The concrete walls reeked of mold and rot. The sewers—for there was no other word Fox could use to describe it—were large in scale, but that was the only impressive part about it. Fox's nose wrinkled on its own as she had to continue to breathe in the sour stench of that foul place. It did not help that most of the other humans that came had gross scents, too.
More than half were sweaty and anxious. What a horrible smell!
Fox tugged one of her pigtails around her nose to try and appease the gross scents she was bombarded with.
Fox, huh? The voice was amused, and he chuckled. Bfft. You would remember that.
She didn't know how to respond to the voice in her head. It had spoken to her as soon as she entered the meeting point for the Hunter Exam. Could it hear her thoughts?
Of course I can hear your thoughts.
'Then who are you?'
You already know that.
But she didn't. She knew hearing the voice made her happy, but that was the extent of her knowledge.
It's okay, he said, his voice becoming more gentle. You will remember.
'Who am I?'
Whoever you want to be.
The answer stirred something inside of her. A sense of… relief.
'I can be whoever I want to be?'
What we have here is a rare opportunity. A chance for you to grow, and live without prejudice and hate tainting you. The voice fell silent for a few minutes. A chance for you to have a life without scars, or unfair burdens.
Fox didn't know how to respond.
And if you choose to say fuck all humans, you know, I'm always here to support that…
'I have not yet met a human I liked,' Fox thought, her eyes glancing down at her thick black cargo pants. She kept an orange belt—she didn't know why she chose orange of all colors because it didn't match the rest of her outfit at all, but she saw it and instinctively grabbed onto it—tied around it. Looped onto the belt were storage scrolls she had made—she stole the ink and paper then infused her own chakra into it—and a few pouches of handmade or stolen weapons.
She wore a multi-purple shaded top to go along with her dark purple boots and purple hair ties for her pigtails.
They are a bit annoying, aren't they?
Fox nodded in agreement with the voice inside her head. 'Do you know my name?'
Of course I do.
'What is it?'
I like Fox better.
'Oh. Was it a bad name?'
No. But Fox is one thousand times better.
Fox digested this, before accepting such. She had no reason to refute. She had no strong attachment to her previous name, and a part of her implicitly trusted the voice.
When the voice sensed her acceptance of this, she thought she heard him sigh in her head.
Miwako. That was the name your parents gave you.
'Oh. I think I like Fox better.'
See? I'm glad you understand.
There was no familiarity to the name Miwako. Fox had already been using her name for a few weeks by that point and had grown somewhat attached to it.
So… you're going to take this exam?
'Yes. I thought obtaining a Hunter license would make things easier.'
It seems like it, judging from what I gathered of your memories so far, the voice commented. Do you have plans past that?
'No. Do you?'
It looks like there's some cities that are in need of a few bijū bombs.
Ah! You remember?
Fox had reflexively responded with indignation, not realizing what she had slipped out. With the name came a rush of joyous flashes. Rapid pictures of her at different stages of her life sharing warm moments with an oversized fox flashed through her mind.
Her memories had not wholly come back, but she knew in her heart of hearts that Kurama was her very dear best friend.
She also knew he was a bit of a dick.
'I'm not keeping the name Fox anymore, you arrogant tsundere,' Miwa—she decided to go for Miwa instead of Miwako—thought.
I AM NOT A TSUNDERE!
The cry of rage made Miwa smile to herself.
Miwa watched them enter one by one, each of them tinged with the sour stench of anxiety. A few of them tried to approach her, but she curled her lip back in plain disdain and snarled.
She was not opposed to conversation, but the ones that approached her had such a gross feeling to them.
No one else here has an established chakra network, but instead they have a singular core of raw energy that is similar to chakra, Kurama observed through Miwa's senses. Training in Sage has honed your instincts, and I'm glad that was not lost in the transition. But then again chakra training is more like a muscle memory for the soul and body than something you actively remember. Your soul and body knows it even if your mind does not.
