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Old 02-11-2009, 01:25 AM
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HisGothicTwilightPrincess HisGothicTwilightPrincess is offline
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Default Re: An Untitled Naruto Fanfic

Part 4 (Life and Death)
Chapter 36 (Allergies)

Spring had come at last and the entire forest smelled like honeysuckles. At first I had found it a pleasant, soothing smell…now it was just getting on my nerves. My nose was stuffy, my eyes were watery, and I had a pounding headache. Between the worrying of Kakashi, Neji, and Tsunade I had enough allergy medicine in my system to kill an elephant. I’d been confined to my bedroom for days and whenever she visited I practically begged my mother to give me a mission outside of the forest.

“I don’t like you being where I can’t keep an eye on you,” she would say.

“I’m more than capable of taking care of myself. Stop being such a mom,” I’d retort. Then she would smile and tell me she didn’t have any outside missions anyway.

One morning Neji had come by and, after insisting I take some new sort of medicine that tasted like cherries, was laying in my bed with me, stroking my hair while I sulked.

“This is so stupid! I’d be fine if I could just get away from the trees for a little while. Stupid allergies,” I groaned. I sniffed loudly, willing my sinuses to clear.

“You should use a tissue, you know?” said a voice from the doorway. We looked up to see Tsunade standing there.

“What?” I asked, my voice sounding especially nasally.

“A tissue. Instead of sucking the stuff back into your head like a disgusting boy…no offense, Neji,” she said quickly.

“None taken. I, too, find it utterly revolting,” he replied with a faint smile.

“I meant what are you doing here mom,” I said, rolling my eyes.

“Oh, well, I might have a mission that floated across my desk for you two,” she said mischievously.

“What? Where? When? Who?” I asked excitedly, getting to my feet. Neji grabbed the back of my pajamas and pulled me back onto the bed.

“You can leave today if you feel well enough…and you’ll be going to Sunagakure with Kakashi,” Tsunade said. Neji and I exchanged glances and our smiles quickly faded.

“What’s wrong?” Tsunade asked, not missing the exchange.

“Nothing,” I said quickly, “What do the sand ninja need us for?”

“I’m not exactly sure, but it was something about a giant worm,” she replied hesitantly, “I can ask the Sand ninja. They’re in my office.”

“Wait…what? Who?” I stammered, my heart pounding unpleasantly.

“Temari, Kankuro, Mei,…oh, and Gaara,” she replied. My heart sank into my stomach and somewhere deep within me Kouta stirred slightly. Gaara was here, in the village!

When Tsunade was gone I got up without saying anything to Neji. I found some clean clothes in my closet. Neji turned away respectfully as I stripped off my Bugs Bunny pajamas and dressed in blue jeans and a fresh white T-shirt. When I turned back and looked at him his eyes mirrored the hurt that shone in my own. I walked over and kissed him in what I hoped was a reassuring manner.

“I love you,” I murmured. It was the first time I had said it out loud. He smiled but the pain didn’t fully leave his eyes.

“I love you, too,” he responded, getting up. My heart soared and I smiled at him.

I grabbed my backpack and filled it with stuff and then followed Neji to his house, sneezing the entire way. When Neji retrieved his bag from his house we walked towards the Hokage’s office.

Neji squeezed my hand as we walked up and saw them standing there. Mei who smiled at me, Kankuro and Temari who were arguing amongst themselves, and Gaara who was staring at me with no expression at all on his face. Kakashi was there as well and he noticed Gaara’s gaze.

“Hey, kiddo, are you ready to go?” Kakashi asked cheerfully.

“Yeah, almost…where’s mom?” I inquired, grateful for the distraction of the conversation.

“I dunno. Why?”

“I wanted to ask her something.”

At that moment the sound of approaching footsteps made me turn my head. Tsunade was walking towards me.

“Hey Kiko. What’d you want me for?” she inquired. I marveled at her ability to show up when I needed her.

“Should I take the Leaf Sword?” I asked her.

“If you think it will help,” she replied evenly.

“Well what is it we have to do exactly?”

Kankuro stepped forward, drawn from his argument with Temari.

“There’s some sort of worm that’s been attacking people in the desert. We think it’s getting close to the Village and we would like your help to stop it,” Kankuro explained.

“A worm?” I repeated, eyebrow raised.

“A giant worm,” Temari said with emphasis.

“And not just a giant worm,” said an overly enthusiastic Mei, “It’s a giant sand worm. It’s like a billion feet long! It’s the epitome of giant worms!”

“Ah. So that’s why you need us,” Neji said.

“Wait. If it’s made of sand…shouldn’t G-Gaara be able to control it?” I asked, looking at Gaara who was looking at me. I cursed myself for stammering when I said his name.

“I can’t,” he said in his eerie monotonous voice. Everyone was silent for a moment. Then I turned to Tsunade, unable to look at Gaara any longer.

“I think I’ll get the Leaf Sword,” I murmured to her.

“Well be careful with it…and don’t cut yourself,” she replied. I scowled at her.

“Such a mom,” I said, rolling my eyes. She smiled faintly.

“You’d better hurry up, Tsukiko. We need to leave shortly,” Kakashi said to me.

“Sure. Neji, will you come with me? …to make sure I don’t get attacked by rabid monkeys or something?” I said jokingly. He smiled at my joke and nodded his head.

“Oh great, now we’ll never get out of here,” I heard Kakashi mutter as we walked towards the forest. I turned my head and stuck out my tongue at him.

Neither Neji or I spoke for a few minutes as I led us towards the Waterfall Place. When we came out into the clearing he looked around curiously.

“So this is where you hid your father’s sword?” he inquired as I walked towards the round stone.

“Yes.”
Neji was one of the only people who knew about Orochimaru’s birthday gift. I got the sword, but was in no real hurry to face Gaara again. Neji was staring at the waterfall with his back to me. I walked up behind him and wrapped my arms around his waist. I still had the sword in my hand and I pressed the flat side of the blade against his stomach.

“Getting a little violent, aren’t we?” he murmured as I bit his neck playfully. I chuckled quietly and licked the same spot. He went oddly still and I loosened my grip on the sword a little bit. He turned, knocking the blade from my hand, and kissed me deeply.

“Oh!” I exclaimed on an exhale. This time it was Neji who chuckled. He kissed me again, resting his hands on my waist.

“We should probably get back before they send Kakashi-sensei after us,” he said quietly.

“Yeah, that wouldn’t be good at all. Who knows what kind of scene he would walk up on.”

“We’ll have time on the way to Sunagakure. We have to stop for the night somewhere, remember?”

“Ah. Okay, then, let’s go!”

Chapter 37 (Tsukiko and Neji)

Tsunade was still there when Neji and I returned. She eyed the sword with distaste before embracing me.

“Stay safe,” she said to me.

“Yeah, sure,” I muttered, pushing her away in embarrassment. Mei smirked at me.

“Let’s get going,” Kakashi said impatiently, “We have a good ways to go before nightfall.”

“Alright. Bye mom,” I said, waving to her as we walked away. She waved back half-heartedly.

When night fell we had already reached the edge of the desert. We set up camp and pitched tents. Kakashi built a fire and we were all sitting around it, with me sitting as far away from Gaara as possible. Neji stood up suddenly and announced that he was going to find a river to bathe in.

A few minutes after he had left I realized the significance of what he had said. When I was sure no one was looking I slipped off into the woods. It didn’t take me long to find Neji. He actually had gone to the river…but he was waiting for me.

“What took you so long?” he inquired.

“I was being slow. I didn’t realize the significance of what you’d said until just a minute ago,” I replied sheepishly. He rolled his eyes but smiled.

“Well you’re here now. That’s all that matters,” he murmured, wrapping his hands around my waist.

“What’re we doing here?” I asked softly.

“I thought we’d pick up where we left off this afternoon,” he replied, then he kissed me slowly. He was holding back I could tell, not wanting to seem too anxious or eager. I kissed him back with a fiery passion that caught him off guard.

“Why don’t we go for a swim?” I suggested, smiling as he blushed faintly. He inclined his head but before he could say anything I was pulling his shirt off over his head. With his bare chest exposed it was practically impossible for me to keep my eyes on his face. I ran my hands lightly over his chest and he chuckled.

“That tickles, Kiko,” he said with a grin.

“Sorry,” I murmured, pulling my hands away. With lightening quick reflexes he grabbed me and pulled me to him.

“That didn’t necessarily mean for you to stop,” he whispered in my ear.

When I regained the function of my brain, I remembered that we were supposed to be swimming. That had been the whole point of me wearing a bathing suit underneath my clothes.

“Good thing I’m wearing a swimsuit underneath,” I said with a smile.

“I know.”

“What? How could you know that?”

“I know your body better than I know my own. It’s easy for me to imagine what you’re wearing underneath your exterior clothes.”
I snickered and he blushed again.

“I didn’t mean that to sound as bad as it did,” he added quickly.

“Sure. Are we swimming or what?”

“Well you’re still wearing clothes…”

“You can fix that,” I said with a smirk. He hesitated, then slipped his hands
under my shirt and proceeded to pull it off of me, revealing my black bathing suit top. He stared determinedly at the ground.

“Will you stop that?”

“What?”

“That looking away, respectful, crap. It’s annoying as hell,” I said, rolling my eyes. He looked up finally and I was pleased by the fact that his eyes were not on my face, for once.

“This feels awkward,” he admitted bluntly. I sighed and smiled inwardly. I took his hand and placed it on my breast. He gasped audibly.

“Still awkward?” I inquired.

“More so than before,” he gasped breathlessly.

“Ah, hell…I’ve still got pants on you know?”

He pulled his hand away from mine and began to unbutton my jeans, awkward and fumbling as he was.

When I was left with nothing but a bathing suit and he had on nothing more than shorts we ventured out into the cool water. Surprisingly my sinuses had cleared and I could breathe openly for the first time in months.

We were both floating carelessly in the water, but I was feeling mischievous. When his eyes were closed I swam up next to him silently. I spit a mouthful of water in his face and he sat up, spluttering.

“Did you just spit water in my face?” he demanded, wiping his face.

“Hmm…maybe,” I said playfully, “What’re you gonna do about it?”

He ducked underwater and I, being the slow dim-witted person I am when it comes to Neji, leaned over to see what he was doing. He came up quickly and spit water in my face. Some went up my nose, making me cough and sneeze simultaneously.

“Are you alright?” he asked, suppressing laughter.

“No. Stop laughing at me,” I said, pouting. He let his laughter burst forth, but instead of being angry I delighted in it. I stopped his laughter by wrapping my arms around him and kissing him.

Our kiss became very intimate and his full attention was now focused on it whereas my mind was wondering if I could actually do what I was hoping to do. His hands were on my waist and I sneakily inched them lower. He didn’t even notice as his kiss became a trail of kissed, leading from my lips to my collarbone.

“Neji?” I murmured in his ear.

“Hm?”

“I want you. Now.”

He lifted his head and looked at me, surveying my determined expression with a definite longing. Finding not even a shadow of a doubt in my gaze he kissed me deeply, leading me back towards shore.

As soon as we were on dry land he grabbed his previously abandoned pants and pulled a small foil packet out of the back pocket.

“Oh, was this premeditated?” I asked with a smirk.

“I’m always prepared,” he replied, smiling faintly.

“That’s the boy scouts, Neji,” I said, rolling my eyes.

“Psh. Boy Scouts don’t carry condoms.”

“Good point.”

We resumed our kissing and this time there was no space between us. I could feel all of him pressed against me and every ounce of me wanted him. With the same beautiful awkwardness he had earlier he slid down my bathing suit bottoms. I became increasingly anxious and I now had my first moment of doubt. I was shaking slightly, imagining what could happen if Kouta decided to come and play.

“Tsukiko? You’re trembling…are you okay?” Neji asked, distressed.

“Just a little nervous. I’m okay.”

He paused for a moment.

“You know I’ve never…”

“It’s okay,” I assured him, “I’ll help make it easier. Surely you’ve had fantasies?”

“Well…yeah…”

“Good. Let’s go with that, then.”

“Are you ready?”

“More than ever.”

Chapter 38 (Tsukiko and Gaara)

Afterwards we lay together in the ultimate state of bliss, staring at the stars. We were both smiling and feeling pleased with ourselves. Kouta had stayed dormant the entire time, which made it easier.

“So, was it better than your fantasies?” I asked Neji.

“So much better. Was it better than yours?”

“Definitely,” I replied. Especially since my fantasies were usually penetrated by a vision of Kouta bursting forth and killing him.

When we returned to the camp everyone was asleep, except for the eternal insomniac, Gaara. I blushed as his eyes followed us into the tent. Kakashi was already asleep so Neji and I snuggled up close. I had my face pressed against his chest and he began to stroke my hair gently. I fell asleep, feeling happier than I had in a long time.

The next morning we all awoke to find the weather had turned stifling hot. Mei grinned at me as Neji and I crawled groggily out of the tent after everyone else was already awake.

“We should probably go fill up our water bottles before we start off into the desert,” Temari was saying to Kakashi as he stomped out the fire.

“Probably we should stay away from the river…who knows what sort of bodily fluids Kiko and Neji left in there last night,” Mei said, still grinning.

“Mei!” I protested loudly, “We weren’t even in the water!”

“Well, I’m going to go throw up now,” Kankuro said sarcastically from where he sat polishing his puppet, Crow.

“Teenagers,” Kakashi grumbled, rolling his eyes, “Why is it I always get stuck with them?”

The only one who didn’t say anything was Gaara and that was because he was sitting at the edge of the camp with his back to the rest of us. Neji was assessing the situation with a somewhat calm expression on his face, but he was blushing and I wasn’t the only one who noticed. Mei, who at some point had acquired my Leaf Sword and was twirling it carelessly, noticed Neji’s blush.

“Oh, look! Neji’s blushing! How cute!” Mei exclaimed, her eyes twinkling mischievously.

“Mei, shut up before I take that Leaf Sword and shove it up your-”

“Alright, now, that’s enough,” Kakashi interrupted my threat, “Let’s get going or we’ll never make it to the Sand Village before sundown.”

“Still, we might want to find a different river to fill up our water bottles,” Temari continued, “I wouldn’t want anyone to pass out from dehydration.”

“I know where one is,” said a low, monotonous voice. We all looked over to Gaara who stood up, his eyes still closed, and pointed Westwards.

“In the desert about a mile in,” he went on, “There’s a small stream.”

“Way to go, Gaara,” Kankuro said, but Gaara didn’t even glance at him. His eyes were open now and he was looking at me. Neji walked over and put a possessive arm around my waist without even looking at Gaara.

“Are you okay?” he murmured in my ear.

“Yeah,” I replied, feeling horrible.

We did reach the Sand Village before sundown and the Sand Siblings plus Mei led us to the hotel where we had stayed the last time.

“Tomorrow we’ll be going to face the Sand Worm so get some sleep,” Temari said to us before they all departed.

The three of us went inside and Neji and I went to the room that had been his previously. We began to unpack and as the sun went down I started to feel uneasy.

“What’s wrong Tsukiko?” Neji murmured, wrapping his arms around me.

“I feel…uneasy. I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep well tonight. I think I’ll go for a walk,” I said quietly.

“Would you like for me to come with you?” he asked me.

“No, I’ll be fine. You look exhausted anyway.”

“If you’re sure,” he said, reluctantly letting me go.

