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 Down Time [P]

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AuthorMessage
Ashi Inuzuka
ANBU
ANBU


Fame : 119
Home Village :
  • Leaf

Element(s) : Doton, Suiton, Futon
Clan : Inuzuka
Clan Element : n/a
Ryo : 12500
100%


PostSubject: Down Time [P]   Tue Feb 09, 2016 12:22 pm

A low white steam accompanied by the soothing staccato of water on tile filled the shower room of Konoha’s ANBU barracks. Chairomaru lay dozing somewhere else in the compound, but here Ashi was about to take shower. It had been a long day and as she shed her clothes, armor and mask she also shed the persona of Operative Wolf. For the next twenty-four hours she was off duty and would merely be Ashi, Ashi Inuzuka.

Lazily pulling off the last of her clothing, a single black sock, the woman stepped into the scalding stream of water. Shuddering for a moment, she stood half in and half out of the water before finally steeling herself and stepping all the way in. Gasping ever so slightly as her body became used to the temperature, Ashi turned her head up to the spout and let the water run through her wild hair and down her body.

It’s been too long.

Running her hands through her wily mane, Ashi slowly began to tame her mess of hair. One minute, two minutes, three, four, five. She no longer felt the burn from the water. Her once fair skin glowed a slight red such that the red scar running down her back could no longer be readily made out. However, the starkest of changes came from her hair; it was straight. She no longer looked like a wild woman. No, rather she simply looked like a woman. In fact, her hair looked almost healthy save for the slight curl at the ends.

I suppose I shouldn’t use up all the hot water.

Groping for the knob, the Inuzuka found the metal piece and gave it quick turn. The flow of water stopped sending a chill down the woman’s spine. Moving as quickly as one could over slippery tile, Ashi made her way to a bath she had prepared before stepping into the shower. A shower alone would not be enough to cleanse her of the smell of burning flesh.

Climbing into the bath ever so carefully, the woman sighed. The water was cooler and offered her much needed relief to her burning skin. The bath itself was a bit small as it had been shoved into a corner in hopes of fitting more into the shower room. The result was that the water only went up to the top of Ashi’s midriff. However, she did not care as this bath had its perks, well, perk: it was near a window.

Pushing open the frosted window Ashi looked out into the wilderness. There was no one there to see her nakedness save for the silvery moonlight that filtered through the trees. The barracks lay on the edge of the village offering by secrecy and a first line of defense for the village. In that way, Ashi now had a window to pure wilderness; she loved it. Plus, the window gave her a great place to file her nails out of.

Where did I put that file?

Glancing around the edges of the bath she found her file in a heartbeat. No one could rightfully say Ashi was much of a girly-girl. However, looking at her now would probably fool anyone. Almost straightened hair, carefully filing her nails out the window in the moonlight. Yes, she looked every inch a girly-girl at the moment. The woman took meticulous care of her nails. It was the one true vanity she allowed herself.

Though, as she sat in the cool water, her past and present began to catch up to her. Sure, when she was out in the field the persona of Wolf kept her from thinking about her actions, but here, in the bath, she was vulnerable in more ways than just the physical sense. It was here that she was assailed by her greatest enemy: her conscience.

I burned a boy today…

Today had been especially rough for the young woman. A crazed boy, who went by the name of Kasai she later found out, had blasted the main gates off their hinges had to be put down. Then came the disposal of the body. Oh! The smell was horrible. Even now she could remember the smell as awful as sulfur and more nauseating than the smell of a slaughterhouse.

He didn’t have to die…Why didn’t he just surrender?

This singular thought was enough to tug at the woman’s surprisingly fragile psyche. In fact, the tug was so strong that it produced a single tear that ran down her cheek shining in the moonlight like a gem. She had seen so much violence, too much. Yet nothing ever came of it. Once Konoha held the whole world in it’s hands, there was peace. Though, it all fell apart-it always fell apart. Why?

