Date: November 9, 2012
Sumire runs into Taiki on the training grounds.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"Introductions and lunches"
Training Grounds, Tsohiba Forest
Today team 6 is using one of the common training grounds available for all, near the fork leading to the rank specific training areas. It is right around noon, and Taiki has just called a halt to the exercises and sent the genin out to get some food, telling them to be back in a couple of hours. They normally don't take that long of a lunch, if they take a meal at all, but this is a slow day as Taiki is conserving strength, both theirs and his, for a mission later.
In the meantime Taiki sits down near the main path and starts to open up a bento he had sealed in his scrolls, dividing the food up between them. "We'll eat ourselves, then get a light workout in before the team gets back. Shinobu, you'll run through the d rank lightning ninjutsu while Nozomi finishes up her water manipulation." he says to the ninken with him.
Sumire is walking towards the training area, planning on once again helping any genin who are preparing themselves for the upcoming exams. As she often is, she's reading a book as she walks, so she smells Taiki and his ninken long before she sees them. It's enough to get her to close the book, stuff it into an oversized hip pocket, and say, "Come on, Hakuro, we're picking up the pace." While she doesn't dash as fast as she can, she is at a full ninja run, her arms dangling behind her by the time she enters the training area. Right on her heels is a little black dog, who looks like he's enjoying getting to sprint. She pretty much skids to a stop, and gives a wave with one hand over her head, calling out, "Hey!"
Taiki's two ninken are, for the lack of a better word, large. Of course Taiki has had Shinobu since he was 8, so its no wonder this white malamute-looking dog is as large as a small horse. The red-furred dog next to him is smaller, looking more like a huskey than a malamute, only about half the size of the white one. They both looked up before Sumire came in, having smelled her and her dog as well. Taiki himself, a fifteen year old boy that is quite infamous within the clan despite his position, is of a thin build, and not to muscular. He has golden brown hair and brown eyes, several burn scars on his face and a permanent abrasion scar on his throat. When he speaks, it is with a hoarse voice that indicates permanent throat damage.
He looks up from pouring his tea to a cup and smiles slightly at the young woman in front of her. "Hello," he says politely, with a slight smile on his face. "I was just sitting down to a brief lunch. Would you care for some tea?" His entire manner is polite, which is something some of the rumors about him within the clan would directly oppose.
Sumire blinks a couple of times. She's was really ready to see somebody who fit the rough and tumble stereotype of the clan, not somebody, well, apparently a little more like her. She blushes, a bit embarrassed about her boisterous entrance - and right about now, if Hakuro could be snickering like Muttley, he would. "Um…" she says, grasping for the best answer to the question. And then, it came to her. It took a lot longer than it should have, it's not like the weight of the world was balancing on it. "Sure?" she responds, though, honestly, it sounds a lot more like a question than an answer.
Taiki tilts his head and waves Sumire forward, though the smile on his face fades a little. "I don't bite, unless asked or I'm fighting someone… in the later case all bets are off," he says with a little amusement in his voice. "And as much as the clan's Elder Council would wish you to believe, I'm not going lash out for no reason." There's the evidence of little love between Taiki and the Elder Council, a feeling that is supposedly mutual.
But the look disappears quickly as he motions for her to sit. "My name's Taiki, but I'm sure you already knew that. I've seen you before, but I can't place a name to the face. So forgive me for asking, but can I have your name? Calling you hey you is a bit rude after all…"
Sumire sort of forces a little laugh at the bite joke. She can't help but wonder if that's something that all older Inuzuka do. Not that Taiki's that much older, really. Still, right there and now, the makes a vow to herself that she's not going to use that line until she's got gray hair! So, there's this look of determination on her face as she says, "Okay. Tea for sure, then." and just before she sits she gives a quite proper bow. Of course, the image is spoiled a little when she speaks, "Um, wow, sorry. I kind of recognized you, so I just figured you'd, uh, know me. Erm, you probably know my dad, Rokuro. Oh! But I don't necessarily believe everything he tells me! I mean, I'm not here to spy on you for him or something! Ack, this introduction is going terribly! Uh, I'm Sumire."
