|Birthplace||Konoha, Land of Fire|
|Birthdate||January 4, 8 B.F.|
|Kekkei Genkai||Standard Inuzuka|
|Areas of Expertise||Ninjutsu
|Ninja Rank||Clan Head|
|Academy Grad. Age||14|
|Chuunin Grad. Age||16|
|Jounin Grad. Age||17|
|Clan Head Age||17|
|Nozomi||Red Furred Husky|
|Notes: Scale out of 7 due to TF
Blue line plot is with max TF
Knock me down, I'll get back up.
Knock me down again, and I'll jump back up.
Knock me down a third time, and I'll knock you down, with my teeth at your throat.
Do you understand yet? Each time you hit me, each time I get knocked down, I'll get right back up, stronger and more determined than ever. I won't give up, so stop trying to make me.
Taiki, expressing his nindo.
NOTE: This is what is publicly known. The real story behind Taiki, can be found in the collapsible section.
Inuzuka Taiki was born in Konoha to the Founder's family. He was a curious child, always seeming to be into whatever everyone else was doing. This curiosity was considered cute when he was a child, though his sometimes-quiet personality (at least compared to other Inuzuka) did sometimes cause a few concerns. Still, the nin-ken were always able to assure others that he wasn't out causing problems, so not much was said about it, at least until he was 5.
When he first turned five, he started his training as a Founder's family member. He went through all the usual courses, but he quickly found himself a little board deciphering alphabets. He had, and has to this day, a rather large attraction to the dog partners of the Inuzuka, which at the time manifested itself in curiosity of the mating process. He quickly found he'd rather take care of the pregnant dogs than he would just about anything else, including the duties into which he was born. This of course was slightly frowned upon, since he was a Founder's family member, causing Taiki to be watched carefully.
A year later, just before Taiki was to enter the Academy, Taiki's obsessions with the nin-ken nearly lead to his death at the hands of a foreign ninja. The ninja, who Taiki never learned the identity of, somehow managed to infiltrate the clan's compound and made out with a pregnant dog after secretly poisoning its tenders. Taiki was just coming from another lecture at the time when he saw the ninja carrying the dog away, and instead of shouting for assistance tried to stop the man. Of course, a civilian had no chance against a fully trained ninja, but the noise of him being thrown through a door allowed his watcher time to catch up and stop the invader.
Taiki woke up later in the hospital with several broken bones and a kunai wound in the shoulder that just missed the heart. His kaa'san was sitting there with her dog, Nozomi, with a look of both fear and pride on her face. Also present was the dog that was being abducted along with her pups and two handlers. He quickly found out he had been unconscious for about 2 weeks with a concussion and the stab wound. While the medics were sure that he would make a full recovery, it would not be in time to enter the academy that year. He was sad to put off academy training for the year, but he was happy that it had not completely derailed his plans to be a ninja.
However, just because Taiki couldn't enter the academy for that time did not mean that he wouldn't be training. No, a grateful nin-ken mother offered one of her pups to Taiki to train alongside in gratitude. One of the pups immediately poked his head up at this and barked, which marked the beginning of a long and strong friendship between Taiki and his new nin-dog Shinobu. They did just about everything together, including eating sometimes, which gave Taiki his love for rabbit, which was Shinobu's favorite prey. A year later, they entered the academy together, and proceeded to work their way through it, somewhat amazing their sensei's in their abilities with ninjutsu. While they were pretty much average in most other things, Taiki proved to be among the best in the Academy jutsu, picking things up with ease, often first. This lead him to graduate in the 3rd ranking with a reputation for utilizing his ninjutsu along with his clan's fighting style to produce very interesting results. He's remained silent about what he wants to do from here though, though the clan elders speculate it has something to do with perfecting variations of their jutsus into something even deadlier than they already are.
The true background behind the public story is a bit darker, and a lot sadder. It wasn’t just the attack that had kept him out of the academy, but a week after he was released from the hospital two of his uncles decided to have “words” with him. The resulting reprimand put him back in the hospital for another week or so, under the heading of “relapse.” This was the first case of the disapproval turning to scorn and out and out abuse. The remainder of that year before he could enter the academy was very hard for him, for Taiki just could not be good enough for his uncles. He would have gone to his parents, or sought other help, but he was told that if he did, his parents would die.
Thus Taiki became forced to wear an emotional mask. On the outside he was the way he had always been, somewhat quieter than most Inuzuka, very much interested in ninken, and over-all pretty friendly toward others. But his trust in people slowly died as he was forced to distance himself in subtle ways from others. He’d help his fellow classmates in the academy, but had to do so quietly, because he was expected by his uncles to be the best, and any failure in that led to… “corrections” that would leave him limping and a general mess for a couple of weeks. As far as his parents knew, he was that way from sparring. Sparring, however, indicates either a chance at victory or a lesson being taught, neither of which existed in the correctional methods of his abusers.
Taiki eventually graduated top of his class in ninjutsu, and within the top 3 overall. This resulted in the last “correction” his uncles meted out for at least six months. They realized that even though Taiki’s sensei was an Inuzuka, his teammates weren’t. The injuries were too hard to hide, and it could come back on them. However Taiki’s determination to achieve his goals, and his pure stubbornness, caused them to start trying to correct his behavior again even after he had been with his team for a while. This proved to be a mistake on their part, as they were right, Taiki’s wounds were indeed too hard to hide. Eventually they were found out, the truth behind the enigma that was Inuzuka Taiki came to light, causing these two uncles to be arrested on a great many charges, to include attempted murder, conspiracy to remove a shinobi from duty, treason, and child abuse, amongst many others.
Now with his mother dead, and his father in dire straits, Taiki has taken his father’s place as a representative to the other clans of Konoha from the Inuzuka, much to the consternation of the Inuzuka elder council. He is slowly trying to repair the reputation that his treasonous uncles has given it, while working closely with his sole remaining uncle, the heir to the Founders Clan of the Inuzuka, while trying to heal himself from the scars his past and present have left him.
The years, various trials, bright shining moments of victory and soul-crushing defeats have left their mark on the youngest of Konoha Clan Heads. In many ways he is older than his years suggest, putting some truth into the old axiom, “It’s not the years, it’s the mileage.” Taiki has certainly had more than his fair share of mileage, that much is for sure. Generally, he comes across as a concerned visionary with something to prove. He is kind to his friends and empathic toward his patients, but he is also very much outspoken on certain issues. Loyalty is the major focus on his life, and given his past, who can blame him? In fact, his biggest strength is also his biggest weakness. He often expects his friends, his loved ones, his clan, and his comrades to be as loyal as he is, and as such, feels personally betrayed when someone he cares about falls short. In fact, he feels so passionately about loyalty that a friend’s and his lover’s betrayals of Konoha have left him feeling cold anger toward both of them.
Overall, Taiki used to be a loving individual, though that was tempered by a severe mistrust toward almost everyone for a long time. While he has learned to overcome this mistrust for the large part, precious few people have earned his full trust even to this day. The identities of these people are rather easy to discern when one hears him talk, as they’re the only people he ever drops his formal speech to. In other words, they’re the only ones he ever refers to without honorifics, even if he does refer to someone by their first name, it is almost always with the proper honorific attached. Few ever realize, however, that this formality is his way to retain a distance from others.
While Taiki’s formality may provide the most outward, if not subtle sign of the scars the emotional, mental, and physical abuse he received from his clan, it is not the only scar. Not counting physical scars throughout his body, Taiki’s remaining personality scars lie in his anger and his stubbornness. While Taiki has become slower to anger over the years, once his anger has been provoked he becomes rather single minded in it. Those that have angered him soon understand the full fury a wolf-man can exert, even if he appears calm. Taiki’s anger toward certain individuals is near legend, as many have often winced when he finishes dealing with the object of his ire. The sad part is, according to observers, is that Taiki doesn’t have to get physically violent. No, his tongue is often enough when he truly gets provoked. In addition, Taiki is, as one clan member put it, “more stubborn than a god.” Once Taiki has made up his mind on something, very few things will derail him from it, even when those he trusts implicitly attempt to change his mind. This, combined with his anger, makes him a very dangerous enemy to have. It also combines with his loyalty to make him a very good friend to have, especially if you’re trying something new in order to defend that which is most important.
Inuzuka Taiki looks very little like a typical adolescent Inuzuka. He stands at about 1.81 meters (about 5'11"), and while thin and toned, does not look ripped. Instead, his frame seems to be built more for speed than strength, but old burn scars on his face join other various scars on his body to indicate that he is far from dainty or delicate. In fact, those muscles that do show look incredibly compact, giving him a quite solid appearance. His brown eyes are lighter than the standard Inuzuka black variations, though they are darker than the light brown hair tied into a long ponytail in the back. He bears the standard crimson Inuzuka clan markings on his face, along with elongated canine teeth and seemingly strong but razor-sharp fingernails and toenails. Though he is young, and apparently not as physically strong as some jounin, he has definitely seen his share of battles and life or death situations. Yet his movements are graceful and flowing, both indicative of one of his elemental natures and his status as a medic ninja. Yet unlike many medical ninja, he shows as good a commanding presence outside the hospital as he does within it.
