Snap Back To Reality @jazhop
Chapter 23

Snap Back To Reality 23

It had been nearly a week since I joined ROOT. I hated the place with a passion, hated walking into the suffocating metal corridors and looking at the faces of children who got progressively more and more worn down. I hated looking at the mirror and knowing that, I too, despite being an adult was also being worn down, if not a little slower than them. They beat us down again and again every night, healed us right back up, gave us time to recuperate before repeating. I flinched as the memory of a hand shooting down at collar bone, shattering it, another memory of a kick to my ribs. I shook away those thoughts. I hadn't signed up for this fucked up boot camp. I didn't want this, but fucking children were going through the same thing I was, so I had no right to be traumatised like them.

Kusari was crying… well silently sniffling to be exact. He never did it in front of the ROOT instructors, just when his wounds had been healed and we were alone. It broke my heart a little each time and I wanted desperately to protect him.

I pushed away his sweat matted dark blue, almost black hair, and I whispered small comforts softly towards him. At first, he had been wary of my touches, shying away from any and all physical affection, but one day he just stopped and let me run my fingers through his hair.

"It's going to be ok," I said once more.

If you said something enough times, then you'd believe it right? I closed my eyes and gently ran my fingers through his scalp, pushing away silky black hair calmingly. I remember Cat used to do this for me, and now dad would too whenever we sat about. I wondered if Kusari liked it too.

"What's it like outside?"

Kusari hardly spoke, but when he did, he had the softest, sweetest voice. It painfully reminded me of my late cousin's. I wondered if he'd ever been outside before. If that was why he always asked me this one question.

"It's loud, and lively, and there's a lot of people in Konoha of all different kinds," I continued once more. "There's a few ninja Clans, like the Akimichi who use their fat for their clan jutsu, and the Nara who can control their shadows. There's the coolest clan, the Inuzuka's who all raise dogs to fight by them. Then there's the Uchiha and Hyuuga, but they're mostly stuck up pricks who think they're cool because of their shiny eyes."

"Shiny eyes?"

"…Well not shiny eyes exactly. Just—ugh—special eyes I guess. The Hyuuga can use it to see your tenketsu system and have a 360 field of vision, and the Uchiha—well their eyes are just broken. It's like they're using cheat codes to win the game," I grumbled.

"Cheat codes?"

"Ah… never mind. Tell you what—I actually brought something for you today."

"You aren't allowed—"

"Well screw the rules," I grumbled, before cutting open my jacket pocket and pulling out a book.

It wasn't exactly Icha-Icha, but it was one of those romance novels the lady recommended I read. It was too—vanilla for my tastes, but it had good morals and the romance was rather healthy. I figured the perfect way to destroy ROOT's control on Kusari was to lend him some romance novels, since I knew the kid needed hobbies… and maybe some friends besides messed-up old me, but that was impossible to give to him as it was now.

"Is, it on chakra control?" he asked.

I snorted. "Nope, just read it and find out."

"I don't want to get caught," he mumbled.

"I can sense chakra really well, so I'll keep you guard ok," I reassured.

He nodded hesitantly before opening up the book. This was always the most tedious part of the day, well asides from ROOT training which just meant them kicking us around and breaking a few bones here and there. I hated the pain, and I hated how tired and worn out I felt afterwards when they used their accursed healing jutsu to crack the bones back in place and mend them. I only remained absolutely silent from the treatment because it was unfair of me to whine when literal children were being put through this abuse too. I knew what they were doing, and I hoped it wouldn't work on me. They were slowly breaking us down. When you pushed the body to it's absolute limit, cracked it until it couldn't be cracked anymore, the mental side of things would follow too.

The children were systematically being ripped apart to be put together again. I knew it was worse for them because they lived here. The brainwashing extended to all hours of the day, every day, whereas I was allowed to leave for home by some miracle. Danzo had Orochimaru of all people cover for me, and that meant he thought I was worth all this effort for whatever reason. I was a risk and I didn't know why he even wanted me around. Then again, a lot of ROOT agents had successfully infiltrated Konoha and acted like everyday people, so it wasn't like all of them were emotionless puppets. Maybe the brainwashing also extended to people like me, the ones who would also be expected to act normal and infiltrate everyday society.

