Date: April 25, 2012
After waiting for what felt like an eternity for the Hokage to finally have enough room on her schedule for two wayward wanderers. Ei finally gains the chance to discuss the ever pressing issue of her status as a shinobi of Konohagakure. Naturally, Ryoji is mainly along for the ride for a change…
"May We Part?"
Academy Rooftoop - Konohagakure
Academy Rooftop [Konohagakure]
Some stairs lead up to the top of the Academy. It is not a very tall building, but one can see quite a bit from up here. There are houses all over, businesses in select areas, and people wandering the streets during the daytime, going about their business, playing games, talking… All the signs of life that are to be expected of the Village Hidden in the Leaves. The stairs that lead here also lead back down in the Academy proper.
Gasp! A summon from the Hokage! That was… probably the best possible news she could have gotten right now and was more than a little excited about it. It was like… like getting a chance to meet one's hero! Except, Hashiramako was less Ei's heroine and more a person she'd be anxiously waiting to meet for quite a while now.
After changing back into her usual attire — one of her short kimono (this one a navy blue with koi and wave designs) and spandex pants — she had made a point of seeking out her other half. She went back to Toshiba Forest to their little campsite and peeked around for a bit before calling out for him. Yup, he was still there. "Finally got an answer from the Hokage," she explained, waving the letter at him and immediately turning around to head off.
Hurrying toward the meeting place — which surprised her a little bit — Ei continued, "We are to meet her on the roof of the academy building. Only time I ever saw it was when I took the tests. I'm… nervous." With that admitted, she took a deep breath and glanced back at him as she paused. "Also… I'm sorry for getting so upset with you about the parents thing. I know this is a little late, but… I can't turn back time. I'd try to change how I reacted if I could."
Reaching up to rub the back of her neck, she waited for his response before — presuming it was a fairly positive one — reaching out to take his hand and heading to the academy quietly. After finding her way through the halls and to the actually roof, she glanced around before taking another deep breath to calm her nerves. "Hello? I'm Fujiwara Ei, here to meet with you," she called out. "I have brought my significant other, as he is part of the reason I requested a meeting with you in the first place." She decided to let Ryoji introduce himself, since she wasn't sure how he'd go about it.
It was good news for all because Ryoji /had/ in fact awaited Ei in Toshiba Forest! And even better news? He was not injuried! :D Or at least, not visibly in anycase. Just more or less very twitchy to sounds within his environment as well as on more than one occasion, popping the side of his head a few times as if to dislodge a water gorged inner ear.
"… Hnn? Oh Ei-hi — wait wha?" Bewildered but without a chance to get more out of the girl without restraining her then in there forcefully, Ryoji could only sigh weakily before rising to take off after her. Although, at his own casual yet quick enough pace to catch up within a few moments.
"… Hmm? Its, no…", He frowned and shoo his head negatively, "Time. Just one step after one." And on that stressed yet easy-going sounding note, he slipped back into an uncharistic silence while glancing to and fro at everything they pass. Senses sharpened subtly further through chakra to avoid needlessly causing havoc for a change. Not that he had any chance in succeeding once Ei took his hand. Nor… did he honestly care to afterwards. Only offer her a reassuring gentle squeeze and a bright smile before focusing fully ahead.
"Waka…. Iga, Ryoji. Although I suspect you already knew that much already… that is, if your information network is any good." He greeted yet perhaps even insulted a little at the same time in a calm and carefree manner.
Hashi stood at the top of the academy with some calm about her. She was usually like this, though. Sometimes appearing stern to those that aren't familiar with her, but even in ignorance of her mannerisms there's a certain sense of warmth that she carries and a welcoming presence. She's sitting down in one of a few seats that were provided for the meeting that was to occur up here while idly looking out over the scenery when the guest arrived.
She immediately turned her attention to Ei and stood up from her seat, now looking down to her at her full height. She bowed lightly at the waist in greeting saying, "Hello, Fujiwara Ei…" She then took notice of Ryoji and smirked. "Good as it'll ever be," she remarked in a slightly smug manner before taking her seat. "So, what is it that you wanted to speak to me about? I'm overwhelmed with work all the time, so forgive me if I can't remember what it was that you were wishing to talk about."
