Date: September 19, 2012
Taiki’s father’s coma ends.
Poster's note: Profanity filtered in obvious places.
"The Recluse Saga - Living Legacy"
Konoha Hospital Wing 2
Its early afternoon, and as usual as of late, when Taiki could not be found at the training grounds, he could be found here. What is unusual is that this is one of those times that Taiki has told his new team that he's available for them. Instead when people arrive there a note is stabbed to a post saying that he was called to the hospital for some important news. If anyone needed him, he could be found there. It lists a room number that Ryo no doubt would recognize, as he has heard it repeatedly from Taiki, and probably Naru as well. It is his father's room. The note itself is worded much like Taiki speaks lately, pretty much an even expression, though from the looks of his normally very neat handwriting, he was obviously in a hurry and excited by something.
Anyway, he can be found sitting at his father's bedside, holding his father's hand as he listens to the doctors and Uzumaki Tenken speak. He nods in appropriate places, seemingly almost studying what they are saying, even if the medical jargon is going way over his head. Interestingly enough the sealing bits are not, though, so he is at least getting some of the picture, even if he is remaining silent at this time.
Ryo had found the note. He really did not need anything important, but it seemed like he should take some interest in the lives of those on his team. It is not long before he arrives at the hospital and knocks on the door. One he is allowed in, the bald headed Uchiha simply steps into the room and nods. He looks over Taiki's father before looking at Taiki. He was certain that it would kill him if his own father were to be in that condition.
Taiki listens to the last words of the doctors as they talk about neural systems and chakra pathways, his face only showing vague understainding. Finally he looks at them and says, "Let me see if I get this straight. The seal has been off for a month and a half now, and my father has shown no real improvement. You have seen something, I'm not going to pretend I understand what, that means either he will slip away or wake up today. Something about brain readings and his chakra network. But you are all only guessing, as this can go either way. But your indicators show that this is the last day before we know for sure. Am I right or wrong?"
Tenken now looks visibly upset, but nods. "That is the extent of it. Your father's chakra core has not, until today started to refill. But now it is, at a rate that we have not seen short of explosion. His brain activity is also increasing at a similar level, yet the rest of his internal organs remains in their weakened state. We don't know if they can take the strain of what is happening or not. Would you like to hear our recommendations?"
Taiki simply looks at the man for a few long moments before a single tear starts its way down Taiki's cheek. His expression remains the same, however, so there is no pain-filled wailing at this time. Instead he glances over at Ryo, nods once in hello, and offers his teammate a weak, sad smile before he turns toward the doctors/seal master. "Go ahead."
'Damn' Ryo thought to himself. He just stepped in at a really bad time. Then again he was not about to leave because of it. Taiki needed a friend in all of this. The boy looks over the body of Taiki's father. The attack really had done a number on him. Now they were not sure if he was going to live or die, but they knew either one would come soon. That was a lot to put on a teenager, especially one that just lost his mother. Then again, perhaps it would be for the best if Taiki's father were to be with his wife. Ryo knew not how the man would handle that news.
Ryo nods his head at Taiki's greeting. He wanted to hear more on this. He did not plan to give his opinion unless asked. He knew now all words spoken would have to be chosen carefully as to not dilute the meaning, but to not strike a nerve.
The doctors fidget a bit as they motion for the seal master to take completely over. "The doctors would sit here and talk about "quality of life" and "probable issues" and you wouldn't understand a tenth of it. So forgive me for being blunt, Taiki-dono, but I'll put it to you straight. The damage to your father's body is such that there's an even chance that if he survives, he'll never walk again. Even if he does, he certainly will never be fit for duty, and his muscle-memory will never be the same. His chakra levels won't ever fully recover, and his control will be that of a first-day academy student; that is, he won't have any control at all. In short, if he survives, which can go either way, he will never be a practicing Shinobi again." He lets that sink in for a moment, while Taiki's face does not change expressions. Only another, lone, second tear betrays the feelings inside. Tenaka frowns, then shakes his head. "There's no shame in letting it out sonny, He obviously meant a lot to you, even if I didn't go by your past actions. This seal was meant to prolong things and give false hopes. It's a torture device for the survivors."
Taiki sighs and hangs his head, his cheeks going red. "I've cried all my tears, Uzumaki'sama. I don't have any left." His voice sounds very hollow at this point…
Now that seemed to make things even worse. Ryo had no idea if the man enjoyed being a shinobi or not. Then again if he could not protect his own, Ryo himself would ask that the plug be pulled and he be put out of his misery. He also had a very great amount of pride. Ryo's thoughts then move onto the Recluse. What kind of people did this? Shinobi may kill loved ones, but they do not try to impliment pain on others. Death is usually swift and if not its by accident. This on the other hand was something completely different. This was a torture created by a real jerk.
