Snap Back to Reality 18
"What happened to your neck?!"
"It's nothing Rin," I mumbled blushing. "I just fell?"
Rin huffed and rolled her eyes. "Don't be ridiculous. It looks like someone was trying to tear your throat open!"
"Let's just leave it ok," I snapped.
"Ok," she said, a frown still on her face. "But you got to let me heal you first."
"You know medical ninjutsu?" I asked, surprised.
"I got help from the hospital. They say it's hard mixing yin and yang chakra together, but I'm a natural at it. I thought you could too, since you have really good chakra control," she said.
"Having good chakra control doesn't mean you have the automatic talent to create that healing chakra. I'm kind of jealous," I mumbled.
Rin chuckled at that, holding my chin up as her fingers brushed the scratches. "Not all of us can be speed demons and taijutsu experts either. Now hold still, I can heal this, but it will scar."
"Permanently?" I asked, paling.
"No, probably just a light scar that will fade in the next year or so," she mumbled.
I let out a relieved breath. I didn't need anyone seeing self-inflicted wounds on me for the rest of my life, not that it would look suspicious with all the other scars. I felt a warmth prickle at my skin, making it go numb as cells energised and multiplied. I paused at that. If chakra could force cellular regeneration, then couldn't it double the amount of blood, and therefore oxygen pumped into one's body? I was going to ponder that line of thought when Kurenai walked into the room holding my outfit for the weeding.
"It looks amazing!" I said with wide eyes as I looked at the cute outfit. The once long kimono was waist length. I put it on and tied in the short navy-blue hakama pants, that looked kind of like a skirt with the way it had been stitched. Rin clipped in the emerald studded fan hair pin that Guy had gifted me for my birthday and beamed an excited smile. She was wholesome like that.
"You look amazing!" she complimented.
"Now time for the makeup!" Kurenai exclaimed excitedly.
It'd been a while since I'd worn make up. I used to wear a light amount in my previous life, having been far prettier than I was now. Being stupidly average in my looks in this life had made me complacent. It didn't help that I was physically 6 years old. There was no reason for me to look pretty, not like how it had helped me in my previous life. Still, it was a nice feeling, to have friends, even if they were practically babies in my eyes, taking care of me. Kurenai was surprisingly good with makeup, and she knew what earthy tones suited my face. Since we were six and only had a limited amount of supplies to go on, the makeup was extremely light and sparse, but it did improve the bags under my eyes and for a moment I could picture myself with a face free of stress lines.
"You look so pretty," Kurenai squealed.
I chuckled at how girly they were acting. It was in moments like this, that I was happy to let them act like the children they were. That's when Taichi bounded into the room, freshly baked cinnamon rolls in tow. Kurenai and Rin had rubbed off on Taichi from the first moment he laid eyes on them. He was giving them head pats and treating them like his little sisters. I snorted at his antics. He never got to play the big brother role with me, not with me not needing his protection and having about 30 years more life experience on him. He was a meek kid too, no spine, despite trying his best.
"Thank you Taichi-kun," Kurenai said as she picked up a roll.
"These are delicious," Rin agreed.
Taichi looked at me and then his eyes widened. "You look so pretty Hi-chan! Here let me braid your hair!"
Taichi managed to braid my bangs to the side of my head before pinning it down with the hairclips. He was surprisingly good at a lot of girly things. I was not jealous. I let him swoon over my looks for a bit before I walked out of the room and down the stairs. Dad looked at me like I had grown two heads for a second before giving me his proud dad grin.
"Oh my baby girl is going to be a looker!"
I groaned into my hands in embarrassment. I didn't need to ever hear that from my dad again. Kurenai and Rin snickered, and I promptly said a goodbye before retreating into the safety of solitude. They had helped me prepare, but I had a wedding to go to. I walked amiably on my crutches to the Nara district and sniffed out Hanami. She noticed me and gave me a smile, patting my head.
"You're looking very pretty," she complimented.
"Not as pretty as you Hanami-senpai," I grinned.
"Oof, demoted to senpai," she said holding her heart in mock pain.
I just chuckled. I knew she didn't care. We walked towards the Nara main hall, which was decorated with white lilies. I had a sinking suspicion that the decorations involving flowers had gone quite overboard because of one Yamanaka Inoichi. I wasn't complaining. It was all quite beautiful. I looked around and noticed several prominent figures, including two of the Sannin, Minato, and the Hokage. Several Clan heads milled around and took their seats on the pillows on the floor. I was given a chair by a Nara boy as he noticed my crutches. Hanami waved a quick goodbye as she went to sit with the rest. Sitting at the back wasn't too bad. I noticed some of the elderly were besides me, so I wasn't exactly alone.
