The Girl in the Squad
Hanabi Hyuga closed her eyes, letting the feeling of the warm water wash over her skin. She tried to reason it through one more time, but she couldn't. She really couldn't. The images returned to the forefront of her mind like a rising tide. The blood dribbling on the ground, the cries of the children, the grimace of the elderly cradling their nephews and the look of shock on the wounded and infirm as she slammed home the last of the explosive tags remained in her mind.
She cradled herself in the corner of the shower, before closing her eyes and taking deep raspy breaths. She didn't want to remember those moments. She refused to remember those moments.
A shinobi did not cry.
A shinobi killed their emotions.
There was a knock at the door. She stilled. "A moment! I'm in the shower!" she exclaimed. Whoever had knocked was probably a shinobi —she didn't know many civilians, and she doubted any had a reason to knock at her door anyway.
Hanabi turned off the water, and took a deep breath. She passed a hand through her matted wet hair, letting it cascade freely alongside her neck and to her shoulders. She emerged from the shower a few minutes later, clasping her bathrobe around her body as she went to look through the spyglass…
…and that was when she flickered away from the door and returned to it in less than two nanoseconds, perfectly dressed and ready to battle.
She opened her door primly, looking up at Bird-san's face —Shinku's.
The man she looked up to hadn't change a bit from just a few months prior —the day of his marriage to Naruko— but there was a shadow in the back of his eyes that gave him a tired look. He wore his Jounin jacket closed up to the neck, the underlying jacket jet-black with red spirals near the elbows.
He had two pouches strapped to both legs, and a few recent scars on his face. The Anbu mask clasped to the side of his belt, a few small scrolls tied to it.
"I need a favor," he said softly.
Her heart skipped a beat.
Two hours later, she was in an underground complex she had never seen before, where training mats and equipment stood prim and new —as if no one had ever used it.
She walked with purpose, strolling through the large cave and past a few masked guards standing on patrol, who let her through without a word.
"I don't get it! It's been two years already," a female voice said from the end of the corridor, "And I'd be better suited in a hospital rather than on the field!"
"Miss Karin," another male voice, kinder, said. "I think you should calm down."
"Shut it, Jugo!" Karin snapped back. Hanabi raised an eyebrow, nearing the marked hallways with the Kanji for 'Root' and the door number 'Thirteen'.
"Menstruating Bitch should just shut up," another male voice said from within the room, making Hanabi widen her eyes in surprise from the words used.
"You bastard! Tell that to my face, you—"
"Of course, I will repeat myself. Menstruating Bitch should just shut up."
"GAH! Let me at him! Let me at him and I'll rip him a new one!"
"Calm down, Miss Karin," 'Jugo' said. Hanabi knocked on the door, standing on wait.
"Come in," Shinku's voice came through tired, making her swallow nervously as she stepped inside, closing the door behind her.
A red haired woman was being held by an orange-haired man, while the target of the woman's ire —a black haired man— seemed to be doing his best fake smile.
Bird-san stood at the desk, his arms crossed over his chest and a tired look on his face.
"Thank you for coming, Hanabi."
"Sir," she stood to attention. Her ninja jacket zipped itself only halfway, revealing the mesh beneath and the brown shirt further down. She had a pair of dark purple shorts —knee-length— and strapped to her right leg was a pouch.
"Who's the brat?" the red-haired girl asked her voice petulant. "Are you finally deciding on who's going to be the team leader? It's me, isn't it?" her voice was sultry as she made quite the 'whorish' hip gesture to prove the point. She had a long white jacket, and an embarrassingly short light-purple skirt. She had glasses and crimson eyes, but of a clearer shade than those of Shinku.
"Hanabi," Shinku said, ignoring the woman's rant. "I called you here because from the records, you have yet to find a new team."
Hanabi squirmed under Shinku's gaze, before nodding once and holding her tongue on the reason why, "And thus I thought this would be perfect. Congratulations are in order. You are now the team leader of team Thirteen of the newly founded Inner-Security of Konoha, 'Root'."
Shinku smiled at her, with his unfair smile that made her wish to live up to his expectations, no matter what they were. She swallowed her sadness together with her scorn. She had hoped for the 'old' team to be reborn, but apparently, that would no longer be the case.
"What?" Karin exclaimed. "That's unfair! We've been a team for longer than—"
"You should feel proud you've gone from being a guest of Ibiki to being a member of the Internal Security," Shinku replied calmly. "You'll still take missions from me, but I'll be doing more of a paperwork job for the time being."
