For a moment, Shingen's mind went completely blank. Looking into the face of all of his failures, he had frozen. He wasn't sure if he could stand up to that kind of pressure, and it cracked away at his golden persona. His face fell into a hard-set frown, something relatively unbefitting for the blonde, in the face of Ty Lee's accusations. He fumbled for the words to explain himself, to truthfully deny the fact that he had spoken to Yui, but the words failed to come. He felt like all of the air was being choked out of him, and he couldn't form any words. He was left to stand there, shamefully silent, as Yuho began to play unwanted memories in his mind. "I don't want to see this," he loudly objected, shutting his eyes tight as if it would somehow block out the image that was invading his mind. Still, the moving picture persisted, leading to an inevitable conclusion that Shingen couldn't help but resent.
He shook his head vigorously from side to side. "No," he objected again, louder this time. "I don't want to see it!" He screamed, a cloak of blue chakra encasing his body, his tear-filled eyes opening to reveal yellow and green irises. She's not who she was, he thought to himself, trying to discredit the vision that was playing in his head. As he watched his precious student callously take the life of another, Shingen almost felt his knees buckle under him. "If you won't stop, I'll make you stop!" He roared, a clawed hand suddenly extended. Even if Yuho could read his thought of violence the moment it appeared, would he be fast enough to react?
The clawed hand, cloaked in a burning blue chakra, moved to grip at the Yamanaka's throat and slam him against the stone wall, cracking the surface of the wall in the process with a sudden release of strength. Burn him to ashes, whispered the voice in his head. Burn away the lies until not even his bones remain. The jinchuuriki's eyes narrowed, fiercely resisting giving into that temptation, held back only by the sliver of his being that resented killing, which stood so close to being overwhelmed. They're not lies, he remorsefully thought, as his grip on Yuho's throat tightened, his claws digging into the skin of the man's neck. They're the hidden truth.
Perhaps what he was most afraid of was not the image of a young Ty Lee killing an innocent girl, but of a young black-haired boy killing an innocent man.
Chakra Enhanced Strength
The Jashinista's exit was halted momentarily as her sensei yelled out. He was screaming about not wanting to see things, but Ty Lee could only shake her head. He had chose to see what she was with his own eyes. Where she came from, where she would always end up returning to. She had given him the chance to turn back, to continue to pretend that he knew better and he had chosen against it. She almost pitied him for not being able to accept what he saw, though she knew not the full extent of the truth Shingen was seeing. Turning her head over her shoulder she saw the cloak of blue wrap around her sensei. Her heart raced, "Why?!" she called out, too late.
Yuho's face held no fear nor pain as he was sent rocketing into the wall of the cave. Instead there was only mock surprise and concern, "Shingen?! Why have you attacked me?! I've done nothing but try to mend the break between you and your student, the rift you caused! Is this how you would attack a friend?!" His eyes betrayed his words, a knowing and gleeful glare met with the Jinchuu, And you've failed again.
"WHY?!" The question echoed throughout the cave as Ty Lee raised her left palm on Shingen, tears running down her cheeks, "WHY WOULD YOU TRY TO TAKE THE ONLY PERSON WHO LOVES ME AWAY?!" A thundercrack. A torrent of blue flames pierced through the mark on Ty Lee's hand rushing toward her transformed sensei. Her heart was bursting, she was sure of it. Shingen had not only lied to her, but used her to find the whereabouts of Yuho only to kill him. To remove the one constant from her life. He wasn't okay with just changing her mind, he had to destroy it too.
As the claws dug into Yuho's neck, a voice would boom inside Shingen's, You should be used to this by now, Mangetsu. You'll never protect the ones that matter. Destined for something great? This is it. You have broken the last ties to the world for Ty Lee. This is your great deed, you have freed her from the chains of humanity. You will be the harbinger that opened the floodgate. You will be written in history as the man who released Jashin on the world! TRULY, YOU WERE MEANT FOR GREAT THINGS!
The jinchuuriki's clawed grip tightened around Yuho's neck, lifting him further up the wall as the jounin's muddled mind went back and forth between releasing the Jashinist or crushing his flimsy neck. However, a sudden cry diverted his attention, turning his gaze to the side to see a wash of blue flame rocket towards him. If his feet could have moved, they would have. He was fast enough, especially so when cloaked in the Niibi's chakra, that he could have avoided the blast. Yet, his feet remained fixed to the ground, his mismatched eyes wide, not with fear, but with surprise. Suddenly blindsided by Ty Lee, someone in whom he had placed the utmost trust, Shingen found himself too stunned to react, as his chakra-cloaked body was accosted by an unfamiliar blue flame.
