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Old 08-17-2017, 02:35 AM   #1
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For a self-proclaimed, narcissistic aristocrat, Sudao spent a lot of time on his knees.

Today, however, was different: He was in his study with a familiar, blonde oaf towering above him, watching every move with a keen interest.

“Kaori, can you stop staring? You’re making it hard to concentrate.”

It wasn’t like the Aoyama could see his old teammate: A ornate, blue veil covered his face while he sat on a soft pillow, hands over a table that had a rather large scroll rolled out across it, seals formulated around a small, open space in the center. He swore he could feel the man’s eyes boring holes into him, like they pierced past his very soul.

He did his best to ignore him though, instead, focusing on funneling his chakra into the scroll he had prepared. A blue, crystalline bowl emerged, though it lacked the puff of smoke normally accompanying a summon – rather, it seemed to be a direct expression of the jewel bearer’s chakra, and within moments of appearing, it filled to the brim with water. Sudao dipped his fingers into the bowl and closed his eyes, letting his eyes shine bright as he drew upon the powers of a Miko.

But he saw nothing.

He focused harder and yet, still nothing. There was but a moment's pause before he removed his hands from the bowl, removed the veil that had blinded him, and let the creation sink back into the scroll before he rolled it up with a loud snap and chucked it at one of his nearby aides.

“Well, I have good news and bad news.”

He rubbed his eyes as he turned toward Kaori, as if they were still adjusting from having, well, glowed.

“The bad news is, I can’t pinpoint her exact location. It’s pitch black, meaning, she’s sleeping. Meaning, I wasted all of this time for nothing. However…”

He cracked his knuckles.

“I guess the good news is, she’s not dead. I can still feel her presence out in the world, and I can get us close to her. You’ll just have to use your brotherly instincts to find out exactly where she is.”
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Old 08-17-2017, 02:01 PM   #2
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I’m not staring!” Kaori shouted, staring at Sudao. His eyes had been like heat seeking kunai, devoted to watching every single second of the very long and very elaborate ritual. He could feel the world melting away, the books in Sudao’s study becoming fuzzy retangles, the desk becoming a subtle flat plane, the cabinet becoming just a dark spot on a far wall, and only Sudao remained sharp and contrasted. Kaori’s breath was uneven, anticipatory. He hated waiting. And he was doing too much of it.

Where is she?” He asked, cutting Sudao off. Like the dignitary he was, the Aoyama simply sidestepped Kaori’s insufferable lack of decorum and continued on. She was alive. Oh, good. She was alive.

She’s alive! That’s good! That’s really good news!

That’s the best news I’ve heard! This is incredible!

If people wondered why Kaori reminded them of a puppy, it was very much because he thought like one. He didn’t understand the simile, it made it all the more accurate.

Sleeping is okay. I mean, she’s only slept outside the house a few times,” Kaori said, “So, as long as we’re kind of sure she didn’t leave town, this should be easy.

His sister had done something she never had before. After a day with Kaori, she said she was meeting up with a friend, and not to worry. She said she’s be home later. But she didn’t come home. And that worried Kaori, because Kaminari was not the lying type. She was his little sister, who always believed in the truth and would actively fight Kaori if she sensed he wasn’t truthful.

Kaori and his Shiba-Inu Haru had packed up their clothes and returned home for a day while Kaori’s mother went out of town. Well, Haru-chan packed up her chew toys. Because she was, well, a dog. It was difficult having a Miko mother who cared about people so much, because she visited households like a country doctor, performing little Kami miracles wherever she went. Kaminari thought it disrespectful. Kaori thought it noble. They tended to disagree with a lot when it came to Miko things.

So if she wasn’t home, either she forgot, didn’t care, or was unable to inform. The last one worried him, automatically assuming she was dead in a ditch somewhere. And he would walk up and there she would be, covered in lacerations, arms spread out at awkward angles, chin pointed to the sky as if asking the Kami themselves, ‘Oh, God, why me?! Why?! Me?!’

That’s really dark, don’t do that, Kaori thought to Kazuisho, his yellow gem avatar. The beanie wearing, lanky hallucination popped into view for a second, holding his arms up to shrug.

I was just joking.

Yeah, but that’s way dark. That’s my sister.

Fair enough.

Sudao spoke, either encouraging or warning Kaori that he would need to think about where she would be. This didn’t bother Kaori because he was a grade-A thinker in his book. He thought about lots of stuff all the time and it was good stuff, too. Like science. General stuff about science, but still science all the same. The average person replaces their head of hair every seven years and all people are connected via microbiological DNA or something.

