Date: February 4, 2014
Meruin and Kiji meet for the first time
"Meeting the Mizukage"
A small cavern off the Twisted Crossroads
Meruin stands within a small small cavern, the torch at his side providing enough light to see the small space around him. The Mizukage was taking this time to simply breathe, mind sifting through the many things that he had to see acted on and implemented in the coming days. His confident bearing was still as he stared into the torch flame, no indication of the restlessness of the idle setting into him.
Patience was always a good quality to own, but the man didn't expect to exercise it too very much this evening. Soon, the company he awaited for should be arriving. Shimizu Kiji and the Okumo clansmen chosen to escort him to this place. It was time to be introduced to the clone that would be fostered to be his personal medic. He was curious as to just what he should be expecting.
Out of the darkness and into the circle of light made by the torch at Meruin's side stepped a delicate looking boy, visually in his mid-teens. He wears a simple white top with a mandarin collar and black pants under. He has a ring on one finger and a belt with several pouches around his waist. He looks around, his long black hair caught up in a high ponytail while fringes frame his fair face. His eyes are a light sky blue as he takes in the small cave. As his eyes land on Meruin the Okumo escort steps into the light behind the boy and bows to Meruin.
Kiji was busy watching Meruin rather than thinking of proper ettiquette at first, his eyes flickering with a brighter blue as he grew curious about the platinum-haired man before him. Finally with a small nudge from the Okumo escort, Kiji shakes himself from his inner thoughts. In the next moment the boy sunk to one knee, one arm resting on his bent leg, the other on the ground, showing perhaps a bit too much respect for the situation, but the boy had been present when Yuge had appointed Meruin. He had to admit to being a bit impressed (or intimidated) by the man…
As he is examined by the boy, so too is the boy examined by him. Stare into the abyss and the abyss will stare back into you. Meruin took whatever judgements flitting through the boy's minds without issue of them, the pupiless nature of his eyes hiding their movement as they looked him up and down. And what he found was curious.
He inclined his head in response to the abrupt kneeling.
Very curious indeed.
"You may rise," spoke the Mizukage easily, voice smooth. His hair lifted itself from his shoulders, moving around behind his back and beginning to twine itself into a braid with slow sweeps as though guided by invisible hands. "So you are Shimizu Kiji," he spoke, still regarding the boy.
He gave the escort a look. "Await at the entrance."
As the escort is sent to the entrance, Kiji rises to his feet gracefully. The color of his eyes matching the color of the two braids that fall on either side of his face. His black hair was held back in a high ponytail tonight. The boy regarded Meruin for a moment, his expression open but hesitant. If he had been intimidated by Meruin before he seemed entirely unaware of it now. He nods when Meruin asks if he was Shimizu Kiji, then he smiles easily. "Congratulations Mizukage-dono."
Meruin nods himself at the congratulations, replying with a simple, "My thanks." He canted his head slightly, eyes not yet blinking. "Tell me, then, Shimizu Kiji," he spoke, seeing no point in mixing more words than necessary. "What are the reasons that you live?"
Kiji's smile continues as Meruin accepts the congratulations. One might expect him to get more serious as he's queried about the reason for his existence, but the boy seemed entirely unphased, his eyes shifted to a brighter blue. The boy puts his arms behind him, clasping the elbow of one arm with the hand of the other behind his back and lifts his chin a bit. His tone is easy going, as though he had been asked his favorite fruit. "I exist to serve and aid Okumo Meruin-dono."
"Easily said," replied the Mizukage, a pale brow arching over a dark eye as he looked at Kiji. There was little in the way of uncertainty or discomfort in either his words or demeanor. Which could be both good and bad. They were indicators of healthy levels of respect. With them lacking, he would need to look into other places to determine just what was there. "And you are correct. Do you know just what that entails?"
The boy stood up straighter, though he kept his arms as they were. Kiji seemed to be comfortable with the idea of his existence being for the sake of another, it had been one of the easiest things he'd taken to during his 'classes' with teh Okumo that had grown him. He had not been exposed to a parenting type of relationship during his first days out of his growth cycle but instead absorbed the knowledge handed to him quite quickly. So he failed to grasp the 'missing' part of his life nor that a normal child would mourn the loss of said relationship. He had been quite attached to one of the scientists but had not seemed to have any negative effects whent hat person had moved to another project. The boy had gone through the academy and was taught about loyalty village pride, of course, and he'd absorbed the definitions of those things jsut as quickly as he'd absorbed the ability to speak.
Meruin's words affirming Kiji had been correct in his ppurpose brings a nod from the boy, but the question put to him then makes him tilt his head, his smile melting into a more curious appearance, his eyes shifting into a deeper blue. For a moment he acted like a younger child, contemplating the answer. When he looks up again he lets go of his arm behind him to raise a finger. His tone is confident and where a child looking to impress someone or 'get the answer right' might phrase it as a question, Kiji speaks as though he's sure he came up with the answer on his own and is confident in it's corectness.
