Private Moonlight and Secrets [Sousuke]

Uzu

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Two months flew by since her arrival. Like, literally eight weeks just breezed on by and Okibi was probably worst for wear.
Her time surviving in the desert had not been kind to her. She had spent the first fourteen years of her life, raised by a wolf, out there in those dunes, but desert had only grown deadlier in the recent years. Also with considering age, injury, and lifestyle, the middle-aged woman looked considerably older than she was, especially when compared to Otami. Trying to get used to being inside a city once more, wishing Tama was anything but the monster he had become, and attempting to overcome her phobia of people once again was painful.
Her daughter, on the other hand, was a vibrance of youth and everything Okibi was once known for. She was hyper, optimistic, curious, and powerful. The only thing of her mother that the child hadn’t seemed to inherit was Okibi’s bad temper. In fact, Otmai was unlike either of her parents in that regard as Tama could be something of a hot-head himself when his pride was brought into question. The girl’s attitude in regards to anger was to a point of near indifference towards the world.
At first glance, the teenager was everything you’d expect out of a sheltered seventeen-year old girl interacting with a city for the first time. At a closer inspection, though, it was clear there was something underneath going on that was impossible to read. Even when she seemed angry or threatening, there was no real force behind it, just words and attempts at body language. All her other emotions seemed genuine, but in regards to anger, rage, or even irritation she seemed to have an unnerving calm instead. As such, she executed her actions very practically. Even if the action seemed extreme, if it was the shortest path to her goal, she was most likely to choose it.
That being said, it wasn’t like Okibi hadn’t taught her child morals either. Despite every sign of being a sociopathic psycho like her father, she actually appeared to be very caring. She doted on her mother’s weakness despite the distractions Sunagakure had to offer. Also, since Tama moved out of the house and left its upkeep to the two females, Otami had learned what currency was, how to use it, how to haggle, where the best fruit was, what fruit was, that it had a liquid beverage form, and a myriad of things that quickly boosted her overall popularity within the Bazaar. Even her speech seemed to steady out by the end of the month.
Yet like all things positive and benign, there was something hiding away in her soul that was a secret even from herself. Secrets that Okibi had not been able to solve and the mystery to her daughter’s symptoms of just ghosting out of her own body from time to time. The tattoos that suddenly appeared on the day she began controlling the soil like a master ninjutsu specialist. The ability she had to sway Sandworms. The scars that covered Okibi, ones she kept hiding from Tama when they attempted another relationship. Secrets the mother had been keeping away from both Sousuke and Tama that only Michino was aware of. It was her whole reason from coming back to the village, but, now she wondered if it had been wise.

Today, after weeks of getting her nerves together, she had agreed to have Otami examined, first, by the Takahashi clan members before she resorted to her ex. Unfortunately this meant she and her daughter had to go to Sousuke’s home. Which wasn’t unpleasant, at least in the physical sense, but the house had not changed much in her time away. It smelled painfully familiar and not. Then there was the awkwardness that was her first child, Aki.
The young man regarded Okibi, at first, without much regard, but as time went on he kept trying to start conversations with the mother. She smelled familiar, as he kept saying but so far had managed to not further his suspicions by trying to disregard it. He had been raised, not as her son, but as Sousuke’s son. As far as he was concerned, she was a fabled older sister who kept going missing. He treated Otami like he would of regardless of his connection to her, and the two got along but not to a point that he’d start to connect dots. Okibi could only imagine that, under her father’s tutelage, the boy was highly intellectual and good at picking things out. She sure it was only a matter of time before he caught on that the fabled sister was more than just another child his father adopted. Doing the procedure in Souske’s house was the second-to-last place she wanted it, but, her father had been insistent. Apparently, at some point, her bastard ex lived with Sousuke and had built quite a manageable lab in his basement. It was perfect for private inspections and procedures.

