Next of Kin


Akina, Keiji

Date: October 16, 2012


Keiji and Akina are sent to find a man's son but find that he has passed away.

"Next of Kin"

Fort Kyuusen

Family matters are usually best left to be dealt with behind private doors. However sometimes things are taken too far. Especially when tradition forces aothers to adhere to things against their wishes. Keiji and Akina of team two have been sent on a mission to Fort Kyuusen. Their goal is to retrieve the only son of an elder to a nearby village. The Elder's wish is to at least see his son one more time before his passing. The son is entitled to a hefty inheritance. The only issue is that the two have not spoken in almost twenty years.
It is nightfall as the pair enter into the Fort. Keiji glances around the shops. "This is going to be rather difficult. Our last known where abouts are in the Fort. However all of his hobbies are twenty years old." The young Chuunin then hands a photo to Akina. "We're looking for this guy but older. Any ideas where we may find him?" he asks.
Akina is quiet as she follows her sensei closely, her dusky eyes scanning the thin crowd and the lantern lit entrances of shops still open for the evening. "Hm." she ponders. "Even if his hobbies are twenty years old, it is very likely he would still have an interest in them. People tend to have personal habits that they do not normally think about, perhaps even take up a job involving one of his hobbies. However, if he's an adult maybe he's in gambling halls or a bar."

Keiji nods as Akina suggests the gambling halls and bars. "Given that it is the night life currently, that would be the best bet to check. During the day we can check merchant stands." Keiji stops as they walk by the first bar. He enters in and they ask a number of people including the bar tender if they have seen the guy in the picture. Though some think maybe, no one gives a real answer. Most of them seem pretty drunk. After the fourth dead end, Keiji leads Akina out of the bar. "On second thought maybe the gambling hall would be better. You think? I know if you notice anything I do not, you will let me know. Right?"
By the time they're finished with the fourth bar Akina feels a little worn out. Finding their target maybe tougher than she originally thought. It was a twenty year old picture after all. Stepping outside again she breathes a soft sigh, rolling her shoulders to relieve some of the tedious tension that had built up. "I am kinda surprised they even let us inside in the first place." Maybe being minors didn't matter at this fort. "Yes, I will keep an eye out, sensei."

"If we did not have shinobi headbands they would not have. It reminds me of my first bar fight. That was quite a story. Too bad the bar no longer exists." He really did not feel like adding in that San Sara Duruta itself no longer existed, not just the bar. He then leads Akina into the first gambling hall they pass. Once more the picture is shown. Again no one seems to know the person. Though more seem that they do not care since their is no actual money in it.
There was a sigh from the young Chuunin. "This is no good. We're not getting anywhere." Keiji states. He glanced around looking for any other possible ideas. "Lets go grab something to eat Akina. My treat."
Akina arches a brow behind her porcelain mask, wondering to herself how that would go, Keiji in a bar fight. She ponders on that briefly before refocusing on the mission, following Keiji into the gambling hall. Again, there's no luck. The kunoichi began to wonder if they were protecting this person, since she and Keiji would be seen as outsiders. As Keiji sighs beside her Akina turns her hood and glances to him. "Alright." she murmurs, "Just do not get discouraged. We will find him."

Keiji sits down at the establishment stool and places down a picture of the teenager. He then turns towards Akina. "The first group was too drunk and the second group really did not seem to care. It would be one thing if they actually looked but jeeze. They simply wanted to make or lose money." He then went quiet as a waitress approached.
The waitress asked, "What will it be for the two of you? We do not get many shinobi from Sunagakure here. Thats a long ways away." The lady was fairly young. Maybe in her early twenties. Her green eyes sparkled happily before they looked down at the photo. Suddenly she seemed to almost turn a pale white. "That picture… where did you get that?" she asks. Her tone starts to become very stern.
Quietly taking a seat on the stool next to Keiji, Akina crosses her arms as she leans against the edge of the counter. Maybe they should have bribed someone… Because so far they've only been hitting dead ends. As the waitress approaches the kunoichi lifts her eyes up at her, blinking once as she watches the woman's expression turn from pleasant to sheet white in terror. "You recognize this boy?" Akina asks. "Where is he? We have been looking for him.

Keiji's dark eyes scan upwards over the woman's face as she makes it apparent she has seen him. "We mean him no harm. We have a message from the Land of Wind for him. It is a peaceful mission." He was unsure if the lady was upset because the man was a bad man or because she thought shinobi might have been out to harm him. Either way he would try to put her mind at ease.
The waitress looks between the two. "You two are not hunting him?" she asks before making a long pause. It was obvious she was thinking about the situation. Finally after a few moments, she responds to their question. "He is my fiancee. The hair is different but I am certain it is him. The background though. He had never been to the land of the wind. Are you certain you are looking for Kaiden?" she asks.
Akina turns her head just enough to give Keiji a sideways glance, pausing briefly before shifting her gaze back to the waitress. "He is using another name, but if you recognize him in this picture then we are fairly certain that it is him." she murmurs softly, taking a calculated move. "The reason we are searching for him is because his father is dying."

