2019-12-16 - An Unexpected Gift


After a training session Babs finds out a little more about Ken

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Mon Dec 16 06:01:08 2019
Location: Ken's Dojo

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"Very good, Barbara-San. Rest and stretch and I will get us some tea." Kenuichio and Babs have been exercising and doing katas for the past two hours. Some slow. Some fast. Working on technique, core strength, back strength, even breathing. It's good work. Though it stretches her physically and she is probably feeing the burn about now.

Ken himself moves to get the tea ready. By now Babs knows the routine. He'll sit down at that low table when it is prepared.

Batgirl had been lucky the other day when backup had arrived. Had she been left to fend off the Fae on her own, it would have gone very badly for her indeed.

And she's still waiting on the visit from Batman.

Life goes on however and tonights work out has been welcome. To Ken it seems like Babs is improving - slowly - become slightly more flexible and juat a tiny less reliant on the cane. The fast kata's still seem to cause her problems though, it's impossible to hide the winces when she moves wrong.

Bowing to Ken, the redhead smiles "Thank you Sensei-san. I shall do that …" She takes her time to stretch out sore muscles. She really shouldn't stay for tea after every class, and yet she does.

She's become quite accustomed to his company.

She can see the back room from here and watches as the Samurai prepares the tea.

"Are your other students still turning up for classes, Kenuichio-San? Or have they been tempted by the bright lights and festive season?"

After the customary amount of time he is at the table with the tea and handing it to her. He kneels down in his usual position and takes in a deep breath. All his usual routine. He's centering himself.

"Other students still come but there are of course less in this season. It is expected. Most buisnesses do. The ones that do not sell presents."

The sensei takes another breath and then sips his tea. "And what of you? Will be you going on vacation? Somewhere warm?"

As Ken moves to the table, so does Babs, lowering herself gingerly to the cushions. Her act is so practiced, that he couldn't possible guess could he that she's as injured as she seems?

"Domo arigato, Kenuicho-san." the redhead murmurs as the tea is passed over. There's the faintest of smiles as he goes through his routine, the observant PI knows it well by now. Right down to the way he moves hand once he's centred.

"That they do. Well, most of them. Some of us find an uptick in the work." For some reason that makes her sad but it might not be too much of a leap of logic to realise that a PI would be asked to find missing people and follow on cheating spouses and business partners.

With a shake of her head, Babs sips her tea. "I am here, as I always am. Dad and I will do something for lunch on Christmas Day but aside from that … What about you? Are any of your family going to visit? Or are you returning to celebrate with them?"

"You are quite welcome, Barbara-san." Ken says quietly. He takes another sip and looks at the redhead. "Interesting. I have always understood that this season was often a time for Americans to take breaks from the routine. DO you find you don't need a break from yours?"

Or is it something else?

"Ah no. I shall be here. My family and I are not… close. Comes of being a bastard. And an occasional criminal. In some ways my coming here is as much exile as mission. Easier to ignore me all the way out here."

The question has Babs pausing internally. She doesn't like lying outright. "I think Kenuichio-san, you have been watching too much Hallmark channel. Some Americans need to work and some find this time of year not as pleasant." It's a slight tease, with another faint smile.

"I find there's little to celebrate this time of year. Dad was always busy growing up, so I learned to get along. I'm sure you've noticed I'm somewhat dedicated to my work." A polite way of saying workaholic. "In many ways, this is just like any other time of the year."

She doesn't answer the question directly. She can't.

His answer has her wincing though, her hand reaching out to touch his consolingly. "I'm sorry, Kenuichio-san, I didn't mean …" she sighs, drawing her hand back to put it in her lap. "Do you have plans then, for Christmas Day or will you be here, sweeping the floor?"

Taking a breath, the redhead considers for a moment. "May I ask a personal question, Kenuichio-san? Do you have fond memories of being the Silver Samurai on the team back in Japan?"

"I do not believe I will have any students that day, so I shall probably spend it at home." The swordmaster seems unperturbed by the personal question. But then he tends to seem unperturbed by most things. It's part of his character, Babs is coming to learn.

"The Big Hero Six, you mean? Japan's answer to all things unusual? I have fond memories yes. It was not an easy time of my life. I was placed on the team as an alternative to being sent to prison for a very long time and my teammates knew it. Things were not always cordial between us. However, that was the period of my life, I think, that I did the most things of… greater worth and value. And I did come to respect and like several members of the team."

So yes. He has some fond memories even if it was a trial. "Why do you ask?"

"On your own? If … would you like …" Babs sighs and actually blushes a little. "Would you like to come lunch / dinner at Dads?" That will have her father asking some questions and likely starting some investigations of his own.

"Big Hero Six, yes." The recollection gets a smile, the blush fading a little as Babs listens and then reaches into her bag. "Why? I … uh. Saw this and thought it might make an appropriate gift for the season." The blush is back.

It's a gift, wrapped in christmas paper and tied with a bow. The gift would be about two inches wide, five inches tall and an inch and half deep. Inside is a Pop! Hero. A stylised version of the Big Hero Six Silver Samurai, complete with silver armour and mask.

Babs actually holds her breath as he opens it.

The Samurai chuckles and takes the figure out of the box. "Goodness. I have not seen this armor in some time. I left it behind in Japan. It belonged to the Japanese Government. I presume they still have it. Perhaps for another to take up the mantle at some point."

He sighs. "In truth I would not have much minded to keep it. A souvenir perhaps? Or a keepsake. A remembrance of that time. Something more than… a blade that I prefer not to think much on."

abs lets out a slow breath. She'd seen the figure and bought it on a whim, thinking of Ken when she had. It wasn't until later that she started to second guess herself - was it inappropriate? A reminder of a time he might want to forget.

