To Rise Above @writer_of_many_subjects
Chapter 6


Team Seven

Kaguya stared down at Kushina from her spot on the tree. On, not in. She'd finally mastered some semblance of control over her chakra. She sighed and released the chakra flow to the bottom of her feet. Kushina seemed a bit uneasy as she fell from the tree but grinned when she caught herself with ease.

Minato and Bear had been drilling her in her taijutsu stances. She would come home heavily bruised yet still smiling. No one really noticed, or if they did they didn't say anything. She almost wondered if Hayate noticed.

You have a small crush…adorable.

She didn't have a crush on him. She just liked being around him and talking to him. She let her thoughts pause for a few seconds and realized that the voice was right. She did have the smallest of crushes on him. She felt bad for him, she was probably the worst person to crush on him. She was an outsider.

That wasn't a good thing.

"Well, what do you know about the Uzumaki clan?" Kushina finally asked her.

"Ridiculous amounts of chakra and stamina, and god fuinjutsu masters," Kaguya answered with a slight frown.

"We also have the blood limit of golden chakra chains," Kushina explained, "That's what we've all been pushing you to do."

And just like that, Kaguya felt like a failure. She picked at the orange arm warmers that held her thirty pound weights in place. If she couldn't do something that her entire clan could do then what good was she? Her thoughts began to grow darker and she flinched when a hand plopped itself down on her head.

"I didn't know how to summon them until I was eleven," Kushina told her, "Everyone learns at their own pace, just like you learned how to get your chakra under control I don't doubt that you'll unlock them in no time."

A small smile spread across Kaguyas face and Kushina responded with a grin. It did slightly fall when the smaller girl looked away. Kaguya was moving too fast for her liking, she was pushing her boundaries to try and graduate so she wouldn't have to stay in the academy longer than she had to. Bear had informed her that the child wasn't being stimulated enough and often doodled on her notes or stared out the window. The fact that her desk mate had started pulling her into group assignments with him didn't need to be told since Kaguya happily informed her of that herself.

"Have you learned anything new about Genjutsu?" Kushina finally questioned.

"Bear-Aniki puts me under them and tells me to break out," Kaguya answered, "It's…it's easier to break out when your mind is already aware that it's under an illusion."

"Can't craft them yet, can you?" Kushina picked up on.

"Not without exploding someone's head," came the answer, "I think aniki likes his head in one piece ."

"I think so too." Kushina chuckled.

The two fell into a happy silence as Kushina contemplated something. Minato told her that her sister had the Uzumaki talent for fuinjutsu. Her calligraphy was neat and she took care with her characters. She had already gotten a seal to work. She noted the small scroll that was holstered in a slot on the kunai pouch on Kaguya's left leg. A weapons scroll that held extra equipment in case of an emergency.

She had ninja wire, a few packs of kunai and senbon, an extra Tanto, a pair of trench knifes that were a good fit with her hands, and extra fuinjutsu paper in case she needed to make explosive tags. She was set for something to happen, which was good since she'd be going onto the battlefield. Most geniuses did. She could easily say that's what her sister was, a tiny prodigy that was too shy to function in a crowd but observant enough to find several escape routes. She was observant as well, she'd noticed the way the dull violet eyes would move from side to side.

"Want to prank Minato?" Kushina questioned.

The answering grin was enough for her. Kaguya was still a bit angry at Minato for his sparing manners. She didn't like having her head slammed into the ground, and multiple times at that. It did make her a bit faster at dodging, so she could see the reasons behind it. Didn't mean she liked it.

Minato Namikaze had been having a rather stressful day. His team didn't mesh as well as he'd like them to. The female, Nohara Rin, wasn't the problem it was the boys. Uchiha Obito and Hatake Kakashi. The two of them got along like cats and dogs, which considering the Hatake tradition of Ninken summons was quite an apt comparison. It wouldn't be the first time that Kakashi said something that made Obito mad and it wouldn't be the last.

