A/N: Sorry for the late update! I was busy all throughout July and had a hard time writing this chapter. I tend to either nail the first chapter on the first draft or completely flunk it. It was a flunk this time around – revising was a bitch.
Also, I'm over 30 followers with just a measly prologue which is beyond what I had even imagined. Thank you all so much for your support! You are all awesome and I hope y'all like this chapter!
Part I: Hyuga Shinju
Chapter 1: Freak
For as long as Shinju could remember, there had been a single feminine voice that spoke to her through her own mind.
And the voice was not a manifestation of her thoughts. The voice had her own stream of consciousness. The voice had a distinct presence in Shinju's mindscape.
Though she later learned that many would diagnose her as some sort of crazy, she did not consider the presence of the voice to be strange. It was normal for her to hear the voice that remained her only friend for the first seven years of her life.
Irene Tanaka was the name of the voice. And she had not always been a part of Shinju's world – Irene's world had been vastly different from her host's.
Shinobi were ancient and had only been part of a small region of the entire world. And those ninjas did not have chakra. They relied on their intellect and limited physical capabilities to carry out their expected duties.
The time and place that Irene had come from did not expect people to become… war machines. Most people embraced peace and tranquility. Violence was frowned upon and killing was against the law. Those who murdered were severely punished and locked away for the protection of the majority.
It was a far safer and more peaceful world than the one of shinobi – the world that revolved around violence.
Children were raised to be faithful soldiers for their respective villages. It was honourable to die in battle if it had been for the greater good of the village. It was honourable to kill in battle if it had been for the greater good of the village.
And Irene found herself in the world of shinobi when she was supposed to be resting in eternal peace in the afterlife of her world. Certainly not in the mind of another.
There was no scientific way to describe the phenomenon behind Irene's "rebirth." It was with a leap of faith that both Irene and Shinju concluded that Irene's soul had been reborn into the Hyuga clan as a part of Shinju's mind – Irene's soul was the only thing that existed in Shinju's world. Irene detested calling herself a soul. It almost made her existence seem illegitimate, but there was no other conceivable way to describe it.
There were many things that scared Irene about her existence as a "soul." The first thing was her bastardized form of reincarnation. She had literally invaded the mind of another and was not given her own body to control.
However, the thing that scared Irene the most was that she had been reborn into "the world of Naruto' – a once fictional world to the confused soul.
Shinju always had trouble believing that in Irene's world, "the world of Naruto" was fictional. She did not like to think that she was a fictional being. It was nonsensical – she was capable of thought and consciousness, something that proved that both she and Irene existed in the same world.
Shinju knew that Irene had read many "self insert fanfictions" from a variety of "fandom" including Naruto, her world. So she understood the latter's surprise that she had been reborn into a character who had her own stream of consciousness.
Whenever Irene had considered the scenario of becoming a "self insert," she had never entertained the thought of being reborn into the Hyuga clan. If anything, she figured she would be born as a civilian living away from danger. Irene had not been nearly adventurous or athletic enough to have lived past her first year as an Academy student.
Perhaps she should be grateful for only existing as a soul trapped in the mind of a being who belonged to this foreign world. But she was also incredibly apologetic to Shinju.
Shinju would never get to experience how it is like to be her own individual person. She would never get to live in the world without the burden of knowing future events. Instead, she was stuck with a voice in her head that was old enough to be her mother.
When Irene had first come to realize the true nature behind her "rebirth," she had subjected newborn Hyuga Shinju to many panic attacks. She hadn't fully adjusted to being a soul in another's mind and hadn't learned how to filter out her thoughts and emotions, which had scared infant Shinju.
Though Shinju had no recollection of Irene's mental breakdowns, Irene continued to be apologetic for subjecting Shinju to such emotions at a young age.
Shinju's father had been killed in action before she had even been born while her mother had gone through unexpected complications during labour which ultimately took her life. This had left baby Shinju in the care of multiple distant relatives who did not know how to console the panicked baby.
And so Irene had adapted her role to be Shinju's motherly figure in a strange and invasive sort of war. She knew all of Shinju's thoughts and feelings. She was able to feel the same things as the Hyuga born did though Shinju had no access to Irene's.
She guided the young kunoichi-to-be. She cheered her up when she was sad and scolded her when she had done something wrong.
All Irene could do was protect Shinju to the best of her abilities. No matter how limited they were.
Shinju strived in the Academy.
Thanks to Irene's prior knowledge about the shinobi world, Shinju was able to apply that knowledge to her school life which led her to be consistently ranked in the top range of her year.
However, Shinju did not make many friends in the Academy due to her quiet and withdrawn nature.
