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Hear the Silence

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Kyo stared down at the test in front of her, taking in the questions and her own scribbled answers.

She'd filled out every single one of them, even the ones she hadn't been sure of.

There wasn't anything more she could do, though, so she deliberately put her pen down and leaned back, ending up staring at the clock on the wall instead.

Fifteen minutes later, Takuma-sensei gave them all a sharp-eyed scan. “Pens down,” he declared firmly. “You will now be called out to perform the three Academy ninjutsu; henge, kawarimi and bunshin. First up; Aburame Aoi.”

A quiet girl, mostly covered up by her clothes, rose and walked to the door to wait for Takuma-sensei while he collected all the tests.

“The rest of you wait in here until you're called.” He fixed them with a rather gimlet eye. “I don't want any incidents, understood?”

“Yes, sensei,” they all chorused.

Satisfied, Takuma-sensei nodded and left with Aburame Aoi, taking the pile of tests with him, presumably so they could get graded.

Kyo waited silently, feeling surprisingly calm.

She wasn't worried.

None of the students that exited the room came back again, most likely so they couldn't blab about what it was like. But also not to humiliate the ones who hadn't passed, Kyo liked to think.

That would just be mean.

“Shiranui Kyo,” Takuma-sensei said from the door, impatiently waving her over.

Kyo quickly got to her feet and followed the man a door down the corridor and then into the examination room.

Souma-sensei was sitting by the single table in the room, reclined in his chair and looking supremely bored, uninterested. He sat up more properly when he spotted Kyo, though.

“Hey, kid,” he greeted with lazy smile.

“Hey, Souma-sensei.” Kyo smiled. “Should I just start?” She asked, giving Takuma-sensei a questioning look.

When the man nodded, she brought her hands together and carefully formed the correct hand seals for a henge.

It was a bit like covering yourself with an elastic layer of chakra that you could shape however you wanted.

What it boiled down to, really, was your attention to detail.

Kyo chose to henge into her current teacher, making sure to keep her face severe and unamused, the posture the tense-relaxed mix she'd noticed in most shinobi she'd come across in the village.

When the two men spent first one, then two second to scrutiny her, Kyo crossed her arms over her chest and gave them the impatient look Takuma-sensei gave his class when he thought they were taking too long on something.

Souma-sensei gave an amused snort, and even Takuma looked vaguely entertained.

“Next one,” Takuma-sensei finally said, and Kyo dispersed the henge, which dissipated into smoke.

Kyo grabbed one of her -not poisoned- senbon, tossed it over her shoulder and then used a kawarimi to change places with it.

The sound of it falling to the floor in the spot she'd just been in was highly satisfying.

The kawarimi was weird, because it was like... latching on to something with your chakra, to switch places with.

She walked back to the spot in front of the table, picked up her senbon and sped through the hand seals for the bunshin.

Which was basically just a chakra construct of yourself; an illusion.

The kage bunshin Naruto had favoured seemed much more useful, though Kyo didn't delude herself into thinking she had enough chakra to make even one.

She was comfortably average when it came to chakra capacity.

“Very well done,” Takuma-sensei said when the three bunshin she'd made had been dispelled. “You pass.”

Kyo blinked, a small, involuntary smile on her face as she accepted the seemingly innocuous piece of metal with the Konoha crest, fastened onto a piece of thick, durable fabric.

“Thank you,” she said, mostly by route.

“Come back in a week's time for team assignments,” Takuma said, giving her an approving nod. “Dissmissed.”

Kyo gave them both a quick bow, and then made her escape, hitai-ate clutched in one hand.

“Congratulations, Kyo,” her tou-san greeted her when she stepped outside.

Temporarily snapped out of her daze, Kyo grinned and threw herself at her dad, delighted when he wrapped her up in a tight hug.

Before she knew it, she was back home, sitting by the kitchen table for the celebratory feast kaa-san had prepared.

“Hold Genma-chan for me a second, Kyo,” Isshun said, handing her the almost three months old boy.

Kyo took him and managed to settle the little menace against her chest before he got hold of anything on the table he could potentially send to the floor.

Absently running a hand soothingly over Genma's light blond, almost white, wispy hair, she tried to assimilate her day.