Nara Shikaku's wedding was a surprisingly traditional event. To my amazement the couple exchanged weapons as a sign of marriage rather than rings. Now that I thought about it, rings weren't a thing here. Apparently ceremonial weapons were. That was actually kind of cool. Then the couple went about praying to a shrine, dressed beautifully. I barely paid any attention to the ﬂowery background. Everyone was sitting traditionally on their knees, silently watching the ceremony unfold. Inoichi was deﬁnitely not crying. I had to hold back a snicker at how emotional the Yamanaka man was. Then to ﬁnish off the ceremony the couple said a rather passionate vow in regard to what they held dear to their hearts.
"I Nara Yoshino, vow to love and protect my family, my village and my precious people. I will hold the Clan teachings to heart, and further Konoha's and Nara interest to bring honour to the Clan."
"I Nara Shikaku, vow to honour and protect my family, my friends and my village. I will hold the Clan teachings to heart and bring honour to the Nara name through my deeds and actions. I hereby partner myself with Nara Yoshino till death do us part. My greatest vow is to bring peace to my family."
So it was more a personal thing. I ﬁgured the order in which they said their vows reﬂected on what they valued most and judging from how similar both vows were, it seemed they were on the same wavelength. I was beginning to prefer this to the marriages from my old life. This was simple, short, and serious. Vows were important to Shinobi, so marriages were taken very seriously. Because of this a lot of Shinobi didn't marry. They slept around and had children and would form family units for a while, but very few married outsides of Clans, especially for love. Nara Shikaku was indeed a very lucky man.
"Ok," Shikaku said clapping his hands and looking as excited as a Nara could get. "Time for the food!"
Most of the Clan heads got up respectfully but many of Shikaku's personal friends seemed to holler in excitement, jumping up to congratulate the man heartily. I couldn't help but smile and jump in as one of those people. Shikaku had practically raised me along with Hanami. He was kind of like the cool uncle I never had but always wanted.
"Yo," I greeted with a grin.
"Ah Hina-chan," Shikaku greeted.
"Congratulations Shikaku-san. You get to have a bit of fun now," I said wiggling my brows and pointing to Yoshino. "You're pretty lucky."
"What's a brat like you insinuating things like that for?" he asked unamused before he pet my head fondly.
"She's right you know. Tonight's going to be fun for you. I'm jealous," Jiraiya added in, breathing through his nose as his expression turned perverted. Then he looked down at me and I realised Orochimaru was behind him.
"Oh you're the little girl who ruined my time at the hot springs!" he said crossing his arms.
"That's what you remember?" I asked affronted.
"Already making important connections, eh. You're definitely a Nara," Shikaku smiled.
"Congratulations Shikaku-san," Orochimaru said curtly as he handed the man an intricate scroll, his eyes trailed on me for a second before he promptly left.
"Yeesh, what a stick in the mud," Jiraiya huffed.
That was one way to put Orochimaru. I realised I had snorted in agreement and then turned up to see Jiraiya sending me an odd look. Thankfully, I was saved by Inoichi and Choza who had practically pulled their teammate away for drinks. I looked around for Hanami and realised she had disappeared off somewhere, leaving me awkwardly with Jiraiya.
"I finished decoding the scroll you gave me," I said crossing my arms and frowning.
"I got your message brat," he huffed. "That was surprisingly quick."
"Orochimaru-sama gave me pointers," I shrugged, tapping my crutches in sudden awkwardness.
"He helped you?" Jiraiya gawked.
"Is that such a surprise? He seems like the kind of man who enjoys the academics," I said pointedly.
"What Clan are you from kid?" Jiraiya asked unprompted.
"I'm not part of a Clan," I huffed.
Something about that sparked curiosity in Jiraiya's eyes. He hummed in thought before unsealing a scroll within a scroll and then he tossed it at me. I struggled to catch it as my arms moved from the support of my crutches.
"Decode that and come back to me. I'm off to find some real women," he said before dashing off with that stupid perverted grin of his.
I shook my head in bafflement. How did someone like him manage to become a Sannin? I opened the scroll and it was infinitely more complex than the one he had given me before. I hooked the end of it to my hakama skirt and vowed to figure this out before I got out of physical therapy. I was tempted to throw myself straight into figuring it out now, but this was a weeding celebration and I was determined to relax for a day.