On top of it all there had been that boy, that Nara boy, Tatsuya. He had stood by his convictions yet remained loyal to his clan. Another tear. Even that wretched boy had a clan. Sure, Ashi was part of a clan by birth, but her path prevented her from growing close to anyone within the clan itself. It was frustrating beyond belief. She could watch her clan from afar, but never take part. What right did she have after all? A final tear, three tears in total was all she would allow herself for fear being unable to stop.

What would the boys think of me if they found me a sniveling mess?

Despite her emotional state the woman was able to file her nails to perfection. Holding up a single hand in the moonlight a thin smile spread across the Inuzuka’s face. At least she could still enjoy the simple pleasures in life. With her hand up to the moonlight the anbu operative had indeed let her guard down. In her brief lapse in awareness someone had entered the large shower room. She only became aware of it when a hand fell gently on her shoulder and a voice broke the silence, a man’s voice.

“Hey, Wolf, hurry up in here. We're all waiting.”

Yep, that snapped Ashi back to reality, real quick. Though it was not with embarrassment that she dropped her hand shrugging off the hand on her shoulder. Rather it was annoyance.

“Yeah, yeah Fox. Let me get dressed will you?” Ashi said more than asked as she turned her torso around to see Operative Fox. Sure, her chest was bare, but what did she care? Modesty had no place in the life of an anbu. They had seen each other in the nude many times before. Such was the nature of living with people. Hell, Ashi did not even blush at Fox’s sarcastic catcall. The guy was kind of a dick, but a good friend and better anbu.

Shrugging once and giving a curt nod, Fox, also known as Shinji Mori, stalked away. The kid was still young. Fox had only been a part of the anbu for about a year; he was still getting into the swing of things as evidenced by his deep blush as he left the room.

Draining the bath with a sigh, the woman felt the all uncomfortable cool air pass over her body. Grabbing the towel that hung on a rack next to the bath and wrapping it around herself she navigated her way through the treacherously slippery room a room adjoining the bath complex, the changing room.

The changing room was, as the woman expected, empty. Taking a moment to dry herself off the woman groped through her clothing until she found the small locket she had been searching for. Taking special care, she clipped said locket around her neck, a marriage gift her father had given to her mother. It held a picture of her two deceased parents and along with Chai she treasured it above all else. The rest went on as one might expect, long spandex, which amounted to long underwear as opposed to anything else, bra, white tank top, light grey sweat shirt that was maybe one size too large, a pair of black sweatpants, and lastly a pair of warm wool socks.

No, Ashi was not dressed for the battlefield. After all, she had the night off; she wanted to relax. Perhaps the only thing that seemed off was the fact that Ashi’s hair remained quite damp. She never bothered to dry it properly thus the reason behind her consistently frizzy hair. Even now her water-tamed hair was beginning to go this way and that like an unstrung wire.

Giving her mane of hair a small shake, the anbu hung up her towel up in the cubby marked with her name. In some ways being a part of the anbu was like being back in the academy. It was a nice feeling, meals taken care for you on the days you didn’t have to cook, ‘free’ housing. It was comforting to have a place to belong.

Making sure to flip off the light in the changing room, Ashi made her way to the common room of the barracks. If the woman were blind she would know the way, she had walked the halls more than enough to know them by heart. Plus, it helped that a warm light issued from the room supplemented by cheery voices and the smell of good drink. When in doubt follow your nose!

And follow it the Inuzuka did. One right, two lefts and down the long corridor that was lined with bedrooms on either side. Of course the word bedroom was generous as they were more bunkrooms than anything else, two to four people to a room. Of course, none of these bunkrooms were what Ashi was going for tonight.

In a few steps, the woman entered the common room. Circular in shape with various doors leading throughout the complex, the common room served as the heart of the anbu barracks this side of the village. Lit by lanterns that strung around the room the whole place felt warm, womblike. It was pleasant.