So, the appearance of a tiny red haired menace wielding a picnic basket was a bit of a mood lightener. The fact that she was able to prank him, using a small seal on the bottom of the basket lid that wouldn't let him open it until she used her chakra to dissolve it, caused a slight smile to appear on his face. She was getting good at fuinjutsu, it made him feel a bit better as a teacher when a student showed growth. It made him feel better about her becoming a shinobi, he'd be a terrible big brother if he sent her on her way without help.

"Kushina-onee-Chan said you weren't having a good day," She quietly admitted, "Though it's not quite payback for slamming my head into the ground five times, you deserve a better day."

He raised a brow at that and she slowly turned a light pink. She began to play with the bottom of her shirt and looked to the side in slight embarrassment. Aw, she did care for him after all. He had a feeling he wasn't her favorite "big brother" but she did care. How Bear stole that spot he'd never really know. His eyes did to the side as his students approached, their skin showing slight scuffs and cuts. It was trap training and the only one that seemed to have done well was Rin. Well, she was pretty crafty when she wanted to be.

"Who's the kid?" Obito's tack sometimes astounded him.

"Don't be rude," Rin softly chided him before bending over to be eye level with Kaguya, "I'm Nohara Rin, who are you?"

"Uzumaki Kaguya, dattesa." Kaguya answered and she grimaced at the appearance of her vocal tic.

"Wait, I've heard that name before," Obito stated as he moved closer to the small red head and studied her face, "My cousin Shisui said that you're in Aunt Sayori's class."

"Y-Yes I'm in Sayori-Sensei's class," She nodded and she slowly began to hide behind Minato.

Kakashi didn't look too impressed by the girl. His grey eyes were slightly calculating as he looked down at her. She met his eyes and he noted that she was slowly studying him. She looked to the side with an unimpressed expression. He felt his eyebrow twitch at that.

"Were you and Kushina training?" Minato quietly asked as he looked through the basket and handed his team the bentos that had been prepared for them.

"Yes, she was surveying my tree walking," Kaguya nodded and that caught the attention of the chuunin and two genin.

"You must be good at chakra control," Rin commented with a kind smile.

"It's my worst skill," Kaguya quietly admitted, "I just…worked out the reason on paper."

"A paper ninja huh," Kakashi snorted.

"You shouldn't underestimate a paper ninja, Kakashi," Minato warned the silver haired boy, "Most, if not all of them, are good at strategy and battle planning."

"Ne, Kaguya-Chan," Obito caught her attention and she blinked at the grin on his face, "What's your favorite subject?"

"Ano…I like code breaking and Genjutsu," She answered and it was easy to see that all the attention was making her flustered, "I also really enjoy fuinjutsu but it's not taught at the academy."

The three children turned and looked at their teacher. He had enough grace to look away. They all knew that he was a master at fuinjutsu. He was the one that started her on the path. Kushina just kept on it with gusto.

"Ano, do you have any friends, Kaguya-Chan?" Rin asked, hoping to move the conversation along.

Kaguya was quiet at that. Obito watched as she looked at the onigiri in her hand before taking a small bite from it. There was a loneliness to her that was suffocating. He felt…bad for her. She nudged the toe of her left sandal into the ground before letting out a very soft sigh.

"My desk mate is nice," She muttered, "A lot of the other kids don't like me."

"They're idiots!" Obito loudly informed her and he watched as she owlishly blinked at him.

Minato smiled at that, leave it to Obito to try and cheer up a lonely kid. He probably knew what she was feeling, the empathy coming from the boy was incredible and highly unusual for a shinobi. He continued to eat his food, he adored Kushina's cooking, and watched his three students talk with Kaguya. She was pretty good at dodging questions she didn't want to answer, or couldn't answer.

"I'll be spending time at the library after lunch," Kaguya quietly told him, "Aniki is out of the village so we're not training today."

"What topic are you going to inhale today?" He asked in a good natured tone.

"Kenjutsu," She answered, "I might as well learn how to use my tanto."

That was actually a valid reason. She got up from her spot and said goodbye to everyone before heading off, picnic basket in hand. Rin had a small smile on her face, finding the girl adorably shy. Obito looked thoughtful and a little sad for Kaguya. Kakashi was indifferent, but if he looked closely there was a small sliver of understanding. It made him hopeful that his teachings were getting through to the chuunin.

