Altered Destiny

Title subject to change, rating PG13 to be on the safe side.

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto, I do own the plot of this story (for as far as there is one) and the extra characters I may or may not add.

Response to reviews at the bottom, be sure to read the A/N's.

Chapter 05 – Survival:

"I give up..." Shikamaru sighed and stuck his hands in his front pockets, not putting any effort into today's test. "There's no use for me to try and run, I'll just do it again next year."

Anko's eye brow twitched dangerously. "Wrong!" She roared, grabbing the boy by the base of his neck and flinging him across the clearing towards the treeline. "Run, ya little twerp! Or I'm going to beat the crap out of you!"

Shikamaru needed no further encouragement.


An impatient little snort sounded just above Anko's head and she smiled slightly. "Yes, Naruko-chan?"

"Is that old man really going to let me live with you now?" The seven year-old wrapped her small arms around Anko's forehead, sneezing as the spiky ponytail brushed her nose.

Instead of answering directly, the Kunoichi replied with her own question. "You already live with me, don't you?"

"But he said that it was eel eelli" The small blonde scrunched her itching nose as she thought.


"Yes!" The child exclaimed with breathless relief.

"Don't worry about that, Naruko-chan." Anko smiled, and the two lapsed into comfortable silence. Briefly.

"Am I going to be a great ninja like you?"

Anko laughed. The unending stream of questions still often surprised her. She was sure that she hadn't been quite so curious when she was seven. "You're going to be way better than me!"

"Really?" The tone of wonder clearly permeated the young girl's voice.

"Really." Anko stated with finality, shrugging her shoulders and nearly dislodging Naruko from her comfortable position.

The child shrieked in surprise, which was followed quickly by a peal of giggles – something that Anko only added to seconds after it started.

Naruko checked, and rechecked the trap she had just set. She had taken her older sister's advice to heart, and had now used up at least half of her arsenal of weaponry. The girl tallied the weapons she still had after rummaging through the weapon's pouch strapped around her midsection.

"Hmmm." She murmured to herself. "Seven kunai, eight shuriken and no more throwing-daggers. Well, I hate those anyway."

Aside from that, she saw she had two more of the precious explosive tags; simple pieces of paper able to explode with terrific force with just a single one-handed seal. And a few smoke bombs, which she would only use to escape if she came face to face with Anko. It probably wouldn't do any good, but it was worth a try at any rate

"Hinata?" She beckoned her friend closer.

The girl in question moved closer and crouched next to Naruko. "Y-yes?"

"Do you still have enough weapons and other supplies?" The blonde girl raked her fingers through her hair and stood up after Hinata nodded an affirmative. "Okay. We'd better split up now, alright?"

Hinata blinked slowly. Though slightly hesitant about possibly facing Anko alone, the woman who was supposed to start hunting them down in about five minutes, she and Naruko had discussed the best possibilities of making the exam. And if the two were together, they might make a bigger target.

Noticing her inner conflict with the plan, Naruko took her hands and squeezed them softly. "You're a great Kunoichi, Hinata-chan. Probably better than me." She smiled. "We'll get through this test and then we'll become the greatest nins in the whole world!"

The blue-haired girl nodded weakly in return and hid her anxiety behind another soft smile but her friend's infectious optimism lifted her spirits considerably.

Saying that she was great was one thing. But now that Hinata was all alone, she certainly didn't feel all that confident anymore. Even less than before if it were at all possible.

She knew that she was probably being silly, but every time the faintest sound reached her ears, she flinched uncontrollably. With every rustle of leaves, soft buzz of insects and the random creak of tree branches, the girl expected Anko to pop up out of nowhere and attack her.

The forest could sure be a scary place sometimes.

Hinata huddled closer to the tree. From her vantage point here, she had an excellent view of the ground below. She was hidden completely from prying eyes within the thick crown of leaves but they still allowed her to look outwards. At least, she thought she was. Who knew what tricks a Jounin had for finding people...

Even with her meager skills with the Byakugan, there was no way to be absolutely sure that she could safely hide anywhere with a bloodthirsty Jounin on the prowl.

The blue-haired girl checked her watch. It had been an hour since she had split up with her friend. She had no idea what Shikamaru was doing, let alone where he was but she expected him to do the same as she was. After waiting a few more seconds, she decided it was time for another sweep with the Byakugan.

Closing her eyes, Hinata went through the flurry of hand seals that would activate her family's trademark ability. When the necessary hand seals were taken care of, she whispered as softly as she could. "Byakugan!"

Veins instantly became more prominent around the corner of her eyes. She could feel her perspectives shift as her mind recognized that she could now see all around her. She lifted her eyelids softly. Gone was the insecurity in her aquamarine eyes. Now they brimmed with power, though it was a power she didn't control perfectly... yet.

Her family's bloodline limit was prized among all others, but Hinata hated it. Just because of her eyes she was expected to be the greatest and act accordingly. She was supposed to be knowledgeable in all things, and was not supposed to be scared of anything. To stand against a Hyuuga meant failure. Hinata was supposed to treat every challenge presented to her as if it meant nothing. That just wasn't in her nature

Yet this wasn't the time to reflect on that. The Byakugan allowed her a three-hundred-and-sixty degree field of vision. It was impossible to sneak up on her with the ability to see through solid material and see the actual chakra pathways of objects and/or people, this was a frighteningly powerful genetic heritage indeed. Especially coupled with the Jyuken taijutsu style her Father was starting to teach her... Maybe she should not have been afraid of Naruko's older sister as much...?

She concentrated for a few moments, focusing on any movement around her. Her heart skipped a beat when a thicket rustled, but sighed in relief when it only turned out to be a deer foraging for juicy leaves to nibble on. She felt everything around her sway and move. She felt the ground beneath her move. The Byakugan might've been a mighty Bloodline, but it was sensory overload to the blue-haired girl. It seemed that Anko wasn't in the area anyways, and the chakra strain of keeping up the technique began to wear on her body already.

Deactivating her ability, Hinata allowed herself to relax slightly and reached towards her back with her left hand. But where there should have been a canteen filled with water, there was now only air 'What...?'

"Looking for this?"

The shock of hearing the voice nearly sent Hinata tumbling down towards the forest floor in a dead faint, but - and surprising even herself - she managed to steady herself and turn to the source of the voice.

When she saw who it was, she let out a scream.

'Man, this blows chunks!' Naruko grumbled in her mind. 'Really big and thick ones too!'

Never content with staying still for too long, she didn't know how long she would be able to, and remain hidden and prevent herself from being captured.

She was just itching for something to do.

Just then, Hinata's scream rang clearly through the forest.

"Shit!" She cursed. "I'M COMING HINATA!"

"Seems like those eyes of yours aren't worth much yet, huh?" Anko whispered into Hinata's ear. "Maybe another year at the academy will sort that out." Her tone instinctively told Hinata that she had no chance of escape.

The girl trembled in fright, unable to do a thing. She squirmed fitfully and tried to kick backwards, but failed. She was caught. The older woman had effectively pinned her arms behind her back and had twisted them into an almost painful knot.