With the thought of food in mind I made my way to the buffet table and loaded my plate with an assortment of sea food and sushi. I was acquainted with almost everyone here already. Most of the Nara kids knew me growing up, but we'd all parted ways a year ago and I'd hardly talked to them since. I wasn't ever one for playing with children in the first place, so none of the relationships I made here had much past the way of acquaintances. So, I awkwardly hobbled my way to the shade of a tree, managing to hold a plate and two crutches somehow before leaning my weight on the bark and eating.
"Jiraiya is teaching you again?"
I jumped at the suddenness of the voice. How the heck had I not sensed him behind me? I turned to see Orochimaru lean into the tree besides me. I nearly had a heart attack. I sent the Sannin a look and wondered just how I had managed to catch the attention of such an influential and powerful figure like him and Jiriya. Clearly the world was either in my favour or very against it. I didn't know which way this would play out, but I was sure associating myself further with Orochimaru was not a good idea.
"Orochimaru-sama," I said curtly.
"It's a pity our mission got cut short Hina-chan. There was more to teach you," he said shaking his head.
"You don't like wedding's much do you?" I asked munching on sushi and trying not to look alarmed. It helped when I spent a whole two and a half months with the creep.
"These little festivities help boost morale during war," he said vaguely, before slitted amber eyes trailed down to my neck. I had to repress a shiver, wondering if he knew how to create a cursed seal just yet. I really did not want to find out with a non-consensual hickey any time soon.
"Y-Yoshino-san is feisty," I pointed out, changing the topic to the bride who was in the middle of a drinking contest with a bunch of other Jounin. The Hyuuga, Aburame and Uchiha clan heads did not look amused.
Orochimaru in all his unending creepiness ignored my change of subject entirely. "Jiriya is not a good teacher. If you have any questions you can come find me. I'm usually at my lab in the Soraya district."
I was openly gawking at the man now. All the alarm bells in my head were ringing at once. Oh kami, I was fucking screwed. I was getting a personal invitation to his lab! That was practically a golden card to a trip being dissected on a metal table for experimentation. Was I on his list of candidates? I needed a way to get out of this as quickly as I possibly could.
"T-thank you Orochimaru-sama, but I have vowed to get strong on my own merits."
"Surely accepting help from me is not so different to accepting help from Jiraiya, or any different to your current Jounin sensei," he said with way too much logic.
Well damn, that made too much sense to turn down. It wasn't like I could point out blatantly that I didn't trust him. Honestly if things were going my way, I would have nothing at all to do with the snake Sannin. I would rather choke on buk-choy again than to gain 'power' from a cursed seal or augmentation. If Minato and Jiraiya could become strong on their own merit, then so could I, without any ridiculous cursed hickey, edgy opticals, or broken blood lines. I just needed my strength, my wits, and my hard work.
My reasoning was good and all, but I needed to get him to understand that. Dammit, this wedding was meant to be my off day from this bullshit. I sucked at lying so I would be honest without being rude.
"Not to be rude Orochimaru-sama. I'm just rather stubborn when it comes to teachers. My sensei makes training plans for me, but I learnt the taijutsu forms on my own, as well as all my jutsu. I want to make my power my own. It's a personal nindo of mine, so if I were to come to you for help, I'd like to keep it that way please."
That wasn't my most subtle attempt at stating that I definitely did not want him handing me a powerup on a silver platter. I got where I am now with hard work. Yes, I had help, but Gaku-sensei just gave me the tools and direction and I had to make my own way. Jiraiya just pointed me casually to the next piece of Fuinjutsu I would need to understand.
"That is certainly an admirable nindo but do take to heart that sometimes life's gifts are gained through alternate means."
Ah, that was certainly a way to look at things. Orochimaru craved the Sharingan, specifically the Mangekyo Sharingan. I couldn't blame him, as far as bloodlines went, the Sharingan was broken. Creating giant skeletal monsters, pocket dimensions, time warping genjutsu, and a whole bunch of absolutely insane bullshit that any normal person without it would be hard pressed to defeat. It rubbed me the wrong way. Orochimaru craved that power, and I found myself… hating it.
No one was born equal, and some people were just blessed with genetics beyond comprehension. In this world it was a lot more relevant compared to my old one. In that world your race didn't matter, beyond where you were born. An Indian was no different to a European or an African, in everything except looks. Everyone was born on a relatively similar playing field when it came to genetics. Here, it was different. Uchiha and Hyuuga dominated most battles. The other Clans managed to keep up with decades worth of honed Clan jutsu that were broken in their own rights. Maybe I was being petty, having been born without any of those things in this world, but I wanted to be better than them. When I saw people like Guy struggling as everyone belittled him, I wanted more than anything to prove to them that he could be great… that people like us could be great.
