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Old 04-14-2014, 11:00 PM   #11
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"Right, chakra enhanced lifespans, of course," Tetsumi murmured, more to herself than Takeo. "How long do you think they can live? Kizetsu must have been at least a century old, but then, he wasn't really an insect. Just sealed inside of one, if that's what it was. But what else would it be?" Her words were inaudible by the end of the thread of thought, and it's only Takeo's gentle teasing that pulled her out of thoughts of immortal insects.

Tetsumi surveyed the other chuunin fondly. "We've come such a long way from that bench," she said. "I wouldn't have thought you even knew what a joke was, let alone how to tell one," she ribbed back. "I'm partially to blame for your grumpiness, of course, but even when I stopped being a dick you were pretty... frigid." It felt much better than that first awkward "post-mission friendship outing" to be with Takeo now, even if their fledgling attempts at banter have given way under the tide of Takeo's romance.

I wouldn't have pegged you for the type, Tetsumi thought fondly, but also with a pang of worry. She was no good at romance, had never seen the appeal in it—every attempt at it left her feeling distinctly uncomfortable, and it had always flustered her in a not-entirely-positive way when Sanshiro, and now Takeo, made some sweet comment or gesture.

Is it going to hurt him, that I'm not as... sappy? Tetsumi worried. She didn't wonder at her own lasting tolerance for sweetness; Tetsumi could laugh off nearly anything. Takeo, though...

She squeezed his hand rather than voice her concerns as the kikai-turned-terrier began "barking." It worried at something on the looming tree line, little buggy paws digging furiously.

"What have you got there, boy?" Tetsumi called. The dog stepped aside to reveal the abandoned exoskeleton of what looked to be a cicada—if cicadas were as thick around as tress, that is.

The implications were terrifying and awesome. Tetsumi practically vibrated as she stared into the forest. "I want one," she breathed. "Takeo, please. Can we...?" The girl turned to her companion, turning her hazel eyes up to "full pleading."

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Old 04-14-2014, 11:27 PM   #12
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Looking to Tetsumi, Takeo shrugged a bit. He had acted a bit frigid around her for a while at first. But he had his reasons and he had even told her the reasons at one point or another. Part of him really didn’t want to get into it again and he smiled slightly, hoping to brush it off. What bothered him more was how his slight advances had been turned down. The redhead let off a slight, but barely audible sigh as he felt slight pang in his chest.

Looks like I messed up again. That’s not a big surprise.” Takeo couldn’t help but mentally punch himself in the face over how dumb and hasty he was being despite saying how he wanted to take things slowly. It would appear that perhaps things weren’t going as well as he had thought.

The tension was broken by the ‘dog’ barking. Takeo’s eyes looked to the exoskeleton and squinted a little bit before hearing Tetsumi’s pleas. He knew what would happen if he looked to her eyes, he wouldn’t be able to say no but for some reason he wasn’t able to keep himself from looking. The look in her eyes was intense and a heavy sigh escaped his lips. He knew this wasn’t a good idea.

”Do you really think that this is a good idea?” His eyes drew towards the forest and he looked around for a moment. ”Who knows what else is in there? I mean…if there are bugs that big there, then there’s no telling what else we might find.” Of course if Tetsumi wanted to go, he’d go.

And that’s how he found himself walking into the forest, his eyes moving back and forth quickly. There were a lot of things that he didn’t want to find. But at the end of the day, he wanted Tetsumi happy and if this was going to make her happy, then so be it.
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Old 04-15-2014, 03:10 PM   #13
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Tetsumi barely kept herself from whooping when Takeo gave in. He clearly didn't think going [back] into the forest was a good idea, which, fair. But Tetsumi knew her limits, and wasn't about to go into the jacked up Forest of Death on her own in this condition.

"Thank you," she said sincerely and sweetly as she could manage. "When things really kick off, I have a feeling there's not going to be a lot of the jungle left. Or giant cicadas. Or the slightly less giant wasps that feed on them—did you know that? The normals ones, the small guys, they're about a quarter of the size of the cicadas they lay their eggs in. If this ecosystem has an equivalent, they'll be about this long." Tetsumi adjusted her weight so she could bring up both hands to indicate a stretch of air about as big as the cicada was wide. She smiled at the hypothetical insects in her mind's eye, then glanced at Takeo.