We sat in silence for hours, although it was a rather companionable silence. Kusari was a wholesome kid, a little timid and very brave. There was something about seeing a kid like him take all that abuse and still manage to be a person, that gave me hope. I didn't want to think of his humanity cracking, of him ending up like a blank canvas like I remembered Sai being. He was so full of life and character under all that abuse.

"Someone's coming," I said, gesturing for the book.

Kusari handed it back to me and I pocketed it just in time before Hakanai stepped into the room. She gestured for us to follow and I glanced at Kusari worriedly. He was shaking. I held his hand tightly before sending him a reassuring smile. He looked up timidly and nodded. Not a smile, but I couldn't blame him. I bit my lips too. I didn't particularly enjoy being beaten to a bloody pulp every night either. In fact a part of me was terrified by people moving to touch me now. It felt like every hand coming toward me was going to inflict pain. I had to consciously act normal which was…


I lined up with the other kids and began watching the ruthless beatdown. Many of the children who had stopped fighting altogether had been disappearing one by one. I had no idea where they went. Maybe they were killed, or maybe taken to the next part of their training, to be moulded into emotionless puppets. I had no clue, and honestly, I didn't want to find out.

I watched a little girl get kicked around by an overpowering adult, and it felt nothing like training. It felt like a beat down. With every blow, with every desperate cry of pain and quiet broken sobs, it felt like a bit of me was there with her, experiencing those cruel blows. It had become so incredibly demoralising, and I had only been here for a week.

While my heart did go out to those children, it was only really when Kusari eventually got his turn at 'sparring' that my patience snapped. It felt like every blow to his tiny body was a blow to me. I had made him my mission and seeing him hurt like that made my blood boil. I was afraid, and scared, and terribly frightened like a prey should be in the presence of a predator, but they had cornered me. I didn't want this. Not anymore, and one more beat down would break me too.

Once he was dragged away and I stepped forward for my turn, I felt my breath catch in my throat. in front of me was an iron wall. Her presence felt insurmountable and suffocating, her mask a shadowy threat looming in the air, not just of pain but of a feeling of complete hopelessness. I hated it! I hated it! I hated it!

Today felt different. I could feel it. Like my blood was boiling. Like these people had tipped me over to my absolute limit and left me with such an overbearing fear and resentment that I was just sick and tired of it. My grip on my tanto cut through my skin from the sheer pressure of it. This fear— I wanted it gone. I was willing to do anything to make it go.


I could feel it, just like how I had felt it when I was fighting that Jounin genjutsu user. I could feel the air go down my pipes, deep into my very core. I could feel my tenketsu flare, my blood regulate, and I could feel the world become sharper. When I next opened my eyes, it was like through the pressure of this insurmountable iron wall was one thread of weakness, and I could see it. I could see that little crack of weakness in my opponent and almost instantly it felt like all my emotion cleared. The world went blank, nothing around me mattered, except for the one enemy in front of me.

Total Concentration: Wind Walker. Circle Step Form 3: Dance of the subtle breeze.

The wind twisted around my form, and the moment I breathed out, my body shot forward almost in a blur. For the first time Hakanai's chakra flared, and I could see her feet push off, moving the ground to dodge. No, I wouldn't allow it! I could still see the thread! I would break through this iron wall. My body flowed with chakra, the wind danced around my skin, cutting the air in front of me and jolting my body forward in a gust of wind. The sparks of energy shot through my body and I dashed forward, towards that flicker of light, the flicker of weakness I could see. My body rumbled in excitement as I closed the distance between us.

She pulled out a kunai, but I didn't stop, not when it swung straight into my shoulder. I didn't stop for the pain; I didn't stop for anything because I couldn't feel anything but this insuperable growing elation. When my blade touched the weak point, the little thread that directed my sight to Hakanai's heart, open and free for the taking, I burst my chakra out in a precisive gust of air at my feet. My body propelled forward, and the blade sunk into her chest. I could hear the skin tear and the bones crack as my metal drove straight into her heart.

Pure excitement coursed through my veins as her mask came off for the first time and I saw the face underneath. I memorised the look of pure surprise she adorned, the horror in her eyes as she felt her life drain, and I knew I caused that. I put that expression on her face, and for the first time in a long time I truly smiled.