Taiki blinks and then looks at Shinobu, who has stopped eating enough to give a couple of wuff's that sounds suspiciously like laughter from a dog. Nozomi can be heard doing the same, and finally Taiki actually chuckles himself. "Sorry, I'm not laughing at you, really. I find it ironic I'm just as nervous about meeting you as you are about actually meeting me," he says as he gets himself under control. He then opens up a scroll and applies chakra, producing a second cup. Into this cup goes the tea, which is then handed to Sumire. "Rokuro… Delta clan? In public he's a little better about me than most of the council? That Rokuro? I shudder to think what he says about me in private then if you're this nervous."
It is plain to see Taiki is relaxing a bit off his formal manners now and is a bit relieved. "It's nice to meet you Sumire. The large white ninken is Shinobu, and the smaller red is Nozomi." Nozomi gives a quiet howl that pretty much says, "It's about time," to which Taiki raises a hand and answers, "Gomen. I know, I should have introduced you when I introduced myself. Sorry about the bite joke, but I've been doing quite a bit of diplomatic work for the Clan lately, and as a result, I got used to dealing with old people. So… how are you doing?"
Sumire takes a couple of breaths to settle down, and really, Shinobu and Nozomi's reactions help. Likely because they're pretty much the same as Hakuro's… so ding! Familiarity! "Um, it's not that he's said a lot in private or anything. I mean, uh, wow. Okay, I get a little, uh, flustered sometime when I'm out of my element. Which sort of happens more than I'd like. Anyway! Oh my gosh! What was I thinking?! This is Hakuro! And Nozomi's right, we should have given their, uh, names right away, shouldn't we? Oh man. Now Hakuro's going to give me bacon every time I don't." she rambles, and then stops. "I did it again! I didn't actually answer your question! Sorry! I'm doing really good. I mean, I know it's got to look like I'm a wreck or something, but I've actually pretty much got it together!" She gives a toothy grin, and with good humor returns the question, "Yourownself?"
Taiki seems to relax further as it becomes evident that they're both pretty much on equal footing. She's not what he'd expect from a member of his clan he hasn't personally gotten to konw. He'd be talking a mile a minute himself if it weren't for current and recently past events. So he cuts her a bit of slack as he passes the tea along. "Breath… in with the good air, out with the bad. I may act formal, but that's my automatic defense action when I'm nervous. Believe me, you'll see the more relaxed me as we get to know eachother."
He widens his smile in efforts to put Sumire a little more at ease as he greets her dog. "Hi Hakuro'san. Nice to meet you. I have some dog treets if you're interested?" Taiki's family uses jerky for dog treats instead of biscuits, something the entire clan knows. As he waits for Hakuro's answer he glances at Sumire and answers her question. "I'm actually doing fine. A little hyped about a mission I'll be going on later, and overall better now that otou-san is awake." Rumors around the clan had it that Taiki was… angry over what happened with his parents (which the council and the traitors said was his own fault), and even more so over something that happened not to long ago. Nevertheless to say, people were approaching him with caution lately, even the ones that believed he was the source for all ill fortune for the Inuzuka.
Sumire does take a breath, and tries to settle herself some more. It's a good thing that Hakuro can't talk, because with Sumire going a mile a minute usually it'd be tough for him to get a word in edgewise. But, with her quiet, and jerky on the line, he gives an unmistakably affirmative bark to the idea of a treat. "Uh, yeah." Sumire says, backing his play. "You can have some. But, uh, not too much. We've got training this afternoon." Then she takes the tea, and sips it, letting its warmth soothe her. "Um, yeah, there's nothing like a mission to…" she stops short, then exclaims, "Oh! Your dad's awake?! Um, that's great news. I just got back from a mission myself, so, uh, I'm a little behind on news."
Taiki then unrolls the scroll that contained lunch to a new seal, and out comes a package of rabbit jerky. "It's rabbit, since that's both Shinobu's and my famorite. Fastly becoming Nozomi's as well," though in Nozomi's case its likely self defense, which is left unsaid. He holds out a piece of it for Hakuro as he looks back toward Sumire. "Yeah, its great he's awake, though the doctors have said its unlikely he'll walk again, much less be able to channel chakra." It seems the case in Taiki's life. For every bit of good news, there's bad. "We still have to figure out what he's going to do when he's finally released. But at the very least he's capable of giving advice, something I've really missed."
