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Naomichi Yuhara

The demon is real and it isn't. I'll bring it out if you want, but you won't like it.

0 · 793 views · located in Naruto Universe

a character in “Naruto: End of Attrition”, as played by Koromaru

Description





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The Prince of Blood Drops
My parents were demons themselves, so you can tell why they'd name me something like that. It ain't what you think though - I'm not like them!






Theme

Shoubu Zennya|| Senbonzakura
Shoji Meguro|| I'll Face Myself
Shoji Meguro || Akihiko's Theme
Thirty Seconds to Mars|| Hurricane






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I guess you're just as curious as everyone else. You wanna go peeping on the madman right?






Nickname
[ Nao | Yu | Akuma]

Age
[ 24 ]

Gender
[ Male ]

Village
[ Konohagakure ]

Clan
[ Yuhara ]

Kekkei Genkai
[ Kontorōru Chi: Being a newer bloodline that came emerged into the ninja world, the Yuhara clan is still learning the secrets of their discovered bloodline. The Yuhara clan's kekkei-genkai allows the user to take control of their own blood and use it as weapons. The blood can be used to take many different forms such as blades, projectiles, and shields. The blood itself must come out of an open wound on the body to be used, where it hardens with the strength of steel. The offensive capabilities of the kekkei-genkai have served the clan well over the years, permitting them to slice through things like steel with relative ease. The defensive capabilities allow the user to make small domes around their person and can deflect any normal weaponry that comes towards them but is completely useless against ninjutsu. If the blades or shields break or projectiles are fired, the user is unable to reclaim their lost blood and must summon more. The catch to this kekkei-genkai is that the blood must come from the person themselves, so if they waste too much of their own blood, they will both be unable to use it anymore and would be likely to pass out/die from lack of blood.]

Chakra Nature
[ Water | Fire]

Ninja Rank
[ Jounin | ANBU ]

Role:
[ Assassin]

Face Claim:
[ Crow | Deadman Wonderland ]






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Don't let this gruff exterior fool you! I'm as gentle as a bull... Damn it can I restart that?






Hair Color
[ Black ]

Eye Color
[ Brown ]

Skin Tone
[ Moderately Tanned]

Height
[ 6' 2'' ]

Weight
[ 180 ]

Physical Description
[ Naomichi's body is nothing but muscularly toned from head to toe. Every portion of his body is sculpted and is an accurate showcase of the amount of weight he can bear to both carry and fight against. And since he never actually weight lifts, he gains all of his muscles from the missions he goes on that try his body in several ways. Additionally, despite cutting himself frequently during battle to use his kekki-genkai his skin remains relatively smooth with average amounts of hair on his forearms and legs leaving his chest and stomach smooth. His hair kinda just ends up the way it does with a spiked bed head appearance, and Naomichi never puts in the effort to make it look more presentable to his peers. He has a small tatoo on his forehead above his right 'eye' that reads out 'Akuma' and was put on him not by choice. His right eye was also destroyed in a battle, rendering useless and thus giving him the excuse to don an awesome eye patch.

In terms of what he wears, despite being a part of the ANBU Black Ops, Naomichi typically appears in much more relaxed clothing than the normal suits that they are supposed to wear. Unless told to wear the uniform, Naomichi wears black cotton pants that fit tightly around his legs, a black belt, a black trench coat that is always open to allow air to hit his body freely, and his black eye patch. When engaged in battle head on, he would remove his coat as to not have any sort of interference when he fights. During assassinations, he would button it up to give him a more concealed look in his all black attire. He has a wolf mask hooked onto his belt as a symbol to show he is involved with ANBU in some way.

In terms of his voice, he has an average baritone voice making him come off as seemingly normal to someone that doesn't know him personally or his family's history, which works to his advantage. Typically going from stealthy kills to all out battle, he is initially able to blend into the crowd very well and complete his objective, but because of his bulk, it is easier for him to fight than it is to run.]






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I can't help it if I'm good at my job. It's not like I planned on this - it just happened!






Potential Interest
Well rub it in why don't ya?: Because of the Yuhara clan's violent and uncaring history in the past with their only dedication to the highest bidder, Naomichi struggles with making any sort of friend in general - making him perfect for ANBU. Many people see him as a monster if they know he was from the Yuhara clan, giving him the perfect reason to join a group that is dedicated to their work and nothing else. So no, he has no one to love.

Skills

    Dedication || Similar to how his clan is known for its dedication to the highest bidder, Naomichi's dedication lies to those that give him happiness in life. Those who accept him as a person and see him not as a demon but as a human of any other kind earn a place as someone who he's willing to risk his life for. Additionally, when learning something new, he won't stop until he masters it.
    Combat || Despite never initially wanting to fight, when Naomichi gets into the heat of the battle he goes all out. Maybe its natural for his family's blood, but he becomes so overwhelmed at the moment that he freely engages anyone who opposes him. With his parent's strict teachings as a child and the ANBU's even harsher methods to join and work in the elite group, he has become proficient in every technique he has learned.
    Stealth || Due to being part of ANBU, Naomichi is able to become completely hidden in both crowds and solidarity, concealing his chakra levels and anything personal when on a job or in public at all.

Ninjutsu
✠ Fire Release: Fire Dragon Bullet || Katon: Karyūdan
✠ Fire Release: Running Fire || Katon: Hibashiri
✠ Fire Release: Great Fireball Technique || Katon: Gōkakyū no Jutsu
✠ Water Clone Technique ||Mizu Bunshin no Jutsu
✠ Water Release: Tearing Torrent || Suiton: Hahonryū
✠ Water Prison Technique || Suirō no Jutsu
✠ Thick Steam Flow Technique || Nōen Jōkiryū no Jutsu
✠ Return of the Devil || Akuma no Kikan(Imagine instead of a sword he just used his blood blades)

Taijutsu
✠ Guillotine Drop || Girochin Doroppu (Imagine fire though)
✠ 100 Metre Punch|| 100 Panchi
✠ Arhat Fist || Katon: Rakanken

Kekkei-Genkai
✠ Bloody Sickle || The user makes two gashes in their arms arm draws out two long blades that resemble scythes.
✠ Bloody Bullet || The user uses any cuts in their body to shoot out small blood pellets at high speeds that are able to puncture steel.
✠ Bloody Wall || The user takes whatever open wound they have - typically around their arm - and makes a small shield that can be used to deflect any physical attacks
✠ Bloody Needle || The user takes whatever wounds they have and produce spikes around one metre long that protrude from them.
✠ Bloody Acid || The user takes their blood and flings it out onto the battlefield, dissolving anything it touches.
✠ Bloody Hell || The user takes a large majority of their blood to create a cage to place their opponent in. From there the user can make the bloody cage do whatever is within their imaginations be it long torture or quick death inside the box. The user must be making contact with the box at all times though.





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I want to know more about people... I just don't know what I want to know about. You ever deal with stupid moments like that in your head?






Other:
    ✠ While Naomichi may not have been related to anyone known on an international scale who played a significant role in the Fourth Great Ninja War, his family became well known on the black market during times of peace. This allowed the clan to make a lot of money by completing assassination contracts, giving them a violent history that runs through their blood and comes off as natural to them now.
    ✠ Due to many residents of the village being terrified of Naomichi because of his family, he can often be found drinking alone if he isn't out on a mission. Despite ANBU strict training to remain professional at all times, he is given more leniency and is seen more as a hired assassin himself than a fully incorperated member.

Habits

    Drinking || Whenever Naomichi isn't on a mission, he can often be found at bars drinking away the pain of being alone. Some may refer to him as an alcoholic, but he prefers the phrase 'always shitfaced.'
    Training || Because of his strict teaching methods throughout his life, Naomichi finds it hard not to perfect every technique he has under his belt. He believes that if he is at his best, he won't disappoint people and they may even begin to warm up to him if he completes his missions.
    Swimming || When traveling on the road, Naomichi will often go out of his way to find a body of water to swim in. The water itself helps him calm his chi and serves as an assistance to meditation by allowing him to move freely and fluidly with little to no resistance.






Likes
    People? || Despite never being accepted or having any friends of his own, Naomichi still thinks he likes people and wants to get to know them out of hopes that he could just be included in events outside of missions.
    Bloodshed || On one side of the coin, when Naomichi is engaged in battle his only goal is to win by living - meaning that everyone else dies. In this state he takes a sort of satisfaction from decapitating his foes to showcase his superior strength.
    Decorating || Looking at a guy like Naomichi with both his appearance and family history, it really is unexpected that the guy is an avid decorator and likes to make areas pop with liveliness from the design of it. He even gets a little snooty if he sees a place that looks somewhat bland or doesn't meet his high standards.

Dislikes
    Bloodshed || On the other side of the coin, when Naomichi isn't engaged in battle he often feels uncomfortable with the thought of killing another human being just because he was asked to. He still accepts the jobs with a uncomfortable disposition on them since he wants to meet standards, but he never is excited about doing them.
    Being Alone || Being a part of ANBU, it typically is expected that your life is basically over and you dedicate everything to them - including losing your social life. Naomichi wants to have the company of others though just to make him feel like a normal human being rather than some killing machine, so being alone brings on a depression for him.
    Sleeping || Something really odd for anyone really, Naomichi doesn't like to go to sleep and functions fine without it for a few days. He doesn't like the thought of wasting time with rest when he could be doing something more productive, so he chooses to skip out on it until his body literally forces him to do so.






Strengths
    Moving Things || If someone was moving, Naomichi would be the kind of person they would call to help them. He's the kind of guy who would lift couches and refrigerators with one arm over his shoulder with ease; so it is to be expected that his strength translates over to missions where he is able to redirect many physical based attacks if given the chance.
    Kekkei-Genkai || With only three generations actually having this ability available to them, Naomichi is currently the best at it. He finds ways to tinker with it to develop new skills and traits to it that others couldn't. He has masterful control over it all too, giving him a fluidness that rivals the Kaguya Clan's Shikotsumyaku.
    Tolerance || This term can apply to two different things. First off, Naomichi can drink just about anyone under the table and still be perfectly fine - maybe because he is able to manipulate is BAC in someway thanks to his Kekkei Genkai. He also has a high tolerance for any kind of person too, not feeling any sort of hate or dislike towards those who have ridiculed him in the past.

Weaknesses
    Interactions || Just because Naomichi wants to get to know people doesn't mean he's good at it. More often than not he has no idea what to say and acts very awkward.
    Genjutsu || Simply put, Naomichi is absolute garbage when it comes to both using and fighting it. He never was able to understand the technique and prefers a much more head on approach to fighting. When it comes to fighting it, he never has the mental focus to break away from it and often needs help to escape its grasp.
    Dedication || This could be seen as a weakness or strength depending on what side you are on. If one side treats him like an actual person compared to the other side, is allegiance will side with them just because they make him happy on some level. Basically he is wish-washy and goes towards the 'highest bidder' like he family would do.






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I don't think you understand who I am. I mean who I REALLY am - not who you think I am.






Personality
Awkward | Powerful | Gullible | Lonely

Naomichi Yuhara is the kind of guy who is often attributed to in movies as 'the loser,' never getting what he really wants and being constantly used and abused. Because of his gullible nature through reduced interactions with anyone really, when someone makes a promise to him or says something he becomes fully invested in them and believes whatever they say until proven wrong otherwise. Because of this nature though, he is often abused beyond belief and is lied to just to allow the person to gain some leverage in the world by using his power.

He tries to give off a friendly demeanor to anyone who he tries to interact with, but more often than not he is just awkward and ends up scaring the person away with his threatening stature. He doesn't know how to have any deep and meaningful conversations and can't give advice worth a damn, but he tries to anyway if ever given the chance. He usually just tries to make small talk - since that is about as far as he can get with a person - and it is probably the worst attempts at interactions anyone could ever see. He never knows when to say things and can often say the wrong thing to scare a person away or have them get angry at him.

When he's alone, Naomichi tends to get depressed and start analyzing his life, looking for places he could have possibly gone wrong. This leads to him basically taking a mental dive for the worst and he begins to beat himself up for his failures at making friends and acquaintances. He eventually crawls his way into a bottle where he drowns away his sorrows until he is called again by another person, brightening up his mood and giving him a seemingly good purpose to keep living in the world.

With all of his failures and negatives about him, Naomichi's best strength is his ability to fight and fight well. While he doesn't like thinking about it, he often becomes so absorbed in the moment that his mind only shifts towards killing to exemplify his skills to the world. He is nothing short of brutal when it comes to fighting and never holds anything back for anyone. He develops a bloodlust that isn't quenched until the entire enemy front is wiped out. When it is over though, he isn't happy with himself because all he can see is a demon who is out to reap souls.






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So what if I grew up in a family of Hell-spawn? Why brand me as one without even knowing me?






History
Naomichi was born as the third child of his parents, who later had two more after him. Being the middle child, he was often forgotten about when being around the prodigy older siblings or the younger children that constantly needed attention. He was never given the praise he wanted or the love and attention he needed to grow up into a stable adult, often leaving him broken and upset whenever his family never paid any mind to him. The only time his parents would ever look at him would be when they were scolding or beating him for improper technique or missing perfection at all. This caused him to develop the mindset of perfection gives you what you desire in life since that's what his parents wanted.

The Yuhara clan's history was relatively uneventful until 100 years ago when their kekkei-genkai developed and blossomed. When it flourished in Naomichi's grandfather, the man became obsessed with the idea of blood itself and sought out any sort of battles he could be involved in. Because of his violent nature in battles, he was often avoided since he never distinguished friend and foe. Without many missions for him to take, he started to look towards the black market for work, taking assassination jobs from people of all nations, making himself known and feared with his violent tactics. Eventually he had a daughter who was even more brutal than he was, giving her the nickname 'The Ripper' for how she shredded her enemies before they even noticed her. All his family was good for was killing, and they enjoyed doing it.

With his four other siblings, they often struggled over who was the strongest in the family, each going out to take on more brutal jobs than the other. Naomichi found himself being at the back of the pack most of the time, so he would exclude himself from their challenges and arguments out of being inferior. When he reached the age of ten his parents made him start to take contracts, and he did so to appease them. When he would return - often failing them, he was only abused by his parents and ridiculed by his siblings for being such a failure. Up until age thirteen he was a failure, where he ran away from home into the mountains around the area to only train. For two years straight all he did was train with no interaction with people, and when he returned, he came back as a powerful shinobi.

He took only the hardest assassination contracts that typically would be S-Ranked to prove to his family that he wasn't as weak as he used to be. He was hired to do jobs like assassinate political figures to wipe out entire villages that were showing signs of rebellion, deeming him the nickname 'Asura.' Unfortunately for him, because of his actions and his family's, everyone avoid him like he was a monster - which he was at the time. Unbeknownst to him though, his family was silently taken out by ANBU when he was out on a mission, and he returned shocked. Now alone, he had no one and nothing to live for.

One day though, he decided to stop mindlessly killing and put his skills to a proper use, so he applied for ANBU as an assassin. While the training and initiaion were tough for him, he was able to get in at the age of 17 and now does jobs solely for Konohagakure. During the fifth great war he was tasked with taking out Kumo generals which he did without question. He never had any reason to hate the Kumo shinobi though in all honesty. He hated whoever killed Naruto, but to hate an entire nation for one person's decision was just weird to him. With diplomatic negotiations happening so closely, he was assigned as nothing more than a bodyguard who kills on command without a second thought.

So begins...

