Posted: September 23, 2008

Chapter Twelve: Lesson's Taught

"Kikio," Chouji called out his daughter's name as he prepared a sandwich for her lunch and few bags of his favorite chips. They were going to spend the day together. He was going to go over some of the Akimichi family techniques. Kikio was about six years old. She wasn't in the Academy yet both of her parents wanting to wait until she was seven years old.

Chouji immediately frowned as his daughter entered into the kitchen, where he was. She was as beautiful as her mother, no one could deny that, but her features told you what clan she was apart of. The only thing was, for a child of the Akimichi Clan, she was very small. He weight concerned Chouji greatly, but he didn't know how exactly going about improving the situation. "You should eat something before we leave," he suggested, thinking he could ease into it as he zipped up their lunches when they were completed.

"I'm not hungry," she stated as she adjusted her backpack strap on her shoulder. She then smiled up at her father, whose frown had grown deeper. Kikio's smiled faded with the expression. Her father always seemed to be less than happy when it came to her and she didn't understand why. "Is something wrong, father?" she asked.

"Yes," he admitted truthfully. "Training today is going to put a lot on you. I need to make sure you have enough energy and reserves to handle it. We'll start off light, of course, but I need you to eat," his voice seem to beg of her.

"I had breakfast this morning," she told him, still not sure why this was such a big deal. She was strong, she could handle anything.

"It's not enough. Not for our clan. Your calorie intake is very important at this age and is a key to your development," he tried to explain. "You need to gain more weight," he said point blank.

"But mother says, that a girl has to watch her figure if she wants to be considered pretty," Kikio stated matter-of-factly.

Chouji stood there a moment, completely dumbfounded by this daughter's comment. How could Ino tell her such things, when she knew full well about my family's techniques? He wondered. "Your mother-" Chouji began angrily, but stopped himself before he said something negative about his wife in front of his child. "Unpack your things," he told her calmly. He turned around to leave.

Kikio's face dropped, before she reached out and grabbed her father. She had been looking forward to this day all week. "Why?" she wanted to know.

"Because," he sighed. "You're not ready, but it's okay, we have plenty of time." He tried to smile, but didn't quite pull it off.

"I'm ready, father. I am!" Kikio claimed. "Watch." She went over to the refrigerator and grabbed the first thing she saw, which just happen to be her mother's favorite snack. Celery sticks.

Chouji shook his head in disbelief. He then took the snack out of Kikio's hand. "This produces negative calories, because it takes more energy to eat," he explained. He straightened up. "Now, I prefer chips, but. . . " he reached for the cookie jar on the counter. "I know you have a thing for cream filled cookies." His smile was true as he handed her a few. "When you were a toddler, you wouldn't go to sleep at night before you had a few."

Kikio took what her father offered her and began to eat them slowly. Tears slipped down from her eyes as she did so. "What's wrong?" Chouji asked.

The little brown haired girl wiped her blue eyes with the sleeve of her shirt. "I don't want to be fat," she cried softly.

Chouji's expression was emotionless as he took the remaining cookies from her hand and placed them on the counter. "You're not ready." he told her again, not looking at her. "Just go and play with your friends today." He then once again turned around and began to walk away.

"But father-"

Chouji held up his hand and she grew quiet. He said nothing more as he disappeared from her sight. The tears continued to fall down Kikio's cheek as she took off her backpack and dragged it back to her room.

Chouji said nothing to her as she walked by him in the living room with her head down. Chouji watched her back as she continued down the hall. He then watched as she stopped to look at herself in the mirror that hung on the wall. She fixed her hair before she entered her bedroom. Chouji shook his head in disappointment. He realized sadly that Ino had unintentionally poisoned their daughter's mind and that it would take a lot of work to undo the damage. It's just that today was not that day.

OoOoO

Chion gripped his kunai as if his life depended on it. His movements were quick and precise. He knew that one false step could be the end of him. He couldn't stop. Suddenly, his attention was moved above his head. A rain of sharp weapons came at him at startling speeds. He jumped back, landing on his feet as he was forced back, dirt from the Earth rising into the air.

Chion rose to his full height as he breathed heavily. "Ahh!" he screamed out when he felt one of the kunais slice his shoulder. His opposite hand immediately went to cover it, blood pour through his fingers. He then jumped up into the trees. His chakra control, was a little more advance than most his age. "Think, Chion!" he yelled at himself at being so fool to be struck as he wondered which direction to head in.

It had been like this all day. As soon as the sun had risen, it had fallen back under the horizon. It was the strangest thing he had ever witnessed. He recognized it as genjutsu, but neither he nor his teammates knew how to counter it. So for hours they had been left to survive under the moonlit night.

That's when it started, the rain of weapons, well mostly kunais, but they came from every direction. It was then, in the confusion and rush of panic, that Chion, Rio, and Youji separated, neither noticing where the others had headed in the darkness. He hadn't seen them since.

Chion's mother was a med-nin and taught him the basics for healing minor injures. His shoulder was difficult to heal as blood continue to flow out. He dared not stay in one place too long as he move quickly through the tree branches. He wondered how long they had been training. With the sun down and the moon seamlessly stuck in place, it was near impossible to keep up with how much time had past.

"Water Style Jutsu!" Chion suddenly heard to his left. It was his female teammate, Rio. Chion sighed in relief, glad to know one of them was still alive as he headed towards her voice. He dropped to the earth and stay low as she finally came into his sight.

