Date: June 19, 2013
The investigation team gets together to compare notes again.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"Selective Assassinations - Investigation Revelations"
Just outside the clan compound
It's been two days after Atsuro and Hinotori got together with Taiki to discuss some things, and things are still brewing for the Inuzuka. Taiki publicly arrested Kenichi, acting out the part of someone utterly disgusted with his own uncles, but trying to be fair at the same time. The clan was beginning to split into two main factions and one very small one. The first supported Hiruko's bid for power, while the other, visibly larger group supported Taiki. Thing was the third group made winning impossible for either group until they were satisfied. This group did not think Kenichi guilty, and were quite vocal about it. Taiki took the "He will have his day in a fair court" stance while Hiruko was more in favor of killing Kenichi, even though she never stated it. Thus the compound was even more tense than ever, seeming to hold a bated breath to see what happened next.
It is after his shift at the hospital, and true to form if he wasn't at the hospital he was here, outside the compound's main gates, directing security patrols and answering questions from those that asked. He had sent notice to his investigative team that he'd be here in case they needed to talk to him. So he is here, talking with a couple of beta branch members quietly about an unrelated situation.
In Atsuro's opinion, the best way to solve this is to keep the ball rolling on the investigation. The sooner they get a good lead, the sooner they can release Kencihi (or actually investigate him if their fears are confirmed) and get to solving this incident once and for all. The leadership race is another crisis looming on the horizon, and Atsuro would rather not deal with that while this still has loose ends dangling.
So here he is. This time, he doesn't have much to contribute to the investigation himself. He just wants to see how things are going, actually. He, of all people, knows where to find Taiki, so he arrives shortly after Taiki does, Taizen following him. Atsuro waves to Taiki, not yet speaking up while he's speaking with the other clan members. Taizen wags his tail. Then Atsuro leans against the wall and waits for a moment to talk.
It was only once things had quieted down that Usagi released her cloak, simply seeming to fade into view leaning against a tree with her arms crossed. She takes a slow breath and closes her eyes slowly, then shakes her head. She, like Atsuro, doesn't interrupt as he's speaking with other clan members, though the other Inuzuka does get a nod, and Taizen gets a small treat tossed his way.
Hinotori has come to the Inuzuka Village, it's been pretty hectic and with all tahts been going on, Hinotori has been working on what he has been asked to do. Still things are moving a bit slow, but right now with the vacuum of power within the Uchiha it could be a possible chance the Recluse could be trying to move in there as well, which would be very pork difficult, but not impossible. Asking around for Taiki, he is given possibilities to where his team captain was, though he eventually finds where he is and upon finding them, Hinotori walks over and waves.
Taiki waves at each person as they near, with Shinobu and Nozomi greeting them verbally, explaining that Taiki would be done sometime soon. A few moments later he speaks up, "So give the kid a good scare, but let him go after that. Just explain to the parents that its an act for Kami's sake, or we'll have wailing parents for days on end. It's the best way to handle this, before the kids get this kind of thing too much more ingrained." The Betas nod and leap off with their partners, allowing Taiki to lean up against a tree for a moment and breath a centering breath.
After a moment he looks up at everyone and is glad to see Usagi there. "Good to see you," he says with a small smile. "How are you doing?" It's clear that Taiki is asking for their personal well-being, not the investigation, at least at the moment. Apparently he's looking for a short breather….
Yikes. Atsuro chuckles to himself and shakes his head a little, trying to keep it as quiet as he can. Heaven knows what Taiki's talking about, but it sounds hilarious. Obviously Taiki's job is far more weird than Atsuro ever realized. Whichever of his three jobs that might be. He can't imagine what any of them could have to do with childcare. "That how /your/ parents raised you?" he asks drily as the two Betas leave. "So you're focusing on pediatrics now or what?" he asks. "Anyway, I'm fine. Just stopping in to see if anything new has come up. I heard about Kenichi." He lowers his voice. "I hope they aren't smart enough to stop the murders. Well, I don't want anyone to die, but it would be good to clear Kenichi's name." He shrugs. "I'd ask how you are, but I'm guessing I already know the answer. Because I'm brilliant."
