Snap Back To Reality @jazhop
Chapter 48

Snap Back To Reality 48

There was a blinding pain and a flurry of movements that jerked me around. I felt too heavy to move but it felt like I was being urged to. Every jerk and push felt intensely hot and shot a shivering pain through me.



Slowly it felt like the sounds were piecing together into coherent syllables, and I could start making out the hazy scent of blood, steel, and the charred aftertaste that fire jutsu inevitably came with when in contact with skin. I forced my eyes open, slower than it had ever opened before. My retinas burnt, like I felt my face burning. The searing uncomfortable heat reminding me of the clammy sweat, sticking hair and cloth tightly to me. I smelt like sickness.

"Hina, oh thank kami, she's awake. Did you lose them Rui?"

I blinked up to see the outline of familiar purple hair. Wet drops fell on my face and I realised it was tears. Was Anko crying over me? The thought felt too confusing to comprehend, not in this feverish state I was in. It felt like I was submerged into water, like I couldn't fully hear, breathe, or think. It was maddeningly frightening.

"A-Anko," I whispered.

"I lost them. Ryunosuke faked the trails North-West. We can go now," Rui replied.

What was going on? The lack of information was confusing and worrying. I needed to know. Information kept you alive, and so I ignored how irrevocably tired and damaged I felt as I struggled upwards. The hand suddenly on my back made me hiss out in pain. I realised how damp it was but ignored it in favour of taking in my surroundings. Even in the darkness my night vision allowed me to see the interior of the caravan and smell the scent of the fabric we were meant to trade.

"You need to lay down. You can't move," Anko said hastily.

"W-what's going on?" I asked instead.

Then it came to me. Oh kami did it come back to me.

"K-Kusari," I whispered before looking into Anko's pale taupe eyes and getting all the confirmation I needed.

Why had I hoped for a second that it was all some sick twisted dream? He really was dead, wasn't he? I felt my mind succumb to that familiar feeling of grief, but I had become accustomed to pushing it aside. All one had to do was occupy the mind with anything else. A problem would be ideal. It was hard to do when it felt like someone had stuffed cotton up your nose and into your brain, but the difficulty to think just made it easier to forget about Kusari.

"How long was I out?" I asked.

"Four days," Anko replied as she gently laid my back on the wall.

I noted the yellow liquid mixed with blood on her hand as she let go. I could smell it. The start of an infection. When I took a moment to look down at myself, I realised I was covered more in bandages than I was in clothes. The white fabric had stained an angry red all over that the white was hardly seen.

"Status on enemy shinobi?" I asked again, hoping to pull my mind of my own body.

"Kami Hina, shut the fuck up for a second and take some rest. I thought you weren't going to—" Anko hissed in anger before her voice cracked at the end and she stopped herself.

"Just take some rest. Rui and I are taking care of it."

"I need to tell you— s-some—"

I felt my head whirl painfully and the heat burn up my body so hot that I felt faint. No amount of trying allowed me to pull my limbs up or force my mouth open. I needed to stay awake, but it hurt so much, and the darkness sounded so good.

"Hina, no, no, no. Stay awake dammit!" Anko shouted, worry etching her voice.

"I'll get the water and sal—"

Their words drowned out again as I felt the water submerge me entirely.

I gasped for air, clawing out of the water. I was hit by a wave so tall it had me slamming into the dark waters that were incredibly deep. I pushed myself up on instinct, tearing through the thicket of liquid until my palms hit air and I forced chakra into them to pull me up and above. The moment my mouth hit air I gasped, pulling in as much air as I could take, as I scrambled up to my feet.

The sky above me was stormy and grey, the waters dark and unending, but when I turned around, I saw land. There was another wave behind me. I needed to run and so I did. I ran fast and hard, the control in my chakra slipping on the occasion, causing me to slip for a terrifying second back into the murky depths below me. I ran and ran, but no one was faster than nature itself, and in my panic my body curled in on itself, arms bracing above my head in a foetal position, waiting for the inevitable.

It never came.

