Date: June 10, 2016
In the aftermath of the death of Uchiha Ken and the capture of Moroi, three kunoichi of Team 13 get together to try to prepare for the next time their skills and abilities are tested.
"Fire Starters - From The Ashes"
There are only so many ways you can prepare for a battle. There's almost always going to be unexpected elements and unknown factors. That's something Suzu has been learning with each new encounter. She's also been maturing more and more, the playful elements of her personality she has held onto for so long slipping away as she is exposed to the brutal world of the shinobi. She will never be unappreciative of what her mother and father went through to protect her from all this. The dangers that Uchiha Suzuha had been convinced she could handle if she just became strong enough… She has nearly died multiple times now, suffered major injuries, and even still, that sense of invincibility lingered. It took her recent loss to truly accept what her parents were telling her all along:
The world she is entering into is not one that suffers fools gladly.
She thinks her team mates feel the same way after the latest events. So they've gathered together today, in a secluded training area, to improve their abilities. Suzu is going to be using her recently matured Sharingan, training to master it so she can use it all the time. The other two are going to be coming at her full-force, with everything they have. Suzu's job is just to defend, not retaliate.
She looks into the faces of Nonon and Aru, seeing if they have the same determination she does. Or maybe it's not so much determination she has, as shock and trauma that won't be as easily dealt with as just fighting to not think about it. She doesn't know, and isn't in the mood for self analysis.
Instead, her eyes simple blaze bright red, with three-tomoe in each, as she sinks into a ready stance and readies herself.
Nonon still isn't sure how she feels about everything that's happened. She has an easier time analyzing intellectually than she does emotionally. Perhaps why she seems so easy-going most of the time. Cheerful and outgoing are two of her most prominent personality traits. While she isn't particularly cheerful right now, she's still focused on intellectual analysis, plans of attack, thinking things through, rather than trying to make sense of her inner turmoil.
The fight isn't over. They've dealt a serious blow to the enemy, but this war won't be done until they've taken down all of them. But will it even be done then? What's to stop another Moroi from appearing? More than Nonon wants to consider right now. The Chuunin is aware that Suzu is probably a lot stronger than her, despite out ranking her. Even so, this is training for all of them. And that includes being able to face off against stronger opponents.
Nonon shrouds herself in Swift Natured Chakra, letting it flow through her body and brain, accelerating movements and reflexes. Then she looks towards Aru, waiting for her team mate to also be ready, before focusing on Suzu. "Let us know when to begin, Suzu-san."
As always, Aru feels the weight of her sense of inadequacy. Despite being a member of the prominent and influential Hyuga Clan, and a capable kunoichi, she was held back for so long that now, despite being the same age as Suzu, and older than Nonon, she's weaker than both. Sure, she was able to complete her mission, and when she fought that guy who attacked her, she took care of herself pretty well… But she's all too aware that things could have gone a lot worse if Noab hadn't shown up. She knows she has to become stronger and stronger if she's going to get better. More and more, she has to push herself, not just rely on her bloodline and her family. She has to find a way to become a greater asset to her team.
Ostensibly, that means she has to have something she can do that not even Reime has. She has considered medical training, since it seems like something that comes up a lot. But she also has to be able to defend herself, and to defend her patients. And that's where this training comes in. At least for herself. The other two have their own things they're working on.
Aru considered trying to talk to Suzu about what happened to her father… To help her get through the pain she must be feeling. But Aru practically flinched when she even approached the Uchiha genin. The look of her Chakra was not the warm and vibrant one Aru was used to seeing in Suzu. And that bothered her, because she worried it might be the sign of something permanent changing in her friend.
So for now, she simply focuses on what they've been asked to do. She activates her Byakugan, the veins standing out from her skin, her eyes becoming more intense, as partial-rings stand out at the centers. Then she replies to Nonon without looking. "I am ready."
Suzu looks at her friends, practically feeling their worry for her. Or at least in one of them. Maybe she's imagining it. But the compassion, the sympathy, as much as she appreciates it, just isn't wanted right now. She can't choke down any more pity. All it does is remind her that—
No, she's not even going to think about that right now. It'll ruin her concentration. She sees the unusual Chakra that Nonon possesses. The flow of Chakra in Aru to her eyes. She raises a hand in front of her, moving her other down to her side, fist reversed so the palm is upwards.
"I'm ready. Come at me."
Nonon begins with a burst of speed, trying to help Suzu test her new abilities, without revealing the Namikaze ninja's own full capabilities right away either. She zips from her position into melee range, trying to strike Suzu, only to streak to behind her to attempt to kick her in the back, and towards Aru. If this kind of maneuver works, Aru could potentially knock out the Uchiha's Chakra right away, ending this training… Which would be a valuable lesson for all of them. For Suzu, in how to watch her back, and for Nonon and Aru in team work.