The moment ended as her eyes lost their life and she fell to the ground in a heap. I felt the wind break from my control, the world became as it used to be, and with it the chakra in my body became too much. I could feel the familiar heat in my tenketsu. It was like the fight I had with Kazuki—the feeling of an unbearable heat followed by a sudden flare in my tenketsu that would burst blood vessels and kill me.

No. No, you can't stop the breathing technique now. You pushed your chakra coils to it's limit and it's still overheating. You need to gradually let out the energy. Don't stop now or you'll die!

I restored my grip on my tanto, ripping the blade out from her body in a mad struggle to release all my energy. I looked down at Hakanai's body beneath me and a flash of hot anger rushed through me. I smashed it back into her again and again, each blow breaking chest cavity and spilling out obscene amounts of blood, until it felt like all my chakra had drained out. No one moved to stop me, not even the other ROOT instructor who was there, or the Iryo-nin's who had watched from the side. With one last satisfying stab, I dropped down onto my knees, panting, and looking at the carnage I caused.

For every blow she had given me, for every time she had made Kusari cry, I had her pay with her life as recompense. The feeling of helplessness as all she could do was watch as years of her life was taken away—I made her feel that, and the thought brought me a feeling of such intense satisfaction, that completing a task or mission could have never truly compared. If this felt so good, I wondered what it would be like to slowly torture and kill that bastard Danzo.

I turned my attention to Kusari, his dark blue eyes were wide, and his face was full of awe, full of wonder, and I smiled at him. Then for the first time since we met, he smiled back, a teary thankful smile. The children all looked at me in disbelief, their eyes twinkling with hope.

"Hold her down!"

My arms were fastened behind my back as a ROOT agent kicked me to the ground, another slamming my head onto the ground. I didn't protest, not when they had so thoroughly subdued me. I could see Kusari's smile fade from opposite me, but my smile didn't. I had shown them. I had shown them that I would not submit, not now or ever. There was no iron wall I couldn't break through, no amount of conditioning that could change me, and definitely no human who could chain me down. Soon, I would not be so helpless and then they would be sorry for even thinking of using me, of hurting the people under my protection. They thought I was a tool. They were wrong.

Those were my last thoughts before a sharp pain on my neck turned my world to black.

When I woke up, I wasn't in ROOT. No, the ROOT underground system had a distinct smell of metal and a coldness to the air. I was in a similar place, but this stunk of blood, familiar chemicals, and a hint of snake. It took a moment to gather my bearings, but I quickly concluded that I was in one of Orochimaru's labs… although why I was on a couch and not on an operating table was another question.

It took quite a bit of effort to sit up and take in my surroundings. The room had no windows, so it was underground, but the odd thing about it was that there were filing cabinets all around. Whatever metal tables there were seemed to hold only small samples of odd experiments, probably of the non-important kind.

I rubbed my head and sent a small amount of chakra to my nose. My tenketsu system abruptly flared and I gasped in pain as I bundled together and coughed. I looked down at my arms and there were the odd bruises here and there… so I had popped some blood vessels doing the breathing technique. It didn't look nearly as bad as the first time I attempted it.

"You're a difficult girl."

I shot up to see Orochimaru a meter away from me and I hissed out a curse. How did he always manage to sneak up on me like that? His raspy laugh made me straighten myself up, as I struggled to get to my feet. He looked at me without much of the annoyance from before.

"You're so difficult in fact, that even Danzo thinks you're too much of a wild card to tame."

For some reason, hearing that was satisfying to an unhealthy level. Orochimaru didn't get a rise out of me like he did before. For whatever reason I could almost stand the man again. It was probably because he wasn't trying to control me right now. No, he wanted something else. I still felt the uncomfortable prickle of heat on my skin, my body subconsciously remembering the Genjutsu he placed me under.

"Why work with him?" I asked, instead of focusing on my fear.

"Why, well he helps me further my own goals. Why not use him to further yours? Become stronger with their training and when the time is right strike. Why did you fight it?"

