Date: August 7, 2012
Goh catches up with Kazeodori in the hospital. A general chat follows.
"Hospital Chat. Goh and Kazeodori forge a friendship!"
Tenrai Hospital, Sunagakure
It hadn't been much time since Kazeodori's encounter with masked sand puppeteer, the toll of the fight still very evident on his body. The blood had been cleaned up, the wounds stitched. Kazeodori himself preferred to forego the more mystical healing arts, much preferring to let his body recover itself, and to have always the reminders of the battles he'd fought, and the pain that came with those wounds. His father had taught him as much anyway. For it's safe to say, had the child had his way from the start, had he not been forced every day to digest such a mantra and faith, he'd have certainly already been chakra'd up and shipped out as soon as he could be.
As it stands, the boy lies comfortably on one of the myriad cots staking the hospital. The place itself is not as busy, with only the fair wounded lying hither and thither. No one is grievously hurt, but - on the flip side - there aren't too many people to play with. And seeing how the boy's wound - a long, deep cut along the arm, a plunging cut into the thigh, burns to the back of the legs, several other small cuts to the torso - are not greatly healed (and numerous), bed-bound he must be. So, as any prepubescent youth would, sleep he does.
It's been a bit of a rough road for Goh. With the ever changing sands of Sunagakure, the blonde wanderer had become quite lost. To the point that he nearly perished! But that was the past, and he was now going about his duties in the Village. Catching up on information, selling his stuff and taking in the sights.
Kazeodori may not have any immediate visitors, but that is about to change. From underneath the bed, a small, two inch long Salamander can be seen scurrying out. The little lizard scurries along the side of the bed, toungue hitting the air. It then moves to quickly remove itself from the bed and onto the floor where it sort of sits for a little bit.
Then, it will happen. The mouth of this little lizard will open, and out from it will come… a finger. Followed by a hand. The mouth of the critter stretches to unimaginable levels as the hand is followed by a grown mans arm, followed by a head, body and legs.
Yes, Goh has climed OUT of this little creature! Which itself doesn't look too bothered, scurrying up onto Goh's blonde hair to camp comfortably.
"Yo, Kazeo!" He lifts a hand to wave.
Kazeodori, being so deeply asleep (as is his lot), does not feel the scurrying beneath his bed, nor alongside it. He does not feel the tractive pads gripping to his cot. Nor does he hear, or see, the gross feat by which Goh arrives in the hospital. He does, however, stir when Goh announces - with such exclaim - his arrival by means of greeting. The youth's head turns on the pillow - a toss, really - and his eyes struggle and blink. Once. Twice. Thrice. A flutter of his eyelids brings Goh's boyish visage into frame-by-frame fluid view. A smile nearly makes it onto the Kazeodori's face — so close does it come to fruition, so near to being. But yet… does it not. Instead, the warm salutation is replaced by the clinching of Kazeodori's face, his lips tightening themselves together, his eyes squinching themselves nearly shut. The boy stares at Goh from within his slitted ocular cavities, his nose twitching.
"Oh, gosh… what is that smell?!"
"Smell?" Goh sniffs the air, as if trying to smell something on the wind. "Hm… I can't smell anything. Your nose must be injured too, I would say." His arms fold across his chest, the liquid that covered him already drying in the air. "How ya feeling, anyway? Aside from the obvious broken nose you have, looks like you're healing up well." His blue eyes scan the boy up and down for a moment.
"You seem to be a little young to be getting into these epic sort of fights. What's the deal? What happened, anyway? I was going to ask the Nurse, but… I'm not sure they like me very much." He frowns. "…I may have snuck in when I shouldn't have one time, and they haven't forgiven me since." A brief shake of his head, "Anyway, nevermind." His eyes scan the youth down, coming across the large gashes in Kazeodori's legs. "Ye-ouch."
The boy, already beyond the wounds and the pain and the whatnot (for children are visited often in the hospital, and our usually asked the same questions over and over again), plucks a question from one of Goh's offhand comments.