A searing pain ran through his body, as his grip on Yuho's neck released, letting the man fall to the ground as Shingen pulled his hands towards his face, instinctively trying to protect himself from the unexpected attack. He let out a howl of pain that sounded more animal than human, as he fell onto his hands and knees, his flesh badly burned as the blue flames gave way to a half-charred boy, tears streaming down the corners of his eyes, their cause a mixture of pain and sadness. His heart hurt as much as his body, which had already begun to regenerate, his burned flesh shedding like the skin of a snake. The blue chakra cloak began to cling to him tighter now, darkening in hue as it spread over his body like a thick ink, leaving wisps of steam as the chakra burned its way across his body, damaging the skin that had only just healed.
The chakra cloak covered Shingen's distraught face, hiding it away behind a mask of primal blue as he howled and howled in a rage, his two tails lashing out at anything in their way, cutting into the stone walls as if they were butter. Unable to contain the feelings boiling inside of him, the jinchuuriki turned his gaze to the sky, letting out a horrible cry that shook the earth, turning into a wave of pressure that blasted outwards through the room, more than enough to crack stone and break bones.
Yuho's form crumpled to the ground, released from Shingen's transformed grip. Skin would begin to reform, similarly to the way the Jinchuu's own was beginning to. The elder Yamanaka pulled himself to his feet, dashing in front of Ty Lee. He would stretch out his arms, a stance of protection for his young heir. "Don't worry Ty Lee, dear. I'm here for you, he won't hurt you, I promise." The man's yellow eyes flicked back to Shingen's mismatched set, It's sad honestly, but this is only the truth of the world. Boys hold no value in the world of men. The sun will eventually set and darkness will eventually take it's place. You value yourself as a light, but you seem to forget; the brighter the light, the deeper the shadow. Regardless of what comes today, the harder you try, the more you will push Ty Lee away. The more love you show her, the more it will hurt her when you leave her. The more compassion you demonstrate, the more her heart will break when you die. Face it, Mangetsu, you never had a chance. She's been a lost cause since before you were born, and she will remain so long after you die. That's why she was chosen.
During the unheard conversation, Ty Lee's hand shook before her eyes. She was trembling all over, completely traumatized at what she had done. She had a feeling this time would come but did not think it would be now or that it would be so...easy. She hadn't even stopped to think about her actions, instead she thoughtlessly assaulted her sensei. You made the right choice. He was trying to kill me for no reason. He must be here on a mission. You told me they stopped trailing you with ANBU correct? Of course they did, they have him now. Yuho's expertise with the Yamanaka's mental prowess was astounding. Centuries of practice would have that effect on any man. Ty Lee's body trembled with more intensity now, but the trauma ebbed with fury once more. "STUPID! HOW FUCKING STUPID!" The girl ducked under Yuho's outstretched arm, her finger pointing knowingly at the cowering Jinchuu in front of her, tears running down it's face. "You planned all of this from the beginning. You showed up that day with Kanbe with Kyosuke in tow. You told me you'd have him call off the ANBU but that was only because you were the one watching over me now. I thought I had my freedom, but all you did was change my shackles. You lied to me about accepting me, you forced Yui to lie to me. She was the first one that made me believe what I was doing had some greater meaning! You, it was all you! You asked me to bring you here today so you could kill Yuho. So you could begin your war against Jashin, against my savior! You!
IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT!"
The girl's scream and Shingen's cry mixed as the Jinchuu's tails carved wounds into the stone. His howls shook the rock to it's foundation. Dust and small debris fell from the weaker parts of the ceiling. The girl's outstretched finger folded backwards with a sickening crack as waves of pressure emanated from the Jinchuu's form. Ty Lee's expression didn't change however as her finger fell limp. Yuho took a step forward and placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder, "There's only one outcome of today, darling. It's him or it's us. Remember what I've taught you and you'll be fine. Remember, we are in the house of the Lord and we shall fear no evil."
Both sets of yellow eyes dug into Shingen's transformed state as Ty Lee unraveled her rope dart and Yuho raised his hands, palms out. I know a part of you can still hear me, Mangetsu. Do not worry, you won't be sacrificed like some pig, you're more special than that. At least, that thing inside of you is, you, the shell, are more than replaceable.