"I'm not sure where you would keep it but I couldn't help myself when I saw it." The redhead says quietly. The mention of the blade has her green eyes meeting his. She's only seen it once as Babs - and she hadn't asked much about it.

"I'm sorry, Kenuichio-san, I didn't want to bring back memories you'd rather forget. The government still has your armour, I … checked." His armour, not theirs. "Did you ask if you could keep it, if that's not too bold? From what I saw of that blade, it doesn't surprise me they were happy for you to hold it."

It's an invitation to talk about it, if he wants. But equally a way for him to politely to ignore it.

"Perhaps in here. It is after all no secret what I used to be. In fact for some that is a draw. Taught swordsmanship by the famous Silver Samurai. Of course many don't know. It isn't something I advertise. But having this here might be a nice… reminder."

Ken smiles a little bit. "I did not, no. And they would have happily kept the blade but it was ultimately decided that it was something best left to my care."

Babs knows why but not as Babs. Batgirl is the only one who has seen that black blade.

"If you are going to be here around the holidays I might not close down the dojo in the last week as I usually do. Or that is to say, I might open it up for a special session."

"Would you consider reaching out to the Government about the armour?" You could put it on display with the Pop!" There's a small amount of teasing in it. "I'm glad you like it, Kenuichio-san. And I think you might be right about it being a draw. You don't have to say anything, just have it here."

"I'm sure the blade is well cared for in your possession. I would like that, I think, to keep training but you did not answer, Kenuichio-san. Would you like to come lunch / dinner at Dads? It might not be your thing."

"I might yes. But there is a good chance they will not give it over. That suit was built by them, which is why they kept it. No, if I wanted armor like that again I would probably have to source my own. Or do them some big favors." And in any case, why would Ken need that? He is retired.

He looks up at Babs and chuckles slightly. "Are you inviting a former criminal to have lunch at your Father's house? I might take you up on that if it would not be a terrible loss of face for you."

Ken must know that Barbara knows. She's a PI and has access to all sorts of information. "Ah well, it was a thought. I could imagine the armour on display in the corner and your students being suitably impressed." Of course, he's retired - she'll let him believe she thinks that.

"Is that how you see yourself, Kenuchio-san? As a former criminal? What of the man of honour that are you? The man who accepted exile for his family's honour?" It's a direct question and those green eyes of Babs hold his when he looks up. "For that is what I see. As well as a man who took pity on a cripple and agreed to train her to help her on her way to health. So, yes, I would be honoured to have you as a guest in my fathers house."

"I am that as well. I have, and have always had, my honor. But my past is what it is. Denying or hiding it does no good. My sins were great. I atoned for them in the eyes of my nation and now I get to live in peace."

That, Babs knows, is not true. Most nights Kenuichio pursues some kind of mission or vendetta. Exactly what drives him to the streets is perhaps less than clear but he clearly feels some kind of obligation to do it.

"Then I would be honored to go. When shall we do this?"

"You haven't atoned for yourself, though, have you?" Babs asks quietly, reaching across the table to touch the back of Kens hand for the moment. "You aren't denying your past, or hiding it, but not mentioning it, Kenuichio-san. We all make mistakes. It's how you live your *now* that matters."

Perhaps the same thing that drives Babs to the streets, drives Ken. A need to feel like she's doing something where others can not.

"Christmas Day if you like. Dad and I normally put on a spread. It's often just him and me but sometimes friends drop in to see us." the redhead offers a smile. His answer pleased her. "Lunch is normally about 1pm. I … could pick you up, if you like? Or give you the address and you can meet us there."

And the police benefit is a day or so, as well.

"It is difficult to atone when one still has friends and contacts." Babs knows that Ken still knows people in the Yakuza. And she knows, well Batgirl knows, that he does not do things even as the Bats do. He uses his resources in his own way to achieve his own ends. He may have paid his debt to society. He may not be a criminal (except for the vigilante part) but he has not really turned to the side of angels, has he?

"I can live with what I have made myself. But I do not expect others to accept it. It is a pleasant surprise when they do."

Her instructions get a nod. "I can find my way over. Is that where you would like me to find you tomorrow? Or will you be able to get to the benefit on your own?"

Babs, perhaps wisely, doesn't push the issue with Ken. He's proven a good … friend … to the redhead - both as Babs and Batgirl. Though he vexes Batgirl so much more than he vexes Babs.

Who is truly on the side of angels, anyway?

"I think Dad will love you." If only because the samurai is a friend to his daughter.

"Not there, no. I'll be going from work. I can meet you there, if you don't mind?" It's adroit sidestep from explaining she doesn't live with her father. Because explaining that will raise the question of where she does live.

"I do not mind, no. Arriving at the benefit is slightly easier to arrange for me as well, as I will also be coming from work." At least he gets to wear a suit to work, which means his need to change will probably be minimal. She's seen what he wears. It's functional but it is also well fitted. It will blend in just fine at a police benefit. Most of them don't own nice suits anyway.

"Would you like more tea?"

Ken might be a little … stunned … by what Babs decides to wear if that's what he thinks. She perhaps won't blend in so well.

"Then that's what we shall do." the redhead answers. She sighs, taking a moment to check the time on her tablet. "One more and then I should leave you to close up for the evening. I'm sure you have other things to do than entertain me."

"Sweep. Yes. And be zen. It is part of the job description." Ken cracks a rare joke and winks before he gets up to get the water and mix more of the matcha powder in. It will be a perfect cup. With him, it always is.

"I enjoy these talks, Barbara-san, in case you did not know. Now. Let us enjoy the tea."

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