Taiki's outfit pretty much puts his ninja rank status right out in the open. He wears a mainly midnight blue overcoat that extends from his neck to his knees, open in four slits: one each at the front and back and one each on the side. The chest and stomach areas are further covered by a sleeveless, one shoulder vest that is forest green in color. The vest has a multitude of pockets of various sizes, likely containing most of his arsenal. A black belt is worn at the hips, containing other pouches and two hooks. From the hook on Taiki's right side a set of chakram can be seen, each one blackened but razor sharp. On the left side dangles a switchblade sickle, which is attached to a chain that serves as a second belt for Taiki before ending at the left side with a spiked metal ball. The kusari-gama has also been blackened with a flat-black agent that would not show blood should it be used. This contrasts to armored, finger-less gloves that Taiki wears over each hand. His pants are also midnight blue, but looser than the overcoat. They are tucked into a set of toe-less armored combat boots that allow the last third of his feet access to open air, both to show off the claws he has for toenails and to allow for better traction when he has to move.
Accompanying him are his two ninken Shinobu and Nozomi. The elder dog is of the Inuzuka malamute variety, while Nozomi is of the Inuzuka Huskies. Shinobu stands up to Taiki's breastbone chest at the shoulder, tall enough at this point for Taiki to actually ride him, though he doesn't do so. Shinobu's fur is almost pure white, with dark grey fur evident only along the tail and muzzle. His gums are a stark contrast to the fur, being a very dark black with shockingly white, very sharp, teeth. His left eye is brown while his right is covered by an eyepatch, and those claws are very, very sharp. Nozomi on the other hand is younger, and slightly smaller. She bears red fur with a white undercoat, white fur at the ear tufts, and a white fur around her black lips. She stands a few inches shorter than Shinobu, and is built wiry and lean, as if she is more for speed than power. She wears a leather vest full of pouches with the international symbol for "Medic" on the back. The hair on her paws up to each knee is slightly shorter than the rest of the hair on her body, though it all looks well groomed. Her right, blue eye shows a sharp intelligence, being quick to notice things, while her left eye is covered by an eyepatch. Between the two of them, they quickly assess anyone that draws near, signifying that neither dog is a mere pet.
The differences between the Inuzuka malamute line and the Alaskan malamute line is much like the difference between real birds of prey and Mercedes Lackey's Hawkbrother bondmates. Real Alaskan malamute males tend to get up to about 24-26 inches tall, and about 80-95 lbs by standard. Inuzuka malamute males can get upwards of 36-39 inches tall (about half again the height), and 120-150 lbs. Like all other Inuzuka ninken they are intelligent at birth, and quickly learn the ways of their human "packs" through the bond. By bonding age they are easily as intelligent as a normal human, and able to communicate very effectively to those who are able to interpret their mannerisms (just about any Inuzuka clan member). Their senses of smell and hearing are markedly better than a normal dogs, and are also among the upper end of the ninken spectrum. If the Inuzuka malamute is said to have any weakness though, it is to heat. Their thick double-coats do not suit the hotter climates, causing them to need shade and plenty of water when traveling through them, more water than any other dog. Conversely, their large paws (comparatively) and their double coats make them ideal for missions in colder climates, especially in snow or other similar conditions.
Shinobu is a typical specimen of the Inuzuka malamute line. He has brown eyes (black and other colors are possible, blue eyes tend to be a sign of mixed breading). His coat has gone from the very light grey of puppy-dom to almost pure white, a distinctive feature of Inuzuka Malamutes. He has dark gums and sharp teath with large, strong, sharp claws that can cause quite a bit of damage on their own. He is currently about mid-to-late teen in comparative age for the breed, meaning he is as large as the upper end of a real Alaskan malamutes as far as hieght and weight are concerned. He is generally friendly, unless you mean Taiki harm. Then he can be very aggressive and powerful. His body is both large and firm, and he is well skilled in the dog version of the Inuzuka taijutsu, making him a perfect balance for Taiki's more speedy frame. But he is also very intelligent, and quick to pick up on subtleties that Taiki himself may miss. This makes a good partner for Taiki's own cerebral, energetic styles.
Again, like most examples of dog lines, the differences between the real world version of the Siberian Husky and the Inuzuka Husky are largely the same as between real birds of prey and the bondbirds from Mercedes Lackeys books. Inuzuka Huskies tend to be about twice as large fully grown, Which means instead of the 22 inches tall at the withers (ridge between the shoulderblades) Nozomi tops off at 40 inches tall, or just over 3 feet. She has the shocking blue eye of the real breeds, along with close-fitting, triangular ears that sit high on the head. She has a medium length muzzle that is not really pointed, but well defined. Her outer coat is a fiery red that covers her back, sides, forehead through between her eyes, and legs. The underbelly and the undercoat are all bright white, providing a stark contrast.
The Inuzuka bred their huskies much like any of their other dog breeds, for intelligence and to augment their racial abilities. Thus Nozomi, unlike Shinobu, is a compact, sleek dog obviously built for speed. Do not make the mistake in thinking she is week, but in comparison to the malamute, the Huskey is more built for speed than power. Huskies tend to be mild tempered, pack oriented dogs. They know their place, and stay within it. They are not pushovers, but they fell most comfortable when acting in their own hierarchy. They were also very intelligent to begin with, so with the Inuzuka breeding program they became frighteningly so. Nozomi is a very good example of that, in that she has taken more toward augmenting her master's ninjutsu prowess than his taijutsu strength. That, coupled with her speed, should make most ninja wary of crossing her.
Founders Clan Heir
|Prominent member of founder's sub clan, attends most clan meetings and works closely with Alphas and other clans, crippled due to Recluse attack, but still works as clan heir|
|Ex-med-nin, KIA during investigation into mysterious people after her son.|
|Inuzuka Kenichi||Uncle||His father's older brother. After Taiki's other uncles turned traitor, Taiki and Kenichi formed a close bond as Kenichi worked in his brother's stead until Kenshin came out of the coma. Kenichi relinquished the ambassadorial seat of the Inuzuka to Taiki when he took Kenshin's office, and now works closely with Taiki and Kenshin to heal the rifts in the clan.|
An Uchiha, a civilian-born shinobi, and a Chuunin Inuzuka… Interesting mix. They made an interesting team, until the events around the traitors' revaling themselves changed everything.
|Taiki for the most part likes Atsuro, save for two things. First, Atsuro boasts far too much about his abilities, looks, and muscles for Taiki's taste. Second, Atsuro seems to be very sensitive about money and power, to the point that sometimes Taiki gets the feeling Atsuro resents the amount of both Taiki has. This has caused some serious arguments between the two, but Taiki knows Atsuro genuinely cares for him, which has Taiki accepting things from Atsuro he'd never accept from anyone else. Taiki's only wish is that someday he'd be able to get Atsuro to actually say that he was proud of him. Still, Atsuro is probably the closest thing Taiki has to an Uncle outside of Kenichi.|
||Teammate||Another person from the Uchiha clan that seems to see Taiki as something more than his standing. While she is not as close to Taiki thus far as the other two, he can see there is something there. Hitoshi says she has her own problems. Berii's apology for not being a good friend to Taiki has thrown him off guard, but he is taking it in the spirit it was given. He's decided he likes this young woman (non-romantically, see personality), and is starting to feel more at ease around her.|
|Taniguchi Hitoshi||Gone||Another one of his ex-teammates, one that has a good head on his shoulders. He knows Hitoshi has disappeared, and things seemed different with him the last time he talked. He has no idea what Hitoshi is doing right now, but he hopes his old freind is having a good life.|
||Missing||Interesting person. He and Taiki have been through a lot together, and have become fast friends. Now that Ryo has made it to chuunin, the young boy seems to have disappeared. Taiki is worried, not only as Ryo's Jounin-sensei, but as his friend. Taiki can only hope his friend will be accepting of the changes in the team when he comes back.|
||Non-blood sister||Usagi has proven herself time and time again to Taiki, and has managed to catch him by surprise a couple of times. He has come to trust Usagi, and thinks of her as a younger sister. That she made chuunin from the recent exams is something he finds no less than extraordinary, but typical of this lazy but feisty young woman. She is quickly becoming a person he can turn to for advice, which is needed. Recently she became Taiki's partner in the Medical Ninja chain of command, which further cements them together as siblings of a sort. Usagi is someone Taiki would do nearly anything for.|
||New Friend||Taiki likes this guy. Despite the fact they're on the same team, they shared quite a lot in common, including Konoha-ranks until Taiki got Clan Alpha. Hinotori is a man that Taiki feels it very easy to get along with. One thing though, he'll refrain from talking about Naru around him, as he views her as a sister.|
||Graduated Teammate||Taiki is innately proud of what Kasumi has made of herself, though he does not fool himself in believing he had anything to do with it. Instead he watches her career with interest from afar, ready to lend a hand if she needs it.|
|Sadly, the Chuunin exams did not end well for Team 6. Taiki mourns the death of Ryuunosuke, and blames himself for not teaching the kid enough. Not only does he feel that he should have had more to do with his training, but he failed to teach Ryuunosuke the most important lesson of a Shinobi: How to survive.|
|Akamichi Tosai||Acquaintance||Old sensei of Eremi's who also has come up missing. Taiki wonders where the man is now, and what he'd think of his student's decisions.|
|Uzumaki Tenken||Sensei||Taiki really looks up to his medical ninjutsu sensei. He considers the man a mentor, and the kind of medical ninja/seal master he wants to be. While he doesn't see Tenken around nearly as often, he still feels a definite link to the man, to the point he risked death to rescue the man from the people who kidnapped him.|
||Sadly, Distant||Eremi and Taiki used to be close friends, then several things happened and Eremi left, then came back, then left, and came back again. Now that he's back, apparently for good, Taiki has his own mixed feelings, and the two close friends never seemed to find the time to reconcile them.|
|Uchiha Naru||Girlfriend??||Just when it seems like the roller-coaster ride that was the relationship between Naru and Taiki settled down, life showed that the relationship between Naru and Taiki would never be easy. Naru left Konoha, again, without a warning, and no note explaining what happened for him. He met her once when he was actually in a condition to talk to her, and the results of that meeting were mixed at best. Now she's back again, and as much as Taiki still cares for her, he can't help but to wonder how long she'll be around this time, and whether it is even worth it to acknowledge his feelings toward her. Only Time will tell.|
||Kiri Nin||Very strong for a genin. I got my behind handed to me quite readily. I need to become stronger or I will forever have problems with opponents like this.|
||Konoha Nin?||Considering the girl wants to defect to Konoha, and is Hitoshi's sister, he should consider her an ally. But she has done something that to Taiki is unforgivable. Thus he remains outwardly neutral to her, despite hating her and actively distrusting her.|
||True Enemy||If there is one thing that Taiki can truly thank these people for, it is for teaching him how to hate. He hates this group with every fiber of his being, and now that the time to act has come, he'll show them just how well he learned that lesson.|
First day out of Academy: accompanied Uchiha Issei out on patrol, came across Hyuuga Ai and an unknown Kiri nin. Hyuuga almost died, and I was laid up for several days due to extensive fire damage.