I wandered around the village on my own for a while. I came to the spot where Kouta had killed my father’s spies. I shuddered at the memory: two bloody corpses at my feet. Neji reaching out for me. Gaara appearing and taking me away…and what we had done afterwards…


A sudden force caught me off guard and knocked me backwards, pinning me against the wall of a building. A dark figure emerged from the shadows.

“Don’t hurt me!” I cried instinctively, realizing almost at once how much I sounded like the typical damsal in distress.

“I don’t want to hurt you. You’ve never been very good at reading my facial expressions, have you?” replied a familiar voice.

“G-Gaara?” I stammered, not altogether relieved.

“Who else could it be?” he inquired, moving out of the shadows so I could see him clearly.

“My father…”

“Which would be?”

“Lord Orochimaru…and my mother is the Hokage.”

“Really. Interesting…”

“So why am I pinned to a wall?” I inquired, interrupting his thoughts.

“I wanted to ask you something.”

“Ask away.”

“Are you happy… with him?” he asked, a faint note of bitterness in his voice. Pain shot through my heart.

“Gaara…I’m sorry, but…yes. I love Neji,” I murmured, my eyes full of tears.

“Hey! Get away from her!” a voice shouted loudly. We both turned our heads to see Neji running towards us.

“It’s okay Neji, we’re just talking,” I assured him before he could attack Gaara.

“Tsukiko, he has you pinned to a wall!” he exclaimed.

“Oh yeah,” I said, looking down at the sand that held me.

“I didn’t want you to run off before I could talk to you. Maybe it was overkill…but it’s not my fault,” Gaara murmured.

“It’s Shukaku. Gaara can’t help it, like me with Kouta,” I explained to Neji.

“Right, well, will he let you down now?” Neji asked, teeth gritted.
Without saying anything Gaara withdrew his sand and walked off into the night. I collapsed into Neji’s arms and he kissed my forehead gently.

“Are you okay? He didn’t hurt you did he?” he murmured, holding me close.

“No, I’m fine,” I replied, “I still don’t think I can sleep though. I’ll probably never be able to sleep well here…”

“Well, lucky for you I know something we can do that’s better than sleeping,” he said with a playful smile, “What say we go back to the room?”

“I can roll with that,” I said, grinning.

Later (a lot later) Neji and I both fell asleep. My sleep was troubled and uneasy and I soon began to dream.
Shukaku was rampaging freely through the village, killing anyone who crossed his path. Gaara was asleep and Shukaku was searching for one person in particular, the one who had taken Kouta from him…the silver-eyed boy…


I awoke with a shudder, hoping that it was only a dream, but I wasn’t sure this time. Neji still slept deeply. I pressed my face against his bare chest and sighed. I felt him stir slightly.

“I love you, Kiko,” he mumbled drowsily.

“I love you, too, Neji. Go back to sleep,” I murmured in response. Within seconds he was snoring again.
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  #22  
Old 02-15-2009, 01:12 AM
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HisGothicTwilightPrincess HisGothicTwilightPrincess is offline
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Join Date: January 26, 2009
Location: The Hidden Leaf Village
Age: 26
Posts: 38
Pronoun: Female
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Default Re: An Untitled Naruto Fanfic

Chapter 39 (Sore Throat)

The next time I awoke it was morning and my throat felt sore and scratchy. Neji woke up and looked at me curiously.

“What’s wrong?” he asked me.

“Throat hurts,” I said hoarsely. I stood up slowly.

“Where are you going?”

“To find Kakashi.”

“Well, you might want to put some clothes on first,” he suggested, smirking slightly. I looked down and saw all I had on was panties and a bra. I flushed as I grabbed the sheet from Neji, leaving him exposed. I wrapped the sheet around myself defiantly and headed for the door. I paused once and looked back at Neji laying naked on the bed.

“Well, you’re obviously not that ill if you can take the time to admire me…see anything you like?” he asked, still smirking.

“Yeah. Maybe I can tell you about it later. For now, it may be best if you put some clothes on,” I said reluctantly.

I left the room still wrapped in a sheet, and knocked on Kakashi’s door. There was no response and I opened the door slowly.

“Kakashi,” I whispered hoarsely. He was snoring loudly.

“Kakashi!” I hissed loudly.

“What? What is it? What’s wrong?” he muttered, sitting up.

“My throat hurts,” I murmured.

“Oh, is that all? Come here. Turn on that light,” he said, yawning loudly. I flipped the light switch. Kakashi quickly slipped his mask on over his face. I went and sat beside him on the bed. He raised an eyebrow at me.

“Why are you wrapped in a sheet? Are you cold?” he asked, concerned.

“No, I’m naked. I was too tired to find my clothes,” I replied sheepishly.

“Why- oh, ew! Never mind. Tsukiko that’s disgusting. You- ugh. Never mind! Let me look in your throat, Shrimp,” he said, shaking his head.

I shot him a dirty look before opening my mouth obediently. He peered in my mouth and then stuck his finger in my mouth. I gagged and he laughed. The door opened and Neji, fully dressed, walked in.

“Am I interrupting something?” he asked with a faint smirk.

“No,” I said, Kakashi’s finger still in my mouth. I bit down and Kakashi let out a yelp.

“Hey!” he protested, rubbing his finger.

“So, what’s wrong with her?” Neji inquired.

“Well, her tonsils aren’t swollen, so it must just be her sinuses draining.
Tsukiko if you go get dressed I’ll make you some tea,” Kakashi replied.

“Right-on,” I said, heading for the door. Neji made a move to follow me.

“Neji, can I talk to you for a minute?” Kakashi asked quickly.

“Uh…sure,” Neji said, puzzled.

I went to our room, wondering what Kakashi had wanted. Neji walked in as I was buttoning my jeans. His face looked hot enough to fry an egg on.

“That was the most awkward conversation I’ve ever had,” he groaned, sitting on the edge of the bed. He eyed me, smiling at the fact that I was not yet wearing a shirt.

“What did he say?” I inquired, interrupting his ogling.

“Uh…I’d rather not talk about it,” he murmured. I put on a puppy dog face.

“Please tell me what he said,” I said earnestly.

“Oh Kiko…don’t make that face,” he said with a grimace. I walked over to the bed, took his hands in mine, and placed them on my breasts.

“Please,” I whispered, kissing his cheek. He blew out a sigh and fell back on the bed.

“He said that if we were going to be…doing things…that we should be using protection,” he muttered, flushing.

“Oh!” I said, blushing as well, “…speaking of which, where did you get all these condoms anyway?”

“That’s the second most embarrassing thing ever…Lord Hiashi gave them to me,” he replied, “He didn’t say anything, he just gave them to me.”

“Hmph. Have you seen my shirt anywhere?” I asked, looking at the floor. He looked around as well and unearthed the shirt from beneath the pillow. He tugged it over my head with a sly smile.

“Tsukiko, your tea is ready!” Kakashi called from the kitchen.

Neji and I trailed into the kitchen together and I smiled faintly at Kakashi. He blushed as he set the tea down in front of me. I laughed softly and began to sip my tea delicately. It tasted like lemons and honey. When I finished drinking it my throat hardly hurt at all and my voice was stronger.

“We’ve got to meet with the Sand ninja and go fight this worm-thing,” Kakashi said when I was finished.

“Right…well, let’s get it over with, I suppose,” I said heavily.

We met up with Gaara, Temari, Kankuro, and Mei a little while later. They all looked pretty grave except for Gaara who looked the same as always.

“The worm was spotted two miles to the South and headed this way. If we don’t do something right now the Village will be destroyed,” Temari said tightly.

“Right. Let’s get to it then,” I said forcefully.

“Don’t you want to come up with a plan or a strategy?” Temari asked, shocked. Neji and Kakashi both laughed at her and even Gaara smiled a little.

“That’s not how Tsukiko does things,” Kakashi explained, “She never plans ahead and by doing so her enemies are never able to dissect her strategy.”

“That sounds absurd!” she exclaimed.

“You’d think so, but it works for Tsukiko. She’s beaten Shikamaru at Shogi loads of times,” he replied.

“Hmm…”

“Alright, enough about me. Let’s go already,” I said coolly.

“I don’t like not having a plan…but if you’re sure I’ll go along,” Temari said with a sigh.

We followed the Sand ninja out into the desert. They stopped suddenly, a mile and a half away from the village. I looked around at the seemingly empty landscape.

“So where is it?” I asked Temari.

“It’s underground. I can feel it,” Gaara murmured quietly.

“Huh?” I asked blankly. I took a stance and used my Hidden Earth jutsu to search below the ground.

“Damn. There’s not very many roots down there so if I want to use my great-grandfather’s Jutsu I have to make the roots out of my own Chakra and that’ll totally suck…but there’s definitely something down there,” I said to them.

“Wait, what are you-” Neji began, but at that moment something burst forth out of the ground. I was tossed backwards and when I got to my feet the air was thick with dust and a giant worm stuck out of the ground a few feet away from me. It had to have been fifty feet tall and ten feet in diameter. I couldn’t see any of the others and the worm was looking dead at me. It lashed out at me and I quickly dodged out of the way.

“Damn. This is going to be so Chakra-draining,” I groaned, thinking back to my training with Orochimaru. I’d only used the Earth Jutsu this way once before and it had been exhausting…but I didn’t really have a choice. I couldn’t get close enough to do anything else.

Chapter 40 (The Kazekage‘s son and the Hokage‘s Daughter)

I took a stance and found the small roots of a brown, dried up desert plant. I poured my Chakra into them, expanding them and nourishing them. They bent to my will eagerly. I pulled the now large roots up and tried to grab the worm with them, but since it was made of sand it simply slipped through them and lunged at me. Frustrated I released the roots, drawing my Chakra back from them as I did so.

“I could use some help over here! Neji, Kakashi? Someone?” I called loudly.

“What’s up, Kiko?” said a voice from behind me. It was Gaara, standing a few feet away from me.

“I can’t get my roots around this thing. I can’t get close enough to use any of my other attacks. So unless you want me to break out some of Orochimaru’s forbidden jutsu, you’d better think of something!” I called, dodging out of the worm’s way again, “and it would help if I could actually see!”

“That I can fix.”

He lifted his hands then lowered them quickly. The sand quivered in the air for a moment then fell to the ground.

I could now see Kakashi, Neji, and Temari battling what appeared to be another worm. Kankuro was on the ground and Mei was there, kneeling beside him.

“Is that another one?” I demanded, nodding towards Neji, Temari, and Kakashi.

“No, that’s the head. You’ve been fighting the tail. Bad news is the head has teeth. Also, nothing they’re doing is working. Fortunately I have an idea,” he replied, gazing at the scene before him with an almost uncaring expression on his face, “…but I’ll need your help.”

“Count me in. What’s your idea?”

Without replying he took a stance.

“Play possum Jutsu,” he said loudly. He slumped over. With a stab of horror I realized what he had done. He had gone to sleep and sure enough I could see Shukaku emerging.

“Whoo! I’m free!” shouted the Sand Demon triumphantly, “It’s killin time!”

I could feel Kouta trying to force her way out as well. I looked frantically to the others. Temari was the only one looking towards me.

“Gaara let Shukaku loose! Grab Mei and Kankuro and run! Now!” I called to her. She nodded briefly, eyes full of terror and ran towards Kankuro and Mei. Kakashi and Neji also heard my warning and Kakashi was running as fast as he could in the opposite direction. Neji refused to move, however.

“I’m not leaving you here alone to fight!” he exclaimed.

“I’ll be fine. As soon as you guys are gone I’m going to let Kouta go…so unless you want to die I suggest you high tail it out of here!” I called to him. He hesitated a moment before following Kakashi away.

I turned back to Shukaku who had engaged himself in battle with the giant worm. I let Kouta free so she could help. She attacked the worm with teeth and claws but nothing seemed to be working.

“Any ideas, Shukaku?” I asked, Kouta’s purr filling my voice.

“Not unless we can get to it’s heart…or fight it from the inside,” Shukaku growled.

“The sword you silly girl,” said Kouta to me.

“Huh? Oh!” I exclaimed, drawing the sword from the sheath at my waist.

I recalled how I had seen Orochimaru use the sword without touching it, using Chakra. I poured my energy into the blade like I would the roots, and the blade like I would the roots, and the blade began to glow blue. I could now move the sword freely, almost like it was on extra part of my arm. Using this power I sent the sword straight into the beast’s mouth, down it’s throat, and into whatever sort of heart it had there. The sand worm let out a terrible, loud shriek and within seconds it had disintegrated into nothing more than dust. Now I just had to find a way to wake Gaara.

“Hey Shukaku, bet you can’t catch me,” Kouta said lightly, and she took off running.

Shukaku followed Kouta to a large river and when she jumped in so did he. The cold water was enough to wake Gaara and he quickly gained control of his demon. I quickly gathered my own demon as well and we climbed out of the river. I felt dead tired.

“What’s wrong?” Gaara asked me as I collapsed on the sand.

“I’m exhausted, Gaara! I had to control my demon, your demon, and kill a giant Sand Worm, all by myself! I’m beat. Plus, I lost my father’s sword when the worm imploded.”

“Sorry Tsukiko,” he murmured, and then he walked away.

When I had gathered enough strength I took off in the direction the others had gone. It didn’t take me long to find them resting in a small oasis. Kankuro and Mei were apparently okay because they were up and talking. When I walked up Neji ran over and embraced me.

“You look exhausted,” he murmured.

“I am,” I replied weakly.

“Where’s Gaara?” Kankuro demanded.

“Hell if I know,” I replied with a shrug, “I think I hurt his feelings and he ran off.”

“I didn’t think he had feelings,” Mei remarked. We all paused for a moment to contemplate this.

“Well, he’ll catch up with us later like he always does. Let’s head back to the Village,” Temari said coolly.

“Right. You know I’m beginning to wonder where that worm thing came from. It certainly didn’t get here by accident,” Kakashi said as we walked.

“Kakashi is right. It may have been an attempt to attack the Village,” Neji agreed, “It seems like…well, I’m sorry Kiko, but it seems like the sort of thing Orochimaru would do.”

“What would my father want with the Hidden Sand village?” I asked coolly.

“He’s used us before,” Temari said, eyes flashing dangerously at the memory. Orochimaru had killed their father, the Kazekage, and took his place in an attempt to wipe out the Leaf Village. I couldn’t blame them for being suspicious but it irked me nonetheless.

“Listen, as far as I know Orochimaru didn’t have any immediate plans that involved the Hidden Sand Village. Plus, if it was my father’s doings it would have been a snake, not a worm. Hell, I almost wish it had been a snake. It would’ve been a hell of a lot easier for me to fight,” I said to them. They didn’t seem reassured.

“Well it’s been months since you’ve seen him. There’s no telling what Orochimaru may be up to…it has been months since you’ve seen him hasn’t it, Tsukiko?” Kakashi asked me faintly. All of a sudden something clicked in my brain, something that infuriated me.

“You don’t trust me!” I said to Kakashi, shocked.

“No, Tsukiko, it’s not that! I just…just…”

“Just what? Just think I’m meeting my father in private? Well I’m not! I know he’s a bad guy! Why do you think I left? I’ve seen first hand the sort of forbidden shit he’s into. Hell, I’ve learned it! …but I don’t use it. You’ve never once seen me summon anything other than Saromi! You’ve never seen me reanimate a corpse! I’m nothing like Orochimaru! Tsunade seems satisfied with it, so why can’t you be?”

No one said anything for a little while and we continued to talk towards the Sand Village. As we approached the gates we saw a familiar-looking messenger ninja who appeared to be waiting for us.

