Naruto Fan Fiction!
"A Song for Them"
A/N: ...well shit. You guys have encouraged me too much. This is the result. I worked really hard on this, guys! Have... fun?
DISCLAIMER: I do not own 'Naruto' or any of the cannon characters! I OWN NOTHING! You can't blame me for this!
WARNING! RATED M! Ahem. Foul language, violence, blood, GRAPHIC DEPICTIONS GORE! Vomit, guts, innards and other gross stuff. So gross.
Dark Forest Arc,
Chapter Twenty-Eight: "Bloodline"
"Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon." -Yuno Hoo
We'd jumped through the trees for a solid ten minutes before Sasuke held up a hand and we all landed on a wide branch together. I didn't waste any time as I pulled off my tools bag and emptied it out, dumping out all the blank scrolls and searching through them. Naruto and Sasuke watched me with confusion until-Success! I held up and wiggled a pale scroll that was identical to ours, sans the Heaven character.
I didn't know what the scrolls we'd be competing for would look like specifically, whether or not the Village would spring for specially made scrolls or the standard kind bought off the Emporium shelves. Looks like the Village sprung for buying in bulk. The cheapskates. Oh well, our gain!
I pulled out my storage book from where it was strapped securely to my upper thigh under the hem of my tunic and unsealed my Calligraphy set. Eyeing the original I meticulously copied the character onto the blank one. My Hero giggled mischievously while Duckie gave off the vague feeling of approval. They understood what I was doing without me having to explain it.
My blonde friend crouched over the pile of scrolls and poked through them with curious eyes. "Say, Sora-chan, why'd you have so many scrolls?"
I set the finished fake on the branch to answer and gently blow on the wet ink at the same time. 'Just in case. No talking, remember to sign.' I told him.
Never lies. But never the whole tRutH.
That was... not right. Something was wrong.
'Need a plan.' Sasuke signed, crouching closer to us. Planning. Planning is good. I ignored the fact that something was not right with me and chose to focus on the now. Need to stay in the now. 'Need to find a target and verify objective.'
'We should find and stay near the river,' I signed, Staying near the river will be risky but we're not trackers like Team Eight, we can't just roam the forest and hope to run into someone. We'd waste too much time and risk getting caught in someone else's trap. 'Landmark and source of water. Good place to encounter other teams besides around the tower.'
Sasuke nodded in agreement, 'Saw the map. A little more than a mile way now. Set up a small camp there then scout. Agreed?'
I nodded. It was a solid plan, we could even set up traps ourselves. Naruto's face was scrunched up the whole time and I could sense in his chakra that he was feeling particularly annoyed with how Sasuke was taking lead but thankfully he nodded his agreement to our plan anyway. After I elbowed him, of course.
Duckie raised his hands again. 'About the password, got something. Pay attention. Ready?' We nodded and watched as he signed. 'Password is... Shadow of hard stone, shiver in the soft water, ice winter night. A gentle door knock, is it winter cool breeze, or a spring as a guest. Wo-' he stopped suddenly, lips pressing into a firm line. 'That's it. Got it?'
I stared. Not only would Naruto never be able to remember all that but was that poetry!? Why in the fudge was Sasuke Uchiha citing poetry!? Where did he even learn something like that? I... decided that I need to know, I'll have to badger him about it later. After the immediate danger has passed.
"That's not a password!" Naruto cried, "That's an entire pass-story!" I shushed the loud Hero while the Uchiha glowered at him.
"Does that mean you don't remember it?" Duckie challenged. Naruto scowled indignantly and huffed an, 'of course I did!'. I think all of knew that he didn't.
There was a rustling of leaves. We all stiffened up and our heads snapped towards the ground far below us and-Oh, holy crap that's a big bear! A humongous bear just wandered out from the shrubbery below. It was bigger and Naruto and I's apartments combined! Geez! Naruto inhaled sharply and in the next second four hands had covered his mouth. The Uchiha gave him a warning glare and I shook my head at the blonde, we didn't need to reveal our position.
After the impossibly huge bear passed I went back to the scrolls and picked out a dark one that pretty much resembled the one Anko showed and drew the character for Earth on the outer seal. I couldn't be 100% sure about how close it was to the real things but it should pass in a heated moment. When the ink had dried on both fakes I gave Sasuke the faux-Heaven and kept the faux-Earth to myself, leaving Naruto with the real scroll.
Both boys looked at me oddly when I pushed the scroll into the blonde's hands, when Duckie raised a skeptical brow I signed to my Hero, 'Don't give it to anyone until we're at the tower, even if it's one of us asking for it. Got it, Hero?'
He beamed at me, warmth and pride rising in his chakra. "I won't let you down, dattebayo!"
"Shhh!" "Shut it, idiot!"
An hour into the Exam and there was a scream that pierced through the muggy air. The three of us were immediately on guard from our position on the ground. We encountered a very big spider web in the trees and had decided to trek it on foot the rest of the way to the river. As we walked my senses became hyper aware of every chakra signature around me. Naruto's anxious Breezy and Sasuke's tense Thunderous, even the low hum of the trees and the stones in earth, the higher pitches of the birds scattering above us-all of it.
"That... was a person, right?" the Hero asked warily. Sasuke and I nodded. I'd given up reminding him to speak only with sign a half hour ago. As long as he could understand Duckie and I, it was fine. Naruto laughed nervously and then his face flattened out. "Uh... I need to pee."
Duckie and I rolled our eyes at the blonde in unison and I turned around to give him some amount privacy. I busied myself with looking upwards toward the leaf canopy, ignoring the sounds right behind me. I couldn't even see the sky from this deep into the forest, there was far too many leaves and branches. Last time I looked, the sun was well on it's way down so we couldn't have much longer until it's actually nightfall.
And then we'll be blind.
...the Snake should be making his move soon.
My spine straightened as I sensed a chakra approach. Ten meters, underground, unknown and hostile. Without making any other outward reaction I casually maneuvered around until my back was facing the unknown and signed to Sasuke with my arms lifted close to my chest to hide from view.
