“Why is it that I’m searching only for smiles so much more now as compared to the past?” ~From the Japanese song “Wagamama/Selfish” by AAA’s Nissy
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It was night time and Kinji smiled at the sight of the stars starting to glimmer in the night sky. It has been months since he left the Igasaki dojo after their battle with Kibaoni Gengetsu. He set off on his own journey to become what he proclaimed as the Last Worldwide Ninja.
But those months that passed, he noticed something quite unusual in himself. Once in a while, especially when he doesn’t have any customers or when he was alone, he would look at several pictures he saved on his StarBurger over the past year that he stayed with the Igasakis. His expression would soften at the sight of the pictures with ‘her’ in it.
Why was that?
Kinji had been asking that question for some time now. He was glad that he had closer to Fuuka even though their initial meeting was quite an unusual one. And now that he left the dojo, he couldn’t help asking himself as to why he was somehow longing to see the white ninja again.
All of a sudden, he was startled at the beeping coming from his StarBurger. Though he was glad that it snapped him out of his musings, he also couldn’t help feeling irritated at the distraction. Who would call him at this hour?
He focused himself and checked on the name displayed on the screen of the StarBurger. His heart skipped a beat at the sight of Fuuka’s name flashing on the screen. Okay, why was he calling her?
Kinji took a deep breath first before deciding to finally answer the call. “Hello?”
“Kinji-san? You’re still awake?” Fuuka asked back on the other line. “Did I disturb you, by any chance?”
“No, Miss Fuuka. It’s okay. You didn’t disturb me at all,” Kinji said quite frantically. He even shook his head despite knowing that Fuuka won’t see it. “But what made you call me at this time of the night? If you don’t mind me asking that.”
No words came out for a few moments that made Kinji think he might have said something wrong. “Miss Fuuka?”
“I just… wanted to… talk to someone. I can’t sleep.”
There was a sudden tug in his heart that Kinji thought, something could possibly be wrong for Fuuka to be like this. “Did you have a nightmare, perhaps?”
“It’s not that.” He heard Fuuka sigh before she continued. “Are you okay there, Kinji-san?”
“Eh?” What was with the question, all of a sudden?
Fuuka chuckled rather nervously, something that Kinji noticed. At the moment, it hit him.
Now he knew the reason why he kept on looking at Fuuka’s photos that he took before, especially the photos where she was… smiling…
He missed seeing those smiles.
That was why he wanted to look at her photos whenever he had a chance. He wanted to see them all over again.
“You don’t have to worry about me here, Miss Fuuka. I am a ninja, after all.” He was smiling when he said those words.
“I know that.”
Long silence soon ensued. But Kinji could tell that Fuuka was still on the other line. And for some reason, he could also tell that she was contemplating. He waited for her to continue speaking since he didn’t want to disturb her in some way, even though he really wanted to talk to her.
“Kinji-san, are you still there?”
Once again, he was startled. But this time, it was because of her voice. “Y-yes! I’m still here. You were saying something?”
“Not really. I just thought you already hanged up on me.”
A chuckle came out of Kinji’s mouth and smiled. “I don’t think that’s going to happen, Miss Fuuka.”
“Well, I’m just checking. It’s already late at night and I was thinking that maybe you’re already sleepy or something like that.”
“Shouldn’t I be the one saying that to you, Miss Fuuka? You should rest properly, you know. You’re still a growing lady.”
“Hey! Don’t treat me like a child.”
This time, Kinji let out a heartfelt laugh. Come to think of it, had he done that these past months since he left the Igasaki dojo? “You know that’s not the issue here.”
“I’m just joking. But… thank you for talking to me, Kinji-san,” Fuuka soon said. He silence that followed didn’t last that long this time. “I guess I really miss having you guys here at the dojo. This place is kind of lonely now that the others have taken a different path right now.”
Kinji was speechless. But it wasn’t for long. “You do know that we’ll return there, right? Besides, I think two years won’t be that long. We’ll be there before you knew it, before you could even realize that two years had already passed by.”
“That’s easy for you to say. But I’ll hold on to that.”
And so will Kinji.
He would definitely be back in two years. He would do whatever it takes to become stronger than he ever was before.
And when that time comes, he would see it again.
He would be able to see Fuuka’s smiling face once again. Maybe he could use that as a motivation, right?
Kinji looked up to the night sky. For some reason, the sight of the stars somehow gave off a feeling that each twinkling stars was smiling at him.
Just as how Fuuka would smile at everyone.
But then, would it be a bad thing if he actually wished for Fuuka to smile like that at only him?
Okay, now his mind was heading somewhere else.