Disclaimer: I do not own the characters or the universe itself. I'm only playing with them as if they were a set of dolls and a doll house by making them do what ever I want. XD
AN: This was originally supposed to be a one shot for a winter contest started by Rel and Murasaki Kaida also known as their colab. Rel Kaida. As you can see it's no longer winter and no where close to being a one shot but the point is they helped inspire this and should receive some credit for being awesome themselves.
I've thought up a lot of fan fiction over the years but my problem has always been getting it down on paper and then they usually get lost or abandoned before they are actually typed up and posted. I have Chapter 2 written somewhat already, just need to expand and such so while I cannot guarantee a date for it rest assured it wont take too long.
Also any constructive criticism is greatly appreciated and if you'd like to take it a step farther and offer to be my Beta for this, I am looking for one : )
AAN: The *'s show bits I've taken from my own life and you can find the story behind them at the end if interested. If not you can just skip them at the end and go straight to the review button. : )
Chapter One A Secret Life
It was around noon on a cold day in mid fall when Shino was called to the Hokage Tower. As he walked to the tower he passed a number of early Christmas shoppers holding their coats closed tightly against the chilly winds. Several other ninja were also sticking to the streets and sidewalks as opposed to their normal rooftop avenues, hoping the buildings would block most of the wind. It was a somewhat crowded street today, but Shino observed that, as always, a path opened up before him as he walked. The shivering citizens still stared though as they stepped aside to let him pass. He tried to find some comfort in the fact that they were more then likely gawking at him for his attire then for who he is, but it seemed the weather was having an adverse effect on his mood.
He himself was not normally bothered by the cold weather. Why? Because his Kikaichu hive regulates his body temperature. Simple changes in weather have never bothered him. That is why he can be perfectly comfortable wearing two coats in summer or shorts in winter. This time of year his body puts out such an excess of heat that anyone who'd touch his skin would believe he was suffering from a fever. Of course there are not many who would get the opportunity let alone the inclination to do such. But it seems just seeing those around him shiver and frown had stirred up some feelings of gloomy-ness.
He has been known to sulk but few knew who hard he tried not to. In the comfort of his own mind he tried to bolster his spirits. "They don't know you they way your comrades and teammates do," he told himself, "It is as it's always been like this. An individual is reasonable, while a group of people is prone to be fearful and judgmental. Although… even the rookie nine often neglect to include him on their social events…"
As it was he entered the tower behind a shivering Genma who was oblivious to who was behind him. The resident senbon chewer and renowned ladies man shuffled slowly down the middle of the hallway, while Shino kept a silent and respectful distance behind him. Shino was contemplating the most polite way of passing the Jounin when Genma stopped suddenly in front of a group of chatting shiobi to make, what he thought was, an important announcement.
"My nuts are frozen!!" he said in a whispered yell.*
The group laughed at his antics and Anko grinned evilly and yelled "Genma I told you not to always go commando!", loud enough for the whole building to hear.
Uninterested in Genma's choice of underwear or lack there of and slightly perturbed at being held up, Shino stepped around the rightly embarrassed man as politely as he could. The group was still laughing at the Jounin's expense as he continued to the Hokage's office.
Shizune was giggling herself at her desk and shaking her head when he arrived. "Oh Shino-san she's expecting you go right on in." She smiled at him.
He nodded in return and with a simple, "Thank you
", he stepped inside the office.
Tsunade-sama had her chair turned toward the window and was gazing out at the trees leaves blowing in the wind. She knew he was there, any ninja worth anything would, so he waited patiently to be acknowledged. When she finally turned around she drummed her fingers on her well abused desk and looked him up and down, seemingly sizing him up.
"Aburame Shino, I am recommending you for a mission." She said at last.
"Recommending?" he raised an eyebrow while thinking, "In regards to mission it is normally the Hokage to receive the recommendation, not to issue it."
"Yes. This is a top secret mission. Essentially a two man reconnaissance." she explained. "There will be absolutely no paper work for this and all information regarding this mission must stay between you and the team leader unless reinforcements are need. Even then your team leader will decide that and how much will be shared. The only thing reported to me or this building should be the success or failure of the mission."
"A mission that even the Hokage mustn't know the specifics of…", he thought, "This sounds like a clan mission, but normally clans keep these missions in the clan, and they never ask the Hokage for a recommendation…"
"The team leader will decide whether or not to use you on this mission based on your shinobi abilities and her own level of trust in you." She steepled her finger as she spoke looking him in the eye, or as close to it as she could. "Based on your previous experiences and general personality I believe you would be the best at taking this information with you to the grave. Am I wrong in this assumption?" she asked.
