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Onyx and Ivory @mangokid
Those who Endure

Those who endure.

Onyx and Ivory

"The village—is under attack!"

For a moment, all Hoshiko could do was stare. For a moment, her eyes were fixated on the bloody face of Aishi, her body collapsed in her arms. For a moment, she thought that Aishi had to have been lying to her. That was until she heard an explosion off in the distance, from the direction of the village. Aishi's eyes were shut now; Hoshiko guessed that she had passed out from her wound on her stomach. The next second Ren came bounding into her room.

"Hoshiko! Sadao was still in the village!" He cried out desperately. Ren's dark eyes shifted to the unconscious body of Aishi as he collapsed next to her. Hoshiko lay Aishi down on the floor gently as she got to her feet. Ren stared up at her. "What are you going to do?"

Hoshiko turned to her pile of clothes folded on her dresser. She could spot the old and worn armor from her spot as she picked up the black ensemble. Her gaze went to the newly sewn up hole in the shirt and armor.

"I'm going to protect my home." She said with determination.


She added on the last piece, her weapons pouch. Her old ANBU armor still fit her, yet it felt heavy on her. Hoshiko reached for her Wakizashi lying on the dresser as she held it in her hand firmly. She turned to Ren, who was still sitting by Aishi on the floor. "Don't worry. I'll do what I can." She told him with a firm nod. Ren, stunned into silence couldn't say anything as Hoshiko walked passed him.

She ignored the gleam of her Hitai-ate; she was not doing this as a Konoha Shinobi. She was doing this as a villager of Hanabira.

She left the farmhouse, and from where she stood she could see the glow of fire from the village. The faint echo of screams could be heard as Hoshiko quickly made hand signs for her summoning.

"Kuchiyose no jutsu!"

With a bleeding thumb she slammed her hand down onto the ground and in a large puff off smoke dozens and dozens of crows sprouted from her summon and flew into the air. Their intentions were already known; they were scout the village and relay back to her how many hostiles were in the village and what she should be expecting.

With her crows leading the way Hoshiko sprinted towards the village. Her mind was suddenly switching into her battle mode, she was remembering all of her training, all her lessons that she had as a child, as a teenager. Everything she had learnt with Itachi and Danzo, it all came back to her.

Takita had never known true fear. That was until the night his village came under attack. The first explosions had gone off late in the night, and then he began to hear the screams. He could hear the people he had seen his whole life be slaughtered in the streets. He had made the foolish decision to leave his teahouse. He had wanted to know who were the monsters behind the attack. Instead he had been greeted with three men in front of his store.

The gasp had been ripped from his throat as his eyes widened in fear. The three men were unfamiliar to him; all wore purple and grey attire. He saw their headband gleaming in the fire embers and the moonlight.

A music note.

Takita had tried to turn and run back into his shop, but he was stopped and thrown to the ground by the man in the middle of the trio. "Where is he?" the man barked angrily.

Takita backed up on his elbows, "What are you talking about?" he asked. The three men gave each other bored looks as the one on the left stepped forward and slammed down his foot onto Takita's throat. The old man spluttered and gasped for air, clawing at the shoe. He tried desperately to get his foot off him, but it was futile. The man was much stronger than he was.

"I'm going to ask one—more—time." At the last word, he pressed down harder with his foot. "Where is Jiraiya? The old man? He was seen frequenting your…establishment."

Takita could barely shake his head at the question. It was getting harder for him to breathe. He could feel his life slowly slipping away from him. Even through this, if these men wanted to know where the man called Jiraiya was…they would never hear it from him. As he felt the last bit of oxygen leave him, Takita's last thought was that if they were searching for Jiraiya and they knew that he always visited his teashop…then they would know about Fuyuko—they would be going after her next.

There was a cry of pain, and then suddenly the weight on his throat was gone.

Takita barely managed to lift his head to watch the scene unfurl. The man, the one who had his shoe pressed against his throat, was now impaled against the opposite shop, the sword pinning him to the wall. He was dead. His two companions turned and stared at the scene, not knowing what to do. Before they could comprehend on what had just happened, Takita flinched in fear when a figure suddenly appeared between the two men. Panic shot through him, fearing that it was another friend of theirs. That all changed when he saw a pair of familiar eyes. She glanced at him for a split second, before the two men noticed her there.

