Taji, Sami (as Serin)
Date: February 20, 2011
Summary goes here.
"Flashback - Destination Reached"
A Valley - Land of Grass
The Tournament is over and Taji has arranged to meet with Serin some where out of the way, an unvisited valley out of the way near a small stream. He's already carefully set up a bit of a camoflagued camp, a rather out of place 12 x 12 building that looks like it's been here all along is hidden by vines and the like, well concealed in the underbrush. Taji waits near by the stream, looking a bit nervous. Will Serin show up? Will things be interupted? Too many unknowns for Taji's taste but… worth the risk as he waits. The day is clear if cool, only a few white clouds in the sky.
Serin does his usual scan of the area, making sure no one but Taji is waiting for him. He makes sure he isn't followed. He checks repeatedly to ensure there are no bugs, seals, beacons, or anything else that could have been planted on him somehow. He even douses himself in odor-neutralizing agents so powerful that they leave chemical burns on his pale skin. But at least if an Aburame may have planted a female Kikaichu on him, it will not only be dead but unable to leave any pheremone trail to be followed. If a Inuzuma or the nin-ken belonging to one tries to track him there will simply be nothing to smell.
This is the final step. The last thing that Serin needs to do to shed his old self forever. Taji is going to help him become someone else. Someone who can seek out a new future without worrying about the past catching up with him. Serin has taken every single paranoid precation he can, and now he is ready. One last thing remains…
He focuses his Chakra, creating a hyper-charged electrical field about himself, and then using his recently acquired skill at Chakra Shaping to create a 'resonance shell' on his skin. The Lightning Chakra reverberates throughout his body, shaking his very molecular structure, vibrating his body at the atomic level, until the bonds between atoms begin to grow strained… As his density diminishes, he starts to become semi-transparent… Ghost-like. He used to need Otomegami to do this.
He can do it on his own now… But he has to admit it hurt a hell of a lot less with the Sound Goddess as a medium. Passing through the the wilderness like a true ghost, Serin eventually finds himself near Taji's concealed camp. He does not speak. But he does make sure he stands where Taji can see him. If it's safe, Taji will probably greet him, direct him where to go, and so forth. If it's not safe, he'll probably be able to tell based on Taji's behavior. And if it turns out that 'Taji' is NOT Taji… Well, it would only take a moment to kill the impostor.
Taji had taken extra-ordinary precautions himself. The spot was a place he knew to be isolated and rarely visited even under the best of times. There were no signs of even hunting here, just animal tracks. This place was about as isolated as one could get. Taji was careful in coming here, as well, although perhaps not to the quite overly paranoid level of Serin, still taking extreme care to avoid being followed or the like. He even made sure his team wouldn't be looking for him for at least the next week so that he wouldn't be missed at the village. Layers upon layers of measures. And now, it seemed to be time. Studying scrolls, gathering materials, months of prep, all for this one moment.
"Hello." Taji offers with a small bow, greeting Serin formally, "It should be safe. It is as safe as I could manage. Things should be… safe enough." He glances around one last time then gestures towards the concealed building, "Let's get started, this could take a while and I want to make sure we have enough time for you to recover." He says, getting right down to business it seems. The building is covered but it wouldn't fool close inspection, more intended to keep people from spotting it from the air or distance. Hard to cover up the medical symbols on the building, which makes it seem all the odder it would be out here in the middle of no where.
Upon entering the building the large amount of supplies gathered would become obvious as the interior is a fully stocked surgical bay, with two beds and pretty much any equipment you could need for emergency procedures as well as more complex surgery. It really is a bit of a marvel of ninja technology, even well lit inside from a series of glowing lamps with no obvious flame.
Serin neither relaxes nor allows his silent, phantom-like form to return to that of a flesh-and-blood man until he is well within the building. He has no ability to store things in scrolls. He has been trying to expand his Ninjutsu capabilities, as evidenced by his ability to use his 'Ghost' technique without the aid of his unique sword, but overall… With erratic Chakra control like his, there is no way he can ever specialize in Ninjutsu. Even those Kenjutsu he uses that make use of Chakra are highly inefficient — energy-wise, at least.
