Reflections and plans

Maikeru

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The black flames of Amaterasu crackled in front of Maikeru, seemingly burning nothing but the air in front of him. The firepit he had made was nothing more than for show, honestly. Amaterasu needed no fuel to burn forever, just simply existing was enough for the accursed flame. Around the mock camp fire he had built sat three logs, one of which he sat in, he fingers mindlessly rubbing over the metal of his old leaf headband.

“So..” The spirit inside his body said, manifesting behind the young Uchiha. “Any reason we’re sitting in the middle of the woods instead of with Reicheru and Danni?”

“Thinking.” He said aloud, assured he was alone with his thoughts. “I.. Danni and Rei wouldn’t understand. They can relate on such a deep level, but they can’t truly understand what I am going through.”

“Oh. Dark.” Susano responded it’s spiritual form taking a seat next to it’s vessel. “So, talk then. Maybe another mind will help.”

“Well, it’s.. How do I explain it?” He thought aloud, rubbing his thumb along the engraving in the metal. “I just feel empty. I’m glad we came to cloud, but, there’s something inside of me that is missing. It’s like I lost my will of fire..”

“Hm, sounds like a samurai losing his sense of honor.” Susano responded, rubbing his armored chin. “When that happens they usually commit seppuku, are you thinking of that young Uchiha?”

“No.. no.. well, maybe?” Maikeru said, sighing deeply. “Sort of. What I have planned might as well be considered suicide.”

“Ah, that again..”

The duo sat there in silence again, the black flames crackling as if eating away at a wooden fuel source though none was to be seen.
 

Siu

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Obsidian skies presided over blankets of foliage, luminescent moonlight filtering through its breaches. Symphonies of owls, crickets, and various creatures of the night echoed throughout the dimly-lit terrain.

The Ancient Forest of Kumogakure.

The Chuunin sauntered through the woodlands; It's 'dangers' now far less intimidating than in her childhood. For, when one spent four years within the untamed wilds of the Marshland's, where both humans and beasts were equal threats, the Ancient Forest became a lot less frightening.

There had always been a special draw to it despite its insecurities, especially during the night. The serene beauty and silence of nature; perfect grounds for contemplation. Even in her youth it had been a solace away from the chaos of society.

A deep inhale, rumination, an exhale of visibly warm vapor; Though the official months of winter had passed, the weather still maintained its chilly bite.

From afar, flames crackled, whispering a call. Such scenes usually meant the obvious; Company. They were occurrences Siu had grown accustomed to throughout her many strolls. It occasionally manifested, that she hadn't been the only soul drawn to the stillness and revitalizing energies of nature.

From a thick obscurity of vegetation, leaves rattled and descended. A single leg emerged, then a full body. The feminine figure's dark pupils curiously gazed into the large pit of abnormal black flames, appearing somewhat concerned, before turning to acknowledge their creator.

"Now that's an unusual color for flames," greeted the female with some humor and a faint smirk, performing a polite bow. "Shinobi?" she'd inquire upon standing back upright.
 

Kiri

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[OOC: entering with NPC Kiri]

Kiri had just finished visiting the small makeshift shrine he made for Hogosha and Yakujou in that secret lake hidden by some mist jutsu. It was where the Blood Moon occurrence would manifest every month, but of course it was well hidden from prying eyes. Unless they entered together with Kiri, there was no chance for them to even remotely come close to reaching that realm that was shared by the spirits. It was one thing he had hidden even from his adoptive families. And so, with a stretch of his arms, he walks out from nothingness and enters the same unruly path of the forest.

The grassy patches would need a little clearing some time soon, though perhaps there wasn’t a need for it when he didn’t bring anyone else to that location. Walking further down the path, he would come to a standstill, as he felt a surge of chakra somewhere close by. The satisfied expression in his face ended as he let his eyes scan around him, stopping just towards the direction of where his golden eyes could see faint traces of chakra in the air. He was no Hyuga, but the demonic eye that was transplanted onto him was working on the dot to find his prey.

Was it a prey? He didn’t know but as much as he would want to ignore this, he couldn’t help but worry to a certain degree. After all, this was the ancient forest of Kumogakure, and if anomalies weren’t kept in check, it could potentially be dangerous for the village as a whole. Scratching the back of his neck, he debated for a moment. He was hungry as he missed the last meal, and slipping into the soulscape lake changed the time for him, that when he returned to the world of the living, it was already past two meal times.

