The Other [Tatsuo]

Senju Shizuka

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Unlike the last time she had been to this place, this time Shizuka had a clear understanding on which roads to take to get where she had to be at. Suika had been generous enough to explain her the way to the foreign Senju. At least that’s how Shizuka had secretly labelled the stranger. Saying it out loud would probably be rude, so she had kept the nickname to herself. Besides, now that he lived here he was probably seen as one of the Cloud. There were those who were rooted harder into traditions and the past in general, but most of the ones she hung with were fairly easy going in that area - probably because of their age. Older people blamed it on the lack of war or said that the Academy was growing softer. Well, Shizuka didn’t know if any of that was true. In fact, she thought that the older Shinobi were sometimes dealing with the youth a bit too harshly. Especially when they were hopping behind on the majority of the class - Shizuka found it a bit sad to witness these cases. Before she had enriched her knowledge on the matter of there being not enough people with the abilities to mold chakra, she had wondered why those who weren’t proficient at it hadn’t just been sent back home.

Now, in some sick way, the tortuous road the weaker students had to take made sense. It didn’t make witnessing it any less painful, though.

Silently crossing the little path that led to the dojo she pushed away the gloomy thoughts. Right now was time of discovery and fun, or something. All the depressing matters could wait until she had to deal with them again. Even if she wasn’t sure when that would be considering she had become a Genin. Not that a lot of time had passed since that day, in fact, she was as green as grass. Regardless of that, she was no longer in class.

“Hello?” she let her voice carry across the yard, but knocked on the door before repeating the question. Going inside without a warning wasn’t her style. Aside from that, who knew what would happen if she would barge into a Jounins home. This was his home, right?

Her knuckles gently hit the wood again. “Sir?”



**
 

Tatsuo

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"YOU BETTER WATCH OUT!" the young girl would hear a shout from the side of the Dojo and before she knew it, the ground beneath her would shake as if a giant had just jumped. A few wooden tendrils, thicker than any tree cut through the earth and parallel with the side of the Dojo. The wood itself reached much higher than the dojo, at least four stories in the air. At the end of it was a tiny monkey with both hands placed against the wood, stopping it albeit slowly. The wooden blast was relentless though, it cut through the earth as easy a hot knife through butter. Eventually though it slowed down, dust and debris were everywhere but the small monkey seemed mostly unharmed, even if a bit worried. And just as the wooden attack appeared, it disappeared. Returning back to the earth from where Tatsuo summoned it, he dashed forward to continue training with Koto. However the moment he made it past the dojo's wall and noticed the young Shizuka standing there he instantly stopped in his tracks and called to the monkey, "Koto, we've got a guest." he said bringing his hand to rub the back of his neck as he smiled and laughed.

Tatsuo was a young male, no older than sixteen. He had brown hair and green eyes and a goofy smile on his face. He always looked like he was on the verge of laughter, no matter the situation. As he made his way over to Shizuka he apologized a few times, "Sorry for that, I hadn't realized you were around. I was just training with Koto over there." he said bringing an arm back with a thumb pointed to the monkey who followed eagerly. The monkey was quick to introduce himself despite Tatsuo's earlier statement, "Me am Koto, strongest monkey in all world." he said nodding a few times without a moment of hesitation. Tatsuo rolled his eyes and shook his head, "Most humble too." Even after such a hectic battle, Tatsuo showed no signs of exhaustion, Koto on the other hand looked frazzled from the large attack. The young jonin jogged his way over to the girl, to get into speaking distance.

Looking back to Shizuka he furrowed his brows and asked "So are you selling something?" he looked down to the young girl and awaited a response.
 

Senju Shizuka

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Unsure if knocking again would be too much she was about to shout a bit louder when a voice caused her to freeze up entirely. Coming from somewhere around the dojo the threatening shout didn’t come alone but was accompanied by wood. It took her a moment too long to become aware of the monkey and this resulted in the young Senju inwardly cursing herself for being so reckless. This man was going to kill her!

’Or.. he might not,’ she happily decided with a sigh when the earth stopped shaking. Thick tendrils were throwing shadow on her face when she turned around to greet this mysterious man. Who.. turned out to be way younger than she had expected him to be. With no knowledge about him aside from his whereabouts she had somehow thought him to be at least in his thirties. Her guess turned out to be incorrect. He was.. older than her, but that wasn’t too hard. She was eleven and most shinobi who weren’t students or Genin weren’t.

“Hello,” she nodded, then turned and did the same with the monkey whose exclaim of being the strongest one in the world had her eyeing it curiously. “and no, no, I’m not selling anything.” With the shaking of her head she tried to make it obvious she wasn’t here for that. Green eyes met green, then she turned a little to show him the headband she wore tied to her upper left arm.

A part of her wanted to introduce but it felt right to show him why she was here. That’s why she let her chakra gather and flow into the ground. With no hand seals and thick branches growing from the ground around him he should be aware of what bloodline she belonged to.