'Hostile.' I signed in Standard Konoha. They were brief and every Leaf ninja was supposed to have them memorized but as a matter of total convenience they only required one hand to use and were very subtle.
His eyes widened before briefly glancing at our surroundings while his body subtly tensed in preparation. His fingers twitched at his side, 'Number? Location.' he asked. I closed my eyes and focused my senses. Only one guy, chakra fairly refined, modest size but alone and behind me.
'Skill, Average.' I opened my eyes and kept my hand close to my chest as I held one finger up and pointed to over my shoulder. 'Under.'
Sasuke flexed his hand straight, the signal for 'Go' or 'Affirmative', meaning he understood.
'All, Ambush?' I asked. Man, how much did Naruto drink? Gross.
Duckie made a fist. 'No.' I frowned, he released one finger from his fist. 'One.' One what? One person? Wait, did he mean one person ambush? As bait!? He can't be serious.
I raised an incredulous brow as I asked, 'Bait?'
Straight hand. Then a smirk crossed Duckie's face as he glanced suggestively towards Naruto. I gave him a look that told him exactly what I thought of that. We weren't using Naruto as bait! He rolled his eyes at me before walking past me and directly towards the stalker!
"Be right back. Make sure to wait for me." he said that last part with a pointed look and just I stared at his retreating form as he walked around a tree and out of view. He was going to be bait and I was to wait here with Naruto?!
I followed the cocky Duck's signature with my senses and waited until it approached the stalker and the stalker engaged. I didn't wait any longer and grabbed the back of Naruto's jacket and going after our teammate, ignoring the fact Naruto may or may not have finished his business.
I held up my hand, 'Hostile.' His mouth clamped shut and his eyes widened. It wasn't far until we heard the sounds of metal clashing and when we rounded a fairly large tree we saw... we saw that there were two Sasuke fighting one other, each brandishing a kunai and running at each other.
"What the hell!?" Naruto squawked. "Why're there two Sasuke's!?
Sasuke #1 ducked under a kick that would've taken him out and jumped back, turning to us and shouted, "What are you waiting for!? Help me!"
Naruto stepped forward to help and I pulled out a kunai and threw it at #1. He clearly hadn't been expecting that as my aim was true and my kunai lodged itself into his thigh. He shouted in pain and something rolled uncomfortable in my stomach at the sound. There was a 'poof!' and the now limping, jumpsuit-wearing Amegakure ninja decided to try and escape.
Sasuke cursed and jumped up high, hands weaving and chakra flaring, "Fire Style: Phoenix Flower Jutsu!" he launched his fireballs at the same Naruto jumped into the fight.
Crap, bad timing! I whistled loudly to get his attention as the fire was quickly inbound. "You won't get-OH, SHIT!" he jumped back out of the way but so did the Ame-nin.
"Stay out of my way!" Sasuke snapped as he reached for more weaponry.
Naruto continued to chase the Ame-nin right up a tree, "You stay outta my way 'ttebayo! I got this!"
I narrowed my eyes at the ninja's movements, ignoring how Sasuke and Naruto are seriously failing at being a team and watching where he was headed instead. He was so preoccupied with the boys I think he's forgotten I'm here. In fact, my teammates probably had too. I followed under him and ran ahead where I planted a black-cloth kunai in the dirt and looked back up, weaving my hands into the Bird and Rat seals as he passed overhead. I cast the Genjustu and the Ame-nin's body went slack, feet detaching from the tree and sending him into an boneless freefall. It was at that point that I activated my special 'pressurized' storage kunai directly underneath him, sending it's contents upward.
This particular seal had a net in it.
It rocketed upwards as the net whistled through the air and wrapped around the ninja and he landed on the ground with a softer 'thud!' than he would've before the net slowed his descent. The boys jumped back down to ground floor as I stood triumphantly over my mumbling capture.
Duckie narrowed his eyes sharply at me, "How did you know that guy was the imposter? If you had been wrong you might have gotten me."
I very much ignored how he said might have and held up one finger. 'I know you and the Hero's chakras like the back of my hand. There's no mistake for me.' I raised a second digit and signed, 'That guy had asked us for help. Dead giveaway. You would never do something like that.'
He looked very annoyed with my reasoning, giving a baleful glare but his follow-up question was much more amusing. "...why do you have a net?"
I smirked, 'In case I need to catch something.' I signed cheerfully. Though, I had been thinking more along the lines of wildlife in case of rations but... this works too. I've got another one if I need to catch something else.
"What did you do to him, Sora-chan?" They Hero asked with awe in his tone as he poked and prodded the ninja who was stupidly grinning with glazed eyes.
Hm, how best to describe it? It wasn't the usual mentally scarring kind or innocuous shifts of the surroundings. It was a... 'happy' Genjustu, of sorts, meant to pacify the target with the sense of euphoria by using chakra to mess with the serotonin levels in the brain a little along with the optical bits.
I'd actually gotten the idea for it last time Naruko had shown up during a bodyguard mission a couple weeks ago. In theory it makes them more suggestible to things too, like commands if one does it right.
Wrong, wrong, that's so wron-Not now!
"Does it matter? He's out." the Uchiha huffed before beginning to search through the Ame-nin's pockets, boots, gloves. Anywhere that could possibly hold a scroll. After a minute he stood up with a sigh, "He doesn't have it."
'He must have been a scout. One of his teammates have a scroll.' I signed. I... think I remember this guy from Before. I recall glimpses of Team Seven plus Kabuto fighting a bunch of jumpsuits and winning a Heaven scroll. Well that's no good, we already have a Heaven.
"Should we wait for his teammates to show up? Set up an ambush for their scroll." Sasuke looked at me. Wait, was he asking for my opinion? Huh.
I shrugged one shoulder, 'They might not have the scroll we need.'
"We could just ask him 'ttebayo."
At the same time we both looked over to Naruto who had his arms behind his head as he nudged the Genjutsu'd nin with his foot. Well that's an idea.
Sasuke frowned, "Isn't he...?" he trailed off, unsure as he looked at the drooling nin.
'He is actually awake. Just in a really happy place right now.' I signed, earning an odd look from Duckie.