“Are you alright, kitten?” Kou finally asked. He'd been sending her concerned glances ever since he'd surprised her at the Academy

Kyo shrugged, staring down at Genma, who gave her a toothless grin, trying to reach up to pull her hair.

She deftly caught his tiny hand before it could reach her face and potentially poke out an eye. Or make her bleed; baby nails were awfully sharp.

“I thought I was too young to be a Genin,” she finally blurted, peering up at her parents through her lashes.

That was why she hadn't been worried during the tests! She'd figured that they wouldn't let her graduate no matter how she did; she was just six!

“Well,” tou-san said, blinking a little, as if that wasn't what he had been expecting. “They won't keep you at the Academy if they feel there's nothing more they can teach you. Especially not in war times.” He grimaced at the reminder, giving her a worried once-over.

“Konoha needs all the manpower she can get,” Isshun agreed, sighing sadly.

“Even a Genin like me?” Kyo asked weakly.

“Especially Genin like you,” Kou answered, though he looked faintly conflicted about it. “You're very intelligent, Kyo.”

Kyo shrugged uncomfortably, tickling Genma a little when he squirmed. “I just read the assignments,” she muttered.

Kou and Isshun exchanged a mildly amused, exasperated look. “If that was all, then your sensei would not have pushed you up for early graduation,” kaa-san said frankly, shaking her head and finally taking her seat. “Now, let's enjoy dinner and celebrate the occasion, okay?” She smiled.

“Okay,” Kyo sighed, thought there still felt like there was a cold, heavy lump sitting in her stomach.

She'd been counting on several more years before she'd have to- before she became a Genin.

Kyo just couldn't see herself surviving in the middle of this war when even her tou-san had almost died! Probably more often than she knew or would like to even think about.

“You should be proud of yourself, Kyo,” tou-san said softly, reaching out to pull a hand over her hair. “I know I am.”

Kyo couldn't help but smile at her tou-san, who seemingly couldn't resist ruffling her hair before he turned to his food, smirking at the annoyed look she sent him.

Genma made happy baby noises, though, so at least someone found it amusing.


The week passed far too quickly for her tastes, and soon enough, it was time to return to the Academy.

To be placed on a Genin team.

Kou and Isshun had both given her a few graduating gifts.

Tou-san had given her three sets of new kunai, with accompanying holsters; one for each leg, as well as ninja wire, shuriken and a few other things it was good to have with you on missions.

Kaa-san had given her a full kit, everything she'd need to make her own poisons, prepare needles and what else you could think of. She'd also given Kyo several sets of needles and senbon, and a pair of cuff-like holster things to store the small needles in for easy reach in the field.

Kyo loved it all, but it hadn't helped sooth her inner turmoil. Much.

Settling down in what she assumed was now her former classroom, Kyo waited for Takuma-sensei to arrive to announce the teams.

The weight on her forehead made it impossible to forget why she was here, or how her life would change from this point on.

“So you graduated, too,” a cheerful voice commented, making Kyo start.

The only person to have ever really talked to her in this class was-

“Yamanaka Inoichi,” she returned, giving the boy a curious look. “I didn't steal it, if that's what you're wondering.”

Inoichi blinked, his eyes practically lighting up with amusement. “Wouldn't that qualify you to be a Genin, though? If you could manage to actually steal from sensei?” He mused.

Kyo huffed what was almost a snort. “We're just supposed to steal from other Villages,” she told him solemnly.

In her old life, she would've said you weren't supposed to steal at all, but the rules were different here. Stealing from the enemy was quite encouraged.

Inoichi snickered quietly. “Who do you think will end up on your team?” He asked curiously, not seeming even half as bothered about it as Kyo felt.

She'd been thinking about it all week, and there weren't anyone in this class she could see herself working successfully with. Possibly Inoichi, but yeah, he was already taken, wasn't he?

Kyo glanced quickly at where Shikaku and Chouza sat, respectively.

“No idea,” Kyo shrugged. “It's up to the sensei, I suppose,” though she was fairly certain there were even higher ranking people involved in arranging the teams.