Naomichi Yuhara's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kiyoko Uzumaki Character Portrait: Takehiko Yamamoto Character Portrait: Katsuro Uchiha Character Portrait: Zetsubō Kosan Character Portrait: Ryuu Tsukino Character Portrait: Naomichi Yuhara Character Portrait: Akira Aburame Character Portrait: Rei Hinode Character Portrait: Nariko Kaneshiro Character Portrait: Kiriko Gekkō
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Mizuki Kawagure, Eighth Hokage, surveyed the young shinobi before her with a critical eye. They were Konohagakure’s best and brightest, in one way or another, though to call any of them ideal for this mission was a stretch. She’d had to balance her need to pick the people most likely to be able to handle the Raikage’s party with the competing need to encourage diplomacy rather than violence. The Council was insistent that these peace talks go well, and she knew the newly-minted Raikage had scored himself serious points in the eyes of the rest of the world by being the first to extend his hand in this fashion… and by agreeing to a negotiation scenario that would be against he and his people from the very start. It was on her turf, surrounded by her people, and almost entirely on her terms.

She fully planned on taking advantage of that.

But in order to make sure things went as they needed to, his people would have to be watched without being caged, and for that, she needed these personnel. Kiyoko Uzumaki was the youngest, but also the most likely to succeed at being diplomatic and controlling herself, so she was nominally in charge of the team. The rest were there because they were either exceptionally talented or else because they had some ability that would be advantageous in such a scenario as this one. The Aburame’s bugs, the Tsukino’s eyes… and well, to be honest Yuhara was there because he wouldn’t hesitate to kill them if he needed to and the Uchiha present because the Hokage took great pleasure in watching him squirm… and because the Raikage was a Jinchūriki.

Folding her hands behind her back, the Hokage tossed back her rose-colored ponytail and stared them down silently for a moment. “I trust,” she said slowly, her voice on a lower register for a woman, so calm it could only be the kind of thing that masked something else. “That I do not have to remind you that the future of your village rests on this.” And because of how important their village was, the future of much of the world, not just its ninja. There was no overestimating the importance of it. “You are to be as hospitable as you possibly know how,” the sardonic inflection, ever so slight, gave away that she knew some of them weren’t capable of much in that department. “And as polite as you can pretend. Until such time as any of them act untowardly, they are honored guests. If they make trouble, you are authorized to use exactly as much force as is necessary to stop that trouble. You will meet them outside the gates, escort them to the guest facility, and see that they eat. Then, you will bring them here. Other than that, do as Uzumaki tells you. Am I understood?”

She wouldn’t usually be so stern about it, but she had a reputation for not suffering fools lightly, and she certainly would not tolerate any foolishness here. These shinobi were ANBU, medics, members of village nobility, and sometimes even teachers. Now, they would have to be diplomats. Difficult as it may be for some of them, it was imperative. Obtaining what she deemed to be the required amount of assent, the Hokage nodded. “Then you are dismissed.”

Kiyoko stood before the eight Hokage, her lips pursed deeply together as the older woman surveyed the team. Being the youngest of the group, would have normally caused her to be a little more temperamental, however; this mission required her to be at her utmost behavoir. She was to lead one of the best teams at the moment, to ensure that everything went as smoothly as it could possibly go. She wasn't sure she was exactly the best person to handle the situation, but then again, it might as well be her. Naruto was, after all, her grandfather, and that alone should have stripped her from even leading this team. But a part of her was glad that she was being given that chance to do something good, something he would have wanted.

She remained quiet as Mizuki spoke, her eyes focused on the Hokage. She absorbed the information, sorting it out into the proper order before she nodded her head. They were going to escort the Kumogakure shinobi to their facilities, feed them, and then bring them here to her. Seemed simple enough, however; she glanced over the group that was under her guidance. Akira, Ryuu, Naomichi, and Katsuro. She almost snorted at the last face she landed on. Katsuro didn't seem too pleased to be here, but she was glad he was, in a weird sort of way. She focused her attention back to Mizuki and saluted the Hokage, a grin settling on her lips.

"Leave it to us, Mizu," she replied, standing out in front of her team before folding her arms against her chest. "You heard the woman. Everything and anything I say, goes, and if any of you have anything to say about that, well," she spoke, her head tilting to the side as a bright smile crossed her face. "You are free to express it, but I don't guarantee I'll take it into consideration," she stated, the smile never fading from her face. If they had anything to say about her and her leadership, they were free to state as such, however; it didn't mean she had to listen to it. For all she cared, they could take it and shove it, even if they were all on good terms. Or at least somewhat on good terms as far as she could tell.

"Unless Mizu here has anything else to say, shall we go meet our new friends?" she questioned, taking a glance over her shoulder towards Mizuki before turning her attention back to her comrades, her eyes lingering just a moment longer on Katsuro with evident amusement.

The Hokage rolled her eyes, but waved a hand anyway. Uzumaki was like that—and probably the only person who could get away with calling her Mizu. Probably because her grandfather had been Mizuki’s teacher and so she’d been around a lot when Kiyoko was growing up. The nickname was an old one. “I already told you to leave, Uzumaki. Don’t be late—we could hardly make a bad first impression on our guests. That she was not especially happy that the Raikage and four of his best would be in the middle of her village for an unknown period of time should have surprised no one.




In sharp contrast to his counterpart on Konohagakure, the Raikage wore a big smile on his face. In all fairness, pretty much everything about him was big, and so his smiles should probably be no exception. The journey here from Kumo had taken the better part of a week, even moving at the pace of very highly-trained, very fast shinobi. It was, after all, quite a distance from one country to the other. He didn’t mind the inconvenience, though—the people he was travelling with were among his closest friends and strongest allies, and that made the distance seem shorter, at least to his mind. Perhaps some would say that mind was just simple, and in truth, perhaps Takehiko would even agree. He didn’t really see a problem with simple, after all.

“What do you think, Rei?” he asked the kunoichi immediately behind him, tilting his head back over his shoulder to glance at her from the corner of his uncovered eye. The smile didn’t disappear, even if it might have been a shade unnerving, given the fact that his eyeteeth were slightly larger than normal, and pointed. It was all Mata’s fault anyhow.

“We’re close,” the medic-nin replied, flexing one of her hands. The thin white scars on the back of her hand pulled taut, then eased when she relaxed her fingers. She was the one who had most recently been to the place, and the only one who would remember its exact location. None of the fighting had ever quite reached either village. “I don’t expect they’ll just let us walk in through the front gate, though… not by ourselves.”

“Mm… probably not,” Takko consented easily enough. “But you never know… we might just make ourselves some friends out of the deal, hm?” His grin widened, and that was how she knew there was more to what he said than a simple, naively-optimistic sentiment. Simple he might be, but Rei knew very well that he was a far cry short of stupid.

"Yeah, well you guys have your work cut out for you then. I don't need to make friends, I already have friends," Nariko replied, shoving her hands behind her head as she stared up at the sky. Her mother was related to the Nara of the Konohagakure village, however; give that she was his grandchild, she might not be as welcomed as she thought she might be. She, after all, did fight in the war too. She killed her fair share of shinobi from Konoha, and she wouldn't be able to wash that away. "Oh look, here's the welcome party now," she stated, lowering her gaze to spot the gates of Konoha in the distance. She could see the outline of five people, and one in particular caused her to grin.

Kiyoko stared at the group coming into view, standing with her arms crossed against her chest. She narrowed her eyes slightly to get a better look, and sighed. She could make the faint outline of something large, and human. If she had to guess, he was either a body guard, or he was the actual Raikage of Kumo. She was going to go with body guard. That left one of the others to be the Raikage, though it ruled out the three kunoichi. If she remembered correctly, the brief said he, not she. That left the shorter, less large male of the group. Sighing, she waited for the group to approach, glancing back towards Nariko and frowned. It had been a while since she'd seen the Kaneshiro, but now was not the time fore reminiscing.

"Alright guys, you know the drill. Be nice, introduce yourselves, and be nice," Kiyoko stated. She shifted so that her arms were at her sides now, and waited for the shinobi from Kumogakure to approach. Once they did, she remained silent for a moment, tilting her head as she regarded the large one, almost tempted to ask about the eye, however; it would be unprofessional and she couldn't exactly just ask. Instead, she cleared her throat and placed a hand on her hip. "Welcome to Konoha. I trust that your trip was pleasant," she started, putting an emphasis on the last word before glancing over her shoulder.

"Kiyoko Uzumaki, at your service. This is my team," she stated, jabbing her thumb in the direction of the others. "We are here to accompany you into the village," and in some way, babysit them, though she wasn't going to say that. She glanced back at her team, waiting for them to introduce themselves. It would be good to know everyones names first, rather than just saying hey you all the time.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kiyoko Uzumaki Character Portrait: Takehiko Yamamoto Character Portrait: Katsuro Uchiha Character Portrait: Ryuu Tsukino Character Portrait: Naomichi Yuhara Character Portrait: Akira Aburame Character Portrait: Rei Hinode Character Portrait: Ayaka Satomi Character Portrait: Nariko Kaneshiro Character Portrait: Kiriko Gekkō
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A blonde figure towered over most of the current shinobi present. Only two were taller than her, one significantly and one just barely. Of course, the only person in the entire world she would expect to tower over her was in fact that man, the Raikage himself. Contrary to many others around her, she was not dressed like a ninja. She wore a black suit adorned with white pin-stripes. The white shirt underneath was untouched in color, save for the red tie right down the center. Across her forehead was a string that tied down her otherwise messy blonde hair. That string tied to a mask in the shape of a fox, clearly identifiable as an ANBU Black Ops mask. Eyes of red looked over everyone arriving from Kumogakure. Her look was not one of malice, but not one of trust either. Even if she was not under orders, she would not have outright attacked them. They were here to create peace, end the killing of each other's comrades. For that reason alone, she would be civil.

Anyone standing near the blonde giant would faintly smell strawberry. It was from the strawberry brandy she had sampled from the night before that helped her keep a smile plastered on her face. A fake smile, and one certainly not caused by her visitors... but a smile nonetheless. A couple of introductions went over Akira's head as she wasn't quite paying perfect attention until someone from Kumogakure had spoken up and told the Uzumaki girl to address the proper guy. Her eyes focused around those talking as she would finally begin paying attention. First to Takehiko Yamamoto, the Raikage. It seemed like she chose the right time to pay attention. Then came the introduction of Nariko Kaneshiro, who in turn introduced Kosan. She wasn't quite sure how she felt about any of them thus far, but at least the Raikage seemed charismatic.

At this point, nobody but Kiyoko from Konoha had introduced themselves. It would seem that this would be up to her. Stepping forward, she puffed out her (regretfully small) chest and adjust her tie. With a clear of her throat, she spoke up. "My name is Akira Aburame, next in line for head of the noble Aburame Clan. I am..." She could not think of a polite and honest adjective to describe it, so she would lie. "I am absolutely happy to have you in our village. In my home." She seemed to assert that point. "Me casa es su casa. If you need anything, do not hesitate to ask. It is my job after all to make sure that you are all well-taken care of." She also seemed to assert that it was her job, and that she took little pleasure in it. Looking to the sky, a purple-winged butterfly fluttered by and down. She held out her finger for a perch for the beautiful insect. Smiling at it, she let the genuine smile from the bug carry over to the Raikage specifically. "Welcome to Konohagakure."

As Naomichi approached the designated meeting place for the meeting of the peace treaty, his mind began to wander as the cool breeze blew past the relatively plain looking shinobi. How was he selected to go on such an important mission when he himself was only good at slaughter? Could it be for protection if things turned sour? It couldn't be since he clearly expressed his distaste for anymore violence than is necessary. And he wasn't the brightest or the most socially adept of anyone in the village - in fact he was one of the worst. I guess they only wanted me for killing then... Naomichi quietly thought to himself as he heaved a light sigh and lowered his head in a sorrowful manor.

By the time he reached the Kumogakure shinobi he regained a professional look about him. Despite being a top assassin for ANBU, he didn't really look the part. His black, tattered trench coat sat open on his defined muscles, and his eye-patch didn't serve him any better to look more normal. He looked more like a street thug than anything, and the only thing that defined him from being one was the white wolf mask resting on his belt loop, the eye slits giving an intimidating glare towards the others. He felt gross compared to how nice his companions looked around him.

As he scanned the the Kumo shinobi, he found relief that there was another man with an eye-patch like him. Phew, I don't look like a crazy freak now! Thank you Mr. Patchy! Despite his relatively innocent thoughts, Naomichi looked serious and threatening like he would be ready to take on anyone that even stepped out of place. All he was doing was staring down the man with the eye-patch, giving off a vibe that he really wasn't comfortable with the guy. Unfortunately for Naomichi, all he was doing was trying to have a staring contest with him - which he wasn't noticing.

When the man stepped forward though, Naomichi snapped from his trance and listened to what he had to say. Takehiko the Raikage huh? The man definitely matched his predecessors before him in every sense of appearance. He couldn't see anything wrong with him. In fact, there seemed to be nothing wrong with any of them. They all seemed perfectly nice, despite some obvious hostile looks. They probably were not as bad as Naomichi, and if he wanted to be forgiven of his past actions, he must treat them with the kindness and respect he feels they deserve. He even chuckled quietly at their jabs at one another. He felt that they all were just a happy family... something he always wanted.

When Akira introduced himself, Naomichi felt comfort that the only person who he had any relations with was first; Plus he wasn't first to begin with anyway - that would have just been weird with him. He knew that because of their solid teamwork he would be able to springboard off his introduction with enough grace to earn him a perfect score from the Kumo shinobi. After his sincere greeting to Kohana, Naomichi felt it was time for him to step in. He was proud, strong, and ready for anything. He raised his right hand to give a polite wave to the Kumo shinobi as he stepped forward. "Yo..." And then he choked for a moment. He hadn't planned beyond that. He was sweating bullets and he knew it. "I'm... Naomichi Yuhara?" His lip began to twitch at this moment. He wanted to be strong but he didn't even know what to do. "Welcome to our humble village where we plan to have peace one way or another..." And after saying that he just clammed up and slowly slid back into the line to drift back into obscurity.

Akira noticed the partner of many of her missions step forward and introduce himself. In this moment he said more than she had probably heard him speak in her entire time with him. Countless missions he generally remained silent and distant, listening to her plans and generally only confirming them with a nod. Smirking, she gave him a firm pat on his left shoulder as a way to commend him. Naomichi let a soft sigh come out as Akira patted him on his shoulder, slumping his shoulders down and letting his head hang for his failure.

A stretch to the right. A stretch to the left. A shake to the legs. A big yawn to finish it all up. Yes, that is what the infamous Jōnin known to many as Ryuu Tsukino was doing as Mizuki (never the kind to do with titles and honorifics) was explaining why he and the quadro-muppets (likes giving nicknames) were there right before her or even why they were gathered as a team. Really, he could care less about the details or the pleasantries which are needed to be abide. Furthermore, this was a repetitive scene to him. It was like a broken skit which played over and over again until the audience could not bear it anymore. So, do expect some tomatoes to be thrown. That was probably the only reason he had come at all to catch the tomatoes and make some nice ketchup for his omurice. Ah... this was making him hungry.

"I have something to say teacher!" Ryuu eagerly raised his hand with the accompaniment of a broad smile. It only made his handsome face be a bit more than ever. Kiyoko did after all say they can speak freely, so he will take the opportunity to do so. He even waved his hand in the air vigorously akin to a child and he was far from that. Whether he was fully aware or ignoring the the mission they were being entrusted with, no one can tell for certain. "Can I be excused? I'm hungry..." There it is... His fickle sickness known as laziness. This was one of the primary reasons he had not been designated to be an ANBU despite his skill sets being viable for such an occupation. He was also too unpredictable and has a clear disregard for authority even towards their own Hokage which causes her no ends of grief.