Ei gave a gentle, but clearly disapproving nudge of her elbow into the young man's side at his comment. The words hadn't been terribly insulting, really, but any little thing could make this meeting go in a very bad direction. Returning the bow respectfully, she smiled and nodded her head. "I understand. Thank you for taking the time in your busy schedule to see us. The reason for this meeting is… I would like to ask your permission to leave the village. For as long a period or as short as you see fit, but I would honestly…" Giving a nervous sigh, she took a few seconds to gather her thoughts again.
"In truth, I have not been a very useful kunoichi for the village, anyway. My parents were against the idea of me becoming one and so I trained in private until I had the knowledge to take the tests. Word of my success quickly found its way back to my parents and I was not allowed to do anymore 'dabbling' with the shinobi arts, as my father put it. If I went against their wishes, I would have been disowned. I've never been on a mission, I had only learned the basics until very recently, and I know very little otherwise. If… it is preferred, I will give up the title of shinobi altogether. All I'm really hoping for is the knowledge I can return here without repercussions or stay elsewhere without being seen as a runaway or a criminal of some kind," she explained… perhaps in more detail than necessary. Only then did she seem to realize she should be sitting and moved to do so.
Thus 'Operation: Don't Get Turned Into A Tree Within Ten Seconds Of Speaking' went without a hitch. Sadly, this also meant Ryoji had just missed out on a rather 'interesting' experience as well. For now…
Ryoji mockingly groaned and started to rub his side from where Ei had reprimanded him, but nevertheless made a mental note to comply with the silent demand. That is to say, following making a point in bowing respectfully but nowhere as low as someone beneath Hashiramako's station. From there he had started to make a move to sit ahead of time at first; only to stop barely after taking half a step forward to peer down at Ei throughout the explination. Half-heartidly resisting keeping his expression neutral and feelings of both amusement and a tinge of pride from surfacing. However, as soon as she started to faltered the Iga started to lean a bit closer and squeeze her hand gently in reassurance before firmly locking his gaze upon the Hokage. A penetrating gaze that too lesser folk and even to those simply caught unaware, would appear to read more than whatever facade was put on display.
"What say you, Senju-san. Or is there more that must be added?" He asked smoothily and promptly as soon as his bottom touched the chair.
Hashi hummed softly. "So, you want to leave without being seen as a criminal of some sort…" She propped her hands up in a thoughtful gesture, matching the tone of her voice. "The difficulty is that because you live here, you know things of the village that others wouldn't. Just knowing the lay of it is enough for problems to arise. If you wish to travel, that's not much of a problem, but I can't guarantee what will happen to you elsewhere. The real danger lies outside of the village and not necessarily within it," she explains. "I don't have the power to work with familial problems. I can't force them to see things your way, but I can allow you to see things your way…" She then leaned back in her seat to sit in a more relaxed posture.
To Ryoji she lofted a brow, but she didn't have much to say. She sees that he isn't exactly one for manners. "I can keep you from being hunted, but…" she shrugged lightly, "What happens outside these walls is outside of my control."
Even as Ei gave a nod of agreement to the Kage's thoughtful repeat of what she'd explained, the girl felt a bit nervous still. However, when the woman started to respond, she simply shook her head lightly. "I'm not afraid of the danger itself. I'm painfully aware that it's not safe, per se… but I want to see the world and I found the perfect guide," she added with a grin as she gazed over to Ryoji. "I swear to you that I will certainly not be telling anyone about the layout of the village in any capacity." Giggling a bit as she returned her attention more to the woman, she then said, "I'm aware you can't change my parents. I did not mean to suggest such a thing, I just wanted to explain my situation a bit more in depth than 'I'm a crappy ninja; I want to leave' or something." With a bright smile, she nodded, though. "I understand and I accept that. Thank you for the warning. I only ask for your permission to leave, not your protection after the fact."
"In short, you'll be on your own. And if Senju-chan's more zealous shinobi come across us… Depending on the circumstances, ultimately she'll have to act in the >interest< of the offending party's family, so on and so forth." Ryoji stated, belatedly noting with a glance towards Ei her own gaze. Still he smiled faintly almost as if amused by the possiblities before smiling sheepishly as he amended, "At least from one of a varied perspectives."
From there he simply shifted around into a more comfortable spot, drew his hand over his stomach, and closed his eyes in appearant attempt to start drifting off. "Should war strike again, which chances are given your lands value and general nature of most humans, will she be obligated at that point to assist Konohagakure? With the usual consequences of being applied if dissented for whatever reason?" He asked, opening an eye to narrow slits despite the pointlessness in the action.
