Losing Sight - Culmination


Meruin, Akane

Date: May 18, 2014


Akane returns with Meruin to the Okumo Labs for her eye surgery

"Losing Sight - Culmination"

Okumo Labratories

Stale air surging past the ear, moving too swiftly for easy breathing when ones face is pressed against it. A cool, slightly damp darkness that surrounds one on all sides, close to the skin and stretching into infinity. The sense of motion without ceasing, travel into the unknown. Sensations that should now be familiar to Meruin and Akane as the travel through the lightless passages beneath the Dark Caverns, the former carrying the latter atop his back. His is silent for the moment, simply keeping his senses open and his body active, attuned to the woman he carried and world around them seen only in his mind's eye.

Akane had been quiet and a touch formal when she'd met Meruin that night, a sign of her tension which was evident when she'd stepped up onto the large man's back for the trip through the darkness. She'd let her hair fall in a casual braid, no hairsticks to be seen. Her clothes were more casual as well, a t-shirt and a pair of loose fabric pants adorned the body where there was usually leather. Not a single weapon could be seen on her body and the ever-present scent of her poisons was almost completely absent. The only real adornment she wore was two metal bangles around her wrists. She'd come in this state for two main reasons. One, she wanted to be dressed appropriately for a medical procedure without requiring the Okumo to provide appropriate wear if they did not have to. But mostly it waas an outward, silent sign of trust in Meruin. Rarely had she ever been seen without a weapon of some kind yet there she was, unarmed and riding into the lair of the beast so to speak. The tension in her arms was, for the first time, actually tense. She held to Meruin's back with her head down, forehead resting against his shoulder, both shielding her face to breathe and a further sign of her tension. What caused the tension she had not specified. She had not hesitated to follow the Mizukage.

"Be at ease…"
The first words Meruin had spoken since they'd begun their journey through the dark, spoken in low tones, head slightly turned towards Akane. "Take control of your body. Breathe… in through the nose, a slow four second count. Out through the mouth, easy, until the lungs are empty. Let your heartbeat slow. Let your muscles ease. Your surgery is being performed by Okumo with a combined seventy years of experience between them. They are shinobi as well as medics. Their hands are steady. Our science is logical. Our testing has yielded nothing that would give us complication." He turns his head fully back to the fore, the shifts in his body saying that he's taking them on a curving path. "You may worry. But you do not have to."

The calm, basal tones had a calming effect all on thier own, but true to the trust she'd shown in Meruin thusfar, Akane obeyed his instruction to breathe slowly, deeply. She felt a burn on her cheeks and was glad he couldn't see her face at that moment. Though little did she know certainly that Meruin could probably sense the slight change in temperature in her skin from the blush. If she was deathly honest with herself the procedure alone made her nervous simply because of how radical it was (or at least seemed to her). But it was the result of failiure that made her the most tense. It slowly melted from her body as she rode against Meruin's back. A thought occured to her that this — or rather the way out — might be the last time she would be allowed to be so close to the Mizukage. She nodded, shakng the thought from her head, and acknowledging his assurances then lifted her head, turning it just enough to be able to speak without choking on the wind about her.
"It is not you or your team's experience that makes me worry. Please don't take offense."

The Okumo shakes his head, motion felt slightly in his shoulders. "No offense is taken," he spoke once more, speaking in the same tones, the same rhythm that he had before. "I understand at least some of what you feel. You're coming to the edge of a precipice you can't see and all you know is that what lies below is very dark and very deep. You fear the path away from it won't lead you to the safety you hope. That it may send you into the very shadows you run from." Gravity loses hold on the pair as they either rise or fall through the air. "It is difficult to have faith when facing such uncertainty." The two landed, Meruin swiftly pushing all momentum into horizontal movement. "Just remember that in the end, stripped to its core, it is a simple organ transplant and with your own organs. There is no chance of rejection."