Day of discharge from hospital: Accompanied Hyuuga Hiroshi, Satonezu Eremi, and Tsukiko on an evacuation mission. Mission success.
Was given tasks by clan that left effective training to almost nothing for months. Came back and once again began training, working hard toward Ninjutsu.
War starts with Kiri… again. Helped Uchiha Narusegawa during first battle, wound up in hospital.
Went on second mission, first fight with Kaguya Tsiro. Soundly beaten without a scratch on his opponent, wound up back in hospital.
Went on mission under Akimichi Tosai, encountered scouting party. Fought Kaguya Tsiro again. This time Shinobu managed to hit the Kaguya, and explosive tags kept him off balance. Lost fight, in hospital again, but not as badly beaten as before.
Talked with Uchiha Ryo in hospital, revealed something Taiki would have rather not have, Ryo said he'd keep information secret for now.
Disastrous dinner with the team, mistakenly thought Hitoshi and Berii didn't want him around, caused unease amongst the team.
Mission with Team 10, shows ruthless side to rest of team by scaring two Wave scientists half to death with just threats.
Mission with Team Hinatori, shows his abilities as a tracker. It felt good for Taiki to fight along side Uchiha Narusegawa and Uchiha Ryo.
Atsuro talks to Taiki about his attitude, Taiki divulges the verbal abuse from the Inuzuka Elders concerning Taiki's dreams, hints of more before Taiki shows Atsuro ruthless side by killing a "watcher" and eliminating the body afterwards with the use of explosive tags.
Appeared on the training field beaten bloody, finally cornered by Atsuro and Hitoshi. He told them almost everything of what was going on with the Elders, thus seeming to gain a couple of new allies in his struggles.
Atsuro meets parents, the investigation into the elders begins.
Situation escalates. Elders send someone after Taiki. Eremi finds out first hand what is going on.
Hitoshi entered the Chuunin exams without telling is team. Taiki decided to avoid entering until his life was a little more stable, so when he found out about this after Hitoshi left for Suna, it came as a shock. Still, after making his disappointment known, he stood by his teammate, even when Hitoshi lost.
But it turns out his decision to stay out of the exams was a good one, as Shinobu was captured by unknown assailants while they were returning to Konoha. They recovered Shinobu, but it now appears that Taiki has an enemy he didn't even know about, one ruthless and resourceful enough to stop at nothing to kill him.
Threats on Taiki's life become more severe, as he is routinely harassed and attacked whenever he leaves Konoha. He is now escorted by three dogs anytime he steps foot out of his house in Konoha, including one dog from each parent and a small red pup that Taiki may wind up taking full time as a second ninken. The stress is mounting for Taiki, and he is getting closer and closer to that razor's edge. This is compounded by Hitoshi being announced as Killed in Action, which has caused Taiki to break slightly. Even after they found out he was alive, Taiki's sanity has only started to improve. Fortunately he has sought help privately.
There is some good news though, he and Naru are getting closer and closer, and they had their first kiss. Even though it was on the cheek, the fact he was able to kiss her back is a major improvement. If only he didn't faint afterwards…
I can't believe it… It finally happened… They killed my mom! My dad is in a coma, and the doctors don't know if he'll ever awake… I vaguely heard Atsuro-sensei and my uncle say something about looking after me… But… I can't remember.
(next bit unreadable, followed by the following in harsh, heavy strokes)
They'll pay… I swear to Kami, to the gods of the elements, and to whatever else is out there, they'll pay for this. I will not rest until everyone involved in this has seen justice. If I have to do it by myself, so be it. They'll pay for what they've done. I will not stop, I will not be denied. They wanted me broken, well… They will not like the results. I will humiliate them and make them feel what they put me through, and when they beg for mercy, I will not give it to them. They showed me no mercy, they took away my family, now I will destroy theirs. May my enemies beware, for they have awakened the sleeping dragon. AND I WILL NEVER FORGIVE THEM!
The clan is now reeling from the fight with my Uncles. I still can't believe they went all out like that. They attacked not only me, but Naru, Hitoshi, and Atsuro'sensei. Well, with my uncles, and a good portion of their families arrested, I can say I broke the back of the outclan influence in my clan. Okaa-san… my job may not be over yet, but it has begun. I hope that wherever you are, you can look down on me and be at least a little proud of me. That's why I spared her life… for I knew you would not like it if I had killed her in cold blood. But I swear Okaa-san, the outclan people will pay for their crimes. And maybe then you can rest in peace…
A New Mission
The past couple of months have been quiet, almost too quiet. I have spent most of my time either as a witness for trials or as an intermediary between the Inuzuka and the other clans. I now know what my dad has gone through. My team is concerned, especially as I was cleared for active duty again. My councelor thinks I can do it, but he cautions about letting my grief get in the way. I can see the wisdom of those words, as I miss my parents horribly. I will never see my mother again, and my father is slowly slipping away. And now I have to wait to see what The Recluce are planning next. I feel so helpless sometimes. I wish my dad would just wake up…
Finding out the truth
The doctors sent for me today. When I arrived they had their best seal master, there on orders from the Hokage, with them. After a few moments they sat me down and started asking me a few questions about my father before they laid out there prognosis: my father was slowly dying. The man who's strength I most admired was dying. I couldn't believe it, and I broke down into tears. After I got myself under control they explained to me what happened. It turns out that the Recluse had placed a seal on him that was shutting down his neural system and draining off his chakra. Nothing their best seal master could do could stop it. They said only an Uzumaki seal master, and one trained in medical ninjutsu and medical seals, could do anything. I swear… I'll find one even if it kills me.
Hitoshi's gone again
I don't know why, but it seems Hitoshi has suddenly decided to take a vacation. I was able to warn him about the Recluse coming after him for being my friend, but he never told me when I gave that warning what he was going to do. Now he's gone, and I both miss him and am worried about him. I hope he trains hard, for I will expect him to be even stronger when he comes back.
A Mission of Mercy
I am sitting up in a hospital bed as I write this. We just got back from the Land of Whirlpools, where we picked up the Uzumaki seal master we needed. The trip up was good, we were moving at a decent rate and didn't run into any problems. Meeting Uzumaki Tenken was a slight problem, in that the man was pretty crotchety. But then again, he was being dragged from his home to help a man he didn't know, and I'll admit that between Berii, Ryo, Atsuro and myself, we weren't that impressive visually.
No, it was on the trip back we ran into trouble, in the form of two people from Recluse. One was obviously much more experienced than the other, and they were determined to kill me and the Uzumaki. We managed to fight them off, with me taking some significant damage from the more experienced guy. The other attacker died. But with one escaping, and me showing more of my skills, I'm certain they'll be back, and stronger than before.
I just heard that Naru is finally back, and in one piece. I think I'll go find her when I get out of here. I… I need to see her…
Na'chan has changed. That dress looks really good on her. It floored me. I couldn't even form a rational thought in my head for a few moments, despite the seriousness of the situation I was outlining to her. There was only one uncomfortable exclamation from her this time, followed by a plea to continue what I was saying.