“Urgent call for Kakashi Hatake, Tsukiko Akane, and Neji Hyuuga from the fifth Hokage. She wants you home ASAP,” said the messenger ninja.

“Did she say why?” I asked, alarmed.

“No, just that she needed the three of you, pronto,” he replied.
“We’ll leave as soon as we can,” Kakashi assured him.

We hurried back to the room to grab our things. When I opened the bedroom door the Leaf Sword was sitting on my bed. I looked around the room, half expecting to see Gaara standing there, but the room was empty. I shook my head once, grabbed my stuff, and we were on our way.

Chapter 41 (Tsunade in Danger)

The entire way home my mind swam through multiple scenarios of horrible things that could’ve happened- an attack on the village, or a top secret mission, or someone we knew could’ve died…I was frantic. We didn’t even stop to rest and by mid-morning the next day we had reached the Village. I was almost sleep-walking I was so tired. I had used a lot of Chakra to fight the worm, and then to go without sleep…

We went straight to her office where a grave-looking Shizune was waiting for us.

“I must tell you before I let you go back…Lady Tsunade is very sick. She won’t tell us what happened, only that she needs some type of herb. She’d gone for a walk in the forest and when she returned she was already quite ill,” she said quietly. A shocked silence met her words and I was first to recover.

“Let me see her, now,” I commanded. There was no doubting the authority in my voice and Shizune stepped aside almost automatically.

She wasn’t in her office, but in a room farther back where her bed was. She was laying there, her face pale and sweaty. Her breathing was labored and her eyes were closed. Jiraiya was there with her and he looked relatively grave as well.

“Mom,” I whispered, biting my lip. She beckoned for me to come closer to her and I did.

“You look worse than I do. Like you haven’t slept in weeks,” she remarked.

“Well I did kill a Giant Sand Worm and then run all the way back here. What…mom…what happened? Shizune said you went for a walk then came back like this,” I murmured, gesturing towards her.

“I was ambushed…by Orochimaru. He infected me with a virus. I’m not sure why,” she replied. I was stunned. Orochimaru had promised not to hurt her. I turned to face Shizune who had followed me in alone with Neji and Kakashi.

“You- you let her go out alone?” I demanded of Shizune.

“She insisted on it…but she was tailed by five of the ANBU Black Opps-”
Shizune began.

“I was what?” Tsunade demanded lividly.

“Without her knowledge,” Shizune continued, “We found four of them unconscious and there was one we couldn’t find at all.”

“What did the four unconscious ones have to say when they awoke?” I inquired.

“Well…we haven’t exactly been able to wake them,” Shizune replied slowly.

“Lady Hokage, surely you can heal yourself…can’t you?” Neji asked her, stepping forward. He sounded almost as worried as I was.

“I cannot heal this virus. Orochimaru made sure of it. I think he made it himself,” she said quietly. A cold chill ran through me.

“B-but…Shizune said s-something about an herb, r-right?” I stammered.

“Yes. A very rare herb. That’s why I called all three of you here. In a place called Moon Valley in the Land of Grass. It’s supposed to be very difficult to find, but I trust Neji and Kakashi to go and search,” Tsunade said.

“Wait…just them? What about me?” I inquired.

“You…I need you here to help run the village. If I send you out there the possibility of Orochimaru coming after you would be too great,” she murmured. I thought quickly, not wanting to be left out of such an important mission, or be made to be in charge of the village.

“but…I think I would be safer out there. Orochimaru thinks I want power, so he’d expect me to remain behind and run the village. As long as he thinks I’m here, he can’t come after me. In reality I hate power. Orochimaru has no reason to chase after Kakashi and Neji if he thinks I’m in the village,” I said earnestly. Everyone stared at me silently.

“Okay, Kiko, you’re giving me a headache,” Tsunade said, “If you really want to go, you can go. I know you’re capable of taking care of yourself.”

“Thanks, mom,” I murmured, my throat tight.

“So what is this plant called, Lady Hokage?” Kakashi asked her.

“That’s the irony of this situation- the plant is called Kiko,” she said with a faint smile in my direction, “And yes, you were named after it, Tsukiko.”

“Wow! I didn’t know I was named after a life-saving herb,” I said, also smiling, “I can see the irony.”

“Now that Tsukiko is going, I’d like for you to go as well, Jiraiya,” Tsunade said to him.

“But who’ll help you run the village?” he inquired.

“Shizune can help me. I need you to look after Tsukiko.”

“Mom! I thought you just said I was capable of taking care of myself?” I said, slightly irritated.

“That doesn’t stop me from worrying. And Jiraiya, if you write a single novel having anything to do with her, I’ll outlaw the distribution of the entire series,” Tsunade said solemnly.

“Okay, okay…but if you die before we get back, I’ll never forgive you,” he replied with equal solemnity.

As soon as we left the Hokage I turned to face Shizune who had followed us out of the room.

“I want to see the unconscious ANBU Black Opps. I think I may know how to awaken them,” I said to her.

“Yes, Lady Tsukiko,” she replied, “they’re at the hospital. I’ll come with you to make sure you get admittance.”

I turned to face my friends.

“Neji, Kakashi, I don’t need you for this. The two of you go pack and be prepared to leave at noon. Neji, please grab some of my clothe sand shove them into a bag,” I said to them. Both nodded in agreement and hurried off. I beckoned for Jiraiya to follow me.

“What happened to not wanting to be in charge?” he asked lightly.

“Oh shut up, Uncle Jiraiya,” I growled.

“Okay…Lady Tsukiko.”

“You’re dead meat, Toad Boy,” I muttered, punching him lightly between the shoulder blades. He would have retaliated, but at that moment we reached the hospital.

The four ANBU Black Opps were laid out in the same room. Their muscles were tensed, their eyes closed, and every now and again one of them would twitch. This was a new specialty of Orochimaru’s that, sadly, I had helped to perfect. I knew that the optical nerves of each of these people were being violently and repeatedly attacked by their own Chakra, which had been manipulated by Orochimaru in such a way that it caused them to see, quite literally, their worst nightmare. The thing they were most terrified of. He’d thought of it himself and with my help he’d made it real. It was developed as a torture tactic, but he used it for even the simplest of things now.

I took a deep breath and placed my hand on the forehead of the nearest ninja. I poured a small amount of my Chakra into him and followed the path to the point Orochimaru had blocked it so that the nightmare was repetitive. With one good shove I dislodged the blockage. The Chakra Orochimaru had used to create the blockage had to go somewhere and it was most efficient to take I into myself. It felt very unpleasant, like getting a shot of ice water, but my body adjusted quickly.

The man was completely relaxed now and sleeping dreamlessly.

“Let him rest a while,” I told the medical ninja who were watching me wide-eyed in awe of my abilities, “He deserves it.”

“How did you do that?” one of the doctors asked me.

“It’d be too difficult and exhausting to even attempt to explain,” I replied, “And I need my strength to fix the others.”

“But if you explain it to us we can wake the others,” the doctor pursued.

“No. It requires and extensive knowledge of the human body, the Chakra
network, and of course, the Jutsu itself. It’s best if I do it. I don’t think any of you could…” I murmured.

“What? A 16-year-old Chunin, do something a team of highly experienced medical ninja can’t do? Preposterous!” he exclaimed. I opened my mouth to retort wearily, but to my surprise Jiraiya stepped in.

“Hey! Do you have any idea who you’re talking to? This is Tsukiko Akane! Daughter of the single most talented, most beautiful, most experienced medical ninja Konohagakure has ever seen! She’s also the great-granddaughter of the 1st Hokage, founder of your Village. You will treat her with the respect she deserves,” he said loudly.

The doctor blushed and mumbled an apology before stumbling out of the room. The other doctors remained behind, not daring to say anything, but looking at me with a newfound respect.

“Thanks Uncle Jiraiya….I’ve never heard my title so extensively announced before…but did you have to add the ’most beautiful’ part about mom? That’s kinda creepy,” I said faintly. He grinned broadly and laughed.
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Old 02-23-2009, 10:29 PM
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HisGothicTwilightPrincess HisGothicTwilightPrincess is offline
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Join Date: January 26, 2009
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Default Re: An Untitled Naruto Fanfic

Chapter 42 (Mira)

I awoke the other three Black Opps. Two of them remained sleeping peacefully, but one of them, a female, actually sat up and looked at me.

“Do you know who I am?” I asked her softly. I was so tired I was shaking… She nodded her head without speaking.

“Good. We’ve already had one identity mix-up today,” I said with a weary smile in Jiraiya’s direction.

“you’re the Hokage’s daughter. I’ve watched you a few times, though you may not have known it,” she said, “My name is Mira.”

As shocked as I was that the ANBU Black Opps had been following me without my knowledge, I disregarded this for the time being.

“Okay, Mira. I need you to answer some questions for me,” I said to her.

“I can try.”

“Did you see what happened to Lady Tsunade?” I inquired.

“No…but I heard some parts…it’s all quite fuzzy,” Mira said quietly.

“Why don’t you tell us what happened?” Shizune suggested.

“Alright…Well, we were following Lady Hokage and something struck me in the back of the head. All I could see was…” she shuddered violently, “I thought someone was using a genjutsu on me, but when I tried to use the release it didn’t work. I couldn’t move…or even shut my eyes. I could hear voices and…well it sounded like Orochimaru, but I thought at first it was part of the genjutsu. I heard him say something about needing the Hokage’s blood. I heard her refuse and…then she sort of screamed and…that’s all I can remember.”

I felt the blood leave my face and I quickly hardened my expression so no one could read the fear there. The threat of Orochimaru coming after me had just become even more real.

Jiraiya and I met up with Neji and Kakashi a short while later. They were standing at the Gate. Kakashi was leaning against the fence, reading one of Jiraiya’s books.

“Ah, I see you’re reading one of my older novels,” Jiraiya said enthusiastically. Kakashi looked up, startled, and, too my surprise, blushing.

“I must say it was one of my favorites to write,” Jiraiya continued. Also to my surprise, Kakashi didn’t say anything, merely nodded and looked down. Neji and I exchanged faintly amused smiles and he handed me my backpack which he had graciously filled with clothes.

“Thank you,” I murmured, embracing him. He seemed startled by how weak I was.

“You’re tired, Kiko…you know we can wait until morning,” Neji said worriedly.

“No. Mom needs this ASAP. It’s a matter of like and death. Who cares if I’m a little tired?” I replied stubbornly.

“Well, Jeez, Kiko, no one asked you to kill yourself over it. You can barely stand up straight!” Jiraiya put in.

“Oh shut up Uncle Jiraiya, no one asked you. I’m fine,” I insisted.

I glanced at Kakashi frantically, knowing that if he sided with them I’d be overpowered and forced to wait until morning. He looked genuinely torn, but in the end his loyalty to me won out.

“If Tsukiko thinks she can leave now, let her. She has amazing stamina after all…and we’ll be stopping at nightfall anyway, so she can rest then,” Kakashi said lightly. Jiraiya seemed satisfied.

“Well then, let’s go. Tsunade trusts you enough to let you make decisions for Kiko, so that’s good enough for me…but if she passes out from exhaustion… it’s on your own hands,” Jiraiya said brightly. We took off walking before Kakashi could change his mind.

“Why does she trust him to take care of me anyway? I mean, he does an excellent job, but I would have thought you’d be her first choice,” I said to Jiraiya, quickly counting the number in my head, “and instead you were her fourth. Yuki, Kakashi, Hiashi, then you. Why?”

“First of all I don’t like kids. Second, I live on a mountain. Third-”

“Third you’re an old pervert,” I muttered. He laughed loudly.

“Exactly! And fourth, I don’t want to be a father,” he said with a shrug.

“Hmm. She said it could have happened.”

“Did she now?” he asked, faintly interested.

“Yep. She said once…a long time ago,” I replied. He looked slightly put-off, then grinned broadly.

“Well, at least she made me your Godfather,” he said brightly. I stumbled and almost fell, but quickly regained my footing.

“She did what?” I asked blankly.

“I thought you knew that.”

“No!”

“Ah, well, cat’s out of the bag now. Yep, I’m your Godfather…not that the title means much considering you’ve got so many people to look after you already.”

“Hmph. Godfather Jiraiya…Uncle Godfather Jiraiya.”

“I think I preferred just Uncle Jiraiya,” he said hastily.

When we stopped as it got close to dusk I collapsed onto the ground. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d slept. It had to have been before the Giant Worm.

“Kiko are you okay?” Neji asked worriedly. I couldn’t respond. I closed my eyes and fell asleep.

Chapter 43 (Kakashi’s Secret)

When I awoke I was warm and comfortable. My depleted Chakra and energy had been completely restored and I felt very well-rested. I opened my eyes and looked around. I was in one of the all-too familiar tents that Kakashi brought whenever we went on missions. Neji had his arms wrapped around me and was asleep, snoring lightly. I wanted him to wake up. I reached up and licked his cheek. His eyes opened almost immediately, their silver iridescence glowing in the darkness.

“What’re you doing, Kiko?” he murmured.

“Loving you,” I replied, kissing him.

“You’re supposed to be sleeping.”

“I’m not tired anymore.”

“Your recovery time is amazing. I, on the other hand, am tired and do need
to get some sleep.”

“Are you too tired for this?” I murmured, and then kissed him passionately. Before I had finished kissing him I found myself flat on my back with Neji crouched above me.

“I’m never too tired for that,” he whispered, his breath tickling my ear, “and I’ve got something new and fun.”

“What is it?” I asked curiously. He pulled something out of his back pocket.

“Glow in the Dark condoms,” he said with a mild grin.

“Ooh that does look like fun. Gimmie,” I said, reaching for it.

“Aren’t you supposed to say please?” he taunted.

“Ha! You should be the one begging.”

“You think you can make me beg?”

“Oh, I know I can make you beg, Neji-kun.”


When morning came we crawled out of the tent together. My hair was a little mussed, but I was smiling. Neji on the other hand, was groggy and looked as if he’d been tossed around in a dryer all night. I chuckled to myself when I saw him in the dim morning light. He scowled at me, then his eyes widened in surprise.

“you have a hickey on your neck,” he remarked. My hands flew to my neck and sure enough there was a tender spot there.

“Is it very noticeable?” I asked anxiously.

“Oh yeah.”

“What do I do?”

“Tell them you fell…on a rock.”

“Neji that’s retarded. I could say a bug bit me. Does it look like a bug bite?”
He studied it carefully for a moment.

“A big mutant bug, maybe,” he replied. I couldn’t help but notice his grin.

“You’re actually proud, aren’t you?” I demanded.

“Will you two keep it down?” said an annoyed voice. We both turned to see Jiraiya on the ground, trying to sleep.

“Shouldn’t you be in a tent, Uncle Jiraiya?” I asked him.

“No way. I’m the Toad Mountain Sage. I always sleep outside,” he replied. He let out a tremendous yawn and sat up, stretching.

“you might as well go wake Kakashi,” he said to me.

I walked over to Kakashi’s tent and stuck my head inside. To my surprise he was already awake. He was sitting in the corner of his tent, reading. He glanced up when I crawled inside.

“What’s wrong with you? You’ve been oddly quiet since yesterday afternoon,” I remarked, sitting cross-legged beside him.

“Oh…it’s nothing,” he muttered.

“Tell me,” I persisted.

“Well if you must know…it’s Master Jiraiya. I sort of wanted to get his
autograph.”

“So why don’t you?”

“I don’t think he likes me…” he murmured, blushing.

