Edit: Expanded some bits(childhood in a cell, entering Konoha's gates), cut out some of the sheer randomness and streamlined Kimimaro's character a bit.
According to canon? I end up being locked in a cell my entire childhood, being forced by my clan into mass suicide, brainwashed by Orochimaru and dying horribly of a debilitating disease mid-battle.
Yeah, I'm Kimimaro, the last Kaguya. I am currently three and a half and locked in a dark cell. My life has officially never sucked so much, and I know it's only going to get suckier.
At least there are positives.
1) I have one of the strongest Kekkai Genkai currently in use. Canon-future me fought a Jinchuuriki(Gaara) and a taijutsu prodigy to standstill/exhaustion, while dying and moving under willpower alone.
2) I'm going to be in a prime position to affect canon.
3) I can potentially undermine Orochimaru. Because, seriously? I totally get the whole 'KNOW ALL THE THINGS' thing, because I'm the same way. Conjuring fire and summoning animals and messing with biology, oh my. Seals? aka, draw your own pocket dimensions and other ways to violate reality and physics? Sign. Me. Up.
But Orochimaru just took that and ran with it without even considering...pretty much anything else, like, for instance, ethics. Scratch that, make that a modicum of basic human decency. Because there's 'scientific progress' and then there's Orochimaru, standing on the other side of the giant line carved into the bedrock, next to the sign that says 'THIS IS NOT OKAY'.
4) Oh, and I'm totally going to casually invade the lives of canon characters and beat the stupid out of them with kindness because does therapy not exist in this world? I don't know, I'm locked in a dark cell.
It's not like the Kaguya Clan, with it's stunning parenting techniques, care about my mental health.
As in, I am completely. Fucking. Bored.
I am a young child! I require social interaction and sensory stimulation! I demand a better enrichment team!
Wait, as I have no source of sunlight and that sweet vitamin D, will I get rickets? Can I get rickets? Probably not because, hello, super-bones, but doesn't a lack of vitamin D also really screw up your entire immune system, healing and nervous system?
Well, time to shove that in the 'Think About Later(Actually Never) Box'!
Also going in that box is all the inbreeding the Kaguya Clan is apparently very keen on due to being bloodthirsty, self-centric, isolationist Neanderthals with a superiority complex the size of Benisu Island.
When I say incest, I mean first-cousin-level. Yes. Ew.
No wonder no one else among them has the Shikotsumyaku.
Why do I have it?
Well, my mother apparently wasn't Kaguya. Instead, she was the price the Clan Head asked for in exchange for 'Protecting' some small hamlet. Said settlement doesn't exist anymore; they didn't want to pay.
The Kaguya Clan doesn't like waste. That's why they kept my mother, until I was weaned, at least. Why they, partially, keep me. Why they keep all those scrolls and books in the Clan Library, even though I'm pretty sure that half of my 'relatives' are illiterate or very close to it.
The poor woman didn't deserve any of that. I won't shed a single tear for this pack of degenerates.
I'm totally stealing the scrolls though. They're old, so they might contain some nice, juicy Kekkei Genkai jutsu for me to look at. Plus, if I do become sick-unto-death, Kabuto couldn't heal me in canon because he had nothing else but me to go on. Some severely limited family history could be the difference between life and death.
I am seriously looking forward to Kabuto. The creepy-minion Kabuto.
This is ridiculous.
I am not entertained.
I don't have any resources apart from...wait.
Hmm...write in my own blood or train Kekkei Genkai? Write in my own blood or train Kekkei Genkai?
Why not both?
After a lot of careful experimentation, I figured out how to grow bone knives. Thankfully, the whole 'protruding through the skin' thing doesn't hurt quite as much as it sounds. I think my nerves temporarily shut down/disconnect at the the point of exit or something, so it's more of a dull ache. There's also this odd mental detachment which I am reasonably sure is Kekkei Genkai based and not my latent insanity? Maybe it's a natural safety catch to stop first-timers freaking and accidentally ejecting all bones from their body, or stabbing their own brain or something, since the actual ability is based on intent, not hand-signs.
Look, I am a walking Kronenburg fantasy, I'm a little inured to body horror.
