Date: November 24, 2010
Rinako and Ruri's concerns about each other and the powers they both wield have continued to grow, putting tension between the twins. Some old fears are laid to rest and the pair finally begin to open up to each other. WARNING: Heartwarming and tender moments may cause cavities if taken in excess.
"And the Rain Fell Down"
Hotel room, Kusagakure
It was now late afternoon and Rurohashi Rinako had still not returned to the apartment, which was rather unusual for a woman who vastly preferred to being in the cool interior of a building over the blistering heat of the outdoors. Of course, it wasn't nearly as hot in the Land of Grass as it was in the Land of Wind, and adding in the potential for sight-seeing and trying new things in a foreign place, it could be understandable that the elder of the twins wasn't keeping herself cooped up. Unfortunately, her absence wasn't due to any of those circumstances.
The dark-haired jinchuuriki had been spending more time than usual with her 'special trainers' lately, more so than usual. Even here, two of them were with her, and though she didn't spend any time training in this strange land, as the risk of being spied upon was too great, watching, occasionally carting the dark-haired kunoichi off for private chats. Chats she always came back from looking pensive, upwound. As was her habit, Rinako usually took to bed when upset, cocooning herself in a shell of sheets and mattresses.
The behaviour of the teenaged Suna-nin had been growing more erratic as the weeks wore on. She could often be seen grinding her teeth, with tense shoulders or posture, emitting growls, or even talking to herself. The last one was becoming especially frequent, even more so when she thought she was alone and out of earshot. It wasn't any different when the window slide open this time, either.
Though not the customary entrance for a kunoichi, Rurohashi Rinako pushes open the sliding window over the bed, ducking her head inside from her position crouched on the window sill. Placing a hand on the high headboard, the jinchuuriki rolls forward into a sitting position, her legs slapping out in front of her as she comes to a bouncing still on the springy-soft bedding, reaching behind her to snap the window back shut. Hopefully no one was currently using the bed, else they may have found themselves sat upon!
Odd behavior is everywhere these days, it seems. Ruri is more irritable than usual, and more possessive than usual too. She gets annoyed whenever she has to share her sister with someone else… And then that annoyance is directed not just at the person who is doing the sharing, but also at Rinako as well. It has caused a bit of tension between them, perhaps, what with Rinako's own erratic behavior. Luckily, Ruri has not begun talking to herself. Until Rinako sits on her face at least. She was just lying on her back, in bed, apparently sleeping away the late afternoon.
When Rinako sits on her face, however, she begins to talk. She does not sound necessarily upset, but it's hard to tell with how her voice is muffled.
There was something kind of hard and lumpy underneath her, something that she had landed on. Rinako is halfway towards wiping some of the tired off of her expression when she noticed that whatever was under her was not only abnormally-shaped, but was also trying to TALK. After a moment of startled blinking, the elder of the twins rolls to the side, placing her bottom on firm, flat mattress rather than her own sister's head!
"Eh heh… Good morning. Thanks for catching my dismount." The older of the two dark-haired teens reaches up to rub at the back of her neck with a rueful half-smile. But after a moment, her hand stills as her head cocks to the side. "Huh. Usually I'm the one sleeping the day away in bed while you nag at me from the table about how lazy I am. I don't think you ever sat on me to wake me up, but… I like to be innovative in my revenge."
"Why are you still in bed!?"
Ruri seems unresponsive to Rinako. Infact, she's talking throughout the dialogue being directed at her. Both eyes are open, though there is nothing in her right, of course. Her left eye is not reacting to light or lack thereof, and seems to be twitching occasionally, as though she were still asleep. Her words in the silence that follows Rinako's question may be more than a little disturbing.
"No. You don't have to stay here. You're just a piece of yourself anyway…" she mumbles. "…He stole a piece of you. This isn't your whole self. Your body is still out there somewhere… Do you want to stay here forever or…" Her words become more disjointed. "…Stupid bastard… …Not your god… Doesn't… Not real… Sheex… Don't go in there… No! NO!" She sits up suddenly, looking around wildly and NOW she seems to realize Rinako is present. She stares at her as though not recognizing her or not realizing she's real. Then she blinks. She blinks again.
"…Wha… What time is it?" She squints her left eye and closes her right as she moves to rub 'sleepies' out of the left one.