Looking back and forth between the seal master and Taiki, Ryo feels pain that his friend is helpless to fix the situation. He claims to have no more tears left, but thats just dehydration setting in… probably. "Taiki… can we talk a moment?" He wanted to draw him away from the doctors. Maybe hear his thoughts and try to help him sort them incase his head was not clear yet. He was worried the boy might make a decision he'd regret.
Taiki looks back at Ryo for a moment and nods. The ninken look up inquisitively at their partner, only to be motioned to stay where they are. He slowly gets up, bows to the doctors and then to the seal master, then walks with Ryo to wherever the Uchiha is going. He remains silent, almost stoic, save for those wet eyes of his. Once Ryo stops, Taiki tilts his head to the side and asks, "What is it Ryo'san?"
Ryo stops outside the room once he has Taiki following him. "Are you okay?" is the first thing he asks Taiki. "I have no idea how it would feel to go through it, but I can imagine its hectic and things are still painful though you do not want them to show. I guess I would kind of like to hear your thoughts. You know as a friend. Those doctors in there and the seal master are basing decisions off logic and they might be right. That does not mean though you should let your feelings go unheard. I just would rather you not kick yourself later with some kind of doubt. You know what I mean?" he asks.
Taiki just stares blankly at Ryo for a long few moments. A very slow trail of singular tears makes its way down Taiki's face, but there's not much more to read there than that. "To be honest, I was expecting this," Taiki finally says as he does as Ryo requested. "I've thought and thought about this, and with him not getting any better, I've all but lost hope."
He then looks off down the hallway, his stare vacant as he speaks on. "I'll be honest, there's very little left for me to hope for nowadays Ryo. My life as it was lies in shambles, my father may or may not die in the next few hours, and I don't know what you've heard, but things with Naru have been a lot less than stellar. I've had to get used to being all but alone, with no one to lean on in the darkness other than myself. On top of that, I'm hunted by the very same **** that did this. To find out what that seal is… Well, let's just say I'm very tempted to walk Naru's path right now. Death is too good for these ****. I want them to suffer as they have made me suffer. But none of that brings my father back, or gives him his life. He'll hate not being able to be a ninja, and if cannot walk again, that will kill him, or at least a major part of him. How can I remand him to a life of misery like that?"
All Ryo does is listen as Taiki speaks. The boy nods his head understanding where Taiki is coming from. Finally he speaks once Taiki is finished. "To be a shinobi means we can die at any moment. We are but tools to carry out another's wishes. Your father believed in you enough to risk his life for you to make your own choices. You know your father better than I do. If it was me, I would rather die than be unable to defend my home and my family. Not to mention, I would want to remain with my wife so long as my children were safe. I could be wrong, but what do you think your father would tell you if he was in your shoes?"
Ryo then looked down a moment towards the ground. "As for the Recluse. I believe that ending them and their line may not be such a bad thing. If it means no one else will ever wear that seal, I will personally ensure that as many of them as I can have a painful death. We need to finish them before anyone else gets hurt."
Taiki continues to stare off into space as Ryo speaks, his face continuing to show the emptiness that has been his normal mode of operation for a while now. "He would not want to be a vegetable," he finally says, his voice once again hollow. "He would fight until the bitter end, but he would rather die quickly. If he's said it once he's said it a hundred times, "If I could choose the way I die, let it be by the sword. As long as I've done all I could for you and your mother, that's all I need." I just never thought I'd be the one to pull the plug, at least until recently." He then shakes his head and turns back toward the door slightly. "Thank you for your concern Ryo'san, you're a good friend."
Ryo once more listens and nods his head. "If that is what your father wished, then consider it mercy. There is no shame in it." He once more nods his head before following Taiki into the room. That is unless he objected. It seemed Taiki had his head on fairly straight.
Usagi comes into the room soon after, and for all intents and purposes, she does 'not' appear to have been waiting outside and listening, instead just having arrived here to see what was going on. She looks between the two, immediately picking up on the somber mood, and decides to simply remain quiet until addressed.
Taiki nods and turns around to hold the door open for Ryo. Once they're in he allows the door to shut on its own before he regards Uzumaki Tenken. "So I guess the choice you want me to make is whether or not to remove the life support, correct?" The doctors nod joined by a grim Tenken. "I knew this would be coming, with no improvement in his condition. Now what you've told me pretty much solidifies it for me. He's told me his wishes before, and I know he would not want to be defenseless. So…" Well, Taiki said there would be no more tears, but he didn't say this would be easy. "Go ahead," he says in a voice more hoarse than it had been before. "Remove the seals, let him decide on his own if he lives or dies." The die is cast.
"Are you sure?" one of the doctors ask, following proper protocol.
Taiki closes his eyes and nods, his voice quietly ringing in the room. "Hai."
Ryo follows behind Taiki quietly. He then remains standing against a wall. The shinobi life was not all training and play. There were many things in it that were not fair. Unfortunately they were things that could not be helped most of the time. He was sure that this was one of those that someone else would pay for though. He really felt a bit of sympathy for the first Recluse member Taiki ran into. Not that the member of the Recluse deserved it.