She wanted to yell or to shout in frustration. She wanted to turn around and do a Kaiten, a full body spin exuding a carefully regulated amount of chakra as a measure of absolute defence, straight into the woman's face. But she wasn't strong enough yet. And if she had the proper understanding of the situation now, she would never be. It seemed as if her body and throat were not working anymore.

"I'm kind of disappointed though." Anko stated calmly. She might as well have been discussing the weather. "I had expected more of you."

Hinata squeaked as the Jounin pressed herself more firmly into her back, twisting her arms even further.

"Better luck next time." The dark-haired Kunoichi murmured dejectedly. Hinata's trembling increased ten-fold.

A sharp tap at the base of the young girl's neck and all went blissfully black.

Anko observed the limp form of Hyuuga Hinata in her arms a moment longer, then disappeared as silently as she had come - a tell-tale falling of leaves the only thing that signified Anko's retreat.

But just scant seconds after the Jounin had whisked the unconscious girl away, Naruko bulled through a nearby briar patch, scratched and bruised after hastily making her way in the direction of her best friend's cry, and came to an abrupt stop.

"Hinata!" She called out, cupping her hands around her mouth to amplify the volume of her voice. "Hinataaaaaaaaaa! Where are you!"

There was no response and that worried her. She had been sure that the yelp came from this direction so... "HINATA!" She screamed once more, and to her mounting horror, no reply came. All that stood in the small patch of space were some seemingly out-of-place green leaves. When Naruko swung her head from side to side to see if she could spot Hinata's hiding place, and when she was just about to call out her name again, something half-hidden in the centre of the pile of leaves caught her eye and diverted her attention.

She bent down and picked it up for a closer look and discovered it was a piece of paper. 'Who would leave a...?' Naruko flipped the piece of paper over and discovered that it was a note clearly addressed to her and Shikamaru. Her name being written in jagged, fiery letters and Shikamaru's being written in the lovey-dovey swirls that a fan-girl might use to write to a certain raven-haired bishounen prince. The rest was definitely the messy scrawl of her big sister though. The note read:

One down, two to go...

Underneath was crude drawing of a chibi-Anko giving her a thumbs up. And underneath that was...

PS: You might want to run.

Naruko felt an eyebrow rising on its own accord. 'What the hell...?' Then something hit her. Quickly she flipped the paper over... again. Her eyes widened in horror as she realized what she was holding in her hands.

"Oh shi-!"

Already some distance away, Anko smirked deviously as she heard a faint explosion echo in the distance behind her.

'Two down, one to go...'

Shikamaru shook his head sadly as he watched the singed – and slightly smoking - form of Naruko limping her way from the blast site. He smiled to match his head-shaking and wondered how Naruko hadn't seen the explosive note. It was a different kind, that was to be sure, and he didn't know what Anko had done to the explosive tag. But it had sure seemed a hell of a lot more stronger than a regular one.

He remained huddled in the shadows of a large oak tree, using a pile of branches and other woodland resources to give himself the perfect camouflage. Heck, it wasn't as if he hadn't done this before. People would be amazed at the effort he undertook to stay hidden from his mother at home.

'What the'

Where he was sure that Naruko would be teetering over and dropping to the forest floor unconscious, he witnessed her shake off a blast that he was sure would have killed him. Or at least reduced a fair few of his limbs to bloody and mangled stumps. 'No, scratch that…' He looked at the smouldering crater Naruko had just limped out of. 'Definitively would've killed me.'

Shikamaru was astounded. There she was, just flexing her arms and legs like nothing had happened! But Naruko didn't give him any more time for inspection, as she quickly set off on a steady sprint in the direction he had seen their teacher go.

His spiky ponytail swayed as he shook his head once more. Maybe he would have to get up and do something after all.

'This is too damn troublesome.' He sighed softly, a tired expression plastered on his face as he already contemplated a thousand different ways to help Naruko stop her insane sister.

When Hinata awoke, she had lost all sense of time. What she did manage to notice right away however, was the splitting pain in her head. And neck. And her entire backside… She realized she was forced up against a large, slightly circular object. Trying to move forward, she found herself restrained effectively by several layers of rope and knot work.

Hinata let out a muffled sob when she remember what had happened. Already she could hear the dreaded alarm clock tick tauntingly just above her head. 'I'm still useless.'

She hung her head and bit her lower lip. How was she going to explain this to her family? What would her father say? He was already angry at the placement of teams this year, and had been incensed to learn that his daughter would be placed with two of the lowest scoring Genin in the entire academy! She thought about it longer and sighed... What would


A not so subtle whisper brought her train of through to a crashing halt.

"I came to get you out of here!"

With her eyes growing wide in disbelief, Hinata craned her neck and found herself face to face with her blonde friend. "Naruko-chan!" She cried out.

Looking horrified, Naruko clamped a hand over Hinata's mouth. "Shhh!" She brought her index-finger to her lips and narrowed her eyes. "Don't be so loud!"

Well, that certainly was a change of pace. Naruko accusing Hinata of being too noisy.

The Hyuuga girl nearly broke a smile a that, but nodded quickly instead in a sign that she understood the need for silence.

"W-what are y-you doing here!" Hinata stammered after Naruko removed her hand and started to loosen the ropes.

The blonde raised an eyebrow, momentarily pausing in her endeavours as if she couldn't believe Hinata would ask such a thing. "Eh? What do you mean what am I doing here?" She bopped the blue-haired girl on the head lightly. "You're my friend you idiot, you really think I'd let you rot here?"

"B-but..." If she could, Hinata would be twiddling her thumbs right this moment. She sufficed for blushing rather embarrassedly.

"But what?" Naruko mirrored in a sigh of relief as the ropes slackened enough for Hinata to crawl out from under them.

Lifting her former bonds over her head and wringing her hands around her wrists in an effort to return the blood to her cramped extremities, Hinata dropped her gaze. "What if Anko-sensei f-finds you here?"

Naruko paused for a moment, tapping her chin thoughtfully. She hadn't exactly thought of that "Dunno." Came the answer at length.

"Eh!" Hinata jumped to her feet and, in a rather unprecedented behavioural pattern, stared indignantly at her friend. "Y-you c-could fail b-because of me!"

"Keep it down!" Naruko panicked and threw worried glances over her shoulders.

"We have to get back into the forest!" Hinata whispered urgently, and, after noticing her feet were still tied firmly together with a series of complex knots, made her way to the tree line in a odd sort of bunny-hop.

The blonde girl's jaw dropped at her friend's strange form of gratitude. "Fine!" She scowled and hurried after Hinata. "If that's how you want to play it!"

Two seconds later, Hinata squawked in surprise as her world went upside down and she found herself staring at the dark-blue which was the back of Naruto's jacket. "W-what are you"

"It's faster this way." Naruko explained, and shifted slightly to accommodate the other girl's weight on her shoulder.

And she was right. Sort off

Before either of them even had a chance to say anything further, or even disappear amongst the trees, they found themselves confronted by someone.

With his trademark - in other words; extremely bored - expression on his face, Shikamaru folded his arms in front of his chest as he leaned nonchalantly against the trunk of a particularly wide oak-tree. Ignoring the surprised look on Naruko's face, he asked them a simple question after releasing a resigned sigh.