“What? Now who sounds like a lovesick teenager? Kakashi, you’re alluring, mysterious, and totally cool. What’s not to like?”

He continued to pout and I snatched the book out of his hand before he could protest. I ducked out of the tent and thrust the novel at Jiraiya.

“Will you sign this pathetic excuse for a novel so he’ll stop sulking?” I demanded of Jiraiya. He looked surprised, but quickly scrawled his signature. I handed the book back to a mortified Kakashi who had followed me out of the tent. His expression changed to one of delighted gratitude.

“I hope you know this makes you both very gay,” I announced, and walked airily back to where Neji was shaking with silent laughter. Jiraiya scowled at me.

“What’s that on your neck Tsukiko?” Jiraiya asked lightly. I blushed slightly.

“A bug bite,” I snapped at him.

“Must’ve been one hell of a bug. Maybe you should take a closer look at that, Kakashi.”

“Shut up, Jiraiya,” I growled. Kakashi frowned, examining my neck from a distance. He realized what it was almost immediately.

“Ew! That’s-” He began.

“Don’t even say it!” I interrupted, “Just forget about it.”

“That’s gonna be difficult. Neji must have a big mouth,” Jiraiya continued.

“Shut UP!” I growled again. He started to laugh and, irritated with him, I launched myself at him and knocked him to the ground. He was shocked and I took that time to extend my Chakra into the ground and pull forth some pretty big roots. I pinned Jiraiya to the ground using these roots and stood up grinning triumphantly.

“That’s the first Hokage’s jutsu!” he exclaimed in amazement.

“I know. It’s become my specialty,” I replied smugly, “Now, if you want to continue with your snide remarks I can pull out some major, kick-ass jutsu and we can have a Hokage-level battle.”

“Come on, Tsukiko, quit messing around. We really need to get going,” Kakashi said hastily, still clutching the book close to him.

“You just don’t want me to crush your boyfriend,” I retorted coolly. He blushed bright red.

“Enough, Kiko. Save your strength. We’ve still got a long way to go before we reach Moon Valley,” Neji said gently. I let Jiraiya go reluctantly. He brushed the dirt off himself as he stood up, still amazed by my sudden display
of power.

“I suppose I shouldn’t have expected any less with two of the Sanin for parents, it’s only natural you’d possess some of their raw talent,” Jiraiya said slowly.

“Some of their talent?” I said indignantly, “I can do jutsu that even Orochimaru can’t do!”

“And yet all you can do is summon a little black snake?”

“I can summon a lot more than Saromi! It’s just…well…some of them…are sort of frightening,” I said, my voice faltering for the first time. Kakashi looked at my curiously. He’d never seen me generally afraid of something before.

“I don’t want to talk about it anymore,” I murmured before anything else could be said. This ended the conversation and we went on our way.

Chapter 44 (Something A Lot More Than Saromi)

When we stopped that night Jiraiya made me an unexpected proposition.

“I want you to battle me,” he said to me. The four of us were sitting around the campfire, eating the halfway decent rice that Kakashi had made. We all looked up to see who Jiraiya was talking to.

“Me? Why? What’d I do?” I asked blankly.

“You said you can fight in Hokage-level Combat. Well, I don’t believe it. I don’t believe a fifteen year old-”

“Sixteen!” I interjected hotly.

“-A sixteen year old Chunin can beat me in a battle,” Jiraiya finished.

“Well I can,” I said defiantly.

“Prove me wrong, then,” he replied, “Fight me.”

“Alright, Uncle Jiraiya, you’re on,” I said coolly, “Only, well…some of my Jutsu may not be ‘village-approved’ jutsu.”

“Well it’s a good thing we’re not in the village, then, isn’t it?” he replied with a smirk.

“Alright then. Where shall this battle take place?” I inquired.

“There’s a clearing not too far from here that’d be perfect,” Kakashi provided,
“I found it while I was looking for firewood.”

“I’m not so sure you should do this, Kiko,” Neji said anxiously, “What if one of you gets hurt?”

“We’ll be fine. I’ll call it quits if it goes too far,” I assured him. Neji looked skeptical, but followed us to the clearing nonetheless. Jiraiya and I stood maybe ten feet apart. I did a quick survey of my underground root supply. I found that, being in a forest, there was an abundance of roots at my disposal. I was at an advantage. At that moment Jiraiya sent a ball of Chakra towards me and I had to quickly pull up the roots for defense. I blocked the Chakra sphere and used my own Chakra to lift some leaves off the ground.

“Leaf Shuriken!” I said, spinning the leaves quickly. They flew towards Jiraiya and he dodged out of the way.

“Not bad, Kiko,” he said as he continued to dodge the leaves that continued to fly at him. It was almost second nature for me to keep the leaf Shuriken flying.

“Leaf Style: Cocoon Jutsu,” I said, forming the hand seals. The leaves swirled around Jiraiya faster and faster until he was completely encased in a cocoon of leaves. He could still breathe, of course, I’d made sure of it.

“What is that?” Kakashi inquired.

“Something my f-…something Lord Orochimaru and I created. It would be quite possible for me to slowly squeeze the life out of him right now…but I won’t do that,” I said with a chilling smile. At that moment Jiraiya burst forth from the cocoon.

“That didn’t take nearly as long as I would’ve thought. Well done, Jiraiya, it seems I’ve underestimated you,” I said to him.

“you seem to like using plants. Well I can counter that,” he replied, “Fire Style: Grand Fireball Jutsu!”

A large ball of fire shot towards me. Since I couldn’t use plants to protect me from fire I quickly expelled a large amount of Chakra from my hands to form a shield. The fireball disintegrated into sparks.

“Your reaction time is slower. Looks like I’ve found your weakness, Kiko,” he said with a smirk.

“You think so, huh?”

As he shot another fireball at me I pulled the water from the plants and soil, and used it to stop the fireball. I called on a little of Kouta’s strength as Jiraiya prepared his next attack.

“Water Style: Splashing Tiger Jutsu!” I said, another attack created by Orochimaru and myself. The water formed a large, tiger-like claw and knocked Jiraiya to the side. His arm was cut and bleeding, but he got to his feet quickly. I saw him get some of his own blood. I realized what he was doing as soon as he started forming hand seals.

“Jiraiya, no, I can’t-”

“Summoning Jutsu!” he said, pressing his palm to the ground. A humongous toad appeared beneath him. With one huge leap the toad jumped at me. I leapt out of the way and it landed a few feet away from me. The vibrations in the ground made me fall over as well as lose any grip I had on the plants in the ground.

“Come on, Kiko, summon something to fight me with,” Jiraiya encouraged, “Or can you even summon something this big?”

He was taunting me and it was pissing me off. I didn’t like summoning the big ones. I’d told him that earlier. I was frightened of them…and he had the gall to try and provoke me? I’d show him! …even if I was scared…I’d summon something alright!

I used my sharp, fang-like teeth to make a small cut on my thumb. Trying not to shake too much, I formed the hand seals and pressed my palm to the ground.

“Summoning Jutsu!” I cried, releasing a large amount of Kouta’s Chakra. BANG! Something huge appeared, causing me to fly backwards. I landed hard on the ground with the breath knocked out of me. I could only stare up in fear at that I had summoned. The biggest snake I had ever seen in my life! He stood well over 50 feet tall and was even longer than that. He was deep red in color and his fangs themselves must have been 6 feet long. I was petrified of this creature whose name I knew to be Mikatu.

Mikatu went after the toad, of course. Being a snake, toads were one of his natural prey. The toad didn’t stand a chance. Mikatu sank his fangs into the toad’s leg and within seconds the toad was paralyzed. The snake then had time to look around and spotted me.

“Oh. It’s the Girl,” he hissed at me, then looked at the toad, “Is that what you wanted, Girl?”

I could barely nod my head.

“Then my work here is completely,” Mikatu said, and with that he disappeared. I still couldn’t move and I watched as Jiraiya sent his toad away.
The paralysis would wear off once the giant toad got home. Jiraiya walked over to me and I felt anger flare up inside of me. I got to my feet.

“I secede. Kiko wins. …I’m sorry, Kiko, I had no idea-” he began.

“Yeah you did, Jiraiya, don’t give me that bullshit. You happy now, Frog Boy? I beat you!” I said coldly. All I could feel was anger.

“Tsukiko…”

“Fuck off, Jiraiya. I have nothing more to say to you,” I said, and with that I
walked away into the woods to be by myself.

Chapter 45 (Revelations)

I didn’t go far because I didn’t want to get lost. I found a quiet, woody area where I sat on a tree stump and tried to find myself again. When the coldness I felt started to fade I summoned Saromi. He knew immediately that something was wrong.

“What is wrong Tsukiko Akane? Are you lost? Injured?” he hissed, looking around.

“No…I had a mock battle with Master Jiraiya and…I ended up having to summon Mikatu,” I murmured. Saromi hissed angrily at the mention of this name. He wrapped himself comfortingly around my forearm.

“Are you okay?” he inquired.

“Just a little…frightened. I’ll be fine. I just felt like seeing a familiar, friendly snake,” I said with an anxious laugh.

“Heh. Since when did I become your friend?” the snake asked dryly.

“You’ve saved my life a countless number of times, Saromi. When I rescued Kakashi from Orochimaru you led the medical ninja to us. You kept me from going completely mad when I was with Orochimaru and you helped Jiraiya find me. You are definitely my friend, Saromi.”

“Thank you, Tsukiko Akane. You are my friend as well. …you should probably go back to camp. Your other friends are probably worried about you,” he hissed quietly.

“Thank you Saromi.”

“you are welcome.”

When I returned to the camp I still had Saromi draped across my shoulders. Neji was sitting beside the campfire, lost in thought. I sat down beside him. Kakashi and Jiraiya were sitting on the other side of the fire, fussing over Jiraiya’s arm where my Water Claw Jutsu had cut it.

“It won’t stop bleeding,” said an anxious Kakashi, trying to bandage it.

“You could heal that in a heartbeat,” Saromi hissed in my ear. I turned my head slightly to talk to the snake.

“He doesn’t deserve my help. He brought this upon himself,” I replied coolly.

“Who are you to judge who deserves your help and who does not? You heal whoever you can. Besides, he is your mother’s friend. She won’t like it if he’s hurt,” he replied evenly. I let out an irritated sigh and stood up.

“I hate it when you pull that psychological crap on me, Saromi,” I hissed at him, walking towards Jiraiya, “Let me see.”

Kakashi moved out of the way and let me inspect the wound. It was pretty deep. I placed my hand over the wound and built up a special kind of Chakra there.

“Mystical Palm Technique,” I murmured.

With the concentration and precision of an artist, I mended the wound. Jiraiya, Kakashi, and Neji stared in amazement as the wound healed itself without so much as a scar.

“How-…you…who taught you that?” Kakashi asked me, awestruck.

“Well it certainly wasn’t my mother,” I mumbled feverishly. Even that little bit of healing had exhausted me.

“Orochimaru taught you to heal?” Jiraiya asked.

“Technically it was Kabuto who taught me, under my father’s orders,” I replied, rubbing my eyes. I could feel the beginnings of a headache. I shouldn’t have used the Healing Chakra so soon after battle.

“Stop calling him that! He’s not your father,” Kakashi said irritably.

“He is her biological father,” Jiraiya contradicted, “…trust me, I know.”

“Yeah, but…” Kakashi’s voice trailed off. I could tell it was bothering him.

“If it upsets you, I won’t call him father,” I said to Kakashi. I hugged him quickly and after a moment he pushed me away.

“So, are your Healing abilities anything like your mother’s?” he asked lightly.

“Oh, is it okay to call Tsunade mom?” I asked sarcastically.

“Yes. She’s always done what’s best for you and taken care of you, whether you knew it at the time or not.”

“What do you mean she’s always taken care of me? You’ve always taken care of me.”

“That stuffed lion you carry around…?”

“Isamu?” I said, thinking to the little stuffed lion who was, at this moment, in my backpack. Neji had packed him for me.

“Yes. She gave that to me to give to you after Yuki and Kasumi died. She named it for you and everything. I guess she knew you would need a friend. Also, when you were very little- back when you lived with Yuki and you would wander off on your own. There was always a team of specialized ninja following you on her orders. Sometimes she was among them- that was before she was Hokage, of course. Sometimes I would go, too.”

“But…she didn’t even live in the village then, did she?” I inquired.

“No, but she would stop by from time to time. When you graduated from the Academy she was there. When you first became a Chunin she was in the crowd watching you,” he explained, “All of the important things, she was there for. Just like me.”

“But she never spoke to me. Not even when she became Hokage. She never gave me missions directly or anything. She purposely ignored me. She made me hate her!” I said, my voice cracking slightly.

“Better you hate her than put her main mission in jeopardy,” he said quietly.

“Main mission?”

“Keeping you safe. Keeping you away from Orochimaru. Keeping you from turning…evil,” he responded. I shook my head in wonder, but deep down I was beginning to think that maybe Tsunade had failed in the last part.
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Old 03-02-2009, 01:30 AM
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Default Re: An Untitled Naruto Fanfic

Chapter 46 (Tsukiko’s Revelation)

The next afternoon we reached the edge of what appeared to be a giant cliff. When I peered over the edge, however, I saw that it was actually a huge valley, filled with trees and rivers full of sparkling water.

“This is Moon Valley,” Jiraiya announced grandly.

“Okay…so how do we get down there?” Neji inquired. Jiraiya was at a loss for words.

I sighed heavily and, gathering the Chakra in my hands, grabbed the edge of the cliff and proceeded to climb down. About half way down I remembered that I didn’t have to climb because I could fly. Using Kouta’s strength I formed my Chakra wings and propelled myself off the face of the cliff.

It took a while to become accustomed to flying again, but by the time Neji, Kakashi, and Jiraiya had climbed down I was doing magnificent cartwheels and soaring gracefully through the sky.

“Come on, Tsukiko, quit showing off. Get down here,” Kakashi called up to me. I fluttered to the ground and landed lightly on my feet, retracting my Chakra Wings as I did so.

“That was beautiful,” Neji complimented, “It reminded me of one of those orange butterflies.”

“Thanks Neji,” I said with a smile.

“Will you two come on? We’ve got a Hokage to save!” Jiraiya said. He sounded anxious now.

“So how are we supposed to find that Kiko-plant anyway?” I inquired coolly.

“Tsunade told me it’s on a hill in the exact center of the valley. It has a small white flower on it and three leaves that are really dark green with some blue on them. It shouldn’t be too hard for us to find,” Jiraiya replied.

We started walking towards the center of the Valley. My battle with Jiraiya weighed heavy on my mind, along with what Kakashi had said about Tsunade protecting me from turning evil. By the time we stopped for nightfall I was feeling a little ill. Neji noticed and led me away from Jiraiya and Kakashi.

“What’s bugging you, Tsukiko?” he asked gently. I hesitated.

“It’s just…well Kakashi said mom’s main mission was to prevent me from becoming evil and…I, well,… what if she failed?” I asked quietly.

“What…what do you mean?” he inquired, frowning slightly.

“Sometimes I feel like…I’m more like Orochimaru that Tsunade…I start to feel cold all over and…uncaring. Like I could just lash out at the world and it wouldn’t matter. I’ve done bad things before…illegal things. I know things I shouldn’t know and…I’m wondering if- spending so much time with my father, I’m becoming just like him,” I finished lamely. Neji was silent for a little while, considering the best way to approach this problem, considering his best answer.

“I think everyone is a little bit evil…but no one is completely evil- not even your father,” he replied.

