Date: August 30, 2014
A meeting between Renai and Meruin in which Meruin gives Renai a new name and purpose while gaining intelligence on some people the girl has met.
"In Service of the People "
Administration Building, Kirigakure, Land of Water
Administration Building - Lobby [Kirigakure]
The inside of this building seems to be out of theme compared to the other buildings. It's quite warm in here and nearly air-tight to prevent loss of this warmth. A female receptionist sits at a desk near the entrance, constantly working on papers of some sort. Behind her and to the right a bit is a hallway that extends to what can easily been seen as a door at the end.
North - (N) [Administration Building - Hallway]
Out - (O) [Enmu Lane]
Meruin pushes open the doors to the administration building, garbed in his usual platinum silk, though his robes seemed to have been replaced with clothing far less inhibiting, the strands of the shirt and shorts appearing almost as a second skin. It was a short lived affair as those robes he was nearly always wearing found their way out, seemingly billowing from his pores as he stepped into the lobby of the building. It was only moments before the majority of his body was shrouded once more, the light blue insignia of Kirigakure bold upon his chest.
He searched for his immediate appointment, subtly brushing his shoulder against the underside of his jaw as he his misted gaze stopped its roving.
You sense: Meruin had wiped off something… red? Blood mayhaps. Difficult to tell, it had been there so briefly, and there was no smear on his shoulder.
The appearance of the meeting at the Administration Building finally on Renai's schedule had the girl biting her nails down to the beds. She had a feeling she was in a lot of trouble. But, she was here early, arriving twenty minutes beforehand. The girl is impeccably groomed out of respect for the summons, having brushed her hair nearly to the point of causing it to fall out. The green is shiny and smooth, not a single hair out of place. She looks generally just.. clean. And squeaky.
At the appearance of Meruin, Renai rises quickly, pushing her apprehensions down and away. She would salute the Mizukage along with the few others in the room. "Mizukage-sama." She moves from the salute into a polite bow and remains quiet, awaiting instruction. Her eyes move over him, attempting to gauge his mood and get an idea of what she's in for. Her gaze lingers on his jaw, wondering what he wiped off. He's too far away for her to distinguish whatever it was.
"Renai no Kirigakure. Welcome."
Meruin salutes in return, fist pressed over his heart, and beckons to the girl with a raised hand and an easy flick of the fingers before he turns and starts towards the hallway. "You are doing well this afternoon?" he queried the shinobi as he nodded to the receptionist on his way by her. His travel was quick by virtue of his long, ever-balanced stride, the distance between him and his office swiftly shrinking in size.
Renai follows him, having to take a few quick, double steps to catch up to his pace. Then she falls in step behind him, her long legs seeming to have no issues keeping up. "I am well, Mizukage-sama. Thank you for asking. I hope you are well, too?" The last is phrased as a question as she inquires about him.
Her eyes would move over the things they pass in rapid succession, doors, decorations, not seeming to entirely take in any but the target at the end of the hallway. Once they reach it, she would stop behind him and slightly off to the side, expecting him to open it and usher her in and waiting for him to do so.
"Aye," he said. "I believe that you do."
Renai didn't have to wait long as he opened the door to his office once he reached it, holding it for her to pass through. "That is the way of things, is it not? That the moods of those in power must be watched closely by those under it, for good or for ill." Once the girl made her way into the office, he followed behind, seeing the door closed on his heels as they already make their way towards his desk.
He gestures to the chairs on the other end of it, saying, "And yes. Though I doubt that you would be able to tell one way or another, all considered, I am doing well." His hair twines itself into a long braid with celerity, as though it were guided by adroit hands that they eye could not perceive. It was fully settled by the time he took his place in his own seat, looking to Renai.
"But you will be uneasy regardless."
His chin lifts slightly, examining the girl.
"Tell me. What will we speak of today, Renai?"
The girl moves inside and remains standing as she watches him move behind his desk. Her lips press together as she listens to his words. He's contemplative. That probably isn't a good thing. She watches the braid as it moves, forming itself. Okumo, creeping her out second by second, indeed.
Renai doesn't move from her standing position until he requests the last of her. Then, she moves, pulling the scroll from her body and resting it against the back of a chair carefully. "I think, in the eyes of my superiors, I have not made very smart decisions as of late and that they, well you, are wondering what the sudden lapse of judgment is about and perhaps how a lowly genin came across a missing nin and obliged him to a debt of life. You probably also wish to know why I was removed from the Touketsu, but I'm sure that was all in the report they sent you."