Keiji ponders the situation a moment. "The picture is twenty years old. It is possible these are two different people. We are looking for a man named Ryuk. If possible maybe we could speak to your fiancee and see if he knows anything." Keiji then looks towards Akina. He did not want this lady to possibly assume anything negative. There were a few different scenarios that the boy could think might happen.
The waitress does not seem so frightened anymore. "He has not changed his hair color or name that I know of miss. He's not aged a day since the photo." Then as she hears the name Ryuk, she lowers her head. "That makes sense. Ryuk was his father. He died a few years back. I never knew that he had black hair in his youth." Finally she looks up. "I will take you to him at the end of my shift."
Akina waits, listening to their exchange before the woman finally agrees to take them to see her finacee. The man they had been searching for all night. She just hopes that this wasn't too easy. With a breath she lowers her chin with a small nod, "Thank you, sincerely." They'll have to find Ryuk's tombstone later, just in case.
Two hours later the waitress came forth and lead the two of them out on the street to a small hut on the poor side of town. Once on the inside she politely asked them to wait before she vanished into the back room. After a few more moments a spitting image of the picture came out with the waitress right beside him. The only difference was his hair. It was like he had not aged a day. He might even have been slightly younger than the man in the photo.
"Wow, such young kids. I am Kaiden. My darling Kiara tells me that you are searching for my father Ryuk. Sadly he passed away two years ago. I am sorry that your trip was for naught."
Keiji took a seat at the overly small table in the dark hut. These people were dirt poor and it was obvious. He glanced towards Akina. She still seemed distrustful of the situation. Of course as the man appeared, it seemed pretty obvious that he could not be the man in the photo. Time would not allow it without some form of immortality jutsu. He had only seen one and that man lived like a king. "Your grandfather is on his death bed. He sent us to seek out his only son. I believe he wished to make peace with him for a falling out. Once we can confirm he was your father, would you be willing to come with us?" he asks.
Once inside the front of the small hut, Akina quietly gives the room a curious glance, more than comfortable to wait. It isn't even a moment longer that the young man steps out into view. Certainly there were no mistaking that he was the son of the man in the picture. He was the spitting image of him. Her gaze shifts from the young man known as Kaiden to her sensei as he explains the situation with his grandfather, the only family he may possibly have.

Kaiden excuses himself for a moment and returns with a book. He flips it through the pages revealing pictures of the man in the photo, even a copy of the same photo. There were also many photos that were of him as an older man. "If you want you can take this to my grandfather. Father never spoke much of him but what he did, he hated him. I see no reason to go visit the man."
Keiji looked over the photos in the book. To him it was evidence enough. These two were of the same line. "You're father is the heir to an inheritance. All that we ask is that you hear him out. If you still wish to return after that, then by all means leave him." Now Keiji glanced towards Akina seeing if she could convince the man to go visit a man he had never really met.
Photos are proof enough to establish the bloodline, at least for her in any case. The most they can do is to return to the customer and explain what they had discovered, that his son was deceased. And technically they weren't obligated to bring anyone else but the customer's son back to the land of wind. But Keiji seemed to be intent on talking Ryuk into stepping into the role instead. As her sensei glances to her for support Akina exhales a soft breath. "I know you have no reason to see him, and your father spoke poorly of him… But he is a dying man that only wanted to reconcile with his son before he passed. It is a small request that would mean the world to him. And as my partner said, you are free to leave whenever you wish. The only thing I ask is that you not pass too harsh a judgment upon a dying man."
Kaiden ponders the words for a moment. His ears seemed to perk up at the inheritance. "I wish to know that my fiancee will be safe if I go with you." It seemed like his mind was changing or that perhaps he was trying to find a long shot not to go along. "Can she come with us?" he asks after a moment of hesitation.
Keiji saw it as a sign of hope. Now he figured the guy was in. "Sure. She can ride along on the carriage. I am sure with as much as we are being paid to request your presence that bringing her will not be a deal breaker." They were told to return with the man, not to allow the deal to be hindered by a detail. "Please pack up the things you will need. The more time we lose, the less chance we will make it back in time."
And that was what she was wanting to avoid mentioning since the beginning, the inheritance. Just in case this man really wasn't who they thought he was. If he was willing to go without knowing about the inheritance it would be a better way to confirm he's the genuine article rather than just another gold digger. However, Akina's expression softens beneath her mask as she hears the concern the young man has for his fiancee. It made her wonder how her own father was with her mother. But it's just something that she will never know. "I think your grandfather would be delighted to meet her, to be honest. I would be in any case, knowing that family still lives on happy and healthy." Akina was probably painting a picture of the man that was far from the truth, but they have a mission to complete. Now it's time to get ready to head out.

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