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Keiko

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Jounin
Two hours of babysitting a class full of little menaces ... A soft hiss of frustration escaped her lips as Keiko folded the piece of paper once, twice into a perfect little square before slipping it into the front pocket of her pink sweater. The mission seemed straightforward enough - she was to be on guard duty at Kirigakure's famous pool while a class from the Academy arrived for a two-hour fieldtrip. Why a regular lifeguard wasn't sufficient was beyond her comprehension. After all, how much damage could little eight year olds do? Keiko herself - being an only child both in her biological family and her adopted family - was unfamiliar with the basics of handling children, but it seemed quite ridiculous that they would need to make this into a mission. Sitting on the railing of her balcony, balanced precariously on the rounded edge, she narrowed her eyes towards the general location of Hayato's house, wondering if he had the time to accompany her on this mission. The mission details had said nothing about taking a companion, and the other genin himself would qualify for the requirements needed to take on the mission.

But that begs the question of whether I want to go ask him or not ... It had been quite a span of time since they had done anything productive together, and even the number of times they had trained together was scarce. It was worth a shot, if he was home and not otherwise preoccupied. After a brief moment of consideration, she slipped off the balcony towards the ground below - reveling in the thrill of being in free fall for several milliseconds before landing lightly on her feet, knees bent slightly to absorb any force upon impact. Straightening up, she set off towards Hayato's house at a leisurely pace. There was about an hour left before she was expected at the pool and even if the person she wanted to see wasn't at home, it wouldn't hurt to suck up to his parents a little first.

Walking up towards the house, she raised a hand to knock soundly against the wooden structure of the door twice before taking a step back and admiring her surroundings. It seemed as though it was only yesterday that the duo had been nothing more than 8 year olds themselves, running through the garden with no fear of getting themselves grimy with dirt. It was rather gloomy today in terms of weather - the sky was clouded but lacked precipitation, though the wet soil hinted that it may have been raining in the early hours of the morning. The darkened sky didn't seem to faze Keiko much, she preferred a more dampened weather over the harsh sunlight that they were sometimes plagued with. Impatient, even though it had been mere seconds since her first series of knocks, she reached out again towards the door.


[Fieldtrip to the Pool - D Rank Mission - 487/600]

Ryuusei

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D-Rank
Knock. Knock.

Hayato looked up from from his novel and turned his head in the direction of the front door where the sound had come from. "Now who could that be?" he pondered as he closed his book, placing it down on the coffee table to his right. Forcing himself up from the comfort of the plushy cushions of his couch which he had already allowed himself to sink into Hayato made his way towards the door, covering his mouth as he let out a pronounced yawn. Lowering his hand to twist the knob on the door he opened it only to see Keiko standing there and extending her arm towards him. The way she was moving it was clear that she was going to knock again... but where's the fun in that?

Hayato smiled as he reached out and tugged on her sleeve, pulling her into him and causing her hand to land pressed against his chest. At the same time he leaned in and tapped a single kiss on her nose before speaking, "Hello Kei-chan. Were you so excited to see me that you couldn't keep your hands to yourself?"




Word Count: 195/600

Keiko

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Jounin
She left a mental note to herself to always stay about five meters away from the door after the initial series of knocks the next time she visited. Keiko hadn't quite expected anyone to open the door that quickly, especially since she had left barely any time between her first raps against the door and the second pair that she was preparing for. And so the moment the door swung open, she found herself face to face with Hayato, hand still hovering in the air ... but not for long.

Even as she started to react - by retracting her extended arm and opening her mouth even before she thought of what she wanted to say - she was too late as he tugged at her sleeve, catching her off guard and causing her to fall toward towards him. In an attempt to break her little fall - without letting her whole body end up against him - her already extended hand pushed against his chest, just in time for him to land a brief kiss on the tip of her nose. 