She moves her hand in a dismissive gesture at that last thought as she sits. Her posture is straight and she's on the edge of her seat as though she might dart off it at any second. "Is that correct, Mizukage-sama?"
Meruin's hands lift, open and drawn apart from one another, the Mizukage's head lowered in inclination. His gaze is direct on the girl as it ever was, the mists of his eyes a languidly swirling mixture of deep purples and greens, obscuring whatever thoughts might be sifting behind them. His only reply to her beliefs, to her question:
"Say must be said."
The girl blinks. What must be said? She shifts in her chair uneasily. That is a horrible and vague question. He is evil.
Renai steels herself and organizes her thoughts so that she doesn't stutter in uncertainty. Being uncertain would probably be very bad right now.
"I go out into the forests surrounding the village occasionally to do a bit of survival training. Living off the land, hunting and things like that." Her shoulder lifts in a shrug. "It was..ooh.. a few weeks ago the last time and that's when I found him. If I had not helped him, he likely would have died. He was dehydrated and half-starved. Disoriented. I don't think he realized he had wandered onto a boat and landed up here. So, I helped him.." Not I went and got help, not I thought about ending him while he was weak. She helped him.
"I couldn't get much information out of the man, so I talked him into staying with me, in the Touketsu complex, the very secure and heavily-guarded Touketsu complex, until he could 'get back on his feet.'" She makes air quotes with the last. "I felt letting him wander away was the riskier option and being as inexperienced as I am I couldn't very well just tie him up hand and foot. He came upon me while training one day in taijutsu and mentioned he was a 'fighter' so I asked him if he wanted to 'show me what he had' and sparred. That is basically how we landed up in your office. One thing led to another and honestly, Mizukage-sama, there was not a better option for my getting him in here without scaring him off. Plus, he really would have followed me anyways and I'm sure I would have gotten in trouble for that just as quickly."
Her eyes would lift then and settle on the Mizukage, trying to see what he's thinking. "I didn't figure out the rest of it until our last meeting here. He told me everything after that. I've repeated it to no one, Mizukage-sama, not even Doihara Ishino."
When Renai's eyes lift to settle upon Meruin, she would find him to be sitting as he had been in the beginning, back straight against his chair, hands laying easily on the arms and his eyes betraying nothing of the workings behind them. He had been silent throughout, as stone. Patient and unmoving as just the same, only subtle but noticable hints of movement speaking at his life rather than his presence as a time abandoned statue. A man of apparently few words, the end of the young girl's story brought out only a pair of questions.
"How much do you know of him? How much did he say?"
She bites her lip at his last two questions. She did make a /vow/ to Eremi. But this.. to deny the Mizukage her knowledge would, in fact, be treason.
Renai looks away from him for a moment, settling herself to it. She doesn't like breaking vows, but she is sure that Meruin knows some of what she is going to say. Her eyes find his and look directly into them as she speaks, unwavering, "Satonezu Eremi is a missing nin from Konohagakure. He left because he found out.. things that disturbed him. He couldn't stay there any longer. I know nothing more than that, Mizukage-sama. I did not ask for details." Her mood seems to somber a bit, not wanting to think of what it was that would turn a ninja away from their home. Oh, she is sure Kirigakure has faults. She has seen them, but never anything -that- bad.
There is silence for a moment…
Until the moment Meruin lowers his head in inclination to the girl, the words, "Thank you," leaving him. "I assume from your hesitation that there was some betrayal in your telling me this information. It is no small thing to betray a friend, and it is something I would prefer I had not had to ask of you. That you were able to remember your loyalties is admirable — a difficult feat in matters such as these; one that I value and tend to find more throughout my higher ranks than in the genin. But then, I suppose that you are not the average in many ways.