"You can handle those Kumo guys by yourselves... So, too--" He was immediately cut off as someone grabbed his ear and literally dragged him away. There were even a few reprimands along the way. Technically, that is how he had come to be in front of the one called Raikage and his entourage. Well, he could also say groupies. They were also told to be nice. Come now, nice was overrated in his personal opinion. However, he did not voice that out and instead held the ear which was still red. As he stood there, he released yet another yawn, clearly uncaring about the significance of this endeavor. In truth, he was already aware what this would entail. So, why not play along in his own way.

Kiyoko stepped up to the plate by introducing herself first. He shrugged his shoulders at this. This is why he called her Teacher. It reminded him of classroom introductions. More than that, he has no need for such things really. He already knew who the Raikage and Kumogakure ninjas are which was not shared by their esteemed redhead leader. As a result, there were a few chuckles on both sides, on their part? It came from him with a smirk on his face. Anyway, their visitors introduced themselves matched with a comedy routine. Well if the peace treaty does not work, they could always find work in entertainment. That's an upside, less death, more money too.

Anyways, it was their turn as Akira started it off with a lie. Then, it was followed by the socially-awkward Naomichi. For now, he still needed those training wheels in conversing. Still, not bad at all. Ryuu then noticed the eyes of his teammates on him. His turn, huh? Among them, he was the tallest and was not hard to spot with his mismatched colored eyes of blue and gold. He wore the standard Jōnin uniform but even then, it fitted him in a way a model would. After all, he is one of the pretty boys. Taking a step forward, he gave a smile. This one rather than a lie or an empty one. It held a blurry meaning. "Tsukino Ryuu. We're here to babysit you guys. Because let's face it, scars will always be scars."

Unlike Kiyoko who would withhold her tongue under the pressure of professionalism, Ryuu was not that kind. He had always pushed the borders and that would not change anytime soon. But then again, things had already been decided as far as he is concerned.

“Tch,”the scoff at Ryuu’s words came from the Konoha ninja furthest away from him, also in the ANBU uniform, a hawklike mask attached to his belt. Katsuro didn’t like standing anywhere near that guy, because he creeped him out, mostly. There was something off about him, like all that careless laziness was some kind of sickly saccharine illusion over something else. Personally, Katsu thought the Tsukino was just as much of an asshole as he was, but covered it up with that act of his. It was stupid. At least Uzumaki was really like that, annoying as it may be. Crossing his arms over his chest, he flicked a grey-eyed glance over the assembled nin. The eyes narrowed and he tilted his head slightly to the side.

Eventually, he shrugged. It was pointless trying to form opinions on someone from just an introduction, anyway. What kind of idiot would only rely on the first impression of someone to reach a conclusion? People were certainly more complicated than that. Of course, he’d seldom met one that he didn’t hate, but he supposed even that didn’t mean he never would. “Uchiha,” was all he gave by way of introduction, and then he threw an aside glance to Uzumaki. Standing out here making awkward small talk wasn’t going to help them any.

As all of the members of her team introduced themselves, Kiyoko could feel a light twitch on her eyebrow. She turned, slowly, to stare at Ryuu, her eyes narrowing just slightly. One of these days... just one of these days she was going to break something. Shaking her head, she sighed softly and turned back to the group, and raised a brow at the kunoichi who had spoken before the actual Raikage spoke. She made to shrug her shoulders, but caught herself, and instead, rolled them back. Couldn't be too disrespectful, not yet at least. She did, however, roll her eyes at the nickname, Nariko produced. She would not fall for that, she had to keep telling herself. Once everyone was finished with their introductions, Kiyoko cleared her throat once more and glanced, properly this time, at the Raikage.

"Now that everyone is formally introduced, I think it's time we show you to where you will all be staying. After that, you, I assume, may be hungry. We will show you to the cafeteria where you and your team may get something to eat, and for the record, Kiriko," she stated, turning her attention towards the dark-haired kunoichi. "I am not the one discussing the peace treaty. That would be your Raikage, and the Hokage, so no, I do not think I should have to do either of that," she replied, a bright smile lingering on her face. Not exactly the most ideal thing to say to the Kumogakure shinobi, but it was true. She wasn't the one going to discuss anything; that was the Raikage and Hokage.

"If there is nothing else to be said," she paused and glared at Ryuu, "then if you follow us, we shall show you the way."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kiyoko Uzumaki Character Portrait: Takehiko Yamamoto Character Portrait: Katsuro Uchiha Character Portrait: Zetsubō Kosan Character Portrait: Ryuu Tsukino Character Portrait: Naomichi Yuhara Character Portrait: Akira Aburame Character Portrait: Rei Hinode Character Portrait: Nariko Kaneshiro Character Portrait: Kiriko Gekkō
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For the most part, Takehiko absorbed what was said without much discernible reaction. He was not a man who prided himself on being unreadable, as there honestly wasn’t much of a point to subtlety and dissembling when you were made like a sledgehammer anyway. But just because he didn’t make a point of showing off how clever he was didn’t mean he couldn’t see the implications behind some of the words, read a little into the way people stood or talked. He wasn’t the best at it, but his position would soon demand that he became very good. It was something he liked to think the others might help him with a little, or at least the ones any better off than he was. He couldn’t say he was especially pleased with their reception, but it was better than he was expecting. He knew he should be grateful it hadn’t already ended in bloodshed, though that was not to say it wouldn’t.

Choosing to ignore the varying implications, including the one that they needed babysitters, of all things, Takko smiled affably and nodded. “Well, now that we’re all introduced, some food sounds excellent. Lead on, Uzumaki-san, and we shall follow.” The kunoichi did just that, though the route took them through a good portion of the village itself. He had to admit, it was a very beautiful place. The homes were built almost exclusively from wood, which he supposed must be in abundance, given the natural forest surrounding them with all its resources and greenery. Kumogakure was by contrast very austere, the facades carved mainly into the stone of the mountain that kept them so high up in the air. What forest they had was much sparser and more hardscrabble, and the colors of his youth were more grey and bleached-out red than all this green and rich mahogany.

He had the thought that this village would burn much more easily than his own, but he was not sure how it made him feel. It was a fact, he’d been taught, that the things that were nicest to look at were often the most fragile. Not always, but often. Austerity, by the philosophy of the first Raikage, was a form of strength. Have no more than you need to survive, and all living will eventually become living well. Or something like that. But… the people here wore softer faces than those he had seen around his own village. Many of them, he suspected, had never needed to worry where their next meal was going to come from. He doubted the Hokage ever had to send her people on resource retrieval missions when trade became too slow. Takko’s jaw tightened, but he shook himself out of it. Envy didn’t become him, and he didn’t like it, besides. He was here for peace, because more than anything, that was what his people needed now, and as their Raikage, it was his duty to put them first, to provide for that need.

“It’s as nice as I’d heard,” he remarked to the kunoichi leading the procession. He found himself strangely glad it had not been destroyed in the course of the war, despite his jealousy of its abundance. After all… the people here would not wear such content expressions if the war had reached their doorsteps.

Kiyoko nodded her head and led the Kumogakure team through the village. It had been a relatively silent leading, something she was a little grateful for. She knew Katsuro would remain silent, and Naomichi wasn't exactly talkative. Akira could be a little talkative when she needed to be, but Ryuu... Ryuu was a different story, and she had to keep checking over her shoulder to ensure the Shinobi wasn't causing any trouble. Satisfied, she blinked slowly when Takehiko's voice brought her out of her stupor. She raised an eyebrow, her lips pursing into a fine line, and tried to decide how to respond to it. As nice as he'd heard? How was anything as nice as he'd heard? Instead of asking that, though, she sighed softly and slowed her steps so that she was walking beside him. It was a little odd, really, standing next to someone who was almost twice her size.

"It's Konoha, I don't see what's so nice about it," she replied with a shrug of her shoulders. She didn't see it as he did, perhaps because she'd never actually seen other villages. The only village she could recall ever seeing, was Sunagakure when her grandfather used to take her to visit his old friend. Even on missions, it hardly required going to another village. It was more of going to towns to do their business than the actual village itself. "Once everyone is fed, we will be escorting you and your team to the Hokage's office," she stated, instead, resisting the urge to stare at the eye patch. One, it was rude, and two, it would not go over well with the Hokage if she knew that Kiyoko poked at it.

"Before that, though, you will be shown your living quarters for the remainder of your stay," she stated, stopping momentarily to gaze down the streets, before taking a left. "Once everyone is shown, the eating area will be next. It's not quite that large, so I'd advise telling your team of seating arrangements. Sounds odd, but," she stated, shrugging her shoulders in the process. They weren't children, they could sit wherever they wanted, however; they wouldn't all be able to sit together. Konohagakure wasn't built for large people, after all.

The quarters they were staying in turned out to be in what was apparently formerly the Uchiha compound, or so Takko assumed based on the fact that the crest on the gates matched the one the self-proclaimed Uchiha wore on the sleeve of his uniform. The buildings were quite well-crafted, as far as he knew of such architectural details, but he guessed it had been chosen mostly for the fact that it was relatively apart from the main part of the village, presumably to contain their damage if they caused any. He wondered how the man whose home they were invading felt about that, but decided not to ask. Everyone in his party received a room in the same hallway, though none of them were forced to stay in the same one. It was a small courtesy, but one he appreciated all the same.

Once they’d had a chance to stow their unnecessary belongings, they were led to a mess hall, whereupon food was laid out on a long table, still hot enough to consume. There was, despite Uzumaki-san’s worries, plenty of room for everyone, and Takko did not bother to legislate where his people chose to sit—he was not a micromanager in that sense. They were all smart enough to decide what to do for themselves. He personally bypassed the head of the table and sat to the right of it. The extraneous trappings of his authority had never sat well with him, after all.

When everyone was situated, he took note of the fact that the Konohagakure shinobi still stood, loosely arranged around the room in a way that could only be described as “awkward.” Frowning to himself, the Raikage tipped his head slightly to one side, declining for the moment to pick up his chopsticks. “I’m, uh… not really sure what rumors you heard about us,” he started, looking at the truly massive quantity of food before them, “but we certainly won’t be eating this much. Now, if I have my guess here, your mission is to make sure we don’t do anything… rash, and I’m guessing you can do that just as easily if you’re sitting here eating with us instead of standing there making things feel awkward as all get-out.” He shrugged, half smiling. “So… eat. Drink. Try not to kill each other for a few more minutes. I figure we can manage it if you can.”

"Depends exactly on what you mean heard. I, for one, have head a lot, but that doesn't play into this, now does it?" Kiyoko started, allowing a small tilt of her lips to grace her face. It wasn't a smirk, and yet it wasn't a complete smile. She glanced at her team, noticing what Takehiko seemed to have, and sighed. This was supposed to be as smooth as possible. If tensions were already rising, then she would have failed her mission. And if there was one thing Kiyoko Uzumaki didn't like, it was failing. It was a trait, perhaps, inherited by all Uzumaki, or from what she heard of her grandfather's clan. Stubborn? Not so much. Resilient? Maybe. "Well, you heard the Takko," she replied, staring at her group with her head lightly tilted to the side. She wasn't going to say no, she loved food. She could eat almost as much as the Raikage looked like he ate, if she were to be honest. Food now would be, perhaps, a good thing. Wouldn't want to take on shinobi on an empty stomach, now would she?

"Go eat."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kiyoko Uzumaki Character Portrait: Takehiko Yamamoto Character Portrait: Katsuro Uchiha Character Portrait: Zetsubō Kosan Character Portrait: Ryuu Tsukino Character Portrait: Naomichi Yuhara Character Portrait: Akira Aburame Character Portrait: Rei Hinode Character Portrait: Nariko Kaneshiro Character Portrait: Kiriko Gekkō
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Former enemies or not, Akira was not one to turn down an offer when the word "drink" was used. Without hesitation, she shrugged and sat right down in a rather sloppy motion that looked more like falling straight to her bottom. Sitting across from her was the woman named Rei. Dark skin was not something she had seen too often, save for her spy missions near Kumogakure. She thought to herself that it was honestly rather pleasant to look at as she poured herself some of whatever alcohol was in front of her, she cared not what it was. "There's a goddamn elephant in this room. Maybe some of this will help clear it out..." She said this loud enough for those around her to hear as she finished pouring. To anyone who would hold out their cup to her, she also poured it for them, Kumo or Konoha alike. It was only after that she quickly downed the contents of her own cup and begin pouring another. It wasn't sweet, and burned a little bit going down. But at this point, if it helped her loosen up a bit, she didn't care if she was drinking acid. "Thank you for complimenting my village, by the way. It's the same as complimenting my home. I work hard to preserve it how it is..." That was a decent enough attempt at initiating some small talk, right?

Naomichi's only orders from the Hokage were to fight back if they were to strike, not to go and interact with the Kumo shinobi. So when he was told to go and join them for dinner, he was really unsure how to handle himself in such a situation. He had never really had dinner with anyone else before, so he followed Akira like a frightened child clings their parent on the first day of school. While he may not have shown it in the way he walked to the table, strong and unashamed, he was terrified inside. With a comfortable thump onto the cushion, Naomichi crossed his legs and immediately grabbed his cup and took whatever Akira was offering to the group. Alcohol would calm his nerves and at least make him a bit more manageable if anything. He immediately downed his first cup, grabbing the bottle and quickly refilling it again. With his second cup, he was willing to take his time with it as he listened to the Kumo kunoichi's analysis of who they were.

Heard the Takko. He wasn't sure why, but Kosan found that remark oddly amusing. It wasn't incredibly clever nor did it hold a large amount of wit, but he couldn't help the small tug at the corner of his lip, at least the red headed Uzumaki seemed to have a sense of humor. Of course, the entire situation was almost laughable. As far as he was concerned, they were wasting their time; he had never desired to see their village in any shape save for in flames. The people had looked so.. content, as if the war was some far distant thought to them that it had been a harsh blow. Kosan wasn't sure what he had expected during the walk. Stifling silence, perhaps, but the odd looks he was given from the villagers was not what he expected. Having things thrown at him, being called a monster, those were things he expected and could handle, but indifference was something else entirely. Almost as if the people were doing their best to not stare at him. It was disconcerting if nothing else.

The building, itself, was large, if he had to guess, it seemed nearly six times as large as his own small, modest home that he shared with Seiko. If it weren't for the Raikage's bulk, it would, indeed, be very roomy, but one couldn't demand so much when sitting next to a mountain of muscle except to not be crushed when they feel the urge to move. Kosan didn't consider himself a small man, but the Raikage had a way of making everyone small and this did include the two Konoha Shinobi who had more then a few inches on him as well.

Still, all his pondering could not stop him from his current problem, where in the world was he to sit? His blue eyes ran over the forming groups until they landed on Rei. Although he was not close enough to truly see, his mind instantly placed the small scars on her body that she had gotten during the war marring her once flawless skin, but the scars suited her. His kimono moved around his legs as he made his way over to Rei's table, barely taking note of the tall blond man and other man with the eye-patch, his reasoning for coming over purely selfish. If he was forced to 'indulge' himself with these Konoha shinobi then he would do so with Rei nearby. He trusted himself more in her presence.

‘Elephant’ might well have been the correct word, but Rei at least was not comfortable enough to imbibe, though she appreciated the gesture, insofar as she could. It was easy to forget that it was not these people who had wronged her—or insofar as it was, they had been acting in a time of war. Just as she and her comrades had been. So she told herself—but nevertheless, the instinct to distrust was a difficult one to tamp down on. Even so, she managed something polite by way of declination, and did not glower at the Konoha shinobi as they settled themselves across the table from herself and Kosan, who was on her left.