"That's not fair," Karin sniffled. "We had such deep companionship!"
"You tried to rape me with a sedative in the middle of the night; that does not mean 'Deep Companionship'," Shinku replied calmly. "You no longer are that mentally unhinged, so I hope you can finally put your skills to the benefit of Konoha."
"Do I get your babies if I do that?" Karin asked once more, her eyes fluttering as a grin spread over her face.
"No, you don't get my babies. You don't get anyone's babies," Shinku hissed. "Now," he clasped his hands together. "I am sure you will have questions."
"Sir," Hanabi said, taking a few more steps forward. "What is the meaning of this?"
"Welcome to the Squad," Shinku replied. His voice was light, although there was an underlying note of pain. "Karin Uzumaki is a natural born sensor and a medic, Jugo over there is another special type of sensor, and Sai is a communication specialist. Together with you as a scout, you are to become one of the most important teams of reconnaissance and scouting of Konoha…as well as patrolling the city, capturing traitors, and taking care of 'cleaning up' after unruly shinobi."
Hanabi kept her gaze up. She knew there was more to it, and she wanted to know what it was all about.
Shinku exhaled, conceding the argument. "I was their Team Leader for a few months, Hanabi. They can be trusted, or I wouldn't have asked you. I have the utmost faith in your capabilities…"
He grabbed a scroll from within a desk, "Which is why I'm also promoting you as a fully-fledged Jounin and handing you permission to utilize all Anbu-rank and beneath facilities, utilities and equipment you might need. Just say the name, and we'll have it made."
"Sir…what is the meaning of this?" Hanabi asked, yet again.
Shinku gave her a sad look. "We have reason to believe that after the fall of Amegakure, enemy shinobi will try to infiltrate the land of Fire amongst the refugees. Your first mission is to aid the border patrols," he said. "And as a second objective, you are to check for any compromised shinobi of the leaf. Karin's special ability will come in handy for this."
Hanabi raised an eyebrow. "Ask your teammates," Shinku said, "Or read the scrolls," he added by pulling out from a drawer three scrolls. "You all leave tomorrow. The mission is an A-rank. Do not rest on your laurels…you will participate in S-ranks from henceforth with increasing frequency."
"Sir," Hanabi stood to attention, "May I please talk with you in private?"
"Later," Shinku replied curtly. "You should get to know your team for the moment, captain. The training hall is at your disposal."
"I still say that it's not fair," Karin groaned. "I'm meant to be the captain."
"Keep up the good work, and you'll be captain in a few years, Karin," Shinku said.
"Can I have your babies in a few years?" Karin said, hope in her tone.
Pouting, the red haired woman walked out with a huff. Jugo followed, kindly bowing once to Shinku and once to Hanabi, while Sai kept his smile up as he left.
"I said later, Hanabi," Shinku replied, "Tonight, at the Yakiniku Q."
"Will my sister be there?" Hanabi asked.
"It is probable."
"Then I will have to refuse."
"Is it an S-rank mission?" Hanabi retorted hotly. "Otherwise, we have nothing to say to each other."
"Just what happened between you two?" Shinku asked, shaking his head softly.
Hanabi bristled, crossing her arms over her chest. "Why don't you ask her?"
"Because it is none of my business," Shinku replied.
"You would make it your business if it were Sasuke, or Naruko," Hanabi retorted.
Shinku clenched his fists. "No, I would not. If it were Sasuke, it would be a matter of his family. I would in Naruko's case, since she's my wife…but she'd have to ask for help. I don't go sticking my nose in things that are not my concern. If you want my help, just say so."
"I don't need your help," Hanabi retorted. "I'm fine. Everything's peachy, and tonight I can't make it."
"We both know that's not true," Shinku remarked. "And you know better than me that you won't be able to say no to Naruko when she comes to collect you."
"I'll make sure to be on a mission," Hanabi said.
"That won't work. You work for Root now. You must always be available for missions of high sensitivity..."
Hanabi snapped her eyes shut. "Ask me what is wrong. Ask me, come on."
Shinku sighed. "What is wrong with you?"
"Nothing, it's none of your business," she replied venomously. "Ask my sister."
"Hanabi," Shinku said once more, his tone tired. "We can keep talking to each other in circles, or you can go and speak with your new team."
"I'll go and speak with the 'team'," she said.
"And?" Shinku continued.
"And then I'll go home, make myself a cup of tea, and go to bed."
