Title: Kishu
Rating: NC-17
Warnings: Violence, bloodshed, minor character death, graphic sex, crossdressing, one scene that's possibly dub-con, depending on how you interpret it
Summary: Kurt's mission is to kill the man. He has no problems with that, if only the man's son would quit distracting him.
A/N: So here is the first installment of my promised Ninja!Kurt story. This is a very different story than Mail Order Bride, much darker, but I promise there will be a happy ending. Somehow as I started writing it, it evolved into more of a historical than harlequin story, and I use a bunch of fancy words that I explain with footnotes. That said, while it's more historical than planned, it's by no means historically accurate. These 'facts' are mostly through Wikipedia and what I vaguely remember from a ancient Japan history class I took two years ago. Also, I realize that names like Kurt and Puck aren't really Japanese. It's called literary licensing and I recommend you just go with it. The title is the Japanese word for 'surprise attacker.'

Chapter 1: The Mission

Kurt took another deep breath, inhaling the cleansing incense into his lungs. He was having a great deal of trouble preparing for this mission, and it was making him frustrated. Normally he wouldn't have any problems. He was one of the best ninjas of the Iga clan1 for a reason after all.

But this mission was completely different from his usual ones and the strangeness of it was throwing off his inner balance. He had been pacing agitatedly around the camp since he'd been given his assignment and eventually his jonin2 had told Kurt to have the restless spirits removed from his body or he would give the assignment to someone else.

Kurt had never had an assignment taken away once it had been given to him, which was why he was sitting in the meditation position trying to relax for the mission he would embark on at sunrise.

As his breaths evened out Kurt tried to keep his mind clear, but his thoughts kept returning to this stupid mission. For the life of him, Kurt couldn't understand why it was bothering him so much. The mission appeared to be fairly straightforward; assassinate a tyrannical daiyamō3 in the Hokkaido prefecture.

Several ninjas had attempted this mission before Kurt, but none had returned. The daiyamō's security was greater than expected, so Kurt would be using a different tactic. Instead of trying to sneak past the guards, Kurt would instead infiltrate the daiyamō's household as a servant, and walk right past the guards.

Kurt had completed several assassination missions, in fact, they were his specialty. His childlike face often caused his victims to underestimate him allowing Kurt to easily sneak in with a killing blow. Although he was quite adapt at the katanas4 typically used by his clan mates, Kurt's preferred weapon of choice was his beloved sai swords. He had several pairs that he would practice with, but his favorite pair, the pair he always took on his missions, had been the one of the few things in the house Master Cohen had found him in.

The house had been partial burned to the ground from a raid from mainland barbarians. Master Cohen had been leading a band of the Iga clan's elite on a normal patrol when they'd come across the village, too late to protect the village inhabitants. The few houses had already been plundered and it had looked like everyone had been killed. Everyone that is except for a small baby boy found in a back closet, probably placed there by his parents in an effort to hide him from the attackers5.

Of course, that baby boy had been Kurt. Master Cohen, having no children of his own, had adopted the young orphan and raised in the ways of the ninja. Kurt learned fast, eager to learn all there was to know and then more. Though he was always on the small side, this ended up aiding him, allowing him to climb faster and move more quietly than any of the other trainees.

While some of the trainees were jealous of Kurt's abilities, he was too well liked for anybody to truly hold it against him. Despite Kurt's ability to kill a grown man without even blinking, Kurt had a remarkably kind heart. He was always the voice of reason when games among the trainees got out of hand and he was a particular favorite among the younger children.

Kurt fascinated them with his exceptionally pale skin and light eyes the color of a lake on a clear day. At first they would be shy, hiding behind their mothers legs, but Kurt always managed to coax them out with soft smiles and gentle words. Once the kids got over their shyness they would follow Kurt around like ducklings, begging to be told stories and played with.

Kurt loved the children just as much as they loved him. Their innocence and positive outlook on the world always fascinated Kurt, probably because he knew firsthand just how cruel and violent the world really was.

In fact, all the ninja's of the clan knew this and because of it they tried to keep the young children safe and sheltered for as long as possible. They had tried to do the same for Kurt, but he'd never been interested to hear the adult's fairytales and pretty words. Perhaps because he'd been exposed to so much bloodshed at such a young age, even though he couldn't remember it, the subconscious memory had affected him in ways he didn't fully understand.

