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Guard Duty (Solo, TOPKite Style!)

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Kite
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PostSubject: Guard Duty (Solo, TOPKite Style!) Sun 24 Jun 2012, 8:05 pm

[This mission corresponds with the following request. Thank you]

A soft breeze carried the smell of sulfur through the air, the unpleasant smell passing under Sanjiro's nose, causing the boy to twist his face into a small grimace as he walked up the mountain's path toward his guard station. Today's mission was another solo job, one that would place Sanjiro along the mountain's path as he attempted to stand in for the normal guards. They had started their vacation yesterday and today it was Sanjiro's turn to cover their shift. It wasn't the most exciting mission but then again he didn't expect the higher ups to give him anything too exciting any time soon. The last few missions that Sanjiro had managed to accomplish had been done so with less than stellar results. It wasn't that the boy lacked ability, far from it, it was that he had a bit of anger issue, or at least that was how Sanjiro had tried to play it.

In truth the boy felt himself slowly starting to lose his grip on reality, his actions becoming progressively more violent and reflexive as a result. The boy had tried to get a handle on it, researching ways to cope with his own personal issues when he wasn't busy training or doing missions or throwing himself a little pity party. Unfortunately he had been very busy lately, leaving little time for his research. This mission was probably given to him as a means to help him "cool off". The last mission he had been on, the one where he had been asked to stop an all out brawl at the local pub had resulted in him breaking the collar bones of two patrons, giving two more full blown concussions and finally irreversibly blinding another in one of their eyes. The higher ups were understandably disappointed in these results despite the satisfied client whom had payed extra due to Sanjiro's efficient work and the minimal damages incurred during the scuffle.

The boy had been scolded heavily for his reckless nature and his disregard for the well being of the civilians in the village. Obviously those whom he had hurt would need time to recover and thus could not work at their day jobs. Sanjiro had listened to the chiding from his superiors with a straight face and emotionless eyes. He held no ill will toward the higher ups. He understood why they were upset and knew that what he had done was not acceptable for someone of his standing. This incident was only one of a series of episodes where Sanjiro's "violent nature" had gotten the best of him. There was also the scene he had stirred up at the academy when he had nearly stabbed an academy student with a kunai. Had Kurea not interfered when she did Sanjiro knew he'd most likely have found himself in one of the many cells at the local police station, or worse. Yes, the boy really did need some time to cool off. Hopefully this mission would provide some semblance of peace. At least for the time being.

Another breeze passed by, causing the boy to once again wrinkle his nose as he grimaced. The smell of sulfur was so repugnant. It was strong and it never seemed to let up. It was one of the consequences of living near the volcano that pretty much bordered the village. He supposed though that one would get used to it after spending a few hours in this air, at least he hoped he would. Living near a volcano was a blessing and a curse. On one hand one had to always worry about the unpleasant smell and the very minute possibility of the volcano going active, erupting in a display of fiery rage that could potentially destroy the village and its residence without a second thought. The benefit though were the hot springs and geysers that littered the mountain. These two natural phenomena served as great tourist attractions, bringing people to the area, people who carried money that helped stimulate the economy not only in the village but the country as a whole. Such matters were probably beyond the concern of most children his age, but Sanjiro knew how important the economy was for the ninja village. When it thrived the village thrived and more ninja were trained. When it suffered the village followed suit, the military force being the first cut back the Daimyo of the country always made. The thought was a depressing one, but for now the Lightning Country seemed to be thriving and thus the village was in no immediate danger of suffering from a recession. He hoped it would remain this way.

