It didn't take long for me to find my way through the throng of people filling up the village streets. I glanced round sharply trying to locate my target, luckily for me; the man's age was beginning to show. The way he moved through crowd avoiding contact with anyone, I grudgingly had to admit was impressive, but some of his motions were awkward and much slower then they should be for an ex-shinobi such as he.
My thoughts seemed to snap back to my objective, I narrowly avoided bumping the man ahead of me, instead I threw my body weight to the left at the last second and smoothly slid past him, with him none the wiser.
It took every ounce of my will to not sigh, trust my luck to fuck me over once again. It seemed the rumours concerning Kaapio Garuke's dealings with Iwa were indeed true. I let my body glide past the bustling crowd and into a nearby alleyway.
"Cheshire here, the ruby is surrounded by a nest of rocks." Static greeted me as a response for a moment before a small buzz echoed in my ear.
"Good job Cheshire, we're on the way..." I waited patiently knowing my commander to well, to know he wasn't finished. "do not engage until we arrive."
So here I am waiting patiently for my lazy ass commander, the creepy bastard, and the arrogant prick to get to my position. I didn't even bother checking the bar known as the 'Nest' for the target. I couldn't allow myself to get distracted again, this is my re-initiation back into ANBU, and like hell I'm gonna screw it up again, because I'm an impatient cunt.
I felt the air swoosh briefly around me, turning to the left I tapped my chest with three fingers. ANBU code had been a bitch for me to learn, so I now proudly used it whenever the chance presented itself which is less then you would think.
Three fingers represented the number of enemies with the target, when pressed against the chest meant the enemies were of jounin quality, turning to the left signified targets were unaware of being tailed. If targets were either on alert or being overly cautious, a slight incline of the head would inform my comrades; whereas turning to the right would signify targets knew they were being followed and turning to the right with head inclined slightly meant ambush ahead.
Once I heard a rumour ANBU code was the same in every village, this particular rumour while having some truth, like most did, twas proven false. Yes most villages used some similar signals, but almost every meaning had a slight variation, or stood for something completely different when compared to their own.
My Commander held up his hand motioning for us to pay attention. "Chameleon and Hyena will take up point in the buildings directly to the east and west of the nest." he ordered while pointing to their directed positions. With a single nod they both vanished, leaving only me and the commander remaining.
"Cheshire," I gulped nervously, this was it. My life and status as a member of ANBU depended on this one single significantly insignificant mission. A bit of fear entered my veins as I stared into the Sloth mask of our team leader. "put on some high-heels."
He is smiling at me, I just know it.
Taka, my squad leader is officially moved from lazy prick to ass hole. Seriously why did he always have to give me these types of jobs. It definitely wasn't because I just happened to be one of our villages strongest shinobi. No it all came back to my age and cute, adorable face, fuck me!
I swear when this job is over, Taka's getting a invitation to dance with my fist. My sights narrowed in on the table close to the back surrounded by three Iwa shinobi. Wait; wasn't there four people?
'Bathroom' It clicked in so suddenly that I almost fumbled the tray of drinks in my left hand.
After re-gaining my balance and making sure none of the glasses had been disturbed, I sent a message to Chameleon.
Scratching my right foot against my left leg. 'Target deviated.' Then with the most subtly I could manage I gracefully scratched my deary-air. 'Bathroom'
I didn't stop or look back to see if he'd gotten the message I know he did. My unit is a cohesive whole. We trained to the point that before we could even fart the other three had gas masks on.
All eyes were focused on me as I continued onwards to the target's table, making sure that each step in the overly large high-heels was done with the strut of a professional.
Knowing that they'd seen me send the message didn't disturb me. If anything they chalk up my signals as embarrassment for almost spilling all the glasses. Yeah; see I didn't almost trip from surprise, everything I do has a reason don't you know.
"Sorry for the wait; what can i get for ya?" I asked the three burly looking men in a sugary sweet tone of voice.
"I'll take a piece of you." I had to restrain myself from slitting the throat of the biggest and probably dumbest of the three. Instead I smiled, even though I wanted to do nothing more then remove the gallops large hand from my ass.