It all goes by in slow motion for her. She thinks that if she could further improve her technique, she could go even faster…
There wasn't any communication between Nonon and Aru before this maneuver, so she is somewhat panicked as her slow and methodical 'study the opponent' approach she'd begun as she circled around suddenly turns into 'try to kick Suzu towards her'. She doesn't know if that's going to work or not, so the best thing she can do is try to throw multiple angles of attack as their target and at the same time be ready to strike. She lunges into range, her Juuken stance alllowing her to send pokes and jabs towards her team mate, aimed at her solar plexus. Ideally, this would have the effect Nonon wants, but somehow Aru doubts it will be that simple.
Already, Suzu can tell there's a much greater strain on her Chakra reserves than when she only had two tomoe. Technically, she could probably channel less Chakra to her eyes, but that wouldn't help her get used to this state, test her new capabilities, or anything else. Aside from the greater strain, she can also tell there's a difference in her perceptions, though she's not sure how to describe it exactly. Her movement prediction seems to be sharper, more exact. Her reaction time vastly amplified as well. Nonon, someone Suzu had always assumed had some kind of teleportation power or something, is tracked fairly readily. Maybe Suzu's body can't move as fast as Nonon, but she can process what her eyes see in time to adapt.
Nonon isn't just a blur to the Sharingan anymore. And so Suzu, leaps back out of the path of the Body Flicker, and then pushes off with one foot immediately, launching herself in a backwards somersault of the kick aimed at her back. When Aru charges in as well, Suzu finds it beyond simple to mimic Aru's movements, or perform the reverse of them, avoiding the Juuken strikes rather than risking making any sort of contact with the Hyuga.
This training session isn't done yet, so Suzu ducks aside, keeping her eyes out for both of her opponents. But she's honestly amazed at how much of a difference having a fully-matured Sharingan makes. And she can see how having it could lead to arrogance as it has in some Uchiha.
Nonon is definitely impressed with the ease of Suzu's defenses. She doesn't know if the older kunoichi is keeping up with her or if she can just see it all in advance… But clearly the first level Body Flicker isn't going to cut it. So she goes to level two. She speeds up so much that as she charges towards Suzu, leaping up into the air and bringing a leg down aimed at the Uchiha's neck, only to shift from her position to behind Suzu, and then to her left, and then to directly in front of and below her line of sight (because she has those two prominent obstructions in the way) she never even touches the ground before striking out with an instantaneous strike with her fist aimed at Suzu's belly.
Let's see the Sharingan keep up with THAT! Or those are Nonon's feelings. But her thoughts, her intellect, tells her that Suzu might very well dkeep up with her as she is now…
As expected, Suzu avoids her readily. But so does everyone. Aru can't track Nonon at all, doesn't even see what happened except that the Namikaze ninja is suddenly down near the ground, even as Aru tries to adjust and attack again. 'That's the way, Nonon-san!' Aru thinks. 'Use those big boobs of hers against her! She can't see what's right below her!' If Suzu had the Byakugan it wouldn't matter. Aru is hoping she doesn't grow much bigger due to impact it would have on her Taijutsu, but if she has to, that might be a good work around…
But now's not the time to be thinking of her bosom! Instead she charges at Suzu and lets out a, "Hyaaaah!" as she tries to strike at her spine while Nonon attacks from the front! If they can disable her, this fight will be over!
As Nonon cranks up the speed, Suzu begins to see the flaw in relying too much on the Sharingan. Even if she can see the attack coming, it doesn't matter if her body can't react in time. Nonon's kick lands right on the spot between neck and shoulder, sending pain radiating through Suzu's body there. Oh, man. That's going to leave a huge bruise. But despite the sharp pain, she manages to avoid Nonon's crazy attacks by simply leaping up into the air as high as she can, using the momentum provided by Nonon's own kick to boost her. She just BARELY manages to clear that 'instant' speed of the blonde's as a result, whereas without readying herself to move with the hit, she might have been hit quite hard in the belly.
As a result, she sails right over Aru and her spine-strike, completing a flip that has her landing about a dozen feet behind the Hyuga and then skidding, plowing up dirt and grass on hands and knees before coming to a stop. She has to fight to keep herself from charging back into the fray and retaliating. That enjoyment of battle she sometimes feels when she's testing herself, hurting, tired, but still determined to win…
She tries to squash that feeling. It's too tempting to have fun, to, just for a moment, forget her father is dead. She has to CONTROL her emotions, not just dive into the good ones. She doesn't want to lose herself or to make decisions that could endanger those she cares about.
