Date: May 22, 2012
During the Hitoshi Retrieval mission, Taiki receives a surprise, and requires comfort from Naru (incorporates material from Inuzuka Pride, set in Shattered Memories)
"What If? First Kiss - Comfort in the Dark"
It's quite dark outside when the teams are called to a halt for a rest period. Though the teams are proceeding at a fairly good rate, Kiri is just too far away from Konoha to make it in a couple of dsys. So each leader is having their teams set up camp, and as usual the tasks are divided up between them all, so it is not long before the camp chores are done, even gathering for food. The camp is a cold camp in order to avoid the fires being seen, something that is probably a good idea considering they are in the middle of a rapidly thinning out forest.
Taiki does his nightly ritual, using the light offered by the moon to check over his supplies, both sealed and otherwise. He's as quiet during this ritual as he has been the entire trip. He hasn't talked much to anyone, save his team and Naru, so his silence as he inspects everything is not unusual. Once he's done with the non-sealed items, he starts unload his scrolls. This should be quick, as there's only three of them…
Naru also was going through her ritual, though most of it went along with scouting out the area, looking out for anything unusual, the task was slightly demanding on the eyes but Naru was aiming at training herself also, not just her jutsu but also perfecting her bloodline as much as possible until something was to happen. With the camp fully set up she settled herself into one of the trees, despite the dark moonlight her eyes were bright and vibrant, mildly glowing as she looked about the area, traced their step and the steps they were to be taken when they woke up in the morning. Every now and then her eyes would turn on Taiki though… It was only natural that she was curious as to what he may have been thinking… Especially with Hitoshi missing…Asturo she had spoke to but Taiki… Not so much…
Taiki pulls out three sacks, each tied at the top in a matter to ensure nothing can get in. The sacks are obviously waterproof, meant to protect sealing scrolls from being soaked by water. Once all three sacks are out, he starts to open the sacks, slowly taking out each scroll. This is a slight deviation from normal, as the last time he had done this he only checked that the sacks had not been opened. But now he is frowning, his eyes narrowing. The first two sacks reveal one medium sized scroll each, each closed with a re-sealable chakra seal. He checks the seals closely, then nods as though finding nothing wrong. But his frown deepens even more as Shinobu comes over, somehow sensing something up with his partner.
It is the third bag that seems to be off… The seal closing the bag is broken in a subtle way, making it so a casual glance could not see the defect. But this scroll is bulkier than the other two, something that had obviously gained Taiki's attention. He doesn't open it yet, opting instead to activate his senses as he brings it up to sniff at it. Shinobu whimpers quiety but worriedly as he watches his partner, his muscles tense and ready to knock the scroll away should he be required to.
Naru could tell that at least something was up. As she watched him she would notice the slight tensness of Taiki's muscles, especially with Shinobu while looking over some kind of something… It was at that moment Naru had pushed forward, leaping away from the tree and near the ground next to Taiki, perhaps catching him off guard for the moment her eyes carefully look over him, a sinister and evil look yet there was obvious kindness behind them. " You seem to be a little… out of it or something…. Is something wrong? Ta-kun?" Naru asks curiously, tilting her head to the side while resting her hands along her knees.
It's a testament to how tense Taiki is that he actually has one of the chakram laid out on the ground in his hand in a split second as Naru lands. But his nose quickly tells him who it is, causing him to sigh as he puts the chakram down and gingerly picks up the bag he was inspecting. "Sorry Naru," he says quietly and seriously as he sniffs the bag again, frowning deeper. "I was focusing on this," he says as he gingerly waves the sack in front of him. "It's been tampered with," he says slowly as he starts to move away from the camp proper. "Do you know anything about fuinjutsu?"
"Nothing…Other than the fact that I can see traces of chakra…But i think all seals of some sort have that on them… One way or another…" Naru concluded with a sigh, brushing the side of her cheek and rubbing the side of her head. " The only fuuinjutsu i know is being able to make explosive tags…Which is honestly probably one of the most basic things you can learn.." Naru went on to say, scratching her cheek a tad bit more once again. " What do you mean….tampered with…?"