In a flash she had gripped one ninja by the throat and pummeled him to the ground. The other turned, suddenly realizing that she was an enemy. He didn't have any time to brandish a weapon or use a jutsu. He was kicked in the chin as he went soaring up into the air. She appeared in front of him, her fist launched into his face as he hit the ground. His neck at an odd angle.

Hoshiko dropped to the ground; she made sure that all three were dead before approaching Takita.

"Fuyuko!" Takita exclaimed. He winced in pain at the action, his throat damaged. Hoshiko helped him up. "What are you doing? How did you do that?" Even through the pain he managed to speak.

Hoshiko silenced him with a shake of her head, "There's no time to explain. Get inside and barricade yourself in there. Do not come out again, for anything." Hoshiko warned him. Takita nodded and hobbled to the door of his teashop. As he opened the door he glanced over his shoulder at her. Hoshiko was fetching her Wakizashi from the first sound ninja. The body dropped to the floor as she wiped the blood off her sword.

"Who are you?" Takita asked her.

Hoshiko met his gaze, her brows furrowed, "I'm no one." Takita was still confused but could question her anymore as she suddenly leapt up onto the roofs and into the night.

It was mayhem. There must have been around fifty sound ninjas in the village. Hoshiko surveyed the village from her vantage point. Houses had been blown up, and bodies littered the streets. All for what?

A caw from above had Hoshiko gazing up to the sky. One of her crows was currently circling an area not too far from her; it was the signal that it had found another enemy. Hoshiko wasted no time in rushing over there. She leapt over the roofs and avoided the great balls of fire rising up from the homes. She spotted the sound ninja attacking a couple. This repulsed Hoshiko. How could they attack innocent civilians? They were all unarmed and had no way of protecting themselves.

The woman screamed as her partner was stabbed by the sound ninja. Hoshiko dove for him, her sword at the ready. The sound ninja sensed someone approaching as they turned just in time to block her attack. If he hadn't, his head would have been sliced clean off.

She didn't wait for him to attack her; instead she dropped to the ground and stabbed her sword into his foot. He screamed. As she wrenched it out she dodged an attack to her head. She spun around and buried her sword to the hilt into his back. The man gave out a gurgled cry of pain before slumping to the ground.

Hoshiko didn't wait to see the reactions of the people she had saved. Another crow was cawing off at the next street. She took off once more. As she neared them the crow cawed three times, telling her that three enemies were waiting for her.

Hoshiko brandished three kunai in her hand as she jumped off the roof. She spotted the three ninja's terrorizing a group of villagers. Hoshiko used her lightning affinity to electrify her kunai as she threw them for the trio. They didn't know what had hit them as the electrified kunai impaled them in the backs. They each screamed in pain before dropping to the floor. The villagers stared up in awe and some confusion as they watched the girl they knew as Fuyuko give them a tight nod as she bounded off.


Hoshiko was heading to her next crow, which was until a person down on the ground caught her attention. Hoshiko stopped in her tracks suddenly. As she did this her foot got caught in a small hole on the roof she was currently standing on. The pressure made her foot sink into the roof and then her leg fell through. As the weight of her body hit the old tiles they gave way and she fell through the roof. Hoshiko landed on a table that broke from her fall. Wood splintered around her as the debris from the ceiling came down on her. Hoshiko shielded her face from the wood and tiles as she coughed out the dust that was swirling around her face.

Hoshiko groaned, feeling a pain in her side but ignoring it. She suddenly remembered why she had stopped. She jumped up, throwing the debris off her body as she headed to the front door. She wrenched the door open and fell out into the street.

"Sadao!" She screamed frantically.

She tripped and stumbled towards the man lying in the middle of the street, her foot injured from her fall. Hoshiko dropped to her knees by his head as her hands gripped the front of his shirt tightly.

"Sadao…" She examined his body. Blood pooled around his torso, obviously from an attack by the sound ninja. His eyes were shut and his long grey hair was sticky and matted from blood and dirt. Hoshiko placed her head against his chest, trying desperately to hear a heartbeat. Her own heart gave a painful lurch when she didn't hear a thing.