He was about to step away and leave it for now when he heard the nagging presence of the souls within him. It appeared as though his ancestors were more interested than he was, Hogosha in particularly, since it was too close to the entrance of the lake that he wanted Kiri to secure the location properly. “I’ll only do this because you asked me to. But I want to have a nice long meal back home when I do, so no bothering me tonight, okay?” Said Kiri as if he was talking to someone.

Walking through the unthreaded path, Kiri would stumble upon a small clearing where there was a fire– a controlled sort of fire. He could feel the chakra in the place and so he felt a little bit apprehensive. He didn’t want to be an intruder, but he had to make sure this fire wouldn’t run rampant either. Approaching the clearing, he would soon find that there were two individuals in the area– of which he knew of these people.

To one side was Siu, one of the students before and currently a part of the little medical branch family with Osu. On the other sat the white-haired kid whom he had met before. And of course, the lingering flames that made Kiri think twice as if he somehow remembered something akin to this in the past. “So… uh… please be careful with playing with fire. You might attract unwanted beasts in the area.”
 

Hirateuchi

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Hira sat atop a branch, letting the cool breeze gently cradle his skin as he tried to slip into a calm slumber. He had found himself in greater comfort within the confines of the trees and the open sky in recent days, and was hoping for another peaceful night, but it would soon seem that fate would not be so kind as to provide such. He looked up with a pained and annoyed expression as he felt the air shift slightly, only to see a nest of birds rise agressively from a nearby grouping of trees. Something was clearly disturbing the calm of the forest, but for a moment he wondered he could ignore it...

*Smack*

As Hira found himself lost in thought, one of the birds had managed to find itself lost in Hira's face, the pressure being enough to throw off his balance. With a muffled scream, Hira tipped backwards until he found that his buttocks was no longer warming the bark he once rested on. The fall came all to suddenly as just when he noticed what was happening, the ground gave him a rude awakening, pain jolting through his back as a form of greetings.

"Damn, there goes my night...

As he lay on his back, now fully awake and understandably irritated, he noticed something as his head craned backwards, giving him ample view of a strange substance cuddled into a campfire. It's dark body flickered like that of fire, thought that is where the similarities ended. Both confused and intrigued, he lifted himself off, making sure to brush the dirt and leaves off of his now grimy kimono. With almost hypnotic determination, he approached the flame, unaware of the presence of other people until he had already reached the small clearing where they seemed to just be meeting. He recognized the kunoichi of the group as one of the teachers the academy had provided as part of his effort to re-acclimate to village and shinobi life; however, the identity of the others remained a mystery. Was he perhaps interrupting an important meeting? He dismissed the thought assuming that they would not have such events in this place of all the could have chosen.

Hira took the final few steps to reveal himself fully to the rest of the group, a chill running behind him in the air that might make them feel as though the temperature had dropped just slightly. Clearing of his throat, Hira spoke up to the group.

"Hey umm... so I saw this uhhh, fire thing. And I wasn't sure if it was dangerous but it looks like it might be under control? Oh, and hey teach!"

With his final words, he let loose an unabashed grin as he held the back of his neck, slightly embarrassed at crashing whatever party had been going on.
 

Maikeru

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Who were any of these people, was the first thing Maikeru thought as the trio approached at seemingly similar times. Raising an eyebrow at the first girl, he looked between the obsidian flames in front of him and her. Had she really never seen the Amaterasu before? Perhaps it was his childhood in Leaf that made him wonder at that after all the Uchiha were the biggest clan there it seemed, but it just seemed like something a shinobi would have at least heard of before. His eyes followed to the small child next, which made him all the more curious at who these strangers were.

Was someone really letting a child walk unattended through the woods at this hour? Not only that but the child was giving him warnings? How odd. The final man was the least curious of them all. He looked to be around Maikeru's age, with all the grace and balance befitting of... well, not a shinobi. A civilian? But this far out? Unlikely, the boy had a point after all, there were all sorts of wild animals that liked to make this forest their homes. While they were smart enough to stay away from civilization, if you wandered into their territory...

"Another time, then." The spirit of Susano whispered in the boy's mind, before retreating back into his subconscious.

"Ah well, I suppose in order then..." Maikeru said, once again shifting his eyes between the three individuals. "Those are the black flames of the Uchiha clan, which I originate from. They are well under control, and I am aware of the beast."