I looked up and there were no waves. The water around me was still. Calmer than an undisturbed pond on a clear, windless day, but the world around me was still stormy. I looked around in growing confusion and spotted a figure in the distance. Long black wavy hair flowed in the wind where she stood above it all. I walked over cautiously.



Her voice startled me. Pushed some memory ingrained inside of me to the surface. That was a voice I could never forget. The sweet, calm, ever patient sound of a mother. When she turned around, I blinked in confusion. Who was she? Her eyes were like a green forest, but her skin was the honey brown from a previous life.

"Mom… kaasan?" I asked.

She pulled out a scroll and began reading. Her voice took on a familiar practised tone. A lyrical pitch admits a practised tenor.

"A wheel may have 30 spokes,

but its usefulness lies within its empty hub.

A jar is formed from clay,

but its usefulness lies from within its empty center.

A room is made from four walls,

but its usefulness lies from the space in between.

In the same way matter is necessary to give form,

but the value of reality lies within its immateriality.

That is, everything that lives has a physical body,

but the value of life is measured by the soul."

I laughed slightly, a bitter tired laugh. Since when did mom begin quoting the teachings of the Sage of Six Paths? Since when had I ever remembered these scripts I heard on the occasion? I wanted to hug her so bad, ignore everything coming out of her lips. I didn't even know who she was. An amalgamation of a past and present mother? Maybe she was neither. Just some manifestation of a desire I desperately buried deep within me. Maybe I was really dead, and she was sentencing me to hell. I deserved it… didn't I? I couldn't even breathe.

"You once said, I buried my soul so far down that I forgot to breathe."

Mom turned to me and she walked forward. I seized on the spot anticipating her. I could smell her. The smell of spice, freshly baked bread, and incense. She smelled like them both. She smelled like love. She put a hand on my chest, and I shut my eyes hoping this wasn't a dream. Her fingers pushed in and brought out a tiny green ball of light. I was mesmerized by the energy, the way it danced and spun around her fingers like a flame that didn't burn.

"Is that my soul?"

"Do you want it to be?" she asked amused.

I couldn't help the smile that caught my lips too.

"Green is a befitting colour wouldn't you think?"

"It is, but unfortunately I can't find your soul Hina. My beautiful daughter, you've lost your way. Kakashi would be proud," she said smiling sadly, her humour dying stiff.

"I truly have lost myself on the road of life, haven't I?" I chuckled in a mocking baritone, before my laugh died into a terribly cry. My body doubled in on itself and I pressed my head against her chest and cried. "I failed so terribly mom. I failed so terribly."

"Oh my poor baby girl. It was inevitable. Your failure was only a day away. The world is big and cruel, and you are small and weak. No matter how much you struggled against the current, your arms would eventually grow tired and limp like your will. That is the inevitable fate of those who walk the path of war."

"I'm so tired."

"All you can do is push, and push. Wade through the storm thrown against you. There's no other choice my poor girl. The bay behind you is perilous, look at the sharp stone. If you succumb to the storm, if even for a moment you stop, you will be thrown against those rocks and drowned in it's undercurrent."

"Why? Is there no other way?!" I asked desperately, hands fisting her shirt.

As if to evade my demanding eyes, her body turned formless like water and she spilt down, joining the raging water below me. I stood in the middle of a wild current, a blood red sea. In front of me was a thicket of storm clouds, rumbling together in crackling thunder as it approached, and behind me was a perilous bay with sharp pointed rocks jutting out foreboding death. The water beat against it, towering high before falling low and repeating in a constant tug of violent push and pull. I looked back ahead to the storm so quickly approaching and I felt so small and insignificant under its indomitable force.

Mom's voice caught my ear in a whisper. "Love begets violence. A desire for peace begets war. In war there are no winners only mourners and coffins, for those who live by the sword, die by the sword."

It came as it did, carried in the wind, a whisper, a fleeting breath.

