by Nezuko, Prince of Rats
This is a work of derivative fiction based on "Naruto" by Kishimoto Masashi. Most of the characters and the world in which they live are the property of Kishimoto-sensei.
Prologue: The Infinite Mercy of the Central Nervous System
A small wooden structure, little more than a hut really, stood hidden within a dense forest in the mountains between the Land of Fire and the Lightning Country. Nestled in the shadows of the tall trees, it almost seemed to be a product of the woods around it, camouflaged physically and with genjutsu, nearly impossible to notice unless one already knew it was there, and almost no-one knew it was there. It was old, a field medic station left over from the days of the war between the Leaf and the Cloud, now fallen into disrepair, moss covering the wooden shingles of its peaked roof, grass and weeds thrusting wantonly between the cracked boards of its skirting porch. The remains of a path wound between towering cryptomeria towards the decrepit sanctuary, two stones etched with the character "pain" standing silent guard on either side of the door. In the gathering gloom of twilight, a heavily burdened shinobi silently approached.
"This is it, right?" he asked the figure he carried on his back.
"Unh," came the grunted reply. At least he was still responding.
"OK, we're almost there then, just hang on a little more. Can I let go of one of your legs for a minute? I need to make the unlocking seal."
"Unh." The injured man tried to tighten his grip on his bearer's back, but when the supporting hand left his thigh his leg fell limply, gravity's pull unresisted. A horror of pain tore through his abdomen at the movement, and only the barest thread of control kept him from screaming.
"Oh gods, I'm hurting you!" Shifting forward, he stooped to keep the man's weight centered over his own as he hurriedly formed the one-handed sequence of seals to allow them admittance to the old building. The injured man groaned, then gave a wet, strangled sounding cough; bloody froth spattered against the back of his helper's neck.
The door of the hut unlatched and opened as the shinobi finished the unlocking sequence. Preparing to enter, he quickly reached around to take hold of the leg he had dropped, doing his best not to jar the panting ninja on his back. But it was too much. The injured man arched backwards, his whole body suddenly shaking and rigid with spasms, twitching as he fell. A raw, ragged howl rose from his throat, a sound that seemed to come from the very pit of Hell. From the eaves of the building a startled pair of bats rose on fluttering wings into the night sky. Then, as Iruka whirled around in a vain attempt to catch him before he struck the ground, with the infinite mercy of the central nervous system, Kakashi blacked out.
ooo ooo ooo
It's Nothing: Appendix
Background for readers not familiar with Naruto. Includes setting and cast list for It's Nothing, Japanese terms and jutsu, and a glossary. Warning, contains spoilers for the manga and anime! I'll try to keep them as vague as possible...
Konoha (Hidden Leaf), Fire Country/Land of Fire - Also known as Konohagakure (Village Hidden in the Leaves) the hidden city-state and ninja stronghold where our characters live. Technology and culture are similar to modern-day Japan's, with throwbacks. They have electricity, tv, modern clothing and foods, but no cars or airplanes, and no guns or large bombs. In this world, ninja function as the military forces of their nations.
Timeframe is a few years after the current manga. There may be deviations from Kishimoto-sensei's timeline.
Other countries (Ninja strongholds are called Hidden Villages):
Hidden Mist, Water Country; Hidden Rock, Earth Country; Hidden Sand, Wind Country; Hidden Cloud, Lightning Country; Hidden Grass; Hidden Rain; Hidden Sound; Land of Waves; Land of Snow; Land of Ferns, etc. Countries that do not have their own ninja forces are protected through treaties with nations that do.
Culture and Language
Attitude About Sex:
Shinobi frequently die young, and having children can be a serious liability both to the parent and child. "Live for today, for tomorrow you will surely die" is taken very much to heart. For this reason, it is common for ninja to have same-sex as well as heterosexual relationships, and to conceal the existence of any offspring. (Borrowed from Sharing Sake, a short story by Paxnirvana, whose explanation makes perfect sense.)
Names and Honorifics:
Name order is Asian-style, with family/clan name first, personal name last.
Honorifics: Japanese honorifics are often translated as Mr/Mrs/Miss etc, but that isn't quite right, as honorifics are used with given names as well as family names. They serve to indicate the degree of familiarity and level of hierarchy or respect between people. When a character addresses another without the use of an honorific, it implies either a high level of intimacy (close friends, lovers, family members) or a high degree of contempt.
-san - basic honorific. Even an enemy might be addressed as -san.
-sama - indicates that the speaker has high respect for the addressee.
-sensei - used for teachers, artists, and doctors
-kun - used for male friends and peers or by a superior to a subordinate.
