Actions

Work Header

Hear the Silence

Chapter Text

Another year passed with little change.

The only thing she could think of that was really different was the fact that Yuuta and Ryota came around to visit every now and then now, joining them for dinner at least once between missions.

Something that Isshun seemed to enjoy, too.

Kyo's lessons intensified and progressed, but much of it were things she had to do on her own, because as the year went, both her parents got sent out more frequently and for longer stretches of time.

But that just meant that she cherished the time she got to spend with her mum and dad all the more.

“Kyo, come here,” Isshun called from the kitchen, and Kyo put down the book she'd been thinking of reading, readily enough trotting out of her room to join her parents. For once home at the same time; a rare treat these days.

“Take a seat, kitten,” Kou said, mentioning at one of the chairs around the table.

Kyo hesitated before she did as asked.

Was she in trouble?

She couldn't think of anything she could have done to warrant a serious talk.

Isshun smiled reassuringly as she sat down as well. There were lines from stress and too little sleep on her face, and the bags under her eyes seemed to have become something of a permanent feature.

Kyo knew that she just needed rest, but that wasn't possible with the Village at war.

Her kaa-san always looked better when she'd been home a while, but then she'd be sent out again and it'd start all over.

“You've turned four now, dear,” Isshun began, rubbing one hand against her neck. As if it was paining her. “And since Kou and I are out of the village so much, we feel we can't teach you enough to really keep you occupied.”

“We know you're bored a lot at my parents' house,” Kou added with an apologetic look.

“So,” Isshun smiled, “we've enrolled you at the Academy for the next starting class.”

Kyo blinked, looking from her mum to her dad and back again.

“And when is that?” She asked tentatively, not sure how she felt about this. It was a bit sudden, to be quite honest.

“In a few weeks,” her tou-san said, smiling a little, as if he thought he knew what she was thinking. “It would reassure the both of us to know there are shinobi around you you could ask for help and guidance from when we're not here.”

“We'll keep up our lessons with you whenever we can, of course, so that wouldn't change,” Isshun added, and it felt like they had rehearsed this.

“Okay?” Kyo tilted her head.

“I know your tou-san and I haven't been here a lot this last year, but hopefully, this year will be better,” Isshun said, though everyone in the room knew that that most likely wouldn't be the case.

From the bits and pieces she'd been able to overhear, the war didn't seem like it was letting up anytime soon, and from what she could remember from Before, there would be more difficulties even after it was over.

“You'll get the chance to make friends your own age,” Kou added, and she suddenly realised what it was they were doing.

“I'm not upset, tou-san,” she told him, smiling a little despite everything. “I know why you've been gone so much.”

It wasn't their fault; she knew. She understood it, but that didn't mean she had to like it.

Kyo wasn't ignorant of the fact that both her parents were coming home with injuries more often, either. Not serious enough to warrant an extended stay at the hospital -like before her third birthday- but enough for her to notice their pain.

She'd tried her best to be at her very best behaviour to make it easier for them, but it was hard.

Memories from another life or not, she was currently a child, and that reflected in her behaviour. To some extent.

Her kaa-san sighed. “We know,” she assured her tiredly. “It still makes us feel sad to leave you so often.”

“I like it best when you're both home,” Kyo admitted softly. “But I know-” she bit her lip and glanced between her parents. “I know why you have to leave.”

“You're going to grow up into a frightening woman,” Kou mused fondly, giving her a slightly wry grin.

“She's our daughter; of course she is,” Isshun sniffed, though it was mostly teasing.

“Listen, I'm heading back out tomorrow, and I won't be back until you've already started,” Kou said, leaning forward to smooth a hand over her hair, pushing it out of her face. “Have fun and don't let the Clan kids push you around, okay?”

“Okay.” Kyo smiled weakly, leaning into her dad's touch. “And you do your best to stay safe,” she shot back.

“Absolutely, kitten.” Kou smiled.

And true enough, Kou left on a mission early the next morning, waking her before sunrise long enough to say goodbye and wish her good luck.

Kyo had gone back to sleep, and gotten up at her normal time a few hours later, eating breakfast with her mother.

Isshun had to work even when she was in the village, and that sometimes meant she had to stay away a few days at a time.

As they drew nearer to the start of term for the Academy, Kyo fell victim to a bout of nerves.

She was definitely excited, because school, but also... she hadn't really interacted much with people outside of the small sphere of adults in her life during the last four years. Three, if you counted from when she'd become self-aware enough.