He smiled. He got this.

Well, let’s go! She’s here, and we can already cross off the rich area, cause she and my Mom pretend to hate money,” He punched his fist in his palm in a similar way to Kaminari. They really did complement each other. “Let’s start at the market district. Maybe she's at one of the inns? Or sleeping at a friend's? Most of her friends are just normies, I mean, NSCs. Oh, right. That's YAMA talk, bro. Non-Shinobi Citizens. You guys probably call them something else.

Either way, the market wasn't too farin distance, but very far in terms of splendor to the area the Aoyama lived. A low class residential area in a high commerce district was exactly the kind of bustling place Kaminari would go to escape the quiet loneliness of a Shrine and an empty house. Market was a good idea.

And that wasn’t just because Kaori was hungry.

But it was part of it.
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Old 08-21-2017, 01:02 PM   #3
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“Uh, I hate to break it to you, but maybe you don’t know your sister as well as you thought you did.”

He paused.

“Bro.”

He stood, rising softly off the ground, effortlessly and without making any noise. He seemed to float around the room, much like his jewel, Otohime, would do before he came to a stop at the door, pulling open the handle.

“How old is she these days anyway?”

Though his face didn’t betray him, Sudao felt like he knew exactly where she was. His technique was good for about two hundred yards, and while it made it difficult to find someone in a crowded area, singling someone out in an upscale residential district was painfully easy when the houses were in the thousands of square feet.

He kept walking, a bad taste in his mouth as he traipsed through his home, down a long spiral staircase and into what looked to be a herd of aides. The jounin snatched an ornate, blue pen from the aide at the front of the line, etching his signature stylishly onto a number of papers, initialing where needed and blatantly ripping several contracts up before putting them back in their respective owner’s hands.

“I’ll explain more when I return. I have an errand to run.”

He beckoned Kaori to follow him while a rather handsome butler rushed in front of him to open up the two huge doors that gave entry into his home. Their walk wouldn’t be too far, even though Sudao’s home was rather secluded and distant from the others in Iwagakure. A number of other houses decorated the other side of the lake, but rather than board a boat, the aristocrat instead pushed himself forward, walking directly onto the surface of the water, looking at Kaori like he expected him to do the same.

“She’s near here. Within three miles, actually.”
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Old 08-21-2017, 01:36 PM   #4
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She’s 19,” Kaori said, following him out. “It’s actually their birthday in a few weeks, so now I have to buy a bunch of presents. Kosuke gets mad if Min gets more from me.

Kaori sensed that Sudao probably didn’t care much about his family, and yet he felt the need to share. Not only that, but the aristocrat was actually helping. He was still finding every excuse to rub Kaori’s nose in something, but he was helping. They walked toward a beautiful lake, water rippling in fractured pieces of blue mosaic glass, and as they approached, Kaori got that lump in his throat. Not this shit again.

His gem avatar peeked his head up from under the water and smiled at him, soaking wet and yet not disrupting the water at all. Kazu pulled his beanie off and wringed it for extra measure, tossing his head back to laugh before slipping back under the water and back into Kaori’s mind. Sudao had known since childhood, since before they were every on a team, that Kaori lacked the chakra control to walk on water. It wasn’t something required to pass the Academy anymore, and Kaori made due with an enormous amount of reserves instead, lasting long past others collapsed due to fatigue.

Why did he think that a year or two apart would fix something Kaori really had no intention to fix? It wasn’t a flaw.

Kaori stopped at the water’s edge and stared. Typical Sudao doing his best to remind Kaori that one of them was the better person. But Kaori, hurt by the subtle accusation, instead walked over to the boat and sat in the back, pulling a massive tower shield directly from the yellow gem on his chest. He wouldn’t need to use an oar if he had a giant scoop like shield, and coupled with his natural ability to power through anything, Kaori would make excellent time.

I know you’re probably exhausted. If you don’t want to walk, I don’t mind rowing us,” Kaori said, smiling. He knew Sudao would most likely be too proud to agree, especially since Kaori suggested it, but the invitation was completely honest and open. It was either that or swim, and Kaori didn’t want to have wet clothes all day.

A thought hit him.

Why would she be here, though? In this area? Only rich people like your family are here.

Something was nagging him. Something obvious. Even Kazu, hidden from sight now, could be felt thinking hard, trying to remember something someone said. It was about the Aoyama family and Kaori, maybe? Something about both of the families. Something about something… destiny? Was that it?