"I thought you were different. I believed in you. I thought I loved you. You're nothing but a mirage the dunes brought in. An oasis that I could drink my fill from, only to realize I was drinking sand. Your words are as hollow as your promises. You attacked an innocent man for no reason and then became the so-called monster that you despise. Has anything you've ever said to me been true?"
A single word echoed throughout the girl's mind, repeating endlessly.
The best response that the Mangetsu boy could muster in retaliation to the flurry of heartfelt words was a savage roar. Clawed hands scratched fruitlessly at his skull, as if he were trying to claw Yuho's voice out of his head by force, but after a moment, when this failed, the jinchuuriki turned his head upwards, his mismatched eyes matching the gaze of the two yellow pairs. "Ty," groaned the beast in a hoarse voice, as it took a lumbering step forward on all-fours. "Lee," it continued, taking another step towards the Jashinists. A blue hand reached outwards, towards the young girl, stopping above her broken finger, a familiar green aura covering his blue hand, as he set to work mending Ty Lee's broken finger. In this state, Shingen was almost completely overcome by his primal instincts; they gnawed at his mind, threatening to take over at any moment. It was only through the seal that burned on his shoulder blades that he maintained any sense of himself at all.
His instinct, at that moment, was to care for his student.
The lumbering beast remained stationary, crouched infront of Ty Lee as he worked to heal her hand, though his eyes watched intently for any sign of attack from either of the cultists. Meanwhile, a soft chuckle rumbled through Shingen's mind, easily perceptible to the blonde mind-reader. Kukukuku. The great cat's sass was almost palpable, her heterochromatic gaze flashing before Yuho's eyes along with a pair of bemused swishing tails. Did you think a monologue was enough to kill this one's compassion? If that were the case, I'd have broken him long ago. And while I may crave to be free of this prison, I'm afraid I have no interest in trading this host for an immortal one, the beast explained, her voice suddenly growing sharp as the blue chakra cloak around Shingen burned brighter.
Cease and desist, Yuho-san, or you'll force me to defend this boy.
As she watched her sensei, the boy only a year older than her, tear away at himself and scream to the skies all Ty Lee could feel was a grim satisfaction. Now you understand...how I feel every day. Yuho allowed Shingen to hear Ty Lee's thoughts, driving the point home that he had never even started changing her. His words took no purchase on her heart. Despite himself, Shingen had failed again.
The monstrous version of the Jounin lumbered closer. The elder Yamanaka took a step back but the young Shikome stood her ground. Her yellow eyes bore into Shingen's. The Jinchuu raised his hand to her after gurgling out her name. A familiar glow took over the man's hand as Ty Lee's finger began to repair itself. A sudden surge of anger washed over her at that point, "Get" she drew her hand back and formed a seal, "the fuck" a second, "away from me." the third seal formed and Ty Lee outstretched her hand. The same concussive blue fire unleashed from her palm at point blank range in an attempt to knock the Jinchuu away. She had enough of his lies, she had enough of his pretend affection. He had probably gained control over that thing inside of him and was only using this as another mirage. That he was fighting through it's clutches to help her. Did he already forget he was the one that hurt her? In that moment she had never hated anyone more.
Meanwhile Meatatoobi and Yuho were having their unheard conversation. You're mistaken elder Bijuu, it's not his compassion I wish to kill. It's her trust. You and I both know that his compassion will be his undoing whether now or in the years to come. His heart is too big for this world, it is an easy target. As for your interest; is one prison really any worse than another? I can assure you among our kind you will be able to kill and rampage to your heart's content. Who knows, you might even take over your host entirely and gain your freedom. Does that not sound better than being trapped in some idealistic fool? Defend him if you must, but will he allow you to harm her? She doesn't seem to have the same reservations.
The end of the conversation and the end of Ty Lee's attack came at once, leaving the elder Yamanaka grinning like a child at Christmas. His eyes took on a familiar look, the same frantic crazed look that Ty Lee wore during her rituals, the same that Shingen would've seen when she shared her pain with him. Then he was gone.
Above the reeling or standing Jinchuu, however he responded to Ty Lee's attack, Yuho would appear holding a single seal before inhaling deeply. With visible malice the man spit toward the Mangetsu boy and as the spit traveled it welled and burst into a massive torrent of water that would bombard the flaming Jinchuu. I have not been alive as long as you, beast, but I'm no greenhorn either!