There were Isshun, Kou, Yuuta and Ryota, her grandparents, occasionally her aunt, and Kenji and Taichi, her cousins being the only other children she had regular contact with.

...what if no one liked her?

It made her feel silly, because Kyo had never really cared about what anyone thought of her, now or Before, but. She was a very independent, somewhat introverted person, but that didn't mean she didn't want friends.

And she wanted friends.

She'd be happy with just one good one.

And that wasn't even touching on the rather loaded subject of the fact that the Academy was there to produce the next generation of shinobi and kunoichi. And Kyo wasn't sure how she felt about that.

For now, it worked better if she didn't think on it too much. Or at all; whichever really.

“Ready for tomorrow?” Isshun asked, making Kyo look up from her poison pack. It was the same one she'd gotten from her mother when she was two, though it contained quite a bit more now than it had back then.

“Kaa-san!” Kyo jumped to her feet and ran for her mother, throwing her arms around her. “I was afraid you wouldn't make it back in time,” she murmured.

“I know, but I did,” Isshun kissed the side of her head and rose with her still in her arms. “Thank you for looking after Kyo-chan, Kentarou,” she said, raising her voice slightly to address her grandfather, who was sitting by the kitchen table going over what Kyo had assumed were papers related to his business. “Go collect your things, Kyo,” she added quietly before she set her back down on the floor.

“Be right back,” Kyo said and dashed off to get the overnight bag that was waiting up in the room she slept in when she was staying here. She slung the backpack over one shoulder and then ran back into the kitchen, where she collected her poison kit and then came to a stop before her mother with a happy grin. “Done!”

“Excellent,” Isshun smiled tiredly, picked her up and gave her grandfather a polite nod before she left.

They took to the roofs the moment they were clear of the house.

Kyo clung to her kaa-san, too happy to have her back in one piece to really enjoy the ride.

Isshun didn't set her down again until they had reached their apartment door.

Home was always dark, empty and felt a bit hollow when none of them had been there for a while, but Kyo would rather be here than at her grandparents' any time.

Not that Isshun and Kou would ever leave her on her own if they could help it.

“Have you eaten?” Isshun asked, placing her sandals off to the side and giving her a look. At Kyo's nod she rubbed a hand over her face. “Then go to bed; you've got a big day tomorrow.”

“Okay,” Kyo said putting her own sandals next to her mother's. “Good night.”

And she ran off to brush her teeth and change for bed.

When she paused to glance over her shoulder before going into the bathroom, it was to see her mum standing slumped against the wall, head tipped back and her eyes closed and it tore at Kyo to see her so exhausted.

Hurrying to get ready for bed, Kyo got out her step-stool, and brushed her teeth. Staring at her own reflection, she took in all the differences from the person she'd used to be before she was Kyo. Instead of long blond hair that was an unruly riot of curls, she now had straight brown hair, the colour of chocolate. Her eyes, unlike both her parents', were a deep blue, remarkably like her eyes from Before. Her skin was tan from all the time she spent outdoors, but there weren't any freckles.

She looked like a pretty even mix of both her parents, and she supposed that would mean she'd grown up to be a reasonably attractive woman?

If she survived that long, anyway.

Spitting and rinsing her toothbrush in the sink, Kyo quickly pushed the small step-stool back under the sink when she was done, and walked to her room.

Finally ready for bed, she peered out of her room to see her mum still in the same position.

“Kaa-san,” she said softly, making Isshun open her eyes and tilt her head to look at her. “You don't have to come tomorrow; I can go by myself.”

She even knew where the Academy was; Ryota had showed her once when tou-san had had to leave abruptly when they'd been having lunch together, asking his teammate to take her to his parents'.

“Of course I'll come,” Isshun said, blinking at her a little, before she managed to push herself off the wall. “It's your big day; I wouldn't miss it for the world.”

“But you're so tired,” Kyo mumbled. And she couldn't help but be worried, because being exhausted and going on dangerous missions, going out into the middle of war, didn't sound like a good combination.

“That's just something that can't be helped,” Isshun sighed, caressing her cheek and straightening. “Now, go to bed. I'll feel better in the morning,” she assured her, and Kyo reluctantly did as told.

.

Waking up especially early, mainly due to an interesting mix of nerves and worry, Kyo got dressed with somewhat uncharacteristic care, choosing a dark-green t-shirt and brown shorts that reached her knees that looked pretty good together.