"You guys ready to hear my plan, or ya gonna keep running around like a bunch of headless chickens?"

"So, why do you want to help us all of a sudden?" Naruko asked, not even trying to hide the suspicion in her voice. She had learned not to trust Shikamaru thus far because he hadn't gotten off his lazy ass to help anyone yet.

"I'm tired of that... woman insulting me." Shikamaru scoffed, his brow furrowing in a thoughtful frown as he focused his attention on a group of ants trying desperately to overcome a much larger caterpillar. "It's more troublesome than anything else, and it's getting on my nerves."

"That's why you want to do this?" The blonde girl questioned in return, one delicate eyebrow arched in surprise.

"Yeah. She's a Jounin, and we're just rookie Genin. If we work together, we might be able to beat her." He stressed the word 'might' heavily and as if remembering his one true goal in life, he corrected himself. "...That and I want to go back to watching clouds."

"D-do you really t-think we can beat her, Shikamaru-san?" Hinata swivelled her head from side to side, her eyes darting restlessly.

"No, not really." The boy dead-panned.

"Good enough for me!" Naruko crouched next to Shikamaru and, grinning broadly, gave the boy a friendly/harsh, slap on the back. "How about you, Hinata-chan?" She asked, turning to her friend for confirmation. Which she received, in the way of a frightened nod.

Grimacing, Shikamaru steadied himself. The girl had nearly dislodged him from his precarious perch. It wouldn't do to tumble down the considerable height the trio found themselves on currently. Falling from a broad tree trunk some thirty feet into the air would make you likely to break the majority of your bones on impact.

He forced Naruko's predictable and excited whispered banter to the background as he tried to relax. Carefully, he placed the tips of his thumbs and index fingers against their counterparts and closed his eyes.

He needed to plan this carefully.

"Now lessee..." Anko hummed thoughtfully, drumming her fingers on the insides of her thighs as she sat on the forest floor, enjoying a brief break before she would resume her search of her prey. "Where is that little twerp..."

It surprised her quite a bit that she hadn't been able to find the Nara child yet. Then again, his father; Nara Shikato, was lauded as an expert in stealth and camouflage. No doubt he would have passed some of his invaluable expertise to his son.


Still, Anko guessed she would be able to find Shikamaru within fifteen minutes without playing around. Then again, where was the fun in that? 'All work and no play, makes super-cute Anko-chan a dull girl!' She thought to herself with a nod.

Ah, the memories of all those missions where she would spend hours and hours hunting her targets like frightened rabbits still put a smile on her face. "Nothing like a good assassination to put your mind at ease", was a saying she always held dear.

Shikamaru was a boring and uncaring young fellow. So, how to make him truly afraid?

Preferably, so afraid that he'd be screaming and running like a little girl to his mother while he wet his pants. Anko balanced her chin on her hands and frowned. She did have a jutsu in her arsenal that made the victim's deepest fear come to life via Genjutsu, but then again The effects were rather long-term, and possibly life-long trauma would be inflicted.

'Better not use that...' Anko cocked her head, making her cheek rest on her hands instead. 'The old man would surely kill me for that.'

He probably would, too. Contrary to what Shikamaru was steadily taking to heart, there was indeed a law that prohibited the use of traumatizing, severe injury-inducing and/or lethal techniques or training methods on their assigned (future) students.

"Damn party-pooper!" She grumbled ruefully.

It was all relative anyway though, wasn't it? Anko certainly didn't consider a lot of things life-threatening like most people did. But of course, the Third wouldn't like to see one of his precious villagers reduced to a drooling vegetable; forced to waste away the rest of his years in a nuthouse with some fellow overly saliva-enthusiastic companions.

Anko could nearly cry at the thought of all the fun she missed out on due to these wimpy things called "morals" and "decency".

"Bah." With renewed vigour, the Jounin picked herself up from the leaf-littered ground and patted her posterior in a rather unladylike fashion to make sure she didn't take along any unwanted leafy hitchhikers.

'I can't scare him half to death, but at least I can beat him up a little bit!' And with that pleasant thought to warm her heart comfortably, Anko continued on her search with a noticeable spring in her step.

Shikamaru stalked through the suspiciously silent forest as quickly as he could. The back of his neck prickled and set him on edge. Deep down, he knew that Anko was looking for him.

Despite all his planning, and knowing that he had put his absolute all in making sure they had the best probability of making it through this absolute hellish test, Shikamaru couldn't suppress the shudder that ran up his spine when the new number one annoyance of his life appeared without warning from behind one of the many trees surrounding him.

"'Ello my pretty!" The woman waved cheerily and smiled broadly, and proceeded to rub her hands together with absolute relish. "How about you and me have a little fun?" She added with a wink.

Shikamaru froze, then groaned as he barely got his arms up to block the incoming punch sent his way. The speed of Mitarashi Anko's movements were quite literally taking his breath away. And as he watched her rebound backwards, casually taking the measure of him, he would hazard the guess she was dancing. She eerily kept shaking her hips from side to side in any case.

'She would, just to spite me.'

He wasn't far off anyway…

Anko grinned at the boy. Secretly, she applauded his efforts. But when another meaty slap of her fist hitting his forearm rang in her ears, she began to wonder how long he could keep this up.

'Was he holding back before?' She mused, delivering a round-house kick that sent the Genin skidding sideways. He had given in after the first punch the first time she, er… sparred with him.

"Troublesome…" He muttered.

Anko smiled what she thought was a disarming smile as he glared at her while wringing his already sore arms. To him, it seemed nothing other than a sneer. Not that he cared though, he didn't really care about such things…


…well, okay. Maybe just a little…

Cocking her head slightly, as if sensing something he didn't, Anko's smile widened considerably. "So where are your reinforcements, Pineapple-head?"

Make that a whole lot. Damn, that woman was annoying!

He knew then that now would be a good time to start the plan. "GO!" He screamed.

And right on cue, a plethora of wild hoots and howls, strangely reminiscent of rabid wolves, resounded above their heads.

"Ah." Anko rubbed the underside of her nose and sniffed, casually grabbing a handful of shuriken from her weapon pouch. "Now the real fun begins."

With practised ease, she flicked the metal stars into the veritable rain of Naruko's that appeared from out of the treetops. A dozen distant pops and pained grunts betrayed the demise of several of the clones. Still, the rain continued to fall, along with a rising crescendo of the loud cries that Naruko was always eager to produce.

Anko performed a dazzling back flip as around twenty of overzealous blonde's thudded onto the ground. One, perhaps not the brightest of the lot, had landed somewhat unluckily and disappeared with the telltale sound of a muffled explosion.

Shikamaru allowed himself the brief gesture of frustration by slapping his forehead with an open palm. No matter how powerful Naruko might want to prove herself by performing a Jounin-level jutsu, she would indubitably prove herself a moron by screwing up somehow. And if his mother hadn't raised him properly, read; didn't literally threaten to bash is skull in if he dared curse, he would have uttered some colourful language now…

Naruko had shrugged off the loss of the copy of herself though, and raised an erect and somewhat threatening finger towards her sister. "You're going down!"

