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New Years Eve at the Fire Temple

Date: 1-1-19

Participants: Kazumi, Nishi, Yoko, Hon, Shouji

Scene Type: Social

The clock quietly clicks forward, steadily, ever approaching the beginning of a brand new year. Light snowflakes gently fall from the sky around the Fire Temple, dusting the ground in a soft powder of snow. Crowds of people gather, milling around to meet up with friends and loved ones before getting into line to ring the Temple's large bell. Following the tradition of ringing the bell and praying for the New Year, there are also luck charms that can be bought that predicts your luck for the new year. Though there is no guarantee that it'll be good luck. If that's the case, one can purchase a charm to counter your bad luck. That is, if you believe such things.

The clock quietly clicks forward, steadily, ever approaching the beginning of a brand new year. Light snowflakes gently fall from the sky around the Fire Temple, dusting the ground in a soft powder of snow. Crowds of people gather, milling around to meet up with friends and loved ones before getting into line to ring the Temple's large bell. Following the tradition of ringing the bell and praying for the New Year, there are also luck charms that can be bought that predicts your luck for the new year. Though there is no guarantee that it'll be good luck. If that's the case, one can purchase a charm to counter your bad luck. That is, if you believe such things.

Nishi arrived to the temple, hoping to participate in the traditions here. She was used to the celebrations back home, but now that she lives here, she'll experience it for the first time among the people of this land. Given how cold it was, she packed warmly in undergarments while her out appearance was a colorful winter yukata complete with tabi and zori sandals. To say the least, she was pretty warm. It was one of few things that she managed to bring with her from home.

Not one for arriving late to functions, she wanted to ensure at the very least, she'd be present to hear the ringing of the bell and to gather up a luck charm. Perhaps this new year can start fresh. It's a cleansing moment as much as it is a celebratory one.

Yoko made it here not to much longer than Nishi did, clutching his water bottle as he takes deep sips from it. He made sure to put on his blue flak jacket and long sleeves this time. No short sleeves. It's too cold for that shit. The young man looked the crowds of people here over gauging their facial expressions before nearing closer to Nishi. When he does, he took another sip, swallowing it. "Heh. Look at the expressions on these peoples faces." He says with a smirk which shows some of his pointy teeth.

Kazumi exhales a longer breath as she pulls the fur collar of her winter kimono further around her neck, releasing a slow plume of steam from the heat of her breath meeting the cold winter air. She hums quietly as her pale lilac eyes calmly looks around, glancing through the cloud in idle search of familiar faces. And there were a few, considering this was a rather important event. The first full year since the village was created, united. So people milled around with evident excitement.

Hon stands in line for the proceedings, taking an occasional step forward. "So lemme see if I got the idea," Kurubo says, riding Hon's shoulder as usual. "Everybody's waitin' in line t'ring a bell an' get a fortune readin' fer luck?" "That's right. Your clan doesn't have a tradition like this?" "Let's just say that when people mutter about bad luck whenevah they see ya, y'tend to have a dim view of th'whole concept." "Hmmm, that might explain the higher-than-usual occurances of dirty looks we've been getting," Hon muses, glancing around the crowd. "Maybe you should go someplace else for a while." e.e; "Oh no, I ain't lettin' othah people's twitchiness decide wot I do an' don't get to do," Kurubo says stubbornly. "'Sides, real or fake, this looks kinda fun."

"They look happy. Nice change from what we're used to," Nishi offered to Yoko, turning her head over her shoulder to look at him as he approaches. "I'd rather look at this than to see everything else I've seen over the past few years," she shrugged it off. "Besides, after this, there's a bunch of food to go around and performances to see. I might even end up buying something nice for myself. Well, I always do, but... Anyway, what are you looking forward to in this new year? I might be the negative one, but I feel mine is gonna be a bad fortune."

Yoko eyes the peoples of the crowd once more before moving them back on Nishi. "You do have a point there. It has been tough." He says taking another sip from the water bottle, it was a long drawn out one though. He exhales a nice Ahhh as his breath fogged the air in front of him. "I plan on becoming something. Much like yourself. Mrs. Chunnin." He taunts playfully with a grin.

