Date: March 14, 2015
Hige asks Taiki's advice on controlling his temper
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"An Alpha's Advice"
Taiki's office, Inuzuka Compound
It's an early spring evening and Hige is on the move. His steps aren't taking him far however. He'd sent a notice to Taiki letting the Clan Head he'd like to meet with him around this time and now was going from his small home to the Clan Heads much more substantial one. Of course Konsho is with him when he goes and the pair stops at the door. Hige sighs softly, a hand running through his shortened hair, before he knocks on the door to the mans house.
Having received a request for a meeting, Taiki made sure his schedule was cleared. Therefore, Taiki's butler was quick to answer the door and bow slightly toward Hige. "The Clan Alpha is expecting you," the older man says as he recognizes the young Genin, "Follow me." Hige is led through the house to Taiki's office, which surprisingly enough has a normal door instead of the more traditional sliding doors found in other places of the house. The butler knocks slowly three times, then opens the door without waiting for an answer. "Inuzuka Hige here to see you, Taiki-sama."
"Come in," Taiki says, causing the man to stand aside to allow Hige access to the office beyond. The office looks more like a study than many of the offices found in Konohagakure. Rows of book/scroll shelves line the wall, and a large wooden desk sits directly oposite the door, with a comfortable looking chair in front of it. Behind it sits Taiki himself in a deep forest green chair. A single scroll sits partially unrolled on the desk before him, along with a nearly empty in/out box to the side and a brush holder to the other side. Taiki himself looks up toward Hige, waiting for his part-time student to enter.
Hige nods slightly to the butler when the man allows him entry and moves to follow him to Taiki's office. The boy remains silent on the way to the office and when he's told to enter he does so with a nod of thanks to the butler. Hige steps through the doorway and looks around the office briefly. He'd been there before of course, but it had been in a while. Not much changes. "Hey Taiki, thanks for seeing me." He says as his semi-feral eyes return to the Clan Head. Konsho offers a soft yip of greeting to the man as well, the pup looking to be his normal happy self while Hige looks…fairly serious for once.
Taiki takes in Hige's rather serious attitude and momentarily grows concerned, but the cheerfulness of Konsho appears to indicate to him that the issue is not going to be nearly as… serious as some of the other issues he's dealt with in the past. "Of course, Hige-san. Please, have as seat," he says, motioning toward one of the chairs in front of his desk. He then leans back for a moment and considers the man in front of him once more, then nods slightly. "You wished to speak to me?"
Konsho is always happy, that's not exactly something to gauge off of. Hige nods his thanks to the older Inuzuka and moves to sit opposite Taiki with a bit of a nod. The scent that comes off of him seems to be more uncertainty than any type of fear or anger. "Yeah. I wanted to talk to you." He says, as if that wasn't already kind of obvious. He takes in a breath and lets it out. "I know that you weren't always so calm like you are now. And you know that I…have problems some times with getting angry." To put it lightly. "I was wondering…how do you keep from getting mad and angry now?"
At first, Taiki raises an eyebrow at the topic Hige brings up. Then, his lips curl upward in a grin that turns into a chuckle. Taiki's usual formality slips at this point, allowing the sense of amusement to show through. "Forgive me, I'm not laughing at your problem," Taiki says as his grin grows wider. "If anything, I never expected anyone to call me a calm person. It's nice to know that my efforts have not gone in vain." Taiki then stands up as his expression falls. "That being said, I would not recommend the method by which I learned how to appear calm when you're anything but to anyone. For a while there, I was actually teetering on the edge of insanity."
Taiki's visage grows serious as he goes toward the window. "I've seen a lot, Hige-san. More than I would wish on my worst enemies, even more than I would wish upon the Traitors." The capital T most likely implies his uncles that were discovered to be working to destroy the Inuzuka, the ones he no longer claims as relatives. "Those instances tempered my anger. Atsuro also helped by the judicious application of… what was it called again? Oh yes, a "clue by four" when I needed it. But what really helped me was two things. Tell me, have you ever pondered the old saying "Anger is a three-edged sword?""