Snorting, the older woman waved the threat away.

Instead of rambling on though, and surprising her sister with that fact, Naruko grinned impossibly wide, raising her finger even higher so it now pointed at the sky. "Clones, attack!"

Shikamaru shook his head. Couldn't the over-energized blonde act normally for one second?

"Yaaaah! Whooo!"

'Oh kami-sama…'

Nope, guess she couldn't. Inevitably, that trait would be handed down to the duplicates of herself.

Shikamaru watched, now slightly amused, as the clones charged the sole Jounin in a headlong rush. He counted twelve clones still left, save the Naruko who directed her troops imperiously. Surely Anko would have some sort of trouble with them.

The next six seconds would prove how very wrong he really was.

Anko had waited until the last moment, when the first two had approached her and threw their ineffective punches. Ineffective because Anko merely ducked, before slamming her own fists in their bellies. The clones looked surprised before they exploded in a cloud of smoke. Still, the tide of blonde, blue and grey did not slow. The second set jumped forward, one aiming a kick as if trying to punt a football across a vast field, the other jumped up, feet first, as she had assumed Anko would try to dodge that by jumping up as well.

The clone thought wrong.

Anko launched her own kick at the first one who reached her, sending the bunshin flying backwards and thudding back-first into a nearby tree. Before that one's smoke had a chance to dissipate, the other joined in its doom in a similar fashion. The second clone let out a yelp as Anko grabbed her ankles in a fluid movement. Not pausing for a second, Anko completed her spin and literally used the clone as if she were handling an axe, launching it with the force of a bullet train into the tree-trunk behind her.

The remaining eight clones did falter in their charge then. Seeing several of your identical copies being dispatched of so easily would have that effect on anyone. Anko would not grant them such a reprieve. With a look so predatory that it made the clones shiver, she dashed towards them in a burst of unbelievable speed.

Shikamaru winced each time with every respective demise. The other seemingly more gruesome than the next.

Naruko, her smug smile having disappeared entirely, lifted her hands in a futile fashion. Anko was already behind her, grabbing her arms and twisting them behind her back.

"I know you're not the real one." Anko whispered into her ear.

The clone did not get the time to respond. It exploded into smoke as her face was mashed into the dirt and her neck was snapped brutally by the force of the impact.

Anko rose again to her feet, wrapping her arms around her waist, literally shivering with delight. "Mmmm, that was fun."

Shikamaru wouldn't call killing copies of your own sibling fun though… In fact, he knew that the next stage could not be delayed any longer.

"Alright, form up!" He shouted.

Naruko and Hinata appeared from the greenery behind him. Both halting until they stood on either side, and remained silent.

Anko looked at her wayward students and uncrossed her hands from around her waist. She gave them them a fiendish smile and reached inside of her coat.

Shikamaru noticed, and thought that now would be a good time to begin the plan.

"GO!" He screamed again. Naruko and Hinata became fast blurs beside him. He was already going through the hand seals before Anko calmly pulled a...

Dango stick from her pocket!

"I'm not stupid Nara..." Anko stated flatly as she threw the surprisingly sharp stick at Hinata.

It was too fast to see. A blur of wood. Hinata took it in the shoulder and disappeared in a poof of smoke. Naruko's Kage Bunshin dissipated.

"…And I'm not that stupid either, Naruko." the Jounin raised a hand and made a one-handed seal. Something ruffled and slithered underneath her shirt sleeve and Anko abruptly called out: "Senei Jashuu!" (Hidden Shadow Snake Hand)

Shikamaru watched in horror as four long, coiling and interweaving dark emerald serpents erupted out of Anko's sleeve and shot into the tree to her left. All he heard was a painful yelp, and Anko casually tugged her hand to the right. Naruko fell out of the tree, ensnared by the snakes coiled around her feet, and slammed into the ground with a bone-cracking crash.

"Owie..." she whispered.

Naruko didn't get up. Anko shot Shikamaru a hooded, vaguely dark look and smiled from ear to ear.

Shikamaru returned her smile as the Naruko clone she had caught exploded in a puff of smoke, and as the real Naruko came tumbling down from the tree right above her sister, he could only watch in anticipation.

"Good job Shikamaru-san." was all Anko let fly from her lips before she rolled to her side and avoided her sister's rushing knee. She was fluid and graceful as she moved. The snakes became insubstantial darkness flowing out from her sleeve and covering her trail in shadows.

Shikamaru saw his chance. He completed his family's jutsu, still one hand-symbol incomplete since the start of the battle, and whispered out the name; "Kagemane no Jutsu!". (Shadow Bind Technique) The shadows literally lunged forward as dusky coloured, two dimensional hands rocketing straight towards Anko…


Shikamaru strained to keep the obviously powerful woman at bay. The jutsu in itself was almost useless if the opponent was far stronger than the user, and Anko was really, really strong. He bit his lip just as Naruko rose up and lunged towards her sister.

Her fist rose and connected. Anko's face went to the side with a crack.

"GOT YA!" Naruko cried happily.

Shikamaru smiled. They had passed, finally. They had landed one hit on their instructor. Finish. End. Done and over. He could go watch clouds now. Surely the hit meant no more harrowing escapes, it would mean they had outsmarted their teacher and they would not have to be chased around by her anymore.

'Better signal...'

And then Anko's shadow clone vanished into thin air, and Shikamaru found himself flying up, and up and up.

"Juuryoku Fuuin: Sakasa." (Gravity Seal: Inversion) Anko stated flatly from somewhere behind the pony-tailed Genin. Shikamaru was about to turn and activate his clan's jutsu once more; but realized that he was suddenly floating in mid-air.

Hang on...

"What the hell is this! Get me down from here, now!" He struggled in the air and looked to Naruko for help. She was gawking, stunned at the fact that her sister had such a cool jutsu in her arsenal and hadn't taught her it. Suddenly, Anko was behind her sister - moving again in that strange mixture of both speed and fluidity - and soon had Naruko in a similar seal that sent his companion slamming into the dirt.

"Juuryoku Fuuin." (Gravity Seal) Anko smiled stupidly - her eyes turning into happy curves. Neither Naruko nor Shikamaru saw the small twinge of pain that crossed her face. Holding both seals at the same time caused a strain, even on her, and if she didn't end it quick, her students might actually get the drop on her.

Naruko struggled, flailing her arms and legs and trying to push herself off the ground to no avail. She was quite stuck, and Anko gloated over her little sister as she continued to try – and fail, to get up.

"Had enough yet?" Anko edged on Naruko with a fierce, haughty smirk. Shikamaru looked to the two while floating upside down. The situation seemed hopeless. ( Read: Shikamaru couldn't wrap his head around the physics defying seal, yet, and hadn't thought of a plan.) Shikamaru still couldn't believe that the Gravity Seal seemed to keep him in place the entire time. What kind of jutsu was that to use on a test?

He voiced his anger. "How are you allowed to use such a high levelled skill on us? You know we have no way to counter this!"

