Date: April 18, 2013
Two friends run across each other while taking up a charity mission. The find that their coincidental encounters may have something to do with them being quite similar to one another.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"Every Once in a While…"
Every once and a while some mission requests are without pay. Every once in a while a client has nowhere else to turn so they bet on a whim, they bet everything. Their desperation causes them to abandon their pride, their dignity, and they are truly humbled. One such request happened to be stumbled upon by Yoko Fuutama. It was a late night at the Nami Restaurant. Various shinobi still lingered at the bar laughing as they flipped through the newly posted mission requests. One such humorous request had them in stitches. It was basically a charity run. Some child in Fuuma Alley was asking for some shinobi to show him how to be a man. He stated that there was no reward but that he could really use the help. For reasons deeper than Fuuta understood he felt compelled to check this out.
So now, the next morning, holding the crudely written flyer Fuuta stands at the spot specified on the flyer. He yawns looking around trying to see if he could pick out the child who wrote this up. "Hmm this kid didn't really think this out." Fuuta remarks softly. He yawns, as a few eyes settle on him Fuuta peers at some of them. "Well….either I'm looking really good today…or these guys know what a shinobi looks like. And they don't like the sight of them too much." Every once in a while a shinobi would do something incredibly foolish.
The request seems pretty silly to a ninja, and even the compassionate Atsuro has trouble taking it seriously. But it does sound tough for the kid, and Atsuro recalls that he was missing a male role model during his childhood. He doesn't feel like an afternoon will do /that/ much, but judging by all the laughter at the restaurant, two people are going to respond to the request, and one of them is a nin-dog.
So he's actually a little surprised to see Fuuta the next morning. And yet, it makes perfect sense. "Well," he says, "So we're not the /only/ ones, hey?" He just assumes that it isn't a coincidence, but a quick glance at the flyer in Fuuta's hands confirms it. He grins. "I think between the two of us we've got somewhere around thirty mans' worth, so that should be more than enough." He turns to Taizen and gives the dog a meaningful look. "Hello, F-F-Fuuta," says Taizen. Still practicing, obviously, but not bad for a dog. Atsuro points to the flyer. "You having trouble finding him?" he asks, "I could search by scent?"
Fuuta's scanning gaze settles on Atsuro and Taizen as they approach. "Fancy seeing those two here?" he says out loud. Fuuta nods Atsuro's way and waves. When the Inuzuka spoke up about he and Taizen not being the only ones Fuuta knew that they had come to the response of this flyer too. Fuuta smiled slightly "Looks like we both have too much macho to keep to ourselves." Fuuta walks up and pats Atsuro on the shoulder. "Nice to see you two again too. Taizen-kun…you can talk?" Fuuta looks to the flyer. "Yeah. Says to meet here but the kid does seems to have shown up yet." Fuuta nods to Atsuro and holds the flyer out to him "Go ahead." But as Fuuta hands it to Atsuro he feels a tug on his sleeve from behind. The jounin turns to see a small child, a boy, dirty blonde hair and wearing a ragged gi. He was also missing a tooth. "You guys are shinobi right? That's my flyer."
"The name's Hiro. Musamane Hiro. I didn't think anyone would show up. I posted that like over a month ago." Fuuta blinks a few times and looks back to Atsuro with a shrug. "Yeah. I'm Yoko Fuutama, the GREAT Yoko FUUTAMA. I'll be frank with you. Those who wish to receive even an ounce of my GREATNESS may not live to see tomorrow." Fuuta smirks. "Are you sure you want to learn the ways of man?" Hiro stands at attention as if he had practiced this. "Yes! I have to learn how to be a man right away. At any cost. I will do whatever you say and I will not let you down." Fuuta smiles and nudges Atsuro "This is going to be more fun than I initially thought."