"Um… Ru?" A hand passes over her prone sister's face. After a complete lack of response to outside stimulus, which was VERY unbecoming of a ninja and would have to be pointed out to her later, Rinako leans back on her hands, palms flat against the mattress. Her eyebrows raise fractionally towards her hairline as she quirks her mouth off to the side, listening to her sibling sleep-murmur. The words don't exactly make a whole lot of sense to the jinchuuriki, but one, Sheex, causes her brows to lower and her lips to turn down into a frown.
The dark-haired kunoichi is about ready to reach over and begin violently shaking the younger woman out of her dream when Ruri suddenly sits bolt-upright, staring at her like a stranger had just landed in her bed. Dark eyes narrow slightly as Rinako takes in her sister's uncomprehending expression, a hard set to her jaw. After a moment, she shrugs her shoulders mildly.
"I dunno, around four, four-thirty? It's late. Have a bad dream while I was out?"
Ruri frowns, and looks around the room in confusion. "I was just trying to nap for a little while. Stupid alarm clock must not have gone off—…Where IS the alarm clock?" She shoves the covers off of her, showing she has not forgotten to pack her lingerie for this trip to a foreign Village. Swinging her legs out of bed she steps on something metal and jerks her foot back up. "…The hell is…?" Bending forward she picks up some lumpy metallic object from amidst some other pieces of metal and some broken glass. "…." She holds it up for Rinako to see. It's the mangled remains of an alarm clock. It looks like it has been crushed into a wad of metal by some monstrous force.
"Get pissed at the clock or something?" she asks semi-sarcastically. Then she sets it down on the nightstand and tries to get her brain a bit more functional. "Bad dream? What?" The last word is yawned out as she stretches her arms over her head and turns away from her sister. "I wasn't dreaming at all. I haven't been sleeping well lately, so I decided to take a 'dreamless sleep' pill. Got them at the Herbs and Medicines shop they have here. Seems to have worked. I don't remember a single dream." She heads over to a writing desk on one side of the hotel room, and picks up the package of pills she is apparently referring to.
Shoulders shrugging at the question of the clock, the jinchuuriki turns her head towards first one nightstand, then the next, looking for the object in question. Her casual visual search comes up empty, leaving her to simply return her eyes to her sibling. And the mangled piece of clock she was holding up for inspection. "Sorry, can't blame me this time, Ru. I was out almost all day and it was perfectly fine when I left."
"You were mumbling in your sleep." Rinako is quick to point out as the subject wafts over towards that of unrestful dreams. "Whatever those pills are, you should get your money back. They ain't working. You were babbling about my least favorite person. But since you're not gonna be using the bed any more…"
Shifting from her bottom to her knees, Rinako bounces around to face the pillows, lining them up and fluffing a few of them. "I guess it's my turn. Why haven't you been sleeping? I'm taking you to the med-nin when we get back home. No more of this self-medication crap. Medicating your sleep is not healthy, or something you should be doing even if it were. Especially in a foreign land. I came through the window," The elder twin motions towards the panes of glass as she stretches like a relaxing feline trying to find a comfortable position, sitting back on her haunches and stretching her arms low out in front of her. "And landed on your head and you didn't even notice. If we were at war, you'd have just lost."
Ruri would ordinarily be quick to retort to Rinako, but she won't even turn to face her as she seems to be carefully inspecting the pill package. "I'll be fine," is all she says after the lecture. That should set off all kinds of warning bells for Rinako. Ruri knows Rinako can tell if she's being untruthful by looking her in the face, just as Ruri can do the same for her sister. The fact she won't give that opportunity should be a hint that she is NOT fine.
"What about you, though?" NOW she turns around, setting down the package behind her, and leaving it on the desk, out of line of sight. "You seem really stressed lately. Those stupid 'trainers' giving you a hard time? You'd think after saving the Village like… THREE TIMES now, they'd cut you some slack." She watches her sister stretching out on the bed, seeming interested in the pre-sleepage preparations for some reason.
"…And why did you come in through the window?"
"Of course you'll be fine." If Ruri wasn't quick to retort, Rinako sure didn't hesitate! "Because you're going to see the med-nin when we get back and get a professional opinion on your sleeping habits." The elder of the twins comes out of the stretch, but immediately goes into another one, placing her lower body flat against the bed with her legs spread behind her this time, while pushing her upper body upright with her hands. Her eyes drift closed as she loosens the muscles in her abdomen and bunches those in her lower back via the psuedo-yoga poses.
