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Old 04-19-2018, 11:23 AM   #1
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Default [Stone/Leaf] Negotiations Over Fists

OOC: Said this before but for personal timeline purposes, this is happening before Celestial Fist II.

Negotiations Over Fists


Sanada Sanshiro was nervous and nervous for several reasons...

The first and most apparent would be his father Sanada Shinji who looked every part the cat on the prowl. A natural diplomat and a skilled one in profession for many years, everything about the man's 6'3" form spoke of litheness and subtlety. His black suit hung perfectly tailored on his graceful form and although closer to fifty than to forty he still retained a youthful demeanor and a face devoid of any wrinkles. Shinji himself hid his black eyes underneath big aviator sunglasses and it could be expected that his stress was two-fold...

Both in dealing with his eccentric son and his very free-spirited wife Sanada Shiro, Shiro had been a bartender that Shinji had picked up and impregnated before she had reached 18 years old and twenty-four years later their marriage remained one of quiet passion and unwavering loyalty. Shiro had given birth to Shinji's two children, Makiko and our hero Sanshiro. She was a non-shinobi in a family of bloodline shinobi, still she had done her way to adapt and assimilate to the oddities of the Sanada clan more admirably than most outsiders.

But let's not be a total teenager and blame all my fuckin' stress on the 'rents--let's also be real: I'm uncomfortable because I'm in a foreign country, in a hidden village without official Leaf approval...

But Dad says he has this shit handled. Whatever that fuckin' means.


"Hey idiot!", Shinji hissed at Sanshiro, "If you're gonna smoke try not to get ashes on your white fuckin' suit genius, I need you lookin' presentable."

Fist glared at his father, his youthful face completely unadorned by his trademark sunglasses and not hiding his anger at all that his father happened to be wearing his pair while forbidding Sanshiro to do the same. His mother and father had also be insistent that he not wear his trademark hoodie or any of his preferred outfits. Instead they had provided him with a suit and cologne and hair gel and all sorts of things he didn't have much experience with...

Still, he hadn't cleaned up badly. He just looked like he was fifteen and as a seventeen year old boy there were few fates worse than looking like a fifteen year old boy--jeez.

"Lay off him darling, Fist-chan can't help himself..."

"And yet we expect him to help us? Just look at his tie goddamn it Shiro! He's making us look bad as a unit!"

"The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, eh darling?"

"Pffft...whatever," he grunted, "Just help the kid out. He has no clue what the stakes are..."

"And who's fault is that?"

"Mine," Shinji said testily, "Thanks for the reminder dear wife."

Shiro smiled at her son and approached him kindly, daintily removing the cigarette from his hand before bringing her other hand to fix his tie. Fist felt his skin turn beat red.

So, yeah, if the first thing that made him nervous was his parents, the second that he was in Stone, the third would be his wardrobe and he would never be able to tell you honestly how uncomfortable wearing a suit made him feel.

Still, his father had been rather insistent on this and as he fiddled with a large folder and wiped sweat off his brow as the trio walked down unfamiliar streets to a rather large compound on the horizon. When they got closer Fist noticed a golden placard on the front of a brick pillar...

By Order of the Tsuchikage,
This land is designated SAJIME ZAIBATSU Clangrounds


"Sajime Zaibatsu? This clan got two fuckin' last names? What the hell! Why we here pops?"

Shinji smiled wryly...

"In a month you face Masakage's machinations on Spirit Island, I cannot help you in that--too risky to put both of us on the front line, but I've been working in the background on something," he sighed, "Influence, money...allies. It's a gamble but the payoff is too great in compared to the cost."

So this was a part of his father's master plan? But what could that be and what would he need Fist for?

"So what do you need me to do old man? Y'know I'm down for the clan cause and anything is plenty when it comes to help!"

"I appreciate your enthusiasm Sanshiro, so let me be clear, the one thing I need you to do beyond anything else is..."

"Shut up and let your father work, beyond anything else."

At this Sanada Shinji nodded solemnly and gripped his wife's hand instinctively...

"Thanks dear."

And then he rang the doorbell notifiying the Sajime of their arrival.
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Yeah, I stunt, but I’m a li’l more realer
When it come from the heart, don’t it feel mo’ iller?
Watch my flow go bananas, I’m a li’l gorilla
So pardon me, man, y’all gon’ have to pardon me



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Old 04-19-2018, 01:03 PM   #2
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They’re here.
If ya’ll’d’ve given me more time to prepare...
Little time for complaints now, princess.
What’s the deal with a sudden home visit from a client? We could have done this at one of the restaurants.
Perhaps the old man has secrets, too.
I can’t get my hair right.
They’re about to ring, princess.
Just one more second!
There’s the door.
A decade of shinobi training, and I’m answering doors in my own mansion.
I can’t imagine the horror, princess.



