Warning: Updates for this story will come either monthly or bimonthly depending on how much time I have on my hands.
I don't own Naruto or any of its characters.
My eyes opened slowly and I groaned. My head throbbed dully, a mixture of recovering pain and medicine. I sat up and blearily surveyed my surroundings. It took me a few seconds to remember that I was in the medical wing, recovering from that pulse blast.
I turned my focus and gave a half-hearted smile to Yoshino, who was walking over towards me with a neuro-scanner in hand. As she passed it over my head, checking both the health of my mind and my senses, Yoshino stared down at me critically.
"What is it?" I asked tiredly.
Yoshino closed the neuro-scanner and sat down on my bed. My eyebrows rose a little in surprise; Yoshino wasn't the maternal type, not prone to having heart to hearts.
"I spoke to Kiba while you were sleeping," Yoshino said, pushing up her circular frames. "He described in more detail what happened last night. How the person who shot you was someone you shot earlier. Point blank in the chest with a force cannon."
I sighed and ran a hand through my short hair. I didn't think I would have this conversation so soon.
"Why do you turn down the power on your weapon?"
I leaned back against the pillows, averting my gaze from Yoshino's. "I can't do it. I can't kill a person. I know I have to but…I just can't."
Yoshino rested a hand on my shoulders, bringing my attention back to her face. "Look Hinata, I am one of the few that know you're real identity, that you are Hyuga Hinata. So I understand that this isn't something you can do easily."
Yoshino stood up and walked back over to her desk, placing the scanner down. I took a deep breath thankful that she understood what I was going through. I grew up in a world where self-defense wasn't a necessity because you had guards. Where a fight was never physical, but mental warfare.
"But here you are just Hinata, another person whose life was rocked by corporate conglomerates. You need to try to feel the desperateness that we all feel here. You need to become one of us both body and mind. And you need to kill anyone who isn't one of us. For your own sake. I'm sorry."
I gulped and looked down at my hands. She was right. If I was going to keep my cover, I would need to get used to this. I would need to detach myself from my past and cement myself in the present and who I am now. I would need to kill.
Footsteps drew my attention to the doorway where Kiba stood. He looked at me and smiled.
"Hey there! How you feeling?" he asked, walking over slowly towards me.
I blushed under Kiba's affection; it was hard trying to adjust to Kiba's…enthusiasm.
"Better," I replied. "How are things going around here?"
"Actually, that's why I'm here. We have a meeting in the computer lab. You up for it?" Kiba said, sheepishly.
I nodded and slowly stood up, maintaining my balance. "Let's go."
Kiba nodded and started out of the medical wing, but I stopped myself and turned around. I looked at Yoshino who was staring at me intently, something indistinguishable in her eyes. "Yoshino, thank you. For the advice."
A small smile appeared on her face. "Don't mention it."
I turned on my heel and followed Kiba through the maze of hallways. The Rebellion headquarters wasn't a large complex, but an abandoned underground storage compound that the Nara family somehow managed to transform into a functional facility. That is actually one of the mysteries of the Nara family.
Used and manipulated by the Uchiha Corp., Nara Enterprises, a small but powerful chemical engineering research facility, went bankrupt almost three years ago. If they had any money left over it would be a phenomenon, so that just leaves a question. Where are they getting the money and supplies? The source of the rebellion's funds and all of its machinery is top secret.
"…in order to protect our very generous benefactor," Shikamaru says in response to any probing.
Everyone else and I just decided that it was something better left not discussed.
Kiba and I rounded a corner and pushed through a set of double doors. The room we entered was the largest in the whole complex; every bit of wall space was covered with interactive hologram screens and large computer towers. In the middle of the room surrounded by chairs was a table that doubled as another holo-screen. Shino was gliding in a hover-chair from computer to computer gracefully, quickly typing in codes.
Around the center table was Shikamaru, Shikaku, Gai, Ibiki, and Anko. Ibiki and Anko are siblings and close family friends of the Naras. They, along with Gai and his son Lee, train everyone who joins the rebellion. Those who do field work like me, though, get continuous training unlike everyone else who gets the standard 6 months.
Ibiki scared me at first. His scarred head and face, along with the patch over his left eye, one could only assume he was in plenty battles. And the fact that he was still alive meant that he won al of them. He confirmed all of this when we first met. He was…less than accepting of my coming here. Frankly, he didn't trust me and made that very explicit. Even now his trust in me was nonexistent.
