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naruko_npc in narukorp

Lost and Found [open, Tentsuke, Gaia]

Many people, upon meeting Maito Gaia, would dismiss her as a lunatic - a grinning, amiable idiot, who was jounin due only to her freakish physical capabilities. Others, more paranoid, decided that no one could POSSIBLY be that eccentric and strange, and that the whole thing was an elaborate, complex facade that hid Gaia's true plans - which were much too subtle and insidious for anyone's good.

The truth was that Gaia was a competent, intelligent, talented kunoichi, who had earned her rank by skill and hard work - but who just happened to have an inbound, rock-stubborn, optimistic faith that had been burned and carved out of most of her colleagues. She believed in the innate goodness of the world - that people (and perhaps the universe) still held in them the untainted goodness of youth, uncorrupted by the evils they may have experienced.

...it had been hard to keep believing when Tentsuke had disappeared, though.

Gaia had been out on an out-Village solo mission, a long one. She felt bad for leaving her two (last - no, no, she couldn't think that!) students behind, but she had to admit that the grueling mission had been a welcome distraction. She stopped to resupply at a small settlement called Igirisu, which was vetted by Konoha as a place loyal to the Fire Daimyou, and regularly swept for spies - in short, it was safe to resupply and rest there.

She was browsing the small but bustling market, contemplating the purchase of some fruit as a snack, when she felt the prickly sensation of someone staring at her. Casually, she moved towards a storefront - one with a window - so she could check out the reflection.

But it wasn't an ambush, it was only a fishmonger staring at the hitai-ate that she kept wrapped around her waist.

"May I help you?" she required, politely, but still wary - he seemed like an old fishmonger, but...

"Begging ye pardon, miss," he said, just as politely, his accent a strange, thick, rural one. "I was jus' wonderin' about that there symbol you have got about your waist. It is because there is a young boy we found in our village, he does nae remember aught, but he traces things in the sand, he do, an' one of the things he draws be the same as that carved there on yir belt buckle..."


She dared not speak a word as she carried the old fishmonger back to his village, letting him give directions as he rode, bemused and a bit frightened by the rapidity of her response and travel, piggyback. She was afraid that if he said anything, gave
any detail, it would disprove her hope that he was talking about Tentsuke. So she ran, and leaped, and hoped...

He was sitting at the shore when she found him - the old man had asked some equally old woman, "Where's tha boy? Th' little daftie?" and something in Gaia broke - and as she came nearer, his back was to her and a little voice in her head was yammering that Tentsuke would have noticed by now...

Then the boy, the one these simple fisherfolk called "th' daft one", turned around and gave her a sweet, trusting smile, and Gaia began to cry. He was thin - yes, much too thin - and his skin was burned bronze-dark and his too-short hair, unstylish as a battlefield cut made with a kunai and growing out with the promise of shagginess was bleached streaky by the sun - there were new scars stark on his dark skin and he had lost muscle...

...but it was him. It was her boy.

She set off for Konoha, Tentsuke in tow, not half an hour later.



She had cried and hugged him and called him Tentsuke, and the name had resounded inside him like a bell rung to mark the time, and marking the time _correctly_ - so he smiled back at her and answered to the name, and didn't mention he hadn't known it until she'd said it.

She got most of the story out of the fisherfolk anyway, but he didn't need to tell her.

She'd been in his dim dreams, the things that might have been his memories, and something inside him prescribed trust. Having no other little internal voices to consult, not even memories, the re-named Tentsuke did just that. He followed her back to Konoha, regaining the muscle-memorized movements of tree-leaping by following her, pulling off physical feats he had no idea he could pull off until right that moment.

He got tired soon though, and she'd looked honestly shocked when he collapsed. He did that a lot, collapsing, but she'd looked very worried and upset by it, and he felt a little guilty for that - he tried to apologize, but she only waved it away.

The next day, she insisted on carrying him. Tentsuke was accustomed to blind obedience by now, but being around her - it seemed remembering even a little made it easier to remember more, at least more of what had happened recently, and to think clearly, and he objected to something for the first time in his admittedly faulty memory.

They compromised, he leapt some and was carried some, and he was moving under his own power when they came within sight of the towering gates of Konoha, a sight that set off another bell-toned shock of recognition inside him. They darted through the gates, Tentsuke gaping around him and not really listening to Gaia as she gasped out her story to a pair of dark-clad people in a little hut, crowing now and then from what seemed like sheer joy, and finishing by an exuberant hugging of the two bemused gate-guards.
He looked around him, eyes wide. There - there in the distance, there were faces carved into the mountainside, just like in his dream! And everything was so BRIGHT - and BIG...after the small, regulated world of the fishing village he'd been in, the bustle of the world's most powerful Hidden Village was overwhelming to his senses.