The girl - possibly named Rei - looked... cute to Naomichi? She definitely was an attractive woman and her forwardness was definitely a good quality too. He had no idea why she was with the Raikage on this mission though. He never heard a single thing about her during the war - like she never existed.

As for the man, Kosan, Naomichi recognized him instantly. The Blood Lotus was someone he observed when sent out on recon and he would need to be someone that was watched. He wanted to put faith into everyone around him, but this man was just... unstable. Naomichi was more than intimidated by his presence since he knew the man wouldn't hold back on him even if he tried to talk him back down.

The topic of the village itself did seem to be innocuous enough, and Rei supposed that going with it would be better than eating in oppressive silence, so she raised an eyebrow slightly. “You said your name was Aburame, right? I suppose that would make you kind of a custodian of the place.” She referred, of course, to the fact that the Aburame were one of the four noble lineages in Konoha, a fact that any half-educated Kumo shinobi would know by this point. “Come to think of it, I’ve heard the name Yuhara somewhere, too…” Not in the same context though. Perhaps it was a battlefield reputation rather than a family one.

Akira seemed to be in thought a moment when asked the question, but eventually nodded. "I suppose that is one way to call it. Not the term I would use, but it's not entirely inaccurate."

Naomichi was snapped back into the dinner when Rei brought up his name. "My name is fairly common lady, It could be someone else that was a demon or somethin" The thought of someone knowing how cruel he could be made him down another glass. He didn't want to be known as a monster or anything.

Kosan waved off the offered drink, he was not one for alcohol. While he would drink under special circumstances, he did not consider this a special circumstance. Any one of them could be the ones he was looking for and, more so, he did not have a desire to drink in the midst of his enemies' seat of power. Reaching out he brought a small cup to himself and poured some of the heated water conventionally placed at the center of the table, in an unassuming little pot, into it before lowing a bag of tea leaves into it. He gently tugged on the small string, lifting it out of the darkening water just to slowly lower it back in.

He looked up from his work, his blue eyes watching the eye-patched shinobi, Yuhara as Rei so helpfully supplied, just finish watching him. Kosan had a few ideas as to why, although Yuhara did not look like someone he knew or heard about, given his job in the ANBU it fit that he would not be aware of the man's history as it would defeat the purpose of being in ANBU if everyone knew of their exploits, or at least, it would render the mask pointless. Kosan, on the other hand, as the 'Blood Lotus' wasn't someone who could be so unassuming.

On reflex, his eyes followed Yuhara's one to Rei, running over her body as he did. Rei was attractive, to deny they was to be blind, and at this distance, he could see the scars, both large and small, that marked her skin, each holding a story of their own, each adding just another interesting piece of the puzzle that made Rei who she was.

The clan name of Aburame caught his attention, and Kosan snapped his blue eyes to the tall, thin blond man that was seated and away from Rei's figure, "Aburame? I have heard of your clan's abilities, and they have always sounded impressive. I do not believe I ever met with an Aburame during the war, but I must admit I have always been rather curious as to how their abilities truly look," Leaning forward over the table, Kosan pushed his tea out of the way, forgotten for the moment in the pursuit for an interesting subject for his next tale, not even his distaste for the village in the leafs could stand in the way of a good story. "Would you be willing to give a small demonstration?"

When Naomichi heard Kosan's request, he set his drink down and repositioned himself to watch his partner at work. If it was one thing he was good at, it was working with bugs. He was proud to be his partner and wasn't ashamed to hide it.

Rei sighed softly, having a feeling she knew where this was going, and judiciously set down her bowl and chopsticks, covering the first with an upside-down plate and the second with a cloth napkin. She really didn’t want any stray insects in her food.

Akira looked up at Kosan as he addressed her, only to meet his conversation with a smirk. "Of course you didn't meet any Aburame, doll. Like our insectoid friends, we try not to make ourselves known too much... In fact, many of my clansmen complain that they never get noticed. Even by their own teammates. My great-uncle Shino Aburame especially..." She said the name and immediately realized right after that doing so had absolutely no point to it. But she shrugged, leaned back and cracked her fingers all at once after weaving them together and pushing out her wrists. "Of course, I do this for the sake of improving relations. And not showing off or anything."

"Of course," Kosan said almost on reflex as his blue eyes watched her movements, his attention hers to command.

She sat up on her knees and unbutton the pin-striped suit jacket, then unbuttoned the lower buttons on the white dressy shirt beneath it. Lifting up the left side revealed several holes on flat, smooth skin. Four bugs crawled out of four different holes and climbed onto her finger. "Meet the Bikochu, Kidaichu, Kikaichu, and the Nano-sized Venomous Insect. Not proper names, but the names of the kinds of bugs. They all feed off of my chakra and obey my whims in return. Pretty sweet, huh?" The bugs returned through the holes, though Akira kept the shirt lifted up. Looking to her partner, Naomichi, she gave a playful wink before making one more command to the bugs. From the revealed holes, and many hidden holes all over her body, masses of insects began flying out, coagulating into a purple-colored cloud along the ceiling. Buzzing of all sorts of kinds would fill the room, replacing any lingering silence before they would fly behind Akira.

"Incredibly so," he replied unsure of how to respond to something said being 'sweet', but it was fascinating. He was a little disappointed that the holes were not on her arm or some other less personal area as he would have liked to feel them.

The purple cloud of insects began taking a shape behind her, at first a purple silhouette. Quickly, details would be added as the Insect Clone took the appearance of Kosan himself. Nodding, she would speak. "Check this out, though." She stood up with a soft grunt and turned to face the clone. Clenching her right hand into a fist, she shot it straight through the clone's head. She pulled her hand away and watched the detailed head turn into a purple coagulation again before reforming to mimic Kosan again. Turning around once more, she smirked and held up her hand to the clone, which slapped hers back. Akira sat back down as sloppy as she had the first time and let her insects return to a cloud and begin filing back into her body. She also decided to leave her pin-striped jacket off as well. Her tie became looser as well as she tugged on it and poured another drink. "Enjoy your demonstration?"

Both of Rei’s eyebrows ascended her forehead as she watched the Kosan-shaped mass of insects reform itself after being damaged. “Interesting. But… wouldn’t they be very susceptible to ninjutsu? Fire and water and all that?” It was asked with a tone of genuine curiosity, academic and pragmatic more than anything. There was, indeed, no hint of a threat in it at all.

"It's a clone, you know? They're not exactly built to be sturdy. Losing them is not a big deal... Bugs don't live long and they reproduce more than rabbits." She let out a laugh with this explanation. "They don't like water at all, and they do like fire. Not that it's particularly good for them..."

Rei actually managed a small smile at that, then shrugged. “Fair enough."

"And that's what makes Akira such a good partner. Kickass bugs with a brain to boot. What's not to like?" Naomichi sat smugly with one arm propping him up. With a few drinks in him at this point he was allowing himself to become looser and more talkative with the group. He was slightly worried with the person who the bugs took the form of, but he knew Akira had reasons for doing it so he wouldn't object.

"I did, I truly enjoyed the way you hit me in the face, very good form," Kosan said leaning back once more to lift his once forgotten tea to his lips, pausing only for a moment to check the contents to ensure no stray bug had 'accidentally' been left in his cup. He wasn't quite sure what to make of the clone having been made to his likeness. A statement or was he the choice because he was the one who asked the question? Well, it didn't truly matter, his curiosity was somewhat sated for the moment.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Naomichi Yuhara Character Portrait: Nariko Kaneshiro
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Nariko took a breath of fresh air, stretching her limbs as she stood outside one of the homes she had been given. She had been tempted to go visit her grandparents since the last time she saw them was well over ten years ago. She had purposefully avoided being on the battlefield during the war so she wouldn't have to fight them. Not that she hadn't been on the field, she just tried to avoid it where possible. Now, though, she was back in Konoha, and she wanted to see it. It didn't look much different from the last time, but she wasn't exactly that naive to believe things hadn't changed. Maybe she should go visit her grandparents then? She scoffed slightly to herself as she glanced around the empty compound. She was sure the Konoha shinobi were around somewhere, and if there was one, she could drag them with her. They had been told they couldn't leave without an escort, something she had found mildly offensive at first, but she could understand just a bit.

"Alright Nari, let's go find us a shinobi!" she stated, walking with an extra skip to her step.

Naomichi found himself alone in one of the Uchiha bedrooms, pacing around the perimeter of the room, which wasn't totally uncommon for someone like him. He never really was one to actively engage with friend or foe in any sense of the word. It wasn't like he didn't want to though, but he just didn't know how to ask someone if they wanted to do something. He pushed himself against the wall next to the door and slowly slid to the floor, his frustrated expression clear as he buried his face in his hands. When he looked up at the empty room though he had a sort of forced smile and unnatural enthusiasm in his appearance, like he was trying to match what he thought was a normal human but way off.

"Pardon me madame, but would you want me to give you a fine tour of our facility? There are many things that make this place run the way it does, but it can all be tied to our dedicated work force and materials." He froze with the forced expression of happiness on his face, smile twitching at how unnatural his statement was. He then dropped his false smile and smacked the side of his head with his open palm a few time. "You're an idiot Nao! This isn't some factory! We are in a village, so make it seem like ya come from one!"

Naomichi lowered his head again to go through another mental reset. When his head raised, this time he was trying the cool guy look. His eyes were much more relaxed and his posture seemed to be more natural. "Hey girl, why don't you let bad boy Asura here show you a good night on the town. Bring your friends along if you want, I got enough to make everyone's night one to remember." With his last remark he threw his thumb out and gave a proud smirk. That slowly faded away though and he was left even more frustrated - smashing his head against the floor feverishly.

No matter how hard he tried to rack his brain, Naomichi just was unable to make any small talk to himself for practice. He couldn't be anymore unnatural than the instant noodles he normally ate every night. In order to calm his nerves, he figured it'd be better if he went for a walk out in the cool night. Despite the Uchiha's horrid taste in decor, Naomichi loved the look of their courtyard. It just looked a lot more beautiful compared to the plain furniture that decorated every room.

As he exited the room he gave a deep inhale, then a slow exhale as his nerves were calmed. He was able to give a brief smile, but even that slowly faded away to his loneliness. I wonder what Akira is doing? I never see him outside of missions much and it'd be pretty awesome if we could discuss something other than tactics. Naomichi let his thoughts of Akira's whereabouts wander for a few moments before they froze in place when he saw Nariko come up towards him Shit-shit-shit-shit what do I do!? Don't panic! What if she heard me in my room?! She couldn't! Absolute turmoil in Naomichi's head was going on despite his statuesque appearance.

The grin on Nariko's lips grew wide when she spotted her first victim, escort and waved towards Naomichi. She walked towards him, perhaps more like power walked, and was immediately standing in front of him, leaning forward slightly as she continued to grin. "Nao-Nao! Good mor- er, evening?" she stated, stopping to correct herself. She straightened herself back out, bringing up her forefinger and middle finger to right eyebrow, giving him a mock salute in the process. She blinked slowly, tilting her head to the side as she noted his expression. Was he nervous? Why would he be nervous? A slow smirk crossed her features as her eyes narrowed just slightly.

"You were having dirty thoughts weren't you," she almost cooed, poking his cheek in the process. She pulled back and shrug her shoulders. "It's alright, I think we all have them once in a while," she continued, snickering a bit in the process. A sudden realization dawned on her, and she hit her fist in the palm of her hand, reaching out to lace her arm with his. Perhaps not the best idea she's ever had, but then again, most of her ideas weren't all that great. Since he was the only one around, she would drag him with her around the village. With that in mind, she began pulling on his arm, however; she paused momentarily.

Naomichi's strong presnece immeditely crumbled away at her mention of dirty thoughts. His eye widened, and his jaw dropped - his entire body even had a small shiver roll up past it. How cruel... someone treating me like I'm a no good horny animal! I'll prove her wrong. Naomichi quickly regained his composure though and looked back at Nariko, and he tried to look confident as he reached out to pet Nariko on the head. "Haha, yeah right. Like I would ever think of your sexy curves or stunning eyes..." It took Naomichi a minute to process what he said - and as he processed it, his hand just rested on her head like a dead weight. When he realized what he was saying though, he slowly pulled his hand back and let it hang limp like his head was. Not only did he say possibly the worst thing he could to a girl's face, but he just made it sound like that was what he was doing.

Nariko blinked, her face pulling straight as she stared deadpan at Naomichi. For a moment, she stared at him, her eyes unreadable and the rest of her body going rigid, however; the shaking of her shoulders gave way to the fact she could no longer hold her straight face, and she let loose a fit of laughter. "You... are adorable," she stated, trying to catch her breath as she held onto her stomach as it began to cramp. After taking a few gulps of air, she wiped at her eyes before shaking her head."Oh, I suppose I should ask you for a tour before just assuming you'd take me on one. How about it Naochiki? Wanna give me a tour of the village?"

His head quickly rose when he heard her offer. "Yo-you're asking me?" Naomichi took one of his limp hands and made it point to his stupified face. "You wanna ask me to take you out somewhere? Am I hearing this correctly or am I just dreaming this?" He straightened his shoulders and made himself look like a strong man again in her presence. No way was he gonna let an opportunity like this pass by him. He was feeling ready for this kind of situation and needed to take the opportunity to see what he needed to fix about himself. He felt that everything about himself was ready: his mind, his ego, and his body were more than ready for whatever Nariko was gonna throw at him.

"Sure, why the hell not. I have the most best place to bring a girl from out of town. You're gonna love it more than anything that you've had back home. " Naomichi made a waving motion to call Nariko along to follow him as he began to coolly walk out towards the exit of the Uchiha compound.

Oh she doubted that. She used to live here after all, however; she would remain quiet until the tour was over with.




Naomichi made a few brief remarks about the popular locations around town. He mentioned the Hokage's office, what he called "The Great Wall of Faces", the four noble clans of the village - especially emphasizing the Aburame's history since that was really the only other person he knew in the village, the academy, and the memorial stone. He tried his best to give something better than what any normal history book would tell her, but he was only able to produce a little more than the bare minimum of interesting facts for her. When they came up on the place he was talking about, the largest grin spread across his face as he stopped his tracks. He extended both of his arms to the point where he was making a 'T' with his body. He spun towards Nariko and exclaimed, "Alright, here it is. The moment we've all been waiting for! Please give a round of applause for..." As he began to trail off with his speech, his arms spun around until they froze pointing at a plain looking restaurant on the side of the road. "Ichiraku Ramen! Hold your applause, wait until you get their food inside you. You won't regret it at all. Come-on, let's sit!"

Nariko stared and made awe noises every time Naomichi spoke, pretending to be interested in the topics he was speaking of. She managed quite well, however; she didn't have it in her to tell him she already knew most of the history of Konoha and the four noble clans of the village. Hell, her grandparents were probably having a stroll right now and she'd be able to point them out to him in a heartbeat, but luckily they were not out. At least, she didn't see them and counted that as something. She soon found herself at the old ramen stand she and Yoko used to go to as children, and a nostalgic smile crept across her face. It turned into a full grin, however, when Naomichi stopped and produced a letter with his body. She did as he said, clapping lightly and giving a faint whistle in the process.

"Is it just their food going inside me?" she spoke, the smirk taking a wicked turn as the innuendo was dropped. She snorted softly though, and grabbed Naomichi's arm, dragging him into the stall with her in the process. She forced him to sit in one of the seats before taking the one to his right, draping her arm over one of his shoulders, which was something considering their height differences. "Oi, shop keep! Four bowls of ramen for me and my new baby daddy!" she spoke, the grin on her face never leaving. She turned towards Naomichi and gave him a wink.

