Snap Back to Reality 11
The week I had free ended and honestly it was a hectic week. I had my ﬁrst dinner at sensei's place where I became a full blown ﬁrebender. I went to a hot spring and was peeped on by Jiraiya the Toad Sannin. I blackmailed the man and ended up being outwitted not so soon after and left with a challenge of my own making. I studied Fuinjutsu and struck up a conversation with Orochimaru of all people. Then Guy confessed his feelings to me.
Wow, and here I thought it was meant to be a week off. I came out of it stupidly tired and mentally drained, but with more information on Fuinjutsu and cute hair pins too. It was fun while it lasted, but I was more than ready to start training again. I needed to get stronger. This war wasn't going anywhere, anytime soon and after that things were just going to get worse.
I walked down to training ground 3. Sensei liked the place, and if we ever bumped into Kakashi and Minato, I would get a sparring partner for the day. It was a good exchange. Today however there was no Kakashi or Minato. I could sense Gaku-sensei and Yama doing their own laps. Even Jounin needed to train after all. Witnessing my sensei sprint was kind of terrifying. Jounin were incredibly fast. It made me relieved that Minato had stepped in to save Shisui when he had. There was no way I would have been able to do anything against Iwa's Earthquake.
"Ohayo sensei, Yama" I waved jumping in next to him.
"How was your break kiddo?"
"It was... eventful," I hummed with an amused smile on my face.
"Oh, eventful as in you got yourself a cute boyfriend?" he asked.
I gaped. "W-what?! No! How did you even come to that conclusion anyway?"
He tapped my hair pin and I blushed indignantly. I pulled up a disgusted scowl.
"Guy gave it to me. He's just a kid, so eww."
"You're a kid too kiddo," he barked a laugh.
I wanted to protest that I was just as old has him mentally, but I just took to huﬃng instead. Sure everyone else could just attribute this to me being childish, but there was no way by all 9 Bijuu that I would even think of dating anyone my age until they were all 20. I would happily remain single until then, if not forever!
"Let's just get back to training sensei," I huffed.
"Eager aren't we. You won't be when you see what I have in store for you."
"Eh? Even worse than throwing stones at me all day?" I asked.
"Oh, you thought that was harsh? I'm going to train you to the bone. The training wheels are off."
I paled. Training wheels? All that hard training from before wasn't the worst he could throw. I clenched my ﬁsts reigning in my negative thoughts. This was to make sure I was strong, so I wouldn't die, so I could help sensei out in the ﬁeld, so I could be useful. No amount of training was too much for me.
"What's the plan?" I asked, taking in a deep breath.
"Our ﬁrst bout of training was conditioning. You have Circle Walk and Tiger Palm down to satisfactory levels. It may be years yet for you to master it, as well as the many forms within."
"There are more forms?" I asked curiously.
"Yes, you have got down the basic katas, but there are several more forms within these two styles that cater to more speciﬁc situations. Circle Walk at its medium to higher levels requires both a clear mind and a mastery of wind element manipulation. There are only two known masters."
"Only two? Sensei... your style— the Beast Fang... how many people have mastered that?" I asked.
"All 10 forms from Beast Fang have only been mastered by 4 Clansmen, only 2 of which are currently alive. It takes years to get to this level. I myself have only mastered 7 forms and that's considered a signiﬁcant amount for my age. To master Circle Walk and Tiger Palm, you will eventually have to seek out their masters. It won't be anytime soon. For now you will have years to master 5 forms in total from both. Consider this a long-term project."
Wow, this would take forever. I knew logically that I was only 6 so I had a head start in comparison to the rest of my age group, but I wasn't ﬁghting against them. I was ﬁghting against Chunin and Jounin level ninja. Even a Genin level could be dangerous to me, especially when it was a ﬁght to the death. Playing dirty was in the Shinobi way, so I knew there was more to this training plan than sensei just said. Mastering the forms were all well and good, but he was a well-rounded Jounin. He had tracking skills, assassination skills, Ninjutsu, and Taijutsu under his repertoire. I was sure he wasn't just going to part to me the basics. It seemed, much to my relief, that he was invested in keeping me alive.
"So what else are we going to be doing?" I asked.