The far side of the room was lined with couches where Parrot and Canary both sat in their usual places. That pair always seemed to be reading. Monkey, Sparrow and Null were trying to make something that smelled vaguely like chili, that trio had a bad penchant for burning dinner. However, Ashi was not here for any of them. She was here for the people gathered around a circular table to her left. Fox, Lemur, Snake and Dragon all sat around the table joking and drinking.

Fox, well, we already know. Lemur was a younger woman than Ashi in her twenties and blessed with dazzling blue eyes and blonde hair. Snake was a grim man, Ashi’s age, with slicked back black hair and a nasty scar over his right cheek. And then there was dragon. Dragon had fiery red hair with a wholesome face and an easy smile, but was also the oldest of the bunch about five years older than the Inuzuka. These people were Ashi’s comrade in arms and, more often than not, drinking buddies.

“Hey Snake, you ready to lose?” Ashi teased from across the room as she sauntered over to the table.

“Oh, shut up, Wolf,” Dragon said. “You got lucky last time.”

Drinking, talking and cards. These were the three staples of the group. Well, that and being a part of Konoha’s black ops group.

“It’s not luck if it keeps happening.” Ashi corrected as she took a seat with Dragon on her left and Fox on the right, Lemur sat across from her.

“Calm down you two,” said Fox. “I’ll have you know that I am feeling particularly lucky tonight. So, I’ll be winning.”

This, of course, caused the whole party to erupt in a low laughter. Fox was a great guy, but awful at cards. He hardly ever won.

“I for one will drink to that!” Lemur nearly yelled. Clearly she had already been drinking, but no one could object to her suggestion. What better way was there to start out the night?

Lemur always seemed to end up with the responsibility of pouring for everyone. Though she did it with no complaint; in a flash five glasses were filled to the brim with sake and passed around the table.

“To Fox’s good luck and Konoha’s continued prosperity,” Ashi toasted, raising her glass. Such an action was mirrored around the table with murmurs of agreement and clinking glasses. Then silence while each person took more than a few healthy gulps of their drink without regard for their livers.

“Shall we?” Snake piped up for the first time as he absentmindedly shuffled a deck of cards. He was the real card player of the group and reveled in cleaning his comrade’s wallets out in their off time.

The next hour or so progressed as you might expect. Much to Snake’s dismay the increasingly tipsy Lemur was on a hot streak. It simply seemed as if the young woman could not lose. Sure, the others would win an odd hand here and there, but an hour in Lemur had claimed a hefty pot of ryo. Of course the woman would probably use her winnings to fund her drinking.

The night, however, was still young and only Lemur was showing signs of slurred speech. Naturally, this would not do. Sake would not cut it any longer. Sure, the group loved it, but one needed variety. Luckily, Dragon had just the trick. Having just been on a mission to the Fire Temple, the man had picked up some of their famous brew. It was hard to put a name to the drink, but it was earthy and potent without equal.

“I’ll have you beggars know this cost me quite the pretty penny,” Dragon bragged as Lemur poured out another round with surprisingly little ending up on the table itself. “Those monks up at the temple might not seem it, but they are quite the cutthroat bargainers.”

“Yeah right, Dragon,” Ashi laughed. “Face it, you are a sucker for bald men.”

This led to more laughing followed by another silence of drinking.

“Alright men,” Fox said in his best commander Eagle impression. “It is that time of night that we move to our next festivity before young Lemur here.” Fox gestured grandly to the blonde. “Robs us of our salary.”

At this Parrot got up and left, he was not one for the party scene. The cooking trio of anbu had finished their chili and were distributing bowls of the stuff about the room to whomever would take it. Ashi, Lemur and Snake all took a chance on the chili and found that it was actually rather good.

“What do you say to a little show and tell?” Fox continued, with a slight slur. This question was all too common a question among the drinking group. They all knew what it meant. Each person at the table was, at their core, dedicated shinobi of Konohagakure and thus reveled in showing off any new skill they had developed. Plus, being able to perform it while inebriated was even better training.