"Hello Kei-chan. Were you so excited to see me that you couldn't keep your hands to yourself?" It was simply amazing how it seemed as though every time she encountered him, his very first words already served as enough of a spark to infuriate her. Pulling her hand back and letting it drop to her side, she took a step back, eyes narrowing at him - an increasingly familiar expression that she took on when around this particular individual. "Stop thinking so highly of yourself, it'll scare the ladies off one day." She retorted, opting to rein her temper in a bit in favor of getting to the point." 

"I have a mission I need to do. Want to tag along? Since," she couldn't help adding, "you seem to have nothing better to do?"


[Fieldtrip to the Pool - D Rank Mission - 600/600 202/600]



Last edited by Keiko on Tue Sep 24, 2013 5:27 am; edited 1 time in total

Ryuusei

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D-Rank
"Stop thinking so highly of yourself, it'll scare the ladies off one day." Keiko sneered as she put a step’s worth of distance between herself and Hayato before continuing, "I have a mission I need to do. Want to tag along? Since you seem to have nothing better to do?"

Hayato said nothing as he stepped forward to close the gap she had made with her retreat. “Will I? Have I scared you off yet?” he said as he leaned his head down a bit, now standing almost nose to nose with Keiko. Reaching down for the hand that she had previously pulled away Hayato interlaced his fingers with hers, bringing the unnaturally chilly Aisu’s skin up against the warmth of his cheek. “Something better to do than spend time with my Kei-chan? Impossible,” Hayato said as he pulled her hand over to his lips and kissed the back of it, “Of course I want to tag along.”

Turning his eyes from the hand in front of him to lock with Keiko’s gaze Hayato watched for her reaction. He teased just about every girl, but he took particular delight in showering Keiko with affectionate words and gestures in order to make her turn red in embarrassment. “So what will we be doing today?” he inquired with a confident haughty smirk.





Word Count: 411/600

Keiko

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Jounin
The fact that he had counteracted her attempt to distance herself from him irritated her, but she made no comment, stamping her foot once in impatience at his antics. “Will I? Have I scared you off yet?” She couldn’t help the small noise of protest that escaped her as he once again invaded her personal space – something that seemed to happen much too often for comfort recently – and took her hand, the fingers on her other hand twitching ever so slightly, itching to sock him in the face. There was something about the whole hand-holding thing that made the girly side of her want to blush, the side of which secretly – or maybe not so secretly – liked cute items, cute couples, and generally anything that she deemed cute. It was a weakness … and not a weakness she intended to reveal another detail about at this moment, biting down on her bottom lip and willing her face not to change to a more embarrassing shade. She wondered if he did this with every girl he met. Since graduating from the Academy, Keiko tended to avoid hanging around Hayato when he flirted with other girls – a personal preference, with no reason in particular, as she liked to tell herself – and thus was not familiar with his antics around them.

And of course, it just had to get worse. The warmth of his face against her hand startled her out of her thoughts, just in time for her to roll her eyes at his comment. As much as she constantly regarded his comments as extremely cheesy, she had to admit that he was indeed a smooth talker, words sugar-coated to the point where it was enough to give her a toothache. Tugging her hand away from his mouth and out of his grasp, she reached up – on tiptoes – to flick him on the forehead hard before dropping her hand to her side. The small action allowed her to feel slightly better, enough for her to focus on the situation at hand. “So what will we be doing today?”

“Babysitting. A whole class of kids at the pool. Now that I think about it, you’re probably unsuitable for the mission, seeing as how you can’t seem to control yourself.” She replied, propping her hands on her hips and glaring at him. ”We don’t need these children to be scarred.”


[Fieldtrip to the Pool - D Rank Mission - 603/600]



Last edited by Keiko on Tue Sep 24, 2013 5:28 am; edited 1 time in total

Ryuusei

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D-Rank
Hayato’s teasing was met with a hard flick to the forehead. It wasn’t enough to cause any real pain, but the suddenness of it caused him to shake his head slightly. He rubbed the spot on his forehead that she struck with his middle and index finger and chuckled because he knew that making light of her actions always seemed to annoy her. Besides, he couldn’t help but be amused by the fact that she needed to reach up on tip toes in order to flick him.

