Date: February 20, 2016
Soren and Taiki make a visit to the Hyuga Clan elders…
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"It's All About the Eyes"
Today. Today Soren wasn't happy. He was ready to crack some heads if he absolutely had to, although he had every intention of trying not to. The Elders had blinked him off so many times in the last several months. He had watched their actions and inactions hurt Yuuki repeatedly, and he was DONE with it.
So he approached the door, Taiki no doubt shortly behind him, and he paused. HE sighed, waiting solemnly infront of the door. He knew what he was going to do, and he knew Taiki would try to stop him. And that's what he wanted him there for.
The midday sun had paused in the middle of the sky, as lunch had just passed. It was a clear, and beautiful day. It would be perfect to travel, and that's exactly what Soren was hoping to do after this.
Today Taiki was wearing something different than his normal attire. At first he had thought about attending this meeting as a standard jounin of Konohagakure, but the more he thought about it, the less he liked the entire situation. What he knew of the story indicated that a certain part of the Hyuuga was displeased with the idea of Soren and Yuuki, and that so far Soren had thought to take care of this himself. While that would normally be encouraged, it remained true that Soren was not born Inuzuka, and the Hyuuga likely thought of him as clanless, despite the fact it was well known that he had adopted Soren into his clan. With that in mind, he decided to dress up in his more ceremonial outfit used for the most formal occasions. Thus he wore a full length crimson kimono with a purple belt. Over this he wore a black, sleeveless haori, with the symbol for "Inu" embroidered in silver on the front, surrounded by a white and yellow circle. A very large set of crimson Inuzuka fangs was embroidered onto the back of the Haori. This was the Alpha's Haori, a garment that clearly marked both his clan and his position as head of all Inuzuka. Bracketing him would be both of his ninken, groomed to perfection, each wearing a black collor with red fang marks. But there wasn't even a place to attach a leash on the collars, denoting both their rank and their identity as his ninken partners.
Taiki himself wore a serious look on his face, making him look more formal than ever. He greeted any guards with only the barest of nods as he looked on impassively, not the least bit intimidated. Tightly controlled power radiated off this young man, and he was sure to let anyone around know it. His eyes flit to Soren's face for the moment, making mental note to speak to the young man about getting fang marks tatooed onto his face. After all, Soren /is/ an Inuzuka, and its high time he looked the part. Of course, few could ever guess his thoughts, given the thoughtfully-alert-but-bored look on his face.
The Elders were expecting Soren, and to some degree Taiki. The one in the room that would be spying on those that visited would blink a bit upon seeing the clan alpha, and he would report this information right away so the Elders could be prepared. There were three Elders of the Hyuuga clan present today. One was Yuuki's 'fiance's father while two others were neutral entities that simply didn't want the Byakugan to leave the village. Mostly because agreement with Hokage, but also because Major Clan Secret. And a bit of disapproval, naturally. …
"Inuzuka Soren… And the Clan Alpha. Welcome. What is your reason for coming here?" Hyuuga Kenzo was speaking. He was Yuuki's almost-father-in-law, and he seemed to be looking upon Soren with disapproval.
Soren let out a small breath as Taiki and he walked into the room, and when addressed, he glares up silently behind an otherwise calmed visage. Soren smiled. He *smiled*. Approaching the middle of the room, he stood, with his back straight, chst puffed out just a little, but otherwise a very formal stance. He bowed from his hips, showing the respect expected of these situations, and generally, his demeanor was that of a perfect gentleman. While his dress wasn't as up to snuff as it should be, his demeanor certainly seemed to make up for it after a fashion. His demeanor might even remind some individuals of someone who grew up in a court of some kind.
"I came here for a few things. Firstly; I wanted to make sure that Yuuki's eyes were safely secured." he says, assuming that as long as they don't object they have them in some super secret undergrown bunker. "I don't care where they are, as long as they are safe. And second, I wanted to tell you that I plan to take every step in my power to make sure that Yuuki and I do not accidentally expose secrets of the Byakugan to any foreign power. I respect that it is a sacred technique passed down through your clan, and as such, it would be a tragedy for it to fall into any wrong hands." he says, smiling as much as he could.
So the speaking Hyuuga Elder at least remembered the name. Taiki slightly appreciated that, though the disdain at which Soren's name was spoken pretty much ruined any true appreciation Taiki would show for the recognition. Instead his head slowly tilts ever-so-slightly to the left, and his right eyebrow would creep up an equally small amount. His mouth would turn downward slightly while both ninken appeared to tense. Clearly Kenzo came perilously close to committing a minor breach of etiquette right there, and Taiki's expression would serve to put the elder on notice of that fact. He waits for Soren to speak before saying, "I am here primarily as the head of my clan, whose responsibility is the well-being and happiness of its members," Taiki says formally, though his eyes dart over to Soren as further reminder that yes, Soren is an Inuzuka and therefore falls under that remit. "Otherwise, I'm here to prevent any further misunderstandings."
