Date: May 16, 2015
Taiki and Hige tease each other, then Taiki convinces Shinobu to give the academy a try
"Small discussions about big things"
Public training area, Konoha
It's late afternoon, and Taiki has just finished up his private training. Thus he has decided to come here to the public training areas to do some light public training, ostensively. The real reason for his visit to the training grounds is to refamiliarize himself with the lower-ranked members of Konoha's forces, for whatever reason he could be thinking of. Therefore, he's currently working through some type of water ninjutsu while keeping an eye out for others as they move between the various training grounds.
While Hige sometimes tends towards the Inuzuka training grounds within the clan village he also frequents these more public ones as well for various reasons. One of which is to make sure Zori isn't causing more trouble. And so it is that he and Konsho, the pup a good three feet tall now, moves through the training area only to catch a familiar scent in an unfamiliar location. Semi-feral eyes search and find the Clan Head and Hige tilts his head slightly, consideringly, before heading towards him. "Hey Taiki. What are you doing out here?"
Taiki continues his movements as a cone of water forms in his hands. After a moment he hurls it at a small boulder he had set up, causing the water to splash against it, but no visible damage to appear. Taiki holds up his hand to pause Hige for a moment while he inspects the boulder, then frowns. "Well, that didn't work out that well…" he comments. "Water must not have been under a high enough pressure." Nozomi barks in agreement before trying one of her own against what looks like Shinobu. The water meets "Shinobu" only to splash as the white ninken explodes in a burst of very weak lightning. "Looks like we still have a long way to go, all of us," Taiki says with a sigh before turning his attention toward Hige. "Just doing some light training. Figured I'd let myself be seen, you know?"
Hige watches as Taiki throws water at a rock and, well, he doesn't say anything despite seeing it's lack of…anything. When Taiki finally turns back to him he quirks a curious brow, "Let yourself be seen? But then you lose that mysterious part about you don't you?" Hige asks, a smirk forming on his lips as his eyes dart between the two ninken. "I guess it's good though. Don't need rumors starting up about you being dead or something."
Shinobu arrives from Toshiba Forest - Training Ground.
"Oh, I have quite enough going on that no-one knows about to provide all the mysterious points I could ever ask for," Taiki replies in an off-hand semi-airy tone. Shinobu and Nozomi both doggy-chuckle at Taiki's comment before returning to their training. "Besides, after being blind-sided by something the other day, I feel I need to get back in touch with the normal shinobi of Konoha. Too much hobnobbing with the upper echelons is bad for you, makes you lose perspective."
Hige tilts his head a bit as he listens to Taiki, hearing the odd tone as well as the two with their doggie snickers. "Well now, that's not mysterious or anything," he responds dryly after a moment. "Are you just going to leave it all at that and make me guess or what?" For someone that's a young shinobi he certainly lacks proper manners to his superiors. But then he's always been like that so maybe it's not a surprise.
Furthermore, the Inuzuka clan is more forgiving than most concerning proper levels of decorum than others, at least most of the time. Therefore, instead of taking offense at Hige's familiarity, he simply chuckles and shakes his head. "I wouldn't be all that mysterious if I made it easy for you, now would I?" he asks with an ironic grin. "So, what are you up to?"
Hige just remains silent at first, head still tiled as it regards the mysterious Taiki. He gives a few sniffs before hmphing softly and shaking his head, "I'll just have to do some digging then." He says, the grin returning. He glances around the training yard again as he stretches, eyes searching around as he speaks, "Oh you know, causing trouble, doing what damage I can, ruining your mysterious name. All that stuff."
Hige's sniffing might reveal that there is a nearby Shinobu in the trees. The girl has taken to hiding in them while she's near the training grounds. Kame is clutched in her arms like usual, the pup acting like a plushie for the time being. They're getting better at hiding, at least, staying silent and largely downwind of the two Inuzuka, but an unlucky breeze would reveal them, which is likely how Taiki and Hige would notice them.
"How exactly does one ruin a mysterious name?" Taiki says as he analyzes new information from his olefactory senses. A quick burst of chakra later pretty much establishes not only where that familiar scent is coming from, but where as well. Looking straight at her, he gives an inviting wave of his hand even as he continues to speak to Hige. "I had heard you are now Zori's sensei. How's that working out for you?"