Keiko rested her hands on her hips and hardened her gaze at Hayato before speaking again. “Babysitting.  A whole class of kids at the pool. Now that I think about it, you’re probably unsuitable for the mission, seeing as how you can’t seem to control yourself. We don’t need these children to be scarred.”

“Ugh, kids,” Hayato thought to himself without ever changing the expression on his face. He did not like children. It wasn’t even the fact that they were children that bothered him so much as that when he was a child he knew better and it irritated him that nowadays children were given a pass on being brats just because they are children. It was essentially raising a generation of people who would have been told their whole lives that they should be accountable for their actions. “And I should feel more comfortable leaving them in your care to be beaten?” Hayato teased in a snarky remark in response to Keiko’s sideways comment towards him, “We’ll handle it together. To the pool it is then.”  Hayato slid his left hand into his pocket as he began to walk by Keiko, using his right hand to gently direct her chin in his direction as he walked by, “What? Are you going to keep me waiting like always?”




600/600
126/600

Keiko

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Jounin
Infuriating. Absolutely, unquestionably, infuriating.

Defiantly, in a childish manner – rather ironic seeing as they were heading off to babysit children – she snapped her teeth together threateningly at the fingers that briefly touched her chin, her perfect white teeth making a satisfying staccato sound. “Excuse you. What exactly do you mean keeping you waiting like always?” She demanded, scowling at him before prancing ahead, moving several feet in front of him before turning around, proceeding to walk backwards as she regarded him with narrowed eyes. Of course, this only served to give her a better view of Hayato, a fact that she couldn’t quite decide whether it was a good thing or a bad thing yet. “You better not ruin this mission for me. If I even get the slightest complaint that some little kid suddenly decided he needed fifty girlfriends, I’m going to hunt you down.”

--

They were ten minutes early, making it just in time for the relieved pool manager to give them a quick debrief, excessively repeating the fact that he wanted the pool to be spotless after the Academy classes were gone. There would also be a trained lifeguard on duty, but specifically for life-saving purposes, meaning Keiko and Hayato were the ones responsible in making sure nothing else went wrong. There was something about the debrief that was bugging her … She couldn’t quite place it …

“Wait – Classes? There’s more than one? The details I received clearly stated that there would be one class!” Keiko suddenly blurted out, realizing what had been bugging her. The pool manager cleared his throat, then nodded his head at Hayato, quickly saying that she should be fine with her boyfriend here to help her, and with a quick good luck, he was gone – before Keiko could register his words and begin protesting against the boyfriend comment. Damn it, now she was stuck having to babysit two classes, and there was no getting out of working with Hayato. Suddenly, even though she had originally dismissed the mission as being trivial and nothing more than an easy way of earning ryo, she was starting to feel slightly more nervous. Sure, she could tolerate kids, but only barely, and from what she knew of Hayato, he wasn't all too keen on hanging out with younger children either.


[Fieldtrip to the Pool - D Rank Mission - 600/600 | 600/600 - Complete | Word Count: 392]



Last edited by Keiko on Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:06 pm; edited 1 time in total

Ryuusei

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D-Rank
Hayato let out an amused laugh at Keiko’s stubborn reaction, smiling playfully before opening his mouth to respond, “Well if he felt he needed fifty girlfriends it wouldn’t be something he picked up from me. I don’t need fifty girls, I only need one Kei-chan.” As he spoke he would close the gap between them and lean his face in close to hers, standing almost nose to nose before continuing, “So if you’re so concerned about it then let’s get going. We don’t want the ones who posted the mission to be waiting too long, do we? Besides, I’m interested in seeing how you deal with kids. I know that they are your absolute favorite.” Hayato knew full well that neither of them particularly liked most children, but getting in that last snarky remark with Keiko was always worth the potential pain that would come later as a consequence.