The boy continued to move up the mountain's path, eventually coming to his post. The post was nothing more than a small tower that had been anchored to the ground a few meters off the main path. The structure was made of a sturdy type of wood and as Sanjiro stared at it he was reminded of his spar with Kanji. He wondered if his clan might have had a hand in creating these towers along the main path. If they had then Sanjiro knew that he didn't need to worry about their structural integrity. Unfortunately there was no evidence of the Senju's passing, but then again the boy supposed even if Kanji's clan had had a hand in building such towers there would be no way for him to identify if it was their work or not. A small sigh escaped his lips as he brought a hand up toward his face. The thumb and index finger would pinch around the small body of the toothpick that hung from his lips, pulling it out for a brief moment as he let out a small yawn. He treated the toothpick much like a cigarette in the way he held it. After he finished his lazy yawn he slid the toothpick back between his lips, letting his teeth lightly bite into the end.

He supposed that now was as good as any to climb up into the little crow's nest so that he could begin his shift of guarding the mountain trail. The boy would move toward the ladder located on the far side of the tower. The ladder went up for a good 10 meters, a rather long climb in Sanjiro's book. The boy grasped the rungs of the ladder, pulling himself up off the ground as he began to slowly make his way toward his shaded perch. Once he had reached his designated post he'd look around the small work area, noting that it was pretty much a one roomed shack with a large opening that spanned the entire forward facing wall, letting him over look the path below him and even see the other various towers that littered the trail. He wondered just how many others had come to fill in for the guards. His eyes now drifted to the wall to his right. A large map hung on the wall, encased in a sturdy plastic like material. Sanjiro noticed that several trails were highlighted in different colors, each one representing who was supposed to be using what trail. While the common trail had a mixture of colors, there was a distinct split as ninjas were given access to a hidden trail that passed through some more dangerous areas. Tourists were obviously made to walk along the safest and longest route while traders passed through a more direct route. It was a bit confusing at first but Sanjiro was able to get the gist of what the map represented. As he continued to read over the map he suddenly heard a crackling sound behind him, the sound causing the boy to jump slightly, left hand flying toward the hilt of his blade as he spun around to face the source of the noise....
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PostSubject: Re: Guard Duty (Solo, TOPKite Style!) Sun 24 Jun 2012, 8:08 pm

Sanjiro spun in response to the crackling noise he heard behind him. No one else was supposed to be in this tower with him. Whoever it was was not designated to be here and would have to be dealt with appropriately. The boy's hand tensed on the hilt of his blade as his eyes searched the area after completing his spin. After a second the boy realized that there was no one else in the tower with him. At first a perplexed expression passed over his face, a result of the boy's confusion but soon his eyes fell on the source of the noise. Hanging on the opposite side of the room, the far wall from the map, was a small head set and a pair of binoculars. Sanjiro moved slowly toward the head set, sliding it on and making the proper adjustments so that it would rest comfortably over his head and ears. The radio crackled in his ear, a voice soon cutting through the static.

"This is tower one contacting tower two. I have a visual on you. Please confirm identity and speak the code. If you are not designated to be in the tower then I will formally request that you please vacate the post and wait at the base of the tower for the appropriate authorities."

Sanjiro's eyes narrowed as he turned his head to glance at one of the many towers that he could see in the distance. Someone had been watching him climb the mountain and was now confirming that he was supposed to be in the tower. He wondered just how many many people this man had checked before him in the other towers. The radio crackled again as Sanjiro contemplated this.

"Tower two please provide your identification and the code phrase."

Sanjiro moved his left hand up toward the microphone that hung in front of his phase, adjusting it slightly so that it didn't ride so high or close to his mouth.

"This is Hikari, Sanjiro, Genin of Kumogakure no Sato. Like the clouds of Kumo I survey the lands as a cloud on high that floats in the sky. I watch for those walk the wrong road as I confirm my identity with this code."

Silence followed after Sanjiro had completed speaking the code he had been supplied with when he had received this mission. The boy thought the code phrase had been a bit ridiculous but he would have never expressed such views openly to anyone, especially his superiors. After the long pause the radio crackled to life in his left ear once more. The voice again cut through the static, speaking to Sanjiro, whispering in his ear as though he were only inches away from the boy.