Gah! I can’t remember. It’ll come to me.
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Old 08-21-2017, 04:24 PM   #5
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“Oh, you still can’t walk on water?”

His expression was blank, his tone coy. Sudao knew Kaori’s failures well enough.

“My bad… Bro.”

He stood on the water, looking at the oaf expectantly, almost as if he was waiting on him to suggest a different course of action. It was like guiding a child’s hand when teaching her how to write or like leading a horse to water. Convincing people do things came easy to him, and Kaori’s suggestion came up just as easily. His own personal oarsman, all to get him to the other side of the lake. It wasn’t like he didn’t have servants that would do it for him – he just wanted to see the oaf buckle under the pressure of having to row across the entirety of the lake.

“There’s a couple of boats we can use that are docked. My nieces and nephews were over here earlier though. They left that one when their parents retrieved them. I suppose we could leave it at their dock on our way over.” He gestured at the creation. It was a large, obnoxious yellow color, shaped like a duck. The center was rounded and hollow, and the boat possessed a long neck with an obnoxious cartoon face on it. Literally, it was a duck, with a place for oars to stick through on either side to act as wings.

Sudao walked over meekly, plopping down on the far end of it. He gestured toward Kaori, the same blank expression on his face. There were bench-like obstructions that they could sit upon.

“By all means, row my boat, bro.”

Inside his head, Otohime cackled.

“…And please, don’t call us rich. We’re upper class. Rich sounds so… Over the top.” He was over the top, and in truth, he wanted Kaori to keep saying it. “And she’s probably just visiting a friend. But you’re right, a lot of my family has congregated around the lake and in the suburb around it. But there’s plenty of other people that live there.”

Just not in the house we’re going to.
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Old 08-21-2017, 05:45 PM   #6
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Kaori looked at the boat Sudao had pointed to and smiled. The comical duck face looked out over the lake with crossed eyes, bill slightly open in an expression of surprise. Kaori couldn’t be mad, because it was cute. Not very manly, and if any ladies saw him in it they might get the wrong idea, but overall a pretty stylish vessel for the large man to power.

In this cute thing?” Kaori asked, slapping the side of the boat. “Yeah, bro, get in! You weigh like, maybe three kilos soaking weight, I ain’t worried about even busting a sweat across this lake. Plus, I’m offering you a ride, why should you walk if I can do all the work for the two of us?

Kazu tickled his brain, hovering in a far corner of his mind, whispering to him slightly. Sudao is probably going to be offended about something you said in there. I don’t know what, but something.

It’s all good. He knows I don’t mean anything by it.

Kaori shrugged and started mowing through the water with his tower shield, forgetting all about the shoddy little oars. He leaned over each side and scooped massive amounts of water with each pull and within a few seconds, they were powering through the water at a brisk pace. Some boats used motors, but none were needed with Kaori the human machine.

Kaori didn’t think about it, but it was pretty similar to their entire relationship. Kaori was the muscle and the brawn force behind it all. And he could still stand long after Sudao and Masami were panting and groaning into the night. He just didn’t allow himself to get tired. Just like the chuunin exams, Sudao once again abnegated his own effort and Kaori powered on. This was Sudao’s plan all along, to put Kaori in his place and show him what a fool he was for [i]still not knowing how to walk on water.[i]

And Kaori still thought he was just doing a nice thing for his friend. Sudao and he had definitely had their moments the past week, but he was starting to feel secure that even if the blue socialite wasn’t nice to Kaori, deep down he cared, at least a little. Plus, it wasn’t like Sudao had friends, at least ones that he didn’t pay, and Kaori thought even if the young Aoyama was a horrible person to a lot of people, he still should have at least one bro in his ring.

So Kaori powered on, churning the water with each vicious swing of his shield. If one took notice, he spun the shield excellently after each swipe, a crescent of lake water flipping off the metal back into the lake before he dipped the giant wedge to the other side. It kept both of them immaculately dry. Kaori wasn’t very smart, but he could be thoughtful sometimes.

They reached the dock on the other side. Kaori popped out as effortlessly as always, missing his landing and hitting a knee on the dock. He rolled sideways and propped up, investigating his kneecap to make sure he didn’t dislocate anything. It didn’t hurt. He assumed everything was fine. And just like that he waved his fingers, the shield dissolving into a billion crystal fragments of topaz before flittering away back into his gem.

