RP Log - In the garden...
Where? Akatsuki castle's garden
When? 05 May
What? Temari goes for a walk in the garden and meets the resident...gardener.
Warnings? One cuss word by my count? Maybe two?
Part of playing the mysterious traveler who was coming and going, and offering bits of help along the way to the misfit band trying to overthrow the rule of Konoha, seemed to include a lot of downtime as Temari--under the guise of Chihiro--pretended to be going from place to place. It took a lot of time to travel back and forth between countries, and in the meantime, she was stuck at the castle. She did her best to occupy her time, scouring the library for any information on the names she'd heard mentioned, otherwise learning about the history of Konoha, the families that existed, trying to size up who was still around and who might still be holding a grudge, and who wasn't a threat at all. It wasn't much, but it was something to report back, and with who she was dealing with, something was always better than nothing.
For the time being, however, she had exhausted her efforts, straining her eyes to read dusty, worn passages, and in the twilight of evening, had opted to take a stroll through the garden. It was nothing like the one at home, much more lush, and probably a lot easier to tend to. The plants were different too, and she could only identify a few of them, but the rest were beautiful just the same. Rarely did she have such appreciation for life, but she was too emotionally weary to be worrying about being tough right now. Strolling down the cobblestone path, enjoying the splashes of different colors, was actually therapeutic, as she was slowly discovering.
It was a night like this that made Shiro calm, and sometimes even affected Kuro -though it was usually a high hope- to the point they could be civil. So far, Zetsu had done little today but write up reports down in his secret library which his own information was gathered and kept safe. Besides the report, a few notes scribbled down and the occasional "lunch" plan made, the dual colored monster of a man had kept quiet and alone. Tobi didn't want to see him, not after their accident the days previous. Even he, himself, wasn't sure if it was time to speak with the boy yet. As it were, a mission was coming up and by the morning he'd be gone again.
Zetsu just never seemed to be able to spend even a week in the castle any more.
The twilight had a warm air too it, soothing but tense as if the sky were to fall no matter the circumstance. Trees and bushes, flowers of all size, shivered in the breeze that passed through the gardens and eventually hit the man sitting on a carefully placed. The wind rippled through his dark, forest green hair, golden yellow eyes downcast on a plant in his white hand as the black held himself up. Zetsu appeared peaceful, not cannibalistic or partially insane, and oddly relaxed. It was unnatural for him to be sitting in a way, as if mourning the death of the Fox Glove between his large fingers.
However, he suddenly tensed as from the entrance of the garden he felt the Princess's presence in the area. Had she seen him? He hoped not, it could mean terrible things if she had seen him so compassionate. Quickly, but casually, Zetsu stood up while his hand gently flicked the stem away to land in a soft tap on the cobbled ground looking untouched.
While Temari never presumed she was alone in a place like this, neither had she expected to encounter anyone in the garden at this hour and she visibly flinched at the appearance of another presence. But just as soon as the fright had come, it had gone, and she recognized the face. Not that she knew him personally, nor could she remember his name, but she had met all of the king's men at some point or another, on diplomatic duty of some sort. She almost felt embarrassed that she couldn't even be bothered to remember this gentleman's name, but such little respect did the king and his men command from her, that it would stay an "almost". More over, she feared them, and found that every one of them could be unpredictable, usually leaning towards the unpleasant side. Perhaps if she got to know them a bit better-- no, that wasn't possible. The abrasive personalities that abounded here wouldn't allow for it. But that didn't stop her from trying, if not for the sake of civility, than to possibly dig deeper into this tight-knit group and dig up any information she could on her brother.
"Good evening," she hailed the relative-stranger in the sweetest tone she could muster, quite the effort given her current state of mind. But there was the underlying fact that she still may not be welcome there, and anything less than the highest politeness would be risky. Even now, for all she knew, she could be walking on the end of a very sharp knife, and would have to approach the situation with the utmost of cautions. "My apologies if I'm interrupting, shall I leave? I didn't mean to intrude."
