War of the Eyes
A Naruto Fanfiction
by the one and only Lifethane
A/N: Hello, everyone. For those of you who don't know me, I am Dustin, better known on by my pen name, Lifethane. It is my pleasure to greet you and bring to you this expression of creativity that crawls around in my head. For those of you who know and love me, welcome back.
This is the sequel to my first and well-reviewed story, Lacking Sight, whichI named complete less than forty-eight hours ago. If you're new to me, get used to at least weekly and often bi-weekly updates, because that's how I like to do it: fast and fantastic. Each and every chapter of the series named by one of my precious reviewers as the "Vision Saga" is literally engineered to be absorbed into your eager brains at the speed of maximum enjoyment.
Any questions may be directed to me by way of email or asked of me directly by way of Windows or MSN messenger (use same email).
Have fun with my new stuff!
The next Great Shinobi War has begun. The Leaf has been damaged, but they are still combat-capable and their defenses are far from crumbling. Allied with the Sand, they stand firm against the combined forces of the Rock and the Sound. However, the early warning signs of other powers entering the fray have already begun to show, and the border lands are crawling with enemies.
It is into this contested wilderness that eight shinobi venture forth. Their purpose is double: Obtain information about Orochimaru, the sinister master ninja who initiated the war, and rescue Keisuke, shinobi of the Leaf and friend to Uzumaki Naruto. The journey will lead them through mountains, valleys, and forests fraught with peril to their final destination—the wasteland known as the Grave, at the heart of which lie the ruins of Keisuke's birthplace.
Throughout the trek, Naruto's mind must juggle many conflicts. Among them are the complications of the Caged Bird seal and its effect on his tenant, Kyuubi, the trustworthiness of his former-teammate-now-prisoner, Uchiha Sasuke, the whereabouts of his former mentor, Jiraiya, and the truth about his own feelings for Hyuuga Hinata, whose recent confession has made of his heart a conundrum. Though he keeps his many questions to himself and trains himself intensely in preparation for the coming conflict, he cannot help but feel that their weight will slowly crush him if he does not find the answers.
And all the time, he cannot shake off the feeling that he is being constantly watched by multiple deadly powers...
(Note: Characters marked with ((double parenthesis)) are my creations. All other characters, as well as the world in which this story takes place, belong to Masashi Kishimoto, their creator and my current rival.)
Uzumaki Naruto: Hardly changed from the loud and obnoxious youth that Konoha hated three years ago, the blue-eyed blond demon vessel still loves to have fun while at the same time strives to become the best shinobi of his village. Recent events, however, have turned his mind into a cesspool of arguments. Though he manages to keep this inner turmoil buried, it nonetheless weighs heavily on him. He and his friends are embarking on a dangerous journey through war-torn lands to the wasteland called the Grave, where his close friend, Keisuke, is supposedly being held hostage.
((Hyuuga Haruka)) : Nicknamed the "Sadist" by her partner, Keisuke, Haruka is a black sheep among the Hyuuga Clan. Her forceful personality and excessive love of battle has caused Keisuke to ridicule her endlessly—though playfully—throughout their partnership, and she is quick to return the favor. Unfortunately, shortly following new developments in their love-hate relationship, Keisuke has been captured and taken to the stronghold of Orochimaru, the Snake Sannin. Haruka follows with Naruto and company for the purpose of rescuing him.
Hyuuga Hinata: The shy heiress to the rulership of the Hyuuga Clan, who for years has had a colossal crush on Naruto. Much of her life has been spent in self-loathing sorrow, but, inspired by her headstrong and courageous crush, she has spent the last three years of her life training herself relentlessly and has now improved almost beyond recognition. Though she is still very shy and becomes red-faced when speaking of it, her affections for Naruto are no longer a secret from him. Naruto has yet to fully return this love, but she is patient, and will happily wait until the conflict within him resolves. For now, it is enough that he knows her feelings. Yet, some part of his behavior worries her...
Hyuuga Neji: The official leader of the mission to the Grave. He is tall, dark, and handsome, and has been hailed as a genius within the Clan even though he is not of the Main Family. A master of the Hyuuga Jyuuken style and a cunning analyst, Neji also considers himself to be his cousin Hinata's protector and bodyguard, despite the recent blasting apart of the Main and Branch Family distinctions. He reveres Naruto, having once been known to say that the blond has "better eyes than me." He approves advancement of Naruto and Hinata's relationship... as long as they keep it discreet and do not cross any "boundaries" before marriage.
Haruno Sakura: Part of Naruto's original Genin team, she has a powerful drive to improve herself and become the best Medical Ninja since the great Tsunade-sama herself. She once harbored an almost fanatical love for Uchiha Sasuke, but in light of his more recent actions, she has apparently gotten over him, even striking him once—an event that dropped the jaws of all those present. It is unclear if the two will ever reconcile their differences. For the present, she helps out the team on their mission and supports Naruto and Hinata's growing relationship with friendly enthusiasm.