And just like that, Akane calmed. She responded to the medical assurances of course, being a medic herself she knew that this was relatively low risk and the procedure should be simple. She knew the human eye was a complex organ to transplant, though, and just the thought that her optical nerve could have been damaged worse than she'd thought made her hold a bit of wariness in reserve. But the explainations and assurances Meruin offered her had the strongest effect. She once again obeyed his earlier command to breathe slowly.
Once more in control, she tightened her arms lightly around the Mizukage's neck for a second. It was brief, but there all the same.
"I don't think I know a lot about 'faith', Meruin, but I trust you." Sheoncce again ignored the honorific behind his name. It might not have been soemthing he considered special or even notable, but Akane held thier friendship in great esteem. In public she showed him deference and respect. She was even protective of him as she had been in the Gardens the day he'd stood watching the traveling performers. But when she had no one to dance for but Meruin himself, she treated him more like a comrade than a leader. He had seen and heard of many of her deepest shadows and she had seen glimpses of the man beneathe the Kage's mask.
As the gravity gave out she was swept back into the feeling of exhileration she felt everytime that they'd leapt before and finally dropped her forehead against his shoulder and neck so she could (unless hindered by chitin) feel the pulse in his neck on her forehead and spent several moments trying not to giggle like a child….

"Then all shall be well," spoke Meruin, moderate pulse pounding powerfully in his neck. "Just remember that," he told her as his pace began to slow, grip on the woman tightening slightly, holding her more firmly against him. "I will not lead you astray." The coiling of muscle and shift in the air says that the Okumo jumped, his body twisting in the air so that they turned. Soon, weightlessness, and then descent… A slight jerk forward… the quiet hiss of skin sliding against stone… a gradual slowing… a hint of… abruptly, the darkness about them was gone as they fell from the shaft in the ceiling of a familiar tunnel. Meruin landed in a crouch, secondary pair of arms already slipping back into his robes. They were in the passage with the luminescent mosses lining the walls in torches. The one with the entrance to the facilities they were heading for.
"This will be unnerving."

In response to the tightening of Meruin's hold on her, Akane instinctiely linked her hand and wrist, securing herself further to his back. She let out a short sound like a breath as the light flooded around them, temporarily blinding her in the exact opposite way as before. It took a second for her to blink away the glare but she showed no signs of fear. The descent had sped up her heart slightly in excitement, of course. It was like flying as she'd told him before. His final words made her blink, though and she lifted her head just a little in curiosity. Quietly, careful of the echoes, she spoke near his ear. "What will be unnerving?"

"The rest of the night."
Meruin remained crouched where he was, a hand lightly patting Akane's knee in a signal that the trip was over. "You will see something that, perhaps, you will wish you had not before we begin the procedure. You will have to be awake during the surgery. Present. Thus, you will sit with your head in a container that prevents you from moving your skull. You will be spoken to and we will require that you speak to us in turn. You will fully lose your sight once these eyes are removed and will not regain it right away once the new eyes are implanted. You will be afraid. And it will all be worth it by the end of things."

His words made her blink as she stepped down from his back lightly. She stepped up next to him so she could face him as he spoke, and his explaination drew out a unique reaction. She'd been concerned in the days leading up to this and she'd worried about it not working, yes, but she hadn't thought at all about the procedure itself. If the detailed explaination was meant to scare her, he would find only a single breath taken and released slowly. She dropped her eyes for a second then lifted them to his face, boldly meeting his gaze. She did not tremble. She did not hesitate. She nodded and it appeared as though her worry and stress simply bled away.
Her eyes deepened just a touch, a hint that Kyoujin was there but merely watching, a subtle melding of the personalities. Before him was once more the warrior that made a descision and accepted the concequences. Perhaps her true enemy was time. Too much free time to worry about things going wrong, but now she showed no fear. His suggestion that she would see something she might wish she had not brought up a gentle hand to rest against Meruin's forearm. "I have seen a blade open my mother's skull. You have no need to worry about what I see." She glanced forward then looked at him, a hint of something child-like in her eyes. "Will you be in the room the whole time?"