Brows raised as he heared a far away 'Good evening' drifted toward his ears. Blinking, Zetsu realized that it had been this "tresspassing" woman he remembered as the Princess of Suna. Or, something of the like. He disliked, or Kuro rather hated, remembering everything. It was a proclivity he didn't enjoy having at times, but for now it seemed beneficial as he walked forward toward the woman -who he happened to tower over- while running a hand over his hair quickly.
"Good evening," Shiro replied after having push his way past Kuro's bad mouth to speak. "Apologies are not neccassary, you're a guest." He offered up, hands moving slightly and revealing that one was black and the other white before they disappeared into pockets. His glowing eyes looked down on her and he smirked, but it fell as Shiro mentally argued with his other half. Not. Now.
"I'm surprised to see you out here, so late." Zetsu's voice said, partially leaking that darker flavour that he currently was trying to supress. "Have you found everything to your liking?" The tall male asked after stopping in his steps roughly two yards from Temari. Oh... he was having a bad day for control.
This one...he was probably the most familiar of the king's men she'd not been formally introduced to. She struggled to recall a name, but what was more important was the fact that, from her observations, he was probably the most peculiar of them all. When she had come to Konoha so many years ago to sign the initial neutrality treaty between this country and Suna, he had been there at the meeting-- they all had been, from what she could remember-- and his mannerisms had struck her as odd from the very beginning. It almost seemed, at times, as if he had some sort of odd personality quirk, the likes of which she'd never seen except in the criminally insane-- a sort of dual personality, personable one second, and horrifically nasty the next. It would be fitting of his duo-tone appearance, which had at first shocked her, but in light of the rest of the cast of characters here at the castle, it seemed more and more commonplace. She almost had to wonder where the king rounded up these peculiar people.
Most men seemed to tower over her, as pathetically short as she was (she had cursed her womanhood for this on more than one occasion) but he stopped at such a distance that she only need cock her head on a slight incline, and a bit to the side as a nervous habit. He was keeping his distance, which she was thankful for, but the reasoning was beyond her. She didn't bite, and at the moment, he seemed friendly. But of course, there was the ever-present possibility that this might change on a moment's notice. As a fact, she had not confirmed this yet, but certainly if it were true, and he was cognitive of it...either way, she liked to keep her distance from these men, so she certainly was not going to argue.
"The rest of my evening's schedule is blank," she explained, ever as politely as before. Distance or not, she was still on edge. "I thought I might come for a stroll since the weather is so wonderful. And the garden...it's beautiful, nothing like the wilted excuse for plants back home. And what of you, out here as well?"Zetsu watched her, listened to her, unconsciously smelt the woman as the soft breeze drifted about, and generally took in the scene before him as she was. He'd met many people in his day, and Temari was not much different than every other person (though in her case she was not to be eaten). However, she seemed rather tense and while the man knew exactly why, he was somewhat disheartened. Or, the better and nicer part of him was. Kuro didn't care for her, or anyone, just himself, and made sure that everyone knew it to be true. But no matter, the man was calm once more as he let his hands settle in pockets and head tilt almost lazily to the left. Even the unique foliage around his shoulders was loose, tired almost, and hanging wider than usual.
"I was merely tending to the gardens." Zetsu answered in all honesty, having nothing to hide from the guest before him. All information to hide from her was not apart of this conversation, and would never be for he wouldn't allow it. "Would you like anything?" He offered out, a white hand gesturing in a way that said "anything at all" -even if it was a lie. Temari could have little at the moment but flowers for her room, a tour of the gardens, or even a drink were some of the requests she could have made if she felt it.
Part of Zetsu wondered why he was feeling so kind and generous today, it was nothing special, and the only thing to come was another trip away from the castle in search of more information. Kuro was growing angry, but deals had been made so all was well for the time.
She always felt shaky socializing with anyone from the castle, aside from the servants, who seemed to be just as skittish as she, although she tended to show it a little less. Yet still, she couldn’t lose sight of her goals, and any opportunity to delve deeper, she would have to accept. She’d already dug a deep enough hole, so there was no point in stopping now. Maybe she was digging her own grave, but her conscience wouldn’t let her rest until she’d ensured her brother’s safety or died trying.