"Fine! I'll drink a keg of alcohol and weep myself to sleep," she said, sarcasm coloring her voice. "I'm an adult. You can't force me to come to a dinner."
"You know I'm doing this because I'd rather you not have to talk with Naruko —or rather, suffer her."
"Is that the way you should talk of your wife?" Hanabi replied, raising an eyebrow.
"Truth never hurt anyone," Shinku chuckled. "And she wouldn't take offense of that. She is going to take offense if you don't show up."
"I'll break a leg."
"She'll carry you."
"I'll snap both of my arms."
"She'll force feed you...that would be embarrassing."
"I'm not going to sit next to my sister," Hanabi said. "And I'm not going to come if my sister does."
"You won't be alone," Shinku said. "You can bring someone, and…"
Hanabi's bark of laughter was mirthless and devoid of fun. "As if!" She made a dismissive gesture with her hand. "If I'm dismissed, sir, I'd like to go and talk with my team."
"Fine," Shinku hung his head between his shoulders as Hanabi walked out, letting it rest against the desk's surface.
Hanabi walked outside, stepping past another pair of patrolling guards and making her way towards the training grounds. The sounds of 'Bitch!' 'Whore!' 'Bitch Whore!' and so forth aided her in reaching her destination. She blinked at the sight of Jugo sitting on a bench, talking softly to a small bat perched on his finger, while Sai painted the scene in front of him.
The one hitting a sandbag out of frustration was Karin, who howled obscenities one after the other.
"Ahem," Hanabi coughed.
"Fuck you," Karin replied.
Hanabi raised an eyebrow.
"I didn't hear you," Hanabi said. "Care to repeat it?"
"I said 'Fuck you, flat-chested Chibi'."
"Ah, I thought I had heard that."
Hanabi inclined her head to the side, before flickering out of sight. A chakra-enhanced slice cut through the sandbag, exploding outwardly and covering Karin with the sand within, making her splutter and jump backwards. Hanabi walked on the sand, her eyes giving off a murderous glare.
"My name is Hanabi, and to you it's Captain Hanabi," she hissed out. "Am I clear?"
"Oh, the cute little puppy has a bark," Karin smirked, a hand on her hip. "It's a pity she doesn't have fangs."
Hanabi clenched her fists. "I think presentations are in order," she said. "State your likes, your dislikes, your dreams and so on."
Karin rolled her eyes. "My name is Karin Uzumaki. I like okonomiyaki, I dislike Gyoza and white-eyed little children who replace hot-studs captains. My dream is to have my hot stud's captain's babies. No matter the cost," she grinned. "A woman's desire can pass even through the rock!" She clenched her right fist upwards.
"I am Sai," the pale-skinned boy said. "I like to eat tofu and to draw. I dislike loud noises. My dream is to be useful to Konoha."
Jugo scratched the side of his chin, his cheeks slightly red. "I am Jugo." He hesitated for a moment. "I like to walk in forests and play with birds," he said. "I dislike violence and don't wish to fight anyone…Shinku-san said I would be useful as a tracker."
"He said that?" Hanabi asked, "Why would you choose this?"
"Ah," he hesitated again, as if embarrassed. "Karin-san is the only person I can trust being near me. She knows about…my condition and we're treating it. I'd be more scared staying in Konoha without her."
"That's right," Karin barked, both hands on her hips. "Jugo's my subordinate and my patient."
Hanabi brought a hand to her face. "So…he's sick?"
"He just has some rampaging homicidal tendencies, but they're mostly treated and he can stay in control most of the time," Karin smiled. "He aided in curing the cursed seal on the Uchiha heir, you know? I was part of the research team too."
She puffed her chest out. "That's who I am, the wonderful Uzumaki Karin!"
"I'm Hanabi," she said in the end. "I'm your captain, and my dream is to be left alone. I dislike you lot, but let's work together properly."
"Tsk," Karin clicked her tongue in distaste.
"I would like that," Jugo said, his voice soft.
"Of course, flappy chest," Sai said, smiling.
Hanabi's eyebrows rose. "Excuse me?"
"No? What about Sulky?"
"Sulky?" Hanabi's body twitched as her eyes narrowed in anger. "You and I are going to be sparring pretty soon, you bastard."
Sai just smiled.
And we're here. The sequel to The Boy in the Team. 'The Girl in the Squad', Hanabi-centric sequel that will span a few years, because I can.
Any amount of pain, suffering and death is courtesy brought forth to you because BriEva gave me the inspiration input to start this. Please, direct your inquiries on 'Why, hell, why?' on her.