Aligning yourself entirely to one element meant opening yourself up to severe weaknesses. It was an unavoidable fact, a weight on the opposite side of the scale to balance all the power a Shinobi might possibly achieve.
Every Shinobi, no matter how powerful, had at least one fate to fear, above and beyond death. And every other Shinobi knew what it was.
It made taking revenge very, very easy, provided that you could make the first move.
When you had a Mist Shinobi on your side, making the first move became eminently easier.
Jin and Touya knew the identity of one of their foes just as soon as Bakken's mist began to creep over them, spreading out through the woods to blur the world around them and any hope of escape. They knew him by scent, Jin knew his mist by feel. Risho was just as blind as they were left, but Bakken could see through his own mist easily. He watched the two of them, just a few short yards away through the trees.
Both had moved to stand back to back in the hopes of preventing the sneak attack they knew had to be coming. He could hear them speaking to one another. And even if they were too far for him to hear precisely what they said, the tone of their voices was clear enough. Touya sounded wary. Jin sounded his usual flippant, careless self.
It didn't matter.
Because Bakken's mist wasn't true wind, it was air mixed with his essence and his energy, and so Jin couldn't just swat it aside without working for it. Even Touya would have a hard time pulling ice out of the air when that air was saturated with Bakken's sweat.
And, through the haze and the fog, neither of them was able to sense Risho at all.
Jin might have just flown away, then, flown away and left Touya to his fate. He might have even just left Touya to deal with Bakken, because Jin had always made it clear just how much he'd disdained the large, scarred man and how much he'd hated even to be near him.
But they'd bonded, wind and ice, after their defeat. They'd found in one another a companion and, it seemed, the beginnings of a friend. Risho had never known Jin to be particularly loyal, but only because he'd demanded Jin's loyalty to himself, to their cause. He hadn't gotten either because Jin hated Risho and by and large couldn't be bothered about matters bigger than himself. Touya hated Risho, as well, but at least had managed a truly devout devotion to the light.
Even that hadn't held up in the end, though. They'd both betrayed him, they'd both sided with the humans that were the reason they were in this mess in the first place. Most importantly, they'd both failed.
And so now it was time for their punishment.
Bakken went one way. Risho went the other. Risho zeroed in on Jin's chatter. Bakken closed in on Touya because he was the only one who could see a thing.
Jin heard Bakken coming, as they'd both guessed he would. Bakken saw the Wind Shinobi grin darkly, and lift from the ground a few inches to hover. He started swinging his arms in a seemingly idle gesture that was anything but. He didn't have his usual perfect control in this environment, but he was far from helpless, and with a good wind up he would easily get a Tornado Fist going. "Hey, there, Biggy!" he called jovially, for anything in half a mile to hear. "If you'd wanted to come digging us up, it'd have been decent of ya to say somethin'! Course, I still would've knocked you back a mile either way, big stinkin' bully you are, but at least we could have both saved some time!"
"Jin…" said Touya and, yes, he really did sound afraid now. "Perhaps you should focus less on taunting him, and more on clearing this mist away."
"Nah, come on, Touya! We can have a bit of fun with this, like he had with your fox! If me an' you can get him to stumble over nice and near, I sure as all hell won't miss! And one good shot where it hurts is all it takes, for someone like him!"
All the same, he was starting to whirl his arms in a circle. A breeze was beginning to blow.
But even Jin had to concentrate. And when Risho, finally drawing near, finally heard and felt his chance, he didn't miss, either. When Jin felt the restraints of clay and earth snap shut around his legs, halting his ascent, and looked down to see himself trapped, his concentration snapped like a twig with his squawk of alarm.
The mist closed in.
"Jin?!" Touya cried, whirling around. They were still near enough to one another that he could make out Jin's silouhette, including the manacles of clay that had more or less sealed him to the ground, and were already drawing him down again despite Jin's increasingly panicked attempts to kick and strike himself free. "Hold on!" he cried, moving in, mustering up his focus to summon up a sword of ice on his arm.
Jin's head snapped around to stare over Touya's shoulder. His eyes went wide with shock and, for the first time that Touya had ever known him, something like fear. "Don't you go layin' yer mitts on him!" he snarled, throwing a punch. Touya staggered back, surprised and even more alarmed, but he needn't have worried at all. The attempt went completely wild, couldn't even reach Jin' true target with how tightly bound he was, and without any proper twist behind it the blow probably wouldn't have bothered their attacker in the slightest.
And Touya realized who the attack had been meant for much too late to stop the two large, scarred, powerful hands closing around his throat from behind and squeezing.
When I talked about maybe writing a sequel to "Just Wanted to Make Sure", this was not the fic I had in mind! I had a completely different idea for the second fic, but I got sick about a week after I finished up with JWtMS, and as often happens, I had some freaky dreams. One of those dreams set the stage for the first half of this fic.
I've also always been curious about the powers of the Shinobi in YuYu Hakusho, and the extent to which they go. How much, in other words, is a Shinobi their element? So this fic is also something of me playing around with some ideas that might come with devoting yourself entirely to an element, and some of the weaknesses that might go along with it. Therefore, the first half of this was actually quite easy to write. The second half proved a lot less so, probably because as with JWtMS, I found myself on completely unfamiliar ground trying to parse an in-character reaction out of characters in completely unfamiliar circumstances. I like to think I did a halfway decent job of it but, of course, you will have to be the judge.
Therefore, the first half of this was actually quite easy to write. The second half proved a lot less so, probably because as with JWtMS, I found myself on completely unfamiliar ground trying to parse an in-character reaction out of characters in completely unfamiliar circumstances.
I like to think I did a halfway decent job of it but, of course, you will have to be the judge.