~

As he and Keiko arrived at the pool Hayato performed a quick visual scan of the area, searching for the children that they were supposed to be taking charge of for the afternoon. To his surprise the pool was largely empty, giving off a very tranquil vibe… at least until a middle aged man came stomping over to he and Keiko’s location. Hayato rolled his eyes and diverted his attention elsewhere as the pool manager began incessantly barking out orders about how he wanted things done. Was this guy serious? Who did he think he was barking out orders like he was somebody important? Cleaning the pool wasn’t anywhere in the mission briefing as far as he knew. “Well, whatever,” Hayato mused to himself, brushing a strand of his hair from his eye as the man had apparently finished speaking. He wasn’t overly concerned with missing any key bits of information while he tuned out the pool manager’s words. Hayato possessed enough common sense to know what one should and shouldn’t do or allow when dealing with children at a pool. Besides, the chance of Keiko allowing him to slip up was close to zero. This pool manager hadn’t seen frightening if he had never seen an enraged Kitahara Keiko.

Speaking of Keiko, Hayato’s attention focus returned just in time to watch her blurt out in surprise against the news that the two of them would be dealing with more than just the one class that they were originally assigned. Despite Keiko’s apparent displeasure with this new revelation, Hayato simply shrugged it off as just another twist that they would have to deal with. Missions never really went as planned anyway. He did however, find the pool manager’s assumption that he was Keiko’s boyfriend amusing, a sly grin forming on his lips as he turned over to see Keiko’s face knowing that she would protest. The manager took off too quickly for Keiko to argue, but a look of discomfort about the situation could be seen on her face. After seeing subtle look of concern on her face Hayato no longer felt like teasing her, instead deciding to try and support her. That’s a best friend’s job after all. Hayato placed his left hand comfortingly on her shoulder, letting her know that he was still there and then leaned in to give her a peck on the cheek. “Don’t worry about it Kei-chan,” he said to her in a tone low enough for only her to hear, “You’ll do wonderfully, I’m sure of it. I’ll be help you with whatever you need.”




[s]Mission #1: 600/600[/s]
[s]Mission #2: 600/600[/s]

Word Count: 133

Keiko

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Jounin
“Don’t worry about it Kei-chan, you’ll do wonderfully, I’m sure of it. I’ll help you with whatever you need.” Hayato and his way with words. Since when did their roles reverse, and she was the one who relied on comfort and support from the Misora beside her? The blow to her pride was much less prominent compared to the mess of thoughts and feelings that rushed through her and it took her a moment to steady herself, taking a breath with the resolve not to let herself lose composure. Catching the corner of her bottom lip between her teeth, and turning her head away from him after the little kiss he placed on her cheek, she elbowed him without looking, unsure of whether her facial expression was betraying her thoughts. “Who said anything about needing help? I asked you to come because I wanted some company, not because I needed help!” She decided to pick on his words instead, falling back into the familiar routine of bickering with Hayato.

Within moments, the chattering of voices – clearly more than just the three or four leisure swimmers who frequented the pool at this hour – could be heard, coming through the very same door Keiko and Hayato themselves had entered from. Grabbing Hayato’s arm and tugging him to one side, she watched with wide eyes as at least thirty young students around eight or nine, if she was guessing correctly, flooded in, the two classes having mingled during the little journey to the pool from the Academy. Thirty little kids with minimal training but basic access to chakra and shinobi skills … this was going to be so much fun. Everything was made worse by the fact that harming any of these kids – should some of them cause trouble – was clearly out of the question, even if it wasn’t physically stated in the mission details. So how does one discipline them then?

Still, she stood there smiling friendly, giving little waves to the kids who looked their way and nodding her head in greeting to the supervisors that accompanied the kids. Supervisors that likely weren’t Chuunin, and therefore would be of no help. “If we last through this,”she muttered to Hayato, losing the confidence in her voice that she had just moments before, “you’re buying me ice cream.” Lilac-colored eyes followed the large group as they headed towards the change rooms, narrowing as she spotted a group of four or five boys casting glances at them and seemingly snickering as they walked into the building.

