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Old 05-15-2018, 10:47 AM   #1
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Default [Yuu] Aim ever higher.

Aim ever higher.

This is the destiny of the Hyuuga clan.

Blood splattered from his lips onto the tatami mat underneath him. The sound of his own heart pounding was drowning out the sounds of the arena around him, the murmuring and reserved audience sitting politely along the edges of the indoor arena. Yuu pushed himself back to his stance, and rushed again. He was thrust into the gut again, spiraling backwards before skidding to a stop on his knees, and let out an other spray of blood.

Just stop it!” Hyuuga Mana cried from the sidelines. She was one of a pair of twins, Hyuuga Yuu’s personal handmaidens. They weren’t from the same stock as people like Yuu were and served a more submissive role in the family. Shouting out like that would have garnered her some form of punishment, but the headband on Yuu’s head afforded his servants special privileges. It was his own loudmouth that had gotten him into this mess, and Mana and Mune – his dear cousins and friends – had learned to speak out as much as he had.

I got this,” Yuu said. It was meek, but reassuring to the girl. He held out a hand to her errantly before returning to his stance. Mana turned to her sister and covered her head into her shoulder, while Mune stared on careful. Her Byakugan was expressed, veins on her temples pulsing, as she watched the fight intently. Yuu rushed again, and once again was sent sliding back. Again and again he charged.

Tenacity is a good thing, Yuu-chan.” His father said, holding up his index and middle finger, the rest of his stance so relaxed and poised it seemed like he wasn’t even focused on this spar. “But you’ll never improve if you try and rush all your problems.”

Just make him stop,” Mana sobbed into her sister’s shoulder. “Please, just make them stop.

I don’t---rush my problems.” Yuu sputtered. He skidded forward into a power slide, twisting his body and launching himself with his arms off the ground to kick upwards at his father’s chin. “I’m peeling an opening!

His father grabbed Yuu’s leg out of the air and whipped him around, tossing him into the air. “You’re fighting like a scrappy peasant! Fight like a real Hyuuga!

I am a real Hyuuga!” Yuu clipped the rafter of the roof and propelled himself off of it, spiraling in the air. His index finger lightly traced his father’s face, enough power in such a simple stroke to cause maybe numbness, if he wasn’t fighting against someone who had mastered Jyuuken. Yuu was propelled backwards by sheer force of chakra. He skidded to a stop on his back, and slammed his fist down into the tatami mat. “I can get you.

I’m not Kaito, boy. I’m not going to let you hit me because you’re clever. All Konoha ninja are clever. You’re supposed to be beyond that.

Yuu rose again, rubbing the back of his palm against his face to smear away his blood. While Mana was fretting over his injury, Yuu at least knew one thing – he was only bleeding because of surface level bruising. His father’s command over his chakra expulsion was enough to sting and toss Yuu about, but he wasn’t attacking organs or muscle fibers. He was showing restraint and still managing to toss him aside like he was nothing. Mune seemed to realize this – he looked over towards her and her face was calm but severe, lips drawn in a fine line. Soon, they would graduate as genin from the Academy program. Until this point, they had served as his servants and students, as Yuu had done when he was age for his cousins before him. But soon, they would graduate away from him. He had hoped to have been able to stretch his time out with them longer, but the march of time was ticking away. Winning against his father in a spar wasn’t likely to happen anytime soon, but to at least get a hit in – to at least show that much improvement.

Go,” Mune mouthed at him.

Hyuuga Yuu rushed forward again, jumping into the air with a spinning kick, which his Father caught seemingly effortlessly. His fingers jumped out like a snake to thrust into his calf muscle, but Yuu twisted his body on the leverage created by his father’s strong catch and slammed his other foot into the man’s side – but he caught that one too.

Yuu shouted out a kiai and crunched his body at the torso, leaning forward and bringing both hands down in a chopping motion to his father’s shoulders.

There was an other explosion of chakra, invisible to the naked eye – but more than visible to the collection of clanmates watching this spar – and Yuu went sailing again.