"I will train hard to become stronger so I can help you. My kekkei genkai will help me learn how to heal you and I'll learn lots of jutsu so I can defend myself and not be a burden for you." His finger goes to his chin as he thinks a moment again then he returns to clasping his arm behind him. "Of course in the meantime I can run errands and I'm sure the people int he lab still want to run tests on my blood." None of this seems to bother the boy and his eyes remain at a stable bright blue, a color hinting at truth and contentment.
"All of that is likely to be true," spoke the Okumo, nodding his head slightly. His hair had finished braiding itself, its length sliding over his shoulder to rest over and down it, hanging down below his chest. He was watching Kiji far more closely than he allowed himself to appear. The eyes, mercurial as they were, would always provide some hint as to what was going on within the boy, but he would not trust such a thing to be all of the information he needed nor to be complete truth. Just as he would with any other, he read into mannerisms and speech.
"But there is far more to consider," he spoke, not seeing anything to arouse suspicion — or even expecting to. "You will someday accompany on any missions that I must undertake. There tend to be few situations that require a Kage go to war. Each of them will be dangerous. It will be your duty, Shimizu Kiji, to accompany into each of them. To see to my livelihood, perhaps at the expense of your own. Additionally, you will eventually become a symbol of your own. You will become a target for those who would wish to see me harm. A goal for those who would wish to take your place. An authority figure after your role is established. If you prove to be ideal, you will be my assistant for a great many things. Will you accept these responsibilities? Are you capable of becoming more than them?"
Kiji listened closely to Meruin's words, the smile and look of curiosity slip into a slightly more serious expression, though he keeps that open sense of innocence. This job was sounding like a much bigger deal than he'd thought. Of course accompanying Meruin was one of the thing's he'd simply assumed would happen. The comment that he would have to look after Meruin's livelihood at the expense of his own is the first thing that gets a real reaction from Kiji. His eyes slide into a bright orange-purple, like a setting sun, a mixture of the blue and the orange. Kiji remains in this somewhat excited state as Meruin finishes and he nods firmly, lifting a fist. "Yes I can…er..I do…uh… Of course!" His mind was swirling with the various things Meruin had said but his sudden inertia was not as confused as his words. "I won't fail you, Meruin-dono! I'll get stronger and stronger so I can protect myself and fix you up. If I can protect myself it wont matter if I'm a target and you won't have to worry about me either!" He hesitates then and looks down a little, deflating a tad as his eyes shifted into more purple than orange. "I don't know how to be a symbol or a leader but.. I can learn.. Right?"
Meruin nods, allowing a moment to pass.
"Good leaders are crafted," he spoke, "Never born. You will learn how to fit into that role throughout your time as a Kirigakure shinobi. As you go on missions, either with a team or with me taking you on forays, you will learn the skills and traits that you need to take on. The lifestyle will support you. So long as you put forth enough effort, there is a chance that you will grow adept enough to be an asset rather than a liability, on all fronts."
Meruin's words calm the orange and red right out of the boy's eyes and he settles back into a bright blue. A small smile rests on his lips as he's told that leaders are made. Meruin's entire explanation makes him nod and stand there in agreeance. Of course it would take time, he was a genin and such things were learned. it made total sense. "I'll do my best, Meruin-dono!" He says, his bright smile returning. He couldn't do much just yet but he wouldn't be easily swayed from this path either.'
"Ensure that you do," spoke the Mizukage, expression a placid one. "You were created for this purpose," he says, "But that does not mean that you will come to fulfil it. You are only a candidate. If, by the time the day comes to make a decision, you are found to be unsuitable or another is found to be more suited than you are, the other will be chosen and the purpose for your existance will vanish. Your future beyond that point, whether it exists, remains to be seen." His gaze is direct, expression holding no frivolity.
"Put your all into this. The results are up to you."
Kiji tilted his head as Meruin explained that he was not the only candidate for the position. The scientists had not told him that. As he contemplated the possibility of failiure, his eyes drifted into the more neutral pearl tone. It did not occur to him that Meruin might be testing his reaction, he didn't contemplate what dark existence would await him if another was chosen. Rather, the boy put on a smile while he speaks in a serious tone. "If I fail and you pick someone else I can still be of use to Meruin-dono. If I was created for you, I can be destroyed for you."
The Mizukage stares at Kiji with an unblinking gaze, his face the Okumo's mask he'd developed as a young child, no true emotion filtering through the scientific distance it signified. A small amount of time passed in this manner, Meruin simply examining the boy.
And then he inclined his head to him, paying respect to the dedication shown by the boy. "Nothing but truth," spoke the man. He didn't bother reminding Kiji to do his best regardless. That level of commitment needed no reminder. So he simply started walking towards the exit of the cavern, leaving the torch behind. "You have my blessing to train and grow for the position," he said, stride long and polished. "You have good odds," are the last words he speaks before he is out of sight until the next time the two meet.
Kiji returns Meruin's stare with those pearl eyes of his, the smile on his face. Meruin's words are heard but the boy doesn't seem to react much. Until Meruin gives his blessing for the boy to train and grow for the position. Then Kiji giveshim an affirmative nod along with that ever-present smile. Kiji watches Meruin walk away. When the elder male states that Kiji had good odds his smile grows but he remains silent, a hint of blue returning to his opal eyes.