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Private I Don't Understand Your Heart

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NOVEMBER 10, Y110
Kakashi already had a hard sheen of sweat on his body before the sun had even risen above the treeline. He swung through katas flawlessly, regretting only that he didn't have someone from his own world to spar with. He felt like he was bubbling over with energy lately, and solo training or sparring with Qrow and his friends was just... it wasn't the same. Kakashi felt uncomfortable wielding jutsus against Qrow, knowing how startling they could be - especially a well-timed henge. Even taijutsu... he always worried about going too hard with his attacks, so Kakashi didn't trust himself to spar as hard as he could, for fear of hurting Qrow.

Focusing on katas granted Kakashi some relief, as he had something to focus his energies on with his entire mind, flowing gracefully through forms until the sun was peeking through the trees on the far side of the field, illuminating the dead grass in golden rays. The sky was turning pink above his head, and Kakashi breathed out softly, watching the air steam out from behind his mask. He lowered his hands, blasting through the seals to summon a shadow clone.

He couldn't spar intensely with Qrow or his ilk, but Kakashi could go as hard as he wanted against himself. He could even work on developing a few of his jutsus between bouts, and he'd get the clone's memories when it dispersed to show him exactly where his flaws lurked from an enemy perspective.

By the time he sensed a new presence in the field, the sun was higher in the sky and the golden, brittle grass had been rent apart in places, burnt in others. Kakashi was panting heavily, Sharingan exposed and studying his clone, who mirrored his exhaustion. They flew at each other again, descending into a flurry of rapid, near-invisible blows that culminated, after a time, in Kakashi summoning chakra into the palm of his hand, eyes widening and then narrowing as raikiri flickered to life with the chaotic scream of electricity.

Focusing intensely, he thrust his hand forward, well short of his clone's chest. The lightning leapt from his palm, hitting the ground with a sound that was almost a bark before surging forward, looking momentarily like a sprinting dog before it collided with the clone.

It dissipated in a cloud of smoke, and Kakashi considered the memories it relayed to him, spotting a few gaps in his defenses even as he turned and headed across the field to where James was undoubtedly waiting, pulling his eyepatch down over the Sharingan. With his hands thrust in his pockets and his visible eye half-lidded, Kakashi could have passed as altogether bored, if not for the steam rising off his bare shoulders, and the obvious signs that his tank top was soaked through with sweat.

He shuddered, feeling the chill at last, and scooped up his (Qrow's) sweater as he walked past it, hauling it over his head. "Yo, Captain my captain." Kakashi waved jauntily, offering James a smile that was visible even with most of his face hidden. "I should have known you'd consider on time to mean early." He teased lazily.

@James Ironwood
 
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James Ironwood

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Oh, Poor Atlas
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They'd agreed to meet on the edge of the city early that morning, in the same place they'd sparred last time. Not too far from the city in case of an emergency, but far enough that they wouldn't attract any unwanted attention with their training.

Training. James could scarcely believe that Kakashi had actually offered to train him, a few days back. But he'd take any opportunity to learn something new, something more challenging. Which wasn't to say that he found every spar easy. Simply that he was eager to try out something new, something he'd never heard of before and would provide him with a possible edge against future opponents.

Sparring against Kakashi way back when had been challenging in a way James hadn't anticipated, but now he knew better after some hands-on experience. Not so much as to claim he knew anything about how to apply jutsu or tap into chakra, of course. He'd just read up on what was available, to better prepare himself for today. Part of him was eager, but another part of him was also hesitant. Kakashi had mentioned needing to adapt a method James hadn't been able to find any reference of to teach him properly, due to the state of his body that would block the natural flow of chakra. Something James tried not to let himself feel bothered by, as he leaned against a tree to watch as Kakashi sparred... against himself? Interesting.

James watched, arms folded over his chest. Trying to track their movements, but they were lightning-quick. Too quick to observe with the naked eye, unless... James's eyes narrowed thoughtfully, Mettle activating in the back of his mind, like the low hum of an electrical current. His senses felt sharper, keener. Some of Kakashi's movements slightly easier to pick up on now, to observe and mentally catalog, until--

Electricity coursed over the clone, and it vanished in a puff of smoke.

That was when Kakashi turned towards him, so James pushed away from the tree and let go of Mettle, the hum in his ears dropping. Stance relaxing, expression shifting to something more amicable even as he folded his hands behind his back. He was dressed casually, in his typical workout clothes that, naturally, included long sleeves and gloves.

“I don't like being late for things,” he admitted, letting the quoted poetry slide. “Good morning to you too, Kakashi. That was some impressive sparring. What was that copy of you that vanished, exactly?”

 
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Kakashi trusted James only because Qrow trusted him. That was not to say that Kakashi thought particularly ill of James, but the man struck an intimidating, immense figure, and his personality was severe to say the very least. Kakashi compared him to a handful of captains he'd known during his Anbu days, who had been frigidly focused on results, be damned the consequences.