"By doing horrible things and claiming you told me to. It's rather easy actually. Would you like me to demonstrate some time?" Hige asks with a faint smile, eyes sparking with humor. The scents from Shinobu comes through and he glances in that direction when Taiki does, smiling at her before looking back to Taiki. "Is that a trick question? It could be better but…I think we're making progress."
Shinobu sees the two sort of wave and invite her over, and Kame gives an encouraging yip to get her to hop from her tree and make her way over. Well, she actually scoots down the tree since she's not that confident that she can jump without being injured, and makes her way over a bit slowly. The months that had passed since her rescue have largely improved her fearful nature, at least, so she manages a tiny wave from about three yards away.
"Sssuuurrrre," Taiki drawls at Hige's first comment. "If you are, you're doing a very poor job of it, given that nothing has made its way back too me yet." He then shakes his head and sighs. "As long as he's making progress. I should warn you," he says dropping his voice low to speak quietly just to Hige for the next few words, "There's requests for psych evals at the hospital for him." Then, raising his voice to normal he adds, "But if you're working with him, it will be fine." He then looks over toward Shinobu as she draws closer and asks, "How are you doing Shinobu-san?"
"Or I'm doing so good a job that no one would dare mention it in your presence," Hige points out with a widening grin. "I guess you'll just have to guess which one it really is." Hige chews his lips at the whispered part and he nods. "You and I can talk about that later," he says as Shinobu comes over. His grin turns back into a welcoming smile as he looks to the girl and her ninken, "Hey there Shinobu, Kame."
Kame yips a cheerful greeting to the pair, hopping out of Shinobu's arms to try and tackle Konsho! A fun game for the younger pup. Shinobu hesitates for a bit, eventually managing a quiet ".. okay.." in response to Taiki. She shuffles over a bit, eventually reaching Hige and keeping slightly behind him, making Hige act as a sort of human shield if allowed.
Taiki tilts his head as he regards Shinobu for a moment. "You have nothing to fear from me Shinobu-san. I know I can be scary at times, but you've done nothing wrong for me to get scary about." He then looks up toward Hige, nods once, then shakes his head and adds, "Oh, but you forget that I have eyes everywhere Hige-san, especially within Konoha's boundaries. I'm sure I have connections to people you'd never guess. It's all part of my efforts to ensure Konoha's safety, after all."
Hige puts an arm around Shinobu's shoulders and pulls her alongside of him. He keeps his arm there to provide some comfort but has her stand out next to him so Taiki can see her and vice versa. "Or maybe I know who your little spies are and have avoided doing wrong in their presence." Hige continues on, knowing he's more or less lost this bout but still giving it a valiant attempt. "How are you Shinobu?" He asks, looking over and down at the girl with that same friendly smile. "Keeping out of trouble?"
Shinobu shrinks against Hige as much as she can since she's in full view of Taiki, but at least she doesn't seem like she's about to bolt. Improvements! The girl's eye glances upwards at Hige, and she gives him a small shrug. Taiki had just asked her that! Then she gives a tiny nod. Yes, she was keeping out of trouble. Kame eventually comes over and flops near Hige and Shinobu, yipping, ~How're you two?~
Taiki laughs at Hige's valiant attempts to keep his charade up, but then wags his finger back and forth while pointing upwards and saying, "No no no no… You don't know all my eyes Hige. Oh, you may /think/ you know all of them, but not even the Hokage knows them all." His smile widens and develops a teasing tone as he adds, "Honestly, given our clan's recent history, don't you think I'd have taken measures to develope false holes in the network? And you call yourself my student…." He then shakes his head and tisks. His attention turns toward Shinobu again as he asks, "Is there anything I can do to help you Shinobu-san?"
In the meantime, Shinobu the ninken wags his tail happily and addresses Kame. ~Oh, we're all doing fine Kame. I see you're taking good care of your partner.~ The slightly smaller Nozomi also bark-howls in agreement, seemingly happy to see the improvements.
Hige eye-rolls at Taiki, "Oh fine, so I haven't been doing a good enough job of it. I'll make sure to shout it from the mountaintops next time I plan on doing something bad. Taiki told me too!" He shouts the last part, cupping his hands around his mouth, earning a few confused looks from people in the grounds. His arm moves back around Shinobu then and he pats her shoulder comfortingly, "So, how's the talking coming?" He asks, deadpan.