"No," he replied, "although it is hard to say if my shinobi abilities would be best without the mission specifics."
"I'm afraid only the team leader can give you those and only after she's decided to include you on this mission." She settled back in her chair for a moment before pulling out a pad of paper and jotting something down. "The outcome of this mission is vital to not only to this village but the nation itself. Do you agree to my recommending you for this?"
"Very well." She folded one sheet in half handed it to him along with a sealed scroll. "You can find her at this address. The scroll is a list of shinobi she may trust enough and their scheduled return dates. Let her know I need the ones she would like for me to keep in the village in case back up is needed. You are dismissed."
He walked toward the door but stopped with his hand on the handle. "Hokage-sama?"
"This is a clan mission is it not?"
"Shino not every clan important to Konoha is full of shinobi."
With that he left with too many question and few answers.
He left the office intent on pursuing the address to the mysterious team leader but his way was once again blocked by Genma. Shino raised an eyebrow at what appeared to be the senbon chewer hiding behind the Hokage's two Chunin assistants. Down the hall in front of them Anko stalked towards them like a cat on a hunt. He secretly rolled his eyes at the childish display of the two fully grown Jounin.
"Aww come on! You said your nuts were frozen! This will certainly help them…de-thaw…"Anko cackled evilly as her sentence trailed off. Shino immediately spotted the pot of scalding hot coffee she was holding and smartly stepped back and towards the wall.
"Perhaps being in the back ground of some social events are a blessing…," he thought as Genma and the two Chunin ran in the exact opposite direction of Anko. "Or not…" he thought again as Anko approached him all smiles coffee pot still in hand.
"So Shino-kun? How are your nuts today?"
He dare not move as Anko was know to be a wild card. You'd never know what she would do. At length he settled for a simple "Fine."
"Oh well." She said with a bit of a pout, obviously disappointed that there was no de-thawing for her to do here. "Would you like a cup then, Shino-kun?" Her evil smile back in place as she made the offer.
"No thank you Mitarashi-san. Perhaps another time." He worded his answer carefully lest he offend her, while at the same time tried to remind her of the level of familiarity between them. The only people who had the right to call him kun were his teammates and family.
"Suit yourself Shino-kun." She smiled and returned to the break room not acknowledging his subtle hint. Regardless Shino headed straight for the exit door and away from danger.
Back on the street the people parted before him again as Shino resisted the urge to just shake his head at the rather odd day he's been having. "First Genma's inappropriate announcement and then Anko's response both before and after his meeting. Of course the meeting itself was odd as well." he thought.
Remembering the meeting and the secret mission Shino pulled out the folder scrap of paper to check the address and found a small note as well:
Use the back door. No one is answering the front.
He thought he recognized the address as belonging to the local weapons smith. Konoha's weapon smith was the kind old man who sold him his first kunai set. The man ran the shop with his wife and grand children but he couldn't be sure of the address since there were so few instances where he would need to visit a weapons shop.
With his primary weapon being his hive he didn't need to replace his kunai and shuriken as often as most ninja. This is doubly so since most people had such trouble Christmas and birthday shopping for him and usually just got him kunai and shuriken sets as gifts. He sighed a little walking down the street, "I still have four sets from last year and I'm likely to get four - no three this year. Hinata insisted on my accompanying her to the bookstore." He smiled to him self behind his high collar. "She was very pleased with herself when we left even though we made no purchases and the next day last copy of the book I had been most interested in was gone. She had also tried hard that day to hide her chakra as she watched me with her bayakugan unfortunately she hid it to well and I had noticed. At least someone is putting out an effort."
Shino now stood outside the store and compared the addresses. He was correct and the large closed sign on the front door corresponded correctly with the Hokage's small note. Stepping closer he read the notice from the Hokage's office posted opposite the Closed sign.
Undergoing a change of management.
Emergency requisitions can be made through
the Ninja Academy Surplus until further notice.
"It's a busy shopping day and Konoha's only weapons store is closed? How much odder can one day get?" He asked himself as he peeked in the shop window. He could see some movement across the counter and through the glass office that let the owner watch both employees in the back and the customer at the counter. "I can see what she meant now. A very important non-shinobi clan would be our weapon smith; Although I was not aware that he had an actual clan."