Meiton: Concussion (B-Rank, A-Rank Power)
Water Release: Great Waterfall Technique (A-Rank, S-Rank Power, single handseal from Nin Spec perk)
We'll see how strong you are, Matatabi thought in reply, as Shingen dashed forward, his speed faster now than most people could comprehend. He moved to avoid the attack; but not by retreating. Instead, he opted to avoid it by attacking. He dashed to the right, closing the distance between himself and Yuho in an instant, as the crushing tide of water and the concussion blast collided where he had once been, but was no longer. One of the jinchuuriki's clawed hands reached up to grab Yuho by the throat, as he had done previously.
You have a lot to learn, greenhorn, she teased, as an arm of chakra burst forth from Shingen's left side, hurtling outwards at great speed towards Ty Lee, as if it intended to grapple with her. However, as the burning arm of chakra came close to her, it suddenly stopped, a few inches from her face, and violently began to shake. A low, rumbling growl left Shingen's throat as he struggled to remain in control, unwilling to cede what remaining mental fortitude he had left to his bijuu. The arm of chakra quivered, before dissolving rapidly into nothingness, as the jounin refused to let his bijuu harm his young genin, even if Ty Lee was being rebellious at the moment. He had no intention to ever hurt her.
Reflexes: Godlike, Major Advantage
Tailed Beast Chakra Arms - B-rank
If this were a fair fight, I would give it to you, however beast, this is not one of those. Yuho's throat met with Shingen's chakra-coated hand. As before he showed no fear or worry for his own well-being. Instead, a smile crossed his face as yellow eyes turned toward Ty Lee. A second chakra arm struggled in it's attempt to reach the girl but dissolved and retreated. A strained and gurgling laugh left the elder Yamanaka's crushed throat. As I said before, he's pathetic. It is his love for the idea of her that will free you, beast. You should thank him for his part in all of this. The body in Shingen's hand fell limp, dead weight in it's powerful grasp.
The girl stared at the hand in front of her, air caught in her throat. She was certain that it would not kill her, nothing could, but still. It was the closest thing to fearing for her life she had felt in some time. The hand disappeared and she heard a strange forced noise leave her mentor's lips. Looking up, she locked eyes with Yuho, the same yellow as hers and then the world dampened around her. She almost felt as if she was taking a step back away from herself. Instead of feeling as though she were in her own body, she felt only as if she were in her own head. To her surprise, her body moved without her telling it to. Her mouth opened but the voice that spoke did not belong to her. Y-Yuho?Hush now, dear, this is for the best.
"Well, what will it be Shingen, beast? The only way to stop me is through her. The only way to get her back is to stop me. You find yourself in quite the predicament don't you, Mangetsu?" A satisfied grin played on Ty Lee's borrowed face. Inside her mind the girl was frantic, concerned, Why are you doing this?He won't hurt you, this is the only way to defeat him dear. You'll have your body back soon enough, I promise.Why did he attack you earlier?I do not know, my young Ty Lee, all that I do know is that he must be stopped, will you help me?
The question echoed inside their shared mind, but no answer came. Feeling herself recede, being taken over, it was almost nice. To no longer have to be her. Would it matter if I said no? The question rang through their mind again but Yuho did not answer her in kind.
Mind Body Switch Technique (C-Rank)
The jinchuuriki screamed in pain as the blue coating of chakra began to recede, his own signature blue chakra evaporating from his body like steam, as the seal on his shoulders began to lock, forcing the bijuu back inside its prison. Shingen's skin was scorched and burned, as the rest of his bijuu cloak dissipated, and his regular blue eyed, filled with pain, returned. He could do nothing but watch in horror as Yuho's words left Ty Lee's mouth. It was like a knife twisting in Shingen's heart, watching someone so close to him be pulled so far away. It hurt him more than his searing skin, more than the intense physical pain left behind as a result of Niibi's chakra cloak. Tears poured from his bright blue eyes, as he raised himself off of all fours and back onto his two feet. He took a shaky step forward, knowing that there was only one possible way that this situation could end.