Then the storm engulfed me in a freezing torrent, each bullet of cold-water biting at my skin, the wind toppling my precarious balance into the unforgiving darkness of the ocean. In the face of such natural forces, no amount of training, no amount of power meant anything. I tried desperately to pull myself away from the bay, grasping and clawing at the surface of the violent, unforgiving water. My struggles were meaningless. I was inevitably thrown into its final depths.

I gasped awake, the brightness catching me off-guard as I looked around in wild desperation to breathe. I clawed at my throat, and felt someone call out to me, hold me close and repeat words I didn't understand.


"Breathe Hina!"

I snapped back to reality. The water disappeared almost instantly, leaving me disoriented and shaking. I noticed my hands gripping tightly against skin and looked up to see Anko wide eyed, my fingers wrapped around her neck. I let go and let out a sob as I noticed the red marks.

"It's alright Hina. I'm here. I'm here."

I felt my arms wrap around her in desperation. Praying to kami she was real. If she slipped through my fingers like water too, I wouldn't survive. I couldn't do it. I couldn't handle one more loss.

"You're still running a bad fever," she said softly, too softly for it to be Anko.

"A-Anko," I whispered, laying my head back down on the bed beneath me and holding her shirt. "Rui is he—"

"He's safe. We're all safe… mostly. I'm only saying this cause I know you'll worry if I don't, but we've managed to lose the Hunter nin. We've been travelling as quick as we could for 5 days straight. We should be nearing a minor outpost soon. They'll get word and we'll finish our mission ok… just sit still and don't exert yourself."

I nodded in relief. My body slumped still, and I felt the odd patchiness on my back that I still wanted a report on. It didn't smell so much like festering sickness anymore, although the smell did still linger dangerously there.

"My burn?" I asked.

"It was bad," Anko replied looking away. "W-we had to cut off your skin there… the wire mesh had melted into it. Can you… regrow it?"

I shook my head and sighed. "Too much chakra. It would kill me now if I tried," I replied.

It wasn't really an issue. Orochimaru could fix up my body easily. Heck he could create me a whole new one if I asked for it, but I wasn't back in Konoha and I needed it to be fixed now. Who knew what would find us on our way back. Two Genin, and a retired old man was not going to cut it safety wise.

"It's ok. Rui managed to stop the infection. He knows how to make Hyuuga Clan patented salves for some reason," she said, lightening her tone at the end.

"He always did look like a Hyuuga. All socially inept and serious," I replied with a snort.

Then almost instantly my mood died down. I was reminded of Kusari. Socially inept and serious… another person who was in a body bag because I wasn't strong enough. I shut my eyes tightly and fought back the debilitating sadness.

"Kusari's… body," I said, hoping I wouldn't need to elaborate further or risk the weakness entering my voice.

"We have it sealed… we will give him a proper burial at Konoha," Anko said putting a hand on my shoulder.

I couldn't look at her, so I just kept my eyes closed and nodded. I didn't think I could speak further. Thankfully, she seemed to notice my mood and decided to leave me in peace… for once.

"I'm leaving some food here. You need to eat something and take some rest. Trust me. Rui and I are keeping lookout."

I just nodded again. Then when she left the caravan, I finally let out a sob and allowed myself to grieve.

It was another three days before I could really get back on my feet, and even then, my chakra was taking its sweet time to replenish. It was my fault. I had average chakra pools and I had burnt through two soldier pills, pills that weren't recommended to be taken multiple times by adults, let alone children. My tenketsu was burnt out and nearly fried, not to mention my body had lost all the fat I had put on it to look normal, and now I was back to looking like I had before. Scarred, lanky, and in green again. The only thing I was happy about was having to throw out my contacts.

No one questioned me about Danzo, about the mission, or even Kusari. No one joked around during mealtimes or laughed at some stupid inane joke. Heck, Anko hadn't bothered to annoy me… which was oddly worrying. The mood was sombre and silent. Kusari's silent presence was missing and it felt wrong after months of quiet companionship in travel. It wasn't until I could sit myself down in camp with the other that Rui finally broke and questioned me.

"The mission," he started with a frown. "Who rigged the mission and why?"