"Why did you sneak into the hospital? They just let you in, you know."
The boy - so it would seem, judging by the organzation of his face - is not yet over the smell, though it is, thankfully, rapidly disappearing from the area. He's not sure if it's Goh or not - for it is a hospital, after all - but he certainly thinks to believe so.
Already having forgotten (or not really cared for) his initial inquiry, the youth follows Goh's sight along his body, stopping as the pickle man too stops at his legs. Certainly, it would seem, they took quite a beating. The boy, now having been reminded of the wounds he suffered, engages the other in answer to his questions.
"Keiji and I came across… something in the desert. It turned out to be a master puppeteer. Keiji was fine, but I… well, as you can see, I didn't do so well. In fact, if he hadn't been for Keiji, I wouldn't be here today."
The youth stares at Goh as he finishes, the solemn crossing of maturity having taken over his demeanor, the incident perhaps enlivening the boy as to the privilege of life, and how so easily it can be taken.
"I dunno. Fun thing to do? Walking through the front door isn't very exciting. And then I have to fill out heaps of paperwork, sign my name, register details… bleah." Goh makes a face, poking his toungue out. Despite being a grown man, he appears to not… well, really behave like one. Maybe it's because he's chatting with a kid?
"Master puppeteer?" Goh asks, seeming concerned. "You got attacked by one of your own people? Or is this some sort of rogue ninja from the Village?" A finger lifts to tap his chin. "Never seen puppets in action, myself. Don't really know what they're like in battle." He continues to tap his chin, pondering. "Keiji? You mean the Chuunin that isn't much older than you?" Again, he seems thoughtful. It's hard to really tell what he's plotting. "I wouldn't have thought a Chuunin and Genin would be able to face a Master puppeteer! Sunagakure sure does breed them tough, huh?" He grins with a wide smile. "How many puppets were there?
"And last question. Do any of the leaders around here know what's happened? Did you get a good look at the face? Or was it one of these super secret ninja with a mask?"
Kazeodori blinks at Goh as the barrage of questions assails him: him, Kazeodori, the poor hospital-bound boy, being attacked by a veritable villainous inquisitor. How terrible! How tragic! The boy's face, too, shows as much. At least initially. With an exhalation of breath, Kazeodori's visage unwinds, and he brings himself to stare at the far wall of the hospital, seeing if he can remember all the questions asked.
"I don't know if it was one of our people. Maybe rogue. They're vicious in battle (obviously). Yes, I mean the Chuunin not much older than me. I wouldn't have thought so either except Keiji is very strong. Yes, we are tough. There was one giant puppet which then broke into four smaller puppets. I don't know if the leaders know, but Keiji said he would take care of it. He was wearing a mask. So, yes, a super secret ninja."
Kazeodori takes in a long breath and then releases it, bringing his attention back to Goh, the boy's eyebrows raised high on his forehead.
"Anything else, oh master detective?"
The boy's eyebrows then quickly drop back down his head, nearly to his eyes, which squinch up in the process.
"I thought you just sold pickles?"
Goh seems to ponder at the answers, eyes rolling around in his head as he peers at the ground and then the ceiling. "Hmmm. No, I don't think so. That's pretty much it. You guys did really well to survive, that's for sure! Puppets. Ew, with lots of pointy things coming out of their bodies. Usually poisoned. Yuck." He shakes a bit, sticking his toungue out again.
"I guess you thought wrong then! Ha. I used to be a full-on professional ninja, actually. Like you. But that's largely behind me now. I'd rather be known for my amazing wares! Heh." Arms fold across his chest again.
"That's why I'm good friends with Itami. We've been friends since the Villages were formed years ago, when we were both youngin's forging our future. I was one of the founding Jounin of Konoha back in the day. Obviously I'm not part of the Village anymore, but I used to act as some sort of diplomat, going back and forth between Konoha and this place."