She found it difficult to interact with the kids her age simply because of Irene's presence. Having a thirty-five-year-old voice in her head made her more mature than her peers. She was also considerably well spoken for her age. More often than not, her peers would blink owlishly at her as she spoke to them as she would speak to Irene or the elders of the Hyuga clan. She had to rephrase her words for her peers to understand which she found slightly difficult to do even with Irene's guidance.
So, she isolated herself from her classmates and gave up on making friends. She remained silent and alone in the back of the classroom.
Some thought she was a freak.
Whenever the sensei asked her a question, she always knew the answers which had earned her the acknowledgement of the teachers and the jealousy of her classmates. Many called her a prodigy as well.
During lunch time, she sat under a tree and read books on training tactics. It was a thick book that she had acquired from her clan library and was far too difficult for any of her peers to read and understand.
A fellow student approached her shortly after she finished her bento with a slightly disgusted look on his chubby little face.
"Hey, freak!" The boy said casually before he seemed to realize what was actually said. "Oh, uh… I-I mean – hey, Hyuga!"
Shinju just remained quiet and waited for the boy to continue. Surely the boy had something else to say than to call her names.
He seemed to mistaken her silence for anger and immediately scampered away without telling her what he originally wanted to say.
Shinju bit back the tears that threatened to escape her eyes and continued reading the book with a heavy heart.
When she went home that day, she shut herself in her room to let out a good cry.
That boy was out of line, Shinju. Irene soothed her. Don't let what bullies say affect you so much. You're better than them. Don't waste your tears on that boy.
Why can't I be normal? Shinju whimpered, drowning in her self-pity.
Irene was immediately apologetic. I'm so sorry, Shinju. It is because of me that you suffer like this. You will never be able to truly experience what it is like to be "normal."
Shinju immediately felt horrible for thinking such a thing. There were so many things about Irene that she was grateful for.
I didn't mean it like that. I'm sorry.
It's alright. I know things are hard for you because of me. Not just at school but within the clan as well.
She couldn't blame Irene for her situation within the Hyuga clan. She had simply been born into it – it wasn't anything Irene could control. It had been up to fate and fate had decided this for her.
It's not your fault. She stated resolutely. You make things easier for me with the clan.
Shinju was practically considered a nobody in the Hyuga clan. Her parents had not been important members of the clan. They had belonged in the Branch House of the clan and served the Main House.
Her only living relative was her aunt, who had married a second cousin of the Main branch's heir. Kumiko ba-chan and Naoki oji-sama took her in as their ward and treated her as their own child. Her cousin, Manami and Shinju grew up as sisters rather than cousins.
But she grew up with the knowledge that she did not belong to the family.
When she was alone, the members of the Main House never failed to remind her that she belonged to the Branch House. Many whispers from the elders and adults never failed to trail her wherever she went and whatever she did.
"What was Naoki-sama thinking of taking her in as his ward? She clearly belongs to the Branch House. Just look at her face! Look at her posture!"
And when she went to the Branch House, they all pointed fingers at her and claimed she was privileged to get access to the Main House.
"Look at that kimono, thinking she is all that. Being raised by Naoki-sama and Kumiko-sama has sucked away the modesty of the Branch blood in her."
Shinju felt like an outcast in her own clan.
But she remained silent because she did not want to bring shame on her family. No matter how many times Irene yelled at her to stand up for herself and seek justice, Shinju knew that she was in no right of doing such a thing.
Stop thinking such depressing thoughts. Irene reprimanded her in the midst of her training. If only you stood up to yourself or told Kumiko ba-chan or Naoki oji-sama, things would be a lot easier for you!
No, that won't make things better and you know it. Shinju sighed.
I know… Irene acquiesced. I just hate seeing you so down like this.
I'm sorry. I can't help it.
Shinju shook herself out of her gloomy thoughts and slipped back into formation.
Typically, she trained with Manami and Naoki, but her uncle was off on a mission and Manami was sick with a cold. Kumiko had offered for her to take a day off of training but she didn't want to give the elders another excuse to pick on her.
Irene had also said that training was a good way of releasing stress and the pent up negativity.
She seized the opportunity to train within the clan grounds in hopes of finding a potential sparring partner that could help her with the clan taijutsu. Although Naoki never did it intentionally, he often catered to the needs of his daughter which made Shinju practice techniques she had already mastered to a passable degree.
She yearned for guidance. She yearned for attention as well. She wanted to earn the respect of the clan with her earnest efforts – she knew she couldn't do it on her own. She needed the guidance of another.
But she had been training for over two hours and not a single person had yet to show up. She was starting to lose hope.