Nevertheless to say I finally managed to convince her of the danger. Though somehow I still get the feeling she didn't quite understand how dangerous these people are. I guess that comes with her being so competent in what she is doing. She takes that into account, and doesn't understand that I'm already taking her abilities into account when I tell her what is going on. I thought she would have known better by now…
Still, it was great seeing her, despite the fact I can't quite make my feelings for her clear. I came closer to that now than I ever have before though. I managed to tell her that she was very important to me, and that if something happened to her, I couldn't quite stand it. None of that quite comes close to "I love you" though. I don't know why, but the closer I get to saying that, the more I tense up. I know I need to tell her sometime, but… this was not the time. She seemed different this time. She was comforting and supportive, but seemed… off. I'm sure its her new duties or something like that though.
A Failed Mission
I… I failed.
Not only did I fail an important mission, but the Genin with me nearly died when the cave-in happened. I tried to order Ryo out, but I don't think he heard me. None of us escaped uninjured, but I appeared to have been the most injured of the three of us. The good news is that Ryo lives, and escaped before the collapse happened, so at least they're still alive. But I still failed to keep them safe. They were skilled, but I was senior operative there, and they were my responsibility.
The bad news? I failed Naru…
I don't know if I'll be able to look her in the face again…
The Price of Failure: A Shattered Heart
Written in barely legible script, with large tear stains throughout:
I don't know how much more I can take.
Failing Naru has caused me to lose her, forever. Not as in breaking up. How can you break up when you never were to begin with? Somewhere we got side-tracked, and then derailed, and now she's… she's… she's gone. Dead. Oh Kami, why couldn't I have told her how I felt when she was alive? Why did I wait for so long? I hope that wherever she is… she can see how much I… I loved her. No, I Love her. I always will. The part of my heart that she resides in is tortured with regret, and empty. I was such a fool.
Now… it's too late. She's gone. No more will she be there when I need a hug, a shoulder to cry on. No longer will she be there simply to light up my life with her smile. Kami I'll miss her.
When I received the news I broke, again. I felt shattered, now I feel fragile. Worse yet, I shattered in front of a genin I don't even know. How am I to deal with that? What can I say to her? I wish Naru were here to give me some advice…
First my mom, then my dad's coma, and now Naru… I miss you all so much!
Please, someone just stop the pain. I don't know how much more I can take…
Resurrection, then death
I was approached by Nara Usagi yesterday. She told me that Naru is alive, but that she didn't wish to see me outside of duty. I think the words passed on was "I won't hold him down." I don't understand. She never held me down. In fact, she gave be the courage to continue on when I was about to fail. If anything she lifted me up to the point that I could fly. I felt unworthy of her, which perhaps is why I never told her how much I loved her.
Well, given not only her rejection, but her lack of concern to even talk to me and include me in the decision to be apart, I won't be telling her any time soon. I can't say I don't still love her, because I do. I love her so much its killing me. I'm dying inside. I can feel my emotions slipping away. Even hope is starting to fade. I'll continue on, because there's nothing left for me to do otherwise. I can't give up, even if I don't know what I'm fighting for any more. Maybe someday I'll find something to live for. For now, there's nothing.
Even my father is unresponsive, despite the removal of the seal. I guess I am truly alone.
The Faint Spark
They say be careful what you wish for, you may just get it. I asked not to be alone, and now fate decides to answer me in the most ironic fashion possible. I was called to the Hokage's office, where I was handed a set of three files. Effective immediately, I would be transferred to Team 6. I was shocked as I never heard of Team 6, but that was for good reason. It's my team. As in I've been given a team of Genin of varying experience, and told to prepare them for war. I can't believe this. Not only do I have a team, but both Usagi-san and Ryo-san are on it. I'm expecting the moon to fall out of the sky next.
Still, it is evident I'm not to die yet. I still have a lot to do, and part of that is to train a new team. I can't let them down, so I guess for now I have a reason to live, instead of merely a reason to exist. I have a spark of hope, that someone not related to me will think well of me. It's barely an ember, but it is there.
There Ain't no Good Guy
Things have changed so fast, my head is spinning. Naru invaded my home early this morning. We had a long fight in which things were said, grievances aired, and seductions attempted. In the end we wound up with her naked on the floor and me only partially clothed. Kami, she has no idea how hard I found it, even now, to resist the invitation. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do, and I needed a dip in the lake afterwards.
It seems, however, that things are still not fully right between us. She feels hurt because I refused to have sex with her, I am hurt because I learned she took another lover. I don't know how she planned to keep it a secret when she was destroying herself over grief for having killed her. And when I slipped in what I had guessed, she denied just about everything but that. But this entire episode came at a price. She became formal with me, and stayed that way near the end. So while I"m not sure what I want to do, I fear I've lost any chance of being with her even if I do decide to look beyond this.
Atsuro is going to be very upset at me for even considering taking her back…
Well… Every rose has its thorn, I guess the saying goes…
I was called into the hospital my Otou-san's doctors and Uzumaki Tenken'sama. They gave me a long talk about medical jargon and seal work that left me half-confused, half astounded. Seems I'm more confused now than I ever was. They gave their expert opinions of where my father was, and in the end it all boiled down to one thing: In their opinion, it would be kinder to let him go. I had long ago cried out all my tears for my dad, or at least so I thought. Thing is, I know what my dad would say in the state they said he'd be left in if he did make a reasonable recovery. He'd hate life. He'd wish he had died. So… after remembering what my dad told me… I told them to pull the plug.
I cried when he started spasming. They were silent tears, but they still came. And when he stopped, everyone thought it was finally over. But he fooled us all and started to make a comeback. We don't know what will happen when he does wake, but at least its no longer an "if." Now if only I can convince myself I did the right thing. I guess I need to talk to Atsuro soon. I'm really not looking forward to that conversation.
Highly erratic writing, hard pressed. Writer is furious.
Of all the people that I thought would stab me in the back, I least expected Uchiha Narusegawa-san. Though looking back, I can see where I should have expected something was wrong. Her coolness to me when I tried to warn her of the Recluse should have given me more cause for concern than it did. But I was too blinded by love for her, and didn't see it.
As it turns out, she was in love with someone else. I can partly understand that, as I wasn't actively seeking her out for a long time, and I didn't go see her when Hitoshi turned up missing. And I'll admit I was hurt by that. But you know, there was nothing preventing her from seeking me out if she felt lonely! But apparently she didn't care enough to do so. No, instead she finds another lover, and then kills her, though that was not her fault. So I cornered her and asked her straight, where did that leave us. I was confused as what to do, and wanted to talk to her about it. Kami only knows why.
A response of "I can't tell you right now, because it's too soon," or something along those lines that at least considered my feelings would have sufficed. But no, instead she lashes out at me, placing sole blame for our failed romance on me, as if she was perfect and I was wrong about everything. I nodded, thanked her for her time, and tried to leave. I even apologized for pushing. But then she starts in on how I'm not considering her feelings, when I was leaving to avoid an argument. The way she made it sound, unless I was willing to play the poor emotional leaning post I was in the wrong.
That was it. I snapped, and defended myself. I have had enough of being a punching bag, emotionally or otherwise, and blaming me for everything and telling me I was not following through on my statement of being there for her was too much. So I defended myself, telling her exactly where she could go. And what does she do? She tells me to grow up. EXCUSE ME? Just who does she think she is?! I have a right to defend myself when someone is blaming me for everything. That's part of being and adult. She has become just as bad as the Elders who tell me its my fault that my uncles turned traitor. That's one knife in the back too many. I told her not to try to find me. We're through. I'm ending it now. She can go to hell as far as I'm concerned. I want nothing more to do with Uchiha'san.
Well, the Recluse are not above using everything they can against me, including my search for them. As it turns out, I got a message about a lead from what checked out as a minor merchant. Usagi demanded she come along with, so we headed out to the rendezvous location, only to discover that it was a trap. This guy was a veritable seal genius, and for a while he was hitting me right, left and center. It was only when Narusegawa, of all people, came upon us that the tide of the battle started to turn. Even then only my raigatsuga was hitting, as was her best and highest techniques. It was only after a lightning orb from Narusegawa that we managed to eliminate him, but I and my ninken are pretty much trashed.
This leads to a question: What was she doing there, and why did she step in? I had understood our relationship was over, but apparently not, or at least she has /some/ feelings for me. I just don't know if I can risk the pain of being close to her again. Will this happen again? Can I forgive her? Can she open up to me? Do either of us want that? I just don't know…
A "Permanent" Rift
I woke up in the hospital to investigators from the ANBU, and spent some time explaining why a former clearing within the woods is now little more than a debris field consisting of a fused crater and rocks and boulders of various sizes. The entire incident was labeled classified for the first few days, which left my job of informing Usagi's brother very difficult. I went back to sleep, only to wake up with Naru standing over me, prodding me awake. After insisting that she return to her bed, we had a talk.
Well, she apologized for her words on top of her roof, but not so much for the meaning behind them. I guess my feelings have been unrequited for quite some time and I didn't know it, making me the stupid one. But I let her know in no uncertain terms how I felt about what she on that roof, though we did not get into the cause of the incident, her infidelity. No matter that we were never really dating, we were at one time headed that way, and she betrayed those feelings. I just can't bring myself to forget that, and that means we're through, at least as anything closer than normal friends.