"In the end, I found that there were too many limitations with being just with Konoha. I thought that to better serve the world and make sure everything is right within it, I should hit the road on my own. So I did, and now here I am. About to head out into the desert and find a masterful puppeteer." He grins again, not seeming too daunted.
"I would have thought that Wanpo would have been a give away that I was a ninja. Summoning and all that?"
Kazeodori's eyes widen as he listens to Goh's shortened biography. Regardless of its length, the youth is visibily awed. He had thought of leaving his village for good (but not yet). In fact, he really liked the people and the place and even the desert. But being part of a village means obeying orders even if you don't believe in them. It means doing things which maybe you didn't really want to do. Though a ninja, Kazeodori is very much a pacifist. In fact, he has never even killed anyone. Which, amongst the other village ninja, is not something he readily shares. With such inspiration, such life-changing thoughts as barraging through his head thanks to Goh, such a smile alights the boy's lips. But soon does it fade - slowly now, slowly - with the entrenching of firmer thoughts.
"But if you're always on the go…" begins the boy, looking towards his feet, "…don't you get so lonely?"
The youth ends his questions with a sharp look towards Goh, the look of a genuine question asked, and the answer it so desperately wants.
"Hm? Not me, personally." Goh replies to the sharp question.
"I've been travelling for a few years now, so you could say that I'm used to the limited company. I've always got Reiko with me, too." He points to the Salamander still perched on his head. "Wanpo, too. The Salamander you saw the other day. They're nice to have a chat with. I usually have at least one with me all the time."
Reiko then proceeds to open her mouth. Unlike Wanpo, she sounds very much mature. Almost Motherly, really. "It's a tough life, lad." She addresses Kazeodori. Perhaps picking up that Kazeo may have been thinking of doing the same thing? "All this travelling. If you were to do it by yourself, it would be lonely. But us Salamander keep Goh company. That, and he's often with friends when staying in Villages."
Goh nods to confirm. "I used to travel with someone else, too. Mushi, the best healer in the world." It's a loaded statement. Beast healer in the world? She must be good! But he says it so matter-of-factly.
"But she's sort of semi-retired right now. She's the head of one of the biggest neutral hospitals in the world, and takes in people no matter the history. But travelling around was starting to get a bit dangerous for her, so I think she's laying low for a bit. Her being in hairy situations was leading to heat coming back onto the hospital. That, and she's obviously needed there every now and then to monitor everything. Can't have assistants look after it all the time!" He chuckles.
"It's only as lonely as you make it, I guess is the answer. For me, it's not much at all."
The universal symbol for earnest thought. Kazeodori finds himself looking at Goh, and the new Salamander, but without really seeing either of them. As if the eyes suddenly lost themselves to the vision of the mind. For how could something so ordinary compete with something so exceptional? Such a gaze only bears an instant of being, however, for - much like certain Genjutsu - what is long in the imaginary is often but short in the real.
The Genin's sight finds itself again, and a smile (albeit, a doleful one) eases its way onto the boy's face. Kazeodori's right hand reaches over his chest, proferred to the newly met salamander.
"Nice to meet you, Reiko. I'm Kazeodori."
The boy's hand retracts a step, the lad inquiring of the amphibian as his appendage does so:
"Do salamanders even shake hands?"
"Well, considering they don't have hands, I would say that they don't." Goh replies with a short laugh.
"It's good to meet you too, lad. I am sorry I cannot shake your hand." Reiko replies, seeming happy enough to just chat.
"Well," Goh begins, glancing around. "I guess I should be off before someone catches me here, without having checked in." The blonde muses with a snicker.
"Oh, hey. Before I go. When you get better, would you mind helping me with a problem I got?" He leaves the question open and hanging, as if trying to build suspense.
"When you get better of course. Don't expect you to help me out right now."