The Mizukage's braid lifts, slipping over his shoulder to rest along the chest of his robes. "Thank you for the information. Though it is not the premier reason for your presence here, it is good to know what you know." He gestures towards Renai. "The reason you are here is, indeed, the fact that you have been discharged from the Touketsu. It is my wish that today, you begin to understand just who you are." His gaze remains on the girl as he tells her, "You are Renai no Kirigakure. You are of our people and our people are of you. It has always been thus and it is true for each bearing our insignia, but having lost your clan, it is important now more than ever that you recognize this. We are your home and we give you our family name. Within us, there are fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters and cousins and you will join with them and fight with them. Some you will like, and some you will not. Some you will accept and others you will reject. But we will always be there for as long as you are willing to stay. It is our purpose."
Renai seems to relax a bit at his words, tension moving out of her shoulders. So, she isn't going to die? Yay, hopefully.. But, what he said hit her rather hard, not in a bad way. Just.. It's like he can read her mind sometimes. How in the world does he do that?
She's quiet for a time, scooting back in her chair and resting her back against it. Her eyes are slightly wet as though she's going to cry from the mixture of relief and the hope that he just gave her, but her jaw is clenched. That's not an option. Not in front of him.
The girl clears her throat, "Pardon me. I just.. I knew that of myself, but I didn't know if the feeling was returned. To hear it.. Well, you understand." She waves a hand slightly and looks away, tipping her head back and blinking her eyes rapidly. The girl emits a faint laugh, more at her reactions, and abruptly chokes it off lest it turn into sobs of relief. Here, she thought she had lost everything when it was all clinging to her with tendrils of love, asking her not to leave.
"Thank you, Mizukage-sama," Renai straightens in her chair again, trying to get back her formal demeanor. "It is an honor to serve the people." She debates saying more and then just closes her mouth. There is no better way of putting it. That one statement is the one thing that hasn't changed since she became a genin.
After a moment, once the feelings in the room subside a bit, she does inquire, however, "I did want to ask you, though, if I could be allowed to follow up the leads of my biological parents. I think I need to try to find something so I can understand .. uh.. /what/ I am. The sand manipulation. I have only met one person who can do the same and she seemed more /made/ of the element.. which was strange. I'm not entirely sure that is a technique I can emulate. My own manifestations seem to be limited to external applications. But she did teach me a few things." Renai's eyes go distant as she ponders the meeting of the Jinchuriki, whom she doesn't know who was one, on their very own shores.
She blinks and snaps herself out of it. "But, as far as the adoption papers say, they were in the Land of Wind and are probably not alive in any case. I could take more supplies and missives to Sunagakure though on the way, if desired."
Meruin is watchful but unintrusive, patient as he awaits Renai's recovery of her composure. She would give him no thanks if he pressed forward without it. This thought in mind, he was quiet in both voice and body until she cleared her throat and tried to express her thoughts. He inclined his head to the girl. Yes. He understood all too well, in a certain way, what it meant to have those intentions returned. To have it told in a manner no less meaningful than a promise.
"Aye," he said a small while later, the girl now straighter in her chair, gathering herself together once more. "It is honor to serve. Glory to serve. Fulfillment. Purpose. One day, all of Kirigakure will recognize that it serves itself; That each serves eachother. One day, they shall realize their honor, their glory, their fulfillment. Their purpose…"
Those words were spoken with the tone of an ending. Anything more said on the matter would sound off, misplaced. Meruin, at the least, honored that, saying nothing until the question of Renai's parents were raised.
There is a pause, the Mizukage's regard on the girl a weighty one. "It is very often necessary to know from whence one has come to know where one should go. I would not begrudge you your right to know of your parents. Perhaps I may even be of service. But the time is not now. Now while there is so much unrest, and not… while there is danger within Sunagakure itself. When the risk is lesser, you will go. For this moment, you shall wait.
"I am interested," he continued, "Though, of this woman of sand that you speak of. This is not the first I have heard of such a being, of this I am sure." Color began to leech from the mists of his eyes, its every hue growing more and more paler. "Tell me what you have learned of them. Where and when you met them."
Renai nods at his words of the people finding glory and fulfillment and purpose. But she does not push the issue any further. That kind of philosophy can be debated in lecture halls and among the shinobi greats, for sure, but, here, between them it is simply understood and accepted.
"Understood," is the response she gives him in regard to seeking out her parents. While it is something she wants, it is not something necessary to her growth. She is already learning without the knowledge of them. The girl understands where she is needed most and why he would deny her this for now.