Miwa could agree to that explanation, as it explained why she retained knowledge of her skills but not who she was. She remained indifferent to the applicants that entered since most of them had a nasty smell about them.
Then in came a scent of gentle rain, and irises. Miwa reflexively inhaled deeply as her gaze zeroed in on a boy about her age. He had soft blue eyes and clean white hair. His energy—chakra?—was strong enough it stood out, but untouched like fresh snow.
He noticed her gaze almost immediately, slightly angling his head and catching her eyes. The two stared at each other for a split second—he was clearly assessing her—before he seemingly dismissed her and walked by.
As he moved, though, she realized that he walked without making a sound. His footsteps were light, and well balanced.
Well he looks fun.
Miwa didn't disagree, and continued to watch as more contestants arrived. Perhaps an hour had passed before the final group entered.
A strong smell of lilies and the ocean drew Miwa's attention to another boy about her age. His eyes sparkled with childish innocence and wonder,and he wore eye-popping green clothes. He had a fishing rod attached to his back, and spiky black hair. Like with rainy boy, this one had a large core inside of him that was untouched. But it reminded Miwa more of a still pond, than fresh snow.
Beside him were two others that had tinges of sour anxiety overlaying their initial scents.
Behind the lily-boy was another boy a bit older. He had blonde hair that was combed neatly and dressed in odd attire—odd to Miwa, at least—with ashy gray eyes. He smelled of asphodel, and rust. Inside of him was a core that felt twisted, broken, but still warm with light. It was untouched, yet already mangled.
Lastly of this new trio was a man dressed in a suit, who smelled of rubbing alcohol and horehound. The core inside this dark haired man was tiny in comparison to his companions—average for the other contestants—but it shined like the dawn.
In comparison to all the other contestants that had entered, those four really stood out to Miwa.
They were the only ones that Miwa did not instinctively want to stay far away from, at least.
'I wonder what I smell and look like to them?'
You smell of ash and gladiolus.
She watched a large man who smelled so sweet it was nauseating approach the trio. She saw him try to lie and deceive the group, and she saw him fail spectacularly at such.
A high pitched bell rung throughout the sewer, silencing everyone and drawing their attention to the man who was holding it.
The man in question had long legs, and dressed like a butler. His hair was a soft pale pink that was neatly combed down the middle, and curled up at the end. He had a slightly darker pink handlebar moustache, and a pair of eyes devoid of interest.
Miwa noted how he smelled of lavender tea, and how his core—unlike the vast majority of contestants—was trained to a finite point. It was impressive, but only because Miwa had only seen a handful of other cores like his.
Still nowhere near as big as ours.
'It's not nice to brag, Kurama.'
Kurama haughtily replied with, It's not bragging. It's stating the obvious.
The pink haired man did not bat an eye as the wall behind him was pulled up like a door. Instead, he said, "I apologize for the wait. The registration period for the Hunter Exam applicants has ended. The Hunter Exam will now begin! A final word of caution. If you lack the necessary ability, or luck, you will end up seriously injured or dead. Those who accept the risks, please follow me. Otherwise, please exit via the elevator behind you."
A pause. No one moved.
"Very well. All 405 participants will proceed. Please follow me."
The man then promptly turned around and began to walk in a march.
Miwa, and the other examinees, started to follow behind him. After a couple minutes of walking the man began to pick up the pace, and within minutes everyone was having to jog, or run to keep up with him.
"I've neglected to introduce myself," lavender man said. "I am Satotz, your examiner for the First Phase of the exam. I will lead you to the Second Phase."
"Second Phase? What about the First Phase?" one of the participants called out.
"It has already commenced," Satotz responded. "You must follow me to the Second Phase."
"That's it? Just follow you?"
Satotz flatly answered with, "Yes. I cannot tell you where or when you must arrive. You just need to follow me."
'Is that it?' Miwa wondered, making note to memorize his scent in case she lost him.
