Shinobi Isekai!: Round Three! @morrowyn
That Don't Impress Me Much

Y'all. NaNoWriMo's goal is 50k in a month. I'm 11 days in and I'm halfway there. Eep.

Uchiha Mikoto ducked behind a tree, willing her ragged breathing to silence. She cradled Fugaku's head against her chest, his shallow inhales the only thing keeping her from panicking. His wet hair stuck to her clothing, the blood flowing from his head wound soaking the black fabric. If the Iwa scum following them had a scent tracker, it was all over.

And to think, only three days ago, she was so happy to be out on the frontlines under his command. Finally, a chance to rekindle the bond she'd worked so hard to establish. Sure, they were already engaged to be married, but that was no reason to slack off! Her mother was always filling her head with horror stories about affairs started on the battlefield, men finding comfort elsewhere while their women were stuck holding down the fort back home. She was nervous wreck, reading between the lines of every two word letter he sent her. When she was selected as part of an all Uchiha team to reinforce Konoha's steady advance into Iwa territory, she was ecstatic. Fugaku was much more reserved than she was, by a lot, so he didn't express the same joy at their reunion as she did, but she was used to that. She knew what kind of man he was, so she was already prepared for a cold welcome. Besides, he had a reputation to maintain. As the future head of the Clan and Chief of Police, a certain gravitas was expected from him. That was fine. She knew that.

Honestly, she was happy to see him again. She'd missed that grumpy scowl of his, though she'd be lying if she said she wouldn't like a smile, instead, just once.

Now, she'd be satisfied with never getting a smile, ever, so long as he lived. Please, gods, let him live.

The forest was a maze, every tree looking exactly like the last. It was Fugaku's chief annoyance as he tried to coordinate Konoha's command of the region, but, now, it might just save his life.

The ambush on the supply line hadn't really needed his personal attention. The caravans were always under threat, and Iwa nin attacked at least one every day. Konoha had reduced their resistance to a poorly managed battle of attrition, with stragglers left behind after Iwa's last major retreat harrying Konoha like so many annoying mosquitos. Fugaku really didn't need to go and see the damage for himself. He didn't need to follow the very obvious trail laid by the ambushers. He should have just left well enough alone, but she could understand his frustration. If Konoha wanted to maintain control of the region, then there couldn't be resistance on their rear. Wiping them out in one fell swoop would have gone a long way to closing that gap.

If it wasn't for that blond with the explosive clay…

Fugaku groaned, eyelids flickering as he tried to move. She placed a hand over his mouth, his blood wetting her palm.

"Shh. Be still. I have you."

He did calm at the sound of her voice and she let herself take a little pleasure in that. Surely, he wouldn't react like that for anyone else? She leaned over and looked around the trunk of the tree, dreading the thought that their pursuers would be right there, waiting for them to reveal themselves.

They weren't, but she wasn't sure what to think of what was there. Was that…the temple marked on their maps? When Mikoto was deployed, she was given a brief explanation about a magical temple that might show itself to her and a devilish Iwa child whose words were not to be trusted. Of course, the odds of it actually appearing were incredibly slim since it hadn't been encountered in almost six months, despite numerous attempts to confirm its location.

Well, she wasn't about to question the magic teleporting temple when it was kind enough to appear out of thin air right when she needed it. Hooking an arm under Fugaku's shoulder, she began climbing the stairs as quickly as she dared. Hopefully, there would be no Iwa forces lying in wait at the top.

The temple was actually rather empty. There was a cat looking down at them from a crumbling roof—scratch that, there were three cats. The Uchiha compound had plenty of cats running around underfoot, their contract with the cat summons creating a tight bond between human and feline. Seeing them put a small part of her at ease, and she nodded up at them in greeting. A tuxedo cat jumped down from its perch and yowled at her, the feral animal unaccustomed to using its voice to communicate with humans like its domesticated kin. It trotted away, only to stop just inside the one remaining doorway of the dilapidated building and call back to her.

She followed it, trusting her Clan animal to do her right. It led her through a dusty hallway lit by gaping holes in the walls and ceiling. She had to go slowly, careful to watch her step. Loose stone and debris littered the floor, the remains of once beautiful statues and carvings threatening to send her and Fugaku to the ground with one misstep.

The instant she pulled her fiancé out into the open air, the cat ran across a stone paved courtyard and leapt onto the roof of another building. Mikoto barely had time to take in the herd of cattle drinking from a square pool before another set of hands was reaching for Fugaku, taking some of his weight.