Baby daddy... can she possibly mean... no, it's not possible... I-I mean how can that happen? Don't tell me it already happened. Naomichi's mind was fixated on her statement about him being her 'baby daddy,' something he wasn't ready for in the slightest. As their bowls of ramen were placed in front of them and Nari began to eat, he couldn't help but stare at the bowel in front of him and not move a muscle. He needed to actually figure out what she meant by her comment, no matter what would befall him. "Um, Nari, if I'm your... um, baby daddy, we need to talk about what to do with our kid." Suddenly he was given a big boost in energy and looked towards her with a mix of both excitement and utter fear in his eyes. "I wasn't planning this at all and have no idea what happened, but I promise to be the best I could possibly be for all of our kids!"

Nariko stopped eating her ramen to fix Naomichi with a bewildered gaze. Did he believe that she was telling the truth? Did he not know how the process of making a child was? She felt her shoulders lurch in an attempt to cover a laugh, and instead, slowly placed her chop sticks down, turning to regard him with a serious gaze. She clasped her hands over his, and stared him dead in the eye. She took a deep, steady breath and released it just as slowly as she inhaled it. She continued to remain silent, letting the anticipation settle in before she finally opened her mouth to say something.

"Naokichi, I am sorry you had to find out this way, but yes. You will do every thing in your power to raise this child right, but just know," she stated, leaning dangerously close to his face, her own pulled into something serious. "I will cut you if you don't," she stated, however; she couldn't keep a straight face any longer and pulled back, laughing a little too hard that she fell out of her chair. She didn't seem to mind as she stayed, covering her eyes with her arm in the process. Once she let it pass through her system, she sat up, stood, and dusted herself off. She took a seat next to Naomichi again and shook her head.

"Naokichi, we are not having a child. I just met you for one, and there are certain... activities that must be performed in order for me to have your child. I take it you weren't educated on that sort of thing? Huh, I thought they made that one of the classes here. Things sure have changed since I last lived here," she stated, picking up her chop sticks again to take a bite out of her now-cold ramen.

If anyone ever wanted to die where they were sitting, it was Naomichi. Nari's laugh was like a thousand needles that struck through his pride, emasculating every aspect about himself. He felt like he just wanted to shrink inside his skin until he disappeared into a void of nothingness, but he didn't want to fade away. He had to push himself back into the conversation, no matter how ashamed he was or he wouldn't be able to get the happiness he wanted.

Naomichi gave a little chuckle to go along with the end of Nari's laugh, just to defuse how he personally felt. "Yeah, I guess you're right there. You gotta do all sorts of things huh - haha." He sat in a sort of awkward silence for a moment as he quickly ate one bowl of ramen and started on his next. Cold ramen was still food to him and he was grateful for having it. He needed to do something to not let the awkwardness sit and stagnate over the both of them.

It then clicked in his head on how to propel the conversation. When he sat in bars around the village he would eavesdrop on conversations from other groups just to entertain himself in his loneliness. Asking about the other person's life definitely earns the asker brownie points because they showed interest in their life. After making a huge slurp of noodles through his chopsticks he asked her,"Hey, you said 'last time I lived here.' What do ya mean by that? Were you a spy during the war or were you actually born here or something?"

"All sorts of stuff?" she repeated, however; she wasn't able to ask what he meant by that (she could only take a guess). She blinked slowly, placing her bowl down and folded her hands in front of her. She gave a melancholic smile and sighed. "No, I wasn't a spy during the war. I was actually born here. I think you may even know my grandparents. Hell, everyone knows them," she stated, scoffing slightly. Though, her grandparents were known, they weren't exactly known like Yoko's were. She allowed the silence to remain between them before taking another breath.

"My mother is actually originally from here. She's Shikamaru and Temari's kid," she stated, shrugging her shoulders gently before twirling in her chair. "We didn't move until I was about," she paused, tapping her finger to her chin as she thought about it. "I was ten years old when we moved to Kumogakure. I... participated in the war like everyone else, but," she continued, her voice growing solemn as she played with her ramen. She didn't like thinking about it. She hadn't wanted to go against her fellow shinobi, even if she grew to have loyalties to Kumogakure. She just... it wasn't pleasant to bring up those memories.

"I'm actually glad Takko agreed to come here, even if he's a big oaf. Still have to love him though. I hope things go well between the Hokage and himself, it'd be a shame to not get to know you better as a friend," she stated, a large grin plastering itself on her face as she crinkled her nose in the process.

As Nari's upbeat attitude started to drain away into a pool of sadness around the two of them, Naomichi couldn't help but feel bad. He put down his half-finished second bowl and bit his lip with a worried expression on his face. He was biting his lip and he cupped his hands while twiddling his thumbs trying to look for something to say to her to make her feel better in any way. Could he ask who her grandparents were to bring the subject back? No, that'd just make him out to be an oblivious asshole. What about her friends in Kumogakure... it is probably a rough subject surrounding the war that would only put her even more down. In the end he was only able to say a few words without even looking her in the eye. "I'm sorry about that all. It's not like we all wanted to do what we did anyway."

But when she mentioned being a better friend with Naomichi, his heart skipped a beat. No one ever said that word to him - ever. What even is a friend to be honest? He had to ask her just to clear up any confusion between the two of them just so he didn't make another stupid mistake again like he did before. He continued to look down at his hands as he took to a sad tone of voice. "Hey Nari... I don't think you want to be a friend with me. I am not the best person in any reguards, especially with my history. Plus I am just a buffoon when it comes to everything. Ask Akira, he is more my babysitter than anything. As much as I appreciate what you said, I'm worried I would hurt you like I did everyone else."

Naomichi reached into his pocket and pulled out a wad of bills to pay for their meal together. He was about ready to end his day anyway. He messed up too many times to count and it would just be better if he reset himself and worked on it again tomorrow. She deserved someone better and he was, especially when it comes to something as fragile as the peace treaty going on.

Nariko tilted her head in slight confusion, her brow ascending her forehead in the process. Not a good friend, huh? She leaned in slowly, her eyes narrowing as she came dangerously close to his face. There was a hint of something serious behind her eyes, replacing the jovial light that shined. She pursed her lips together, her brows knotting in place before she took Naomichi's hand, clasping the other one over it. "You are worried about hurting me? Because you don't think you'd be a good friend?" she almost stated rather than questioned. Honestly, that made her kind of angry. Who did he think he was thinking such things like that? She was Nariko, her own person and she made those decisions of who was good or bad for her. Those would always be her decisions.

"Nao-Nao, you don't get to make that decision. Whether or not you'll be a good friend will be determined through our courtship as one. If you are the buffoon you think you are, then I shall be here to be a buffoon with you. History may make a person what he is, but it does not make a person who he is. Those will always be two different things. Only a person can define who he is by the things he chooses to do after. We are allowed redemption, are we not?" she stated, pulling back with a large grin forming back on her face. Seriously, though, he was going to be her friend whether he liked it or not. She'd make sure of that.

"Besides," she began, the grin turning into something sly as she turned back towards him. "We aren't finished with our date!" she stated, smirking in the process.

Naomichi was nothing short of stunned by what Nari was saying to him. As she spoke with her passion he couldn't help but look into her golden eyes. Naomichi tightened the grip of his own hands and stared he couldn't help but have a goofy smile. It wasn't like it was cool or intentional, but rather it looked funny - like he was moments away from crying and was trying to hold it back. She was the first person to ever say something that kind to him and he wasn't ever going to forget it. I can't cry - I can't cry - I can't cry.! Don't let yourself cry whatever you do! Naomichi, even after trying to force himself not to cry, had tears flowing out of his one eye. Dammit Nao! You had one job!

It took him a minute to compose himself, which involved deep breathing exercises and furious rubbing of his left eye to stop the endless flow of tears being produced from it. Once he at least looked like his old self, he began to softly pat Nari's back with his right hand, attempting to show some camaraderie despite not really knowing what that action meant. He saw some other people do it so he figured why not try it himself - see where it got him. "Well this must be the worst date that you ever had then." Naomichi couldn't help but chuckle to his comment - he knew it was true and yet she still stuck it out. "In order to make it better then, I think you should take me to some of your favorite places around the village miss village-two-timer. I think you'd have some fun places in mind yourself." Nao quickly thanked the cook and made a generous payment when he stood up to leave, giving a playful motion for Nari to follow him. Despite being a Kumo kunoichi she seemed like she could be a good friend for life.

Spill her blood 'Nao-Nao...' You will do it soon anyway. Don't fight what you know is right...

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Takehiko Yamamoto Character Portrait: Katsuro Uchiha Character Portrait: Zetsubō Kosan Character Portrait: Naomichi Yuhara Character Portrait: Nariko Kaneshiro
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About a week and three days had passed, the meetings were still not done. Progress was being made, but on some days, it was much slower than others. Today it had been especially glacial, and Takko’s frustration was testing the limits of his courtesy. All this putting on of polite manners wasn’t in his nature anyway—he was a nice enough guy, maybe, but he preferred to be direct rather than coy and political, and the days where he felt like he was just chasing his own tail were increasing in frequency as the Hokage’s Council dithered about this or that. Without any real way to get past that besides stretching his patience and digging his heels in when he could, he decided that it was high time sake was brought into the equation. And some of that fancy imported liquor, too.

Which was how he found himself headed back to the compound, loaded down with a sack full of alcohol jugs. Beside him, the Uchiha, who had picked him up from the meeting this time, grudgingly carried another sack, slightly smaller, with various bottles clinking around inside. Still, it was all paid for with the Raikage’s money, so it wasn’t like it was a drain on his family’s resources, something he supposed he could appreciate. Whatever the case, it was full dark by the time they made it back to the compound, and it happened that most of the others of both village groups were there anyway.

“Well,” Takehiko said, at just enough volume to get the attention of anyone who hadn’t focused on the new person entering the room. “Seems I have a lot of sake here, and not a lot of time. Who wants to help me drink it?” He grinned, toothy and feral, and set his sack down in the middle of the room, near a low table, urging the Uchiha to do the same with the slightly more exotic brews.

Naomichi couldn't help but want to be outside at night. As he walked along the courtyard of the Uchiha compound, whistling a gleeful tune as he enjoyed the commonly warm air that Kohana had to offer. It was a beautiful day and he couldn't help but find nothing wrong with it. His mind was at peace, he was still on a high from his night with Nari, and the place just looked beautiful. He couldn't help but look at the gorgeous design of the buildings around him - elegant but strong - and the finely trimmed greenery that showed the love and care that was put back into the clan's home.

As he was rounding a corner though, he saw Takko come into the compound with a sack full of... something. Naomichi was unsure what could be in the bag, so he figured he'd do a little recon work just to make sure it wasn't filled with something suspicious. He threw himself against the back wall and peaked around the corner at the Raikage - his ANBU skills coming out at the moment of suspicion. What is he doing? Why does he have that bag? What is in it? So many questions and so little time. As he analyzed the movements of his prey, he came to the conclusion that he was not suspicious - or was being very good at hiding it. Nevertheless Naomichi wanted to continue to follow him.

As the Raikage traversed the compound, Naomichi attempted to remain less stealthy just in case he was caught. He probably wouldn't be happy if he had a Kohana shinobi stalking him down like prey, so Naomichi attempted to do the more natural look. Leaning against walls, pushups, rearranging flower pots, holding cats (in all the wrong ways), and anything else he felt would seem normal if he was ever approached on the subject.

Eventually when the Raikage went into a meeting hall and made his exclamation, Naomichi lost the cool stealthy attitude and immediately charged into the room and snatched a bottle up from the bag. With a huge grin across his face he popped open the top of it and looked towards Takko. "So this is what you've been hidin' in your bag huh? You coulda said something sooner!" Naomichi immediately started to drink the bottle down to its halfway point, but still maintaining a semi-sober state of mind. He wanted to feel the alcohol but not become a bumbling idiot.

Katsuro sighed, but Takko only laughed, hitting Naomichi on the back with one large hand. It wasn’t a violent gesture at all, more one of camaraderie than anything else, but the Raikage was not always especially good at remembering how strong he was, so there was that. “The stalker over here has the right of it,” he said with a grin, plucking out a few of the bottles for his own use. “Anyone interested in trying to drink me under the table?”

A window sill was far more comfortable then most people believed, a fact Kosan had learned from a very young age especially at night when the thin plank of wood was the perfect mixture of heat from within the house and cool to the touch from the night air. Kosan leaned back against the side of the window, as he looked up at the star filled night sky. It was comforting, in its own way, as the stars were always the stars no matter where one was in the world.

His mind had been occupied since that night. Since Rei, the Uchiha, and him found the list of names. Even now, he could call up the scroll and every name on it with perfect clarity, if he desired to, he could even count the strands of Rei's hair that rested on her shoulder as he had looked over it. The image had been seared into his mind, but unlike the past hours... or was it days? Kosan mind was his own, and he chose to pass his time to watch the night sky. While not as interesting as spars and other odd habits he was sure the others have, it held a certain charm all on its own.

Kosan's blue eyes watched the large moon, and he almost wished Seiko was looking at it too. Almost as if she was watching it then she wasn't tucked in and sleeping which she should be doing as she had to go to the Academy for instruction in the morning.

His sensitive hearing picked up a familiar voice, that of his Raikage and something about Sake. Kosan leaned his head against the side of the window. A part of him just wanted to stay and continue in his self-imposed exile, running over the same things in his head, driving himself insane with the fact that everything was still so far away from him. One step forward in a travel of a lifetime, but, on the other hand, it could be amusing to watch his Raikage drink himself in a stupor after the all the talks with those elders had to build up a stress. Kosan had never been bothered to accompany the Raikage, but he trusted him enough to not hand over the key to their gates.

On that note, he had not had a chance to sit down with Nari for awhile, and if she was in a ten mile radius, the sake would summon her. Decision made, Kosan pushed himself off the ledge and back onto the wooden floor, his socks providing a nice barrier between him and the cold floor. Moving to the kitchen, Kosan filled a small pot and set it on the burner to boil for his tea. He had never been much of a drinker, and he was intent more on watching them drink then partaking himself.

With his preparations done, Kosan entered the room they had first sat together and ate in, the 'dinning' room, was it? Or perhaps a sitting room? His eyes ran over the three occupants, Naomichi, Kosan had not spoken to him much, his Raikage, and the Uchiha. Kosan offered a small nod to the Uchiha in the form of a personal greeting, or as much as Kosan was willing to give the other shinobi. He did not know what the Uchiha thought about their little trip or if he even cared, but Kosan was still grateful none the less.

"I will be sure to get my glorious Raikage a pillow when he has fallen under the table," Kosan said offering a small smile before sitting down on the floor and sliding his legs under the table, "Can you imagine what our Konoha brethern would say if a Raikage was sleeping, stone drunk and without a pillow? I fear we would never hear the end of it."

“Assuming I’ll lose already? Woe is me, who has lost the confidence of my closest supporters!” Takko bemoaned dramatically, placing a hand over his heart and pretending something had hit him there. The goofy grin still firmly in place gave away his actual thoughts, however, though it was but a moment before the glint in his eye turned a bit more sly. “You know, Kosan, a drinking contest with only two people is a pretty poor showing. You should participate too, and then we’ll see which one of us ends up under the table, hm?”

Kosan raised an eyebrow at the thinly veiled challenge. While he was never much of a drinker, he did not like letting challenges go unanswered. An odd desire to prove himself that was born many years ago that had never left his system. Still there was the chance he would make an utter fool of himself. He was glad it seemed there was no women there which would lessen his chance to make a fool of himself, or worse, wake up in the wrong bed.