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Old 05-15-2018, 11:03 AM   #2
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Aren’t you tired of this, yet?” Father said. He let out an irritated sigh and folded his hands behind his back, peering over at the boy through his milky white eyes. “Your mother and I are very proud of your progress, but you’re simply not prepared to take the next step in your training. You must focus on the fundamentals.

Yuu stood up again. His vision was starting to go blurry from the beating he was taking, so he padded his cheeks with his palms a few times to help himself focus again. “I’m not going to give up. I know I can do this.

Son, you’re running the risk of injuring yourself. It’s okay to retreat when you’ve become outmatched. Not everything is life or death. If you’re that upset about Hana’s promotion, I’m sure I can pull some strings and get you placed up next round.

I’m tired of that!” Yuu shook his head and balled his fists. “Every time I have problems, you just fix them. Every time I fall behind, you change the rules for me. Why can’t you treat everything like this fight, when it’s YOUR pride on the line?

He lowered himself into his stance again, that legendary style of Jyuuken, and inhaled sharply. “I’m proud, too! I don’t want my Father fixing everything, just like you don’t want to get hit by a genin!

He rushed forward and slid on the ground again, twisting his body as if he was going to reattempt his upward kick again, but at the last moment, freed his hands from the mat and continued the slide underneath his Father’s legs. On the other side, he spiraled to a standing position and unleashed a palm strike at his spine. For a second, he thought he hit him – but the Byakugan revealed more than his reflexes could follow. Father simply stepped to the side, pivoting on one foot, until he was facing Yuu again. Yuu’s palm struck the air next to him, dodged as effortlessly as a thought.

I’m not letting you hit me because I respect you, son. It was Kaito’s intent to give you motivation, but I think you’ve gotten it in your head that you can defeat anyone with haphazard Jyuuken strikes.” His land lashed out and his index finger pressed into Yuu’s shoulder. Chakra exploded into the meat and Yuu felt like he was hit by a baseball bat. He cried out in pain, and Mana let out a strong sob into her sister’s shoulder as she heard it. “You’ve been ignoring your fundamentals. The Jyuuken is a tool for a powerful warrior, but it isn’t an unbeatable weapon. Master the fundamentals, then learn to improvise. Do you think you’re the first to implement new movements to the dance?

Yuu, fell to his knees in pain, his shoulder feeling hot like it might burst. His Father continued:

There’s a reason this style has remained practically unchanged in over a century. The fundamentals are solid and carefully tuned to the gifts of this family, the gifts your mother and I gave you. Master those fundamentals, then improvise. What you’re doing now is an embarrassment and makes your stance look sloppy.

He released his finger and Yuu’s muscles immediately started to relax. He fell over, clutching his shoulder, squirming in uncomfortable pain.

I’m sorry, son, but we’re done here. Next time you challenge me, you’ll need to come at me as a Hyuuga...not just a brawler.
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Old 05-15-2018, 11:27 AM   #3
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Hyuuga Mana was sniffling as she carefully dabbed medicinal ointment on Yuu’s bruised shoulder. He sat topless in front of her, watching himself in a full-length mirror. Mune stood behind him, her arms crossed, but she maintained eye contact with him through the reflection. Mana choked on a sob as she smoothed the ointment in small eddies on his skin.

Wh—why do you always try and fight him?” She managed. “Y—you’re not supposed to be hot-headed. You’re supposed to be gentle.

He fell behind the Itsuki girl from his team," Mune said flatly. Yuu grimaced.

It’s not that. It’s not just that, anyway.” He looked down at his palms, resting in his crossed knees. The tips of his fingers were bruised from furiously training against a wooden dummy, and they were shaking from the exhaustion from the spar with his father. “Everyone always expects me to be something great. I feel like I’ve been just following a path set onto me by our family name, instead of following my own path. It’s not just ranks or authority or responsibility...

He sighed. “I want to prove to people that I’m worth all this effort. This...this...body.

Mana stopped sniffling as she finished her first aid, carefully closing up the top of the circular container. “Why does all that matter? You’re definitely the strongest in your age group, right? You could beat up Hana-chan.

Yuu let off a wry smile. “Maybe. She’s pretty tough, you know. She didn’t get promoted on accident. Every time we’ve fought it’s been so close that we had to call it before it got bloody. She’s always been my match.

