Taisetsuna : Precious
A Naruto Fanfiction by Aoikami Sarah
In a small, dark room the Hatake girls awoke surprised to find themselves bound and gagged. They were tied to chairs in a circular formation. Their eyes were blindfolded. Each struggled and tried to scream, but quickly quieted as a laugh like a crow cawing sounded from the other side of the room. “Little Chuunin girls,” a man’s voice cackled. “You think Kazekage will set you free?” he laughed again. “You’re too valuable, little Chuunin girls. We’re going to keep you. Our friend Mimizuku will make certain of that!”
“Karasu,” a woman’s voice barked. “Don’t you think you should be outside? Our guests will be here soon.”
“Hai, hai Sempai,” he said, cheerfully. “Though I don’t think I’ll get a chance to play with them with Washi-san guarding the first gate.”
“Just take your position,” she said gruffly.
Karasu’s light footsteps walked out of the room and another heavier set walked towards the girls. They straightened up in anticipation.
“You think you’re so special,” the woman called Tancho hissed. “Kazekage-sama is going through an awful lot to keep you here.” She circled the girls and scoffed. “It doesn’t matter. Soon you won’t ever want to leave the Sand.” The footsteps disappeared into the next room.
Hikari reached her fingers as far as they would go and brushed Yami’s hand on her right and Yume’s hand on the left. ‘Escape’ she said with her fingertip in Morse code.
‘How?’ both replied.
‘Cut ropes first.’
‘OK’ both agreed and they concentrated on removing their bonds without alerting their captors.
Kakashi and Oururi bounded across balconies and rooftops. “Are you sure they’re there?” he asked.
“If the Anbu have them, they’ve taken them to the stronghold. I’m sure of it. We have to get there before their Genjutsu specialist gets a hold of them.”
They leapt over a high wall and hid in the shadows. Dawn was breaking through thick clouds on another scorcher of a day. Already it was 85 degrees and the usually thin desert air felt thick and heavy. Their hiding place wouldn’t last much longer.
“I can see him,” Oururi whispered.
“Who’s that, the Genjutsu user?” Kakashi spied the huge form in front of the tall gates leading into the Anbu compound.
“No. He’s Juuken no Washi; seven foot three inches tall, 450 pounds, stupid, but strong and surprisingly fast for a big guy.”
Oururi nodded. “Juuken is his sword. When you’re dodging it, add another 20 yards on your assumptions. It folds out ten times.”
Kakashi sighed. “I sure am glad these are your co-workers.”
“Yeah, well…” She bit her lip. “If I’ve been keeping some of my techniques from them for 10 years, I assume they’ve been doing the same.”
Kakashi stared at her. “There are things about you they don’t know?”
“Two very important things!” she beamed.
His eye curved with delight. “This is starting to sound like a fair fight.”
A deep voice boomed from the enormous man at the gate. “Why don’t you come closer so we can play, Oururi-san?”
“Well,” Oururi groaned as she stood up. “Let’s do this, Inu-san.”
Kakashi blinked at her and snorted. She called him by the ‘dog-boy’ nick name she had called him back when they were Anbu together. “Hai, hai, Neko-san.”
The big guy, Juuken no Washi, took another step towards them and the ground seemed to shake. Kakashi squinted in the pale light and thought of the best way to take him down.
“Allow me, Neko-san.”
“If you insist, Inu-san.”
“Eh?” Washi grunted. Kakashi calmly reached around, drew out a handful of shuriken and let them fly at the hulk. As Oururi said, he was fast for a big guy. Washi whipped his sword around, deflected the shuriken and sent it snaking out towards Kakashi. It sliced through him in a splattering of blood.
Oururi rolled her eyes. “Show off.”
Several small logs clattered to the ground.
“Eh!?” Washi grunted more enthusiastically. “Where did he go?!” In a flash the sand seemed to turn to quicksand beneath him.
“Doton Shinjuu Zanshu no Justu!” Kakashi shouted as he dragged Washi down under the earth. Emerging unharmed and only a little dusty, Kakashi clapped his hands together.
Oururi folded her arms. “Hey, aren’t you supposed to leave the head showing for that Jutsu?”
“One down.” Oururi walked over the now solid ground where Washi lay buried. “Four to go.”
