Date: July 13, 2015
Kuroko and Kurome meet to share a bowl of ramen and discuss clan business.
"A Chat Over Ramen"
The Aburame is in the ramen house tonight, but not only for a delicious bowl of noodles - no, tonight she has come on business. She has asked the clan head of Uchiha to come and meet with her, to discuss how things are coming along. Kurome hadn't been a clan head very long, as it was, and so Kuroko had taken it upon herself to act as a sort of mentor to the younger kunoichi, in giving advice and helping her to understand her role better.
Sitting down at the counter, Kuroko orders a bowl of miso flavored ramen and a jug of sake for her and Kurome to share, when she got here. Her long sleeved jacket sported a high collar that covered half of her face, her long and straight black hair flowing over her shoulders and reaching her knees. Her eyes were still covered by opaque shades, even though it was nighttime.
Kurome got the message loud and clear from one of the clan heads. She didn't know what to expect but for delicious Ramen. The Uchiha entered the shop, drinking in the scent of the broth and oils that permeated the air. It made her stomach rumble, and she quickly ordered a bowl for herself before sitting down across the only Aburame that could be considered a clan head. (Also, Clan Heads are sort of known… Why wouldn't she know this one?) "Kuroko-sama," she greets with a small bow of her head before she seats herself. "I apologize for ordering food before you. I had just come from training."
Kuroko simply smiles and shakes her head with a wave of her hand. "Don't worry about that, Kurome-san.. How are you this evening? Is your training going well?" Kuroko's bowl arrived just minutes before Kurome's, along with the jar of sake that Kuroko had requested. "Ah," she interrupts, picking up the jug and pouring out into the small cups provided for Kurome and herself, placing one in front of the other woman carefully with a light bow of her head. "Doozo."
The Aburame would then pick up her chopsticks and hold them between the thumbs of both hands as she placed her palms together with a recitation of "Itadakimasu,", before snapping them open and smiling at Kurome to continue what she was saying. She was sure the Uchiha would want to eat, as well.
Kurome dips her head and says, "It's going well. Training is hard, and I might need a sparring partner or two. But I'm managing." She sighs softly and leans back, taking the teacup with a soft murmured thanks. "Being Clan Head is tough, too. I didn't think there'd be such a demand from the Uchiha elders," she admits. The ramen finally arrives, and her stomach is all the more grumbly. She snaps open the chopsticks, calling an "Itadakimaaaasu!" before chowing down! … In the most calm, quick, and efficient manner possible.
Kuroko only smiles with a knowing nod, turning her attention to her bowl and starting to dip into her own noodles, pulling down the collar of her jacket so that it wouldn't get in the way of her eating. "Yes," she says after a moment, enjoying her meal in between thoughts. "Being a leader isn't as easy or convenient as one might think… There is always someone to answer to, no matter who you are." The Aburame slurps her noodles quietly for a moment, her mind idle on that thought. "But I am sure you are doing a fine job of it, Kurome-san… The Uchiha are known to impose high standards upon their members, but that is not for lack of performance… It is simply the way that they are." Kuroko assumed that Kurome would already understand this much, as an Uchiha herself, and the head of her clan. "I hope that my words are of some comfort to you."
Kurome pauses in her meal, the bowl half-empty now. She glances around briefly, then lowers her voice. "I don't feel like much of a leader…" she murmurs. "A /Genin/ beat me. If I didn't use my Sharingan, I wouldn't have won. I'm a shame to the clan," she hisses softly, looking dejected at the end. It's a rare sight, but Kurome needed to confide in someone. And at this point, the doubt was so bad that she didn't care who.
Kuroko looks upon the younger woman with a somewhat troubled gaze, though it is difficult to see behind her glasses. "… Kurome," she says, turning to face the Uchiha slowly. "… I want you to remember these words. A leader is not defined by strength of skill, but by strength of conviction. Strength of will. And by the ability to judge and act in ways that most benefit their clan… Your only duty is to delegate responsibly. It does not matter if you are not the strongest in your clan… You must only be the most devoted. If there is a job you cannot do, make the wise decision and delegate it to someone who can. This is how you best serve your clan… Not by expecting to do everything yourself, but by finding ways to work cohesively as a unit… as a team. This is what leadership is. And your clan will come to respect you for it, when you realize it within yourself… Be confident, Kurome-san, but be humble. To lead is to serve. Nothing more."
Kuroko looked back down into her bowl, contemplating what she just said to make sure that everything had come out as coherently as possible. "I hope that you understand my philosophy on the matter, and that it gives you hope, Kurome-san…"
Kurome's eyes shadow slightly at the advice, but it was consideration that dimmed her gaze. The woman thinks over the Aburame's words, then gives a soft sigh. "It's hard to feel that anyone in my clan respects me. They see the title, not me." She narrows her eyes. "They shouldn't have picked me. I'm not the right Uchiha for this. Someone else should be Clan Head," she mutters, poking at her ramen and slurping up a mouthful of noodles.
Kuroko smiles slightly.. watching her noodles quietly. "… Do you know how the matriarch of the Aburame is chosen, Kurome-san? We are chosen by the number of female kikaichu who choose to reside in our bodies… It is hardly a position which requires any sort of skill, or predisposition towards leadership… It is what we make of it. A matriarch can do the best she can with the hand she is dealt… Because we really have no choice in the matter. You are facing a dilemma which countless Aburame matriarchs have also faced, I am sure… The question of 'why me'.. 'am I really meant to do this'… But I tell you this, Kurome-san. Sometimes we are given responsibilities in life that we are unprepared for… And we can either adapt, or give up. Now, as clan heads, I would be appalled at the idea of simply giving up and rolling over… That would be the one true way to dishonor your clan… No. So that leaves us one option… We must adapt to the situation, and do our best to lead honorably… There is nothing more to it than that."
Kuroko resumes her noodles quietly, sipping at a bit of the broth. "… Respect yourself and your clan, and your clan will respect you…"
"…" Kurome says nothing in response, but those sensitive to emotions would be able to tell that she had a lot more on her mind. She's calmed, but only slightly. "I'll take your advice to heart, Kuroko-san," she says with a small nod, eating her ramen.