There was a possibility that someone or a few people had seen her train and just left her to her own devices. Not many would be willing to help the freak of the clan and risk their own reputation.
Or she was extremely unlucky and no one had seen her train at all. If that was the case, she was willing to put in an extra ten or so minutes.
Shinju sighed before she slipped back into position. An extra ten minutes it was.
One last time, she swore to herself.
That's the spirit! Irene cheered her on.
Shinju gave a smile of gratitude then charged towards the target for the nth time that day.
One last time turned into multiple desperate attempts. Ten minutes bled into an extra half hour and she was really losing hope.
She was certain there were people who were keeping an eye on her and had hoped that she would manage to draw one person out to help her. After all, she was considered untrustworthy in the eyes of many clansmen and typically had a few pairs of eyes watching her every move.
Perhaps it had been her selfishly thinking that she was worth the attention and guidance of others.
At least you got some good training in today. Irene comforted her. You are only getting stronger by doing so.
I guess –
"Your form is very good," a deep voice stated from behind her, startling her out of her mental conversation with Irene.
Shinju immediately whipped around and saw the head of the Hyuga clan standing before her with his arms crossed over his chest and his eyes sparkling with thinly veiled interest.
She quickly regained her composure and bowed deeply to the man. "Thank you, Hiroaki-sama."
"I have heard much about you from Naoki and Kumiko-san." Hiroaki nodded in acknowledgement. "I have been meaning to properly introduce myself."
"I apologize for not introducing myself earlier." She shook her head politely. "I did not know when to without disrupting you."
She had also thought she was not worthy enough to face the clan head by herself.
Enough with this self-deprecation crap! You are only seven for Kami's sake! Irene chastised her. Besides, Hiroaki-sama is taking time out of his probably busy schedule to talk to you! You are special! And in a good way!
I-I don't know about that. Shinju bit down on her lip uncertainly. What if he heard something from the clan members?
The elders? I'm sure Hiroaki-sama is smarter than to simply listen to his stuck up clan members.
"There is no need to apologize." Hiroaki dismissed her worries as he stepped off the patio and joined her on the training ground. "Now, come at me."
Shinju blinked up at the clan head owlishly, unsure if she heard him properly.
Hiroaki looked on at her with an amused quirk on his lips. "Come."
Wait… is he actually –
Yep, seems like it! Irene cheered. Let's show him what you are worth, Shinju-baby!
Without a second thought, she instantly slipped into formation and studied the man with her activated Byakugan.
He was simply standing there with his arms still crossed over his chest, looking very much relaxed. She did not take offense to this because she knew that he was leagues better than her. The only thing she could do to somewhat put up his guard was to surprise him which was a daunting task on its own.
But her seven-year-old mind – despite harbouring a thirty-five-year-old voice in her head – had trouble coming up with such a tactic. There were many factors to take into consideration before she effectively formulated a solid plan. For the meanwhile, Shinju resorted to simply testing his strength by charging at him with the Hyuga palm technique.
He easily blocked her but did not push her away quite yet to her mild surprise.
He is scoping you out.
She could feel it in the way his strikes varied in strength. He was testing her physical capabilities.
As they exchanged blows, Shinju carefully observed the man's movements. Though she was aware that there was more to his abilities than what he was demonstrating, she doubted he would go much stronger than what she predicted. They were sparring, not training in preparation for an upcoming battle or of the sort.
She was starting to find the rhythm behind his strikes and was getting better and better at dodging and blocking him.
You need to back away before he properly strikes you!
Shinju followed Irene's advice and jumped over Hiroaki, which was considerably difficult as he was a tall man while she was just a small little girl. She had to put more chakra than she normally did to successfully propel herself in the air and land evenly on her two feet.
She bit down on her lip nervously. She was using a lot more chakra than she had anticipated which meant that she would have to be more careful and efficient to prolong the spar.
She quickly scanned the vicinity and noticed that she was getting closer to the trees. She knew it was only a matter of time before she either got thrown across the field to the trees or jump over there herself.
The trees can be used as a leverage. She noted mentally. But what for?
"Impressive." Hiroaki nodded in approval before charging right at her. She knew that the strike was going to be harder than the rest – she could feel the wind brushing past her cheeks by the force of his palm.
Shinju tried to gather chakra in her left forearm and hand to block his attack, but she was sent flying across the field as she had anticipated. A slight burst of pain blossomed in her wrist which she had no time to react to.
C'mon, we need to think! Irene encouraged her. Take advantage of how small you are and surprise him with that!
She ignored the soreness of her left wrist and jumped up into the tree to avoid his coming attack. She was exactly where she had anticipated but still did not know what she could do in her current position. Though she knew Hiroaki could see her with his Byakugan, she was still obscured by the natural chakra from the trees around her. She looked down at the ground and back up at the trees before she suddenly came up with an idea.