"Welcome to the Guard Committee, Sanjiro. Glad to have you. I am Hidan Mibuki, I am in charge of the guards today, including those who are filling in for the vacationers. The job is pretty simple. You are to remain in your tower and survey the path as people traverse it. If you see any suspicious activity or anyone in danger you are to to immediately contact me and go and provide assistance unless I order otherwise. You are also to keep your radio on at all times so that I or the others may contact you on short notice. Those binoculars will help you in surveying the area. Other than that, if you have any questions you can always ask me. Like I said, it's a pretty simple job."

"Yes sir. Will do."

At that the radio went dead in his ear, the crackling ceasing as Sanjiro walked over to grab the binoculars. It sounded as if this job would definitely be a peaceful one, giving the boy plenty of time to cool off and collect his thoughts. Once Sanjiro had grabbed the binoculars he would slide the loop over his head so that the binoculars hung from his neck. He'd make his way back over to the large opening in the wall that acted as his portal to the outside world. He'd grasp the binoculars now, moving the object in front of his eyes so that he could look through the magnifying lens. The world became a set of two tunnels that caused the world to expand rapidly before his eyes. What was nothing more than dots in the distance now were distinct shapes. Sanjiro took a moment to get used to looking through the binoculars, at first feeling a bit uneasy as he tried to make sense of what he was seeing. It didn't take the boy long, however, to get the hang of using them. Once he felt he could proficiently use this tool to survey the path he let his line of vision drift downward until he was staring at the path. After about two minutes he pulled the binoculars from his face, deciding that surveying the path with the binoculars was probably not the best idea. It would be much better to use them once he had spotted something with his normal vision. And so the child rested his elbows against the edge of the opening, staring down at the path with a rather bored expression.

As Sanjiro stared down at the path he began to think about Dansen and Kurea. He hadn't seen them both for some time and was growing curious about his team's well being. Dansen had disappeared shortly after the team had been formed, and as if following suit, their sensei had also pulled a vanishing act, leaving Kurea and Sanjiro to fend for themselves. The boy had tried his best to keep the remains of the team together but recently it seemed as if he were being pulled in ten different directions at once. It had started off simple but Sanjiro's past hadn't taken long to catch up to him. The boy had started to see things, started to act out erratically, he had began to fall victim to whatever disturbance or injury his mind had incurred in the past; or perhaps the disturbance had always been there. Not too long after these incidences began to occur he also began to meet new people, people whom he had never interacted with before.

Kirima and Kanji were the two most notable figures, but there was also the mysterious girl with the pet bird. For so long Sanjiro had done his best to isolate himself. He had quit being a shinobi and had hidden himself away within the depths of Kumogakure's library. But that had all changed at the spring festival when the Raikage had called his name, bringing him back into the fold. Sanjiro had become a ninja reborn that day and just like that all his work that went into isolating himself from society was shattered. Now he was interacting with several people, making friends, or at least it seemed as though he were. And now...now he actually wanted people around. He didn't want to be alone anymore. He couldn't take the loneliness. He didn't have a clean cut goal, but he had told Kurea that he wanted to form a group of close friends, people who could be like family to him. He still wished for such a thing and now more than ever he was beginning to believe that it may have been possible to rebuild what had been stolen from him. He could be happy, there was still hope for him. At least that's what he wanted to believe. As if on cue though, as soon as that thought passed through his mind the radio crackled to life in his ear.

"Sanjiro..."
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PostSubject: Re: Guard Duty (Solo, TOPKite Style!) Sun 24 Jun 2012, 8:12 pm

"Sanjiro..."

The voice whispered to him through the haze of static, carrying with it a sense of urgency that caused a small knot of tension to appear at the base of Sanjiro's neck. His hand moved up slowly toward the microphone, pulling it down slightly as he spoke while his dark brown eyes immediately fell on the trail below him, searching for anything that might have been the cause for the troubled voice on the other side of the radio.

"Yes?"

"I have a woman here. She has just spent the last two hours searching for her son but she hasn't been able to find him. He went missing somewhere around your tower. She says he's a small child, he's only five years old. He has black hair and blue eyes. He was wearing a bright red shirt and grey shorts and a pair of grey and black sneakers. I need you to go find him. I will cover your post. Make sure you find the child."