“Why isn’t he?”

“Well, he loves you and he loves Tsunade… I think…even if he has odd ways of showing it. So he can’t be all evil. As for you well you love-”

“You,” I said with a smile.

“Exactly. And Kakashi, and Tsunade, and …well, your father?”

“Yes. I do love all of those people. Including my father. He is my father. I can’t help but feel a certain bit of affection for him and a level of understanding.”

“I think that is what you feel. You can understand Orochimaru- or at least try to because he’s your father- and that is why you feel bad. You feel as if you shouldn’t be able to relate to him. But you can. And there is nothing wrong with that and I’ll punch anyone who thinks otherwise in the face!” he declared. I laughed faintly, then leaned over and kissed his cheek.

“Thank you, Neji. You always know exactly what to say,” I murmured quietly.

“I love you Tsukiko…but I wish you wouldn’t dwell on negative things.”

“After my battle with Jiraiya it is hard not to. I’m remembering things I’d rather forget…and I summoned that thing…I…it was bad. The first time I ever saw him was…really bad,” I stammered, then I fell silent.

“Will you tell me about it?” he inquired. I swallowed heavily and nodded my head. I thought back over the months to when I was staying with Orochimaru…

It was early one morning and father had bade me come to the training hall. Saromi was at my heels as I walked into the room. Father stood in the middle of the room with a curious expression on his face. Yesterday he had tried to make me summon something other than Saromi but I had failed. I wondered what he had planned for me today.

“Good morning, Kiko. Are you ready to begin your training?” he asked in his sweet voice that chilled me to the core.

“I suppose. What am I doing today?” I asked, my voice dead and hollow as it was in those days.

“Well it has occurred to me that it is often the case that a person must be in real danger to unleash their true power. So I have decided that I will summon Mikatu, one of the most lethal of all snakes. If you want to live to see another sunrise, you’ll have to summon Mikatu’s father, Mishu,” he said with an insane smile, “Summoning Jutsu!”

In the blink of an eye an enormous snake stood before me. Orochimaru told it to chase me and I took off running.

The ground shook as Mikatu chased me. My heart was pounding in my chest and I was terrified. Mikatu struck out at me and I dodged, just in time to avoid being crushed by his massive fangs.

“Oh I forgot to mention- his venom is highly toxic. A single drop ill send your nervous system into a state of panic. You’ll be instantly paralyzed, but still able to feel as every one of your nerve endings experiences excruciating pain,” My father said with a mad giggle.

I ran faster, now having to imagine how bad it would hurt to be bitten by Mikatu, unable to move, unable to scream…


“Stop!” Neji interrupted me, face pale, “I can’t listen anymore.”

I stared at him dully for a moment, then he embraced me. I stood still as a statue, numb with the burden of my memory, feeling cold all over.

“I love you, Kiko,” he murmured, kissing me. I soon awakened from my stupor and kissed him back.

“Did you manage to summon the beast’s father?” he asked quietly.

“Mishu? Yeah, I summoned him. If I hadn’t I wouldn’t be standing here today. He sent Mikatu away. Afterwards, Orochimaru told me that he wouldn’t have actually let me get hurt.”

“Did you believe him?” Neji asked sounding disgusted.

“At the time I didn’t have a choice. Not I am uncertain. …it’s confusing, having him for a father,” I said with a heavy sigh.

“I’d imagine so. He’s done terrible things. …Wh-”

“Tsukiko! Neji!” called a loud, frantic voice. Neji and I exchanged startled looks before running towards camp.

Chapter 47 (Orochimaru returns)

Jiraiya and Kakashi stood in the middle of the makeshift camp. Both held shuriken and were peering into the darkness of the trees. I also peered into the forest, feeling alarmed. Neji looked around with his Byakugan.

“What…is that?” he asked, frowning. Before anyone could respond something burst out of the trees, knocking me to the ground. Instinct kicked in and I flipped whatever it was over. I reached into the ground with my Chakra and used roots to pin the thing to the ground. I took a step back to look at my attacker.

It was a wolf! A real, live, gray, wolf! It’s yellow eyes glinted malevolently and it gave a single, feral snarl before disappearing completely.

“Where did it go?” I asked, shocked.

“And where did it come from?” Neji added.

“It came from me,” said a loud, booming voice. A man jumped out of a nearby tree. He had short, untidy blue hair. His eyes were also blue and cold and hard as ice. His skin was as pale as mine and he wore only a pair of shorts. All over his body were tattoos of various animals.

“I am Xatu! Protector of all animals and plants residing in Moon Valley…and you will not take my Kiko plant! Just as I told the Serpent Tongue, I will tell you- if you want this plant you will have to go through me first!” said the man.

“Serpent tongue? Do you mean Orochimaru?” I demanded of him, while simultaneously creeping my roots towards him.

“If that is the man who summons the evil snakes, then yes!”

“We don’t want any trouble,” Kakashi said smoothly and hastily, “We aren’t friends of the Serpent Tongue.”

“Speak for yourself,” I muttered to Kakashi.

“I care not! Anyone who wishes to take the Kiko plant must perish!” shouted Xatu.

“Please, Xatu. My mother is very sick-” I began.

“Enough! I tire of this chatter. Leave now or die. Cheetah, go!”
He reached out to his tattoo of a cheetah and pressed his finger to it. Within seconds a living, breathing, cheetah stood before us. I grabbed both Xatu and the Cheetah with my roots, but while the cheetah squirmed and growled, Xatu merely laughed.

“You think you could defeat me so easily? Ha!” he exclaimed, “Go, Eagles!”

A flock of humongous eagles flew from his chest, straight towards me, causing me to lose my grip on them. My vines retreated back into the Earth and I now had the cheetah to contend with once again. Frantic, I scampered into the nearest, thickest tree.

“If only he was incapacitated we could deal with the damn animals,” I heard Kakashi say. Incapacitated…I thought to myself, …hmmm…

I was thinking back to my training with Orochimaru and also of the four ANBU Black Opps I had healed before leaving the village.

I stretched my subconscious outwards until I found Xatu’s and then I entered his mind. Within seconds he was on the ground, curled into a ball, with his worst nightmares attacking his optical nerves using his own Chakra which had been masterfully blocked by part of my own.

The Eagles and the Cheetah all vanished and I climbed down from the tree. I walked over to Xatu, feeling disgusted with myself.

“I hate having to use forbidden Jutsu…but I’ll reverse it before we leave,” I said quietly.

“What did you do?” Jiraiya asked as he and the others came up behind me.

“Using a very complex Jutsu that requires a large amount of Chakra manipulation as well as an extensive knowledge of the Chakra network, I forced his own Chakra to attack his optical nerves repeatedly by forming a blockade in his system made of my own Chakra. It forces his nightmares to play repeatedly,” I said, still staring at the man.

“Where’d you learn that?” Kakashi asked, as if he didn’t already know.

“Orochimaru,” I replied simply.

“Come now, Kiko, you give me too much credit,” said an eerie voice. All of us whirled around to see Orochimaru walk out of the trees. In a split second I had Kakashi, Jiraiya, Neji, and Orochimaru held by the roots to keep them from attacking each other.

“Like it or not, I can’t have you attacking each other,” I said tartly as
Kakashi and Jiraiya struggled to get at Orochimaru who was still. To my surprise Neji was as well though he looked mildly curious.

“Why am I being restrained, Kiko?” he inquired.

“I assumed you would attack him. He’s thrown you into a wall before, remember?”

“I will not attack him unless he attacks you. He is your father, after all.”

“You promise you won’t attack him?”

“I promise,” he swore. Cautiously I withdrew my roots. When Neji did nothing I sighed in relief whereas Kakashi and Jiraiya groaned. Neji bowed ever so slightly to Orochimaru, though it pained him to do so. Although his posture was calm and respectful I could see the hatred blazing in his eyes.

“You should let me down, too, Tsukiko. I feel not animosity towards Jiraiya…or Kakashi, though he is raising my daughter,” Orochimaru said slyly.

“There is no promise you can make that I can trust, father,” I growled venomously.

“I have never broken a promise to you,” he protested.

“My mother is lying in a bed dying because of you! You don’t think that violates the ‘I won’t harm Tsunade’ promise?”

“She’s not in any real danger. I have the antidote hidden nearby,” he said smugly, “I was going to administer it after a good scare, but it seemed more exciting to follow you.”

“Give me the antidote,” I said forcefully.

“Maybe you should ask nicely,” he taunted.

“Please give me the antidote, father,” I said through gritted teeth.

“Not unless you give me what I want.”

“What do you want from me?”

“The same thing I wanted from Tsunade- your blood.”

“…that’s kinda creepy. What do you want my blood for?”

He cast an apprehensive look at Kakashi, Neji, and Jiraiya, then shrugged.

“You’ll probably tell them anyway. I need your blood…or more accurately- I need the blood of the 1st Hokage. When researching in the Hidden Library I found that the 1st Hokage, your great-grandfather, had found a legendary, supposedly mythical, creature, before he formed Konohagakure. It is written, in his own personal journal, that he formed a binding Summoning Scroll with the creature. After many months of studying and deciphering I have deduced all that I need do to summon the creature. All that I need now is a little bit of your blood, beloved daughter. Yours or mom’s.”

“Stop calling Tsukiko your daughter!” Kakashi snapped. He had ceased struggling against his bonds and was glowering at Orochimaru with hatred in his eyes.

“But she is mine…well either mine or Jiraiya’s,” Orochimaru replied sweetly.

“No chance in hell,” retorted Jiraiya. Orochimaru laughed his cold, chilling laugh.

“You don’t have the right to call her daughter,” Kakashi said venomously.

“Oh, really? The last time I checked I was her biological father. It’s not my fault I haven’t been in her life. Tsunade kept me away! …Enough. I tire of this. Tsukiko, will you give me your blood or not?”

I hesitated. I wanted to know what sort of creature my
great-grandfather had found…but it wouldn’t be a good idea to let Orochimaru have control of it. That had to have been why my mother had refused.

“No. I cannot do it,” I said finally. His disappointment was evident.

“Very well then. Let me go. Tell mom I said Hi,” he said with a wicked smile. I released Orochimaru and he walked towards the trees, then paused and turned back to me.

“since I don’t want Tsunade to die, I must depart on you a bit of crucial information- The Kiko Plant only appears at night,” he said with a sigh,
“Farewell, daughter.”

He disappeared into the trees. I waited 30 seconds then released Kakashi and Jiraiya who immediately went of in search of him. Neji stayed faithfully at my side. Jiraiya and Kakashi returned 10 minutes later, empty handed.

Chapter 48 (Kakashi and Tsukiko)

“He’s gone!” Jiraiya said, “You could have at least given us a fair shot at him…and Neji, you could’ve helped.”

Kakashi snorted indignantly and we all looked at him anxiously.

“Another five minutes and Neji would have been asking him for Tsukiko’s hand in marriage,” Kakashi said coolly. Jiraiya laughed shortly. Neji lowered his eyes. I got pissed.

“Lay off him!” I snarled, exerting a force that made Kakashi take a step back. It was Kouta’s energy forcing him backwards and I didn’t bother to try and reign it in.

“What is your problem Kakashi? First you were dumb enough to tell Orochimaru he had no right to call me daughter. Now you attack my boyfriend. If you’ve got a quarrel with me, let’s hear it!” I shouted.

“I’ve got no quarrel with you, I’ve got one with him,” he retorted, nodding to Neji, “He was free, but he didn’t even try to attack Orochimaru. If he loves you then he should want to kill the man who kidnapped you, told you lies, and taught you evil!”

“Who are you to question Neji’s love for me?” I demanded, cheeks flushing. Kakashi opened his mouth to say something, then shut it quickly. He turned on his heal and walked into the forest. Angry, I gathered Chakra in my fist and aimed a punch at a nearby tree, leaving a rather impressive hole there.

“What is his problem?” I growled venomously. I stalked towards the tent, but before I could open the tent flap Jiraiya said quietly, “He loves you.”

I froze and turned around slowly.

“What did you say?” I inquired.

“Kakashi loves you,” he repeated, “I know. We’ve had a lot of time to talk these last few days. He loves you.”

“What, you mean like…sexually?” I asked uncertainly.

“No!” he exclaimed, shocked that I would even think such a thing, “That I know for a fact. If he loved you that way he would have liked my last book. No, Kakashi loves you as a daughter. He always has. Neji knows, too, don’t you?”

Neji nodded his head in agreement.

“The first time we went to Sunagakure, when Kakashi and I argued over you? I asked him later that evening just how much he cares for you. He assured me it was nothing more than a strong, fatherly affection,” Neji explained.

“Oh, great,” I said, feeling shitty, “I have to go find him. Stay here.”

I ran off towards where Kakashi had disappeared.

“Wait! Kiko! It’s too dangerous to go off on your own!” Jiraiya called after me. I ignored him.

I wandered through the forest, alone, searching for my beloved mentor. I felt terrible for not having understood earlier.

“Kakashi!” I called loudly, “Where are you? I’m sorry!”

There was no response. Grief swept through me at the thought of what could have happened to him. Orochimaru could have come back and snatched him…. or there could be others like Xatu in the valley…

Using Kouta’s strength I formed my Chakra Wings and proceeded to search from the air. It wasn’t long before I found him and for once he wasn’t reading. He was sitting cross-legged on the bank of a river, staring listlessly out over the water. I landed beside him, light as a butterfly.

“I’m sorry, Tsukiko,” he said before I could say anything. I couldn’t think of anything to say so I sat down beside him on the ground.

“I can’t explain my feelings to you-” he continued.

“I won’t ask you to,” I promised.

“-because I don’t fully understand them myself. I’ve never been good at expressing emotion accurately,” he finished. I paused for a moment.

“Jiraiya said you loved me…like a father. That’s why you get angry when I call Orochimaru my father.”

“Master Jiraiya speaks the truth,” he said quickly. Touched, I hugged him and kissed him on the cheek.

“Don’t do that,” he muttered, embarrassed.

“Why not?”

“I don’t deserve it.”

“What? That’s ridiculous!”

“No. I’ve been a terrible guardian. I haven’t been able to protect you at all from Orochimaru. It’s…It’s my fault he kidnapped you and taught you bad things. It’s my fault you have those nightmares…”

“Kakashi!” I whispered, shocked, “It’s not your fault at all. …and how do you know about my nightmares?”

I had been having nightmares, ever since Jiraiya rescued me from Orochimaru. I thought I had kept them secret- even Neji didn’t know!

“I’ve heard you toss and turn in your sleep for months now. Sometimes you mutter things…or scream. When it gets bad I go into your room and light incense to calm you while you sleep. It helps,” he replied hesitantly, “…it’s what my sister used to do for you when you were a baby.”

He meant Yuki. Yuki had been his sister.

“Ah…”

I couldn’t say anything, touched as I was by his silent gestures. Hard to believe I had never noticed. Still, I had to reassure him that it was not his fault.

“It’s not your fault, Kakashi. Orochimaru would have gotten me one way or another…and I’d rather no one else die because of it. …he told me you were dead, you know? Kabuto did. Said he’d killed you. That’s what made me lose hope. What made me resign myself to learning what Orochimaru taught me. I was depressed…cold…unfeeling. I don’t like to think of it and when I do…” my voice trailed off. I was shaking slightly.

“It feels like you’re still stuck there,” he finished my sentence.

“Yeah,” I confirmed softly.

We stared over the water for a few minutes in complete silence. Then Kakashi stood up, rather reluctantly.

