Date: December 13, 2010
Several days after the events of Infection: My Last Breath, Shinji returns to the hospital to check on Datura's progress. They bond. A little.
"Infection - Aftermath: Definitely Maybe"
It had taken two-and-a-half days before the young blonde lying in the hospital had awoken. During that time she had been fed intravenously and doctors and nurses alike refused to allow anyone to see her and thus disturb her rest. The village of Uzushiogakure was not an unpleasant one to stay in, and though the locals were suspicious about the strange people in their midst, they were not hostile. There were naturally questions about the Yamanaka's illness and her origins, but most of these were headed off by the skilled political clout of Amuro. Eventually, word filtered out through the nurses, and then the doctors, and finally to her team members that were still within the village: Datura was awake. And apparently her first words had been 'I'm hungry.'
Still under three days into her recovery, the blonde-haired kunoichi was at least managing to look a little better. Her hospital gown clung loosely to her form, and it would be a few weeks at the least before she regained the weight she had lost. The dark circles beneath her eyes had yet to disappear, but they were offset by the bright, innocent smile that she usually wore when speaking with her attending nurses. She still got tired easily, but could laugh and talk more, and no longer seemed to have an aura of paranoia and fear hanging about her shoulders like a palpable mantle. The biggest complaint that her nurses had was that she seemed to have a spider problem in her room.
Indeed, the spiders had returned, tiny arachnids instinctively drawn to the young woman's form. One could occasionally be seen crawling across the floor or ceiling of her room. The usual saying of 'for every one you see, there's twenty you don't' also held true in this case. The truth was that in the crawlspaces beneath the floors and in the walls many more arachnids had taken up residence to be near the rogue Yamanaka.
But they seemed not to bother Datura at all. She had given a fond farewell to Kimigumo, after all, and would occasionally have to gently brush or pry an enterprising spider out of her hair or off of her bed. Currently, though, no spiders could be seen upon her bed or person, though one had managed to spin a web within her bedside lampshade. The blonde-haired shinobi was sitting up in her bed, having a tray set before her, on which was a covered dish that no doubt contained something from the local cafeteria. Datura smiles winningly at the elderly nurse as it's set down.
"Thank you, Miki."
The old woman tuts and pinches the younger woman's cheek as if she were fussing over a toddler, patting her head. "You're very welcome, my sweet little puddin'-pop!" And then the matronly, pink-uniformed woman is scuttling out the door, leaving the blonde to her meal.
With having to wait, Shinji the only other male of the Tao Shih besides Amuro was out enjoying the village. Having been worried about Datura since being forcefully pushed out of her mind, but knowing that all they had was time to wait. Hoping that she would pull through, Shinji kept from the hospital, he didn't like them and didn't like that members of his team was there. He had to trust in the people of this village and so he did. One thing he did was venture to the local weapons smith, there was a particular weapon he was needing, a staff but not just some hard wood staff, but one that was flexible and carried inertia well to be able to deliver it and power to his opponent. Having found one man on the outskirts of the city, he told Shinji he could get him that weapon but didn't know when. Shaking his head, Shinji refused the man for now.
His remaining time was just filled with visiting the springs, and learning the lay of the land. He found that he will be visiting Uzushiogakure more often, it is actually peaceful and the abundance of water, gave the village a fresh water smell that kept the the air clean. It is on the third day when they were told that Datura was awake, when he hears about the spider problem, Shinji just chuckles. Figuring the others would want to see her first, Shinji just waited a few days before going to visit. THough when it was his time to visit her, he brought some flowers and secured some sweets. Thats what you bring to women in the hospital right? He seen Datura before she became ill and well none of the women in the Tao Shih are far from ugly. Some of the most beautiful and deadly women you ever wanna meet. But he hopes Datura has a fun side, hell he hoped the others had a fun side too. Knocking on the door and waiting until he gets a come in does Shinji enters. He quickly looks about and notices a few spiders scuttling about to get to areas where they have a good view. "Umm..Hello Datura-san." he says to her as he walks over towards her bedside with some orchids. He doesn't know anything about flowers, but was told these were nice flowers to give a woman. He hands them to her, "How are you doing?" he asks.
