Notes: Pardon, but it seems I enjoy using pronouns a little too much. ^^;;
Summary: They were the paired half of a newly-formed team, and they were realizing that they had a long way to go before their unplanned partnership grows.
His first loss was against her.
He had been stoic as usual. He had been cold, calm as he had always been. And he taunted with his eyes and that ever-present smirk like he had done since he was probably born. (Sometimes she wondered if he had made history that day. He was probably looking all high and mighty while they slapped him in the arse in a futile attempt to make him wail like a normal baby should. He probably glared, and she wouldn't be surprised if he had sneered when the medic nin suddenly found reasons to escape from him.) He had acted as usual, but she was in a different frame of mind that day. It may be the heat, or the stress, or simply his presence, or simply all of it, but she was not in her usual cheery mood that day. Oh, she was smiling that day, but had someone cared to study closer enough, he would have noticed the odd glint in her brown eyes. The glimmer in her eyes bore a striking resemblance to the glow of her newly-polished, favorite double-edged kunai. He should have remembered that a sword in its sheath is still a sword - and still as deadly.
She was seething, and with her array of sharp weapons, venting was oh so easy.
Her weapons were screaming for blood that day.
And so was she.
5 months after becoming members of the same team, training had become a daily occurrence to them, and he expected everything to go as smoothly as it usually did - smoothly being cuts, bruises, wounds, and torn clothes, all afflicted to her. She wasn't weak, that he discovered quickly - she was one of the three people he ever willingly sparred with, and not just because they're teammates, but because he disdained pitting himself against someone who didn't challenge him. The most he ever received was perspiration, weariness, chakra exhaustion, and near asphyxia - it was good, and that was saying much, coming from him.
He was cocky and she knew it. Of course, it was one of the facts about him, and so she never really minded. But the day wasn't ordinary, and someone had to be punished.
They had began as usual, with him using his fluid motions for his kata in meditative silence and her barraging the tree with kunai in contemplative silence . 5 minutes later and they had moved into their familiar stance, and after 5 months of spending time with each other, they knew that there was no need for a shout or a warning. Both came together like they had danced this way all their lives, and it was smooth and wild and wonderful and exhilarating.
She was always the first to break the silence - she would throw in observations and he would acknowledge with his eyes. She would compliment casually and he would acknowledge with his eyes. She would suggest with gentleness and tact and he would acknowledge with his eyes.
Suddenly she was tired of being acknowledged with his eyes.
5 months into training and he had grasped her skills somewhat - he was confident that he could attempt to predict her. A twist of her left foot and he knew she would jump. A kick of her right foot and he knew she would fly. A raised right arm was different to a raised left arm, and he realized with sudden clarity that she didn't surprise him anymore. After the fifth wave of testing his theory, he was bored. He was bored with her.
What he didn't realize was she herself had grasped the nuances of his eyes.
She didn't like what she saw.
There were a lot of things she disliked that day. She disliked her disheveled hair that took an hour to be tamed. She disliked the sun that insisted to be bright. She disliked the sushi that she ate on the run. She disliked the grasses for being obscenely green and beneath her. She disliked the wind that kept blowing her blouse. She disliked it that he was there already, waiting patiently for her.
But she liked training and she liked him and she thought the day was still fine. And her smile was as bright as it was the day they became part of the same team.
He was strong and she liked that in him. There was nothing in the world she wanted than to pit herself against him, to spar with him, to defeat him. To wipe off that smirk that was starting to grow on her, oddly enough.
5 months and she still hadn't won. Not that it mattered much to her - they were teammates and there would be a lot of opportunities to fight, and maybe she would win. He was a prodigy, and she knew he clearly had an advantage. But that didn't mean that she won't try.
She was adept at noticing the little details. That was what she was about, little details. It was therefore inevitable that she noticed the sudden, imperceptible change in him.
She was holding and throwing tobidougo more than safely possible, her mind analyzing. She spoke up again, and she studied his eyes, waiting for the acknowledgment within - ah, there it was - but there seemed to be something else...
And suddenly, after a silence reminiscent of the calm before the storm, the frustration of the day welled up within her and shook her violently inside. Her smile widened, her eyes taking in a look that her team had yet to see, a side that she had yet to reveal.
It was only unfortunate that he was the first to experience it.
He watched dispassionately as she flew up in the air, two scrolls unfurled. His eyes were unwavering even as he wondered why she was using a major jutsu so early in their sparring. She flung kunai after kunai, and he wondered idly why there were no shuriken and other sharp pointy things along. Had he paid more attention, he would have realized that she wasn't using Soushoryuu.
Her throws were often wide - he knew her insane accuracy, but she threw her weapons like a net the way the rain doesn't choose where to fall. With his Byakugan activated, his perception was sharper and he could flick each incoming weapon.
Her throws were different, this time. He only realized that when he sighted a kunai headed straight to his face, and he wouldn't have dodged it had he not bended 90 degrees backward.
His features not registering the barest hint of surprise, he went on dodging her kunai. He didn't see another pass him by, tearing his shirt and slicing a flesh open. He attempted to evade another from his left, and he was scratched on the neck. He didn't wince as blood filled the shallow wound.