Anko was a different story. She seemed to like me. Almost too much. She oozes sex and DEFINITELY is secure in her own sexuality. When we met she…implied that we have "some fun" in her room as a welcoming party. Not that Anko is exclusive; she accommodates men as well, something I found out when I saw her with her tongue down a male rebel's throat. Despite her…liking of me, I feel as if she hasn't trusted me fully either.
Gai was the only one who seemed to actually enjoy my presence ever since I arrived. Then again, anyone who is one of his "disciples" he embraces as if they were his children. Still, I like him and his son, Lee. They are so amusing with their zeal for training. I just wish they wouldn't wear their bodysuits all the time. They leave nothing to the imagination.
But these guys, minus Lee, know of my real identity along with Shino and Yoshino. As my trainers and part of the Naras inner circle, Anko, Ibiki, and Gai, were told my identity so they knew what they were dealing with. Shino knows as well because he helped with the implantation of my contacts. Besides them no one else knows. Not even Kiba.
"You done, Shino?" Shikamaru asked, lazily glancing over at my tech-savvy friend.
"Give me a second," Shino said, the coding on the screen reflecting off his dark shades. His fingers deftly moved across the extended keyboard, as if he was playing the piano.
I always admired Shino's efficiency and sense of purpose. He always worked endlessly, without minding it.
"Done," Shino said, pressing one last key on his keyboard in finality. He hovered over to the head of the table while Kiba and I took our seats.
"Alright," Shikamaru said lounging in his chair, "we all know that Hinata and Kiba went out and retrieved a nano chip from one of the branches of Uchiha Corp. On it was this."
Shikamaru tapped the table and a 3-D hologram appeared. I examined it carefully. A bunch of rectangles and squares with numbers written along them…
"Blue prints." I said, still staring at the hologram.
"Exactly." Shikamaru replied.
"For what, though?" Kiba asked, scratching his head.
"A building or extension of a building."
"Do you know where it is being built?" Anko asked.
"I cross-referenced all of the Uchiha buildings and known areas that the Uchihas were interested in buying. Then I crossed out any that didn't have enough square feet, and verified with any that had recent construction done." Shino pressed the table and another hologram appeared. "This is the match."
"The main Uchiha complex in the Rukongai district?" Ibiki asked, his brow furrowing. "Why there?"
"Again, all of these questions we do not know the answers to exactly, but take a look at this." Shikamaru switched back to the blue prints and pushed his hand into one section of it, pulling it in order to increase the focus on that area. "These rooms seem like they are going to be research facilities and labs. And here, they obviously are planning on building some kind of holding tanks judging from the space they left."
"So whatever they are adding on to the main building, it's got something to do with scientific research," Anko said, a glint in her felinely eyes.
"Right," Shikamaru said nodding his head.
"One last thing on this nano chip was this document," Shikamaru said, switching the holo-screen again. "The Uchiha Corp. plans on "absorbing" another company. Our friends in the food industry."
"There is no rhyme or reason to the consolidation of the Uchihas. They're just buying out every company, but for what purpose?" Ibiki pondered aloud.
"That's what we need to find out. But for now, Kiba," Shikamaru said, directing his attention to the tattooed rebel, "I want you to get Lee and report back here in a half hour. You guys will be going to the Shinjiki district and warning Akimichi Choji and his family."
Kiba threw a quizzical look at me before nodding and exiting the room. I was confused as well. Ever since I came here I always went with Kiba on missions. It was…unsettling that I wasn't with him.
"If…if this is about what happened a couple of days ago-" I began confused.
Shikamaru cut me off with the raising of his hand. "No, Hinata I need you to do a solo mission for me." At this Shikaku grunted in disapproval. Shikamaru's eyebrow twitched but other than that he ignored his father. "I need you to go undercover to find out what is being built."
"What?" Ibiki asked, slowly, trying to reel in his anger.
That was my question as well. How did Shikamaru even think for a minute of sending me back to the world that I left! Doesn't he realize that people are probably still looking for me?
"Shikamaru," I said shaking my head 'no', "I don't think this is a-a good idea."
