Counterpoise drabble (2015-07-29)

“Okay kids, we’ve got a dead courtier, a missing will, and a highly coveted treaure. Lay it on me,” Riichi-sensei says, head propped lazily in his hand. The four of them are seated in one of the booths of Aomori Teahouse, their usual mission planning spot, each with a cup of chrysanthemum tea steaming in front of them.

Ringo, having lost the daily tussle to avoid sitting next to sensei, goes first. “Incompetent rival,” he suggests with a half-hearted shrug, knowing that first suggestions hardly ever win. By dint of both having less time to think and not being able to compare to other plans.

Konran goes next, “Vengeful servant?” she says, eyes flicking carefully toward their waitress, then the tea pot. It’s a fair possibility, noblemen tend to be entitled assholes, and a servant would only be willing to put up with so much.

Zakuro grins, leaning forward eagerly, because he knows he’s got this one in the bag. “Lost heir,” he says triumphantly, preening as his teammates nod in support.

Riichi-sensei, taking it all in, throws back his tea as if it were sake, and slams the cup back onto the table with a loud thud. “It’s decided. We’ll do the lost heir.”

For reasons which Riichi-sensei refuses to share, Konran has to be the heir. Or, rather, heiress.

“And, anyway, these two can pass off as bodyguards. You, kid? Not so much,” Sensei says, patting the top of her head heavily as if to emphasize the nearly twenty centimeters of height difference between her and her teammates.

For now they’re keeping their identities a secret from everyone but their client, which means face make-up to cover Ringo’s tattoos, colored contacts to darken Zakuro’s irises, and–

“A wig,” Konran demands, quietly but firmly. Her hood is down, which is pretty rare, but even after four months of being a team, they have yet to see her without her bandana.

“It’s just a minor role for a B-rank, kid,” says Riichi-sensei, brow furrowed; he doesn’t understand the reticence.

“If she doesn’t want to, she shouldn’t have to,” Zakuro responds protectively, pulling up Konran’s hood for her. Entirely unnecessary, but kind.

“No one tells Hatake Kakashi to take off his mask,” Ringo adds, equally unnecessary, but just as good-hearted.

“Hatake Kakashi isn’t my subordinate,” Riichi-sensei says, voice gone flinty as it does during the rare serious moments. At his students’ reactions–minute flinch, tightening fists, upright posture–he regulates himself. His voice softens and he tries again, “Blonde hair isn’t that difficult to dye, and it’ll wash right out.”

At that, Konran finally meets his eyes. Bemusedly, she says, “I’m not blonde.”

~

A/N: Random mission for the Counterpoise team. Uh… spoilers? Yeah, they pass. Hahahahah… 😛

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Counterpoise drabble (2015-07-26)

“So what exactly is our jounin-sensei’s test? Who is our jounin-sensei, anyway?” Konran asked, matching pace with their longer strides despite shorter legs as the three of them left the Academy building.

As far as Ringo was concerned, Konran was okay. A little weird, a little quiet, and just plain little, but okay. He and Zakuro could have been assigned worse, truth be told. Like that Hyuuga with a stick up his ass–well, all of the Hyuuga had sticks up their asses, but Hyuuga Shikai was an especially snobby piece of shit–or Yamanaka Shigo who lorded his second degree relation to the Yamanaka clan head as if it were a personal triumph.

Or even Inuzuka Mimi who once threatened to castrate Zakuro with a rusty senbon –though, he did kind of deserve it considering he did shave a stripe of fur off her dog partner, Dangan–and had held a grudge against the two of them (Ringo for not preventing it) ever since.

Well, actually, they ended up on the same team. Which wasn’t surprising, considering all three of them were from big name clans; Probably the shoo-in team for their year.

But he’d enjoy being Team Five with his best friend and Konran for however long it lasted.

“That’s the test,” he said, watching but not interfering as Zakuro circled back behind Konran, “We have to figure out who our jounin-sensei is, then we have to find him, then… well. There might be more after that.”

Without looking, Konran ducked Zakuro’s grab at the hood, but didn’t bother to dodge the friendly shoulder nudge that nearly sent the smaller ninja sprawling.

“Hence the walk to the Administrative Building,” he continued, then reached out and flicked Zakuro’s ear, “Hey asshole, quit antagonizing our teammate.”

“Fuck off, Ringo,” he responded amiably, stretching an arm companionably around said teammate’s shoulders, the height difference forcing him to slouch significantly to do so, “Konran knows I’m just playing.”

Ringo knew that, but they had only just met the kid–Konran might not know that.

