bad, Kin decided, it was kind of pretty, and she could draw pictures in the mud if she wanted to. But on the other hand, night slowly set in, and Kin realized just how lonely she was, how small she was, and how afraid she was. Maybe she should have told the boy to take her back to the village. Maybe she should have demanded that he lead her back, since he lead her on that wild goose chase to begin with.
So Kin slowly decided it wasn't worth waiting around and, in the silvery, moonlit night, Kin slipped through the shadows and prayed for a miracle. She hoped she could make out her footprints through the shady forest, and hoped that the moon would help.
Unfortunately, tiny little Kin had no sense of direction, nor a sense of where her footprints were.
She walked in circles.
Kin walked for what felt like hours, but was actually only about half of one. In any case, as one of the few sheltered children in her district, Kin didn't stand a chance. She wondered if her father would come looking for her, or if her mother would help her. Kin quietly began to search for a way out and found none. Eventually, Kin collapsed from an odd combination of exhaustion and fright. She curled up at the base of a tree and rested her forehead on her knees. She never should have followed that lying little sneak out there.
And yet, there was worse to come. A pair of women darted through the night directly in front of Kin, torches lighting their path. Not knowing any better, Kin leaped out into the open and cried, "H-help!"
One of the women spun to face her and waved the torch in her face. Kin's eyes went wide and she stepped back, bringing her arms up as though to shield herself. It was a bad idea to make herself known.
"Who's she?" one of the women snapped. "It's supposed to be empty out here. Who the hell is she?"
"Hell if I know," the other declared, stepping towards Kin and raising the torch so it was no longer in Kin's face. "Whaddoya wanna do with her, senpai?"
"That depends. She big enough to use as bait?"
"Big enough for a hostage," the other observed. Kin had no idea what these women were talking about. Nervously, she began to back away, only to bump into the tree. She lifted herself up as far as her bare feet would take her, which wasn't very far. "Should we kill her, or just hold onto her?"
"Do whatever you want."
Kin opened her mouth to scream, but no sound came out. Her eyes flickered about the area, peeking at the woman behind her potential attacker. She carried a sword over her shoulder. It looked real. It looked heavy. And if it wasn't sheathed, it would have looked sharp.
"I-I won't tell anyone I saw you," Kin suggested, pressing herself further against the tree. "No one'll ever know you're here! Promise!"
The woman in front of her laughed slightly. "Ah, cute little kid, eh, senpai?"
"Adorable," the other remarked dryly, "Now hurry up, will you?"
"You're coming with us," the woman instructed, reaching forward. Kin froze. She didn't move as the woman grasped the collar of her kimono, nor when she was pulled from the tree trunk. She was dead weight; her legs had no bones, no muscle, just flesh and blood. Her arms were no better. She couldn't move if she wanted to, and suddenly, it dawned on her that she was starving.
Having not eaten since the night before, it took Kin far too long to realize that she had forgotten to eat. And now she was being dragged off by this random woman who was planning to use her as a hostage - whatever that was.
Kin was confused, scared, and hungry.
Why on Earth was she so hungry?
A sudden warm, sticky sensation on her cheek did not remove her from her reverie. The odd thing was, there was no pain; it was not her blood.
The boy had come back, and he brought a rock with him. "Run away!"
But Kin was too tired to run, and she collapsed beneath her captor, skull cracked by the rock the boy had smashed onto her head. From then on, everything was nothing. She could not see the battle that ensued, and so she could never recall it.
"Are you ok?" a voice asked quietly. Kin awoke, no longer in the forest, but in a house. Her house. She glanced around, noticing her father standing over her, and a woman clad in black. "Are you awake?"
"Yeah," Kin murmured, slowly sitting up. She clutched her stomach. Boy was she ever hungry. But it didn't seem right to just start eating when that boy...
He lied to her. What did she care?