"Honing your instincts and senses," he said surprising me.
"Huh?" was my confused response.
Everyone always commented on how I was more of a Nara than an Inuzuka, despite my sensei being from the latter. I had the laid-back demeanour of a Nara, without the whole lazing about everyday kind of attitude— granted it was more out of necessity than anything. Why he thought I could hone my senses like his Clansmen could was beyond me. In the end I was neither Inuzuka nor Nara. I was Suzuki Hina, a civilian born girl with no known family traits to aid.
Sensei tapped his nose. "This is a weapon on its own. I can smell out enemies, I can smell weapons, blood and even fear. Us Inuzuka have sharp noses, and ears. Contrary to widespread belief we didn't get blessed by a dog spirit with these abilities. It was honed by generations of ninja who channelled chakra to their tenketsu around our noses and ears, effectively increasing our capacity in those areas."
"Just like how we reinforce our muscles with chakra," I said in understanding.
"Exactly. That means, my sweet little student. From now on you will be blind."
I was glad my eyes weren't gouged out or anything. Instead sensei handed me a pair of circular goggles that were entirely black. I took it and gulped. Blind? How the heck was I meant to ﬁght blind? I put the goggles on anyway and grimaced at not being able to see anything.
"Ok... um sensei? Do I have to ﬁght you blind?"
"No, you just have to ﬁnd me."
I huffed in relief. Thank his kind heart! Even when he said training was going to be hellish, he wasn't cruel.
I take everything back! He's a cruel, sadistic, son of a bitch! I hissed as another log rammed into my side. I let out a whimper as I grabbed my bruised ribs and stood up to stumble through the trees again. I bumped into more than a few trees and cried out in irritation each time. The evil man had booby-trapped the whole forest! Ever meter or so I was met with a trip wire that threw a log at me, or a trap that set of senbon. I swear three were sticking out of my arms right now. They were really short for senbon so at least he wasn't trying to kill me. That didn't make this torture any better.
It must have been hours. I was out of breath. Me the stamina demon (well at least for my age) was out of breath! I was wheezing painfully. A particularly big log had hit me straight into a tree and bruised my chest, making it hard for me to breathe. I could sense the chakra from the oncoming objects, but not nearly fast enough for me to dodge. It was so disorienting not using sight.
Trust your instincts my ass!
It wasn't until another bunch of senbon stabbed through my calves that I realised how the anger and frustration was hindering my ability to think. I stopped running towards sensei's elusive chakra and took in a deep breath. The ﬁrst step to learning Circle Walk had been learning how to breathe. It was a Taijutsu based on the air element. Flow around your opponents, use their movements for your own beneﬁt. Twist with both the ﬂuidity of a breeze and the unpredictability of a storm. Tiger Palm encouraged its user to ﬁght with a ferocity. Combining the two styles reminded me of a ﬁre tornado. I needed to think in the moment, to push past the immanent obstacles and then worry about sensei.
It was easier said than done. I tried to focus on my breathing, to pull the air around me tight with my chakra, but it was still disorienting, not being able to see. The fear of being pummelled into the ground by traps was also something that made me second guess my steps. There was too much stimuli around me to pick apart and ensure my footing worked. I couldn't Circle Walk, let alone dodge. Still I fared slightly better until, it seemed the sun was setting, and I was drenched in perspiration and my own blood. I wanted to faint, but I was so close. Sensei was just beyond the clearing. I ran towards his chakra and found myself losing my footing just when I thought it was ﬁnally over. I fell straight on my butt in a painful heap as a pile of painful twigs and rocks stabbed into me all over. I just groaned, throwing my head back. A basic ground trap! I feel for a basic ground trap! If only I could see.
Sensei's chuckle would have made me yelp in frustration if I weren't so exhausted. He ruﬄed the ground as if he were kneeling down.
"Always expect the unexpected. And—"
"—Look underneath the underneath," I groaned. "Literally this time."
I heard his feet rustle down the dirt wall, a sound I would have normally never focused on with my sight. I felt his hands cup my back and under my knees and it felt so different. Suddenly the sensation of touch and texture and sound was more important. Was this a Mr Miyage moment? It sure felt like it. Yama, bless his cute dog soul, licked my feet, and whined in worry.
