Date: January 11, 2012
The Inuzuka went one step too far, causing Taiki to snap. What will Atsuro do now?
"Inuzuka Pride - Taiki snaps"
Rocky maze of the Toshiba Forest
Well, no one could say they hadn't been warned. There's only so far a person can be pushed before a breaking point was reached, and the situation inside the Inuzuka Clan where Taiki was concerned had been slowly building up to that point. Then, today, Sakura pushed that last button. She had finally cornered Taiki away from nearly everyone, save his mom's ninken and Shinobu, and started to make her second ploy. She managed to use a bath house to keep the dogs away while she tried to put forward what she considered her best qualities to be. But her mere presence made him uncomfortable, and when she started to outline what she was intending to claim as she entered the bath area, Taiki's final button was pushed.
Predictably, Tiaki snapped, but not like he had ever done before. His reaction was to jump out of the water as soon as she was in, and send three lightning arcs right into the bathwater. We all remember how water conducts electricity, right? Sakura never stood a chance, and soon after her third (and loudest) scream he bolted out of the clan's onsen half dressed. Her father tried to call him to stop, but the look on his face was enough, and with a Tsuga he plowed the dirt in front of the man, temporarily blinding him to allow for an escape. "GET OUT OF MY WAY!" He shouted as he left the compound, Shinobu quite hot on his tail. His parents witnessed Taiki's departure from the gates, and after a quick rundown from his mother's ninken, Kenshin sent a dog to alert Atsuro, asking him to find Taiki, and to try to calm the boy down…
Eremi has disconnected.
It never fails: urgent business always seems to pop up after a night of wild partying. Having slept way, way in, Atsuro is found in bed, looking like hummus. He awakes to the sound of the dog tapping on the window to get his attention. "Unhhh…" He sluggishly pulls the blankets off himself and gets out of bed, then plods over to the window and opens it to see what the dog wants. After hearing the story and screaming several obscenities at the tops of his lungs, he begins a rush to get himself into good enough shape to go out. First, a mad dash to the kitchen to grab a few random pieces of food for his breakfast (though he doesn't actually know if it's breakfast time or not, really…), then back to his room to hurriedly get dressed. Finally, he heads to the bathroom to quickly brush his hair into something resembling a human hairstyle and… do some other things too. Then, leaving Taizen with some instructions to come find him, he leaves, locks up, and starts wolfing down his breakfast as he travels to the scene of the crime.
Not long afterwards, he's managed to track Taiki down to… here. "Hey, kid," he greets simply. He figures it's best not to greet Taiki in anything other than a perfectly neutral way. "Your dad asked me to find you." He glances down to the apple core he holds in his hand, then lets it drop to the ground.
When Atsuro arrives he's treated to a rare sight. Well, Taiki cursing isn't so rare, as the young boy has done so before. Neither is Taiki's practicing. What is a rare sight is that Taiki is attacking a boulder with gusto, using Tsuga, lightning arc, and whatever else he had. The cocophany could be heard for a mile away, and the sound of breaking stone seemed to echo through the forest. Sooner or later, it would attract attention, and it made him very easy to find. Taiki finally pauses for a moment though as Atsuro enters the area. He doesn't turn around, but it is easy to tell that Taiki is… well, his hands are just more than slightly bloody, if that's any indication. He's breathing heavily, and Shinobu is looking very concerned at his partner. "Leave me alone," Taiki growls, not bothering to turn around. His entire body is shaking, likely in rage.
Atsuro, of course, doesn't listen to that command. Instead, he just sits down nearby, keeping an eye on Taiki. "Look, I'm not here to tell you that you could have killed her and you need to act more like an adult blah blah blah, because you don't care and neither do I. I'm just here to make sure you're okay." He puts his hands behind his head. He's tired but if Taiki will respond well to a 'no BS' attitude, Atsuro's got that in spades right now. "They're not going to come after you. Your parents are already on it, and it was self-defence."
"Oh I am alright Sensei," Taiki growls as he throws a kunai with an explosive tag attached to the boulder he had slowly but surely been reducing to rubble. After a loud explosion that showered the area with dust and blew a plate-sized hole into the boulder he says, "You don't know just how 'alright' I am. Oh, yeah, I'm sure some people would say I should take the 'adult' road. But all that road has gotten me is broken bones, a mutilated body, and more pain than any three people my age should deal with. No more Sensei. No more. They push, I'll push back. That lasagna was just the first to learn that today. I'm not playing their games any more. I'm through playing games. They want a kick-sherbet Taiki? Well I'll ram a kick-sherbet Taiki down their throats!"