"So, do we just wake him up or what 'ttebayo?" I held up a hand to stop from slapping the nin awake. I wanted to try something first.
Many shinobi use Genjustu as a form of interrogation, the Original Uchiha with their Sharingan were famous for it, and I really haven't had many opportunities to try it out properly. Not that many people I want to test experimental jutsu on. -WhyIsItOkayToTryOnAStrANgeR?- I folded my hands into the Bird seal and focused on manipulating the Genjustu. A very supermodel-looking geisha girl demurely asked how best she could be of service to her master, asking which scroll she could go fetch for him while he relaxed.
"Urr-huhu... Earth, pleaseee..." the nin slurred, a bit more drool leaking out of the corner of his mouth. He'll be fine. Eventually the Genjutsu will run it's course through his system and he'll wake up on his own if someone else doesn't do it first.
'They have Heaven too.' I signed before pulling my storage kunai out of the ground, stowing it back in my pouch.
"Yeah... we got that." Sasuke said uncomfortably. I looked over and saw that both of my teammates looked visibly disturbed. Yeaaaah... it is kinda weird to see without the context of the illusion.
"Back to the first plan then?" Naruto asked.
"Right. We'll-Idiot, your fly is open." Naruto yelped and blushed brightly and I politely raised my eyes to the tree canopy until I heard a 'zzzzip!'. Sasuke scoffed in disgust before continuing. "We should also hang the net up. If we leave him like this he'll be dinner for some animal in here."
Oh. That's a good idea. Why didn't I think of that? -NotRightNot- I pulled out my storage book and unsealed a length of rope and handed it to Naruto. He gave me a confused look.
"Why do I have to do it?" he grouched.
'Because I caught him.' I signed before planting a hand on my hip, giving them both a displeased look. Sasuke glowered right back while Naruto sighed and tied one end of the rope to the net and began climbing the nearest tree.
After the nin was hanging safely above ground we continued to head towards the river. It was as we were jumping through the trees that a wave of chakra washed through the air and then we were blasted away by the gale.
And I couldn't do a damn thing.
"Uuugh..." I groaned as I raised a hand to my head, I think I hit something when I got pushed. What was that wind? I've never felt wind that hard before! It was almost like and attac-
-my eyes snapped open and I shot up. Oh, shit! We were just attacked! I looked around but couldn't find Sasuke or Sora-chan anywhere! Were they okay? If they weren't... I shook my head rapidly. Those were stupid thoughts!
Sasuke may not be as great as I am but he can handle himself and Sora-chan won't let anyone get near without blowing them up, plus she has a super awesome barrier that can protect her until I show up to save the day! Yeah! They were fine! And if they weren't then they will be when I get there!
I pushed myself off the ground and started looking around. I looked up and saw a bunch'cha broken trees and branches everywhere, like something huge just plowed through here. I wanted to call out for Sora-chan or Sasuke but I know that the guys who attacked us might still be out there and Sora-chan would definitely get mad at me if I did something stupid like yell out when I knew that. I quietly stepped through all the broken trees and looked for any sign of the others. Maybe it'd be faster if I used some clones to look for-Oh! There was Sasuke now!
"Sasuke! There you are!" I started forward but he spun around and raised a kunai at me! "Wo-woah! Relax, Bastard!"
He narrowed his eyes at me and signed in the old way. 'Password.'
Password? "Oh, right! It's... uh... I-" I... I don't remember. "-Dammit, Bastard! How the hell am I supposed to remember something so long 'ttebayo!?" I yelled at him. He made it so stupidly hard! It was so girly and stuff!
The Bastard smirked as he lowered his kunai, "It's you alright."
"Eh?" I squinted at him. What was that supposed to mean?
The Bastard's smirk widened and I frowned at him. "The real you would never have been able to remember a password like that. I'd have an easier time teaching it to a cat."
I girt my teeth and stepped forward. "Why you-"
There was a sound and we both turned towards it, Sasuke pulled back out his kunai and I did the same. Maybe it was the assholes who attacked us! The bushes moved and-it was Sora-chan! I grinned. She was okay! She came walking out and her clothes looked dirty and-shit! She was hurt! She was holding her wrist that was purple and swelling up!
"Sora-chan!" I called. I tried to run forward but was tugged back when Sasuke grabbed the back of my jacket and stopped me. "What the hell, Bastard!? Can't you see Sora-chan's hurt dattebayo!?"
Sora-chan's head whipped up and she froze when she saw us then she pulled a kunai from her pouch and held it up. I held my hands up, "Wait-wait! Sora-chan it's okay! It's us! We're not fakes!"
She scowled at us before placing the kunai in her mouth and lifting her unhurt hand and signing, 'Password.'
"Right, okay, tell her the password Sasuke." I looked at Sasuke and he had his eyes narrowed at Sora-chan and he wasn't saying anything. I scowled at him. "C'mon, Bastard! Tell her the password already!"
'Idiot, watch her. That's a fake.' he signed as he watched Sora-chan. I blinked. What the hell does that mean? Of course it's Sora- 'Look, they don't know what I'm signing. Not her.'
I looked back at Sora-chan. Her shoulders relaxed and she put away the kunai. She smiled at us. That wasn't her usual smile.
That... wasn't Sora-chan.
Sasuke threw a kunai and she-they dodged the attack. They looked surprised and hurt -that wasn't really Sora-chan's face- that we attacked. Looking at us with wide eyes that weren't Sora-chan's.
"What have you done with the real Sora?" They blinked Sora-chan's eyes and a smile that wasn't Sora-chan's crawled higher onto their face and they laughed.
Sora-chan can't laugh.
Smoke exploded and the guy showed his true face. He had long black hair like a girl's and was wearing a straw hat and a huge purple belt. His smile was creepier now. "Tell me, how did you figure out I was a fake?"
Sasuke pulled out another kunai, "She doesn't need a password to know we're not imposters. You gave yourself away by asking for one like I did. The broken wrist was a nice touch."
He was cut off as we all heard a big explosion go off in the distance! I turned towards it but I couldn't see anything with all the damn trees and how dark it was getting now!