Hoshiko sat upright, she forced her tears away. Now was not the time to mourn for Sadao—she had to protect—

Her train of thought suddenly changed. Hoshiko glanced down at Sadao with wide eyes. The sound ninja had interrogated Takita on the whereabouts of a man, from what Hoshiko had gathered from them she had assumed they were after Jiraiya. It made sense. The sound ninja were from a country run by Orochimaru. Jiraiya was searching for him. If the ninja knew that Jiraiya was always at the teashop from seeing him there, then they would've known that she always met him.

Then that meant they knew where she lived…

Hoshiko jumped up and started running as fast as she could in the direction of home. I never should have left them! Hoshiko thought desperately to herself. She ignored the blaring pain in her ankle. It was probably broken but she didn't care, she had to get home, she had to protect Ren and Aishi.

She ran, ignoring the screams. None of them mattered anymore; she only cared about Ren and Aishi. Hoshiko had to push the horrible thoughts out of her head about them. What if she was too late? What if they had already gotten to them?

The farmhouse came into view, and thankfully it looked untouched. All the lights were off just how she had left it and the front door seemed to be closed. "REN!" Hoshiko screamed as loud as she possibly could. She was meters away from the house now.

Her heart soared when the front door opened…and Ren ran out. He looked tired and scared but he was alive and running towards her. "Hoshiko!" he cried happily, a smile on his young face-

-the sound of a sword piercing flesh echoed in the night. The smile dropped from Ren's face. Hoshiko stumbled to a stop, her jaw dropped as she watched a sound ninja appear from behind Ren and yank the sword out of his small body.

"No!" Hoshiko cried in anguish. She had been meters from him! Why couldn't she have stopped him? Hoshiko had a Raikiri made in her hand in a second as she charged for the sound ninja. Her fist was through the ninja's chest before he could react. She turned and caught Ren before he hit the ground and fell to the ground with his body.

"Ren…no! Please, no no no." His eyes blinked up at her slowly. Blood dipped from his torso and mouth. "You're going to be ok," Hoshiko whispered to him. Tears dripped onto his stained shirt as she quickly looked back at the sound ninja just to make sure he was dead. When she looked back Ren was staring up at her.


Tear pooled in his dark eyes.

"I don't…want to die…"

Hoshiko felt her heart split once more, she cradled Ren to her chest and wept with him. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry I couldn't save you…"


Another stab to the heart for her. Everyone she cared about was dead or dying. Hoshiko wept loudly as she continued to hold Ren close to her. She suddenly felt his body go limp as she glanced down. His amber eyes were half open, the light gone from them. His chest remained flat.

"Ren?" Hoshiko whispered his name. She lay her hand against his cheek, bowed her head until her forehead touched his. "I'm sorry." She said once more.


She sensed them before she heard them. Seven of them. All bearing down on her location. Hoshiko glanced up through her wet lashes and saw the seven sound ninja's approaching her. She carefully laid Ren down on the ground as she stood up straight and faced them. Her body ached but she ignored it.

"Is that her?" One of them said.

"Yeah. Orochimaru-sama said that he recognized her."

"He want's her alive, doesn't he?" The first one questioned.

Hoshiko narrowed her eyes at the group. She knew that she was in no state to fight them, but the fact that Orochimaru was once again behind an attack on this poor village made her want to kill every last one of them. She glanced behind her. She saw Ren's still body on the floor. She couldn't fight the ninja's here, there was a chance that something could happen to his body.

Hoshiko stared down the seven ninja's. It looked like they were waiting for her to make the first move. She didn't second-guess herself as she sped off to the right and into the dense forest.

She jumped through the trees as quickly as she could. She could hear the sound ninja behind her, closing in. They were laughing and taunting her as they chased after her. Hoshiko swiftly brought out some explosion tags that she had in her weapons pouch as she discreetly placed them on some of the trees she jumped on.

She smiled slightly when she heard the satisfying sound of the explosions going off and a few surprised screams. Her happiness didn't last long as she glanced over her shoulder and saw that her tags had only managed to eliminate one of the ninja's. It was still better than nothing.