"Yes, they are," Kenzo says with a frown. "Though that is not your business. As for exposing the secrets of the Byakugan…" He would glance over to the other elders seated at the table, and one of them would pick up where he left off. "We are reluctant to allow such… But because you are going to Kumogakure, and the village is known to be an ally, we will allow you to leave with her." Then Kenzo would glance to Taiki for a moment while the other elder continues to speak. "If things go wrong, we will know who to place blame upon. If you two decide to move locations, we must know a week in advance."
Soren lifted a brow, and nodded slowly, and bowed his head a bit, still smiling. "As I said, it will be my responsibility to protect her." he says, shifting, waiting until there is nothing more to be said before continuing on to his next issue at hand, even going so far as to look around the room, with a respectfully questioning glance to everyone in play.
Taiki's right eyebrow seems to go up another centimeter, but his his had raises up to fully erect as he looks over the elders present. The frown disappears though, as his face becomes an unreadable mask. "Excuse me Soren-san, but if you don't mind, I have a question." He then looks at the assembled council as his lips twitch up to a friendly smile. "What would happen if, at the last minute, something came up that required Inuzuka Soren's presence in Konoha… say, just before they were to depart for Kumo… that would put their plans on an unforseen hold for an indeterminable time?"
"Then Hyuuga Yuuki can go with Inuzuka Soren provided a message is sent as soon as they can. Preferably before they set foot out of Kumogakure," Kenzo says, glaring just a bit at Taiki. The other elder who was sitting next to him would eye Kenzo a moment, but he lets the attitude slide. Will scold him later or something.
Soren grinned. He kept back a snicker, and shook his head, and muttered so soft that pretty much only Taiki would hear it. ~So a gilded cage.~
He took a breath, and glanced back to Taiki, tilting his head, with a little quirk of his brow.
`you want to handle this, or should I?`
Taiki slowly reaches up to scratch the side of his head while seemingly letting Kenzo's remarks slide off his back like water. Kenzo may be significantly older than the Clan Head, but he apparently does not understand Taiki's background very well. He then turns his gaze toward Soren, then shakes it, indicating that Taiki had more to say. "You see, this is the kind of misunderstanding of which I spoke," Taiki said curiously. "That was not my question, so let me put this another way. Let's say that something happens here, in Konoha, /before/ they leave. Let's say, for the sake of an argument, that… oh, I don't know, a particular set of summons went wild around our Hidden Village, and as a result we needed people who could handle situations like that here for an unknown amount of time. In such an instance, Inuzuka Soren's particular expertise would be needed. What would your reaction be if we, Konoha's advisory council, advised the Hokage to keep such assets here, at least until the situation is resolved?"
"If he isn't going to Kumo, then we fail to see any issue, so long as Yuuki stays here as well," the council would state simply. Kenzo is forcing himself to stay silent, though part of him is more than happy to have Soren here if Yuuki also stays. Maybe his son would be able to woo Yuuki despite her being so attached to the Inuzuka. Dang Inuzuka always running around and just taking everything from everyone :| They seem to run the village!
Taiki nods once, then motions for Soren to continue on with his plan.
Soren snapped for just a moment. "So you're going to IGNORE the fact that there have been atleast 7 attempted kidnappings made by your son in the last months, almost all of which have led to him BEATING her in some form or another." His demeanor was still solidly respectful, but that last set of words left his mouth with more than a hint of the absolute livid fury that he was keeping back. He cleared his throat, and took a breath. "I believe that brings me to my next point."
Soren looked up, his demeanor being reconstructed as quickly as his voice had cracked. "I'm not angry about Yuuki losing her eyes, as so many people have claimed. I fully expected that to be the case if we ever had to leave the village. The thing that I'm Absolutely Livid about…" he says, taking another breath, "Is the blatant abuse that Yuuki has had to endure for the better part of her life."
"I understand that her parents were criminals, and as far as reasons go, that would be a pretty solid one to put the cursed seal on her. Also not a thing I'm terribly angry about. What I am angry about is the obvious mistreatment she recieves from a family that clearly doesn't care about her. What I'm angry about is the clear discrimination that you, as the elders put her under, when she has been nothing but cooperative with you for the better part of her life. What I'm angry about, is the fact that you responded to my courtship of her, not in any reasonable manner, but instead by forcing her to marry someone else.
