Suzume's POV

Gaara and I just sat there, getting lectured by Temari and Kankuro. More Temari, she's the kind of person who likes to be in charge, and lectures us any chance she gets, sometimes about the most boring stuff. Most of the time she gets completeIy off topic sat upside down on the couch again, Gaara standing next to me.

In the middle of her speech/rant/lecture/punishment/whatever Temari talks about, Temari stopped, and pointed to me.

"And I can't even talk to you without you sitting like that! I mean come on!" She complained.

I sighed, and sat correctly. "You happy?"

She nodded and continued. "Why did you even do that?" She questioned harshly.

"Well Gaara said to come at him like I wanted to kill him, so I did. Simple as that," I said, looking at Gaara. He was staring down at his feet, then glanced up at Temari, silent.

Well Temari and Kankuro kept talking and talking, and after what seemed like hours (it probably was), We went to sleep.

* * *

"Huh, well it looks like we gou our matches today, for the exams," Kankuro stated, looking at a paper we got in the mail.

"Give it to me!" I took the paper out of his hand, and read off the names.

Shino Aburame VS Kankuro

Neji Hyuga VS Naruto Uzumaki

Shikamaru Nara VS Temari

Hikari Mizuki VS Fumiko Hatake

Sasuke Uchiha VS Gaara

Suzume

There wasn't anyone else by my name! I squinted and read the smaller print towards the bottom of the page.

*A single name means that person will face a randomly chosen opponent after all other contestants have had their match.

So that explains it. I stared at the page for a while, then was startled by someone behind me.

"Give me that," Gaara rasped, snatching the letter out of my hand. I watched as he read the list of names, and then he stiffened, a tiny smirk on his face.

"I'm facing the Uchiha," Gaara whispered.

"I don't know who I'm facing!" I responded, chuckling.

He set the paper on the countertop for Temari to see when she wakes up. "Come on," he said, grabbing my wrist. We were transported to the same clearing as usual.

"You know," I began. "I don't even know why I'm still letting you teach me."

"Well sometimes teachers may not have the best teaching methods, but the end result is incomparable."

"So, you wanted me to remind you of something," I said, trying to get him to remember.

"I remember," he said blankly. "I told you that you run out of chakra too quickly. Well I'm sorry to say that there's not really any training or anything I can teach you that will help. You'll build up your stamina the more you train, and the more you fight. But there is one thing I recommend, that can save you some chakra in the long run."

He extended his arm, handing me a cylinder-shaped container that was about a foot long and a few inches in diameter.. It was smooth, and shiny, and was tan with a thick black horizontal stripe in the middle. It had similar black markings like Gaara's gourd. At the top is a black plug.

"What is it?" I asked, examining it.

"It's to put your air in. It's like my gourd. You can compress air to be much smaller and more dense than sand, so your container is significantly smaller in size than my gourd, but can hold around the same amount. I'm guessing you can control the density of the air at will, so keeping your wind in the container should be easy."

"Oh! That's really cool!" I said. "Thanks!" I ran up to give him a hug, but he pushed me away with sand.

"Suzume, don't do that," He said quickly. "Now all you have to do is put chakra into some air, and seal it into the container. Once it has been sealed, It can be controlled without using nearly as much energy compared to just making some wind on the spot."

I nodded, staring at him with interest. He took the tube and held it firmly in his hands.

"Now, make air dense with chakra."

I did as I was told, and a few minutes, I had a jar of my own chakra-filled wind. It took a good solid hour to actually get the air in and out of the container with ease. But Gaara was right- it was much easier to control, and was faster, and didn't use up all my energy.

After I got my tube of air, I secured it onto my left hip, and did some other training with him. I learned more about genjutsu, how to release certain ones, and how to create one. The only one I know as of now is one where I can make wind move so fast, the sharp, piercing noise hurts your ears. When I came up with the idea, Gaara had to make earplugs out of hardened sand for himself so he didn't damage his hearing.

Once the sun started to set, I realized that I wasn't as tired as I normally was. Progress!

You made a lot of progress today. I'm impressed.

I smiled, and Gaara gave me a funny look, then spoke.

"Well, I think we can take a break from intense training for a while. Almost three weeks have gone by. You're ninjutsu skills are good, you're genjutsu's half decent, and your taijutsu isn't terrible, either. You should be fine in the final rounds. Who knows, I might have to face you after I beat that Uchiha."

"No way you're going to beat my Sasuke!!!" A voice called out from behind us. We whipped around to see Hikari and Sasuke.

"Hikari, what are you-"

"Stop!" Hikari shouted, punching Sasuke in the arm. "How do you think you're going to beat Sasuke? She demanded, grasping Sasuke's wrist.

"I'll kill you BOTH if you-" Gaara growled, before I stepped on his foot. He hushed immediately. "I don't know why I listen to my little sister..." He mumbled to himself.

Sasuke smirked. He must have heard.

"Anyway," Hikari began, her voice a lot less protective over Sasuke. "We were talking a stroll through the woods and wanted to say hi, that's all." She said, before taking Sasuke's arm, and dragging him off into the forest.

Well, that was interesting.

With my new container of air, I walked back home with my brother, into the thick evening mist.

* * *

Almost time for the final round! Probably like 2 more chapters before then XD Sorry if I'm dragging tis whole month long period out, it's just that I like writing. :D This is barely the beginning, my friends!

~the doodle addict~

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