“Only some company, if you’re not too busy,” she said softly, with a forced smile. “Mayhaps you can tell me a bit about some of the native flora as well. It’s all so very intriguing.”
Truth be told, she was rather entranced by the foliage, and it was not entirely a lie that she’d like to know more. If anything, it was a convenient, truthful cover for her ulterior motives. Things were so much easier when they worked themselves out, and she didn’t have to tell any bold-face lies. Those were always the hardest to cover up, and almost always stood a chance of being uncovered.
The man nearly smiled, nearly, and stepped forward once toward her and only achieving more height over Temari. Looking down he tilted his head in question before nodding once, hands shifting in his pockets before they removed themselves and hung at his sides.
"I would gladly show you around." Kuro said, hiding a grin as he looked away. His golden eyes stared off into the distance, perhaps at the sky or a tree, maybe nothing and it was a blank cold stare, it was hard to tell with him. Even as the wind blew, bristling about the pair, pushing around hair and articles of clothing, his face was mostly hidden behind the large plant sticking from his garments. One of the leaves twitched slightly before settling, and Zetsu turned back to the blond.
"What would you like to view first?" Shiro asked gently, breeze settling and leaving them in a cool atmosphere for the time being. "The North or South gardens?"
"North, if you will," she replied decisively. There was no sense in pondering which she preferred. It was all beautifully foreign to her anyway, and neither had any bearing on her other thoughts. The cool breeze was a bit comforting, but she didn't allow herself to become too relaxed. It was a pity, too-- the weather was a big change from the sweltering heat of the desert, and had this been any other visit she'd conducted, the tour might have been very much enjoyable. But the strain of outwardly keeping aloof, while inside she was tensed and ready for anything that my come at her, took a great deal of the fun out of it. She may even have been able to get past the oddness of her tour guide-- and how odd it was, to be led about the garden by someone who looked as if they could be a part of it themselves-- in another time and place. But that was neither the here, nor the now, as she followed him, keeping her distance as best she could without putting too much distance between them.
Zetsu hardly spoke after a simple nod in reply to her request. Occasionally he'd point out something 'important' but he quickly realized she wasn't paying attention. So, rather than a tour with words he just led her through the massive labyrinth of greenery for roughly fifteen minutes before coming to a stop. Keeping his back to her, the man swallowed before giving off the shortest and softest of sighs. Damn he was hungry. Why did that always happen? Never did it seem that he could go without a snack, even the smallest, and the harder he tried the more arduous it seemed to avoid.
"Would you like a rose?" Asked Kuro, eyes turned down toward the ground and devil smirk on his lips. No... resist. You are not that bad, you are not a monster...
This wasn’t going how she hoped. Neither seemed to have much to say, and certainly it was an awkward situation. That’s how it was, she supposed. The king’s men tended to be wary of her, albeit not the same way she was of them. No, they knew they could take her out any moment, and they were simply watching for a chance to pounce. She knew they could take her out, and she watched her every move, so as not to give them that chance. And any show of kindness was to be taken with a grain of salt, and so far she had been keeping an eye out for any trap, ensuring that she wasn’t being led into some dark recess from which she might never return.
“No, but thank you,” she responded, ever-so-sweetly. At the very least, she could avoid another lie with this one. “It’s quite a sweet offer, but to kill such a beautiful thing is wasteful, don’t you think?”
Turning to face Temari, his eyes blinking slowly down at her and looking very unhappy with her answer. "They're killed every day." He informed her in a deep and unusual tone that she had only heard briefly before. "One more for such an honored guest will hardly matter." Stooping, Zetsu carefully with skilled hands broke away a large beautiful rose with quite a grand amount of thorns. He, even with such large hands, avoided the sharp plant pieces as he turned again to the blond woman.
