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Old 05-20-2017, 09:22 PM   #11
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A multitude of thoughts when through Tenzan's head once he returned home.

After the ceremony, several of the older jounin sent him home instead of letting him sick around, and the thought of not returning home crossed his mind. Just seeing his front door was painful enough, but every scent and sound reminded him of Shin. Still, he managed to make it upstairs and into his room, collapsing on his bed within minutes.

The next morning, he found himself cursing the sunlight as it filtered through his window. He rolled out of bed and proceeded to clean himself up in a damn-near zombie-like fashion. With Shin gone, he didn't necessarily have to wake up early for training purposes, to cook, or any of the other things that had the chuunin rising with the sun most mornings.. but there he was. He almost didn't realize how routine it had become until he was in his grandfather's dojo. For a brief moment, he felt as if Shin was going to walk in any second.

"...I always thought you'd always be here, y'know?"

Tenzan sat down in the middle of the floor. No one was around, so he decided, then and there, to say what he wanted to say the night before. "I can't help but think about what's gonna happen now. To Mom... to me... and I know I'm being selfish. But maybe that's what you always wanted, yeah? You always said I should take better care of myself... Maybe this is what you meant."

"Remember when I first started teaching at the Academy? You were so pissed, and we got into that huge argument... You told me that I had no ambition. That I didn't want anything badly enough to fight for it... You said you were done babying me. I was so pissed off, I left for like three days. I couldn't go to Mom because I thought it would just prove you were right. But you were right. After the Chuunin exams that year, I just fought the battles I knew I could win... I'm sorry."

"I could do that again, y'know. Crawl into my own feelings and just... do nothing. Or I could start burning things down until I find the jackasses who took you from Mom and me. But I'm tired. I'm tired of living my life at just two speeds. I suppose you figured that would happen eventually. I can't really promise I'll avenge you. I mean, I will, but that's not what's important. I get that. All I want now is to be the person you always thought I could be."

Tenzan stood up. Suddenly, he felt a lot better. He really couldn't explain why, but then, he'd probably never have to do so. "I don't know how to grieve. Maybe that makes me weird; who knows? But to hell with saying 'goodbye'. Just stand back and watch."
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Old 06-04-2017, 12:27 PM   #12
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“You’re gonna get fat eating that way.”

Hitomi’s head shot up and in the blink of an eye, the dumpling she’d had in her hand was replaced with a dagger, aimed directly at the origin of the voice.

Nara Hiroshi approached with his hands in his pockets and a smirk on his face. He certainly wasn’t new to this whole Hitomi-threatening-his-life thing. “Figured I’d find you here. Mom wanted me to make sure that you were still alive since you’ve been so weird lately.”

“Well you’ve seen me now. Feel free to shut the fuck up and go away,” Hitomi answered, a bitter edge to her voice.

Hiroshi stopped in his tracks. He didn’t turn to leave, but he didn’t approach any closer, either. One pocketed hand emerged with a pack of cigarettes. The other produced a lighter. It was a bold move, since the kunoichi had, on numerous occasions, attacked him on sight for smoking, but he lit one up anyway. He studied her as the cigarette dangled lazily from his lips. “Hate to say I told you so, but this is what happens when you’re all gung-ho about shit.”

Hitomi rolled her eyes in his general direction, and while the one hand still held the dagger aimed for him, her other brought a small pastry topped with fruit to her lips. “What the hell are you talking about,” she inquired through a mouthful of starchy goodness.

“You’re a mess. You look terrible, you’re sitting outside your boyfriend’s house like a weirdo and stuffing your face. If you’d back off a little, you never would have been there when the old man died. You wouldn’t be here.”

Hitomi’s eyes flashed dangerously. “So I should be a lazy fuck like you? I should let the people around me go to war and die because it’s less hassle? Fuck that.”

“You trying to get yourself killed now?” Hiroshi’s gaze moved from the girl to the house behind her. His eyes widened slightly as though he’d made some sort of mental connection. “Wait… did you two break up or something? Are you waiting out here to kill him?”

Hitomi nearly dropped her dagger. Not the pastry, thankfully. “Fuckin’ what? No! I mean… we’re not… god dammit, get out of here before I kick your ass, Hiroshi.” She was already stuffing the rest of the pastry in her mouth and rising to stand. She rolled her shoulders and wondered if she’d really healed enough to get into another fight. Now was as good a time to test herself as any.

“Heh. That’s more like it,” he commented with satisfaction through a billowing cloud of smoky breath. His fingers were already moving, and he melted away into a dark puddle on the ground and slithered away.

“Dumbass,” Hitomi muttered as she watched him retreat. She wasn’t sure what he’d really been trying to do in coming here and harassing her, other than taking his life into his own hands, but he appeared to have accomplished his goals. Maybe he was right. She glanced over her shoulder at the Aramaki residence and wondered to herself if she should relax a little. Maybe she was too intense. Maybe Tenzan needed more space than she was trying to give him. Maybe, if she hadn’t muscled her way into things, she would have been replaced with a more capable shinobi and Shin wouldn’t have died.

