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Catch Your Breath

  • Early on, Kei and Rin dragging Obito to the hospital after seeing how badly he'd been hurt by bullies. Kei wants mostly to hunt them down and end them, but Rin manages to talk the other two into just making sure everything's all right.
  • Another early moment, but the ending of Chapter 13. After Wataru's passing, it takes a week for Kei to emotionally recover and return to the Academy, only to face Obito and Rin again. The resulting conversation really tore at the heartstrings because it solidified the trio's bonds of friendship right then and there.
    Obito: "Oh Kei. Rin-chan...?"
    Rin: "We're here to support you, okay? If you need anything, come to us."
    Kei: "Thanks, Rin-chan, Obito."
    Obito: "You're going to graduate with us, right?"
    Rin: "Obito!"
    Obito: "I'm serious! If you graduate with us, we'll look out for you, okay? No one will ever, ever say anything bad about you or your dad while we're around! That's a promise!"
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  • Speaking of the hospital, the Chunin Exam Arc also features one. After Team Minato is swept 0-3 in the prelims, Kei is in the hospital. Kakashi pops in for a late-night visit at one point and shares an apple with her.
  • Hayate in one of Lang Noi's sidestories. His response to being told Kei is a jinchuriki?
    Hayate: She's afraid I'm going to hate her-it's just so obvious. That's even more obvious than the not-human chakra right in front of me, in some ways. And it hurts, too, because I can't imagine being that scared of my own sister.
    • Then he hugs her and asks if Isobu is hurting her. After being told that she's fine, he then wonders what the problem is.
  • The ending of the Missing Scene/Side Story starring Kei's Mom, Miyako. After all the bloodshed that the reader had to see in the side-story, ending it with what appears to be the most adorable first meeting between Wataru and Miyako really gave the feeling that everything was going to be okay. Miyako wasn't going to be alone anymore.
    Wataru: "May I ask you about your katana, stranger?"
    Miyako: "My…sword?"
    Wataru: "Yes! Even from here, I can tell the balance is beyond perfect. And is that genuine shark-skin for the wrap?"
    Miyako: "It's not for sale,"
    Wataru: "I don't want to buy it! I just want to bask in its glory. Because this weapon is glorious."
    Miyako: "…It's a katana."
    Wataru: "Do you have any idea how shoddy modern mass-forging can be? Maybe you don't? I've snapped a blade or two and I've never been a kenjutsu specialist. That shouldn't happen. Please, tell me your name, o vision of moonlit kenjutsu mastery."
    Miyako: "..." [surprised, baffled face]
    Wataru: "Um. Maybe I should introduce myself? Wataru Gekkō, of Konohagakure."
    Miyako: "Miyako. Of wherever."
    Wataru: "Well, Miyako-san, I'd really like to pick your brain about swords. I've used a few, but you're probably better than I am if that's your primary weapon, so… Please?"
    Miyako: "It would be…acceptable."
    • This would later be turned into a Tearjerker considering what happens to Wataru when Kei is 8.
  • In chapter 96, when Kakashi comforts Kei after her major breakdown and revealing to him and Minato that she's a reincarnation and (implicitly) admitting that she thinks she shouldn't have been born in the Naruto-verse.
    Kakashi: "No matter what you think, I'm glad you exist. Not your prophecies. Not your power. Just you."
  • The entirety of chapter 102.
    • Gai is a sweetheart that went around the village collecting get-well wishes for Kei, on top of making the cards himself and getting her a present.
    • Rin and Obito tell her how much they value her, in the midst of a group hug.
    • Kakashi and she have a heart to heart talk that takes a burden off her shoulders.
    • Minato apologizes for the lead-up to the Memory Arc, and the kids are sweethearts, the lot of them.
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  • When Kakashi gets the White Chakra Saber back as a birthday gift from Hayate and Kei in Chapter 109. It was one of the many losses from the Kannabi Mission, but it's his reaction that sells it.
    Kei: The next thing I knew, Kakashi wrapped both arms around me and then I was trapped in a steel vice clamped around my shoulders. Momentarily stunned speechless, I lifted my arms and returned the hug more out of reflex than conscious thought, and Kakashi's spiky white hair brushed my ear as he hooked his chin over my shoulder. And while his fingers dug into my back a bit, I felt him start to shake. I leaned my head against his right before he buried his eyes against my shoulder, and the first tears finally snuck through his normally-ironclad self-control. Instead of squeezing harder, I just let my hands rest against his back. He'd take a minute and then he'd be okay. Everyone deserved a chance to cry from joy.