I felt like I was walking on thin ice here. Whatever I was going to say had better be good enough for Orochimaru, because there was no other reason for Danzo to send me to him, than to shirk of his responsibilities of brainwashing me. Maybe he thought I would be better suited working with Orochimaru and by extension his own interests. A way to keep an eye on me without fucking up his normal plans with his other ROOT agents.

"I don't like to be used, not when someone threatens the people that I care about," I opted to say.

Honestly, the plan was to play it safe for a bit, but not even a week in and I had managed to be so unruly, that I killed a trainer and probably pushed back all the other children's indoctrination for weeks. Oh, I didn't really regret doing that, despite it making me fall under further suspicion.

"There's more to it than that," he pressed.

Why was he so interested in my reasoning? I was just a lowly Genin who happened to have the mental capacity of an adult. I may have been amazing in some rights, but by all means I was just another prodigy, with nothing of the natural talent of Kakashi possess or the insane potential of future Itachi. Worst of all, I couldn't lie to this man. He saw through my falsehoods almost as quickly as Gaku-sensei did.

"He pisses me off."

Orochimaru laughed at that. "And you were calling Suki out on her hatred of Kumo."

Well I was a fucking hypocrite and I wouldn't deny that. I narrowed my eyes at him. What was he playing at? Why was he paying me any attention, when the last time we met he had literally tortured me with genjutsu to teach me my place. Why humour me now?

"Why are you talking to me? What is it that I have that you want?" I asked as levelly as I could.

His yellow eyes lost their mirth and he sharpened his gaze at me. I had to stop myself from flinching back as he knelt down in front of me and put his too slender fingers on my chin. I was backed into a corner and this creep in front of me, touching me made my senses scream danger. I knew logically he wasn't into children, not that way, but that hungry expression he was wearing right now made me question my assumptions for a moment.

"You don't know it, but you managed a feat many have during a pivotal moment in battle. You overcame your own limits in one bound."

I blinked in confusion. Was this the mysterious power that somehow gave people that extra boost of energy when they had none? I had heard stories of course, of people in war completely exhausted and worn out, find that last bit of chakra out of nowhere to continue. It sounded more like a miracle of the human will than a controlled feat.

"If everyone can do it, why does that make me doing it any more special than them?"

Orochimaru's expression became even more hungrier if that was anything to go by. His thin lips curved upwards into a smile; his sharp intelligent yellow eyes narrowed in on mine with an intensity I had never seen from anyone before.

"Because you weren't pushed to your limits when you managed this. Your chakra wasn't exhausted. The ROOT agent I talked to told me your eyes focused and your chakra spiked in a controlled manner. For a moment you spiked from a medium Genin chakra reserve to a low Jounin level. Now tell me Hina-chan; how exactly did you manage this?"

I blinked in shock. The amount of chakra from a Genin to a low Jounin was a considerable gap, especially considering my chakra reserves were only slightly above average for a Genin and were still growing. To think it spiked that far?! I wondered for a second if I really was a prodigy, because for the first time in my whole life, I actually felt like I was one.

I gave Orochimaru a look. Right now he was asking me a question. A very poignant question. I wanted to answer him in earnest because I knew that look on his face. I myself had worn that expression before. It was that look of absolute wonder at the prospect of a new discovery, the thrill and excitement that came from finding out a new information that no one else had their hands on. For those who worked in the scientific fields, to have a moment like this, was rare and sought after. I was sure Orochimaru, the lucky bastard he was, probably had many of these moments. Right now I wasn't talking to a sadist evil scientist, but rather a man who was incorrigibly in love with discovering new things. His enthusiasm and intensity were rubbing off on me.

"No, no," I mumbled, "It's more than that. It wasn't just a chakra spike. It was like suddenly I was aware of every part of me, my tenketsu, my blood regulation, my heartbeat, and my temperature. It was like I could see the world more clearly."

Orochimaru blinked and the momentary look of shock schooled back into his normal expression. He let go of my chin and stepped away, his eyes still retaining that hunger, if not more amplified now.

"And you think you'll be able to do it again?"

Ah, so this was what this was about. Orochimaru wanted to learn it himself, or maybe he was just curious how I did it. I almost just wanted to tell him to breathe and leave him to figure it out himself, but I was nowhere near the power level required to act so beautifully flamboyant like that. He'd probably torture me some more for my insolence. I wasn't in the mood for more pain, and I had no idea how this man would act once I gave him this information. Would he find me useless again and therefore go back to the way he was before?