Taiki nods as he holds up one of the other sacks. "Each one of these is sealed with a re-sealable chakra seal, courtesy of my… of the person teaching me seals," he says as he tries to think how to put this into words. "According to that sensei… the only people who should be able to open these are me, my parents, or Atsuro'sensei. I'm the primary keyholder," he says as he looks closely at the seal. "Take a look at one of those, but do not try to open them." He then holds out the bag he's holding to Shinobu and says, "There aren't any explosive arrays on this that I can see boy. Give it a sniff?"
Naru stared into the scroll she was offered to look at, peering into it, everything seemed to be normal, but naturally she had no idea what she was looking at, even if there was an explosive seal hidden within it she probably wouldn't be able to read it, there was more than one way to write something that explodes… " Umm… Ta-kun…I honestly have no idea what im suppose to be doing.." She states, peering forth a little deeper. " I really don't see anything different..at least with my normal explosive tags…"
Taiki shakes his head as he holds out the sack he was showing to Shinobu. "That was a normal one, now note the differences between this one and the one I just showed you." Indeed there's a large difference. While there's isn't any explosive array there, it is fairly obvious, at least up close, that it has been tampered with. There's no chakra in the seal, and it has been cut. Also the bag is bulkier than the other two. "I didn't see an explosive array, did you? If you don't, I'm going to open it. But take a step back, just in case, okay?"
"I'm going to pull you away if I see something come out of that thing… Even a speck of chakra…" Naru replies back, her eyes remain steady… If this thign was a ticking time bomb waiting to go off things weren't going to be pretty…Naru knew very well what she had to do if things were to go sour, instead of being distant she placed a hand on Taiki, keeping her arms close along his shoulder blade and even slightly along his waist while peering over his shoulder. " Here we go…"
Taiki can't help but to blush slightly as Naru effectively hugs him from behind, but at this moment he doesn't let it stop him. Holding out the sack at arm's length, he slowly opens it, causing wooden seal to fall into two pieces on the ground. Once the bag is opened, he waits for about a minute before gripping the seam of the bottom of the bag between two fingers and turning it over, tensing to jump back at the slightest hint of a problem. Two scrolls, not one, fall out of the bag, hitting the ground. One is his, the other is smaller and unsealed. It looks like a message scroll, with "Inuzuka Taiki" written in bronze kanji down the seam. Shinobu growls at the unfamiliar scroll while Taiki takes a step back,
Naru had no idea what was going on, nothing out of the ordinary was coming out at her, of course, there was probably nothing nothing out of the ordinary happening if it was just a pair of scrolls coming out of a larger one. " I…. Don't see anything weird…" Naru whispers softly, her fingers loosened their grip along Taiki's body and gradually pulled back, copying his movements by distancing herself away from the scroll, incase there was something her eyes couldnt see just yet… "Hmm.." Naru whispers quietly under her breath, she still seemed to be rather confused as to what was going on.
Taiki is not letting down his guard at all. Both he and Shinobu sniff at the message scroll; though he doesn't smell anything Shinobu does, causing the dog to growl at it. "You smell something 'bu?" he asks, kneeling down to poke at it with the chakram he still has in his hand. "Naru, that's not from anyone I know; my parents use a completely different type of scroll." He pokes at the scroll again, but then nods. "You're right about there not being anything else weird. What do you smell Shinobu?" Taiki's partner growls for a moment, then 'wuffs' once, causing the Genin to sigh. "I'd take it to Atsuro'sensei now, but… I don't want to raise a false alarm…"
"What… is it?" Naru finally asked, hoping to get a t least some kind of information from taiki, after all she didnt understand a lick of what Shinobu was barking, causing a sweat drop to trickle down Naru's cheek… " Taiki-san… is everything okay?" She seemed to be just a little skiddish, after all taiki seemed to be a little vigilante and she wasn't able to see anything that might be considered odd or unusual…
"Na'chan… there was only one scroll in that sack yesterday," Taiki says as he gingerly picks up the message scroll. "And this handwriting and ink does not belong to anyone I know…" He holds the scroll gingerly as he looks it over for traps. "I can't get any scents at all off of it, but Shinobu can, and he says he doesn't recognize the scent. The question is, how did it get into that bag, considering my seal scroll pack is at the small of my back. And who is it from?" Given everything going on in Taiki's life at the moment, those are weighty questions indeed.