She eyed the kunai holster -which had seen a lot of use in the last year- before leaving it where it lay. She doubted the Academy instructors would be allowing a bunch of children to bring their own weapons on the first day.

Once she was dressed, Kyo left her room for the kitchen, taking care to be extra silent in the hope she wouldn't wake her mother up; Isshun deserved to sleep a while longer, and they wouldn't have to leave for the Academy for well over two hours.

Her kaa-san could sleep.

Kyo spent some time poking around the kitchen for something simple she could have for breakfast, all the while wondering if she should make some sort of lunch for herself, too.

She was pretty sure she remembered the kids in the manga bringing their own lunch...

And that was something of a Japanese custom, wasn't it?

Not that Konoha was the same as Japan; not even close! But it was still something to bear in mind.

An hour and a half later, Kyo had made herself -and her kaa-san- breakfast, eaten, and made herself a simple lunch to bring. She'd even wrapped the bento up in a neat little package using the cloth she'd found in one cupboard.

Bringing it back into her room, Kyo packed her backpack, making sure to add pencils, erasers and a notebook, because she had no idea whether that was something the Academy would supply them with or not.

That her chosen backpack also happened to be the pack that contained her poison kit didn't even cross her mind, and she absently rearranged the various jars and containers to make room for the new additions.

When she was done, Kyo strapped the pack onto the small of her back, and while it was still too big for her, she had just lengthened the straps as far as they would go and wrapped them twice around her middle instead.

It worked out rather beautifully.

Her hair was short, falling around her ears, so that wasn't anything she had to worry about.

Deeming herself to be ready, Kyo left her room and walked to her parents' bedroom. She creaked the door open, stuck her head inside and eyed her mother's form in the bed, and wondered if she should just go alone.

“Is it time to go?” Isshun asked quietly, her voice rough with sleep.

“In a while,” Kyo returned softly, coming into the room and climbing onto the bed, crawling up until she could collapse on the mattress next to her mother.

Isshun drowsily freed an arm from the covers and wrapped it around her. “Did you wake me with enough time for a shower, I wonder?”

“Yup,” Kyo chirped quietly, burying her face in what she absently realised was her mum's chest. “Kaa-san?”

“Hm?” Isshun hummed, and when Kyo glanced up at her, her eyes were closed.

“You still don't have to come,” she said seriously. “I'd much rather you rest, and we could celebrate later.”

Isshun sighed. “You're far too mature for your age, Kyo-chan. You know that, right?” Her words were heavy, though she sounded wryly amused. “Too observant,” she breathed.

“Sorry,” Kyo buried her face in the covers again.

“Never apologize for who you are,” Isshun replied instantly, sounding far more awake than she had a second ago. “What we do, Kyo, isn't something most people understand, or approve of, but there's nothing dishonourable about it,” she said firmly.

Kyo blinked confusedly at her kaa-san.

What were they talking about now? She felt that they had veered off into a direction she hadn't anticipated and was quite off topic from where they'd started out.

“Okay,” she said when her mother clearly waited for her to say something.

Isshun's lips twisted briefly, into something that wasn't really a smile, but she finally sat up and put her feet on the floor.

“Give me a few minutes and then we'll go,” she said, sounding far more cheerful than Kyo felt the situation really called for.

As they were walking out the door, Isshun swept Kyo into her arms and settled her on her hip, pressing a quick kiss to her temple.

Kyo gave her kaa-san a questioning look, but settled into her hold happily enough, relishing the physical contact.

She'd always been rather tactile; never turning down the chance to cuddle.

And being carried was like one big hug that could last for what felt like forever.

Isshun calmly made her way through the village, keeping to the streets and taking her time, enjoying the pleasant morning. Kyo had made sure they had plenty of time, so there wasn't any reason to hurry.

When the Academy building came into sight, Kyo raised her head from her kaa-san's shoulder, unable to entirely contain her growing excitement.

When Isshun finally ambled into the Academy yard, there were plenty of other parents and children around. Some in shinobi uniform, others clearly civilian, the latter category looking an interesting mix of proud and mildly uneasy.

Kyo quickly turned her attention to the children, though. She tilted her head a little, because it looked to her like most of them were older than her.

“Kaa-san,” she said, making the woman glance at her. “Am I going to be the smallest one?” She asked.

“Possibly,” Isshun shrugged, clearly not concerned. “The civilian-born tend to be a little older.”