Usagi listens to the two of them before she answers. "Better than you, by far. Going for Alpha, having to arrest…who you did, and all that" She takes a slow breath and leans up off the tree. "We need to talk one on one later on" She gives Atsuro a look of warning, knowing where he could take that. "I've been….as well as circumstances permit. Haven't been able to really find out anything new either" She sighs and looks at him again, her demeanor relaxing. "So how much sleep have you gotten in the past three days?"
Hinotori moves towards the building and leans against it, keeping close to the others as Taiki speaks with the Betas. Covering his mouth, Hinotori looks a bit worn out, but not as bad as Taiki it seems. Reaching up and rubbing his eyes a little bit, those honey colored eyes seem to be a little reddened as if irritated a bit too much. Upon the greeting, "I'm alright, possibly doing a bit better then you are by the looks of you." he says as he looks at Taiki then to the others. "Kasumi-chan is a bit busy with a few things which is why she isn't here, I have briefed her on whats going on though." he explains.
Taiki looks first at Atsuro and shakes his head. "No, but that was because I was never foolish enough to get caught shoplifting at the tender age of 6 years old," Taiki says with a shrug. "But it's something my dad's done before, and it usually works." He then rolls his eyes at Atsuro's bragging, and says, "And I suppose being camped at ground zero doesn't have anything to do with it, does it?" he counters.
Usagi's remarks about needing to talk gets another nod from Taiki. "When we're done here, I'm all ears," Taiki says with a slight smile. "I'm half-tempted to ask what sleep is, but you're likely to take that wrong. Instead I'll just say I've been getting about four or five hours a night, and brief naps at the hospital between patients. I'm surviving, and will likely get more sleep when this settles down."
Finally he turns toward Hinotori and says, "As I said, I'm hanging in there, though I look forward to the day I can get a full eight hours of sleep again. And tell Kasumi-san that she should concentrate on what she needs to get done. Even when the curret crisis is over, things will hardly die down for quite a while. Things will still be here."
"Ah," says Atsuro, "You never got caught? I'm impressed. I had a feeling you were a shoplifter, but I never thought you'd have the sleight of hand to pull it off." He rubs his chin, "Better tell your campaign manager about this. Wouldn't want Hiruko winning just because you stole a chocolate bar when you were eight." He nods enthusiastically, "If anything, I can tell /despite/ being a ground zero. All the chaos and emotion makes it harder."
He didn't make any jokes about Usagi's phrasing, but when Taiki just points it out, he laughs. "Bringing it up yourself won't prevent me from using it," he advises Taiki. "Besides, I was always rooting for you kids to get together," he adds, mouthing 'go get 'im' to Usagi. He points lazily to Taiki. "But seriously. How's the investigation going?"
Usagi shakes her head to Taiki. "I'm taking your shift later. Use it wisely" She takes a deep breath and nods. "And I do not mean figuring out what to do with the bid for Alpha" She raises a brow slightly, a small smile coming across her face. At Atsuro's words and his gesture, she smirks softly, but they'd all see that slight bit of red come across her face. "I won't even mention how many ways that'd screw up the team composition, Atsuro" She sighs and shakes her head. "I'd want to know that as well…has it progressed any?"
Hinotori has kept quiet most of the time, though he does crack a smile here and there. Nodding to Taiki as he is told to relay infomration to Kasumi, "Will do." The Uchiha looks over at Atsuro who is still talking and smirks when he mouths go get'em to Usagi. A smirk playing on Hinotori's lips as he thinks of what Naru would do to Usagi if she found out that Usagi was trying to make a play for her boyfriend. 'Oh that would be colorful.' But still it's good to see that there is a bit of ease even during this trying situation. "I will do my best, but Usagi-san is right, we can cover you while you rest and post guards if need be. You can't be up nearly 72hrs and not rest properly. So get your beef eight hours then come back, from there we will brief you on leads we've managed to get." Thne looking over to Atsuro for a moment, he only shakes his head.