Everyone looked at me, even Rengoku and Komizawa. The week and a half of constant travelling with minimal breaks and sleep had everyone tired and a little moody. The exhaustion had seeped into my bones too, the receding fever and infection I had fought off leaving me beyond fatigued.

"I can't physically tell you right now," I said, idly drawing a seal on the ground for a clue.

"Someone sealed you?" Anko asked.

I didn't nod, but my silence was an answer in and of itself. I glanced briefly at Rengoku's way, but I quickly looked back to my ration pack. There weren't many paths going forward. I would have to do the unthinkable soon.

"I'll be able to tell you in a day or two," I said crossing out the seal I drew in the dirt with my stick.

Rengoku hadn't said it himself. He could come clean now. Tell all of us he was an agent for Danzo, save me from having to do the explaining, but he didn't, which told me more than I needed to know. His silence was an answer. I had hoped beyond hope that he was maybe a double agent for Shikaku, but I couldn't take that chance now, not for anyone in Konoha.

"What I can tell you is that we can't take the children back through the right channels. It will be rigged. I will have to get them to a separate contact," I said, glancing around the group, but keeping an extra eye on Rengoku to read his response.

He didn't give any tell-tale sign of someone traitorous, but I wanted desperately to know for sure. It wouldn't change what I'd have to do anymore, but there was peace in knowing. Giving this information to a potential spy would ease them into the knowledge that I was unaware of their intentions. Why else would I be so open with such dangerous information unless I trusted them right?

"I'm going to get some sleep. We move at dawn," I said ending the conversation.

The children weren't easy to deal with, not like it was easy to deal with Tsukiya. They missed their mother and being on the move when they'd stayed in one place their whole life, was foreign and terrifying to them. I couldn't imagine Tsukiya being in that position. Couldn't imagine him having to uproot his whole life with strangers and leave Konoha.

Still it grated on the nerves when they cried for their mother on the occasion. My back was hurting, my head was aching, and the onset of a potentially life-threatening fever looked like it was on the way. All my patience was wearing thin now that Kota, the louder out of the two siblings was once more throwing a tantrum for his mother.

"I-I want kaachan," he cried, hitting the ground again with his hands.

Anko looked beyond her depth and Rui simply kept patting the crying child's back. At least Kimimaro was the silent sort. He held his brother's kimono and kept quiet, eyes watery with tears, but not a hiccup or sound to go with his clear grief.

"I know—but we can't do that. Your kaachan wanted you to go to Konoha safely. You have to listen to her," Rui said in his infinite patience.

Unfortunately for him, mine had run out and I glared at the children, accidentally seeping out some killing intent which immediately shut them up. Rui looked my way with disapproval, and I sighed, feeling the sudden anger melt away leaving me tired again.

"Why don't we do our work now?" Anko butted in diplomatically. "Hina you should go collect the firewood. I'll do the look out."

I nodded tiredly. Being left with the easy tasks mildly hurt my ego, but I knew it was because I was in no state to do much else. Still, I had too much on my mind and as I walked into the forest, keeping close to camp, I looked up at the canopy of trees and closed my eyes. The sounds of the birds and critters skittering along the forest floor, the smell of ozone and fresh oxygen, the feel of the course ground underneath my feet—it grounded me in a sort of tranquil stillness.

When I opened my eyes, I felt my chakra swirl within me, calling for me like it did many times, thrumming with the barest sparks of power again. I wanted freedom from that tiny sliver of Danzo still inside of me, tainting my system with his energy. In this calm moment, I felt almost freed from all guilt and anger, and I could feel the desire to truly be free from it all. If it ended now it would be peaceful.

"A seal to end it all," I murmured looking up at the brief flicker of blues from beyond the green canopy.


I pulled out my notepad, the one I always had on me to dot down any wayward ideas. I remembered the candle-lit shrine, the proud red banner hanging on the wall with the kanji for connection drawn meticulously onto it. I took out some charcoal and began writing as much as I could remember from the banners in Satomi's shrine. The Sage's edicts felt like something more now, something bigger. Frantically, I pushed the words onto the paper and took a step back to admire the kanji. It was perfect, so perfect for Fuinjutsu that I was surprised I hadn't seen it before. All the strokes followed the same numerical pattern that Fuinjutsu tied in with the words and its meaning. Looking at it now I felt an idea spark.