"I'm afraid that's not on the menu tonight sugar." He grinned wickedly back at me, with no intention of letting go of my backside.
"Wolt" he paled as he turned to the smallest of his companions.
Grudgingly he removed his appendage and set it in on the table. "I'll take the strongest thing you got." he muttered after a moment of sulking.
I scribbled a little note on my clipboard, 'Kill big, ugly Iwa brute.' then turning to the other two I asked.
"And for you two gentlemen?"
"Water." The wee-one pipped in immediately.
Chicken wuss, the title I gave to the last one, glanced at the wee-one before placing his order.
"J..us.t wa. thanks." I smiled sadly at him, poor guy was scared witless of his teammates.
"Okie dokie, be back in a jiffy." Spinning on my heel I walked seductively back to the bar, placed the order, then left through the kitchen exit.
"Cha, and Hyena have already gone up ahead with the target." Sloth said.
Sighing in relief, I crossed my fingers and a identical copy of me sprung up out of seemingly nowhere.
"Go serve the idiots their drinks!" I ordered. The clone saluted and then strutted into the bar.
Proud to finally be able to rid myself of this waitress attire, I casually stripped down to my boxers. Taka handed me my gear and a minute later we were scaling the side of a building and running across the rooftops towards home.
I glanced at my commander out of the corner of my eye, watching as his chakra ran through his body and gathered down to his legs.
"It's uncharacteristic of you to act so worried taicho." I said carefully, knowing that the smallest comment could set him off.
We travelled in silence for a few seconds, Taka no doubt contemplating how to respond to my enquiries.
"Everything has..." He stopped mid-sentence trying to formulate the right words. "changed."
I openly stared at him, everything's changed? What the fuck is that suppose to mean?
I pushed more chakra to my legs and sent myself soaring from atop of a building and into a tree. My hand gripped a branch. Using the speed from my fall I spun myself around and landed crouched on the withered bark.
"I don't understand Taka." He glanced sharply at me, no doubt already thinking about reprimanding me for speaking his true name in enemy territory. "none of this shit makes sense anymore."
"Naruto do you know why we were chosen for this mission?" he said.
I shook my head while saying. "Not really."
"I've been starting to doubt our Kage's motives as of late." I stared shocked at him as he said this, for a shinobi to speak of such a thing, was borderline treachery.
"His actions of late have seemed-" He suddenly stopped, held out his arms and two kunai slid down into his palms.
"Taicho what-" I started shouting before a black figure entered my vision. I dove to the side at the last second just barely avoiding a hail of kunai. Coming out of a roll, I leap into action. Kunai appearing in my hand in a blur, and disappearing just as quick as I tossed them with the accuracy of a professional.
Iwa ninja charging at me dispersed into rocks the second the kunai pierced his skin. I turned fluidly and blocked a strike from behind. The ninja sneered at me.
"Thought you could trick us with your pretty little clone whore?" I seethed at the man with the audacity to call me a whore. It didn't surprise me that he figured out I was the one who had served them. All things considered there isn't too many shinobi as short as me, well ones that are in ANBU anyway.
I took a swing at his neck, which he easily avoided by leaning slightly back. "Sorry to break this too ya sugar, but I'm a dude." His eyes lit up in fury, but I calmly blocked his hay-maker, and followed up with an elbow to his jaw.
I didn't bother following his descent from the high brush, instead I went to help my Taicho fend off his two opponents. They had him in a pincer like attack, and at this rate he wouldn't last much longer. I used shunshin to put myself directly behind Taka, with my back against his. I kicked at the stuttering fool from earlier, catching him in the ribs.
"Cheshire take this and go catch up with the others, I'll hold them off while you make your escape." he said panting, I cringed at the sound. It seemed his illness had come back full force.
"I'm not leaving you behind Taicho." I stated with confidence. He clicked his tongue in annoyance but let the matter drop, he knows how stubborn I am.
Our opponents took the initiative, by charging at us, all at the same time. I glanced briefly at my taicho and smirked. At the same time we dropped from the branch and allowed our bodies to free fall below the enemies tri-angular attack.