"Your brother was hurt pretty badly, but I think he'll be ok," the woman explained, passing a small roll of bread to Kin. "That woman was an amateur, so it wasn't too bad of an injury."
"I don't have a brother."
The woman looked to her father, who shook his head. "That's her brother."
The woman and her father left to a corner, and Kin began to wonder where her father could possibly be concealing the boy in their home, and why he was suddenly telling her she had a brother. She didn't have a brother, she was the first born child. There was no way that could be right.
There was more talk, which Kin did not pay attention to, content with picking at her bread roll. Then her father finally approached her, and she looked up. "Is that lady gone?"
"Hai, Kin," her father murmured. Kin tilted her head. Her father was sober. This was rare. "I told her he was your brother, but I don't know who that boy is. He hasn't woken up yet."
So it was another lie.
"Do you know his name?"
Kin shook her head and looked away. "Why'd you have to tell her he's my brother?"
"She thought he was; I just didn't deny it," her father explained. He seemed to stop, words catching in his throat before he finally said, "Kin... do you want to become a shinigami?"
And her father didn't question her beyond that. In fact, he seemed relieved. The boy, who Kin finally learned was named Kenta, did not stay with them long, limping out with a taped-up leg and a slinged-up arm. Kin wasn't sure whether or not she wanted to stop him.
He'd lied to her, after all.
So Kin moved on with life, just happy to have gotten through the ordeal unscathed and unharmed - for the most part. She continued to practice drawing, and painting, and growing better at a painfully slow pace. It was what she could do to help her forget about the incident with the two women - she never did figure out who they were - and Kenta, who started it all.
She would much rather be left to her drawing.
Yet she could not pull herself from the past; it was a horrible incident, and a few of her neighbors questioned her well-being afterwards.
Kin didn't tell them that she was only upset about the lying. The girl decided it was not worth the fight and settled down, allowed herself to cool her head and let people think what they would.
And then Kenta showed up again, grown far more.
"Hiya," he greeted from behind, causing her to spin around and glow red with rage.
She recognized him right away. Face swelling with anger, she lunged at him and pinned him down (with shocking ease given he was about a foot taller than her) and began to punch him. "You little, lying, son of a bitch!"
He took every punch without a word; Kin had very little muscle and could not easily knock him around. "I'm actually a little surprised to see ya," he explained to her, still on the ground, "I thought you'd listen to that shinigami lady and go be a shinigami."
"Of... Of course not!" Kin declared. "I would make a horrible shinigami! A-after all, I can't even finish my paintings. Why would I be able to go through with that?" It was true, Kin would often leave her paintings unfinished, and from what Kenta had seen, this was obvious. She never could finish drawing him, and she gave up when it frustrated her.
"Cause you're not missing anything here," Kenta answered quietly. Kin stared at him for a moment before, finally, Kenta stood and brushed her off. "You're never gonna get anywhere if you stay here."
Kin crossed her arms and stuck up her nose in resentment. "Well how do you know?" she quipped. "What makes you so sure?"
He looked down for a minute, and slowly he began to back away, leaving Kin without an answer. But this time, she was determined to get it. She followed him. Each step he took backwards, she took forwards. She would not let him leave. "Kenta!"
"Cause I think so!" he yelled. "I don't know! But nothing good ever happens out here. People like those ladies come through. And you look like a twig! And... and.."
"And what?" Kin asked, crossing her arms.
Kenta took a deep breath and shut his eyes. Kin, curious as she was, brought a hand to her chin and watched curiously, propping her right elbow on her left wrist. "And ah... and I'd be sad to see you get hurt."
Kin tilted her head, not quite understanding. Had she been a little older, or a little more experienced with the opposite gender, she may have understood the statement a little better, and the actions behind it. Everything would have become clear. But this was not so; Kin, childish and naive, did not see the intent. She thought Kenta was looking down on her. So she bent down, scooped up some dirt from the road she stood on, and hurled it at Kenta. "Idiot!"