Finding Hon's face in the crowd, with Kurubo perched on the boy's shoulder where he belongs, the Hyuga girl shifts her weight slightly to change her direction. Drifting towards her younger cousin as she lightly weaves through the crowd. "Good evening, Hon-san. Kurubo-san." Kazumi murmurs, giving the pair a slight bend of a bow. Ever since they were placed on the same team together, they were a little closer from it. "Are you looking forward to seeing what your luck will be like for the coming year?"

Hon returns Kazumi's bow. "Hello, Kazumi-san. Yes, the anticipation is what makes it interesting, wouldn't you say?" "That an' the bell-ringin' part," Kurubo comments. "Normally a sudden clang like that sets off all sorts o' alarms from me ancestral memories, but as long as I'm expectin' it an' know where it's comin' from, it's fine an' dandy. Should be even more satisfyin' t'be the one //makin'// it ring." :}

"Mrs. Chuunin?" Nishi deadpanned. "I'm not married," she continued. "But I admire your spunk. So, just keep at it and you'll be in my position in no time. Long as you know what you're doin' it for. It's one thing to be a chuunin, it's another thing to know why you are," she grinned. "We've both been through some problems, but we made it all the way to the end of the year alive and well. That's somethin' to celebrate, right?"

Deciding he needs a break from the house, Shouji grabs a cloak and wraps it around himself. He's heard about a festival happening, so he decided that he should go check it out rather than sit around listening to the elders. After traveling for who knows how much time, he arrives where the festival is being held. His eyes wander around as he takes in the sights of what's here while he walks around with no real goal in mind, not yet noticing his team mates around.

The corner of her lips tugs with a faint smile that lasts a brief instance, but fades just as quickly. "Interesting indeed. Everyone seems to be fairly excited for the event." Kazumi murmurs in reply, glancing over her shoulder at the crowd again. Seeing Shouji, her long sleeve lifts up to wave in her cousin's (and team mate) direction. "Once in line, you seem to approach the giant bell and lightly ring it, offering a prayer before drawing your luck. It seems pretty fun."

Showing his pointy teeth, Yoko grinned in her direction "Pretending to be serious when you're really joking. I see." He cocks his head to the side with a gaze "I admire your humor. Nishi-san." He takes a deep sip from the straw of the water bottle and tilts his head back upright. "It is something to celebrate. Not many of us make it." He says in approval.

"I am serious," Nishi folded her arms. "I'm not married," she turned her attention on the line as it drew closer to the bell. "I don't have much of a humor on top of that, but I can agree with the last thing you've said. Now, we just have to hope that the year continues with better tidings than these past ones. I imagine they will, but life always has a way of snatching the mat out from under your feet."

Hon gets his turn before the bell, tapping it and clapping his hands a couple times in contemplation. Kurubo rears back and strikes his beak on the curved metal with all of his tiny mass, managing a faint *tonk*. Then Hon goes to get his fortune. It takes a little discussion, but he soon walks away with a second fortune for Kurubo. "Open 'em, open 'em!" Kurubo says, sidling back and forth along Hon's shoulder. "All right, be patient," Hon chuckles, unfolding his first. It comes out as MINOR GOOD LUCK. "Not bad," he murmurs, unfolding the second one...which says GREAT GOOD LUCK. "JACKPOT! Hahaha, who's bad luck now!? Folks oughta be GRATEFUL when a crow stops on their blinkin' windowsill! Might leave a lil' karmic boost for ya!" >:D

Shouji spots Kazumi waving him down and he turns to head of in their direction. When he arrives he lets out a small sigh and he shakes his head. "Grubmling old men can only be withstood for so long." He comments once he's close to them. His eyes wander back around the crowd and he can't help but notice Nishi and he lets out an audiable groan before his attention shifts away from her. Hon stepping up to the bell has his gaze going to him instead. His brows raise up as he hears the crows words and he casts a glance to Kazumi.

Taking note of Nishi's changed posture and sudden concentration towards the moving line. Yoko nods, taking another sip. "Do you really think some bell can tell a person how successful they will be?" He pauses for a moment with a frown that shows a tooth and its sharp point. "I'm not exactly sold on it. It just sounds stupid." There was some arrogance in his tone as he shook the water bottle in hand to check its contents. He could tell it was getting low as It felt near empty.

