Ahhhh... nice long starting chapter.
Alright, here's the rundown: just so you guys know, there will be character bashing in this fic. And I don't bash like a racist here, there's a formula. The bashing is directly proportional to the arrogance, undue pride, and general assholeness of the character. Great example: Sasuke looks like a total asswad here. Shikamaru does not. Easy, right?
Also, there will be plenty of swearing throughout this story. I'm saying this now so I don't have to say it again.
If you didn't gather from the summary, this fic's all about a super smart Naruto and Hinata. Just so there's no confusion.
With that outta the way, enjoy!
General disclaimer: I don't own Naruto and never will. So sad...
It was an ordinary day in the lively city of Konoha. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, the kunai of the local Academy students shined in the bright sunlight; all in all, it was a pleasant afternoon. The weather had been good so far this year. Winter wasn't as cold as usual and summer came early, bringing with it warm air and cool breezes.
The bright blonde hair of a neon orange clad boy bounced with every step as he strode towards his rundown apartment. Even the glares of icy hatred penetrating the hyperactive child were quite normal on a day such as this. But Naruto Uzumaki paid no mind to the harsh gazes, not anymore. He walked with confidence in every step as he made his way to his home, ignoring the occasional taunt and the audible hushed whispers from behind his back. Upon reaching his ransacked dwelling, he let out a sigh of frustration. Being sure to lock the door, he laid on his bed, stretched, then slammed his pillow over his face and screamed into it.
"Goddamn Sasuke!!" his muffled voice decried the popular Academy student. "Thinks he's so fucking great just because he's an Uchiha!! Fucker pisses me off!!" He took several deep breaths through his comforter to calm down before removing it from his face. He needed to vocalize his frustration from time to time, and this method suited the bill just fine.
"What the hell does everyone see in him?!" he continued his rant mentally. "So what if he 'looks so cool'?! That's not what being a ninja's about! And he's a show boater with no sense of teamwork! There's nothing professional about him! Hell, even Shikamaru's got more innate talent than he does, and he doesn't even lift a finger… literally!" After his internal monologue, he sat up and composed himself. "Well," he thought out loud, "Time to get to work…"
He leapt off his bed and made his way to the farthest corner of his apartment. A long time ago, he discovered that the room below his didn't actually extend to this corner and instead, there was a mere concrete column that acted as a secondary support to that portion of the building. Placing his hands on the floor over the pillar and sending a bit of chakra into it, a panel that blended in perfectly with the messy ground dropped inward, revealing a somewhat spacious hole that he had dug and lined with steel bars in order to maintain the integrity of the building. After checking the automatic traps that reacted only to chakra other than his own, he smirked and climbed down the hole, setting the floor panel back into place above him.
He slid down the hollow aluminum ladder all the way down the structure, completely concealed by the pillar. As he descended, he made sure to check the seals lining the vertical tunnel to make sure they hadn't corroded. These seals he was particularly proud of; alongside the standard explosive tags that he lined inside the hole in case he ever needed to hide his location sat special markings that projected a powerful combination of ninjutsu and genjutsu. In a nutshell, these seals keptanyone from detecting that the column was hollow.
Satisfied that his protective measures were stable, he reached the bottom of the ladder and proceeded through a trap-laden door to his private chamber about twenty feet below ground level. As proud as he was of his hole, this room made it look like a kid's summer project.
It wasn't particularly large, perhaps another twenty square feet more than his shitty apartment, but it was all in the spacing. With the exception of the bathroom and a few closets, it was a single square room lined with everything he needed; weapon lockers, bookcases lined with books and scrolls, and even a small forge alongside a scrap metal dump.
"Let's see," he muttered to no one while cracking his knuckles. "Where's it gonna be today?" He strode over to a set of mirrors and took a seat while pulling his gaudy jacket off. After that, he removed his shirt and observed his upper arms with an acknowledging nod. He then turned his back to the largest set of mirrors to see the seals he had tattooed so long ago behind his shoulders. Grasping the needle and saturating the tip with ink, he move his right arm forward and began applying another seal over his tricep, checking the mirrors to make sure he didn't make a mistake. Tattooing a flawless pattern in awkward positions on oneself with only the help of mirrors was difficult, but history had proven that he could do it.