  • Chapters 115-116, where Kei finally realizes that Kakashi loves her.
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    • The way the long-awaited reveal was handled warmed hearts, because even when Kakashi was unconscious, Kei watched over him.
    • Also, the first kiss, hands-down. It wasn't perfect in fairy-tale standards, as Kei can attest to, but it certainly didn't disappoint.
      Kei: I kissed him. I caught him by surprise, so it wasn't a classic fairytale "true love's kiss", like in the movies. His mouth was open, so I felt our teeth hit and it wasn't a great first impression. Somehow, it was fitting that my first kiss would be a fumbling rush job. But it got better.
    • This has fan art too!

Ocean Stars Falling

  • When Isobu realizes he's in the middle of the real ocean, he's immediately concerned that Kei is nowhere to be found. Once he confirms Kei is all right, he goes back to frolicking in the ocean and having fun, and Kei gets to witness what she calls the Great Belly Flop Tsunami from the crown of a palm tree.
    • Kei takes the time to drag the displaced sharks back into the ocean afterward. She's not a fully-fledged Friend to All Living Things, but she does good on occasion.
    • After exploring the island and the sea around it, Kei and Isobu take a second to reaffirm their bond.
    Kei: "You’re the best survival buddy anyone could ask for."
    Isobu: I did say we were partners. That will not change even if you are preoccupied with your problems.
    Kei: "You didn’t have to say it like that, jerk. You were worried too."
    Isobu: And I will still be worried five minutes from now, an hour, or a day as long as we are in an unfamiliar place. But I wanted you to know that you can rely on me. Since you seemed to have forgotten.
    Kei: "Well, you know me. I’m a slow learner that way. So, I guess we need a plan."
    • When Kei is about to go to sleep, she offers to stay awake and daydream up pirate movies for Isobu to enjoy. While Isobu declines, it's the thought that counts.
  • Within a ridiculously short time frame, Kei ends up being essentially adopted by the Whitebeard Pirates. Though they realize she's a near-stranger and her backstory is full of holes, her awkwardness, quirks, and willingness to help people wins them over. In typical Kei fashion, though, she isn't fully aware of the full scope for a few months after she leaves the Moby Dick behind.
    Haruta: "You’re the biggest clumsy goof of a landlubber we’ve ever met, but you’re our friend!"
  • Kei has a heart-to-heart with Thatch about things and people she's homesick for, including Kakashi, Hayate, and her students. Thatch plays off his end with a joke, but the two of them come to an understanding and he accepts her reasons for wanting to leave the Moby Dick. The moment is violently cut short, but after she helps save Thatch's life when Teach almost succeeds in murdering him to obtain the Yami Yami no Mi, she's definitely a part of the Whitebeards' True Companions. Kei even sticks around for an extra two weeks longer than she planned to make sure Thatch is going to be okay.
    • After she embarks on her journey to find the other jinchuriki and deliberately lets her boat get eaten by Isobu, she doesn't realize that Namur saw it happen and ends up mistaken for dead for a couple of months. When Ace runs into her again by accident, she's in disguise as a random pirate. Because he recognizes the boat she's been using, Ace threatens to charbroil the "stranger" unless "he" gives up information about what happened to Kei. When Kei drops the diguise and reveals that she's alive, Ace is overjoyed.
  • Isobu is used to people running away in terror whenever he reveals himself. Ace, after initial hesitation, introduces himself politely and strikes up a friendly rivalry over which one of them is going to kill Teach first.
    • The same acceptance also manifests in Luffy, who declares Shukaku a member of the Straw Hat Pirates almost as soon as he screws up his name for the first time. He later goes on to recruit Fu and Chomei together offscreen in the Skypeia arc, with exactly as much cheer.
    • Later on, Ace and Luffy's wholehearted appreciation of the Tailed Beasts as people ends up being the deciding factor in the Tailed Beasts collectively choosing to destroy Impel Down as retribution for the Marines taking Ace from them.