"Quit your whining Yama. She's ﬁne. Nothing Nami won't heal."
Yama just barked in an even more worried voice. I would have awwed and cooed at the dog if I weren't just dead weight in sensei's arms. By Kami, he was warm. If he got to torture me like this, there was no way I wouldn't snuggle into his chest and sleep. I would have been happy in that position if I didn't feel two familiar chakra by the clearing of training ground 3 we had just left.
"Oh kami, no! Sensei, you can't let them see me in this state! Put me down!"
"I'm sure you fractured a bone on your right femur. I'm not going to let you walk on that," Gaku said in a no-nonsense voice before it turned amused. "And it looks like they've already seen you."
I groaned sinking into his arms further to shield myself from my embarrassing situation.
"Gaku-san, Hina-chan. What happened?" Minato asked curiously.
"I upped her training today. Kiddo's got to learn how to ﬁght blind, to hone her other senses," he answered with... was that pride?
"Isn't that an Inuzuka training method? Also why's she so beat up," Kakashi snorted.
"Try going through several acres of forest blind with a bunch of traps every 5 meters," I snapped back and huffed.
It was a little frustrating that I couldn't see their response to my snippy comment. This wasn't like me. I was usually the calm collected one. I was just incredibly embarrassed. Of course Kakashi of all people had to see me in this state. Just my luck.
"Now, now kiddo, you better get used to this. Are you here tomorrow Minato?" Gaku asked.
Minato must have nodded because sensei hmphed in approval. "I would appreciate it if the two gakis could spar."
"Is she going to be blind during the spar?" Kakashi asked in disbelief, before he snorted. "That's going to end it pretty quickly."
"Don't be so sure," I replied with a pout.
"Ok, it's time to go. I won't keep you two from your training. Our little prodigies need to keep up right?" Sensei laughed.
Minato said his goodbye and both I and Kakashi just grunted before I was whisked away in a shunshin. Kami, that was disorienting. I also really needed to learn that. It was stupidly useful. I could sense a number of Inuzuka's milling around by their chakra in my general vicinity. So we were at the Inuzuka Clan Compound. We soon entered Gaku's house and I was laid on his couch.
"Kami Gaku, are you trying to kill our precious bean?!"
Precious bean? I groaned as Nami squished my face up against her chest. So soft. No! Head out of the gutter right now!
"It's just training," I defended.
"Yeah, the kiddo's been holding up alright. Maybe in a couple of weeks, she'll be able to reach me."
Weeks?! Oh Kami, I wanted to wither away and die at that.
"Hina-chan, I'm going to pull up your shirt to check for injuries. Is that ok? Gaku isn't going to be here for that."
I nodded, wincing as I moved. My whole body was still trembling from exertion. I had never pushed myself this far when it came to training before. Sure I was exhausted, but not to the level of nearly passing out. The training wheels really were off.
The cold air brushed against my exposed chest and I shivered, which subsequently made me wince, which just jostled my wounds more. Overall, not a good feeling... that was until Nami's soft hands trailed over my skin and I felt the warm touch of chakra pool at the area where her hands were.
"Iryo-nin?" I asked in surprise.
"Yes. I know a thing or two, although I'm more of a Taijutsu specialist who happens to know healing jutsu."
"You're really good at it."
"I am a Jounin," she said in amusement.
"Really? I've never seen you in Shinobi gear," I said curiously.
"I ﬁnish my ﬁeld leave in 3 months. Then it's back to ﬁghting for me," she said with a chipper voice, although I knew she was just masking the tiredness behind it.
"War kinda sucks huh," I whispered.
"It does," she replied softly.
"In a perfect world, I'd be a scientist, and we would spar for fun. We'd all go for morning runs with Yama and eat Dango after."
I don't know why I was saying it that way. With the goggles over my eyes, being unable to see anything, it was just suddenly so easy to picture that elusive dream.
"That's a nice goal Hina-chan," Nami said with a pleased tone to her voice.
"Really? It doesn't come off a bit unrealistic or selﬁsh?" I asked.
"It's never selﬁsh to wish for happiness."