Flowers, flowers, flowers! Datura received thousands of flowers every month, and yet never even saw most of them. Of course, they were all destined for 'Lady Ryoko', and, after finding her dressing room filled with flowers and cards professing love, she had ordered her promotional manager to handle the disposal and replying of her fanmail. She had an entire team of people dedicated to ensuring that 'Ryoko herself' answered each and every letter she received!
So she rarely ever actually GOT flowers.
The blonde was in the process of removing the tray's lid when Shinji knocks and gets a brief 'S'open.' from the hospitalized kunoichi without even looking up. She makes a face at the lumpy mashed potatoes, and an even grosser face at the macaroni. The thin slab of meat just gets a cursory frown of bare-acceptance. Finally, her blue eyes turn up to see who had entered her new domain, such as it was, her yellow eyebrows raising at the sight of the mercenary. Wordlessly, she reaches out a hand to take the flowers from his grip, turning them slowly to inspect them as if she expected something to be hidden in them and pop out at her like a jack-in-the-box.
After a moment, she sets them down next to the food and twines her fingers together in her lap, atop the sheets covering her legs. "Thanks. I'm… y'know, gonna live." Her voice goes a bit quieter, a face usually accustomed to some form of smile or another going somber. "It's kind of like getting let out of a padded cell after you've been imprisoned for a few years for insanity that may or may not have been real. You just… don't quite know how to act around anyone anymore."
Watching Datura as she inspected the flowers, he doesn't say anything. It's a natural response for most people, hell he would check them out just to make sure nothing was in them. But once she was done, Shinji smiles to her as she tells him she is going to live. "Yeah I know." he says to her. But as she spoke about the feelings she had, Shinji is quiet, letting her explain how she felt, he didn't know what to say. But listening he knows does help, "Well now your back with us Datura-san." he tells her. "I know the others have probably talked to you about things, and well I know you and I don't really know one another except for the few missins where I guarded you but…" he pauses for a moment. "I'm happy your back among us."
Yeah, he looks a bit flusstered, he is normally one who doesn't get tongued tied by or around women, but he has noticed that he does that around Mune, as well as Kanami and now Datura. Shaking his head, "Well, I know that it will take you a little bit of time and if it feels like you don't know how to act around others, just take your time. Try to just ask questions about things or what the others feel like. I can't explain it and I don't want to confuse you by trying." he says as he obvious look like he's a bit confused.
"Ryoko." Datura corrects automatically as the male calls her by her alias. "I know you already know my name. So just call me Ryoko when others aren't around." There's a small smile as she picks up her fork at his words of being glad she's returned to the land of the living, but it doesn't quite reach the rest of her face beyond her lips. As she prods at her small slab of meat with the prongs, it doesn't linger, fading away into something more carefully neutral.
"I could see everything, you know. I could see everyone and everything that was happening. All apart, and all together. It was…" She searches for an appropriate word, finally settling on one. "…disorienting. I could see you, and I could see Kanami, and I could see you and Kanami. It was like every piece of my consciousness had been torn away from every other piece and was slowly being burned. But it made me see everything, all at once."
Datura's eyes flick up from her meal to the male's face. "I know what you saw when you were in my mind. I know what you said, and what you thought." The blonde licks her lips and goes back to staring at her food as she pokes small, symmetrical holes in it. "I got this sickness in Ankoku Cave. That was a few months ago. …I killed Riku a little over a three years ago. That wasn't some monster, some infection that made me do it. I did that. Myself." A frown. "I just thought you should know."
Nodding his head when she corrects him about her name, "Sorry about that." he says as he apologizes to her. Noting the smile, "You have a very pretty smile." he says as he looks at her. Taking in form and face as she sits there, worry did show a little bit on his face. He didn't know what to bring up and what not to, but just looking at her and seeing that they were alone, he knew he has to make the best of the time they have for now knowing he will not be able to stay for too long.