She supposed that made sense, if the way Haname-obaa-san treated her was anything to go by. The woman still insisted on treating her like there was nothing between her ears, talking to her like she was still one, rather than four.

Never mind that Kyo had never been the average child.

“Name?” A bland voice inquired, making Kyo start and turn to look at the shinobi her mother had approached while she'd been busy staring at what she assumed would be her future classmates. The man was dressed in what she realised was considered the standard uniform, wearing his hitai-ate on his forehead and holding a clipboard in one hand, pen in the other.

“Shiranui Kyo,” Isshun replied easily.

The Academy sensei scanned his list. “Classroom 1B,” he said after a brief pause. “Parents are advised to leave after greeting the sensei,” he added with a sharp look, as if he thought Isshun would insist to stay.

Kyo blinked, perplexed.

Why would kaa-san stay? She had better things to do, and it wasn't like she didn't know what the Academy entailed.

She frowned to herself and glanced down at her mum, for the first time taking in what she was wearing.

A pair of uniform trousers, a simple t-shirt and her sandals.

She still looked tired, too; worn down to the bone in a way that spoke of too little sleep and too much stress over a long period of time. Kyo supposed the casual observer might think she was an over-worked housewife, though. Possibly married to a shinobi.

The instructor blinked and then turned to the next approaching parent.

Isshun didn't seem the least bit bothered, and just walked into the building, one sure step at a time.

It seemed like no time later when Isshun walked them into classroom 1B, which already held a gaggle of excited children and a handful of straggling parents, some concerned and anxious, and some merely giving a last few parting words.

“Good morning,” a relatively friendly voice said, pulling Kyo's gaze away from the clusters of children and onto who she instantly knew was her new teacher. “Name?”

“Shiranui Kyo,” Kyo said, answering for herself, this time.

“I'm Nara Kouki,” he introduced himself in return. “Please address me as Kouki-sensei.”

Kyo nodded and wasn't surprised when her kaa-san finally set her down. “Yes, sensei.”

“You're free to remain until the class has received the formal introduction speech,” Kouki-sensei said with a glance at her kaa-san, though he didn't look like he expected Isshun to actually stay.

She gave him a small, quick smile and then crouched down to be closer to Kyo's level.

“Remember what we talked about this morning, and remember to take your next dosage with lunch, okay?”

“Yeah.” Kyo smiled, wrapped her arms around her mother's neck for one last hug and then stepped back. “See you later, kaa-san.”

“Have fun,” Isshun gave her a sharp, quicksilver grin before she stood back to her feet and stalked off, no doubt to go back home and return to bed.

Kyo looked after her until she disappeared around the corner and then turned back to the waiting Kouki-sensei.

“Are there designated seats?” Kyo asked, having to crane her neck to look her new sensei in the eyes. He was rather tall, now that she was back on the ground.

“No, you can sit wherever,” Kouki said, giving her a sharp but brief look before he turned back to the doorway a second before the next student and parent pair arrived.

Kyo walked further into the classroom and snagged herself a seat in the back of the room closest to the windows, which would give her a good overview of the room, and the option to zone out and stare out the window if the situation demanded it.

Which it would, no doubt.

School was awesome, but it could also be mind-numbingly boring at times.

Kyo settled down to wait, watching the children that arrived and amused herself by trying to see if she found any of them the slightest familiar.

She'd really like to know where in the time-line she was.

Oh, God, what if this was supposed to be the First Shinobi War? Then Genma may very well end up being her son, rather than the other way around...

Would her children get her surname, though? Or would she just not get married, Kyo wondered with a bizarre sense of morbid fascination. That would give any children she had the Shiranui name for sure.

“Everyone settle down!” Kouki-sensei finally said, causing the excited chatter to die down almost instantly, every single child -and the few parents- fixing him with their full attention. “Unless you missed it when you came in, I am Nara Kouki. You will address me as either Kouki-sensei, or just sensei while you are here,” he said, brown gaze sliding from child to child. “While you're here, my word is law, and I don't want to deal with anyone who thinks that's negotiable. Understood?”

“Yes, sensei,” Kyo answered completely by rote, along with two others.

Some of the other children snickered quietly, making Kyo blink.

Kouki-sensei gave them all an unimpressed look. “I said; Understood?”

This time, the whole class answered him.

“Better,” the Nara nodded. “You're all here to become Konoha shinobi, and that is the standard I will hold you to.”