Sumire gives a slow nod, and is quiet for a little while. She thinks about how it would feel to have one of her parents hurt that badly. And then, she thinks about what Taik's father must be feeling. To have once been a ninja, capable of everything that we're able to do… and then, to not even be able to walk. "I'm really sorry to hear that. Look, um, I know that I don't know your family that well, but, uh, we're all Inuzuka here, you know? If you - or any of your family - ever need anything, please, let me know. Seriously, if I can do it, I'll help however I can." she says. She knows that there's no miracle cure in her words, but at a time that Taiki's on the outs with the Clan Elders, she believes in making it clear that he's not on his own in this.
Taiki's smile fades a bit more as he reminisces about what it was like to have a family. For a very brief moment, there's a haunted look in his eyes that is quickly shunted away. "It's just me, unfortunately. Mom died when dad tried to rescue her and got put in a coma for his troubles. And unlike my uncles my parents had just one child… me. And I was never really that popular with two of my uncles and the Elder Council, so it only made the problems worse." That the situation culminated in two of said uncles trying to kill him, something widely known not only inside the clan, but throughout Konoha, remains unsaid. Taiki then forces himself to smile and shrug, adding, "But that's the past, and what doesn't kill us makes us stronger."
Sumire raises a finger as she makes her point. "That doesn't change a thing that I said." she says, "I mean, that just makes it is so that if, uh, you need anything to let me know." She gives a little sigh, and explains, "Look. I know that I don't have the power to get you back okay with the Council. Or, uh, if that's even what you really want. And, I know that your dad's going to have great medical care, so he, um, doesn't need my first aid or anything. But, like, you're going to be going on a mission, right? Are your uncles going to be with your dad? If not, I volunteer. I mean, sure, we're just distant relatives, but, uh, what's right is right."
"Though the mission tonight is in Konoha itself, it is dangerous," Taiki explains. "There's ANBU guards, as well as clan guards, guarding his room at all times, and they'll be on high alert during the mission, to prevent retaliation." Though he doesn't come out and say it, it is obvious what this mission is likely to be at this point. It is one the Elder Council assigned to him after all. "Kenichi-sama is going to be there with him tonight as well, to help ease dad's worries. I'm sure they wouldn't mind extra company, since guards rarely are good company, especially to a worried parent. Thank you." Taiki then takes a few bites of his food, followed by a sip of his tea. "And a friendly face is always welcome around me as well. So far, Atsuro is the only one who's been solidly in my corner."
Sumire gives a single definite nod. "I'll be there." she says, and then gives a toothy grin. "And, now you've got two in your corner." A bark from Hakuro corrects her. "Okay, uh, three. Well, huh…" she gives a little laugh, "depending on how many ninken Atsuro has, I, uh, guess you've got a bit more, huh?" She finishes off the cup of tea, and then stands up. "Sorry to drink and run, but I'm going to head to the, uh, medical center. I mean, if I'm going to do this, I'm going to do this right. I know a couple of doctors, so, um, I'm going to make sure that none of the guards can give me any guff about being with your dad." She gives you a bow. "Best of luck tonight."
And Taiki hears from his ninken, rather loudly too. "Okay, four total before, six now," he says, holding his hands up in surrender. "And no, you're not chopped liver, unless you take the old axiom of you are what you eat to literal proportions." He then bows toward Sumire and says, "Thank you. Hopefully things will go well, and dad will be able to rest easier." That he's looking for a little payback is left unsaid.
"Seriously, you're welcome." Sumire pivots on a heel, and hurries back to the village proper. She has enough sense of propriety that she doesn't start running immediately in front of Taiki and company, but she is less than ten feet away before she breaks into a run. Hakuro gives everybody a 'what are you gonna do?' look, snaps down the last of his jerky, then takes off after Sumire. She wasn't going full out until Hakuro caught up with her, but once he does, she sprints at her all. Once more, the citizens of Konoha are going to get to deal with a ninja running on their rooftops because she's decided that what she's doing is more important than them being disturbed by rapid thump thump thump noises on their ceiling.