Anko stopped making funny faces at her sister just long enough to look at Shikamaru. "...Well. Because I can, actually. Shinobi should be prepared for anything - even opponents who seem impossible to defeat." She gave him a wink, and Shikamaru frowned.

"That's BULLSHIT!" Naruko looked up at Anko, who only raised a slender eyebrow.

"Eh? Whaddaya mean!"

"There is no one stronger than the three of us put together, we're gonna kick your ass!" Naruko shouted, and, at the signal – first part anyway, a kunai whizzed from the treetops and hit the flash-bang laden bunshin that was Nara Shikamaru.

The expertly made shadow clone exploded in a magnificent brilliance that lit up the forest for miles. The sun's brightness manifested itself on the Earth's ground for seconds, and, when the brightness faded, Anko stood - her position totally rigid and defensive - with one foot on top of her sister's back. She tried to blink away the pain in her eyes and found that she was temporarily blind.

The foot came off, the seal faded, and Naruko stood up and smiled at her frozen sister. She laughed happily and waved to Shikamaru (who had also been hiding in the same tree Anko had leaned against) and gave him a V for victory. The Nin leapt out of the tree and caused Anko to try and mimic him on the ground.

Shikamaru landed on his feet, trembled once as he stood, and Naruko gave him a worried look.

"What's wrong pineapple head!" She sounded genuinely worried.

Shikamaru bit his lip and tried to keep his hold on Anko perfect. "It's nothing, really. Just that it's really hard to hold her still. Just hit her and get it over with soon, will ya?"

Anko smiled, and no one caught it.

"Yes master..." Naruko droned, sticking out her tongue – and began a languid trot forward, cracking her knuckles one by one. This was going to be too easy. Big sis had nowhere to go. She was trapped and Shika-kun had her immobilized.

As she reached Anko, she smiled, whispered a "We win...", reared back for a punch, and...

...And found that Anko had already delivered a severe, gut-wrenching and stomach churning blow to her stomach with her somehow freed knee seconds before Naruko could even blink and feel the pain. The blow resounded like a slap; loud and echoing and painful, and Naruko could feel her insides bursting. Her sister had hit her with chakra!

"Your friend needs to work on his shadow skills more - he can barely hold anyone back for long. Maybe not even at all... That could get you killed someday sis. And Hinata listens to orders too well. She should be out here, stopping something like this from happening. Learn that the second time around." Anko whispered into her little sister's ear as Naruko buckled and hit the ground with her knees - holding her stomach with both arms and looking down as if not believing this had happened.

Naruko coughed harshly and looked up to her big sister with pearly droplets beginning to bead on her eyes. She couldn't believe that anything could hurt so bad. She couldn't believe that Anko was taking this test so seriously. Now, as she felt like vomiting up a years worth of ramen and dango, she wanted to hurt her sister even worse. She wanted to get up and hit her so hard that she couldn't get back up and do anything about it.

And when all that was said and done. When the world returned once again to its normal revolutions, a whisper of fire inside of her mind agreed, and Naruko finally realized something.

Anko had really fucking hurt her.

"Sorry kiddo, it's how these things go."

Naruko felt utterly betrayed, and knew for certain that her sister wasn't playing around anymore. Naruko fell back onto the ground still holding her stomach. The pain knocked her more than breathless. She couldn't breathe, and was soon fighting back the greedy, black spikes of unconsciousness at the edges of her vision.

Before Anko's fingertips gently ghosted over Naruko's eyelids and closed them, Naruko managed a resentful whisper before falling into oblivion.

"You... bitch..."

Anko stood back up and looked to the shocked Shikamaru. Droplets lingered on the corner of her eyes. She wiped them away hurriedly, and pointed to the unmoving shadow-user.

"You're going to get your subordinates killed if you use them like pawns, boy. I'm going to make you regret having to make me lay a hand on my sister."

Anko burst forth in a run with such speed, that it made the background seem like a complex, interwoven tapestry of blurred greenery to her. Shikamaru had no time to react. He reached behind his back and pulled out a kunai.

The Jounin leapt at the last second and brought her heel down on his guarding kunai. The armored sole of her sandal took the full impact of the blow. Shikamaru barely dodged away in time as Anko landed and almost caught the side of his head with a full-roundhouse to the face.

'Kami! This woman is trying to kill me!'

"Remember! Opponents will be faster and stronger than you! Compensate for it!" Her fists came in faster than Shikamaru could count, and he felt the winds and the light taps of her fingertips against his chest and face.

Shikamaru wove around the incoming blows the best he could, all the while keeping

his arms up in a cross-over position to shield himself. He knew that Anko could have already had him down and out in a second, but she was playing with him. Just like he predicted she would.

The woman was teaching them while beating them. She was trying to instil proper Shinobi teachings into them with violence so that they would stay with them forever and never be forgotten.

Shikamaru ducked over a backwards spinning heel-strike and rolled backwards. He saw Naruko stir, and shouted out "We are divided, but we are still one!"

In the middle of the battle, as Anko took out four throwing knives with deadly grace, he began the hand symbols for another Kagemane. Despite the fact that his arms and shoulders would be covered in gashes in a few moments, Shikamaru had to follow through and make an opening for Hinata...

Said sapphire-haired female burst from the foliage with a speed and bird-like grace that Shikamaru had never seen the girl hint at. Arms thrust behind her, body extended forward - Hinata was like a true Shinobi full of speed and liquid manoeuvrability that normal humans just didn't have. The girl shouted as she leapt and twisted in mid-air.

Anko looked up and frowned, the corner of her left eye twitching in volatile anger. She was temporarily caught in the damned Kagemane, AGAIN!


This time though, Anko couldn't move when she tried to shake off the jutsu. Shikamaru was using every ounce of chakra and willpower he possessed to keep her glued to the spot and Hinata was coming down too fast to be good.

Hinata completed her mid-air twist and landed right behind Anko. She looked from Shikamaru to Naruko and caught the silent command. With the same speed of before, Hinata ran towards her unconscious friend and totally forgot about Anko.

'Good. At least they know that taking care of a comrade is better than completing a mission.'

What Anko said, though, was totally different from what she was thinking. "WHAT ARE YOU DOING? YOU COULD'VE FINISHED THE MISSION AND GRADUATED!"

"We take care of our own. Just because you have all of this power, and because you want to beat us senseless with it, Mitirashi-sensei, doesn't mean that we won't fight back. As soon as Hinata is done patching up Naruko, you're going to have to deal with all three of us at the same time." The Nara child had some sort of affection in his voice now. However, to Anko it just sounded like he simply loved it when his plans began to come together.

"Ever tried fighting three hormone and adrenaline crazed teens at the same time?" Mischief shone behind the the eyes of the normally laconic boy. "Trust me... it won't be fun."

Behind Anko, Hinata looked down to her friend and gently tried to shake her awake. "Naruko-chan...?"

The blonde murmured something incoherent and Hinata prodded her again. "Naruko-chan... I need you to open your mouth. P-please?"

She did so without complaint, and Hinata quickly popped a solider pill into Naruko's mouth. "Now, can you s-swallow it?"

Naruko shook her head, 'no'.