Meruin saw the changes take hold in the woman, the slight darkening of the eyes, the smoothing away of nervous energy and hesitation, the steadiness of her gaze after that single breath — he saw these things and he dipped his head in acknowledgement of them, a quiet praise for the attributes drawn out of Akane in times of trial.
He spoke nothing of her mention of having no worries for what other horrors might come to her eyes. Instead, the Okumo simply turned and began striding down the moss-torch lined hallway, bringing them nearer to the moment of revelation. "Yes," he told her in reply to her question. "I will be there the entire time. I'll be the one speaking to you during the surgery."

Akane saw the recognition held in the dipping of his head and would remember it with a sense of pride later. For the moment, she simply followed the man. She gave little indication that she'd heard his confirmation that he would be there for the procedure and thus gave little information about what she was thinking. Would his presence be a comfort? A challenge maybe? She let out none of those secrets for now. Rather she continued to walk, facing her immediate future head on and one event at a time.

A small time passed in silence, the pair simply walking the hall, after which it became clear that Akane didn't plan on sharing the reason for her question. He had no plans to ask and pry, but he did speak, voice resonantly mellow, words as perfect enunciated as they ever were. "Are you familiar, Fujikujo Akane, with the practice of Kintsukuroi?" His hair lifted upwards, sliding off of his chest and over his shoulders to lay against his back in a silken sheet.

Akane knew that Meruin was not a man of many words so the silence did not suprise her. It was comfortable on her side of it, knowing he would speak if he wished and seemingly unaware that he might have been curious as to why she'd asked if he would be present for the procedure. Then he did speak and she paused mentally. Her feet kept walking but she tilted her head a bit in thought then shook it. "Not really, no. I think it has to do with pottery buuuuuut…. I never had the time to pay attention to pottery." She glanced at her sword-callused hands then held them up with a laugh. "I think my hands would be too rough to practice pottery." After dropping her hands she did grow serious again, though, turning an interested face toward him. "Why? What is it and why do you ask?"

"You're mistaken," he told her, having glanced at her raised hands. "You have rough hands, but a deft touch. You could create great things with them, given the chance." Meruin's chin lifts slightly. "You are correct, though, in that it has to do with pottery. Kintsukuroi is the practice of repairing broken pottery with gold or silver… with the understanding that it is more beautiful for having been broken. It is an art fashioned with the idea that when something has been damaged and has been given a history, it is more valuable for it." He pauses here, turning and looking to Akane's eyes, raising a hand.
Spider silk shoots from that arm, rustling her hair as it passes over her shoulder and strikes one of the torches, turning it. The wall before the pair begins shifting, raising up into the ceiling to reveal the brightly light of the lab that lies beyond it. "It reminds me of you," he told her, voice still low and smooth, face growing lit as the doorway opened further. "Never forget, as you add to your history, that you add also to your value. Your beauty."

Akane's eyes fluttered a bit at Meruin's suggestion that she could create something worthwhile or even beautiful if she was given the chance. She found she wasn't sure how to feel about it even. His following explaination about Kintsukuroi was interesting to say the least. She could comprehend the concept from her meager understanding of art and had probably seen such repaired pieces in the past but had not paid them any attention. But when he applied the concept to /her/ she nearly stumbled.
Stopping in place and watching him closely, Akane couldn't help the blush on her cheeks. How was she supposed to take that statement?! Had it been anyone else she would have simply reacted with a quiet thank you or something similar. But from Meruin…. She couldn't deny the overt intimacy of the words. As she'd noted before, Meruin was not a man of many words. If he spoke he did so for a purpose and he did not offer assurances to his shinobi like they were his children. Rather he seemed the type to be harsh in his attitude to the strengthening of his soldiers. Thus she was left standing there, staring at him, blushing, but also showing a kind of wonder that he would see a connection with her to such a concept. Going a step farther in her mind she realized he had to feel that way in order for him to speak of it and in order for him to express such feelings to her cemented that they did hold a unique bond.
As he lifted his hand she didn't move, didn't even blink as the webbing shot past her. She trusted him and thus did not flinch from his actions. She'd gotten stronger since they had first met and he'd told her that she could do nothing to save herself if he chose to harm her, but she doubted she'd gotten /that/ much stronger. She did lower her eyes and dip her head to him though, as the light began to show itself. "You honor me, Meruin."