Taiki looks between the three of them and then chuckles ruefully. "Atsuro, Usagi is like a sister to me. How many times do I have to tell you this? Let's not give my girlfriend any rumors to listen to, please?" Then he falls somber as he fishes out a few tags and sets them up, then activates them before saying, "I know you weren't there when we discovered this Usagi, but we have a strong reason to believe the Recluse is behind this. But who they're operating through becomes the issue. We believe that Kenichi is being framed, which I told him under a barrier similar to this one when I got Kenichi in custody. I've come up with a couple more pieces of evidence since then, but nothing convincing enough to clear him publicly. I have a feeling that's coming though… something in my gut is telling me he's the next target, which is one reason I'm not getting as much sleep as I should. I want to be there to stop the attack before he dies, and I want to catch the…" He stops and looks at Atsuro for a moment then says, "Asshole doing this."
"Young Taiki," says Atsuro in a sagelike manner, "You've never had a sister, and there are already plenty of rumours about you. I think I'll trust my own judgement on this one." He nods to Usagi. "As for the team composition, I'm not concerned. If it's meant to be, it's meant to be." He grows serious as he looks at the tags for the second time… and finds that he still hasn't the slightest idea what to make of them. He just has to trust Taiki on this one. "What's the evidence?" he asks, "And if you think he's the next target, I assume you're doing something about it?" He raises an eyebrow. "Did I call them an asshole or something?" he asks, wondering why Taiki would look at him that way.
Usagi takes a slow breath and shakes her head. "Atsuro, there is nothing there. I'm rather serious about this one, and I'm not seeking a relationship with him, aside from the one we already have" She sighs and nods slowly after that. "It makes sense to go after Kenichi. Hell, they may have been his target all along, and the first two were just a way to get him imprisoned, so they'd know where he was at what given time" She looks to Taiki and raises a brow. "And please tell me you have people who you trust implicitly guarding him"
As Taiki explains the relationship between him and Usagi as brother and sister, Hinotori smiles a bit. "Yes please lets not give my cousin fuel." he states knowing how Naru is able to get. Shrugging his shoulders a little bit and walking closer, Hinotori looks at the seals, the same ones from the past few days. Listening Hinotori looks up at Taiki as he explains what he's has told Kenichi, "Is this wise to allow him to know what your thinking? Even if you do think he is being framed, we shouldn't allow him to know what we think until after we have what we need to help free him if he is innocent."
Hinotori hasn't been one to give false hope and he feels that by doing this, Kenichi may get the wrong idea or possibly do something foolish to expose the team that they really don't have anything outside of a few clues and speculation. Glanging to Atsuro, Hinotori shakes his head as the other Inuzuka speaks about trusting his own judgement. This isn't something Hinotori should butt in on, it's between the three. There is more they need to know and as Atsuro ask if there is anything Hinotori looks to Usagi who defends herself, but he nods at her assestment.
Taiki simply shakes his head and sighs. "You'd be wrong, Atsuro. And that's all I'm going to say on that." He then looks between the other three and says, "I didn't tell him until after he was in custody so we could get a genuine reaction from him. Thing is, he's the same clan I am, Founders Clan. He was spoon-fed politics and strategy practically from birth, just like I was. Once we got the initial reaction, it was safer to let him know just what was going on than to not. For he'd be working against us if he thought I was conviced. No… for this plan to work he needs to know what is expected of him. I have guards around him 24/7 that I know and trust, at least one of which is from the Omega branch to prevent genjutsu from being used against us, and one of our fastest messengers on standby to get me the moment something looks like its happening. And even the omega branch member knows how to fight in our clan style very well, to give me time to get there. This is as about as safe I as I can make this." Finally he adds, "I'll keep the evidence quiet for now, but it suffices to say there are a couple of things that point in quite a different direction. Atsuro, I want you to see if you can identify the scent on that fabric piece amongst the Alpha branch…. If I'm right, you will find a match there…."