Nevertheless, Kin did decide to become a shinigami. She told her father she wanted to, and he quietly agreed, not seeming to mind one way or another. Her mother, however, seemed less than pleased at the prospect. Nevertheless, she agreed that if Kin wanted to leave it was her decision.
And so Kin left for the academy, where she scored average grades, and, overall, was average. She was nothing special in the academy, though she did enjoy Kido and Hoho more than the average student.
It was always the flashy attacks that interested her. They caught in her mind and made her want to improve. Rather small at the time, and very young, only slightly over 100, Kin was teased by older students who did not take her seriously. She grew reclusive once more, sinking back into her own little world.
"Oi, Sasaki-chan, wha'cha drawing?" one boy, Hotaka, asked. He always did this, he always leaned over her shoulder and planted a massive paw of a hand atop her tiny head while leaning over to see. It irritated Kin, but her response was never different.
"Eek! Get off!" she screeched, bringing her pen up to jab at his eyes.
Hotaka would always dodge, but this time, he didn't. He got smacked right in the eye, and Kin stumbled out from beneath him, holding her pen and sketchpad close to her. "Why do you always do that?"
Hotaka peeked up at her, grinning foolishly. "Cause it's fun."
He was Kin's least favorite classmate, and he was in all of her classes. She knew he was bullying her, but she wasn't too sure about how to handle it. She would try yelling at him, ignoring him (he would keep talking until she reacted), even kicking him. No dice.
Eventually, Kin had had enough of it. She went to her hakuda teacher for guidance, as, while she didn't really excel at the sport, she was a fast enough learner. She explained the situation to her teacher and asked if he could teach her something ahead of Hotaka.
He said no. Multiple times.
"No! Absolutely not! I will not teach you anything beyond what other students are learning just so you can get back at another student! No! No! No!"
And so Kin sought help in her roommate, Ame.
"You know, I don't think this will solve anything," the young woman replied, tapping her chin thoughtfully. "But, oh, if you really need the help I can try."
So Ame taught Kin, pointed out her shortcomings and showed her how to fix them. Kin, though lacking in the physical strength, developed speed to compensate. She grew strong in other ways. Her teacher seemed to notice this, and regarded her with suspicion.
"Sasaki-san, may I have a word with you?" he asked. Kin nodded quietly, walking up to her teacher and peering up nervously. "I've noticed you've been improving. I just hope you're not ridden with any mal intent."
As children do, Kin emerged with a facade, waving her hands in front of her face in a criss-crossing fashion as she exclaimed, "Who, me? I could never!"
"I hope so, I wouldn't want you to get in trouble."
And Kin, being rather worried about the issue, considered giving up further attempts to startle some sense into Hotaka. However, a voice, one which Kin assumed to be her zanpakuto spirit, told her otherwise.
You know, you could probably just get him in a sparring match. Just smack 'im in the balls, nothin' too fancy. After all, simplicity is beautiful too, inn't it?
The voice, however random, was right! Kin decided that it could work. If she aimed right, she could even make it look like an honest mistake! And so Kin decided that she would go through with it, even if it meant she could get reprimanded for it all.
So when it came time for sparring, Kin volunteered to go first. Unfortunately, she missed a few very important details. Namely, no guy wanted to spar a girl.
So she had to be deceptive. "What's the matter, Hotaka? Scared of a little girl?"
And what guy could possibly refuse? Hotaka fumed with anger, but hid it with a smirk. "I'll go easy on you."
"If you say so," Kin replied with a smirk of her own, practiced before a mirror. She knew what she was about to do could get her in trouble, but... oh, revenge just seemed so very, very sweet. "Hey, Hotaka, I bet I can knock you down in two hits."
"I hope you're not betting one of your lame-ass drawings." Kin's expression darkened, growing a strange combination of angry and sad. "Fine, what do you wanna bet?"