“My name is Senju Shizuka, I eh.. I’ve heard about you from Suika-san.. my curiosity has led me here. I hope that I’m not disturbing you too much.” Vaguely gesturing toward the monkey she tried a soft smile to try rounding any of his rougher edges should there be any. “Apart from my family I haven’t met any other Senju inside of the Cloud.. and I’ve heard that you’ve moved here, so eh-” she rambled, pale cheeks suddenly growing slightly pink from the mental pressure she was feeling. “was wondering if you wanted to talk about.. mostly about Mokuton.”

Blinking she raised her eyes a bit, trying to see if he was irritated or not. From the looks of it he didn’t appear the type to snap - his goofy smile had made her feel quite comfortable about talking more or less freely.


**
 

Tatsuo

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Tatsuo smiled when the girl nodded to him hello, he understood why she might feel a bit frightened, but Koto had become much stronger as of late. He couldn't go easy on him and expect the young monkey to learn anything valuable in training. Placing a hand on his hip he looked to her and furrowed his brows, as she said she wasn't selling anything. They rarely got visitors so far out in the forest but the girl was quick to explain where she came from. With jutsu at first, wooden tendrils rose from her feet and a small smile came to his face as he noticed this. "We've got the same type of chakra.." he said with a firm nod. He had seen other used wood but he wondered if she was limited like he was to just using wood jutsu. "Suika sent you, aye?" he crossed his arms and thought back to the girl he trained with so long ago. She really was becoming a good friend. Koto shouted "She use wood just like you Tat-so-senpai!"

Tatsuo nodded to this and listened to her explain about her lack of family here, but to that he had no idea if they were at all related. Sighing the tall boy went to sit down on the porch near them, bringing himself closer to the level of the young girl in an attempt to not intimidate her any further. "Mokuton eh? I've got a few questions for you first, I'm not capable of any other nature style, other than wood. Some can shoot fire, water, etc. I'm stuck with wood. Do you have the same issue?" he said looking at her, if she did there was a possiblity their bloodlines were the same and he wasn't just some genetic mutation but who knew and there was only one way to find out.
 

Senju Shizuka

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“Kind of.. yes, she has.”

While ‘sent’ was a strong word for it, she had told Shizuka about the other Senju and encouraged her to go take a look at the dojo. So, in a way, she had sent her. Fortunately he didn’t seem to mind that at all. Once he made himself a bit more comfortable she did the same. Mimicking the older shinobi Shizuka climbed the porch and directed her attention at him while thinking about this issue he’s mentioned.

“No,” she frowned, unsure of what he was talking about. Well, she did understand but couldn’t really imagine that wood was the only type of ninjutsu he could use. It was odd. She had never met a person like that before so she was afraid that she was misunderstanding himl. “if you mean whether I can use water-style and others then I can.”

Still slightly confused about this information about him, she hummed gently while studying Tatsuo. Was the wood nature blocking his other elements? Was he born this way or had he refused to explore the other ninjutsu and given up on it?

“Have you tried to train in them? I mean..” gesturing at nothing in particular she tried to come across less dumb. The expression of confusion, however, was stuck to her face. “My dad can use more than wood too.. so, I don’t think that I understand why you have this problem?”

Offering a somewhat apologetic smile she tried to make sure that he didn’t feel offended by her confusion. Surely him not being able to use a huge part of the ninjutsu arsenal didn’t make him any less lethal. There was one thing she had learned so far from hanging around more experienced Shinobi - all had their own specialities. Unlike her, many favored genjutsu or taijutsu above ninjutsu. And while she didn’t understand the choice itself, she was well aware of the fact that they were very good at what they did.

“Has your family been able to use more than one sort of ninjutsu?” Now they were circling back to why she was here - he was a Senju, just like her. She wanted to know more about him and where he came from. “I’ve heard that you’ve moved here from the Leaf.”


**
 

Tatsuo

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"Yeah, of course i've tried." he said letting out a chuckle. "Doesn't matter how hard I try, even if I do the seals right, comes out as wood.. like here watch." he said forming a few seals, slow enough for Shizuka to keep up with. Typical seals for a water Ninjutsu, which then resulted in a bit of wood sprouting at his feet in a tiny tendril and lurching forward almost smacking Koto, who sneered at him for it and put his head into the air defiantly.

Tatsuo chuckled again at the little monkey's reaction before looking back to Shizuka. "It's either pure natural energy, or wood style. I've got no in between.. but I have managed to give it more properties. For example.. i've learned to manipulate tree sap. With another few hand seals, a large block of wood appeared at his feet and quickly a thick sap appeared and struck out into the tree line. "It's a limitation, but something i've learned to work with over the years. I think if there is a mastery of Wood style i'm nearing it." he said with a shrug.