After finally assuring himself the scroll is not booby trapped, he slowly starts to open it. There is a scan't two lines of text that appears on the scroll, one of them being his name. The second, however, causes Taiki to tense up and start to shake before he drops the scroll again. A lone tear starts tracking down his face as he tries to hold in what he is feeling. The scroll falls down to the ground, revealing the second line.
"Are you sure everyone is safe?"
It is written in a red substance, but doesn't look like ink.
Curiosity seemed to slowly dissipitated, especially after the words written on the scroll was finally visible to her… She really didnt know what to think about ito at first, but someone had definitely tampered and snuck stuff into his bag while he wasn't looking… " Its those people again… Isn't it?" She asks curiously, her eyes flash briefly, even looking around to see if anyone was watching, though she placed another hand on Taiki's shoulder, mostly as an attempt to assure him that nothing was going to happen. " Someone is toying with you…"
Taiki takes a few deep breaths as he tries to calm down. His eyes seem to be slightly unfocussed as he stares off into space, at least until Naru puts her hand on his shoulder. At this point all he wants is to curl up into a ball and wish the world away… or at least get a hug. But Naru's hand on his shoulder is the next best thing as he sighs deeply. "Yes," he says quietly. "It's not dealing with Kiri, for the lack of scent and the lack of anything identifying information is their signature…"
Shinobu uses his nose to roll up the scroll, then sits down by it and whines. Taiki shudders slightly and says, "These past weeks… have been filled with my greatest fear. There are so few people I trust… so few people I care deeply for. It would kill me to lose any of them. My parents… my team…" He pauses for a moment, blushing deeply as he takes a deep breath and adds in barely above a whisper, "You…" One would have to strain to hear it, and even then its soft enough to make anyone hearing it wonder if he even said it. "When we thought Hitoshi was killed in action… it was like my nightmares started to become real. And… I've had this feeling…" His voice falls off as he clenches both of his eyes and a fist shut. This is costing him. Showing this weakness is costing him, and if it weren't Naru here, he likely wouldn't be saying anything.
"Feeling of what…?" Naru questioned him, attempting to get him to finish his words, she blinks slightly, trying to understand the situation… She couldn't relate, she never had anyone obessess over her, especially in terms of trying to kill her or cause her harm. " You worry too much…Ta-kun…" Naru finally goes on to say, her hand clenches tightly at his shoulder blade but soon enough she drops to the floor and sits down infront of him. " You have to remember that you are not alone in this… I know i've told you this before but I really mean it…We are shinobi also.. We have to be ready for anything, even in the most unfortunate circumstances…" Naru went on, her eyes gleam up at him,her eyes were still burning with chakra but they would appear to be kind… " I still don't know who it is thats causing all these things to you…Or even fully grasp the situation… Still im very hopeful we will get to the bottom of this… Her faced remained with a slight smile despite the situation, while relaxing her shoulder blades just a tad to keep herself from being tense.
Taiki sighs and sits down. For a moment there's a greatful look on his face, but soon that goes away as he picks up the scroll. "I'm going to have to inform Atsuro'sensei of this," he says quietly. "Naru, I've told you what my position in my clan is, and you've seen first hand the mildest of the treatments I get. But do you remember the attack on Shinobu, and how they demanded I be handed over to them?" He waits for a second for her to remember that before he continues. "These people… whoever they are… are very scary. Okaa'san, Autsuro'sensei and I did an autopsy on the corpse from that attack, and it was booby trapped with a seal that spit acid. I got two drops on my arm, and it took months for me to heal from it."
He looks around to make sure there's no one else around before he continues. "My parents and I, and to a lesser extent Atsuro'sensei have been investigating this. There's a connection between this unknown group and the Elders that are doing their best to destroy me. Why we still do not know. But so far I've had death threats from /outside/ the village at least once a week, if not more. And every time I leave the village, something happens. We don't know much, but what we do know is that they're the least hesitant to kill anyone in their way. And ever since my last investigative mission, I've been having a sinking feeling they're going to strike, where I least expect it, and as hard as they can. I don't know who they'll go after, but they're trying to destroy me because they see me as a threat, and taking away my support would, in their minds, suit just fine."