'The perfect guide?' Hashi thought to herself as she gave Ryoji a once over. "I appreciate the…swear, but the ninja out there can do plenty of things and getting people to talk is one of them. I'm just pressing caution when you leave. I know I'm repeating myself, but I can't urge this enough. You're still considered a citizen of this village and land as a whole," she stressed. "Giving permission is very difficult for me to do and for many reasons, but…I can't hold you here against your will — " She paused, "Well, I could, but I'm being generous," she handwaved the thought away. "And yes, what he says is more or less true. I would have to act in the interest of the /village/ and not necessarily the family. That's a whole other subject, but considering the family is a part of the village, that's where a conundrum lies. Considering you're leaving on your own and assuming you don't wish to be discovered, I don't have to reveal that information to them on different technicalities that will be too much to get into," she rolled her eyes a bit.
"But, yes, varied perspectives…mildly narrow, but yes. Should war strike again and she's still a shinobi of this village, I would expect her to be obligated to assist Konohagakure as it is her duty as a ninja of this village. Inaction may result in some tension and if worse comes to worse, cold shoulders and closed arms. Dissent is a serious crime after all. It's an abandonment of duty and can potentially be considered a war crime as it leaves the village and civilians in danger. Ninja are responsible for the protection of lives… General nature of humans and all that."
Ei was certainly aware the eyes of others may not see what she did when looking at the Iga, but she also knew that her words rung true to her, and that's what mattered when it came to opinions regarding him. "I have no doubt… I will not freely give the information, then, I assure you of that." With further comments about families, she looked thoughtful and then shook her head. "There will be no need to keep that information from my family. I plan to confront them myself before leaving." She certainly didn't sound enthused about the idea, but she was determined to do it regardless.
The whole talk of war had her a little on edge, though. After all, she had unhappily discovered that her constitution was rather disappointing and even the smell of blood made her dizzy. "I'm afraid I wouldn't do the village much good in that regard and may well end up getting more people killed if I were their protection. I learned recently that any fair amount of blood causes me to feel sick," she explained somewhat bashfully.
Ryoji eyes narrowed to the thiniest slits right back at Hashi. Did she just… dismiss him? Dismiss his ability to keep Ei safe from such enemies? While granted at his current level of experience, skills, etc.. the Iga would certianly be hard pressed to succeed if at all, but still he felt chafted by it all. However within moments Ryoji slipped back into the easygoing, mildy annoying, and overall just barely more 'mature' persona for everyone's sake.
Especially, for his own.
Aside from the fluxuations, Ryoji stayed silent and listened carefully to all that had to be said. Picking apart the unsaid and hunting down the misread up until his love's comment about blood. It is this — suprisingly enough compared to the comment about confront Ei's parents still being on the table — that elicited both a suprised, wide open stare as well as thee Iga immediatly readjusting in his seat to look upon the girl. Mentally, after a few moments he noted to see about 'adjusting' such a problem before turning back to Hashiramako again.
"Hnn… That ww-ould mean by extension that /I/ would have to get invovled too… mmm, but overall you'll at least can't necessarily be strong armed by some uppity chuunin should things go downhill." He chuckled. "Better than nothing… I guess. But re — whewhoo~ Almost bit my tongue there, eheheh", He murmured sheepishly with a soft chuckle and a hand brushing along the back of his head.
Hashi nodded. "Alright, then." She grinned. "So, being a ninja isn't exactly a strong suit for you. I see. Odd that you chose it as a profession, but admittedly it does have an appeal." Chuckling, she continued with, "Just be careful about showing your ninja ways, then. Resignation from the position is probably your best option for not wanting any obligations to the village, but if you want to remain a shinobi, I guess you'll just have to be non-associated with this village until a later time. It's the best option I can come up with and it may manage to protect you a bit better than just being someone from Konoha."
She didn't manage to catch what Ryoji said and by that, she means she didn't understand what he was saying. "You'll provide a decent amount of protection for her, I'm sure. Don't worry about it too much. I'm sure you're a well meaning individual and wouldn't allow harm to descend upon her," she admitted honestly to Ryoji. "Just make doubly sure you protect her well. As she's a citizen of this village by extension, she'll always be considered, even if she's resigned from here."