-chan - used for children, sweethearts, pets etc. and for close female friends.
-nii/nee - big brother/big sister
Haruno Sakura - 17 years old, Medic-Chuunin, apprentice to the current Hokage, showing great aptitude and skill as a medic. Formerly genin squad mate with Uzumaki Naruto and Uchiha Sasuke under Kakashi's command.
Hatake Kakashi - 31 years old, infamous genius Jounin of Konoha - became chuunin at age 6! (Typical age to become chuunin seems to be 15.) Has mastered over one thousand jutsus, in part thanks to his Sharingan Eye (see glossary). Physically manifests in his left eye, which was a surgical transplant from his best friend Uchiha Obito. He usually wears a stretchy blue or black mask covering his nose and mouth, and hides his Sharingan Eye under his hitai-ate. Mentor to Naruto, Sakura, and Sasuke. Member of ANBU but undercover as "ordinary" Jounin most of the time.
Kazuma-sensei - Jounin, later Fourth Hokage, aka Yondaime. Kakashi's mentor and squad leader. Died 17 years ago while subduing the demon fox. (The Fourth's proper name has not yet been revealed in the manga, so I'm borrowing this one. Yondaime is called Kazuma in "Nakama" an excellent Naruto fanfic by Fanyar. The name Kazuma just seems to fit the character of Yondaime somehow; to the author of that story in which he first gained this appellation, I am indebted.)
Kyuubi - Giant, nine-tailed fox demon that terrorized Konoha. An immortal spirit, it could not be killed, but Konoha's greatest ninja, Yondaime, the Fourth Hokage, subdued it by binding it's tails into the navel of a new born baby 17 years ago, losing his own life in the process. That baby was Naruto.
Pakkun - One of Kakashi's spirit-plane ninja-dogs, Pakkun is a Pug who can talk.
Rin - Medic-chuunin. Squad mate and best friend to Kakashi. Killed the line of duty many years ago.
Sarutobi Konohamaru - 13 years old, Gennin. Grandson of the Third Hokage.
Sarutobi "Sandaime" - Over 60. Third Hokage of Konoha, reassumed position as Hokage when Yondaime was killed subduing the demon fox.
Tsunade "Godaime" - 55 years old. Fifth and current Hokage of Konoha. A legendary healer-nin with enormous skills. Looks much younger than her physical age.
Uchiha Obito - Chuunin. Squad mate and best friend to Kakashi. Died in the line of duty 19 years ago, during the war between the Leaf Ninja of Fire Country and the Cloud Ninja of Lightning Country.
Uchiha Sasuke - 17 Years old, Chuunin-level. MIA. Formerly genin squad mate with Uzumaki Naruto and Haruno Sakura under Kakashi's command.
Umino Iruka - 29 years old, Chuunin, teacher of ninjutsu at Konoha's Ninja Academy. Former teacher of Kakashi's gennin squad. Has a broad scar crossing the bridge of his nose and both cheeks. Orphaned at age 12 when both of his ninja parents were killed fighting the demon fox.
Uzumaki Naruto - 17 years old, Chuunin with immense potential and ambition to be more. Formerly genin squad mate with Haruno Sakura and Uchiha Sasuke under Kakashi's command. Has a demonic fox spirit sealed in his belly; it was imprisoned within Naruto at his birth by the Fourth Hokage in order to subdue the demon.
Original characters for this story
Aburame Yumi - 22 years old. Jounin, ANBU team mate with Kakashi when he was 21.
Arashida Numa - 54 years old, Medic-Jounin, originally from the Land of the Ferns, now a Mist Ninja, but currently working as a Neutral Medic-nin - sort of a Ninja Doctors Without Borders idea.
Shida Akumaru - 40 years old, Missing-nin, S-class criminal. Former Leaf Jounin, ANBU squad captain when Kakashi was 21.
Surugaku Seiji - 27 years old. Jounin, ANBU team mate with Kakashi when he was 21.
Uchiha Akiko - 23 years old. Jounin, ANBU team mate with Kakashi when he was 21. Obito's older sister.
baka - idiot, fool
bito - sweetie or similar endearment
daijoubu - it's alright. Can also be a question - are you alright?
hai - yes/agreement
heno-heno-moheji - a face made from the hiragana characters he, no, mo, and ji, and used for scarecrows, graffiti, etc. If you've read the manga, you've seen it on the back of the shirt of one of Kakashi's nin-dogs. (Kakashi means scarecrow in Japanese.)
koi - sweetie or similar endearment
koibito - lover, sweetheart
magatama - sacred, comma-shaped jewels
Nee-chan/Nee-san - big sister
Nii-chan/Nii-san - big brother
Ryokan - traditional Japanese inn
Oisha-sensei - what one calls a doctor when one doesn't know their proper name (otherwise it would be Name-sensei.)
okaeri - welcome home
sensei - teacher (you already knew this one, I hope)
yatta - I did it!
ninja - warrior/martial artist (originally in Feudal Japan) skilled in theft, spying, stealth, assassination, etc. Feudal Japan's CIA types.
shinobi - same as ninja
nin - short for ninja
kunoichi - female ninja
Hokage - leader of Konoha village and highest level ninja.