For a moment, he wonders if Taji can fix that. Once they are secreted away indoors, Serin takes only a moment to glance over the equipment. Then he allows his altered state to terminate and becomes a (relatively) normal human again. "Taji," he begins calmly, "Before we begin… Would it strain your resources to heal some injuries? One of the counter-measures against tracking I used was a bit stronger than expected."
This should be obvious just by looking at the former Seven Swordsman now that he is no longer all wispy and transparent. There are ugly blotches, spots of high irritation, and even bleeding lumps on his flesh. What kind of chemicals did he USE!? "If it would be inconvenient, then nevermind. Though I may need to wash off before we begin. The chemicals are the sort that are best not gotten into one's internal organs during surgery." He then starts removing his gear, cloak, and — unless stopped — the rest of his clothing. He probably assumes medical wash stations are available. And if they are not, he can use the stream outside.
Medical wash stations, including a small shower are all here and available, all for medical purposes, including sterilizing or cleaning a patient. There are two small sinks as well. The water from a storage tank on the roof, small but sufficient. "Go clean up, and then I'll see what I can do. The surgery isn't exactly quick and the hard part is recovery after. So we'll want you as healthy as possible before we start." He says as he frowns, eyeing the odd splotches. It would be hard to do this procedure considering the totality of it all without seeing the patient naked but seeing you remove all your clothing brings a bit of a blush to the cheeks of the normally very modest Taji, "Ah… anyway, yes, here, go shower. Don't use too much water, because I'll have to refill whatever you use by hand. But definately get that stuff, whatever it is, off of yourself."
Taji gets out a bag, "Probably should put your old clothes in here. I got some clothing that should fit your new build after we are done set aside, clean and ready to go. You'll look totally different, top to bottom by the time we're done. Even your scent should be different. Only thing this can't cover is manerisms so that is up to you. If you act like the old you, you could still blow it, but every thing else is covered." He explains as he starts to get out a few basic things and turns away to let you clean up.
Serin does as instructed, heading for the shower. He is not modest about his body. It is not as though there is anyone in the world whom he cares enough about to be concerned he or she might find him imperfect to the eye. Scars cover his pale-fleshed form — visible less due to coloration and more due to their irregularity with the surrounding tissue. There is muscle a-plenty, but Serin remains built for speed and grace, not arm-wrestling.
As he stands in the shower, he considers briefly that perhaps he should have asked that Taji turn around first. He has suspected for quite some time that Taji is not quite who or what he appears to be… Or that even what Taji has revealed is but the tip of the iceberg. It's mostly the vocal reverberations. But without Otomegami he cannot be certain. He has only his ear to judge by, rather than a tool for the fine-tuned measurement of vibrations — sonic or otherwise.
His musings Serin keeps to himself. He just washes thoroughly, scrubbing the irritated and in some cases bleeding chemical burns until he is in danger of doing more damage to himself by washing than by the chemicals themselves. He barely notices the pain. Everything hurts already, so a few holes in his skin that scream agony are no great shakes. At the very least the pain is less than when that Uchiha woman hit him with her Genjutsu…
Eventually, Serin finishes and searches for a towel to dry off with. He is not sure how much being wet might impact the operation, but he would rather remove as many variables as possible from the equation. While waiting for a towel to be indicated to him, Serin silently gathers his clothing, folds it, and places it in the bag provided. "I have two things to mention," he says in his typical dull monotone. "The first is a question. I have an irregularity with my Chakra Network. As far as I know, no Medic has ever been able to fix it. This assumption is made due to the fact that none of have offered to try. However, perhaps I merely need to ask. So I am asking. When you remake me, can you attempt to balance my Chakra Network? It would be a great aid."
