Matches Burn Twice
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto, Konohamaru, Hana or the woman who beats up on naruto, or Umino Iruka. They are all property of Masashi kishimoto.
Hana laid her head on the table, ignoring her younger brother as he babbled away enthusiastically about his day at school. Her eyes were on another table, one where one Umino Iruka was treating a young blonde boy to a meal. Hana had not taken her eyes off them since the younger boy had ordered his meal, and Kiba finally noticed her disinterest.
"Hey, sis, you could at least pretend you're interested…" Hana turned her brown eyes towards him slowly.
"That boy over there…" she murmured to him softly, "he's ordered a dog meat dish." Kiba's head whirled around to look, immediately incensed, before the spark fizzled out with a small pop. Uzumaki Naruto. The blonde was one of his classmates, and he was not well known for his intelligence.
"Hana-chan… I doubt he knew what was in it." Hana shook her head.
"Even children must learn things sometime."
Naruto stared at the abundance of forks, knives, and other miscellaneous utensils around his plate and glared slightly.
"Why are there so many of them, sensei?" He asked irritably, and Iruka sighed through his nose, trying to avoid touching his hand to his face in any way, even to his temple, conveniently forgetting that… well… he himself had asked the very same question when he was learning this lesson. Come hell or high water, he would not show how exasperating Naruto could be in such a public place.
"Each fork is for a different purpose, Naruto. It's a question of hygiene." Naruto scowled slightly.
"So why do I need to learn this?" Iruka failed to remember asking this question as well, but he did have more patience, for he understood the sentiment as well. "Why can't I just use chopsticks?" Iruka paused, then smiled and sat back.
"Well, let's just say that you were to get a very important A-ranked infiltration mission, and part of the mission required you to eat in a restaurant like this with your intended target." Iruka smiled at Naruto. "Even the smallest details would matter then, wouldn't they? If you don't know which fork to use, you could end up compromising the mission." Naruto nodded, his eyes suddenly excited and eager to learn, and Iruka sighed again, this time from relief.
Hana's eyes never left their table. When Iruka left the table, Hana's eyes followed him then. Determining his purpose and estimating how long he would be gone took only a millisecond for her. She slid into the empty seat next to Naruto, rather than the one across from him that Iruka had used, much to the consternation of her younger brother. He almost called out for her, but for other diners to notice her willingly sitting with Naruto—he decided he would just wait.
Naruto blinked and looked up. Almost before thinking, his mouth issued the very articulate question- "Huh? What are you doing here, sis?" She raised an eyebrow, her lips curving in what could reasonably be called a friendly smile.
She was a Shinobi. Shinobi do not show their emotions.
"Oh, well, I just wanted to ask you how you were enjoying your meal." She responded, her head tilting to the side. Under her penetrating stare, Naruto's wide blue eyes showed confusion but no guilt. She did notice however, that he had stopped his usual squint in favor of a full survey and she took a moment to wonder if he was part Korean—those eyes were almost a dead giveaway. The irony added humor to her smile.
"Yeah, the food's really good." Hana's eyes did not sharpen, though her claw-like nails bit into the flesh of her palm when her hands tensed in a spasmodic, heartbeat-quick reaction.
"Oh?" she asked, her smile never wavering. "So you like it then."
His brow furrowed. "Yeah, didn't I just say that?" Hana leaned forward. It would have been a mistake to say she was not aware of the fact that this move bared the tops of her breasts, just as it would be a mistake to say Naruto did not have difficulty keeping his eyes on hers.
"Do you know…," she whispered, in the way people do when telling secrets, "What kind of meat that is?" Naruto shrugged, the strangeness of the question helping him focus on her face.
"Does it matter? It's all circle of life, isn't it?" far away, at his table, Kiba, reading Naruto's lips, groaned silently and put his head on the table, feeling sorry for the poor little moron.
"That meat actually comes from a dog, can you believe it?" she responded in a shocked whisper.
"Did you know hamburgers come from cows?" Naruto responded, rolling his eyes slightly. "It tastes good." Naruto added with a half-shrug. Hana pulled out a card and a pen and wrote something on it after a moment. Naruto took the time she was writing to ogle her breasts, earning himself a smirk from the girl he had thought would not notice. But she was a chunin and he only an academy student; it would have been a travesty for her not to notice.
"I'd love to have you come down by my place for a meal next Saturday." She told him and ignored his look of surprise, slipping away from the table just before Iruka came back into view. Naruto hurriedly put the card away, feeling somehow like there was a black lining to that silver cloud.