It was close to 10pm. Okibi had asked that Sousuke do this as late as possible to avoid seeing Aki, not realizing that a certain doctor also got off only an hour ago. She was dressed in a shawl and robes, covering herself from the bitter desert night air. Her daughter was also covered in a drab brown robe, but it was just to cover the lack of clothing she preferred while they walked down the street. While the mother had no right to talk, she didn’t want any of the attention her child’s normal choice in clothing usually gathered. Unfortunately the two of them walking out of the house Tama had left for them, and walking in the direction of the Takahashi household, had caught the surgeon’s literal passing attention. The scientist had just happened to be walking by when he watched his ex locking the front door and heading down the street with some urgency. Keeping his distance, Tama moved while pausing time every now and again to keep either of them from noticing him as Otami started suddenly banging on Sousuke’s front door after a boring five-minute walk. She was hungry and no doubt before anything was getting done the teen was raiding his kitchen.

[MFT]
 

Takahashi Sousuke

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Okibi and Otami were living at Tama’s residence while he lived in some trailer? The living accommodations were fine, it was just an odd choice that did not sit well with the Sousuke. The relationship between Tama and Okibi was strained at best. The fact that Okibi was now residing within the gates of Sungakure was something meaningful to him. The Steward was at peace with himself for the most part. He had yet to have Okibi and Teke meet. That would be a slightly complicated situation, but nothing the Steward had not dealt with before. The Steward did not expect Teke and Okibi to get along with each other as the two were very different people, both with complications that Sousuke was trying to help with.



Okibi had given Sousuke a time to get ready to meet them for. He was not hesitant exactly, but he was trying to best make things easier for Okibi. He didn’t expect her to understand the whole story but he acquired a skin suit. About half an hour before the meeting time the Steward took time to prepare himself. He would first put on the face. It was very much like wearing a mask. Then came the wig and having to neatly put it into the skin suit. He would then put on the rest of the skin suit save for the left arm. Like a glove he would put on the skin suit for his right arm. He would put on some minor jewelry. In particular he would wear his single earring which Okibi was well familiar with. His wig had a streak of grey amongst the purple locks of hair. At least he was able to showcase some passage of time for him. The flesh suit was like an armour for him, it was just the emotional kind. Sousuke would look back into a mirror as he placed in his lenses. He would make a few facial gestures making sure everything lined up correctly, and so it did. He exhaled a small sigh.



He walked down the stairs and realized that he was right on schedule. The door was subjected to a loud banging to which he answered promptly. He would manage a small smile on his face and would permit them entry. Some small talk was had before Sousuke directed them to his kitchen. He allowed his ‘grand daughter’ to take her pick while he would sit down and have a conversation with her mother. “You look well.” He spoke calmly. “While Otami goes and has her fill of food, I suspect you may have some questions about this?” Sousuke would with his metallic hand pinch the palm area of his other hand which was covered by the skin suit. “Or... we can just skip the matter as a whole. The choice is yours.”
 

Uzu

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To say Otami exploded through the door was slightly underrated. She shoved right past Sousuke without a look back and slinked right into the kitchen. The sounds of cabinets opening, fridge locks being undone, and pans clattering came echoing out before the rest of her family came walking in. As they stepped into the dining room the smells of sizzling chicken, garlic, and other spices was already wafting in the air.

Souskay, Souskay!” Otami called from the kitchen, Did you know fruit has a juice?”
Later dear, hurry up and finish cooking, we’re here for a reason remember?” Okibi replied from the dining room. A grunt was the only returned response as the cooking sounds appeared more frequent. The mother sighed but smiled warmly at the child chopping at something now. She was adapting so well to Suna it was terrifying, but, then she supposed that was her father coming through. Tama’s ability to adapt to what he needed had been one of his defining features, though, the man he was now did ill with change. Neither of them had heard from the surgeon in some weeks, but there was still plenty of money left over to pay for upkeep. She had high doubts that he would stop sending any, but couldn’t help but worry a little with the uncertainty that this new person called ‘Tama’ brought. Looking across the table to see her father pull at his flesh suit paled her skin and reminded her of how long she had really been away.