But I can only grow so many knives and senbon because I'm not replacing the minerals fast enough. Target practice it is. I am now extremely good at target practice. I think? I have no comparisons to anybody, after all.
But I do have blood, and the seals pasted around my prison bars are ready and available for me to copy.
I don't know if it's any different with ink, but when I push chakra through the script, I can feel the potential energy humming just out of reach. I can't touch it and I can't tell which bit of the seal does what, but nothing's exploded in my face yet. Yay?
I tentatively poke it with a finger, but it just sits there. Menacingly.
When I get bored of that, I start carving the wall. Scenes, letters, animals and landscapes. I don't remember much of my old life. Ironically, there's a sense of detachment like it was just a story I once liked. But it's a story I don't want to forget, so I draw it into the rock.
Recipes, songs and stories join them, since I don't know any here, and translating them to fit the language keeps me occupied.
While my actual life is unclear, I remember the Naruto franchise rather well. Maybe because that part of my memory can anchor to things in this world and thus not disappear? That's my theory, anyway.
I am Kimimaro now, not just a person wearing his skin. I'm just...Kimimaro but a little bit more.
The plan is to play along with Orochimaru and become one of his favoured minions as canon, but when sent out after Juugo, to grab Juugo and book it to Konoha. I want to be close to people I somewhat know in an at least semi-familiar environment, so I can actually get a life and agitate the waters of canon some more. Konoha also has Jiraiya, or contact with him at least, so Fuuinjutsu instruction for me, hopefully. If Orochimaru and Kabuto still can't cure me if I get sick, then Tsunade is worth a shot.
Konoha has vested interest in all-matters-Orochimaru, so knowledge of whereabouts, suppliers and experiments should be valuable enough to buy a little goodwill.
I just have to gain that knowledge in the first place, and that's going to take a lot of pretending and pain.
Is it going to be worth it?
If...if Kimimaro is a person, then everyone else is too. And a lot of them are already in pain. If I can stop people from hurting more, a lot of people...then that's a good thing, right? I might not end up a good person, but at least I can say that I did something.
Hey look, I've got a cool, character-summation nindo now. Did I come up with that? Or is it like a pre-packaged thing that comes with the Naruto-verse like complimentary after-dinner chocolates?
Wait, am I Chaotic Good? Even if that doesn't mean anything here, I'm going to take that to mean 'I drive people insane for their own benefit, and profit'.
Huh. That clears up some of the existential dread.
Oh fucking Sage, this is so much worse than I imagined. I better be racking up some major karma points for this shit, because I now know far more about my own body than I ever, ever wanted to.
And other people's bodies. In the creepy-experimentation way.
I'm too busy mentally debating whether the indifference is from trauma or long-term exposure.
You know what? If I find Itachi Uchiha before the Massacre, I will give him confidence and self-esteem even if I have to shove it down his throat. Because I've seen far too many people in Orochimaru's bases without them; the aura of despair and self loathing is semi-tangible, I swear.
What do you mean I've got training in fifteen minutes? I just got into bed!
Sleep Deprivation Training?
The fact that Juugo doesn't wear shoes makes him easier to track; the indentations of heel and toes are quite distinct, and even the poorest of farmers in this area have some sort of footgear so it narrows down the print-maker considerably.
Poor kid; just wants to be left alone and here I am about to ruin that for him.
There's a distant shout and a speck of white comes barrelling down the forest track. It's a reflex to flare my Killing Intent at this point and...oh. It's a dog. A puppy. Cute. Fluffy, white, cowering in front of me. Ah; Juugo attracts animals, then frightens them off when he goes berserker.
I withdraw my killing intent and crouch down, offering a hand. I like dogs over cats, and I take the opportunity to examine the animal as it quivers and tentatively sniffs my fingers. There's no collar, no sign of having recently worn one, either. Not a pet, despite the ostentatious white fur. And no farmer would let their valued working dog be enticed by the local hobo-cryptid. I'm guessing this little guy was an unplanned breeding, or the lucky one of a litter-drowning; maybe both.