Her expression—and fervor—softened. "Thank you," she said again. It seemed like an appropriate time to kiss Takeo, and Tetsumi wanted to (which, to be fair, she pretty much always did), so she leaned forward and pressed her lips to his.

The kiss would have continued indefinitely, possibly postponing the bug hunt, if it weren't for a great sawing noise that made Tetsumi jump and reach for her scrolls. She stopped mid-reach, eyes going wide.

"Takeo, do you hear that?" she whispered, despite the fact that the originator of the noise was clearly not within conversational distance and that it would have been impossible for Takeo not to hear the great screeching disturbance. Tetsumi didn't realize either of these things. She was off in a world of her own, inhabited primarily by insects—okay, only by insects.

"That's the male cicada," she continued, still whispering. The Aburame gestured to the kikai terrier. "Go scout it out, she told them, and immediately the dog returned to its component parts. "No sex," Tetsumi added as an afterthought. "Don't disturb anything. If you pick up a tail, lose it before you return, got it?" The bugs chittered their understanding.

Tetsumi turned her gaze back to Takeo. Her eyes were glittering, and her wide smile was visible even underneath the mask. There was only one way to describe her current deranged excitement—Tetsumi was bugging out.
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Old 04-15-2014, 03:33 PM   #14
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Takeo nodded slightly to the thanks. He still had plenty of reservations about the whole going into this ‘giant forest that makes the Forest of Death look like a kids playground’ thing but Tetsumi may have gone in regardless of whether or not he agreed. In her condition it was probably as close to suicide without actually holding the knife to one’s wrist as it could be.

One thing he couldn’t deny though is the happiness he felt with Tetsumi getting all giddy about the bugs. Takeo listened to the excited ramblings coming from the Aburame, honestly a bit surprised about how eager she was about bugs. Sure she was filled with them and learned to utilize them, but this level of excitement was almost fanatical in nature. But her tone changed, almost completely and his eyes were drawn to her. The softer expression on her face was enough to bring a smile to the former hot head’s lips.

Then she leaned in and kissed him. Her lips were still as soft as ever and he would have loved to stay like this with her but a sound interrupted the moment. Takeo’s hands instantly began to move to the front of his body as he readied himself to begin channeling his chakra for a variety of jutsu. ”Yeah…I heard it.” How could one now hear that sound? They spoke softly to each other, not wanting to alert whatever might be lurking to their location.

A few orders went out to the kikai from Tetsumi and almost as quickly a small cloud of bugs disappeared into the forest. Once that was done, Takeo looked to Tetsumi once more, noticing the look on her face. This time he forced a smile upon his lips, not wanting to kill her excitement. This wasn’t normal, not in the slightest. He’d have to keep her safe though so the feigned smile turned into a genuine one before his grey eyes scanned around the forest once more.

Besides being next to Tetsumi, nothing in this forest felt right. Make that nothing on this island felt right and Takeo was afraid that they might soon get swept up in it.
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Old 04-16-2014, 05:24 PM   #15
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Tetsumi chased the sound of the cicada as best she could in her current condition. It was slow, frustrating going, just as their return trek from the temple had been. At least this time I don't have to stop every five minutes or debate letting Takeo carry me, Tetsumi thought, and there's something so much cooler than a shanty town waiting for me when I get there. Her spirits lifted; Tetsumi desperately wanted to know what an actual insect insect from this place would be like, rather than an insect shaped bijuu.

They didn't have far to walk. By the time Tetsumi was winded enough to consider turning around, her kikai were returning with good news.

"He's not hostile," she translated, heaving a sigh of relief. "Nothing in between us and him, either, except fifty more yards of uneven terrain." Tetsumi grabbed Takeo's hand—what? She was excited and she wanted to. "Thank you," she said, again, and didn't let go until the sound became deafening.

As the cry was the wordless equivalent of hey ladies my mandibles are massive get a load of this, Tetsumi didn't feel bad interrupting the cicada—invisible in the canopy, with a pulse of chakra and a holler. The din cut off abruptly.

"Come down here," Tetsumi called. There was the distinct sound of beating wings, then a crashing. The cicada appeared in a shower of leaves and broken branches. It made a curious sound; Tetsumi turned purple.