I got it! She thought to herself excitedly as she waited for Hiroaki to draw closer.
Irene read her thought and laughed. Not bad.
He palmed the tree.
Shinju jumped out of the tree branch and jumped on Hiroaki's shoulder. She used her chakra to inflict some damage and keep her still on his shoulder at the same time.
Without taking another moment to blink, she blocked off a few of Hiroaki's tenketsu points on his back and a couple on his triceps as well.
Then, she quickly jumped off to the other side of the field, knowing she didn't have much time or energy to do more than what she had done. She only had about ten percent of her chakra left and would have to make efficient use with it.
She hadn't managed to completely block his tenketsu points, but they were… clogged for a lack of a better word. Tenketsu points were typically blocked by a force a foreign chakra that manipulated the flow of one's chakra. However, as Hiroaki was a lot stronger than her and had better control over his chakra than she had, she had only managed to partially block it. There was still some chakra that leaked out of the blockage she had attempted. He could easily unclog his tenketsu points by pushing some chakra to clear the blockages out. He was a jonin after all whilst she was still a mere Academy student.
A moment of silence shortly followed her attack. There was no movement and Hiroaki stood still in what seemed to be surprise.
Then, he laughed.
Shinju blinked up at the Hyuga clan head in confusion as he continued to laugh.
Oh wow, a Hyuga laughing! Irene cried out in shock.
Shinju was too gobsmacked to take any offense to Irene's comment. "H-Hiroaki-sama?"
The man started to calm himself down and smiled down at the flabbergasted girl in amusement.
"You are a creative one, Shinju-chan." He said before another chuckle escaped him. "I'm very impressed."
Sounds kind of like an insult, too. Irene noted with a snort.
Shinju took it as a compliment either way. "That you, Hiroaki-sama." She bowed deeply as she tried to fight off a smile that threatened to split her face in half.
"You still need a lot of work to fully utilize that creativity." He stated in a serious tone, abandoning all of his laughter and amusement. "While your form is very good for someone your age, you lack power. You are agile and fast, but you take a long time coming up with an effective plan. While it is good to test your opponents before you formulate a plan, relying on your instincts and being able to react to them is a form of strength as well. More often than not it will save your life."
"Yes, Hiroaki-sama." She nodded as she took his criticism to heart.
"I will talk to Naoki or Kumiko-san." Hiroaki said with a hint of approval. "I will let them know that I intend on training you during the weekends."
Shinju looked up at the man in shock. "T-Truly, sir?"
"Yes, you have the potential to become a strong shinobi." He nodded. "The Hyuga clan needs to cultivate young talent for us to prosper. When you are out in the field, you are not just representing the village but you are also representing the clan."
"Yes, sir!" She responded enthusiastically.
He smiled and gave her a meaningful look. "Keep that attitude up and you will be impressing the entire clan."
Shinju looked up at him in surprise. Hiroaki-sama knew all along?
Seems that way. He is clan head after all.
He just gave her one last smile and ruffled her sweaty hair before walking back into the compound and disappearing out of her sight.
For once in her life Shinju didn't care about the rest of the clan. She stepped up on the patio and sprawled out across the wooden floors.
She couldn't help but wonder why Hiroaki had suddenly approached her in the midst of her training. It hadn't been her first time training by herself in the very field. She couldn't help but question Hiroaki's motives and wonder what he truly wanted from her.
Did he want to train her to become a servant to the Main branch? Did he want her to become a bodyguard of some sort?
It almost seemed like a bad omen.
The Main branch hardly paid attention to those that were born into the Branch House unless they were meant to serve a purpose. Although Shinju as technically adopted into the Main branch, she had not been born into it.
Blood was the most important thing in clans. Especially those with kekkei genkai.
What did I say about that negativity? Irene tsked. I mean, things were bound to change for you soon, right? You are in your second year at the Academy. Surely by now you would be slowly changing to the great kunoichi you will be in the future.
I-I'm just not used to it. Shinju replied. For the past seven years, I have lived life mostly by myself, but now…
Look, the life you led until now has not been something any seven-year-old should have endured. Irene huffed. They do say that seven is a lucky number. Maybe it's fate's way of testing you, I don't know! Just embrace it! Hiroaki-sama took notice of you! Celebrate your success!
Okay… Shinju sighed. I suppose it is a good thing.
There was a part of her that was soaring high in the sky from finally being recognized for all of her hard work.