Completely forgetting about the nice green lady who had brought him there (who was now weeping into the shoulder of one visibly terrified guard, who patted her back awkwardly), Tentsuke wandered off to explore, hoping to find more things that he recognized - to find more blocks to build up his mind again.
It was the end of yet another frustrating round of 'explain this agonizingly simple thing to your dense teammates' and Sachiko was ready to go off and do some of her own training before her art class. She had--she checked her watch--about two hours. So an hour to train, then an hour to shower and eat something before scooting to class. Summer was starting to knife slits through spring, and the only really good thing about the coming oppressively humid heat was she could start swimming again. Oh, that would be nice.

In the meantime, she would have to settle for pulling her hair back in a ponytail. When it got long enough, she would braid-and-bun it to keep it off her neck.

Since she did not come from anywhere near where Gaia was regaling the gate guards with her tale, she had no reason to suspect who was around. But since she did have to cross the main thoroughfare and she wasn't being a paranoid shinobi (it happened, for she is only human and Konoha is pretty safe all things considered), she only just saw in her peripheral vision that some shabbily-dressed guy next to her had stumbled pretty hard. She reacted quickly, grabbing his upper arm with both of her hands so he wouldn't hit the ground and so she could haul him back up.

The last thing she was expecting was to be looking at the thinner, darker, slightly confused face of her second former sensei.

Oh, shit. "Tentsuke?"

And just to be sure, she did a quick check with Sharingan. Nope, not an illusion. Holy shit. He was back.

He's Like A Baby Bird

Tentsuke brightened. "That's my name," he agreed cheerfully, as proud to have remembered that as anything else. He made no move to move away from the girl who had caught him, saved him from stumbling, taking the chance to peer back at her.

Dark hair - pale skin - eyes that shone with odd, strange intensity. Something tickled at his memory -- faded dream-memories ran together, and he ended up not quite knowing her but knowing he did.

(( And something in him would always belong to a kunoichi with dark hair and doujutsu-eyes, no matter what he knew or said or did or became))

He smiled at her, the sweet, trusting smile of a child, of someone who had forgotten had not learnt to be cautious.

"Do I know you?"

Or something. (Bird metaphors go that-a-way. *points to Hyuuga compound*)

...wait. What?

...No, she decided as she looked at his eyes. There really was no recognition there. There was something, sure, besides the confusion, maybe a kind of maybe-recognition, but something else, too. She couldn't place it, but it caused an uneasiness to stir in her.

"I would think so," she answered slowly. She made sure he was firmly on his feet again before looking up at him. (She had forgotten how tall he was.) "I was your kouhai before I was your genin student. Uchiha Sachiko," she added at his continued blank expression.

Oh, man. What had happened to him? Did he remember anything? And how'd he find his way back here if his memory was shot? Not that the mountain's faces weren't a screaming advertisement of where Konoha was. Hidden village? Hah!

Exactly. Even Without Knowing It, He Is Hyuuga Property

"Uchiha Sachiko, Uchiha Sachiko," he repeated obediently, trying to fix it in his memory. He had sporadic success with this but he was hoping this unknown-but-once-not girl with her strange red eyes would stay in his head.

"Student? I taught you? What did I teach you?" He asked, confused, and then remembered to explain himself. Nice-green-lady - he strained for it - GAIA had asked him a lot of questions, and then murmured that he had lost his memory. He offered it as explanation and a request for information. "I don't know, you see, because I've lost my memory." He'd nearly said mind. A mind was memories.

... *coughwhippedcough*

Yeah. I can see that. But thanks for clarifying!

And that answered any questions she might have about if Tentsuke's return would mean no longer having Asuka for a sensei. "You were my jounin sensei for a while."

Really, she probably wasn't the best one to help him get his memory back. That would be Hyuuga or Leigh-san or Tsurude or Kureno. And since she didn't have any ideas of where either of his teammates were, as she wouldn't go near the Hyuuga compound with a ten-meter pole and Leigh had dropped her a note saying she was on another courier mission just this morning and it was too early to know if she would be back by now, the best bet, really, was to take him to Tsurude as Tentsuke was still officially MIA.

we can has Hyuuga?

Spring was nice. Walks through the street didn't drag him down into a sweaty heap, and the wind smelled of flowers and for the most part, Hinaji enjoyed spring. It gave him an excuse to get out of the compound, Enka in tow on her pretty leash Kiba bought her for Christmas.