The point stands; no one is going to raise a fuss if Juugo decides to keep him
I tie the puppy to the branch of a tree with some string I have in my sealing 'may-come-in-useful' scroll. I've got everything in there.
The fight with Juugo isn't much of a fight. Then again, something tells me that he isn't trying very hard
I just restrain him with my own spine, which still creeps me out when I do it, because the biology classes from my old life scream at me. I give the 'I will be your cell' speech.
And then I change the world.
"I've heard of someone who might be able to help you, Juugo. I'll come with you and try and help you get in contact with him."
He looks at me with these big puppy eyes and my insides melt because it's cute. I am allowed to still like cute things, okay?
"Really? I don't have to kill anymore?"
"I don't know about that, I can't see the future; but if we get that wild side of you under control, you don't have to worry about killing the people you want to protect."
Ummm...think of something cool to say...steal Gaara's backstory? "Yeah. In order to really live, you need a purpose. Living for no reason, is the same as being dead. Living for yourself destroys you from the inside out and makes you weak, so you need to live for someone else and protect those precious to you."
"But they'll all see the monster and hate me!"
"Then protect me."
"I know the real you; I know you aren't a monster and I don't hate you. I'll protect you and others from yourself and you can watch my back."
I smile and nod. "Yeah. Come on now, we can get going right away. If we run, we can make it to the next town by noon."
We walk out of the cave, and then I remember the puppy tied to the tree. Juugo is surprised to see it as I untie it and it runs towards him, yipping happily.
"I didn't know if he was yours, so I left him out here until I came out with you," I say. Juugo's cuddling it in his arms as he blushes. So CUTE!
"He's not mine, but he followed me around all day yesterday and he didn't want to leave."
I shrug. "He can come with us, I don't mind and I like dogs. And I've heard that looking after an animal has a calming effect."
And that's how Juugo, the puppy newly-named Chinsei, and I joined up. We stopped at the river behind the town briefly.
"What are you doing?" Juugo asked as he sat on the bank.
"White hair and red face markings like mine aren't common or natural for civilians," I say, unrolling my sealing scroll. "We need to look like travellers while we go through towns."
I unseal some blankets, cooking utensils and twine. Rolling up the blankets, I tie them with the utensils threaded onto the twine. I cut two large branches from the surrounding trees and smoothed both ends, forming staves. Now, we had two traveller's bundles. I toss one to Juugo, before henging myself. Now I'm a head taller than Juugo, with orange hair darker and more brown than his and stubble on my chin. I use a Henge that's a bit sturdier that the normal genjutsu one, so the height difference isn't as awkward as it otherwise would be.
"Our cover story is that we're nephew and uncle itinerant workers who've saved up just enough to move to Konoha for a new life. Your name is Juushiro, my name is Kimaru. Your father was killed by bandits and your mother died of sickness in the winter; both when you were quite young. You're excited because you want to learn to read and write and become a successful merchant. Only I can read, but just a little bit, and I want to just own my own house and have a steady job. I call you Juu-kun, which you complain about because you're almost grown up and you refer to me as Kim-oji. Got it?"
Juugo boggled at me for a moment, before nodding hesitantly and hefting his bundle up onto his shoulder. "Ah, Kimi...Kim-oji? We're going to Konoha?"
"Yeah. Konoha's generally the most tolerant of the shinobi Villages. And by that read slightly more ethical when it comes to getting what they want and less likely to stab you in the back if they don't like you. I have a near-extinct Kekkai Genkai, which they'll want, and you're very strong, which they'll also want.
They also have contact with the man Jiraiya of the Sannin, who's a Seal Master. He's the one I think can help you."
There are two bandits following us down the road. Shitty job of looking like they aren't interested. Thank God they don't seem to have noticed the songbirds fluttering around Juugo. Still...
"Juu-kun, what have I told about feeding the birds?" I snap. "I know you like birds, but that food is for us!"
He looks at me, registers the quick flick of my eyes towards our followers and proceeds to play the 'chastised child' card remarkably well.
The bandits keep their distance until Juugo and I stop for the night, kindling a fire and both (feigning) sleeping like ignorant civilians would. Despite the fact that a civilian wouldn't have heard the two men approaching, to a shinobi, especially one trained by a Sannin to be the best of the best, they were bloody pathetic.