"That has to be Sora-chan! She's in trouble, we have to go!" I turned to Sasuke and he nodded. I stepped to move towards the sound and-'Thunk'-"ACK!" I stumbled back from the kunai. What the hell!? I turned back to glare at the long-haired guy.
"I hope you aren't forgetting about me? We are in the middle of a conversation after all..." he pulled out-Hey! That's an Earth scroll! "Your after an Earth scroll, right? Since you guys have the Heaven scroll. Well..." he held the scroll out in front of him before he... HE JUST ATE IT!
"OH, THAT IS SO GROSS!" I shouted.
"Huhuhuhu... Now, let's begin the battle for each other's scroll..." He pulled down on his face, "with our lives on the line."
I felt a coldness shoot through my gut and I fell to my knees and the air became really heavy all of a sudden. Sasuke threw up and he was shaking beside me, it was getting kinda hard to breathe now. What... what was happening? Did that guy do that? This guy...
This guy is really pissing me off. He shows up outta nowhere to attack us, eats his own damn scroll and now he's stopping me from getting to Sora-chan who's in real danger right now! I ignored how heavy my legs were and pushed myself back up.
"Can you still move? That is impressive."
"You're in my way." I growled. My voice sounded weird now.
The guy was looking at with wide eyes and a creepy smile. "Ohh...? This will be more fun than I thought."
"N-Naruto!" Sasuke whispered harshly, "We need to run!"
What did he just say? I look back at Sasuke and see that he's pale and sweaty and staring at me wide wide eyes. I've never seen him like this-what was wrong with him? All I felt was hot and angry so why didn't he?
"Sasuke. Get up." I told him. When he still didn't move I snarled. We were wasting time here! "FINE! STAY THERE LIKE A COWARD! I'll take care of this asshole myself!"
I turned back to the creepy guy and raised my hands into a Seal. I need to kick this guy's ass, make him give up the scroll by punching him and then find Sora-chan!
All without needing the stupid Bastard's help!
"Shadow clones!" I made a bunch of clones and all of me charged at him with a roar.
OH MY GOD THAT IS A HUGE FUDGING SNAKE!
I swung under the branch as I pulled out a spool of ninja wire.
AND WHY IS IT AFTER ME!?
I continued to pull out explosive kunai and loop them through the wire, about seven of them with my high-yield charges for that extra-JUMP! CRAP! I launched myself into the air and over the giant head of the GIANT SNAKE and landed on the side of another tree, tying each end of the wire with a kunai so-
-ACK! The tail came up from the other side of the tree in front of me and wrapped around my body so tight I couldn't move! I was being lifted into the air and-NONONONONONO!
IT JUST ATE ME!
I passed by it's enlarged fangs and over it's tongue and then I was in the dark, slick and slimy wall were constricting around me and this day is just crap. If it's not getting my mind violated by someone I'm supposed to be able to trust then I'm being slowly digested by a over-sized reptile!
Oh god, shut up! You're in the snake's stomach instead of Naruto and you know that means he is out there with Sasuke and the Snake bastard right now.
You don't know what is happening.
My heart pounded against my ribcage and-
Things are different and there are no more guarantees.
-the world was slowing all around me.
They could die.
I have to get out. I need to get out, right now.
How do I get out? How did Naruto get out of this? He used shadow clones, right. He exploded the snake with an abundance of shadow clones. Well, crap. I can't use shadow clones and regular clones are intangible! How else can I get coughed up? Wait!
I have smoke bombs! Okay, okay, so plan. Get spit out and then kill this thing. I tightened my hold on the spool of wire and thanked every star in the sky that I had decided to coat my explosives with wax the other week so they were water proofed.
I pulled my hitai-ate up over my mouth and nose and pulled out a handful of smoke bombs and broke them with chakra, they exploded between my fingers and the wet cavern filled with white smog. I held my breath and closed my eyes tight before the muscles constricted tighter and I was moving up. Stomach acid washed against my bare legs and I grit my teeth as the damn snake threw me up.
I gasped for air as soon as I passed through the fangs and quickly realized I was falling rapidly through the air. I twisted around trying to get my bearings-Falling! Falling from a from the skyscraper trees-turning back up I swung the weighted end of my kunai rope and threw it. It looped around a branch and then I was swinging directly towards a tree. CrapCrapCrap! I tighten my grip on my wire and braced myself for the-
-impact. Ouch. My entire right side hurts now. I heard loud snarling and wet hacking behind me and I remembered what kind of fudged-out situation I was still in. I pulled myself up and planted my feet on the side of the tree and began running up. Plan is blow the snake to hell with my explosives. First, need to lay the groundwork.
I twisted around and threw the other end of my line to another tree and once it was lodged into the bark, I grabbed ahold of one of the extra kunai and I zip lined across the gap. Dislodged the end and thrust another spare in to keep the line there. I ran up the side of this tree and do it all again before I notice the coughing has stopped and turned around to see the snake had it's tongue in the air.
It was looking for me.
Need to get it to charge into the lines.
I know that the cerebral network of an Aburame's kikaichū isn't developed enough to be effected by Genjutsu but I wonder if it can work on a giant snake? Guess it's time to find out.
I kneeled down and focused, calming my breathing and maintaining my place on the the side of the tree. Churning, guiding, mixing and picturing the image in my minds eye. I saw it and opened my eyes. When I did I watched as the snake lurched to the ground as A GIANT HAWK SWOOPED DOWN! HA! TAKE THAT, YOU SCALY BASTARD!
...there was something wro-Can't. Deal With. It.
I continued to manipulate the Genjustu, the movements of the imaginary hawk, thus herding the Snake into the lines of wire riddled with explosives. It collided and thrashed against the wire and I wrapped my hand around my end, pulsing chakra into it and jumping the hell away. The timer on the fuses went off by the time my feet landed on the ground and-
-'BOOOM!' I was sent sprawling to the ground by the shockwave of that, admittedly, overkill explosion. I think the entire damn forest could've heard that one.