"Yes sir."

The radio went dead in his ear as Hidan disconnected, probably to console the woman. Sanjiro's eyes now drifted toward the map posted up on the wall. He began to wonder just where the child could have gone. The path was, more or less a centrally located path, both sides containing a good deal of wild life and foliage that resulted in sizable forests that climbed up the mountain range, gradually thinning as one continued to move higher and higher up the mountain. At the point where Sanjiro was though there was still plenty of forest on both sides of the path and also plenty of steep drop off points if one wasn't careful. He now began to wonder just how likely it would be that the child would still be alive. If he hadn't slipped and fell to his death at one of the various drop off points then he'd also have the wild life to contend with such as mountain lions and the like. A small sigh now escaped his lips as he shook his head. There wasn't any time for him to ponder these things. He had to go find the kid. If he couldn't find the kid in one piece then he'd at least need to find enough evidence to support that the kid had met his demise. In short, this wasn't going to be a fun job.

The boy turned toward the exit of the small perch, heading toward the ladder that would take him down to the ground below. As he moved for the ladder he would flick both his wrists while tucking his thumbs inward toward his palms to help reduce the width of his hand. The sleeves of his grey jacket slid over his hands as he did this, now giving the illusion that his hands had completely disappeared. With his hands covered Sanjiro positioned himself on the ladder so that his feet were securely planted on two of the rungs while his covered hands grasped the wooden frame of the ladder. Suddenly the boy would kick off the rungs, bringing his feet to the outside of the ladder's frame. Suddenly he began to fall, his covered hands and his feet sliding along the ladder's sides, providing enough friction to slow his descent somewhat. The application of a bit of chakra also helped in keeping him from moving too fast in the downward direction as he rapidly descended the height of the tower. Once he was close to the ground he'd give a light push with his hands and feet which would propel his body away from the ladder, letting him land a good meter away from the tower with a small grunt.

Once on the ground Sanjiro's eyes moved up to the top of the tower as if he were admiring just how far he had "fallen". The thought was a fleeting one as he quickly reminded himself of the job he had to do. Suddenly the boy turned toward the small forest that had been behind him. He supposed that the best thing to do was to start around his tower, as that was where the woman had claimed to lost her son. The young genin dashed off into the forest, using both his ninja skills and parkour abilities to help him navigate the obstacles that were presented. As Sanjiro ran through the forest he noted a fallen tree in his path. Sanjiro easily let himself hop over the tree while flipping forward, reaching out with his left hand, planting it firmly on the body of the fallen pine. He'd note as his hand touched the wood that it felt moist, a sign that it had rained recently. It wasn't any secret that rain had been somewhat more frequent in the past few days around the area. Instantly Sanjiro's mind went back to his fight with Kanji. He hadn't seen rain like that in the longest time, the water coming down in veritable sheets.

The thought passed though as Sanjiro pushed off with his left arm to help complete the acrobatic move, sending his body forward as he completed his flip, landing easily on both feet, already pumping his legs to keep his forward momentum going. He'd launch himself in the air now, his left hand and foot now coming into firm contact with a tree's trunk as his arm and leg bent under the combined effect of his momentum and Sanjiro's willingness to let the limbs bend. He'd suddenly straight then, pushing off the tree, using the force to send himself flying toward another tree's branch, his right hand and leg now coming between his body and the tree's trunk in a similar fashion that mirrored his prior action. Another push would now move him to a third tree where he managed to catch himself yet again in the same fashion, but this time he did not push off with such force, only doing so with enough power to put him back on the ground in a forward run. Truth be told the boy didn't need to do all this, but he was bored and while his mind knew he had a job to do he couldn't help but want to play a bit. Perhaps the boy didn't care too much about the lady's son due to the fact that he had never met the lady or the child. As cold as it sounded, Sanjiro had a hard time feeling empathy for people he never met. While he did feel bad for the woman, the emotion was too weak to cause the genin any true concern and thus it was hard for him to be motivated much beyond the idea of this task simply being a chore.