Kurama groaned. Following? That's it? That's so boring!
Miwa was inclined to agree.
Why not just tag him with hiraishin, go blow up a couple cities, then jump right back?
'No. That might disqualify me.'
Kurama grumbled with disdain.
As she broke out into a steady jog, she looked around for those pleasant smells.
'If we're running, might as well make conversation,' she figured, speeding up a touch to catch up with the lily-smelling boy.
"Hi," she greeted.
"Hi!" he chirped back. "I'm Gon."
"Miwa," she said in return. "Is this your first time taking the exam?"
"Yep!" Gon adjusted his yellow backpack to fit more squarely on his shoulders. "How about you?"
"Yeah," Miwa answered, glancing back at his fishing pole. "Do you like to fish?"
He grinned cutely. "How can you tell?"
"Absurd shot in the dark."
(Half an hour later…)
Gon was pleasant company. It wasn't hard to figure out he had a sweet childish innocence about him.
There was also something about him.
The way he acted, the way his mere presence reminded Miwa of the sun just… well, she just instantly took a liking to him. She almost wanted to say he reminded her of someone, but she couldn't place it.
"Hey, wait up, brat! You should show the Hunter Exam some respect!" snapped out the sterile-smelling man that had come with Gon.
"Huh?" the boy of gentle rain stared blankly back at the older man. He was riding atop a yellow and red skateboard.
The man pointed accusingly at the skateboard. "That's cheating!"
"This is an endurance test!"
"No, it isn't," Gon called out from behind. "The examiner only said to follow him."
"Whose side are you on?!"
The pale iris-smelling boy frowned thoughtfully, slowing down his skating to roll beside Gon and Miwa. "Hey, how old are you?"
"Twelve," Gon answered.
"Hmm…" The boy with hair like untouched snow flipped his skateboard over. "Guess I'll run, too."
Gon let out a gasp of amazement. "Wow! That was so cool!"
"I'm Gon! This is Miwa," Gon said, gesturing over to Miwa.
"And how old are you?" Killua asked the blonde girl.
'How old am I?'
"I don't know," Miwa said with a small shrug.
"Ehh? How do you not know?" Gon looked over at her in surprise, his eyes wide. "How many winters do you remember?"
"Um… None?" Miwa answered semi-honestly. She didn't count those flashes of moments with Kurama since she couldn't tangibly claim them as memories.
"Ehh? Did you grow up someplace really warm?"
"What about birthdays?" Killua asked.
"I can't remember any."
"Oh, wow," Gon commented. "I guess that would make it hard to tell…"
Killua peered at Miwa. "You look about our age, so it can't be too far off."
"Maybe," was all Miwa said in response.
(Four hours later…)
The run was going fine so far. Killua, Gon, and Miwa chatted amongst themselves as they ran, forming a warm camaraderie. While the boys asked plenty of questions to one another and Miwa, Miwa wasn't able to answer much of any.
Some answers were supplied by Kurama—such as favorite foods—but she had to answer a large portion with a shrug or I don't know.
Their conversations came to a lull, though, when the man that Gon had came with lagged behind before completely stopping. He was bent over his knees, panting heavily as his face dripped with sweat. Gon stopped as soon as he noticed, turning back to stare intently at the man.
Killua and Miwa both stopped to wait beside Gon, Killua frowning when he realized why they were stopped.
I swear if you found another Therapy-no-Jutsu user I will kill myself.
'You love yourself too much for that.'
"Oi, leave him," Killua said. "Let's get going."
Gon didn't respond, though, choosing to continue to stare back at the bent over man. The exhausted man stared back for a couple minutes before grimacing, and shouting out. "Screw that! I came here to become a Hunter!"
With energy that he probably didn't even know he had, he shot forward, sprinting wobbly past the trio.
Gon smiled, pulled out his fishing rod and launched the line out to hook the man's forgotten briefcase. With ease, Gon reeled it back in, hanging it on his backpack.