"It's not the bell that does the work. You ring it to get the attention of the gods and hope that they find favor with you," Nishi states. She looks ahead at the fuss over the most recent bell ringers. Seems someone got a good fortune. "Sounds like you need a refill," she noted the sound of the bottle. With her turn having come up, she approaches the bell and gives it a ring. Once she's provided her prayer, she draws her fortune and looks over it briefly. Just as silently as she approached, she departed from the bell in the same manner. Great Bad Luck. Yeah, that sounded about right...

"Understandable, I assure you." Kazumi murmurs back to Shouji, her pale eyes glancing around to make sure they weren't going to be overheard. "I have a feeling that they might speak with us soon. But whether or not it's together or individually..." she trails off, uncertain of the future. Waiting in line alongside her cousins and team mates, she watches quietly as Hon and his bird dong the bell before giving a prayer to the gods. The raven's absolute glee to his stroke of luck for the new year nearly causes her to laugh out loud, becoming a small choking sound that lasts only briefly. With a straight face, Kazumi takes the small hammer and rings the surface of the bell, setting it down smoothly to clasp her hands together. A small prayer is given, and when she draws her forture the young Hyuga couldn't help the small frown that overcomes her expression. "Minor bad luck..." she murmurs lightly. Disappointed to say the least. Oh well. She doesn't mind buying a charm to change her luck. She might need it if she's going to face the Hyuga Elders in the future after all.

"STUPID!?" There is a burst of black feathers from Hon's shoulder, and suddenly Kurubo is perched on a fencepost near Yoko. "Whatsa mattah with you, punk!? Y'got no respect for tradition?! You're gonna be cursed if ya keep up that kinda twaddle!" >P With his usual flightiness, Kurubo has gone from a bemused skeptic to a firebrand believer because of a scrap of paper in his favor. Hon facepalms and glances at his team-mates. "I'm gonna try to defuse this situation, could you stand by just in case?" u.u

Shouji nods his head at Kazumi, dreading the day when the old ones turn their attention to him. Bad enough having to listen to them grumble and argue as it is. He watches as Kazumi rings the bell and gets a fortune, and he decides to get in on it as well. The Hyuga rings the bell and offers up a small prayer of his own and then reads the fortune he got. "Mediocre luck." He can't help but smirk at the results and he shakes his head a little bit. But his eyes turn to Kurubo and Hon, his gaze shifting between bird and Hyuga, before settling on Hon himself. "What happened to the good luck?"

Yoko shrugged at the response given about how the luck thing really works. "Heh, that's even worse." He opens the bottle and holds it up to look inside. "Yeah. I need a refill.. for this one." He closed the top on it and placed it inside his belt and grabbed the other water bottle. "I keep a spare just incase." He says holding it up to where Nishi could see. All of sudden some wierd voice had entered his ears. He moved his head up and over to look at Kurubo on the fence post "Huh? The hell is that. Is that a talking crow?" He couldn't believe it. Yoko had bursts out to laughing and went to point at it. "What is this some kind of trick? Get your exotic cricket looking ass out of here. Small ass."

All of the fuss went unheard of, at least temporarily as Nishi looked over her fortune for the time being. She knows she won't be the only one to receive such a fate, but when it hits you, whether believed or not, it still has a sting. Granted, she is of the mind that life is what you make of it and that a fortune doesn't have to spell your downfall. Still, she wonders, if at all, if it has some sort of meaning for her. She supposes only time will tell that much.

She tucks the fortune away and approaches the group. "Mediocre luck is better than bad luck," she smiled. "My luck wasn't exactly good or just bad. It was really bad," she tsked. "And uh...Yoko, that's not a trick. That is a real, talking bird. I don't know how it does it, but...it's definitely real. Might want to think about getting that refill soon, too."

Kazumi blinks her pale lilac eyes with some surprise as Kurubo is suddenly after Yoko, as if at any moment the small black bird would rip his throat out from the great offense. And Yoko's reaction, she couldn't help the chuckle that threatens to escape, making it especially difficult to contain for several moments. Eventually she's able to hold it back, her expression becoming a neutral mask. Despite the hilarity of the situation, if it escalates any more they'd draw more attention from the people around them. And as a result, making a spectacle of the Hyuga clan. "Kurubo-san..." Kazumi murmurs lightly, reproachful. Because if Hon doesn't calm the bird down, no doubt his older cousin will step in to take care of the matter.