As Sanjiro tried to search for some scrap of compassion in his mind his eyes managed to pick out something unusual along the forest's floor. Sanjiro let himself come to a stop as he suddenly crouched down, his dark brown orbs observing the ground under him. It was very wet, to the point where someone would call it mud or muck. Perhaps the water from the rains had managed to collect here for a time, leaving behind this moist environment. The mud wasn't what caught his interest though. In front of Sanjiro he noted a definite set of imprints in the mud. The feet were small, much smaller than Sanjiro's feet and smaller than probably any of his peers. While there was no definite way to be sure that these footprints belonged to the woman's son, Sanjiro had to make the assumption that they were indeed the child's. No one else should have been wandering off of the path aside from shinobi. Once again, Sanjiro didn't think feet so small could belong to anyone around his age and most definitely not to someone older.

Sanjiro thought about radioing in to Hidan to report what he found. The thought had actually driven him to move his hand up toward the microphone to start the transmission, but he stifled the urge as the pushed the thought out of his mind. If he was dealing with the mother then probably the last thing he should do is radio in. If things turned out badly then there was no point in getting her hopes up. It was only now that he started to feel something more than duty driving him forward. His mind fell into the past once more as he remembered a time when he had walked these very trails with his own mother and how he had strayed from the path to chase after a small grey fox. His mother had cried out to him, chasing after him but she had quickly lost sight of the boy. Sanjiro remembered how he had ran across fallen trees, climbed under logs and through old hollowed out trees as he pursued the little fox. It had been a carefree game of tag until Sanjiro had managed to step into a deep pool of muck that had latched onto his feet, refusing to let him go, slowly sucking him deeper and deeper into itself. Sanjiro remembered how scared he had been and how much he had screamed, thinking that he'd be consumed by the pool only to have one of the local guards find him and pull him out. The memory brought a serene smile to his face as he let his hand reach down toward the foot print, his fingers pressing gently into the center of the imprint. It was funny how history had a tendency of repeating itself.

The smile remained on his face as the genin now stood. He knew exactly where to find the boy now. There was no more doubt in his mind. The Gods, while mysterious, could be predictable at times. They had a tendency to lead people down the same paths but from different perspectives. It was like forcing one to revisit their past in an effort to make sure they'd never forget who they were and where they came from. Sanjiro could feel a small tear escape his eye as he felt himself starting to become overwhelmed with emotion. At the time the experience had been horrifying but now it was one of his fondest memories as he remembered how much his mother had held him after he had been rescued. He wanted to see that again, if only to relive the moment vicariously. He'd find the child. With that the young genin took off, following the footprints, knowing full well where they'd take him.
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PostSubject: Re: Guard Duty (Solo, TOPKite Style!) Sun 24 Jun 2012, 8:21 pm

Sanjiro followed the footprints, his eyes shifting from side to side while his ears strained to hear and identify every noise. It wasn't long though before he heard the distinct sound of someone sobbing in the distance. A small child was crying out of frustration, fear, and desperation. The boy had probably been crying for help for the greater part of an hour if not longer. He was probably at the point of nearly giving up. Sanjiro knew the feeling all too well. Instantly the genin turned, heading in the direction of the sobbing. He'd move swiftly but at the same time he was very aware of the pools of much that littered this area. One false step would wind up in someone losing a shoe or worse. Sanjiro eventually broke through the brush though, coming to the all too familiar sight of a small child waist deep in a black pool of offensive smelling debris. The boy turned to stare at Sanjiro with wide eyes.

"Help me! I'm scared! I can't get out!"

The boy cried, tears still managing to flow from his red and swollen eyes. Sanjiro noted the bright red shirt, the only thing he needed to identify the child as the one he was looking for. The genin nodded with a confident smile.

"Don't worry kid, I'll get you out. Just calm down and don't move around too much. If you squirm you'll only sink faster."