Sighing, he ushered towards the two empty logs that sat around the fire, inviting those around him to join him. Might as well after all. Looking down at the flames, his eyes morphed quickly into his Mangekyo sharingan, enlarging the flames a small amount to generate more heat for the group, before shifting back to the cerulean hue they rested as.

"But, that does bring up the question of why are the three of you in the forest at this hour. Not that I have much room to speak, but.." shrugging his shoulders, he put his leaf headband back into the inside pocket of his jacket. "The three of you a group, or is this just a happy coincidence?"
 

Siu

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The seemingly spontaneous congregation of individuals had indeed been rather bizarre. The kunoichi's eyes shifted to examine the youngest arrival; It was somewhat humorous to observe him immediately caution the older male concerning the fire. The argument had indeed been valid, however, at this point, with the amount of shinobi now sharing the clearing, Siu herself didn't even feel much of a need to perform caution in regards to forest beasts; Rather, she'd be concerned for anything which carelessly dared to challenge this amount of professional killers at once.
The third arrival had, also rather unexpectedly, been an individual she'd already found herself familiar with; Siu's first assigned student after her return to Kumogakure. Like the creator of black flames, the kunoichi also pondered the reasoning behind everyone's seemingly synchronized decision to retreat to the woodlands and suddenly show up at the exact same clearing near the same time.

"H....hello?" the female greeted back to Hirateuchi, waving awkwardly; both surprised and confused by his presence. The white-haired male would then speak, drawing her attention back towards him.

"No group—just became curious about this," she'd immediately correct, a finger extending to gesture towards the flickering anomaly. "I usually come here at night to relax" —the young woman shifted her attention between the three individuals—"...alone."

Recognizing what appeared to be a brief transformation of the unfamiliar male's pupils, the Chuunin studied him expand the black manifestation without even utilizing hand seals. No doubt about it; He was a shinobi alright. However, his particular jutsu, in addition to his unusual optics, were techniques and traits Siu found herself wholly unfamiliar with.

...Uchiha clan?

The kunoichi mentally twiddled with the claim, reflecting through her previous experiences and read books; no connections seemed to arise. Following the inviting gesture towards the logs, the female plopped herself atop the dense wood, taking her seat. She'd remain silent for a bit before becoming unable to contain her curiosities any longer.

"Are Uchiha part of one of the forest clans here?" There was sincere interest in her features as she voiced the inquiry.
 

Kiri

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“Kid? Who’s the kid here?” Said Kiri as he looked about him. With the inclusion of the recent arrival of another kumo-nin, he figured, things had become more interesting. “I don’t see any kids here. This is forest isn’t one where kids would easily come to play to anyway.”

Of course, when that was settled for the moment, the kid who owned the flames had suddenly called it off, his eyes changing for a brief moment before the campfire intensified to fit them all. And calmly, he directed them all towards the empty logs. Kiri smiled widely as the quickly found a spot next to the said strange boy, fixing the hems of his furisode and hakama as he sat down. He reached out a hand towards the flames and hummed. “Ah. Nothing but a nice good old campfire in Kumogakure. I missed those days when I can do this freely.”

He then glanced back to Siu, tilting his head and grinned, “You really don’t remember me, do you? Hint. Tea Country. Mission at the host club. Adult Siu dancing on the floor like there’s no tomorrow. Oh, right. Kotarou is doing fine now. He’s with me at the Tsuyoshi Clan estate. Probably studying over his schoolwork as we speak.”

Then, turning his attention back to the strange boy. “There doesn’t need to be a reason. If we’re all here, then it’s fate. You’ll only worry yourself endlessly if you think too much about it… unless… you’re hiding something from us.”
 

Hirateuchi

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Hira sighed as he looked around at the group of people before sitting down as instructed by the so-called Uchiha. For a moment he thought the name might have seemed familiar through the text he had studied, but that thought was far from important at this point. Aside from Siu he didn't recognize either of the other two, and they clearly made out as though they were powerful enough to traverse the forest without worry. While they all seemed to be Cloud shinobi, he still couldn't help but keep his guard up. Taking a seat on one of the logs he waited patiently as the others made their opening statements.

The Uchiha's eyes were of particular interest to Hira, but his inspection was cut short by the young boy's comment that seemed to be directed towards him, or at least in his direction. This one was the most suspicious of all.