It took a little over fifteen minutes for the entirety of the two classes to reassemble on deck, the supervisors trying desperately to keep the students' attention long enough to list off rules. No running ... No pushing each other ... Don't go into the deep end if you can't swim ... It all sounded immensely obvious to Keiko, but she supposed that kids were kids; either too stupid to understand rules, or too smart to follow them. And then they were given the free rein. Cheers and screams broke out as the two classes fought their way into the pool, but instead of focusing on the chaos, Keiko found herself once again staring at the same group of boys from before, noting that they had yet to make a move and were instead huddling near the pool chairs, where their towels were placed into odd, bulging clumps.

[Word Count: 973]  

Ryuusei

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D-Rank
“Who said anything about needing help? I asked you to come because I wanted some company, not because I needed help!” Keiko snapped back as she elbowed Hayato in the ribs.

Hayato simply smiled and rubbed the spot where the elbow had struck, more amused by the gesture than he could ever be upset by it. “You’re such a cold woman, Kei-chan,” he said to her with an amused huff, making a snarky remark about both her personality and her Aisu blood line. And so their back and forth continued just as it always had, affection met with violence met with sarcasm. Good times.

Immediately after the duo’s exchange the sound of boisterous yells and stomping could be heard like a stampede in the distance. “What the…” Hayato thought to himself as he turned to face the direction of the door from which the noise was coming before Keiko grabbed hold of his arm and pulled him over to the side. Suddenly, the doors burst open allowing a flood of loud and sloppy looking children to make their way into the pool room, disturbing the usual tranquility of the area. Hayato forced an unconvincing smile onto his face as the kids ran by, in his mind wondering if perhaps he should have just stayed home that day. A small army of insolent little brats with no respect for their elders or other people’s property… oh joy. Well, perhaps he was being a bit quick to judge. Surely there they couldn’t all be bad. There had to be a few good apples in the group. Besides, none of them would be so bold as to actually try anything in an enclosed area like the pool, knowing that they were being watched, right?

“If we last through this you’re buying me ice cream,” Keiko said to him as they watched the children just about climb on top of each other to get into the changing rooms first, her voice wavering a bit from the sternness she had shown before.

Hayato couldn’t help but smile at the site of Keiko’s usually hardened and icy exterior thaw out to reveal her nervousness. Reaching down to comfort her, Hayato took hold of Keiko’s hand and spoke to her with a reassuring smile perched upon his lips, “You mean when we get through this.” Following Keiko’s gaze with his own Hayato noticed her staring intently at a group of suspicious looking little brats, errr… boys. After a short while the children all emerged from the changing rooms and began flooding their way into the pool, Hayato watching carefully only to make sure they didn’t slip and bust their heads open. As he turned back to locate Keiko he noticed that she still had her eyes fixated on the same small group of boys from before, who seemed to be hiding something in their towels. “What do you want to do about that group?” Hayato inquired as he walked up to and stood beside Keiko, “I can’t imagine that they are doing well in the stealth department of their shinobi training. It is obvious to see that they are up to something.”




Mission #1: 600/600
Mission #2: 600/600

Training: 670

Keiko

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Jounin
As much as she realized that his little physical contacts were meant to reassure her, it only seemed to add to her list of worries and distractions. His hand was warm, considerably warmer than the naturally cold skin that she possessed – as did all members of the Aisu clan – but instead of serving as a source of comfort, the conflicting temperatures made her eyes narrow in discomfort, slipping her hand out of his grasp. “You mean when we get through this.” She took a moment to recall what she herself had said that would warrant this repetition, the realized her mistake, inwardly kicking herself for making such a vulnerable statement. “Of course that’s what I meant, stupid. And be prepared to be robbed of the ryo you’ve earned.” Clearly, she was rather shameless when it came to demanding things. As much as she tried – or pretended to try – keeping her distance from him, she was not in the least bit embarrassed for demanding something like using his money to buy herself food. A strange relationship indeed.

