Also usually people train using iron cubes, since they're magnetic and easier to keep together in a shape, but switch to stainless steel for field work because they don't corrode and are more durable and lighter, but takes more/finer control, so the switch has a period in there that's frustrating.
Every second of it had been a disaster so far as Fujigaya had been concerned. Kishi was on the floor, struggling to get unwrapped from his own chain, Jinguji's practice cubes were scattered all over, and Iwahashi had a cut across his cheek already welling up with blood.
Fujigaya crossed his arms. "Tell me where you think this went wrong."
"When you let the ghost out," Jinguji muttered. Fujigaya glared at him, and Jinguji's back straightened. "It's my fault. When it got through Genki's shield, I lost concentration."
"No, it's mine," Iwahashi said, staring at the floor. "My shielding is still terrible. I let it get through."
"You're a receptor, your shielding is supposed to be terrible," Fujigaya snapped. He turned to give Kishi a fierce look. "You, on the other hand, let a practice ghost drag you ten yards away from your team's receptor, what kind of shield even are you? And you," he turned back to Jinguji, "should worry about your own self. You think Iwahashi-kun won't ever get hurt in the field? When that thing went for him, you fell apart. And you aren't ready for steel either, judging by this result."
"Yes I am!" Jinguji bristled. "Kawai-kun cleared me last week!"
"Kawai-kun didn't see you cut open your receptor's face because you couldn't hold your form together, did he?"
"That's not, I," Jinguji stuttered, guilt and anger and embarrassment all scrunching up his face at once as he looked over at Iwahashi pressing his sleeve to his cut. "I didn't…Genki, I…"
"It's fine," Iwahashi interrupted, voice soft, but amazingly he seemed less likely to cry than Jinguji at the moment.
"It is not fine—"
"Ease up, Taisuke," Kitayama called from the doorway. He strolled in to stand next to Jinguji, patting him on the shoulder with one hand. The other arm was slinged and bound tight to his side.
Fujigaya gave him a frosty look. "Ease up, says the perfect example of what happens when you rush in to throw yourself in front of a team member without thinking." Fujigaya spared a glance to the side. "For fuck's sake, can somebody help Kishi-kun off the floor?"
"No thanks, I'm fine," Kishi mumbled, nose squished against the floor because he'd rolled himself over.
"Pick 'em up," Kitayama said to Jinguji, ignoring Fujigaya. Jinguji looked around at his cubes scattered in all directions, then back at Kitayama. "Go on, you can do it. You think they won't get knocked all over in a real fight? Think you won't drop them? Pull them."
Sighing, Jinguji put out a hand, fingers spread wide, and a second later, a dozen of the nearest cubes slapped into his palm, his fingers closing around them.
"Uh-huh," Kitayama said neutrally. He looked around at the other three dozen scattered every which way. "Throw them."
"But—" Kitayama raised an eyebrow and Jinguji gave an exasperated noise as he flung his handful of cubes back down with a clatter.
"Pull," Kityama ordered. This time Jinguji called maybe twice as many cubes, not quite half. "Throw. Pull. Throw."
Fujigaya turned to Iwahashi with a sigh. "Let me see that cut. Serve both of you right if you got a cute little scar out of this."
Iwahashi's wide-eyed panic just made Fujigaya roll his eyes. These morons were going to get themselves killed, and this brat was worried about his complexion.
"They shouldn't be grouped together," Fujigaya grumbled as he and Kitayama were leaving. "They're definitely dating. Whose boneheaded idea was it not to separate them?"
"Separate them how? You know as well as I do that Iwahashi is useless with anyone else that he doesn't trust." Kitayama shrugged. "And before you complain about grouping kids too young, let's talk about the dozen guys we have right now who nobody can figure out what to do with because they're too used to working on their own. Let's talk about how Yasui's been through more shields than boyfriends in the last month, and how Kyomoto could probably stop lightning by now if we would have just let him think he was safe with the group that he ended up with three years later anyway."
Fujigaya heaved a frustrated sigh. "Both ways just seem to get more people hurt. Was it this stupid when we were in training?"
"You wanted a group so bad you cried," Kitayama teased, jostling Fujigaya with his shoulder, then hissing in pain.
"You deserved that," Fujigaya informed him. "And shut up. What do you know about it anyway, I got stuck with you the moment you showed up, stupid soccer haircut sticking up all over."
"I know that being stuck with Miyacchi from the very beginning is the only reason Tama-chan ever made it, and I know that it takes two shields and a whatever Watta is to keep you from getting yourself killed or worse," Kitayama said without irony. He shook his bound arm at Fujigaya, although gently. "You still haven't said thank you for this, by the way."
Fujigaya side-eyed him. "I'm not going to thank you for nearly dying and getting us stuck on training duty for a month while you recover, if that's what you're waiting for. You think groups are so great, then maybe you should think about yours before throwing your life away."
"Wouldn't be much of a shield if I did," Kitayama said with a shrug. "Know what I think?"
"Oh, do tell."
"I think Jinguji-kun makes you so mad because he's too much like you. After all that fuss of getting a group, you're the one who can't work with just anybody. You're the one who would be the most lost if something happened to one of us."
"Don't even talk about it," Fujigaya snapped, suppressing a shudder. "Don't be such a goddamn moron and we won't need to talk about it ever."
"So realistic," Kitayama cooed, earning a glare. "There, there. I'm sure we'll die at the exact same moment and then they can bury our ashes together in the same—"
"Christ, could you be any gayer?" Fujigaya interrupted. "I'm pretty sure the only person nearly as gay as Iwahashi and Jinguj is you."
It took Fujigaya moment to realize that Kitayama was no longer walking beside him. When he looked over his shoulder, Kitayama was standing at the window, lit in reds and golds from the sunset pouring in through the glass, a satisfied smile curling the corner of his mouth. Fujigaya backtracked the several steps to look, scanning the back practice field to see what Kitayama was looking out.
Outside, Jinguji was standing in the grass, arm outstretched, Genki sitting beside him. They were too far away to see it clearly, but Fujigaya knew from long experience the jerk of Jinguji's shoulder as he caught and the glitter of three dozen cubes tossed through the air, back and forth, back and forth.
Next up is alchemicink!