Naruto: Tetsuden - 003
You guys seem to be enjoying the first two chapters:D Hopefully, this one gets just as good reception
Here's the previous chapters if you missed them:
Chapter 003: Team Suzaku
The two childhood friends embraced a short while longer before separating once again. Nearly a year older than the triplets, Minto Sarutobi stood only inches taller than each of them, Kei being the sole exception. Sporting his grandfather’s brown hair, though his was shaggy rather than standing on end, he wore dark-grey pants and a light-green shirt, the sleeves of which he kept rolled up just beneath the elbow. In addition, he wore three pouches around his waist that contained his weapons, wearing his forehead protector in the same manner as Airon, a sign of their close friendship. Among other less significant mannerisms, his most predominant was the near constant presence of a mint gnashed between his teeth, his supply of which never seemed to run low, …much to the wonder of his friends and acquaintances.
Minto: You all prepared for today, Airon?
Airon: Hmhmhm, you should know the answer to that, my friend.
His confident expression quickly adopted small traces of concern for his good friend.
Airon: …Actually, I was meaning to ask YOU that.
Minto: Hey, don’t be wasting all your concern on me now.
He shot a quick glance behind him at the other male member of his team before turning back to Airon, his voice now lowered slightly.
Minto: …I think your attention would serve better elsewhere, anyways.
Recognizing his intentions, Airon respected them and turned to greet his teammate. Shorter than the others, with the exception of the third member of Minto’s team, he sported unkempt grey hair that fell past his shoulders and wore little more than the village’s standard blue suit, his forehead protector worn in its proper place, as opposed to the mannerisms of Airon and his teammates. …From his expression and the sideways glances he kept making at their surroundings, one would assume that he felt rather…anxious, perhaps even uncomfortable, …which would explain why Minto was so concerned about him.
Airon: (He adopted a small smile before placing his hand on the boy’s shoulder.) You look a little nervous, Taigen. …Are you holding up alright?
Taigen: (Looking up at Airon, he manages a smirk before returning to his previous expression.) …Yeah, I suppose. …Just not…
Airon: Used to it?
Taigen: (Looking up again, he paused a moment before nodding.) …Well, yeah. …I’ve just got my doubts about what we’re doing here is all.
Minto: (Using a rather straightforward tone, he threw his arm around Taigen’s shoulders in hopes of reassuring him.) Hey, I told you already, buddy. The exams will only last a few days. We’ll get through ‘em just fine…and so will you.
Taigen: (Taking notice of Minto’s obvious ignorance of the risks involved in what they were trying to do, he simply rolled his eyes and smiled in amusement.) …Hmhm, well, I hope you’re right about that, Minto.
Minto: Hehe, of course I’m right.
Airon: (Seeing the bluntness in this remark, he looked over at Minto with one eyebrow raised slightly.) Being awfully frank, aren’t we?
Minto: (Shrugging his shoulders, he looked at Airon with a matter-of-fact expression.) Heh, not really. After all, you agree with me, too, and if Airon thinks it’s true, then it has to-
Airon: Alright, alright!
Holding up his opened palm and turning away for a moment, he took on an amused, though somewhat annoyed, expression before looking back.
Airon: …C’mon, Minto, stop making me out to be smarter than I really am.
????: Hmhmhm, well, he does have every reason to think that way, Airon.
Airon: (Directing his attention towards the last member of Minto’s team, he adopted a look of both adoration and small traces of anxiety, …almost as if he were afraid to lock eyes with her.) …Yeah, I guess he does.
Inase: (Oh? Awfully quick to agree with Nakama, aren’t we, Airon?)
Airon: (Can it, little sister.)
Having known her ever since she was brought to the village, Nakama was as much a sister to Airon as Minto was his brother. Standing hardly five feet tall, her most predominant feature was her smooth, jet-black hair, which fell far past her waist. Wearing dark pants and a white sweater beneath her open, dark-blue overcoat, she tied her forehead protector around her waist, just as Airon and Minto were accustomed to doing. In contrast to the others, she had no pouches filled with additional ninja tools to speak of, simply because she’s never once needed to use them. Her persona was typically laden with kindness and some timidity, at least while in the presence of those she isn’t familiar with, though on very rare occasions, she had been known to let her emotions get the better of her, be they anger or sadness. …As a whole, she was simply pleasant to be around in a social manner, something that those who knew her would gladly consent to.
Airon: …You sleep alright last night?
Nakama: (Tilting her head and shrugging her shoulders, she looked up at him with a smile on her face.) Yeah, I slept just fine, …hmhm, better than you did, I would imagine.
Airon: Hehehe, hey, I only ever admitted to being smart. …I never said I was wise.
Walking up behind him, Naruto threw his arm around him and pulled him in closer, rubbing his arm as they stood there, much to Airon’s displeasure, …though he knew better than to make that known.
Naruto: Eh, you’re plenty wise, Airon. Don’t fool yourself.