"Not by coming and talking to us about our intentions.
"Not even by politely telling me to back off, or even trying to come to an understanding.
"Instead, you took the most cowardly approach you could. You passed the buck. And what did he do the first time I saw him? Grabbed Yuuki by the wrist, and *yanked*. Sprained her wrist. By itself, could be written off as an accident." Soren smiled nice and wide. "The next time Yuuki went out into the village on her own? She came back with a black eye. Told me Tatsu did it. Week later? Bruised ribs, and another wrist sprain. Also told me Tatsu had done it. Week after that? Black eye. Also Tatsu."
Then there was another deep breath. "My point… is that the eyes are not the reason I'm here. I fully admit, I am partly to blame for this situation."
"But only in that I didn't end this deplorable situation sooner." the last words absolutely seething.
Satisfied that the Hyuuga weren't quite willing to go as far as to accuse his clan of a crime /yet/, Taiki listens as Soren continues on with what he planned to say. Behind the rather contemplative facial expression that Taiki now sports, he idly wondered where here was, with Soren or with the Hyuga. Of course he was able to interpret the unspoken accusation clearly, especially since they already maimed one of their clansmen for choosing one of his. He idly wondered if they had forgotten that he had the ability to regenerate parts of the body in the right condition. For a brief moment, he considered doing so anyway, after developing a seal that would have the same function as the /stated/ use for the caged bird seal, but also include a function to ensure that no babies would have the Byakugan. Pity he was not officially aware of the caged bird's second function though. If he was not officially aware of it, he didn't have to include it…
Still, Soren's rather harsh words does require a bit of a response from Taiki. He raises his hand to put it on Soren's shoulder, giving it a squeeze. "Breathe, Soren-san." He had heard bits and pieces of the situation, but not to the point Soren described just now. Still, he looks at the council and arches a brow. "I have to concur with my clansman here, if you were so set against them in the first place, or had some other concerns, why did you not go through channels? I see Hyuga-dono quite a bit, so the matter could have been broached with me at any time, even if it was just to arrange a meeting like the one Soren-san just suggested."
The council frowns. "We were advised against such by several sources in regards to the 'how'." Aka: Kenzo. "As for Tatsu-san's beatings of Yuuki-san, we still find it difficult to believe. However, should Yuuki-san continues to suffer from his assaults, then we will move to punish-" "My son is not that kind of man," Kenzo interrupts. "I don't see why we are having this conversation." Of course, his tone was calm compared to Soren's, so he just earns a frown. "Kenzo-san, if you continue to defend your son like this in this manner, then we'll have to ask you to leave."
Taiki's eyes flit toward Kenzo, and his eyes narrow. But he is not about to let the Hyuga council throw Kenzo under the bus to save themselves. No, there was ample fault via the entire council. "Perhaps those sources were afraid of my first question. Why would Kumo's Kage be considered okay to wed a high profile Hyuga, with only the caged bird seal, but a member of my clan be deemed unworthy enough to warrant complete removal of her eyes? When the Inuzuka joined Konohagakure, we were assured that we would be considered full allies by all clans that signed the treaty. In a way, that puts our two clans as closer allies than any possible foreign clan, or even single Shinobi, no matter how highly ranked. Yet tonight I have seen active disdain against one of my clan members, and an insinuation that, if I had been minded to, I could have taken both personal and clanwide insult. That does not even take into account one of your council's rather obvious disdain of myself, personally. If I did not know better, I would think that there were… other issues involved."
"We've instantiated new rules since that time," The Hyuuga councilman would say. Keno looked absolutely furious, at least to the Hyuuga's opinions. He was hiding it pretty well, but Taiki might be able to sense the anger wafting from him. Then Kenzo would stand up suddenly, per a silent signal from the man beside him. "Fine." He stalks out of the room… Then the two remaining councilors sigh a bit and turn their attention to the Inuzuka before them.
Soren took that moment that Kenzo rose, and couldn't help but smirk for *just* a moment. He looked up, and tilted his heads. "I have a hard time believing that, but I can see why you would, given Yuzuna was potentially in line to be a clan head." he says with a slow nod.
Soren took a long breath, and continued though. "All that aside. Yuuki does not feel safe in your care. I do not feel safe leaving her in your care either. I doubt anything you can do will change that, and as much as I, admittedly, would love to see Kenzo and his son punished for what the boy has done, my primary concern is seeing Yuuki safe, and far out of their reach." he says, with a respectful bow of his head. "I am willing to work with you, to ensure her safety, and the safety of your secrets. But you have to know. I will do what I need to in order to protect her."