"Nah," says Atsuro, "Macho is for guys who aren't secure in their masculinity. I'm secure. I mean, just look at me." He stops and flexes his muscles for Fuuta. "What could possibly shake my confidence?" He smirks a little at Fuuta. "I'm sure it's much the same for you. I'll just assume it was a poor choice of words. Like, you actually meant 'masculine confidence,' or something to that effect."
He gives a little grin as Taizen answers the question. "I am jjjust learning," says the dog. "He could always understand human talk," Atsuro explains, "Well, not when he was a puppy, but you know what I mean. Anyway, I'm teaching him. He's been at it for… oh a couple weeks now." He scratches Taizen behind the ears. "So how've you been, man?" he asks, accepting the flyer from Fuuta. He sniffs it, then sniffs the air. "I think it's him," he says, pointing at Hiro as the boy tugs Fuuta's sleeve.
"A month?" he repeats. "Well, we may have kept you waiting, but we'll more than make up for it. You saw me make muscles earlier? That'll be you in a bit." He points to Fuuta. "Now, obviously he can't teach you that, or dog appreciation. But he does have the right attitude." He rubs his chin. "So why is it so urgent that you become manly?" he asks, "You have to learn right away and no matter the cost?" He does smile a little at the aside with Fuuta. "He's enthusiastic," he notes, "Gotta be careful though. We don't wanna turn him into a jackass, right?"
Fuuta grins and shakes his head "Nope. Guess I was mistaken. All those muscles. No insecurity here. And that's NOT sarcasm by the way. Even if it sounds a lot like sarcasm with the tone and what not. I am completely serious when I say this." Fuuta says before returning his attention to Hiro. Fuuta too was curious as to why Hiro needed to become manly. Fuuta folds his arms and waits for Hiro to speak up. Hiro blinks and leaves his attention stance. "Well…uh don't laugh at me." He starts off. "It's for my mom. She's been really sad since my dad died. She always went on about how much of a man he was. She's so depressed that she's gotten sick. I gotta become manly, like my dad, to make her feel better again." Hiro explained.
Fuuta already saw many issues with that but he would humor the child, if only but to teach him a lesson. Fuuta nods and looks back to Atsuro "Well we won't make him a jackass, he's not ready for that. But I think we can help his situation." Fuuta looks back to Hiro. "Ok we'll help. But no wussing out. That's the first rule of being a man. When you resolve to do something you see it through. Got it?" Hiro nods "Good. Now then…Atsuro if you don't mind I'll take this one….we're going to start with strength!" Fuuta points to Hiro. "A man must be strong. So he can protect. So…then."
Fuuta lead Atsuro and Hiro to the basin where the old temple resided. Fuuta points to a chunk of the temple that had fallen off. There was a section of a pillar that was a pretty nice size. Atsuro probably could move it with ease. Not so sure about Hiro though. "Ok Hiro. Move that section of pillar…over here to Atsuro and I." Hiro nods and quickly moves to start trying to move the column of pillar. He was getting nowhere though. But he continued.
Giving a low chuckle, Atsuro lets Fuuta have this round. "We can go over the details later," he admits, "Right now, we've got an important job to do. Men like you and I are rare. Let's bring another into our ranks." He listens to Hiro's explanation of why he needs to become a man, and he's touched, just a little bit. "I grew up without a dad too," he says, "I'm glad you're treating your mom right. That's manly too. You should make sure she knows how much you appreciate her."
He nods to Fuuta. "Maybe someday though," he says, "I can already see a bit of us in him." Then he backs up Fuuta. "That's right," he says, "Being a man isn't just what you /do/. It's what you /are/. Men should be determined and in control of their life."
At the old temple, Atsuro is only too happy to help. Obviously, he knows a thing or two about fitness. "Keep your spine stretched out the whole time," he advises, "Like you're trying to stand really straight. Hold it near you and push with your knees." He pulls a notepad and pen out of his vest and starts writing down a basic exercise routine. It's questionable if Hiro will actually be able to move the pillar today, but Atsuro can start him on that road, at least.