"It can't be prevented…" Naru replies back to him, almost as if she was talking back to him while she moved forward, she found herself almost going in a crawl towards him, leaning over to swipe a hand at the wetness of his cheeks, if he didn't bother to wipe the tears away. " These people are definitely scary…And they will go through any means to tear you down, and rip you up… But You can't let it get to you… If that happens they win… So you have to keep going and try not to worry so much, despite how strong the may be…Trust yourself and trust in your friends," Naru finalized, she smiled and inched slightly closer to him, her cheeks burning with embarassment but for some reason she just couldn't turn away.
"They are already going to pay for what they done…But if anything else happens… We will definitely make sure we have their head when the time comes… "
The tears coming down Taiki's cheeks were being pretty much ignored by him throughout this conversation. He didn't like to cry, and he had sworn to himself he'd keep moving forward no matter what. "I'll do my best to defend those I care about," he says with conviction as Naru wipes the tears away. Instead of jerking away he subconsciously leans into it. "I know most of… I know people can take care of themselves, but…" He sighs as he stares into his interest's pumpkin-hued eyes. "I swear, if anyone I care for and trust comes to harm… I will destroy every last one of them, no matter what it takes." For a brief moment there's determination born of half-insanity half-anger reflecting in his eyes, but it is gone, replaced with plain sheer determination after a minute. He begins to lean closer as well as his face turns slightly more pink. "Kami help them if anyone of…" He stops as the words seem to catch in his throat as he realizes his face is closer to Naru's than it ever had been before.
Naru was a good listener, especially when it came to Taiki, she nodded her head and simply watched him for the moment as he spoke, she could note the determination building up within him, it brought a smile to her lips and even a hot rush if redness to her cheeks… It wasn't just their closeness but his determination was smoething else she really liked. " Good…" Naru simply replies back, she nods her head and keeps her eyes on his…Perhaps it was just a little bit awkward but she leaned in, almost instinctfully wrapping her arms behind his neck, locking it and pulling herself almost on top of him, she kept him close, her face looked away from his and their leaning would lead to their cheeks touching against one anothers, and the raven haired Uchiha whispering in his ear. "I'm still going to be on watch for the rest of the night… I will make sure nothing happens to you…So if its just this one night…Rest easy for me okay?" She asks quietly, she keeps her arms around him, almost pulling him into a slight hug until she finally went for it, slightly craddling his head she leaned in with pursed soft lips, pressing them gently along the softness of his left cheek.., It was a very swet kiss, and she holds it for more than enough seconds until finally her cheeks burn a brighter red, eventually she would slip off of him.. If there ws nothing else to be said…
Taiki hesitates for just a moment as he's not used to getting hugged by anyone but his parents. But it's just a moment before his arms wrap around Naru's body, about half way up as he tries to stabilize them as he listens to her speak. Finally her support seems to get through to him, and he starts to say something but he stops as he feels her lips on his cheek. Instinctively he turns tomato red, and before he can even register what he's doing he kisses the nearby cheek in return. This is a surprisingly bold gesture for him, given he can't even admit what he feels for her half the time, and thus his kiss is more than half-automatic. "Th… tha…. thank y… you, N… Na'chan," he stutters after she's done kissing him and pulls back. "I'll try," he adds as he responds to her request. "I trust you." He then does something he's never done before, in or out of Naru's presence… he feints dead away.
The return kiss was something Naru didn't expect, it caused her cheeks to blush even more while turning her gaze shyly to the side, she quickly let go of him though only for Taiki to literally plumment to the ground a sudden feint. "Ta….ta-kun?" Naru whsipers quietly under her breath…though she had no idea what was going on…Was he hit…. was there something on her lips… her eyes flared to life with the sharingan, noticing that there wasn't much going on with him… or at least his vitals seemed positive… "Um…Shin-chan…can you take care of him boy…?" She peers around, hopefully Shino would know best how to handle the situation… in the mean time the embarassed Uchiha slips back blinking her eyes and began to make her departure, she covered her face almost and began to bolt back into the trees almost as if she had forgotten something…At least taiki didn't make things too akward…considering he passed out right infront of her…