What If? Future Me - A Sage's Strength



Date: March 21, 2013


None given.

"What If? Future Me - A Sage's Strength"

Unknown location

Taiki sits on top of a rock in the Toshiba Forest, having just come back
from a long arduous journey. Otami was sent on ahead to let his wife know
he was back, and that he would await her in their special place. As he
sits and waits for her to find him, he thinks back over the last 20 years,
and all that has happened. It was not an easy road, and there was still
much to do, but he knew that he was well on his way to achieving his two
main goals: To see his wife become head of her clan, and for him to
finally put an end to the threat the Recluse had become.

Indeed, everything he's done has been to work for this moment. Twenty
years ago he had just been promoted to Jounin, still green in this role,
and still only barely chuunin level as a medic-nin and a seal expert. He
didn't even have the summon contract that came to him some short time
later. All he knew is that his life was turning out good, he had a loving
girlfriend, and if people kept disappearing and re-appearing in his
life… Well, that is what shinobi life is all about, isn't it?

He never would have guessed that this uncles escape from prison, aided by
forces that was at the time unknown, would lead to the disaster that
followed. The Recluse made their move, against his clan and against
Konoha. The battle was fierce, and yet they won the day, but not without
cost. The clan elder was killed by the person thought then to be the
leader of the Recluse, as was the head of each of the Inuzuka Clans. The
heirs, save Kenichi, likewise perished, and the clan was left bleeding and
almost broken. Even Kenichi was hurt really bad, though he would survive.
Taiki had tended to Kenichi and Atsuro, and all the other Inuzuka he could
as well, despite his own injuries. He put the welfare of his clan first,
which perhaps was the reason Kenichi's request was taken so favorably.

The Elders wanted to make Kenichi Clan Alpha, as none of the others were
up to the task. But Kenichi knew he himself could not do the position
justice. He could, however, use the circumstances to change things once
and for all in the Inuzuka. Thus Kenichi rasped out a long, emotional
speech about a young man who gave blood, sweat, and tears for his vision
of the clan. Who, despite being considered a veritable outcast, persevered
and was there for the clan in its hour of need. Kenichi spoke of this
young man, not mentioning him by name, as he described incredible feats of
determination, strength, cunning, and above all, loyalty. He spoke of the
young man's compassion, how he healed the very people who spat upon him
and ignored his station. He spoke of how this young man was still treating
the wounded, despite his own wounds, down to the very dregs of his
endurance, all because the clan needed it. By this time even the elders
were sold, and demanded to know who this young man was. Taiki of course
knew, but it was only when Kenichi next spoke that Taiki allowed a smile
of pride to cross his face. Kenichi said, "This hero is the very founder
clan member you all spat upon. He saved us all from the Recluse, and only
asked that the clan become whole once more. Inuzuka Taiki, the healer you
see at my side, has been trying to heal this clan, to bring it together,
for so long. He put aside his anger at the council, at the men and women
who spat upon his mother's sacrifice, and cared enough to fight for us
all, both on and off the battlefield. He is but skin and bones, but he
still administers aid to a man that failed him not so long ago. It's time
my clansmen, regardless of clan. You want an Alpha, here is your Alpha,
the man who would not stop, no matter the personal cost."

It definitely came as a surprise to Taiki when what was left of the
Inuzuka elder council all bowed to him and swore, as one, to follow his
lead. But Taiki knew that Kenichi was right, and with as much humility as
he could muster asked, "No man or woman can lead alone. It takes all of
us, working together, to overcome the adversity we face. Let us no longer
hear of apologies, for the past is past. Kenichi, you must become the head
of the Founder Clan even as I assume the role of the Clan Alpha. Let each
clan of the Inuzuka bury their dead, and choose new heads, new heirs, not
from station, but from ability, regardless of family or monetary status.
No more shall we have pariahs. No more shall we have bastards. All,
regardless of their station, of their origins, are Inuzuka. We are family,
we are the human embodiment of all that is noble about the dog, about the
wolf. Let us gather as a pack, and let us survive in this new world we
find ourselves thrust in. If you can do this for me, then I promise you I
will continue to work for this clan. I will grow stronger, taking you all
with me, and then let the people who did this to us quake with fear,
afraid to go to sleep at night for fear of the canine death that stalks
their very doors. We are Inuzuka,"

That was the last thing Taiki remembered for four straight days. He had
collapsed due to exhaustion. The doctors thought he was lucky to have
avoided a coma. But he hit the ground running soon after he woke, and
never looked back. He mastered sealing medicine, mastered his own network,
and brought the Inuzuka clan closer than ever. Then he gained his summon
contract, and began the path he just now finished. He was the first Wolf
Sage. That title joined the title he had earned on that battlefield 20
years ago… The Force of Nature. He was a true master of elemental
taijutsu, who inspired the members of his clan become stronger still, in
the ways that best suited them…

Taiki sighs as he thought of that, remembering the pain of his mother's
death. Finally he looks up to the sky and says, "My entire reign as Clan
Alpha is dedicated to you mom… may you look down upon me and smile,
knowing I did what was right."

"She knows Ta-kun," a sweet voice whispers from behind him as a pair of
graceful, but oh-so-strong arms drape about his shoulders and neck. "And
she's just as proud of the man you have become as I am." Taiki breathes in
her scent, smiles and looks into her eyes. How he loves her eyes, so
different… so unique. "Thank you…" he says before leaning in to kiss
her passionately while dragging her onto his lap. It was good to be home.

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