A/N: Some time ago, a reviewer suggested I write a continuation to Harbinger, concerning how Rin became a ghost. After much thinking, writer's block, and 6 rough drafts, I came up with this. It may not be what the reviewer was expecting, but it seemed to fit the circumstances written about in Harbinger. The idea for how she became that way was inspired by a story I read once. This will be the only story written in connection to Harbinger.
A/N2 (12/4/2012): Surname of Rin has been confirmed as of Chapter 607. Story has been edited to reflect confirmation. (4/6/2014) Thought I only needed to change it once, but it seems I overlooked the 2 other "Inuzukas" that were there. Thanks to BlackMajjicDuchess for the catch.
Disclaimer: Do not own the manga or anime of Naruto.
What's past is prologue. - William Shakespeare, "The Tempest"
It is strange how one thing can have a ripple effect.
Whether it is an event, a decision, an action, or an individual, often, for good or ill, that single item can well make a difference in the course of history.
Such events have occurred before in Konohagakure, but none have caused such impact as the events that followed the sacrifice of Uchiha Obito.
He gave his life to save his teammates from enemy shinobi, dying believing he had done the right thing. Little did he know his death set into motion a chain of events still felt to this very day.
After his death, his remaining teammates had difficulty moving forward. Hatake Kakashi could not overcome the guilt he felt for his callous treatment of both his teammates and felt it had led to Obito's death. No matter what anyone told him, including his sensei, he just could not escape those feelings of guilt.
Rin's grief was more concealed, but no less self-destructive.
She was eaten alive by the knowledge that she had ignored Obito's affections in favor of trying to gain Kakashi's attention. All she could think about was how selfish and weak she had been. She threw herself into trying to become stronger and more independent.
At first, her actions didn't draw too much attention, and it was aided by the fact that her sensei, now about to be nominated for the position of Yondaime Hokage, gave both Kakashi and Rin leave from missions outside the village, believing it would be easier for them to stay close to home.
Rin used this as an opportunity to request assignment to the hospital. She watched everything the medics did, absorbing all the lessons quickly and efficiently. During the next few months, she seemed to be dealing with her grief well as she threw herself into healing the patients there. In her spare time, she was at the library, studying every scroll she could lay her hands on.
And eventually it was this that drew attention to her.
She was spending much time in the shinobi archives, reading over said scrolls, but sometimes when a shinobi came over to visit with her, she would be quick to hide the scroll she was looking at. This was reported to the Yondaime, but he brushed it off at first.
Soon, however, he received a report he could not ignore.
A librarian in the shinobi archives reported that the afternoon before, she had gone to help when she noticed Rin had dropped some scrolls on the floor while returning them to the shelves. One of those she picked up, the archivist said, concerned sealing techniques. And not just any sealing techniques. Somehow Rin had come across an A-ranked scroll concerning the binding of spirits. According to her report, Rin grabbed it from her when she realized what the librarian had seen.
This report disturbed the Yondaime, as he believed Rin did not possess the skill to pull off such a technique, and yet she was studying such a scroll. Why? He ordered the librarian to go through the scrolls and get all A-ranked and higher under lock and key. Further, she was to tell no one else of this. He would confront Rin himself.
He summoned her to his office, and what passed between them there, not even his guards knew. All they could say afterwards was that when Rin left, she appeared to be very calm, but there was a strange light in her eyes. When they peered in to see if the Yondaime needed them, his face was as white as a sheet. Upon asking him if he was all right, his response was puzzling.
"I should never have allowed it to go on for so long…"
When they pressed further, asking him what he meant, he shook off his stupor and gave orders to those guards to stay at their post, after which he summoned two others who he knew were resistant to genjutsu, as well as one of his toads and went in pursuit of Rin. The chase ended on the top of the Hokage Monument. But it was already too late.
All those in the village that day who survived in the years to come remembered hearing a yell coming from the top of the monument. It sounded like the Yondaime yelling, "No, Rin, stop!" Then, they heard a blood-curdling scream. An eerie silence followed.
Several minutes later, the men returned, all pale as ghosts, and from that day, none of them ever spoke of what they experienced on the Monument. Speculation was rampant for a brief period, but none ever really were sure what the men had seen, and all three of them refused to discuss it, even when pressed. Within hours of the "incident", the Yondaime gave the order that all records surrounding Nohara Rin were to be suppressed and sealed under SS-rank. Only Hokages had free access to those records and advisors would only be allowed to see them with special permission. Soon, Rin was erased from the physical memory of the village. Shortly after the records were sealed, the scroll that created the situation was burned by the Yondaime's own hand. He never spoke of her motives. When he asked about her absence, Kakashi was told she "had gone away", and the Yondaime's expression was so strange, he didn't dare ask more. Life went on in the village.
However, erasing details from history doesn't mean they didn't happen. And soon that lesson would become clear, in horrific fashion.
A few months following the "incident", a strange girl was sighted in the marketplace. The next morning, the Kyuubi attacked, creating a massive amount of death and destruction before it was stopped, three of the victims being the very men who followed her to the Monument. She has appeared five times since then with four of those appearances preceding some great calamity or disaster to Konoha. The fifth time, her most recent appearance, has shaken many for what it portends, for the villagers have learned to fear the ghost of a girl whose very name they have long forgotten.
What really happened that day on the monument? And what did Nohara Rin know or learn that was so dangerous? Only one remains who knows for sure, and she can never say.
It is strange how one thing can create a ripple effect.
Nohara Rin would certainly agree.