I felt her ﬁngers pull my bangs off my face to let the cool air hit the now exposed skin. I smiled, a rare small smile. It was good, I think, to be told it was ok to wish for things to get easier. To be selﬁsh for one's own happiness.
I jolted as Nami picked out a senbon from my arm. There went that sappy moment. She let out a chuckle as she went about picking out the rest from my body and then healing me up. God medic-jutsu was broken.
"Are you ladies done?" Gaku called.
"Yes we are! Are you going to come here and take care of your student now you lazy ass?!"
"Yes woman, geeze."
I chuckled as I heard Sensei yelp. Nami had probably punched him somewhere. They battered for a bit before I waved Nami a goodbye and I felt Sensei come sit next to me.
"Can, I take these off now?" I asked.
"No. Those stay on until your training is complete."
What?! No way? Seriously?
"Troublesome man," I grumbled.
Sensei just chuckled evilly at that. Fuck my life.
Unsurprisingly going home blind was an exercise in patience. A few of the Jounin I asked directions from seemed to realise I wasn't really blind and were amused if their tone was anything to go by. It got infinitely more awkward stumbling my way through the civilian district and asking the people there for directions to my own house. I normally refrained from talking to them, mostly because my family was already considered odd because of me. My current situation was probably going to make my family be considered weirder.
After about an extra 30 or so minutes of just wandering lost, I managed to spot my father's chakra signature and patted the door to find the handle. I could sense feint traces of chakra in living things, like wood and grass, but it was blank when it came to stones or trees that were cut. The logs that had swung down on my had very little, if no chakra in them because they were dead. The handle to the door was made out of metal, which was why finding it was rather troublesome. I eventually did after a while of scrambling and then I entered the shop.
"Hina—are you hurt?"
It was dad's voice. He sounded kind of worried. I shook my head patting the area in front of me and bumping slightly into a table by the door before dad hugged me. He seemed worried.
"I'm not hurt. Sensei's just got me training on honing my senses, so I'm going to have to be blind indefinitely," I said tapping my goggles.
"That's a bit cruel. Why aren't you allowed to take them off after training?" he asked.
I shrugged. "Gaku-sensei knows what he's doing."
"You trust him an awful lot."
Was that disapproval? Huh, maybe dad didn't trust ninja much either. I had no idea what beef they had with the people protecting them, but I figured it wasn't any of my concern if they weren't willing to tell me.
"He's a Jounin tousan. He knows what he's doing," I reasoned.
"Ok, but let me help you—"
"—While that would be helpful, it would kind of defeat the purpose of the training," I interrupted, pushing his hand away gently.
He didn't reply for a bit, so I just quirked a brow. He laughed nervously at that. "Sorry, I just nodded."
"Ugh, this is going to take some getting used to," I grumbled.
"Well, make sure you don't train anymore tonight ok. You look more and more exhausted every day."
"Ok tousan," I agreed with a huff.
He pushed up my hitaite and kissed me on my forehead before letting my go on my way. Taichi ambushed me by my room and after a bit of explaining, he too decided to join in my training for a solid 5 minutes before giving up. He had tied a bit of cloth over his eyes before bumping around. Stubbing his toe did it for him though. He gave up promptly after that. Was he crying? Sometimes I forgot just how normal civilian children were. Here I was getting stabbed and soldiering through the process, while my older brother could barely stand the pain of stubbing a toe. It was normal. I used to be like that in my first life too. I pet his head calmingly and told him I needed to go take a shower.
It was significantly harder traversing the landscape of a house. All the materials were dead, with no chakra coming from them, so I had to use my ears, nose, and touch to get by. Maybe sensei was right about me keeping it on at all times. This was a frustrating task for sure, but I wouldn't complain. I would do anything to get stronger.
"I'm sorry I'm late!"
"You got lost kiddo?" Gaku-sensei laughed.
"It's not my fault! It's hard to get around blind," I grumbled.
"Are you sure you are up to sparring Kakashi today Hina-chan?" Minato asked, both amused and concerned all at once.
I shrugged, terribly unsure. "It's been a while and I want to see how strong he's gotten but being blind and all isn't going to make this fair. Let's just get on with it."
"Ok, winner is the first to incapacitate or go for a killing blow."