He clenched his weak fist and looked back at Mana. “But being strong is expected, just from the family name. I want to be seen strong because I’ve earned it. Anyone could be great if they had our gifts. It’s a built in advantage. I want to do something with it.

Then why do you spend so much time in Sunagakure, instead of here?

They’re our greatest, closest, and most long term allies. There’s much to be learned from them. Besides, doing village work for an ally helps ties the bonds between us even stronger. Insular thinking doesn’t promote growth, Mune-chan.

Are you sure it’s not because of Kiyoko’s friend?

Hitoko? The Sennin from Sunagakure? He’d inspire anyone. I don’t want to be him, and I don’t think Kiyoko got strong by being around him.” Yuu pulled his robes back up to cover his chest. “Kiyoko got strong because she was more motivated than I was.

Bu—but why does that mean picking fights with your father?

He’s been too busy being a politician to train me. He just wants me to attend the same classes in the same dojo as anyone else. Fundamentals.” He stood up and turned so he could see both girls. “He’s not wrong. I could focus on that more. I just...I trained as a medic. I’ve made a contract with the Eagles. I’ve trained under ANBU and under Sanada experts. I can even do genjutsu. I’m more than just Jyuuken. He doesn’t care about any of that.

Spreading yourself out thin to show off your genius prevents you from excelling. Imagine where you’d be in your training right now if you didn’t spend all that time learning Chiyute.

And imagine how many people would have been injured or dead if I hadn’t?” Yuu raised his voice without realizing it. He took a deep breath and held his hands up in apology. “Mana-chan’s medical techniques are far more impressive than mine were at her age.

Hehe—thanks for noticing.

And you already know how to perform the wall walking technique. I couldn’t even do that until well after I graduated the Academy.

I don’t follow your point.

Yuu grinned in his disarming way. “My spread-thin training makes me a better tutor for you girls. Even if it doesn’t give me honors in the greater shinobi community, it makes me feel good I’m prepared to help you guys no matter what.

Ugh, you’re going to make me barf, Yuu-kun.

You’re going to make me cry again, Yuu-sama.

You have no idea how well I can identify with those two reactions.
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Old 05-15-2018, 11:46 AM   #4
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Yuu cast a line from atop the roof of the riverside building, chewing absently on a salty snack from the convenience store down the road. Mana and Mune were sitting next to him, carefully perched on the edge of the building, eyes wide as the bobber landed on the water’s surface. Yuu was bruised from his battle with his father, but he was looking far more relaxed. A combination of Mana’s medical techniques and the potato chips.

Isn’t that kind of cheating, Mune said, without turning to look at him. Excitement was rippling across her body. “Using your Byakugan to see where to cast your hook?

Nah, leveraging your advantages,” He grunted as the fish chomped the bait and he carefully hooked the thing, manipulating the reel to wear down the fish’s stamina. “Learning when to strike, that’s fundamentals.

Sssh—he’s going to get away!

Oh, no, I can’t beat a Jyuuken master, but I won’t get defeated by a little fish.

He heaved and pulled, then released the tension so his line wouldn’t break, then continued the cycle, fighting against the river trout. As he struggled with the fish, he found the time to explain to the girls the relationship between fishing and fighting. “It doesn’t matter if your opponent is stronger or faster or sturdier. Jyuuken is about finding the smallest weak point and focusing on that. Weak points your opponent doesn’t even know they have.

The fish, trailing the line, leapt through the air in an impressive display of strength. “Learning to bait out those weakpoints--

The fish finally flew towards him, and the girls, both hands on the same net, caught the fish midair with a cry of victory. “--and knowing when to strike...maybe that’s what Father meant.

The girls shared a celebratory dance, until Mana realized they had no intention of freeing the fish and would – indeed – be gutting and eating him, and then the other two spent a fair amount of time calming her down as they started a camp fire. As the fish started to cook, Mana’s mood improved.

It’s sad he had to die, Mune patted her sister’s shoulder comfortingly. “But I promise he’s going to be delicious.

Sacrifices for the greater good, right?” She dried her tears. “Humans need to eat.