A short, quietly amused breath leaves Meruin's nose.
"I only speak the truth. All I ask is that you remember it." With that said, the Mizukage turned and entered the laboratory, easily confident stride taking him past the scientists leveling bows his way, the simple act of his departure bidding Akane to follow. His path was one that would take him straight to the door on the other end of the room and into the darker hallway beyond. Door after door on either side would be passed by without hesitation as they drew nearer to the one that they would have the surgery in.

"I will." She promised and turned to follow him. Head up, she strode behind the Mizukage as they passed the labratories and experiments. She could feel Okumo eyes on her but did not seem to pay them any mind. Of course this was mostly because she could not meet thier gazes if she'd tried, but the action made her appear unconcerned with her surroundings. She remained quiet as they passed the many doors of the hallway.

With nothing more to be said, nothing more to be done, Meruin opened the familiar wooden door to a recognizable room. Large, two of the long walls lined with a countertop adorned with various paraphernalia, chemicals, agents and texts that covered most of the length. The wood and iron torture chair has been replaced, however, with something more comfortable and surrounded by four Okumo. Padded for an extended time spent on it, back reclined so that one lays more than sits, and long enough to accomodate someone up to about seven feet in height. At the head is what looks to be a partial helmet with pins in it.
And at the side of the chair sat a cart with various surgical equipment sitting atop it, gleaming in the bright light shining down from above the chair. And next to the tools is a container filled with an electric blue substance within which floated the head and partially formed neck of the Akane clone that they were going to harvest the eyes from. Short, red hair floated about the head obscuring some of it but too short to truly hide anything. Its eyes were closed.

Akane had to, of course, get rather close to the chair before she could register the changes to it. She broke away from Meruin and circled it with a distinctly curious expression. The Okumo brand of 'medicine' fascinated her and she did a full circle of the chair, nodding to each of the Okumo around it before she came to the head in a jar. Bending down, hands specificly placed on her thighs, the woman looked at the partial clone of herself. "That is incredible…" It was like she was looking at a science experiment that had nothing to do with her at first. She tapped on the glass as if testing to see if it would wake up then chuckled at herself for the silliness. Then she stood up again and looked at the nearest Okumo with a bright smile, much like the smile-armor she wore when she was first in Kirigakure. "Well now I know what I'd look like with short hair."
Finally she looked at Meruin and there was an expression in her eyes of calculation. She held his gaze and sat in the chair easily enough, taking an awkward moment as she ended up having to lower her torso further than she expected.
It had crossed her mind that this entire room might have been for show. It seemed designed to elicit a fear response from the subject and so she refused to give them that response. Her eyes, however showed Meruin a hint of what was in her mind earlier when she'd asked if he would be here for the procedure. She did not trust the other Okumo in the least despite her cheerful treatment of them, yet she remained controlled. They might see it as her submitting herself to them, but her eyes remained on Meruin (or in his general direction) as she once more set her freedom aside at thier bidding.

The Okumo are silent as the woman explores the bounds of the room where her operation is to take place, simply watching her as she moves about like a feline attempting to gain some familiarity with its territory. The one spoken to simply nods at her words, not truly agreeing or approving, just acknowledging her. As the woman found her way into the chair, her eyes on the Mizukage, they each turned their attention to him as well.
Meruin's gaze was on the jades of Akane's, meeting it unabashed as she settled herself in her chair. And after a few moments had passed, he nodded. A signal. The Okumo began weaving through handseals and Meruin stepped up to Akane's side. "This jutsu," he began telling her as they finished making the seals and a translucent orange glow filled up the wall on the left. "Is meant only to sterilize the room." He moves, taking Akane's hair and sliding it through the partial helmet as the barrier began sweeping through the room. "It will remove the bacteria in the room, providing us a safe place for your operation. It will feel somewhat abrasive as it passes over you, something like an unpleasant vibration." He takes something from the cart, beginning to apply a clear substance to the pins in the helmet, not stopping as the disease destroying wave passes over them. "If you feel as if you've a residual energy on your skin, that is normal and will pass shortly."