Atsuro sighs as he's sprinkled with boulder dust. "Glad I didn't shower. Taiki, do you think you're just going to beat the stuffing out of them until they leave you alone? It might end up that way, but you're going to need a good chunk of the clan to help in that beating. Maybe a good chunk of the village. In the mean time, though, all you're beating is that rock. And your hands." He gets to his feet and risks a few steps towards Taiki. "C'mon, let me take you to a doctor."
"I'll find away. If all else fails, they have to sleep sometime," Taiki growls out. "Were ninja after all, we're supposed to be sneaky." Taiki doesn't move however, and moves when Atsuro puts a hand on him. "It's not serious, and at the moment the pain is keeping me from going back to that stir-fried compound and finishing the job," Taiki says as he finally turns toward Atsuro. His sides are heaving and his nostrils are flaring. Taiki is still far too gone to be sensible right now. "No… I think I'll commune with this boulder some more," he says with a demonic chuckle. "I'll commune it to dust!"
Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiigggggghhhhh. "Now you're a little too much like I was when I was younger." Atsuro shakes his head. "Look, I'm not mad at you for being a brat. God knows I was a thousand times worse when I was your age. But Taiki, you're actually self-mutilating. If you need to blow off some steam, you can spar with me, but I'm not letting you bash your hands against rocks for half an hour." He folds his arms. "It's me or the hospital, kid."
Taiki arches a brow at his sensei and shakes his head. "Please, I may be sprinkled, I may have finally had it with the rampant baloney sandwich in our clan, but I'm far from stupid, Atsuro'sensei. You'd wipe the floor with me," he says as he backs up. "But I'm not going to the hospital either!" With that Taiki takes off, first using a standard Kawarmi to get some distance before taking off like a bat out of hell back toward the forest. Or at least that's his plan…
"Are you kidding?" Atsuro buries his face in his hands, though it's not clear if it's from tiredness or exasperation with Taiki. "I got so drunk last night, I think I'm actually still a little drunk right now. And your dad's dog just woke me up ten min— aw, turkey. What're you— aw, cranberry sauce." Of course, with Atsuro being an expert tracker, significantly more experienced than Taiki, and significantly faster, it doesn't take long before he's caught up with him. "Will you just listen to me for a second? I drag my sorry pita out of bed for you like this, and you just bolt? Baste you, Taiki." Once he's close enough, he grabs Taiki by the collar and lifts him up into the air, turning him around to face him. "If I put you down, do you promise not to run away?"
"I'm not anyone's punching bag," Taiki growls out as he stares Atsuro in the eyes. "I'm not going to stand still and get beat again. I'm not going to wind up like that marinated kid the bear half ate, I'm a freaking ninja for Kami's sake!" As Atsuro looks Taiki in the eyes it is easy to tell that Taiki is definitely not thinking straight at the moment, and he is remember something decidedly unpleasant that happened recently. Whatever it is, it is playing on Taiki's already established victim complex. Any physical threat is likely to be met with a fight or flight response at the moment. He doesn't promise anything though, instead opting to mutinously stare into Atsuro's eyes.
Receiving no promise, Atsuro doesn't put Taiki down yet. "You must be kidding me. Taiki, look at me. Is this the face of someone who wants to have a spar, or the face of someone who wants to go home and sleep?" He lowers Taiki to the ground, but still keeps a hand firmly on him. "I was offering to be /your/ punching bag. If you want to punch something, you can punch me. It won't destroy your hand and you'll actually be able to hurt me. Win-win. If I let you go, do you promise not to run away?"
Well that puts a different spin on things. He is quiet for a few minutes as his well over-stimulated mind tries to work through what Atsuro said. Finally he sighs and hangs his head. "Fine, I promise not to run away again, unless one of those frosted elders show up. That's the best you're going to get from me Sensei." He finally seems to be calming down a little, at least he's making more sense now. The blood flow, interestingly enough, has slowed almost to a stop from Taiki's hands.
Atsuro sighs again, though this time out of relief. "Thanks." He lets Taiki go. "What do you wanna do? You want some lunch or something?" He pauses. "…is it around lunchtime? I'm actually unclear on that." He yawns. "Or if you still want to punch something, I think I can stay awake for about an hour. Or we can talk, or do something else." He buries his face in his hands again, then slumps down and sits on a nearby log.
Taiki sits down and looks at Atsuro for a moment before asking, "How bad was it?" It is readily apparent he's talking about Sakura's injuries, given that he is looking at his hands at the moment. He's still shaky, but at least his mind seems to be finally getting around to working again. "I know I lit her up like a Winter Solstice Tree, but I didn't stick around after that third lightning attack."