Releasing him, he looked up at the sun and at their surroundings before turning back to the small group of genin in front of him.
Naruto: Well then, I think you six kids might wanna head inside now. …I’ve gotta go find the rest of the instructors. I’ll see you again once you make it through the second round of the exams. …Suzaku, you should probably get over to the Standby Station.
Nodding in agreement, Minto’s father and sensei walked back over to his team one last time to give them some last-minute encouragement, starting first with Nakama.
Suzaku: I doubt you’ll need it, but be sure to watch your back and take good care of your teammates, alright?
Nakama: (Nodding, she looked up with a pleasant smile on her face at her sensei, whom she greatly respected.) Yes, Suzaku-sensei. I will.
Suzaku: Hmhm, that a girl.
Turning next to Taigen, he placed his hand on his student’s shoulder just as Airon had previously done and gave him a reassuring look.
Suzaku: Hey, …you’re gonna do fine, Taigen. You have a lot of others here who care about you. Just have faith in them and have a little in yourself while you’re at it, alright? …Also, be sure not to push yourself harder than you can take. That could end up having its consequences.
Taigen: (Taking every piece of advice he gave to heart, he nodded his head firmly to assure him that he understood.) Yes, sir. Won’t let you down.
Suzaku: (Patting him on the arm a few times, he turned lastly to his son.) This should go without saying, but…just be careful out there, alright? I’ve got all the faith in the world in you, you know that.
Minto: (Looking up at him with his hands in his pockets, he hesitated a moment before nodding.) …Yeah, …I got it, Dad.
Suzaku: Hmhm, I know you do, son. …Alright, I guess I should get going. You be sure to tell Raiden I said good luck to him, too, okay?
Minto: (The small smile he had managed to form on his face slowly vanished at the mentioning on his younger brother’s name.) …Got it. I’ll do that.
Suzaku: (Reading between the lines, he knew full well what was really going through his son’s mind, but decided it best not to address the issue.) …Alright. I’m heading off, then. Good luck!
Waving the genin off one last time, Naruto and Suzaku started running off in the direction of Jōnin Standby Station, where the other sensei were bound to be waiting. Seeing them off, Airon waited until they were out of sight before turning back to his friends and siblings.
Airon: Well, I suppose we should get going, then.
Pulling the Academy door open, he stepped aside to allow Kei, Inase, Minto, Taigen, and Nakama through before walking inside himself.
Kei: (Taking a quick look around the front hall, he rested his hands on the back of his head before turning around and smiling at his siblings.) Man, it’s been a while since we had to come here!
Airon: (Having graduated from the Academy long before his siblings were even enrolled, the inside of the building seemed far more foreign to him in nature, as was emphasized by his expression as he looked around.) …Yeah, …it certainly has.
Walking quietly through what remained of this hallway, the group came to a stop at a small door resting at its end, which, …upon being opened by Kei, revealed to them a sea of fellow genin, each of whom was there to participate in the exams…and many of whom had traveled from distant countries to do so. The reactions from the group were slightly varied. Nakama, Inase, and Taigen appeared astonished by the sheer size of their competition, Minto appeared somewhat confident on the surface, though traces of worry were obvious throughout, …and Airon and Kei simply grinned at the prospect of defeating every last one of them.
Inase: (Taking an educated guess as to what her eldest brother was thinking, she turned around to look at him.) Do you have the head count yet?
Airon: (Leaned back against the wall with his hands in his pockets, he paused a moment to finish counting before answering her.) …Two hundred and…thirty-seven.
Rather surprised by the unusually high number of participants, she turned back to look at the enormous group, her eyes now widened in further astonishment. Having also heard his answer, the others followed Inase’s example.
Nakama: …Well, …there are many different villages being represented here.
Taigen: That’s true.
Minto: Still, though, …to have such a large group is just…unheard of.
Kei: (In contrast to the opinions of Minto’s team, his take on the large group was far more optimistic…and headstrong.) Hehe, well, I think it’s awesome! Just more faces to smash in, in my opinion!
Minto: …Blunt, Kei. …Awfully blunt.
As the others debated with each other about their competition, Airon and Inase stood nearby, evaluating the crowd of genin before them. …They weren’t exactly giving the most positive appraisals.
Airon: What do you see…when you look at them, Inase?
Inase: (On the surface or beneath it?)
Inase: (Looking around after receiving his answer, she stood there, silent and pondering, answering him upon finishing her analysis.) I see…nervousness, …angst, …fear.
Airon: (Somewhat pleased by her answer, he turned to look back out into the crowd, a smirk budding on his face as he did.) Hmhmhmhm, all the confident faces in the world and yet no confidence to speak of. …Heh, it’s almost poetic.
Inase: Hmhm, well, they have every reason to be doubt their abilities.
????: Heh, and they should, …what with Airon and Manako participating this year.
More members of the new generation appear at the Chūnin Exams!!!