Kin smiled again, swallowing her pride and regaining her false composure. "You have to buy my paper until one of us graduates if I win."
"Yeah, that'll happen," he declared with a roll of his eyes. "And if you can't, you have to call me Hotaka-sama for a year."
Kin winced, but accepted. She wouldn't let him win, so it would be alright. "Alright."
And so the fight began, her instructor eying her curiously. He had no idea how she planned to knock down Hotaka, a boy nearly twice her size, in only two hits. As the fight ensued, Hotaka aiming for Kin and missing, Kin simply dodging and ducking, he began to see.
And then, just before their instructor called for a time out, Kin brought up her leg and kicked Hotaka right in the groin, causing him to stumble and howl. Then, as she promised, she kicked him in the shin, effectively knocking him over. "I win!"
Sure enough, Kin was caught and punished for her little misdeed, though Hotaka's humiliation was completely worth it. No matter how many times the sensei yelled at her, told her what she did was out of line, said, "You should be ashamed!" Kin was happy.
Unfortunately, having detention every day for a month was less than pleasant. She tried to argue, "He started it!" as children often do, but her teacher refused to listen. She had wronged another and she was paying the price.
He wronged me first.
Nevertheless, Hotaka followed through on his bet, supplying Kin with paper. Little did he know, Kin used an excessive amount. She demanded a fresh supply at least once a week, not seeming to notice the burden it placed on Hotaka. Kin didn't really care; besides, it wasn't her problem.
Little else of note happened during her academy; she slowly stopped using hand-to-hand, favoring kido above all else. It was her only specialization, save for Ame's insistence that she was very talented with hoho as well. Kin shook it off; her room mate was easily impressed--after all, she thought Kin's drawings were perfect. Kin saw all kinds of mistakes.
Nevertheless, Kin graduated the same as everyone else in her class somewhere in the middle of the group. She stood amongst the graduates, noting with some pleasure that she could not find Hotaka amongst the crowd of shinigami-to-be. If she did not have to see him, she would be set for her time as a shinigami. For good.
Assigned to the fourth division, Kin found that being a nurse was harder than she thought it would be. True, she had always been interested in kido, and she was definitely better than the average graduate, and maybe bakudo had always been her thing, but she found herself faced with rowdy eleventh-divisioners. People who got into fights and demanded treatment for their wounds, then resented the care they were given.
Some of them scared her more than others.
Kin did not cope well with the chaos that emerged whenever an eleventh divisioner stumbled through their doors; she would often 'vanish' for a period until they either settled down, or until someone else offered to take them. She wasn't going to lie, she really hated them.
So, as anyone could imagine, Kin was not placed on duty in the medical wing when this was realized by her superiors. Instead, the little shinigami was sent on cleaning duty. Kin resented this more as she found very little time to sneak off and draw.
Then sneak off and draw; you can just say someone messed it up in here after you finished!
Kin still didn't know the name of the voice, nor had he actually shown himself during her entrances to jinzen (which startled her greatly), but he still spoke to her when a thought festered in her mind. It was interesting, really, it was like a little
devilangel on her shoulder, telling her what to do. Kin listened to it.
It was while she was drawing, after taking the spirit's advice, that Kin learned he seemed to enjoy her drawing. He would speak to her while she drew, attempting to help, and, actually, annoying her a little. But she tried to let him down gently and inform him that she was not interested in the advice.
He wouldn't take no for an answer.
Oh, why don't you come in here and we'll talk about it. Go get your zanpakuto.
So what did Kin do? She got her zanpakuto, the tiny wakizashi it was, and placed it across her tiny lap. Slowly, she allowed the outside world to fade out of existence and let the blank world that was her mind take its place.
"Great, now let me show you something," her spirit exclaimed, running in front of her. Kin jumped back, startled. He had been hiding from her before, but suddenly he appeared before her, a paintbrush in his hand. He bent down before her and sketched the appearance of Kin, who regarded it curiously. He did not look at her, it seemed. She tried to peek over, but the pale spirit would not allow it, extending a long, slender arm and ordering her, "Just sit tight."
