[log] Tea Time Chats [Yuugao]
It had been weeks since Yuugao had given his mother (and father, too) a proper visit. Recently though, things had seemed more stressed than usual. And not just for him. His father - now retired from the shinobi lifestyle - was often away from home, setting up and now running his own little calligraphy shop. Making one's own explosion tags did come in handy for some. Yuugao had visited it a few times and even had helped build some of the cabinetry inside. His father knew he'd made the draperies, but never showed those off to customers or family friends. His mother, Iyona, never said anything in complaint - Yuugao only stared at them for long moments before continuing on his way. There was no way his father would be proud of his most recent venture selling custom made suits. There was no difference between suits and draperies to a man like his father.
Iyona, though, should have found little reason to be so edgy. It couldn't be about the new investment in his father's shop - customers had doubled in the first two months and things were only looking up. So Yuugao had finally acknowledged that he could not longer ignore what had his mother jumping at a meow from the cat and reminding him more of a PTSD victim than a happily married civilian housewife with a well distinguished and accomplished family. The cat was his sister's and was staying with his parents while her second pregnancy ran its course - it certainly wasn't a larger strain on Iyona.
Yuugao had bought some flowers on the way there - Tiger Lily's - since his mother had always adored them in flower shop windows, and continued on through the market place in search of the small tea shop she had suggested they meet for lunch at. Yuugao often traveled through this part of town by rooftop, but that was also usually working and that meant he was in too much of a hurry to walk the streets. Rooftops were a much faster route. Besides, civilians never took well to ANBU walking through the streets - even if they were escorting the Hokage or some other dignitary.
Today, though, especially at this early part of the afternoon, had him trudging his way through the seemingly never ending masses. Besides, traveling any faster could ruin the flowers. And with all the money he'd paid there was no way he would ruin them for a few saved minutes. As he neared the tea shop Yuugao began to think that walking just a little faster may have been a wise idea. It was completely full of customers and he would be lucky to even get two seats together. Maybe they could get theirs to go? There were some good parks a few minutes walk away.
As he got closer, Yuugao spotted a brunette woman that looked very familiar - Uzuki Iyona, his mother. He smiled; at least he'd gotten here only a little after her. She wouldn't scold him too badly then. His smile faded the instant he saw her face. She was nearly in tears - an expression he wished he didn't know so well on her face. She was frantic and struggling to hold her own in what seemed to be an argument. From how distraught she was, Yuugao knew it wasn't a simple accidental bumping of shoulders in a crowd. No, she wasn't so unhinged as to do that. And the man she was talking to -- was that purple hair on him?
Yuugao only stared in confusion for a few seconds before dealing with the situation the best way he knew how: by barging in.
Still protecting the flowers, Yuugao weaved and shoved his way across the last ten meters between them, feeling his adrenaline skyrocket - and he didn't care. The closer he got, the clearer he could single out the argument from the din and the more angry he became. Yuugao remembered defending his family's honor as a child, but it had always been just that: childish. This was something else entirely and it sent shivers down his spine - a sliver of ice amongst the fire building in his body.
"N-no, I swear no one knows," she whimpered. "Though half the city will get suspicious if you don't stop harassing me in public!"
A scoff was the man's reply and Yuugao committed the rough, gravelly tone to memory. "You're meeting someone here. Why? You know I hear all the whispers in this town."
"Can't you just believe me? I'll get the money soon, I promise. I already have half of it-" she gasped as she spotted Yuugao's predatory approach.
The man started to turn to see what it was and Yuugao only caught a split-second glimpse of an ugly, battered face covered with stubble, and unnervingly familiar brown eyes. He fled in the next moment, pushing over Iyako in his haste. She fell with a scream and Yuugao vaulted himself off of a street light to land beside her and caught her arm before she hit the ground. His grip on her arm was tight, but it was unlikely it would bruise her.
"Stay here," he pulled her back to her feet and pressed the flowers - only slightly frazzled - into her hands before she could reply. "Be right back," he said, jumping up and hopping over the slowest moving section of crowd - most of them startled and staring because of the other man's hectic departure.
It was hard to follow him; Yuugao found dodging the confused - or worse, oblivious - crowds frustrating. He contemplated springing up to a roof, but by this point all of the shops were three or more stories tall. Climbing them would give the perpetrator a wider margin of time to escape. Yuugao kept him in sight for five more blocks - including two right turns - but then they had reached a crowd with at least seven men with purple hair. Five wore similar coats to the perpetrator. While most of them had dyed their hair that color, Yuugao lost track of his target when he darted into the midst of the purple-haired men.
Yuugao climbed up the nearest light pole and ignored the miasma of giggles, gasps, and whispers. For several seconds he struggled to locate the irritating little blackmailer - at least that was what Yuugao assumed he was - and did a quick Kai just in case. When the results were negative he sighed and let most of the adrenaline fade. The chase was over. Yuugao had no idea which building or alleyway had been used for cover and there wasn't the time right now. Perhaps he could just get the man's name - or even a detailed physical description - from his mother. Perhaps someone on the street, who was still nearby, had seen something? He could hope.
Pushing off the post and lazily traversing rooftops, Yuugao grumbled about how irritating pursuits were in urban areas, least of all, chases that were intermingled with civilians. He couldn't use his wires for fear of harming a random civilian who happened to get in the way - no one could guess how they would move next - or his weapons, for the same reasons. And there was the panic that could go through the crowds if any blood was spilled or metal shown. Talk about herd mentality...
Yuugao shook his head and paused above the tea shop, waiting for a gap to appear in the crowd before he hopped down and made his way over to his mother. She was leaning against the establishment's outer wall and still watched her surroundings with wide eyes. Iyako certainly recognized shinobi movement and intent when she saw it. The flowers were clutched in her folded arms and she only lowered her defenses when she saw Yuugao - and saw him calm.
"Are you all right?" he set a gentle hand on her shoulder.
She started to nod, but then shook her head once. "It's nothing to worry yourself over, Yuu-kun. Really. Just let it alone."
Yuugao raised an eyebrow and started at her. "That was nothing?" he pointed in the direction he'd run off before. "It sure didn't sound like a friendly chat to me. And if someone is messing you, Kaasan, you know you can ask me to help anytime. Hell, I'm sure my team would even volunteer to chase off a riffraff like that!" Seeing her only tremble and bite her lip, Yuugao sighed and shook his head. "Nevermind," perhaps he still had too much adrenaline running through him. "For now let's just get some tea and relax." After breathing in slowly, he put on one of his brightest smiles - one that he reserved for the closest friends and family. "Do you like the flowers?"
"I do," she said quietly, the tension slowly easing out of her body. "I've never gotten Tiger Lilys before, you know. But I've always adored them..." Iyako trailed off, gazing at the flowers with more than just longing.
Yuugao wasn't sure what the emotion was, but he took in all the visual cues he could so perhaps later reflection could reveal it. "I noticed," Yuugao said, slinging his arm over her shoulder. "I'm glad you like them so much. Now," he stepped into the tea shop with her. "Is it Earl Gray for you, or did you want something else?"
Iyako blushed, reminded of how only her son had noticed her preference for the foreign tea. "That would be lovely."
"To go?" Yuugao gestured to the still full seats inside the shop. At her nod, Yuugao stepped up to the counter and only gave her one more cursory glance while he waited in line.
He couldn't press her right now, but something was definitely wrong. And after making sure she was safely back at home, he would be finding out all he could about the purple haired men in Konoha.