Kiba had tried to dissuade her, but she was resolute, and, having made her decision, accepted no other. Hana followed Naruto around. Upon seeing the injustice of a woman beating up on him for the honorable grandson's mistake, she smiled. She left off following Naruto for tailing the woman instead, and ambushed her. After an interrogation, she discovered the woman had no close ties, and lead a healthy, active lifestyle. Hana's smile became decidedly canine then.
When Kiba asked what was for dinner, she told him that it was his turn to make dinner—she had gotten the meal for next week.
Hana whistled as she worked, rather cheerfully, in fact. She had gotten a good- no, an excellent specimen to work with. Of course, no human specimen was perfect for consumption right from the start. Any normal slaughter animal was kept in a tightly controlled environment with its health and diet carefully maintained, while humans roamed free and fairly ruined themselves, often.
But females were not only simpler to work with, they were better tasting and easier to gut, usually, and had less testosterone flavor in them. Hana carried the girl to the butcher house. Each family took turns, and Hana knew even her own family would not interrupt her during her turn. Kiba was a tad squeamish still, and their parents would not enter the butchery when Hana was in it—the sadistic smile she gave sent shivers down their spine when they had first caught her skinning a cow, taking the hide for her purse. Hana penned the girl, and when she awoke, naked, in her cell, she saw the Inuzuka girl smiling down at her.
Hana gave her only liquids.
"You have to be in optimal condition, you see." Hana told the girl, though the girl only drank the water and stayed quiet. She was not a natural victim who made things easier, but Hana had managed to terrify her into submission. "I am going to detoxify you, cleanse your body for the next forty eight hours. The broth should add some flavor. I don't know, I've never made broth before." Hana gave the girl a smile that most nearly approximated apologetic and the girl did /not/ catch the obvious, instead assuming the flavor was for her benefit. While the girl obediently drank the broth- mentally looking for an escape, some way to get away from the girl she thought was crazy- Hana set up some large tubs around a butcher's block and started sharpening her implements. The cleaver was first, followed by a series of knives of varied lengths. She had bought a new hacksaw, so she placed it with the rest in a rust-resistant solution that would sterilize them until she pulled them back out for use, without bothering to sharpen it.
Hana was nothing if not meticulous.
During the wait period, Kiba actually did come to visit, and was surprised to find the naked woman there. Ignoring her pleas for release, he crossed over to his sister.
"No one saw, right?" he murmured. The Inuzuka Clan practiced a not quite secret tradition of eating humans, but their village frowned upon the practice, and anyone caught with a live human in preparation for eating, or kidnapping a person would be heavily fined and jailed. Hana only rolled her eyes at her brother.
"They never catch me, bro, don't worry about it." Kiba did not respond, instead crossing over to the woman. She was somewhat pretty, Kiba mused, in the way that women who diet were somewhat pretty, but not exactly the kind he preferred. Still… he turned to his sister, a silent question in his eyes. Hana glanced up, and then sighed.
"Alright, but only up the ass, you hear me? I don't want to taste you like last time." Hana made a face, and then laughed with her brother as they strapped the woman face down onto the butcher's block. The marble surface was slick with the oil Hana had spread on it, and the girl slid around rather satisfactorily. Her struggles amounted to nothing as they ruthlessly held her down and chained her. Hana picked up a book as she left her brother alone with the captive and up to his own devices. Her lips curved into a real smirk as she heard the woman scream behind her as she began to shut the soundproof doors. Kiba was rather well endowed and would be good exercise for the woman's last few days.
After a while, Hana returned to find her captive on the stone, her body still wracked with the occasional tremor. Hana did not bother to untie her, instead only giving her the broth from right there on the table. She gave herself another forty-eight hours to give the girl broth only, making sure to cleanse her thoroughly. She bathed the girl, and she struggled, but Hana put her into a genjutsu sleep.
When it came time for the butchering, Kiba was nowhere to be found, but it was only as she had expected. She looped the rope around her victim's ankles and lifted her into the air, face down. She completed the truss by throwing the rope over an overhead beam made for this purpose and tying her hands together with the same rope. This spread the legs with the feet spread slightly wider than the distance between her shoulders and her arms just about paralleled. She shaved the girl now of all hair that was not on her head until she was perfectly smooth. Hana repositioned the tubs underneath the girl with a smile and started whistling again as she worked, disproportionately cheerful.