"Yeesh," says Atsuro, "Just trying to lighten the mood." He folds his arms and listens to Taiki's talk about Kenichi. "Maybe we could use him as bait," Atsuro suggests, "Spread the right rumours and see who responds. Say that he's got a light guard on night x. Then prepare an ambush for night x." He shrugs. "Just a possibility." He raises an eyebrow. "You wanna narrow it down anymore?" he asks, "You must have some idea of who it is." If Taiki tells him, he listens, but either way he heads off. "Okay then," he says, "I'll take a smell around and see what's up." With that, he and Taizen head off.
Usagi sighs softly. "Not the time, Atsuro…." She speaks it softly, but looks back up after a few moments. "So. We're in the sealed area. Are you going to tell us, or are you keeping it close to the chest on this one, Taiki?" She leans slightly to one side, shifting and waiting for the answer. She does raise that eyebrow once she's done asking.
Stretching out a bit, Hinotori closes his eyes for a long moment, then he rubs them as irritation starts to set in. Not from the conversation, but just his eyes has been bothering him quite a bit lately and when he opens them, they are blood shot. He sighs a little bit as a tear runs down his face. But even as he deals with this, he still istens to whats being said. He still has a few things that Taiki has asked him to do, so he only nods his head, "I will work on what you asked me to and report back whatever I find out." he says though he doesn't move to leave just yet.
Taiki shakes his head toward Atsuro when he asks his question and says, "I don't want to prejudice the results." When Atsuro is gone he says, "Let's just say what I've found implicates the person that stands to gain the most from eliminating my support within the clan. The old saying about the most simple explanation is the most likely one is accurate in this case. You should be able to figure it out from there." As Hinotori fades off, he says, "We'll be over there by the trees if you need us Hinotori-san." This way, in Taiki's mind, it gives Usagi the chance to talk to Taiki like she wants to, especially since this is likely the closest she'll get to talking to Taiki alone. He then leads her a short distance away and says, "What do you want to talk about?"
Usagi furrows her brow deeply at that thought. "….you can't be serious. The other person running for Alpha is behind this, and 'possibly' a Recluse spy?" She looks at Taiki with a dead serious face. "You do realize that if information such as that leaked out, that the entire 'clan' could be considered compromised by the Hokage" She does manage to keep her voice down and looks at him very intently. "The Recluse are most likely behind it….but you know who through now, don't you" She has been looking around a bit to see if anyone else was in ear shot. This was not info that needed to get out, whether true or not.
Taiki nods slowly and closes his eyes. "I wish I were able to joke about this Usagi. This is why I want to capture this person myself, and why I ultimately had to throw my hat into the ring for Alpha. I knew for a long time the Recluse would try to destroy the Inuzuka clan. My uncles were Founders Clan for Kami's sake! I told you before what our position is in the overall Inuzuka Clan. We're traditionally the power behind the throne, only now the throne is in danger of being compromised. If I don't step in now… the Inuzuka as a clan is doomed. Our only hope is for me to solve this, and keep the results as quiet as possible by slapping a "need to know" basis on it. She can't be working alone, so publicly we'll have to set the patsy as the ringleader, and her as the patsy, if I'm right. That's why I'm playing this so close to my chest Usagi… I can't afford this to get out."
Usagi sighs softly and shakes her head. "And now you have to run with it too" She glares at him. "You're not just trying to get this taken care of, Taiki….you're talking about following through too. This isn't just about the Inuzuka being compromised, you're sacrificing your life to see this done" She's not a very happy camper right now, that much is obvious. "And I'm not talking about seppeku. I said your 'life', not your death. As clan Alpha, you will 'not' be able to risk yourself in the field. The rest of the clan would really not allow it if they had any sense in them. A few missions perhaps, and you could probably force one or two here and there to let them know you still have teeth, and still have your skill" She growls softly and turns away. "You're giving up everything for this. Not just Team six….but Naru too" She closes her eyes.