Today's tattoos were storage seals, much like the large intricate body art over his shoulder blades. The large ink works on his back already stored dozens of weapons each. The blonde boy thought it appropriate to only seal large weapons in them such as swords, spears, windmill shuriken, and even a pair of scythes. He completed the seal on the back of his right upper arm and began another on the left. These were intended for smaller weapons such as kunai, shuriken, senbon needles, hell, maybe even a chain or two to mix things up a bit.
After finishing the second seal, he left the miniature station and walked over to his extensive weapon lockers. He opened one of the slim metal doors to reveal rows upon rows of throwing stars, knives, and needles, all neatly lined up to conserve space. He took several dozen of each weapon and systematically sealed them into his new tattoos. "Now," he thought, "To test them."
He walked over to a closet, opened it up, and changed his clothes. Instead of the neon orange he wore to maintain his image as the village idiot, he now wore something far less conspicuous. His jacket had a simple camouflage pattern and his long deep red shorts hung loosely well below the knees. He exchanged his blue sandals for a modified pair of geta sandals with belts that firmly strapped the footwear to him and steel plates screwed into the bottoms. To complete the disguise, he donned the scratched mask of a treacherous ANBU who fell victim to one of his traps a few years back. Of course, he added his own touch to the visage, attaching a deep red mane to conceal his blonde hair and one-way mirrored lenses to hide his brilliant azure eyes from the world. He added one last safeguard to his identity in case his mask should falter and break; a red cloth that covered his face from the nose down. He had noticed a local ninja with the same getup, and it was amazing what a little extra clothing could do.
He secured his hidden chamber from the inside and pulled up a floorboard to reveal a grate. After going through the necessary precautions of his seals and traps, he dropped into the tunnel that was below his secret room. Strangely enough, this passage was already here when he constructed his second home all those years ago, but no one ever seemed to use them other than him and an unknown rival. It drove him nuts that there was something he didn't know, but that was why he was here.
When he first began to wander the mysterious tunnels, there was nary a soul other than him around. But shortly after his treks began, he ran into someone. That person was accompanied by two others who appeared human but looked off with their multiple scars, stitches, and mechanical enhancements. He didn't get a good look at the leader's face, but he soon learned in later encounters that it was a female of short stature. His term for the fellow opponent was 'Silence', due to the fact that she managed to sneak up on him more times than he'd care to admit. As they encountered each other more, their following skirmishes turned into fights, which quickly led to battles befitting of real ninjas. He knew that the next step was having battles of epic proportions that would create legends.
He vowed to himself that he would unearth the mystery of the opposing genius before becoming Hokage and charged into the darkness.
A blue-haired girl walked through the clean halls of the mansion with drooping shoulders. To anyone watching, Hinata Hyuuga was the embodiment of depression. After all, who wouldn't be hopelessly grim if one's own family looked down on them for no justifiable reason?
She continued down the hall, avoiding anyone she encountered with careful precision until she exited the grounds. Once out of her oppressive home, she dejectedly made her way to one of the districts across Konoha until she reached her intended destination.
Producing a key, she opened the door to the abandoned storage room she secretly took over. Anyone who ever noticed her presence disregarded it, seeing as how her position as an esteemed clan member within the village caused people to respect her, even if only because of the title. After locking the door behind her, she uncovered a hidden steel door in the floor and descended the crude wooden stairs underneath. She shut the metal covering and placed her hand over the seal in its center, activating the ever-constant genjutsu that kept it hidden from all eyes, even those of the Byakugan and Sharingan. She strode down the suspended stairs over the dredged hallway and reached another heavy door, then peered into a small flashing red light while placing her thumb over a small nib next to the large handle. The nib pricked her finger to extract the smallest of blood samples and the light blinked twice rapidly in acknowledgement of its creator. The hydraulics that held the covering in place whined as they loosened and the Hyuuga girl entered the chamber.
"Good evening, mistress Hinata," two voices said simultaneously as their owners bowed.
"Good evening," she returned happily. "Shiori, Ichirou. Any new reports?"
"Ah," Shiori began with a glint of joy in her cold yet warm eyes, "I've collected the samples you asked for."
"Good, good," the Hyuuga said as she removed her oversized jacket and replaced it with an ivory lab coat. She honestly hated the hoodie, but she needed it to keep up the mask of a shy, introverted preteen. "Any news on 'Curse'?"