"I suppose," Kosan said slowly, rolling the words around in his mouth, "that I don't have much of a choice, although I bemoan what they will do back in the village when they find out that lowly Zetsubō out drank the Raikage."

Kosan glanced at Nao who seemed quite taken with the entire bottle, "But I think I may have to use a glass." With an ungraceful snort, Takko handed him one, taking another for himself.

Nariko walked with a large grin on her face, the cool breeze of the air washing against her face; a welcomed antidote to the harsh warmth of the weather. She tilted her head side to side, humming a light tune before something in the air caught her attention. She might not have been an Inuzuka, with their sense of smell, nor their hearing abilities, however; when it came to the scent of that, she could smell it a good distance away. And Nariko had never been one to turn down a good drink. With large grin on her face, Nariko made a bee line for the source, coming upon it within a few seconds. She wasn't too far from the compound to begin with. She arrived just in time to catch the last sentence of Kosan's, and shook her head. Rolling her eyes, she came upon Kosan and drapped an arm over his shoulder.

"Ah, but what would the village think when the lowly Zetsubō is out drank by a kunoichi? Surely it would be a blow to not only Takko-chan, but Ko-chan too, no?" she almost cooed, leaning in so that her lips were close to the shell of his ear. She pulled back suddenly, laughing as she patted his back in the process. "But you know me, I'm never one to turn down a challenge," she stated, grinning almost from ear to ear. "So, shall we see who is the better drinker?" she stated, flashing a predatory smile around the group. She couldn't hold her liquor, she knew that, and almost everyone else from Kumogakure knew that, however; she didn't care. A good drink and having a good time were all that mattered to her.

Naomichi silently drank as he watched almost all of the Kumo shinobi come into the dining hall, drowning the awkwardness away in himself with the bottle of sake. He decided it'd be best to push himself to the brink of tipsiness and only humor them with drinking after that. Gotta keep it a fair game and all. "Well now it's a party! Come Nari-kun, Katsu-san, Takko-senpai, Ko-san!" Naomichi let out a little snicker at the play on words he made there. "I bet none of you are gonna beat someone with the stature of the Raikage. He's so much larger than the rest of us I'm sure he can take his liquor by the barrel load and still be able to balance on his toe!" Naomichi was able to keep his abilities secret to the entire group throughout the week-long period that they were together, and he wasn't going to let them in on what he was like just in case Kohana needed the upper hand at all.

"I like this idea for a game though. Tell ya guys what," Naomichi stood up and placed his arm around Kosan with Nariko as well, bottle residing in his other hand. "How 'bout last man standin' gets bragging rights and a weeks worth of free meals out of everyone else? Eh, whadaya say guys? Kumo shinobi can't back down from such an easy challenge or rumors will start to spread." Naomichi grew a devilish grin across his face as he took another swig from the bottle and then heaving a heavy sigh. If everyone was gonna have fun tonight might as well make it interesting.

"Ko-san, I bet you can't even outlast poor Nari-kun right here. You gotta prove your manhood to the rest of us here." If anything, Naomichi wanted to see what such a calm and collected person was like under the influence. He never had the chance to see anyone like him be so far gone, so egging him on was his best strategy for the situation.

Kosan couldn't stop the shiver that ran down his spine when her hot breath caressed his ear. He closed his eyes as his mind was thrown into a world of confusion. Such personal contact wasn't something he was used to anymore, and it had caught him off guard and left him feeling momentarily vulnerable. So lost in his own inner confusion and raging thoughts over what just happened, he did not have time to really answer Nari's challenge like he normally would have done. Maybe he would have something akin to 'She was never one to turn down, or win, a challenge' but his wits had abandoned him. Fleeing in terror at the gentle warm air that had brushed by him, an action that was probably nothing more then Nari seeking to tease him and the others.

His back went stiff as an arm wrapped around him and pulled him closer to Nari, the devious heavy breather that had put him in this precarious position in the first place. Feeling his body crushed against hers did not help his wits return to him. It was hard to hear Naomichi over the sound of Nari's heartbeat that was filling his ear as it was crushed against her chest.

"...Of course," Kosan said almost on reflex, but his mouth moving did seem to restart his mind, as he slowly came back to himself, doing his best to ignore the woman being held against him. Nari was like a puppy, he had to remind himself, a fluffy, hyperactive puppy that was still in the middle of learning to not use the carpet as a restroom.

"I can outlast Nari-chan in anything, but I fear she could not handle it," Kosan said with a soft sigh. He was dead set on turning this around. He did not enjoy being caught so off guard and out of his comfort zone. It was time to turn the situation around.

“Uhh…” Takko put in, not really understanding the implications of what Kosan had just said but sensing that there might be some. Katsuro had clearly caught them, if the fact that he was rolling his eyes was anything to go by, but then again, he seemed like the sort who did that with regularity, so it could have been nothing. “Anyway! Let’s go. Mikkun, put down the bottle. We’ve gotta do this all official-like! One cup at a time, everyone drinks together!”

As it turned out, Nariko, for all her big talk, was looking awful by the fourth cup, which Takehiko polished off with relish and no seeming change to his physiology at all. Kosan looked all right, and it was hard to say with Mikkun—the man was an odd duck normally, so who knew what he was like when drunk?

One thing Nariko could do well, was talk. She could talk, but she could never really live up to it. Even as she downed her fourth cup, her face was already contorting into something uncomfortable. She really shouldn't have taken the challenge, but she couldn't really resist the call of it. She glanced around the room, watching it spin as she grinned with a lopsided smile. She turned to Kosan, blinked slowly at him, and allowed the grin to spread further across her lips. "You stay right there, Ko-chans. One of you will be enough," she slurred, out patting his cheeks before her eyes closed. Her head fell onto his lap as she passed out.

Four drinks in, and his mood was dimming. Everyone else was having fun, so he supposed that was something. He constantly moved his blue eyes from one to the other, smiling when appropriate, a reflexive response more then anything, but he was only half there. The other half was swimming through memories, of drinking with friends who died in the war, of his Shizu falling into his lap when she had drank a little too much...

Kosan snapped his eyes to his right watching Nariko weaving back and forth and giving him a very, very odd look. He was a little surprised she had lasted this long. He instinctively leaned into the soft pat of his cheeks, his eyes closing... before he felt a sudden weight on his crossed legs. Opening his eyes, he looked down to see her head on his thigh. Well, at least he had not spilled his drink, but looking down at her, he couldn't help the small smile that tugged on his lips as he reached down to lay his hand on the top of her head, "It seems our puppy is out."

“Her bark was always a bit worse than her bite,” Takko replied definitively, smiling with amusement at his own extension of the metaphor into an appropriate idiom. He was definitely smarter than people thought he was, right? Right. His thoughts were only the slightest bit fuzzy, and there was a pleasant warmth in his stomach, but that was really it. Other than that, he was only a slightly-more-boisterous than usual, and that was it.

The next three drinks went down nice and smooth, and though his grin was wide enough to split his face now, nothing about his state of mind had become especially different, as far as he could tell. “Hey—hey Kossan,” The ‘s’ slurred slightly, but he was comprehensible. “Don’t look sso down, my friend. Thiss iss a celebrashun!” Of what, he wasn’t sure. Fixing his eye with utmost seriousness on the other man, he asked in a grave tone of voice:

“D'you need a hug?”

After the next three drinks, Kosan could not, for the life of him, remember what he had been just thinking about. In fact, nearly all his attention was being consumed by the little puppy sleeping in his lap. His head was down, causing his long black hair to hide his face, and most of hers, in a black curtain.

Reaching down, his long fingers turned her sleeping face to his. Her mouth was hanging open letting out short even breaths, and he could not help but stare... before reaching down with both his hands, putting them on the side of her face as he moved her mouth open and closed. 'Ah....' 'Um' 'Ahhhhh' 'Um' his mind filled in the sounds that her mouth was making through the hard work of his hands.

Lightly, he started to bob her mouth with his palm making soft popping sounds fill the air. Nariko must have been really out of it to not have felt his touch, and he was a little annoyed by that prospect. She should be awake and enjoying it! But she just looked so adorable! Even if her passed out face wasn't her most attractive one, she just looked so cute! He just wanted to wrap her up and steal her away.

Takko's voice made him snap his head up... and cause his head to swim a little from the sudden movement that caused his inebriated brain to slosh around in his head. A hug?

Instead of speaking, all Kosan did was hold his arms up, like a child asking to be picked up. Of course, he didn't want to be picked up as he had such an adorable puppy sleeping on him, but it was an acceptance of the hug from the man who would probably snap his spine in two.

"Isn't she just so adorable!?" He asked a few shades too loudly, "She is so much cuter when she isn't talking."

Takehiko was as good as his (implied) word, and though the hug was slightly awkward, given the need to consider Nari-chan, it did indeed happen, the Raikage offering his friend a pat on the back to go with, though he might have accidentally used a bit too much force. Three glasses later…

Nari's face was almost taunting him in how she slept there looking so adorable and there was nothing he could do about it! Somehow, someway, she had planned this! That deviously cunning Nariko! Oh, ho! She was trying to trick him again!

That half smile was not one of pleasant inebriation! That was one pure evil! Reaching down, he grabbed her nose with his fingers, pulling it left and right, forcing her head to rock in his lap. No.. maybe she was really asleep?

Blinking a few times to try and clear his cloudy vision, he was aware of two facts, his stomach was starting to hurt, and he was really, really tired. Throwing his hand into the air, he proudly, and loudly, announced to the small room, "I am tired and I am going to bed!"

Pushing up on the table, he climbed to his feet, either ignorant or uncaring to how Nariko's head plummeted to the floor with her pillow removed. Turning on wobbly legs, Kosan leaned against the wall and motioned to the sleeping Nariko, "Takko," Kosan said stressing the o for as long as he could, "Take care of my puppy."
With that, he started to stumble towards his room, trying his best to disrobe on the way without falling down at the same time.

The Raikage blinked, glanced down at Nari-chan and shrugged. She looked fine to him, for the moment. “So... Mikkun. Just you and me and the sake now." He nodded sagely, as if this were some kind of significant statement, but even drunk he couldn't maintain solemnity for very long. His face cracked into a broad grin. “Let's do this."

Naomichi took the challenge on like every other person in the room, downing drink after drink and watching his companions fall from their graces like the sun falls for the moon. When Nari was gone just after a few drinks Naomichi knew it would be easy to take down the rest. The way she curled up onto Kosan's legs made him slightly jealous, but it'd be better if he just let the group do what they are used to since they all know each other better than he could ever. As he watched Kosan's slow descent from calm and stoic master into cuddly and adorable child looking after their 'puppy,' Naomichi couldn't help but smirk and chuckle at how completely different he was acting with so much alcohol in his system.

As Kosan stumbled out of the room Naomichi scooted towards Nari so at least he was able to keep an eye on her, softly rolling her to her side just in case of something bad happening. He couldn't help doing this - he knew it was wrong and weird to do so - but he softly pet the back of Nari's head in a caring manner. He just wanted her to be happy and well in this situation, despite probably not remembering anything that happened that night.

"Well Takko-san" Naomichi said, fire in his eye as he looked at the Raikage. "It looks like it's the battle of the eyepatches then. This proves we are the manliest of men and no one can take us down. Now, let's see who the victor is!" Naomichi raised his cup to the ceiling in a cheers motion, clanking it with Takko's. After downing what Naomichi assumed was his eleventh glass (he had no need to count them unlike everyone else) he sobered himself up almost immeditely and decided that it was as good of a time as ever to gloat about how much better he was than the Raikage. "So you realize you'll never win this, right?"

Takko couldn’t seem to be bothered, not even by the gloating. “Yer pretty good at thish,” he slurred, his voice a fraction too loud for the size of the room. He blinked his single visible eye at Naomichi and grinned, shrugging. “Yanno, I really don’t mind loshing in an honorable contest between men. Or women. Women are shome of the toughesht people I know.” He seemed especially delighted by this, and continued to down drinks—he’d lost track of his count by this point, but Katsu hadn’t, and honestly, he was surprised the man wasn’t dead, even considering his size. He must have a serious metabolism to be able to process that much liquor.

“Too bad Naomichi’s cheating, then,” the Uchiha put in. It wasn’t too much of a contest if one of the parties was doing something to remove the negative effects of the alcohol. It was really the only logical conclusion to come to, given how much they had already consumed. He sipped his own sake decidedly more slowly—someone had to stay reasonably sober and responsible during this escapade.

Takko looked aghast. “Now thash not… not… ish mean, Katsu-kun!” The Raikage switched his sentence when he couldn’t find the word he’d originally intended on losing, swaying just slightly back and forth in his seat. “Mikkun wouldn’t cheat at a drinking contesht! Being washted is half the fun! Dun go… impugning hish honor that way.” How he’d remembered a word like impugning when he couldn’t manage nice was one of those mysteries that may never have an answer.

“Is that so?” Katsuro replied, raising an eyebrow in Naomichi’s direction. “Looks like the Raikage’s defending your honor, Yuhara.” He was ever-so-slightly curious as to how the other Shinobi would respond. He didn’t exactly seem like the smooth liar sort, but then, Katsu didn’t know him very well. Which probably explained why he couldn’t think of a reason to hate him, which explained the fact that he was actually using complete sentences to speak to him. Funny how that worked.

Naomichi gave a hearty laugh when Katsuro pointed out his little trick. After taking down another cup - matching the Raikage's pace - he turned towards the silent shinobi with a big smile plastered across his face. "Aww, now Katsu-san... why'd ya go about saying that? I wanted to be the one to make the 'big reveal' to Takko-senpai." He was a little bothered by the fact that there was still someone standing - sober even - that would dampen the fun of the evening.

He turned towards his drinking partner and gave a humble bow, paying his respects to the man he wronged by cheating. "I'm sorry senpai~" Naomichi said in a playful tone. "I can't lie to a man as spectacular and powerful as you, so I feel I must proclaim you as the winner!" He couldn't help but feel guilty for using his kekkei-genkai as a crutch in such a simple game, but he just wanted to see everyone enjoying themselves. Never really witnessing anyone having pure fun without any motives behind it was something he always wished to see; and so he owed it to the Kumo-shinobi for giving him the chance to be more natural without panicking about what he was going to do or say.

Naomichi raised his cup for what he assumed was the Raikage's last time. Every man had his limits and the fact this man could still form words without them crumbling out of his mouth was a miracle in itself. He wanted the Raikage to be out of the room itself either in mind or matter so he could have a private conversation with the man who so kindly interrupted him. "Now, let us drink one final cup to the winner of the evening... Takko-senpai!"

For a moment, Takko looked a bit disappointed that the downer Uchiha had actually been correct, but he perked up again at the praise, nodding agreeably—though it made the room swim—and downing the last cup. He could hold no more, however, and stood with considerable unsteadiness from his spot. Still, he managed to throw Nari over his shoulder okay; he at least had not quite managed to forget that she was present. “Shure, shure, I’ll be winner if you shay sho. Jus’ don’ be too hard on Katshu-kun here. I think being cranky and depreshed ish in hish genes.” Picking up a tuneless hum, he wobbled out of the room, depositing Nari on her futon—on her side, not her back—and briefly contemplating just curling up in there himself, because his own seemed so far away. But, well, there was a reason he shouldn’t do that, he was almost sure. Kiri would know what it was. Kiri knew everything.

“Shoulda made her Raikage,” he mumbled to himself, half asleep already, flinging wide the sliding door to his own room—with unfortunately enough force to take it out of the frame.

“Oopsh.” Well, at least he was here now. Time to sleep.