One would imagine - amongst the boundless stretches of thought which have begun here, fed by the life of Goh, and the tales Kazeodori is already fabricating to fill that life - that the young boy would be almost dismissive of the other in regards to what he now has to ponder. But Kazeodori, as, umm… "swift minded" as he is, is quick to adopt sheer joy for the prospect of helping out Mr Pickle, who was so kind to him before (even if he was trying to hit on Itami). The youth sits up in bed - a bit too quickly, for a grimace quickly comes - but eases himself further up after that.
"What, umm, what-" asks the boy, his question cut in half due to the youth's inability to stay stationary on the pillow, his slick clothes and even slicker bandages not persuadable when it comes to staying put.
"What, umm, did you need?" the youth finally asks, half-propping, half-holding himself in place.
"When you get better, do you mind taking me out to the desert to find some herbs?" Goh asks in a tone that is quite… simple. "I imagine that, with you being a local, you would know the best corners of the dunes to find plant life. A kid even moreso. Part of the reason I still come to Sunagakure is to hit up the rare spices, adding them to my pickled goods." Standing up straight, he stretches out.
"Safe to say, it's a bit too dangerous for me to head out by myself right now. A guide would be perfect. When you're better, of course. And you don't have to worry about any weird puppeteers. I'll make sure you get through unharmed."
If the boy's smiles were glum or disgenuine before, the one slapped onto his face now is certainly not so. The boy's lips are spread wide, his teeth pearly and present, his cheeks pushing into the corners of his eyes, which glisten with such ardor as if the boy would leap from his cot this very instant. Thankfully (mostly for his own sake), Kazeodori does not. But his enthusiasm is palpable. It is not simply that the Genin likes Goh, or that he wishes to help, to ask the other more about his life and times. It is also that Kazeodori absolutely lovees roaming the wides of the desert (something he has gotten into trouble doing before), feeling the lash of the sun, and the bite of the sand. Such infinite nature exists in those stretches of sand, that Kazeodori can not imagine a better experience than accompanying an interesting individual through such an interesting place. Humorously, the Genin offers only a nod in agreetment, perhaps afraid that if he opens his mouth, he might yell.
Goh smirks at the answer. "Calm down, Kazeo." Though his smirk does turn into a bit of a laugh. "Righto. Well, I'll be in the market-place probably. In the mean-time while you heal-up, here…" The blonde reaches into his jacket, pulling out a pen and paper. He hands it over to the youngster.
"If you get bored and remember anything, draw pictures of all the different plants you've seen out in the wilderness. Once done, I can identify them and then from there, you can lead me to the places where you saw that plant. If you don't remember any or suck at drawing, then don't worry about it. I guess we can just scout around for a while. Sound good?"
The Genin nods - several times - and takes the notepad and pen from Goh, the action of simultaneously reaching for both things with both hands causing the boy to slide down from his propped up position on the pillow. Rather than scramble himself together, to perhaps regain some sense of dignity lost, Kazeodori just stays in his lowered position, nearly horizontal, staring up at Goh. He coughs lightly.
And he offers another nod, but it would seem - from the current indignity of such a quick, unthinking action - that the youth has not much more to say. Perhaps, by the time he's fully healed and rested, such a thing will already be forgotten. Surely it will, right? Surely it will.
But not one to be rude, even whilst so pridefully dissuaded, the youth offers up a final word.
"Good bye, Reiko. Nice to meet you."
Even if he can't even now see the salamander.
"Ciao." Reiko replies casually. Goh himself looks around, perhaps plotting an exit. "I'll see ya next time, kid. Get better soon. I have clients to feed, after all!" Twirling about on his foot, the ex-shinobi sticks poth of his hands out, balancing on one leg as he brings the other up in front. "Scrambling time!"
What follows is a little gross. Just like his entry! The very body of Goh starts to… fall apart. As if he is suddenly split into dozens of little Salamander. Well, it's not really 'as if' as… 'it actually is'. These little lizards fall down from his shoulders, head and torso, until there is nothing left. There would have to be nearly a hundred of them in the end, each scurrying to different parts of the hospital room with ultimate sneakiness. Slowly yet surely dissapearing from view.