Fuuta nods confirming what Atsuro is saying. "Listen to this guy. He didn't get those muscles by doing nothing." Hiro nods and does as Atsuro instructs trying to budge the column of the pillar. Fuuta looks to Atsuro "You grew up without a father too eh?" Fuuta asks. He shrugs "Well I shouldn't say too. I had a father. He just didn't like me very much. Still doesn't. So I was better off going to a complete stranger than him." Fuuta nods. "You know he won't be able to move that. But that's not the point. I'm sure you've caught on." Fuuta smirks. Hiro stretches his spine and let's his legs do the work but he slips in the soft ground and falls hitting his face on the pillar. Fuuta winces "Ouch." He doesn't move to check on the boy he shouts. "Hey…you still haven't moved it yet." Fuuta laughs softly. "Are you done already Hiro-kun?" Hiro stands up wiping tears from his face, they were faint but the light gloss on his cheeks were a dead giveaway even with all the blood. "NO! I just slipped. Stay right there. I'll move it over to you in a sec." Fuuta shakes his head "Forget it. We'll start with something else. Atsuro, your turn. Come up with something for the kid. Nothing too challenging. I mean this simple task was even too much for him."
"Mine didn't either," says Atsuro, "But it doesn't sound like we're talking about exactly the same thing. You should ask me about it sometime. We can swap stories over a drink or whatever." He'd go into more detail, but Hiro is young and discussing bastardy in front of him doesn't seem quite right. Besides, this isn't really the time for deep personal talk, even if he'd be interested in knowing a little more about Fuuta.
Fuuta's treatment of Hiro's difficulty with the pillar is a little cruel, but Atsuro gets the point. Obviously, they weren't just going to increase Hiro's strength in an afternoon. He folds up his notes on exercise and puts them away in his vest for now. He'll give them to Hiro after all the lessons are finished. "A man should be comfortable in the outdoors," he says, "Let's see how you do setting up camp."
He leads Fuuta and Hiro outside of town to a lightly wooded area. "You need three things," he say. He kneels down by Taizen and starts taking things out of the dog's vest. "Pitch a tent," he says, pulling out a packed up tent, "Start a fire." He pulls out a small hatchet, plus a flint and steel. "And find food in the forest." He pulls out a survival guide. "Check with me before you eat anything."
Fuuta nods to Atsuro "It's been a while since we had a good talk. Sure I'll take you up on that offer." But his attention goes back to Hiro. Hiro uses his sleeve to wipe the blood from his nose and lip. He nods to Atsuro "Gotcha." He says sounding a bit disappointed. Hiro watches Atsuro pull out the survival equipment. He nods once understanding Atsuro "This won't be so bad. I've done stuff like this before." Hiro says with a confident grin. Fuuta nods and pats Atsuro on the shoulder "Great, well then he and I are going to go get a few drinks. You have camp set up when we get back. Oh and if you get scared or think this is too tough you can just head back home to your mom. After all we're not going to force you to do anything." Fuuta grins and pushes or at least tries to push Atsuro along. "You too Taizen-san. A man has to be able to look out for himself otherwise he can't possibly look after anyone else." Fuuta says with a wink. "We'll be back in a few hours Hiro-kun. You may not leave this area. If you get hungry…well good luck." Fuuta bids Hiro a farewell.
"In other words, you're stalking me," Atsuro surmises, "Well, that's not too bad. I'm sure there are much worse stalkers out there." And bus-ted. "Realizing he's already manly?" Atsuro asks. He's actually a little sheepish that he got caught. But if this isn't Fuuta's attempt to toughen Hiro up, then he can only assume it's an attempt to bring out the toughness that's already there.
In any case, he and Fuuta hang out for a bit. Atsuro enjoys a couple of beers, Taizen enjoys a couple of bones. Atsuro, of course, is the one to mention Hiro. When the time comes, of course.