“We should go back…before your boyfriend comes looking for you,” he said bitterly.

“I know I said I wouldn’t ask you to explain, but…why the animosity towards Neji?” I inquired. He hesitated.

“Jealousy, I think,” he admitted, “…that he can so openly express his…his feelings for you without feeling regret or remorse.”

I was speechless.

“I don’t know how to respond to that,” I said.

“…you don’t play anymore. You rarely make jokes. Ever since you came back from Orochimaru, we lost our bond. …I thought maybe you resented me for not being there to save you.”

“No way!” I exclaimed, “Kakashi, I love you. I could never resent you, for anything!”

A look of relief spread over his face and then he grinned slightly. He extended a hand to help me to my feet and I accepted. Instead of releasing me once I was up, he pulled me into an embrace. I was even more surprised when he graced me with a kiss on top of my head. I stood there for a moment, feeling safe and comfortable in his arms. Kakashi chuckled quietly and then released me. I swayed on my feet for a moment, then steadied myself.
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Old 03-02-2009, 01:36 AM
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Default Re: An Untitled Naruto Fanfic

Chapter 49 (Tsunade)

We walked back to our little camp where Neji and Jiraiya were relieved to see us both alive.

“We only have a few more hours of nighttime left,” I said as I walked up.


“So?” Jiraiya said with a shrug.

“So, you heard what Orochimaru said. The flower only blooms at night.”

“Oh, are we going to believe him?” Neji asked, surprised.

“Yes. He wants us to save Tsunade. I can’t explain why.”

The three of them looked skeptical.

“Trust me. Come on,” I said, walking into the woods towards the center of the Valley. They had no choice but to follow me.

It didn’t take long to find the exact center of the valley. It was a large hill and at the very top was a small field of white flowered plants.

“Do you think it’s the right plant, Tsukiko?” Kakashi asked me.

“It looks like how mom described it,” I said, pulling up one of the plants.

Before we left Moon Valley I relieved Xatu of his nightmares. He went to sleep immediately, as a defensive process.

We barely slept the entire way back to Konohagakure. Mostly because we were anxious to heal Tsunade, but also because we were watching out for Orochimaru. It was nighttime when we finally reached the village and the four of us went straight to the Hokage’s office.

Tsunade was in her bed, breathing unevenly and thrashing around. Shizune was sitting in a chair at her bedside.

“She’s been like this a few hours. I can’t wake her,” Shizune said to Jiraiya.

“I can,” I said certainly.

I placed my hand on my mother’s forehead and extended my Chakra into her mind. Just as I thought I found a blockage in her Chakra network similar to that I had used on Xatu…only this was caused by her illness. I removed the blockage and at that moment Tsunade opened her eyes.

“Did you find the plant?” she asked, her voice sounding heavy.

“Yes. What do I do with it now?” I inquired.

“Find the life force within the plant…and transfer it to me…can you do that?”

“…I can try…”

I used the same sort of Jutsu I used when pulling up plant roots and pulled what Tsunade called the life force out of the Kiko Plant. As if led by instinct I mixed it with my medical Jutsu and poured it into Tsunade, every inch of her. I didn’t even occur to me that I might not have enough strength to do so, until the last minute. I quickly cut off my flow of Chakra…and the I collapsed.


When I opened my eyes I was staring up at a familiar ceiling. I was back in my room at Kakashi’s house. I sat up and looked around. Tsunade was sitting in a chair by my bed. When she saw I was sitting up, she pulled me into a back-breaking hug.

“Ow! Mom! Can’t breath!” I gasped.

“Sorry,” she said, releasing me.

“This is the thanks I get for saving your life?” I joked weakly.

“Heh. You nearly killed yourself in the process. You fully healed me and completely restored my energy. I didn’t even know you had healing Chakra!” she exclaimed.

“Yeah…Orochimaru had Kabuto teach me.”

“I see. Well…I’m glad he did.”

“Really?”

“Yes. Now I can teach you as well. You’ll learn medical jutsu even the doctors of Konohagakure don’t know…you could even become Hokage some
day.”

“That’s Naruto’s dream, not mine. I have no interest in having power…but you may teach me the jutsu for my own knowledge and benefit,” I said slowly.

“Very well…but for now, you need rest,” she said, standing up.

“Wait! Did Jiraiya tell you? …we ran into Orochimaru.”

“Yes, he told me. Though I already suspected he would go after you.”

“He said he had a cure hidden nearby…”

“Do you believe him?”

“…yes.”

“Hm. Well, get some rest. I’ll send Neji in, okay?”

“thank you.”

She smiled faintly then left the room. A few seconds later Neji appeared in the doorway. I tried to pull myself up into a sitting position.

“Don’t. I don’t want you to use up your strength,” he said gently.

“Okay,” I said, relaxing. I felt exhausted and wanted to go back to sleep.

“You’re tired, aren’t you? You can go back to sleep. I’ll come back later.”

“thank you, Neji.”

“Sure. Goodnight, Tsukiko.”

“Goodnight, Neji. I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

As soon as he was gone I closed my eyes and fell asleep.

The next time I opened my eyes I knew something was off. My bedroom window was open. A beam of moonlight fell on the chair at my bedside. A scroll was sitting there. I picked it up. A familiar, untidy, scrawling handwriting spelled out my name. I opened it without prelude.

Tsukiko,
I know what you want. I have it. Meet me at the Waterfall Place.


Quiet as a mouse I slipped out of my bed and got dressed. The house was silent. I grabbed my backpack and slung it over my shoulder. I crawled out the window and made my way into the forest.

He was standing there when I arrived. He was facing the waterfall. He let out a yawn and turned around to face me.

“About time you arrived…daughter,” said Orochimaru with a malevolent grin.
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Old 03-02-2009, 01:45 AM
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HisGothicTwilightPrincess HisGothicTwilightPrincess is offline
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Join Date: January 26, 2009
Location: The Hidden Leaf Village
Age: 26
Posts: 38
Pronoun: Female
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Default Re: An Untitled Naruto Fanfic

PART 5 (Destiny)
Chapter 50 (Scrolls)

“Give me what I came for,” I said stonily.

“Oh you mean this?” he asked, lifting up a scroll.

“the information I need to summon the First Hokage’s creature. Give it to me, father,” I said extending my hand.

“Oh I will…on one condition.”

“What condition?”

“You help me summon the beast…or I won’t let you have this.”

“you mean work together?”

“Yes.”

“For what purpose? Why do you want the creature- to attack my Village?” I demanded.

“Your Village?” he asked with a laugh, “The Village that for fifteen years ignored you, hated you, lied to you?”

“Protected me from you.”

“Ah, well, yes. Anyway, you’re forgetting that it was once my village as well. No I do not wish to use this creature against the Leaf Village. It seems I have enemies elsewhere- within my own land if you can believe it. They’re planning an uprising and this seemed a more impudent way to deal with them.”

“I know you hate for things to be boring as much as I do. Still, I don’t think I should…”

“Why not? You are my daughter, after all. And this is your great-grandfather’s Summoning Scroll. It is your destiny to summon this beast. You won’t rest easy until you do.”

“…okay. Okay I will. But only if you promise to stay out of the Leaf Village.”

“I promise. We can summon it here, in the forest. It will take a while to prepare all that needs to be prepared. Since I’d rather not have your mother’s friends chasing after me, it’s convenient to remain here so that you can return to the Village frequently. Think you can pull it off?”

“I am quite skilled at deception, father,” I said with a wicked smile.

“Excellent. Of course, I’ll need a place to stay while we work on this…but I know of a place. A cave where I can put up an extensive jutsu for my own protection. Shall we go?” he asked me.

“Give me the scroll first.”

“How do I know you won’t just run off when I give it to you?”

“I guess you’ll just have to trust me, father,” I said, flashing him another evil smile.

“Very well,” he said simply and he handed me the scroll. I could have run…but I didn’t. I needed him to help me summon the creature.

“Show me the cave you spoke of.”

“Alright. Follow me, Tsukiko.”

I followed him through the trees until at last we came to a stop outside of a large cave over-looking the ocean. By then the sun was rising.

“Will you be able to find your way back to the Village from here, Tsukiko?” Orochimaru asked me.

“Yes and I can fly to save time. I should get back soon or Kakashi will be looking for me.”

“Alright. Fly away, little Kiko. I will expect you tonight, okay?”

“Very well. Good-bye father.”

Using Kouta’s strength I formed my Chakra Wings and launched myself into the air.

It was still early morning when I reached home and no one had even noticed I was gone. I grinned as I crawled into bed. Adrenaline was coursing through my body. I unrolled the scroll and began to read it.

We would need a large, open space about half a mile in diameter. We would have to draw a web-like pattern using Chakra and a series of various, complicated signs and seals. Then, at exactly midnight on the night of the full moon, we had to have four exceptionally strong ninja to stand at the North, South, East, and Western corners of the web pattern, who would form various hand seals to summon forth the beast.

“Tsukiko, are you awake?” Asked a voice at the door. It was Kakashi. I quickly stashed the scroll in my backpack and pushed it under the bed.

“Yeah, I’m up,” I said with a fake yawn. Kakashi opened the door and he and Neji walked in.

“Do you feel better?” Kakashi asked me.

“Yes. Completely restored,” I assured him.

“Good. I was thinking perhaps you’d like to go get some Ramen with me,” Neji said with a smile.

“Uh, sure,” I said with a grin, “I am pretty hungry.”

Neji and I walked to the Ramen Bar together where we found Naruto and Choji, stuffing their faces. Beside Choji sat a pudgy, brown-haired brown-eyed boy I didn’t know. He looked a lot like Choji, though.

“Hey Naruto, Hey Choji, Hey Kid I don’t know,” I said with a grin.

“Hey Kiko. This is my cousin, Kenta. He’s visiting,” said Choji through a mouthful of food.

“Cool,” I said, sitting down on the other side of Naruto. Neji sat down beside me.

“Where are you from Kenta?” Neji asked him. Kenta actually stopped eating in order to talk clearly.

“Sunagakure. I just graduated from the Academy,” he said proudly. Neji and I exchanged quick smiles. The kid was a little old to be just graduating the Academy. Of course, Neji and I had both graduated early.

“Hey, Kiko!” Naruto said suddenly, abandoning his ramen.

“I’m right here, kid, you don’t have to yell,” I said sharply.

“Whatever. Tell your mom she needs to give us a mission! We haven’t done anything in weeks!” he exclaimed.

“She’s been sick, you idiot,” I snapped at him.

“Huh? Sick?”

“Yeah, but she’s better now.”

“Oh. Well when is she gonna give me a mission?”

“Oh quit complaining, Naruto. Go train!”

Chapter 51 (Stolen)

Neji and I ate our ramen and talked some more with Kenta. When we were finished we began to walk aimlessly through the village. Or at least, I thought we were walking aimlessly until Neji stopped suddenly beside a somewhat familiar training field.

“This is where we had our first battle,” he said, gazing out over the green grass. I remembered it well.

“It was also when I found out about Kouta,” I recalled, “And she slashed your back. You still have the scars.”

“Do I?” he said, surprised.

“Yes. …I’m getting tired Neji,” I murmured with a yawn that was real.

“I’ll take you home now.”

With a final glance at the field he took my hand and began to walk towards Kakashi’s house.

We hadn’t been walking long when a loud shriek pierced the somewhat peaceful atmosphere of the village. Neji and I exchanged alarmed glances and ran towards where we had heard the scream. It was a younger woman by the name of Mena. She owned a shop in the village and this is where she was standing when we reached her.

“What’s wrong, Mena?” I asked her, looking around. The shop was emptier than usual.

“I’ve been robbed! Food, clothes…stolen!” she sobbed. My heart sank. I had a bad feeling about the person who stole from Mena’s shop.

When we left Mena’s Shop after calming her down some Neji took me home. As soon as I got home I told Kakashi I was tired, went to my room, and locked the door. I grabbed my backpack which had the scroll in it, walked over to my bedroom window, leapt out, and closed it behind me.

Within fifteen minutes of flying I was at Orochimaru’s cave hide out. He had many large, bulky bundles in the cave. I knew immediately it was he who had robbed Mena’s shop.

“I told you to stay out of the Village! You promised!” I shouted as soon as I had landed and retracted my Chakra Wings.

“I needed food and supplies,” he said innocently, grinning.

“The next time you need something, tell me! You can summon Saromi and send him to me if I’m in the village.”

“I couldn’t help but notice you seem particularly close to the Hyuuga boy. Is he your boyfriend?” he asked, ignoring me.

“Why do you care?” I asked coldly.

“Because I am your father. I like to know what’s going on in your life,” he replied smoothly.

“Well…yeah. Neji and I are dating. Now are you going to stay out of the
village or what?”

“Tell me about him,” he continued, still ignoring me.

You aren’t listening to me!” I growled and launched myself at him. He was completely surprised and I was able to knock him to the ground and pin him there…or at least for a moment. We were soon rolling around on the ground in a sort-of scary, sort-of fun way. It was like playing with Kakashi but with the dangerous feeling of being around Gaara.


Neither of us used enough strength to hurt each other but in the end I pinned him to the ground and he called a truce. He got to his feet, smirking. I had the feeling he let me win.

“Well that was fun. Now, let’s get down to it. You ready to start the
Summoning Circe, Kiko?” Orochimaru inquired.

Over the next couple of weeks that was pretty much how my life went. I underwent a personality change, according to my friends in the Village. I now had a more crude sense of humor and a slightly darker personality. I also acquired a new wardrobe that matched my personality change. Less modest, definitely. My everyday clothes consisted of skin tight black jeans, black leather boots, a black sleeveless shirt, and black leather gloves that I never went anywhere without.

One morning when Kakashi was on a mission and Neji was training with Hiashi, I flew down to Orochimaru’s cave. Our summoning circle was almost finished. It was very time and energy consuming, but my father said we may be able to summon the beast during the next full moon.

As I approached the cave I could see Orochimaru standing outside the cave, looking up at me. I tilted my wings down and landed a few feet in front of him.

“What’re you doing?” I inquired.

“Oh, I was just remembering how when I first saw you, you were using the name Chouko- butterfly child. Your Chakra Wings are very butterfly-like. I was just thinking of the irony.”

“I always associated ‘butterfly child’ with caterpillars. Because caterpillars are literally butterfly children,” I said with a shrug.

“That’s because you take things too literally, daughter. You need to learn to think outside of the box.”

“But I like the box. It’s dark and cozy, like a coffin,” I protested with a wicked grin. He shook his head and grinned as well.

“It seems we’ve hit a snag in our plan,” Orochimaru said, changing the subject.

“What’s that?”

“We need four, strong ninja, according to the scroll.”

“I assumed you would provide the other two,” I said with a shrug.

“I suppose we could use Kabuto. He’s been dying for a task like this. But we still need one more…someone we can trust.”

“Don’t look at me. Everyone I trust is one of the good guys,” I said coolly.

“What about your boyfriend?”

“No way! I’m not dragging Neji into this.”

“He doesn’t like me, does he?”

“No one in their right mind likes you,” I said, rolling my eyes, “and since when do you care?”

“I don’t care…but I guess that makes you crazy then.”

“Hey, I never claimed to be in my right mind. Hell, living my life would make anyone nuts.”

“How so?”

“Uh, let’s see…” I said sarcastically, “My parents are mortal enemies, for one-”

“We are not!” he protested, “I would never hurt Tsunade.”

“You infected her with a hand-made deadly virus!”