She wasn't sure if the Hokage got involved when one of the students weren't the resident Jinchuuriki, but it sort of sounded a bit far-fetched. And she'd already come to the conclusion that she couldn't just assume that everything from the manga was entirely correct.

She'd get killed that way.

And besides, with her being here, just that was bound to change a few things. Inconsequential as they might be.

Kyo frowned and tilted her head. She couldn't see herself doing all that much of a difference, if she was honest. She was realistic enough that she was fully aware her biggest concern was her own survival, followed by that of her family.

She was selfish, and she didn't have any desire to die for some hair-brained plan that might not even work.

Kyo was one person, of no particular importance or consideration.

“I just hope I won't end up with Satsuki,” Inoichi admitted with a small grimace.

Yeah, that girl could be... taxing to deal with. She'd still managed to graduate, though, and was proudly wearing her hitai-ate.

Kyo gave him a weak, sympathetic smile and turned to the door when it opened, revealing Takuma-sensei's stern visage.

“Quiet down,” he said, though the slightly diminished class had mostly fallen silent the moment he'd appeared in the door. “You're all Genin now,” he began once he'd taken his customary position at the front of the room. “And as such, you'll be held to a higher standard than you've enjoyed so far.” Takuma gave them all a serious look, sweeping his gaze over the room.

“Team one,” he began, glancing down at the clipboard he'd brought with him.

Kyo listened idly as the other teams were called.

“Team five; Yamanaka Inoichi, Nara Shikaku and Akimichi Chouza. Your Jounin sensei is Sarutobi Shinzu.” Takuma-sensei paused long enough to make sure they were all still paying attention, before he continued. “Team six; Inuzuka Taku, Shiranui Kyo and Minami Maki. Your Jounin sensei is Yamanaka Katsurou.” And he went down the list for the remaining three teams.

Kyo blinked a few times, trying to come to terms with this.

She'd gotten her team.

“You will now wait here until your assigned Jounin comes to collect you,” Takuma finished simply. “I wish the lot of you the best of luck in your future endeavours.”

And with one last nod, Takuma-sensei left to do whatever it was he did when he didn't have a class.

“Good luck, Kyo-kun,” Inoichi said, getting to his feet and giving Shikaku and Chouza a speculative look.

“And to you, Inoichi,” Kyo returned absently, eyeing her own teammates.

The blond wandered off and Kyo wondered if she should approach her own fellow Genin. She supposed they'd have to pass whatever test this Yamanaka person who would be their potential sensei threw at them before they were official.

In the end, she figured she could be the mature one and approach the two boys first.

“Hello,” she greeted the Inuzuka politely, giving the other boy -who was sitting nearby- a friendly nod.

“Yeah, hi,” the Inuzuka grunted, and he didn't look particularly pleased.

The other boy, Maki, was a civilian-born, she was fairly sure.

With a mental shrug, Kyo just sat down, figuring that at least they were sitting more in a group now.

They didn't have to wait long for the Jounin to start arriving. The Sarutobi man in charge of team five being the first to collect his children.

Three teams later, a blond man with short-cropped hair and sea-foam coloured eyes a shade lighter than Inoichi's appeared in the door.

“Team six,” he called out in a pleasant but firm voice.

Kyo stood up and walked down to him, followed shortly by her two potential team members.

Yamanaka Katsurou ran his pupil-less gaze over them and then turned around and walked towards the exit.

Since they'd been given no other instructions, Kyo followed at his heels.

He ended up leading them to a training field she had never been to before. It was pleasant enough; more grass than she was used to, and with a cluster of trees at the far end.

“Take a seat,” the man said, turning to face them once more.

Kyo sank down to sit on her behind, legs crossed loosely in front of her and hands clasping her own ankles, giving him an expectant look.

The Inuzuka's ninken, a very pretty, white dog about the size of a golden retriever, was the second to join her, leaving the two boys last.

“My name is Yamanaka Katsurou,” he introduced himself, giving them each an intense, penetrating look, one after the other. “I'm the Jounin you could quite possibly end up with as your sensei.”

The words hung between them, and Kyo got the feeling he was waiting for one of them to speak up.

“What do you mean 'possibly'?” Maki finally asked, frowning up at the man.