I couldn't let any sort of word get back to Orochimaru, so I killed them. Nothing flashy, just a Shunshin behind them and slitting their throats with one of my bone daggers.
Oh yes, you're probably wondering why I haven't gone completely unhinged from killing people and being around Orochimaru in general.
It's surprisingly simple. It's a side affect of the Yang chakra Kaguya use to manipulate their bones; for some reason a Kaguya just can't get battle stress while using their Kekkai Genkai. Explains the odd detachment I'd get when experimenting with it as a child.
All the conflicting hormones and chemicals get converted into chakra, much in the same way an Akimichi's Yang nature allows them to convert fat and calories into chakra. So while I'm fighting, I don't actually feel a lot. The majority of my emotions just don't...filter through quite right.
However, according to Kabuto's research, to the rest of my clan who couldn't use their bones like I could, it's like being totally high. That's why they were addicted to brutal slaughter, they couldn't get enough of it.
I however, get the safe benefit of never having a battle-related nervous breakdown. Which is really handy, don't get me wrong, I'm glad I have it. It just...feels cheap.
And in some circumstances, it's useless.
Okay. This is the big one. The gates of Konoha are roughly just under half a mile down this road.
You know, Juugo didn't get much expansion on his character in canon. But travelling with the guy for the past few days has been really nice. Peaceful. Simply travelling in the fresh air and sunlight with no worries about mission failure or your teammates snitching to Orochimaru in the hopes of a promotion. Yesterday, it rained. An absolute downpour, the water running down my nose and eyelashes and hammering against my shoulders and back. And I could...stand there. And enjoy it.
I didn't know that I'd missed the smell of grass after rain.
I only had to calm him down twice, but both episodes passed really quickly. His ability to 'talk' to animals keeps giving me Disney vibes, but it's beginning to cement one of my theories about his little condition.
Back to the present though. From Pain's invasion, I know that there's a barrier around the Village which detects intruders. So I have to presume that once Juugo and I cross it - where it starts though, I don't know - we're going to be watched. And we do not want to make a bad impression. I remove the henge, reseal all our stuff into my scroll and tell Juugo that we're going to walk in with our hands visible and open.
I have to say this though, those main gates are pretty impressive. I wonder how many shinobi it took to get them into place? Or was it just two Akimichi at full size? Still, it's the two Chunin in the Gatehouse we have to worry about. Not that we couldn't take them if it came down to it, but we need need to present our case in a way that won't make every active ninja want to stab us full of sharp and pointy things. Well, I stab myself full of pointy things every time I use Shikotsumyaku but that's beside the point. Hah hah, puns. Oh Kami, this it; I'm going to change the timeline. Hahahahaha...What the HELL AM I DOING? I CAN'T DO THIS I'LL MESS THIS UP BEYOND COMPREHENSION AND ALL OF US ARE GOING TO DIE! WE-E'RE ALL DOOMED! DOOMED I TELL YOU! DOOMED!
Thank all of the Kami I didn't say that last bit out loud. Okay, panic over. I can do this.
The two Chunin, Izumo and Kotetsu I think it is, stand outside their Gatehouse, ready for us. Kotetsu(?) lets his hand fall to his kunai pouch. Juugo and I continue our approach, but then I hear the laboured gasps from Juugo that signal that he's about to have one of his episodes. In front of Konoha. Shit.
I stop abruptly and execute a sharp turn, slamming my hands into Juugo's chest. The markings are curling across his face, but they promptly retreat when I brush chakra from my hands against his network, smoothing out the jagged pulses and tightening around his Gates until his cells stop unlocking in preparation for transformation. He looks at me sheepishly and I sigh.
"It's okay," I whisper. "I'll tell them that you need me to keep calm, but it's extremely likely they'll separate us for a while at first. I want you to stay calm as much as you can. Take Chinsei with you," I say, scooping up the wriggling puppy and depositing the little guy into his hands.