"I see…" Taiki says as he looks in the direction of Kenzo's departure. Taiki appears to consider things for a moment, then states, "I just hope that the allegations said here today lead to a /full/ investigation into the alleged abuse and kidnappings. We already lost a valuable kunoichi due to this mess, since the blind are very limited in what they can do. There are ways to work around that, of course. I could, perhaps, lend my expertise in medical seals to counter the loss and still maintain your secrets, but I would be loathe to do so under the yoke of the… circumstances we find ourselves in now."
The Hyuga council members would talk amoungst themselves for a time. The Inuzuka would hear brief snippets of each council member's opinion before finally the eldest of them would speak up. "This goes beyond the simple hiding of Hyuga secrets. The very pride of the Hyuga clan is at stake. A main branch member abandoning her place in order to run off is nearly unheard of. The seal wouldn't be a strong enough deterrent for those who'd seek decipher it's formula. And What of any possible children?…" The elder would go silent for a moment listening to Taiki's views. "The allegations are serious but as I've stated, the pride of the Hyuga is at stake. The investigation will be thorough but fair to those involved."
Soren nodded slowly. "I understand that your pride is one of your biggest concerns. That said, I, frankly, don't care about your pride. Yuuki has seemed to be a stain on it since the begining, and I simply seek to see her safe." he says, as bluntly honest as he can manage. "That said, It's why I say I want to work *with* the elders, now that Kenzo is no longer throwing his weight about, as it were. Children were a conern that I had considered. Infact it's one of my biggest concerns. I would like to hear any plans that you, or Taiki might have, or any ideas on how to deal with it that you might have, before we move forward." he says, stepping aside to let Taiki and the hyuuga council speak.
Taiki nodded slowly when the Hyuga talked about their pride. He understood that very well, given his position, and the beating Inuzuka pride was still recovering from. But in this case, Taiki really didn't think it should matter nearly as much as the Hyuga council appeared to consider it. "I have heard, through a couple of sources, that the Hyuga in question appeared to be rather… frowned upon by the Main branch because her parents were… less than desirable. If this impression is wrong, then I apologize but offer this observation to you both as a warning and as a way to save some face. If she is perceived as such, then the clan could simply say a union between the Hyuga and the Inuzuka, through Soren and Yuuki, would be be a way to minimize her influence on the Hyuga. This would make the situation look less like she's running away and more like the clan is working to control a bad situaiton."
Taiki lets them absorb that information for a moment, but then frowns slightly. Nozomi seems to snarl even as Taiki does as he looks at the Hyuga council. "It would be difficult, but not impossible to make a seal that would deactivate any potential child's genes for the Byakugan. You appear to forget who I am, and my position in Konoha's Hospital. So I not only know that the caged bird seal is supposed to protect the Byakugan from theft by rendering it useless if the eye is removed, but I am also quite well aware of the role genetics play in human reproduction. The later is /beginner/ level information!"
The Hyuga elder's eyes would narrow as the two Inuzuka spoke. Other clan members would excite with anger, other's would remain calm. "HOW DARE YOU!" called on of the elders before the eldest raised his hand to silence them. "An entire family of Hyuga born in some foreign nation. Byakugan or no, this cannot be allowed." The eldest would fall silent once more before looking towards the other elders, his eyes would fall back on Taiki. "…but you are correct in one aspect. It would be better to wash our hands of this issue than to let it plague us for much longer." The chatter from the other elders showed that clearly they were not in full agreement with this sentiment but none would speak out just yet allowing the eldest to continue. "Tell me. What guarantee can you give us that once she has left, her line ends with her?" The question was one poised for both Inuzuka.
Soren blinked at the sudden burst of anger, and then he looked at the eldest with a bit more frustration. "A Clan is a family. They protect their own. They ensure the protection of those that fall within their care. They are understanding, and patient, and seek to protect each other and help each other." He closed his eyes, and tensed.
"They do not put their own in an hostile, even abusive family. They don't treat their own like a curse upon their house. They *certainly* don't let their own be abused by an arranged fiance, much less one that they set up themselves. Even less, if they themselves, did nothing wrong."
Soren looked up, and he was tense again. "Hyuuga is a name. The Byakugan is the lineage. I can guarantee you, Yuuki's children will have neither. They will not be Hyuuga." he says looking solidly at the elder. "The Hyuuga line *will* end with her. Atleast this branch of it."
"If that isn't enough, I personally know 3 of the greatest medics in the known world. One of which stands in this room. That goal will be achieved if it is within possible means."
This time, a tiny fox appeared, seemingly from nowhere, suddenly hopping up to Soren's shoulder, eying him cautiously, almost worriedly. Seems the little one was there to try to Calm soren again for now. And it seems to work for a moment, as he reaches up, and pets the little fox.