She was unable to see the orangeenergy building up in the wall and she refrained somehow from trying to sense it. She nodded once in acknowledgement as he adjusted her braid. When the wave passed over her she blinked a few times. The tingling energy along her skin made her roll the muscles she could control and twist her wrists as if flinging it off before she settled down. She watched what she could of Meruin's actions but when his hands left her field of vision she simply took a breath and waited. "That seems like a very useful jutsu, perhaps I can be taught sometime." Her voice was calm and she tried to keep it to a friendly tone, but her own curiosity showed through. Perhaps hse was distracting herself. But not once did anything she said sound with falsness. She really was curious about the cleansing jutsu.

Meruin continues applying the gel, saying, "It was only recently perfected, approximately four years and two months ago. It was a project being worked on for quite a while, however. It was exceedingly difficult, I am told, to modify the energies enough that they destroy only bacteria on the surfaces of our bodies. When initially created," he was finished with that, stepping over to Akane and placing a stilling hand on her wrists. "It would sweep through everything, not directly harming the internal organs but destroying the bactera within them."
He reached over to the cart as the other Okumo began moving to prep for the operation, the jutsu performed. "As you are aware," he said, returning with another gel that he leaned forward to apply, swab in hand. "Our bodies require many of those within us for proper function." Deft touched to the temples and various facial muscles, gel cool and tingling. "The sudden lack of them lead to a number of deaths, most of them animal, before the jutsu was perfected. It is still being taught to our surgeons."

Akane listened as Meruin explained the nature of the jutsu and it's evolution. She could easily see that it would be a troublesome jutsu to learn and control, but she also saw uses for the battlefield. As he stilled her wrists she obeyed and spoke easily enough. "Perhaps if it were modified for smaller environments it would be easier to control and more applicable to the field." She was speaking to Meruin but also sharing her thoughts with the surgeons. If they used her idea she didn't mind. She stopped speaking and held still as Meruin began applying the gel to her facial muscles, probably in order to keep her flinching to a minimum. Then she felt the feeling leaving her skin and closed her eyes momentarily as the connection between the pins and the location of the numbing agent were located fired in her brain. It didn't take long for her to move on mentally and open her eyes again, though.

"Unlikely," spoke Meruin as he applied the finishing touches. "Far swifter ways to kill than removing the bacteria from a man's body. Furthermore, it would interfere with some of the toxins we employ. Perhaps something else will come of it. Innovations often work in such a way." He lifts up to set the agent back down, leaning over her just before a bright light is turned on above him. The four Okumo were standing at the ready, their workplace fully prepped and sterilized. Now all that they needed… "It is time." Was their patient.
"Are you prepared, Fujikujo Akane?"

"Perhaps," spoke Meruin as he applied the finishing touches. "There would actually be quite a bit to consider on such a thing. Consideration for another day." He lifts up to set the agent back down, leaning over her just before a bright light is turned on above him. The four Okumo were standing at the ready, their workplace fully prepped and sterilized. Now all that they needed… "It is time." Was their patient.
"Are you prepared, Fujikujo Akane?"

The bright light made her wince as her eyes adjusted to it and she became aware of the five beings around her. The Mizukage's words, his question, recieved no pause or hesitation. She would have nodded but she didn't want to move much after Meruin had applied the agents to her skin so she simply spoke. "Yes." At least she was as ready as she'd ever be.

"Then we begin."
Meruin lifted himself up, allowing the bright light to fall directly onto the woman's face. Immediately, the four Okumo step forward, performing various duties, the Mizukage narrating. "The pins are being secured to your head. They will pierce skin and muscle and affix to bone, none of which you will feel. Your pulse is being monitored by hand to ensure that the stress being placed upon your body doesn't become more than you can handle." His voice grows closer, filling the air about her. "Relax. Your eye will be opened, injections made to prevent the tear ducts from responding and to numb your nerves. Afterwards, an eye speculum will be inserted to hold your eyelids open. When you can no longer feel the metal, inform us. It means you are properly anesthetized and we shall continue."