“Just because you passed the Academy test it doesn't automatically make you fully fledged Genin,” Katsurou-sensei said evenly. “Normally, there's a test you have to pass from the individual Jounin, too. Or get sent back to the Academy until the next graduating batch.”

“'Normally',” Kyo repeated curiously.

Katsurou's gaze cut to her, meeting her gaze a second before he nodded. “I'm personally of the belief we can't currently afford to reject any possible additions to the Konoha forces.” He paused. “So we will work together as a team for a week, meeting here every day for training and team-bonding and then we'll see.”

“That sounds like bullshit,” the Inuzuka declared loudly, crossing his arms in front of his chest. “Not only do I have to be on the team with the baby, I also get the stupid sensei?”

Kyo sent the boy an incredulous look.

“The 'baby', as you so aptly put it, got far better test results than you, Inuzuka Taku,” Katsurou returned evenly, not so much as blinking.

The boy scoffed. “Just because ya do good on the paper test doesn't mean ya can do shit in a fight.”

Kyo wondered if she should feel insulted, but didn't care enough to work up the energy for it.

“Which is why we will do some extensive training exercises this week,” Katsurou declared in a way that Kyo found quite intimidating. Not that he sounded threatening or anything. He actually sounded entertained, which was far more worrying.

It was like that time kaa-san had asked tou-san, Yuuta and Ryota to help with their semi-regular games of Hide and Seek. Only, in this version, one person hid and the rest tried to find them. Obviously, Kyo had been the one hiding.

All to train up her stealth.

Yuuta had been particularly gleeful about chasing her about the forested training ground they'd been using whenever he'd found her.

Stupid sensor.

“We will get started right away, but first,” Katsurou-sensei paused to smile thinly. “Introduce yourself. Name, age, speciality. You can start, hot stuff,” he said, pointing at Taku.

“Inuzuka Taku, ten, and I specialize in taijutsu and my clan techniques,” he declared, lifting his chin boldly.

“Shiranui Kyo,” Kyo continued. “I'm six years old and I specialise in poisons.”

Their last member hesitated a little before he gave his own introduction. “Minami Maki, ten, and I don't have a specialisation,” he admitted, embarrassed.

“You never told us your specialisation and age,” Taku said, squinting suspiciously up at the Yamanaka, who merely stared back in reaction, eyes sharp.

“We'll see how you've done at the end of the week,” was all he said on the subject. “Now, get to your feet; we have much to do.”


“How did it go?” Isshun asked when she stepped through the door.

A pained groan was all she got in response.

Katsurou-sensei had had them sparring against each other all day, and Kyo felt like she was one massive bruise.

At least Maki had been having trouble, too, she consoled herself sourly.

Taku had been far too gleeful about the entire thing, and Kyo sort of just wanted to pit him against Katsurou and see him receive a severe reality check.

As if being a Genin made him the most powerful ninja in the entire village.

“Whose your sensei, at least?” Isshun asked amusedly when Kyo failed to properly answer her question.

“Yamanaka Katsurou,” she sighed, gingerly getting up from where she'd slumped down to take her sandals off. “I'm taking a shower,” she added, trudging past her mother towards the bathroom.

“Don't drown yourself, dear,” Isshun called after her lightly and Kyo barely resisted tossing something rude back.

Almost an hour later, she felt more human again as she settled down at the kitchen table for a late dinner; Katsurou had kept them at it until the sun was setting.

Genma would have gone to sleep long ago at this point.

“He made us spar,” Kyo groaned. “All day.”

“Well, your teammates would be about four years older than you,” Kaa-san mused lightly, putting dinner down in front of Kyo, who gratefully dug in. “It's not to strange that you're struggling.”

She was starving.

“I'm with an Inuzuka and a civilian-born,” Kyo divulged once she'd cleared her plate. “Taku is pretty stuck up and thinks I'm a baby, while Maki acts like he wishes he was on any other team than ours.” She thought about it for a second. “He looks like Taku annoys him just as much, though, so I'll have to see how that relationship develops.”

“At least you won't be bored,” Isshun chuckled, placing Kyo's plate and chopstick in the sink for tomorrow.

“No,” Kyo reluctantly agreed. “I might end up dead if Katsurou-sensei keeps up this pace, though,” she groused, slumping over the kitchen table. “I hope we'll end up doing something else tomorrow.”