"You know how it is. 'Learn this', 'control that', 'tell us the secret to breathing underwater'." Only Rinako's profile is visible, but she studies her twin out of the corner of her eye regardless, a slight frown marring her lips. After a moment, she inhales sharply, pulling out of her post to sit back on her knees. She opens her mouth to speak, but almost-closes it once she spares a glance back towards the window, cocking her head at an irritable angle. An affable shrug of her shoulders follows, along with a circular motion of her finger in the air. "Iunno. Didn't feel like walking around to the front door. I was trying to keep you on your toes. There was a skeevy-looking pervert hanging out by the entrance. Pick one."
Ruri frowns slightly and just says, "Mine is the only professional opinion needed on my sleeping habits. No one else is going to know more about them than me. Except maybe you. But vice versa is also true." She then strides back to the bed and climbs onto it. "Hey, we need to talk." She folds her legs together off to the side and rests on the nearest pillow with her elbow.
"You've been talking to yourself. Only I don't think it's really yourself you've been talking to. Meanwhile, I've been grouchier than usual. Like WAY grouchier. Even I know that. I've been working on this Flesh Scroll tattoo that I can apply to others. I used it on myself already, and it works. It's how I sealed away Sheex. I can do the same for you. You can have all the strength of that monster without having to worry about losing control." She shrugs. "Even if it doesn't work right, it will be an added layer of protection against any stupid turtles taking over."
"Anything is better than sitting around and watching my big sister get eaten up, bit by bit. The Seal on you is weakening, right? That's why you can hear IT talking to you. Something has to be done." She moves closer on the bed, reaching out with her right hand to touch her twin. "Will you let me help you?"
"I've had a lot on my mind." It was a lame excuse and she knew it, but it was the best Rinako could do on such short notice. She had a great poker face and was an excellent liar, by civilian standards, but when stacked against other shinobi, Rinako failed at such political-diplomatic abilities as bending the truth. "Forget it."
The elder of the twin girls is already shaking her head and has responded before her sibling has even finished. Her hands rest easily in her lap, her shoulders tensed, hunched up near her ears, undoing all the good the earlier stretching had done for her. "You can't just apply something to me and expect other people not to notice, Ru. I get studied, inspected, trained." A hand goes over her stomach, touching the seal encircling her naval through her shirt as she looks away. "And… You just have to let this go. One way or another, it's all going to be over soon. When we get back."
She looks down at the hand that touch her, placing her own over it and squeezing lightly. "Our parents did this to me, and that's just the way it is. It will never change. You can't keep obsessing about this." A small sigh. "But I'll let you do voodoo on me the moment you let me get that freak pulled out of you." And then a bitter smile. "…Where did we get this idea that we have to bear burdens alone?"
Ruri sighs and furrows her brow. "You ever think that maybe our parents had no choice? That maybe they were told, 'Give us one of your daughters to be turned into a monster, or we'll kill you and take them both and make one into a monster anyway'? I remember them arguing against it. I remember them being unwilling. They didn't just cave in and give up for no reason. There had to be something that was being hung over their heads. Some impossible choice that they must have agonized over… That Bastardkage didn't have to do this. He didn't have to pick you, he didn't have to pick me, he didn't have to pick anyone. He could have found a different way. But he didn't."
She then pulls her hand out from under her sister's and jabs her in the chest lightly with one finger. "And, there's nothing left of Sheex in me. There's just…" She looks away and withdraws her hand. "…Look, there's something I should tell you. Every person Sheex possessed had a piece of his or her soul torn out and bound into his being. And he possessed at least a dozen people. Maybe more. I haven't been able to search for all of them. See… He has some kind of 'inner space' he created through his Jutsu. It's that Alternate Spatial Environment that's inside of my eye. It's where he kept the soul fragments he has stolen, as well as that 'Mountain of Flesh' he fused with. It's where I've been drawing my 'Tomogan' from. My 'All-Eye'. Those fragments… They're like… Partial people. They're being kept in coccoons of Tomogan flesh, and they aren't allowed to return to their true bodies or to even be people. I've been trying to free them so they can add their power to my own. The civilians can be returned to their true selves if I can meet up with their owners. But most of the ninja don't even have a body to return to. Sheex killed them when he no longer had a use for them. There is no Sheex anymore. Not on this side of reality. But if we just tear out the Tomogan, those people… Those pieces of souls… What will happen to them? Where will they go? I might have the only remnant of some of these people. The only proof they were ever alive. Their memories, their dreams, and all the rest. It's all right in here."
