For the first time that day, Burai found himself at a loss for words.
"I-" Kenshiro's retort was as efficient as it was effectively cutting, each word chosen far more carefully than his own had been, and he had to admit, if begrudgingly, that the boy had a point. He bristled, his hackles raising indignantly.
"I didn't-!" Who did this Hyuuga think he was, telling him how to use his own bloodline?! How could he possibly deign to understand the work he’d put into mastering that technique?! The nerve!
“You-!” How dare he? It wasn’t Burai’s fault that his teammates seemed so determined to fail this test! His reasoning was rock solid! Had he been too insistent? No, that couldn’t be it, his clan-mates had never reacted so poorly to his more forward outbursts-
"Oh." The realisation was as sudden as it was unpleasant. ‘These people aren’t family.’ How could he have been so stupid? Hadn’t his cousins warned him of the way the Kasei were seen? Hadn’t he worked for his entire academy career to cultivate an image of competence and wit? He’d been so caught up in thoughts of friendship and teamwork that he’d forgotten how little he actually knew these people and made an utter fool of himself as a result! His face contorted angrily.
For a moment, his thoughts whirled like a hurricane before he drew his focus back onto his surroundings. Kenshiro's chakra was swirling angrily as Burai’s, matching the frustration in his tone, and Shiori... Shiori seemed almost mocking. Words swirled at the tip of his tongue, retorts and explanations both. By the time Kenshiro had announced he was leaving, the only words Burai could form were "Did I really sound like Jin?" He watched the boy set off, followed shortly after by Shiori whose chakra was stained with outwardly malicious disdain.
Oh, and wasn't she her own kettle of fish? He cursed himself for his stubbornness; The girl was clearly beyond his reach. She had turned to leave without so much as looking at him. 'She never intended to trust me, did she?' Anger roiled again, hot and focused: His whole life had been leading him here, and she deigned herself as being above that?! Part of him tensed instinctively, his own chakra flowing erratically as, for a moment, he considered going after her. He was snapped out of it, however, by his teacher speaking up. He missed what was said, but turned around to give her his proper attention. Only, she wasn’t-
He cried out, a sharp pain overwhelming him as a flare of blinding chakra overpowered his mind momentarily. He doubled over, clutching his head in an attempt to cope with the sudden onslaught of sensation. A wave killer intent assaulted him, suddenly, like nothing he’d felt before. Through the haze, he could make out Suto-sensei behind the others. Was she-?
“Kenshiro, look out!”
Panicked, it was all he could force from his lungs as he searched frantically for a chakra signature. The buckets!
A puff of smoke heralded his sudden replacement with a bucket of water, moments before the tail-end of a lance of energy flashed past. Shuddering, he tensed his body, tenketsu straining as he forced his chakra skin to its absolute thickest. Almost an inch of syrup-like purple aura crawled over him, and in the second it took for his brain to reboot itself, he took comfort in its warmth.
“What… What is happening?” Had… had he been wrong? But he couldn’t have been! He knew the procedures! He knew how this worked! And yet-
Another wave of killing intent hit him like a battering ram, and he heaved, bile and the remains of his breakfast spilling onto the ground beneath him. Was… was she really going to kill them?! Then, was she a spy? Some kind of rogue?! And what about the others?! Hurriedly, he formed his hands into the Kasei seal and flared a bubble of chakra, tagging the others. It seemed Shio- Spiga-san and Kenshiro had escaped the blast, which was… relieving.
“What the hell is going on?!” The question tore from his throat unbidden, rasping and painful from vomiting. This was… far beyond him. Beyond his reach. He was going to die here, wasn’t he? All three of them were.
Uncle Jou would be so disappointed.
For a second time, his brain crashed, and he vacantly observed as, lazily, a single fat fly alighted onto the contents of his remaining bucket for a drink and-
“What?” It died! But then-?
“This water… is caustic?” The realisation struck him suddenly, followed shortly by a wave of surging, frantic energy. “Water style… is within my reach!” A manic smile pulled itself onto his lips and stuck fast. It wasn’t over until it was over, was it? At that moment, he could’ve hit himself. “Mum and Dad wouldn’t have gone down like this, would they Burai?” He flashed his hands through his Water Style practise seals before plunging his right into the bucket. The water, as if pulled towards its origin, snaked up his arm, small rivulets peeling away and dropping to the floor. “They went down fighting, and so will you.”
A manic tear rolled down his cheek.
A laugh tore from his throat, wild and painful.
“Burai Kasei never backs down from a challenge!”
With a yell, he charged back towards the others, a disintegrating lance forming at his side. Water droplets streamed behind him. He'd go for the arm. A disabling strike, after all, would be his best chance at survival against so vastly superior an opponent.
“You two! Get out of here! I’m going to put this right!”