Shinobu shakes her head, still quiet for the most part as she answers questions. Then she pauses as she realizes that there's one thing… ".. Shinobi?…" she requests, hoping that the one-word reply would suffice. Then Hige gets a small poke for his casual question, though no words. … A little spite?
Kame gives a cheerful yip to the two ninken. ~Thanks! It's not all me, but I do what I can.~ The pup rolls around on the ground a bit before she gets bored with just lying down and attempting to pounce one of Taiki's ninken.
Taiki tilts his head to the side as he tries to understand what Shinobu is asking. Finally he asks, "What about shinobi do you want to know Shinobu-san?" He then looks over to Hige and shakes his head at his antics before raising a questioning eyebrow to him, as if asking if he understands.
In the meantime, a small pup against two fully grown ninken who happen to be amongst the larger breeds of Inuzuka ninken doesn't really stand much of a chance of tackling them, but Nozomi finds this entertaining, so she tries to roll Kame over with her snout. Shinobu steps back to allow the two to play, taking up the position of referee.
Hige chuckles softly at Shinobu's lack of comment to his question. When she does speak the single word, however, he hmms softly before snapping, "That's right, I'm supposed to talk to you about going to the Academy aren't I." He glances to Taiki, then to Shinobu. "Maybe I should let Taiki do it. He's better at that type of stuff. Talking people into things. He even talked me into not pummeling people who made me angry."
Shinobu indicates Hige when he seems to hit the nail on the head. Yep. The Academy. But also not quite… But first, she looks to Taiki since it seems he is supposed to be talking to her about… Something. She knew that she was supposed to think about it, but something was still holding her back. Kame, in the meanwhile, finds herself on her back thanks to Nozomi. Yip! The pup rolls a bit more as she springs back up and tackles Nozomi again.
Taiki takes a moment to watch Kame and Nozomi play. Nozomi adopts a maneuver from the malamute breeds and thrusts her shoulder forward to inercept Kame in an attempt to roll him back. Then she pounces, gives the pup two good licks, then pounces back. Taiki, in the meantime, sits down, folding his hands and placing them on his legs. "Well, what do you think about the Academy?" he asks the shy girl. "Please feel free to take your time. I truly want to know your opinion."
Shinobu watches Hige leave, looking sad that he had to go. Oh well… But that also means nothing is securing her in spot. She had to really steel her courage here. She fidget in her spot a bit, trying to figure out words to say. "It's… nice… but… scary…" she finally manages to say. Kame squeaks as she ends up getting licked, the black lab grumbling when she's treated to the pouncing. She gets up, shaking herself off before once again trying to tackle Nozomi. She's nothing if not persistent.
Taiki nods slowly at Shinobu's point. "Yes, it is a bit scary. It was scary for me too, but for far different reasons than for you," he says truthfully. "But sometimes the only way to escape fear is to face it head on. The more you let it dictate what you do, the more it controls you. Fortunately, the academy is a good place for that. Unlike what happened to you before, it isn't designed to make you feel defenseless. It doesn't break you down and build you back up. I daresay you've had enough of that for one lifetime. Instead, it teaches you the skills you need, and tries to instill trust and teamwork. Those are the building blocks of Konoha's shinobi program, after all."
In the meantime, Nozomi continues to play with Kame, but this time she sprints off a few feet, causing Kame to miss. After a short howling bark, she takes off, encouraging Kame to follow her as she starts to run circles around the pair of Inuzuka humans.
Shinobu chews on her bottom lip, thinking over Taiki's words. They were true… But … The academy… "Scary…" she repeats, her desire to join the Academy rather low at the moment. Kame watches Nozomi dance away from her and she barks playfully as she tries to follow after and catch up. Shinobu's eye trails after her partner for a bit before she manages to work up enough energy to speak again. "Learning… Outside…" she manages, fidgeting in her spot.
Taiki takes his time to think about what Shinobu is trying to convey for a moment, then asks, "Can you tell me what exactly scares you about the academy?" He himself would probably see large benefits in outside training, given the girl's skittishness, but truth be told, he'd like to hear it from her first, in case he's wrong. In the meantime, Nozomi slows down a bit, since her breed fo dog was built for speed, to allow Kame the chance to close the distance between them in case Kame wishes to try something.