"Nothing yet, mistress," Ichirou answered, his ever-present twitch of the cheek accompanying him. "He's either been laying low or covering his tracks better."
"It's probably the latter," she remarked. "That bastard's always getting smarter with each encounter." She pulled out a slide of a biological sample from an old freezing container and placed it under a microscope. "Just make sure your brains aren't damaged."
"What about the rest of us?" her female attendant asked with way too much enthusiasm.
"Doesn't matter so much. I can always put you back together again." She adjusted the device before her then turned to her idle helpers. "Anything new on the monitors?"
"You know the drill," she scolded lightly. Her subordinates were… special… and as such needed continuous direction for their duties. "Continue to map out the tunnels. If anyone other than Curse finds you, avoid detection at all costs. I won't be able to help you if you're taken in."
"What if we encounter Curse?" Ichirou questioned.
"Do what you always do, try to buy time until I can get there. Now get going," she ordered with benevolent command. When the attendants left through the secured opening they opened a few years back, Hinata sighed, happy that the duo's conditions were steadily improving, even if they could never be fully normal again.
At an extremely young age, the Hyuuga found she had a propensity for two things in particular: the medical field and the acquisition of information. She immensely enjoyed the study of all things relating to the physical body and went out of her way to gather knowledge about anything simply because it made her giddy with joy. But when her father threatened her core interests by pushing the clan's traditional ways on her, she rebelled in the best of ways; secretly.
She didn't flat out refuse the training he gave her, but rather chose not to excel in front of him, knowing that her succession as the family head would severely handicap her opportunities in life. Interestingly enough, she found the lessons of the Gentle Fist and its various techniques quite simple, and she took extra measures to ensure that she truly learned the moves in her spare time away from prying eyes. At the same time she understood that merely seeming to not properly grasp the techniques was not enough to ensure her denial of her future clan position, so she donned the constant illusion of a shy, unconfident, introverted girl. It wasn't a simple task by far, if only because she wanted to clock almost everyone she knew due to their incredible stupidity and short-sightedness. She couldn't stand most of the kids at the Academy; they were all just so frickin' dumb! Especially all those girls who fawned over the Uchiha because he was self-centered douchebag. The only people she even remotely respected were Naruto Uzumaki and Iruka Umino. Naruto, because he honestly tried his best even if he was an idiot and Iruka because he wasn't a jackass to the poor boy like everyone else.
When she first discovered the abandoned storage room and built her hidden chamber, she began conducting her own research. Most of her studies involved things like biology, genetics, and advanced machinery, but she stumbled across another pastime which transformed her life for the better: espionage.
She kept her spying strictly within safe boundaries in case her devices were ever traced back to her, something which in and of itself was highly unlikely. If such a thing were to happen, she would, at worst, be fined severely and potentially watched haphazardly for the remainder of her days, or at least until she could avoid detection altogether.
During her early days of monitoring things of interest, one of her favorite locations was the Konoha hospital, second only to the inner workings of the Hokage tower. One of her watched 'patients' was a branch family member, a man with the caged bird seal. While she felt sorry for the poor soul because his life was decided by others, she took great interest in his case. The man was desperately ill and always on the verge of slipping into a coma. One day, it actually happened, and before the nurses could respond to the alarm set off by the lack of brain waves, he passed away.
That was the day the young girl made a fascinating discovery of the oppressive seal. She had read from her family's archives that the mark only disappeared in death, taking with it the abilities of the Byakugan. When the man slipped into brain death, the seal faded away, but what was remarkable was that his body lived on for a short while before complications snuffed out its flame. The branch member was still alive by all biological standards.
With this in mind, Hinata launched herself into a series of experiments to remove the seal from several ailing branch members. She was amazed and disgusted by how many of the subservient family were in dire need of treatment yet kept under wraps by the main house. She conducted her trial runs in secret, most of which were failures. As time went on, she learned more and more about what needed to be done and, eventually, succeeded.
Her landmark discovery resulted in the 'birth' of Shiori, the first branch member to be rid of her cursed mark. Of course, in order to make such a thing possible, the blue-haired girl had to partially lobotomize her creation and replace many of the organs and body parts with other compatible materials, including several mechanical devices. Spurred on by her achievement, she produced Ichirou shortly afterwards.