Taiki's eyes narrow as the council appears to be asking him to sterilize Yuuki. Shinobu's lips turn upward into a snarl while a low growl comes from the back of Nozomi's throat. Taiki reaches down and starts to stroke the top of her head, causing her to stop. But Taiki's displeasure can now be seen in his eyes. "I know of no medic-nin, doctor, or surgeon that would perform a sterilization on a human without either a compelling medical reason or the will of the patient. As such, if that is what you are asking, then there is little I can offer." He glares directly to the elder who yelled about daring, and says, "As I said, this is a common perception, nothing more. I would think you would rather know about how others view this situation, especially if you wish to save face."
Taiki looks at the group of Elders and says, "You have removed her eyes, and therefore access to the gentle fist. As a doctor, I find this to be… excessive." Okay, so abhorrent more like it, but Taiki does /not/ say that. "With the seals I can create and place, any children would not be Hyuga genetically. Furthermore, since she would take the name Inuzuka with the marriage to Soren-san, by name they would not be Hyuga."
Taiki looks around the room for a moment and adds, "While I cannot control her personal feelings toward you, I can ask them not to teach their children to hate the Hyuga by reminding them that the Hyuga are /allies/ brought together under the village of Konohagakure. I can also order them brought up as Inuzuka. The children's access to my clan's kekki-genkai is something that would, by nature, have to be researched. But I can ensure you that they would be raised as Inuzuka. So for all intents and purposes, as far as the Hyuga would be concerned, her line would end the moment she married Soren. On that basis, you can have my word I will enforce my will there."
The elders would chatter for a moment with each other for what would be an extensive moment. Finally the chatter would slow and cease with the eldest deep in thought. "What you might deem as excessive, I view as my responsibility, to both the Hyuga clan as well as Konohagakure, to ensure that our own techniques and abilities are not used to put the lives of our allies in danger. I do not take this responsibility lightly, you'd do well to remember that, and save the sanctimonious speeches for ears that wish to tolerate it."
The Hyuga closest to the elder would lean forward and speak quietly with the eldest for a few moments before he'd close his eyes and nods. "Sterilization will not be needed. You may do what you can mask the genetics of the Hyuga blood. But regardless. Any and all children born of this coupling which display our trait of the Byakugan are to be brought here, they will be given the chance to serve their clan. They will be treated as any other. Hyuga Yuuki will be allowed to retain her ties to the clan so long as her actions reflect her upbringing positively." The loud chatter of the room would start up again but quickly be quelmed by the eldest raising his hand. "Understand that this is a kindness, with this kindness a stipulation. Should any of these conditions fail to be met our response will be swift and uncompromising. Is this understood?"
Soren took a deep breath, and let it out slowly. "And the same could be said to you. As I said; I only wish for Yuuki's happiness, and that won't happen so long as you're agreements with the village are in jeapordy."
He takes a breath. "That said, You greatly over estimate your ability to scare me. But I agree. If any of our children are born with the Byakugan, I will make sure you are aware, and I will make sure that they are brought back to Konoha, and allowed to experience what 'wonders' you have to show them. I will make sure that they have the chance to learn from you, and to make a decision on their own as to whether they wish to be a part of the Hyuuga Clan. At that point, I will gladly abide by whatever the child decides. On the same point; I will enforce what the child decides." he says his voice turning quite grim. "So, now that this courtesy call is over, Taiki, I wanted to talk to you on the way back about that super dense chakra technique I've been working on." he says, smiling wide, completely happy to disregard the elders in the room at this point, already turning to leave.
Hey, the elders have shown him little to no respect for most of the proceedings. He's done paying respects to those who havn't earned it.
Taiki's right eyebrow goes up again as he thinks on what they just said, but he's still silent as Soren says his piece. With the posturing finally coming to a close, Taiki shrugs and says, "As long as you abide by the treaties set forth as conditions to join Konohagakure, I find no objections with this agreement." Left unsaid but hinted at, however, is the implication that the Inuzuka Clan reserves the right to defend itself should it find itself attacked by angry Hyuga. There is likely to be a cooling in politics between their two clans for some time to come. "With this agreement reached, I will remove my clansman and my presence from here." A /very/ brief nod is given to the council, followed by a shrill whistle to his ninken to tell them to follow. Did he need the whistle? Absolutely not. But it is a sign of Taiki's rather strong objection to the attitude presented here. "Come Soren, let's not talk about such things in front of people who do not wish to hear them." With this he and his ninken turn to leave, with both dogs walking off with their tails high in the air.