"I think I can. I did it once before as well," I said hesitantly.

"Describe the feeling," Orochimaru demanded.

I put my fingers on my chin and looked up in thought. Honestly, I was so caught up in the moment back then, feeling the rush of the energy and the moment had swept me away. I didn't really try and quantify what exactly I was doing to achieve those results. Now how exactly was I meant to explain it to Orochimaru?

"Well I breathed in, all the way down to my core. I—I don't know for sure, but chakra has to do with our blood flow, right?" I asked, wringing my fingers together nervously.

"It does. Our tenketsu system moves in direct correlation to our blood vessels, however it is a separate system that deals with chakra only."

Oh, well it was a relief to know my theory was mostly right. I tried to put my thoughts into words. I would have preferred writing it all down for the Sannin, but I wasn't so sure he'd appreciate me taking my time writing a report when he looked clearly so impatient. For a moment I was taken off-guard by my own unusual calmness right now. This whole conversation reminded me of sitting back in my old office, talking theories and research with my old co-workers. It felt so stupidly familiar that I had almost let down my guard. I shook my head to bring me back to the present.

"Well, honestly to spike your chakra you need to breathe… but down here," I said pointing to my gut.

"Your diaphragm is not there," Orochimaru said dryly.

"Ah—well yes, but I don't understand how, just that you need to do it."

"That's where your seventh chakra gate is. Did you realise that?"

I blinked and then widened my eyes in realisation. He was right. The 8 gates were located at the core regions of your tenketsu. The problem was, I knew it wasn't that. How could I have activated one of the gates without causing damage to my body? The closest thing to what I had managed was the equivalent of opening the third gate; the gate of life—which dealt with increasing blood flow regulation around the body. No, this was more than that. This had to do with chakra regulation, and maybe it just happened to corollate with the positioning of one of the gates. Chakra as a concept existed in my previous life as well, and my mother had been a Hindu who avidly believed in the idea of Chakra taught by Guru's. To some extent it did work for her. She had managed to control her breathing to an insane level even with lung cancer.

Could our worlds possibly be linked in some way?

I felt myself freeze. The idea itself seemed to make something click in my head. Of course our worlds related. There was a highly accurate story of it back there. On the occasion I wondered if I was even real, if my life was actually something I was living and not a story in and of itself, and often I ignored it because it sent some kind of existential dread into my very being. This felt real though. The people here didn't look like drawings, they looked like actual people, and the ground and the air and the world was vibrant with life. But then I wondered something… was there a natural force connecting our worlds. What if chakra was exactly that? Then did it mean that the stories of other manga and anime were real? What about other shows? Was all that inspiration for stories just some cosmic leakage into the minds of writers and content creators around the world? If so… was there a story about my original world here?

"You're spacing out."

I returned to the matter at hand and buried those uncomfortable questions where I couldn't think of them. Right, back to the topic of the 8 gates. I didn't really discuss this with Might Dai or Guy, but since I knew them, it wasn't so farfetched that I would know of their techniques. It wouldn't look suspicious to know of it.

"Right, sorry. I—don't think it's the 8 gates. Opening the third gate would simulate increasing blood flow and therefore an increase in strength, but what I did was different. I didn't unlock any gate. It was like I was hyper aware of my body and my surroundings. It was… a total concentration breathing."

I liked the sound of that. It came to mind the second time I used it. It was like my brain had kicked into hyper gear. All that background noise, those thoughts that buzzed in the back of your head every day, it was suddenly gone. It felt like I was walking on a totally still pool of water, barely making a ripple in this blank canvas of a world that just focused on one thing.

"Maybe it simulated the effects of opening the third gate to a lesser extent, but I don't doubt opening the gates itself would be more powerful," I concluded.

Orochimaru's frown was evident. He probably wasn't satisfied with my explanation. I wasn't some goddamn teacher though. I explained it as best as I could anyway. I just hoped he wouldn't kill me now and deal with the consequences as he went along, because he was honestly unpredictable enough to do so.

"You may go home now, but I will expect you here tomorrow night at 10 sharp. We will be testing out this technique of yours. I will be documenting it."


