Date: January 29, 2012
Taiki wonders about who he'll cheer for in the even that his teammate fights his… interest.
Poster's note: Profanity filtered in obvious places.
"Conflict of Interests"
Suna flower garden.
While quite unusual for him, Taiki decided to take a walk through the flower gardens today. Shinobu once again stayed out of the building, at the request of the people running the place, but the ninken didn't seem to mind, actually curling up a little ways from the entrance. Taiki himself was inside near the pond, sitting on his knees with his feet tucked under him. He was gazing out onto the pond and seem to be thoughtful, if a mite conflicted, about something. A small frown seems to be secured on his face, and for the most part he appears to ignore anyone near him, though whether or not that is actually the case would be unknown to most.
Not long after Taiki arrives, so does Atsuro, as does Taizen, having braved the hot sun and followed him here. He takes off his sandals at the entrance. Not that it's a rule he particularly cares about following, but there's really no plausible deniability if anyone catches him with them on. That done, he walks into the gardens, intent on finding a nice secluded spot and having himself the nap he didn't get yesterday. That's the plan, at least, but it doesn't work out so well when he spots Taiki here too. "Oh joy," he says teasingly, "It's my star pupil. Lucky me!" He grins.
Taiki doesn't answer immediately, instead he pulls out a scroll from his garments and rolls it out, activating it to reveal another scroll and a brush and ink set. Being /very/ careful of his surroundings, he opens the previously-stored scroll and begins to make some notes. As he does this he starts to speak in a low voice. "Star pupil? I highly doubt that. I think that honor goes to Hitoshi'san at the moment." He finishes a couple of lines and then cleans the brush before sealing everything but the scroll away. "Of course, if you don't want to talk to me or anything, you can always either go away or just not speak. I won't be offended."
Atsuro sighs a little. Apparently Taiki's in one of his moods. "Hitoshi isn't my star pupil," he says, "None of you are. Or you can say all of you are, if you'd prefer that. I'm not going to be the guy who gushes about his student who's in the exams." He shrugs, "It's not like you and Berii haven't done anything worth talking about. And, honestly, all Hitoshi's done is /enter/ the exams. If he easily squashes the competition or whatever, sure, that's great. But if you ask me, he has a few more years as a genin ahead of him. As do you." He shrugs. "Anyway, it seems like you don't want to talk, so I guess I'm done here."
Taiki shrugs once as he watches ink dry. It's only one step above watching paint dry, all opinions be known, but at least with the ink he can think about what he just wrote down. If Atsuro takes a look at it, it seems to be something about elemental taijutsu, or something like it. It's a slightly different take on it though, and not just because it focuses on lightning for the moment. "It's not that I don't want to talk, Atsuro'sensei. It just seemed you were not… happy to see me. And to be honest, I do have a few things on my mind at the moment, one of which is a conflict of interests I appear to find myself possibly being in."
"I'm always happy to see you, kid." Atsuro sits down beside Taiki, having gotten permission (sorta) to stay. He takes a moment to look at the scroll. In a few seconds, he's determined that it's nothing he's going to figure out. "More seal stuff, eh?" he asks, hoping Taiki might tell him a little bit about it. "Anyway, what's this about a conflict of interests? You gotten yourself into some legal trouble, little cousin?"
Taiki's eyes finally leave the scroll to glance sideways as Atsuro takes a seat. "Well, I'm sure there are times you'd rather be alone, that's only natural, so I won't hold that little lie against you," he says with a hint of amusement, but only a hint. The hint even disappears quickly thereafter. "No, this is my notes on combining elemental ninjutsu with our taijutsu. It's been a dream of mine, and I appear to be getting closer to it, though there are a few points I am missing." He then shrugs again and sighs. "No, not legal trouble, but… a risk of a few hurt feelings a bit closer to home, as it were. I just heard that Naru'san also made it to the third exam."
"I'm /usually/ happy to see you," Atsuro corrects himself, "Do you want me to keep going? We still haven't covered often, sometimes, occasionally, rarely, and never." He pauses and glances down at the scroll again. "Oh. Well, I guess I really suck at this, huh? Good that you're making progress, though. Maybe I'll have to test you out sometime. Remind myself what electrical burns feel like." He looks over to Taiki for a moment, then at the tree at the center of the pond. "Oh, I see. So you're wondering what happens if they end up in a match. I suppose you'd rather I didn't try to influence you on this one, huh?"