“What do you want to do about that group?” What were they going to do … Her gaze didn’t leave the group even as Hayato voiced out her thoughts, trying to get an idea of what was about to happen. There was no doubt that those boys were planning something, but she couldn’t quite take action until she had proof that they were going to do something that would threaten the peace of the pool environment. The side of her mouth involuntarily twitched in amusement at Hayato’s additional comment, and just as she was about to suggest that one of them walk over to the boys and just reveal whatever it was that they were hiding under their towels, one of the boys – with messy brown hair and blue eyes that seemed to be twinkling with challenge and mischief – looked up and met her gaze, a small smirk breaking out on his face as he elbowed another boy beside him. Within seconds the four were back to whispering, now more urgent, and it seemed like they were reaching towards the towels. Eyes narrowed into slits, Keiko began walking towards them.

A glimpse of something dark in color caught her eye, and her mind registered it as mud just as one of the boys – panicking at the sight of her walking towards them before they could set their plan in motion – took a handful of the still soggy substance and threw it at her. It wasn’t an exceptionally skillful throw, but still somewhat on target and with enough force to sting if it hit someone. As the boy pulled his arm back to throw it, she considered side stepping and letting the ball of mud flew past her … but the pool was diagonally behind her. The chance that it would end up contaminating the pool water was too much to risk. Letting out a sigh, she drew chakra from within, concentrating the familiar coolness of hyoton travel upwards and out, solidifying into a thin sheet of ice just in time for the mud to hit, making a slight crack in the flimsy defense. There really was no need for her to make anything sturdier, seeing as she was dealing with balls of mud and not lethal weapons.

Splat. A second ball of mud caught the lifeguard by surprise, the poor man having turned to see what the commotion was about just in time to get a face full of dirt. Splat. A second ball of mud hit the ground a little ways away from her - she had instinctively moved to one side to avoid it, even though it appeared as though it wouldn't have hit her anyways. She looked back to see the boy responsible for that particular throw grin at her. Gritting her teeth, she was beginning to consider wiping that smirk off his face for good, her short temper showing as the excess water that had been splashed on deck began to freeze. Under any other circumstance, the crystallized trails of water would look beautiful, a nice addition to the otherwise plain walking area. Several more mudballs began to fly, mostly aimed towards the staff (Academy supervisors included) on deck, but sooner or later, something was bound to end up in the water.

Chakra: 140/150:
Name: 氷遁・魔鏡氷晶 [Hyōton: Makyō Hyōshō - Ice Release: Demonic Ice Crystal Mirrors]
Canon/Custom: Custom.
Rank: D-A
Type: Defensive.
Element: Hyouton.
Range: Short(0-5m), Medium(5-10m)
Specialty: Ninjutsu.
Duration: one turn
Cooldown: D-C: 3 turns. B: 4 turns. A: 5 turns. S: 7 Turns
Description: These mirrors are an unique form of resistant ice the Aisu clan members use to defend. They can create multiple thickness forms of this mirror to block increasingly powerful attacks, or to simply reposition in air.

D Rank:
The user creates a paper thin sheet of see-through ice. It will shatter on contact with a rudimentary projectile or a forceful blow. It can stop D rank jutsu but will break in the process.

[Word Count: 1699]

Ryuusei

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D-Rank
“Of course that’s what I meant, stupid. And be prepared to be robbed of the ryo you’ve earned.”

“Same old Kei-chan,” Hayato mused to himself as she slipped her hand out of his own, berated him, and demanded he spend money on her, “She always has been a spoiled brat.” When the word “brat” came to Hayato’s mind with Keiko it carried a distinctly different connotation than it did when referring to the children that the two of them were babysitting. He had been calling her a spoiled brat for so long that it had become more of a term of endearment than anything, especially since he was just as guilty of spoiling Keiko as her parents. Like the demand she made for him to buy her ice cream; there was no way that he was going to say no and she knew it. They were both fully aware that with enough nudging Keiko could get Hayato to do just about whatever she wanted and it had been that way for seemingly a lifetime.