Rio was on a green field, almost out in the open, moon shining bright on her. Chion brow furrowed as he noticed she stood in the middle of a circle barren of any foliage. "Blade Dance!" she yelled out and to Chion's amazement the circle grew. The grass picked itself from the ground and rose to float around Rio. They then began to spin, picking up speed with every rotation. Rio brought her hand to her chest and then raise it to the sky, as if she were the Hokage herself, sending off her trusted Shinobi.

The blades of grass shot out at her command, flying in every direction towards the kunais that charged towards her. Chion's eyes widened as he watched the kunais sliced in half and fall harmlessly at Rio's feet. Soon, all was quite. Then, without warning, Rio gasped in pain and dropped to her knees. Chion didn't understand, not one weapon came close enough to touch her. Why was she in pain?

He could hear her breathing, it was staggered and made with great effort. Rio grasped her chest, willing herself to breath. Lit by the moon, a dark shadow now cast over her. Another attack was coming in. Chion leaned forwarded. She still had not gotten to her feet. At this rate she wasn't going to have time to prepare for it. Without thinking, Chion emerged from his hiding spot and stood in front of Rio, his kunai still in hand. "Get up, dammit!" he demanded of her before the first kunai came within range. He clipped it, and it spun in the air before he snatched it.

Now dual armed nothing could be heard above the clang of metal on metal as Chion deflect each threat. But there was something different about this attack, it wasn't ending! The attacks before, seemed to be at random and only occurred for thirty seconds at a time, but this attack seem to be focused on them and had just crossed the minute mark.

Chion was already exhausted from the long hours and now his reaction time was starting to become a problem. And as the first kunai slipped by him, almost striking his still recovering teammate, he knew he didn't have the stamina for this. They needed help.

Chion screamed out in frustration, trying to push through his fatigue. I'm not strong enough, was the thought that raced through his mind as the density of the attack became thicker. He yelled out again, knowing that at least he would go down fighting.

"Water Style Jutsu," the command was soft and raw. "Hydro Shield." Suddenly the attack stopped completely. Chion made a complete 360 as he noticed a dome made of water had surrounded him. The still ongoing attack could not penetrate it.

"An absolute defense," Chion whispered.

"It's not perfected," Rio informed him, breathing easier now. "I can only get it to form for a few minutes at a time."

"Right." Chion continued to observe the attack. "Then we need to figure out our next step." The words were barely out of his mouth before he collapsed to the dirt below him.

"Chion!" Rio called out, concern in her voice as she moved over to him. "You're dehydrated," she told him. She then held out her hand and a part of the dome tore away and came towards her. "Drink." She lifted up his head. Chion looked at her suspiciously. "It's not poison," she confirmed. "Now hurry. My chakra is almost depleted. I don't know how long his dome will last." Chion gave a single nod before accepting the drink she offered.

He took a deep breath, before slowly standing up, picking up his weapons as he did so. "Are you okay?" he asked Rio.

"I'm fine." She dusted herself off.

"You were down for awhile-"

"I said, I'm fine!" she snapped at him. Her nose flared as she reached into her pouch and pulled out her own kunai. Chion just shrugged it off before turning his attention back to the attack. "What are you doing?" Rio finally asked.

"There's a pattern." He discovered. "Look." He pointed.

She stood by his side, close enough to feel the other's presence, but not close enough to touch. After a minute, she nodded her head. "I see it."

"You're going to release your jutsu," he spoke, watching the pattern carefully. "And we're going to rush this weak spot and head towards the forest.

"Got it." Rio put her kunai at the ready. "Call it."

Chion got ready as well, his eyes intense on what had to be done. "Now!"

The water splashed to the ground and the two ran for it, their kunais moved almost in sync with each other as they caused the ones coming towards them to detour from their original course.

Chion broke a smile as they made it into the clear and hid themselves in the slight safety that the forest provided. Rio turned around just in time to see the attack finally stop. "We should keep moving," she told her teammate as she turned to him.

"No, look!" He grabbed her arm and turned her back around. They both then watched as the weapons picked themselves up and all at the same time shot into the sky where they disappeared in the light of the moon.

"Amazing," Rio spoke to herself. Then, unexpectedly, there was a rustle in the bushes near them. Both ninjas stood at their ready before they saw the face of their smallest teammate. "Youji!" Rio rushed to him as he came crawling towards them.

"I'm hurt," he pointed out the obvious. His leg was bleeding profusely and he looked pale to both his teammates.

"I need you to relax." Chion knelt beside Youji and examine his wound. It was little beyond his skill level – his hand began to glow with blue chakra – but he had to try. "This is going to hurt." He allowed Youji to brace him.

"Ready," Youji told him. Chion then slowly held his hand above the wound. Youji yelled out for a moment, before gritting his teeth. Both hands balled up into a tight fist as he tried to bare the pain. Seconds became minutes, sweat poured down Youji's forehead, but he was unable to take anymore and fainted.

"Chion!" Rio got his attention as he had been focused on Youji's leg.

"It's okay," he assured her. "I expected that to happen." The glow of chakra die from Chion's hand. "It's broken." He wiped the sweat from his own forehead. "I was able to push it back in place, and stop the bleeding, but he needs an actually med-nin. My rudimentary skills aren't going to cut it," his voice was apologetic.

"I understand." Rio looked around to see what they could make a splint out of. "Some training, huh?" she asked just to make conversation.

"Yeah," Chion breathed. "But I have learned something very important through it though."

"Really? What?" Rio asked.

"That our Sensei is apparently insane," he said so matter-of-factly that Rio couldn't help bringing her hand to her mouth to cover her laugh. Finding her giggle kind of cute, Chion smiled, thinking if she didn't look so much like a boy, he probably would have developed a crush on her right then.

To Be Continued. . .


A/N: Yes, I am a procrastinator.