Akane had guessed the pins and numbing gels had been for the exact same purpose as Meruin told her. It would have been harder to ensure that she kept her head still if the pins did not pierce skin as the skin could slide small distances over the bone before causing real damage. But that small motion could mean damage done to the eyes as they worked. That didn't stop the images in her head from playing as they closed the pins in the helmet, though. She felt the firm fingers on her wrist and relaxed, turning her hand in the proper position to allow for the best angle. As a medic herself she found she could help in small ways, certainly sh ehad no intention to fight them.
The injections simply had her clenching her jaw until the needle was pulled away. It was an odd sensation as always for her eye to be numbed and her vision blurred briefly as the agents settled into her system. The speculum was far from comfortable but she still couldn't resist glancing side to side. She was falling back on curiosity to cover her nervousness, though it did little good to hide it as the Okumo monitoring her pulse would have noted an increased rhythm. It was nothing to be concerned about, but she wasn't used to controlling her heartbeat to hie an emotion.
Though she could not close her eyes with the speculums in place, they did take on a distant look as she waited for all sensation to leave her skin. Finally not only couls she not eel the metal but the uncomfortable sensation of having dry eyes dissipated as well. Considering the Okumo's reputation in the village, Akane felt as though she were being given VIP treatment thusfar. Finally, she spoke, her voice showing a bit of her nerves. "Alright. I can't feel anything."

"We begin with paralysis of the muscles of the eyes."
Meruin's voice explained as the needles descended, finding their way into the areas surrounding the eyeball. "This is to prevent you from moving it as we perform surgery, causing needless harm. The paralysis will be complete and will last until a few hours after the surgery." There is a moment of pause here after the needles are removed, allowing the paralysis to take full hold. The Mizukage took the moment to continue. "After it sets in fully, they will begin a 360 degree conjunctival peritomy. It is the circular removal of a piece of the conjunctiva, the thin layer of transparent tissure that covers the eye. They will cut as close to the limbus as possible, the border of the cornea and the sclera, the white of the eye." It is now that the scalpel moves in alongside the forceps — surgical tweezers — the incision being made on the eye.
"The first incision is made. Stable, Akane?"

Akane felt faint pressure as the needles descended but did not react. Her heartrate remained at it's same pace and her body was still. She could ov course see everything as it happened and the Okumo were treated to a small show as her eyes darkened in color, something they might have fun looking into later. Akane's expression (what could be changed now that part of her face was paralyzed) became distant as she held some unknown mental conversation with Kyoujin. She remained like that through the first inscision, only returning to Meruin's words. She almost tried to nod, but kept herself from doing so and answered with a tone like what would be used if one had just woken up. "Hmm? Oh. Yes."

Interesting. Perhaps it would be best not to engage her.
"The forceps are used to lift up the conjunctiva, scissors being slid underneath to dissect the recti muscles attached to the eyeball. This will be done in all four quadrants." Meruin's voice continued on in its methodical manner, words rolling into the air. "We are about to turn your eye within its socket. Keep still. This will allow us to sever the tissue connected to your eye from the muscles upwards and we will do so now… and three more times…"
As the eyeball was turned the final time, the Okumo continued onwards, saying, "The muscles are now going to be isolated with a muscle hook… They will be tagged with silk traction sutures… and detached from the globe…"
Yet another pause as this section of the surgery is gone through, the man slightly curious of how it must feel to have paralyzed eyes, with one of them turned in such an unnatural fashion. To have the muscles detached in such a way…
"Now, silk tracture sutures will now be placed through the medial and lateral rectus muscle stumps. This will allow us to remove the globe from the orbit." And it is now that the eye is lifted from its socket, by the silk of the sutures placed around it. "Shore yourself up now, Akane. It is now that the optic nerve will be palpated and bisected. You will see nothing from the eye."(Edited)

Each inscision was felt as a pressure and at times she could feel cold from the instruments. She kept still, though, despite the instinct to protect herself. Each inscision was completed without even a change in her heartbeat or breathing. She didn't even drop back into Kyoujin's territory though she could easily have allowed her fractured half to deal with this. She listened to Meruin's calm voice describe the actions clinically, showing no interest in upsetting her or testing her or scaring her. She was quiet, contemplative and stoic. That changed subtly when those final cuts were made that severed her sight from that eye. The Okumo monitoring her pulse would feel a jump in beats per minute of about 29 beats per minute. Her lips showed that she was tense or preparing herself for soemthing as they tightened up a touch and she flicked her tongue out to wet her lips. She hoped she was doing well and holding still properly. She did not wish to cause the procedure to end prematurely, but also was the fact that she was not only before the Okumo surgeons but Meruin. His status as her friend aside, he was her Kage and she did not wish to display fear before him.