With that he left the room and I confusedly followed behind him. I probably looked like a lost puppy, but honestly, I just didn't know where I was and so all I could do was follow. I looked up at his back and was surprised that I held absolutely no hatred towards this man for having tortured me with a genjutsu not just a week ago. I had pissed him off, so it was my fault… and probably comparing him to Danzo had been a bit brash of me. Orochimaru was unabashedly a villain. Danzo, the fucker he was, tried to act like he was some sort of fucking dark hero. It pissed me off, and associating Orochimaru with Danzo before had made me hate the Snake in the moment, but now I realised—Orochimaru was just as tied down as I was to Danzo. The man was probably the only reason the snake could go around doing his research freely in Konoha.

I didn't want a cursed hickey or to be roped into torturing some poor humans, but I was enticed by the prospect of getting my hands on some of Orochimaru's research notes. I wanted to know what he knew. I wanted access to Fuinjutsu scrolls and knowledge. I wanted to eventually be just as powerful, so powerful that it sent people to their knees in fear. If anyone tried to mess with what was mine, I wanted the ability to make them suffer. I knew these feelings were ugly, maybe it would sound a bit evil to some, but I couldn't lie to myself about what I wanted anymore. I lied to myself and what I got for it were dreams of all the people I killed, mocking me with what they wanted to do in life. I told myself I should care, and all I got for it were nightmares, but I didn't—I didn't care about those people and it was ok not to. Maybe it was ok to unabashedly go for what you wanted… just like Orochimaru.

I paused in my step. I didn't have the time to feel bad, not anymore. I had originally declined his offer out of fear of being marked by him. I still didn't want to be. I wanted to rise the ranks as my own person, making my own name, but now I was tied to ROOT. I would always be seen as that girl who was Danzo's pawn, and the thought itself made me furious. Orochimaru, as much of a sick fuck he was, didn't piss me off as much as Danzo. I'd do some ugly things in the future to get where I need to be, but it was ok if it meant I'd have the power to protect my family and friends.

"Orochimaru-sama," I called out stopping.

The man turned around and looked at me. I wrapped my fists together and pulled out all of my determination. I felt a smile draw at my face, and for once I was excited.

"You said before that I could come to learn Fuinjutsu with you, and I declined because I was pathetic and weak willed. I'm not anymore. Please take me as your student!"

I bowed low. I shut my eyes tightly, waiting for a response, but nothing came, not for a good while, and when I angled my body up to look at him, he was smiling. A deep, raspy chuckle was pulled from his throat.

"Sarutobi has been hounding me to take a student recently," Orochimaru finally said, a hint of resentment taking his voice. "I decline every year, but I can see his patience weaning. I've been scouting for a new student, someone worthy."

Oh, that explained things. No wonder he had stopped to discuss Fuinjutsu with me all those months back. I just assumed it was because he wasn't such a bad guy. Of course he wouldn't stop for no reason at all to talk to some random kid. Did this mean he wouldn't take Anko as his student later on? I didn't really care to be honest. I was never truly worried about changing the timeline in this world. All I knew was that I needed to get through this war with my family, and then get strong enough to take on anyone who fucked with me.

"I haven't judged you worthy yet. Follow me, and we'll see."


We walked through the corridor towards another, slightly dimly lighted one. The walls had bars here, and I noticed from the stench of rotting flesh, to the smell of faeces, urine, and sickness, that it was people behind these bars. I held my nose and scrunched my eyes together as they watered. It stunk. I took a glance into the cages to see people sitting about, looking like lifeless dolls. The light had left their eyes. I was once again reminded that Orochimaru was also a sick fucker, and my stomach roiled in disgust and pity. These people… they had been broken. Danzo should probably learn a thing or two from Orochimaru.

"What are they here for?" I asked.

"I've been working on a way to perfect immortality for a while, a way to defeat death," Orochimaru supplied with excitement in his voice.

"Were you able to—find a method, I mean?"

"Yes, but it is imperfect. With each body, the world fights to work against me."

"Cells deteriorate more rapidly than they reproduce," I supplied with a frown. "That's just the way things work."