While having the revitalized Hyuugas under her care and watchful eyes, she had them work with her on her many projects. Of course, they could only handle simple tasks, but it was more than welcome because it allowed the studious girl to concentrate on what she wanted.
But as of a few years ago, a certain rivalry developed between her and another mysterious individual. It first began when she burrowed into the tunnels already under Konoha and encountered the person she came to coin 'Curse'. Thankfully, the person didn't have a clear view of her face at the time, so her secret was safe for now. Nowadays, she lived for two things; becoming the most powerful shinobi in the village by her own power and proving herself the superior genius.
Her eyes shot open when the speaker crackled to life and Shiori's voice broke through. "Mistress, we have encountered Curse," she stated calmly. "Proceeding to engage target and await your arrival."
Hinata rushed over to the sea of monitors against the far wall and spotted the one corresponding to the camera behind Ichirou's left eye to confirm the engagement. Sure enough, those clothes and mask gave it away. "Alright," she said to herself to get pumped up for the upcoming fight. She shed the lab coat and donned the dark blue jacket she wore in combat with all its attached electrical and mechanical parts. Donning a mask of the same color and a beige cloth to cover her short hair, she opened the door to the adjacent tunnels and dashed through while it automatically closed behind her.
The hunt was on and she was looking for a good fight.
Naruto was in the middle of heavy combat with the 'freaks', his term for the two unusual combatants he repeatedly encountered. It didn't seem to matter how many times he poisoned, stabbed, disemboweled, dismembered, or beheaded them; they always appeared again in the next battle.
Fortune was on his side this evening; he managed to sneak up on the two reassembled Hyuugas this time and take out the male after a few minutes with a windmill shuriken covered in explosive tags. The female, however, was a different story.
She was obviously constructed for close quarters, although a few of her built in features consisted of long-range weapons. She bent her legs against the opposite wall and lunged forward, shooting her left mechanical arm forward and opening the electrified claws at the fingertips.
Curse countered with a wooden staff he removed from one of his large seals. The claws almost immediately splintered the thing, but it threw her aim off enough for the blonde genius to slash her artificial limb off with a broad sword. Her skills were obviously waning; normally she wouldn't loose that arm until much later.
He backed off a few steps and chucked the sharpened remainder of his stick at her, using the distraction to pull a second broadsword from one of his shoulder blade seals. He then raised one leg closely against his body and moved his long, curved blades in front of him in a loose gesture.
The female freak knelt on the ground with her right knee up. Her pants tore as a compartment opened and a steel tube filled with senbon needles shot forward and blasted out the poisoned projectiles. The blonde immediately hit the ground on his back and spun himself out of the way with his feet, swinging and striking with his duel blades to deflect any stray needle. He recovered from the spin flawlessly and, using his momentum, sliced the woman's leg off from below the knee. She faltered when her support gave out, but before she could hit the ground the other broad sword cleanly removed her head right above the stitches at the base of her neck. As the consistently-revived body slumped to the tunnel floor, the blonde genius felt another presence rapidly approaching.
He spun on his heal and struck two stakes out of the air before they plunged into him, denting his wonderfully light swords. "So," he addressed his intelligent rival, "Resorting to this old trick again?"
"Don't make me laugh," she replied, moving her index fingers down and loading another set of iron spikes into the launchers on her arms. "Those damn blades of yours go hand in hand with this!" She moved her hands down, pulling the wires and releasing the catch on her heavy projectile launcher. The metal stakes flew and, as their target moved his dented swords in position, suddenly flew apart into a hail of slivered shrapnel.
"Shit!" Naruto cursed as he couldn't dodge in time and took a few large angular chunks to the chest. "Ugh, I hate using this," he complained inwardly as he tapped into the demon fox's chakra and shot the imbedded pieces back at his prodigy opponent. He had learned long ago about the source of the hating glares he received, realizing that the dark voice in the back of his head was not a normal thing.
Hinata yelped as the shards flew back at her and she squatted to the ground. She grasped two circular devices on the front of her jacket and pushed the side buttons in, locking them temporarily into place. The large disk on her back, affectionately referred to as 'Yin and Yang' by her, spun against its small support rails and released a burst of electricity, repelling any metal approximately three feet away from the machine. The disfigured shrapnel spun harmlessly back into the air and clattered to the ground.