I wanted to say all those things to the Snake Sannin, but I settled with an, "I will keep that in mind."
He nodded before disappearing of somewhere. I was glad. I didn't need the stress of having him hanging around me all day long. I would have to visit his goddamned lab now, but definitely not before making it very clear that several people knew I was there with him. He was not going to get away with fucking with me, Sannin or not.
"Ah Hina-chan, it's good to see you here."
I looked up to see Kushina waving at me, before turning back to Yoshino. I waved back with a quick 'yo' before making my way to her and Minato. The two women looked absolutely smashed. Minato as usual being the responsible one was decidedly not drunk. I was tempted to join in too. I poured myself some sake before taking a swing of it and making my way to her.
"Hina-chan, you shouldn't *hic* drink or you'll *hic* stunt your growth and be a midget forever," she slurred.
"Oh this is my husband's gaki huh?" Yoshino laughed, swaying on her feet. I was taken into a choke hold by the bride and I felt the breath leave my lungs. Thankfully, Minato, bless his beautiful bishounen soul, came to my rescue, prying me off Yoshino's grip as she slumped back in her seat.
"Minato-san! My saviour," I cried out, ducking behind his legs.
Huh? Why had I said that out loud? I found a hiccup make my way up my throat and then I realised I was drunk? I only had a cup! I swayed on my feet before deciding in all my uninhibited glory that Minato was the perfect perch. I climbed up his back and clung to him like a baby koala, because he was surprisingly comfy and safe, and he saved me from that horrible Kushina and now Yoshino. He was a saint. I patted his head.
"Good Minato," I mumbled, my eyes drooping.
"Oh kami-sama, you're drunk. Who gave Hina alcohol?" Minato asked in exasperation.
"I think she drank it before *hic* she came to us," Kushina huffed.
I giggled as I stroked Minato's fluffy golden hair. It was so soft! Why was he so pretty?
"I bet Naruto's hair is this soft too," I giggled.
"Who's Naruto?" Minato asked curiously, pushing my fingers away.
"So soffttt," I slurred instead, before promptly falling asleep on his shoulder.
I woke up with a rather mild headache. Then after a moment I realised I was in my bed and that I had gotten drunk and promptly embarrassed myself in front of the future Hokage. I groaned, throwing the blankets over my head to block the sun, and then letting out a muffled scream of embarrassment. I can't believe I did that!
I looked at the scroll by my bed and then promptly pulled the sheets back over my head. Nope… just nope. I wasn't ever going to leave my bed ever again!
A/N Ahh sorry for the rather short chapter. I just needed something more light-hearted after all that angst and edge cut my soul in half in the last one. Hope you enjoyed this chapter.
Ok review response time!
gogo bananas- Thanks, I didn't want to skip over the mental trauma aspect of war. A few other characters are going to go through it too soon enough.
Immortal Potatoe- Writing op characters is fun in it's own right. I'm so tempted to do it, but I've outlined a theme for this story and if I made Hina OP it would ruin the whole narrative point :') Thanks for your review!
Fajangled- Your welcome! I honestly just want to post up chapter 40 already, but I gotta be patient XD
Frankieu- You know Hina more than I know her XD That's also definitely something older Kakashi would do because he's such a troll.
RileyBlue00- Hahaha yeah the dream sequences in the future are definitely a lot more hardcore and trippy as they go along. I can't wait for you to read them. Also yeah hope you enjoyed the wedding this chapter. It was so fun to write because Konoha weddings are different to western ones.
Amatsumi- Actually Hina's breathing style is a rip off of Demon Slayer's 'Total Concentration Breathing'. The gist of it is, your body reaches a traumatic stage, and your blood pumps quicker because you breathe in oxygen and spike your oxygen levels in your blood, and your body heat rises so you can use your muscles to their absolute limit. In this stories case, it spikes ones own inner chakra while simultaneously making the user hyper aware of their own body. That means Hina is using her full potential chakra wise, and her chakra control is also in a whole different level. It's not quite Senjutsu because it doesn't use the chakra from around her, but her own reserves. I haven't really watched JoJo, mostly because my friends literally used to call me JoJo's Bizarre Adventures as a nickname, and it turned me off the anime XD Thanks for your review! It really did bring some light into how others might perceive the technique.
ita123- Thanks for reading!
Redvsbluedays1214- Having insomnia must suck. I hope this story at least staves the boredom. Take care of your health!
Guest- Thanks, you'll definitely be seeing more backstory, but it won't be until a bit later. It's a while away.
Shadow Wolf 15846- Hehehehe, she's going to have a fun time talking to someone soon 😉 Thanks for the review!