Date: June 19, 2015
It’s a stormy day in the Land of Sea, and Byouki and Hige end up helping many merchants and sailors… Somewhat
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"Stormy Weather, Stormy Relations"
Land of Sea
The Land of Sea is a small land in between the greater countries of Fire and Water. It enjoys the business of both, though it is, much like the name implies, more about a sailor's life. Today, though, was a bad day to be out in the waters. A storm was brewing on the horizon, and people were finding that they needed to pack up their wares and keep their ships anchored. There were… a lot of ships to anchor, so anyone who seemed to be idle with their hands were forced to join in this chaotic organization.
The heads of the storm thrum like Zeus' beard charging from the horizon, crackling pearly white lightning teeth. This storm is going to bruise, just as it had already darkened the day. The poorer fisherman were almost already to shore, having spotted the intentions of the sky far before. The uninitiated, however, and the foolish, were left scrawling rapidly to get things bolted down and anchored fast before the winds and rain and crashes came. The sea, like no other thing of nature, is more tempermental than any other, thrashing when furious, calm when joyed, spiteful and mercurial for all. And today, it seems, the sea is not happy, not even for the land dedicated to its name.
Byouki is here with a chaperone - a chuunin from Kirigakure - the older of the pair dragging the younger off to help the others fasten and anchor their boats and wares.
"But they're not even our people!"
Byouki catches a slap across the back of his head. The chuunin - tall, broad-shouldered, strong dirty hands - moves her striding legs towards the docks.
"It's how you build favors, moron."
It had not been Hige's intention to help with boats and fastening, yet with the impending storm there was little option as all hands were on deck. The Inuzuka teen might be small for his age, but he has some surprising hidden strength. Add to that the power of a growing ninkin and you have a pair that isn't all that shabby when it comes to helping. Unfortunately they know absolutely zero about ships and are resigned to just doing exactly what they're told to.
On one of the newly arrived ships the pair is currently helping to hoist down the sail. Hige is pulling it in while Konsho is on the other side with a rope between his teeth, keeping the sail steady so it doesn't rip free and start flapping all over the place. They don't even notice the appearance of Kiri folk as their focus is mostly on the tasks at hand. They also don't seem to notice the rain and impending worsening weather. A little rain never hurt anybody
"Hey, kid!" yells a sailor to Hige and Konsho. "Be sure to get that nice and tight! We can't have it fallin' off the ship!" Because that's happened to them before. They had to buy a new sail and everything. "Tell the cap'n that you're done with that and then you c'n go on yer way to the next ship. Everything else, we can do." Well, proud sailors are proud. They only have four guys for the large boat.
Byouki gets his own share of attention, as well. He is given scrutiny to the utmost degree with his mask on, some sailors even asking if he can 'take that stupid thing off'. Whatever he chooses, he's given the task of hauling barrels and crates of supplies onto one of the merchant ships. The merchant isn't too happy, either, because this storm means he's gotta pay the harbormaster extra money to keep his dock.
Having spent his entire life in the mask, Byouki has become thickly skinned to the slim eyes and spit words. He hears them all, of course, tucks them coarsely into the folds of his heart, keeps them tied to his chest with chains and locks and guards ever on duty, so he responds naught. The chuunin attending the boy says nothing, but she eyes him, her expression making it unclear if she supports the sailors mentality or not. Regardless, she begins helping load the ship. "Don't be lazy. Pick up something and get to work."
Byouki does as he's told - he hoists a crate filled with… thunder, what is that smell? - but his eye roams the oncoming storm in its thick purple face and gnashing teeth, and before it, in his gaze drawing back to the docks, he glimpses Hige and the boy's dog. They… certainly look familiar, though the Kiri youth can't exactly place the face.
In his lack of attention (the curiosity of recognizing the Konoha nin but not really, of having a word on the tip of your tongue, this fingertip grasping of attention), Byouki drops the crate, and you can hear the wood crack like a stick of lightning shot from the sky.
Hige growls softly as he pulls harder on the rope, digging his feet in and finally getting it against the mast. "Tie it off, hurry!" He yells out to one of the deckhands while both boy and pup hold their two ropes to keep it tight and in place. It takes a little while and the increasing wind doesn't help, but it's finally tied off and the Inuzuka release their ropes. Hige bends forward, putting his hands on his knees to catch his breath and give his arms a rest. This has not been a very pleasant day and it's deviated far from his own plans, but he wasn't going to just sit back and watch. That's not in his blood.
The pair make their way down the gangplank and start towards the next boat, the one that the Kiri nin are working on, before stopping his tracks when the crate shatters. His eyes catch the person who did it, the mask making it easy to remember the person. "You!" He calls out, pointing a finger at Byouki. "You're that Kiri shinobi from Fuuma Alley!" He seriously wants to talk to him but there are more pressing matters at hand. A yell from one of the dock workers causes Hige to growl before he picks up a crate and starts hefting it away. Konsho grabs a sack between his teeth and starts dragging it after
Almost as if they were psychic, the merchants who need to sell the contents of that crate are all over Byouki right when it breaks open. Within is a squall-ton of fish that have all been preserved, but that might not be the case anymore. Buoy gets picked up by the scruff and shaken. "What in blazes do ye' think yer doin' lad??!! Be /Careful/ wi' this stuff!!" Then the merchant tosses him to the side and asks someone else to do the job Byouki failed at, making the Kiri genin pick up something a bit lighter and perhaps less fragile.