“But I had a cure. It’s not like I would have let her die.”

“Okay, fine. You can have that one. How about- my father is a murderer and a bad guy? You’re Konohagakure’s Most Wanted ninja!”

He didn’t say anything so I continued.

“What about the fact that there’s a demon inside of me? That you put there?
Or what about the fact that I’m stuck between good and evil?” I demanded and for some odd reason, tears welled up in my eyes.

“…I’m sorry,” he said through gritted teeth.

“For what?”

“I don’t know. Just stop,” he pleaded and I let out a choked laugh.

“God, you’re worse than Tsunade when she was pregnant. What’s with the mood swings, Tsukiko?” he inquired.

“Must be a lack of sleep,” I muttered quickly. Still the ‘pregnant’ thing unnerved me. Neji and I used protection every time…or at least I was pretty sure we did. …I couldn’t possibly be pregnant, could I?

“I’ve gotta go back to the village,” I said suddenly.

“but you just got here,” he protested, “Why do you have to leave?”

“I just do,” I replied evenly, “I’ll come back this afternoon. Until then you can be thinking of someone to be our Fourth ninja…and don’t summon any dead corpses!”

“That’s redundant, and you have too many rules,” he complained, “I forget why you’re helping me.”

“Because I’m your daughter….and because you need my blood,” I replied.

“Oh, yeah. That’s about it.”
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Old 03-02-2009, 02:16 AM
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HisGothicTwilightPrincess HisGothicTwilightPrincess is offline
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Join Date: January 26, 2009
Location: The Hidden Leaf Village
Age: 26
Posts: 38
Pronoun: Female
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Default Re: An Untitled Naruto Fanfic

Chapter 52 (A Scare)

Back in the Village I met Neji as he was leaving the Hyuuga household. He greeted me with a kiss.

“Where are you going?” he asked me.

“Nowhere in particular. Kakashi is out on a mission…wanna go to my house?” I asked, flashing him a flirty smile.

“Depends…what are we going to be doing?” he asked, smirking at me. I whispered something in his ear that made him blush bright red.

“alright, let’s go,” he said quickly, grabbing my hand and heading for Kakashi’s house.

A few wonderful hours later, Neji had to go back to Hiashi’s house for lunch. He had promised them he would. I decided to walk with him before returning to my father.

As we approached the Hyuuga household I saw a dark green snake slithering purposely towards me. It was Chiko, one of my father’s summoning snakes.

“Lady Tsukiko, I wish to speak with you,” Chiko hissed at me. Neji raised a curious eyebrow.

“It’s nothing,” I said reassuringly to Neji, “You go on to Lord Hiashi. I’ll see you later.”

“Okay,” he said, casting a curious glance at the snake. As soon as Neji was gone I turned to Chiko.

“Don’t come up to me when I’m around other people,” I growled at him, “You’ll make me look suspicious.”

“I don’t take orders from you, Kiko,” he hissed. Chiko and I had never gotten along. He didn’t like me because I was a girl. He refused to call me Lady Tsukiko unless my father was somewhere now. Orochimaru had always insisted they call me Lady Tsukiko. I’d never much paid attention to it, but at this time used it to my advantage.

“That’s Lady Tsukiko, to you, snake. Now what do you want?”

“It’s not what I want, but what your father wants- lavender incense.”

“For what?”

“Your little project, I assume. May I go now?”

“Yeah, go. Scram. Bug off.”

He hissed loudly and showed his fangs before slithering off.

I went to one of the Village Shops and got some lavender incense. While I was there I also grabbed a pregnancy. I paid for both things without meeting anyone’s eyes, then left the shop. As I walked towards the Village Gates I heard a familiar voice call out-

“Hey, Kiko!”
I turned to see Kenta, Choji’s cousin, walking towards me.

“I don’t really have time to talk right now, Kenta,” I said quickly.

“Where are you going? What’s in the bag?” he asked curiously.

“Nothing,” I said, moving it out of his reach.

“Is it for a Top Secret mission? Can I come?”

“No! God, you’re worse than Naruto Uzumaki. Just leave me alone, Kenta…go eat or something,” I said, irritated.

“Hmm. You are so mean Tsukiko,” he complained.

“And you’re so whiny. Now scram, kid.”

He punched me lightly in the arm then took off back towards the village. His light punch had probably left a bruise because he was so much bigger than me. Miserable little twerp. It was like having a younger brother.

What would I do if I was pregnant? How would I tell Neji…or Kakashi! Kakashi would kill me. I wondered what mom would say? Probably not much. She’d gotten pregnant by a team member. I wondered what having a Hyuuga baby entails? Like, do I have to join the clan? We’d be members of the branch family. My child would have to get the curse seal put on his or her forehead. I’d probably kill anyone who used it against him or her- even if it was Hiashi. …what would I name a child? Probably Chouko…or I’ve always liked the name Yumi…

I shook my head to clear it of these thoughts as I approached the beach. I didn’t even know if I was pregnant and I was already thinking of baby names!

When I reached Orochimaru’s Cave I gave him his stupid lavender incense.

“What’s that?” he asked, nodding to the other box in the bag.

“…it’s a pregnancy test. Now shut up and leave me alone so I can go pee on a stick,” I growled at him. He looked surprised, then laughed.

“Tsukiko, am I going to be a grandfather? How interesting,” he said lightly.

“No! It’s not interesting because you’re not going to be a grandpa, because
I’m not pregnant…I just have to make sure.”

“That makes absolutely no sense at all. Alright then. You go pee on a stick while I work on the Summoning Circle,” he said with a faint smirk.

Five minutes later I was relieved to see a little negative symbol appear on the stick. Thank God for condoms.

“So, I take it you aren’t pregnant, since you’re not screaming,” Orochimaru said as I walked out to the summoning circle.

“I’m not pregnant. End of subject. So, have you found our fourth ninja yet?” I inquired.

“Yes. One of the many powerful ninja I have at my disposal. His name is Hibiki. He’s a malevolent ninja from Kirigakure. Kabuto assured me his Chakra resources run deep and he has amazing stamina. Perfect for summoning large beasts. He and Kabuto will arrive here in two days time. The night after that is the night of the full moon.”

“So everything is ready?”

“Yes. In three days time we will summon a creature not seen since the building of Konohagakure.”


Chapter 53 (Kabuto)

The next two days passed by in an impatient blur. When the day finally came that Kabuto and Hibiki were to arrive I got up early, told Kakashi I was going to train, and flown to Orochimaru’s cave to await them. I stood at the mouth of the cave, looking out for them rather eagerly, but father simply sat in his cave, looking over the scroll for the millionth time as if it were for the first.

“Here they come,” I said to him as I saw the little black dots running towards us on the horizon. He acted as if he hadn’t heard me. When Kabuto and Hibiki came to a stop outside of the cave they bowed slightly to Orochimaru and to me. Hibiki was a large man with no hair on his head and a long red beard. He was broad-shouldered and extremely fat.

Kabuto looked the same as ever. I was angry that he had lied to Orochimaru and myself about killing Kakashi. I was also angry that we’d never gotten to have our battle, which everyone in Otogakure had been looking forward to. I hated Kabuto more than I hated Orochimaru…but I wasn’t so sure I did hate Orochimaru anymore.

“Lady Tsukiko! It is so good to see you again,” Kabuto said with a smile and a glint in his eyes that I didn’t like. Something was said between Hibiki and my father, but I didn’t hear it. Kabuto was still staring at me through his glasses, grinning. I now knew what the expression ‘undressing me with his eyes’ felt like.

I forced my attention away from Kabuto and onto Orochimaru. He didn’t look particularly interested in anything that was going on at the moment.

“I’ll want them both to stay out of the village as well, father,” I said to Orochimaru. He nodded his head and made a dismissive gesture.

“Anything you need you tell Lady Tsukiko, or if she’s not around, tell me and I can let her know,” he said to Kabuto and Hibiki.

“We’ll need tents to sleep in, Lady Tsukiko,” Kabuto said to me.

“And probably some food,” Hibiki added.

On my way back to the village I wondered what had sparked this change of attitude in Kabuto. He used to treat me like a frail angel or a goddess…now he was making sexual innuendos when Orochimaru wasn’t listening. He even offered to walk me back to the village with a hint of mysteriousness, which I immediately declined because I’d be flying. I wasn’t so sure that I liked this change in attitude. It made it harder for me to hate him.

I went to the shop first and bought some food and tents for Kabuto and Hibiki. Then I hid all the stuff at the Waterfall Place, planning to go back there before I went to Orochimaru’s Cave again. Then I went to visit Tsunade.

“Is it okay if I leave the village for a few days?” I asked her, “I wanted to go out into the woods and train by myself for a few days.”

“Do you think it’s safe?” she inquired worriedly.

“Sure. Orochimaru won’t dare try and find me,” I said with a smirk.

“Alright, I guess. Be sure to take some food and don’t get lost.”

“I’ll be fine.”

I repeated this same claim for both Kakashi and Neji. They worried about me, but because I had the Hokage’s permission they didn’t worry too much. Neji kissed me good-bye at the gate to the village and then I headed off. After a quick stop to get the stuff I’d left at the Waterfall Place, I headed to Orochimaru’s Cave. When I got there Kabuto took the bundles, insisting that a princess shouldn’t have to carry such heavy items. I accepted this with the same eye-rolling mentality I had every time Kabuto, or anyone else for that matter, called me a princess.

“I got mom’s okay to leave the village for a few days so I can be down here and help,” I said to Orochimaru. He looked faintly amused.

“How’d you manage that one?” he inquired curiously.

“I merely told her that I wanted a few days to myself, to train alone,” I replied.

“I’m surprised Kakashi let you go.”

“Kakashi lets me do pretty much whatever I want to do. Neji was concerned and wanted to come with me, but we worked things out.”

“Who’s Neji?” Kabuto, who had been inadvertently eavesdropping, inquired.

“Her boyfriend,” Orochimaru said simply, “…he’s a Hyuuga.”

Kabuto looked slightly put off but quickly recovered. He smiled at me coolly.

“He’s one of the good guys, eh?” he asked lightly. I didn’t honor him with a response.

As nighttime drew closer Kabuto insisted on helping me put my tent up. He ordered Hibiki to go and find firewood and Hibiki obeyed. I didn’t know where Orochimaru was. I sighed and sat down on a rock near where Kabuto was putting up my tent. He was having trouble and somehow managed to get himself completely tangled up in the tent. He lost his balance and fell over with a loud thud, still wrapped in the tent, and he looked up at me sheepishly.

“I’m sorry, Lady Tsukiko, I-” he began, but I couldn’t help it. I burst out laughing at how ridiculous he was. I was doubled over, laughing so hard my ribs hurt. He smiled wryly as he freed himself from the confines of the tent. He was on me so fast I couldn’t breathe. He kissed me passionately. I froze, unsure of what to do. Then just as suddenly he was back working on the tent and I heard approaching footsteps. It was Orochimaru. He came to stand beside me, unaware of what had just transpired. I didn’t know what to say or do or think. Kabuto flashed me a malevolent smirk that Orochimaru missed.

“Where’s Hibiki?” Orochimaru asked in a slightly bored voice.

“Gone to get firewood, Orochimaru-sama,” Kabuto provided, “So Lady Tsukiko won’t freeze to death at night.”

Orochimaru glanced at me and I rolled my eyes and shook my head.

“You worry about her too much, Kabuto. She is a ninja after all…she can put up her own tent. You don’t have to spoon feed her,” Orochimaru said with a faint smile.

To my surprise Kabuto actually blushed a little bit. At that moment Hibiki returned with an armful of firewood. It was almost dark now. Without speaking, I helped Kabuto assemble my tent. Orochimaru and Hibiki were there so we didn’t have a chance to talk…but I had a chance to think.

I had thought I hated Kabuto, for lying about Kakashi, but when he kissed me…I felt something that definitely wasn’t hate. Plus he looked good…smelled good…tasted good. The fact that he treated me like a princess wasn’t always a bad thing. …but what about Neji? I loved Neji, didn’t I? Yes, with all my heart…but who’s to say I couldn’t have fun with Kabuto? He was older than me by at least a few years. He was definitely a more skilled medical ninja.

That night when I crawled into my tent after everyone else had long gone to bed, I heard a rustling noise outside my tent. I froze and grabbed a kunai, fearing an attack. Then someone went PSST in a loud whisper outside my tent and I lowered the kunai, smiling faintly.

“Kabuto?” I asked softly. He unzipped the tent and slipped inside. He was carrying a small, dimly lit lantern, and he set it down in the middle of the floor so that we could talk.

“Hello, princess,” he said with a smile, and then he leaned over and kissed me. This time I was ready for him and met his kiss with my own burst of fiery passion. He broke the kiss and smiled.

“Looks like you made up your mind,” he said with a smirk.

“I had some time to think,” I replied coolly. He kissed me again. I allowed this to happen and even let him grope me a little bit…but I didn’t do anything else. He accepted this with a sigh and we both sat back with our backs against the side of the tent. We stared at the lantern in silence, listening to the sound of the crickets chirping softly outside of the tent. He laid his hand on my thigh and I rested my head on his shoulder.

“How old are you, Kabuto?” I asked softly.

“Nineteen.”

“Ah. You’re three years older than myself.”

“Hmm…you don’t look sixteen. You look older.”

“Girls don’t usually take that as a compliment,” I said with a dry chuckle. He chuckled softly and kissed my forehead gently. I felt oddly sleepy and peaceful. I vaguely wondered if he was using a genjutsu on me, or some sort of medical jutsu to make me sleep. But then, it had been a long day, and he looked almost as tired as I was. So as the light of the lantern began to die out he wrapped his arms around me and we fell asleep together.

Chapter 54 (On the Beach)

The next morning I awoke before Kabuto and I knew, just in the way that I knew a lot of things, that Orochimaru was sitting outside of the tent. I slipped away from Kabuto without waking him and emerged from the tent. He looked at me with a smile that told me he knew exactly what was going on.

“You’re not going to kill him, are you?” I asked with a sigh.

“Not unless you want me to. For the moment, I approve.”

“It’s just a fling,” I said meaningfully.

“I know. But I approve nonetheless. He’s very smart and a very capable medical ninja…even your mother said he surpasses her when she was his age.”

We fell silent as we heard Kabuto stir within the tent. A moment later he crawled out. He saw us sitting there and his face turned red.

“I think I’ll go get some firewood,” he mumbled and fled. I smiled briefly at Orochimaru before running off after Kabuto.

“Don’t worry. He approves,” I said once I caught up to him.

“Really? Well that’s a relief.”

When we returned to camp a little while later- without firewood, I might add- Hibiki and Orochimaru were both sitting there, talking.

“Tonight will be the night of the full moon. We’ll be summoning the beast tonight,” my father was saying.

“What sort of beast is it?” Hibiki asked curiously.

“Well it never says directly…but it talks about the beast having fangs and wings.”

“Sounds like my kind of monster,” I said with a wicked grin. Kabuto laughed quietly.

“Everything is ready for tonight, there’s nothing left we have to do…so you can do basically whatever you want to as long as you’re back in time for midnight,” Orochimaru said to all three of us. Kabuto caught my eye and we shared a grin. When Orochimaru returned to his cave Kabuto walked over to me and wrapped his hands around my waist, obviously not caring if Hibiki saw.

“Would you like to walk down to the beach with me?” he whispered softly in my ear. I nodded my head yes.