Hinata blushed a fiery, raging red as she realized what she had to do. She reached inside of Naruko's mouth and grasped the pill, then, she put it in her own mouth and chewed. Once it was made into a fine, almost gritty, wet powder, Hinata looked down to her semi-conscious friend and thought frantically about the course of action she would have to take. 'Please don't kill me because we need you to finish this...'

Naruko lay there, half-dead, and watched with a sort of amused interest as Hinata kissed her to give her the powdered up soldier pill. Inside, she felt extreme pride for her friend... But, she felt kind of creepy, too. Wasn't it wrong to kiss girls?

The blonde felt life flow back into her limps, but still, they refused to move. Anko must have done something to completely numb her body with that hit. When Hinata saw this, she simply told her to lay there and rest, still with that cherry-red face of hers.

Hinata looked over to Shikamaru and waved. Naruko was okay. Shikamaru sighed and went back to trying to keep Anko perfectly caged. "Okay now, Hinata, come over here and hit her so we can pass this damn test and go home!"

Anko gave a derisive snort of laughter. "You're going trust little miss blue-head over there to hit me? You can barely keep me locked up!"

Shikamaru gave Anko a dark look, and took a step forward.

Anko took two, and again, proved that the Kagemane was pretty much useless when it came to using it on someone stronger than the user was.

Hinata was in her sights, this time. The Nara boy was a one-hit pony whose jutsu's she could walk right out of. Hinata was a Hyuuga. She could pose a threat and that meant that she had to know that she was a threat first.

Anko reached the startled female before Shikamaru even registered what had happened. She, while still running, reached forward with two fingers and whispered one of her more useful techniques again. "Senei Jashuu!"

Like before, The snakes flew from out of the sleeve of her coat like rushing tendrils of green scales. They hissed and bit and flew, intermixing with one another as they travelled to the surprised Hyuuga heiress. Hinata looked back down to Naruko and then to the approaching snakes. Time slowed down. What was more important? Let the snakes hit her, or let them miss and hit the unconscious Naruko?

Uncharacteristic steel filled her eyes and chakra danced on her fingertips. Hinata twirled and danced and wove between the charging serpents like liquid fire. Wherever she touched, a snake would hiss briefly and disappear. She moved closer and closer to Anko, fingers gliding over scales all the while, and finally, their destructive sensei was upon her.

"I won't let you hurt Naruko again!" Hinata cried, dainty fists and fingertips flying with speed and accuracy all Hyuuga inherently possessed. Every countered and deflected blow sounded like a miniature bomb going off. Every strike Anko landed was a languid passing of fingertips that only made Hinata even angrier.

For all she was worth, the girl still couldn't land a hit!

"You need to learn that you are strong. Look at yourself for strength, and then, come back and see me. If you can promise me that you will always fight like this then you pass." Anko stated almost melodiously as she pushed away another one of Hinata spearing finger stabs.

Hinata squared herself and one of the most intricate motions of blows came thereafter. She was not going to be toyed with. Anko's punch was deflected midway through as Hinata knocked her wrist aside and stabbed forward with two glowing fingertips. At this, Anko brought down her hand and swatted that blow away - only to have Hinata turn on her heel and try to slam her across the neck with her entire forearm in a spinning arm slam.

Anko ducked beneath the blow and decided to end this. If she kept this up the Hyuuga girl might carelessly injure herself, or even hurt Anko by misuse of the Jyuuken. The places she was aiming at could be lethal if severed.

"Nighty night blue jay. Juuryoku Fuuin: Toumitsu Kansei!" (Gravity Seal: Molasses Pitfall)

The seal flared to life directly underneath Hinata. She slowed to a slugs pace of movement and would have been comical to watch in any other situation.

The Jounin stood up just as Hinata arm whistled overhead and struck the girl on the back of the neck, knocking her out yet again. The girl crumbled to the ground in a heap and groaned in pain.

Anko was getting tired of this. Maybe these kids had had enough too?

"Listen... I-"

"Listen to THIS!" Shikamaru came charging from behind her and leapt as if to tackle her. Anko, begrudgingly, back-flipped over the teen and caught him by the leg. She yanked and he fell to the ground as unceremoniously as possible.

Shikamaru groaned into the dirt. His first plan lay in shambles and their third contingency might not work anymore. It seemed that Anko would now stop nothing short of rending the flesh from his bones and breaking his brittle defences just for trying to attack her.

"Now listen, mister leader man. I'm going to tell you something so listen up good, m'kay?" Anko gave Shikamaru's leg a tight twist the wrong way and the boy yelped in pain. "Using the same jutsu over and over again in the same way is a stupid, idiotic thing to do. True that sometimes it can work flawlessly; but, if a jutsu fails once, it's bound to fail again. Use that big brain of yours and do something else for once!"

Shikamaru smirked and twisted over so fast that the popping of his leg out of its socket was nonexistent. "Better?" Shikamaru asked icily as he righted himself. He cringed as he came face to face with Anko - who only looked at him in shocked disgust - and began to limp away.

Anko let the misguided boy move away. He may have had succeeded in escaping her hold just then, but only truly succeeded in grossing her out. Who knew that the members of the Nara clan had such a high tolerance for pain?

Hey, just because she had a strange fascination with assassinations, didn't mean she actually enjoyed people wringing their limbs out of their respective joints…

"So that's it right? We all just go back to the freaking academy again, right?"

Just as he reached Naruko and began to set his leg back in place, Hinata managed to crawl over to him. He placed a hand on Hinata's shoulder, gently squeezing it, and nudged Naruko with the foot of his uninjured leg. Shikamaru focused again on Anko, only after that and with near unsettling stoicism, he awaited his judgment that the violent female might pass on to them.

Anko began to trot forward and was about to tell them the meaning of this practice when fearless leader Shikamaru reached into Naruko's kunai pouch and proceeded to throw five kunai at her.


'Don't these kids ever give up!' Anko screamed in her mind. 'And wasn't he the kid who wanted to give up in the first place!'

Due to the angle and speed at which they had been thrown, the kunai whizzed by Anko's ear and spanked off the bark of the tree her clone had been sitting on in a dangerous ricochet. They then proceeded to bounce off two other trees, and when they thunked into the ground before her, Anko sighed.

"Well... that was pointless." She whispered to herself, and despite herself, a grin started to appear on her face. When her eyes stopped tracing the path of the kunai, she looked to the spot where the team had been and found... nothing.

'Wait...' She turned around and looked at the five kunai stuck in the ground.

And as she took a closer look at the weaponry, the confident smirk that framed Anko's features so well, died down slowly.

"Son of a..."

That was the last she uttered, before the explosive tags, wrapped carefully around the handles, burned fitfully.She tried to move, really, but found that time was against her as a massive explosion ripped through the trees and sent debris every which way as it rode on the shockwave of the blast.

"Boom." Shikamaru, thoroughly beaten, bruised and bloodied, stated with something akin to pride in his voice.

When the inconceivable amount of decibels that the explosion produced died down to a faint ringing in their ears, Naruko, suddenly almost healed and vibrant, let out a whoop of excitement. "Hah! You rock, Shikamaru!"

"Yeah, yeah" Despite his lacklustre response, the girls could see a smile tugging at the boy's lips.