Taji does his best to avert his eyes, focusing instead on readying his tools, everything from sedatives to surgical tools. He lays them all out on a tray so they will be in the right place. After all he's doing this without outside aid. A nurse would likely be very useful considering the level of complexity. But Taji will have to manage alone. Once Serin is done washing, Taji gestures to a stack of towels near the shower, each in it's own steril package, "Use one of those." He suggests as he continues to get ready.
When the questions are asked, about the chakra network, he frowns slightly, "I don't know. I never tried to fix such a thing but… I could try. I can't promise success, only that I'll see what I can do. The rework is so dramatic and invasive I might be able to do it." He admits, "But it would be… well, experimental." He explains, "I'll try, if you want?" He gives a little shrug, waiting for you to dry off, "I'll be removing all your scars, all signs of past conflict, rebuilding your whole body. Size, eye color, the works. I'll make a record of you now, and the proceedures so that it will be reversable if you need it to be, but… you'll have to come back to me if you ever want that. It… would not be easy to reverse, just so that is clear." Taji moves over to wash his hands in the heated water, using heavy duty soap and the like, getting sterile for the surgery.
Serin removes a towel from its package and dries off. He listens to Taji's answer and nods silently. "I would appreciate the attempt being made. If it is unsuccessful… I can not truly be worse off than I am now. I spend more Chakra than I intend to, I cannot gather as much as I should, and many of my skills make use of Chakra. I would be greatly diminished in terms of combat potential if I were to rely solely on conventional Taijutsu and Kenjutsu."
Once he is dry, Serin glances around. "The second thing I wished to mention… I promised you that I would neither kill unnecessarily nor seek out the deaths of others for any reason other than self-defense. I will abide by this promise. But there have been times I nearly lapsed. I even told myself that it would be 'just this one' and then 'never again'. Kishi Mune, the one who assisted us… She is a dangerous woman. She unleashed a chemical weapon during the tournament in Kusagakure — multiple times, even — that it seems could have wiped out the entire Village if not for the barriers and the fact that she neutralized the agent eventually. Someone who would create and employ something like that in a 'friendly competition'…" He shakes his head.
"She should not be allowed to live. And I had decided I would have to kill her and then apologize to you later. I told myself I would rationalize it as I am doing now, and that you would understand. I wound up not doing it, but I WAS committed to that goal." Serin sighs. "I regret that I intended to renege on our agreement. I feel… Guilt that I almost betrayed your trust. And I want to make up for it by being completely honest with you now."
"Once this is over, I intend to travel to Kirigakure and see if it is possible to return to active duty. I do not know if they would permit me to become one of the Seven Swordsmen. They would see and know me as an outsider only. And the Seven Swordsmen are beholden to the Water Daimyou. The new Mizukage may or may not be less bloodthirsty than his predecessor, but the Swordsmen must obey the Daimyou, not the Mizukage. Please, keep in mind…" Serin says as he stands there with a used towel in hand. "I only wish to help my home Village move beyond the dark times of war and brutality. I wish to see if the new Mizukage is sane and compassionate. I do not wish to serve merely for the sake of serving. I am not longer merely a blade in the hand of a madman. I will make my own choices. And if I feel Kirigakure is not where my fate lies… I will choose not to join them. I do not want to be ordered to run out and kill people I have never met merely because it will increase the 'power' or 'security' of the Hidden Mist. I just want to be in a position to guide new generations in finding a better way."
Serin goes silent after that speech for awhile, giving Taji a chance to respond. Eventually, however, he asks, "Shall I lie down now?"