Two older gentleman, dressed in formal Japanese robes, bowed as they walked backwards, pulling open the large entry way doors to the central castle of the Sajime clanground fortress, a multilayered complex with dozens of buildings. This main building, this crown jewel of Iwagakure opulance, stood tall and sturdy against the mountainous backdrop like a jewel embedded in a silver tiara. As the heavy wooden doors opened, they revealed Sajime Sahori, dressed in her formal blacks with her glistening headband hung neatly around her neck. They also revealed a shorter woman, with thick white hair and a matching black outfit, decorated like a handmaid...but there was a dignity to her, standing next to the princess of the castle, like she was above it all. She didn't speak, her cat-like eyes narrowing at the three Sanada in the entry way, as Sahori beamed her practiced smile.

"Welcome, most honored guests," She said, lightly twisting the edge of her thigh length dress, bowing ever so slightly. "The Sajime Zaibatsu is gracious for your timely arrival."

A silky strand of hair twisted out from behind her ear in protest, falling across her face as she bowed. She brushed it away swiftly as she took a step back, to usher the trio inside.

"Your guardsmen are, of course, also welcome," She said, eyes alight with a warm smile.

"I believe they've traveled alone, Sajime-san," came the voice of the handmaiden.

Sahori tilted her head at this, offering a polite laugh. "Of course not. No dignitary would make such a long travel without a retinue."

The mechanization of the Sajime family was in full effect. The inside of the castle was a cast of crew members, all moving in practiced elegance. The doormen bowed deeply as the doors reached their full opening, prostrating themselves all the way to the ground, noses touching the immaculate wooden floor. Several women, all carefully chosen for beautiful faces and matching height, came streaming down the staircase to be available to receive any traveling gear, their maid outfits all worth more than their monthly salaries. Somewhere, a guzheng was being plucked, filling the castle with a familiar ambiance. Sahori's soft face was reflected in Shinji's sunglasses, eyes wide and perhaps the slightest bit confused.

"I am Sajime Sahori, jounin of Iwagakure and acting board member of the Zaibatsu. You are the esteemed Sanada clan, yes?"
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Old 04-19-2018, 01:26 PM   #3
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"Well, I dunno 'bout esteemed..."

"What I tell you outside? Shut up and let the grown ups talk."

"Bu--"

"A pleasure Sajime-san," Sanada Shiro cut both her husband and son off with a certain degree of measurement, "There are issues that prevented our clan head the esteemed and powerful," she stretched those words purposefully, "Sanada Masayuki from joining us. My husband Sanada Shinji, brother to the clan head, will be spear heading these negotiations--as we discussed with your leadership prior to our arrival."

"Forgive me," Shinji said waving his hand nonchalantly, "It is the curse of the younger brother to always be the more unimpressive, at least at first glance. I'm sure the honorable Sajime Zaibatsu will be more than satisfied with what the Sanada clan can offer. Appearances non-withstanding. Forward, shall we?"

Fist to his credit blinked incredulously at how quickly and expertly his mother had gained control of the situation and how uncharacteristic his father looked in deferring to her--however while Shinji was the deal maker, Shiro was the party planner and she was much more capable of reading the room than even her diplomatic husband.

While Shiro and her husband quickly adapted to the situation with a degree of expectation and class, the same could not be said for Sanshiro who happened to be twisting about and looking around at the massive mansion of a compound with little subtlety or restraint. The Sanada compound in Leaf could've fit it's entirety in a half of this sprawling estate and the architecture itself was much more ambitious but likely more practical purely by looking at it. It was very impressive...

Look at all these ladies tho! It's like they're expecting to seduce some young dumb dude or something!

Hah! Who'd fall for that shit?

This place looks fuckin' awesome though! I could get used to this shit!


"Anyway! Introductions!", Shiro said brightly, "My name is Sanada Shiro, my husband as said is Sanada Shinji, our chief diplomat and a Jounin within Konohagakure--two years away from retirement, fingers crossed!"

She grinned and nudged Sanshiro to move forward to which Fist obliged hesitantly all of a sudden feeling all eyes on him. He stepped forward and bowed nervously, looking much more like a boy than deadly shinobi...

