Ch. 2 Meeting
"368, 369, 370, 371, 372, 373, 374, 375…"
Wack, th-wack, swish, twack, th-th-th-th-thwack!
"YOSH! KEEP AT IT MY YOUTHFUL STUDENTS!"
Sigh. Thunk-Thunk-Thunk-Thunk-Thunk. "They sure are enthusiastic about training."
"Is something wrong tenten?" I looked over at my sensei, the look on his face showing he was wondering why I am so side tracked. "Ah, sorry Gai-sensei, I was just wondering how my friend was doing. I haven't checked up on him yet these past few days because of the mission we just finished." A look of understanding came across his face. "Ah yes, the blind young man you met a year ago that you mention from time to time. It's a hard life to live being born blind, I commend him for staying strong and pushing through his disability. Truly the epitome of the springtime of youth! I would very much like to meet this friend of yours."
"Sure sensei, I'll see what I can do. Um….. is it okay if I leave early? Knowing him he's probably on his way to do some grocery shopping today."
"We have nothing else to train in for today so it's fine, say hi to him for me."
"Thanks Gai-sensei! See you tomorrow Lee, Neji!"
Neji and Lee stopped their training and turned to watch TenTen leave. "SEE YOU TOMORROW TENTEN!" shouted Lee as Neji gave a slight nod and a quick "hn", before turning to hide the brief look of jealousy on his face. Gai noticed it and wondered when the boy started feeling like that.
Running to the village from the training fields, Tenten thought back to when she first met the blind blond.
Tenten was heading to the training fields to get some training in with some new weapons she managed to get her hands on. A pair of twin silver sickles connected by a length of chain rested horizontally on her lower back for easy access. Walking into a field that is usually empty at this time of day, a sudden wave of chakra saturated air washed over her, stopping in her tracks she quietly observed the field realizing it was currently being used.
In the middle of the field in a meditative position, sat a blond haired teen around the same age as her. He was wearing dark blue hakama pants and shirt with the some of his chest exposed. Averagely developed muscles showed he wasn't a big fighter nor that he did regular exercise. His face though was what caught her breath in her throat and made her heart skip a beat. His face had little baby fat giving him a chiseled look. Not a blemish on his face. In addition to that his kinda long and wild hair coupled with the cute whisker marks on his cheeks gave him a feral and exotic look. Truly he was drop-dead gorgeous.
Deciding to observe for a bit, she watched as he slowly stood up while holding a battered and chipped looking cane. Keeping his eyes closed, he settled into a sword stance, holding the cane as if it was a sword in front of him in a two handed grip. He remained stock still as a small breeze passed through the field. She held her breath waiting and watching as the wind brought in a few stray leaves.
Suddenly he moved so quickly she could barely keep up with his swings. Right as the leaves came within arms length of him, he struck the first leaf. Without wasting any energy he directed the swing in the path of another, before swinging upwards striking a third. Keeping the momentum, he brought it down striking two, before suddenly spinning and striking three simultaneously.
Watching wide eyed, she saw the leaves fall to the ground cut perfectly in half down the middle, 8 now became 16. With a deep exhale, he straightened up and leant on the cane. The chakra saturated air felt as if it was suddenly rushing towards him and in a matter of moments was completely gone. Suddenly he turned toward her.
"I know you are there. It is not polite to spy on someone while they train you know." he said with an amused smile.
Walking out with a blush and feeling a little hot after that amazing display of swordsmanship, I walk towards him until I am a few feet in front of him. "S-sorry, I was heading here to get some training in with my new weapons when I felt the air around me filled with chakra. I didn't realize someone was already using this field until I was at the edge of it. When I saw you I couldn't help but observe and when I saw you cut those leaves I was just so mesmerized i couldn't look away. I'm sorry." I rubbed the back of my head and gave an awkward laugh.
Keeping his eyes closed he smiled. "It's quite alright, it feels nice to be complimented on my amature skills. If I may ask, what kind of weapons were you going to train in?"
I blinked. "That was amature!?" "Oh! Of course, it's only fair. I have a modified kusarigama, instead of the weight at one end it's another sickle."
I unhooked them, from my back and held them in hand as the chain unrolled itself and fell to the floor. Holding them up to show them off with a smile, my smile slightly dips when I see his eyes are still closed. "Hm...chain? Why would you go with that?"
Blinking at the question, I quickly recompose myself. "The chain has many uses, from distraction to defence, to entrapment, and even to increase my range of attack the more length of chain I use." Demonstrating each potential use, a portion of the chain lands next to his cane. Without me noticing he uses his cane to touch the chain and slip the end of his cane into a chain link. As I pulled my chain back to show the last one, the length goes taut and I jerk back almost dropping the blades. "Eh?" blinking owlishly I turn my head to him as he spoke.