“He didn't give you any test?” Isshun asked after a considering silence, a small smile playing on her lips.

“Said he doesn't believe it's logical to keep up with them when Konoha's at war and needs more people. He'll decide at the end of the week if he wants to spend his time teaching us.”

Isshun hummed. “If you stay on a team with them, I'd like you to invite them all over for dinner,” she decided pleasantly.

Kyo snorted into the table and peered up at her mother. “Okay,” she agreed, voice coloured by wry amusement. “I'm going to bed now, because Katsurou-sensei said to meet up at six tomorrow morning.”

“I'll prepare a lunch for you before I go to bed.” Isshun nodded. “Sleep tight, sweetheart.”

“Night,” Kyo muttered and managed to make her way to the bathroom to brush her teeth.

She barely had time to place her head on her pillow before she was dead to the world.


Getting up the next day had been harder than usual, but Kyo was still up with time to spare before she had to meet up with her new team.

Before breakfast, though, Kyo took a few minutes to carefully, and painfully, stretch out her aching muscles and stiff limbs.

Feeling like she could at least move, now, she walked out into the kitchen to make herself some breakfast.

It was a routine they had established during kaa-san's pregnancy; Isshun had needed the extra sleep, and Kyo didn't mind making her own food, so it all worked out for the best.

This would leave kaa-san with more energy to give Genma and her time spent with him.

Kyo felt it was only fair; her parents had been able to focus almost entirely on her when she'd been that young. And her little brother was small enough he needed it.

She didn't say goodbye before she left, because she didn't want to disturb either her kaa-san or brother so early in the morning.

Making her way through the still mostly sleepy village, Kyo arrived at the training ground Katsurou-sensei had chosen for them to find the man already there.

“Good morning, sensei,” she greeted cheerfully, feeling much better now than when she'd woken up.

She had been the only one of her teammates to have stretched yesterday, but stretching this morning too had clearly been a good decision.

“Morning,” the man returned after a slight pause, giving her a curious once over.

Kyo waited a couple of seconds to see if he would give her any directions, but when he didn't, decided to spend the time they'd have to wait for Taku and Maki by stretching some more.

She'd learned quite quickly that there was no such thing as stretching too much, and considering how yesterday had gone, she could do with the extra warm-up.

Maki showed up next, looking practically dead on his feet, shortly followed by Taku and his dog, whom he still hadn't given them a name for.

“Good morning,” Kyo greeted them politely, making Maki blink blearily at her while Taku scoffed and turned his face away.


“Today, we're going to continue where we left off yesterday,” Katsurou-sensei said, instantly drawing all of their attention. His gaze lingered on Taku, before sliding over to Kyo. “Instead of sparring, I want you to treat these bouts like real fights,” he said serenely. “No serious maiming or life-threatening injuries, and I will intervene if things are about to spin out of control,” he added. “Taku, you'll be starting by facing Kyo.”

Kyo eyed the other boy's confident grin, found it offensively irritating and flicked one of her needles at him.

Taku blinked, looked down on his forearm, pulled the small, innocuous piece of metal out of his arm with a frown after a brief pause. He opened his mouth, no doubt to say something vaguely insulting, before his eyes rolled into the back of his head and he fell backwards, ending up sprawled on the ground.

“I win,” Kyo chirped cheerfully.

Maki looked sort of freaked out, but Katsurou-sensei gave an amused snort. “Do I need to take him to the hospital?” He asked idly.

“It's just a sedative.” Kyo shook her head. “He'll wake in,” she eyed the boy thoughtfully, “about an hour. It was my weakest dose.” The most fast-acting, though.

Katsurou eyed her with clear amusement, though his expression was mostly serious. “That gives the two of you plenty of time to have a go,” he said, as if everything had worked out according to plan. “No needles this time, Kyo,” he added, making Maki let out a thoroughly relieved breath.

Kyo gave the man a sunny grin before she turned to Maki, who nervously fell into the Academy style starting kata.

Instead of mirroring him, Kyo let her body fall into the much more familiar and comfortable style her tou-san had been teaching her since she was two.