And Usagi picks up rather quickly on what the subject is right now. She takes a slow moment, and reaches out to place a hand on Taiki's shoulder and give it a soft squeeze. Once that's done, she continues to remain quiet, simply watching and waiting for the time being.
It doesn't seem as if Taiki notices the hand on his shoulder, at least not at that moment. Instead he watches the body of his father as it lies there, breathing in and out to the rythm of the seals placed upon him. Tenken nods slowly at Taiki's declaration, then moves over and performs three blindingly fast hand seals before placing his hand over Kenshin's heart. "Kai," he commands silently. The ink on the paper starts to pool, then swirl above the body. After another moment ink from other seals on the body start to coagulate within that ball, being drawn in rather quickly. Finally there's a sponge-like, solid black ball of gelatinous ink in the Uzumaki's hand.
Soon after the ink is collected, indicating the release of the seals, Kenshin's body bucks once, then twice, as it draws raspy breaths that just /sounds/ painful. It then starts to continuously buck as if the body were being electricuted as a very powerful wave of killing intent floods the space. Taiki remains still, his eyes pinned on the body. Finally after nearly jumping up into the air, the body stops altogether, and the killing intent vanishes. The body looks like nothing more than a body.
The spasms were not a good sign. Ryo was pretty sure of that. When the spasms stop it's pretty much all but confirmed. Taiki was now without parents. Another victim of the ninja life. Ryo closes his eyes for a moment and says a small prayer in his head. Now the legacy of the man laying in the bed was left to his son. How he lived on would be through what he had taught him and what he chose to teach others of that.
Usagi closes her eyes once the killing intent can be felt. She cringes slightly, turning her head away. As the killing intent vanishes, she opens her eyes slowly and says, very very quietly. "I'm sorry, Inuzuka-sensei….I'm so sorry"
When the body stops, and the killing intent fades, Taiki closes his eyes and hangs his head in silent prayer for his father's soul. Then he steps forward, ignoring the doctors and Tenken as they all step back to give Taiki room. Slowly he reaches down and kisses his father's forhead, then stands. "Gomenesai… Go rest with Okaa-san. I'll join you someday, when this is all over." He then pulls himself errect, slipps his hand into his father's, and gives it one final squeeze before turning around. His face is as haunted as before, and a pair of tears, one from each eye, slowly makes it down his face. "Arigatou-goziamasu," he says to the people in the room. "Thank you for being here." He takes a step forward, intending to slip outside to fill out paperwork for the funeral arrangements, when he almost falls from not being able to remove his hand from his father's. The doctor comes over and says, "That's odd, it shouldn't set in that quickly, and tries to pry the older man's fingers from Taiki's hands. But they won’t move.
Ryo watched as the hand refused to budge. It seemed to possibly be a trap of some sort. He was unsure. He activates his sharingan and looks over the hand for signs of chakra. He was pondering if it was the father's chakra or a different source. He then looks towards the doctors to see what they are going to do.
Usagi pauses as the doctor says that, then moves up slowly, to try and take a pulse reading from the man's wrist first, then the neck if not finding one there. Granted, that's if the doctors don't pick up on it first. If they do, she just watches…closely.
Surprisingly enough, there are traces of chakra in the body, and in that hand. It is of the level one would expect from Tenken's synopsys. But the most telling sign is that Usagi does find a pulse, very weak, but growing, not fading. As she does this the other doctor performs some hand seals and then puts his hand over Kenshin's heart. "Apparently he's decided to live," the doctor says as he looks up into Taiki's eyes. "Inuzuka-dono, I'm going to have to ask you and your team to leave, and yes, that includes you Usagi-kouhai. We need to work without interruptions." He then looks at Taiki and says, "Don't give up hope altogether, Taiki-sama. Kenshin-sama doesn't seem to be ready to go quite yet." This is punctuated by a gentle squeeze of Taiki's hand by Kenshin, almost light to feel, but he does. He looks down at his father and gives the first real smile he's shown since Naru had been declared dead. "Hai," he says to the doctors before saying, "Come back to me dad… I need your help." He then is able to pull his hand out from Kenshin's before he turns to the room. "Let's go." They have their marching orders after all.
It seemed things were not quite as sad as they seemed before. Ryo nodded his head as he saw the feint chakra. It was too soon to ask what Taiki knew of the Recluse, but the boy had a couple of ideas he would run by Taiki later. For now he exits the room with the others. Hopefully the doctors were wrong and Taiki's father would make a better recovery than they thought.
Usagi breathes a soft sigh of relief, nodding to the doctor after she lets go of the man's wrist. "Hai, Inuzuka-sensei" There's a small smile on her face….seems things are turning around for right now, at the very least…that was a good sign, and the smile Taiki gave only made her have more hope for the future.