"And, what if a situation like this occurs where your chain becomes trapped and immobile?"
"...AH!" I exclaimed wide eyed in despair at completely overlooking such an obvious weakness. Lightly glaring at the chuckling blond with a blush on my face, I quickly regain my wits and drop the sickles and pull out a scroll. Spinning the scroll I confidently give my response. "Then I switch to my next weapon." smirking at his confused face and unclasping the scroll I get ready to summon another weapon.
Leaning his head to the side he asked "next weapon? You mean kunai and shuriken?"
With a poof I clear the smoke with a swing of the battle axe I summoned and lean it on my shoulder. "Nope, next weapon as in my trusty battle axe or any of the many different weapons I carry on me sealed in scrolls that I am proficient in."
"Heee~ so you're like a walking armory then?"
Sweat dropping I respond "maa, kind of a blunt way to put it but essentially yeah, I'm aiming to be Konoha's best weapons mistress!"
"Hehe, sounds like a good goal to work towards." he said as he picked up his cane, freeing the chain. Sealing up my axe, I pick up my modified kusarigama and roll up the chain again.
"With your permission, may I sit in on your training session? Seeing as how you witnessed mine and all."
A blush crept along my face at being reminded of unintentionally watching his training. "O-of course, I don't mind." he nodded and went to a nearby tree and sat in the shade as I stretched. Taking a stance, I slowly spin the blades to get a feel for them. Suddenly I start feeling the air become saturated in chakra again and turn to the blond sitting against the tree. The chakra seemed to be coming from him. I decided to ask something that has been bugging me since I first laid eyes on him.
"Um...can i ask you something?"
"Sure , go ahead."
"Um, its two actually. Why do you fill the air with your chakra? Also how come you haven't opened your eyes once the whole time we have been talking?"
A look of understanding came over his face as he smiled and chuckled as he gave his response. "Oh, those two can be answered at the same time. The reason for both is because, I'm blind."
"Oh okay." satisfied I turn back to my training and start going through the katas I've learned for the weapon as he leaned against the tree again putting his cane on his lap.
Caw. Caw. Caw.
Halfway through a kata it finally hits me and I trip falling on my butt.
Giggling as I made my way up the stairs to his apartment, I reminisce about the moment I found out he was blind. After the shock and his quick explanation on how he sees and why he fills the air with chakra, we finally introduced ourselves. I found out his name was Naruto, and after teasing him at being called "fishcake", he immediately came back and started calling me "the walking armory". Annoyingly enough he continues to call me that despite my constant effort to get him to just call me tenten.
Reaching his door, I reach into my shirt and pull out a key on a chain. Taking off the spare key he gave me, I unlocked the door and entered. "Naruto! Its me! Where are you?" looking around, the living room was empty and clean save a cup of finished ramen. Heading to his room, I peeked in with a blush on my face. "Are you decent?" seeing no one in the clean room I pout slightly hoping to have at least caught a glimpse of him changing. Walking over to the slightly messy bed, I fix the comforter back in place quickly and pat it flat. Nodding I head to the bathroom and peek inside. "Must have left already, probably to get groceries. I can probably catch up to him if I hurry."
Exiting the apartment and locking the door, I slip the key back over my neck and into my shirt as I make my way down the stairs and start heading towards the market district. Humming to myself as I make my way there I hear a sudden shout and look over at where it came from.
"HOLY SHIT! I am so sorry!"
There was naruto, with a panicking Inuzaka judging by the purple markings on his face, an Aburame that seems….surprised? Thats definitely rare, and a blushing and stuttering Huga. Extremely rare, wait, isn't that Neji's cousin? That makes more sense, he's always talking about how she isn't a "proper" Huga. Naruto looks lost talking to them, I can only imagine what happened. Better save him I guess.
He turned toward me and his face lit up in happiness and recognition.
Gaining a tick mark I glared at him. Again with that nickname! He's still using it ever since I showed off my weapons!
"It's good to hear you again."
With a pout I respond "It's Tenten! TEN-TEN! Would you please stop calling me that and call me by my name?!"
His smile grew and he tilted his head slightly, giving a "loving" sort of look. I could feel the blush spread across my cheeks at his handsome smile.
"But armory-chan is my nickname for you, it fits you so well."
"Mouh!" I puffed my cheeks and turned my head to the side while crossing my arms in front of my chest.
Suddenly a thud came from behind Naruto and I look over his shoulder. The Huga girl seemed to have finally had too much of whatever caused her stuttering and feinted. The Inuzaka ran over and crouched next to her holding her up and lightly slapping her cheek before slapping harder and faster when she wasn't waking up.