Kin obeyed quietly, watching as he sketched her with her arms up and her legs straightened, not the way she was sitting at all. He even got her bow right on key, falling perfectly into place.
Then he handed the brush to Kin. "Now do that, but with me."
So Kin found herself drawing the spirit, constantly checking back for a reference, only to find that he dodged her line of sight. She slowly reddened with frustration, attempting to finish without a visual reference and failing. The hair was too long, the sleeves did not exist, and the cowl did not end in a knot at the end. The spirit regarded the drawing and shook his head. "When you can draw me without looking at me, I'll tell you my name. It inn't bad, it's just, ah, lacking a few things. Right here... and here."
Kin turned to face her spirit, who allowed her one long look before sending her on her way, ushering her to go back to the present. Back to her body.
So she practiced, never seeming to get it right. The spirit did not console her, only told her to keep practicing until she did. But she still had to finish cleaning at some point, so, when things got too frustrating, she would cleanse her mind - and the hallways too. Unfortunately, a visitor from the eleventh division seemed oddly familiar.
"Whassup, Sasaki-chan?" he said, glowering down at the tiny shinigami. She stepped backwards defensively. "I haven't seen you in forever."
"Likewise," Kin stated bluntly, continuing to scrub the floors with a tad more urgency. "I was hoping to keep it that way."
And the man grinned to her, stepping on the end of her mop and holding it in place. Kin had two options: stand her ground, or shunpo the hell away. But he was bigger than her, and scarier by far. So she considered running, but found her legs refusing to move. She couldn't help it, she knew he was angry and that thought scared her.
What if he wanted to get back at her?
"Geez, you look so scared," he determined, rolling his eyes and planting a paw on Kin's head. She, without really thinking about it, swatted it away. He was not amused. "You know, I'm in the Eleventh now. So what squad're you in, Masaki?"
"Four," Kin stated, tugging her mop away.
"Figures," Hotaka laughed. "You'd be bad in other squads anyways."
"I knocked you down in two hits," Kin reminded him. "Move your foot."
"Hey, I'm not doing anything wrong," Hotaka declared, "And you got that win from a cheap shot. So now it's payback. Get your sword."
"Bakudo Number One," Kin called, holding two figers up, "Sai!"
His arms bound behind his back, Kin abandoned her mop and vanished, shunpoing back to her division. She could not ignore the fact that yes, Hotaka was angry. She would not be forgiven for humiliating him in front of the class. For deciding to worsen it with a bet. He probably wasn't planning on letting it go anytime soon. In short: Kin was screwed.
It should not have been too surprising that Hotaka wanted revenge, much less so when he was now part of the eleventh division. Of course he was angry. Of course he didn't let it go, she'd forced him to supply her with paper for three years. How much money had that cost?
What about that drawing you promised me? asked her zanpakuto.
Kin rolled her eyes. Now really wasn't the time. Unless, she realized, her zanpakuto could help her. So, the second she returned to her room she entered Jinzen, waiting for a trip to the void within her mind. When she found herself in the inexorably-extending expanse of white, she called out, "Gaka-kun~!"
It was a pet name of sorts, one she had developed for the sake of being able to call her spirit something. He told her it was a fitting name, since he was an artist.
"Need a brush?" he answered, dropping a paintbrush before her feet. "Use it well."
In red ink, she drew the man, arms up, standing straight. She drew his cowl, his shirt, his pants, his feet, his bangs - she even put the cowl on the right side for once. Looking down on the drawing, she let out a breath. "I think I'm done."
"Let me see!" the man replied, appearing in front of his wielder, studying the drawing. He took a few minutes, actually, in which Kin nearly fell asleep. But, at long last, he extended a hand to Kin and smiled. "Perfect."