Hitomi sighed. That situation couldn’t be helped now. She rubbed her hands over her face and tried to figure out what to do and what needed to change.
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Old 06-20-2017, 09:00 PM   #13
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Tenzan knew what he WANTED to do. He wanted to march into the Missions Office, shake every pencil-pusher violently until he got answers, and proceed to lay waste to his grandfather's killers. Thinking that was easy. Doing it... not so much. And Tenzan knew it. Slowly but surely, he was forcing himself to come to that sobering realization--the idea that he couldn't just brawl his way through every problem. No, this was going to take something different. He had to become someone else... something else.

He even looked different in the way he dressed. His clothes themselves weren't much different--a black shirt with the kanji for "tiger" printed on the right shoulder and a pair of loose-fitting blue pants. For once, however, none of his clothes had rips in them or torn edges. He'd actually taken the time to fix the problem before he even considered leaving. Either way, he had already decided he wasn't going straight to the Missions Office. He wanted to wait for Hitomi. Never mind that he'd promised to do so; it simply didn't feel right. This wasn't just his vengeance. It was hers too.

Tenzan never quite made it out the front door though. Instead, he found himself accidentally listening in on the latter half of Hitomi's conversation. At first, he was more surprised that she hadn't barged in already. He thought it best not to interrupt... at least at first.

Quote:
“You’re a mess. You look terrible, you’re sitting outside your boyfriend’s house like a weirdo and stuffing your face. If you’d back off a little, you never would have been there when the old man died. You wouldn’t be here.”
Instantly, Tenzan was pissed. The 'boyfriend' part went in one ear and out the other, but the idea of blaming Hitomi for his grandfather's death immediately set him off. He didn't hear much after that, more concerned with concentrating on not marching out the door and telling Hitomi's visitor to go fuck himself.

Luckily, Hitomi did that before he could.

After a minute or two, he stepped outside, intent on pretending he hadn't heard a thing. He even tried to look surprised that Hitomi was out there.

"Oh, hey. I was just about to come get you." He paused, a single eyebrow raised in her direction. "...you okay?"
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Old 06-21-2017, 06:02 PM   #14
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Hitomi stood in stunned silence for a long while, staring off in the direction her brother had gone, wondering what she should be doing right now. It might have looked a little strange that she was lurking outside of Tenzan’s home, but she’d never been one to care what anyone else thought. Suddenly, however, she was quite self-conscious. Was she was going about this the right way? It was possible that she’d be better off waiting for him to seek her out. She didn’t always have to be so aggressive.

The teen swallowed hard when she thought of Tenzan wandering off without her, though. She wanted to be ready when he was ready. Hitomi realized then that it wasn’t so much for Tenzan’s benefit as it was her own. She wanted the people responsible for Aramaki Shin’s death to pay just like he did. Well, almost as much, in any case. It would have been foolish to go it alone, but she wanted to get back out there and prove that she was capable as soon as she could. She’d never felt the need to justify it to herself before.

Hitomi sighed. She trusted him. Tenzan had given his word that he wouldn’t go without her, and she needed to give him the chance to prove it.

Just as the young Nara turned to leave, she heard his voice. She looked a bit shocked for a moment as she wondered how long he’d been there. Surely he hadn’t heard the exchange between siblings.

“Ahh. Yeah. I came to check on you. Err…”

…but I didn’t want to be a creepy asshole.


Hitomi held up a small paper package. “Pastry?”

She dared to step a little closer. Upon closer inspection, Tenzan looked… different. Hitomi wasn’t sure what it was, exactly, but somehow it made her smile. That hadn’t happened in quite some time. Maybe she was just relieved to see that he looked reasonably well and hadn’t punched his house to the moon in a fit of despair or rage. Whatever it was, it was good to see him.

“Whatchya got on the agenda for the day?”
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Old 06-22-2017, 12:08 AM   #15
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"Check on me? Heh... thanks. I'm fine though."

It was the first time in quite a while that Tenzan could say 'I'm fine' and actually mean it. He certainly wasn't 100% okay, but he'd figured out a way to come to terms with a great deal in the 72 hours prior. He didn't feel desperate. Powerless. Alone.

"And thanks for the offer but... I really can't eat that. Gives me a sugar rush just looking at the bag." Tenzan smirked. "In the mean time... we're going to the Missions Office. I want some answers."

As he started in that direction, Tenzan stuffed his hands into his pockets. "I had a lot of time to think about this. And I know for a fact that those pencil-necked screw ups don't tell us everything about a mission. Most of the time, that's fine. Shit happens. I get it. But none of this smells right. You remember what happened to us in Snow Country, right?" For some odd reason, the first thing he thought of was... ... ..and just like that, he pushed it deep into the recesses of his memory. "SOMEBODY knew that was gonna happen. Intelligence in this village isn't THAT crappy. There's no fucking way."

Tenzan cleared his throat. He could feel himself growing more and more tense with every word. That wasn't the goal... not today. "Now, I'm not gonna just start beating info out of people. But I plan on making it VERY clear that I'm not in the mood for this red tape crap. I don't think that's unreasonable... is it?"

The Missions Office was well within sight when he finished; from a distance, it seemed to be just as busy as one might expect mid-morning--all the more reason for Tenzan not to make a scene.
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