Shinobu's eye flickers a bit before shadowing over at the thought. It takes her a moment to reign in the panic that was threatening to course through her body, but did eventually with a few quick breaths. "Like… Other place…" she struggles to say, shrinking in her spot at the mere mention of her past. She was close, but still hasn't succeeded over her most recent demons. Kame sees that Nozomi slowed down a bit and tried to take advantage of the fact, gathering a bit of chakra so she could do a spin-tackle at the older ninken; the basis of a Tsuga.
Taiki blinks a couple of times as the young girl in front of him explains her feelings. Finally he shakes his head and says, "Only in the most oblique sense, Shinobu-san. In reality, that place was like a perversion of the academies. In fact, I daresay any village would have been sickened by the place." He tries his best not to inflict his own prejudices against Kiri here, so he leaves that village unmentioned. "The academy trains people to be shinobi, true, but it does not go anywhere near as far as… the other place. None of the punishments you… experienced… are there." He falls silent for a moment and then asks, "Or is the point of being around so many people intimidatig?" Justa s Kame gets close enough to attempt that trick, Nozomi leaps into the air causing the pup to fly by. As she hits the ground she tackles her, then gives him another couple of licks.
Shinobu pauses to think over Taiki's words. The academy wasn't like /that place/, no… She even knew that after seeing it herself. But she was still scared to go there. There was something about it that made her uneasy. The number of people? She wasn't scared of that as much as she was of the place. A large crowd sometimes unnerved her, though. "S… sorta…" she tells the Clan Head, eye flicking over to Kame to watch her partner fly past and then get tackled. Kame grumbles, panting now after the exercising. Yip! ~I'll get you someday!~
Taiki chuckles at Kame and Nozomi as he enjoys their antics. The sorta comment kind of threw him for a loop, though, causing him to think for a few moments. He remembers what he saw of the place, and then asks, "Is it the layout? Does something about how the academy is structured that frightens you?" he asks, trying to convey a wish to understand what the girl is thinking.
Long distance to Usagi: Taiki doesn't like the idea of going back in time. I selected the second option, though the third has its merits too.
Shinobu tries to think of /why/ the academy frightens her. She's seen pictures of the inside and also saw the outside in person with Hige. One of the sensei who taught was also really nice. But… Hmm… She shakes her head, mostly to herself as she tries to remember. "M… Maybe…" she says at last. That was probably the reason? Maybe… She couldn't put her finger on the reason, but being near the Academy just made her uneasy.
Taiki tries to piece the evidence together from the clues she's given him, but seems to be coming up a blank. "Thing is, if you want to become a shinobi, the academy is normally mandatory. Given the current situation, it would take a waiver from Atsuro and/or the Hokage to overcome that. Plus, there's a lot of details that might get missed with more personalized training. Would you at least be willing to try it out, and if you get too scared we can try other avenues first?"
Shinobu chews on her lip a bit… To try the academy was scary. But she could try. It was the least she could do. Kame wanders over and flops near Shinobu's feet, giving a yip. ~I'll be with you, too!~ "O…Kay…" she mumbles finally. No promises that she wouldn't freak out… But she's wiling to try, which is a good thing.
Taiki smiles widely at that and chuckles as kame comes up and announces she'd be there. "Yes, your ninken is more than welcome to be there. In fact, the academy recognizes that she's as much a part of the program as you are. And if you ever run into problems, feel free to come to either Hige or myself. We're more than willing to help." In the back of his mind he files a reminder to contact the head of the academy and forewarn them. While he wouldn't dream of asking for preferential treatment, he would ask that the duo be monitored, and that any problems be addressed as soon as possible.
Shinobu nods quietly and leans down to pick Kame up, the pup resuming her role as a living plushie. "Hai…" she says, taking a few steps forward to press herself against Taiki briefly. Then she waves and skitters off back towards the Inuzuka village, likely intending to talk to Mana about the latest events.
Taiki rests his hand on Shinobu's shoulder lightly and briefly, then watches as she scampers off toward the Inuzuka village. He sighs and looks toward Nozomi and Shinobu. "Thanks for playing with Kame guys. I really appreciate the opportunity to talk to her." With that the trio get up and start to head toward a local restaurant.