"Huh?" Kin murmured, staring blankly at the man's hand.
"It's perfect. Looks like me, don't it?" the man replied, pointing from the drawing to his face. "I think you're ready. My name is Shugaka."
So he taught Kin, told her how her ability worked, what she needed to do to use it, and left her to figure out the rest on her own. "You'll learn more if you try it.
And so Kin did try it. On herself, she nicked her finger and placed the tip of the pen on her slate and began to draw, only to find that Shugaka drew her instead. No, you might leave something out. I draw them. You add on.
Kin learned very quickly that she could not remove a thing from her drawing, that she could not remove anything at all, really. There was little she could add besides drawing fabric over her clothes. She did, however, find the scarlet kimono she drew on herself to be quite lovely, and considered keeping it, until she left her shikai and it vanished.
She couldn't keep anything she drew.
And she couldn't remove anything either. She couldn't draw metal, only cloth, so there was no chance of her shoving a knife into Hotaka's throat. And the range she had was almost painful. The slate was so heavy and she was so weak it was nearly impossible for her to conjure up a way to make her shikai useful, or practical. What was she supposed to do?
It occured to her when she was bandaging up a man returning from duty with a gash across his chest. She could always draw bandages on wounded people. So she learned that it was a way to bandage someone from a distance, and, though it wasn't quick, it was effective. The cloth was strong enough to hold, fit tightly to a person's body, and seemed easy enough to use.
So she learned how she could use Shugaka.
It didn't mean she was any less fearful of Hotaka, and of what he might do. She simply refused to go into the eleventh division barracks for any reason, be it to clean or to deliver papers. Kin refused, flat out. She was scared.
But Hotaka never did visit her in the fourth division, and as she got older, she slowly began to forget about it. Maybe she gave him too much credit; maybe he didn't care about a runt like her. Maybe Kin was just another shinigami, and maybe he wasn't planning any sort of vengeance.
By the time it happened, it had been nearly a decade since they graduated. Kin was older, and Hotaka was as well. Though Kin was not as tiny as she was during her time at the academy, Hotaka had grown immensely by comparison. He had to be seven feet tall. And, oddly enough, they met during the Ryoka invasion.
Kin, unfortunately, was scurrying off to a group of injured shinigami, only to decide to take a short cut. She was separated from her group this way, and found herself in a sticky situation, a small group of men ran towards her and cut her off. Eleventh divisioners, once again harassing her, the fourth divisioner. So she started to back away slowly, meaning to turn tail and run the other way, pray that one of her comrades had come looking for her so that her murder simply wouldn't happen. Instead, a voice stopped her.
"Sasaki-chan?" he said, regarding her with curiosity. "You got a little bigger."
"Excuse me, but who are you?"
The man seemed to take it lightly. "Hotaka."
And Kin turned tail to run, only this time, she was cut off before she got too far. The man blocked her path and glowered down at her, like he had those years ago. "You're still gonna run?"
"I have important work to do!" Kin insisted, very proudly at that. "Now move!"
And Hotaka was not impressed, nor were his friends. He blocked her as she tried to leave, and this was not the time to go binding her fellow shinigami. She had work to do, and he had friends to back him up. "Why do you keep running away, ah?"
Kin took a deep breath and let out a puff of air. Panting quietly, and worriedly, she waited for him to do something. "You think I wanna get back at you?"
"Why would I waste my time on some pint-sized runt from the fourth division? I mean, I could snap your neck in a second, but I'd just get in trouble, wouldn't I," he explained, planting a massive paw on Kin's head.
And Kin had to admit, that hurt something awful. Those words stung, and badly at that. So Kin tried to brush it off, returning to her work and trying to let the raucous laughter roll off of her shoulder.
But she was sad.
It was hard not to be a little hurt by the comment, by the accusation of weakness - which, all in all, was true. She wondered if she should have been thankful that he didn't kill her - in all the confusion no one would really care, nor know that it was her. She wondered about it, but shook it off almost instantly. He wasn't a trustworthy person, was he?