Taiki closes his eyes and leans against the tree, fighting back tears. "I'm well aware I won't be able to walk away from this Usagi. Though Konoha law is still clear in the fact I will still be a registred shinobi, and thus /have/ to take missions. They /can't/ stop that. But this means that the more dangerous A and S ranking missions I will have to lead from the back, instead of from the front. We Inuzuka tend to be… more active even as Alphas than most." Finally a lone tear rolls down his face as his throat tenses up. "I won't give up Naru without a fight. My own branch… or 'clan' already understands that. But… I will have to give up my personal desire for revenge… and a lot more… Yeah. I'm sacrificing a large portion of my life to see this done. I'm quite clear on that front."
"You shouldn't have to" The words are soft, and she lowers her head. Both her fists clench as she growls again softly, then sighs and lets her shoulders slump. "You've had enough to deal with already…." Her voice trails off softly as she takes a slow breath. "….it's not fair…" She lets her hands lower to her sides, taking more than a few moments just to breath. "Taiki….you're about as much a brother to me as my brother is. This….what you're doing….I know it, and I understand it. Problem being, it's really the emotional side that's rejecting it thoroughly. You don't want me to stop it, as you're doing what you must because there's no other choice. Not for you….nor would I ask you to if our positions were reversed" She sighs and shakes her head. "Keep the vengeance. The only difference now is who dispenses it" She straightens back up and turns to face him, a stony expression on her face. "I will be the angel of death for this"
"My choices ran out the day Tao-sofu died," Taiki says simply as another tear runs down his face on the other side. "I said I must give up my /personal/ desire for vengeance. I can no longer be the arrow that will strike at the heart of the Recluse, utterly destroying them. Now I must be the archer, who aims the arrow. Not nearly as satisfying, and a part of me will forever remain empty because of that. But its either do that, or watch everything I've ever fought for go down in flame. I must be willing to send those I care for, those I love, into danger, knowing they may not come back, because I cannot go myself. My life must be dedicated to the Inuzuka, and to Konoha. My only consolation is that I won't give up my loved ones. Just like I won't give up Naru without a fight, I won't give up my sister, even as she chooses to become the angel of death for me." He opens his eyes and looks into Usagi's eyes. "In fact, I will need my loved ones now more than ever…" With this he does something unexpected, he stands up, steps forward and hugs Usagi. "Please…"
As soon as his arms go around her, hers come up to wrap around him as well, hugging him close. "I'm not that easy to get rid of, you know…" Usagi chuckles softly and just holds him there, breathing slowly. Her eyes are closed again, resting her head to his chest. "Anytime you see your shadow, know that I am with you. Cheesy yes, but accurate" She chuckles again, only a few times and she sighs softly. "This is seriously going to cut into the time where we can just talk, or do something. You're going to be clan Alpha….me, I'm a shadow. That's what I'm best at. Not really meant for the center stage" she pulls her head up and looks at him. "Though you know how to find me if things start getting overwhelming"
Taiki takes the comofort where he can, but the doesn't let it go on too long. Slowly he pulls back and smiles. "I never thought I was meant for center stage. I was a supporting player, someone that was used to being the squeaky wheel that demanded attention. It's only the situation that demanded I step out of the background. And I'll be mindful of my shadow, and thankful she's there." The gates then open and Taiki sees his father ride out on his ninken, seemingly heading in their direction. "It looks like duty calls," Taiki says ironically.
Usagi nods and lets go as well. "No one knows their fate, Taiki. Which is a good thing, because it allows us to choose our life. Go get 'em" She smiles and nods to him. She offers a bow to Kenshin and stands back up, backing into the shadows and fading from view. There was more to work on now. A lot more.