She opens her right eye, and it's just a normal brown, not like the creepy eyes she uses for combat. She points to the eye. "I can save them and I can save you. When I have no more use for the Tomogan, we can have it removed. I promise. But there's no reason why you should have to keep suffering, and there's no reason we should have to risk that damn turtle getting loose. If I can kill its mind and soul, then only its power will remain. And then you'll just be… You. No more Jinchuuriki. Just you. That… Dead King, from the other world. Other-Sheex said he had defeated Jinchuuriki. He may have even absorbed their powers. If some repulsive zombie can do it, I think we can too."
"Yeah, yeah, I've heard it all before! From you, from them." Rinako looks away as her sibling's hand is pulled away from her. "I don't care about Mother, Father, or any of these 'partial people'. They're not important to me. You are. And I don't like what's happening to you, what has happened to you. That thing has hurt you, and we don't know when it will again. God, it's driving you to pill addiction!"
Reaching up and behind her, the elder of the two girls begins to unwind the elastic band that kept her hair high and out of the way in its customary tail. A few practiced tugs has the raven hair falling free, to then be shaken out into a more natural form by running her fingers through it several times with an almost-annoyed expression on her face. Though the expression likely had far less to do with her hair ministrations than the conversation they were having for the… what time now?
"I. Am. A. Weapon. I don't need saving. This is my duty, and that's all there is to it. There is no reversing it, there is no 'cure' for it, there is no overpowering it. If this thing were killed, it couldn't be passed on to another when my time comes. There are eight others like me out there, and someone needs to be able to stand against them. If you keep on about this, you're going to get yourself killed, Ru. And not just you, do you think your 'wonderful' parents will escape the retribution? Suspicion would fall on them almost immediately. Or maybe just out of spite." The jinchuuriki holds up a warning finger. "You're all hostages to ensure my cooperation. Do you think this is some kind of game? Something you can just 'beat'? We are shinobi of the Village Hidden in the Sand. Stop plotting treason! I won't do anything to jeopardize you or the village."
The Suna kunoichi's eye twitches momentarily as her head cants slightly to the side, her jaw muscles jumping as her teeth grind together. The distraction is only momentary. She leans forward, moving her hands towards her sibling's shoulders. "If you want to help me, then just be with me. Ru… I need you. You're all I have. You have to stop choosing this obsession over me."
Ruri frowns. "You're not a weapon. You're a person. If they can seal a monster in a baby, they can transfer the Chakra without an intelligence behind it to a new baby. Though honestly, why do we even need it? Why does the worthless Village need it? We're not at war anymore, and you were never used as a weapon even when we WERE at war. We'd be better off without any monsters that are only barely controlled. Whether I use my sealing jutsu or not, NO ONE needs a weapon like the Tailed Beast… Let alone sociopaths like Sousa."
She shakes her head. "There's no treason here. My 'obssession' with getting back at that bastard for what he did is long over. My only obssession right now is with making sure I don't lose you. What makes you think you're safe with his Seal on you? What makes you think everything is so under control? Because HE says it is? I can tell the Seal is weakening. I can tell something bad is going to happen if we don't do something soon. If you won't let ME help you, then get HIM to. Have him fix the Seal! I'll allow his filthy blood magic to be cast on you if it means you stay with me. Maybe it's selfish to say that, but I will do ANYTHING, absolutely ANYTHING to keep you at my side."
She sits up all the way and crawls across the bed, avoiding the hands on her shoulders for a moment, only to wrap her arms around Rinako and hug her tightly. "You've dissuaded me with pleas to leave it alone for far too long already. I'm not going to leave it alone. I don't care how, but we need to do SOMETHING or I just know I'm going to lose you. And… I… D-don't want to lose you. I'd s-sooner d-die myself…" She buries her face in Rinako's neck and just clings to her.