A flicker of surprise passes over Hige's features at Taiki's uncharacteristic break from Mr. Clan Head. Hige is the epitome of informality so people aren't surprised by it. Taiki has always been the opposite, at least around Hige. So it's…weird. The boy leans forward in his chair as Taiki speaks, listening intently to what the Clan Head has to say. When Taiki talks about only 'appearing' calm the boy notes that, though he doesn't say anything. "Clue by four?" He mutters softly, not sure what that is, but then the question pulls his attention back and he shakes his head slightly. "I've never even heard that before."
Of course, Taiki's ears pick up on Hige's muttered words, which causes him to briefly chuckle. "A clue by four references the application of a two by for to the back of a person's head to dislodge the person's train of thought long enough to allow an especially helpful suggestion to take root in the recipient's mental processes. In layman's terms, it's the equivalent of forcefully giving someone who appears oblivious a clue."
Taiki then nods and turns to face Hige as he explains the next part. "Anger can be a great weapon, but it can also hurt its wielder if it is let loose without control. Furthermore, it can hurt others around the wielder in the same situation. Therefore, anger not only hurts your enemy, but yourself and others if you fail to control it. When I was younger, I didn't realize that, which caused a great deal of problems, especially when I was a genin. It caused me to feel completely alone and betrayed by the clan, save for few, distant from those that obviously cared for me, like my parents, and widened the rifts felt between the Founders Clan and the other clans of the Inuzuka. Given that my father was the leader of the Founders, and the next in line after Tao-sama for Clan leadership, my actions and feelings were central to many issues, and caused a lot of suffering for everyone, including myself."
Taiki then sighs as he leans against the window's ledge to face Hige. "That was why Kaido-san's words about not understanding what it was to be ostracized filled me with such rage in the trial. I know all too well those feelings, and how anger can make everything worse. What finally caused me to realize what was happening was that civil war we had not that long ago. I realized that I could no longer simply act feral and lash out. I had to find a purpose, or place everyone around me in danger, including the entirety of Clan Inuzuka." For anyone else, that last line would appear ridiculously self-absorbed, but for Taiki, it's mere fact.
Hige smirks as Taiki explains the 'clue by four' and he imagines something like that happening to a younger Taiki. He's not sure how well that would go over with him but hey, it hasn't happened so it's hard to say. The boy is silent the entire time that the Clan Head speaks, the smirk fading and a neutral look forming as he listens to it all. Hige's face doesn't change during the story of Taiki's past, though his scent and body language betray that the story has a sense of familiarity that hits home. Of course it wouldn't be hard for Taiki to find out most everything about Hige's childhood if he really wanted to. "So what did you do to stop lashing out?"
Taiki shrugs and then looks off into the distance, as if viewing the decisions of his past. "It wasn't any one thing, it was a great many things. While I always treated people formally, at least since I was six years old, the formality became both a mask and and a defensive mechanism. It helped me keep others at a distance, so their actions couldn't hurt me. It is not something I would recommend, though the ability to objectively view what others say, a side effect of that defense mechanism, is something I would recommend you cultivate. Second, I searched for a way to balance myself. For me, becoming a medic nin gave me that balance, as the training helped me learn how to respond rationally in serious situations while giving a way to balance the violence in my soul with peace. Again, there are other methods for doing so, but the balance is what is most important there. Lastly, I found a goal, something greater than myself, upon which to focus my energies. For me, that was healing the rifts amongst the clans of the Inuzuka. For you, it could be something else. But those three things helped me gain control of my temper, and made me into the Alpha you see before you today."
Again Hige is silent for the majority of what Taiki has to say, just listening and taking in what is said to try and make something out of it. Something that might be useful to him. But while the two Inuzuka have their similarities the differences are abundant as well. For one the Delta Clan was not the Alpha Clan. "You said before that you 'appear' calm…what did you mean?" He asks finally, mind going over it all as he tries to find something that might help /him/. The same problems, but not even the same possibilities for a way to help.
