intraspective: (listen to meeee)
"Yeah," Ino said, spinning around in her chair. "I've got it. Thank you. Let me know if anything changes, okay? Great! I'll be in touch."

Hanging up, Ino swung her feet up and over until she was lounging sideways in her chair, knees hooked over the chair arm, her back pressed against the other, and she let her smile fade.

Gods, but she had a headache!

No rest for the wicked, though, so she rapped smartly (but lightly) on Tseng's mind—he was mid-phone call himself, after all—and said, "Got a moment? Buzz me, when you do."

Then she picked up some of her neglected paperwork and tried to focus on that while she waited.

[For that boss dude.]
intraspective: ([Iris] judging princess)
It had taken her ages to fly across the greater part of a continent, and then over a piece of the ocean, in the dead of winter. Ino never wanted to repeat that journey, but it had given her plenty of time to think. Getting into her emails without being noticed was still a… well, she'd managed. But it had been a challenge. Ino was a born hacker of minds, not of machines.

It had been worth it though, when she'd found the first piece of the puzzle. Her phone bill was higher than it had been in years. At first, she'd thought it was due to her calls to Fandom, but while that made a bit of a difference, the bigger one was… Zack's account was in use.

She'd lost two days to that revelation, what it had to mean, and the rage and guilt and horror that it had inspired in her. What had kept her in one place had been less the rage and more the twin emotions of stark betrayal and incredulous joy. Neither had been conductive to stealth, so she hadn't tried. She'd taken her time.

If Zack's account was in use, if Zack was alive… then she'd been lied to for years. It sent her straight back into the empty, ugly spaces of herself where she could do anything, the empty, broken places she'd retreated into after losing him the first time around.

It took two days for her to shake that off, to pick herself up, to be an adult. She had to know the truth. She had to go home.

Now, she was home. )

It was a fragile, ephemeral conclusion that she came to, but it was the only one that made sense:

I think he was trying to protect us. Or maybe even just me. But from what, and why?

[For the one she's waiting for, please.]
intraspective: ([Iris] ice queen)
Ino still hated Icicle.

It was easy to hate since it was cold, it was white, it was boring if you didn't like snowboarding, and it was depressing after sifting through all the old evidence about Aerith's mom's story.

But Ino hated, at that moment, Tseng a lot more than she hated Icicle.

Actually, it had been building for weeks, fueled by her own sense of something being wrong, her increasingly indignant texts to Jono (who, at least, agreed that something was most definitely UP), and the fact that she still couldn't reach any of the other Turks for longer than 'hi, how are you—'

Tseng was reading her emails. But he wasn't answering them.

But the final, final straw came from Elena, who'd been babbling about how Rosa was out at all hours because The Turks were super busy these days, like, even busier than normal. Ino had probed Elena gently for details but Elena hadn't known much. Rosa was good at keeping secrets.

Ino was better at ferreting them out.

Which left her in what was an ugly quandary. She was clearly being isolated for a reason and she hadn't done anything that would be considered suspicious. She'd been good up here for what felt like months, just paying their bills like normal and sneaking off occasionally through a portal to go somewhere warm. She'd gotten the job done and done well.

So why wasn't she being called back to Midgar anyway?

She had her orders but, as anyone in the Turks knew, rules were made to be broken.

Ino plotted her escape from Icicle as carefully as if every, single Turk was watching her at all times. She didn't dare use a car—they were probably all bugged; the ones she'd checked had been—and since she wasn't sneaking off somewhere warm, she didn't dare use a portal—Tseng likely had someone watching her expenditures if she really was being isolated—both of which made getting out of Icicle harder.

But Ino still had Staffy, the flying staff that Liir had gifted her with years and years ago. Flying through the air would be even more brutally cold than hanging out on the ground would be, especially since she'd have to fly over open water.

That, though, she could work around. When she wanted something she always got it, no matter at the cost to her. Tseng could watch what she bought all he wanted.

All her heavy-duty snow gear was easy to explain—she was doing as the locals did and learning to snowboard (Ino hated every minute of it, except when she finally figured out the trick to going really, really fast; that was exhilarating and she loved it)—and the extra food she bought was because she needed to eat more to make up for the energy she was using while being out all day in the cold and playing at sports.

When she had all her supplies in hand, Ino made herself sick. It was a simple trick of chakra manipulation to raise her temperature, give herself a cough, and get herself confined to bed and being waited on hand and foot.

She suffered through that for two days, long enough for people to get used to the fact that she was sick and not out and about, and then healed herself up to tip-top shape in the dead of night, wriggled into every bit of heavy-duty cold weather gear that she owned, stuffed everything else she needed into her pockets, and then translocated herself five miles away.

Ino landed in a snow drift, which made her swear, but digging Staffy out and getting into the air was more important than cursing fate, destiny, and Tseng. In the distance, she could see the lights from Icicle.

Ninja were all trained in how to navigate by using the stars. Ino had been on Gaia long enough for these stars to become as familiar as the back of her hand. She oriented herself, spreading her mind out to make sure no one else was around, and headed off on Staffy at a decent clip.