"Yeah there's not really anything to hide." Hira found himself chiming into the conversation. "I am curious as to who you guys are though. It might be a large forest, but in all my time spent in it I'm not sure I've seen either of you before. He directed his comment towards both the child and the Uchiha man.

"I'm Hira, a shinobi of the village. I already know her," he said gesturing towards Siu, "but maybe you could make some introductions."

Whether to prove his point of being a shinobi or purely in spite of having to find himself socializing, he sat back and moved his hand upwards in front of his face, creating a small ball of water that he began to spin around lazily as he looked apathetically towards the group around the fire.
 

Maikeru

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So, three weirdos walking through the forest in the middle of the night with absolutely no reason why. Yea, nothing weird about that at all. Raising a brow first at the obvious child who claimed he wasn't one, he looked between the group. It wasn't exactly what one would call normal in any sense of the word. Still, more company would probably keep the best away at least a small amount. The dangers that lurked in the forest were smart enough to avoid packs after all.

"Aye, well, I am also a shinobi of cloud." Maikeru said to Hira, flicking at the Kumo headband that was tied snugly around his left arm. "As for the Uchiha clan, uh.. I guess you could say they're a forest clan in a sense. I keep forgetting there's not many spinny eyes walking around Kumo, not exactly what I experienced in my chi- travels."

Catching himself mid-sentence, Maikeru clicked his roof against the tongue of his mouth. It wasn't often that he slipped up, but when he did it was almost always with all the grace of an oiled pig walking down a set of stairs. Reaching into his jacket he pulled out a small flask and took a sip before offering it to the group.

"I assume at least two of you are old enough to drink?" He questioned, his eyes falling to the white-haired child with delusions of grandeur. "But, I suppose I've been ignoring your question. My name is Otani Akira, I'm a medical shinobi in the village. Let's see, I like udon and barbecue and live with my... roommate in a fifth-floor apartment. Other than that, not too much interesting about me. I once traveled to the leaf village I guess, that's a thing. Maybe if I get drunk enough I'll tell you the story of the evil child killing Hokage, and his goblin Sennin henchmen."

Taking another sip once everyone in the group had a chance, he looked thoughtfully into the fire for a moment. With a deep sigh, his fingers once again ran along the engraving of the leaf headband in his pocket. Who would have thought a creepy, dark forest would be so populated?
 

Siu

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An eyebrow arched as the female listened to the young boy's words, rummaging through the crevices of her mind in order to unearth long-dormant childhood memories. It took some time, however, a subtle dilation of pupils and slight widening of the eyes would communicate her eventual recollection of the event.

"The Genjutsu baby!" she recalled aloud. "Wow! .... That was so long ago!" With new eyes, she seemed to study the youth again. Suddenly, her bottom lip stuck out; her features shifting into what appeared to be a disappointed pout. "But, you'll have to excuse me! I....don't recall your face.... Who were you in our group? I only remember Suika, Ikko, Eishi and" —eyes drifted upwards, a finger touching her chin as she temporarily departed into a realm of thought—"a fainting boy." What had been his name again?.... Perhaps, it didn't really matter. "...But, I really don't remember seeing you."
Had her memory truly been that bad? As if it'd been yesterday, the boy had managed to accurately recall childhood-experiences Siu'd required quite some time to mentally rummage for, unable to even recognize his face.

The Chuunin's attention shifted as she recognized something extended to her, staring at the object with a kind of disbelief. She hadn't expected such generosity from a complete stranger. "Thank you.." murmured the somewhat sheepish form of gratitude. A subtle smile curled upon her features as she carefully accepted the offer with two hands. He'd mention something rather curious in the midst of her swig, further drawing Siu's interest; "Hokage and Sennin...?" She couldn't tell whether he'd been jesting the claim or truly serious. The rather nonchalant mention hadn't made interpreting his words any easier, either. Curious eyes blatantly communicated their desire to know. "Is it Leaf folklore you picked up from locals, or actually a true story?"
An arm extended to return back the flask. "Smoke?" she'd casually offer, a hand already motioning behind her to rummage for the necessary materials.
 