"Let's start a spar to see where everyone's at." He suggested and he watched as their shoulders slumped, his expression certainly wasn't gleeful at the sight.

Kaguya stared at the scroll in her hand and began to wonder if Kushina or Bear were able to do kenjustu. She realized that she was slowly become a long-distance to mid-range fighter, but it was balanced and with age came more tricks and skills. It was worth it to be that versatile, and to train as hard as she could to be so. She was in for the long run with genjutsu and having some form of weapons training was ideal. Taijutsu was good and all, but she felt better knowing that'd she'd be able to use a blade to protect herself. She shook that thought away and went back to reading.

"Ah, Uzumaki-San ," She looked up to see her desk mate standing next to her alcove, "Nice hiding spot."

"Minato-Nii showed it to me," She quietly said, "Studying?"

"Yeah, Sayori-Sensei wants to test us on the three Hokages and founding of Konoha," He sighed.

"Ano…history is right next to the genjutsu section at the end of these shelves," She informed him, "They're on the bottom."

"How much time do you spend in here to know that?" He sounded amused at that.

"Quite a lot," She smiled, "But I've been told that my reading speed is terrifying."

He didn't know what she meant by that. He looked towards the pile of scrolls next to her and noted that there was two. One was smaller than the other but soon the scroll she'd been reading was placed in the biggest one. She grabbed another from the smaller pile and opened it. Ah, that's what she meant. He could see how it was seen as terrifying, if he didn't know her he'd be intimidated. He did though, so he was just vaguely amused.

"You've already read these," He commented, "Haven't you?"

"Knowledge is Power," She replied without looking up from the scroll, "Sometimes a book or scroll will have information that you can't find anywhere else, but it can also lie and be biased."

"That's why you read multiple scrolls to get a read on what's true or not," He muttered, "That's actually smart."

"Maybe I'll write a book one day." She was joking with him.

I think you broke him.

His eyes were wide and he was looking at her as if she had grown a second head. She turned a bright red and hid behind the scroll in her hands. She missed him turning a pale pink before settling down on the other side of the alcove. She seemed to relax a bit at his presence. It was familiar to her.

"I think you'd write a good book," He quietly admitted as he opened a scroll on Konoha's founding.

"Thank you, Gekko-San."

They went back into a comfortable silence and read their scrolls. He didn't have long to wait until she finished the last two scrolls and gained a slightly contemplative look on her face. She was running out of things to read that were in the academy and civilian section. She'd read all the fiction and non fiction books- wisely staying away from a little green one named Make Out Paradise she knew smut when she saw it- but had yet to truly start on the scrolls about different shinobi. Those weren't in the historical section unless the shinobi was dead.

She put the scrolls away and grabbed three on the sannin. She sat back down and opened one up. She was good reading about Jiraiya and Senju Tsunade, but the moment she reached Orochimaru she tensed. Her heart rate sped up and the image of flashing gold eyes traveled through her thoughts.

"Uzumaki-san?" Hayate softly called out.

He noticed that his desk mate was spaced out. She probably didn't notice that her hands were trembling, really it was her whole body. He got close enough to look over her shoulder and noted a picture of Orochimaru smirking up at them. It was one of the Sannin that few people really trusted. There was something off about the pale man.

Hayate did something that could be seen as foolish in a hidden village. He closed the scroll while Kaguya was completely spaced out in a haze of absolute terror. There was always the possibility of being stabbed or punched when doing such things, but he couldn't just sit there and do nothing. He sighed in slightly relief when her trembling seemed to calm down a bit.

"Ah, there you are Kaguya-Chan," An older red headed woman said as she rounded the corner, "This should've been the first place I looked, dattebane."

Kaguya didn't answer and Kushina gave her sister a worried look. Something was seriously wrong. The girl was so afraid of something that it was rolling off her in waves. She looked at the dark-haired boy that was standing in front of Kaguya. He looked worried.

"What happened?" She questioned.

"She saw a picture of Orochimaru-sama in the scroll and tensed up," He quietly answered, "She's not trembling as badly as she was a few seconds ago."

"You closed the scroll?" She seemed surprised.