She landed on a thick branch, and a sharp pain shot up her leg because of her injured ankle. Her whole leg buckled and the inertia of her movement threw her forwards. She gasped and headed face first towards the next tree branch. She dug into her pouch and pulled out a kunai that had a wire attached to the end. Hoshiko threw the wire into the tree and swung herself up and back on track. Her heart was pounding in her ears as she took a glance over her shoulder. The sound ninja's had closed in a few more paces to her, but it wouldn't be long before they fully caught up to her. Her ankle was slowing her down.

"Give up already!" One called from behind. "You'll never get away from us! If you surrender now, we won't take you back to the village and make you watch as we kill every last one of them. Keep going and we'll make it as painful as possible!"

Hoshiko visibly winced. She swallowed the large lump in her throat as she turned her head, "You've already killed the people I cared about! What's the point now anyway?" As she said that it became clear for her. What was she running for? Sadao…Aishi…Ren…they were all dead. Even if she did manage to get away from Orochimaru—what then? Where would she go? She couldn't go home, to Konoha. Everyone she cared about was dying around her, she wasn't safe anymore. It seemed like Orochimaru wanted her for something, would that something make him hunt her forever? Would anywhere ever be safe for her again?

She was sick of running. She was tired of looking over her shoulder. She had been doing that ever since she was a child. She didn't want to anymore, she couldn't.

She stopped running. She landed on the branch; she knew she only had a few seconds to do what she needed to. She reached into her pouch once more and drew out three explosive tags. She heard the surprised shouts of the ninja behind her, wondering why she had stopped. Some thought that she had given up.

Well she had…in a way.

She fed a small amount of chakra into the tags, and then she let them go just as she sensed the sound ninja's practically on top of her.

She had made her decision. She wasn't going to run anymore. It was better for everyone if she disappeared. There would be no threat to her home and mother now if she was gone. She wouldn't have to deal with the guilt of not being able to stop Itachi, of knowing that Shisui was gone…that she had left Sasuke behind to fend for himself. If she died, her Mizukiri died with her. The last of the Ginyoru clan would be gone. They were a scourge on this world up until the day they were slaughtered. Hoshiko would finally be able to join her father. She'd see everyone again. Shisui…he'd be waiting for her, she was sure of it.

The tags began to hiss at her feet. The paper lit up. Hoshiko shut her eyes and waited.

"What the hell is that?"

She heard something that sounded distinctly like a…frog? Suddenly she felt her body become incased in something warm and slimy. She opened her eyes but was met with only darkness, and then the strong feeling of needing to sleep overcame her. Her body became heavy and she felt cold embrace of unconsciousness take her under.

When she came to, she was in an unfamiliar building. Her sleepy eyes scanned the room she was in. It looked like a single roomed cabin. She was lying on a single bed, in the opposite corner was a small kitchen and a table and two chairs. One window was by the only door and to her it seemed like it was almost sunset or sunrise, she couldn't really tell right now. Hoshiko frowned, what the hell had happened? She was sure that she had…she had used her explosive tags. And yet she was still alive.

She pushed herself up, and then winced when she felt a pain in her side. She glanced down, noticing that she was in her sleeveless black shirt that she normally wore under her long sleeved one. Wrapped around her torso were thick bandages. She recalled falling through the roof in Hanabira, she had landed on a table and must have broken a rib. Her ankle had also been wrapped, probably broken too.

But who had done it?

Considering she was currently alive and breathing she didn't think Orochimaru had gotten his hands on her. Her sudden train of thought had her thinking about the village—and the people she had lost. Once again Hoshiko was left alone.

A noise from outside had her head snapping over to the front door. She heard the crackling of a fire outside. Hoshiko stood up from the bed, flinching at the pain from her ribs and ankle. She tried not to put too much weight on her ankle as she hobbled to the door. She wanted to know who had saved her.

She opened the door slowly, and true enough it was sunset. Her eyes were immediately drawn to the fire pit a few feet away from the door. A figure sat next to it, four fish cooking on sticks near the flames. Their eyes met hers when they noticed that she was standing there.

"The fish is almost ready," he said.

Hoshiko was stunned, "Ji-Jiraiya-san?" The Sannin greeted her with a nod. He was perched on a rock, a large scroll by his side. His eyes settled on the now visible ANBU tattoo that decorated Hoshiko's upper shoulder.

