Word Prompts (N16): Numbers

This exam is a farce. She knows it, Anko-senpai knows it, even the Hokage knows it. But she still has to participate anyway.

Standing amongst the other victors of the preliminaries is so strange. All of them lined up on the arena floor, as if they were all equals. As if she weren’t superior to them.

She’s proud of her chuunin rank, and it grates to be considered a talented genin instead. On the other hand, it’s ridiculously amusing that her two bunshin teammates are also standing in the line. As if they were as human as the rest.

Anko-senpai offers the box full of papers for the final tournament, a sly smile curling on her lips. Normally Tetsuki, the Tetsuki of Konoha, would make a silly face back perhaps stick out her tongue because she is a coworker and a junior and a friend; confident in her place. But here and now she is Tetsuki of Kumo, a genin from an enemy land, whose confidence would be nothing more than bravado when faced with a Konoha jounin.

So Tetsuki bares her teeth. Next to her, her bunshin teammates react accordingly. Hibari-senpai’s stoicism doesn’t waver, but Ryohei’s smile edges just that little bit towards manic.

The papers are altered tags which can change their content however it pleases the holder of the box. In this case, Anko-senpai.

Tetsuki of Konoha trusts her. Anko-senpai wouldn’t make her suffer through this cover for an additional month if it weren’t for a good reason.

But the Tetsuki of Kumo doesn’t know that. She looks at the numbers, at the match-ups, and sees how her two teammates are paired off against each other. All the better to reduce Kumo’s odds of promotion, no doubt. Tetsuki of Konoha knows that it’s really to keep her bunshin’s strength in reserve, but that is not her right now. And so she can only glare balefully at the Konoha jounin around her. Can only turn away from the Konoha genin, especially the one that looks too chillingly like the nightmare fodder of Yellow Flash, and walk away.

~

A/N: I DID NOT KNOW I WAS PAST MIDNIGHT. HAVE THIS TINY-ASS DRABBLE OF EXTERNALITY. And, remember, kids, Externality is a SI!OC from my KHR fic Trailblazers reincarnated into the Naruto universe.