"It was the right thing to do," He defended himself.

"You're right," She smiled at him before putting a hand on the curly strands that sat on Kaguyas head, "She'll come out of it soon, Dattebane."

"How can you be so sure?" He dubiously asked.

"Because I'm her big sister," She grinned, "She's an Uzumaki as well, we're a resilient bunch."

He could attest to that. He had a first person account of her being resilient. Naomi actually had some strength behind her punches when she got angry. He heard a quiet tapping and looked to see that Kaguya was tapping out a tune on the wood under her hand. That was a bit of a relief.

"See, she's calming herself down," Kushina sounded relieved at that.

She made a mental note to meet with the sandaime and inform him about Kaguya's reaction to Orochimaru. It informed her that the two had history, and she bet that the snake sannin had something to do with the deaths of several of her clan members. Her hackles raised at such a thought and she felt a burning in her stomach. She was going to get justice for her fallen family members.

"Are you okay?" Hayate questioned Kaguya as the girl looked around with a slight frown.

"What happened?" She quietly asked.

Flash back, you've been through something traumatic. You froze, it's a protective mechanism.

She was traumatized at the age of five? A part of her wanted to be amused at that, but another was pissed. What sick bastard traumatized a five-year old? Orochimaru, that's who.

"You spaced out there for a couple minutes," Kushina informed her, "I'm going to get you home."

"Ah, bye then Uzumaki-san," Hayate muttered.

He watched as his desk mate was picked up underneath the older womans arm and then carried away. She looked guilty at the fact that she hadn't put away the scrolls. He picked one up and did it for her. It didn't really take away from his studying time, and it took his mind away from darker thoughts.

Kushina left Kaguya in the care of team seven and Minato. The blonde looked surprised that the littlest Uzumaki was joining them for dinner, but one look at the haunted gaze that Kaguya had was enough for him to accept her with open arms. She seemed grateful that he didn't ask. He had her sit at the table with his team while he made dinner. He didn't ask Kushina to stay, he could tell that she had a bone to pick with someone.

"Ne, Kaguya-Chan," Obito started, "You said you liked Code Breaking, right?"

He smiled as the academy student slowly walked the genin through code breaking. It was Obito's weakest subject, and it was nice to see that he didn't mind asking for help. If his other students listened in and mentally took notes, then who was the wiser?

Sarutobi Hiruzen almost dropped his pipe when a fist crashed down on his desk and almost broke it in two. An enraged Uzumaki Kushina stood before him and he wondered if it was because of Jiraya. He looked up at the woman as she brought her fist back and stood up straight. There was a protective glint in her eyes that gave him some idea of why she was there.

"Did you know that Kaguya had been around Orochimaru?" She practically hissed at him, "Because I just watched a little five-year-old escape into her mind to ignore the absolute terror that wracked her body."

"Orochimaru?" Hiruzen asked, "What would he have done?"

"I don't know, but the sheer terror that came from her was strong, Sandaime-Sama," She answered, "As a clan head I'm in the right to ask for an investigation of him."

"We'll need to see into her memories to know for sure," Hiruzen informed her, "If there is any evidence to support your suspicions then an investigation will be immediately started."

"You want to subject her to Inoichi-San?" She questioned.

"It's the only way," He sighed, sounding tired and old, "She wouldn't be able to escape into her mind and go quiet of we push too far."

"And the possible mental strain it could put on her?" She questioned.

"Inoichi will start doing therapy sessions with her until he deems her mentally well," He answered.

"She's not going to like that," A small grin began to form on Kushina's face, "She wants to graduate from the academy as fast as she can, she wants to protect the people who are important to her."

Hiruzen gained a thoughtful expression at that. Hurricane Kushina left his office and hurried back to Minato to pick up her sister. He wondered if he had made a mistake in suspecting the child, if it had made the trauma worse. She never acted like it did, she just put up with it. He looked up at the picture of his Sensei and found his shoulders slumping slightly. What would the man have done if he was in his shoes? He lit his pipe and took a long drag. He'd probably yell at the villagers for ostracizing a newcomer.

A smile appeared on his face at the thought, that was about right.

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