Maki waited until she was visibly ready -such a gentleman- and then moved to attack.

He scrambled away from her when Kyo met him with a kunai in one hand and a senbon -not poisoned- in her other.

Tou-san had always stressed the importance of being able to draw quickly, which Kyo used to her full advantage as she threw her kunai at Maki's feet, successfully marshalling him into a position where it would be easy to take him out with the senbon.

Before the needle could hit, though, Katsurou-sensei plucked it out of he air in front of Maki's neck.

“If you knock out both of your teammates, you won't have anything to do until they wake up, Kyo,” he said with a slightly long-suffering sigh.

Kyo shrugged, and then paused. Should it really be this easy to render her fellow children unconscious?

Well... violence was sort of embraced here, wasn't it? Especially compared to back Before and she had been conditioned for these things since she was a toddler.

Blinking a couple of times, Kyo focused back on Katsurou-sensei.

“So what do you want us to do now?” She asked curiously, not so much as glancing over at Taku. His ninken had lied down next to him, head pillowed on his chest as it watched the rest of them with pale yellow eyes.

It really was a beautiful dog.

“Maki-kun, how's your marksmanship?” Katsurou asked, giving the boy a glance.

Maki, startling, turned to their sensei. “Uh, sufficient?” He offered tentatively with a wary glance at Kyo, who went to retrieve her kunai and put it back in her holster.

“Let's take a look,” their sensei said and ushered them over to the wooden posts buried firmly in the packed earth a little ways away from where Taku was 'napping'. “I want both of you to demonstrate your skill-level.”

“Okay, sensei,” Kyo said, pulling a senbon from one of her holsters.

Frowning at the target, she concentrated and threw, making sure to put as much strength into it as she could safely manage while still maintaining an acceptable level of precision.

She'd already showed him she could aim pretty well, she thought, so this was enough for now unless he told her otherwise.

She didn't want to appear to brag, especially since it was obvious Maki hadn't had anyone outside of the Academy to teach him stuff.

Kyo had been truly fortunate in that respect.

She spent the next fifteen minutes giving Maki tentative pointers, carefully studying him to make sure she wasn't pressing too much.

Some people were touchy when it came to stuff like this. Especially from someone younger.

Taku groaned.

“You back with us?” Katsurou-sensei asked, walking up to the boy to peer down at him.

“What happened?” Taku asked, rubbing a hand over his face.

“You lost your fight, is what happened,” Katsurou said simply, watching as Taku slowly managed to sit up and look around himself with a confused expression.

He brought a hand to his head and Kyo didn't doubt that he had something of a headache right now.

That had been one of the biggest pains about getting used to that particular sedative.

“If you drink plenty of water the headache should go away in a few minutes,” she told him helpfully, skipping up to and crouching down in front of Taku, who blinked dazedly at her.

His eyes looked relatively clear and he didn't seem to be having any adverse reactions. Good.

“I've been meaning to ask, but we were a bit busy yesterday,” she continued with a smile. “What's your partner's name?”

“...Kisaki,” Taku replied after a brief pause, giving her a long, squinty look.

Kyo gave him a smile and then turned to the ninken.

“Hello, Kisaki. I'm Kyo!” She introduced herself to the dog, who eyed her curiously. “Would it be alright to pet you?” She asked, politely holding out a hand for the pretty little ninken to smell if it so wanted.

“Yes,” she said, voice clearly female.

Slightly startled by the verbal response, Kyo still beamed and buried her fingers in the white fur, scratching eagerly all along Kisaki's neck and down her chest, watching as her yellow eyes closed with pleasure.

She'd had dogs in the Before. Several really big ones.

It was too bad people didn't seem to have pets here in Konoha the same way people had in her last life.

Not that it would've been practical as a kunoichi, but still.

“You're really pretty,” she told Kisaki, who gave her a doggy grin in response. She didn't look fully grown, and considering Akamaru's size in the manga, Kyo felt it was safe to assume she had some growing left to do. The fur around her eyes was a pale tan, now that she got a closer look, but most of her was white.

“Stop it; she's not a pet!” Taku finally snapped, though he looked mildly embarrassed, for some reason.