He questioned how far Qrow would go for a mission.

He didn't question that in James.

Still, Kakashi trusted Qrow, and Qrow trusted James. "That was a shadow clone. An exact replica of myself that shares half my chakra. It acts autonomously until it's dispelled, at which point I get the memories." He smiled easily behind the mask, resting most of his weight on one leg. With Qrow, Kakashi usually chose to give him short, easy answers. He got the feeling that Ironwood would appreciate the exact opposite. "It's an advanced technique, and dangerous to boot, given the fact that it splices your chakra in half each time you make one. For someone like you, who's never used chakra before at all, it could kill you." Kakashi pointed out bluntly, pulling out his book and opening it, alternating between reading and addressing James.

"So, I take it you don't want me to dance around the major issue you're going to have with chakra control." Kakashi flipped a page, expression serene. "Half of your body being metal might pose a problem, but we won't really know until you start producing chakra. I think I can help you figure out a way to channel it into your hand, but the legs are more difficult." He glanced up with a slightly apologetic expression, then his eye wandered back down to Icha Icha.

Kakashi breathed in deeply. "A friend of mine would have been ideal to teach you, since he's extremely familiar with the body's chakra pathways, but... you've got me, so we might have to sort of... cheat the system." He smiled, eye crinkling up brightly. "Do you want me to explain the technique you might need to use now, or do you want to start with forming chakra and we can deal with the technique later? You seem like the type who wants all the facts immediately, is all..."
 
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James Ironwood

RWBY
Oh, Poor Atlas
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James mentally filed that away. A useful trick, though he couldn't say how useful if you could predict your clone's every move, though he figured it had more to do with seeing what you needed to work on rather than sparring for the sake of sparring. “That makes sense. It would be like letting a child near a hot stove.” Blunt, straightforward, and to the point. James appreciated such raw honesty. It made a refreshing change from the sort of people he had to interact with day in and day out.

He raised an eyebrow at Kakashi's book, but the man's next words distracted him from commenting. Of course his prostheses would pose a potential problem. He made a small hum, a noise of assent. James didn't like the idea of Kakashi knowing details about him only a select handful were privy to, but he supposed Qrow had had to fill him in on the basics, so that Kakashi could prepare an appropriate training regimen.

“The facts first,” he admitted, taking note of Kakashi's body language. Pleasant enough, though he didn't know the man well enough to tell if it was genuine or not. “I'd rather not dive headfirst into anything without knowing exactly what I'm getting into.” Which wasn't always the case, of course. But since they were neither pressed for time, nor working only with what they had at their disposal, James figured he'd take advantage of the chance to learn.

Or hell, it might all just be a colossal waste of time if James couldn't even make it work.

 
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Neutral Good
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W/ Qrow B. :)
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"More like telling a child play with a sharpened kunai on the first day of training." Kakashi chuckled, pulling out one of the tools as a reference. The edge gleamed meanly in the early morning sun before Kakashi flipped it back into its holster.

James wanting the facts wasn't a surprise. Kakashi didn't look up from his book. "So, I already told you about the tenketsu - the nodes that chakra passes through in the body. You're missing a fair number, and I'm not sure how that's going to affect the way your chakra flows. In a similar vein, you produce chakra using your body's cells to harness physical energy - which is one of the two types of energy that chakra requires. Spiritual energy, you already have in spades because of your aura training. You can improve it more by doing research, meditating, and sharpening your mind."

Kakashi looked up at James over his book. "The issue is the physical energy. You can train all you want, but at the end of the day, you have a limited number of cells in your body compared to everyone else. It may mean that you have a smaller chakra reserve - or it may mean that producing chakra will be a bigger drain. I don't know. We'll find out." He snapped his book shut.

He studied James for a moment, then sighed softly. "Like I said, I'm not sure what will or won't work or even be necessary. We're in uncharted territory. I imagine your prosthetic arm might be able to carry a line of chakra - I'm familiar enough with the upper body tenketsu to show you how to blast the one in your shoulder open. It's the leg that's going to be a problem... potentially."

Kakashi tossed Icha Icha into the air abruptly, then twitched his hand, brow furrowing with clear focus. The book froze, and hung limply in the air. A moment later, the pages began to flip, seemingly of their own accord. "This might be our solution." Kakashi explained tersely, fingers twitching in sequence. A fine, white-blue thread caught the sun, linking his fingertips to the book.

"This is a technique used almost exclusively by puppeteers in my world. They're called chakra threads, and they're... difficult to manage, to say the least, but they can imbue chakra into inanimate objects, and control them, depending on the talent of the wielder." Kakashi cut the connection and caught his book smoothly as it plummeted. He turned to regard James. "My working theory is, if pumping chakra into your leg naturally isn't going to work, you can subvert that by using a chakra thread to force your leg to cooperate. It would take a lot of focus, but you seem like you enjoy a challenge anyway."
 

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