N-not really, but…is probably better I do. It seems a lot has happened and we still have a lot to catch up on. I believe we got time while Otami is cooking so…” she waved her hand at her father, waiting to hear this story for the first time. His scent told her that he was something less of a man but his recent emotional responses screamed anything but that. Michino had only said that one day he couldn’t sense Sousuke like he used to and he was more expressive. The young man figured that the legendary Steward had just gained a new power.
 

Takahashi Sousuke

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Sousuke offered a grin to Otami when she spoke of fruit having a juice. He chuckled. He would counter her statement with an amused one. “ It may in fact shock you to know that some fruits provide better juices than others. Some vegetables produce juice as well. It’s not as tasty though. The oddity in this, is the coconut, which … some people make coconut milk from.” He answered his granddaughter. The Steward would allow that last statement to grasp Otami’s mind. He would allow her to rush ahead all the same. Within seconds there was the sounds of cooking at work. Sousuke would turn to Okibi and he would giver her a curious look, he smelled the garlic, and the other spices. Otami as far as he knew was stunted in social interactions and very much was her mother’s daughter in terms of how she spoke to people. It did not come as a surprise to him. The cooking part did though. He would tilt his head and look again in the direction that she ran off to.“I wonder where she got that from? The cooking ability that is, were you hiding something from me in your younger days?”



The two would catch up with Okibi’s daughter quickly enough. As she cooked and worked the conversation continued. Sousuke’s expression seemed to sour momentarily. “I won’t bore you with the details. I remember you napping when I used to do that. Otami reminded me promptly of that fact.” He would think for a moment. How best to condense this as a whole for Okibi to understand. “Think of me … as how Kitchy used to be. A life time of injuries … leads to this sort of thing happens. That and… your nemesis returned to extract vengeance upon me and Tama.” Sousuke spoke. He tapped his fingers across the table. “Evil is a curious thing. Evil returns without warning and carries with it an advantage. Suffice to say … Evil has a way of making friends, and … ironically or not those friends may have had something of mine for a long time. Suffice to say … while my body for a time was destroyed … I became whole in the aftermath. It’s not a popularly known fact.”
 

Uzu

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Okibi giggled. It had been so long since something genuinely made her smile that the action made her face a little sore. The mother couldn’t help but raise a hand to the ache in her cheek. Yet she also remembered how horrible she had been at cooking, and how half-decent her lover had been. Their first meal together was cooked by him, though, to be fair it didn’t really count since everything got out of hand quickly that night; his meals following did. Tama wasn’t some renown chef, but had he chosen culinary over biology he easily could have been. His food had a certain flavor to it that paired perfectly with the meat, and somehow despite the child having never met her father until just recently, Otami also had that skill. It was one of the many things about her that terrified the mother into thinking she could even come close to being like her father.

She’s a natural, actually. I think it started…ten years ago? I was cooking some mountain goat and she started complaining about how it wasn’t skewered correctly. She took it off the fire, pulled the stick out, and demanded that I cut it up first. At this point I was already mad, so I just threw the knife at her feet and said ‘Do it yourself!’” Okibi sighed loudly with an obvious look of frustration, “…and so she did! Without any hesitation. Picked up the knife, cleaned it, cut up the meat, and seasoned it with some herbs she found playing in the mountains. That was the first meal I had ate in years that wasn’t just…meat flavored. From that day on she took over food all together; gathering, preparing, cooking. She’s just got a lot more to work with now,” she rested her head on a balled up fist propped up by elbow. Her pink eyes were focused on the girl in the kitchen and shining in them was a mix of pride and fear.
So what happened to…you?

The story was given straight. She recalled the horrible man that had ruined her life not once but three separate times. The cult and their evil plans to bring about cheap immortality, the death of her closest friend, and everything she had kept buried a lot longer than she cared to believe rushed to the surface. Okibi bit her lip as Sousuke continued, still unable to shake the feeling that this was all her fault. By the time he had finished she had brought her hand up to her mouth in shock. Sousuke was like Kitchy? Metal and gears? She started to question either how or why but the answer found itself banging on Sousuke’s front door. Three loud knocks and then without the door ever opening the infamous scientist in all his miniature glory was removing his coat to hang up on the hook near the door.