He gave a nod to the four parents that had stayed, clearly signalling that it was time for the four civilians to leave, and didn't continue his introductory speech until they were gone.

By the time her kaa-san came to pick her up at the end of the day, Kyo was exhausted.

She hadn't been surrounded by this many children since... since her last life.

And yeah, she definitely wasn't jealous of the Academy sensei; having to deal with all these children, with eventual access to lethal weapons. No, thank you, being a stand-in teacher at a normal school had been bad enough.

Kyo was pretty sure if anyone ever tried to make her work at the Academy, she'd start a revolt.

Or end up being the shittiest teacher ever. Or just poison the local water source.

Whichever worked best.

“How was it?” Isshun asked, picking her up and giving her a congratulatory hug. She looked like she'd spent the hours since they'd last seen each other in bed, and she looked slightly better as a result.

“Interesting,” Kyo answered honestly. “Kouki-sensei didn't tell us anything I didn't already know, though.”

“He's got to save something for the rest of the year, sweetheart,” Isshun smiled, pressed a quick kiss to her temple and then walked in the direction of home. “Hungry?” She asked.

“Starving,” Kyo grinned.

“Then let's get something to eat,” Isshun declared. “If you feel like you're up to it, there's something I want to do afterwards.”

Curiosity sufficiently piqued, Kyo nodded and settled into her mother's arms, savouring the feel of a very good day.

The only thing that could have made it perfect was if her dad had been there, too.

.

Fed, watered and having gotten a few hours to recuperate from her first day at the Academy, Kyo was eagerly following her kaa-san as she led the way towards what she knew was the closest training ground.

Kouki-sensei had told them that their schedule meant that they'd normally have longer days, but since it'd been the very first one, it'd been shorter. Because of all the paperwork that had to be taken care of, and the preparations for the mandatory medical examination they'd all have to submit to in the course of the week.

Kyo wasn't overly worried about that; she'd hardly even had a cold that she could remember, here. And she felt fine, so she didn't think it was anything to dread.

It was most likely just so that they knew if any of the kids had any unexpected health issues, make sure they got blood samples and get them used to procedure, probably.

“Okay!” Isshun said once they reached their destination, turning around so that she was facing Kyo, who straightened expectantly. “Now that you've taken the first official step to becoming a Genin,” she began with a gently teasing grin, “I feel it is time to show you a technique of mine that my mother taught me.”

“Really?” Kyo couldn't help but ask, feeling eager and excited, because she didn't think her kaa-san had ever mentioned her own parents before and Kyo hadn't thought to ask.

Isshun nodded. “Show me how far you've gotten with your aim,” she ordered, pulling Kyo's child-sized kunai holster from a pocket.

Kyo took the heavy bundle, pulled out a kunai and, after checking the distance to the closest target, threw it with far more success than when she'd first started.

Having had so much time to herself had at least meant she'd had plenty of opportunity to practise her aim, which showed.

She very rarely missed anything she aimed at now, and nine times out of ten, hit dead centre.

It'd gotten to the point where throwing practise was more about the force she could put behind and how fast she could throw the knives.

“Very good,” Isshun praised, eyeing the kunai lodged firmly in the wooden post.

Kyo watched curiously as Isshun settled on the ground, pulling a scroll from her other pocket. Without having to be asked, she quickly settled down next to her mother to see what it was.

Isshun unrolled part of the scroll, which revealed a rather complex looking collection of kanji and marks she was fairly sure weren't part of any alphabet.

With a start, she realised what it was she was looking at; fuuinjutsu.

Isshun pressed her fingers against the edge of the seal, pulsed her chakra once, which resulted in a small cloud of thin smoke. Clearing quickly, it revealed a pouch that looked somewhat similar to Kyo's poison kit.

She was actually pretty sure she'd seen Isshun handle pouches like this one before, while preparing for missions.

Her kaa-san rolled up the scroll and put it away before she opened up the pouch and tilted it to show Kyo was was inside.

Kyo peered down at what looked like-

“Needles?” She asked, blinking a bit.

“Senbon,” Isshun agreed, pulling out a bundle of thin, shiny, wickedly sharp needles, about as long as her hand, from the base of her palm to the tip of her middle finger. “And needles, yes,” she finished, pulling out a second bundle, this one smaller, if only because the needles were what at a glance looked like regular sewing needles.

At a closer inspection, Kyo could see that they were a bit sturdier-looking, lacked an eye and were pointy in both ends.