The Uzumaki used this time to move in and, twisting to the side in midair, brought his damaged blades down onto the Hyuuga's metal stake launchers, denting them beyond use for the moment. She retaliated by fingering the loose wires at her wrists, yanking them free in such a way that his blades fell into them, and twisting them around the curved weapons, trapping them in place. She moved her pinky fingers and touched the sensitive electrode draped under her hand and a jolt of electricity surged through the wires and, by association, her opponent's metal swords.
He released the energized weapons and leapt back, the steel bottoms of his geta sandals clanging against the stone floor. He went into a horse stance and released his favorite sword, his custom ninjato. The straight blade had been lengthened to five feet and the blue-haired prodigy noticed several new seals lining both sides. "I've been working on this baby ever since you wrecked it," Curse stated with pride. "Show me what you got!"
She grinned beneath her blue mask at his eagerness. "You're not the only one with some new toys," she replied as she pulled the pins out of the supports that held Yin and Yang to her back and the device fell to the ground. She pulled the circular machines on her chest off and pressed the center buttons in. The large disk on the ground began to spin and sharp barbs a foot long shot out of its hollowed center. She applied chakra to electrodes hidden within the machines in her hands and the top of death began spinning like mad towards the blonde.
He moved the sword to the ground to sweep Yin and Yang away and it suddenly sprung up into his face. "Shit!" he cursed as he jabbed the blade upwards and caught the large top between two barbs, halting its midair attack. He tried to throw it to the side, but burning steam shot out at his face and propelled the device away. The heat would have been enough to score his face had it not been for the mask. "Damn, that's cool!" he exclaimed as he moved against the bladed disk. "But I've got something new here!" He jabbed the ninjato into the ground and the seals along the side began to glow. He pulled the blade up in a vertical swinging motion and a chord of rough stone stuck to the tip and whiplashed all the way down the hall to the Hyuuga genius.
"Holy hell!" she shouted as she recalled Yin and Yang and manipulated it to throw itself against the rock. She succeeded, but the whip knocked it to the side and kept on coming. She barely dodged the initial wave in the narrow tunnel, but her intelligent opponent began swinging his sword skillfully in the air, causing the impromptu chord to smash her against the wall and break half the machines in her possession. A small trickle of blood flowed from her mouth, but it was nothing serious. She tried to get up but was held down by the cold steel of her rival's geta sandal while staring up against his extended sword.
He smiled behind his modified mask. "Looks like I won today. You're outta stuff, aintchya?"
"She glared back at him from behind her azure visage. "I've still got equipment left…"
"Nothing I haven't seen before. Make something better and take me on then," he said as he moved his free hand down to remove her mask. "Now to find out… Agh!" he retracted his hand and jumped back reflexively at the jolt of electricity that resided in a metal rim that was painted the same color of her disguise. "Dammit, didn't see that!" he thought before addressing his defeated opponent again. "That was good, but you don't have any other options. I still won today."
She coughed in response as she brought herself to her feet.
He continued his mirrored gaze at her while resealing his favored blade behind his shoulder. "It's frustrating to have someone I don't know about down here, but that makes things far more interesting. It's such a pain living with so many dumbasses."
Panting hard with the wind knocked out of her, she couldn't help but agree.
"You're the only person I can count on to keep me on my toes, Silence," he said before taking off into the darkness.
Hinata stood there for a moment. "Same for you, Curse," she returned before collecting her creations' parts. After gathering up most of the pieces, she realized that Shiori's mechanical arm was missing. "You son of a bitch!" she yelled with a touch of sarcasm to the empty tunnel, knowing full well that he would have it figured out by the next time they met.
Those who are used to my neurotic updates, be warned: I will focus on my other story until it's done and treat this one as secondary. There will not be nearly as many updates, but the chapters should be nice and looooong (by my standards).
Those of you who are new and want more, go check out my other fics! They need lovin' too...
Oh, yeah. Please leave a review!!! Doing so will help me gauge whether or not I should spend my time writing this, so, if you really wanna see more of this unusual rivalry, let me know!! Otherwise, I'll leave it to die (and I've done it before).