Kabuto and I spent the day at the beach, sitting in the shade. Mostly we just made out, but we talked some. He told me about his childhood and growing up. I told him mine as well. He smirked whenever I mentioned Kakashi’s name. I’d forgotten that they knew each other. In fact they looked vaguely similar. Their gray hair, their black eyes.

“What happens after we summon the…whatever it is?” Kabuto asked me. His head was laying in my lap and I was stroking his hair absently.

“What do you mean?” I inquired.

“Do you go back to the Leaf Village and I never see you again?”

“…I guess I don’t really know. I hadn’t thought about it. I never plan anything out like that. Everything I do is ‘a series of rash actions ruled by instinct’,” I said, smiling to myself faintly, “And Kakashi says that by not planning ahead, my enemies can’t dissect my strategy. It’s why I always win.”

“Hmm…I never thought of it like that before…”

“…we were supposed to battle, remember? Before, when I was staying with my father. You and I were supposed to fight.”

“I remember.”

“Who do you think would have won?” I asked hesitantly.

“You,” he said without a moment’s hesitation, “I don’t think I would have been able to defeat you. I would have fought, of course…but I would not have enjoyed it.”

There was a moment of silence while I contemplated his answer as well as my next question.

“Kabuto, can I ask you something?”

“You just did,” he said with a smile, “but go ahead.”

“Why…why did you tell Orochimaru that you had killed Kakashi?”

“Oh…it seemed the safest route to go.”

“What do you mean?”

“…I disagree with Orochimaru-sama with only one thing, and that is that students should be pitted against their teachers. I did not want you to fight Kakashi Hatake. I did fight Kakashi, and I injured him…but not fatally. I thought it would be enough to keep him from trying to find you. Guess I was wrong.”

“But Jiraiya rescued me. Not Kakashi.”

“The way I heard it Kakashi was practically begging Master Jiraiya to come and find you. And so was Tsunade.”

“Why didn’t she come herself?”

“The same reason she never came herself any of the other times you were in danger before…she couldn’t leave the village and you didn’t know she was your mother. Probably she would have tried to kill Orochimaru-sama…again,” he said rolling his eyes.

I knew that when Orochimaru had been gravelly injured in his battle with the third Hokage he sought Tsunade to heal his arms in exchange for bringing back her little brother and her lover from the dead. She’d said she accepted…and then tried to kill him. Kabuto had seen and intervened before any damage could be done.

“It’s hard to imagine a lack of open hostility between Tsunade and Orochimaru…much less them, uh, well…making me,” I said awkwardly. Kabuto shook his head and chuckled dryly.

“Those were different times, I suppose,” he said with a shrug, “People change…or so I’ve heard.”

“You wouldn’t be talking about me, now would you?” said a light voice from behind us. We both turned our heads to see Orochimaru standing there. Kabuto turned a shade of bright red and scrambled away from me.

“Heh heh heh…we were just talking,” Kabuto said sheepishly.

“Indeed. Tsukiko, I was hoping I could talk to you alone,” my father said, scarcely glancing at Kabuto.

“Uh, sure. Let’s go back up to the cave. I’ll see you later, Kabuto?” I said awkwardly.

“Mm-hmm,” he replied weakly and walked in the opposite direction. I stood up and turned to face Orochimaru, scowling.

“What was that all about? I thought you said you approved?” I growled, annoyed.

“I do approve. That was me being nice,” he replied with a smirk. I looked at him scathingly.

“So what’s so important that it couldn’t wait until midnight?” I inquired, trying to keep my voice calm.

“I have a gift for you.”

“…why?”

“you’re my daughter. I can give you a gift without having a reason,” he retorted. I rolled my eyes as he pulled a small box out of his pocket. He gave it to me without prelude and I opened it. It was a silver ring with sparkling stuff on it.

“It’s pure silver sprinkled with diamond dust,” Orochimaru informed me, “It used to belong to your mother.”

“Oh. Thanks.”

It was only slightly too big for my ring finger, so I slipped it onto the middle finger of my left hand. It contrasted my black fingernail polish beautifully. I had to admit, it was a beautiful ring and I loved it.

Chapter 55 (Dragon)

I went and caught up with Kabuto after that and stayed with him until almost midnight. Then we walked up to the Summoning Circle together. I even got Kabuto to hold my hand, at least until we reached Orochimaru. He had Hibiki standing at the West Point of the Summoning Circle, practicing his hand signs, and he himself was standing at the South.

“Kabuto, Tsukiko, do you know your hand seals?” Orochimaru asked as we approached.

“Yeah, Dad, we spent all day working on our hand seals,” I said sarcastically, rolling my eyes.

“We know them, Orochimaru-sama,” Kabuto said quickly.

“Good. Kabuto, you go to the East Point and Tsukiko you go to the North. We have to be ready at exactly midnight,” Orochimaru said to us.

We got into our places and at exactly midnight Orochimaru counted down. I quickly completed the six hand signs required to summon the beast. I instantly felt almost all my Chakra drain out of me, to the point that I fell to my knees. I quickly got back up as I felt Kouta lend me her strength. A great, shimmering haze surrounded us in the Summoning Circle to the point that I could not see the others. I was terrified. The ground shook. I wanted to run from my point, to Kabuto or to Orochimaru…Hell I’d probably run all the way back to Kakashi in the village if I could. But I stayed. I stayed because I was curious to see what would happen, and because I was worried about Kabuto. Go figure…I was worried about the guy that, two days ago, I had hated more than Orochimaru.

“Stay in your positions!” Orochimaru’s voice called out through the shimmering dust. I heard someone yell loudly. It sounded like Hibiki…I hoped it was Hibiki and not Kabuto. Please, God, don’t let it be Kabuto, I thought to myself.

A loud roar nearly shattered my ear drums. The shimmering dust settled and there before me, with flames shooting out of it’s scaly mouth, sat a real, live dragon! It was long and black and lethal-looking. It hard sharp claws, sharp teeth, and sharp black scales. It let out a roar and Orochimaru quickly ran before it. He made a series of hand signs and the dragon lowered its head.

“Come on, Tsukiko,” he called to me and beckoned to the others as well. Or should I say other. Only Kabuto, myself, and my father were still standing.
Hibiki was laying on the ground with a trickle of blood coming out of his mouth. His eyes were already glazed over. He was dead.

Kabuto was staring at the dragon in awe and amazement rather than fear. Shaking on the inside I approached the dragon. Orochimaru had climbed on its back and held his hand out to help an excited Kabuto up. When Kabuto was seated he turned and lifted me up without much effort. As soon as I was seated the dragon leapt off the ground. I quickly grabbed Kabuto’s waist to keep myself from falling. He turned and grinned slightly at me. I leaned my head over his shoulder to talk to Orochimaru.

“Father, it killed Hibiki!” I shouted up to him.

“No, Hibiki killed himself. He tried to flee, even after my warning, and the Summoning Circle sucked every ounce of his Chakra out and killed him,” he called back to me.

“Don’t worry about it, Princess Tsukiko,” Kabuto said to me, “Hibiki was disposable.”

I didn’t quite know what to say so I said nothing and proceeded to look around. Trees whooshed beneath us.

“Where are we going, father?” I asked Orochimaru.

“Home, to scare some of the citizens of Otogakure…then we’re going to the castle,” he replied, “It’ll seem a great comfort after staying for so long in the woods…”

The dragon was flying fast and the ground was whooshing beneath us. I was actually beginning to feel a little bit airsick and was clinging on to Kabuto for dear life, pressing my face into his back and inhaling his warm scent. I could feel him smiling and we were both glad Orochimaru was facing forward.

“We’re almost there,” Orochimaru said from the front. I didn’t respond. I fear if I opened my mouth I’d probably puke.

The dragon landed in front of the castle with a jolt that threw me from its back. I hit the ground with a bone-jarring thud. I was glad only Orochimaru and Kabuto were there to see it.

“Princess Tsukiko!” Kabuto cried. Both he and Orochimaru leapt of the dragon and ran to my aid. Kabuto helped me to my feet and I stood there, dazed.

“Why’d you let her fall off?” Orochimaru hissed at Kabuto. Kabuto took a step back.

“It’s not his fault,” I murmured weakly, “…I feel sick.”

“Take her inside,” Orochimaru commanded Kabuto, “I’ll find a place for our large scaly friend.”

“Yes, Orochimaru-sama,” Kabuto said quietly. Leaning on him for support, Kabuto and I went inside.

We went to the room that had been mine before. It looked exactly the same as when I had left- black satin bed sheets that I loved, black walls…and now Kabuto was here with me.

“You shouldn’t have fallen off,” Kabuto said quietly.

“Not my fault,” I said as I collapsed on the bed, “And you should stand up to Orochimaru.”

“He’d kill me.”

“oh…yeah…he probably would.”

“Heh. You should’ve seen him back when his arms were injured. We were going through nurses like they were disposable tissues! Every time I would leave for more than an hour I’d come back to find a bloody massacre,” he said, smirking slightly.

“He killed them without even using his arms!” I exclaimed, eyes wide.

“Yes. He kicked down a tree on the way to find Tsunade…honestly, it’s rather funny, in a scary way, to see him so angry. He’s got that feminine squeak-ish voice and when he’s angry it’s like…well sort of like a tiger.”

“You think he’s like a tiger? You should be around me when Kouta comes out to play,” I said with a playful smile. He raised an eyebrow at me.

“I wonder how much time we have before Orochimaru comes to check on you?” he mused aloud.

“Not enough time, I think. …there will be a time, though, when Orochimaru’s not around…then I can show you what I’m talking about,” I said, still smiling. He inclined his head slightly in acceptance.

Chapter 56 (Tsukiko and Kabuto)

A knock on the door interrupted our precarious flirting. Kabuto took a few respectful steps away from my bed. The door was opened by
Orochimaru…who else would it have been? He pretty much ignored Kabuto and walked over to my bed.

“Are you feeling better, Tsukiko?” he asked me.

“A little bit…we don’t have to get back onto the dragon again, do we?” I asked weakly.

“Not right away. Tomorrow, I think. There’s a meeting of insurgents at sunset tomorrow. I think it would be interesting for us to swoop in there on the back of Karuko and…unsettle them,” he replied, smirking.

“Wait, that thing has a name?” I demanded.

“Of course. Everything has a name.”

“How do you know it’s name?”

“It told me. He told me. Karuko is male.”

I shook my head in disbelief. Orochimaru was bonding with a dragon. It seemed that a little warning signal should be going off in my brain…but my mind was on Kabuto. I wanted Orochimaru to go far, far away so we could spend more time together.

“I’m tired now, I think I’m going to bed,” Orochimaru said lightly, “Goodnight daughter…goodnight Kabuto.”

“Sleep well, father,” I murmured.

As soon as Orochimaru closed the door Kabuto took a few certain steps towards me and smiled.

“I had an interesting thought while I was standing there,” he said lightly.

“What would that be?” I inquired. He just smiled and took a stance in the middle of the floor. He formed a few hand signs and muttered something. The door turned a light blue.

“What’d you do?” I asked curiously.

“A sound-proof, impenetrable jutsu,” he replied with a smirk.

“So he can’t hear us?”

“Not even if you scream.”

He chuckled deeply as he walked closer to my bed. My heart was pounding and I would have pulled away…but he kissed me and my brain went sort of numb.

I don’t know if I want to do this. This isn’t a good idea. I shouldn’t be doing this, I thought to myself, but I didn’t say anything out loud. Kabuto pushed me down onto the bed, still kissing me, and crouching over me as he pinned my arms above my head in a would-be harmless way…

It was probably an hour or two later and I was lying in my bed, half-way curled up into a ball. Kabuto was laying beside me, half asleep. He was inches away from me. He reached out to touch me, but I flinched away. I was sore and tired. I wanted to sleep…and I wanted him to get away from me.

“I’m tired, Kabuto, I want to sleep,” I said quietly.

“Oh. Okay,” he murmured, and kissed my cheek before rolling over and going to sleep.

The next morning I released Kabuto’s jutsu and slipped out of the door quietly. I went to the bathroom and locked the door behind me. I took a quick shower and then took a good look at myself in the mirror. There was minimal bruising on my forearms and significant bruising on my thighs and stomach. I flinched as I gathered up some healing Chakra and healed the bruises on my stomach and legs. The ones on my arms I wasn’t too worried about and didn’t bother healing them.

I went back to my room to find Kabuto awake and sitting on the edge of my bed. He looked up guiltily.

“Lady Tsukiko…I’m so sorry…I didn’t mean to…” he stammered, blushing
furiously.

“Don’t worry about it, Kabuto.”

“Did…Did I hurt you?” he murmured, averting my eyes.

“I’m fine.”

“I can heal you if you-”

“I said I’m fine, Kabuto!”

He fell silent and wouldn’t look at me. I sighed and turned towards the door.

“W-where…where are you going?”

“To find something to eat,” I replied without looking back at him.

Later that afternoon we met with Orochimaru outside. He was standing beside the dragon, Karuko.

“Are you two ready to go?” my father asked us.

“I suppose so,” I said with a sigh, “I’ll try not to fall off this time.”

I climbed onto Karuko’s back and sat behind Orochimaru. He seemed vaguely surprised by the change in seating but said nothing. Kabuto climbed up behind me and put his arms around my waist. I flinched slightly. Orochimaru turned and raised an eyebrow at me. I merely shook my head.

The dragon took off from the ground with the same jolting jump he had the day before. This time I had to grab Orochimaru to keep from falling off, which was unpleasant. He was cold and clammy- like hugging a corpse. I was glad I had never had the urge to hug him before. The dragon flew quickly and when we landed it was in the middle of a bunch of ninja wearing sound Shinobi clothes. Most of them screamed and ran but a few of them remained standing, apparently unfazed by Karuko.

“We’re tired of your way of leading this village, Orochimaru. Our land has become poor ever since your rule began. Leave this land or stand and fight,” said a large, bald man who was apparently the leader.

“It really doesn’t seem fair, does it Tsukiko? A Sanin fighting a jounin?” Orochimaru asked me with a sweet smile. I chuckled darkly and smirked.

“You could let me fight him, father,” I offered, “I’m just a Chunin, after all.”

“Would you agree to this, Okyo?” father asked the ninja.

“Fine,” said the man who was name Okyo, “I’ll fight her…but don’t expect me to go easy on her. She’s just a little girl- I’ll wipe the floor with her.”

“What’d you call me?” I demanded, narrowing my eyes at the man. Behind me
Kabuto was on pins and needles.

“Orochimaru-sama, don’t you think I should-?” Kabuto began.

“No, Kabuto. Let Tsukiko fight her own fights,” Orochimaru said certainly. I lifted one finger and pointed to Okyo.

“You see this? One finger- that’s all I’m gonna need to take you down,” I said to him. I smiled inwardly- I was quoting Tsunade. I heard Orochimaru laugh softly.

“Wonder where she got that from?” he said lightly.

“Bring it on, little girl. I’ll send you home crying,” Okyo said snidely.

Okyo took a stance and started to form some hand seals. I leapt forward and jabbed him once in the chest with a lot of force. He staggered backwards but quickly recovered.

“Is that all you can do is poke me? Fire Style: Fireball Jutsu!” Okyo shouted. I dodged out of the way quickly, feeling the hat of the fire as it passed over my head. I did a tuck and roll and leapt up behind Okyo. I poked him in the back and he went flailing to the ground. I remembered something suddenly that I had seen Kakashi do a billion times before. I leapt onto Okyo’s back.

“Thousand Years of Pain!”
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