“This is a family technique,” Isshun said, sliding one each of the needles out of their respective bundles, and Kyo watched her twirl the senbon expertly between her fingers. “Watch carefully, Kyo-chan.”

And she proceeded to flick her hand in a seemingly harmless manner, leaving her hand empty.

Kyo jumped to her feet and ran over to the wooden post, where the senbon was struck firmly, half of it sunken into the worn wood. The only reason she knew the smaller needle had hit at all was because there was a tiny mark in the wood, and she could only assume the entire thing had lodged itself entirely in the post, leaving nothing more than a pinprick hole behind.

After trying -and failing- to pull the senbon out, Kyo rushed back to her mother, unable to keep from grinning.

“That was awesome, kaa-san!” She couldn't help but gush, because it really, really was.

“Thank you,” Isshun smiled sedately, though she looked pretty pleased with her reaction. “Here,” she continued, handing Kyo one of the senbon. “this is how you hold it.” And she carefully arranged Kyo's small fingers around the cold, smooth steel needle.

It looked so much bigger in her hand.

“Do I throw it like a kunai?” Kyo wondered, looking over her hand and trying to memorize the positioning of her fingers.

“It's similar enough, though this is far more of a precision weapon,” her kaa-san explained gently. “The wind resistance is different, so you'll have to practise to get a feel for it.”

“Okay.” Kyo nodded, because that made sense. “Can I try?”

“Of course,” Isshun laughed. “That's why we're here. Try a few times, and then I'll show you how to handle the needles,” she promised.

Kyo grinned and turned to the wooden post.

It was so easy to ignore the reasons behind this training, the aim for all these skills her parents were imparting to her. She loved to learn, she did, and it felt like her mother and father were merely doing their best to hand down their life-skills.

And they were.

It was just, the way those skills were intended to be used weren't exactly something that would have been... socially acceptable in her life Before. Would have been ethically and morally abhorrent, actually.

It was just easier not to think about it.

Kyo concentrated, checked that her hold on the needle -so different from a kunai; slimmer and lighter- was still correct, and then tried to throw it like she'd grown accustomed to do with the knives.

It went wide.

With a small frown, Kyo picked up another one and tried again. And again, until one at a time, the entire bundle of senbon had been thrown at the post. At least she seemed to have adjusted some and had started hitting her target, even though it wasn't anywhere near as impressive as her mother's casual demonstration.

Without prompting, Kyo bounced over to collect all the senbon, gathering them from the ground around the post and pulling a few from the wood.

She still couldn't budge the one her kaa-san had thrown.

Putting down the handful of senbon, Kyo turned expectant eyes on her mother, and Isshun smiled.

“There are different ways to do this, sweetheart, but this is my preferred method,” she said, picking up one of the smaller needles and showing Kyo how she placed it in her hand, holding it between her fingers in a way that made it almost disappear entirely from sight.

With a small grin at her daughter, Isshun flicked her hand, though her fingers stood for most of the motion, and sent the needle at their wooden target.

Kyo tilted her head. “That looks difficult,” she commented absently, picking one up for herself and trying to place the needle just so.

It didn't quite work, because even though the needles were much smaller and shorter than the senbon, they were still longer than the length of her fingers. Which meant she couldn't hide them entirely like her mother had done.

“You'll grow, Kyo,” Isshun assured her warmly, adjusting her hold a little and then gently turned her in the direction of the target. “And it'll feel more natural once you've gotten used to it.”

“Yeah, I know,” Kyo muttered distractedly, frowning as she prepared to give it a try. “It feels a bit weird.” Like she wasn't really holding anything at all.

Isshun hummed, pushing her elbow a fraction closer to her body. “I know your tou-san's told you before, but it's all in the wrist. Now, give it a try.”

Kyo took aim and made an attempt, doing the best she could to flick her wrist in the small, sharp motion her kaa-san had done.

“Did it miss?” She asked, squinting at the post.

“It fell a bit short, I'm afraid.” Isshun chuckled, ruffling her hair gently. “It was a very good first attempt, though.”

“They're so small,” Kyo groused, but her mother's words made her straighten slightly. “It's hard to see.”

“It's all about practise,” Isshun repeated for what felt like the hundredth time, making Kyo sigh.

She knew it was true, but that didn't change the fact of the matter; she could see hours upon hours of training in front of her.

At least it would give her something to do while her parents were away if the Academy turned out to be as horrifyingly boring as Naruto had seemed to think.

-x-x-x-