Katsu, meanwhile, narrowed his eyes suspiciously, but drank for the purposes of the toast anyway. “And did you enjoy watching them all make fools of themselves?” he asked blithely.

With the Raikage's exit Naomichi immeditely sobered himself up, losing the excitement and jest he had with the group to adapt to a more serious tone with Katsu. With a soft chuckle he set down his cup and stared at the finely crafted wooden table, fixated on how simple it looked and yet how it still had a sheen of beauty with it as well. "Ya know something Katsu? I enjoyed having fun with those guys - and you should too. While they may have acted like idiots it was pure fun. You shoulda joined in... I mean we can't be ruthless killers all the time right?" As calm as Naomichi tried to sound, deep down he was breaking out in a cold sweat. Katsuro was someone he just couldn't figure out - more so than others. He just came off more inhuman than anyone else he had ever met due to the fact that Naomichi couldn't figure out his desires in the slightest - assuming he had any in the first place.

Katsuro blinked just once, slowly, as though processing what was being said. “I wasn’t feeling especially like a ruthless killer at the moment,” he replied flatly, his left eyebrow inching just slightly up his forehead. “Now if Tsukino were here, that might be different.” It was very, very difficult to tell just how serious he was being, because neither his voice nor his facial expression modulated in the slightest, but it might just have been a dry joke. Maybe he had had too much to drink.

With the slightest of sighs through his nose, he stood, flicking a glance at Naomichi. “If I resented this, you’d know.” It was perhaps as close as he ever got to admitting that not everything was a complete chore for him to deal with. At least… not today. Nodding tersely at the other shinobi, the Uchiha too took his leave for the night.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Naomichi Yuhara Character Portrait: Akira Aburame
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#, as written by Senpai



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The Hokage sighed through her nose. Her attendant and her young student were both currently unconscious on the floor in her office, but alive, she’d moved them safely out of the way, but that left all six of the assassins focused on herself, Aburame, and Yuhara, the latter two of which had come to deliver a report on the Kumogakure visitors. They were faced with a strange arrangement of people, most of them wearing green or blue, but the woman in the center was swathed in black. There was little point in demanding an explanation of their presence—their intent was clearly to kill her.

Well, that was no simple task. The Hokage made a hand sign, and chakra flooded her system, stimulating her bioelectricity and nerve endings such that when one of the blue-cloaked fires threw a barrage of shuriken at her, she was able to swat all of them out of the air and safely to one side or another with a single kunai. “Yuhara, Aburame. Deal with the ones in blue. The rest are mine.” That gave them a total of three of six to contend with, and herself the same.

It had been a while since she’d been in an actual fight like this—she might even enjoy herself.

Naomichi stance shifted so his legs were spread apart with his knees bent, his hands forming the Ram sign as he gathered chakra throughout his body, flowing in unison with his blood and boosting his strength. His pupils shrank and became focused on one of the three blue members, the muscles in his body all tightening, ready to spring him forward at a moments notice. With a lick of his lips he said with a gravely voice, ""With pleasure Hokage."

At that moment he threw himself forward, trained on the blue assassin who was on the outside of the group, his tight fist striking the target straight in the stomach with an uppercut, doubling him over and sending him flying into the wall - shattering the smooth curve into hundreds of cracks. He then trained his gaze upon the other two targets he had, and with a smirk he confidently said, "If your buddy was that easy, I'm gonna be really bored of you t-"

He was cut off with a kunai striking him right in his right forearm, sinking itself deep into his veins and severing the arteries. He coolly looked down at the fresh wound he received, and then at the target who already recovered from his 100 Meter Punch. With a hard tug, he ripped out the kunai and threw it on the floor. Examining the gushing blood flowing from his wound and down his arm, he couldn't help but laugh. "Ohohoho, you just made the biggest mistake of your life buddy. Now I am serious."

Suddenly the blood stopped flowing from his wound and started to bubble out of it. Within half a second a smooth broadsword blade came shooting out, taking form using his blood. The blade lay parallel to the palm of his hand, with a handle midway to allow him an extra thrust or slice if necessary.

Rather typical of the Aburame clan, and rather atypical of Akira, she stayed completely calm during this assault's beginning. She was used to fighting alongside Naomichi and knew that trying to jump in beside him would ultimately result in her own demise as well as theirs. With him it was best to stay back and provide support. From the back she took in her surroundings as best she could. Attempting some of her more grand techniques could destroy the Hokage's office further and potentially endanger her allies. What to do...

Her first course of action was to prepare a Bikochu bug. This one flew behind the woman clad in black and stuck herself to her clothing. If there was an escape, Akira could track her down if needed. It probably would be needed, given that they were an assassin come to kill the Hokage. The question now was how could she properly support Naomichi given her limited space? Sage Mode was nowhere near ready. Many of her attacks were too wide-scale and might hurt or even kill allies. She had few options at this point and decided to utilize all remaining options until she was just useless or the battle could be taken somewhere more open.

Akira ripped off her long-sleeved shirt, exposing a tank top beneath and arms coated in holes. "Don't know who you bunch are, but you're a real bunch of pests." She smirked and began making commands to the bugs via her chakra. Slowly, the sound of buzzing began roaring up bit by bit as the skin on her arms began bustling, arcs and bumps revealing themselves and going back down as the insects traveled through her body to her arms. One offensive group from her left arm and one oppressive group from her right arm were preparing themselves for combat. Her left arm's group struck first. The Parasitic Giant Insect Bug Bite technique would finish one of them off easily if they successfully attacked. The group of five Kidaichu flew towards the mook furthest from Naomichi. She would command them to begin their attack directly upon impact with the body. Should they land, the insects would burrow deep into the victim's skin and devour their flesh and chakra, rapidly expanding and growing to destroy his body from the inside-out. It was one of the quickest and deadliest weapons in the Aburame arsenal.

Once that group had flown into battle, she turned to face the one between the to-be target and Naomichi's victim. The skin on her right arm contorted and jumped as an explosion of insects began racing their way out of her arm's holes and towards that man. This was an attempt at Akira's Insect Sphere. The swarm of insects would seek out their target and surround him in a small sphere. To suppress him, they would simply begin eating away at his chakra. These Kikaichu had an insatiable taste for chakra, and a swarm this size could easily drain him dry.

With those two incapacitated, hopefully, she would be able to assist Naomichi and the Hokage right after. Even if she asked not to be interrupted, Akira was ready to leap at a moment's notice. "Nao! Spindle Slicer! Get ready!" She called out to the man she had worked with many times before during their time in ANBU. They worked together often enough to simply know each other's plans with a name. There was no need to work anything out. This time it was not her arms that contorted and stretched before exploding with insects, but her back and upper shoulders. Three different arced waves of insects erupted from her and made a bee-line for Naomichi's target. The lines of bugs were positioned around Naomichi, one on each of his sides and one above him. Should Akira's bugs hit, the bugs would grab hold of the assassin and hold him in place for Naomichi's strike. This was one of their most simple and most efficient techniques. It was impossible to dodge a blade if one could not move.

With madness behind his eyes, Naomichi immeditely jumped towards the assassin that struck him - his movement almost instantaneous and invisible to most normal shinobi - his blood blade readied to slice the target in two as well as split the wall. If it was one thing he learned while training, in order to break something with ease he needed to imagine hitting behind the target, not the target itself.

The first barrage of Akira’s bugs hit what seemed to be a clone, which upon impact exploded, raining water down over the office. The real shinobi appeared thereafter, a general lightning jutsu frying the sodden insects—or most of them—that had been released to attack her. The suppression barrage was not fended off quite so easily, however, and several of them were growing fat with chakra before the ninja upon whom they preyed enveloped himself in a flame cloak jutsu, attempting to burn them off before they could do him any permanent damage.

It was the third ninja, however, that had the worst run of luck. Successfully pinned in place by the third round of bugs, he was at Naomichi’s mercy for the most part. The blood-blade wound up missing a fatality by dent of the blue-robed man’s last-ditch pull to the side, and instead of cleaving him in two, the attack sliced his left arm off in a gout of welling crimson blood. With a grunt, he pulled himself free of the other bugs, using a fire-cloak technique similar to the other one’s.

It was at about this time that the black-cloaked figure fighting the Hokage missed with the explosive tags on her massive sword and blew a hole in the side of the office building. Seeing the opportunity for her ninja to take the advantage, Mizuki immediately leapt out of the opening and onto the nearest roof, drawing all of the assailants with her. Two of the blue-cloaks, the ones with their limbs still intact, whirled around collectively at the edge of the new design element in the office building and released twin jutsu, one fire and one water, aiming not to hit Akira and Naomichi, but rather one another’s attacks. The result was a massive cloud of steam that obscured visibility and blocked their exit from being seen.

Using this to their advantage, they laid a trap—somewhat simplistic, but nevertheless effective. The first step either Naomichi or Akira would take onto the rooftop would trigger an explosive tag, which would hopefully thereby open them to further damage whilst they recovered.

"Tch, bastard." Naomichi grabbed the detached arm that hung in the air and pulled himself back by springing himself off the back wall and back to Akira's side, retracting his blood blade back into his wrist. Gripping his new 'prized' arm from the wrist, he waved the amputated stump in a playful fashion, his free hand placed daintily on his hip while his other spun the arm around in small circles. "This thing is so light, I can tell why you didn't want this anyway. Damn near useless." Spitting in disgust at how useless he saw the arm to be, he tossed it on the floor in front of Akira as he watched two of his three targets escape outside.

With two of them out of the room, his eye trained upon the last blue cloaked enemy, his initial target, then up towards the steam cloud hovering above them. Without a single word he decided to mimic his opponents and use Thick Steam Flow to shroud the entire inside office. All he was thinking about was making the playing field even again, even if their views were obstructed. Despite his knowledge of the enemy's location being completely stifled by the mist, he knew he could rely on Akira to point him in the direction of the last enemy.

Naomichi then flexed his right arm, swelling up the slashed arteries and causing what looked like a buildup of blocked blood from the wound. Aiming it forward he looked back towards Akira and quietly said, "Tell me where he is and he is a goner."

Akira only smirked at the arm tossed in front of her and kicked it off to the side. "Gross, Nao-Nao. What makes you think I want a man's arm so dainty and scrawny? How discourteous of you." She whistled softly and held her arm up, bent at the elbow and palm up to her face. Before a moment passed, a lone little bug made its way out of a hole in her wrist and up to the palm. "Hello, little one. It's mating season. Go seek out your beloved." The insect turned this way and that before taking off into the smoke. "Follow him, Nao. He'll take you right to the black one. I assume her lackeys are with her."

Nao was the one who could take the hits between them. In fact, he made practical use out of getting injured. If Akira went first and got caught out into a Taijutsu assault, she was easily going to be out of the fight. But once they were out there, they'd be able to do some of their more crazy combo attacks. Not only that, but Akira could use some larger-scale moves with no problem. Her knuckles met her fist and cracked all at once, hands swapping to crack the other set. "After you."

With a devil's grin he sprang after the bug, leaving his partner in the steam filled room as he broke through the open part of the ceiling. As soon as his body reached out into the open a bright explosion engulfed his body, creating several gashes and wounds that covered his rough skin. Landing on the the side of the roof oposite to his opponents, Naomichi cooly threw off his duster as his smile only grew with more madness as the seconds passed by. "Damn that Akira for sending me out into a trap like that. I'll get him back later for this. "

With his well-defined arms covered in wounds ranging from small gashes to large wounds from the results of the explosion, he figured it'd be a better time as any to flush out his other opponent to Akira before taking on his other prey. Aiming down towards the ground he began to rain down a hellfire of blood bullets piercing several floors before stopping. If these didn't kill him they would at least cause him to move in the direction of Akira who would take care of him.

During Naomichi's unrelenting fire, one of the enemy assassins attempted to make their approach on Naomichi for some close range combat. For him though, it was a mistake since Naomichi -while still firing with his left arm - swiftly swung out his bulging right arm from the buildup of blood and released a giant wave of blood coming from the wound he blocked up, bursting out like a dam breaking from water pressure. With this wave he would be able to disolve anything that it touched, including the man that was trying to approach him.

As it happened, however, blood, much like the human body, was largely water-based, and also carried iron, a conducting metal if ever there was one, and the ninja who had been homing in on him at close range threw a bolt of lightning at the wave of blood headed in his direction, evaporating a great deal of the liquid portion of the substance and sending arcs of electricity in a direct shot for his foe. Strangely, this seemed to be the very same ninja who had only moments before been missing an arm… but it was now intact again. Or perhaps, considering that the severed limb was still laying where it had been left, it would be more accurate to say that it had regrown.

Three of the other ninja, including the woman in the black cloak with the massive sword, were still fighting the Hokage some distance away, though in all fairness their motion could hardly be seen. Mizuki, after all, had been chosen as Hokage in a time of war, when strength was the primary criterion for the position, and it was no exaggeration to say that of all the ninja in Konoha, she was likely the most formidable. One of her foes, a man in a gold cloak, lay prone some distance from her and unmoving. Even Mizuki herself was not unscathed, however—a cut just above her eyebrow leaked blood into one of her eyes, forcing her to keep it closed and fight with only one.

The two that had created the steam flow, however, were as yet unaccounted for, but whether they had perished under Naomichi’s attack or evaded it entirely was unclear.

Akira's figure lunged out from the steam in between the electrical attack and Naomichi. It was fortunate that Akira was a borderline giant of a woman, as she was able to take all of the arcs my maneuvering her arms and legs this way and that. The instant each strike hit, Akira's body ceased to exist in that spot and instead turned into a purple buzzing cloud that only reshaped itself to mimic her appearance again. "That's one more you owe me, Nao-Nao." The clone made from bugs dispersed completely, purple completely obscuring Naomichi's visage for a complete seconds as the mass of insects returned to Akira behind him.

Naomichi straightned out his position, maintaining some control over himself not to slaughter Akira on sight. She was one of the few people he knew not to attack no matter what - everyone else was expendible to him. With a violent spit onto the ground he beared a toothy grin and gave Akira a lazy flick of his right, bloody hand. "Well you gotta stop sendin me headfirst into damn battlefields without a heads up! I swear, you give me more scars than the enemy does! What kind of support ninja does that, hmmm?" He sounded dead serious, but he knew Akira understood the playfulness to his comment.

She made her way up to him, not seeming to mind that he was injured. Injuries became strengths to Naomichi, this much she had come to learn over every mission with him. "You almost killed me with those damn blood bullets, you know. Think about me before you go doing stuff like that." She was obviously being sarcastic. It was just who she was. She took her time now to observe the scene in front of her. The man they had fought before had his arm back? It was unmistakably him. She had left his arm down there, though. They had been up here a fair while. "How... in the hell... did he do that?" Shaking her head, she let loose a small stream of hand seals before telling Naomichi, "Hold your breath."

Her cheeks began puffing up as a poison filled her lungs. With a mighty exhale, a lavendar-colored poison began spreading through the battlefield. One of Akira's many breath and/or poison-based techniques, this was her Genjutsu: Poison Moth. This long-range gas makes those affected by it see whatever she wants them to see. Right now she wanted to affect the three mooks, make each of them think that the other two were Naomichi and Akira, while the real Naomichi and Akira were their allies. Hopefully this worked to let Naomichi and Akira set up for their own new offensive strategy. Right now this was her best bet to buying some time.