I slowly got to my feet and wanted to hurl at the stench of burnt meat and guts the filled the air. It was also then that I noticed that my clothes were, as predicted, wrecked. My tunic and shorts were soaked in stomach acid and my legs had some burns on them and I was covered in snake guts and blood and I regret everything and-
-I could feel Kurama's chakra leaking out.
My head whipped towards the east and I ran. Naruto and Sasuke were in the middle of fighting a monster and this is NOT how it went Before. He sent the snake after Naruto so why did it change!? Why wasn't I there so Naruto could make a heroic entrance and what was happening right now.
I pushed chakra through my legs as I ran up the tree in front of me, jumping to the next branch when I made it up. I continued running until I heard Naruto's shout. My feet the last branch hard as I gasped for breath, eyes taking the scene in front of me.
It looked like a warzone.
There were broken trees everywhere and-I saw Naruto get kicked away while one-by-one his clones got dispersed by another huge snake. The Original twisted in the air and launched shuriken and kunai at the reptile and-'BOOM!'-I grinned. That brat took some of my paper bombs anyway!
While Naruto was busy blowing the snake away Sasuke was... I could feel his terror from here. He was just standing there watching Naruto fight, I could see his hands shaking from here. He was frozen in his place. Sasuke... he-a long-haired man that had to be the Snake Sannin just crawled out of the charred corpse of the snake and hell no! That is just disgusting!
I pulled out two more of my high-yields and threw them just as he opened his mouth. They lit his slimy form up in fire and smoke. Two heads snapped my way and I was greeted with wide eyes and a sunshine grin.
"Sora-chan!" Naruto cheered and-'CRACK'-I choked on my heart as he went flying! A scaly tail came out of the smoke and swatted him into a tree, crashing into it and out of my sight!
"NARUTO!" Sasuke howled. I panicked and reached out my senses and tried to calm myself went I still felt his Bright and Breezy chakra was still burning bright.
He was okay. Naruto was still okay.
I looked back at the Snake I was going to KiLl.
Dark eyes lifted up to me smile crept onto his slimy lips. "So you defeated that giant snake... Sor-ah."
He should not say my name.
I can only claim to have been completely out of my mind when I flipped him off in response.
...it's been a very stressful day!
The half-snake man cocked his head at me and I heard Sasuke swear. I think he was cussing me out under his breath about how big a fucking idiot I was.
"Well, aren't you cheeky?" he observed astutely.
"HEY!" Both of us looked back to see Sasuke was holding up the scroll in his hand. What was he doing. His Intent was rising high and in worrisome amounts. "It's this you want, right?"
The Snake man's tail turned back into legs as he faced Sasuke again. Even from this distance I could see the Sharingan Red glow of his eyes.
"Try and get it!"
The Snake smiled with glee as he rushed towards my teammate who has apparently just lost his mind!? He was frozen with terror not two minutes ago!
'Oh god,' I realized in dawning horror. 'We're rubbing off on him!'
As they began to fight I raked my mind for ideas. I could sense Naruto was slowly coming back to awareness wherever he was so I didn't have to go to him. What can I do to help here? I can't throw more explosives, Sasuke's engaged the Sanin in Taijustu, spitting out fire every other moment and clouding my view of the snake and I can't risk getting Sasuke caught in the aftershock. My Barrier is useless in this situation and I was useless-useless-usELeSs! I sitting here doing nothing and watching as Sasuke was fighting for his life! What could I do? What could I DO? What-
I could do Genjutsu.
I know what to do.
I folded my hands into the Bird seal and kneeled on the branch high above the battle. I didn't have much to offer, I knew. But that was also exactly what I could offer.
I knew things.
I knew too much.
I focused on the Snake man circling Sasuke. Mold it. Shape it. Guide it. I saw the Illusion I wanted to make. I saw a grinning Naruto with rosy cheeks and brown hair and eyes and not wearing so much orange. Kneading it. Infusing it.
I could see it.
I saw Nawaki.
And he stopped.
Slowly, he turned his head to look at me.
Sasuke saw the opening and didn't hesitate to-'SMACK!'-He just swatted Sasuke away like he was nothing as his eyes stayed locked on me. Faster than my eyes could register he was on the branch with me now and-
-Hrrurgh! I was going to throw up. The Killing Intent was going to cause me to choke on my own vomit! I looked up through blurry eyes to see Orochimaru was slowly stalking towards me.
I tried to push myself up to stand but my legs had no strength! I couldn't stand and run so I scrambled away as he continued to come closer.
"Now why would you choose that form to show me..." he asked lowly. "...Sora?"
I hate the way he says my name. He says it like it's a joke. My back hit the tree and my hands clawed against the bark as tried to stand again-he was coming closer and I couldn't BREATHE!
"Perhaps do you... know me?"
Oh my god.
"Ah. So you do... well isn't this an interesting twist?" A too-wide smile pulled across his face as he continued to walk forward, taking his time and I could feel the pleasure coming off his chakra. "There were a few details off about your illusion though, the Senju typically have more prominent cheek bone structure... I know he did."
He was a meter away from me now and why couldn't I move!? My mind was screaming to move-move-MOVE!
"But it was a close enough resemblance to give me pause so a congratulations are in order." My legs couldn't stop shaking and the only reason I wasn't on my knees was because my fingers were digging into the bark of the tree. He was so close I could feel his repressed chakra now.
He was twisted and dark. A feeling like every nightmare I've ever had come to life.
"So pretty..." he sighed, eyes slowly roaming my face. I felt my skin crawling. I wanted to itch and claw at the feeling until it went away.
"...you look so much like Ikari."
My heart stopped in my chest.
"Tell me, dear Sora... what else did she tell you about me?" he hummed, leaning closer. "...your Mother was truly one of the most gifted Kunoichi I've come across, her talent with Fuinjutsu was inspiring. She was always coming up with newer theories and better formulas to test. Regretfully, she left before I could see the final results of our last project together."
I don't uNdeRStanD.
"Kaa-chan. Who're we running from?"
"The bad man is angry because I found out something he didn't want me to. I was pregnant with you at the time so... I decided to put you first and leave him. He didn't like that... and now he wants us back."
Lies. All lies-he's LyINg!
"...did you ...love the bad man?"