"And I'm The Fist," he said uneasily, "Jounin of Konoha."

"Tell them your real name asshole."

"That is my name--"

"This is our son, Sanada Sanshiro," she said calmly, "Chuunin Exam Champion from four years ago and newly promoted Jounin to Konoha."

"Awwww, c'mon mom! Don't be like that! Once they know I'm named Sanshiro they never stop callin' me that! "

"Fist!", she hissed, "Not now."

Fist gulped and immediately shut up.

"As I was saying before these lovely and completely necessary introductions," Shinji began, "Let's move forward with business. We are a long way from home, as you stated Sajime-san."
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Yeah, I stunt, but I’m a li’l more realer
When it come from the heart, don’t it feel mo’ iller?
Watch my flow go bananas, I’m a li’l gorilla
So pardon me, man, y’all gon’ have to pardon me



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Old 04-19-2018, 01:50 PM   #4
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Oh, great...I’m going to be babysitting an actual child of a jounin of Konohagakure. At least the dad’s nice on the eyes.

Byakko’s light pressure on the small of her back broke her gaze away from Shinji, and she tented her fingers together and smiled at the trio as they entered the castle. Her eyes nearly closed from her broad smile as she took into step next to them.

Of course, Shinji-san.” Her voice was carefully manicured, a tool ever much as the kunai hidden along the inside of her thighs. It erased her accent and blended neatly with the common court talk of the movers and shakers of the business world. “You have a lovely family. I believe I was in attendance for Sanshiro-chan’s exemplary performance.

As she walked alongside Shinji and Shiro, she turned her back completely to Sanshiro, leaving him behind to gawk at the foyer. She had already tasted Shinji’s impatience and was quick to move things along, provided his mood sour even more before he met with her grandfather for their secret meeting. What the Sajime clan could benefit from a shinobi family that didn’t even have a guard squad, Sahori didn’t know. Byakko made her presence scarce, disappearing alongside the other maids and then completely from the room – playing pretend at being a servant always pissed her off, but she was goodly enough to play along as needed.

As the four of them made it through the decorative hallways and doors that separated them from the boardroom, things got more and more tense. Other Iwagakure shinobi, on guard duty, were visible sitting on rafters, meditating at koi ponds, or glaring mysteriously from across marble floors. As they reached the inner workings of the castle, to what could be called the boardroom, the warm classic architecture had melted away to expertly crafted marble and black stone. Iwagakure ninja lined the walls, arms crossed and eyes steely. The paper doors slid open to reveal an ornate room with a low, empty table. An elderly, bald man sat cross legged in the center of the table. He was flanked by six on each side, all men and women with serious, leathery faces. The heads of the Zaibatsu, representing all of the major families under the umbrella.

Sahori, the last warm thing in the area, extended her palm to the room and folded her other hand across her stomach.

This is where we part. Welcome to the Sajime boardroom.

You’ll be joining us,” said the elderly man.

Yes, grandfather.” She responded on instinct, bowing her head as she entered the room. She sat at the far end of the table, hands on her knees. They all sat directly down on a cushioned floor – the Sanada clan alone on the opposite side of the table, backs to the paper door that slid shut behind them.

Let’s talk business.
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Old 04-19-2018, 03:19 PM   #5
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"Hey lady, it's Fis--!"

But his mother already was pinching Sanshiro's arm and forcing him to move forward and be quiet. Fist was very much turning gears in his mind trying to break down the situation and why everything seemed so serious. Besides, what business could be so serious? And what could it be that he of all people would be needed? His father had spoken of Fist taking a more proactive role in the clan's future--could this be it?

What are you planning old man...?

But if Shinji showed anything but nonchalance or impatience it would take a Byakugan to see it. The Jounin was already in the mode of negotiator and it was clear that his style of negotiation was one based on an aggressive and articulate style of debate and discussion. Sanshiro had seen his father look nervous or reticent before and the elder Sanada was not one to hide his emotions--but his displeasure in this whole situation could be read from a mile a way...

What message was Shinji looking to send?

"Sit down Sanshiro, Shiro," Shinji waved to his wife and son before waltzing around the Sajime boardroom with a certain saunter and laziness to him, resembling a cat that had gotten into too much milk, "Sajime-san, a pleasure, we've been corresponding for the last few weeks but this is our first opportunity to meet..."