"The beetles told me you were coming," the child said as she pulled both Uchiha across the courtyard and into what was apparently her house. There was a handwoven reed mat on the floor and Mikoto could only comply as Fugaku was lowered onto it. "What do you need? I have bandages and I can probably find some medicinal plants if you can show me what they look like."

It was too sudden. Mikoto just stared at the blonde girl, taking in her too short capris pants and sleeveless shirt. They were Konoha issue, she could tell that much, but the poor thing had outgrown them. Why was an Iwa child trying to help her? Wasn't this the one the briefing had warned her about? The one who sowed dissent among the Konoha teams that reached her?

Dark fingers snapped in front of her eyes, forcing Mikoto back to the present.

"Hey! I'm willing to help you, but you have to tell me how!"

Mikoto shook her head to clear it, slapping her hands down on her cheeks to jumpstart her brain.

"Right! Bandages would be lovely. Clean water, too, if you can spare it."

The child ran off into the hidden depths of her home, leaving Mikoto with Fugaku. She ran a hand over his face, gently tugging his hair aside so she could better see his injury. It was still bleeding profusely, and she could see the white of bone through the mess of blood and tissue, but she took solace in the knowledge that head injuries always looked worse that they were. She tugged on her chakra, the familiar green light of the diagnostic jutsu coating her hands. A concussion, as she feared, but otherwise his head was fine. She moved her hands lower, examining him inch by inch. A couple of cracked ribs and a shattered tibia, but that was it. She let herself relax, her vision swimming as tears filled her eyes.

He could have died. The war could have taken him from her and she would have been powerless to stop it. Just a little further to the left, and he would be the one splattered across the moss instead of Tomoko.

"Here, is this enough?"

She looked up at the child as she set down a tall, red clay jug of water. She knelt down beside Mikoto and laid out a bundle of bandages that were clearly torn from clothing, the fabric a mix of white and deep blue. Wasn't she meant to be their enemy? Why would she go out of her way to help them, like this?

The girl turned slanted green eyes to her. "Do you need anything else?"

Right. Fugaku!

Mikoto shook her head, dismissing her misgivings. "No. Thank you, really. I don't know what I would have done if the temple hadn't shown itself when it did."

The girl smiled, revealing the most adorable outpointing canines. "I don't control the temple, lady. It showed itself because you didn't want to use it or me. Your motivations were pure, and temples like that shit. Well," she stood as Mikoto choked on her laughter. "If you don't need me, I'll go make some food. It won't be anything fancy, but it won't kill you."

She left, and Mikoto took a moment to take a few deep breaths. She wasn't on one of the teams assigned to making contact with the temple, so the information she'd received about it was incredibly limited. Did the shinobi tasked with persuading her to Konoha's cause know she spoke like that? Where did a child living alone in the woods even learn such language? The cats?

On second thought, that was entirely plausible. The fiends were surprisingly foul mouthed.

Her mirth successfully internalized, Mikoto once again called on her chakra and took her fiancé's head in her hands, thanking every god who would listen—with a special mention for whichever god ruled the temple which had so kindly given her refuge—that she'd gone out of her way to study medical jutsus despite the Uchiha elders speaking against it. It didn't have to be her specialty to be useful, and, besides, her sharingan was making it much easier to see what she was doing.

With the wild rumors surrounding the temple, she'd half expected her dojutsu to be blocked, but it functioned as normal. She was beginning to think the stories about the place were just that, stories. Likely told by the fools who couldn't find it, in the first place.

After treating Fugaku's head injury to the best of her ability, her chakra was embarrassingly low. His life wasn't in danger and they were relatively safe, so, instead of moving on to his ribs and leg, she decided to conserver her energy. Dipping some of the bandages in the water, she wiped the blood from his face. It was a handsome face, especially now that he wasn't scowling. Was it too much to ask that he look at her like that without being unconscious?

The air carried the scent of cooking meat and her stomach growled loudly. She didn't dare leave her future husband's side, hunger or no hunger. Still, she wasn't sure she'd be comfortable eating something when she hadn't seen how it was prepared. The child had been entirely too gracious and she couldn't help but wonder when the other shoe would drop. It hurt her to think that way, but Mikoto was a kunoichi, first and foremost.

Fugaku's fingers tightened spastically around her own where she held his hand. She looked to his face, watching as his eyes fluttered open. His sharingan activated as he took in his surroundings and she found a little happiness at the way he relaxed when he recognized her.


His voice was hoarse and she shushed him, taking the opportunity to look into his eyes. They were dilating properly and she heaved a sigh of relief. She let herself smile at him.