"Kurubo-san, calm down," Hon says, walking over. "He has a right to have and express an opinion." "An' I've got th'same right!" Kurubo says defiantly. "That's all that's happenin' here, see? Just two guys peacably expressin' their opinions. Just so long as th'heathen here doesn't do anythin' stupid." >P Kurubo spreads his wings and looks around. "An' it doesn't 'ave to be just us two. Wot do you lot think, eh? Think we're all STUPID fer doin' this?" There are a few cheers of support for Kurubo amongst the crowd. After all, most of the people who came here did so because they DO believe at least nominally, and apparently people would rather side with a quirky talking crow than a sharp-toothed fish-man.

Shouji looks to Nishi and begins to open his mouth to speak, but seems to decide against it and instead decides to follow after his team to where Kurubo went off to. He listens to the crow and he can't help but shake his head slowly. His eyes wander around at the crowd as he hears the cheering for Kurubo and a small exhale escapes from him. They're already starting to draw attention, and he can't say he's too amused by it. But he looks to Kurubo. "You shouldn't care what other people think. At the end of the day, it's what you think that should matter most."

He noticed the others walking over especially the one telling Kurobo to calm down. It seems the arriving group wanted to appease the crow with their words. Even the crow wants to get the crowd on its side of the argument. The white haired man made a frown and growled lowly from this and the words it spoke. He raised his fist and shakes it at the crow. "I'm not a heathen you little-" Yoko heard what Nishi said and turned an narrow eye on her. "Right. I'll be going to do that now." He brings his fist down, turning away from the group to go refill his bottle somewhere.

Kazumi narrows her pale eyes at the crow for a brief moment before she steps up to the fencepost that Kurubo had perched upon, snapping a hand out with lightning speed to clasp at the bird's beak closed. "You..." she says slowly, her voice low with a 'no nonsense' tone. "are part of a clandestine team. Which means being /silent/ and /observant/. If you can't do that much, you're going to find yourself roasted and cooked thoroughly." And yes, she really does mean it. Kazumi turns her pale eyes back to Yoko and dips in a low bow, clearly apologetic. "On Kurubo's behalf, I apologize for his rudeness. Everyone has an opinion, but that does not mean he should use his words to attack you in front of everyone." When she straightens, she glances back to the crow with a narrowed look and finally removes her hands from his beak. "He should know by now what kind of behavior will or will not be tolerated by now."

"...You all act like this crow is completely normal, but I suppose it would be. We've got talking dogs, why not talking crows?" Nishi shrugged. "I know they're both pretty rare on both accounts, but even still. I almost forgot you all were on a team. Shouldn't have much to worry about out here, though," she looked around carefully. "A bird is going to be a bird, after all," she smirked. "Seems that's no different, even if it can talk. He got a good fortune and Yoko is going to fill his water bottle. All is well. For now," she emphasized the end carefully. "Why don't we all go and eat something?"

Yoko came back with his water bottle filled as much as it could hold. He moved over closer to where Nishi stood before turning his head in Kazumi's direction to respond to her apology that was given before he left. "Heh, it's alright. It would be best to keep a leash on that thing. Tie a muzzle around its small beak too while you're at it." He narrows an eye towards the crow before turning his head in Nishi's direction to look at her. "Sure. I'm down for that."

Kurubo is used to having his beak clamped shut, but usually it's Hon doing it. He flails in surprise for a moment, then regains his composure and waits for Kazumi to finish her lecture. >.<; "Kurubo-san is from a summon clan," Hon explains to Nishi. "I don't have a contract with him or anything, he just likes hanging around with me." Kurubo clacks his beak to restore feeling after Kazumi lets go. "Huh, burnin' a thinkin' animal t'death for speakin' 'is mind," he mutters. "If you'd really go that far, I've formed too 'igh an opinion of you." Kurubo preens a few feathers back into place. "...So, I'm part of th'team then? Bet y'won't find anythin' in th'registers supportin' that. Still, s'pose I should be grateful y'think that way." e.e Hon bows to Nishi. "Thank you, but I should be going now, I have duties to fulfill. Have a happy new year, everyone." Hon walks away, and Kurubo takes off after him.

