Under the Skin
Disclaimer: The Naruto series is not mine, but it can dream.
A young woman's quiet plea filtered though the fading darkness of unconsciousness."Please…this isn't right…"
A young man responded with a whisper too low to hear.
Haru Idate, newly minted jounin of Iwagakure, opened his eyes painfully relieved. His wounds, both superficial and critical, had been tended to neatly. Even though he was in pain, with limbs tightly bound, he was mercifully alive.
Idate looked at his captors. Their hitai-ite were a dead giveaway, identifying the two people as Konoha-nin. The delicate-looking, dark-haired girl had pale eyes that just screamed Hyuuga. Her male companion, wearing a hooded coat and sunglasses, was a complete unknown.
Idate almost chuckled at his luck. Thanks to the reputation of soft-heartedness of the Leaf Village, he was not dead or being tortured. They believed in some sort of code of honor on how enemy prisoners should be treated humanely. It was something their butcher, the yellow flash, concocted in the aftermath in the last Konoha-Iwa war. It was all too easy for that bastard to talk of peace and professional conduct after single-handedly laying to waste a major portion of Iwa's forces.
In Iwagakure, it would be considered terribly unprofessional to forsake a perfectly viable course of action for the sake of ethics. While the shinobi of the leaf espoused their will of fire philosophy, the hidden stone village followed adhered to their "heart of stone" philosophy that championed the values of endurance, professionalism, and ruthlessness. A stone does not bleed. A stone does not cry out in pain. A stone is deaf to its enemies' pleas of mercy.
To Idate, the infuriating thing about Konohagakure was that despite their bullshit bleeding heart stance, they had managed to retain their position as the strongest shinobi village.
Sometimes life just wasn't fair.
If a Konoha-nin had been captured by a group of Iwa-nin, all bets would be off. Thanks to the humiliating sequence of defeats handed to them by the Yellow Flash, there was no love for Konoha at all amongst the shinobi of Iwa. They would take their sweet time with any leaf prisoners.
As a newly minted jounin, Idate had been given first choice of which prisoner to "interrogate" and he would have done so thoroughly had he not been detained. He had already staked his claim on an older dark-haired beauty swathed in bandages. Now, if he failed to make it back to camp in a few hours' time, his claim would be defaulted to the senior ranking shinobi and then passed down along the chain of command.
This was exactly one of the reasons why Idate worked so hard to become a chuunin, and then jounin. Pickings were slim if you were lower ranking nin, and any pickings available would be thoroughly messy and worn out, if not dead or dying.
To top it all off, his wounds were starting to itch.
Idate's stirrings did not go unheeded as one of his captors, the young teenage boy, knelt down to face him.
"Where have you taken our squad leader?" inquired the young konoha-nin with a monotone voice.
Most of the young man's features were obscured by his hood and tall collar of his jacket.
Idate just sneered and kept silent.
"My name is Aburame Shino."
The clan name didn't ring any bells in Idate's mind. The Aburames were probably a minor and inconsequential Konoha clan at best, Idate reasoned.
The boy gestured towards his pale-eyed teammate.
"My teammate, Hyuuga Hinata, is the medic who attended to your injuries…"
Idate wondered if these brats were for real. It was very dangerously stupid to reveal one's real name to an enemy for fear of reprisals. Only bastards who earned a reputation and fools trying to build a reputation did that.
The young girl looked ill at ease and avoided making eye contact with Idate. She seemed to be the shy and quiet type. Idate leered. It was almost a shame that his squad captured the older woman instead of this one.
"I assisted with your injuries as well. It was fortunate that you had received medical attention when you did. Otherwise, you would have needlessly bled to death."
Idate sighed in exasperation.
"Do you have a point to all of this, or are we going to talk bullshit all night while the rest of my team takes turns with your pretty little squad leader? If you're trying to guilt trip me into revealing information about my squad, it won't fucking work."
The Iwa-nin smiled. The Aburame boy's features tightened almost imperceptibly and the very air around him seemed to buzz in irritation. The signs were subtle, but Idate had managed to pierce the boy's cool demeanor.
The brown-haired jounin chuckled:"Did that get under your skin, boy?"
Idate expected a scream or indignant shout, but the boy, almost admirably, regained his composure.
"It's funny that you should mention that." Shino turned to his teammate. "Hinata, now would be an opportune time to check on Kiba's condition."
The Hyuuga girl nodded and made her way, visibly relieved for some reason, out of the clearing.
The Konoha-nin turned back to focus again on the Iwa jounin.
"As I was saying, it is fortunate that you survived, because now your continued existence will serve a purpose."
Leaning back, the jounin snorted.
"What are you going to do? Torture me? Both you and your fucking village don't have the guts."
Haru Idate glared at his lone captor. Oh, how he wished he could get his hands free and wring this little bastard's neck. Right now, he would settle for getting a single hand free, and scratching at his increasingly irritating bandages before cutting this little shit's throat with a kunai. If not, he could always try to lure him in and tear out the boy's throat with his teeth.
It wouldn't be the first time that Idate had the taste of someone else's blood in his mouth.
No, not by a long shot.
The Aburame boy stared at his older captive impassively.
"I guess that you haven't heard the news then."
"What news, you smug bastard?"
Shino allowed himself a tiny upward turn of the mouth that was all but obscured by his coat collar.
"Because of the actions of a group known as the Akatsuki, the Godaime Hokage has greatly revised the Yondaime's Rules of Engagement on the Battlefield. Whenever possible, we are now legally obligated to use any and all means in an effort to preserve the lives of our fellow shinobi.
For Idate, it all suddenly made horrific sense. The reason why they revealed their names was because they would not leave him alive.
With this immunity gone, Idate felt a sense of rage and spat in his captor's face.
"Just kill me now and get it over and done with, bastard!"
Wiping his face with his left sleeve, the Konoha-nin stood up and let a steady trickle of small, black bugs pool into his right palm.
Idate unconsciously shuddered. Bug users always tended to be fucking creepy.
"Fighting the other members of your team depleted the numbers of my kikai by sixty percent. You are going to help rectify that."
The mass of tiny beetles dispersed, and flew around before retreating back into Shino's sleeve.
"My kikai feed on chakra, and are normally incubated after carefully infusing their eggs for days. You can speed up the process by using a large pulse of chakra to hatch the eggs, and letting them feed the old-fashioned way, on actual tissue instead."
Shino gestured towards Idate's bandaged wounds.
"This is where you come in. By using you as a living incubator, my kikai can have both."
The jounin stared at his injuries in shock, especially at his bandaged abdomen, knowing that the unsettling feeling deep in the pit of his stomach was not simply fear or despair.
He began to plead.
"You don't have to do this. Give me a clean death. Please."
The desperation and gravity of the situation was becoming quite apparent to Idate as his struggled futilely against his bonds.
"It's your choice. If you tell me what I need to know, I can spare you this agony. If not, you experience this in its entirety."
Shino knelt down, placing a glowing hand on his thrashing captive's abdomen, and let loose a pulse of chakra to hatch all the kikai eggs.
The Aburame calmly regarded his prisoner.
"I've been told that what comes next is excruciating."
The tiny beetles underneath the jounin's skin started to move, and then feed.
Idate could only scream.
Shino made his way back to his teammates with vital information and replenished kikai reserves.
It had taken only a few short minutes for the man to break completely, spilling his guts all the while begging to die.
It had only taken a few short seconds for Shino to construct a makeshift gag out of dirty gauze to muffle the man's cries for the sake of his teammates.
It had taken only a few moments after that when Idate realized that the Aburame boy really had no intention of putting him out of his misery.