Especially growing boys, Yuu said, snatching the prize fish from the cooking rod, before swearing a few times and tossing it between the other two in a game of hot potato.

I guess I should learn patience, too.” He admitted, as they sat down to divide the fish’s meat between them. He was a bit sheepish, having intended to scarf the whole thing down himself before the girls had volunteered to join him on his little jaunt to the river.

Do’yff thiff Wawa--” Mana covered her face in embarrassment as she swallowed. “Do you think Hana will be leading your ninja cell now?

Oh, wouldn’t that be awkward? Going from girlfriend to boss?

She’s not my girlfriend,” Yuu pouted as he tried to snatch fishmeat from Mune’s hands. “But she trained under a person who specialized in solo operations. She’s probably going to be an assassin or something amazing like that.

So you guys won’t have a lot of time to hang out anymore?

Mana!

What? Doesn’t that make sense?

Yuu forced a smile at the pair. “Maybe not. But it’ll be nice to see how she improves without me tagging along. We might become very different people...

He popped a piece of meat into his mouth, to Mune’s surprise as she realized it had been snatched from her portion. “I think our friendship goes beyond just being teammates, though.
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Old 05-15-2018, 12:01 PM   #5
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That evening, Yuu sat alone underneath the stars. He folded his knees up to his chest and wrapped his arms around them, resting his chin between them, and cast his eyes skyward. After his morning spar with his father, he had spent the afternoon training the girls and taking them fishing --- but they had to attend to their own responsibilities after that, leaving Yuu alone again. While he had tried to make friends in the past, Hana was really the only one who had stuck around or had any interest in him outside of mission assignments. He was valued as a medic or a taijutsu specialist, but rarely as a person.

He sighed. Wasn’t like his personalty was terribly congruent to making lifelong friends. The elite sense of his family combined with his overly serious attitude when it came to completing missions made him a professional contact at best. Hana loved him openly, though. Saw him as far more than a Hyuuga or a medic or any of those other things. She was a genuine friend, and one of the few people he ever felt comfortable or like himself around. No pretense, no posing, no effort.

And she was so heavily marked by loss. Her birthday was approaching, but that was rarely a happen time for Hana-chan...since both her parents died around this time when she was eleven. Their time apart – while their specialties made them more suited for different mission types – had started to take their wear and tear on their relationship. It seemed like soon, she’d be an other distant memory and he’d be an other forgotten face in her past.

When he realized he was crying, he suddenly felt embarrassed and covered his face with his sleeves until his face was dry again. There wasn’t anyone around – he could easily tell that with his Byakugan – but openly crying in public still felt weak and vulnerable, and those were all things Yuu wanted to erase and change about himself. But the bond to Hana was too precious – he could pretend he wanted to be a cool ninja who didn’t need anyone, an independent symbol of power for the village, but he had grown too fond of his time with the girl.

Her birthday was coming up. He’d have to get her something. Nothing too showy, that would announce the gulf between their financial situations, but nothing heartless, either. Ribbons, maybe – they were here ace in the whole when it came to their little scuffles, a special ninjutsu technique that confused even his Byakugan. Still, they were uniquely her, and while it was easy enough to replace kunai and shuriken at the quartermaster, replacing combat-viable ribbons meant a trip to a tailor or something.

But yeah – some fancy ribbons for his dear friend. That seemed good.

This was a fundamental too – you can’t just sit here and cry about losing your friendships because you’ve been distant or away. Friendships took work, just like martial arts training...and the most basic fundamental was to at least be there. She wouldn’t want to be alone on her birthday, even if it wasn’t marked with sadness for her. And he still hadn’t congratulated her on her promotion, since his first selfish response was to feel upset by it.

The fundamentals of friendship – that seemed a little bit more fun than the fundamentals of Jyuuken.

Yuu flipped off the rooftop and leapt from building to building back towards the Hyuuga compound. The next morning he’d have to venture into town to find more information about wear to buy ribbons from, since all his clothing was provided by his parents. ...maybe that was a fundamental, too – not letting your mom pick out your combat attire. He dabbed his eyes again and sailed through the air.

Small steps – I can improve myself in small steps. I just need to continue to aim ever higher.
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