So she has to control herself. It's as simple as that.
She rises to her feet, hands dirty, and returns to her fighting stance. "Aru, I know your jutsu range may be more limited than Nonon's, but you're doing a good job of supporting her and reacting to her strategies. Nonon, I can tell that you can be even faster if you keep training. Even now, my body has a hard time keeping up with you. I just wanted you both to know you're doing really well." Suzu forces a smile. Forces herself to be friendly and supportive. It's not like what she's saying is a lie. She does see these things and understand that's how she's supposed to feel. That she WOULD feel under other circumstances.
But right now, it's mostly a smoke screen to keep them from asking questions, from trying to console her.
She raises a hand and says, "Okay. Let's keep going a little bit longer."
Nonon is honestly kind of amazed that it was the super-accelerated move that was avoided. But she realizes right away how it happened as she watches Suzu sail over Aru and land safely. Adapting like that… She isn't sure if that's something that the Suzu she knows could handle so easily. It must be all that training with Tsugumi, and the recent battles… She'll have to shake things up a bit, it seems.
But she doesn't have the same range of jutsu that Suzu has. Aru may be somewhat limited, but for Suzu to have as much diversity as she does speaks for just how hard she's been training. And Nonon isn't sure she's seen all of it yet.
So she grins at Suzu's words, as transparently obfuscatory as they may be, and says, "Well, I'll do my best to make it harder on you~!" n_n
Then she zips through hand seals, aims one hand at Aru and begins shooting lightning at her. Why waste energy chasing after her? Nonon specifically started working on developing ranged jutsu because of her over-reliance on melee-range attacks.
And this will give something new for Suzu to learn to defend against with her shiny new Sharingan as well.
When Aru sees Suzu's avoidance of her attacks… Even as Nonon launches back into the fray, shooting lightning at the Uchiha that sizzles through the air, she lowers her hands and relaxes from her Juuken stance. "I understand that the purpose of this training is three-fold. First, to help you adjust to using your Sharingan; secoond, to sharpen Nonon-san's fighting skills and mine as well; third, to improve our team work and coordination. However, I simply don't have the necessary skill right now to make this worth while. I'd like to request a few days to finish a technique I've been working on. I might stand a better chance then."
Suzu grins a little, when she sees Nonon changing things up. She analyzes the Chakra Nature of the technique being prepared, recognizing it from prior viewings though now she can see the hand signs and the Chakra so CLEARLY… And then as lightning streaks towards her, Suzu turns sideways to avoid each electrical blast, bending backwards if she has to in or to dodge, watching the trajectory of the attacks. She thinks if Nonon learned how to fork the blasts she might be able to counter a strategy like that… She turns when she hears Aru speaking instead of attacking her, and waits patiently, blinking a bit at her team mate.
She pauses, and then rises to a standing position, looking between Aru and Nonon. Now, in this moment of surprise and confusion, she may look more like the old Suzu than she has in days. So Aru has a special technique she's been working on? Suzu scratches the back of her head and says, "You're contributing plenty, Aru-chan. But if you want to stop for now and resume in the future… Well, I don't have a problem with that." Suzu moves her hand from her head to her acheing shoulder and neck as she winces. "It'll give me a chance to get THIS treated." Suzu smiles at Aru, feeling better if only for the moment, emotionally. With all her fears of her own weakness… She sometimes forgets others have insecurities of their own. "Let's get me to the hospital, and order some delivery icecream." Then she looks to Nonon. "Is that okay with you?"
The sudden call for a cease fire from Aru surprises Nonon as well. They were just getting started. But pushing Suzu after recent events doesn't seem like a great idea to her either. And hey, who can say no to icecream? Grinning, Nonon says, "No problems here. I'll even feed you so you don't spill it down your shirt." She releases her jutsu, her movements and thought processes returning to normal. Aside from the absence of Swift Release Chakra, there's no indicator anything has changed about her. But then, that's the case when it activates as well.
"For what it's worth, I think you showed some pretty sharp skills, Aru-chan~! And I can't wait to see your awesome new jutsu~!" Nonon says as she wanders towards Suzu, and offers an arm incase she needs to use it.
Aru grunts a bit at the praise, blushing. She doesn't really feel she deserves it, but… It feels nice to have her efforts recognized. "Half of all meals winds up down her shirt." Aru remarks to Nonon at a volume where Suzu can easily hear. "It is a physical law." She is joking, though those who don't know her as well as these two do might not realize it. Sarcasm is her primary source of humor.
Her eyes return to normal, along with her Chakra levels as she heads to the opposite side of Suzu, prepared to try to support her there as well.
Supporting each other… She thinks… That's the most important thing any of them can do.