Aburame Shino, Inuzuka Kiba, and Akamaru: These two are good friends of each other and Hinata, all three having been part of the same Genin team. Shino is the prodigy of the Aburame, a clan of shinobi who fight by allying themselves with a dangerous species of insect known as Destruction Bugs, or Kikaichuu. He is quiet and reserved, speaking only when it benefits the team or the mission, but underneath his heavy cloaked jacket beats the heart of a true friend. Kiba and his faithful dog Akamaru are ferocious fighters and stalwart comrades. With their Beast-Effect ninjutsu, they defend their friends with feral determination.
Uchiha Sasuke: The only survivor of his clan's tragic destruction—which was perpetrated by his own brother, Itachi—his lust for revenge drove him to seek power by any means necessary. Forsaking his friends, who he believed were weighing him down with their love, he betrayed the Leaf and ran to join Orochimaru. After three years of training in dark powers unheard of in many generations, Sasuke returned to Konoha with an invasion force, bent on testing his new powers against Naruto, his old rival. However, he was soundly defeated by Naruto and his unexpected ally, Hinata.
Sasuke has bargained for his life by feeding the Leaf information and offering to guide the mission to Orochimaru's hideout in the Grave. It is unclear whether or not he truly intends to carry out his end of the bargain, but the Hokage has decided to trust him for the moment. Under the watchful eyes of Naruto and Neji, he broods within his own dark mind as he guides the travelers onward.
((Keisuke)) : Possessing no eyes, Keisuke is, ironically, the father of the first Hyuuga. He was entrapped in a frozen tomb by a torturous demoness many generations past and released eight years ago. In place of his missing eyes, he utilizes a unique and versatile ability, the Sixty-Four Ghostly Arms or Rokujuuyon Reiude, which he obtained after being found half dead by the seven-year-old Naruto and receiving a blood transfusion from him. It was discovered upon their reunion two years ago that Naruto also has this ability, and the two of them have acted as surrogate family to each other ever since. He is currently the captive of the Snake Sannin, Orochimaru, who wants to take his unique powers for himself.
Jiraiya: The perverted and illustrious Toad Sannin, with shinobi abilities comparable to those of Orochimaru. He was last seen by Naruto fighting one of the criminal members of "Akatsuki," who want to take the power of the demon within Naruto and use it to suit their own unknown purposes. Jiraiya's current location and status are unknown.
((Hyuuga Hiroto)) : The former Captain of the elite guard assigned to protect the head of the Hyuuga Clan, Hiashi. He disappeared at the same time that Keisuke did, and it is not known where he currently is. Hiroto has anger management problems, and his painful past has led him to despise all of his Clansmen.
War of the Eyes
Prologue: Blind Man's Narrative
I was more than a little surprised when they came to me to write this. Me, of all people. Can you believe that?
Oh, sure, they asked Naruto first, and as glad as the kid was to relate the whole story with that over-eager mouth of his, you know how he gets when talking about his own adventures, or anything at all about himself; you get a much more glossed-over and abbreviated version of events, and there's absolutely no way that he can be persuaded to take the time to sit down at a keyboard and write it all out. He would either fall asleep or find some excuse to leave and go back to training, ramen, or Hinata-chan. Don't get me wrong; I love the kid, but he's useless for this sort of thing.
You would think they would have then asked someone else who'd been a major part of the action.
Hinata-chan would have been an ideal candidate. She has plenty of time between missions. Hell, she can spend time with Naruto while writing, can't she? And next to Naruto, she was closest to all of the important things going on. But no... the girl has her clan and Naruto to make excuses for her, so she's exempt.
Neji would be a waste of time to ask. When he isn't performing his duties as a Lieutenant in the new Elite Guard, he's watching Naruto and Hinata like a hawk, making sure nobody interrupts them but interrupting them himself if he suspects something "inappropriate for this stage" is going on. He's a no.
Sakura-san? You'd think she would, but her excuse is the Jounin examinations that are coming up. I wish her luck, but it would have been nice if she could have just played along and let me rest in peace.
Kiba-san is similar to Naruto in attentiveness to this kind of task. No can do.
Shino-san would likely be as brief and practical on paper as he is in speech.
And Haruka? What chance in hell do I have of convincing her to pick up my slack? That's right—zero.
But when it became clear that Naruto wasn't suited for the task, I was the one they came to next. As I said, this surprised me, because on top of being blinder than a bat, I was the one who played the smallest role for most of the debacle. Don't worry about that, they told me. You have plenty of sources to fill in the blanks, and there are eyes you can borrow if you need to. This was true, and since I'm going to be confined to my home and bed for a while, I might as well do something for the information-hungry press, ne?