With a deep inhale Naomichi took what precious air he could to protect himself from the poison cloud. If he were to run out of air, not only would he become incapacitated, his blood wouldn't flow correctly, leaving him lost without his kekkei-genkai. Springing back so he knew he was out of range of the Genjutus, he gasped for air, sounding like he just threw down something extremely heavy that he was carrying for a few hours. Not taking his eye off the mist, he extended two bloody sickles from the top of his forearms, bloody blades so fine and sharp that they could slice faster than someone could blink. "I don't know, and personally I don't care. In the end I'll keep cutting it off and you'll keep getting your present of a bloody arm everytime I fetch it." He strolled in front of Akira as he spoke to her. Akira was the brains, he was the expendable body, so he figured the body needed to protect the brain no matter what.

"So what do we need to do now boss? Few more moments and we're gonna be screwed once again. We lost two and the other guy is currently playin' around in the fog." He shifted himself into a battle ready stance, just in case projectiles came flying towards them at any moment. With a devilish smile spreading across his face he quietly mumbled, "Shall we burn him down to the ground?"

"What a good puppy you are then, hm?" She mocked his little fetch metaphor before trying to think up a strategy. His calling her boss seemed to spur something of an idea as he walked in front of her. Having her meat shield in front of her added a feeling of security, allowing her to think easier. "Burn... I think I know what you mean. You thinking about the Executioner's Coliseum routine, Nao-Nao? Doesn't that seem a bit extreme for a little mook?" She laughed before patting him on the back. "Sure. Let's nuke 'im."

With Akira's cheerful comment giving him the greenlight to beat the pulp out of his target, Naomichi quickly made the remark, "Well it isn't overkill for a guy who seems to regrow his shit. Better leave him a pile of ash so there is nothing left to regrow." With that remark, the mist faded away and the assassin stood before them, staring them down like they were helpless prey. Within an instant, Naomichi lept forward at a breakneck speed, cocking his left leg back for a mighty kick aimed right at his target's hip. If anything he wanted to shatter the pelvis to limit his movement to make for an easy kill. The assassin was just fast enough to shift his position so that Naomichi's knee made contact with his lower ribs, breaking three of them as he sent his target flying towards the ground.

As the assassin fell though, he was able to throw several shuriken into Naomichi's right arm and leg, sinking a few inches into his skin. He paid no mind though as he jumped down into the streets of Kohana after the crippled assailant. Landing a good distance away from his target, Naomichi didn't take a moment to gloat or relish in what he assumed was his inevitable defeat. He just closed his eyes and flexed all of his muscles. Suddenly all the shuriken stuck in him shot back out as streams of blood began to from a thick shield along his side. This shield would be able to block most of his basic attacks, leaving Naomichi to focus on his first duty. Making the tiger hand seal, he started to run around his target in a clockwise fashion, giving him a radius of about 20 meters, leaving behind a trail of fire reaching ten meters high. As he ran the assassin tried any projectile he could think of, but all bounced of the shield Naomichi made for himself. Once Naomichi made a ring around the target, he let his shield dissolve back into his body, and lept back up towards the roof where Akira was waiting.

With Naomichi back up with her, she formed her hands together in a Tiger seal of her own. ""Fire Style: Heat Wave Drought!" Had she not controlled it to this more specific area, the entire village would have been without water for a very, very long time. However, when her cheeks puffed up she released a visible flame-colored breath from her mouth that made it to that ring of fire that Naomichi had made. "I have enough chakra to get me through a couple more techniques. Enough to finish the combo, Nao-Nao. After that, I will have to rely on my bugs." When the breath finally reached the ring, the flames erupted and rose to about twenty-five meters high. The entire area became dried out, grass decaying and dying away, the heat in the area rising up to blistering summer conditions. The coliseum was constructed... Now it was time to set up the executioner.

Akira used her canines to bite into a scabbed area on her palm, opening the wound fresh up and letting blood peek out from under her flesh. "Summoning: Jumping Spider!" In a puff of smoke, a hairy arachnid large enough to carry three people took up the rooftop long enough for the two to get on. "Here we go, Nao-Nao. Executioner take the stage." Patting the spider's head, he jumped up and forward. The duo's timing had to be perfect to execute this rather flashy move... but they were ANBU of the Hidden Leaf Village. They were a duo experienced in working with each other and had their prey trapped in a 25-meter tall prison. There was no escape from this combo... Especially as Akira formed another set of hand signs, ending again in Tiger. "Mist Blaze Dance!" Precision was key. Her cheeks puffed up again and released a clear gas that flew into the arena and filled it up. It stayed away from the edges of the coliseum and began spreading... but by the time it reached it, Naomichi will have already shown them why the technique is called Executioner's Coliseum. Akira gave Nao's rear a quick slap. "Go! Now!" The spider was still moving through the air. Naomichi had to jump then and there to finish executing it, else the velocity of the spider's jump would take them over the coliseum and out of range...

Naomichi sprung forward on Akira's command, retracting all blood based weaponry back into his body as he was meeting the spider in the air. Once he met the spider at the apex of its jump, he sprang up again, making a few swift hand signs and calling out "Fire Release: Fire Armor". As he flew high into the sky, easily 250 meters above the village, he had his right leg become engulfed in a raging inferno. This technique was new enough to Naomichi that he still hadn't perfected it, but all that mattered was that his leg was burning. With a few frontflips in the air to build up rotational speed, he began to plummet back down towards their coliseum. With a loud battle cry, screaming out "Guillotine Drop," the spinning Naomichi flew into the gaseous ring of fire, his leg igniting the fuse and sending an explosion skyward that could be seen anywhere throughout the village. If his leg hadn't made contact with his target - shattering any bone it touched - the result would have burnt up any remain of their target. Unfortunately for Naomichi though, he was running on the fumes of what was left of his chakra since the attack required so much of it.

The combination, lethal as it was, was indeed enough to drop their opponent, and the ninja seemed to be bleeding sluggishly out of several wounds, though mostly the extent of the injury was the fact that his right side was largely crushed. Sporting several patches of charred skin, he appeared to have been skilled enough to either avoid most of the flames, or else… if either Akira or Naomichi looked closely enough, they could observe something strange happening to his skin. Slowly, the burn marks were receding, to be replaced with fresh skin, but the target remained unconscious.

There wasn’t much time for them to contemplate what that might mean, however, because the two missing ninja chose this moment to reappear. One of them drove a shortsword into the side of the jumping spider’s abdomen and dragged it with great strength, essentially eviscerating the bug. The other went right for Naomichi, cloaking itself in fire and drawing two kodachi from there the sheaths were crossed beneath her overrobe, at the small of her back. Her attacks were brutal, and considering how fresh she was compared to Naomichi, who had been bleeding for a prolonged period of time and was almost out of chakra, it was hardly a match at all. She swept low, taking him off his feet, then drove one of her blade through the soft flesh between his deltoid muscles and collarbone, twisting the sword even as she staked him to the ground with it. One of her feet was planted on his chest, hard enough to snap a few ribs, her second sword too close to his throat for real comfort, when suddenly she stiffened and glanced towards where her leader and other counterparts fought the Hokage.

The other, about to move from the spider to Akira, did the same, then met eyes with her across the intervening space. With little visible change in expression, the woman picked up the formerly burned shinobi, who still smelled heavily of charred flesh, and the two made their way back over to their leader at blurring speed. The Hokage, who had noticed this change, narrowed her eyes.

“Retreating already?” she asked her opponent, who appeared significantly more winded than she was. All three of the mooks who had attacked her were unconscious at the very least, and unmoving on the ground. These too were retrieved by the other two, leaving the woman with the large sword, one of the Seven, if Mizuki was not mistaken, to reply.

“We’ve done what we came to.”

The Hokage’s lips pulled back from her teeth in something angry, almost a snarl, and she was half a second from leaping forward when all of her potential targets simply disappeared. “Tch.”

Well, the only thing for it now was to see to her village, it seemed.

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Character Portrait: Naomichi Yuhara Character Portrait: Akira Aburame
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In the aftermath of the attack, the Hokage dispatched any remaining uninjured medic-nin to take care of the wounded parties, but it was assuredly a tall order to fulfill. The death toll rested at somewhere around fifty, most of those Chūnin, though no few Jōnin of Leaf were among the number as well, a testament to the skill and strange, foreign dauntlessness of their opponents. Other casualties were being brought into the hospital at an alarming rate, and she was beginning to suspect that they would lose more simply because there were too many to treat in a timely manner, given what she was working with in terms of staff. The architectural damage, while less important, was also vast. Not counting the hole in her office wall, more than half the buildings in the village had been damaged to at least a moderate degree, and it would be a significant drain on village resources to repair everything. In the aftermath of a costly war, well… she would have to see the final numbers to be sure, but they may well need to borrow from the Daimyō to cover everything, something that any leader hated doing, and for good reason.

It was, in short, a crisis situation, but that would be manageable if there was any guarantee that it would not repeat the very next day. But it would seem that their foes had retreated rather than press their obvious advantage, and this inexplicable mercy was the only reason the damage was not much worse. The first step, after the immediate aftermath was taken care of, had to be getting as much information about the group as possible. Hopefully, some of her ninja had learned something, in addition to what she had gathered from her own opponents.

But triage care had to come first. As a medical ninja herself, Mizuki was well-equipped to do this, and the closest parties were Yuhara and Aburame, so she made her way to them first. Yuhara was clearly in the worse condition of the two, so Mizuki dropped into a crouch beside him, observing that the worst wound seemed to be one in his shoulder, whereby he was presently staked to the ground. “Aburame, report,” she said, flicking her reddish eyes up to Akira for just a moment before she looked back down at Naomichi. “This will hurt,” she informed him honestly, and then took hold of the hilt of the sword in his shoulder, tearing it out in a single, swift motion, then immediately applying pressure to the wound, using a clean swath of fabric from her own uniform. Her free hand signed out the motions for a diagnostic jutsu—his wounds may have been obvious, but she also needed to check for poisons, interference with his chakra networks, and other, similar effects.

Akira stood at attention once Mizuki approached them and began tending to Naomichi. "Lady Hokage! Report, right. Well, uh, Nao-Nao and I pursued this one guy. He was... crazy weird. Nao-Nao ripped his arm off right in front of me. When we found him again he had his arm. The severed arm remained where it was. It was really peculiar. I didn't know what to make of it until Nao-Nao and I attacked him with our biggest combo..." She seemed rather distant as she tried to recall it. "Nobody has ever survived Executioner's Coliseum... When the flames died, I saw his flesh regenerating. Any damage we did to him was just healing itself. I have no idea what the hell it was, but I've never heard of something like this...

With a sigh, she dropped her head. "They spared me for whatever reason and cut Nao-Nao down, probably because he had the better potential to stop them. They collected their comrade and left before I had a chance to send any bugs after them. I think they might be out of range for me to track them with the bug I placed on your opponent as well. I decided to stay behind and take care of Nao-Nao rather than chase. I know I couldn't do anything to them. I apologize, Lady Hokage..." It was unlike Akira to be so formal and down like this, but given the circumstances and whom it was she was addressing, she made sure to speak with respect. "Did you learn anything? Do you know who it was that attacked us? I didn't see any headbands to identify where they were from... You don't think that they were Kumo ninja, do you? We did let them into our village... this would be the best time to attack us. Lower our guards, cut off our heads... To think I was trying to be friendly..." She seemed rather upset with herself now. Her fists clenched tight and pressed against her thighs at her own frustrations. To think that she had been so friendly with them, invited them into her home and shared drinks with them. She had done her best to be welcoming and courteous to the people she once thought her enemies. If they were really behind it, she could never forgive herself...

"They weren't behind it, I can bet my life on it..." Naomichi struggled to speak, his body going cold from the amount of blood seeping out from the wound. Since his chakra levels were so low, he couldn't pull it all back into his body, leaving a powerful flow of red blood flowing out and over his bare chest. Still lying flat on the ground, Naomichi looked over towards the Hokage with his brow furrowed and face emotionless - hiding all the pain that he actually was in with a severed artery, several deep gashes up and down his body, and a gaping hole in his shoulder. "If they really were the Kumo... wouldn't they have sent someone on the level of the Raikage to take you down? I'm sorry and all, but there was no way these guys could have beat you. These guys were damn strong - look at what they did to me -" Naomichi's eye glanced back down towards the sword wound where the Hokage was applying pressure. Somewhere, deep in his mind, he wanted to shoot a blood spike through the Hokage's hand. It just seemed so easy. Before he became too lost in thought though, he let himself continue his defense of the Kumo shinobi - grunting softly as he tried to reposistion himself. "But we aren't pushovers ourselves. I know I could've easily taken two of them on at least; plus we've been with them so much we should know how they work and all. The amount of shit we've done over these days doesn't make them seem like bad people at all..."

Naomichi's bloodlust was slowly settling, his mind shifting more off of killing others to defending them. He didn't understand why he was defending those he once called an enemy, cutting them down without a second thought, but he felt they needed someone to be there to defend them while they aren't there themselves. He had more fun with the Kumo shinobi than he had his entire life, and to know it was all a lie would have just been crushing to him. Until proven wrong he would try to give them the best defnese he could... which coming from Naomichi didn't mean much.

Naomichi couldn't help but feel bad for his partner either. Akira was usually so full of energy, and seeing him like this made Naomichi feel a rock in his stomach. In an attempt to try and lighten the mood, Naomichi gave a little slap to Akira's boot, just light enough for her to notice that he was calling her attention. "Hey, since when did you become so polite? Ya gotta be more like yourself if you want to get the point across... and don't worry. We'll come up with an even BIGGER move to wipe them out. They won't even see us coming next time - eh partner?"

Akira seemed rather surprised at Naomichi's speech. She was less surprised at how it actually got to her and more surprised he did so quite as eloquently as he did. He was never much of a talker, even around her. Being able to be so motivational right there took her by surprise. Her fists unclenched and turned to loose fingers, one of those hands covering her face for a brief moment as she shook her head. "It's the Hokage, Nao-Nao. I have to show her some respect, you know. I can't be as informal with her as I am with you, idiot."" Calling him an idiot was less rude and moreso just a playful jab, like a hidden kindness.

Her head decided to give another shake as well as she found a response to his declaration of war to them. "Bigger moves? Nao-Nao, if we get any more powerful with these combos, people might think a rampaging Jinchuuriki was passing by. I have no idea how someone with as little discretion as you made it into ANBU... I love it. We'll show them that this duo from the Hidden Leaf is not to be messed with! I've been working on a few things in private too that'll only help our combinations... Just you wait, Nao-Nao. Even you'll be gawking at my power!" She flexed a half-sarcastic muscle and looked him in the eyes. Her gaze somehow blended concern and determination. "Hurry and heal up, idiot. I'll buy you a drink and we can discuss more ways to take down the ene--" Her gaze averts to the Hokage for a moment before Akira changes her wording. "We'll come up with new ways to defend the Hidden Leaf. With you and me protecting it, we could protect our home from all the other villages by ourselves!" It was just that kind of bullheaded determination that should be expected from this duo.

The Hokage seemed rather unfazed by all the dramatic resolutions going on, and in the end was mostly silent while they spoke, apparently either thinking over the information she had obtained from the report or else needing the focus to work on stitching Naomichi back together with her chakra. He’d still need more recovery time, considering the blood loss, but his bones were set and on their way to fully mended and his wounds were closed over, with little evidence of their having been present at all. Standing, she dusted off her hands and glanced from one to the other.

“I may have you repeat all of that to the Council, Yuhara,” she said, but a sly half-smile pulled her mouth up at a corner. Asking Naomichi to speak in public was a catastrophically-stupid idea, and of course she wasn’t going to miss that. She also hadn’t missed Akira’s verbal slip, but it wasn’t like she gave a damn. Functionally, destroying the enemies of the village and defending it were usually the same thing anyway. “For now, both of you get some rest. You’ve earned it.”