Chapter 5 - Character

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Heavy, stalking steps. Limp barely noticeable.

Grumble. Rustle.

"Nice aim, bright eyes."

Grimace. Wipe, smear.

"Didn't think you'd be squeamish about a little entrails, princess."

Pause. Wring blood out of nearly soaked shirt. Pointed stare. "You try walking around in sticky clothing, and we'll see who's 'squeamish'. Ass." Pick piece of liver from bangs; study it. Absently add, "Besides, I usually don't get covered in them... also, ew." Wrinkle nose.

Amused, rumbling inquiry.

Hold up shredded bit of organ. "Cancerous." Flick it away. "Now I really want a bath."

Exaggerated sigh. "Fine. I suppose we could stop for a while..." A flurry of handsigns--

"And no cold streams this time!"

Toothy grin. "Yes, princess."



Steamy water. Slight mineral scent.



Safety first-- secure the perimeter. Watch him set traps. Add some more.

Wait until he sits, sword in his lap like a favorite pet.

Slip behind convenient boulder. Undress.

Rustle. Splash.

Weapons on a nearby rock, soiled clothing in hand.

Scrub. Rinse. Repeat.

Wring out water, lay cloth out to dry.

Submerge. Scrub. Rinse.

Soak. Relax, just a bit.


Sigh. Rub stiff hip.

"Thanks. This is perfect."

Shift. Exaggerated leer. "Welcome."

Amused hum. "Yes, I'm sure my shoulders are oh-so enticing."

"Why not? Can't be all tits and ass."

Chuckle, "Are you trying to make me uncomfortable? You'll have to do better than that, bright eyes."

Quirked eyebrow. "You're comfortable?" With me?

Cross forearms on rocky bank, shrug. "Kind of have to be." Yes.

"Wouldn't matter to some kunoichi."

Eyeroll. "What, that 'all missing-nin are perverts and rapists' stereotype?"


Headshake. "It's just that: a stereotype. True for some, but blown way out of proportion. Kind of like that one where all kunoichi are deadly vixens that decapitate their victims after sex."

Amused, "Thought that was preying mantises."

"Close enough."

"I think you've just tainted all my wanton kunoichi fantasies."

Mock-humble, "It's a gift." Prop chin on arm, sigh. "Besides, the medic training pretty much trashed any romanticism of the human body I had." Wry grimace. "These days, I hear 'sex' and think of the quickest way to heal mutilated genitalia, or treat STD's. Sometimes, it's delivering babies. Messy, any way you look at it."

"...Fantasies definitely ruined."

Quirky grin. "Welcome."


"...So, in theory, you wouldn't throw a fit if I didn't wait for my turn?"

Shrug, brush bangs behind ear. "Trust your wards that much?"

Confident smirk.

Pillow head on arms, close eyes. "Have at it."

Rustle, shift. A tiny splish as he slips in, slicing through the water like it's meant to be.

Soft humming as he scrubs clean. Soaks sore muscles in the heat. Relaxes, almost.

Bite lip. Inquire lightly, "Is that why you're so careful around me?"


"...Noticed that, did you?"

"You never touch me unless I initiate it."

Low, unamused chuckle, "Most kunoichi--"

"Aren't me."


"I don't hold much stock in reputations and rumors."

"Is that an invitation?"

Glance back, smirk. "To be yourself, bright eyes."

Tiny waves lap at her skin.

Thoughtful, "You're... surprisingly trusting." Heavy chakra swirls, twists miniature waterspouts into being. Sends them dancing around the steaming pool.

She's deep in his element. Beached weapons are an eternity away.

Even white teeth flash, an enigmatic smile. "I'm a good judge of character."

Companionable minutes pass.

"...Pull me under and I'll kick your ass."

Sharp white teeth flash. "Nude wrestling in a hotspring. That supposed to be a deterrent?"

Glance back-- green eyes widen.

A mini-waterspout collapses on her head.

Sputter. Splash.


Flick water in his eyes and playfully attack. Ignore wandering eyes for respectful hands.

Secretly, she thinks they both win.