What spring usually did not bring, however, was Sachiko standing with someone who for all rights and purposes shouldn't be there. Hinaji stopped in shock, Enka continued unabated, and his arm jerked forward as she pulled him towards the two ninja.

Just what was going on?

Depends on the Hyuuga. >.>

Sachiko picked up the familiar presence of Hinaji, and glanced over in his direction. He looked about as shocked as she'd felt upon first seeing him.

But at least, hey, if anyone she knew would have any idea on Hyuuga's whereabouts, it would probably be her cousin. "Hey, Hinaji! You wouldn't by chance know if Hy--er, your cousin's around, would you? Tentsuke's back," she said, "but he doesn't seem to, well, remember much."

Tentsuke Likes Hyuugas, At Least The Ones He's Met So Far

Tentsuke looked quizzically at the new arrival. Was this someone who had known him when he'd been Tentsuke? A Tentsuke who had a complete Tentsuke in his head, that was. Right now he felt more like a ...Tentsuke shell. Correct shape outside, but not that much to back it up.

A bolt of tingling lightning raced up his spine when he caught sight of the new arrival's white eyes. He knew those eyes...or at least -- something like them? Hadn't he?

"Nejiko!" he blurted out, not naming anyone in particular - not even having consciously meaning to do it.

You've seen one Hyuuga, you've seen them all >.>

Hinaji began to answer Sachiko when Tentsuke's voice sent a chill down his spine. Even Enka stopped trying to continue on their walk and stared at the tall boy.

"...N-no," he finally stammered out, and glanced at Sachiko. She'd said he didn't remember much, but how far did that actually go? "I'm sorry, I'm Hinaji. Nejiko-neesan is out on a mission."

And what a time to be out. His chest tightened, remembering how she looked after Tentsuke's disappearance, at her time in the hospital. And now...

*too busy laughing over here*

On the one hand, it was probably a good thing he remembered Nejiko's name.

On the other hand... Damn. Hinaji was kinda feminine-looking, but...wow. Part of her wanted to snicker, but now would not be the best time.

"And Leigh-san's on a mission. Crap." She ran a hand through her hair.

Well, In Tentsuke's Defense, Hinaji Is Very Pretty

"Leigh?" Tentsuke repeated blankly, though something about that name tickled at the back of his mind, as it had for his previous outburst. But after their reaction to his blurted-out name, he wasn't going to be listening to his instincts and urges anymore. And the fact that he could decide that was a major step up, though they may not have known it, from idly drifting in a haze in the fishing-village, doing nothing but reacting to direct stimulus.

"Hinaji?" he said, quizzically, turning to the smaller boy and trying to fit that name to his new -- 'friend'? But whenever he saw those pale eyes, all his still-fuzzy mind could do was cling to a phrase, a set of sense-memories - a scent, dark silken strands, and those eyes - Nejiko.

He'd dreamed of her most often.

Like a pretty pretty princess, in a way?

Hinaji looked between the two, not sure exactly what to do. Enka whined at his feet.

"Yes. Nejiko-neesan is my cousin," he added, hoping maybe it would trigger something with the other boy. It was strange to see Tentsuke like this, and a little painful. Perhaps it was best Nejiko wasn't here to see him until he remembered a few more things?

Yes. It's almost as if he was originally a pretty girl

Tentsuke looked at Hinaji with wide, somewhat glazed eyes. It was still hard to force his mind to focus. He was getting better at it, though! Really!

`I actually don`t know why I said that name,` he confessed, simply.

*dying. just dying here*

Sachiko could hazard a few guesses as to why. For the sake of not overwhelming someone obviously not really absorbing everything--she didn't miss the glaze to his eyes--she would try to keep it simple. "I think you remember it--and her--more than you realize," she said quietly. And hey, she did have to admit that there was more than a passing physical resemblance between Hinaji and his cousin.

*is out of witty things, alas*

He watched the other man for a while and then looked down at Enka. Seeing Tentsuke like this was painful. He definitely thought it was best that Nejiko didn't see him quite yet.

"She'll be home soon," he said softly, and scratched between Enka's ears. She wriggled her butt in excitement and he looked back up at Tentsuke. He wanted to assure the man that he would remember if he looked at Nejiko's face, but he didn't think that would be kind. "You can see her then and talk."

Enka pulled against the leash, eager to be off. He gave Sachiko one last look and then bowed his head politely.

"Sorry, I have to go now. ...Take care, Tentsuke-san."

Moving along now...