"You'll never guess what happened. The temple appeared. We're safe, here, for now, so don't worry."

Her words were meant to comfort him, but his brows furrowed. That was their default position, but something told Mikoto that he was actually frowning.

"The temple? How could you be so reckless? You know what our orders are! We are not cleared to engage with it or its people!" A vein pulsed in his jaw as he pushed himself up with a pained hiss. "Have you forgotten all your training? I thought you were a kunoichi, not an empty headed bride!"

Mikoto stared at Fugaku, mouth agape as she struggled to find the words to reply to that-that vitriol. She didn't need to, though.

"Oh, hell no."

The child walked back into the room, two bowls of steaming food in her hands. She placed one carefully into Mikoto's hands before simply dropping the other into Fugaku's lap, an angry light in her eyes as she watched hot soup splatter across his groin.

"There's no saving this one," she told Mikoto, holding the kunoichi's gaze even as the shinobi cursed angrily at the new source of pain. "You just gotta throw the whole man out. Toss him, like the steaming pile of garbage he is."


"Listen, babe. I get it. He's cute, if you squint long enough, but that's no reason to doom yourself to an unhappy life. Do you want your sons to come out exactly like him? Because that's the reality you have to be prepared for. Or, worse, he treats them like he treats you. You might be able to deal with it, but when it's aimed at your kids and your backwater, inbred Clan doesn't believe in divorce? What then? You gonna murder him and hope no one notices the arsenic in his teacup?" The child pursed her lips. "I dunno, babe, you don't look that lucky, to me."

That was…a lot. Mikoto hadn't even begun to unpack her tirade when Fugaku lunged for the girl, lightning quick despite his injuries. Mikoto watched, transfixed, as a literal child caught his fist in her much smaller hand, yanking it up and reaching under with her other arm before pulling him back down, snapping his elbow over her wrist. He bellowed in pain and Mikoto winced as the girl kicked him in he ribs and sent him back to the ground.

"I was expecting that," she said with a shake of her head. "It's been a while since the last group, so I figured you guys made up your mind about me. You want my land, even if you have to kill me to get it. Well, tough luck. Wanting to kill me is biggest filter on this place. Your pretty girlfriend only got you this far because she cared more about keeping you alive than murdering innocent children. Goes to show just how much you don't deserve her, huh?"

Fugaku growled, his face twisted with rage. Mikoto reached out to hold him back, but he shook her off.

"Iwa scum," he spat. "Don't pretend you don't know what you've done!"

The girl cocked her head, her golden halo of hair bouncing with the movement. "I'm not from Iwa, you dumbfuck. But, what do I know? We're only talking about me, after all. I couldn't possible have more information about me than an asshole who can't even tell the difference between an Iwa ninja and a Taki civilian."


The girl covered her mouth with both hands, expression rife with faux scandal. "Oh, that's right. You don't even know where Taki is, do you? Oh, poor baby."

Fugaku looked as though he was ready to rush her again. If he wasn't so injured, taking down a little girl would be no issue for him—even so, it was still impressive that she'd landed a hit, at all—but as he was now, he'd only get hurt worse. Mikoto drew on her chakra and placed her hand on his shoulder. Before he could brush her off again, the medical chakra put him to sleep. He slumped over and she caught him before he could hit the ground.

"I expect you both to be gone by tomorrow morning. You're free to rest and eat until then."

Mikoto could only nod in thanks. It was more than they deserved.

Hiruzen hung his head in his hands. It would seem he had gravely mishandled the situation. He had assumed the temple's defenses only consisted of a very powerful genjutsu. He really should have stopped to consider a seal. That was the only thing that could pick and choose the way young Uchiha Mikoto-kun claimed.

By giving the order to claim the temple by any means necessary, he'd effectively made it impossible for his forces to even find it. That the girl was strong enough to counter Fugaku, one of his elite jounin, even in his injured state, was a serious cause for concern, as well. Somehow, she was growing stronger.

Was it Taki? Was she being taught by Taki?

He'd assumed she was from Iwa. Her temple was in the Land of Earth, after all. No one even knew where Taki was. It was the epitome of a hidden village. It was so strong, Hashirama had gifted it the Nanabi to ensure their loyalty. To this day, they were the only village to uphold their vow of peace. Not once had Taki fought in a war or allied itself with any other village. It was a mystery.

Just like the girl.

He leaned back in his chair, puffing angrily on his pipe. Well, if new agents couldn't reach her, he'd just have to send the one person she actually seemed to like.

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