"You're not gonna lose me, Ru." But even to Rinako's ears, the words sounded rather hollow and empty, just like the promise that they contained. As her sibling shows uncharacteristic concern and weakness, the older brunette slowly bands strong arms around the younger's waist. The desire to protect her 'baby sister' warred with both her duty, and with how much she felt she could safely say on the subject at hand. Closing her eyes, Rinako inhales deeply, letting out the breath slowly, by degrees. Then she begins to peel her twin off of her.
"It's necessary. Other villages have these things. Other individuals do, too. The seal is fine, okay? There's nothing wrong with it. It's doing everything it's supposed to do. It's me."
"The more I let him out, the more control he gets. I can use some of his power without concern, but the more I unleash, the greater the chances that I'll slip. He's…" Rinako tilts her head slightly, as if searching for the right word. "Proud. And violent. He won't submit to me just because I demand it. I'm having to force him each time I use his power. And he fights me every step of the way. Lately he's just been fighting harder. Maybe I let too much out. Maybe the seal is weakening. But he's taunting me and I can't just shut him out like I used to be able to. It's like having the world's biggest bully grinding in your ear every day, constantly demanding things like a spoiled man."
The jinchuuriki's voice drops a few notches, her tone leveling out lower, reflecting the fatigue apparent in her face, unusual for a girl who never seemed to tire. "It's going to be decided who'll dominate this body one way or another when we get back to Sunagakure. I don't want you to be there." The dark-haired kunoichi forces a small smile of confidence that she didn't feel. "But don't worry so much. Not even the Lord of Water can keep us apart."
Ruri is peeled away, and allows herself to be. She closes her right eye, allowing the normal-looking eye that isn't REALLY hers to be hidden once again. "You're going back to Sunagakure. And you don't want me to be there. You said I won't lose you, and yet things are going to be 'decided'." Her tone is dead, lifeless, disbelieving. She doesn't sound angry, just… Too stunned to show emotion. "Do you seriously think you can lie to me like this? I get it. He's an asshole. All the more reason to KILL him and leave his power behind. If it needs to be passed on to someone else later on, wouldn't it be better not to subject some other little girl to what you've gone through? If she just has the power and no ravening monster trying to steal her own body from her?"
Even as she says it, her own words strike home at her OWN heart. She killed Sheex. She has most of his power. But it didn't 'fix' the problem. "Look, I don't care whether he stays or leaves, but you can't just go. You can't leave me behind. Listen to me." She puts her hands on Rinako's shoulders and looks her in the eyes--eye--whichever.
"I'm not as smart as I pretend to be. I don't have all the answers. All I know is, on the day your caravan was to leave Kusagakure, if I had the power, I would turn the winds around, I would roll in the fog, I would bring in storms, I would change the polarity of the earth so compasses couldn't work, so your caravan couldn't go anywhere."
"You can't just kill him, Ru! It's not that easy. He's a chakra-demon, not a person. His very being is that power. And… of course I don't want anyone else to go through this. That's why I have to hold onto it. Don't you see? If it's not me, then it's someone else. I wouldn't wish that on anyone. This is my duty."
Rinako had to wonder if she sounded like a broken record, falling back onto the word 'duty' as her last line of defense, or if she just felt like one. The jinchuuriki's brown eyes focus on her sibling's singular one was she bids the older of the two girls to listen. After a few moments, she lets out a breath and nods reluctantly.
"Okay. Okay, come back with me. But when the time comes, when I have to let him out completely and keep control, I don't want you to be involved. I don't even want you to watch." Rough hands come up to cup the sides of the younger twin's face. "I don't want you to see me like that. But when it's all over, we won't have to worry about him any more." She leaves off the unspoken alternative end to the struggle.
The younger of the two closes her other eye and allows her face to be cupped. She waits it out, wanting to ask, 'And what if it doesn't work?' She has pushed too hard tonight already, though. Is it tonight? It feels late. It's supposed to be late afternoon, but she's just so tired… "Okay, Rin. I'll stay out of it. But you have to promise me you'll win, okay?" She forces a small smile and opens her left eye again as she leans in and hugs her sister gently, as though she were the one with the incredible strength. "In the meantime, I'll make double-dog sure there's no nattering in your ear tonight. I'm going to DISTRACT you."