Keiko did not respond to Hayato’s inquiry about the group of suspicious looking boys, instead just keeping her eyes locked intently on their movements, almost waiting for them to make their move. It appeared however, that same group of boys took notice of Keiko’s stare as their snickers became louder and they nudged each other, seemingly gesturing in Keiko’s direction. Wasting no time, Keiko proceeded to silently step forward, towards the boys to confront them and stop whatever they were plotting. One of the boys almost seemed to panic at Keiko’s approach and reached into his towel, pulling out a clump of what appeared to be mud and proceeded to throw that mass in Keiko’s direction. Hayato’s blood began to boil and he clenched his fist as the group began bombarding Keiko with balls of mud. She was able to cover herself with a thin veil of ice, but the lifeguard hand out over by the pool was not so fortunate.

“No,” Hayato thought to himself irritably as he darted into action, “This isn’t going down like that.” He inhaled and began molding fuuton chakra into his lungs as he darted over to Keiko’s side and positioned himself in front of the incoming mud projectiles. Immediately after bringing himself to a stop Hayato would release a powerful stream of wind from his mouth, swiveling his head in order to catch all of the mud in the steam, sending them flying back at the little boys. Obviously he restrained himself by consciously limiting the force of the wind that he expelled; it would have been an absolute disaster had he used any jutsu full force offensively against these children. So instead he release a stream just strong enough to send the mud flying back in their direction, without accelerating the projectiles on the way back to make them painful or blowing any of the kids off of their feet. The last thing anyone wanted to have to do was to explain why there were several small boys with head injuries because they were blown into a wall by an adult. The stream would be maintained until all of the balls of mud were redirected and the group of boys stood there, covered in the brown substance.





Training Fuuton: Nagare- 750/750

Training: 481

Keiko

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Jounin
At first, it was a rush of relief. A source of comfort in seeing her closest friend – the one who was likely the one person she trusted her life with – come to her aid, moving with a sense of urgency to her side. It was enough to make her want to smile, to know that despite their bickering and … But then her pride reared its head, an overwhelming feeling of indignation at having to be protected for even a trivial situation like the one she was in. It wasn’t fair - she shouldn’t be replying on his protection. She was a kunoichi, a genin just like Hayato, and that initial relief she felt earlier suddenly felt disgraceful, a sign of weakness that she would no doubt reprimand herself for later. The change in Hayato was startling over the past few years, but there was no way she was going to let herself fall so far behind.

As for now, there was a situation at hand to tend to. The multiple mud balls flying her way were to be expected – after all, the young Academy pupils knew enough to recognize that the threat wasn’t the helpless lifeguard, but the trained genins. There was chaos in the pool, as other students reacted in surprise, horror, and amusement at the sudden disturbance. But the noise seemed to be muffled in a dull roar, as Keiko watched as the mud balls – some of which were flying in mid air – be blown back by a sudden gust of wind, her hair blowing slightly in the slight breeze that came from standing next to Hayato. The brown substances changed course, returning in a straight line towards the troublemakers, resulting in the four boys standing frozen – defined as standing stock-still, thankfully opposed to actually being frozen by Keiko – dripping in mud. A small smile played on her lips as she regarded the scene before her in amusement. Nothing was better for teaching these mischievous kids a lesson than to make them have a taste of their own medicine, it seemed.

Walking over to where the boys stood, she took a moment to assess the situation. The greatest concentrations of mud were on the boys themselves, their supply of mudballs already greatly reduced. There were splatters of mud along the pool deck from the first couple that were thrown, but none of which were dangerously close to the pool. A quick clean-up should do that trick; it wouldn’t be difficult for herself or Hayato to quickly wash away the damage, especially with the help of ninjutsu. The only question was what they should do with the boys, who now generally all looked sudden, with the exception of their little ringleader. But before she could say anything, the Academy teachers rushed over, spewing rushed, jumbled comments that attempted to both reprimand and check the welfare of the boys. Stepping back to give them room, she glanced over at Hayato questioningly … only to divert her gaze, stubbornly wanting to take control

“Excuse me, I think it would be better to have them wash up before coming back.” She addressed one of the teachers, figuring that the first thing they should do is make sure the boys didn’t create any more damage by being filthy themselves.

[Word Count: 2250]

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