With another joyous cry, Naruko single-handedly threw herself onto the pony-tailed male in a make-shift doggy pile. Hinata, for the very first time that day, allowed herself a genuine smile at the sight.



The blue-haired girl pointed suddenly at the clearing smoke, and the source of the incensed roar. Naruko and Shikamaru shifted their heads as well, unable to hide their fears.

The trio screamed as they recognized the figure outlined in the haze.


What proceeded to happen could only be classified as a massacre without any deaths.

Anko slowly moved towards the three, patting her singed clothing down with all the grace she could muster. "You little shits! What the hell gives you the big idea of trying to blow me up!"

"Well, you said we were allowed to do anything to prevent you from capturing us." Shikamaru supplied helpfully with a scowl, but a kunai suddenly embedded into the log, just a few centimetres above his head, quickly shut him up.

"Silence, fool!" Anko roared then waved her hands at her attire frantically. "Damnit, and I just had this coat cleaned!"

"No you didn't." Naruko stated calmly, but the fear of impending fratricide (1), silenced her just as quickly as the boy tied up next to her.

"That's not the point!" Anko growled angrily. Her fists clenched and unclenched, for she was eager to throttle someone right about now. However, she decided on taking a deep breath, and steadied herself


What was it with her little sister and contradicting her all the time lately anyway?

"If I get a blister on my beautiful, soft skin, I'm going to kill you guys!"

The trio - and thanking their bonds at that time for holding them up - nearly face-vaulted as the true reason of her anger was revealed.

"What are you talking about! Be serious!" Shikamaru shouted. The deep unfathomable lagoon that was his patience was rapidly being drained. He could already picture the Mitarashi siblings standing next to it with the plug and their infuriating grins.

All that work and they were still caught.

On his left, Hinata was just about ready to soil herself. Scenes of doom and destruction flashed across her mind. Not about the impending fail itself, but for the consequences it would have at home. What would her father say?

Naruko glared at her sister. "Yeah, hurry up and untie us, damnit!"

"Ohohohoho..." Anko covered her mouth as she let out a dramatic laugh, staring down at the three haughtily. "No way in hell! I'm going to have some fun first before I let you go."

Shikamaru didn't like the way her chocolate-brown eyes sparkled with that statement .

Unconsciously mirroring his thought audibly was Hinata; letting out a series of half-squeaked whimpers.

"You don't scare me!" Naruko stated gruffly, jutting out her lower lip and lifting her chin.

Quite naturally of course, Shikamaru stared at her as if she had just proclaimed herself Queen of the Universe with all accompanying fanfare. The only thing missing were the brass trumpets sounding a strange, mutilated version of the Konoha anthem.

"I've lived with her for six years. I can take anything she can dish out!" She explained, mistakenly taking the boy's expression as one of genuine confusion. "And more!" Naruko added after noticing the steady rise of Anko's eyebrow.

Anko grinned impossibly wide at this. "Oh? Is that so?"

Her little sister harrumphed, not dignifying the question with an answer.

Anko walked to Naruko and began to untie her. She then proceeded to untie Hinata and had the two face her. Anko gave them a smirk and watched both the girls share a puzzled expression.

"Wha...?" Naruko asked, still unbelieving. She was about to lunge towards her sister and call Hinata to do the same when Anko held a hand up.

"Naruko, tell me right now. Could you ever kill Hinata?"

Naruko looked surprised, to say the least. "What are you talking...?"

"If she became a missing-nin, or if you were given a specific order to kill her, could you do so?" Anko asked again, this time her voice had no emotion. Her eyes held no sympathy.

"No way! Hinata would never do something like that!" Naruko looked to her friend, who only blushed and fidgeted where she stood. Where was Anko going with this?

No one saw Anko fly through the series of hand seals that she did. They did, however, hear her shout. "Juuryoku Fuuin!" The vermillion outline of the seal appeared underneath Naruko's feet. Anko looked towards Hinata and smiled evilly. "Higamigokoro no Jutsu!" (Warped Mind Technique) She still continued. "Hiun Setzuzoku no Jutsu!" (Fate Connection Technique)

The trio of techniques followed each other too quickly, and suddenly Naruko felt as if she had gained nine-hundred pounds. She slammed into the ground for the umpteenth time that day with a scream of frustration. This jutsu was beginning to wear on her nerves!

However, when Naruko tried to push herself up again, strangely, she found out that she could, and did so with gusto. She hopped on her feet, fists raised and ready. Now where was her sister's face!

As she looked around though, the scene that greeted her was, with lack of proper words; horrifying.

Hinata stood next to Shikamaru, a kunai held up and its tip pressed directly to his jugular, and Anko seemed to have disappeared. Naruko blinked disbelievingly.

What was happening!


Hinata made no response, and the kunai pressed a bit harder.


Shikamaru swallowed unconsciously and managed a strangled whisper. "She's under some sort of mind-control, Naruko! Anko did some weird jutsu that linked all of our minds together and took control of Hinata's! Unless you do something fast she'll really kill me!"

Naruko's face went blank. Every emotion, childish or not, vanished. This was... This was too much. She had to decide between either hurting her best friend or having her kill Shikamaru in one misguided blow...

The decision seemed easy, didn't it? Stop Hinata. Stop her from hurting Shikamaru and somehow restrain her. But could Naruko even do that? Could she bring herself to knocking out her best friend and tying her up? Or even worse...

The kunai pressed harder and a pinprick of blood began to form on its edge.

'Damn. What do I do!' Naruko bit her lip. She couldn't ask Anko for help on this one. The responsibility rested on her shoulders alone.

The kunai drew back, Hinata faltered for a moment and Naruko knew what she had to do in a millisecond.

"HINATA, I'M SORRY!" She yelled, her feet already taking her across the ground faster than she had ever ran before. The kunai came down and changed directions. It was aiming towards Hinata's heart now, and Naruko had a split second to react. She definitively couldn't reach her in time.

"KAGE BUSHIN NO JUTSU!" Without thinking, she resorted to the only skill she thought would be of any use.

The shadow clone exploded into life right beside Naruko, running at the same speed she was. They both looked at each other, steel in their sapphire eyes, and took each others hand. The clone swung around and Naruko found herself flying forward twice as fast as she had been running before.

Naruko hit Hinata like a cannonball. They both went tumbling in a mess of legs and arms and one suddenly flying kunai. The kunai embedded itself directly above Anko's head in the tree she was watching everything happen in. She deadpanned as the girls came to a stop.

'Definitely time to stop messing with their heads.'

All Naruko heard was clapping. Soft, delicate, sibilant clapping echoing in her ear. The blood rushed out of her head. She took in everything that was happening a scene at a time.

She was straddling Hinata's waist, a kunai poised high and the girls wrists clenched in one hand. Shikamaru hung limp by from the log, unmarred except for the bead of blood falling down his neck.

Anko waltzed into the clearing, still clapping, and beamed at her younger sister.

"Good job, sis. You placed the needs of the many before the needs of the few. And you managed to save everyone. I think I will buy you that jacket you've been wanting." Anko patted her sister on the head.