Byouki is startled - albeit in a mask of neutrality and apathy - by Hige's swift appearance and recognition… and then further by the other's excited declaration and his equally swift departure. There's not, however, even a chance to speak before the surly merchant is upon the young Kiri nin. Byouki's chuunin escort watches from the gangplank of the boat they're loading. A small grin smooths her thin lips as the merchant grabs Byouki by the scruff of his neck and flings him to the side of the docks. The youth lands with a gruff skid on the sea-washed wood. The storm pushes closer to port. The shouts increase, the fervor dominates, and the incident with Byouki is forgotten quickly in face of the work that needs doing. The boy, however, doesn't move. He sits against the side of the docks, still on his butt, watching the sailors and merchants and helpers scurry themselves sick with work, the thunderous storm charging on. Man never wins against nature, especially on the water. Why even try?
Hige deposits his own crate, not seeing what all happens. But Konsho does and he's quick in telling Hige in Inuzuka speak. The boy frowns as he looks back to where the accident was, then to where Byouki now rests. He runs back down the gangplank and glares at the man who'd pushed Byouki aside. "Don't be an ass to people that are trying to help!" he yells over the fervor that is people moving items and the storm noise itself. "You need every hand you can get and you won't get it by throwing people aside." He doesn't even wait to see if the man replies, the boy turning to walk towards Byouki, semi-feral eyes hard as he looks down at the other boy. "Get up. There's still work to do," he says after a few heartbeats, extending a hand down to help the other boy up while Konsho stands next to him, head tilted curiously.
"I told him to grab something lighter!" yells the merchant before he wanders off, grumbling as he gets his crew into order. The Chuunin that Byouki is with does her fair share, taking the crate where her charge had failed for the time being. He would get scolded later if she felt he needed such. Other merchants were restless as the storm continued to draw closer, and a few more boats appeared trying to get into the docks! "Hey! Someone get the harbormaster!" yells a voice from one of those boats as the people in them seek refuge while not losing their watercraft.
Byouki stares up at Hige with his large violet eye. He blinks, once, slowly. He doesn't move.
"I don't really care, thank you."
The boy finally remembers Hige's face, drawn back to the alteraction at Fuuma Alley, the alteraction he most swiftly left to the other and his dog. He lets it pass, as it was never really anything. Byouki's gaze shifts from Hige to the furious work being done along the docks. It's amazing, what with all this commotion, that no one has fallen into the water. He continues:
"In fact, I wouldn't even care if these were my people. Because who is that, really?"
His eye flicks back up to Hige's face.
"It's not you, certainly. Nor is it your Inuzuka dog."
He flicks his chin at the chuunin chaperone.
"It's not her, either. So who cares, really? You can't even see my face. You have no idea who I am."
Sure he told him to get something lighter. After he threw him away. That doesn't exactly inspire one to continue to help when the person is an ass. Hige's hand slowly lowers as Byouki speaks and those semi-feral eyes narrow dangerously as he regards the other teen. "You know, for someone who just got tossed around by a dock worker you sure do talk big. I'd heard Kiri nin were tough, which is part of the reason they're a pain in the ass. But you're a pain in the ass in a different way. I guess Kiri is getting weaker." Hige reaches down to try and grab the front of Byouki's shirt, attempting to drag him to his feet. "I don't care what you think. People's lives and livelihoods are at stake, so you're going to help or you'll be going for a swim. And if you think your mask protects you, you're wrong." Hige taps the side of his nose before he continues. "I have your scent now.
People continue to scramble about as they move to help others or get their own butts saved. Eventually, the storm actually hits… At least, people from the docks can see the rain pelting the water. It was going to be a long downpour that was only getting closer and closer. Activity picked up, nerves were strained, and not that many people were happy. It made for a lot of shooting and yelling as people tried to get their crews organized. The ones that actually /were/ only had to finish tying a few things up and paying the harbormaster, so they were safely indoors unless they felt like helping out as well.
Byouki stares blankly at Hige as the Konoha boy lectures him. Byouki's eye scrunches when the other speaks of Kiri weakness. He leans closer to the other as he finishes.
"If you think Kiri cares about people's lives and livelihoods, then you really don't understand one stitch of our toughness. Besides-"
The boy leans back to his normal posture, his masked face turning from Hige to the storm busting up the water with fat raindrops. Thunder cracks and lightning breaks the skyline, rushes of conversation pelting as quickly as the rain.
"-I bet your nose is no good in the rain, is it?"
The Kiri chuunin appears over the side of the barge, her words sharp and loud.
"Byouki! Get your lazy ass out of the way if you're not going to help. I'm gonna punish you later!"
The boy's breath huffs from the respirators, tinny and crackling alongside the turbulent sky. He looks to move past Hige, but the boy's rather larger, rather gruff looking dog keeps the way.
"We done here? There are more… pressing things."
Hige stares at Byouki, his hair flattening out as the rain begins to pelt him. He doesn't even flinch, just stares. "The rain makes it harder to follow you, true, but I have your scent now and I'll never forget it. Ever." He steps back then, Konsho moving with him before the teen speaks again. "I see now why Kiri is spoken about with such disdain. They are selfish and complete assholes." He leaves it at that for now, before he does something that will just make things on the dock worse. Instead he turns to help the nearest boat with the last of their wares, ignoring the rain as it pounds hi. Ignoring the thunder and lightning as it cracks overhead, lighting the sky and the surrounding area. Rain he hates Kiri.
The storm continues on, heedless of who is ready for it or not. It starts as drops, but quickly turns into the downpour that all had seen from the shore minutes ago. Weather travels fast! Many of the people who were still working abandon their tasks of trying to store the remaining crates, seeking shelter instead. The good news: anything important that needed to be done was done. It was up to Hige and Byouki if they wanted to grab what remained. A few of the merchants' crew was helping, but not enough to get the job done in any good amount of time.