No Kunoichi

Author: Asuka Kureru

Fandom: Naruto

Pairing: None

Genre: ficlet, POV Temari

For Joosetta because I love her so.

They all want to be good kunoichis.

Kunoichis are, said her teachers, female ninja. But they're so much more than that. They're beauty and grace and subtlety; they have the demurest or flirtiest attitude whenever either is needed; they can make themselves striking enough to seduce secrets from the wariest of men and plain enough to be one with the very walls, to ghost through enemy towns unnoticed; they know all the right plants to heal, to kill, to tell your superior that an assassin is spying on him or your husband that you love and adore him.

They all want to be good kunoichis. Those are, basically, female ninjas. But so much less than that.

Some aspects of the training she was grateful for, and she kept -- there's no way she'll ever die of hunger staring at a bag of uncooked rice now -- but the day she presents a full ten-courses meal with decoratively folded slices of ham and vegetables cleverly placed so they draw the kanji for good health and whatnot is the day she decides to leave her fan behind because the hard muscles it sculpts in her shoulders are unwomanly.

She can do subtlety. She can do stealth. But sometimes torture is so much more efficient than seduction.

She is not a spy; she is a warrior. She didn't spend time fighting to bend Kamaitachi to her will just so it can bring her to the marketplace faster and help her cut firewood for her chimney. She didn't spend time perfecting her throws, finding just the right kunai, the ones that seem to flow from her hand along the exact path her mind envisions just so she can pin heavily embroidered tapestries on her walls. She didn't spend time trying to function even faced with overwhelming terror -- with her brother's madness bubbling close to the surface -- just so she can plead with him, crying, to please turn nice again -- but so she can fight and maim and kill even when all she wants is run, but so she can complete the mission and protect her village and assure its honor proudly, even, maybe, at the cost of her life -- and she's no about to hand that life in a dramatic, beautiful gesture, fit to be sung until the end of Time.

No. She'll go down fighting tooth and nails if that's what it takes to meet her goals.

Not that she feels like dying anytime soon, but then with a family like hers, survival instinct sharpens unusually fast. She had no mother to give her pretty kimonos; she has learned to appreciate some fashions on her own but that's only what --she-- likes; she doesn't care if everyone else's idea of smart outfits isn't the same as hers. She can move in her clothes and that's fine; and if her fan happens to be a bit too bulky to really be elegant, she doesn't care; there is elegance in such a multipurpose weapon.

Her father is father only by name and duty ; he only cares about the power of their village --and maybe that is as should be for the Kazekage-- and from him she learned to be wary of politics and intrigues, and to learn to think for herself. She can out-think most of her agemates. And that's not only amongst the kunoichi, but amongst the guys too.

Of her two brothers, one is a sarcastic, unhelpful clown and the other a demon-possessed freak. She works well within a team, whoever it is she's saddled with, and it takes a lot to make her crack under pressure. One day, she will have built enough tolerance to Shuukaku not to crack at all.

They all want to be good kunoichis.

She doesn't want to be a kunoichi; even the best of them is still a subordinate, an informant, an accessory; even the strongest of them is nothing against the strongest ninja.

She just wants to serve her village to the best of her abilities ; no female or male implied anywhere in it. And not merely good; but one of the very best. And she will kill and maim and tear, and plot and adapt and betray. She will take what she likes whenever taught to her, and not bother with the rest. And who cares if her training makes hard muscles show like ropes along her back, who cares if the move she uses to gut her target wasn't graceful enough. The target will still be just as dead and the mission just as successful. This -- success at any price -- is what being a ninja is all about.

She doesn't want to be a kunoichi; she just -- and yes even though they tell him that it's anything but "just" anything-- she just wants to be a ninja.