Using the utmost of his speed that he could manage, Shingen threw his tattered body forward towards Ty Lee. His arms were extended, fully intending on a collision with the young girl, as his arms moved to wrap around her, should he manage to connect. "Let her go!" Shingen yelled, as he attempted to embrace his student in a hug. In his heart, he knew that there was no way he could hurt her, not like this. He couldn't attack her to attack Yuho. "Come back, Ty-tan," he begged through his tears, which were streaming down his face. "Don't let him control you. You're not his pawn, you're no one's pawn. You're you. If you want to kill me, so be it, but let it be you, not him!"
A strange removed view of the world showed her sensei fall to the ground. The chakra that had covered him subsided, leaving the Jounin burnt and steaming in it's wake. She gasped, not ready to see him in such a fashion. The main point that caught her eye however, was not the damage done to his skin, but the pain on his face. Crocodile tears, remember it was him that the Kazekage replaced the ANBU with. It was him that talked Yui into lying to you. It's all been him. She knew what Yuho said was true, but still Ty Lee did not want to accept them. Was it really her lot in eternity to be lied to, used? Jashin used her as a preacher of his word, the village used her as a tool for battle, even now Yuho used her body as his own. Would she ever be her own person again? Worry not. You do not need to be your own, we are all children of Jashin. Why would you want to walk alone? Silence accompanied the question as Shingen righted himself from all fours, I've always been alone.
A sudden force jarred Yuho's control over the girl as Shingen slammed into the shared body. The Jounin had moved faster than her body could respond to, regardless of Yuho's experience Ty Lee's abilities paled in comparison. Shingen yelled at them, for Yuho to let the girl go. A chuckle forced it's way through her throat, the voice foreign to her body. "Let her go? You act as if I kidnapped her or ever did anything against her will. I saved her, Mangetsu. Without me, without Jashin, she would be dead, is that what you would've wanted?" Shingen continued, calling her back, begging her to break free. Then he said what she had worried herself with earlier. She was no pawn, she was herself. She didn't feel that way and hadn't for years. Yuho forced a grin upon her face, "You'd forfeit your life that easily? So be it." The body in Shingen's hands convulsed as Yuho exited, his conscience streaming back towards his discarded body.
"I...I don't know what to do. Yuho is like a father to me and you attacked him completely unprovoked. You tried to kill my family." Tears welled and spilled from the girl's eyes as she spoke, her voice trembling. "Why are you doing all of this? I never asked you to care about me. You're only lying to me. No one could love someone like me. You and Kyosuke did all of this, and for what? To kill the Jashinists? You told Yui to lie to me. She was the first person to make me think that there was good in what I was doing. She was the first person to make me hate myself a little less. Why would you do this to me? Do I not suffer enough?" She moved her hands to the sides of Shingen's face, grabbing at his cheeks and if successful, forcing him to meet her eyes. Yellow faded momentarily to the girl's hazel eyes she was born with, "Even if I could love myself the way you want me to...even if I could learn, what would it matter? What do I do when you die? How do I live without you, without Kanbe, without Yui? I just...what do I do, sensei?"
Robes shuffled across the floor as Yuho attained control of his body once more. Anger flashed in his eyes as he stormed towards the pair, "ENOUGH!" he bellowed, the walls of the cave seemed to shake with his rage. "END THIS, TY LEE!"
The girl kept her gaze locked with Shingen's. One of her hazel eyes was slowly consumed by the familiar yellow while the other remained it's original pigment. She placed her forehead against his, "I never thought of it this way, but ever since my parents shunned me I thought of Yuho as my father. Today I...I never thought I would have to choose between two fathers." She removed a hand from his face and reached down, pulling the rope of her dart to spool in her grip before the metal met her fingers. She placed the tip of the weapon to Shingen's temple as she leaned her face more into his and kissed his cheek, "Remember me, in Anatta. I hope you'll forgive me in time. I know I won't."
Hand moved back and then shot forward, driving the tip of the dart toward her sensei's temple. The tip of the weapon engulfed in the blue flames of her clan. It was fitting, the Shikome were the ones who ushered the souls of their comrades to the afterlife, Meiton was the element associated with the passing of life to death. The dart flew forward and out of the girl's hand. A gurgling sound filled the air. The rope flowed out of Ty Lee's neck, the dart sticking out of the back of her spine. Eyes faded from yellow back to hazel and then the fires of her clan engulfed the wound. She fell limp in Shingen's grasp as the dart erupted the wound outward, the girl's head tumbling to the ground, a smile on her face.