“I know.” Kyo blinked. Hadn't she made that clear from the start? “I just love dogs,” she said honestly, curiously watching Taku's cheeks pink.

“You sound like a kid when you say that,” he muttered, scowling off to the side.

“I am a kid,” Kyo returned without missing a beat, still watching the older boy curiously. “So are you. The only one here who's not a child is Katsurou-sensei.”

Taku gave her a perplexed frown. “What did you even do to me?” He finally asked, and Kyo settled herself properly on the ground in front of him.

Kisaki lied down with her head in her lap, and Kyo happily rubbed the area around her ears.

“I told you; I'm a poison specialist.” She smiled, glancing up at the Inuzuka boy, who was giving his ninken a rather disgruntled, disapproving look. “I also have a few sedatives, and a mild hallucinogen, too.”

“I'd ask you not to use that last one on your teammates, Kyo,” Katsurou interjected, and there was a vaguely constipated look on his face, as if just the thought of having to deal with that was giving him a headache.

“Yes, sensei,” Kyo chirped, before she turned back to Taku. “This needle is laced with a sedative,” she explained, picking up the needle from the ground where Taku had dropped it when he'd succumbed to its' effects earlier.

She held it up in front of Taku, who shrank back. “Take that away from me!” He snapped and bared his teeth. At Kyo's raised eyebrows, he added a grudging “Please.”

Kyo hummed, inspected the needle, wiped the dried blood off and tucked it away into one of her packs to reapply with more sedative later.

“Aren't you afraid of accidentally stabbing yourself?” Maki asked hesitantly, having gravitated closer while Kyo talked.

“That's okay,” Kyo smiled, “I'm immune.”

“Really? To the poisons, too?” Taku asked, cocking his head in a rather dog-like manner as he considered her. “Is that why you smell so weird?”

“Maybe?” Kyo wrinkled her nose. How would she know what she smelled like? “What do I smell like?”

“Sort of like bitter herbs, sometimes you smell more like certain plants, though.” Taku shrugged, scratching absently at the pinprick scab the needle had left on his arm.

“Oh,” Kyo blinked, “I suppose that's a yes,” she mused. “So right now I probably smell like this, right?” She asked, digging one jar of poison out of the pack strapped to the small of her back. She unscrewed the lid and carefully held it out to the Inuzuka, who took a hesitant whiff and nodded, wrinkling his nose in disgust.

“Yeah. What is it?”

“Poison,” Kyo chirped happily. “This one's pretty interesting; it attacks the nerves very quickly, so if the dose is small enough, it can paralyse a grown man without killing him.”

When she'd put the jar back in her pack and looked back up again, both Taku and Maki were giving her rather alarmed looks.


“I heard a rumour that you poisoned two classmates once. I didn't believe it before, but is it true?” Maki asked slowly, exchanging a look with Taku.

“Well.” Kyo cocked her head. “Sort of? They stole my lunch, ate it, and poisoned themselves, really.”

“Why would they be poisoned by eating your lunch?” Maki looked honestly confused.

“Because I eat a lot of poison?” Kyo offered blankly.

“Bullshit,” Taku dared, seemingly unable to resist.

Kyo eyed him amusedly for a second, before she took the nerve poison back out, unscrewed the lid, licked a finger and dipped it in before wiping the powder off on her tongue.

Then she very carefully screwed the lid back on and tucked the jar away.

She raised a challenging eyebrow at the boys.

“It's... not poison?” Maki offered tentatively, though he looked a curious mix of horrified and intrigued.

“Smelled like it, though,” Taku muttered with a thoughtful frown. In combination with the clan marks on his cheeks, it made him look rather severe for a ten year old.

“This is nice, but the three of you have already earned yourselves five extra laps for laziness,” Katsurou-sensei drawled from where he was leaning against one of the wooden posts. “You should get to it or I'm adding another five.”

“Yes, sensei!” Kyo and Taku both said, Maki not quite managing to join the chorus.

“How many laps?” Taku asked as he climbed to his feet, rubbing at his forehead again, which reminded Kyo that he still hadn't drunk any water.

“Until I say stop,” Katsurou said serenely.

Kyo bit back a sigh and resigned herself to be just as tired and sore tonight as she had been the evening before.