He sighed and walked through the gate behind her. “Let the rest be this easy.”
They pushed the huge doors of the first gate open and were not surprised to find another Anbu waiting for them. He was small and lithe, but rather than springing on them, took a step back as they approached.
“Oururi-san,” the small man breathed. “How are you this fine evening?”
“Cut the crap, Mukudori,” she barked. “You can’t win against us. Stand aside or die.”
Kakashi raised a brow, but said nothing.
“Oh, I don’t think so.” Mukudori threw a dozen or so projectiles at the pair. Kakashi dodged, but Oururi blocked them. He was puzzled why she would do such a thing until he saw the few that she missed change course.
“Is he controlling the shuriken with his chakra?” he asked.
“They’re not shuriken!” she called back. As it got closer he caught a strange movement: the flutter of wings. Three small, dark grey birds with sharp beaks flew at his head. In a moment he pinned them to the ground with Kunai.
“Summoning Jutsu?” he asked. She nodded. “Shall we, then?”
“Hai, Inu-san.” As Mukudori called upon a horde of starlings which darkened the morning sky, Oururi and Kakashi started a dance they hadn’t performed in ten years.
“Mukudori,” Oururi taunted. “Your birds are really annoying. Let’s see how well they get along with our cute critters.”
Mukudori stopped calling more birds and prepared for his attack. “Your critters?” he asked, confused.
“There’s more to my Anbu name than just the mask I wear. In the Leaf, this man and I were known as ‘Neko to Inu Tai’: the Cat and Dog Team. Now you should feel special because you get to learn why.” She grinned, a bit of the old Oururi rising up with the excitement. “You ready, Inu-san?”
“Hai, Neko-san.” Kakashi nodded and stood next to her. They performed synchronized movements, pulling a kunai from their pouches with one hand and a scroll from their pockets with another. They cut each other’s fingers and pulled out each other’s scrolls. Wiping their own blood on their respective scrolls, the pair called out in a flutter of parchment: “Ninpocho Kuchiyose no Jutsu!” and slapped the scrolls to the ground. Much to Mukudori’s surprise, two enormous forms appeared in a cloud of dust. When it settled, a bulldog twice the size of a man and a mythological lion-like creature that looked like it belonged in a Chinese New Year’s parade just as large growled in his direction.
Feathers and blood rained down on the ground between them as the cat and the dog tore into the flock of birds. Mukudori trembled as his minions were defeated. When there were no more birds to protect him, he lashed out with thin, needle-like kunai. The dog howled as a few of them hit home. The lion didn’t waste any time and with a bite and a twist snapped Mukudori’s neck.
Oururi looked away as a sickening crunch resounded in the enclosure.
“Looks like Shishigata hasn’t fought in a while,” Kakashi muttered. ‘He’s just as violent as Oururi used to be,’ he thought. ‘At least, I hope I’m right.’
“Shishigata!” she called out. “That was unnecessary. Mukudori was defeated.”
The ancient lion-dog creature swung his scraggly head around from his task of removing the needles from Kakashi’s dog and stared at her. “Eh, Oururi-chan, is that you?” it roared. “You’ve left us alone for so long I thought maybe you had died.” He padded over to her and she scratched his huge ears.
“Sorry, friend. A lot has changed.”
Shishigata snorted and rolled his eyes in Kakashi’s direction. “I see your taste in company hasn’t.”
“Shishigata!” she scolded. Kakashi’s dog came to his defense.
“I could say the same for Kakashi-san,” he barked. The two massive beasts almost shot fireworks from their eyes as they stared at each other.
“Ok, ok,” Kakashi moaned. “Enough socializing.” He picked up his scroll and the dog vanished.
“Thank you, Shishigata,” Oururi thanked the protector lion and did the same.
Day was breaking under the cover of thick, low-lying clouds. Oururi pretended to busy herself with her scroll pouch as she studied the sky. The air was heavy with moisture. The start of the Hidden Sand’s brief but often devastating monsoon season was approaching.
“Tut tut,” Kakashi quoted as he opened the third gate, “it looks like rain.”
“Who knows,” she said with a sigh and tried to seem uninterested.
“Don’t use that Jutsu.”
“I will do what I must.”