Kurt just knew that for as long as he could remember he'd felt this need to know as much as possible about the ways of the ninja. He wanted to be able to protect other families and villages from being torn apart the way his had been. Because of this determination, Kurt progressed faster than any trainee that had come before him. By the time he was 14 years old, Kurt was initiated as a fully fledged ninja, one of the youngest ever.

His abilities had been tested multiple times though a wide range of missions. It didn't matter if the task was to take out the advance troops of an attacking army or infiltrating a heavily guarded building to steal military plans without giving warning of his presence, Kurt had never failed to produce the desired results.

That was what made Kurt's uneasiness for the mission so strange. He was…nervous. Probably because he felt naked without his trusty sai swords strapped to his hip, but still, nervousness was something he hadn't felt since his very first mission.

Kurt tried to clear his mind once again when he heard his name being called. He opened his eyes and was surprised to see that the sun had fully risen; time for him to head out. His cleansing ritual hadn't really done its job, but there wasn't time to worry about that now.

Kurt stepped out of the little shack he and Master Cohen called home and into the clan center. Master Cohen was standing there, waiting to tell Kurt goodbye as he did before every mission.

"Are you prepared, my child?" was Master Cohen's greeting.

"As prepared as I'll ever be, Master."

"Are you sure I cannot convince you to pass on this mission?"

Kurt sighed; this had been a running argument between the two of them for some time now, even before this mission. Master Cohen worried that Kurt stretched himself too thin, always accepting any mission that came his way and volunteering for ones that didn't. When this mission had come up, one that other ninjas had failed to accomplish in the past, Kurt had jumped at the chance to take down the tyrant he'd heard so much about.

However, Master Cohen hadn't been so pleased. It wasn't that Kurt didn't understand his reasoning. Master Cohen viewed Kurt as his son and with three failed attempts, this was a dangerous mission. One that no parent would want their child to take part of, but what Master Cohen didn't understand was that it was for exactly that reason that Kurt needed to accept this mission.

If Kurt didn't accept it, then chances were, no one else would. The jonin couldn't force any of the ninjas to accept a mission and eventually the jonin would pass the assignment onto a different clan. And if that happened, Kurt would have no way of knowing if the job was done right. No way of knowing if there were any loose ends or mistakes made.

So, yes, Kurt knew this assignment was dangerous, knew that every assignment he took was dangerous, but he also knew he spent a lot less time worrying when he knew first hand that a mission had been completed correctly.

So Kurt gave Master Cohen an indulgent smile and leaned in to give the old man a hug. "Do not worry, Master Cohen. You know I always take the utmost precautions. With any luck, I will have a successful return before Obon6."

Master Cohen held Kurt tight, but soon released him with a sad smile, "Forgive this old man's worrying. I am merely concerned for you leaving with no means of protection."

"Master Cohen, we discussed this. My brave brothers who attempted this mission before me went in with drawn blades and look where it got them? No, if I am to be successful, I need to try a different tactic. Stealth and subtlety are of upmost importance at this time and I cannot be subtle if I am armed to the teeth."

"Of course, you are correct. Here, I have retrieved what you requested." Master Cohen drew a thin chain from his pocket and on this chain he slid an ornate bauble. Only on close inspection would one be able to tell that it was in fact a small bottle with a removable cap. To the casual observer it would simple appear to be a unique necklace. Master Cohen placed the necklace around Kurt's neck, securing it tightly.

"This bottle contains fugu poison7 of an intense concentration. You should only need a few drops to kill a grown man."

Kurt wrapped one hand around the bottle, reaching out with the other to squeeze Master Cohen's hand. "Thank you, Master Cohen. Now I must leave if I'm to make it to Hokkaido before nightfall."

With that Kurt swung his pack over his shoulders and headed off through the trees at a brisk pace, vanishing from sight almost immediately.

1believed to be the first ninja clan

2The leader of a ninja clan, the jonin doesn't do any actual field work, rather he is the one in charge of hiring out ninjas on assignment.

3Powerful, territorial leaders in pre-modern Japan who ruled most of the country from their vast, hereditary land holdings

4A slightly curved, slender, single-edged blade, circular or square guard with a long grip to accommodate two hands

5OMG, I killed Burt off again! WHHHYYY? I love him so much, I don't understand why this keeps happening. T_T I feel like a need to it write a Burt-centric fic to make up for this now…

6A festival in honor of the family dead. It is when families visit and clean ancestral graves and lasts 3 days.

7Fugu is the Japanese word for puffer fish, which contains lethal amounts of the poison, tetrodotoxin for which there is no antidote.