"Hinata! Hinata! Stay with us! Snap out of it! HINATA!"
Sweat dropping at their antics, I raise an eyebrow and look at naruto for answers. "Um...What just happened?"
Looking at me with a confused face he replied "Hm...I honestly do not know."
Rubbing my face with my hand I address the two conscious males. "Um, I'll be going with Naruto now, we got shopping to do so….good luck waking up your teammate. Hope she feels better." as we left I could have sworn I heard the huga say "so handsome." Taking naruto's hand with a slight blush I lead him towards the market area keeping in pace with him. We started catching up on how we are doing since we last met up a week ago. Mostly me telling about my missions and my teammate's antics, especially Lee and Gai and their immeasurable need to train constantly and random hugs, while laughing with him about it.
Nearing the market district we hear excited chatter and more noise than usual. Tilting his head toward me he asked "it certainly is more lively than usual. Anything interesting going on?" Taking a moment to think, I remembered what Gai-sensei talked to us about a few days ago. "Actually yeah, the chunin exams are coming up in a few days. I guess everyone is getting ready for it and are talking about who might enter and who might pass and become a chunin."
"Chunin exams? Never heard of it, what's it about?" he asked curiously. "It's like a huge test for genin to show off their skills and prove their worth to show they have matured both in mind and body to move up to the next rank." Nodding in understanding as she led him to a grocery store and start picking out food. "Are you and your team joining this year?" he asked.
Holding a basket and a can of food in one hand and still holding his hand with the other, she absentmindedly replied while reading the can. "Yep, Gai-sensei held us back a year so we could gain more experience and hone our skills. He was finally satisfied in our growth that he nominated us for the exams." putting the can in the basket she led him to the area where the milk and drinks are kept.
"Oh? Then did you figure out the weakness to your all weapon fighting style?" he teased. I stiffened a bit before sending him a light glare with a blush on my face. "N-not yet. Before you say anything, I know. 'What are you gonna do when you meet a proficient wind user and just pushes your airborne weapons?' I'm working on it!" puffing out my cheeks.
Hearing him chuckle I turn to him with a glare. "I have a few ideas you might be able to use." he said with a smile. Damn him and his charming smiles, I just can't stay upset at him when he flashes those smiles at me. Sighing I lead him to the checkout counter, "Alright, I'm curious so tell me when we get back to your place." Grabbing some bags and giving the rest to him, I take his hand and lead him through the market. While looking at a dress in a window display I realize he snuck away and bought snacks and put one in my hand without me realizing. Feeling him smirk at me when I realized this, I slowly look at him with a deadpan look. "You know, for someone who isnt even a ninja, you are SCARILY good at doing things without anyone noticing. You even managed to switch out my jonin sensei's green one piece with a normal outfit while he was walking down the road. And your BLIND! That makes it even more scary!"
I sighed as he just smiles and sticks his tongue out. We sit down on a bench and eat our snacks while we talk some more and take in the energy of the market. Standing up straight I spot a certain store and start leading him over to it. Opening the door and stepping inside with him, I take a deep breath and sigh happily. "I love coming to the weapons store." "As always the overwhelming scent of metal and oils invades my nostrils. It's starting to feel comforting now with as many times you've brought me here." said naruto as he started filling the air in the store with chakra. We turned to the counter as we hear a deep voice coming from the back room. "Just by the chakra in the air it would seem my favorite customers are here for a visit."
A tall bulky man with shaggy black hair, a full beard, and face covered in soot walked out of the back room wiping his hands with a rag. He wore a gray t-shirt, burgundy cargo pants and steel toed shoes. Over his outfit he wore a leather apron with a pocket in front, keeping it in place was a tool belt with various blacksmithing tools, on his forehead was a pair of green shaded goggles. Taking a moment to wipe the soot off his face he smiled brightly at us. "What can I do for my best customers today?" smiling at the rugged man I walk with naruto over to the counter. "Hey Jin! Is my special order ready?" If possible his smile got even bigger as he turned to the shelves behind him and went to the ones encased in glass. "Sure is, took extra care when making this one, gotta say, it's my best work to date. The pinnacle of my skills." carefully pulling out a long, polished, dark red wood box, he closed the cabinet and pulled out a clean cloth and laid it on the counter before setting the box on top. Getting closer to see with naruto joining, curious as to what the rectangle shape contains. 'A new custom weapon for her collection eh? Wonder what she had made.' He thought. Beaming with pride Jin slowly lifted the lid and set it to the side. Inside, sitting on a pillow of purple silk, was a beautiful cane made of the same redwood material as the box. Engraved at the bottom in orange-red was a pile of petals. Two streams of fluttering petals traveled down both sides of the cane to the pile. The head of the cane was a beautifully crafted silver rose.