"Well," begins Atsuro, "You didn't /kill/ her." There's a short pause. "Too bad, huh? I didn't hear the whole thing, but it sounds like she's down for at least a few days." He glances over to Taiki and sees that the boy is looking down at his own injuries. "I /am/ going to have to take you to a doctor at some point, you know. With the way you were going at that boulder, I wouldn't be surprised if you broke a finger and didn't notice."
Shinobu comes over and lays down at Taiki's feet, then looks up and whines at the boy. "Yeah, I know," he says to them both. "I need to take care of myself." He then looks up and nods to Atsuro. "Yeah, too bad. I will admit that I didn't want to necessarily kill her, but I did want her to feel what it was like to be on the receiving end for once, and to not be able to do a single thing about it. If she had had her way, after all, I would have been trapped into their plans in more ways than one."
Atsuro pats Taiki on the shoulder. "You're safe. She's never going to get her way. Let's just not think about it." He scrunches his face up a little. "Ugh, let's never think about it." He rests the hand on Taiki's shoulder and looks directly at him. "But we can't just hang out here in the forest all day. Your parents are going to be expecting to hear back from me at some point. What do you wanna do?"
Taiki closes his eyes for a moment then opens them. "Mom is decent at medical jutsu. As much as I don't want to be anywhere near that matzo hole right now, you're right. I should go back. But more importantly, I should go back with calm confidence," Taiki adds as he thinks through the political ramifications. "If I go in with my head held down, it will undo the message I tried to send, which will cause any escalations to be worse than what would have otherwise have been."
Atsuro gets to his feet. "Well, if you're ready now, I'd be more than happy to come with you. You might want to keep the hands in the pockets though. Ruins the image a little." He offers a hand to help Taiki get back up.
Taiki nods and puts his hands in his sleeves, his forearms parallel to the ground. He only momentarily winces as the fabric drags across his battered hands, and wincing once more as he claps his elbows. "I do think I may have broken at least one finger," he says as he walks back toward the compound.
It doesn't take them long to arrive at the compound, only to find his parents waiting for them just around the last bend before the gates. "Their objections have been formally silenced, but Elder Daiki wants to have a word or ten. And they won't take a word no from us as an answer. You sure you can face up to this?" Kenshin asks of Taiki. Taiki's grim expression, the fire in his eyes, and the curt nod says it all. He is not about to simply let them prattle on forever. In the meantime Kenshin looks up toward Atsuro with a raised eyebrow.
Atsuro just stays silent for most of the discussion. Once he's realized that Kenshin is looking for his input though, he… still stays silent for a couple of seconds to consider the situation. "You're asking me?" In this state, Atsuro doesn't feel like he can reasonably offer any sort of opinion. He stifles a yawn or two. "Is it a witch hunt or can we expect them to actually try and get to the bottom of the situation?"
"Knowing who it is, it's likely a witch hunt," Taiki replies before taking a deep sigh. Kenshin nods his head in agreement before Taiki asks the next question, "Did they let you get a word in edgewise?" At his mother's muffled curse and his Dad's head shake, Taiki just shakes his head.
"The betas are there, presumably to enforce a peace so there's little reason to suspect a physical attack, but I'm not sure if you should be around here, maybe even for a day or so Taiki," his father says, sounding very worried. "That's the situation. What do you think Atsuro?"
Atsuro thinks for a minute. "It's our word against their's. If we can't prove a pattern of bad behaviour on their part, we're not going to get anywhere. I'd say you should stall them for a while, if you think you can swing it. I'm sure I can find a couple days' long mission for the team if we need to. Gets Taiki out of here for a while, and if anyone follows us, we can get them in trouble one way or another."
Taiki sighs and shakes his head. "A show of confidence is not going to do me a bit of good in this situation. I tell you what, I need to get to the hospital. Dad as much said that the rest of the clan has stymied any formal objections, which means no legal problems, but political problems are another story. And as much as I hate politics, making them wait would probably for the best." With his parents' look of understanding he says, "So can we just go to the hospital, and then decide from there what to do after the med-nins determine if I can even do a mission right now?"
"It was just a suggestion," Atsuro says with a shrug. "Glad you're finally listening to me, though. Let's get you to a doctor." He turns to begin heading toward the hospital. He's actually pretty happy with this turn of events. Taiki gets some needed medical attention, Atsuro gets to sleep on a couch in some waiting room.