Kiri

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Kiri took mental notes of the other participants in this unexpected gathering in the woods. Though, for the most part, he felt like tearing up when Siu explained that she still couldn’t get into grips of who he was. Truly a sad revelation. It was true that he has changed dramatically by appearance, but wasn’t there any hints at all of who he was? Not even the information he just spoke of? He sighed at the thought that he was the kind of man to be easily forgotten. And wouldn’t it be so depressing that the due to the visit to the soulscape, it would take a while before the curse weakens and he could transform to his adult form, even if it was just for a brief moment to persuade the girl.

“Oh well, I guess it can’t be helped. I’m not now to hold a grudge over someone who forgot about me. I did do some terrible things in the past, such as making that mission harder than normal, and to some degree, being rather mean as your chuunin exam proctor, especially to those who lacked quite a tad much,” said Kiri with a defeated tone.

He then proceeded to listen to the rest around them and looked at the boy who introduced himself as Otani Akira with w raised brow. “Sounds like a fishy name, but no thanks. I don’t drink even if I’m legal enough to drink. Every medical nin knows the negative side effects of alcohol, especially on an empty stomach,” replied Kiri as he sat comfortably by the log. Without much of a victory fanfare, he props something from his pocket and starts chewing on a beef jerky. And he adds, “Besides, that’s a good way to spread bacteria. Haven’t you learned anything in the medical branch, if you say you are from it? Oh boy, will Osu-senpai get angry with me again if he finds out about new recruits acting up like this.”

He finished one strip of the jerky before he cheekily smiles at Maikeru’s direction. “Right, My name is Kiri. I’m a Mednin, an instructors, and I handle the upper and lower wards of the eastern wing of the hospital, including pediatrics. Also in-charge of the outflow and outside the village medical missions, particularly in Port Cirrus.”
 

Hirateuchi

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Hira simply listened and watched intently as the group made their introductions, eager to learn more about the strange group that had somehow come to find themselves gathered in the forest that night. It was hard for him to completely follow what the Uchiha man was rambling about when it came to the Hidden Leaf Village; after all, the only things he had heard about the place had come from textbooks and some teachers here and there, but they were all more historical aspects of the village rather than the people within.

As the man handed over his flask, Hira politely declined, taking the lead of the one who would introduce themselves as Kiri. "I agree. We may be in a pack, but alcohol makes it much harder to use my water jutsu. I have to have a clear mind to keep it flowing."

Again Hira sat, nodding in acknowledgement and surprise alike as Kiri mentioned all of the things for which he was responsible. It shouldn't have come as so much of a surprise considering all of the other strange things he had seen in his travels, but the child-like appearance of him certainly carried an air of uncertainty that he didn't find in some other strange occurrences.

Finding that everyone else had finished what they had to say for the moment, Hira decided it would be a good time to speak up and give some insight on himself. "Well, like I said, the name is Hira. I'm just a genin but don't let that fool you, I'm a lot stronger than most of the fresh out of the academy recruits. I had some... unfortunate circumstances that found me outside the village for some time, and it hasn't been to long since I found my way back. I'm still acclimating and working my way up towards that next step. Just.. trying to figure out what that next step is I suppose."
 

Maikeru

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It certainly was an odd group that Maikeru had found himself amongst on this late night. Regardless, it wasn't as bad as it could be given the circumstances. He nodded at the girl who offered him a smoke before taking back his flask, raising the cold metal to his lips once more. It was when the white haired boy spoke that left Maikeru truly and utterly confused and dumbfound. Ignoring the fact that this... child seemed to think he was in charge of an entire division of the medical branch, he also didn't seem to even know the very basics of medicine.

"Um.." Maikeru said, interrupting the young man as he spoke about the evils of alcohol. "You uhm, you do know that alcohol actually kills bacteria, right? You're also perfectly aware that many of the disinfectant we use in the hospital are alcohol based, don't you?"

He gave him another odd look before shaking his head. He supposed he had a small streak with lying at his age as well, so, no harm no foul. Returning his attention back to Siu and Hira he rubbed his chin thoughtfully. Perhaps it was the alcohol speaking, but they really did seem like trustworthy types. What was the harm in letting them know.

"In the past, I was known as Uchiha Maikeru, and I was a leaf shinobi." He admitted, sipping at the burning liquid in the flask. "So I guess you could call it folklore from a local as well as actual events. The tale of the child slaying Hokage Uchiha Takeshi is a long one, but, if you have time I don't mind telling it. The world should know of the shame he brings upon my families name."