He reached into his breast pocket and pulled out a golden case that when popped open revealed immaculate and white hand rolled cigarettes--

"Sanshiro, light."

And with a snap of Fist's fingers his father was smoking a cigarette across the room, pacing and looking at the Sajime boardroom and it's inhabitants with a certain appraising glance.

"I'm impressed with your clan grounds but this posturing belittles your standing and your ambitions," he said with a certain authority, "The Sajime have money and influence--but what are those but grass huts that give way to the earliest storm? They're set pieces that can crumble away in a generation...you begin building a family legacy with money and influence. But what is it that solidifies a legacy? Power."

He tossed his black folder onto the table, it sliding expertly to the head of the Sajime family.

"The Sanada have power and power is the old stone building that stand for centuries. We have no fortune, we have no army, but we have history and no end in sight."

Fist was ensnared with his father's confrontational nature--what was his plan? What was he getting at?

"I propose an alliance," he finished, "For the purpose of solidifying the Sanada's present and the Sajime's future. You'll find our demands enclosed..."

What demands? What could he want?

"Including a small stake in the Sajime Zaibatsu, to be solidified with a contract of marriage."

It was Fist's turn to laugh...

"Who's gettin' marr--"

His mother pinched his leg this time underneath the table, hard, he nearly cussed her out of reflex.

"Does this seem fair, Sajime-san?"
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Yeah, I stunt, but I’m a li’l more realer
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Old 04-19-2018, 03:48 PM   #6
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There was an uncomfortable silence in the boardroom.

Sahori smoothed out the hem of her dress and kept her head bowed, but her ears were turning pink, hidden by her carefully coiffed hair, aside from the errand band that had slipped away once again. She didn’t dare move to fix it, not yet, so it hung from her face like a delicate ribbon. Sanada Shinji, coming in here and accusing the family of posturing...wearing stupid sunglasses and talking like a crass idiot, how dare he? She smoothed the hem again, carefully stretching and flexing her fingers one by one, her tremoring anger hidden by the edge of the table. Elsewhere, the white tiger prowled back and forth, awaiting any command.

Grandfather Sajime took the black folder and opened it. He read the contents, eyes lazily following down the page, as Shinji made his demands. Sahori and the other boardmembers kept their head bowed. Their purpose here, before the patriarch, was to show solidarity with his decisions, not to engage in the discussions. The jounin considered speaking, anyway – she had a history of being an upstart – but this was out of her league. Decisions about the alliances of the Zaibatsu lie with the clanhead. Marrying off one of the young girls in the clan would probably delight the girl and if it offered political mobility, that’s all that mattered.

The Sajime have recovered from storms before, as I’m sure you know.” Grandfather sat the folder down in front of him. From her perch down the table, Sajime Sahori instantly recognized that a portion of the contents was a Ninja Info Card. She pressed her nails into her palm as she considered.

The Sajime family had just herself as a ninja, currently. The Zaibatsu as a whole offered as many as they could to the Iwagakure war machine in the past, but they were primarily in the business of money, not blood. What did the Sanada family offer? Ninja? When only two of them could be bothered to make the trip here? Was this some sort of joke?

This power,” Grandfather said, tapping down onto the folder. “You give me this, and you’ll have your vassal. There’s lands in your side of the Fire country, ripe with trade. Taxation alone there would cover your needs.

He stroked his chin. “And if we moved that venture deeper into Konohagakure herself, well...there’s money in it for both of us.

Sahori let out a small sigh, relaxing. Perfect. The Sajime holdings in Fire Country might be lucrative, but it was a pain in the ass to head out there to handle local matters. Having the Sanada do that would be a cool benefit, even if they scraped some of the profit away. It wasn’t part of her direct region, but it seemed the headache of Fire Country’s shinobi conflicts always caused problems. ...not that Iwagakure was doing much better, in recent years.

As for your marriage contract, Sahori-chan here is unmarried and understands the shinobi trade besides. An ideal candidate for our bridge.

Her “buu” oinking sound shattered the silence on her side of the table as she suddenly straighten up, her knees banging against the underside of the table. Her face slid from pale to a flush of pink, eyes wide.

There are others!” She started, “Perhaps Sa--

Grandfather held up his hand, not bothering to look at her. Elsewhere in the complex, the tiger roared. “You’re the only one of us that can be trusted with the matters of shinobi, Sahori. You will do this task for me.