She loved him and feared him. Kaa-chan was a liAR.
"Won't you make this easy for everyone Ikari-sama? The Master wished you to know he is willing to forgive you for your... mistake." the tar man said imploringly.
They all are devoted to him, aren't they? eVrEYtHing was a LIE.
The symbol in the middle of her back started to glow like lava. It grew and expanded, a fiery writing wreathed and wrapped all around her body. Her skin turned into a ashy-grey and her nails grew incredibly sharp.
Why didn't I see it? I LIed to myself.
My eyes rested on the strange, familiar symbol in between her shoulders. There were three comma-like things surrounded by tiny script that almost looked like doodles.
I knew it's name. I knew it and denied knowing. This was wRoNGWrONGwrONg.
Whenever I looked at it, I felt something stir in the back of my mind, in my heart. Something that warned of Danger.
The Curse mark.
He was standing in front of me now with a sickening smile.
"...my little experiment."
"Look at you... I honestly hadn't expected that you would survive the stress of the labor, dear Sora. I had estimated that you would die shortly after taking your first breath." his smile morphed into a grin, "...you are the child that should have never been."
I was vaguely aware that there were hot tears running down my face now. I couldn't stop them. I couldn't move. I didn't want to anymore. I've never been so terrified.
His eyes widened and his face lit up. "There are those lovely eyes of yours..."
I'm terrified-SoWrongSoWrong-IJustWantToGoHomeHomeHoME-He lifted a hand towards my face-NonoNOno-Don'tToUChMe-I pulsed my chakra through my body and imagined him flying through the trees-GoGoGo-GO AND DON'T COME BACK! My heart was pounding against my ribcage and my blood was roaring in my ears as he touched my cheek and I slammed my fist against his chest.
I choked on a sob.
The snake sannin slowly looked down at the open palm on his chest, an amused smile pulling his lips as he met my eyes again. I pulled back away as my hand burned. Why couldn't I have been strong like Sakura? Why couldn't I send him flying away!? WhyWhyWhy-
He pulled away bloodied fingers from my face and spoke down to me. "Now, now, dear Sora... what were you-"
There was a rush of wind and then he was gone. I heard a crash in the distance and numbly registered that Naruto was standing in front of me now with his fist stretched out.
"DON'T FUCKING TOUCH HER, ASSHOLE!" Naruto roared, voice distorted by Kurama's chakra. His eyes were glowing red and slit.
My legs gave out from under me.
It's... too much.
I can't... can't...
I pushed myself up the trees faster. I don't know what the hell happened except the guy had suddenly turned his attention to Sora and swatted me to the side like I was an insect. If we even had a chance of getting out of this then-Something flew over my head and I watched as Naruto tore through the air and then-punched the guy like he was nothing! With my Sharingan active I could see the toxic red chakra that came off him in waves. It was just like back in the cave.
I leapt onto the same level as them and saw Naruto's slit red eyes when he glanced over to me, then he turned his attention back to the snake-guy as he began to pick himself out of the crater Naruto put him in. Naruto did that.
"Make sure Sora-chan's okay." he growled. Then he jumped down after the guy again like an idiot! It doesn't matter how strong he suddenly becomes because this guy doesn't seem to go down no matter what we do!
I crouched in front of Sora, keeping one eye on Naruto. She was trembling on her hands and knees with her head hanging down. He must have gotten her with that Killing Intent too. "Sora," I shook her shoulder to snap her out of it, we needed to move and come up with a plan to take this guy out. "Get up, we need-"
"This is becoming tedious, Naruto-kun." The enemy sneered below, before biting his thumb and smearing blood on his arms. Shit! He was about to use a justu and Naruto was still running towards him! The enemy began weaving seals and-"Grrk!"
I watched in perfect clarity as he choked and looked down to see the blood on his hand turn black and begin to expand and consume his arm until his jaw opened too wide and his body disappeared under the black goo that continued to bubble and grow until it was a pulsing ball of toxic chakra-'BOOOOM!'-the black ball exploded into a splash of black and red. Naruto was too slow and got caught in the aftershock and it sent him flying away.
...the hell just happened?
"Well that was interesting..." a new voice drawled. My eyes snapped to the form of another man with long black hair and white skin, he was wearing the same clothes as the other guy except... his headband was different now. It had a music note on it. Was is it just a henge before?
He wiped some kind of slime from his face as he spoke. "To make me resort to that technique... It seems Ikari's efforts didn't go to waste." He moved his hand away and I could see his yellow eyes were set on Sora. Wait, Sor-does he think she did that!? That's not possible she hasn't even moved! She's still-
-She was looking up and I could see her eyes now.
I... couldn't believe what I was seeing.
I don't understand.
Her eyes were different.
The whites of her eyes were a glowing red and the once purple iris were black with a slit glowing pupil.
I don't understand, how was this possible?
"You... your eyes..." I mumbled. She stared at me until shaking hand slowly came up and wiped at the blood streaming down her cheeks. Her mouth fell open as she stared at it.
She didn't know she had a kekkei genkai.
"RAHHHH!" Naruto was back and flying at the guy again. Doesn't the idiot know when to stop?! We need to regroup and figure out how to take this guy out, he just blew up and is fine now! The enemy's tongue lashed out and caught Naruto mid-air and-faster than I could react, he drove his fist into Naruto's gut. Whatever he did is causing the red chakra to fade away.
Then he dropped him over the edge.
In the next seconds I'd pulled out a kunai, aimed with my Sharingan and threw, snagging his jacket and pinning him to the side of the tree, stopping him from plummeting to the ground.
"Now that the distraction is out of the way..." he looked back at me. His eyes were cold. "Are you ready now, Sasuke-kun? Or are you going to continue to stand there and gawk as I kill your teammates before killing you?"
My heart shuddered in my chest.
Kill? He was going to kill us?
What can I do? He's been punched through trees and blown up and he's still standing-I tried to fight and he swat me away like I was nothing. He did something to Naruto and Sora is frozen.
There's nothing I can do.
We were going to die.
He sighed when I didn't make any move. "...such a disappointment."
He pulled out a kunai, yellow eyes intent on Sora.