Walking around the side of the building he discovered it was much larger then expected. It appeared to have a small two story house added on to the back unlike most family run business that had living quarters built above the shop on the second and sometimes third or fourth floors. The back wall of the shop looked more like the front of a house despite the fact that it faced the brick wall of the building behind it. A small three foot porch with a rocking chair, two windows with flower boxes, curtains and a doorbell greeted him.
He rings the bell and expects the old man or the mysterious team leader, but as the door open it reveals instead an eight year-old girl in braided pigtails straining her neck to smile directly at his face.
"Hello." She says in a cute sing-song voice with a mesmerized look on her face.
He lifts a single eyebrow to her before replying, "Hello, is your Ka-san or Nee-san here?"
"Yup Nee-san is." she cheerfully replied and did not cease staring or smiling at him from the doorway.
Exasperated Shino was about to ask the girl to fetch the woman when a boy of eleven or twelve walked down the stairs with a large stack of scrolls.
"Kairi shut the door your letting all the cold air in."
"Uh huh." Kairi mumbled still staring and smiling at Shino trapped outside the door. Thankfully the boy looked up after depositing his burden on the kitchen table.
"Sorry sir we're temporarily closed while undergoing a change of management. The Ninja Academy-"
"I am not a patron." Shino interrupted slightly annoyed. "The Hokage sent me here in regards to a mission."
The boy raised his own eyebrows at him, "The only ninja here is nee-san and she is not taking any new missions at this time-"
"Hiro!" The girls voice sang again, "Maybe it's the mission to go with Nee-san to the mine!" At last the young girls attention had finally shifted away from Shino and was now pointing her 100 watt smile at the boy.
Shino nodded and Hiro sighed as he turned to the door on the opposite side of the small kitchen area. "Follow me." he said but stopped when Shino cleared his throat from the door.
Kairi had turned back to Shino when she no longer had an attentive audience and still blocked his path while smiling up at what she could see of his face.
"Huh?" Still she stared at Shino.
"Don't you have some kunai to sharpen?"
"Oh! Uh huh!" And she ran off through the door Hiro was holding open.
Shino shut the door behind him and followed the boy into the next room. It looked like what he would assume to be a normal black smiths work shop. There were tables filled with different weapons in various stages of manufacturing on one side with two grinding wheels by the office he had spied earlier out side.
The pig tailed Kairi looked up from her own wheel and blushed before setting it to spin and donning her safety goggles. Hiro led him to the office in the corner where he watched through the ceiling high windows as the boy confidently strode to the opposite side of the room.
This side contained a few barrels of water with different metallurgy tool cooling inside, causing steam to rise up. There was a forge as well complete with billows and a few anvils of various sizes. It was the anvil currently in use the boy approached. A young woman with identical braided pigtails pounded away on a red hot piece of steel but looked up at the boy when, presumably, her name was called. It was impossible to hear with the exhaust fan going near the forge and the layer of glass between himself and the two.
She turned and looked at him through her welding mask before returning the tools and piece to the forge and handing her smock and mask to the boy who would continue her work. As the woman approached he caught him self thinking, "Do I know her?"
"Hey Shino." She said with a smile the did not quite reach her eyes.
Then it clicked. Someone who could trust him personally with clan secrets, someone who had strong ties to weapons, that someone was-
* This is a marching band story from way back in the day.
The senior class clown had jokingly suggested a way to sabotage the band that won the state championship every year. This band had an impossible number of people in it, I'm talking around 500 or more so it seemed as though each player was no more then a few feet away from each other. His suggestion was for the senior class to go commando and to wait until the most difficult part of that bands drill to streak across the front of the field and hope that the sun reflecting off of their shiny white asses blinded them enough to cause a twenty tuba pile up aka turning the woodwinds 100 yard dash into the 100 yard hurdles with the other players being the hurdles.
Needless to say it didn't happen but they guy still went commando and encouraged every one else to as well ,but it was very cold the evening of the competition. We were in full uniforms the entire time, for the first time we actually appreciated the gloves we had to wear and attempted to use our capes as blankets to stay warm. I was the first one on the bus before we left to go home because there was a shuttle going up and every one was oohing and awwing. I was sitting quietly on the seemingly empty bus when the guy runs on, stops in the center of the aisle and screams "MY NUTS… ARE FROOO-ZENNN!!"
"Well Greg." I said making him jump. "Going commando wasn't such a good idea was it?"
His face was a priceless tomato red as he grinned and laughed nervously with his oops I got caught face.
Greg Painter I don't know where you are or what your doing but keep being you because every one needs some laughter in their lives.