First up was Lemur who was a mess. She had clearly had too many drinks far too quickly. Though, this did not stop her from giving it her best shot. From what Ashi could understand from her horribly slurred speech, Lemur was trying to demonstrate her ability to throw kunai and manipulate their trajectory. Poor Canary never saw it coming as three kunai whizzed around her and, by some miracle, did not hit him. However, the kunai themselves flew in a straight line-whatever Lemur was trying was not working. Of course, that did not prevent the wild applause from the other four.

Next was Snake, who always held his liquor extremely well. He seemed almost sober until he stumbled across the room to get a glass of water. Spilling half of it on the way back he took a seat. Then, after making a few poorly formed hand seals, the water rose from the cup and formed a perfect orb, which transformed into a cube and then a star. It was quite impressive and garnered ooh’s and ah’s from all present.

Then came Ashi and boy did she have a treat for them tonight. Her mind was a bit hazy and her vision going double, but she felt she could manage. Taking the deck of cards from Snake, Ashi began her presentation. Alcohol tended to give her illusions of grandeur.

“Gentleman,” Ashi started with a slight slur as she stood up-her ever frizzing hair adding to the wild looks she gave them all. “And lady. Tonight I will be cutting this deck of cards like you have never seen before.”

Cutting the deck, she revealed the center card to be the ace of diamonds. She then replaced the deck the way it had been before. Flashing a toothy smile, she took an exaggerated bow in which she almost fell.

“Get on with it Wolf!” Lemur complained, she was an impatient drunk.

“Very well, young lady.” Ashi said. “Tonight I will be cutting the ace of diamond in half without cutting another card in the deck.”

A dramatic pause that was filled with everyone, including Ashi, took a drink.

“Watch and be amazed!”

Truth be told the Inuzuka was not one hundred percent sure if she’d be able to do this. In theory it was simple, but theory never seemed to transfer over too well into reality. The technique she planned to use was the chakra scalpel technique. The bread and butter of a medical shinobi. The beauty of the scalpel being that it could cut internally without showing externally. It required quite the chakra control. Sober the feat would be a breeze, but right now Ashi was not too sure.

Regardless of her vague doubts, she began. The deck of cards held firmly in her left hand, she brought her right hand holding it as if it were a dagger pointed into the deck. Then came the chakra. For a moment the chakra didn’t come as if it was drunk as well, which might not be far from the truth. But, at last, the chakra ran through her arm. It felt cool and gave her goosebumps as it started to accumulate in her hand.

Now came the tricky part. Sure, she had amassed the chakra, but now she had to hone it to a fine point. A point finer than any blade. At first nothing, but then she felt it. The chakra shot out of her hand in a brilliant blue. The deck quivered, but nothing seemed to happen. For now, the chakra was still immaterial, like a torch before it was focused.

Here came the focusing part, the dangerous part. Snake would not take kindly to getting his whole deck cut in half and Ashi was already out more ryo than she’d like to be. Willing the chakra into a point, she stabbed down into the deck. She then drew her hand across the deck in a dramatic fashion before ceasing the chakra stream.

“Now, witness magic!,” Ashi cut the deck to find the ace of diamonds, which to her surprise and delight was cut perfectly in half with the other cards unharmed.

A light round of applause from all except Lemur who was having trouble making her hands meet.

“Thank you, thank you. A special thanks to Snake for his heroic sacrifice.” With all the honor she could muster up, Ashi returned Snake his deck like a king’s crown. The man shrugged and went back to shuffling while mumbling about filthy medical shinobi.

The next acts began to blur together for Ashi after she took an especially generous swig. Dragon made a small fire dragon dance around the room that almost set a couch on fire, almost. Fox went last, but he couldn’t even perform a jutsu in his state. So, instead he sang. He sang a lullaby that, supposedly, his grandmother sang to him. Though the song did include more than a few curse words, which inclined Ashi to think otherwise about the origin story.