  • Gaara is a member of the Straw Hat Pirates by the time Kei meets him in Alabasta. He trusts Luffy enough to tell him bits of backstory that only Kei knows otherwise, and Luffy praises him as the best lookout ever. Despite a rough start landing in Loguetown, it's clear that Gaara is far happier here than he ever was in Sunagakure. He's even loosened up enough to give Kei a hug for a greeting, and Kei thinks that the Straw Hat Pirates are great for Gaara. She even dismisses the idea of bringing Gaara along on her and Ace's journey, deciding he's better off with Luffy's crew.
  • Upon meeting up, Isobu and Shukaku immediately start arguing and jostling each other like the siblings they are. They scare the Straw Hat Pirates pretty badly in the process, barring the Monster Trio and Gaara, but quickly start arguing over which of them is "older" and generally being brothers.
  • Though it's less present before they encounter Yugito, Kei treats Ace like a younger brother even before she acknowledges the whole "a Whitebeard in all but name" thing.
    • It's described by one reviewer as "A frazzled helix of mutual babysitting."
    • During all the occasions where Kei lets some of her past slip, Ace tries to either lighten the mood or empathize with what's happened. Kei, for her part, is highly aware of Ace's mood shifts (due mainly to being reminded of his past as Gol D. Roger's son) and tries her best to look after him despite being equally in the dark about his past.
  • Kei and Yugito start their acquaintance with open hostility, with the two of them almost instantly coming to blows the first time they meet. Kei even says she doesn't care if Yugito fucks off on her own road trip after getting the power boost they both needed. However, spending time together (with Ace's misadventures acting as a common point of interaction and exasperation) helps tensions ease a little bit at a time. After the battle on Banaro Island, where a series of screwups result in Ace being captured by the Blackbeard Pirates, Yugito getting teleported to Water 7 with a severe injury that would have killed anybody else, and both of them having to cart around an unconscious Utakata, Kei and Yugito finally bury the hatchet, acknowledge their mistakes, and decide to team up to fix what they broke.
  • Kei fully expects to get into a fight with Han, the same way she did with Yugito. Yugito is equally wary as they follow the man's trail to a tiny dairy farm (literally; the cows are miniature). Turns out that, no, Han is a Gentle Giant and has been babysitting the eight-year-old proprietor while her parents are away. He doesn't care for village-based hostilities or hatred. Talking him into getting a power boost is as easy as helping them out on the farm.
    • Han and Mona also help out when Ace shows up, having been hurled into a river for dine-and-dashing while Kei wasn't around to cover for him. They end up letting him stay in the farmhouse until he recovers a few hours later.
  • When Saiken first appears, he is frantic with worry about his partner Utakata. Having had a run-in with Admiral Akainu while on minimal power that left him horribly burned, there's little question Utakata's injuries are life-threatening. Kei and Yugito put their hostilities aside immediately to help their fellow jinchuriki out, though they're both aware he might be really unhappy to see them when he wakes up.
  • Unsurprisingly, Kei and Utakata don't get along well when they first interact. Kei being partnered with Isobu unintentionally ruined Utakata's teenage years because she didn't die as intended and eventually ended up causing Yagura's death, and he understandably isn't happy to be locked out from using Saiken's power thanks to her seal-work. Kei only manages to avoid a fight because a) she is the only one who can give him chakra control back and b) Yugito is sitting right behind him. This leaves him baffled enough that he agrees to cease hostilities for a little while.
    • Shortly thereafter, Naruto shows up and starts to work his magic on the resident downer. He starts by giving Utakata a nickname, is always asking for his opinion on things, and basically keeps being a little charmer where Kei and Utakata have too much baggage to speak civilly. By the time the group is out of Impel Down, Naruto is one of the few people besides Saiken who can hang out with Utakata when he's in a bad mood.
      • Over time, Utakata loosens up and starts participating in group goof-off activities. He makes bubble shows for the Straw Hat Pirates' younger members to admire, collaborates with Usopp to make a new bubble-based weapon, offers Boa Hancock romantic advice, drinks Whitebeard under the table in a Drinking Contest, and even goes with Yugito, Kei, and Naruto to a cafe during a bit of free time. He also acknowledges in his own POV segment that he genuinely loves Mei and is looking forward to being able to see her again.
  • Naruto greets Kei by tackle-hugging her right off her feet. Being one of Naruto's big sibling figures as he grew up really shines through.
    • He wants to know why Kei is wandering around the ocean with such weirdoes as Yugito and Utakata. Upon being told that they're working together to rescue a friend, Naruto immediately volunteers to help.