I smiled to myself, the tale tell signs of someone crashing into each other echoed in my ears. I snapped my head around, the small smirk on my lips falling away immediately. Blood dribbled from Taka's lips and down his chin.
His bitter smile burnt a hole through me, I felt my chest constrict as he slid from the spikes impaling him from behind.
My eyes slowly traced his body as breath came in short heaves, until his chest ceased rising. I turned to the culprit, the man...no boy, responsible for killing one of my brothers.
The big brother I never had, the only person who truly understood me; the real me. A person not even our Kage had the pleasure of meeting.
I felt my body being propelled forward. My eyes clenched shut as the wind whipped against my face, then pain overcame all of my senses. Disoriented I tried to stand only to fallback down, I laid on the ground, I could hear my slow heaves for air, air which would keep me alive, but it was getting hard to breath with a heavy weight pressing down against my chest.
It took most of my willpower to open my eyes, but I needed to find and rid myself of whatever it is constricted me from moving.
Panic overwhelmed me, as I took in the ghastly sight of my collapsed chest. I didn't bother with counting my injuries, too many fractured ribs and my tolerance was at its limit. Suddenly I could feel fire spreading through-out my veins.
"Kyuubi!" I whispered out hoarsely, this burning sensation a reminder of the burden I've carried since the day I was conceived. A demon I would hold within me till the day I die. Funny that a creature who constantly bides for my blood, and threatens my existence, is the only true form of life that I can depend on.
Blackness swarmed my vision.
I awoke to a silent clearing, still in the same position from when I first crashed. With my head swirling, I almost missed the chakra signal. If only there wasn't so many fucking trees!
'Stupid oversized pieces of wood.' I grumbled internally.
Patience has never been a thing I liked for extended periods of time, so it's reasonable my growing ire as I waited for whomever it is watching me to make their move.
I sensed the Iwa nin's approach the moment he began his descent from his hiding spot in the canopy.
I eyed up the big burly man, resisting the urge to groan at my misfortune. 'Just once could you not fuck me in the ass Kami?'
"Bwahah." He laughed surprisingly quietly. "look at you now fucking scum." Oh how I wanted to pound this fat mothafuckers face in.
"Wolt remember..we need to end this q-quickly." Chicken wuss said coming up beside big and ugly.
"I know, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to enjoy it just a little bit." he said with a vicious smile breaking across his face.
"Fine. I'm g-going up a-ahead." I couldn't help but smile as he shunshined away from us. Two would have been a bitch to deal with in my condition, but this dumb cunt wouldn't be a problem.
"Whatever—now where were we whor-" Wolt's words died on his lips, he reached up to grasp my arm, the same arm that just slit open his throat. I smiled cruelly at him from behind my mask.
"Remember who damned you as the devil tortures your hideous soul." I waited till the light died in his eyes, before releasing him.
I glanced down at my chest, my ribs were all re-aligned, but my skin still looked bloody and raw. I shrugged it off, I couldn't delay any longer, or risk losing the last of my family.
'I'll return for you Taka, I promise.' With my oath made, I pushed my chakra to the limit, forcing large amounts into my legs. "Here I come."
My mind was a blur as I followed the two Iwa nin. I just couldn't come to accept the fact that my taicho; a man who had sacrificed his very honour and respected position so I could make it into black ops, was dead.
I pulled at my hair, trying to get my swirling thoughts to focus, after all I still had two teammates to save. I came into a clearing where I found the rest of my team. Hyena didn't look particularly hurt or even winded, but Cha was a different story.
From my elevated position it wasn't hard to tell the man was injured, judging by the blood covering his gear and armour.
I stalked around the little battle ground watching as the short fuck approached Hyena.
"Give us the man and you two may go." he practically whispered, his face stoic and unchanging. A desensitized little punk...Great
I guess my plan for diplomacy has already crash and burned. A smirk brightened up my face as I noticed the subtle change in Hyena's stance.
One thing I learned about that crazy cocksucker over the last two years; don't threaten him. Hyena only took orders from two men, our Kage and Taka. Only difference is he would follow our leader even if he ordered the man to kill his own mother. Yea hyena loved our Kage, with an unholy passion.
