March 28th, 2005
|shimmercat2||10:29 pm - Chapter 3 -- Chakra|
There have only been a few things I’ve felt or done that I’ve been ashamed of. I am ashamed that Kankurou and I were as weak as we were when Baki-sensei took us in. I am more ashamed that we dealt with his kindness so poorly.
We lived in Baki-sensei’s home, on the outskirts of town, near the canyon. Every day, before the sun had completely risen and had a chance to warm the sand, he would wake us and we would begin our training. Our training started out mostly physical. We began the morning by running half a mile – only half a mile! At first, Kankurou and I cried and complained, but Baki would slap us when we did that, and we quickly learned that the running became easier every day, and his slaps became harder.
We would eat a dry breakfast, and then we would begin the morning’s lessons. For the first few weeks, we would spar against each other, and whenever one of us would fall we would try hard to keep the tears out of our eyes. Sparring was followed by a simple lunch, often beans and rice with vegetables, and then history and tactics in the afternoon.
Then, on the first morning of the third week, the real lessons began.
We took our dry breakfast and climbed to the top of the canyon, so that we could see the village nestled against the far cliffs below us, and the sun slowly brightening the sky in the east. Then we sat on the hard, cracked rock and Sensei began our lessons.
The first thing Sensei taught us was about chakra. Every living thing has chakra, but only humans can control it, and only ninja can control it at will. He told us that we were born with powerful, abundant chakra, but it would our country no good if we didn’t learn to control it.
He taught us that every human has a slightly different type of chakra. Like the stone of the cliffs, the chakra could be different colors, or different shapes. It could be hard as stone, or soft like putty, or fluid like water. He told us that the first thing we must do is discover the shape of our own chakra. And then he shaped his Sword of Wind for us.
The palest golden-green light rushed from Sensei’s hand, and as he gripped a fist, the windy light formed a long, thin spike out from his knuckles. He swung it over our heads and our hair was caught and whipped around our faces and into our open mouths.
I wanted to be able to do that! I wanted to make a Sword of Wind, that could cut my enemies in two!
Sensei grinned at our faces. “Do you think you could do that?” he asked.
I nodded, still in awe.
He crouched down to my level. “You are a stupid girl, then, and you are not paying attention. I can do that because my chakra forms a spike from my hands. Do you know what your chakra does?”
I blinked tears out of my eyes and shook my head. “I don’t know what shape my chakra makes. Does it matter?”
“Yes, it does. If we know the shape of your chakra, we can pick the perfect weapon for you. With your prefect weapon, you can develop a specialty that no one else has. And with that, you will always have the element of surprise against a new opponent.” Sensei prodded me to stand up. “Now, without thinking about it, make chakra.”
I scrunched up my eyes and tried as hard as I could to make chakra. I felt a little prickly and itchy, but not very powerful.
I opened my eyes again. “Did I do it?” I asked.
Sensei glared down at me, his arms folded across his chest. “No, you did not. Have you ever made chakra before?”
I thought of Father, telling me to spin. “Does making chakra make you feel.... stronger?”
Sensei nodded. “In a way.”
I thought for one more moment, then began to spin, my arms flung out wide. I could feel the power collecting on my fingertips, and then I pushed harder against the wind, flinging the power off.
Sensei nodded solemnly. “You will have to learn to do that without all that useless motion, but for now, this is fine. You make crescent chakra. A crescent is a useful shape for offensive chakra, as it is sharp and goes far when you fling it. We should think about what sorts of weapons would be best for flung crescent chakra.”
Then he turned to Kankurou, and my brother cringed. He preferred that I take the spotlight in the lessons, and I preferred to do most of the talking, so it usually worked out. But now Kankurou had to show the shape of his chakra.
“Stand up, Kankurou. I want you to make chakra for me, now. We’ve seen what your sister can do.”
Kankurou pushed himself to his feet with a small hand and teetered a little on the balls of his feet, as he sometimes still did when he was uncomfortable while standing. “When Temari spins, I make a spark and poke her,” he said, trying to meet Sensei’s eyes.
“Well then. Let’s see it.” Sensei had no pity and no patience.
Kankurou held up one hand palm-down and closed his eyes, breathing hard. A faint violet-blue glimmer appeared at the tip of his index finger, but instead of growing out, the glimmer drooped downwards, like it was melting off his finger. It dropped lower and lower, swaying slightly in the wind, until it stopped about two inches from Kankurou’s hand.
“Very good!” Baki looked truly pleased with both of us for the first time since we had gone to live with him, although his face remained grim. “Very, very good! Your chakra isn’t stiff, like your sisters, or mine. Flexible chakra has different uses than stiff chakra. It can be much more tactical. Few ninjas are able to summon the control and the stamina to use their flexible chakra effectively. We will wait and see if you are able to meet the challenge.”
Kankurou’s face fell.
Sensei stood up and brushed off his hands. “I have other things I must attend to this afternoon. Go back to my home and practice molding chakra; if you don’t show improvement by tomorrow, we will run twice as far. Our lessons are over for the day.”
Kankurou and I met each others’ eyes and grinned. We hadn’t gotten free time since coming to live with Sensei. “I’m going to beat you down the cliff!” I screamed, and tore down the steep stone stairs. Kankurou followed, but didn’t bother to try to catch up.
At the bottom of the canyon, I noticed two of my old playmates drawing pictures with sticks in the sand, and I changed the course of my stampede over to them. I skidded to a stop, accidentally kicking some sand into their drawings.
The two girls took in breath, ready to yell at whoever had been rude enough to ruin their drawings, but their eyes met mine, and they deflated and stared. I heard Kankurou padding up behind me, and felt as his gritty hands grabbed my arm for support. The two girls breathed a little faster.
“Whatcha doing?” I asked, a little puzzled by the way they were acting.
The darker of the girls looked down, so she wouldn’t meet my eyes, while the paler continued to stare. Both of them stood up, almost synchronized, and backed away.
“My mama says that your family kills people,” said the blonde slowly.
What? Where did this come from?
“My daddy’s a chuunin but he’s still afraid of your daddy and his baby,” breathed the black-haired girl. “You two won’t kill us, right?”
I felt Kankurou’s grip tighten around my arm, driving the sand and grit on his hands into my skin. “I could kill you if I wanted!” I shouted at the two girls. “I have strong, sharp chakra, and I could kill you if I felt like it!”
Terror flashed in the eyes of the girls, and they stumbled back a few more steps. “We didn’t do anything to you!” whimpered the black-haired girl. “We’re your friends, remember?”
“We could still kill you if we wanted,” Kankurou’s voice came from behind me.
The girls fled, panicking.
I turned to look at Kankurou. “Who’s afraid of a baby?”
Thank you! I actually prefer comments in lj to comments on ff.n, because I can respond to them here!
The story is on hiatus while I get some rl things worked out (it's tax time, and NOW is when my car decides to break down...) but I AM coming back to it, when life settles down a little bit.