Unless of course, you managed to somehow exceed the Hayflick limit, but I didn't exactly know the word for that in this language, so I refrained from commenting on it. Essentially Orochimaru was searching for a way to stop the deterioration of the human cell from age. It wasn't as theoretically impossible as it sounded, but I wondered if he could do it, surpass the rules of this world with knowledge alone.

"And that's what separates me from everyone. People simply accepts the way this world works. They bend their knee to its rules, but I will not. Death is just a conquerable obstacle, like many more obstacles I will hurdle over."

Orochimaru sounded so sure of himself that for a moment I did believe him. He was right in some ways. This man was willing to go more than a mile for his goals. I always limited myself with my sense of pride. While he would not stop until he got the Sharingan and a perfect body, I was more the type to stubbornly use my imperfect body to prove just that I could. We were both stubborn in our own ways.

He opened a door into a room with a metal table in the middle, and I froze. Did he want to experiment on me? No, there was someone there, chained to the wall. He was naked, and unconscious, a sheen of sweat running down his gaunt face.

Orochimaru handed me a folder and grinned.

"Are you ready for your test?"


Orochimaru, I thought, was the perfect narrative foil for Hina. Kinda like a darker reflection of what she could become if she stopped caring so much about not feeling empathy. She's a coldly logical person just like him, but he's entirely given up on being a "good" person. Give me your thoughts on Orochimaru becoming Hina's sensei!

Also I'd just like to say that the ROOT arc is an on and off thing, and it's not like you'll see much of Hina directly under ROOT actually. Despite being sealed, Hina did manage to find herself in a unique position as Orochimaru's student. Things will be a lot darker from here, but Hina is a character who's rather unfazed by a lot of it, and she's NOT a generically good protagonist. In fact this whole story is a moral question on whether she is a good person or not (up to your discretion of course). I will need to put her in some morally questionable situations to explore that, so for all the people telling me that I should just stop writing angst and drop the ROOT arc… please stop. ಠ‿ಠ It's a little frustrating because that's more your personal taste, than it is a fault in my writing, and I can't really do much about it either.

Just a quick note, I have recently joined a discord server that acts as a sounding board for Readers, Writers, and Betas alike. So if you love my story and want to talk with me on how we can improve it or just some ideas join! Also all writers with Active Stories get their own channel that they can control on the Server.

Here is that link: discord,gg/NhyMyqr Replace the / with a .

Review Responses:

M2R- Thanks! ( )

Drkprince- Normally comments criticising my work don't annoy me, but honestly this did. Please don't assume what I'm going to write in the future and base your criticisms of that. In fact all the things you said I'm going to do I don't even do. If you don't like this story from what you've read so far, that's fine. Base your criticisms of what you've already read, plot inconsistencies and other narrative flaws thanks. (ಠ_ಠ )

Brambleus- I wouldn't call the root arc unnecessary. I think of it more as a gateway to challenge Hina's core character values. She's not actually 6, she's mentally 41 at this stage, although she has childish impulses from time to time because paternal figures still affect her biology. Thanks for the criticism though and thanks for reviewing!

Guest- While I haven't written Gaku's perspective, just so I can refrain from dragging out this arc more than needed, I have written in Orochimaru's perspective later on. Hina is going to have to take a break from Fuinjutsu for a while, but when she does get back to it, I have an interesting way to implement it! Thanks for leaving a comment!

Ptbv- Thanks for leaving a comment!

RileyBlue00- I'm sorry I hurt your soul. Honestly, I hurt my own soul writing the last chapter. It was depressing! I'm hoping you liked the twist in this chapter! Hina is now Orochimaru's student! She's going to become a little badass soon.

gogo bananas- Thannks! ٩(ᴗ)۶

ita123- She's a poor, poor baby for now. But not for much longer!

LaziestOfThemAll- I would if I could, but I actually haven't finished writing the ROOT arc yet. I'll post up the chapter once I'm done.

InfernalGenocide- Thanks for leaving a comment!

NNN11ght- I have no idea what you mean by those kinds of fanfics. I hope it's not that though! If you mean by constant unrepentant angst… then no. It has it's ups and downs like every life!

Guest 2- Omg Hina is definitely going to fuck up ROOT in the future!