"A seal to end it all," I repeated, pulling my chin in awe.

It had been in front of me this whole time. I just needed to calm down and think past this grief to see it. The Will of Fire was what would save me, and that was oddly ironic considering what I was about to do with the word that signified it. Connection. A connected seal. If a seal existed that could detect other seals, then there must surely be a way to disconnect all the seals at once. Or even to… activate it all.

"Are you alright Hina-san?"

I turned around, my thoughts interrupted, to see Rengoku standing by. I quickly put the notebook back in my sleeve and turned around with a plastered smile.

"Quite well. I was enjoying a moment of solitude after dealing with the noisy children," I said amiably.

While I kept my voice pleasant, I did not take my eye of him. Kusari's last words rung heavily through my mind. Rengoku was a plant, and not someone to be trusted. Thankfully, I wasn't one not to have a failsafe in play. He could very well try to hurt me, but it would not benefit him.

"Let's skip the pleasantries."

I blinked up in mild shock as he stepped in my way. His eyes were hard. What had given it away? Was I not a good enough actor, or had he finally seen no reason to keep me in the dark? I eyed him critically for a moment. I was in no way ready for a fight in my current physical state. Rengoku was old though, and despite everything his body was giving away as much as mine was.

"I should have known from the start," I said bitterly. "That Kusari was a red-herring to the true traitorous eyes and ears in this team."

Rengoku's bright eyes widened for a moment before he sighed and rubbed a hand through his thick mane of spikey hair. I narrowed my eyes and summoned a small snake from within my sleeve. Its scales were a small reassurance despite knowing I probably wouldn't have to resort to it.

"You were always smart, but nearly not shrewd enough to discern between the lines."

"It's a skill I'm working on," I said irritably. "So Rengoku-san, what do you intend to do now that you revealed yourself—now that you know my plans?"

"I should kill you. I may be legally working under Danzo, but I'm really allied to Shikaku."

What? I blinked for a second in confusion, find it hard to really think in my physically exhausted and near sick state. Faltering in front of the potential enemy was not a good sign.

"It must be hard to take in, but I'm the mole," he said looking rather tired himself. "We didn't precedent that things would take such a dire turn, nor that Danzo potentially had a separate motive. I'm truly sorry the mission went south."

I put a hand on the tree to centre myself.

"You're saying you're a double agent like me?" I asked, narrowing my eyes.

Rengoku nodded, but for some reason the pit in my stomach didn't go, and Rengoku's stance didn't change. He was going to kill me either way and I knew it. He was simply lying to put my guard down. Most likely he would take me out discreetly.

There was something about the way he spoke, the way he worded those truths in-between lies that gave it away. He didn't quite lie, but he never said he wouldn't kill me, just that he should. In the context of his sentence the half-addled mind should have easily taken it as that he didn't want to kill me, but my thoughts weren't so muddled by fever just yet. Rengoku had underestimated my constitution.

I chuckled.

"What's so funny?" he asked.

"All this time I waited around until something happened. I waited and waited, and more people died. I'm done waiting."

I lunged at him with a snarl, and took in a deep breath, feeling it fill my diaphragm and invigorate my heartbeat. My mind cleared entirely as I entered Total Concentration Breathing once more. The sting in my chakra coils and the tearing in my back didn't deter me. Instead I rushed at the old man with an animalistic force as I threw my wind blades at him, pushing him back over to the camp. I rolled away, ignoring the agony my body was in as multiple stitches tore at once. A blast of fire past me and I was met with a disappointed looking old man. His expression twisted my insides with fury and irritation.

"Tell me the truth Rengoku," I hissed.

"I really am working for Shikaku," he said truthfully.

"Then why do you intend to kill me?" I shouted angrily.

"Because we can't get rid of Danzo just yet, and both you and Orochimaru are planning his murder. He is too valuable to the war effort. We must think of the villages interest first," he said displeased.