"It seems I wasn't the only one keeping secrets," he said with a knowing look. Jiraiya reached for the now cooked fish and held it out to her. "Here, you must be hungry."

Hoshiko narrowed her gaze and marched-barely-over to him. She smacked the offered fish out of his grip so hard that the branch broke in half and the fish went flying. "How dare you," she said darkly. Jiraiya wasn't fazed by her tone. In fact, he looked like he was expecting it. "How dare you sit there and act like nothing just happened! Hanabira was attacked because of you!" Hoshiko's chest was heaving. Her ribs were killing her but she was determined to ignore it. Jiraiya held her gaze. "They killed dozens of innocent people because they wanted you! And you're sitting here offering me fish as if nothing happened."

Jiraiya turned away from her; he picked up another fish and examined it. "It seemed that it wasn't just me they were looking for, hmm?"

"Don't try and pin this on me!" Hoshiko defended. "They only found me because you spent so much time in the village. Because you have some stupid mission to try and bring your old friend back! Isn't this enough proof for you that he doesn't want your help? Who else needs to die for you?" Hoshiko paused to take a breath. She thought about what she was going to say next. Her throat started to close up.

"I lost the people that I cared about today. They took me in, healed me, fed me. They gave me everything, and I couldn't save them. Orochimaru…he did this to prove a point. He is willing to lay siege to a village because you spent time in it—and because I did too."

Jiraiya still hadn't looked back at her.

"Ren was only eleven. He was an eleven-year-old boy who was stabbed in the chest by them. He was so scared. He didn't deserve to die. None of them did. And you had no right to take my choice away from me."

Jiraiya finally met her gaze with confusion, "You would have truly wanted to end your life there?"

"Yes!" Hoshiko exclaimed angrily. "I was ready, I had decided my fate. You had no right to take that from me!"

Jiraiya finally stood up from the rock. His large frame towered over Hoshiko's small one. "There is always something to fight for. You can never give up."

"I have nothing to fight for!" Hoshiko cried. "My name is Ginyoru Hoshiko." She saw Jiraiya's eyes widen. "I have lost everything I have ever cared about. My friends, my home, my family and my life. I cannot return home, and now I cannot stay anywhere because Orochimaru will hunt me down. That was my one chance at freedom, and you took it from me."

"That was not the way…"Jiraiya said softly.

Hoshiko shook her head in disbelief and wiped her eyes hastily from the tears that had started to build up. "You have no idea what it's been like. I'm done. I spent my whole life dedicated to being a Shinobi. To protecting the village and everyone in it, and what did I get in return? I was stabbed in the back and left for dead. My friend, he turned his back on everyone who loved him. He murdered his own kin. I can't return to the village for fear that my own mother will be killed. So, tell me, Jiraiya-san…who do I fight for now?"

Jiraiya waited for a moment. "Yourself." He saw her vulnerable expression and sighed deeply. "I've always said; being a Shinobi isn't just about being strong. It isn't about how powerful you become. It's about the strength you have on not giving up. You endure, no matter what gets thrown at you. All you need is the guts to never give up."

"You make it sound so easy," Hoshiko whimpered. She sunk to the ground. Her ankle was throbbing from being stood on for so long.

"I never said it was!" Jiraiya chuckled. "It's the hardest thing to do, never giving up. I believe you can do it though."

"How? Why do you believe in me?" Hoshiko asked sadly.

Jiraiya bent down and ruffled the top of her head, "Because you remind me—of me."

A few days passed. Once Hoshiko was strong enough to move around without pain in her ribs, her ankle was still a bother but she couldn't sit in that cabin for much longer, she made the trip back to Hanabira with a Henge no jutsu. She had arrived to see the remaining villagers picking up the pieces after the recent attack. Jiraiya had told her that once the Sound had found her at the farmhouse the others had gone back to Orochimaru. They had been under the impression that the seven who had pursued her would have succeeded in capturing her. Jiraiya had seen to that they were never able to return to their master.

She didn't bother to go and see Takita. He wouldn't recognize her and she wouldn't put him at risk again. She wouldn't be staying in Hanabira. She just had to check on a few things and grab some of her belongings from the farmhouse if they were still there.