He grabbed her arm. “Please.”
Oururi narrowed her grey eyes and stared into his only blue. “I will do what I have to do to protect my children.”
He gasped lightly and released her. She walked through the gate. “And I will do the same,” he whispered and followed her.
Behind the third gate was another enclosure like the last two, only this one was empty. Kakashi raised his hitai-ate and scanned the area with his solitary Sharingan iris. “He’s here,” he whispered. Oururi nodded. “Any ideas?”
“Could be Karasu…”
“Chigau!” a sing-songy voice called out. “Wrong-o!”
Oururi diverted her eyes and shouted, “Kakashi, don’t look at her!”
A small, round woman with huge, round glasses dropped her camouflage and clasped her hands together in a pleading gesture. “Onee-sama, why do you want to leave?” she cooed and pouted. Her Anbu mask was affixed to the back of her head.
Oururi stared at the ground. “I didn’t think they’d use Mimizuku so soon. She’s the Sand Anbu’s best Genjutsu user. That means the girls are safe for now, though.” She looked to Kakashi but he was still looking straight ahead. Suddenly it seemed about 10 degrees hotter and more humid outside that it had only moments before. “Oh no, Kakashi…”
Mimizuku’s pleading hands shifted into a seal. “That was so easy! Gotta love that freaky eye, ne?” Her giggle made Oururi growl.
“I will make you wish you had never laid eyes on him,” Oururi hissed.
“Oh?” Mimizuku asked. “Much as it pains me to see you die, Onee-sama… Sharingan no Kakashi, kill her!”
Kakashi crouched low and suddenly leapt at Oururi. His eyes were as white as a Hyuuga’s.
“Ohohoho!” Mimizuku laughed covering her mouth with her hand. “This is great! Get her!”
“Baka!” Oururi shouted as she dodged his fists and feet. “It’s me, snap out of it!” The sky grew darker and a low rumbling caught Oururi’s ear. “Come on, come on,” she growled. “I don’t want to hurt you, Kakashi.”
He swatted at her a few more times before she cuffed him and leapt on top of the high wall. Oururi raked her left cheek with her thumbnail and wiped the blood on her first two fingers. “Aono Ichizoku Lightning Call!” she shouted and thrust her hand above her head. “First Strike!” In response the black cumulonimbus clouds above her sent a jagged bolt of lightning down to the contact point on her fingers.
Mimizuku shrieked in alarm as the thunder clapped, dropping her concentration on Kakashi for a moment. Surprised, but attentive, the bespectacled woman shouted at him, “Kill her, now!”
“I’m sorry, Kakashi. This is going to sting a bit!” Oururi shouted. Her hair billowed around her with the static charge. She pointed her bloodied fingers at him and let the power loose. It shot out so quickly one would have missed it had one blinked. It arched and crackled towards Kakashi. “Sidesplash!” Oururi called and the bolt swung left, sending a small stream of electricity towards Kakashi, stopping him just a few feet before he would have reached her, and the larger portion of it off towards Mimizuku. The Genjutsu user crumpled to the ground in a charred heap. Kakashi fell to his knees, his hair smoking a little but otherwise unharmed.
“What, what happened?” he asked looking up in a daze as Oururi jumped down from the wall. She wiped her face with the back of her hand and walked past him.
Kakashi furrowed his brows, but didn’t push her. ‘Damn it,’ he thought. ‘I can’t let her do that again.’ He could tell by her breathing that the Lightning Call had taken a good amount of her Chakra with it. ‘For this next one I’ve got to be on my toes.’ “Oururi,” Kakashi called, catching up to her. “Before we go through this door, who’s left? Who do you expect to see today?”
“There’s only two left of the whole upper echelon of Anbu: Karasu and Tancho. Karasu is a sick bastard whose hobbies include unconventional body piercing and human taxidermy and Tancho is the captain. No one has ever beaten her since she’s become captain. She’s a Taijutsu specialist. I’ve never seen her use anything else, but then again, none of her targets have ever lived to tell what she might up her sleeve.”
They leaned against the door and cautiously pushed it open. Even though the sun had now risen, the clouds looming overhead and the drizzling rain darkened the enclosure. At first, the space seemed vacant, but both knew not to let their guard down. The sand before them swelled and a figured emerged.