It was the first time she drew blood.
He was moving faster now, finally noticing a difference. Where before her throws were general, her throws were now both general and specific. His eyes narrowed - one hand was throwing with precision, the other was not. What was she up to?
There was no more time to think as she threw faster and with more fury. He had never seen so many kunai in his life, and never had seen so many of them heading to him. She was relentless, he was getting desperate. He was now using his Hakke Rokujuu Yonshou, a jutsu he had been mastering a week before being placed on a team. His hands vanished into a whirlwind, his finger strikes increasing rhythmically as he made short work of the her kunais.
When he was finished, she was gone.
And suddenly she was before him, nearer than she had ever been before.
In her hands were a pair of tonfa.
When she dances, few can ever stop themselves from watching her.
When she dances to the rhythm of her Souenka, few ever can stop themselves from watching her and eating her dust.
Shunshin, his mind registered blankly. It explained how she appeared out of thin air in a smoke, but it didn't explain the painful sensation of the tonfa hitting him now his midsection. Shunshin just wasted a lot of your chakra, he thought dully, even as he grudgingly - and painfully - admitted that it surprised him. It seemed she wasn't particularly caring about chakra then, anyway, the way she had him trapped in a fury of tonfa and - oh fu - a three-sectioned staff that materialized out of nowhere. She wasn't hitting him in his torso anymore. Not after she had mercilessly forced him into the air with her staff and - oh shi - hit him on both sides of his head with her damned staff on his graceless descent.
He lay motionless in shock and pain, his mind beginning to learn how to string curses but not before she sat on him.
And it was quiet, the only music after the dance were their short, quick, greedy gulps of air.
Oh and yes, he was in terrible, terrible pain. He kept fighting the desire to cradle his head or even wrap his arms around his upper body.
"I practiced it with Gai-sensei." It was the answer to the question in his eyes. Said eyes suddenly clouded with something she had never seen before. They had known each other for just 5 months, and while she, with her natural perception, had began to learn to understand him, there were a lot of things that she had yet to understand about him. Like that strange look in his eyes that disappeared as quickly as it came.
He radiated displeasure, that was apparent to her. Anyone successively hit by a tonfa and three-sectioned staff would be displeased, especially if said victim was being straddled by his assailant. Though he seemed to be displeased with something else.
He glared at her, and for the first time since they had met, she glared back. Her smile was still firmly in face, and there he noticed a gleam he should have seen before. It made her glare all the more threatening, and the wider her smile, the brighter the spark.
Their breaths were now even, and it took a long time before he crossly responded to her query.
The feral glow in her eye disappeared, and her smile was as it used to be. She bounced up while he remain seated. Whatever it was that caused her to be that aggressive, he was glad that it had passed.
His eyes narrowed as he watched his teammate proceed to pick up her scattered weapons. He lost and he knew it, and it was a bitter pill to swallow. Especially after how cockier than usual he had been.
And it was like a piece of a puzzle had formed in his mind.
He saw his teammate in a new light. Could she have known...?
She looked up and winked at him cheekily. His expression remained impassive, though he wondered. Could she have understood him that much already?
The revelation stunned him.
"You can stand up, you know."
"Are you sulking?"
She laughed. It was light, breezy. He knew he was supposed to be pissed off, but he found himself, for some strange reason, battling the urge to laugh along.
She sat down before him, a hand lazily twirling a kunai. A blink and the kunai was firmly lodged on the tree, still quivering at the impact.
"I have other attacks, you know."
It was a subtle warning, he knew. And that she had the audacity to say that at all prickled him inside.
She stood up and glanced back. In a flash and she was facing him again, both hands grasping kunai and shuriken of dangerous quantity.
As she began her volley of attacks once more, one thought dominated his mind.
I'll get you.
(Twin Rising Dragons) Using two scrolls, Tenten sets them on the ground and performs the required handseals, afterwhich both are thrown up in the air in such a manner as to cause them to spin and swirl above her and around a middle vortex. She then jumps in between and summons different arrays of weaponry, which she throws in rapid succession at her opponent. Strings and wires running from each weapon to the tips of her fingers are used to pull these weapons back and strike again at the opponent if the first attempt fails.
Hakke Rokujuu Yonshou
(Sixty-four Point Hands) Taijutsu Technique. Using a highly advanced form of Byakugan, the user is able to see the Chakra Holes on a person's body, and using the Hyuga Taijutsu Style - closes the Chakra Holes with quick blows, stopping the flow of Chakra through one's body.
(Twin Cutting Swallows) Tenten beats the opponent with a pair of tonfa to the head, the upper body, and the midsection; this is followed by a three-sectioned staff stabbed on the midsection and up on the chin that knocks her opponent into the air. The staff is then used like a chain to further hit the head of the enemy, ending with the specified opponent lying sprawled on the ground.
Shunshin no Jutsu
(Body Flicker) Shunshin no Jutsu is a basic technique. The ninja will disappear and reappear in an instant, allowing them to travel along short to medium distances almost instantly. This teleportation-like technique is usually just used for dramatic entrances or exits, as upon arrival in the new location, the ninja will need to completely reorient themselves to their surroundings. It also uses far too much chakra to be used for travelling purposes.