Clutching Ty Lee's limp body, tears rolled freely down Shingen's face. Despite the needle in her neck, her body was still warm, a symptom of her Jashinism. Even though she couldn't die, the gruesome sight sent chills down Shingen's spine. It was more of a student than a teacher ever wanted to see. Clutching her limp body in his arms, Shingen lifted her up like a princess, and a few swift footfalls brought the pair out of the compound; the jounin not stopping until the Jashinist compound wasn't visible in the distance. Shingen's last words to Yuho echoed through the room as the two disappeared. "You lost."
Once the two had safely removed themselves from the compound, Shingen softly laid Ty Lee down into the sand. His own body ached, but he paid it no mind. He knelt on his knees to her side, as the trained medic slowly began his work. Slowly, like a trained surgeon, Shingen removed the rope dart's needle from Ty Lee's neck, his hands glowing green as he began the process of tending to her wound. Flesh knitted with flesh as the injury began to mend, Shingen's vision half-blinded because of his tears, though his hands knew instinctively where to move to treat the injury to the girl's neck. "You idiot..." He whispered, as he finished mending her wound. He wasn't even sure if she could hear him, though he spoke anyway.
Bringing one of his blood-covered hands up to his face, Shingen wiped away his tears with the back of his arm. "I'm so proud of you..." He mumbled, glancing down at Ty Lee's smiling face. "You were your own person. You made your own choices. You didn't let anyone control you. You're just lucky you didn't die..."
Pain shot through the girl as flesh tore away at itself. As her head fell back the world grew dark, the last thing she saw was Yuho's burning gaze. She tried to say she was sorry, that she wasn't the daughter he deserved, but it was too hard. The elder Yamanaka stood with a look of fury indescribable on his face as the Jounin walked away with Ty Lee's body, "Nothing has changed here, Mangetsu. She still worships Jashin, she still upholds his values. You'll still die and leave her alone and when you do, I'll be here waiting. The prodigal daughter will return." The Jinchuuriki left the cave with only two words. Yuho scoffed and turned, walking deeper into the lair of the Jashinists, "For now, Mangetsu. For now."
Finding herself on the floor of the cave, Ty Lee opened her eyes wearily. She felt so much older than her fifteen years should feel. She noticed a familiar sight around her, that of the girls she had killed to obtain her immortality years ago. She turned to the youngest, the first one she had killed that day and found that she was smiling at the Shikome. Regret and sadness overwhelmed her in that moment, "I'm so sorry. It was a mistake, I didn't...I shouldn't..." The young girl crawled over and embraced her,"I'm so proud of you..." A small whimper left Ty Lee's lips as Shingen's voice came out of the girl's mouth. "But, I...I couldn't protect you. I couldn't make up my mind. I killed you and all those other girls. I thought I did it out of love, to save you from the suffering. I thought I was helping you, I just...I don't know who I am.""You were your own person. You made your own choices. You didn't let anyone control you." The girl placed a hand onto Ty Lee's neck and a warm familiar sensation came along with it. She reached up, grabbing the hand, "I think of you every day. I met a boy, he reminds me a lot of you. He has your eyes. He looks at me the way you should, like I'm a monster. I know it's stupid, but if I can get him to accept me...maybe I can forgive myself for what I did to you." The younger girl shook her head softly and leaned in, planting a kiss on her cheek and then the world was dark again.
Light burned her eyes as they slowly opened, the hand on her neck replaced with Shingen's rather than the girl's. She locked eyes with him, her hazel slowly losing itself to the yellow it was previously. "I'm sorry." she cried, tears flowing full force as she sat up to hug the man in front of her. "I'm just...I'm so fucked up, Shingen. I don't...you shouldn't waste your time on me. I'm so sorry." She buried her face into his shoulder, her body racking with sobs. "I know what Yuho showed you. When he was in my body, I heard it, I saw it. You know what I did. How can you forgive me so easily when I can't go a single day without hating myself for it?"
Pulling her close, Shingen held her in a tight hug, his hand rubbing her back softly in some small gesture of comfort, though he knew that it wasn't likely to make her feel better. This situation felt somewhat familiar to him, giving him a strange sense of deja vu, reminding him of that night back in the desert sands, when they had bared their hearts to each other the first time. He was sad to see her cry, but he was happy to be there to offer her some kind of comfort when she did. Despite being similar in age to him, Shingen thought of her like a daughter, or a younger sister. He wanted to ensure her happiness, and keep a smile on her face. It made seeing her cry all the more painful.