We both stood five feet apart from each other and bowed. Kakashi was being stupidly silent. I could barely hear his movements. When Minato said begin, we both jumped, me towards Kakashi, and Kakashi away from me. I was surprised to note that speed wise we were both the same. I used chakra slide to swerve to Kakashi's left. I knew he would twist his body towards me, probably to throw a fist or a kunai. I used form 2 of Circle Step: Drift of the Storm Evasive Manoeuvre, to angle around his body, sticking to his back. Unfortunately for me, I didn't realise he had drawn his kunai, at least not with my lack of ability to pinpoint inorganic objects. I managed to dodge away just in time before the kunai could slash at my arm, but I had stepped back far too much in my sudden indecision.
Seriously Kakashi? I didn't get angry though. How was I meant to get angry at a kid who'd just recently lost his father to suicide, who was taken out to war, and let to fester in violence and anger. I just felt sympathy for Kakashi. There was no way he was coming out of this war unscarred and unchanged. He had already changed plenty. He was no longer the kind, silent yet competitive child I had first met at the park. Now he was ruthless, cold, and power hungry. A kind of anger bubbled in his chakra, fluctuating it wildly around his tenketsu.
The fight was already lost. The only way I even had a chance of winning was staying in arms range of him. My Ninjutsu was pathetically weak, and without my sight to aid me, I was sure to miss whatever precision attacks I normally possessed. I was fighting what was essentially a blob of chakra I had to constantly paint a picture of in my head. My movements were slow and Kakashi's shuriken were hard to dodge. It all happened to suddenly. He body flickered behind me and twisted me into a tight hold.
"Kakashi you've won. You can let go now," Minato said.
I grunted as his painful weight left my back. I stood up and twisted the kinks out of my body. Dammit, that ended too quickly. I barely even put up a fight! I rubbed the bridge of my nose before pinpointing Kakashi's chakra and bowing to him. I had only some idea if he bowed back.
"How long have you been training blind Hina-chan?" Minato asked curiously.
"I only started yesterday. I will get better," I replied defensively.
"Don't beat yourself up over it. You've only just begun."
"How long are you and Kakashi-kun going to be here for?" I asked, dusting my knees.
"For about another two weeks. We're on sanctioned training leave, but I feel like Kakashi learns better on the job," Minato hummed.
I nodded, not knowing what else to say, before Gaku-sensei roughly grabbed me in a pseudo chokehold from the side and began speaking in his hearty Inuzuka growly voice.
"My little gaki lost terribly today! Not to worry, I'll make sure she's in tip-top shape. She's going to spar your little prodigy every day until she wins. Isn't that right kiddo?"
"Hai sensei," I sighed.
Minato barked a laugh at that. Traitor! At least feel sorry for me! Unfortunately for me, my training did not have to do with any cool Ninjutsu Minato was teaching Kakashi. I was taken back to the forest of death again. I groaned as sensei instructed me once more to get myself through it and find him.
"Remember kiddo, use all your senses. Your chakra sense is handy for sure, but you aren't feeling the wind, you aren't smelling the metal and you aren't hearing the sounds. Use that chakra control of yours to push your chakra where it matters."
"Now, let's go again!"
I tried my absolute best to get through the acres of trapped forest without getting hurt. I found that it was easier to focus on the feel of the air around me when logs came flying my way, or when large stones hurtled in my direction. But it was vague and didn't give me enough time to dodge, so I ended up pummelled. It took me a while before I decided to smell the rope on a trap I had already triggered. It well—it smelled like rope and dirt. Nothing much to it, other than my musings on whether I could continue to pick out this scent for further warning on other traps around me. It did actually help on the occasion. I had to consciously be sniffing every second of my run though, which was making my progress slower. I needed to be fast to get through this field. Yesterday I had run in blindly, taking the blows and going regardless because that's what it took to get through. I couldn't afford to be slow.
Unfortunately going faster meant I barely had any time to react to the traps again, and actively sniffing out for rope and metal while running and keeping the rest of my senses alert was hard. I ended up getting to sensei much the same way as I did the day before; that is to say, beaten, bloodied and exhausted.
"Hmm, marginally better kiddo. Another month at this rate and you'll be ready!"