Sachiko said goodbye to Hinaji and only spared him a final glance after he departed before grabbing Tentsuke's hand and pulling him along. For Tentsuke's part, he'd only given Hinaji a blank look before going along with her pulling him along, kind of like a puppy. Which made her think of Mika, and then Bloodfang. Would he remember them? Would he still be willing to take care of them?

She reminded herself that things had to be taken one step at a time. Right now, the first step was to get him to Tsurude.

Ooooh, shiny~

Tentsuke had experienced a momentary pang of -- sadness? Regret? -- he didn't quite know -- when Hinaji moved away. Where was his new friend going? But as Hinaji moved out of sight, he moved similarly out of Tentsuke's mind, and soon enough Tentsuke had forgotten Hinaji had been there.

(Those white eyes though, he wouldn't forget those white eyes.)

He followed behind Sachiko because Sachiko was pulling him, and he had no reason to say no. At first. And then they passed a small, gaudy shop on the main street, with shiny things, and Tentsuke pulled away without a second thought. He plastered himself against the window like a small hungry child peering at a candystore, and drooling about as much.

It wasn't a real weaponshop, it was a tourist trap designed to prey on the incredulous and simple awe of people who were overwhelmed at being in a 'real ninja village!'. The proprieter wasn't a Konohan bred and born, and he'd held all kinds of jobs before discovering what suckers tourists and country-bred clients were for 'ninja souveneirs'. The ironic thing was, Tentsuke, one of the top weaponsmiths in Konoha, had held the man in violent loathing and contempt when he remembered who he was.

Right now, though, he was as eager a mark as had ever crossed the store threshhold. He stepped inside while a cheery bell jangled a greeting/warning, and headed straight to a basket full of mismatched 'kunai' that no self-respecting ninja would take on a mission.

But aren't these bad shinies?

Most Inuzuka weren't really very big on sweets, except for maybe the occasional cake or cupcake. With the bulk of candy being chocolate, and chocolate being bad for dogs, they just didn't go for it. But Kiba had a cousin that love these sugared gummies, and she'd been having a rough time in the academy, and the older Inuzuka didn't think it could hurt to give her a pick me up. She'd just come out of the shop (stealing a gummy for herself, they were good after all) when she saw what she thought was a familiar person slip into the weapons shop next door.

Blinking, and barely registering Sachiko, she waved to Akako and then trotted after the dark haired young man, listening to the jingle of the door. As her eyes adjusted, Kiba realized that she'd been right. There, standing over a basket of rather terrible kunai, was Tentsuke, looking terribly fascinated and a little thin. But, he was back.

"Oi!" She greeted, tucking the bag away, and moving over to the young man with a grin. A hand clapped into his shoulder and she grinned even wider. "S'good to have you back Tentsuke. But what're you doin' here, I figured you'd be back at your forge already instead of this crap shop."

The shopkeeper behind the counter glared at her, but she paid him no mind.

Shinies? Bad? I can't imagine such a case

Unfortunately, and completely innocently, Tentsuke paid as much attention to Kiba as Kiba did to the shopkeeper, not even glancing up when his name was called. Instead, he was wholly riveted upon the overly-shiny (obviously not made of the combat-grade metals ninjas demanded in their weapons) kunai of the display, picking one up and turning it over in his large, thin hands, displaying an unconscious deftness as he admired the play of light along the blade.

With a quick flick of his wrist he flung it upwards, eyes wide as it flipped end over end and laughing with pure, artless glee as he caught it easily by his fingertips, rolling the kunai over the backs of his knuckles like a cardsharp playing with a deck of playing cards.

Sometimes, shinee is simply shinee.

Maybe Sachiko was keeping too close an eye on Tentsuke if Kiba could slip into the shop and clap the guy on the shoulder before Sachiko could pull her to the side. So much for getting him to Tsurude as quickly as possible. First Hinaji, then distraction by weapons, now Kiba. (Well, if nothing else, her eyes hadn't lied to her about his physical appearance, and Kiba's nose also helped lend credence that this guy was Tentsuke.) And since he seemed to be ignoring Kiba, Sachiko reached out and yanked the Inuzuka back away from him.

Kiba: "... wat? I was just sayin' hi!"

Sachiko: "...guy's not got his memory. I'm trying to get him to Tsurude. -sama."

Kiba: "... oh. Well then. Come on Ten! We'll get you some bubble tea on the way."

Sachiko: "... bubble tea later?"

Kiba: "... he's back, he's gotta celebrate somehow, even if he's got no memories."

Sachiko: "..." *just has this bad feeling. can't explain it, but it has to do with Tsurude*

Kiba: "... (what's up Sachiko?)" *so soft*

Sachiko: "(I've just got this bad feeling, is all.)"