Not that it mattered how fast the child sunk at this point. Sanjiro wasn't about to let this kid sink much deeper in this mess than he already had. With a quick nod the genin began to channel chakra to the bottom of his feet, creating enough of a repulsive force to prevent himself from sinking into the black pool. Now Sanjiro began to walk forward. This action caused the kid to begin yelling as he thought that Sanjiro was unaware of the danger that this muck represented.

"Wait! You'll sink in like me! Then we'll both be stuck!"

Sanjiro simply chuckled as he continued to walk across the muck as though he were some magical being. The kid's words quickly died out at the end as he noticed the ninja defy the dark pool and its tendency to swallow anything it touched. Sanjiro made his way to the boy only to crouch down slightly, his hands moving under the child's arms, into his armpits. Now Sanjiro began to pull as the boy immediately grabbed onto Sanjiro's forearms, trying to push down on the genin's extended limbs in an attempt to pull himself out of mess. A large squelching noise was created as small gaps were created in the pool, allowing air to rush into the vacuumed environment below the surface. The child grunted as Sanjiro continued to pull.

"Just hold on."

Sanjiro said with a slight strain in his voice as he continued to pull and lift, using the muscles in his legs to both pull and stabilize himself. He had to be careful. If he pulled too hard and too fast then he might be thrown off balance and he'd end up falling in. If that happened he'd have a hard time getting out. The boy nodded at Sanjiro's words as he continued to try and help his rescuer by pushing down on his forearms. More noises were created as the boy rose slightly, the newly unearthed portion being coated in black goo. He was coming loose slowly but surely. Sanjiro continued to pull, groaning now as he started to feel the strain from the action. It would have been so much easier if he could simply rip the child free, but he didn't want to risk falling in. The boy began to wiggle a bit as he felt the hold on his legs loosening. He kicked against the gunk and tried to work his way out.

Suddenly a small pop could be heard as the boy's body seemingly freed itself from the pool. Sanjiro stumbled backwards, holding the boy as he did his best to regain his balance. The boy cried out in fear but surprisingly didn't squirm too much, as if he already realized the danger they'd both be in if he managed to knock the genin off balance. Sanjiro gritted his teeth as he felt himself beginning to topple. He suddenly spun his body a bit, throwing the boy much like a ball, sending him flying. The boy cried out in surprise before he landed with a sickening thud against the ground. At first he began to cry as pain radiated up and down his body but when he realized that he was once more on solid ground the crying ceased, the tears being replaced by a sigh of relief. Now the boy spun around to look at his captor, worrying about Sanjiro's well being. Sanjiro, after throwing the boy had managed to channel some chakra to his hands and as he fell he'd manage to spin himself around, catching himself on all fours, keeping his form from breaking the surface of the dangerous pool of black ooze.

"You alright, kid?!"

Sanjiro called out to the boy as he slowly righted himself, now standing back on two feet. The child nodded before calling out toward the genin.

"Yeah! Thanks mister!"

"Don't go anywhere! Your mother is worried sick about you. I need to take you back to her. Stay right there!"

The child nodded as Sanjiro began to make his way toward the boy. As the genin approached the small boy he noticed that the child was missing a few articles of clothing due to the vacuum force of the pool he had been stuck in. The boy no longer had any shoes or shorts for that matter. The boy merely stood there in his underwear and a t-shirt. The sight caused Sanjiro to start laughing, at which the boy immediately realized what the older male was laughing about.

"Hey! It's not funny!"

"Oh yes it is. It looks like you'll need some new cloths when we get back."

The child scowled as Sanjiro managed to reach him. Without a word Sanjiro moved behind the boy, lifting him from under his arms. He'd lift the boy over his head and drop him down on his back. The child immediately clung to Sanjiro, his legs wrapping around the genin's waist while his arms wrapped around his neck. Sanjiro leaned forward before he started to run. Immediately his hands went back, falling under the boy's legs in an attempt to provide more support for the child as he carried him piggy back style out of the forest.