When they arrive back at the camp and find that Hiro is actually being accosted by bandits, his first instinct is to swoop in and save Hiro, but Fuuta's stopping him causes to rethink it. Admittedly, he can't see the logic of this move, but Fuuta seems to have a little more insight than him on matters of this sort. He throws in a taunt of his own when Fuuta threatens the bandits. "You came here thinking you'd found an easy target, but instead you found three men. Most you've ever seen in one place, eh?"
Fuuta looks to Atsuro and nods "Three men, that's right." His orange eyes then drift to Hiro. "These guys are shinobi. The testosterone are shinobi doing hanging around a little brat like this?" Ignoring the bandits for now Fuuta speaks to Hiro "Hiro, before we wipe the floor with these guys there's something I want you to know about men." Fuuta slips into his pouch. "Being a man isn't all people think it is. It isn't being able to life incredible weights or surviving the harshest of conditions. It's not having rippling muscles like this guy over here (Atsuro) or being incredibly handsome, clever, GREAT, and….well you get the picture." Fuuta pulls out two kunai knives. "Guts being a man hardly has anything to do with winning a fight." Fuuta twirls the kunai in hand "Nah all a man really has to do is stand up for something. Anything whether it's his mother or just some sad looking kid. If he's knocked down he stands right back up. He can be crying, scared, or wetting his pants. But he's still standing." Fuuta nods then looks to Atsuro "I'll take the ugly ones."
The bandits weren't stupid. They knew better than to mess with even one shinobi. They've heard enough rumors. They began to back off before Fuuta and Atsuro did anything. Hiro looked confused but relieved. He returned Atsuro's things to him, what he could anyway and peers between the two shinobi. "So….why did you have me do that stuff then if it had nothing to do with being a man?" Fuuta grins wide showing teeth "Because we're jackasses." Hiro huffs once then laughs at Fuuta. "You did good kid. You were already a man when we met. You just needed to take a moment to notice it." Fuuta yawns "But man it's getting late….don't you have someone to go home to?" Hiro nods "Mom's probably worried." Fuuta wags a finger at Hiro "It's not good to keep a lady waiting." Hiro smiles and starts heading off towards town. Before he goes though he turns around and bows to both Fuuta and Atsuro. "Thank you."
Atsuro folds his arm and gives the bandits a slight glare as Fuuta does his thing. Fuuta's habit of hogging the spotlight isn't /always/ appreciated, but in this case it seems fitting. As Fuuta starts getting ready for a fight, he instead cracks his knuckles. "So… all of them?" he asks. He shares a glance with Taizen. "Geez," he says, "Greedy." Taizen doesn't say anything and just wags his tail.
He takes the things back from Hiro and puts them away in Taizen's vest. "Thanks," he says. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out the exercise notes he wrote before. "If you still want it," he says, offering it to Hiro. "You /are/ a man, but another great man skill is using traps." He grins. "Anyway, no problem, kid." Once Hiro's gone, he turns to Fuuta. "You're… such a jackass," he says, grinning.
Hiro accepts the notepad from Atsuro and heads back home with a smile. Fuuta watches the child head on back home. He waits until Hiro disappears over the hill before look to Atsuro in response to his statement. "Hmm? You? Calling me a jackass?" Fuuta says with a sly grin. "Meh you'd know. I mean you're pretty high up the jackass latter yourself." Fuuta winks. He tucks his hands behind his head and yawns. "It was nice to get out of Kirigakure for a while. Such downers those guys are." Fuuta states with a frown. He glances to Atsuro "Hey, how's Konohagakure doing this time of year? I might want to visit some time." he muses to Atsuro. And with that the charity mission came to a close. Two friends aided a young man whom reminded them of themselves in understand a bit more about himself. Every once in a while such events occur and those events are the ones that fall on deaf ears. For extremely low risk mission like this the glory isn't present nor is the pay but every once in a while the reward is even more satisfying than either.