My breath hitched as I stared wide eyed at the beautiful cane. Breathlessly I managed out a "wow". Taking two clean cloths, Jin carefully picked up the cane. "Made from a giant redwood tree grown by Hashirama Senju himself. The cane itself is sturdy, durable, and so strong it's nearly impossible to break. Took me 4 days to find the right technique to cut the wood, and another week to make it. The rose is made from a rare metal mixture I managed to obtain from Iron country. A perfectly even mixture of meteorite ore and four rare ingots of Tantalum. Cost a pretty penny to obtain and nearly four days just to prepare the metal to start molding.
"Thankfully, there was easily enough metal was left over for the modification you requested TenTen." Holding the body of the cane with a cloth and taking ahold of the head with another cloth, he slowly spun the head. A hand sized portion of the cane under the head twists with it and an audible click was heard. Slowly, Jin pulled the two sections apart revealing a hidden sword within the cane. The blade was a mesmerizing rustic orange that changed to blood red when the light hit it at different angles. Once fully unsheath the blade was the same length and look as a standard katana, only instead of a slight curve along the blade, it was straight with a fire like design near the edge. "Took me six days to forge the blade after preparing it. The constant heat treatment and hammer strikes turned the metal black. Even when i sharpened and filed it with a wet stone it remained the same. Once i polished and coated it however, brought out the multi-colored look you see now."
Resheathing the blade he put the cane back on the silk pillow. Handing over the money for the cane, I turn to naruto. "Interesting new weapon Tenten, though unusual design. Are you going to use it for undercover missions?" he inquired. Smiling at his train of thought, I took his hand. "Actually Naruto-kun, its for you. Happy early birthday!" Feeling a little bold, I give him a kiss on his cheek. Giggling at his stunned face I guide his hand to the cane. "I know you can't see it, but it's a beautiful cane, it's smooth with a beautiful design etched into it." I guide his hand along the cane's surface letting him feel the design. "And the top of the cane is the same shape of of the flower you felt in the flower store." Laying his hand on the head of the cane, I gently take his bags and his old cane. I watched as he lifted the cane, holding it and getting a feel for the weight. "It's light, lighter than my old cane." he said. He gave me a bright and sincere smile, and pulled me into a hug. "Thank you, thank you so much. You have no idea how much this means to me" he muttered. I could feel a few tears touch my cheek and neck and I hugged him back. "I'm glad you like it. It's about time you got rid of that bulky and ragged thing you called a cane." I teased.
He chuckled and pulled back while wiping the tears away. I leaned against the counter, idly noticing Jin leaning on it to watch, as naruto walked to the middle of the shop. With a click, he slowly unsheath the sword, holding the cane in his left hand, he tilted the blade a bit, then adjusted it so the sharp edge was pointing towards the floor. Taking a deep breath he spread his legs and settled into a stance with one hand behind his back. Slowly breathing out, he slowly started to go through various kata that seemed to flow from one to the other like water. To both onlookers, it was breathtaking to watch. He moved swiftly and with grace, not a single move resulted in wasted energy. Not only was the deadly dance mesmerizing, but the sheer fact he was smoothly avoiding obstacles even though he is blind was a feat in and of itself.
This served to once again awe both onlookers at Naruto's ability to saturate the air in the surrounding environment to allow him some form of sight. Exhaling a deep breath, he stood straight with the blade held straight in front of him, with a flick, he slowly resheath the katana. Bringing the chakra back into his body he walked back to the counter with a big smile. "It's perfect" he said. Smiling widely, I turn to Jin with a wink, "Another satisfied customer! Worth every penny."
He smiled and responded, "The pleasure was all mine, I enjoyed every minute of it. Come to me if you want any more custom weapons, I'll give you a discount."
"Thanks! I'll definitely come for that discount." I took out a scroll and sealed the groceries and the box. Putting away the scroll, I grab naruto's hand and lead him to the door. "Bye Jin! See you later!" he waved as we left the store. Leading him down the road our stomachs started growling. "Wanna head back to your place and make dinner?" "Yeah, I'd like that. Your cooking is the best!" He said with a big smile and a slight blush. Feeling my cheeks redden I lead him to his apartment through the crowd as the fall leaves blow through the wind.
A/N: This chapter ended up being longer than I intended because I couldn't find a good cut off point for the entire scene. Hopefully you all like it. Updates will be random, got a full time job and college classes. Plus need inspiration every now and then to write so, hopefully you will stick to this story to the end. I don't plan on abandoning it anytime soon.