As she tells him that she was able to see everything and everyone. He hoped she was able to see them, it was the only way their words could reach her, but also fear was creeping up within him during that time that their words wouldn't reach her. As she continues to tell him how she was able to see him and Kanami, then both of them at the same time had him feeling that they were the two who were able to reach her at that time, but again it was a team effort and her will to continue on.
As she tells him she knows that they saw what was in her mind, he doesn't lower his head, he looks to her evenly in the eyes. As she explained how she got the, "Darkness." he nods, "I've heard of that cave, some place I hope I don't ever have to go." His voice low, "Well again, I'm not here to judge you for what you've done to your sister. I know you know of how the others feel about that. Do I wish you handled it different, yes. But whats done is done. I hope now though, you know you have people who care about you Ryoko." he tells her honestly. "You know, I like Ryoko better then Datura." he smirks a bit. Finding himself a bit calmer now, he looks at that food and remembers he brought her soemthing else. "Here." he says as he reaches into his clothing and produces a brown bag, and hands it over to Ryoko, "It's something sweet. Later I will try to bring you some ramen." he smiles to her.
"Of course you do. Datura is a hallucinogenic and highly toxic plant. And it's ugly. Who'd ever want to be named after a poisonous, ugly little spiked fruit?" The young woman's shoulders lift minutely beneath her hospital gown, and then fall again in a tiny shrug of seeming indifference. "After I'd left Konoha, I went by a lot of names. It wasn't until I got to Fuuma Alley that I had finally settled on 'Datura' as my main alias. What better name for a murdering genjutsuist? I don't think I know how to care about people. I don't think I want to know."
The outcast Yamanaka is momentarily pulled from her self-induced reverie by the addition of yet another present. With a curious down-turning of her lips, she holds out a skinny arm and takes the bag in her hand, pushing her plate aside on the tray in order to set it down. Opening the lip of it, she peers inside, her eyebrows shooting up, followed by her leaning forward upbruptly to peer around the male mercenary, towards the closed door. Satisfied that it remained closed, she leans back, shoving nearly an entire handful of the sweet chocolates into her mouth. Clearly her Lady Ryoko-learned table manners were not in effect here.
"Oh thank GAWD. I'm not really supposed to have things like this until the doctors tell me I can, but I can't take another bite of this hospital food!" After the first mouthful is barely-chewed and painfully swallowed, the Yamanaka kunoichi slows down, deciding to eat them one at a time now that the initial rush for something that didn't taste bland and unappetizing was out of the way.
"But you know," she says around a morsel in her mouth. "It's strange. Knowing that Kana… cares about me. It's kind of, I don't know… nice. And maybe you and me can be friends. Maybe I was wrong about Amuro. …And maybe Mu-mu will stop hating me. I feel like I've been given a second chance, you know? I'm just not sure what to do with it, yet."
Shinji doesn't hold back a laugh as Ryoko slams down the chocolate, "Becareful there is a sticky bun at the bottom." he says. "I know your not supposed to have it, but hey there is nothing wrong with a few sweets, just ration them while your here." What Ryoko told him earlier before diving into her sweets didn't fade from his memories, one thing about him is that he listens to everything and stores it away for later. As she tells him that it was nice that Kanami cared for her and that he and her can be friends as well as the others, that put a smile onto his face. "Well you have been given a second chance Ryoko, take it and embrace it." he says as he moves closer and looks to the meat.
Frowning himself, "May I?" he asks as he gestures for her fork and knife, "Besides, I'm tired of being the lonesome hero." he winks at Ryoko. "So your primary focus is genjutsu, hows your taijutsu?" he asks. Oh yeah, the tanned male is still awkward when it comes to conversations. But if given her utensils he cuts up her meat pretty quickly and good.
The young blonde wastes no time in pushing the plate of food away from herself and towards the male mercenary. But at the mention of their being another treat at the bottom of the bag, the entire contents is summarily spilled out onto the tray by lifting the small sack upside down and shaking it. The sticky bun is immediately grabbed and bitten into. With a mouth full of sweet breaded delight, it's a moment before Datura can reply. Reply with anything intelligible, anyway.