"Good… Very good…"
The Okumo surgeons begin lifting the eye out of its socket. "The globe is now being removed entirely from the socket, handed off and stored. The enucleation is successfully completed. Forceps are now being used to grip the remainder of the optic nerve. It needs to be removed down nearly to the optic chiasm in the brain. Two of the surgeons are splitting off now to remove the donor organs as another preps himself to use micro chakra scalpels to perform the procedure."
Meruin watched closesly at the attending Okumo began weaving the handseals, keeping track of the swift movements. He'd never seen the jutsu performed, himself. It's a fairly advanced medical jutsu, taking intense concentration and high levels of chakra control.
"He begins," he spoke when the man set out his hands. "With the utmost care, he make tiny incisions along the optic nerve to follow it down. He shall then sever it and the other surgeon will slowly pull with the forceps, removing the damaged length of the optic nerve. As he performs, I need for you to answer some questions."

"What is the color of my ring…?"

"Flamethrowers. Describe their petals to me."

"What is the first question I'd asked?"

And in this manner, he queried her as the surgery went on.

Akane was aware of the chakra scalpel techniques but hadn't ever seen or done it herself. But she kept holding still as the procedure was performed. She was unsure abpout the questions Meruin was asking her but she tried to answer each with it's correct answer.
"Your ring… is green crystal."
"Flamethrowers.. look…. like they're made of tree bark…"
She paused then and took a breath as she thought back…. and smirked lightly.. "What has brought you here?" She was of course referring to the first question he'd /ever/ asked her, but it proves she's present mentally.

A quiet breath of amusement, audible in the room's quiet.
'What has brought you here?' The very first question he'd asked the woman when they'd met, he mentally noted. At the very least, as he was sure she'd intended, it showed her memory was still perfectly intact. But he didn't linger on the question, moving on until the medic lifted his hands from Akane's face and the optic nerve was extracted.
"The operation…" A nod from the attending medic. "Was a success. The extracted donor eye will now be transplanted into your eye socket. The optic nerve will be carefully chakra guided into place as the eye is lowered in… And now that it is set, they will begin pulsing low grade electromedical currents through the nerve. It will help facilitate neurogenesis and establish the pathway between the optic nerve and the brain.
"A hand is about to be placed on the back of your head now. You'll feel a tingling there, some heat. More electromedical energy, this being directed at your occipital lobe to stimulate the visual cortex. You will see colors in the one eye within the darkness. As soon as you begin to see a constant shape, you will know that the optic nerve has made connections, you are seeing from the eye and things are moving smoothly. It will take time. Give it. Inform us when you begin seeing."

Akane heard the soft sound of his amusement and that seemed to calm her slightly, her pulse dropping several points and a small smile on her lips. She licked her lips again when he told her the eye and nerve had been successfully removed. She let out a breath slowly. She could feel the chakra as it pulsed but it was just a faint awareness, probably brought on by her lerning of the 'sonar' she'd been using to get around. When the hand touched her head, she could feel the warmth and the tingling as the nerve mended itself to the new organ. She remained silent for a long moment. She could see shadows at first and did not want to jump too soon into assuming it was correct. Her hesitance was a positive thing as moments later the shadows started to coalesce into more distinguishing shapes, all made a bit harder to comprehend by the bright light in her eyes. "I can see shapes, they're a little blurry, but that might be because of the light."