She had gagged the girl that morning, and now she simply took the longest bladed knife she could find and cut the victim's throat. She cut though the carotid arteries and the larynx all at once, whistling as the first bright gush of blood landed in the tub below. She thought of a waterfall as it flowed, and she continued to whistle as she massaged the legs, and then the arms to coax any stagnant blood into the torso area, which she further removed by a rhythmic compress and release of the stomach area. She looked down into the tub, and then dragged it aside, deciding to deal with it later, and pulled another tub close by. She then lowered the body from the truss and laid it upon the slab to be dealt with from there.
It was not as easy as most people thought to sever the head from the body with one blow, so Hana took the circuitous route and continued the cut around the entire neck, slicing entirely through all ligament and muscle, before placing her hands on either side of the head and holding on tightly. It took a minimum of effort to twist free the head, separating it from the spinal cord quickly and easily. She took the head and put it in a cage, smiling lightly and whistling to herself. She thought long and hard about the woman's hide, finally deciding that no; she did not need a new leather purse.
She washed the body again, humming to herself. Taking the shortest bladed knife, she started scoring the surface, jumping not at all when severing a nerve caused the fingers of one hand to curl. She cut under the ribs, and down the ridge of the woman's belly. Using her fingernails, she peeled part of the skin back, and then ran the blade as flat to the skin as possible, cutting away connective tissue. She continued the skinning but left a circle of skin around the anus. Cutting off the hands and feet was the next task, followed by taking the skin usually cleanest, the upper thigh, and cut that into many thin strips, placing them inside a bag and putting the bag aside.
Once all the skin and breast tissue were completely removed, Hana made a cut from the solar plexus almost down to the anus, being very careful not to cut through into the intestines. She kept the knife inside the abdominal wall with the blade facing her, cautiously following the earlier score mark on the skin. She cut around the sphincter and tied it tightly with a hemp weave rope she had made herself.
She continued, opening the lower body with the hacksaw, cutting through the pubic bone. The whistling returned as she worked; she finally cleared out the large and small intestines, kidneys, liver, and stomach, dumping them into the tub. They were slippery and a little hard to grasp, but she managed to do it without bursting any of them or contaminating the surrounding area.
Hana looked at the diaphragm and started thinking, the tip of her pink tongue poking out between her lips as she tried to envision how she would continue. She nodded to herself slightly, and then cut through the diaphragm to view into the thoracic cavity. Hana removed the breastbone next, cutting down to where it met the ribs, sawing though, and detaching it from the collarbone. She then sawed through the ribs on both sides. Hana spared a smile from her now serious countenance when she wondered to herself how long the woman would have survived if she had been alive when the skinning and butchering began. Even being in the top physical form demanded from most ninjas, [and here she spared another smile, thinking of the Kiamichi and Akimichi Clans] she was losing breath with the effort. She finally detached it, placing it aside on the slab and examined the girl's system. The heart was barely bigger than her fist, and the lungs were a strange grayish mass. She pulled them out, cutting into the throat to get to the trachea, esophagus and larynx. She then trimmed out the blood vessels and remaining connective tissue from the interior, washing it thoroughly. She then washed her hands up to the elbow in the sink provided within the butchery. She examined the fat content of the body and found it quite acceptable. The meat would cook beautifully, she thought, watching the marbling effect of fat and muscle.
Now she began the laborious task of actually butchering the carcass for its meat.
She looked at the halved belly and began to cut thin slices from the smooth muscle, like bacon. These slices made their way into a separate bag. The other half of the belly became fillets; the fillets went into another bag.
Hana cut into the armpit and dragged the knife around the joint, severing muscle, tendons, and ligaments around the joint before sharply separating the arm from the torso. She then proceeded to cut into and break apart the joint of the elbow and placed them into a third tub. The other arm soon followed, and a hacksaw divided the ribs in two before they landed into the tub as well. She turned the carcass over with no little amount of effort, and removed the entire backbone, cutting and sawing down both sides from the tailbone to the neck. The spine went into yet another bag.
Moving back into the top quarter, she removed the shoulder blade and collarbone. Taking the simplest route, she cut along the outline, cutting and prying the meat on top away of each.
She began to cut off the calf off at- a yawn was stifled in her shoulder, and she looked out the high window, realizing for the first time that she was working in semi-darkness. Putting the knife down, she washed her hands in the sink again and dried them on the nearby clean towel, before going over and flicking on the light. She let her eyes adjust to the light before returning to her work.