Yet I can't in all good conscience leave her to be swallowed by the darkness that is consuming her. Despite Atsuro's rather loud and vocal displeasure, I will continue to try to save her from being swallowed by her hatred and desire for revenge. I may be too late, but I won't give up, and I won't back down. Kami help me be strong….
Accepting the Blame
I met, briefly, with Nara Shintaro, Usagi-san's brother. At first he called my leadership abilities and my decision making skills into serious question over the injuries Usagi received, but I managed to acquit myself of most of those allegations. One allegation did remain however, and he is truly right to accuse me of that. He told me that I should have realized the Recluse would be a step ahead of me, given their past movements, and should have taken into consideration that I could be walking into a trap. I didn't, and one of my genin got hurt. I apologized to him for that, but I'm not sure he heard me as he left just after.
Problem is, I have to assume they know she's connected with me. This places her in danger from them, for they have also proven in the past that they're not above using those people closest to me against me. I am worried about her, for she's kinda like a little sister. So I've made up my mind. Time to train my team into the ground, and get even stronger myself. I can't afford to let them hurt Usagi-san or anyone else.
I can't believe it, my dad is finally awake. He's a shadow of the great man he once was physically, but mentally and in all other ways, he's much like his old self. We've had some talks about things, and he was sad to hear what happened between Naru and I. Though he's of the opinion that even if we never get together, we shouldn't end it like this. He's tried to encourage me to go see her, but I'm not sure…
He and I have also talked about other things. He agrees with me about the Recluse, and agrees with my stance toward them. He also is very upset at the Clan's elder council, and intends to have words with them. I've told him about what I've done, how far I've com in my training, and I swear his face could light up the whole room. My heart nearly broke. But he'll see it all soon enough.
I really missed him. I'm so glad he's back…
Chuunin, Jounin, and Legendary Exams
Big announcement today: "In order to prevent war and continue peace, the second chuunin and jounin exams is soon to be underway. Also, there will be a legendary contest for those that wish to prove their worth beyond Jounin." Great idea: Holding these exams. Lousy idea: Allowing Kiri to hold these exams. I mean, come on, this is the very same country that invaded Konoha not once, but twice, the second time after promising not to do it again. How can anyone trust the word of the Kiri leadership? Yes yes, said leadership has changed. So what? Does that mean we have to automatically trust them again just because a new face is in the Mizukage's office? Did people suddenly forget we live in a Shinobi world, full of lies and deceit? Well, as a veteran of both Konoha-Kiri wars, I guarantee I have not. Add to that the fact that Kiri has made a strong political alliance with Suna, who held the last set of exams, and they have everything they need to set one hell of a trap for the other nations, especially Konoha and Kumo, the later of whom has been one step away from war with Kiri and Suna for several months now…
Well, it's a good thing I'm not ready to apply for Jounin yet, for I am not about to stick my head out for it to be lobbed off. At least I'm not the only one who feels this way, as Atsuro does as well. Neither one of us will be taking the Jounin exams in Kiri.
I Should Have Known…
It appears as if my decision to have nothing to do with The Exams (as I will call them from here on out) was a bit hasty. I should have remembered that Ryo was a logical candidate for chuunin this time around, and counted on him entering the exams. Okay, that was my mistake. Even my second most experienced student, Senju Ryuunosuke participating should have only been a minor surprise for me. He is an experienced genin afer all, and a practitioner of wind taijutsu. So that should have been something I should have at least thought of. But the true surprise, which upon reflection I should have guessed would be a possibility, was Nara Usagi, the genin that just graduated the academy not that long ago. I should have known she would push herself this far, given her determination to be involved in my problems with the Recluse. Both her brother and I have been insisting that if she was going to put herself in this, that she make herself stronger. Well, she obviously is doing just that…
I blame myself. She shouldn't be participating in these exams at this point. I made her quite well aware of my feelings on the matter, but she insists. If she gets hurt, it will be essentially my fault for pushing her to get stronger as quickly as possible. I just hope the even more intensive training that her brother and I are putting her through will help keep her safe.
My entire team is walking into this trap. I will have to put my life on the line by going to Kiri as well. I will be even more vulnerable to the Recluse than before, which scares me due to finding one of their supply and observation spots, right outside the area I practice my rock carving in. They have been within 10 feet of me before and I never knew it. I wouldn't have without the information my dad gave when he awoke. That tells me they know all about me, my team, and our abilities. I wish, on that basis alone, I could convince my team not to do this. But they won't listen. I told the other two to follow Ryo in the event of a Recluse attack, and to watch over each other in case my fears about this being a trap are realized. This is a most dangerous time for my team and I, and I can only pray to Kami and our ancestors for guidance and protection. The only other thing I can do is make myself stronger, which I fully intend upon doing.
Time I Got a Little of Mine
After carefully planning things out with the Hokage and the mission office, we were finally able to be proactive with the Recluse. We found the general location of their outpost in Konoha, and the mission office put together a team for me to scout it out. The mission was to take it out if I could, or if not, scout and call in the ANBU. I was assigned a surprising array of shinobi: Atsuro (who I expected), Eremi (who I didn't know was back in their good graces), and… Naru (who I had no clue about joining). It was strange being in contact with Naru, and she came off very confrontational and abrasive. I apologized for half-ignoring her when I was practicing my water manipulation, and that settled things down between us, for now. We do need to talk, though. She needs to understand where I'm coming from, and I need closure.
The mission, to put it bluntly, was trap hell. There were seals all over the place, and one great big one in their location. Eremi and I blundered into them a couple of times, according to Naru, which warned them we were coming. But we got the last laugh when we retreated just as the ANBU came in. The fight was… brutal, but their outpost is no more.
This mission though highlighted a couple of things for me. Eremi looked like he thought he needed to prove himself. I'm still upset that he disappeared the way he did. I thought he was dead. But he obviously still cares about our friendship, so I'm willing to over-look it. But he doesn't need to prove himself to me. He should concentrate on proving himself to him. He needs to find himself, and come out of that shell a little more. Someday I'll explain it to him.
Another thing I learned is that I need to broaden my skills in sealing arts. I need to get stronger, and learn how to manipulate chakra better. I can't keep falling for these traps. The Recluse appear to excell in seals, amongst other things. If I'm to survive, I'm going to need to match them, or find something to counter their strengths. This means more training in seals, more training in elemental taijutsu, and… I need to understand the human body better, so I can learn how to counter some of their worst techniques.
I have a long way to go.
A New Direction
This has been a very interesting few days, since I got back from the mission with Eremi and Atsuro. I killed a few people on this mission. They were not by far my first kills, nor will they be my last. But these were just hapless security grunts for some rich noble. Yet I set a high-power explosive tag on the gate right beside them, and blew them up. Atsuro was most disappointed in me, and let me know so in no uncertain terms a couple of days later.
The next day I wind up talking to Sakue-sensei, and she brings up that she read the report. She asked me what was going through my mind, and I explained to her my reasoning. She told me that while I was right by the strict interpretations of conduct, she found it… disheartening that I was so blase to kill relative innocents. That and my little act with the rich guy to free our target worked a little too well. We had a long talk afterwards about how I acted, and though I didn't feel any real urge to kill that guy, my experiences have left me marked. It is now much easier to promise death and violence rather than look to a peaceful solution, which would get me heavily watched if I kept it up. She then recommended that I find something to balance it out, both so I can keep from being deemed a risk, and for my own peace of mind.
I've spent the better part of two days working things out. If it has become too easy for me to take lives, then I need to start trying to save them. I'm gearing up to be a elemental taijutsu master, but that only incorporates violence. Plus with the Recluse after not only me, but those around me, I need more than elemental taijutsu and seals to counteract them. I will be helpless if I arrive to late to stop an attack, and another seal on anyone like the one they put on my dad would devastate me. I need an edge. I need to balance myself. I need to give something back that isn't violent. It was then it hit me. I'm trying to work seals to help me improve my workings with chakra, but why should I be greedy and do it only for myself? Why can't I help others, and maybe find that peace in process. With that in mind, I approached the med-nins and put in my application. I'll become a med-nin, and change myself for the better.
The Recluse will still go down, and I will be the instrument of that destruction, but the best revenge I can accomplish is to live and prosper, despite what they're doing. I can do this. I will do this. It is time for a change…
Welcome to Kiri
Okay, I have to say I am distinctly nervous being here in Kiri. I don't like this place. I don't like this place. I *really* don't like this place. Who the hell decorates in bones? Yet they're everywhere, a constant reminder of just how bloodthirsty Kiri is. I will have to be on by toes here. I can't afford to show how much I hate Kiri, to anyone. Friend or foe, doesn't matter. This is a Hidden Village, and we use the term "Hidden" for more than just the fact they can be hard to find. Allies can be hard to find too…
Speaking of allies, I sought out Naru to wish her luck today since the exams start tomorrow. And we got into another knock down drag out fight. I pulled out my mementos of our relationship, and she had the unmitigated gall to tell me she wasn't going to be held to something she said when she was a genin! So what, does a change in rank allow us to forsake our loved ones and go back on our words? Does it make promises, either implied or stated, any less valid now? I got fed up, and left the mementos there. If she picked them up, fine. If not, I'm not going to worry. I'm done, she'll never see that she is wrong. Even if she does, she'll never admit it.