"And I wouldn't suggest it if I had another choice," Shikamaru said, scratching his chin thoughtfully, "but…we are running out of time. Our…benefactor is having difficulties sending us money and supplies. And once they stop, then we'll have to stop."
I opened my mouth ready to retort on why I shouldn't go, but I didn't know what to say. It was dangerous for me to go out there; I could get found out and then dragged back home; they'll find out where I've been quite easily.
But in comparison to what Shikamaru and the Rebellion would lose, my own safety became significant. I was no longer just Hinata. I was part of a group that needed me to help.
"Why her?" Ibiki grunted. "We can choose anyone else. We cannot give her that much freedom to run and tell her secrets to her family!"
"She won't." Shikamaru stated simply, leaving Ibiki open mouthed. I blushed a little, grateful for Shikamaru's support. "Besides, she is the only one who knows the Uchihas personally. A lot more than we know them, because of her background."
Shikamaru surveyed the table, seeming to look for anyone else who had an objection. Then his eyes locked onto mine. In his, I could see it, the desperateness to do anything to save the Rebellion, but the hope that I could save them all. It was too much. Too much responsibility for me to take at once. I looked away.
"Alright," Shikamaru said standing up. "We need to start as soon as possible. Starting tomorrow, Ibiki you will be giving Hinata lessons in her background story. I want it flawless, to the point that she believes her cover herself. Anko, you'll be giving Hinata extra weapon practice and Gai, Hinata is going to need a more intense combat training."
All three mentioned nodded their head, though Ibiki reluctantly.
I stood up to leave with the rest of them, but a hand on my shoulder held me back. I turned and came face to face with Shikamaru who pulled me over to a corner of a room.
"I'm also doing this to protect you too, Hinata. In this mission, you don't have to kill anyone, unless I give you the mark, ok?"
My head was bent to the ground, face crimson with chagrin. I didn't want to be sent away because I couldn't kill an enemy. I felt weak and unreliable.
"I…I don't think I can do this," I whispered, face to the ground.
I looked up when I felt Shikamaru place his hands on my shoulder. His smile was reassuring but the look in his eyes wasn't. It was unnerving to see cool, calm, collected Shikamaru so distressed. Just how close to pulling out was our benefactor?
"I…believe in you, Hinata. You came here only 6 months ago, but you have come so far. I have faith in you."
I nodded my head, but didn't feel all that confident. Shikamaru must've realized this.
"Look, I don't need you to miraculously pull it together for this mission. But I need you to try and manage."
I looked at Shikamaru's face and somehow managed to squeak, "Alright."
Shikamaru pat my shoulder before exiting the room.
Once he left, I walked back over to my seat and plunked into it.
"What am I going to do?" I asked.
"The only thing you can do," Shino said grabbing my chair and dragging me over to one of his monitors. "Accept your mission." Projected from the screen was a hologram of me. Ugh, I definitely didn't need to see myself in the third dimension.
"I'm not going to change your physique because it would throw your fighting off balance. In order to compensate, I'm going to have some more pigment injected in your skin." He pressed a key and the virtual me turned a light olive. On a regular person, this wouldn't have been drastic, but due to my ivory pallor it was a huge change. It actually looked good.
"Your hair was another issue because the Uchihas know you with long hair, but you've been on missions with your short hair, so you're going to get medium length red curls." Shino clicked another button and the hair appeared, making the virtual me look sensual and exotic.
"Wow," I said reaching out a hand to touch the hologram. It was amazing how gorgeous I was on screen. I looked down at myself and sighed; if only the natural me was that pretty.
"Your eyes are fine thanks to the contacts, so that's about all we need to do. The rest will be up to your acting and sticking to your cover."
I glanced over at Shino and realized he chose my new look on his own. "Thank you, Shino."
"Your welcome," he said leaning back in his chair a little. "And have faith in yourself. You'll do fine. Before you leave I'll plant a chip behind your right ear, allowing ou to contact me. But only for emergencies."
I nodded my head and smiled down at Shino. I hesitated a bit, but then I leaned down and quickly gave my friend a hug. When I pulled back he seemed a bit stunned.
"I'll see you in a week," I said before leaving the room. Time for extensive training. Yay.
Thank you guys for your support and comments. They made me want to crank this bad boy out. And I know that it wasn't that eventful but it needed to happen to progress the story, so bear with me.
Anyways, thanks again!