"Because you're my beloved student," he said softly, leaning backwards as he placed his hands on her shoulders. He gently moved her so he could look at her face, staring deeply into her eyes. "Listen to me, Ty Lee," he began, forsaking the usual childish nicknames. "No one is above redemption. Everyone can be forgiven. Anyone who wants forgiveness can achieve it. All you have to do is work for it." Lifting his left hand from his shoulder, Shingen reached up and gently wiped Ty Lee's tears away, offering her a small, reassuring smile. "Let me tell you a story."
Shifting into a cross legged sitting position, softly releasing Ty Lee from his grasp, Shingen fell silent for a moment as he thought about where to begin. "I've killed innocent people, too. Just like you have... Years ago, when I was a chuunin. I did what I was told, because I was told to. I followed the rules and sometimes that meant I had to kill people that didn't do anything wrong. I know what it feels like to hate yourself for the things you've done. I have blood on my hands, too. He was an old man, a merchant, whose only crime was making an enemy of someone richer than him..." For a moment, he trailed off, looking down at his badly burned hands. In the hot desert air, his entire body stung, even as his reserves of chakra rapidly began to tend to his wounds. "But redemption is possible, Ty-tan. We have to work for it; we have to do the right thing, we have to do good in this world. We have to atone for our sins, but we can do it."
Reaching out, Shingen playfully shoved Ty Lee on the shoulder, offering her another kind smile. "I work towards it every day. You can, too. Besides," he said, his smile turning into a grin. "I think Kanbe-bo will accept you some day."
Just like before Shingen's reason for caring so much was simply that she was his student. She smiled meekly, shaking her head in disbelief, "You're not real, sensei. No one really thinks that way. The world is too dark for someone like you. I will say that I envy you though. You care in ways that make my heart skip a beat. I know it may not mean much, the words of a murderous cultist, of a confused girl, of a Genin, but...thank you. For the first time in a long time, I feel like I'm more than my god. When Kyosuke or the ANBU looked at me, I wasn't Ty Lee, I was just a weapon to be used for the village or a mission they had been asked on. I can't say I believe you, that everyone can be redeemed. I'll try anyway, I guess I owe you that much, as your beloved student, yeah? You know, you're a real fucking dork." She laughed with the last insult, but had her laughter cut short as Shingen began telling her a story of his past. She felt closer to Shingen in that moment. She didn't know if he had done it on purpose, but for the first time he had truly shared his pain with her.
"I think our definition of sins may be different, but I'll work as hard as I can. You know, Rei is lucky to have someone like you. I'd kill to care about someone the way you care about her." A soft chuckle left her lips at the forced joke, it may have not been the time, but that was just the kind of person Ty Lee was. At the mention of Kanbe's name, the eyes of the girl flashed through her mind again. The resemblance to the archer's was unmistakable. "I'd really like that, sensei." She pulled herself away from the Jounin and stood slowly, patting the sand and dried blood off the best she could before she turned to look at the cave mouth in the distance. She let out a long sigh before cracking her neck, "I don't think I'll be going back there any time soon. At least I didn't forget anything before I left." The young girl turned to Shingen and with a flash of hazel in her eyes, gave him a sincere grin, "Wanna go home?"
It was not the first time that Shingen had been told he was too bright for this world. He knew it was meant as a compliment, or at least, not as an insult, but it still left him feeling sad. He didn't want to believe that he was brighter than the rest of the world. For all the faults that he knew he had, Shingen didn't want to believe that he was the best that humanity had to offer. Still, he brushed the comment aside for now. This wasn't the time to chastise Ty Lee. Instead, he smiled. When she called him a dork, he only smiled wider. "You say that like it's a bad thing," he replied in jest. When she turned to look at the cave in the distance, Shingen's heart skip a beat, waiting for the girl to form her own opinion. The result caused Shingen to practically jump for joy. Hearing her say that she didn't plan to go back made Shingen feel satisfied in a way that he never really had before. He felt like he had saved this girl from something, and it left him feeling very good.
Is this what being a teacher feels like? He wondered. In that moment, he really did feel like a teacher, even if he had felt uneasy in all of the moments before it. If he could help his other students like he could help Ty Lee, maybe he wouldn't feel so bad. When she asked if he wanted to go home, he nodded, a great big grin on his face. "Absolutely."
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