"So you don't have the same limitation? Must just be me then." he said shrugging his shoulders. "Neither of my parents could use Wood, my father was an Earth style specialist and my mom didn't really use that much jutsu in the first place, but she was a ninja." He leaned back rubbing his chin in thought, "I wasn't able to do a single jutsu until I was about.. eleven? Yeah that sounds about right. My wood style manifested itself, ya' know?" He looked to her, "I don't know if we're related or anything, or if i'm just some weird genetic mess up." he rubbed the back of his neck. "We might be, though, we look pretty similar." he said looking down at the girl. "If you said you were my cousin I probably would've believed it."
 

Senju Shizuka

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A rare case or genetic mutation really seemed likely by this point. She knew that by manipulating chakra she could change the nature of her water or earth style into wood, but then they would be just that, wood. His ability to create something new like the tree sap he was showing her was extraordinary. She was already perking up and nearing the log to get a better view of what the liquid dripping from it was like. “That is fascinating! You’ve learned this all by yourself, Tatsuo-san?”

Feeling the urge to poke the sap she forced herself to take a step back. There was no need to come across as a mixture of pure curiosity and recklessness. Besides, the sap could be poisonous for all she knew. Plants were complicated like that. Though, she didn’t believe that he would hurt her for no reason, so he would probably warn her if getting closer was dangerous.

“That’s true.. you’re just really tall.” Gesturing toward the difference in height she laughed gently. There were only a handful of students she knew who were smaller than her, so this wasn’t anything special, but she couldn’t help but to mention it. Somewhere beneath the surface she wanted to be tall, too. Somehow it felt as if then she would be a better kunoichi - people would have to take her more seriously because she would look older. Right?

“Is Koto your summoned partner?” She wanted to know, curiously looking for the monkey who had claimed to be the strongest one in the world. It was her first time seeing a monkey that spoke, so she felt intrigued about him.

“If you have some spare time, could you perhaps give me some tips on a jutsu I’ve been learning. It should allow me to gain more awareness by using the forest I create.. but so far it’s so alive and it changes so quickly that I feel a bit overwhelmed by my own creation.” Explaining it here, on the porch, she suddenly realized that it might be coming across as rude. That’s why she leaped back into silence with her green eyes carefully studying Tatsuo’s reaction.


**
 

Tatsuo

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"I mean, yeah, no one i've met can do anything like it." he said with a firm nod. He rolled his shoulders, "I can do quite a lot of things like that." He was fine with her touching it, other than being incredibly hard to get away from, it seemed to nothing else but it's grappling capabilities were great. "It's pretty accurate too, one of my favorite techniques." Looking down to the young Senju he wondered if she was capable of techniques, maybe she was, but why would she need to master Wood to such an extent whenever she had access to other elements. Tatsuo let out a bellowing laugh when she said he was tall, "Yep! Like a tree." the boy was easily pushing six feet and at this rate who knew if he'd stop growing.

"Oh him?" he said pointing to the monkey, "Yeah he's my summoning contract, I guess, I'm teaching him to fight." Koto didn't seem to like this and shook his head, "NO! ME TEACHING HIM HOW TO FIGHT." Tatsuo rolled his eyes and laughed, "Uh-huh, whatever you say buddy." When she asked about a jutsu his full attention was hers and he grinned as he realized the technique she was speaking about. A man quick to action, Tatsuo slammed his hands into the ground and before she could react a huge forest began to grow from underneath! "Wood Style: Great Forest Explosion!" While the trees would grow, they made a clearing of open space around her as they soared to the sky above! Tatsuo was nowhere to be found and he wondered how Shizuka would react!
 

Senju Shizuka

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The monkey didn’t really like being the student, it appeared. To a certain degree Shizuka could relate to its feelings - at times she wished that she already knew what she was learning or had already mastered it, but there were no shortcuts in becoming a kunoichi. Blinking slipped a little bit into a short daydream that got interrupted very rudely by the older Senju.

Before she knew her surroundings were swallowed by a forest. This looked quite a bit like the jutsu she was having trouble with. So, she quickly figured, he was probably trying to teach her something about it. The only part that confused her was his sudden disappearance. There wasn’t a lot she could learn from just a bunch of trees.

Had he decided to continue his training with the monkey?
Was he expecting for her to look?

She didn’t know, but went with the latter.

Hesitating very little, Shizuka started to climb one of the nearby trees. Getting up higher would give her a better view on her surroundings, and with there being so many trees now, that was a good idea. A better one, she realized soon enough, was to use the Crystal Eye jutsu to get an idea of where the other two were hanging out at. The seals were performed once she had found a branch to sit on. While she knew how to tree walk quite well, she didn’t want to risk slipping and breaking something.

Soundlessly the crystal ball flew into the sky - rotating to see if it could find Tatsuo and his ‘friend’. Jumping onto the tree nearby to change her position, she wondered if he could feel her presence as she latched onto the tree bark.

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