Taiki shakes his head as he considers the notes for a moment. "It's nowhere near ready for a field trial yet. The training you have given me recently has helped me analyze chakra flow during our techniques. I need a bit better of lightning techniques before I can incorporate the two though. But once I do, I'll be happy to show you some of what I have come up with." But when Atsuro mentions about if they end up opposing each other, Taiki flinches. "Don't get me wrong, I like my teammates a lot. In many ways they're like shelter from the carton of eggs I get from our clan. I am as loyal to my team as anyone would expect. But at the same time… this is Naru'chan we're talking about. She's been both an inspiration and… a rock. She knows what is going on, and instead of pitying me, she started to look for ways to help me. She's… special to me, and for more reasons than just that."
Atsuro raises an eyebrow. "Oh, you mean when I taught you that, I was helping you develop as a ninja?" he asks with joking incredulity, "Damn, it's like I'm a real sensei or something. That one snuck up on me." He chuckles a little at his own joke, then tries to help Taiki out a little, for real. "I think this one falls under the whole 'bros before crows' thing," he begins, "But I'm guessing you're not going to like that phrasing. But, let's just analyze this a little, shall we? If Hitoshi and Naru end up in a match, what happens? What if you cheer for Naru?"
Taiki only shrugs and offers Atsuro a rueful smile when he kids around about helping Taiki grow as a ninja. But then Atsuro had to go mention the whole "bros before crows" thing, which really, REALLY, sets Taiki on edge whenever he hears it. "Naru is not a… a… /crow/," Taiki practically growls out, stumbling slightly as he tries to say that offensive word. "Naru'chan would be happy that I support her, maybe slightly embarrassed if I go overboard, but happy just the same. I don't know what Hitoshi would think about it, but I would hope, unless he fights her first thing, that my support of him in other circumstance would give him pause enough to explain, if he was even upset to begin with."
"Eeeaaasy," says Atsuro, laying a hand on Taiki's shoulder, "I wasn't trying to feather you off. That's just the saying. Like I said, I don't actually agree with the phrasing. The point is that friendships usually last longer than relationships, so you should usually support your friends when the two conflict. I'm not saying that's what you should do now, but it's worth considering." He gives a quick pat, then withdraws his hand. "Okay, and what happens if you cheer for Hitoshi instead? Is it any worse? If Naru has a team of her own, she might just understand anyway."
"The problem with THAT statement, Atsuro'sensei, is that Naru'chan and I were friends first, then… well we're still working somewhat on that," Taiki says with a a blush. "And I think I know Naru'chan a bit better than you do. I think she would be fairly upset. Even if the circumstances were the same as I just described for Hitoshi, relationships tend to be a bit more… intense than friendships, and this one… well, you get the point. Besides, there's one more factor involved here. I'd be upset with myself if I didn't cheer Naru'chan on. As I said, she's important to me.'
"Well," says Atsuro, "I guess you'd know. I've only met her once." He decides not to mention that he doesn't seem to have made a very good impression on her. "Hold on. Do you mean that you haven't actually talked about being in a relationship yet? Not to be your counsellor, but I think you'd better say something at some point if you actually want anything to happen." He shrugs. "Anyway, that's not what we're talking about. From the way you described it, it looks like you should support Naru. But tell me… what's stopping you from just going 'Naru, good luck; Hitoshi, good luck?' I don't see how that could offend either of them."
Taiki blushes even more, threatening to drown out the fang marks. "We've… intimated that we… about us being… well, it's an understood thing, from both her reactions about me and mine about her. But we'll… eventually talk about it. To be truthful, I was hoping to talk to her before the third round." He then shrugs again and chuckles ruefully. "Maybe because I didn't think of that?" he says to Atsuro's recommendation. "It's the simplest solutions that evade us…"
Atsuro can only imagine how awkard that conversation will be. He's not really sure if he wants to see it or not, actually. "Well, you probably should at some point," he says simply, and moves on. "It didn't evade me," he says cockily, getting to his feet, "I thought of it almost right away." He shoves his hands in his pockets. "Anyway, is there anything else you wanna talk about? Because I think I have a dark yet comfortable corner waiting for me somewhere in this garden."
Taiki shakes his head and smirks a little. "No sensei. I think I'm going to work on this for a little longer then go see if I can find out where Naru'chan is training at. She's like me in that respect, we both train ourselves into the ground." It's true, it's not any secret that the best place to find Taiki is usually on the training grounds, whether or not he's with his team.