Meruin nodded as he watched on, the eletromedical therapy continuing. "Your vision is blurry because your nerves are developing as we speak, neurological connections being strenghtened right now. Normally, optic nerves cannot replicate cells to heal. Not past a certain point of development. With your DNA, it's far easier to utilize less developed nerves that can regenerate between the gap than it is to use a jutsu that will create new synapses. It takes less time, less energy, places far less strain on your body, and it doesn't hold the risk of creating cancer."
The Okumo surgeon at the back soon remove their hand from the woman as the other stopped feeing the current through the nerve, orchestrated by a timeline. "We will move your eye again," spoke Meruin a few moments before the attending did so, reaching out with forceps and treating with regular medical energy. "We are simply reattaching the muscles to the eye. Simple, swift, and easy, low levels of medical energy for such small areas. All four muscles are reattached… And we close the eye." The attending reached over to the cart and picked up the eyedrops, dropping a few in there before removing the speculum, closing the eyelids and covering it with a silken pad to the words, "The ocular transplant was a success.
"And now we move to the next one…"


Akane remained still and compliant throughout the rest of the procedure and despite a few jumps in her heartrate she was not in any danger. When the announcement was made that the operation was done and a success, she relaxed physically. She could hear the clink of tools and the soft words between them. She kept still, knowing that they still had to secure the eyes by way of bandages or something similar. She was unsure what they expected of her at that point but she took advantage of the lack of orders and allowed herself to just breathe. She'd shown little fear, and only Meruin knew her well enough to know it had been present at all. It was quite unnerving to watch as someone cut out your eye. Though she'd heard stories about dojutsu being extracted in a far rougher manner so she figured she should be thankful that they has not wished her stress or pain. Idly she wondered how many people would believe her if she told them the care the Okumo had shown toward her the entire time she was under thier care. Not many perhaps.

Akane would feel the cool touch of silk pressing lightly against her closed eyes, Meruin's hands soon tying the blindfold behind the woman's head.
"The paralytic agent will wear off and you'll be able to open your eyes in the next two to four hours," he told her. "All incisions and punctures have been healed, but you may experience headaches over the next couple of days. You're allowed to treat the pain yourself, as you would like."
Meruin takes the woman's ponytail from the head holding, setting it onto her shoulder and down her front to ensure it doesn't get caught on anything when she sits up. "You are to slowly reintroduce your eyes to sight over the next two days. They've seen little light thus far. Sleep when we get you home. 30 minutes every hour for the first six. An hour of vision every 2 for the next six hours. On the second day, after you sleep and wake, you may use your personal judgement but go no more than 2 hours in a single session.
"Are we clear?"

Akane would have blinked if she hadn't had her eyes closed. Instead it came out more as a small jump. But she'd felt those hands before and allowed herself a small smile when he placed her braid over her shoulder. Carefully she sat up and listened to his instructions. She nodded slowly. "Yes. I understand." She moved her legs so that her feet were on the floor and erched there tentatively. She appeared to be adjusting to something then lifted her head and her voice to the other Okumo in the room. "I thank you." She knew it was a deal but she really was thankful for the aid they had rendered and it had all led to her finding a new home…. She waited for an order or a touch from Meruin to direct her as she did not want to use her 'sonar' unless absolutely necessary.

"Just a bargain struck."
"Think nothing of it."
"Thank you."
These were the varied responses of the three Okumo who'd chosen to respond out loud before Meruin stepped back and told her, "We won't know with 100 percent certainty that your vision is fully recovered until after you need no longer use the blindfold, but your chances are optimal. Nothing hints at there being any issues, so two days from the morning, you should be seeing as you had before you'd used the Sharingan. Very likely even better. So rise." He looked to the damaged eyes they'd just harvested from Akane, before looking to the fire haired woman perched at the edge of the chair. "Let's get you home. The rest of our bargain lies there."

Akane smiled a bit at the responses and the shape of her lips was suddenly hidden by her hand at the last one thanking HER. If she was terribly honest she felt a little bit of guilt for letting them have whatever information they could gather about the sharingan. Kyoujin whispered something dark in her ear and she shook her head lightly before being brought back to the present by Meruin's voice. She stood carefully, only then remembering the promise of the Amethyst Rose. She nodded and stepped closer to where she heard Meruin to be. The entire way home, despite her personality and personal habit with Meruin, she did not offer him more than a small hug as she was allowed down again after the trip. She would thank him later.

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