The boy is powerful. Hisoka watches the way he feints with his staff, quick and light on his feet, dodging Terazuma's blows with ease. But there's something more there than simple physical prowess. Underneath the surface of Arisugawa Sorata's skin is a deeper, slow-simmering power percolating through the air in the temple courtyard where they're practicing, flowing out of Sorata's body and pinging Hisoka's empathy in strange new ways. When Hisoka touches Sorata's mind, he can only skim its surface - the young monk's shielding is surprisingly expert for his age - but even with limited access, if he opens himself enough, Hisoka can feel that unusual strength crackling through his own veins in turn.
The running commentary is almost enough to drown out the intoxicating hum of power, though. Sorata's rapid-fire wisecracks are annoying Terazuma, not quite enough to off-balance him in the fighting exercise, but enough to make Hisoka wary of the elder shinigami's escalating temper. When it's Hisoka's turn to spar with Terazuma, he's extra cautious as they circle each other, striking out with their staffs, testing the new fighting style they've been sent here to learn. A cranky Terazuma is more than Hisoka wants to deal with right now; his own nerves are on edge, he wants to get back to Tsuzuki as soon as possible. Tatsumi probably thinks he's doing Hisoka a favor, giving him the distraction of this trip to Mount Kouya to help him get past the recent events of Kyoto. But while Hisoka may be learning to appreciate the thought, he's not comfortable being away from Meifu for more than a day, yet.
Sorata finally makes one wisecrack too many, shattering the last vestige of Terazuma's fragile patience. "That's IT!" he roars, and turns to swing at Sorata, just as Hisoka lunges forward for a shoulder strike. Hisoka tries to catch himself, but his momentum carries him forward too far, and he stumbles, trying to pull back. Gravity pulls him right into the grip of a startled Terazuma, whose arms catch Hisoka reflexively, before he can hit the ground.
"Oh no," Terazuma moans, dismayed, shoving Hisoka away as his back arches and his skin takes on a familiar reddish cast. "No, no, nooooooooo …" the moan trails off into a roar as Kagan Kuroshuki howls within.
Sorata is quiet for the first time in three days, blinking curiously as he watches Terazuma shudder and start to change. "Get out of here!" Hisoka shouts at him, springing to his feet and scrambling to put himself between the monk and the emerging shikigami. "Go, run!"
"What is it?" Sorata asks, fascinated by Terazuma's rapid transformation. "Hajime-san's shikigami lives inside him," Hisoka answers, reaching into his pocket and realizing, to his utter dismay, that he's left the emergency fuda Kannuki had given him downstairs in his room. "If he loses control of his emotions, he loses control of the shiki. And it's almost impossible to stop them, once it gets going."
"Awesome," Sorata breathes, and Hisoka curses fate for continually saddling him with brave idiots.
The lion shakes out its long, red mane, steps toward Sorata, growling. It raises a deceptively soft-looking paw, razor-sharp claws extended. Apparently Kuro doesn't have much of a sense of humor either, Hisoka thinks wryly. He can hear the other monks shouting in the courtyard below, knows they are grabbing weapons and spells and running for the stairs leading up to the courtyard. If he can just find a way to distract the angry shiki long enough for them to –
Kuro's paw slashes out toward them, quick as a snake, but before Hisoka can react he is suddenly thrown to the ground– not by the shiki's strike, but by a bright blast of light arcing over his head from behind. Stunned, he watches a ball of lightning dance between the lion's ears, crackling down through his mane and paralyzing the muscles of his massive body. Glancing back, he sees Sorata's arms extended, the light coming from his hands. Kuro stiffens, then crumples, shrinking rapidly back into Terazuma's shuddering body.
Then Sorata is kneeling over him, face flushed with exertion and concern. "Are you all right?"
"Baka!" Hisoka hisses, grabbing the boy by the collar. "You could have gotten us both killed!"
Sorata shakes his head, an infuriating grin spreading across his face. "No way! You're already dead, for one thing; I already know I'm going to die for a woman. And you," he says, running his finger down the side of Hisoka's cheek, "certainly are pretty, and maybe he -" nodding toward the unconscious Terazuma – "is all mixed up about that, but I doubt you're the one my destiny has in mind."
The impact of his fist connecting with Sorata's jaw is the best feeling Hisoka's had in a long, long time.