Date: January 18, 2012
Kazuhito is expressing his thoughts to a bush when he is spotted by Kuoroke, who promptly launches a paranoid investigation.
"Never Talk to Plants in Public"
Mystic Flower Gardens, Sunagakure
The inside of this building is fragant with the smell of plant
life, something incredible rare in the harsh desert. The stone walls
of this building have vine tendrils growing up towards the roof, thin
and small offsprings spreading away from the main vines, and latching
into the walls. The roof is actually a large wooden hatch, to allow
limited sunlight to enter on calm days.
The building can fit about 15 people comfortably with all the
plants. There is a large pathway, not formed of stones. Instead, it is
lined with stones, and people walking along it are actually walking on
a soft carpet of grass. Shoes are required to be left at the door, so
as to avoid damaging the tender grass shoots.
The center of the building is actually a small pond, about 10
feet across. Growing from the center of the pond is the largest flora
in the place, a single lemon tree, growing proud and straight up
towards the roof. It is kept well pruned to avoid damaging the walls,
and to allow light to reach the other plants. The rest of the plants
in the room are mostly smaller flowering bushes, and ferns. Simple,
green plants, to give some much-needed natural life into the lives of
It's early morning, the pre-sunrise sky just beginning to brighten.
The gardens aren't too crowded, but four or five visitors have chosen
to start thier day among the plants. One of them is this slight genin
Aida Kazuhito, curling his bare toes among the grass as his mouth
moves slowly. At first it appears he might be involved in some sort of
meditative trance… But no. He appears to just be talking softly to a
"- and then she told me to be direct or be a shadow," Kazuhito is
telling his captive audience. "Perhaps it was the other way around.
Her meaning was not immediately obvious to me, but I am prepared to
pass that off as nerves. You know how I get. Regardless, it is exactly
as she said. Wouldn't that be nice, to be a shadow? It sounds nice to
fade away and just observe the world. But somehow, I can't manage it.
Always someone trying to push me back into the light, and I never
manage to push back." He shakes his head.
After having quietly talked to a Chuunin who works here and taken
notes on a pad he was holding, Kuoroke takes some time to make a quick
inspection of the gardens, at all. In agreement with the official
version of recent events, he is ensuring that future such
seismological activity will not do damage to buildings important to
the village. His inspection, however, is paused when he hears Kazuhito
The Kuroki raises his eyes from his paper, and looks at Kazuhiko. He
simply stops where he was, and makes no motion to interrupt him, for
now content with simply watching, with a worried expression.
"So, logically, I am forced to pursue the other option, of finding a
way to be direct. But how can I? You know that isn't in my nature.
Even when I try, it seems the harder I try, the worse I am at it. It
would be easier to give up. No, I should say I would like to give up.
Were it actually easier, I would have already done so." Kazuhito
groans. "Listen to me. Too much of a coward to even run away."
Kazuhito turns away from the bush now. As he does so, he realizes to
his wide-eyed displeasure that he is being watched. "Kuroki-sama!"
Regardless of whether or not the man knows this particular genin,
Kazuhito appears to recognize the council member. He bows hastily, and
then a bit of pink invades his grey cheeks. "You did not- that is to
say- I d-didn't disturb you, did I?"
Kuoroke watches Kazuhito with open displeasure, crossing his arms on
his chest, over the pad on which he was taking notes on earlier. "You
me? No." He informs the boy. "I did not… not enough, at least. But
you can tell me what you were talking about to the…" he glances to
the bush Kazuhito was talking to with some suspicion "…bush."
Kazuhito swallows thickly. Even though he doesn't step back, his body
reflexively shrinks away from Kuoroke. "I was just- it was- nothing- I
was just thinking aloud. About a conversation I had yesterday. It was
n-n-nothing important really. I shouldn't take up your time with-" His
thought halts abruptly. His mouth makes a few additional movements, as
if about to say something more, but instead he directs his eyes to the
ground and falls silent.
With quick steps, Kuoroke moves around Kazuhito, towards the bush, and
begins a close scrutiny of it. "No, no… You really should. What's
this conversation you decided to repeat in a public place to
'vegetation'?" He raises his eyes to glance around the room quickly,
and then continues looking around the bush.
Kazuhito's eyes widen. "Oh! But I wasn't really- not the whole-
conversation. I was just-" He glances around, as if desperate to find
someone to save him. "Just something this woman said to me, that I
should be a shadow or be direct. That is- if I followed- I think her
meaning was that-" He is breathing rather quickly now. He takes a
sharp intake of breath, nostrils flaring, to try and finish his
sentence. "That there is no point starting something unless I am
prepared to follow through." His speech is less halting now, but it is
certainly hurried and still hard to follow. "I was thinkingofhow to
apply that advice." A generous retelling of Kazuhito's thoughts, to be
"And who is this woman?" Kuoroke takes a moment from studying the
shrub and the room around them to look at Kazuhito. His voice is a bit
irritated, but mostly calm. "And more importantly, why do you feel the
need to share it with a plant?"
"Uh- she- she- said her name was Koboyashi Hinata. I don't- she's not
from the village. But I didn't think- I mean, I just thought her words
had some merit and thought I'd think on them and-" Kazuhito glances
over at the bush. "I just find it easier to talk to the bush. It is…
A good listener."
"What's your name?" Kuoroke continues his questioning. "I'd like to
have a detailed description of this person…" He glances to the door,
then at his watch, and for a moment looks somewhat pensive. "… but
since you've taken too much of my time already, you'll deliver it to
my office, at 11 o'clock, today."
"I- I am Aida Kazuhito." Kazuhito bows again, then nods eagerily,
relaxing ever so slightly at the news that Kuoroke does not intend to
interrogate him further on this matter. "Y- yes, sama! I will have
that report to you promptly!"
"I'll see you then… and you will do no more talking to any inanimate
objects." With that last order, Kuoroke heads towards the exit from
the gardens, returning his attention to his pad. He takes out the top
sheet of paper, and moves it to the bottom in preparation for whatever
building he's going to inspect now.
No more talking to his friend the bush? Kazuhito stares at Kuoroke as
he departs, brow furrowed and lips trembling.