So, where exactly are we going?” Kaori said, “You rich guys… sorry over the top guys… Gods. Top class? High people, whatever. People with money! People with money in this area, I don’t know anything about them, so I don’t think I can pinpoint where she is unless we go door to door.

Kaori bit his lips. “And I don’t think all the ric-- the people with money will like that, unless you know something.
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Old 08-21-2017, 11:30 PM   #7
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Sudao rolled his eyes. Making fun of someone wasn’t any fun when they were too stupid to realize it. At least when he had teased Masami, she had a few one liners to return his way. Kaori was brutishly oafish – he lacked the common decency to respond in an appropriate way. It was exhausting dealing with him, but rather than complain, Sudao kept his mouth shut like he normally did, letting the blonde prattle as he paddled.

It didn’t take too long for them to reach the other side of the lake – Sudao used the time to think of exactly how he wanted to handle the situation. If he was correct in his deductions, then there would be a possibility that Kaori might become angry. At first, he debated warning the other jounin, but then he simply shrugged the thought away. Watching the oaf squirm, dealing with the inner turmoil of seeing his precious sister in the clutches of…

I thought you guys were friends now.

Otohime’s voice was brazenly flagrant, tinged with an immeasurable amount of irritation.

Relax, I know you don’t want me helping him. I don’t want to help him. But think of his mother–

–She doesn’t know any better. She’s not actually missing. She’s accounted for.

Yeah, but they couldn’t find her. Besides, this means Kaori owes me a favor in the future. A big one.

You don’t need his help for anything.


Sudao waited for Kaori to finish docking the boat for he stood, seeming to glide across the boat and onto the dock.

“Right, very good. This way.”

The plywood beneath his feet had been sanded down carefully, stained, and it was carefully maintained. The part of the platform that stuck into the deeper water seemed to be anchored to floats rather than posts, undoubtedly to aid the structure’s integrity in the event of a flood.

“We’ve probably got about a mile before we get to her.” His eyes shined with a bright, bluish light as he urged the kami to do his bidding. She was still in the same location.

“…I hate to say it, but I think I know exactly where she is.”
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Old 08-22-2017, 10:18 PM   #8
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Kaori stretched his arms and popped a few squats, smiling widely. Physical excursions had a habit of calming him, allowing to act or do instead of think. He liked action. The pair walked along the dock, Kaori bounding along with endless enthusiasm, while Sudao seemed to ephermerally glide along like some bitter, caustic spirit. They were approaching the houses, still a good distance away, but Kaori hadn't seemed to slow. It would have been a sight to see Sudao buckle under the physical demands of walking, but Kaori knew the blue gemmed Jounin to be far more capable.

In fact, the only person who believed Sudao could be better was Kaori. His affection for Sudao, however unjust and undeserved, was on a higher level than Sudao's own narcissistic self-adoration. And that was saying something since only one of them put on regular parties for themselves just so they could have admirers, well, admire them. Sudao was a raging asshole, but after the party, Kaori could see just how much of it was Otohime. His blue avatar only perpetuated Sudao's inclinations towards self aggrandizement.

Sudao thought all those things, yes, but he wasn't as horrible as she was.

Not to mention, nobody liked Kazu. Kaori's yellow gem avatar hadn't won many friends, but to the observant one, it only further iterated just how nice Kaori actually was. His anger, his frustration, that wasn't always him. A bit complementary, sure, but entirely separate. Like twin brothers living in the same body.

But Kaori didn't think about that. He only thought about the massive house on the spacious grounds with its polished, gleaming windows and large door that stood as an imposing bastion for any low-class vagrants that somehow found themselves in the wrong neighborhood. Kaori felt out of place, but it was better next to Sudao.

He let Sudao lead them to the front door but instead of waiting for a signal, as he usually did, he knocked his ham-fist against the frame. In true brutish fashion he noticed a second after the cacophonous boom that there was a tiny button encrusted with gold, at waist level. A doorbell. He pressed it but didn't hear a bell.

Better press it again! And so he did, twice.

He looked to Sudao expectantly. "Let's get this over. I should have figured you had work to do first. That's what we're here for, yeah?"

Kaori wasn't upset that Sudao had led them astray. If his sister was in danger, Sudao would've done something. He pretended to not care, but Kaori was the only person who genuinely liked Sudao, besides Masami.

Lightning coursed out of his body, subtly twisting into the air in small transluacent tendrils. His gem sprang to life, lighting up in a candle flame under his button down shirt. He could feel them electric emanation reaching through the door, sensing the life beyond the sturdy and expensive structure. Two people were approaching, quickly. It was a trick he learned with his electric gem, allowing him to sense any living beings in a close field. Not as useful as Sudao's far-sight Miko skills, but much more specific and very useful in closer quarters.