Hey! Smelled something good and saw my family coming over to visit late made me realize how long its been since I’ve had a good meal. How are yah, how’s the family Sousuke?

Tama had entered the home casually but his eyes were sharp. Something was up, he could sense it easily by the sudden tension that rose in the air. Okibi’s tan colored flesh paled and her demeanour took on one of both a terrified and furious animal. She had no want of his presence, knowing what he could possibly do with whatever powers possessed their daughter. The stories his brother told were nothing compared to the rumors that Otami brought home from the market. The scientist’s eyes darted up to the kitchen where Otami was making food and a smile crossed his face. He slipped his hands into the pockets of his slacks and began to walk forward. Within a second he was suddenly next to the table about to turn towards the kitchen. Tama’s bi-colored eyes snapped down in a quick glare at the woman who was keeping secrets from him.

Something was up.
 

Takahashi Sousuke

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Sousuke listened to Okibi explain how Otami had revealed her cooking talent. It was not surprising to learn that Obibi had gotten frustrated with her. Frustration was an individual universal existence. People got frustrated with other people, animals, technology, the elements, and at hard times. It was a vast list as to what one could get frustrated at. It seemed very normal of Okibi to get mad while cooking food. He had seen it before, especially when she had made that goopy pink candy that had exploded all over in part of the Kazekage tower. It was refreshing to hear that Otami was a natural. He would give Otami a glance and smiled. “Talent flourishes at very odd times, or perhaps times when one needs help most… and yes she has a lot more now to work with.” Sousuke’s kitchen was decently sized. It was not comparable to the one in the Torono clan household, and it was not really comparable to the one in the Kazekage tower. “I can still smell the food. It is indeed delightful to the senses.” He would admit.



A loud knock upon the door came at this late hour. Sousuke shifted and was about to get up to open the door. It was not unusual for a member of the Anbu to be delivering him a report at this late hour. There was also the chance that it was a Medical squad too delivering him a report. In fact it was neither. It was an uninvited individual, one Ryuu Tama, who on occasion had worn out his welcome. One such time was during the birthday of his brother – Michino. At that time it was made very clear to Tama that he was not welcomed again at the household. That was some time ago, and events had happened since then. It was in that time had passed that the Steward had helped that Tama would learn a lesson. Unfortunately the man had not learned such a thing.



Sousuke was used to uninvited guests. His house had been invaded several times. To name a few there was Mikaboshi, Kyoushin the mirror, his associates, and many many others. An assassin operating in the Takahashi Household was not unheard of it. They were dealt with quietly and they were not spoken of in public. Sousuke’s modus operand was to keep things quiet and to act like things were normal, for the most part. There were times in which this was a difficult thing to do.



Tama’s entrance had not gone well. Okibi had tensed up. Sousuke’s eyes would close for a moment. He would nod his head. “Yes. It is excellent smelling in the extreme.” Sousuke answered. He would open his eyes again. Okibi was in no shape and lacked combative abilities to deal with this presently. Sousuke’s assessment was that Okibi had not maintained training or practiced enough to have a skillset to even challenge Tama. She was out of shape and it was as simple as that. The two exchanged glares. It was time to dismantle this as best he could. Sousuke would make a gesture. “Have a seat Tama.” The seat would move itself as Sousuke willed it. He needed to take the pressure off of Okibi. “The Family is alright. My grandmother is still a little … sour? A little sour that you did not act with a little more haste – she very much wanted to shoot you, instead of shooting at you. She is out drinking at the moment, but she … should be returning in the next twenty minutes. Only a madman would separate her from her booze.” Tama feared Mako. He very much feared her for reasons that were fully justified. “Are you getting off of work late?” He would inquire of the man. “I was just explaining Okibi my current state of existence. She’s not taking it overly well.” He would suggest. Yes, most people knowing that Sousuke was for the most part a man of metal would find that horrifying in one way or another.
 