Rather than shrugging off the arm, Konran jabbed an elbow into Zakuro’s ribs, taking advantage the height difference, then said, “As if this guy could get my hood off, anyway.”

Zakuro grunted at the pain, but was only mildly offended, “You little shit. Challenge accepted.”

As they neared the Admin Building, the air of playful roughhousing dissipated in the face of all the productivity. They had a mission to do, too, one which decided their future.

~

A/N: I was going to continue but… meh? Maybe tomorrow.

Direct sequel to this Counterpoise drabble from yesterday.

Counterpoise drabble (2015-07-25)

“You a guy or a girl?” asked the Nohara boy, eyes squinted in curiosity. Konran resisted the urge to check her braid, hairpins, bandana, and hood.

“What does it matter?” said the Yuuhi boy, cutting her off before she could answer, “It’s just a brat that they put on our team to fill the numbers. We’re gonna be automatically failed by the jounin-sensei. I’ll end up in the genjutsu squad, you’ll end up in the medic corps, and this one’ll go straight back to the Academy because there’s no way this kid actually passed.”

“Two years isn’t that much of an age difference,” was all she could think to say in response.

“Hey, fuck you, this is our first graduation year, we’re thirteen not fourteen,” retorted the Yuuhi boy.

“What this jackass means to say is that we’re both just kind of tall for our age. We just look old, we didn’t do a repeat year. And to be honest, it’s like he said, when our jounin-sensei rejects us, we’re not coming back to the Academy for a retry. It’s not your fault, though,” the Nohara boy tacked on the reassurance, though his face could only be called a grimace.

“Oh. Three years difference, then,” she corrected, unsure what to do with the rest.

“Fucking shit, you’re ten? Did they just pull a random brat from a classroom and give you a headband. You haven’t even been in the Academy for very long. Goddammit, I knew Tsuyoshi-sensei hated us, but I thought he’d at least be fucking subtle about this,” as the Yuuhi boy devolved into a cuss-filled rant against their Academy teacher, Konran turned questioningly to her other potential teammate.

“We’re both kind of assholes, really. Tsuyoshi-sensei not hating us would be more of a surprise. Though I don’t think the Academy would let them graduate a ten year old who wasn’t actually ready to graduate. Did you really pass the exam? I didn’t think students that young could take it.”

She shrugged.

“Fair enough, I guess. We’re not exactly making good first impressions. I’m Ringo, by the way. That bastard is Zakuro. You’re not named Ichigo or something like that are you? I’d hate to be known as Team Fruit,” Nohara Ringo introduced, idly waving at Yuuhi Zakuro who was now… looping multiple shuriken through a spool of ninja wire?

“Yeah. He does that. It relaxes him, apparently.”

“Okay… I’m Konran,” she returned, minimally, “And, yeah, I did actually pass the exam. I didn’t really want to take it, but my brother did. And… well… I suppose I passed and he didn’t. He’s… not very happy about it.”

“Older brother?” Ringo asked conversationally.

“No, not really. We’re twins. We were hoping to get on the same team if we both passed. I didn’t think one of us wouldn’t,” she tugged at the ends of her sleeves, she knew Naruto wouldn’t pass, so she had been careful to only answer half the questions correctly. She thought both of them would fail.

“That sucks balls,” Zakuro butted in, literally, the metal plate of his headband knocking into Ringo’s shoulder; Ringo ignored it with the air of long practice. Zakuro’s rage, apparently, burned up completely to leave behind coarse affability, “I mean, we’re all going to fail, obviously, but at least I know you got screwed over in this team arrangement as much as we did.”

She shrugged again, then shoved Zakuro’s face away when it began encroaching into her personal space. He laughed, apparently delighted.

Ringo, with a thoughtful expression, asked, “Why don’t we at least try?”

The other two looked at him curiously, silently asking for clarification.

“Well, I’ve gotten used to this jackass over the years, and you seem decent enough considering we’ve only known each other for less than ten minutes. We don’t have to just take their bullshit. If we’re going to fail, we might as well go down fighting, you know? No regrets,” he said firmly, elbow jostling his best friend beside him, eyes never leaving hers.

Zakuro laughed uproariously, simply adding, “Tsuyoshi-sensei can kiss my ass!”

They looked at her expectantly.

She sighed and agreed with a wry smile, “The Academy can go fuck itself.”

~

A/N: Apparently Team Five is also the cussing team.

Yes, more Counterpoise… hooray. I’ve named them, too. So… in my head most people graduate age 12/13, depending on when their birthdays are. Zakuro and Ringo (pomegranate and apple) just happen to be on the older end of the spectrum whereas Konran is on the younger end. So Zakuro and Ringo are in the year above Team Gai’s.