Ah, pardon me... I didn't introduce myself. I've become terribly bad at remembering the social graces these days; with all that we've been through, I'm surprised that Naruto and I aren't completely off our rockers. Not a problem... I'll remedy my mistake now.
I have had quite a few names in my unnaturally extended life. To the Hyuuga, I am the Great Father, sire of the very first user of the Byakugan. Across the world, I have been called Keisuke of the Grave, though few understood the meaning of the title. Naruto continues to address me as Keisuke nii-chan, though I have never been related to him except perhaps in spirit. I have also been called a Blind Idiot and several variations of the same.
However, none of these names—not even the last one, which I will admit to having become inexplicably fond of—has any meaning for me anymore, and they are almost never used since I was brought back. I answer to the name Keisuke and one other name now, but only these two. You'll understand why in good time.
I am a Jounin-level shinobi loyal to the Leaf and its Hokage. I proudly wear the green vest and weapons pouch over black tee-shirts and tough black pants. The Leaf hitai-ate headband is tied securely to my forehead. A few weeks—or centuries, if you ask me what it felt like—I also wore dark sunglasses over the empty sockets meant for eyes. I don't wear them anymore, however; they're a relic of the days when I fooled myself into believing that I lived for my past. When people look at my face now, they see not emptiness where those lenses used to be, but the manifestation of my new and true self—the self that lives for the present and the future, and for the young shinobi that boldly walk forward into it alongside me.
I am one of the two keepers of the fledgling Kekkai Genkai jutsu, the Rokujuuyon Reiude (Sixty-Four Ghostly Arms). They sprout forth out of my tenketsus, the opening points in my chakra circulatory system, and they are composed of invisible strands of chakra vessels. These Arms have a number of uses; they can be used as long feelers, and this sixth sense serves in place of my eyes. They can also be formed into written seals, calling the power of the elements to do their master's bidding. Naruto keeps discovering more and more uses for them every day. The most immense benefit, however, is the ability of the Reiude user to synchronize the chakra systems of himself and other people, pooling their chakra reserves and also their senses. It is in this way that I can gain the boon of vision, if only temporarily.
Not so long ago, I was the sole owner and master of this wonderfully versatile technique. I am not ashamed to say that this is no longer true; Naruto is far stronger than me, in the Reiude and as a shinobi in general. I don't hold a grudge for this. The kid earned everything that he has.
I'm getting ahead of myself, though. For good or ill, I've been given the task of telling you this story. It's a story about action and adventure, trust, distrust, and betrayal, love and hate, of war and the heroes who won it. I will tell you about eight shinobi who left the village of the Leaf to rescue a comrade and defeat great evils. I'll draw a picture with words of the lands ravaged by massive and bloody conflict, and then I'll paint a new one of those same lands liberated in glorious victory. I will tell you of the doom of one great shinobi clan and the birth of another.
It's the story of how the three great eyes of the world witnessed the making of a legend that will be whispered of for many generations to come.
It won't be the easiest story in the world to tell. A lot of it will have to be pieced together from the different personal accounts given to me by the various characters in the tale itself, and there will be parts that prove almost impossible to fully describe in the limited capacity of language. It's regretful, but that's the way of things with this generation of ninjas; they're too amazing for words.
Regardless, I'll do the best that I can. Better that the world at least knows something of it than nothing at all. Those that came back with me will cooperate, lending me the eyes and the perspectives necessary to bring it all together. I have every confidence that by the time I fully heal, I'll have a complete and wondrous tale for you.
Ack, I have to put the keyboard down now—Florence Satangale just walked into the room, and I have to succumb to the horrors of the sponge bath. Let's just hope she doesn't find out that I just wrote that. Anyway, I'll endure my punishment and then get to writing; it's a long tale, and I'll take a long time to tell it.
EDIT: Florence Satangale did indeed find out that I called her that. Damn those sharp eyes of hers! As a result I now have a new bruise, and am required to acknowledge that I am a complete fool and a Halloween movie reject if I am to keep the original document as it is.
OoOoOoOo End Prologue oOoOoOoO
A/N: And there you have it! Shorter than the prologue for Lacking Sight by a long shot, but it shouldn't be long before we're back up to normal chapter length.
Soooo... Thoughts, questions, ideas? A good author needs plenty of feedback, and I haven't gotten the entire plot for this story down quite yet. It will be a slow start until I figure out exactly where to go with this, so the more thoughts you provide me with, the quicker the story will move and the better it will be when it gets moving.
Until chapter one, I sit in my chair, do physics homework, and wait for your reviews.