Taji listens to this ally, and a slow frown forms on his face but when he hears that the action was not in fact taken a bit of relief crosses his face, unable to hide it. He clearly was afraid you were going to say you actually already did it and planned on asking now for forgiveness. He hesitates then once you are done he replies, "I understand you may be put in a position where it will be very hard to keep your promise. I understand that you have a life of experience that haunts you and shapes your thoughts. I want you to be able to change, and only you know how hard it is. I'm not you, I can't feel that urge the way you do. I understand wanting to stop a threat. I really do." He pauses a moment, thoughtfully, "There is a rule. And while it may not help you much, it is one that I try to live by. It is this: Never strike first. Remember your foe is a person. Give them the second chance you might want. Death is a bad solution, but sometimes, sadly, it is the only solution. So speaking on this Mune person, she has not used this weapon on innocents. If she does so, she should be stopped."
Taji moves around the building, getting ready as he talks, "Ideally, if you found she was doing this, you could go out and capture her. Subdue her, and bring her to authorities. Or… if that is not an option, bring her to me. While I don't know if I can fix your chakra network, I'm fairly sure with some work and time and research, I could figure out how to destroy one. To make someone no longer a threat." He says quite seriously, "That would be the best solution. Death begets death. It is a risk to let a foe go, they may strike you back, another time. I know this. You don't have to be stupid about it. You can prepare to be ready, but…" He shrugs, "It sounds like you know what is right and have stuck by it. I am grateful you are taking your promise so seriously. If you can, perhaps you can help guide your land to a less violent time. Your land has a reputation for violence. Tempering that…. would help the world." He ventures a smile, "Maybe you can help me bring an era of peace to this world. I hope to slowly help others down the same path. A loose group of those working behind the scenes trying to guide the world to a more peaceful future. What do you think?" He asks as he getures to the medical bed, "Please, lay here…. we can start in a bit. I have to adminster some sedatives first. Don't want to cut into you with out that. Actually the first step is to record all of your biological data first, which is relatively painless, but you get the idea."
Serin feels a bit relieved, oddly enough, when Taji seems not to be upset by the news that Serin almost betrayed him. The fact he is trusting Taji this much, that he would reveal the innermost secrets of his thoughts and feelings… Things have changed. Serin himself has changed. He thinks he knows now what it's like to have a friend — for the first time in his life. He lies down on the medical bed and says, "I would be willing to assist in this endeavor. But let us hope that such a group succeeds beyond the scope of the last organization I assisted… The Takokujin were flawed from the beginning. I believe Uchiha Yau, 'Lord' Rain, never truly wanted peace. He just told people what they wanted to hear. You are different though, Ta-kun."
Serin turns his dead-white eyes to look at his only friend in the world. "You actually believe what you say when you tell people you want to help. I think that would make all the difference if you choose to pursue your idea."
Taji gives a sheepish smile at this, "Thank you, Serin-san." He says respectfully, "I am glad you believe so. I really do believe what I say. I really do want to help, even if it costs me. Even if it is a bit of a risk. I still have to be careful. I still have a duty to my land. But… we must all work to find solutions that involve peaceful resolution." There's a pause, "Lord Rain? An… Uchiha you say?" He frowns at that and tilts his head, filing this bit of information away, "Anyway, if you are willing to be violent in the name of peace, you'll never succeed. You only muddy the waters further."
Taji stretches a tad then grins, "Well, so you ready to become the new you? The sooner we start the sooner you can start a recovery." He pauses, "Oh, you said there were two things you wanted to mention. One was the chakra network. The other was the desire to… stop this Mune person? Or was there something else?" He asks, wanting to be sure Serin has a chance to say whatever he needs to before the procedure starts.
Serin shakes his head. "The second was to admit my mistakes to you and to let you know where I am going when I am recovered. Finding me on the side of Kirigakure during a future encounter might come as an unpleasant surprise otherwise, and might lead to assumptions being made…" He then falls silent and lies still, turning his head to look up at the ceiling.
"…I am ready."
Taji nods, "Well, all I ask is that you do what you can to keep your promise and know that I hope for your redemption with all my heart." He says quiet seriously, "While we may find ourselves on opposite sides, know I will stand by my principles, and will only fight as I must, with peaceful intent." He nods once more, "Let us begin then." And with that Taji begins the long medical process of remaking Serin into… someone entirely new.