“Well, friiendss, I must bid you good night or I shall never wake!” Snake finally announced in a surprisingly flippant tone. Dragon, said something along the same lines leaving Lemur, Fox and Ashi the only three left in the common room.

Somehow the trio was able to force the last of the Fire Temple grog down their gullets without barfing. At which point conversation became almost incomprehensible.

“Foxes, Lemureer” Ashi giggled. “Guess what?”

“What?” The two others asked after a longer than needed pause.

“There is--uh—there are?” Ashi questioned before moving on. “Six of us. Have you seeeen? Uh…Chai?”

“Wolld, did you loose youreeres doggie?” Lemur asked with a huge grin on her face.

“Wolf, your memory is awful.” Fox admonished. “Chai has been in your room all night, remember?”

At this Ashi remained silent. Perhaps, were she sober, she would feel bad for Chai, but, at the moment, she could not think straight in the slightest. So, she just giggled only stopping when she began to hiccup.

Then the silence came. Every time the group drank together this silence came. It was in this silence that everyone, despite their impaired states, knew it was time to call it a night. They had spent their time together forgetting about their problems and lives as killer for Konoha. Yet, like a dream, it had to come to an end, because in another twelve hours they would return to their assignments with nothing but a headache to remember the night by.

Fox was the first up. Ashi watched as he stumbled his way into the wrong bunkroom only to be kicked out and finally find the right one. Upon returning her gaze to the table in front of her, the anbu noted that Lemur was passed out. This always happened, without fail. The girl had yet to build a tolerance. This evening, Ashi lost the lottery; she’d be putting Lemur to sleep. Luckily the two shared a bunkroom with Canary.

“Alright, kid.” Ashi spoke to the passed out Lemur. “Let’s get you to bed.”

Forcing herself up, she made her way around the table pulling Lemur up onto her shoulder. The fireman carry was always the best option here; Lemur would not remember the discomfort. With impressive condonation the Inuzuka made what felt like the longest journey down the hall until she reached the room.

Nosily kicking in the door the woman lay Lemur down in her bed before making her way to her own. Of course, the bed she thought was hers was actually occupied by Canary. As such, she re-routed herself to the empty bed under which lay Chairomaru.

Chairomaru, was still awake. He always remained awake until Ashi returned to bed. In his eyes one could easily read the worry. Alas, Ashi did not see it that night. Instead she slumped in the bed with the pillow at her feet she drifted off into a land of dreams. On the other hand, Chai remained awake for a few more minutes before slipping off himself.

Sadly, the dreams that ate at Ashi this evening were not kind. They were of charred corpses, crushed dreams and cruel words. Even in sleep she could not escape the worries of her waking life. More than a few times she would wake with a start only to quickly doze off again. The life of an anbu was a hard one.

For the whole village she carried worries. For the whole village she carried sins. For the whole village she carried a body count. However, she also carried with her hopes, dreams and safety of the village with her. The scales truly did balance out, at least in Ashi’s opinion. She more than willing to give her well-being over to the village to protect it. She no longer had a immediate family, but she did have a family in Lemur, in Dragon, in Snake, in Fox, in the entire anbu community, and, most of all, in the village of Konohagakure.

{TWC: 4031, Chakra Scalpel learned and +20 stats}


"Battle not with Monsters lest ye Become a Monster and if you gaze into the abyss the abyss gazes also into you"
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Akihana Akari
Akatsuki
Akatsuki


Fame : 372
Home Village :
  • Star

Element(s) : Fire, Lightning, Water
Clan : Akari
Clan Element : Light
Bloodline : Golden Eye
Ryo : 47600
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PostSubject: Re: Down Time [P]   Tue Feb 09, 2016 9:17 pm

Approved <3


You're awesome, give yourself a treat. <3

"Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light.
I have loved the stars too fondly, to be fearful of the night."

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