"Taijutsu?" She makes a face. "Sucks. I don't fight. If I have to fight, it means I've already done something horribly, horribly wrong. Winning before it ever comes to blows is my specialty. You can only destroy things with violence. I prefer to take my prizes intact." She lifts a shoulder. "My genjutsu's not the greatest, either. I'm actually more proficient in possession, mind-reading, things like that. Did you know I can keep genjutsu active from miles away and cast jutsu without making hand seals?"
Datura takes another bite of her bun. "Remember that if you ever decide to piss me off." After a moment, she looks down at his cutting of the meat, then back up. "You're not going to eat that, are you? It doesn't taste very good, you know."
Oh yeah, that gets his attention. "Well, thats the thing between kung fu and taijutsu." he tells you. "I don't really have to destroy my target." he smiles. "It's just all how you use your abilities." he states. "As for genjutsu, the stuff scares me, but if you are profiecent enough in it and can use it over distance, well lets just say. Whoever is stupid enough to piss you off, deserve what they get." he laughs. "As for mind possession, that is different, granted I'm still getting used to what clans can do what. I feel that I will be doing some scroll and book reading while we're still here. I like to know about my targets before engaging them. Granted I have no problems just going in after them." he smirks.
Once hes finished with cutting up her food, "Nope, your going to eat it." he smiles. "You gotta get your strength up." he smiles. "And if your good, I will bring you something each day." he winks at her. "Now, I see you have other guests." he says as he looks at the lampshade with a spider in it. "Kimogumo was awesome and a great help. If you see him again tell him thanks for me." he tells her knowing about her connection with the spiders. He's never knew a whole lot about summons, but seeing as spiders are always around them when she is around one could only assume. "So what do you like to do when your not performing or anything?" he asks.
"I don't wanna eat it!" Oh yes, Datura's spoiled attitude had remained quite intact and made a full recovery after her ordeal. She visibly turns away from the plot, clutching the sticky bun in one hand, pointing to it with the other. "I have the bun and the chocolate, I don't need that mystery meat. It tastes foul!"
Her eyes turn towards the lamp and it's occupant as they're brought up, and she tilts her head, giving a mild shrug of indifference. "Well, you know, they like me. I helped them with a little problem they were having, and made some friends. I'm sure I'll see dear Kimi-kun again. I'm going to return to the Princess on my way back to the Land of Grass. …But don't get too close to them. Just because they come to me, even when I don't want them to, doesn't mean they won't bite you. Some of them are very venomous."
As she polishes off the last remnants of her baked treat, the rogue Yamanaka leans back into her pillows, using a hand to stifle a mighty yawn. "I don't really know. I like lots of stuff, like anyone else, I guess. Gambling, I always cheat, swimming, festivals, shopping, clothes… And baths. I really like baths. I… also like hurting people, scaring them. I don't know why. Nee-chan says it's because something inside of me is broken and needs to be fixed."
Datura pushes the tray away from her, sending the small cart it was on rolling a few feet away from her as she sinks lower into her sheets. "Look, I'm getting kind of tired. Can you tell the nurses I'm sleeping on your way out?"
Sighing as the spoiled rogue Yamanaka complains, "You know what, you have to eat it." he says to her. "You have to get strong, all that sticky bun is going to do is well….taste good." he laughs as he looks at her. "Later when it's dinner time eat please." Shinji moves the tray away as she pushes the cart, oh yeah spoiled, but very damn cute too. Walking over to her as she explains about the spiders, nodding his head, "Well I will keep your advice close to heart." he says as he looks back at her. Noting the yawn, but letting her finish, "Well I do enjoy baths myself, as well as swimming and training mainly. I like to go adventuring as well when we aren't working." he chuckles. Walking over to her he takes her hand, "Well rest easy, I will be back to check up on you later or one of the others will." Bowing his head he lets go of her hand and walks towards the door, "Nice to finally meet you Ryoko-san." he says then opens the door and calls a nurse to come attend to her.