She got to the farmhouse, and saw that Ren's body wasn't there. She had assumed that the villagers had come to collect the dead so that they could be buried. Hoshiko entered the house and went straight to her room. A large bloodstain was on the mats, from Aishi. Hoshiko felt the guilt well up in her chest. She shouldn't have left Aishi alone with Ren. She had seen her wound but didn't think it had been that bad. How wrong she had been.

Hoshiko side stepped around the blood on the floor, and went to her drawers. She collected a few items of clothing and more of her weapons stash. She didn't want to stay for long as she was worried that Orochimaru might send someone to stake out the house in case she did come back. As she was leaving her room something caught her eye. The metal glinted in the sunlight that was streaming in from the window as she walked over to her Hitai-ate that was still in the same place that she had left it in. The leaf symbol was staring at her. The symbol was a reminder of everything that she had lost since before leaving Konoha and after. But it was still a part of her. Even if she never returned, she knew that Konoha was her home.

With great reluctance, Hoshiko placed the headband in her pocket and left the house. She had what she needed and made her way back to the village. A mass graveyard had been built in the center of the village. Hoshiko made her way there and inquired about her fallen friends. A kind villager that she recognized pointed her in the right direction.

She found the graves easily enough, and a bittersweet feeling came over her when she saw that Sadao, Ren and Aishi had all been buried next to each other.

'Gone but not forgotten' was written underneath their names. She felt the tears returning but she was gone before anyone saw them fall.

It was nighttime when Jiraiya returned from his scout. Hoshiko was waiting for him to return before she left. She had packed away in her bag her clothes, food and extra weapons. She had on her standard clothes, her ANBU armor was finally too worn to wear anymore so she was leaving it behind, and a long black cloak around her body. Her headband was sitting at the bottom of her bag. Her hair was tied up away from her face.

When Jiraiya saw her emerge from the cabin in her gear he had nodded in acknowledgement, "I thought you might…"

"There are some things I need to do. Things I need to sort out," Hoshiko told him sadly. She was referring to finding something to fight for, and to learn how to never give up.

Jiraiya grinned down at her, "Be safe, kid. And here…" Jiraiya handed her a little green book.

Hoshiko balked at the book, "I don't need that!" She exclaimed in disgust. Jiraiya started laughing loudly as Hoshiko shook her head at him.

"Well, what if you start to get lonely—"

"No! Stop, please!" Hoshiko cried, covering up her ears. Jiraiya continued to meet her gaze as he smirked. Hoshiko's mouth cracked into a smile of its own as she laughed softly.

"Thank you, Jiraiya. For everything, and I'm sorry. I shouldn't have blamed you for the attack on the village."

"You're welcome…Hoshiko."

Hoshiko smiled up at him one last time before she turned on her heel and started walking off in the dark night. As she was leaving, she wondered if she would ever see Jiraiya again. She hoped so…

She was hoping for a lot of things.

Woohoo so I didn't take as long as last time! Anyway a lot happened in this chapter. I know many of you loved Aishi and Ren but...welp they're gone. When will our heroine ever have some happiness in her life? I was seriously so happy to see some familiar names pop up in my reviews, I'm glad I haven't lost you guys! I hope you enjoyed his story. After this chapter it's time for a time skippppp! Eeeeek finally! We'll finally get to see a more grown up Hoshiko and the reunion will be happening in maybe 3 or 4 chapters, depending on how much I write out the next arc.


blueerimartian - duuuuuuuuude at least it wasnt like 2 months this time! xD I'm so happy you liked it! Yeah and I remember you saying how you really like Aishi and Ren...whoops. I hope you weren't too attached to them lol I'm glad you enjoyed me adding Jiraiya into it. Hope you enjoyed!

guest - Aww i'm honored that my story was the first one you've ever reviewed! Thank you so much, I'm glad you're enjoying it and I'll see you soon!

TheQueen1615 - Hi! Thank you so much! Sorry for tugging on the heartstrings but I'm glad you're enjoying it!

GreyMoonHuntress - Thaaaanks! Ahh I'm happy that people were ok with Jiraiya! As of now though we won't be seeing him for a while. He made a nice cameo for two chapters but we have got to say Sayonara to our favourite prevy sage (rip) Oh yeah, i'm totally ready for this story. I can't wait for you guys to see how i have this all planned out. It's gonna be mindblowing, just saying xD

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