Hearing Shouko apologize for how long it had taken to finally finish her masterpiece was just like her. Taiyō couldn't help but laughing at it. His head shook from side-to-side, whisking away her apologies. "No, no, cut that out. For something like this, I would have waited much longer. It's perfect, Shouko-chan, really. I know how much passion you put into your art; if you had taken any less time, it might not have all blended together so flawlessly." His eyes glued themselves back onto the picture frame, admiring the whole once more before he had to store it away for now. "I would have given you another hug out of sheer happiness, but I'm afraid of accidentally dropping it." That would be a devastating tragedy. It was better to get that stored safely as soon as possible.
"Let's see ..." He muttered, tilting the umbrella's shaft so that he could keep it secure by tilting his head and raising a shoulder up, wedging it into place between his two body parts. With a hand now free, it worked its way underneath his jacket. An observant eye would spot a few small glimpses of his stomach momentarily shifting into water before his hand returned, now holding a scroll that he always kept secured within his person. Deftly unraveling the scroll until he found a section that was open for him to use as a storage place, Taiyō balanced the two items in his hands, carefully putting the frame against the parchment while forming a single seal in one hand. A puff of smoke initiated the sealing, transporting the frame into safety until he could get home. Quick hands worked to re-wind the scroll and place it back underneath his clothing.
It was then that Shouko dragged the two of them even further back through memory lane. "Oh, wow ... Yeah, that was terrifying. I had just gotten out of the academy; I had hardly seen many different types of techniques, so that whole fight was terrifying. Between that, those giant creatures you and Tsuki had made, all of Ryoka-sensei's speed and lightning ... I couldn't believe that I managed to not freeze up during all of that." The young man laughed, thinking back on his early days. While he was far from being able to say he wasn't timid, it was no secret to him that at the beginning of the journey, he was doubly so. He turned backward, lighting pressing against Shouko's arms to motion for her to turn with him. A bony finger pointed out towards a spot just beyond the sand. "It was all right over there, wasn't it? I remember having Hantā fly all around that area while he tossed out explosive tags like crazy. To be honest, that was my only trick back then, so I'm glad it worked." His voice fell into silence, lost in the moment as his memories replayed out in front of him like a vivid dream.
The next question was a surprising one: had they changed much as shinobi? Taiyō turned back to his close friend, eyes wide as he went to answer. "Really? If we're talking you, that's hardly even a question. You've ran miles past where you first started, Shouko-chan. Remember when we first met, back in that classroom? I don't know if I ever told you this, but ... I was actually really happy when we met. Seeing how shy and uncertain of yourself you were helped me to realize that I wasn't the only one who felt that way. The person I met back then, I never expected her to come as far as you've come. You've become so strong-- both as a shinobi and as a person." Taiyō kept a kind, warm-hearted smile across his face. He didn't often give these sorts of speeches (on the contrary, it was normally him receiving them from Tsuki), but knowing that Shouko and him were so alike, it would do her well to hear it. "I'm sure that Ryoka-sensei couldn't be happier with the type of woman you've become."