She realized her near mistake quickly, with the return of light, and she began to carve carefully away the whole calf muscle from the back of the lower legs. She then continued on to separate the leg at the bottom of the buttock and de-boned it. She cut it into round slabs, cutting free the buttocks and carving it into workable pieces. Hana smiled again, another real smile at what she had accomplished during the day. Now she had three days to make a seven-course meal that would totally blow the boy's mind.
She started cleaning up, putting the bones into the oven, the intestines into the compost- all except the heart and the liver. Those went into the bag with the thin strips of bacon, which cushioned them quite nicely. She packed everything she wanted to keep wrapped in butcher paper and in bags. She stuck her head out the door and yelled for Kiba.
He helped her carry everything into their house, sidestepping their father's questions and their mother's looks with an ease only found between siblings, against outside forces. Hana always was the one to bring meat home to the house, but she rarely ever butchered anything other than the humans she had captured. Kiba's parents were one of the people who had campaigned against the eating of humans, but unknown to them, their household was the highest in consumption.
If fingers ever were pointed in their direction, Hana considered her parents her best defense. And if their parents did not dissuade the accusations, Hana and Kiba would unite- against their parents.
It was their fault. We knew it was wrong, but… They made us, you have to understand… we did not want to eat it, they made us…
Kiba would never tell his sister's secret. He would take this secret to his grave, even if he had to put his parents through hell for it. Hana and Kiba were so closely wound together, sometimes, as they slept in the same bed together, they shared the same dream. They always woke up together, smiling; fingers of her left hand entwined with the fingers of his right hand, their legs tangled together, their foreheads against each other.
They even had their own tree with their names engraved into it. Hana stayed as a chunin to wait for her brother. They shared an obsessive love with each other that nothing could intrude on. Like all siblings, they did not always see eye to eye, but they fought ferociously each to protect the other. And that was never going to change.
Shikamaru tried to manage a glare in the blonde's direction, but it was ineffective. Shikamaru cursed the gods for sending him this nuisance before rolling over and trying again to go to sleep. This time he was wakened by a punch; a hard one to his side that sent all the air whooshing out of him. He struggled to sit up, sending a glare before he registered a different blonde. Ino.
"Ino, What the-" Ino interrupted him.
"Naruto-kun's got a date. Get up, lazy ass, we /have/ to help him." Shikamaru stared incredulously before getting to his feet.
"Yeah, I'll say you're right this once." Shikamaru shook his head once, hard, to clear it of sleep and stretched, one arm bent over his head, gripping onto the deltoid of the other, straight up in the air and slightly off to the side of his head. Ino yanked on his arm, pulling him along quickly and he nearly stumbled. As Ino headed in the direction of the stores, he and Naruto followed in the wake. Shikamaru barely managed a "troublesome" before Ino had started her instructional babbling.
"Naruto, you have to-" Shikamaru tuned her out, instead putting his focus into watching Naruto's body language and trying to pick out something not Orange for the blonde to wear, in his mind.
Ino kept babbling, and when Naruto started to become overwhelmed by the sheer load of information, Shikamaru took pity and pulled him aside.
"Hana is not someone to take at face value. You can't ever act surprised." He said, without an opener, without a preface. "No matter what she tells you, you have to take it in stride. If you look surprised, it's a weakness, and she'll-"
"Shikamaru, don't scare him!" Ino snapped, yanking Naruto back to her side. "You see, Naruto-kun, you have to be a gentleman. Being surprised is just rude, you know?"
"Rude, shmude- There's more to it than that, Ino. Hana's a chunin and three years his senior. She's unpredictable and-" Shikamaru started, but was cut off again.
"A lovely person, I'm sure." Ino finished. "You'll have to bring her flowers, Naruto-kun, And I'll make you a beautiful bouquet on the house. Oh, this is so exciting!"
"And it'll be exciting when she rips his head from his shoulders too." Shikamaru murmured. Ino punched his shoulder. "Itai- what was that for, you overbearing shrew!"
"Focus! We're here to help the dweeb, not scare him to de- Hey…. Where is he?" Ino looked around the store. "Naruto?"
Beta's note: I must admit my failings in a work like this one, Lya. I edited what I could, but this story… I am not familiar with autopsy procedures, and in any case, by the time I was halfway through, I was reading for errors and not for content. Please ask your readers, if they manage to read this far to the end, to please check for inconsistencies in that part of the story themselves.
A/n: Well, you heard the man. I did not feel like retyping it, at all, so I just went ahead and put up his note. The above is purely from my memory, so I expect there to be flaws. Please, feedback is appreciated. Also- once again- Go read The Apocrypha please? Read, review? I actually like that story and having no feedback is making me antsy…