Externality, part 5d (2017-07-12)

Every teacher at the Academy has an assistant.

Peacetime glut, Hikari-san says with a self-deprecating tone–after all, her store, too, can only exist because there is no war. If there were, it’d be absorbed into Intel, resources to be parceled out by the quartermaster general.

But the role of Academy teaching assistant has multiple purposes: training new teachers, off-field positions for chuunin on medical leave, increasing protections around Konoha’s vulnerable future soldiers, and on and on it goes.

Yanagi-sensei’s assistant is a chuunin on floating rotations who has taken the year off to train and boost his chances for promotion. Hinoura-sensei doesn’t really seem to care much for the job, but he’s not dismissive of Yanagi-sensei and the other Academy teachers the way she’s heard other field chuunin be, the way Hikari-san sometimes gets before she checks herself.

He doesn’t like Naruto Uzumaki, but nobody seems to like Naruto Uzumaki.

Before the exam started, Yanagi-sensei was the one distributing armbands and tokens.

The objective cards are in Hinoura-sensei’s handwriting.

Rock Lee’s card has a two prong objective:

The first is to collect the token matching his deep purple armband.

The second is to protect his copper token.

Tetsuki is pretty sure she knows what Naruto Uzumaki’s objective should have been.

Regardless of curiosity and conspiracies, they are still in an exam and Rock Lee does have the token she needs. Their objectives are mutually exclusive: there is no compromise to be made here.

“Thanks,” she says to Rock Lee, whose eyes are already beginning to close, “and sorry about this.”

It’s not hard to deepen the genjutsu–especially against someone who can’t fight back–make it spread, her chakra overwhelming his senses, until he falls asleep. He crumples to the ground.

After a paranoid moment to make sure he isn’t just faking it, she frisks him for the copper token.

Naruto Uzumaki drops down to join her, approaching with a mixed expression on his face. Confused and relieved that they aren’t adding Rock Lee to their alliance–or that she’s not replacing him with Rock Lee. “What was all that about?” he asks.

“Just… figuring something out,” she says, somehow exhausted. It has nothing to do with the genjutsu.

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