Taiki knows full well that what may work for one person may not work as well for another, but the core lessons, thinking objectively, achieving balance, and setting a goal that requires gaining control are ones that he deems especially important. But there is one more thing that Taiki knows, and ironically enough it is the answer to Hige's latest question. "I learned to channel the anger toward something else, Hige-san. Think of it as banking the energy from the anger. You feel it, but instead of allowing that energy building up in you to explode, you store it and use it later. Perhaps by putting that much more energy into pell work, or some other endeavor. In essence, it's finding a safe way to release that anger, and not letting it build up to the point you can no longer contain it. And part of that is realizing what things warrant your true anger, and what things are mere annoyances. Like the food fight you told me earlier. Yes, it is a waste of money you likely do not have, and yes, it was disrespectful of Zori-san to act as he did, but was it really a severe enough offense to put him in the hospital. I admit he can be annoying, but was that really a fight you had to fight? That's part of thinking objectively. Also, why did he act that way? What did he have to gain by his disrespect?"
Channeling the anger in a productive way. Hige's eyes lower as he leans back into the chair, the wheels in his mind spinning as he goes over that. Build it up, store it, use it somewhere else. Somewhere less likely to hurt people he shouldn't be hurting. It makes sense. He just has to figure out what those things all are for him. Sure he trains when he gets angry but is that really the best outlet? He still listens while he thinks and when Taiki's words move to the food fight, semi-feral eyes flick back up to the Clan Head with a faint frown. The questions…well, he knows he was out of line then. "No, I shouldn't have fought him over that. And I don't know why he is the way he is, but he's omega annoying sometimes." He pauses then before adding, "Even though he's getting a little better now, once I started just ignoring him." Probably wasn't the best way to act either but Hige is horrible at social situations. And forever will be at this rate.
Taiki nods slowly and is glad that Hige at least thought that out. "Those last two questions are important, Higa-san. If you can think of reasons for his actions, you can predict what he will do next, and that will lessen the anger you feel when that happens. I'm not telling you to invade his personal life, but maybe ask him, calmly, about his actions, and maybe after that his life. If you learn enough about him, you will be able to place yourself in his shoes, which will help you relate. It doesn't take much knowledge, but the ability to put yourself into someone else's shoes helps you learn to interact with people socially, which is something everyone needs to learn eventually."
"I'm not sure I want to be in Zori's shoes." Hige says before he thinks to stop himself, then winces a little. "Sorry, shouldn't have said that." He mutters, his eyes shifting away from Taiki to the desk instead. "I have talked to him some. We're getting along better now. Not as good as I get along with some of the others, but better." He pauses a moment, then adds, "I see what you mean though. Like the other day when we talked to Nagai. I didn't know some of the stuff he said and now, well, I do. More at least." He frowns slightly as he thinks back on that. IT had been…interesting.
"Nagai-san reminds me a lot of me, when I was younger. I was rebelling against the Traitors and the mood they set the clan in, and had at one time even contemplated running away. The difference is the same thing I provided him, a counter-opinion that both sympathized with his own and provided answers to his questions. Atsuro filled that role for me, and by helping him, I am filling that role for Nagai-san. That is precisely what I meant about putting oneself in another's shoes," Taiki says, smiling that Hige is getting the message. "If you continue to think like that, your anger management issues will diminish. They will never go away, for the tracks anger has etched into your being are easy and natural for you, not to mention you have the Inuzuka blood working against you, but you will be able to bring it under control."
Hige nods slowly. "I hope you can help Nagai. He's a good kid, and a good friend, even if he is a cat." There's a few moments of silence before Hige finally stands and gives a bit of a formal nod to Taiki. "Thanks Taiki. I have some stuff to think about now, at least. Not sure if I'll ever be able to control if as good as you do. But I'm gonna try." He really has nothing else at that point and his eyes rise back to Taiki to see if the man has any other words of wisdom before he departs.
"Do the best you can, and be your own yardstick, Hige-san. Those are the only other pieces of advice I have for you at this time. If you have any other questions, feel free to let me know." Taiki returns the nod with the full understanding that they were done for now, and lets Hige depart.