I snorted. Village interest my ass. I could give zero shits what happened to that fucking village anymore. The only reason I had a vested interest in it was because my family and friends lived there, but everyone else could burn and I would gladly watch it go down. The Hokage, Danzo, and now even fucking Shikaku. I felt more betrayed than I ever had in my entire existence. I trusted Shikaku. I trusted him wholly, risked my family's safety by agreeing to hand over the clan children to him instead of Danzo, and he was ready to kill me if I posed a threat to Danzo of all people.

Was Gaku involved in this?

No, if he was it would hurt too much to bear. I couldn't handle that, and a part of me rioted that I even thought about him betraying me, but a part of me knew he would turn his back on me if he knew what I had done, what I planned to do. If Shikaku was fine with killing me for simply planning to take Danzo out, then they would not like what I was really going to do.

"ROOT is a necessary evil during the war. If you promise to wait patiently until it's over, we can find a legal way of taking him down. There will be no need for bloodshed here," he said diplomatically.

I felt my fury intensify. I couldn't help the almost poison like rage that leaped into my expression at his words.

"There will be no more waiting. My parents demand justice! I demand vengeance," I growled angrily.

If I waited any longer it would be Taichi's and Tsukiya's heads on my hands, then the heads of countless more children like Kusari I would fail.

"Then there is no reasoning with you. I'm truly sorry Suzuki-san," he said, voice steely and eyes going dark.

Rengoku had a limp and so he was keeping me away with long ranged attacks. Despite being old he was in no way worse at ninjutsu. I dodged and dodged again, feeling hopelessly angry that I couldn't get close despite my speed. My injuries were holding me back and total concentration breathing would not last a moment longer. I needed a way to deflect his fire jutsu.

Wind Release: Wind walker Technique!

I got into my beast form and began running circles around Rengoku. The Wind Walker Technique was something that took me years to even get down, and I was not close to perfecting it, but even in its early stages it gave me an edge. I could compound speed quickly, until I was running as fast as a Jounin, and for someone my age to be able to accomplish that feat was no easy task. But speed wasn't enough to get close to Rengoku. I needed something more. I went through the hand seals for the wind blade technique, but instead of pushing the air out forward I decided to take a page from Minato's Rasengan. I managed to push the air around me in a push and pull circle, only maintaining any form because of my insane chakra control. It was a risky move, and would instantly deplete my meagre chakra reserves, but even with my handicap of having such a small pool of chakra, it didn't matter. I just needed this one victory.

The wind formed around me in a wild sharp ball, and the next fire jutsu coming my way was disrupted alongside me, giving me the opening to jump into his melee range. I fell into my Circle Walk aerial style as I drew close to the old man and quickly shoved my hooked fingers into his throat, chest, and stomach. I pushed my fingers brutally into his stomach, pushing him up into the air before twisting it inside with a chakra enhanced claw and ripping out his intestines. A glob of blood splattered on my face and I pulled my fingers out, letting his body fall to the ground.

"Komizawa is just a merchant," Rengoku managed to cough out.

I scowled as I pushed out the remaining chakra in my system and looked down at the man who was bartering his partner's life even to his last breath. No doubt having your insides sticking out of your stomach was not painless. Yet he wasn't screaming or writhing.

"I cannot guarantee his life," I said coldly.

Rengoku looked disappointed again and he let out a sigh and another fit of painfully coughs, chocking on his own blood as he died. I staggered onto the tree when I heard Anko and Rui rush behind me.

"Hina-san!" Rui shouted before his eyes fell onto the bloody scene and he held his mouth.

"What the fuck happened here?" Anko asked.

I took out the seal I had drawn in my notepad and placed it on my tongue before transferring the last bit of chakra I could. No more waiting. No more sitting about taking this kind of shit from anyone ever again. I could feel the surge of pain seep into my bones, dropping me to the ground as the chakra escaped my system and into the now crumbling piece of paper. Danzo's seal had no hold on me now.

"He was working for Danzo," I rasped out.