Jounin - elite ninja, broadly skilled
Special Jounin - elite ninja specialist in a single area of expertise
Chuunin - journeyman ninja
Genin - junior ninja - usually recent academy graduate
Healer-nin/medic nin - ninja specializing in medicine and healing
ANBU - Secret, elite ninja force, handles assassinations, policing, ninja village protection, highest-level missions. ANBU members wear a different uniform than regular Chuunin and Jounin, and have their faces disguised by stylized animal masks.
Hitai-ate - forehead protector. Special-purpose bandanna with a metal plate affixed, worn by shinobi who have graduated from a Ninja Academy. Engraved on the metal plate is the symbol of the ninja's village - for Konoha it is a stylized leaf made from a spiral. Can be worn as a simple bandanna or unfolded and used to cover the hair. Kakashi wears his pulled down over the left eye, hiding his Sharingan Eye.
Katana - Japanese long sword, blade 24 inches or longer
Kunai - Basic ninja weapon. Double-edged dagger with a ring handle, used for throwing, hand to hand combat, etc.
Senbon - needle that can be used as a weapon or a healing instrument, depending on size and how it is placed
Shuriken - Basic ninja weapon. Multi-bladed throwing star, comes in many sizes.
Wakizashi - Japanese short sword, blade shorter than 24 inches
Jutsu - ninja skills:
Bunshin no Jutsu - Genjutsu that creates the illusion of a clone/clones of the invoker.
Chakra - combined energy of body and soul, similar to the concept of "ki" or "chi" from martial arts. It's used to power jutsu and various magical actions, such as walking on water, teleporting over short distances, etc. It can be exhausted through use of high-level jutsu, requiring the user to recover, sometimes resulting in complete collapse.
Chidori - Kakashi's signature assassination jutsu. He gathers and concentrates chakra in his hand in a visible ball of crackling energy, then rams it through his opponent at high speed. It is said that he once cleaved a bolt of lightning with this jutsu.
Genjutsu - illusion skill
Kage Bunshin no Jutsu- Shadow Clone kinjutsu, allows the user to create clones with real physical presence, not just illusion.
Kata - Hand and body postures used to invoke jutsu.
Kinjutsu - forbidden jutsu
Ninjutsu - ninja special skills and magic
Scroll - Written scroll for invoking certain jutsu, including healing and summoning jutsu.
Seal - Hand positions used to invoke jutsu. Sometimes include spoken words. May be one or two-handed. There are twelve basic two-handed seals named after the animals of the Chinese Zodiac.
Sharingan Eye - mirror wheel eye. Genetic ability of the Uchiha clan. Lets the user instantly and automatically copy and retain nearly any ninja technique he witnesses. User can penetrate and turn back upon the caster any genjutsu or ninjutsu.
Summoning jutsu - uses a scroll and the invoker's blood to make a contract with a being from the spirit plane, which manifests as flesh and blood when summoned. Kakashi is able to summon dogs.
Taijutsu - physical combat skill
Jutsus original to this story:
Himitsu Kage no Jutsu - Secret Shadow Jutsu - allows the invoker to become invisibly hidden in a shadow. The shadow must be sufficiently large in composite area to contain the user's body, but it doesn't have to be solid. For example, a shinobi could use this jutsu to hide in the slatted shadow of a picket fence.
Inu no Hana no Jutsu - Dog's Nose Jutsu - Briefly increases the user's sense of smell to the level of sensitivity of a dog's.
Kanjouinyuu no Jutsu - Empathy Jutsu - makes your enemy empathize with you, losing the will to fight you, OR makes the target empathize with someone badly injured, so that the target feels the injured ninja's pain as if it were his/her own.
Niku Katameru no Jutsu - Flesh Hardening Jutsu - When a weapon is approaching and can't be dodged, target diverts chakra to the area of the body about to be struck to reduce the damage from the blow. A potential killing blow from a sword aimed at the abdomen cuts through skin and muscle, but internal organs are spared. Sword strike that would have lopped off an extremity instead stops at the bone, bone may fracture, but it won't be severed.