It would be a long, likely painful flight to Midgar. She was going to have to avoid people, avoid purchasing anything, and remain utterly undetected by any security system.

It would be a challenge but she was up for it. She was a Turk.

It was time to go to Midgar and remind Tseng of that fact.

intraspective: ([Iris] brittle)
It was snowing. Again.

The locals had assured her that it would stop soon, once the temperature dropped further. Ino had smiled, thanked them, and as soon as she'd gotten away from them had thrown an entirely silent temper tantrum.

Ino was not built for cold weather and Icicle had nothing but cold weather and she'd been here for weeks already, ever since Homecoming. She was cold all the time.

To make things worse, everyone around here was obsessed with snowboarding. Obsessed. In its own way, this place was as big a tourist attraction as Costa del Sol or the Gold Saucer.

She glowered out the window, spitefully, at the snow. It didn't care.

Neither did Tseng, who was very nearly avoiding her calls to report in on her progress on the mission. He was never exactly chatty but now he was nearly as terse as Rude was. And Rosa had hung up on her twice already, which was a clear sign that something was going on.

Elena, at least, was still willing to talk to her whenever Ino got lonely enough to call her. She hadn't called Aerith, though Aerith would've talked to her. Given her mission and what she'd been slowly gleaning from the locals, talking to Aerith would be a bit awkward, so Ino hadn't bothered…

But now it was two in the morning and she was cold—even indoors Ino always felt like she was slowly freezing to death—and she wanted someone to talk to.

Well, he did say that I could call anytime…

[Expecting one, but open for calls and texts, sure!]
intraspective: ([Iris] judging princess)
This time of night all the good boys and girls were in bed.

At least, they usually were in the stories. Ino knew far, far too much about how Midgar (and life in general) worked to think that being up late was any real indicator of good or badness.

She didn't have to be out tonight, patrolling, and she wasn't officially on the clock anyway (not that that meant much) but she'd been away for the last few weeks, out in Wutai since it was easy for her to pass as a native there, and so she wanted to reacquaint herself with her home.

Midgar was an ugly city, all dark metal, rust, and green smoke skies. She still thought it was beautiful, when she saw the flicker and glitter of mako lit streetlights and the old empty-eyed fallen trains. Beautiful in a lonely sort of way, which suited her mood completely.

There'd been no time, out in Wutai to celebrate her birthday (she was twenty-two now), and while the Turks had offered to take her out tonight, none of them had been surprised when she'd begged off. They could go drinking without her.

As she usually did, when she was in this sort of mood, her footsteps ghosted her to Aerith's church. This time of night, Aerith wasn't there. Aerith was (mostly) a good girl.

Letting the door slip shut behind her, Ino approached the flowers, somehow lit by the moon despite the plate overhead (she knew, she'd gone looking once and it still didn't make sense), and knelt down to touch them.

"Hey," she said, smiling slightly as her hair spilled over her shoulders to touch the flowers too. "How've you been? Being good for your mom?"

[OOC: Expecting one, but open for calls/texts, sure.]
intraspective: ([Iris] DorkMax)
Rosa had voted for the sunny shores of Costa del Sol, but she'd been out-voted three-to-one.

They'd wound up at the Gold Saucer instead. It was tacky, it was beautiful. There wasn't an inch of that wasn't infused and inundated with blaring noises and lights that dazzled the senses. It was rotten to the core and unabashed about it. Come play a game, the Gold Saucer beckoned, try and win against me.

Ino loved it.

She loved the sparkling lights, the crowds, the sheer noise of it. She loved the quiet glittering world that spread out beneath her when she rode the gondola, she loved the chocobo races, she loved all the different ways she could cause trouble and not get in trouble.

(Though her uniform likely helped with that.)

As soon as they'd ditched their things in their hotel room, Ino had grabbed Reno, since Rosa had been too slow at not being left with Rude to avoid such a fate (secretly, that was exactly what Rosa had wanted), and headed out.

They hit the games room about twenty minutes after they'd arrived. Two Turks, in jet black suits, Reno's looking sloppy, hers' adorned with a flimsy pink ribbon instead of a tie. His hair was pulled back into that ridiculous ponytail of his, while her hair was loose and shimmering down around her in a pale blonde waterfall. Neither of them was visible armed, which meant nothing.

Absolutely nothing.

She tended to bounce a little when she walked, he sauntered, or slouched, as the step and his mood took him.

Ino's grin was unrepentant as she took in the rising wariness of the employees of the Gold Saucer and picked out her first target.

"Oh my gods," Ino said, leaning around Reno, and pointing with one hand. Her nails were the same pink as her ribbon. "Reno, you still owe me from the last job. Get me one of those chocobo plushies or I cut you."

[OOC: Unlike the puppy, as of this post, Ino is reachable by phone/email/text! Post is for the one she's threatening to cut and anyone who feels like calling. I'm so happy to have her back! \o/]


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Yamanaka Ino

July 2017

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