Kiba: "(About what?)"

Sachiko: "(... not so much Tentsuke, but that he's going to end up being the catalyst.)"

Kiba: "(.... for what?)" *frowns at her*

Sachiko: "(If I knew, I'd say. But I just want to get him to Tsurude so that maybe we--he can figure out what's happened to him.)"

Kiba: "(... he'll be fine. He will.)" *firm*

Sachiko: "(......you missed it earlier. He called Hinaji by his cousin's name.)"

Kiba: "(.............. he's not THAT girly.)"

Sachiko: *has to snerk* "(His androgynousness aside, I think it was the whole white-eye thing.)"

Kiba: "(Weren't they like, dating?)"

Sachiko: "(....you're asking me? I made it a point to never ask him about his personal life where it concerned Hyuuga.)"

Kiba: "(I just... you know. I don't know. It'll all be fine.)"

Sachiko: *watches Tenstuke roll the kunai over the back of his hand* "(... I hope so.)"

So shine on, just shine on~

At no point during this conversation did Tentsuke even twitch or show that he in any way realized that he was being discussed. Instead, he was mooning over the kunai like a lovestruck fanboy (which is exactly what he was), and was - at this point - idly juggling three kunai in the air with one hand, using the other to examine a shuriken more closely.

It's good to see he's still got his dexterity.

An eyebrow lifted at his juggling, but Sachiko conceded that it probably had more to do with muscle memory. He was a complete weapons fanboy.

"Tentsuke, we gotta go. Plus, you don't want that touristy shit." She knew about this merchant and what he did to get his weapons. She also knew enough about Tentsuke to know that he'd rather melt down an inferior weapon rather than sell it, even to a civilian.

It probably still be better if he stopped juggling.

.... hadn't even responded. Still wasn't really responding. Creeeepy.

Kiba could see now, watching critically, how he was changed. His face was off, his gaze far away. His body was too thin- he needed to be fattened up. And he was still not really responding them, going on autopilot almost. It hurt Kiba for a brief moment, but she shook it away. He would be fine- she had to believe that, and did believe that. They had Tsurude, and Kureno, both of whom could help. They just had to get him to Tsurdue.

"Yeah, fun to play with, but no good," Kiba grinned to him, hand lightly touching his shoulder. "I'm Kiba by the way."

Okay, he will~

Tentsuke jumped when Kiba touched him, proving he really hadn't been paying attention to the two girls, and the kunai dropped with a clatter. More damningly, he cut his palm with the edge of the shuriken - a shallow cut, but something so clumsy that it boggled the mind. Tentsuke, Weaponsmaster of Konoha - had cut himself on a cheap imitation shuriken. Just like a clumsy amateur - just like a _civilian_.

He dropped the shuriken too, and stared at Kiba with unrecognizing, wary eyes.

Great. Who brought bandages? --wait, I do.

The wariness Sachiko could understand. It didn't make it easier to see. Moving up again, she put a hand on his arm to draw his attention back to her. "Let me see that." Fortunately she had just come from training, so she had a bandage roll in her hip pouch. A focus of chakra along a one finger for a single chakra claw let her cut two smallish piece that she used one to wipe away the blood oozing up, and the other placed atop the laceration to absorb any subsequent blood before she wrapped his hand and tied the bandage off.

"You bleed on it, you buy it," the shopkeeper informed them.

Sachiko fixed him with a vicious glare. "Here's a thought, Owner-san," she began as she put her bandage roll away. "You can either be paid what it's actually worth, or you can keep it and call it a 'blooded weapon' or some shit and jack up the price even more." She didn't care if blood was a biohazard, but she wasn't paying his inflated prices for junk.

Re: Great. Who brought bandages? --wait, I do.

Tentsuke actually whimpered a bit as Sachiko put pressure on the wound, not really out of pain - he'd endured worse in the fishing village, honestly - but more out of a sudden _wrenching_ feeling. It had felt nice to be playing with the shiny knives. It had been easy, it had been fun and comfortable and _familiar_ -- something he was no longer accustomed to. And now it was all gone. He'd slipped out of that dreaming halfworld, where knives flowed easy as water from his hands, and where words like Nejiko and Konoha and shinobi held MEANING for him, and he was back out here again, where he had nothing.

He eyed the new girl, the one who had touched his shoulder, warily, hunching his shoulders slightly like one of Kiba's own dogs when it was unsure of itself. Unlike with Sachiko and white-eyed Hinaji, there was no bleeding-over of memories and emotions, so all he saw was a stranger. (the pain may have had something to do with it.)