So that leaves the sand woman. "I, along with Akane-sama, encountered her at the beach along the coast. The one with the black sand. I had gone out to practice and.. to vent some anger.." Renai looks away a bit at that, as if her emotional pitfalls matter at the moment. "She was dressed.. um.. scantily and named herself as 'Kagura.' I'm not entirely certain, but I believe Akane knows her somehow. The woman is from Fuuma Alley and claimed to be waiting for a trade ship."
With that, Renai reaches into her pocket to pull out a bag. She rises and moves to his desk, setting it down and opening the pouch of black sand. "I could literally stick my finger in her like this.." Renai presses a finger into the sand, the substance molding around her digit. "And it wouldn't have hurt her at all. She didn't even need to use handseals to manipulate it. She sent a wave of the sand at me.." Renai pulls her finger away and focuses lightly on the substance, her chakra flowing into it. The sand in the bags moves and ripples a bit on the surface. She can pull off small manipulations like this, but anything larger needs preparation. "And didn't even so much as twitch a finger." Her eyes lift to him as the sand falls still, attempting to read his reactions as always, though that never turns out too well. He hides them all too adeptly. "I told her I would find her again when I was stronger."
Meruin's hand lifts, his gaze on the black sands by the time Renai had looked up to study him. "Very interesting findings," he spoke as his fingers opened up to hover over the bag of ebon granules the girl had placed onto his desk. "Both of this 'Kagura' and of yourself." After a moment, small ripples coursed through the sand in a similar manner how Renai had manipulated it, the action a brief one.
"You will tell me when you feel it time to find her again," he told her, finger and thumb dipping into the back to pluck out a small sample. He rubbed it between the fingers as he withdrew it, gaze shifting to the Touketsu. "The wave of sand sent at you. Was it in earnest attack?"
She watches him as he sends ripples through the sand, idly wondering if he can do it too or if it is simply a different kind of manipulation. Her vision focuses, obsessive musings and calculations immediately rolling through her brain. Renai shoves them aside to focus on their conversation, however.
"No. I avoided it easily. She was teaching me. She made a rose.." The girl lifts a small bit of the sand into her hand and it more or less forms the shape of a flower, though nowhere near as impressive as what Kagura had done. "And I inquired about it. I had just found out about the.." Renai waves her hand a bit as though to indicate all the things about her that she seems to still have trouble saying aloud. "So, to see the manipulation was intriguing.. and somewhat unexpected. I was told it was a rare manifestation."
The Mizukage nods.
"It is," he says, eyes on the sand flower before him. "Very rare, as a matter of fact, though perhaps not as uncommon as the world seems to think. There have been increasing reports of those with your abilities as of late — not an extreme amount. Three or four, including yourself and the one you know as Kagura. It is more, however, than has ever been known at one time."
He gestures to the black bloom within Renai's head, the sweep of the hand giving kudos to its creation and then falling away. "In light of your newly developed Kekkei Genkai, these reports are of increased interest. We shall keep tabs of any information we might find on them for your benefit. Now then. The time allotted for our meeting has dwindled to nearly nothing, and all of importance has been discussed unless there is more you need to speak on. Assure me that your survival needs are being met without the Touketsu's support — you have found new living quarters, I am told — and we will draw our meeting to a close."
Renai drops the sand back into the small bag and closes it. She retrieves it from the table and idly stuffs her practice material back into her pocket. She has bottomless pockets..
"I will let you know as soon as I am ready to seek out Kagura once more, of course. I have moved to an apartment at the fish market to be closer to the beaches. My address has been updated with the offices." Her shoulder moves slightly as if to indicate the lobby. "I.. took Eremi with me. I wasn't sure of the proper course of action. That takes him from the Touketsu security, but I am still able to keep an eye on him myself. Which.. he would have followed anyways." Renai shrugs again. "We are getting by well enough." She would smile then. "I think that is all. Thank you, Mizukage-sama, for everything." Her eyes would meet his, clear and direct, with unsaid meaning. The new meaning, the willingness to keep tabs on things related to her, the concern for her wishes to find her parents, ensuring her that she still has a home.. He gave her something important today. She'll not let that go unnoticed or unrepaid. Renai salutes and bows with a precise deliberateness. He has gained her loyalty in a way that he didn't have before. It's personal, not just a byproduct of her vow to the village.
She would move then to retrieve her scrolls and leave unless he should wish to stop her.