Uzu

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The chair caught Tama on the kneecap, causing him to suddenly stumble into it as he felt his body willing away from the kitchen entrance and back to the table. His eyes closed for a moment as he took a deep breath, righted himself, and released it. His patience had always been thin, but the work of his Ancient blood made it nigh existent. The doctor had no idea exactly what he thought he could get away with here when he stepped in, but knew that there could at least find out what Okibi and his daughter were here this late at night. It was far past the normal time for food, and somehow he doubted Otami was cooking for everyone. Then, Sousuke mentioned Mako, and the Solar Hybrid realized he now had a time limit.

Ryuu Tama was no idiot. A vainglorious fool, yes, but not stupid. Mako would take one look at the Hybrid and a fight would break out. One in which the cards were heavily stacked against him. Even if he made it out with his life, he doubt he’d get far before ANBU would be down his throat. Then it’d be another few years of hiding before he could come back, beg for forgiveness, and return to the grind. Something about the thought sickened him so much it nearly showed, and it was then he realized some of the folly in making himself so perfect a blend of Ancient and Human. If that old woman attacked, his pride would be the death of him.

So he played nice. His eyes opened again while his hands came up to form a little bridge between his fingers; the doctor’s chin rested on it,
The shifts have been running a little long these days. Ever since the attack on the wall, the hospital has been in overdrive working on clearing military medical checks, and I’ve been doing a lot of elective surgeries on chakra coils lately. Think since the war started in earnest, my job in actually healing coils over improving them has shifted dramatically.” The Steward mentioned the origins of his new body and how his ex wasn’t taking it well. A grapefruit sized ball of metaphorical ice dropped into his stomach but he refused to let it register on his face. What was he supposed to do? Sousuke had suffered a fatal wound and the country still needed him, so he did the only thing he could do; forbidden science.
Yeah, real shame, he’s been way more emotional since, but what can you do? Go to lift a curse and end up putting your mentor in a metal body. Can’t be the first mad scientist who’s had this problem,” Tama teased, trying to lighten the tension a little. It weighed heavily on his soul the things he had to do that night so they could all survive. Teke alone could of destroyed the spirits, but, saving her father still laid on the doctor’s head, and it was his fault he couldn’t save his original mortal shell. Not for the first time he wondered, how long would his soul stay anchored? However, his tease wasn’t to ease his own tension, but Okibi’s, with the attempt to see if she would let anything slip. So far Sousuke had offered a great narrative as to why the two females were there, but the twist in the mad scientist’s gut told him the tragic story of the Steward’s form wasn’t the reason why they were there.
 

Takahashi Sousuke

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Sousuke would make a shrugging gesture of sorts. “The alternative to the situation at hand was death. That ... for me personally would have been most difficult as I do not have the ... means to come back through means of sorcery, or mysticism.” Sousuke would pause for a moment. He was very limited when it came to sorcery. Some individuals had the uncanny ability to return. Mikaboshi was able to return. Katuso seemingly had the ability to return. Mother Suna had the ability to return. All of these individuals were people of a higher ability and a higher power. Sousuke did not consider himself such a thing. Sousuke considered if Tama himself specifically had the ability to come back. He was a hybrid after all. While Sousuke had bested Tama on occasion from time to time in combat, it was a matter of experience and age. Sousuke knew that his time was limited and Tama would perhaps reach his prime soon. “I for one am not complaining about the situation at hand. Life is by far, the better alternate. If you had not done what you did, then I would not be here.”



Sousuke would lean back in his chair. “Otami, why don’t you make some extra food for Tama and your mother. I’ll pass on having some, but I have no doubt it would be delicious.” He would add. The Steward would quietly consider a few more things. He would attempt to get a read from Okibi as if to see if she was indeed willing to share any details. Tama was making himself comfortable. He heard from his grandmother how Tama had somewhat stood up to her with rude gestures? It was perhaps a little concerning but still. “Tama have you run into lady Kasen yet? She has proven to be most resourceful and able. Her brother, and her by proxy are bannermen of my household, I trust that if you did indeed run into her you were respectful?” Sousuke would inquire. He wouldn't put it past Tama to indeed be a jerk.
 
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