"And Komizawa?" Anko asked in worry as he looked back to where Komizawa was no doubt left with the children.

I frowned at the ground. I wanted him dead, but I was in no state to do it myself now. He had seen to much, heard too much, and if he reported back to Shikaku like he no doubt would have to whether he wanted to or not, I would be the one dying. He needed to die and neither Anko nor Rui were the type to kill an innocent man, let alone an actual civilian. I didn't have the luxury right now to contemplate the morality of what I needed to do. My hands were already seeped in blood, and whether Rui or Anko would forgive me for doing what I was going to do next didn't matter, because it was what would keep them alive.

"Yes, he was a ROOT agent," I lied, gritting my teeth, and looking away in mild shame. "I'm in no shape to kill him. You will have to do it. Take my summon with you and don't directly confront him."

Anko nodded, taking the summon up her arm. Rui looked at the dead body of his travel companion and I saw the tears in his eyes. Rengoku had become like a fun uncle during our trip and while Komizawa was in no way as humorous, he was a kind, mostly soft-spoken man. He didn't deserve what I was going to do to him… Anko didn't deserve what I was making her unknowingly do.

"W-We can't—he doesn't have the reserves to be a shinobi. We've travelled all this time and he's never shown an aptitude for the Shinobi arts," Rui said hastily.

I cursed under my breath as Anko faltered from leaving. She sent Rui a look as if contemplating his words and I felt my head swim in chakra exhaustion.

"Just fucking do it Anko. There's no time for second guessing my orders right now," I growled harshly as I shakily got up and pushed her away from Rui.

"Wait Hina maybe you were mistaken," Rui pressed.

"I'm not fucking mistaken ok! Fuck it! If you won't do it, I will," I growled stepping forward.

I felt Anko put a hand on my chest and stop me from moving. Her pale purple eyes looked into mine imploringly and I looked away, feeling the shame of my lie pressing down into my stomach. She sighed and looked away.

"You know you don't have to lie to me," she said, hurt lacing her words. "I would kill him for you even if he wasn't Danzo's agent."

I blinked up in shock as Anko pulled me into a hug. I stiffened under the oddly gentle contact and couldn't help but hold onto her in relief.


"Because I know you—you and Orochimaru-sensei, you don't enjoy killing but you'll do it when you have to."

I felt my hope falter. Why was her words hurting me like this?

Like Orochimaru

I was like Orochimaru

Those words kept ringing louder and louder in my head until Anko held my cheeks and snapped me back to reality. I blinked up at her and realised my eyes were blurry. It was hard to tell when I wiped my face, whether it was tears or Rengoku's blood.

"So tell me, am I killing a merchant or a shinobi?"

"A-a merchant," I whispered.

Anko took in a deep breath, before pulling away and nodding to herself. I held my face in growing sickness. Before I could fall Rui caught me from under my arms and stabilised me.

"We can't just kill an innocent civilian," he pleaded.

"We shouldn't," Anko agreed, "but has Hina ever done anything to risk us? I know she has her reasons, and when have we ever asked each other for our pasts? So why should this be any different?"

"I-I'm sorry," I said tiredly as I looked up at Anko's grim expression.

"Don't be sorry. Our own village betrayed us. The only people left for me is this team, and I won't let you down no matter what."

She didn't say anything else, but the trembling in her hands as she turned away to do the deed was enough. It was the last thing I saw before I succumbed once more to my exhaustion.


Fucking hell was this one hard chapter to write. I did a few rewrites of this until I got the exact feel I wanted for this chapter. I absolutely LOVE writing nightmare sequences in this story. They can be so visually creative, and Hina imagining up her worst fears is just such a good way to get a look into the part of her mind she represses. In this case she's worried that all this violence and struggling will never end. Also a lot of foreshadowing in this chapter. Not sure if anyone will pick it up, but kudos if you do!

Thanks to everyone who reviewed! ToT All your reviews melted my heart. I honestly was touched! Thanks for giving me your thought all the time. I want to especially thank all the readers who keep commenting every chapter. I really love and appreciate you all!

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