"Two people coming. I guess that actually was a bell, bro," he laughed.

Idiot.
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Old 08-23-2017, 04:47 PM   #9
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The house itself was pretty sizeable, though it lacked a gate and many of the amenities that Sudao’s own had. Rather, the two-story home sat comfortably with a doorway off to the side and with what looked to be a storage space underneath what was a bedroom. Two small, mountain shaped lights sat on either side of the large storage space’s entrance, and seemed to flicker with a blue tint. Kaori rang the doorbell several times but didn’t seem to understand why it wasn’t working.

“You know they can hear you, right?”

He gestured nonchalantly towards a small microphone positioned just above where his finger touched. Sudao didn’t look amused.

“The jig’s up. You guys can come out now, we know you’re in there.” He paused. “Rikuto. It’s me. You, and the girl, come on.”

Inside, there was a lot of thumping as someone ran down the steps. He heard someone trip and fall. With a roll of his eyes, the jounin reached for the door, only to have it flung open by what looked to be some weird cross between himself and Kaori.

A broad shouldered, brown haired Adonis opened the door, though he lacked Kaori’s height. His hazel eyes shifted nervously, and a couple beads of sweat dripped from his military-cut hair, which had been spiked ever so slightly. Rikuto was dressed in a pair of black shorts and what looked to be a graphic T, though the design was lost since it was on backwards.

“Hey, boss! You could have rang, you know?”

“I tried that, the girl was sleeping. Where is she?”

Rikuto’s jaw dropped for a moment. He saw Kaori, and there was shrill screech from behind him. Sudao moved to look past him, but the larger man pulled the door shut a bit more.

“I’m kinda busy right now. Can you guys stop by later?”

Sudao rolled his eyes, completely over it.

“Kaori, this is my cousin. Rikuto. He’s one of our logistics operators.”

Sudao’s eyes glowed one more time.

“And your sister’s somewhere inside his house.”
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Old 08-23-2017, 05:08 PM   #10
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Hey, bro!” Kaori said, putting his hand out for the good-looking man to shake. Instead, Rikuto just looked at Kaori like both of them had forgotten something very important and their sergeant was about to find out. The taller blond one pulled his hand back and smoothed his shirt down a bit, turning to look back at Sudao.

Why would my sister be here? She’s a genin, she doesn’t work for IWA,” Kaori was confused.

And then it clicked. The sweat, the weird stylish shirt he had put on backward, the shrill scream. He had attacked Kaori’s sister and she was putting up a fight. The shirt was on backward so blood wouldn’t get on the design, and she was screaming for help.

I swear, if you hurt her!

Kaori shouldered the door and knocked it clear off the hinges before barreling down the hallways, following residual pulses of electricitiy he had felt and the sound of quick footsteps leading awaty. He passed a cabinet, accidentally sliding into it. As it topple around him, glass scattering into a thousand little pieces, Kaori flew forward, jettisoning over the steps that lead to a room on the side, and thrust his shoulder once again into the doorframe, which crumpled in splintered halves and fell to the side.

There in front of him, sitting on the edge of a bed with crossed legs and a stern expression, was Kaminari. She refolded her arms and looked up at the ceiling in frustration, fighting back the urge to scream and cry. She bit her lip, just like Kaori, and shook her head quickly back and forth, cheeks flustered and pink.

You. Idiot,” she said, “I’m fine. I’m fine. I’M FINE. You’re not my dad!

What are you doing? You didn’t come home, I was worried. Are you hurt?

Kaminari stood up and walked to Kaori, who raised his arms to embrace her. She cooly ducked under his arms and walked past the doorframe, grabbing one battered half of the door and closing it, all while maintaining direct eye contact with Kaori. And then she spun on her feet and walked out from the adjacent hallways to the main entrance-way and stood next to the breathless Rikuto.

Sudao,” she said, nodding. A sign of familiarity. It was uncouth and uncultured and everyone knew it. It also said a lot about Kaminari. She knew she was invited her, so whatever happened, she was a guest. Sudao and Kaori were infringing on her right to live her life as an adult.

Something I can assist you with?

Hold on a damn minute!” Kaori bellowed, Kazu whispering naughty truths in his head, eyes burning bright gold. “Were you two fuckin’?

Straight up? You preppy bitch. Banging... Banging my sister?!
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