"Admittedly… I chose to become a shinobi before I'd ever been confronted with blood. Well, enough to cause problems, anyway… Worst injury I'd really gotten even during training was a small cut and that didn't affect me badly at all. I'd obviously never inflicted a wound more grievous than a small bruise, either." Reaching out, she lightly set her hand on Ryoji's, assuming it was in a position where she could do so and if not, set it on his knee. "Resigning probably is my best choice… At least that will give my father a reason to like you," Ei remarked to him with a smirk. "Making me realize being a shinobi isn't the best choice for me is certainly a good start, anyway."
Turning her attention back to Hashiramako, she smiled warmly and bowed her head a little in thanks. "That means a lot to me, thank you. I think it best for me to really consider the pros and cons of continuing to consider myself a shinobi of Konohagakure, unassociated ninja, or resigning altogether before making a final decision. I will let you know what that decision is, whatever it may be, through missive as soon as possible. If, in the case of resignation, I'll send those papers as well… Again, thank you for meeting with us as well as your understanding."
"I intend to do no less than that for my wife, this I… I promise." Ryoji hesitantly admitted followed by a curt bow of his head. Afterwards as Ei spoke, the Iga almost lost himself in thought from over taxing his mind with working out all the angles of both options. He stopped himself however once the realization struck him that ultimately he could not nor, even if prompted, try to influence her decision further. Directly or Indirectly. Although, that did not mean a few others might not do just as well…
Warmth spreading through the hand he had left outstretched limply closest to Ei drew his gaze, curious yet worried, upon the former hieress, fully snapping him back to reality. "… Thank you, Senju-chan… Tomorrow my hime?", He stated aloud the first part with barely more than a glance towards the Hokage before looking back directly into Ei's own eyes if at all.
"Aha…" Hashi seemed amused, but the sound that parts her lips is more like a realization on the subject matter. "I await your choice then and you're welcome. I think you should weigh the pros and cons and think well on it. When you've found your answer, come back to me and I can see if I can manage with whatever choice you make," she offered to Ei. "Don't think that this will separate us. If there's anything that you need, don't hesitate to establish contact," she smiles.
The expression is maintained as Ryoji speaks. The word 'wife' is one that latches onto Hashi's ear and seemingly nips at it like a playful and yet overbearing puppy, but she can live with it. "Good. You've already got your priorities established and you're welcome as well. Make sure you always keep her in mind for any decisions. A union like that will weigh on more than just one alone." She rises from her seat and adjusts her armor accordingly to make the standing more comfortable. In that time she hummed and remarked, "Is there anything else I may be of some service to? Otherwise, I must take my leave."
It wasn't as if the prospect of being Ryoji's wife was suddenly dropped on her, but still the girl blushed. It was quickly followed by a smile, of course but the blush was still quite deep. Nodding her head as she gazed back at him, Ei squeezed his hand lightly. "Tomorrow, then," she answered. It was still unnerving to think about talking to her father again, but she could certainly survive it. To Hashiramako, she bowed her head gratefully. "I will most certainly remember that. Thank you." When asked if there was anything else, she almost immediately looked to Ryoji. She had nothing more to ask; she figured what she had requested was enough. However, if he could think of anything else they should as the Hokage, she certainly wanted to hear it.
It was absolutely, positively insane idea to ask of… BUT with Ei at his side filling him with strength, everything THUS FAR going well, and no real reason not to when the obvious would happen, Ryoji took a moment to clear his throat following a deep breath. Then vice versa after a false start left him coughing. "There /is/ one thing you can help us, well, /me/ with in particular~ And please, don't take this the wrong way or personal but…. would you — " He leaned in forward, "Let me — " He grinned broadily. "The day after tomorrow spend that day WITH all rights and responsiblitiies included!!! …. stay as the acting Hokage for that day…? WITH or WITHOUT permission from anyone else just so long as I can take up said position…"
"No problem," Hashi stated to Ei as she began walking toward the stairs that lead back down into the academy. In passing, she heard Ryoji begin to speak and she slowed to a pause to hear what he had to say, looking over her shoulder to see him. What runs through her mind when the question is asked is first confusion, then amusement and finally…deadpan. "No," is all she said for the moment. "But…" She began to add, "I can give you a special hat. It'll read, I asked the Hokage about taking her position and lived."
"… I'll take it!"