"That was cool!" Killua grinned, and the trio started to run again. "Let me try that later."
"Only if you let me try out your skateboard."
(An hour later…)
Killua looked over at both of us and grinned. "Hey, wanna race to see who finishes first? Last place has to buy everyone else dinner."
"Heck yeah!" Gon exclaimed.
"Sure," Miwa agreed, picking up her speed.
Are you going to use shushin?
'Nah. It's only a friendly race.'
(Another hour later…)
The trio continued their friendly conversation as they raced.
"I'm impressed the two of you can keep up with me," Killua remarked after their talking grew to another lull.
"Really?" Gon rubbed the back of his head sheepishly, while Miwa tried not to smirk.
Killua frowned at that. "Or maybe it's just that everyone else is too slow. Man… The Hunter Exam is going to be a breeze… that's no fun."
"Hey, why do you want to become a Hunter?"
"Me? I'm not really interested in becoming a Hunter. I heard the exam was supposed to be really hard, so I thought it would be fun," Killua answered honestly. "But this is disappointing. What about you?"
"Well my dad's a Hunter, so I want to be a Hunter like him," Gon chirped.
"What kind of Hunter is he?"
Killua and Miwa stared at him in disbelief before both snorted. Killua chuckled. "You want to be like your dad, but you don't even know him?"
"Well Mito raised me," Gon explained.
"Mito?" Miwa inquired.
"My aunt, Mito. I've only ever seen pictures of my dad, but I heard he took the exams when he was twelve, and passed. He left the island to become a Hunter. I want to find out why he was a hunter! What about you, Miwa?"
"I have nothing else to do," Miwa bluntly answered.
That made Killua howl with laughter while Gon snickered.
As they continued to climb up the steps of the sewers, a light started to shine through. Up ahead they could see the exit of the tunnel, and the trio exchanged excited grins before bursting out into a final sprint.
Miwa decided to go for a tie, using her chakra to enhance her speed enough to match the two boys'.
And as three, they all jumped outside the sewers—the first contestants to do so—while exclaiming, "Goal!"
"Looks like you owe me dinner!" Killua crowd.
"Na-uh! I crossed first."
Gon turned to the instructor, Satotz, and asked, "Ne, ne, who crossed first?"
"I believe the three of you crossed simultaneously," Satotz answered politely.
"Hmm… then I'll buy dinner," Gon declared.
"I'll buy dessert," Miwa offered.
"And I'll eat both," Killua settled for.
The three grinned at each other once more.
BONUS TT!AU - In which Miwa, Killua, and Gon have traveled back to this point in time to retake the exams with all the knowledge they possess. This is really just for anyone who is re-reading after completing the story for teh lulz.
"Aaand we're running again," Killua sighed as he, Gon, and Miwa immediately took the lead.
Miwa sucked in a big gulp of air and then bellowed out a massive whirlwind behind them. Every single contestant that was behind them—except Leorio and Kurapika who Gon had immediately carried up front—was thrown up into the air and flung to the end of the sewer.
Miwa then used the only doton jutsu she had mastered, and conjured a thick concrete wall behind them to block them from coming forward.
Satotz briefly glanced behind him to see only five contestants left.
"Why?" Gon asked her, shaking his head.
"Because fuck Hisoka," Miwa answered.
Killua patted her back. "That's the only reason to anything anymore."
"C'mon guys he's not that bad."
"Ugh. Such a shounen hero." Miwa rolled her eyes.
Thanks all for giving this story a try!
I want to blast through this ASAP so we can get to the good shit like the Phantom Troupe (the original Akatsuki for my Naruto buddies).
Answer: Toxic Thoughts seems accurate. I'd like it to be Enjoy the Ride.
Question: If you were reborn in Hunter x Hunter but could bring any power/ability with you from any source… what would you bring?
Reviews are love!