A whole month at being blind! I wanted to shrivel up and die at the thought. Once again sensei picked me up, this time deeming me safe enough to sit on his shoulders rather than to be carried like a princess. I rested my chin on his head, enjoying the feel of his stupidly soft hair against my chin. He could be a demon in training, but outside of it, he treated me like his own kid. Maybe they just wanted children. Sometimes I wonder if that's why Nami took a liking to me so quickly, despite only meeting me a few times before. I wasn't going to complain. I enjoyed their company. They were practically family at this stage.
"Did you ever want to be anything other than a Shinobi before?" I asked.
"You gonna tell me?" I asked curiously.
"Oh come on~ Please. Pretty please."
"I'll let you keep guessing. It's more fun that way," he laughed.
"Ugh, troublesome man," I grumbled.
"It's a wonder the Nara clan hasn't adopted you already," Gaku-sensei huffed in amusement.
"Shikaku-san would have for Hanami-sensei, if he could," I chuckled.
"No fair, I thought you'd rather be an Inuzuka," sensei laughed.
"Are you kidding me? Your clans should merge. Cute dogs mixed with lazy Nara, all lounging around star gazing—now that sounds like a cool Clan. No stuffy doujutsu allowed."
"That does sound like fun," sensei agreed amiably.
I chuckled and we walked into the night, a smile taking my face.
I honestly didn't expect to get so many reviews from all of you guys! I love you all so much!
I really enjoy writing this fic actually, and so I've been doing it as a stress reliever and it's been working XD But recently, since I'm actually up to chapter 35, I realised just how much this story evolves and changes when I re-read this chapter to fix it up. It starts of relatively light hearted, all things considered, but the stakes spike rather quickly and I just wrote a chapter that brought me to near tears (which is hard to do considering my tear ducts normally refuse to work even when I'm sad XD).
Dango Dango Daikazoku- Yeah oh my god, Guy is an absolute cutie right? I don't know why most people can't see it XD Honestly, I think asides from Kakashi, Guy was definitely my favourite Jounin, and Lee was my favourite Rookie 13. I just wished they didn't sideline team Guy after the Chunin exams. Also yes, Hina is bi! I did that so that whoever had the most chemistry with her could end up with her in the future. I'm not sure if Guy is the one, but we'll see 😉
RileyBlue00- I'm so glad each chapter makes you happy! I love writing for people like you who are so responsive and enjoy the work! It's a relief to hear that I caught Orochimaru's personality. It's actually so hard to write him! Thanks for always leaving a review! It makes me so happy 😊
Amatsumi- Yeah definitely, I realised that the Sannin, each portray a vice of the ninja way, which is just a cool tidbet about their characters. Tsunade's PTSD was actually my favourite part of her character. It was just good to see that all ninja were taking their trauma in different ways, made them more human.
RandomPasserby96- Oh man, I kinda ship them too, although it's definitely not going to be a focus of the story XD
topsyturvy-dream- I have no words for how much this comment made me smile. I legitimately squealed when I read this. As for Orochimaru, he will definitely be getting two chapters specifically focused on his POV. I've already written up their first drafts, and it's pretty interesting. Guy is definitely the most vocal about his crush, but that's for plot reasons in the future as well. I love their growing friendship in this. Can't wait for you to see how freaking cute their friendship becomes.
Chillingbear- Laughs a little evilly… Hina is just stumbling into something that will devolve into chaos very quickly
ita123- Thank you!
Kathrara- Oh yeah, I do notice a few mistakes here and there. If anyone does want to beta, I'm up for it! I would love to have a beta reader, as well as someone to give me their thoughts on story threads.
ishan19sati- You do realise you can be asexual and have romantic relationships right XD Also, no they aren't going to get together. Guy might like Hina, but Hina is an adult, and she's definitely not attracted to children in any way shape or form. But it only felt natural for me to write Guy having a puppy crush on her. It just fit his character XD
Mighty Empress- This praise is making me blush! 😊 I love that you find her interesting! Here's another chapter for you!
Guest- Omg you find Kakashi feminine? I've never heard anyone describe him that way XD but I guess I can kind of see it, and Hina does like her feminine pretty boys… so let's see how that goes!