"I will not mate with you," she snapped. The kikai within her heaved a collective sigh, or would have had they been capable of it. The cicada chirped. "Yes, I'm sure. Look—just tell me about the island, okay?"
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Old 04-16-2014, 06:26 PM   #16
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As he walked, Takeo couldn’t help but keep his eyes open to the Chuunins’ surroundings. This entire place was making him uneasy. But he walked briskly with Tetsumi, keeping her from falling over with each step. Really she shouldn’t even be running in her condition but she definitely wasn’t going to hear it. Instead he’d let her have fun and enjoy it.

He took her hand gently and walked with her, smiling through her thanks. As the pair walked, the sound became more and more unbearable and Takeo resisted the urge to cover his ears. He found himself looking around for whatever was making the sound, but nothing as to be seen. Not until a giant cicada showed itself. Then random noises came from both Tetsumi and the bug, none of which Takeo could understand but soon he started looking around.

So far the cicada didn’t seem hostile or a threat. So Takeo found himself wandering around in a short area around the group, letting the two talk or something. His hands soon slid into the pockets of his pants and the pacing even stopped. The redhead leaned against the trunk of a giant tree… one he probably couldn’t even fit his arms around and looked to the ground. Eavesdropping wasn’t an issue, he didn’t understand the conversation and even when Tetsumi was speaking normally, he only got one side of the discussion.

He then thought of an idea and his eyes lifted once more, looking around. Maybe he could find something out here that the Swarms would like, get them an offering so that the next time he called upon them, they wouldn’t be hesitant. He searched for things that he had remembered hearing and squatted down, picking up what looked like it could have been a femur. He looked over it for a moment and decided to hold onto it, just to see if they liked it.
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Old 04-17-2014, 02:55 PM   #17
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Tetsumi was slowly getting information on the bug's life on Seirei no Shima—the tides, the weather patterns, the predators—when her cicada friend broke off, wings twitching.

"What's wrong?" Tetsumi asked, but the insect had already moved on, back into his description of the island's root system. It was all very interesting, if you were a cicada, but Tetsumi was less than riveted. She watched Takeo from underneath the sunglasses she had re-equipped in deference to her host (bugs didn't tend to like the look of human eyes. Too moist, too rotaty, too weird). From what she could tell, her teammate—Boyfriend? Partner? All the terminology seems so stupid—was starting his search for a gift.

Should I get a gift for our summons? Tetsumi wondered, thinking about her own clan's contracts. The elder bugs weren't widely utilized or interacted with; Tetsumi thought it had something to do with their original contracts with the clan founder, but had never had the nerves to approach the summons to ask.

This was all background noise as the Aburame surveyed Takeo, though. Primarily she was thinking about how lovely it was to have someone that would romp in the woods with her again. I should take him out to dinner when we get back to Last Landing, Tetsumi decided as the cicada prattled on about soil quality. There's not going to be anything fancy, but I bet I could find a candle if I—what was that?

The giant insect must have heard it too, because he had stopped. A glance confirmed that his wings were twitching again; Tetsumi had just enough time to interpret his excited chirps before the deafening mating call rose again.

"Takeo, stay down!" she shouted, but the cicada's call drowned her warning out. Tetsumi hoped her own attempt at duck and cover would be explanation enough, though, especially as two more oversized insects swooped into sight.

Two females, Tetsumi thought, sparing a glance. The conversation between the three insects was beyond her grasp, but it was clear by watching and with a rudimentary knowledge of entomology that two females showing up simultaneously was going to create problems.

No, not two females, the Aburame realized. Three. I'm competition.
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Old 04-17-2014, 03:28 PM   #18
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The femur was put into Takeo’s bag and he glanced around a little more. This one gift should suffice for now. Takeo had made it a point not to call upon the summons on a regular basis. His hope was that Tetsumi didn’t start pressuring him to do it. Things like that weren’t as simple as it was for her to utilize her kikai. A loud humming noise brought an end to the searching and he found himself quickly looking for his…partner? Maybe at some point they should have a discussion to see what terms their relationship should use.

He noticed her ducking down and did the same out of reaction. Takeo clearly had no idea what was going on and it didn’t seem like he’d be able to talk to Tetsumi. The buzzing of the bugs was entirely way too loud. But he did notice two more cicada show up and they didn’t seem quite as ‘happy’ to see the pair of shinobi as the first one was.