A change in tactics
*Handwriting is messy, as if he's writing in his off hand and he is upset*
Well, the Recluse let me know that they can strike anywhere, no matter where I am. This time they struck at Namami Restaurant by a seal trap inside a bottle of soy sauce. Soy sauce for Kami's sake! And if it weren't for Uzumaki's seals and Atsuro's ingenuity, I would not be here now. Still I was pretty bad off when the bottle exploded, throwing both Atsuro and I into a wall. So I wound up temporarily blinded with a severely damaged right hand and a strained chakra network. And just the other day I was studying medical ninjutsu involving the circulatory system and the chakra network! Now how ironic is that? And to top it all off, this happened the day before the second phase of the exams are supposed to end, which meant I had to miss my team leaving the testing grounds. At least Shirayuki-sama wasn't too bad to deal with, and she did speed up my healing some.
To make matters worse, I was just told that Ryuunosuke-san died in the exams. Did I mention I really hate this place? I tried to help Usagi through it, but how can I help her when I can't help myself? I failed him, and I failed the team. I tried to teach them good judgment, but he had to try to avenge Isato-san, and lost his life because of it. I can't even blame his killer, for she tried to give up in many different ways, but he was having none of it. Why didn't he accept her surrender? I don't know…
Things get worse… and better…
Another thing about these fights I hate is that the organizers, in their much vaunted wisdom, decided to put everyone I care about in the same tree. And just how do we start out? With Ryo and Usagi fighting one-another. Ryo was fighting himself the entire time, and trying to make up for not protecting Ryuunosuke-san by driving Usagi out of the tournament. This of course angers Usagi, which caused her to try to prove herself to Ryo. In the end Ryo won of course, which really torqued Usagi. The team discussion turned into a fight, and I suppose I'll have to try to find Usagi later to calm her down.
So to take my mind off my troubles, I decided to confront another one. Naru had asked me to talk earlier, so I went to her hotel room to see what she wanted. She surprised me by starting out with an apology for hurting me. She said that she was not trying to hurt me, and she finally recognized my feelings. I won't make her apologize for loving someone else, but what happened after is what hurt, which is what I was trying to make her understand. It looks like she finally got the message, and apologized! I could have been knocked over by a feather… We decided to try to be friends again, but I'm still unsure. Still, she's trying to take this slow and easy, so it may yet work out…
The Recluse Are for Hire???
Okay, just when I thought things couldn't get any stranger, they do. We were attacked on our way out of the Land of Water by a member of the Recluse. But this time I apparently wasn't the target. No, this time Naru was the target, and the man said he was hired to attack her. I tried to help her, but this man was very strong in chakra taijutsu, taking attacks from my elemental three-headed wolf form like they were nothing. Unfortunately, this was a win for them, the man completed his mission. The man sealed away Naru's Sharingan, leaving her blind. After taking a close look at the seal, all I could say for certain is the man's stated goal was achieved. I really need to train more in seals…
Actually, I need to train more in medical ninjutsu as well. My proposed specialty: medical chakra interactions, plays well into this. It really makes me angry that I can't do more for Naru. I can't even protect my own body. How can I help others when I can't even help myself. I make a promise to myself now: I will get better. I will help Naru, I will help all the victims of the Recluse. No one will ever wind up like my dad again. Never!
Uzumaki-sensei laid something really big on me today. A few days after the med-nin test from hell, he calls me up to tell me that Naru is supposed to be seen by the hospital, so her seal can be monitored and fully diagnosed. Only problem is, seal-specialist med-nin are pretty rare, even more so than seal masters. I can see why, it's a lot of work after all. But Uzumaki-sensei is due to leave soon, as he has to get back to his clan and his own village. With that in mind, and since that is my specialization, Uzumaki-sensei told me I was going to be her doctor. I'm not sure that's a good idea, and I told him so.
At first he thought it was because of the ongoing fight, and he spent an hour giving me a lecture on med-nin ethics. Finally he stopped lecturing me enough to ask me what I thought, and I explained to him that it wasn't because of the fight, we had settled that. It was because… In my heart I'm hoping we'll get back together, and we're not supposed to treat loved ones. He sighed and then said that my life as a med-nin would never be normal. I couldn't exactly fulfill the charge of staying out of harms way with the Recluse after me, and my own father would be needing my help for a long time to come. In the end, I would have to maintain strict detachment at work, and have others review my findings, and that would all that could be done.
So now I'm Naru's doctor/seal consultant on top of everything else. I'm in so much trouble…
Here we are again
Something's been bothering me for a while about my relationship with Naru, and I couldn't quite put my finger on it until very recently. She's been keeping her distance from me. It took me a little time to find out why this upset me, but I finally figured it out… I was expecting to get back together with her eventually. I tried to go it alone, but after we stopped fighting I realized that I still loved her. Atsuro will be disappointed, and angry… I think I'll avoid telling him for a while….
You see, after confiding in the one person I knew would give me a straight answer without prejudice (Usagi-san), I tracked Naru down and we had a talk. At first she was all about avoiding hurting me again, but then I pointed out that it hurt me more for her to distance herself just when I thought we were making headway. So she told me the truth, that she felt that I just wanted to be friends. Well, I told her otherwise, but she refused to believe me, finally challenging me to prove it. So I kissed her, closed mouth at first, then deep kissing when she wasn't convinced. So now she's back to being Na'chan to me again. I guess this must be fate…
We did it!
It appears Unotake'sensei and Uzumaki-sensei collaborated to give us our final test in chakra control, and man was it tough. First they nearly kill two fish in front of us, forcing us to heal them and keep them alive, then they really pull out the stops, giving Usagi a poisoned fish and me a fish with chakra infection. Pulling the bad chakra out of that fish was probably the toughest thing I've done to date, but I managed to do it. Usagi had some problems with her fish though, so I moved to support, but she managed in the end to do it without my help. This means we're official med-nins now! And according to the two sensei's, they're keeping us as a team, so I'll be working with Usagi-san on a fairly regular basis now. At least its someone I trust…
Fantasy Become Reality…
They say the best things in life are unplanned, and until now I was pretty sure whoever they were, they were full of it. But now I can see their point of view, even if it isn't always true. Starting from the beginning… I invited Naru to a picnic at my favorite carving spot in the rocky area of the Toshiba Forest. I was looking for maybe a light lunch, pleasant conversation, and maybe a kiss or two. What I got was so much more. It seems that Naru was serious about being with me, and wanted to show me in the most intimate way possible. She also showed she understands me, as she led me through things until I finally got the message, she wanted it as much as I did, and I didn't have to hold back.
What happened was so unlike me normally. I'll admit to being somewhat shy, at least for an Inuzuka, around people. I don't like the scars on my body very much, many of them because they came from me being a victim to my clan, or more to the point certain people in my clan. The rest I've learned to accept because they were obtained by my doing my job as a shinobi of the Leaf, and for fighting evil, sadistic, terrorists. But I've collected quite a few of them over the years, as my now normal voice stands in attribute. But when she felt my skin, she didn't flinch. In fact, she seemed impressed and excited by them, as if she considered them a source of pride. That she would want me like I was filled me with more love for her than I have ever had before. I think it led to the ultimate result of that "lunch," we shared ourselves fully.
It may be a typical reaction to one's first time being like this, but I'm very happy with my personal life for the first time in a long, long time. Yeah, there's a lot of challenges out there, and a lot of things that can go wrong, but that one moment showed me something that I never thought I'd feel, complete acceptance. I'll treasure that moment forever, and I can only hope there are many more such moments to come in the future.
A Possible Mistake
I will be the first to admit there are times when I really need to think things through a bit. This time I seem to have put my foot in my mouth where Atsuro is concerned. While I never lied to him about Naru and I getting together, he seemed rather hurt that I didn't confide in him about what was happening on that front, and more upset when I told him how I felt. The truth is, I did not, and still do not want to hear how much Atsuro dislikes Naru, nor how much he thinks she is bad news for me. He and I do not see eye to eye, and I for one do not believe that the outsider's view is better than the insider's view. Still, I could have put things a little more tactfully. At least we were using the I statement routine Yamanaka-sensei gave me, despite how hard it was to do. I just hope he can understand. I will not apologize for getting back together with Naru, but I will apologize for not thinking more of his feelings. Having people who actually care can be so hard…
Patching Things Up
Well, Atsuro and I managed to get things worked out. Turns out he didn't hate Naru as much as I thought, but he could see how I got that impression. We discussed me hiding things like this from him, and I apologized for that. He also apologized to me, it seems, for not quite understanding were I was coming from. He also apologized for being so hard on me when I told him I was becoming a med-nin. He admitted that he sometimes wants it all and hasn't realized that he can't have that with me. Though we share many similarities and opinions, he and I come from different pasts. And how we had to deal with the crap that happened has in large part defined our outlooks. Mine is decidedly darker than his in some areas, and I think he's now beginning to understand that. It's an improvement, and the fighting between us seems to have relaxed quite a bit. For that, I'm happy.
