Suddenly he rolled over, a huge grin on his scratched and dirty face.
“Hinata, did you see that? I got through. Not very far, but I got through.”
She let out a sigh of relief and then smiled with him, “Yes, I saw.”
“Let’s try it again,” he jumped back to his feet. She nodded even as he jogged a short distance from her. Then he turned to face her again, with a look of renewed determination.
“Rasengan!” he exclaimed, rushing forward.
“Heavenly Spin!” Hinata countered. This time there wasn’t even a moment’s conflict. The Rasengan cut right through the Heavenly Spin. But this time, the barrier did not reform. Instead, the entire dome unraveled.
Naruto’s eyes widened as he realized he was aiming a deadly attack at Hinata’s now unprotected heart. He tried to stop, but the Rasengan itself seemed to be pulling him forward. Time appeared to slow as the zipper of her coat flapped in the breeze thrown off by the Fourth Hokage’s skill. As the chakra tracks in the sphere began to slice into her jacket, Hinata moved. Her fingers pulsing, she tapped two places on the top of his forearm, and one on the underside. The Rasengan instantly vanished, and Naruto tumbled backwards from the effort he had been putting into not striking Hinata. The Genin jumped to his feet, and grabbed the Chunin gently by the shoulders.
“Hinata, are you ok?” Naruto asked. She blushed slightly under his intense gaze, and nodded. Her face grew even redder when he hugged her tightly with a sigh of relief.
“I thought I was going to hit you,” he released her, and looked down at his hand, “You closed chakra points in my arm, didn’t you.”
“Yes. Oh, I can fix that.” She reached for his arm.
“Wait,” he stopped her, “When Neji did this to me with the 8 Trigrams 64 Palms, I was able to overcome it. And pervy sage told me that Gentle Fist isn’t the only technique that closes chakra points, it’s just the simplest and most efficient. So I want to see if I can do it again.”
Naruto formed a fist, trying to force the chakra back into his hand.
“Come on,” his nails cut into his palm, “COME ON!”
Finally he let go, stretching out his fingers to work out the cramps.
“Man, I only got one of the three. Hinata, can you…”
“Of course,” she answered, elated to be asked. She tapped his forearm again, releasing the restrained energy.
“Then, shall we try again?” she asked.
“What?” he exclaimed, “No way. You were right, the Rasengan totally destroyed your 8 Trigrams Palms Heavenly Spin. And I almost hurt you. If you have been an instant later…”
“No, that is why we need to continue. I need to see if I can find a way to stop it, I want to improve the Heavenly Spin so it won’t have this huge weakness. And you need better control. What if this was a real fight, and your enemy used substitution to switch for one of your teammates? Or an innocent bystander?”
“NO BUTS!” she shouted at him, “Now attack me, or I’ll shut off all your chakra points.” Then she realized what she had done, and collapsed in on herself, “OK?”
“Yes ma’am,” he chuckled at her. His laughter calmed her, and she resumed her fighting stance.
Twenty minutes later, Hinata raised her hand in submission. The front of her jacket was ripped and torn, revealing brief expanses of pale, yet firm skin, or the metal mesh of the armored undergarments favored by the kunoichi of the Hidden Leaf village. The young woman dropped to the ground.
“’m sorry… Naruto… I don’t… have… enough chakra.”
“It’s my fault Hinata,” he helped her to sit against one of the rocky columns, and then plopped down next to her, “If I had better control, you wouldn’t have had to waste chakra on the Gentle Fists and Substitution Jutsu.”
“No, it’s fine. Beside, you were getting a lot better at the end. I didn’t have to do anything the last four times.”
“You too,” he encouraged her, “You stopped 2 of my last five attacks. But next time, maybe we could try something a little safer. I’d like to work on overcoming those chakra blocks.”
“Don’t you want to?” Naruto sounded surprised, and a little hurt.
“Of course! I just... uh… wasn’t sure you would.”
“Same for me. You helped me a lot today, Hinata.”
She blushed again, “Well, if you are up to it, I did have another idea for you.”
“I still have some chakra,” Naruto feigned modesty, to spare her feelings, “What is it?”
“I was thinking about your charka control, and the Rasengan. Is it harder to make the Rasengan smaller?”
“Yeah. How did you know that?”
“Well,” she leaned back as she explained, “A lot of things are like that. Like how it is harder to hit a small target than a big one. In this case, even though it takes less chakra, a smaller area requires greater focus and control. There’s not as much space to work with, compared to what you are used to.”
“So I should just try to make the Rasengan smaller?”
“Right, but only if you can keep the power the same. A smaller ball might not hit as much of your target, but it needs to do the same amount of proportional damage. Then, once you can create a full power Rasengan on your fingertip, try creating another one on each of your other fingers. Doing that would take a great level of chakra control.”
“A smaller Rasengan on each finger,” Naruto looked amazed, “Hinata, that’s genius.”
“It’s not… really,” she stammered. Now that she was done explaining, she reverted to form, “But… well, it could help.”
“No, it’s really good. And it’s something I can work on during my spare time.”
The impulsive ninja looked down at his hand, forming the rotating orb once again. This time, it was only the size of a baseball, and sweat formed on his brow. After a few seconds, he lost control, and the sphere pulsed outwards to its normal size, before tearing itself apart. Naruto started again, and Hinata simply watched, always impressed by his determination.
“Naruto,” she finally spoke after his third attempt.
“Could you… could you teach me the Rasengan?”
Naruto looked surprised and scratched the back of his head, “I don’t know, Hinata…”
“Of course,” she sounded sad, and upset with herself, “It’s your special technique. I shouldn’t have asked.”
“That’s not it, Hinata,” he shook his head, “It’s just… No matter how many character flaws he has, Juraiya is a good teacher. And I’m not sure I’m smart enough to teach anyone else such an advanced jutsu.”
“But if you are willing to put up with an inept sensei, I’ll give it a try.”
“Under one condition,” she locked his eyes to hers with a determined gaze, “If I’m not allowed to doubt myself, then you can’t doubt yourself, either. Right?”
“OK,” he grabbed her hand and shook on it, “Next time, I’ll bring the water balloons!”
“Wa… water balloons?”
Last edited by Xavon : 02-17-2008 at 07:33 PM.