"Can we...help...you guys with something?" Yeah, Izumo and Kotetsu are just behind us. They both have kunai in their hands. Juugo instinctively hugs Chinsei closer, while I spread out my empty hands to show that I'm not a threat.
"Chunin-san," I start. "I am Kimimaro of the Kaguya Clan. Behind me is Juugo of the Scales. I cannot say much more; listening ears are everywhere. We wish for an audience with Sandaime Hokage-sama. We are running from enemies of Konoha and seek help from this Village." Then, because I can't resist it, "Please take care of us."
They stare. "The Kaguya Clan was wiped out five years ago, and you don't look much like them."
Ah, right; the rest of the Clan had dark hair and sallow skin. "Oh, I was there," I reassure them. "Personally, I don't understand why so many of the regular Mist-nin wield incredibly large swords. Maybe it's compensation for something." One of them coughs in his throat in a way that sounds suspiciously like a snicker. "As for my looks, well, I was the only one in the Clan with the Kekkei Genkai."
That makes them pay attention. And not just them; Juugo clutches my hand as he looks from side to side. "Kimimaro, they're all around us now, in the trees."
Ah, probably ANBU. Makes sense.
"Please," I re-iterate. "Some of my information is time-sensitive, and by now my former master will have realised that I've escaped and probably sold him out, and start changing his activities and location. I don't want to hurt the Hokage or anyone else, I just want to pass on my intel and stay here in the Village if possible. I'm offering to fight on your side, with all my abilities."
I try not to flinch as black-cloaked figures Shunshin beside me. "The Hokage has been notified of your presence. Your request is granted."
"Really." One of them affirms dryly. They hold out a hand. "We shall take you now."
I always thought that the Hokage's office looked kind of empty in the show and to someone like me, who's spent most of their life underground, all those floor-to-ceiling windows send alarms running through my head.
Anyway, the show never quite captured the sheer presence the Sandaime has. Well, how could it? It's just frames. Only in person can you really register the...the...aura, yes let's go with that word, the man has. It just fills up the room and right now, all of it's focused on little ol' us.
It's like a chimpanzee. Yes, they're like cuddly, wizened children when you look at them. But a full-grown chimp, despite it's small size, can bend solid steel bars, rip out your throat with ease and troops in the wild will systematically hunt down and tear apart small monkeys for food.
Similarly, the Sandaime resembles a harmless old grandpa smoking his pipe. But it would be no bet at all that he could tear us apart in less than two seconds if the whim took him.
I fall into the deepest formal bow I can pull off without it looking awkward. "My deepest thanks, Honourable Sandaime-sama, for permitting us to speak with you." Yes, I am going to play the respectful card; I do not want to be on his bad side, thank-you-very-much. With my neck exposed like this, my instincts are screaming at me to stop baring one of my vital points to a man I barely know. A few seconds is respectful enough a bow, right?
"You said you were fleeing from enemies of this Village, did you not?" He asks. "What information can you offer for me to take in two rogue shinobi, given your lack of forehead plates, especially a reason so delicate that you seek to tell it to my ears alone? Rise, and speak."
I straighten up. I can sense Juugo huddling closer to me. I take a deep breath.
"Sandaime-sama, while Juugo here is an unaffiliated shinobi, I have escaped from the tutelage of...Orochimaru."
The violent spike in the Sandaime's chakra sends the two of us diving to the floor on instinct. Chinsei yelps and tries to burrow further under Juugo, while us two are left breathless and choking. Suddenly, the chakra pressure stops and the old man is standing over us.
"Why do you run from him?"
"Soul-transferring ninjutsu, his immortality," I gasp out. "Needs a strong host. I was chosen. Wanted Juugo for experiments. Sent me to collect, but we ran. Can offer info on current experiments, base locations, personnel. Leave Juugo alone, he has no part in this; he's just sick. He needs my presence to stop his regression."
Next thing I know, my wrists are grabbed and chakra-suppression sealing tags slapped on. A sharp pinch on the pressure point in my neck and I'm go...'
Well, do I have your interest? I thought this would be an interesting thing to write, especially the effects of Orochimaru not getting the curse seal. Also, this is a number of firsts for me: first SI fic, first first-person fic.