She bowed her head, her headband tight against her neck. It suddenly felt like shackles. She let her shoulders relax, and her voice return to normal – “Yes, ojii-san.
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Old 04-19-2018, 04:26 PM   #7
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"And who is she going to marry...?", Sanshiro asked uneasily, "Seijirou?"

"Don't be ridiculous Sanshiro, Seijirou is the heir to the entire clan," Shiro whispered, "Why do you think you're here?"

"Wait...no, no fuckin' way!"

But Sanada Shinji was already nodding his head toward the Sajime family patriarch, whatever posturing he had done or any sort of confrontational pose being stripped away with contentment.

"You'll find my own son is a suitable match," he offered with a certain casualness, "He is of age, strong and the most skilled practicioner of our kekkei genkai of his generation. His and Sahori-chan's mutual shinobi success will give them equal parts time and autonomy in their marriage, useful for a long distance one."

This was all moving far too quickly for Sanshiro who finally stood up and pounded the table...

"Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait," he sputtered, "Marriage? Pops? Are you forreal? I literally just turned seventeen not too long ago! I just got promoted! Marriage is too soon! Too much!"

"Are you not a shinobi? You made a lifetime oath to kill and steal at fuckin' twelve--marriage is neither as serious or as scary as that. It also isn't a big task I'm asking of you, is it?" Shinji broke character with his display, "Marry the girl, wiggle on top of her, squirt out a few Sanada babies and move on with your life. Think of something bigger than yourself, eh?"

"I just met her!"

"Consider that a good thing, nobody would agree to marry you if they spent more than five minutes with you. Least of all a human woman, need I remind you your last girlfriend was literally infested with bugs?"

"Don't talk about Tetsu--"

"Fist! Darling!", hissed Shiro, "We are in mixed company."

Shinji sighed and Fist glared his green eyes first at his father and then at his mother and then finally at the Sajime clan head and Sahori--trying to read into the Jounin's face, Fist was unfortunately, illiterate when it came to the fairer sex.

"I apologize for my son and my own display, travel has made me much more irritable than usual," Shinji said calmly, "Might I suggest Sahori-chan give Sanshiro a tour of your grounds, as to get them more acquainted?"

"Yeah, now that you've sold off the prized family cock you can kick him the fuck out..."

It was Shiro's turn to grip her son's shoulder with a certain degree of empathy...

"My son is just shocked that's all, we figured that subtlety the best course of direction--my son as skilled as he is, is anything but."

Fist was seething but he remained quiet, causing a scene here wouldn't do any good...

But as soon as he was in private, he'd be giving the sky a piece of his mind.

"I think a brief walk would do both him and Sahori-chan good."
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Yeah, I stunt, but I’m a li’l more realer
When it come from the heart, don’t it feel mo’ iller?
Watch my flow go bananas, I’m a li’l gorilla
So pardon me, man, y’all gon’ have to pardon me



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Old 04-19-2018, 06:17 PM   #8
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The paper door slid shut behind the pair of jounin, and they were relatively alone on the otherside – if not for all the shinobi poised and ready. There was a few strides away from the door, down one of the hallways, and then Sahori suddenly stopped, brushing down the hem of her dress again, and turned on her heel to face Sanada Sanshiro. Her face was pulled into a thin line.

Despite your father’s boorish and vulgur commands, you will not be wiggling on top of me.” She spat it out, venomously, before taking a breath and stepping back away from the boy. She turned on her heel and started down the hallway. With each step her footsteps grew in intensity, until she was stomping her way down the hallway. She kept starting a half-formed sentence, well I – if they – I can’t believe –! but she couldn’t get anything to stick. She was fuming, until she finally came to a stop, her hands outstretched from her body and hands parallel to the walls in the weakest display of after-you that could be managed, and revealed the koi pond.

A large tree twisted up to the open sky, and just as night was beginning to fall and stars were sprinkling across the sky, the leaves of the tree seemed to catch alight with the majesty of it all. The roots curled up and out of the ground, embracing the deep and wide pond. It was accented by flowering bushes, benches, and a few stone tiles. There was the sound of activity in the pond, as the fish flitted about. Sahori moved a few steps away from Sanshiro and breathed in deeply.

Maybe I’ll tell them I’m barren.” She stared across the water for a few seconds, before turning to the boy, face twisted with frustration. “You’re, what, fifteen? That’s disgusting. Not you, the whole situation. You’re just a brat.