She doubted it. He was just a bully.
Not much else happened during the Ryoka invasion for Kin, she simply healed whoever she was told to heal, and hid when the rowdy patients stirred up chaos. Throughout the winter war, she healed who she was told to heal, as she had done during the Ryoka invasion, though turned a blind eye when Hotaka came in, instead letting one of her companions take care of it.
She'd had enough of him. She'd had enough of people by the end of that. Sure, one person once in a while seemed fine, but groups of people? Everything bad always seemed to travel in packs. Packs of shinigami, packs of students, packs of bandits. All of them.
Kin had all but forgotten her life in the rukongai, and although she did not feel it necessary, she planned a trip or two to visit her parents, who regarded her the same way they always had: apathetically. She had forgotten about Kenta, or rather, she had never figured out his intentions and didn't care to. She didn't look for him.
She had better things to spend her time on, and they didn't include lying little boys.
Following the Winter War...
Kin, though not the most responsible person, was eventually promoted to sixth seat following vacancies and after her skill with healing kido was recognized. It was more responsibility than Kin really wanted, but left her with a little leeway to goof off and be irresponsible. She made a few friends in her division, Rinako, Omoi, and her captain Suzuka, but her closest friend/enemy was Izaya, of the third division. She and Izaya formed an antagonistic relationship in which they got on each other's nerves, but also formed a more friendly relationship as time went on. After Izaya was grievously injured in a fight with an Espada, Kin attempted to heal him to no avail.
Throughout her time in the fourth division, Kin made a point of defacing walls of her own and other divisions, where she would not be recognized and thus would be more likely to get off scott free. After painting a frog being offered a lily on the wall of the eleventh division, she was caught by Madarame Ikkaku and Takeda Masaru, and dragged along to find out the meaning of lilies and frogs from Captain Commander Unohana. Once learning that lilies were symbols of luck, Kin noted that frogs were also considered lucky, causing Ikkaku to do his patented Lucky Dance and confuse the crap out of her. Unohana suggested that Kin should draw a mural in the meeting chambers, which she was happy to do.
Shortly after accepting this new task, Kin was invited to a social gathering by Yotogi Izaya, who then drunkenly confessed his love to her. After this event, Kin was unsure if she wanted to shut him off entirely, as she considered them acquaintances, and even a pair of oddly vitriolic friends, but felt she might reciprocate his feelings. Instead of telling him, and possibly distracting him from his duties, she shut him off. When Izaya returned from one mission badly injured, she attempted to heal him to no avail. Eventually the two broke off their hiatus and Kin and Izaya became a couple, though unbeknownst to Kin, Izaya was also entertaining a much pricklier relationship with a shinigami named Yumiko.
During one deployment to the world of the living to deal with several Espada-class arrancar, while healing the fallen Yumiko and after restraining two hollowfied vizards with kido, Kin was attacked by one of the vizards and Izaya put himself between her and her attacker's blade, getting stabbed in the chest. She promptly called him an idiot and got to work healing him.
Over the next few months, Kin devoted her time to working on the mural, which she wanted to be absolutely perfect, with no mistakes at all. When she finally got around to painting it, Izaya as her sole witness, she powered through it over the course of a day and worked very hard to make sure that she got the effects that she wanted - a festival in the evening, with lanterns hanging from ropes on the rooftops. This caused her to gain the respect of her zanpakuto, and he materialized in front of Izaya.
Not ready to accept the expectations that might come with this sort of power, Kin procrastinated, ignored her zanpakuto, and tried to keep it secret. But in order to keep Izaya safe, and in order for him to see her as an equal, she wanted to keep up with him. And if that meant learning more about her zanpakuto, she was willing to do it. Kin has not achieved bankai, but after Shugaka's materialization she knew that she had the potential to do it.
Continued in Next Post