Keeping low to the ground, he made his way carefully to Tetsumi, wanting to get within at least some sort of talking range. ”What’s going on? Why don’t they seem to be pleased by us being here?” If anyone had an answer to what was going on, it’d be Tetsumi. He just hoped that nothing was going to start out here. With the way she fawned over bugs, if he had to fight them, it’d probably upset her even more.

”Maybe we should get out of here before anything happens.” That had to be the best decision at the moment. Waiting around only invited issues that may or may not arise. Of course the bugs could just be trying to mate. Wait…I don’t want to see that either. We should just leave. Takeo was already reaching for Tetsumi’s hand to begin leaving.
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Old 04-17-2014, 05:07 PM   #19
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Tetsumi grabbed at Takeo desperately as soon as he was within range. "I'm with him," she hollered, not knowing if the female insects would hear or care. "Not competition! You, tell them—oh god, forget it." Under normal circumstances—normal, non-lethal circumstances, when Tetsumi hadn't inhaled enough poison to kill a farm—she would have wanted to stay and watch the courtship, but Takeo's words were wise. The Aburame glared at the male cicada, who she was almost certain was laughing, then started backing up with her body held low to the ground. She clutched Takeo's hand tightly the entire time.

I already have a male, she thought as loudly as she could. Taken, taken. I'm seriously not trying to holla at your cicada friend. Please don't attack me. It would have been worthless and aggravating for all parties to try and explain human mating rituals to the still-hovering females. When it came down to things, Tetsumi smelled like a bug, spoke like a bug, and, if she was really, really tired, moved like a bug.

They scuttled out of the clearing with no harm done—except to their eardrums—and Tetsumi heaved a sigh of relief.

"Sorry," she murmured, mouth all but pressed to Takeo's ear. The insects were still shouting, noise of the normal mating dance amplified by size. The chuunin hesitated, then added, "It may have been a dumb idea to come into the woods. Sorry. I did learn a lot about the weather patterns, though, which was... nice." Tetsumi struggled to stand.

"I need help getting up," she confessed. "I would kill for a meal right now. Or die, I guess. Dying seems more likely." The joke came out a little more sincere than Tetsumi was comfortable with. "Dinner?" she added. "Let me take you to dinner. Not literally, but—I'm sorry, I'm kind of lightheaded and really bad at socializing, maybe you've noticed. Can I call you my partner? We're dating, right? I'm sorry if I'm not romantic—my rolemodels are all frigid and displays of emotion make me uncomfortable."

Tetsumi paused to catch her breath. Her brain caught up with her rambling and gave her a thumbs up. Nicely done. He won't realize you've been dwelling on this at all.

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Old 04-17-2014, 05:27 PM   #20
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His hand took hold of hers and Takeo’s free arm wrapped around Tetsumi. The panic on her face told him everything that he needed to know. Things were not looking well…something about competition? I don’t really want to know. Instead he helped her out of the clearing back towards the beach from where they had come from.

Once they were in the clear, Takeo gave off a soft sigh of relief and looked to the other Chuunin, shaking his head a little. He knew it was a dumb idea, he voiced it being a dumb idea but he wasn’t going to abandon her. ”It’s whatever. What’s done is done. And I think I may have found something for the Swarms. I got an offering, you got some information, not a complete waste right? No one got hurt and I didn’t have to risk blowing up bugs and having you pissed at me. A win at the end of the day.”

When Tetsumi had mentioned that she needed help getting up, Takeo stood up and helped the kunoichi back to her feet. He thought about asking if she needed to hop on his back, but decided against it. He’d do it if she asked, but he wouldn’t try to undermine her by offering it first. Her words then came out a bit jumbled and maybe a little confusing. It took him a while to try and process everything accurately but soon he nodded a little.

”I’d like to think that we are dating…calling me your partner is fine, and there’s no need to apologize for something you are uncomfortable with.” There was a lot thrown on the table all at once. Of course that helped alleviate the fear that had been dwelling inside of him about trying too much. Of course it wasn’t all because of her, he may have tried a bit too strongly at the same time.

”Don’t worry about it. We can talk more about…” Takeo thought for a moment, trying to piece together what he wanted to say in his mind so he didn’t come out sounding like a complete idiot.

”We can talk more about ‘us’ at dinner if you’d like. Maybe set out some rules or guidelines or whatever.” Takeo wanted to make whatever they had work. She made him happy for once. With all of that thrown out, Takeo walked with Tetsumi back to the settlement, ready to eat some food and talk some more.
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