    • Right after that, Kei manages to get Naruto in contact with Kushina, and the two of them bawl their eyes out over their snail calls, because it's the first time in months that they've heard each other's voices.
    • Despite appearances and his general demeanor, Yang Kurama manages come across as a Grumpy Old Man with a goofy, back-sassing grandkid around Naruto. He still leaves the Revolutionaries terrified by his mere presence, but he's more willing to show a silly side than he ever has been before. He even interacts with his siblings without as much hostility.
  • Ace's POV reveals that the Whitebeard Pirates held a wake for Kei after her presumed death and "posthumously" adopted her as a fully-fledged member. When they found her again, Thatch ended up bawling in relief.
  • The Straw Hat Pirates all agree to throw themselves into the Impel Down break-in, despite having just barely avoided being arrested by Admiral Kizaru or pushed to parts unknown by Bartholomew Kuma less than 24 hours ago. Why? As Chopper says afterward, it's because Ace is Luffy's brother, and they're Luffy's crew. They know he'd do the same for them.
    • When Kei and Luffy finally make it to the bottom floor of Impel Down, they have no other considerations except to find Ace and bring him out alive. Jailors? They're dead men walking. Fellow inmates? Not important. Luffy is rushing around so much in an attempt to find Ace that he almost misses the cell entirely, only to ricochet back as soon as he hears Ace's voice. As soon as Kei rips the sea prism stone door off its frame, Luffy wastes no time hugging his brother and telling him that everything's going to be okay.
    • Kei, for her part, hangs back long enough for Jinbe to notice her before Ace does. Ace, having thought she was killed by Teach or otherwise unable to come after him, is stunned to find her helping lead the rescue mission. Practically his first question after realizing what this implies is asking after everyone else, current position in a cell be damned. And once he's freed, he hugs her.
    Ace: (while hugging her) "Thanks for coming after me."
    Kei: (after he lets go) "No problem. I know you'd do the same for me."
  • As they make their escape, the group has to make use of the Reverse Summoning Technique in order to get out quickly. Ace, having experienced the nausea associated with rapid altitude changes, is not exactly happy about this.
    Ace: "This shit again?"
    Kei: "Yes, because it's the fastest way out. No more stairs or running, just us on the outside of this pit." (holds out her hand) "Hurry up."
    Ace: [deep breath] "…I'm ready."
    Kei: (teasingly) "You sure?"
    Ace: "Hell no." [smiles weakly] "But I trust you."
  • Ace and Kei finally have a chance to talk about why the Tailed Beasts like Ace enough to help out with (and then solve) the Impel Down situation.
    Kei: "You know how long it took you to decide Isobu and the others were people worthy of respect? You treated him like a person within half a minute of meeting him."
    Ace: "Yeah, but—"
    Kei: [pokes him to shut him up] "People back home still haven't figured that out, and it's been over a thousand fucking years."
  • While the call to the Whitebeard Pirates is mostly funny, Whitebeard himself takes over the call solely to make sure Ace is all right and let him know that that's the important part. When Ace starts crying, Luffy and Naruto both decide he needs a hug and do their best to crush him between them, which knocks all of them over onto Kei. She doesn't bother trying to escape.
  • Luffy, Ace, and Sabo all finally have their reunion. While it begins with a fight between the older two, they all eventually dissolve into tears and shouting. The next day, the three of them even nap together on Isobu's shell.
    Ace's narration: Though Ace would never admit it out loud, being this close to the biggest seafood combination he'd ever seen felt like one of the safest places on the sea short of the Moby Dick itself. When he sleepily felt Sabo and Luffy pile onto him, equally drowsy after devouring their portions of the huge breakfast, Ace just gave a contented sigh and fell fully asleep.
  • Ace finally gets an answer to the Trial Balloon Question he's been contemplating for the better part of a month. While out to sea and on Isobu's back, with Sabo there for moral support, Ace decides to let Kei in on his secret.
    Ace: "What would you say… What would you say if you met the Pirate King's son?"
    Kei: "If I met the Pirate King's son… I'd raise my hand like this, then say 'Yo.' Just like I did when we met."
    Ace: "D-did you hear what I said? Gol D. Roger's son. People say the man was a demon! The World Government—they'd call anyone with his blood a demon just for that. It's the most cursed blood in the world…"
    Kei: "Really? A demon? Then you're in good company, aren't you?"
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