Naruto and Sora were going to die. He was going to kill them. They were going to be killed in front of me just like-
I saw the bodies in the street. Uncle Teyaki and Aunt Uruchi had been cut down like animals. I run home as fast as I can and saw their corpses bleeding out at his feet. "-Brother! Brother! Father and Mother are...! WHY!? WHY!? Who the hell... this..."
A sharp pain in my arm from where he cut me.
"Foolish little brother." He opened his eyes and I saw-
-NO! This isn't the same, he isn't Itachi and they aren't dead yet! I'm not some helpless child anymore I can stop it. I won't let it happen.
I have to protect them.
My eyes burned in my skull.
I pulled out kunai and ran at him, jumping into the air over the gap and throwing my weapons. He dodged them with ease. I landed on the side of a tree and cycled chakra through my legs, launching myself towards him. He blocked my kicks and I flipped over him, he moved forward and so did I. Side-stepping his punches and delivering kicks he blocked. He jumped high into the air and began moving unbelievably fast.
I could still see him. I watched and aimed until I weaved te signs for a fireball and struck. I poured my chakra into the fire to make it constant, he raised his arms to block it and I could still see his chakra network through the fire. Strange, I think I also see Sora's blue-green chakra coursing through his chakra system too. I soon stopped my katon, feeling my reserves lowering too fast. Wind exploded around him and he traveled through the tree, I jumped away as he pounced out.
He looked at me with a pale-white grin and I tried to scan for any weakness I could exploit. He didn't seem to be affected by the fight at all. The only difference about him from when we started besides appearance is Sora's chakra seems to be in him. Just like that time...
"I can see your chakra, it's in my system and it's... it's spreading." I watched as the blue-green glow traveled up my arm, "It's spreading all the way up my arm..."
"-foreign chakra entering the system often has negative effects on the patients body-" Sakura explained. Then, oblivious to how pale Sora became she made a joke. "Can't risk you shutting down someone's nervous system with a handshake!"
'Is my chakra still in you?' Sora asked, worry and fear on her face. I looked back at my arm and saw the blue-green had faded but hadn't disappeared.
It taken another two hours for just that little bit. He still had a lot. That was her kekkei genkai? And I had it in my system? The same thing that made him explode like that. Shit.
...how can I make that happen again? Think. What happened right before he blew up? He was talking to Sora, he touched her and Naruto punched him. He pulled himself back out of the hole and bit his finger to use a justu and-the blood turned black!
I need to make him bleed.
He moved again and a gust of wind came at me, destroying the tree I was previously on. I'd moved the battle and this guy far away from them. They'd be okay as long as I held this guy's attention. I placed myself on the underside of a branch and cycled chakra though my muscles again, ignoring how they protested.
I launched myself towards him again, grabbing him and pulling him off the branch. Locking my hands and ankles around him I twisted us in the air, aiming to lodge his head into the tree below. There was resounding 'CRACK!' as his skull connected with the wood. I leapt away and watched as his body turned to mud. Shit! Something flew through the air and a hot pain spread across my jaw. Shuriken and kunai came raining down on me, I leapt away again but he was already on me.
A strike to my jaw-I reached into my pouch.
A jab to my chest-my hand brushed against his clothes.
A knee to chin-thirty seconds.
Another punch to my face, knocking me off my feet-this day fucking sucks.
I closed my eyes and listened to his footsteps. Fifteen seconds. "And I had such high hopes for you too..." he sighed. Eight seconds. "Your ancestors should thank me for killing you, silly little worm."
I opened my burning eyes. One second. Explosion. Leap away, throw shuriken, wrap the wires around my fingers-PULL! I pulled on the wire and pinned him to the tree. I weaved my hands into seals and set him on fire.
He screamed out in pain.
I panted for breath after the justu ended and continued to throw shuriken even as he didn't move, they lodged into his melting chest and the blood leaking out of his wounds turned black and bubbled up.
His body disappeared into it.
It grew, transformed, pulsed and exploded.
I covered my eyes from the bright light the explosion caused and when the smoke cleared... he was gone.
I did it.
I killed him.
A relieved laugh escaped my lips. I protected them. We were going to be-Oh, shit! Naruto and Sora! They were still out of it and we were in the middle of an exam filled with enemies.
I pushed myself to stand -when did I fall to my knees?- and almost fell back down when my legs refused to support my weight. Damn it. I pushed myself too hard in that fight, my eyes were burning. If we come across anyone else then...
Then I'll figure it out when that happens.
I moved to where I left Sora to see her still trembling on her hands and knees. Looking over I saw that Naruto was still pinned to the tree and still unconscious. Great. I tried to pull Sora up but she was still trembling, eyes -her eyes. purple eyes- blurry and unfocused. I growled at her, this was pathetic and unlike her! She was the stupid reckless one that pushed herself until she fell. Now I was one exhausted and low on chakra and we were not safe yet.
I grabbed her shoulders and shook her, "Snap out of it! We need to get Naruto and get out of here! All those explosions were bound to have attracted someone else's attention, we-"
There was the sound of clapping behind me and my stomach lurched.
I turned around and he was standing there. Black hair, white skin and yellow eyes.
Not a single scratch on him.
We don't understand. "-my little Experiment." he said. Whywhywhy-
"Impressive, Sasuke-kun~" He was coming again. I could see him across the distance in the trees. Twenty meters or so?
My eyes had been bleeding-We didn't understand.
The Killing Intent drowned the air and all my muscles seized up and I couldn't move. Sickening pressure. Couldn't breathe. Drowning. Sasuke trembled beside me, he shouted in frustration when he couldn't move.
It was happening. Nownownow-Why was this happening?
"Such mastery of the Sharingan at your age. Oh, you really are like your brother." he sighed, his nasty twisted and dark chakra clouding with desire. "But you, I sense power in your eyes that surpasses even Itachi's."
He was going to take him now. It was happening The Snake was going to claim Sasuke.-We didn't want that.
"Who the hell are you!?" Sasuke demanded, fear and disgust rising in his chakra.
He pulled out a pale scroll and laughed. Was that our scroll? "My name is Orochimaru. And I know what you desire."