Just when things start to become clear, another wrench gets thrown in the works. To put it simply, Uzumaki-sensei has been kidnapped by forces unknown, right under my nose. I can't believe this is happening! How was it that two chuunin and two genin were so ineffective? And more to the point, who kidnapped Uzumaki Tenken?
Let me start at the beginning. We were hired for a mission to Kadomai to investigate some strange occurrences near the leader's house. A house that had been there and upkept for a long time disappeared. The top leaders of Konoha apparently had some suspicions, for they sent me, the Uzumaki ambassador, and two genin to investigate. It turns out their suspicions were accurate, as the house disappeared due to some seals Uzumaki-sensei is famous for. But when we investigated, someone was bringing the seals down. A closer look at the seals verified the maker of the seals just as the last ones came down and two people invaded the grounds from another side. By the time our team got there, the people were dragging a defeated Uzumaki Tenken out, and after cryptic message the attackers faded into the earth using earth jutsu, and made their escape underground. Not even a gatsuga could reach them. So I had to watch as my sensei disappeared. I vowed right then I would find him, and I shall, and Kami help those that took him, they'll need it.
A Very Bad First Day
Well, I have good news and bad news. The good news is I got promoted to Jounin. Unlike when I was promoted to chuunin, this promotion I was half-expecting. With all that I've been involved with, it makes sense for me to be promoted… Unfortunately my first mission as a Jounin turned out horrible. We were to assist the Uzumaki ambassador, Uzumaki Amiko, with capturing a known criminal of the Uzumaki clan. Unfortunately it was a trap. These people were good, very good, and we wound up loosing to them. Like most battles with Uzumaki however, this one turned into a seal fest, and Amiko-san was captured and kidnapped. Turns out the criminal was her father, who left a dead decoy body adjusted to look like her. So at first we thought she was KIA, but now she is MIA. At least I got Uzumaki-sensei's clue back from her possessions. Though I have no idea what it is…
More Variations on a Theme
Whoever said "when it rains it pours" should be electrocuted, then torn to shreds. More bad luck has struck as my two traitorous uncles managed to escape prison. Atsuro, myself, Nara Hikari, and later Yamanaka Nori were sent after them. They got away, and we were ambushed by Recluse members. I would lay even money that the Recluse had something to do with this. The people who ambushed us were very good with seals, and at last an attack fit the general m.o. that the Recluse tend to use. By the time the ambushers were dealt with, one had escaped and we captured the other. But my uncles were long gone. This worries me greatly. What did the Recluse want with them? What will they do with their freedom? How many of the clan will see this as validation for their beliefs? Whatever the answers for those questions, we will have to be more careful in the future…
** Diary forgotten for a bit of time **
Long Time no Write
Sorry its' been so long since I last wrote, but I've been very busy with all sorts of issues. First let me cover my personal life, since that is the easiest part of everything to cover.
My relationship with my family has been somewhat rocky. First I get into a fight with Atsuro (which I already covered), then I have my doubts about Naru when she accepts a mission for the Hokage to infiltrate the True Fire Mvement. I thank my lucky stars shew as not there to see it, though I will have to tell her soon what happened. Never the less to say she's back from her mission, though I have a feeling there will be much more than that to talk about.
Usagi is doing well, though she's a bit upset for me right now. As I will explain in another entry, she doesn't like a recent decision I made. She understands why I made it, and understands I truly had no choice but to make this decision, but she is still upset that I had to put my life on the line. Not my death, as she put it, but my life. My life no longer belongs to me, something she knows full well. And she's sad for me. But as I told her, I refuse to give up on my loved ones just because they're not Inuzuka. More about that in the appropriate post. It suffices to say I'm not sure where my personal relationships are going to go, or any of my professional relationships for that matter. But as they say, it's the journey, and not the destination that matters.
Speaking of Usagi, I might as well cover team happenings next. It seems just when things get put together, they start falling apart. I may not know what will happen with Team 6 now, but I know for a fact that if I am forced from it, it will be in capable hands.
You see, we finally found not one, but two new members for Team 6. The first is Tenjin Kasumi-san. She's an interesting girl from the Tenjin clan, specializing in Genjutsu and poisons. While I think she'll fit in well with the team (I know from rumors and from observation she at least gets along very well with the other new member), I have some concerns in a couple of areas. First is that she doesn't seem to know how to act around dogs, nin-dogs especially. She kept talking down to Shinobu and Nozomi, and I had to remind her a couple of times they possessed human level intelligent. Finally it took them speaking in human tongue for the point to get across. Yet she seems willing to learn, so I'm willing to let that go for the moment. The second concern is her addiction to some kind of drug called "root." She herself admits it is a very addictive substance, though its effect level is somewhat mild. The med-nin in me wants to tell her to quit it or lose her commission, but so far it seems to be just about the same effectiveness level as smoking or alcohol. So for now, since it is not illegal, I won't say anything.
The other new member of my team is Uchiha Hinotori. He was introduced as a prospective team member by Usagi, and I can see the wisdom of having a second Jounin on the team with two Chuunin. I'm very impressed by his level head, and his cooperative demeanor. So far he's nothing like the other Uchiha I know, and I know for a fact Ryo will not have a problem with him. Ryo even gave his approval when he finally met up with him. Turns out Ryo decided to make himself scarce for a while to think through the death of Ryuunosuke. He wound up taking everything on himself, something that I tried to correct by taking the blame myself. I can tell I didn't quite get through to him, though I hope Hinotori can as a teammate, fellow Uchiha, and a former sensei. Maybe he'll have better luck with Ryo than I did.
To cap off all this drama, I and everyone with me at the time was summoned by my dad in his position as Founders Clan Heir to investigate the murder of Inuzuka Tao, now Former Clan Alpha of the Inuzuka. From the start this proved to be a difficult case, even if it moved fairly quickly. Atsuro, Usgai, and Hinotori made up my investigative team so that it comprised half Inuzuka and half outsiders. There were a lot of protests from certain circles over the presences of Usagi and Hinotori, which surprised me. Not that people objected in having outsiders involved, that was a given. My surprise came in that no one, not a single person, objected to // me // being involved. It appears as if my standing in the clan had gone up rather dramatically, which turned out to be a good thing. Even my detractors had to admit I would be ruthlessly fair.
Unfortunately to keep that reputation of being fair, I had to set up Kenichi to be bait by arresting him and semi-humiliating him in public. Kenichi understood that even though evidence appeared, on the surface, to point to him as the assassin, the investigative team had all but ruled him out by the time I arrested him. No… we already knew the truth: The Recluse had planted another spy. Setting Kenichi as bait to draw out the spy and her accomplices was the second hardest thing I have ever done. My entire investigative team, my father, and a no few of the other Inuzuka knew I was in my own personal Hell. My respect for Kenichi was far too well known, so even though the other Inuzuka had thought my Hell had a different source, they knew I was there. But I used that, much to my inner revulsion, to prevent a bigger catastrophe.
In order to stop the spy from gaining the role of Clan Alpha, I quickly began to realize that I'd have to throw my own hat into the ring, as it were. The clan would only accept one of two people as Alpha, the traitor and myself. I really did not want the Clan Alpha role, but I realized if I refused the nomination, the new traitor would win by default. No one else was in a position to keep her from it. So I had to make a large sacrifice: I had to give my life for the very clan that scorned me while I was growing up. For one moment I wasn't sure it would be worth it, but I realized if I let her win, those I cared for most would be in danger, and the entire clan would likely fall on the order of the Hokage. So I accepted the nomination, and when the traitor took the bait, I swung the trap closed and called for a vote.
Yay me, I'm the new Clan Alpha.
Thoughts on the Future
Being the Clan Alpha of such a fractured clan is no picnic. There are large rifts from years of the upper echelons of the clan advancing themselves on the backs of "lower" clan members that need to be addressed. In addition, the presence of so many traitors has left its mark on the clan in the form of intolerance and condescension amongst the clan in general. The clan as a whole has begun to not only distrust outsiders, but clan members as well. I have to continually remind people that we are all family, that no one is better than anyone else. If there will be anything said about my leadership style of the clan, it will be as a "First Among Equals."
Already there are efforts from some of the clan members to get me married to someone from in clan, despite the fact I have a girlfriend from the Uchiha. This, and my brotherly relationship with Usagi, will likely be a point of politics my opponents will try to use against me for a long while. I will have to rely on my friends, my family, and my allies to help me avoid this pitfall. So far, the only way I can come up with is having my relationship being testing the waters for political alliances between the clans in question. But that will take time to set up, and agreement from the respective females in question. Wish me luck on that, for I may need it. I imagine Na'chan is going to hit the roof when we finally sit down and talk about this. That is not a conversation I look forward to.