The blonde only nodded in half-recognition of what she had just done. She was too tired, she wanted this horrible day to end. She wanted…

Then something seemed to stretch too far, and snapped inside of her. Just like it had earlier that day…

She would never want to place anyone in such a position. Ever. Anko was cruel to make children make such harsh decisions. Of course, the blonde didn't exactly think that. Rather, her mind was an inferno of fiery, tempestuous reds and raging, black malice.

"WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?" Naruko stood up in a blur of movement. Her eyes blazed crimson. Hatred flittered behind her iris like a raging hurricane held back by the smallest of walls.

Anko backed away, slowly, and for the first time in her life, she knew fear of her little sister.


Naruko's fury only grew as she heard the soft sobs of Hinata beneath her.

Anko waved her hands in a placating manner and suddenly smiled a wide, goofy smile. Naruko looked started, to say the least. The rage seemed to ease out of her mind like trickling water. Her sister never smiled like that!

"Guess what kiddo, you and your team pass."

Morino Ibiki was less than pleased. He considered himself a nice guy, he really did, but when they asked him to interrogate a weakling like the traitor Mizuki, he tended to get a little upset.

He had barely applied the thumbscrews and branding irons before the snivelling little twerp broke down into tears and spilled everything, begging for mercy.

Dang it, he had really wanted to test out that knew knife set that Anko had bought for him for his last birthday.

Regardless, the information his impromptu confession had yielded, was very... interesting.

As he left the damp and dark room that the traitor was assigned to, he ignored the pitiful sobs that Mizuki produced, instead he mulled over the possibly implications the news might have.

Ibiki wrung his gloved hands ruefully before dragging one across his face slowly and used the other to slam the door shut behind him. His assistants, if you could call them that, stood before him, their eyes eager and sparkling. Though one of them tried to hide it as best he could.

"Idiots…" He grumbled.

Kutsu and Kushi. (2) Possibly even scarier than Morino Ibiki himself, and without even trying. They were twins, brother and sister. Both had the same deceptively innocent face, one that someone wouldn't even notice in a milling crowd. Their horrible grins, however, would be etched forever on the minds of a large number of the unlucky people who had been sent here, down to the dungeons of Konoha.

Kushi, the sister, bounced on her feet. "What did you find out, Ibiki-sama?"

Her brother, Kutsu, was scowling. He was still angry about the fact he didn't get to participate.

Ibiki shouldered past them. "Don't you two have something better to do?" He asked. "Like cleaning up that blood from the guy you were a bit too enthusiastic on yesterday?"

"Mou… We already did that!" Kushi whined.

Still not pausing in his stride, Ibiki waved her off. "Clean the other cells then!" He said loudly before disappearing up the long winding stairs that led up to the surface.

Kushi, fingering her shoulder-length, black hair scowled as well, mimicking her brother perfectly. Then, out of the blue, something hit her.

"Hey, Kutsu!" She nudged her sibling's shoulder, a broad grin nearly splaying her face in two.

"What?" He growled, already turning to one of the cells to dutifully clean it.

"Ibiki-sama did say we needed to clean the other cells…" She began, eyes sparkling once more.

"Yes…" Her brother said slowly. "Which we are going to do before he gets back."

"Yeah, yeah, but listen!" She held up a silencing finger. "We'll need to clean Mizuki-san's cell, too."

An understanding smile formed on his face, and he nodded conspiratorially. "Ibiki-sama was finished rather quick…"

"Who knows what he might have done…"

"The room might be very, very dirty…"

"And it could take a long time to clean…"

The twins were silent for a moment, and then as one they bolted to the room that contained all of the… tools of their trade.

"We'd better make sure!"


1: Fratricide: The act of murdering your own brother or sister.

2: Kutsu and Kushi: The two names are plays on the words pain and agony, respectively. (Kutsuu and Kushin). The twins are not real characters out of Naruto. Either the manga or the anime.

The techniques:

Juuryoku Fuuin: Gravity Seal.

The basic idea behind the Gravity Seals is that they are simply inscribed on whatever platform available and activated with a simple hand-seal. The standard Gravity Seal makes a target unable to move, pinning him/her to the ground by intensifying the gravity by however much needed. The power can be regulated by the user.

Juuryoku Fuuin: Sakasa: Gravity Seal: Inversion.

This seal makes it possible to invert gravity in a specific spot, again, rendering the target unable to move forwards, instead suspending him/her in mid-air. The target is able to perform their own techniques though, so aside from the confusion this seal creates, it isn't as useful as the standard Gravity Seal.

Juuryoku Fuuin: Toumitsu Kansei: Gravity Seal: Molasses Pitfall.

This seal is similar to the standard seal, but requires less power. You know how hard it is to try and run through water that's up to your chest? This seal is like that, slowing the movements of the target in order to buy time to hinder his/her movements and buy you time to knock him/her out, or kill the target.

Higamigokoro no Jutsu: Warped Mind Technique.

You can basically think of this as a very mild version of the Tsukiyome technique Itachi used on Sasuke, Kakashi, and god knows how many others.

Hiun Setzuzoku no Jutsu: Fate Connection Technique.

Mind control, plain and simple.

Okay, first of all, sorry it took so long. I've got a ton of reasons, but I know you guys aren't interested in that. So, let's move on, shall we?

Now, my absolute adoration and gratitude goes out Thrice Crossed Fool (aka Question Immorality)! Without him, I wouldn't have been able to finish this chapter yet! He added a ton to this chapter and the fight scene couldn't have been what it is without him. Maybe you'll be able to distinguish a bit of his style from mine. If you like what you read in the fight-scene, go to his profile and read his stories, they are awesome!

Now about the new techniques, they were gracefully offered by Thrice Crossed Fool, and I tried to translate them into Japanese. And if any of my readers know Japanese, they know that my knowledge of the language can be called… sketchy at best. If one of you does know how to properly name them, please say so in a review or an email. I'd be very grateful for it.

Now, I've already come a long way with chapter six. Hopefully I'll be able to release it soon. Don't hold me to it though.

And I'm sorry if this disappoints anyone, but due to my lengthy inability to post a new chapter, I'll hold off on the review response. Please know that I cherish every single review, and I'd like to receive your opinion on this new chapter as well. If you want to discuss anything or just want to let me know something privately, my email is available for you in my profile. You will receive a reply from me as soon as possible. And if you saw an error of any kind in this chapter, please point it out!

Now give me reviews, I love them!

PS: Sorry again, Konohamaru didn't fit in this chapter, he'll definitely show up in the next one though. And er, dunno if there's still some left, but apparantly some dotdotdot's got replaced with a questionmark this time 'round. Gotta love the quickedit, eh? So if any questionmarks don't make sense, treat em like dotdotdot's.

Preview for the next chapter:

Deer. Lots and lots of deer. They were practically everywhere. From behind the fence, to the ones that had actually managed to escape and crawl their way in the different nooks and crannies around the Nara's home.

Round and brown eyes blinked at them curiously from all around them. Shikamaru had learned to ignore it. Hinata loved it. And Naruko…

"Stop looking at me, damnit! Ya twisted freaks of nature!"