Shouji can't help but feel surprised over what Kazumi does. He decides she can handle the crow on her own and his gaze shifts to Nishi. "At least you're not trying to drop washing pans on him." With a slight shake of his head he takes his eyes off of Nishi and gives Yoko a more studious look since he's never met him before. He doesn't answer Nishi's question right away, but instead looks to Kazumi to see what she does since Hon walked off.

"You are not guilty for having a mind of your own. But there is a difference between having an opinion and knowing when it's best /not/ to express your opinion." Kazumi murmurs, loosely crossing her arms against her chest. "That takes wisdom. And you should know the ways of the Hyuga clan by now. Choosing to act like that puts Hon in a bad position, which means you are willfully doing that to him. And I do /not/ appreciate you treating Hon like that." Her pale gaze follows her younger cousin as Hon turns to bow to Nishi before starting to walk away. "Hon, he's your partner, yes?" Kazumi asks. "Contract or not, he doesn't have respect for you. This could and will be a problem in the field. /Talk/ to him about this, before it gets worse." Watching the pair disappear through the crowd, the Hyuga heiress exhales a longer sigh and lifts one of her small hands to rub at the side of her head. For some reason, she felt as if this was going to be a long and difficult path to take, reasoning with a bird. But if Kurubo kept acting like this, and the situation with the Elders got worse, the crow would become an unpredictable wild card. One that the team couldn't afford to have, at this rate. "A meal... where would you suggest we eat?" Kazumi asks, her gaze curiously flitting to Nishi.

"So, he picked you just for the heck of it," Nishi smirked. "But alright, that aside, I'll catch up with you at some other point or somethin'. I dunno. See ya," she offered to Hon and Kurubo. "Always got duties to fulfill. Can't imagine having to live like that," she huffed and shook her head. "Well, actually if I'm being real with myself..." She shook her head to brush off the thought and further, to stop from talking to herself. "Anyway, we ain't about to cap off the beak of a bird. It's just yapping and so were you. End of the story. So, eating. There's a restaurant not far from here. I know it pretty well. We can eat there. My treat. I've got a bit of a fat wallet and looking to spend it down. After a year of hard work, it's paid off pretty well." She gestures for the group to follow her to a particular place that served up local cuisine.

It wasn't exactly the fanciest place, but it's a good joint and not entirely packed yet. Time to get in now before all the people fill it up.

Nishi did have a fair point. He and the bird were yapping. But he doesn't speak on it, since it seems she wanted the subject dropped completely. Instead he's just looking at her with the blue water bottle in hand, Yoko raised his hand up close to his mouth. His mouth clamped down on the straw and began to take several sips of the cold, refreshing water. He lets out a nice Ahhhh as his breath fogged the air in front of him. "Alright. Let's go there. Moneybags." He ends his joke with a pointy tooth grin. "I'm bout to eat good." He says following her.

"I'll go along as well, I guess." Shouji decides since Kazumi is tagging along. He didn't really want to be left alone with Nishi and someone he doesn't know, as he doesn't know what kind of things Nishi might pull. He tugs his cloak around himself a bit more and he walks with the group. As they walk his eyes wander as he looks around them, and mostly at Nishi. Seems like the younger of the two Hyuga is pretty on guard around her.

Kazumi glances to Shouji out of the corner of her pale eye, her expression softening a pause before they follow Nishi to the small restaurant. "I believe we haven't had a proper introduction yet. Or at least, I don't recall if we have." she dips her chin to Yoko ever so slightly. "I am Hyuga Kazumi. And this is my cousin, Hyuga Shouji. Despite circumstances, it is a pleasure to meet your acquantance."

Once everyone was seated, Nishi ordered some tea for the table and proceeded to serve everyone. "Order whatever you want," she offered to the group. "This is my way of giving back to folks and fostering better relations between one another. We may not see one another much outside of our duties, so at the very least, for the new year, I can do this much. Hopefully, we can meet together more and more, but heck, life takes over first," she explained.

"So, this is a toast to the new team that's been formed and has serviced Konoha. I imagine they'll continue in great service to the village."