Finally there is the fate of Team 6. Though I am still listed as a Shinobi of the Leaf, and required to take missions both in that aspect as a doctor for the Hospital, allowances have to be made for my importance to the clan. This means the more dangerous missions will have to be done by someone else, and this could pose problems with my leading Team 6. I have no idea what to do about that, other than talk to Ryo-san and Hinotori-san and ask them to step up a bit more. And deciding who my second in command is between them is going to be fun as well. I don't see Hinotori-san submitting to Ryo-san's authority easily. Hinotori-san was Ryo-san's former sensei after all…
Usagi mentioned that this would effect all aspects of my life, and she's right. Then again, she normally is. The only thing I can do now is grab the wolf by the tail and hold on tight, for this is going to be one doozy of a ride….
The first parts of my time as Clan Alpha was spent trying to repair the damage the murders of my Grandfather and several other Elders caused. I did a few misions here and there, help prevent an invasion from countries outside the elemental nations, and generally performed my duties both as an adviser to the Hokage and the Chief Surgeon/Combat Medic for the hospital. I gained some apprentices, had to punish a misguided young man who tried to defect to Kumo, and otherwise performed normal duties one would expect of a Clan Alpha.\
When I finally turned my attention back to my old enemy, it got brought to my attention that they grew far beyond what I ever expected. They formed their own village, which I found out on my way to Kumo's chuunin exams. This concerned me greatly. I stayed only long enough to ensure my students would do well, then I rushed back to Konoha to make plans, and to contact old acquaintances. Tenken-sensei answered, and together we went undercover to shore up my intelligence network. Unfortunately, I was not quite prepared for just how strong they were. We were captured, and only Tenken manged to escape.
I will never forget the lessons taught to me during those days as a prisoner of the Recluse. They introduced me to pain the likes I had never heard of. Nozomi and Shinobu both lost an eye, and one of my ears was cut off. Only the stubbornness that Atsuro always accused me of possessing kept me from breaking, but it was so close…
Tenken apparently went to Konoha and found help. Usagi found me first, then Atsuro, Tenken-sensei, Takeo-san, Naru (surprisingly), and a Kumo nin ceme to my rescue. Usagi healed me just enough to even the odds before I passed out. I was told later that the group decided to leave then, and Kaguya Fumiko'teme likely escaped. Tenken says that he has business with Fumiko-teme. Well, so do I. I guess we'll see who gets to her first.
After spending a few months recovering from my ordeal, I thought that I was keeping close tabs on my enemy. My spies were working overtime, and things started to look up. The afformentioned problems with my clan started evening out, and I even volunteered to help a Maneshi, of all people. Dogs and Cats… Naru came back to the village, and took over some high-ranking position. We'll see how long she'll stay this time. All and all, things were looking up. Then… The Recluse struck again…
The First Casualty
People either like me or hate me, there seems to to be no middle ground. But even my detractors know that to injure one of my friends, or bring danger to my Clan, will trigger a certain and all-encompassing retribution. Even though the Recluse was always a group that could stand up my anger, I always thought that their penchant for remaining behind the scenes would keep the fighting to skirmishes. Little did I realize that their forming a Hidden Village meant that their time in the shadows was over. And Takeo paid the price.
I wish I had been more observant, more clever. I wish I had forseen what they would do. It started out in a way so typical of them, they set a trap that lured me and a small escort out of the village. All three of us, Takeo, Kenta-san, and myself, thought that their target would be me. How foolish could we be? Their symbol's base is the kanji for balance. I naively thought they wouldn't consider the Inuzuka Clan having a jinchuriki a threat. How stupid of me…
Nevertheless to say, the trap they set wasn't for me, but for Takeo. They extracted the three-tailed turtle (Isobu?) out of him, which should have killed him. But it didn't, thanks to Kenta-san's efforts. But in a way, I almost wish Kenta wasn't quite as good. I look at Takeo now… and I want to beg forgiveness and abase myself even more than I did with the Inuzuka girl we rescued from a group of ruthless mercenaries (Shinobu, ironically enough). To see his dead expression, his lost look, hurts worse than when they captured me.
The Recluse made it clear that they considered themselves at war with the Inuzuka Clan. It took me three months to gather the evidence necessary to publicly acknowledge it, but I finally did. And so it begins…
Taiki's outside personality, what he shows everyone not really close to him.
A promise he's made to everyone in the village.
Taiki's very world has been turned upside down and radically changed. Now he is challenged to find the hero inside of himself.
Taiki has struck a balance between the wolf and the man, but a part of him will always be wild and primal.
Taiki at war. Enough said.
When its time to fight the time for deep deliberations about life ends. One needs to be focused on the moment, and focused on bringing the fight to your opponent, if you are to survive. Taiki believes in this philosophy wholeheartedly, and will bring it to whoever threatens his friends, loved ones, and comrades.
His sensei calls him stubborn, but in reality Atsuro has no idea just how stubborn Taiki can be. Born from the fires of a drastic childhood and civil war, Taiki vows to himself that he will never, ever, surrender. Stubborn? you have no clue.
Taiki aspires to reach this point sometime in the future. Recent events had finally done what everyone thought was impossible, they broke him. As he picks up the pieces of his life and puts them back together, he regains the determination he lost. Someday he hopes he can truly say Life is beautiful.
So many things have changed in Taiki's life. With so many new responsibilities, and his father not being able to resume his prior commitments, Taiki has realized he can no longer wallow in his pain. By doing so, all he does is hurt people. So he says goodbye to his past, goodbye to the pain, and strives for his own second chance at life.
Taiki is not a one-dimensional being. There are many facets to him, and some hindrances. The biggest one being many of the people in Taiki's own clan. Due to Taiki's passion for ninjutsu Taiki is somewhat of the black sheep, and has faced derision and scorn for many years. But he will rise above this, some day.
Taiki has come to understand that love them or hate them, the Inuzuka are his family. With Konoha endangered from all sides, Taiki is determined to turn things around, and to bring them together. It will be hard, but he will make it happen, no matter what happens along the way.
This, in the end represents what he wishes his clan could be. This is dream for the clans of the Inuzuka. This is where he works to bring them. The Civil War is done, let the healing of the aftermath begin.
Lyrics can be found here
Lyrics can be found here
Uchiha Ryo, Second in command
Nara Usagi: Taiki's opinion
Once again, Naru comes back to Konoha. They have yet to see each-other since her return, at least on a personal level. The last conversation before her return had Taiki ready to put their relationship behind them. Now… No one knows what will happen, save he can't just walk away.
It's time for the Recluse to go down.
Note: THIS ORGANIZATION IS NO MORE. All leaders are dead, and the followers, what few that remain living, have scattered to the seven winds.
|True Leader||Uzumaki Hironobu|
|Base of Operations||Land of Fire (Main)
Land of Earth
Land of Lightning
|Allies||No Information Available|
|Perceived Leader||Kawano Yoshihisa|
|Chief Surgeon||Kaguya Fumiko|
|Trainer||No Information Available|
|No Information available|
|Areas of Expertise||Seals
The Recluse have, in actuality, been active for quite some time. Their core members are all at least A-Ranked if not S-Ranked shinobi, and are quite adept at remaining in the background. In fact, they have had a long-standing policy to kill anyone who even discovered the name "The Recluse" through assassinations that could easily be attributable to other causes. Their true leader, Uzumaki Hironobu, is even believed to be dead by the greater Uzumaki clan, a belief he will admit to having created and nurtured through the years.
He originally created The Recluse due to a trend he saw growing in the Shinobi world. Individuals and clans sought power, often without considering the cost. More often than not, that search for power caused pain, suffering, and needless bloodshed. With no signs of slowing down, this grab for power by the Shinobi could only lead to the world's destruction, or so Hironobu believes. After loosing his sister to an Uchiha, he decided that the Shinobi of the world needed a regulator, so he created The Recluse for just such a purpose.
The Recluse was to be that check. They would watch Shinobi of all clans, all areas, for signs of someone reaching for more power than they should have. When they would find somebody, they would arrange for bad things to happen to them as a warning, and if the warning was not heeded, they would kill them. But Hironobu was no fool. He saw the irony in that to be able to curtail the rise of power, his organization would have to become the very monsters they were fighting. Thus he set up a "public" leader that would himself only be known by the officers, while he appears to be little more than a shadow. If any member of the Recluse tries to betray the organization, or seeks power to their own ends and not to the betterment of The Recluse, he kills them. Yoshihisa knows that even he is not exempt from this, and knows that Hironobu's skills can be both extremely frightening and extremely subtle. Thus he is utterly devoted to Hironobu's ideals, and will not go against him.
The Recluse consider the formation of the Hidden Villages to be their greatest failure and shame. They see these villages as attempts by the clans to gain more power than ever before, thus causing even more bloodshed and horror. But they could not stop their creation, so they have intensified their efforts to prune away the increasing efforts to discover more power. To this end they have started an initiative to enlist aid from within the clans. They look for those most compatible with their ideas, and promise them support and training if they will limit any innovation of new and more powerful techniques within their clan. They understand the dangers of doing things this way, and are quick to ensure that their operatives within the clans know next to nothing other than who they meet with and where. That way any leads to them can be eliminated relatively quickly.
By in large, they have been successful with their tactics, though their failures tend to be plainly obvious. Only recently have they started accumulating the power needed to take on stronger opponents, though the Inuzuka Clan is proving to be quite the thorn in their side. This is a thorn they are one day going to silence, even if it means destroying the entire clan.
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