Kenshin135- Yes ROOT is a sanctioned organisation currently. However in this story only the council and the Hokage are aware of its workings. Shikaku and Sarutobi doesn't really know about the seals on their tongues, just that Danzo has control of a section of the ANBU. The children being inducted into ROOT is not something he's aware of, but the Hokage is. You bring up a good point of having Hina tell Minato or the Hokage about future knowledge before. I really didn't consider that as a possibility because Hina just doesn't seem the type to open up about anything, so I completely disregarded the idea even if it did make logical sense. That was my bad \_(ツ)/

RougePoncho- Thank you so muuuuch! I chose this time-period because war as a subject really interests me, and I can't wait to explore the effects of war later too! Thanks for reading!

4ever-oreo- Thanks a lot! I'm so glad you like Hina's development. Hina coping with her problems by escaping into fantasy is honestly something I still do to this day, hence this story (•̀ᴗ•́)و . I made Hina bi mostly because I wanted her to end up with whoever suited her in the future best, not really because I'm bi (cause I'm actually lesbian XD) but I'm glad you could relate! The scene with Gaku sensei hurt my soul too! I'm glad you like the change in tone, because this story has it's dark periods and it's lighter periods too! Thanks for leaving a review!

Ivarojavee- How so? ಠಿ_ಠ

Anonymous reviews have been disabled. Login to review. 1. Chapter 1 4905 1 0 2. Chapter 2 6009 0 0 3. Chapter 3 5570 0 0 4. Chapter 4 5319 0 0 5. Chapter 5 5907 0 0 6. Chapter 6 5728 0 0 7. Chapter 7 4342 0 0 8. Chapter 8 4716 0 0 9. Chapter 9 9627 0 0 10. Chapter 10 4719 0 0 11. Chapter 11 5236 0 0 12. Chapter 12 5827 0 0 13. Chapter 13 6062 0 0 14. Chapter 14 6331 0 0 15. Chapter 15 4356 0 0 16. Chapter 16 3405 0 0 17. Chapter 17 6116 0 0 18. Chapter 18 3812 0 0 19. Chapter 19 3907 0 0 20. Chapter 20 5529 0 0 21. Chapter 21 5831 0 0 22. Chapter 22 6213 0 0 23. Chapter 23 6780 0 0 24. Chapter 24 4607 0 0 25. Chapter 25 4730 0 0 26. Orochimaru Part I 5058 0 0 27. Orochimaru Part II 5557 0 0 28. Chapter 28 7051 0 0 29. Chapter 29 6381 0 0 30. Chapter 30 3234 0 0 31. Chapter 31 4312 0 0 32. Chapter 32 7228 0 0 33. Chapter 33 6812 0 0 34. Suzuki Taichi Part I 7181 0 0 35. Suzuki Taichi Part II 3313 0 0 36. Chapter 36 7150 0 0 37. Chapter 37 5348 0 0 38. Chapter 38 5640 0 0 39. Chapter 39 7295 0 0 40. Chapter 40 6880 0 0 41. Chapter 41 4364 0 0 42. Chapter 42 7235 0 0 43. Chapter 43 4826 0 0 44. Chapter 44 4848 0 0 45. Chapter 45 4523 0 0 46. The Sages Edicts 6211 0 0 47. Chapter 47 5491 0 0 48. Chapter 48 6136 0 0 49. Chapter 49 5696 0 0 50. Chapter 50 4575 0 0 51. Chapter 51 5395 0 0 52. End of Part I 6060 0 0 53. Chapter 53 5512 0 0 54. Chapter 54 6088 0 0 55. Chapter 55 6659 0 0 56. Important Authors Note! 328 0 0 57. Chapter 57 5722 0 0 58. Chapter 58 6642 0 0 59. Chapter 59 8794 0 0 60. Nara Shikaku 1 6333 0 0 61. Nara Shikaku 2 3961 0 0 62. Chapter 62 7840 0 0 63. Chapter 63 4791 0 0 64. Chapter 64 5491 0 0 65. Chapter 65 7081 0 0 66. Hatake Kakashi 9379 0 0 67. Not discontinuing story, slower updates 610 0 0 68. Uchiha Fugaku Part I 3162 0 0 69. Uchiha Fugaku Part II 4249 0 0 70. Chapter 70 5916 0 0