She thought of the long days she had spent training after Manami and Naoki had gone inside for dinner. She thought of the sleepless nights she had spent reading her textbooks and studying hard for tests and exams. She thought of early morning practices she had spent to prepare herself for taijutsu testing and spars in the Academy.
She felt a smile nearly splitting her face in half as she started to get lost in her sense of accomplishment. She closed her eyes and replayed the spar over and over in her head before falling into a meditative state.
What could she have done better during the spar? When should she have "relied on her instincts"?
Shinju vaguely heard the door slide open from above her but ignored it and continued to try and better the spar in her head with new tactics.
"Shinju! Are you not feeling well?" She heard her aunt rush over to her. "Have you perhaps caught the cold from Manami? I had warned you to stay away from her for the time being."
Shinju felt embarrassment wash over her before she opened her eyes and sat up. "I'm fine, oba-san. I was just resting after training. Pardon my rudeness."
"Oh, silly girl. You had me worried." Kumiko laughed before examining the young girl. "Did something happen? You look slightly troubled."
She wondered if it was alright to tell her aunt what had happened. Hiroaki had said that he would speak to Naoki or Kumiko when he had the time.
Just tell her, you don't need to always second guess yourself. I'm sure Hiroaki-sama won't mind.
"I had sparred with Hiroaki-sama." She said slowly. "And it went… well."
Her aunt immediately broke out into a wide and teary-eyed smile. "Oh, that is great news, dear! Naoki and I had kept telling you that you are special and worth being called a prodigy, but you wouldn't listen! Anyway, what did Hiroaki-sama say?"
"He would like to talk to you, oba-san." She replied with a fond smile. "He said that he would like me to train me during the weekends."
"I'm so proud of you, Shinju." Kumiko gathered Shinju up in her arms and embraced her. "Your hard efforts have finally paid off. Keep working hard and I'm sure the clan won't have anything to say anymore."
Shinju fell silent at that.
Hiroaki-sama had said something like that too. I wonder how many people are aware of this.
That's just the way clans work, I guess. Word gets around in like an hour. Irene retorted. Clans are so freaking petty. Especially the Uchiha and Hyuga. Both are obsessed with their image and do whatever they can to raise prodigies.
Shinju wondered at that.
She did not know any Uchiha well enough to judge their demeanour. She knew that in the future, there would be a Sasuke who would be close friends with Naruto. From what Irene had told her, Naruto's loyalty to Sasuke was admirable. Something that was not easily found in people – especially not paranoid and cautious shinobi.
Yeah, I honestly think that they are or will be secretly in love with each other.
Y-You really think so? It –
"Dear, are you alright?" her aunt's voice sounded from above her head.
She flushed again. "I'm sorry, oba-san. I got lost in thought."
"Silly girl." Kumiko laughed. "Let's go inside, I will prepare dinner, so take the time to clean yourself up."
Shinju had fallen asleep with a smile that night – something that had Kumiko pause in her tracks when she had gone into her niece's room to check on her in the middle of the night.
The woman quietly approached Shinju's futon and brushed the young girl's bangs aside. "The poor girl suffers so much from the clan but remains so strong."
She thought of her older sister and how much Shinju resembled her. They had the same gentle and calm mannerisms with a quiet yet steady determination burning in their pearl-like eyes. It sometimes hurt her to look at her niece who was the mirror image of her deceased sister.
She smiled down at her niece with glassy eyes and kissed her forehead. "You are so much like your mother. You already make so proud and I'm sure your parents are both proudly looking over you from the heavens as well."
She remembered how Shinju's parents had been excited for their daughter's arrival, only to be taken away by fate before they had the chance to properly meet her. They had both been kind and dutiful members of the Hyuga clan and the Hidden Leaf Village. It was unfair how the strong always had to fall.
Kumiko stared down at her niece fondly for another moment before standing up and quietly making her way out of the room.
"You are going to be doing wonderful things to the world, Shinju. And I know it."
A/N: It had been a bitch to write the chapter because I wanted to write it in a way that made it clear how Irene and Shinju co-exist.
If I failed to make you understand how this all works, just think about it this way: Kurama and Naruto.
Irene is residing within Shinju's mind. This means Irene has access to Shinju's thought and feelings. However, Shinju cannot do the same because Shinju does not reside in Irene's mind – she cannot know what Irene is thinking or feeling. She only knows when Irene "speaks" to her. Their relationship is akin to Kurama and Naruto: Irene is like Kurama and Shinju is like Naruto.
I like to think that Shinju is an OC part of the Naruto world while Irene is a SI (part of our world).
Lol, I'm still not sure if I explained this properly. I understand that this form of SI-OC may be slightly off putting to some of you. Please leave a review to let me know what you think or if you have any questions!