She turned away from him, biting down on her thumbnail. She paced more. “I mean, I am too. That’s why he’s doing this, you know. I’m always sticking my nose into things. Trying to succeed and shit. Excuse my language. And they act like I’m a liability when I was the one who kicked ass excuse my language and become this badass ninja excuse my language a JOUNIN of all things and now they’re pairing me off with some little shit not you excuse me I’m upset at the situation and not you because they wanna get what?

During her pacing she had gotten back into Sanshiro’s face. “What power? What’s the kekkei genkai? You’re from Konoha? It’s the Byakugan, right?

She glared at him. “I’ve met Hyuuga before, you don’t have the scary eyes.
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Old 04-19-2018, 06:31 PM   #9
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When the door had closed Fist had all the intention of being the ranting babbling mess...

Instead it was Sahori who exploded unto the seventeen year old prodigy, bubbling over with her own frustration and disgust for the situation. Still, there was a certain level of endearing to the way she ranted and raved--Fist could sympathize. He had grown up a clan child in a village of clans and there was always talk about arranged marriage and that sort of clan obligation...it just hadn't been so for the Sanada.

"Don't worry Sahori-chan, er, Sajime-san," he corrected, "I'm not much of a wiggler anyway and shit. Sorry for my pops, I'd say he'd grow on you, but I'm still waiting."

When Sanshiro had returned to Konoha and got promoted, Shinji, his father, had promised to bet the future of the clan on his only son--how was this reaching that goal?

Still, it was hard for him to not be frustrated with the situation either--Sajime had completely written him off and that was something that stung no matter how familiar it was. Normally he proved how wrong underestimating him was by doing field work or displaying his skill...

It didn't seem appropriate here.

"I'm seventeen, almost eighteen," he said uneasily, "Marrying some thirty year old woman isn't how I pictured my life going either, just being fuckin' honest..."

He had often thought that he would marry into a clan of Konoha, first the Hyuuga and then the Aburame--but was that dream truly dead? And had it been anything more than a dream? The Sanada were pariah in Leaf and not clan of repute would tie their scion to them. The Sanada would have to look outside of Konoha if they wanted good matches to propel them to a level of stability and away from dependency on the powers that be in Leaf.

It seemed so obvious--then why did it hurt so much?

"The kekkei genkai is called the Celestial Body, it's not really apparent just by lookin' at us and shit..."

He stared at her quizzically and then sighed, reaching for a cigarette of his own and then lighting it up with a single motion.

"You wanna see it?"

He puffed his cigarette and then offered her the cancer stick as a olive branch--along with giving away clan secrets. It was the least he could do and his favorite way of pissing off his father.
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Yeah, I stunt, but I’m a li’l more realer
When it come from the heart, don’t it feel mo’ iller?
Watch my flow go bananas, I’m a li’l gorilla
So pardon me, man, y’all gon’ have to pardon me



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Old 04-19-2018, 06:40 PM   #10
Virtual Dream
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Buu. This whole situation sucks. There isn’t any gain here for me. Self sacrifice for political maneuvering. Absolute bullshit. Gotta appease this kid, can’t just assume he’s an ally because he’s also being thrown into this. Could be an act.

Sahori sat down on a bench, in the center to prevent the other jounin from feeling comfortable enough to sit down next to her, and caught the glimpse of her white tiger companion prowling the rooftop, golden eyes glittering down at her. She smiled.

At least someone always has my back.

It was enough to help her calm down, anyway. She could smile and play sweet for this Sanada boy, and maybe wait it out for all the paperwork to slow down the whole thing. Marriages didn’t happen overnight, especially not joining clans from separate countries. Maybe the whole thing would get stalled in some stalemate. No need to worry. No need to fret. No need to—Sahori reminded herself not to chew on her thumbnail, and brushed the hem of her skirt out again.

I’m barely twenty-five,” She felt the need to correct him. Why? He could think she was some ancient 40 year old spinster for all she cared. Better to keep his hands away from her. He said some nonsense about his Celestial Body, and she wanted to protest, but – well, he was fit. Maybe even supernaturally fit. Still had a goofy kid’s face, though.

I don’t smoke,” She said, brushing the cigarette away. “Smell doesn’t help with ninja work, and it’s bad for your body, too.

She folded one leg over the other, politely, and rested her hands in her lap. Deep breaths. It’s gonna be okay. Just play your part in the game. No way this thing would shake out that way. No way.

If you’re going to get naked, I’d rather not.” She said flatly, staring him down. “You’re not really dressed for ninja work, either.
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