"Please... I insist..." Zetsu held out the red rose the color of fresh blood and wet from recently being watered for the evening, stem a thick green filled with needled thorns. "Be careful not to prick you fingers." Kuro warned, a dangerous sound in his echoing voice.
Even such an insignificant thing as the presentation of the rose spoke to the differences in their priorities. What did one more matter? It mattered the world to Temari. Because now it was just one more, and later it would be just one more, and soon all the ones would pile up and become tens or hundreds. Was this the same mentality he would take in regards to people too? It wouldn’t have surprised her in the least. She was probably just “one more” to them all, barely an obstacle in their path.
“Thank you for your kindness, then,” she said softly, trying to look straight at him but then again trying not to look right into his eyes, as she gingerly accepted the unwanted gift, slender fingers easily avoiding the sharp thorns. She regarded the flower with a certain amount of pity, both for it and herself. Something wasn’t quite right with this scene, aside from not going as she’d planned—it was heading even further down hill. “You’ve been far to generous, perhaps I should head inside, and stop pestering you…”
Zetsu chuckled as he pulled back his hand, finger accidentally pulling on the rose and causing it to prick her fingers. "I am so sorry..." Kuro stated as he pulled his hand away completely after causing more of a wound rather than a prick. The scent of blood reached him almost instantly, hardly two inhalations later and Shiro wanted to take pity on the woman as well. Luckily he had a bit more restraint and did his best. The Leader, though perhaps not caring, may also not be happy that he assaulted their visitor.
"Are you hurt badly?" He asked, forcing his own mind forward and taking her hand in his to see. Rarely did he move this much, at least in front of one he didn't know, and what was even more rare was the fact that he was touching her. But it was hard to hold back when the taste was right there... right in front of him in his grasp.
No. Stop it. She'd be exterminated soon enough, he could wait. He had to.
Wincing and breathing in sharply at the small cut, she looked from the wound, back up to her supposed tour guide. Her finger bled rather quickly, the collected liquid dripping down her finger and to the path below, narrowly avoiding the already-wilting flower that she had dropped in her surprise. She could prove nothing, but could almost swear he'd done it on purpose, or at least that he was mildly amused by such a turn of events. Her eyes narrowed and she bit her lip, attempting to pull her hand back for her own inspection, but instead was caught by his grip. Even she could see, though, that she was trembling ever so slightly. Signs of weakness were very unbecoming of her, but for fear of an unwanted confrontation, she couldn't help it.
"I'm fine, it's just a little cut," she replied, forcibly evening out her tone so that it wouldn't match her hands. "But really, perhaps it is time for me to head in."
The man nodded, releasing her hand and staring down at her almost coldly. "Yes." He agreed and stepped aside. "Perhaps another time when He isn't feeling so violent." It was the first time Zetsu had referred to Kuro when in the presence of someone who generally had no idea what he was talking about that he wasn't going to kill moments afterward.
"Would you like me to walk you back?" Shiro asked softly, trying to be kind but just coming off apologetic and rather pathetic. Sometimes it really was horrible having two personalities in one body; there wasn't enough room for the two of them as they always fought over who was doing what and when. Sighing, he waited reply, golden eyes glazed as he watched the red blood drip down her flesh or to the pebbles below. Restraint was hard.
Who in the hell was “he”? Temari dared not ask. She already felt as if she was treading on shockingly thin ice, and she didn’t have any desire to tread any further, or she might end up trying to walk on water itself. She pulled her hand back instinctively, slowly, eyes still narrowed in his direction, as if she were facing some wild beast in the forest. That all he was to her, a beast, and yet still, one that could take her out, one that was not to be trifled with. Best to get away while she could, and try her chances elsewhere, with some of the saner of the kings men, although even that was a relative term.
“I can walk myself back in, but thank you,” she replied curtly, squeezing her finger in her other hand to halt any more blood flow. Her patience had already grown thin, but still she found it in her to give him a short curtsy before turning to head back the way they had come. She’d have liked to get away as quick as she could, to run even, but a hurried pace would have to suffice.