“Oururi-san,” the man greeted them, sand spilling away from him as he was unearthed. “So good to see you, but not so much the famous Copy Ninja,” he hissed, nodding his head in Kakashi’s direction.
“Stand down, Karasu” she replied through gritted teeth.
Karasu worked his hands into a series of seals, settling finally on the shape of a bird. “Oh, but don’t you want to see the special present I’ve gotten you?” The earth rumbled and they prepared for the attack. “Kuchiyose Edotensei!”
“He’s calling the body and soul of a dead person…”
“How did he learn that?!” Kakashi asked his partner.
Sure enough, the sand erupted a second time and a coffin shot up from the earth. As was traditional, a family name was engraved on the lid. The kanji read ‘Tsuyuki’
A quick glance to Oururi told Kakashi the name didn’t ring any bells with either of them. The seal cracked revealing the reanimated corpse of a man. He stood nearly 6’4” tall, just a bit taller than Kakashi, and had long, dark blue hair. He lurched forward at Karasu’s command. Oururi’s jaw dropped.
“Oururi-san, Daddy’s home!” Karasu laughed and sent the zombie after her. Kakashi waited and watched as they danced around the enclosure. The zombie pulled a katana on her and slashed away, fortunately still a little stiff from just being awakened.
“Father, stop!” she shouted, desperately.
“I’m sorry, my little girl,” his scraggly voice muttered. “I must obey,”
Kakashi watched and was getting tired of waiting, but knew that Oururi wouldn’t let him intervene. The clouds rumbled. ‘Oh no…’ he thought. “Oururi, watch out!” he shouted and pointed to the sky.
“I know!” she barked back, but before she could even cut her cheek, she was astounded to hear the words echo back at her.
“Otousan…” she screwed up her face and stared at him. ‘What is he doing? ‘Tsuyuki’? Even if it is the same attack, it can’t affect me.’
“Lightning Call!” The dead man pointed his fingers coated with thick, black blood at his daughter. The bolt hit her chest and pushed her back a few feet. Her heels made tracks in the sand. When the dust cleared she was shocked to find Kakashi standing perilously close to her.
“What are you doing, Baka?! Get away from me or you’re toast! He charged me up!”
“I know!” he shouted back and threw a smoke bomb to the ground. Before the dust cleared a zap of electricity was heard from the cloud and Oururi tumbled out of it. The Zombie pulled his sword and went for her. Kakashi burst out of the dissipating smoke and headed for Karasu.
“Idiot,” Karasu said calmly as he deflected the shuriken that Kakashi hurled as he ran. Karasu never expected the bolt of lightning to shoot out of the Copy Ninja’s palm. At a distance of only 4 feet, the 2 inch thick bolt hit his chest at close to 20,000 amps.
“How did you…?” he asked as blood bubbled up into his mouth. “He can’t copy an advanced bloodline…”
“Baka.” Kakashi put his hand up and transformed back into Oururi. Karasu fell to his knees then face down into the sand. She turned around and saw that once Kakashi transformed back into himself, the Zombie had stopped chasing him. “Otousan!” she called and ran to the man.
“Musume,” he whispered and reached out to her but just as their fingers would have met, his physical body turned to sand and fell to the ground.
Oururi stood still for a moment, dumbfounded. She rubbed her hand over her sternum and winced. Kakashi came up behind her. She stared at the sand, darkening with rain. “I want this over, Kakashi. I want my girls and I want out of here, now.”
“I know.” He clenched his teeth. Even though she had not called the lightning herself, the blast she received from her father had done the same stress to her heart. “You let me get the next one. You’re almost out of chakra.”
“You are too,” she said without turning. Her jacket was soaked through. She sloughed it off and dumped it on the ground. The dry patch in the middle of her shirt attested to the power of the blast she took. The rain slowly changed that. She looked up at the sky and let the small droplets coat her face then wiped it with one hand. More than anything at that moment she wanted Kakashi to wrap his arms around her and tell her everything was going to be all right, but she knew that if he did she wouldn’t have the strength to go on. “Don’t tell me that freaky eye of yours doesn’t suck chakra just as much.”
“Got me there,” he said and turned to open the fifth and final gate.
She breathed a sigh and followed him.