The two travelled in silence the rest of the way as they made their way back to the tower where his mother was located; tower one. Sanjiro could imagine that the child was probably exhausted. Today had been quite an ordeal for the kid. Eventually they'd reach their destination, finding their way back on the main path and making their way to the tower. Once Sanjiro was closer he'd move one of his hands away from the boy and up to the radio to activate the microphone.

"Sir, this is Sanjiro. I have the boy. He's alright, but he's going to need some new shoes and pants."

"Roger, Sanjiro, good to hear. We'll meet you outside tower one."

"Already on the way. I'll see you there."

The boy listened to Sanjiro as he spoke into the radio, the silence now broken. He would do his best to crane his head over Sanjiro's shoulder in a curious manor as he stared at the head set.

"You're a ninja right?"

"That's right."

"That's cool. I want to be a ninja one day."

"Well, that's something you need to discuss with your mother. Being a ninja is a lot of hard work and it can be dangerous. She might not like the idea of you being in danger."

"But you ninja are so cool!"

Sanjiro's expression darkened a bit as the boy seemed to be set on the idea of becoming a shinobi. The dream was not something he had shared when he was the boy's age. He had never desired to be a ninja and even now he constantly wondered if he were truly walking the right path. It was a question that he wrestled with every day. Did he belong as a ninja? Was this what he was meant to do? Those questions plagued him constantly. He'd remain silent, not bothering to comment on the boy's words. He'd let the child think what he wanted. It wasn't Sanjiro's place to push his views on the kid. Once again silence would fall upon the two of them as they travelled along the path toward the tower.

The two would reach the tower shortly and once there Sanjiro could make out the figures of a man and a woman. The high noon sun caused their shadows to stretch toward Sanjiro and his charge, beckoning the two closer. As he approached the pair he could feel the boy on his back starting to squirm. Instinctively Sanjiro let the boy drop to the ground, the child landing on his feet and quickly charging toward the two in the distance. The woman rushed forward to meet her child half way, the two uniting with a heartfelt hug that pulled at Sanjiro's heart strings. He felt a slight smile appearing on his face as he watched the woman and the child clinging to one another as if they only had each other. Sanjiro was jealous of the kid. He wished he could still hold his mother like that, even if it was for one last time. God he missed her. As Sanjiro stared at the scene he didn't notice the second of the two figures approach, placing a hand on his shoulder.

"You did good, kid."

Sanjiro nodded at the older man's words, pinning the man to be Hidan, based on his voice. He said nothing though as he continued to stare at the two as they continued to hug.

"Kenji, why'd you run off like that?"

"I'm sorry mommy, I saw this fox and I wanted to catch it..."

The words struck Sanjiro harder than any punch. He felt himself mentally reeling from the impact, the words replaying in his head. A fox. It was always the fox, the cunning trickster, that caused problems. In the corner of Sanjiro's vision he noticed something moving in the distance. He turned with a curious expression, trying to see if he could identify what had managed to catch his attention. It was at that moment he saw it, the small grey fox from his past, staring at him. The genin was dumbstruck as he stared back. It may have sounded crazy to anyone else who hadn't gone through what he had, but this fox, he could've sworn, was the same fox from nine years ago. The fox continued to stare, it's eyes holding a look of knowing before suddenly turning around, vanishing in the forest. Sanjiro was nearly overcome with the urge to go chasing it, just like when he was a child. This time though he knew that he'd need to keep himself in check. There were other people around and he was still on duty. Despite the fact that he knew he was prepared to catch it this time, he'd have to wait. One day though he'd chase that fox and he'd catch it. He'd make it tell him the secrets that it kept. The fox had to know something...

"Well back to work I suppose."

The voice shook Sanjiro from his thoughts as Hidan began to make his way toward his tower. Sanjiro sighed as he turned, heading for his own post. The rest of the day after that would prove to be rather uneventful with Sanjiro leaving his post as the sun set.

[Exit]

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PostSubject: Re: Guard Duty (Solo, TOPKite Style!)

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