In and out.
He lit the pale scroll on fire, the ashes fell away in his grasp. "But if you want to claim true power and see me again then survive and pass this exam with the best score of all."
Flush everything else out.
"Before that of course, you'll need to defeat my men of the Hidden Sound." His golden eyes were set on Sasuke. He folded his hands into a seal and his neck stretched impossibly high.
There is nothing but the burning in my core.
Sasuke was right in front of me and all I could see were images of Sasuke, my Sasuke, drowning in hate. Crying bitterly over Itachi. Laughing with despair in his eyes.
Lost in the darkness.
The pressure released.
He couldn't have him. He was mine.
The Snake moved forward.
It's true what they say.
My body moved on it's own.
Desperation makes people do stupid things.
I don't know what happened.
That guy that wouldn't die -he called himself Orochimaru- was coming for me so fast and I couldn't move from the heavy KI and I was helpless to watch as he came closer and closer, jaw and fangs opening too wide until I felt a warmth around my neck, a weight against pressed against my back and then I was falling forward.
The warmth spread from my neck into the rest of my body and I could move again. I saw the ground quickly rising to meet me-meet us. I just noticed that Sora had her arms wrapped around me and we were falling further away from that monster.
I pulled on my wires and threw, I caught onto a branch, slamming into the side and-Shit! Sora's grip on me loosened and she fell. I twisted around and pushed off the tree, colliding into her midair and we tumbled, hitting the ground hard. Hot Pain shot through my arm and I knew I fucked it up somehow.
I rolled Sora off me and got back up. He missed his attack but I had a feeling that guy would be back. "Sora! We need to move he's coming back-" I looked down at her and it felt like my chest seized up as I lost the ability to breathe.
Sora's mouth was hanging open in a silent scream and her body was convulsing violently. She was clawing at her arm now, it-There were two puncture wounds on her shoulder, under some kind of black marking on her skin.
"Well that was surprising." Shit. He already caught back up to us. "Who knew dear Sora had such a heroic streak?"
That should've been me.
"What did you do to her!?" I snarled, whirling around with a readied kunai.
Pointless. There's nothing I can do against him.
He raised an eyebrow at me, "She did this to herself, she was the one who got in my way, after all. I wonder though... will she survive? Her Mother had, but sadly not without debilitating side-effects to her chakra network. But I've improved the formula since then so it will be interesting to see what happens."
Then he laughed. Like this was all some kind of sick joke to him.
"...I wonder if I should also test my little experiment? See just how Ikari has shaped her for me? Yes, I think-Oh?" he raised both brows as he looked behind me. I followed his line of sight and-Sora's stopped moving.
She's stopped breathing.
"Well, we'll just have to see how she fares. Now, Sasuke-kun... it's your turn." I turned back to see his neck stretched too long again and-there was a flash of steel and he narrowly avoided losing his head.
There were ANBU jumping down from the trees and engaging him now. An ANBU with long purple hair shunshined to in front of me with Naruto over their shoulders bent down and picked up Sora in their arms. Sora was limp and pale.
"Follow. We need to get you clear of the area."
She stopped breathing.
"Sora. She's-" they cut me off.
"Alive. She's still breathing but barely." I couldn't stop looking at her pale face, her lips have turned blue.
That should've been me.
"Sasuke!" They snapped. My eyes darted up to look at the cat-like mask. "You follow me, now. Understand?"
I nodded numbly and we quickly moved away from the fighting behind us. As we got farther away there were more explosions in the distance, from where we just came from. Before we left I think I saw the proctor from earlier jump down too. We ran away from there as fast as I could until we couldn't hear the explosions and sounds of battle.
The ANBU set Naruto and Sora down at the mouth of a dirt cave under the gnarled roots of a giant tree and I stepped forward. They said Sora was alive but she still looked dead. Naruto didn't look any better, covered in bruises and dirt. Then the ANBU stood up and started walking away.
"Where are you going?" I ask. Why did I ask that?
They spoke over their shoulder to me, "I have to get back to my squad. The nearest gate is over two kilometers south-southeast of here."
Then they shunshined away, leaving us there.
I looked at the unconscious bodies of my teammates.
Naruto wouldn't wake up and Sora was barely breathing.
What am I supposed to do now?
Dark Forest Arc,
Chapter Twenty-Eight: "Bloodline"
A/N: So. That happened.
FUDGING GUMMYBEARS-Okay, things to address in order of importance:
(#1: Sora does not have a Sharingan)
It is NOT a Sharingan and Sora is not secretly an Uchiha. Need to kill that train of thought right now. I though I explained it well but it's understandable if you might get caught on 'Red eyes' and think Sharingan, I know. But it's not a Sharingan.
(#2: Sora has a Kekkei Genkai)
A Dōjutsu specifically. Which many of you had not been expecting, I know. It is also not an OC Dōjutsu, it's a real Narutoverse power and is how I explain a lot of Sora's abilities from her affinity for Genjutsu and her 'Emotional Manipulation' touch. And it's not from out-of-nowhere I've just been damn subtle about the hints. On a side note, 'Exploding Orochimaru' was a bitch to write.
(#3: Orochimaru is the 'Bad Man')
I know that some of you guys had been suspecting it since forever ago, but now you have confirmation straight from the snakes mouth. I'd love if you tried to figure out what kind of experiment she is.
(#4: Sora got fucking bit and Sasuke did not)
Yes, this has been my plan since day one. And yes, I know that this is the biggest divergence from cannon thus far. That's why I've been so worried about doing the Exams for so long! Now, Just because I'm mean and I like headgames, this development does not mean Sasuke won't defect or try to still become Supreme-Lord-Uchiha-of-Righteous-Vengeance. Just saying, not confirming ANYTHING!
"Do you trust me? Also, did you have fun?"
Some of you might be pissed with my creative decisions recently but you've already read up to here, so... do you trust me to keep you entertained and invested in seeing where this goes next? Now we have to deal with the consequences of this chapter for the rest of the story.
Sigh. Even if this is the last time you read this, I want you to know that I'll still wuv yew.