I watched intently as he turned and eyed his opponents, trying to plan the fastest and easiest way to disable them both. I allowed a small sliver of my headband to flash in the dying fire, no doubt a katon jutsu courtesy of Cha. His head turned just the slightest bit in my direction, he tightened his stance before crossing his two kunai across his chest.
I knew exactly what he wanted me to do, so I wasted no time in grabbing all the shurikens, kunai and exploding tags I had on my person.
My breath was harsh, and heavy as I waited for the signal from my teammate to start the attack. Like a beacon of light in the sky, Hyena gave me the signal by reversing his grip on the kunai in his left hand.
I quickly launched a barrage of kunai and shuriken with exploding tags attached at both Iwa nin. Watching in satisfaction at the scared shit-less expression on the chicken-wuss's face. Both were able to dodge the small projectiles, and the following explosions. But that wasn't the point of this strategy, as I expected them to avoid the barrage. It's a simple separate and eliminate tactic.
Hyena had already designated the first target...chicken wuss.
I approached silently, coming behind the target's back. I moved swiftly my hand lashing out trying to sever the head from his shoulders, but he managed to avoid my blow by ducking beneath my swipe.
"Sneaky little bastard aren't you." the man said as he circled around me. "Too bad you're not sneaky enough!" he finished while pulling out a strange curved blade from a sheath attached to his hip.
I crossed my arms, and I could tell he wasn't impressed by my show of bravado. Still it surprised me that he didn't appear to be frightened or worried in the least anymore. So the whole stuttering idiot act had been simply that, an act.
He took a step, raised his blade and fell to the muddy ground.
Hyena stood behind him, two bloody kunai held within his grasp. "Took you long enough." I scoffed letting him know about my irritation concerning our current predicament.
"Is Cha effectively hidden from the enemy?" he nodded at my question and then turned his gaze towards the left, where that bastard waited. "Good..." I said, my voice cold and hard as steel. "let's go say goodbye."
His breathing was calm and calculated. Every sound or motion he made had a purpose, no act was out of desperation or panic. He turned his body swaying through the air, as if he were a puppet held up by strings.
They were approaching, he could still feel Nadyr's lingering chakra; pathetic little man. To fall at the hands of these scum. Yes he knew that it was the combined efforts of two on their way that would try to end his life. If he was to take a guess, he would assume it is the small one who had been with the shinobi who's life he ended. So Wolt no longer lived; meaning his team was composed of imbeciles, besides himself of course.
He paused, his eyes narrowing as a faint scent of rosemary entered his nostrils. Strange; choice of perfume to wear while on a mission, but who was he to complain. When it would make it all the more easier for him to end this, and finish his mission.
"Come." He whispered, one silhouette descended from the trees, capturing his attention, like they wanted. He ducked, avoiding a decapitating hit from behind. He spun while extending his leg, intending to swipe the man's feet from under him.
Of course he jumped into the air, the only possible way to avoid his move. He intended to give chase and attack when the man was vulnerable in the air, but a smaller child wearing a smiling cat mask, forced him to roll away or risk being impaled by a ninjato.
The Iwa ninja turned, blocking a strike from the other Anbu and flung him at his partner, who had been trying to once again impale him with his miniature katana.
"I offered you the chance to live, and you spit in my face. Sadly I cannot extend the same offer twice." He bent his knees and reached behind his head as if he was reaching for a weapon attached to his back. A burst of light enveloped the forest, blinding all those in it.
When the light died down the Iwa nin stood there with a massive spear held firmly within his hands. I am Iwa's head hunter."
I could feel his stagnant breathe as his weapon tried to break through my tanto. His eyes narrowed on mine, his posture shaking with effort as he pushed harder against my blade.
A sudden blur burned by my eyes, and distracted me for a single second, and yet that was all Iwa's head hunter needed to break through my guard and send my form sprawling across the forest floor.
My legs groaned in agony as I tried to stand, they shook with effort and I gasped out in pain. My chakra was running on empty and overusing Kyuubi's chakra was not helping the situation any.
My arms shook as I weakly grasped my miniature sword and raised it against the Iwa nin.
He looked at me in amusement, as he circled around me. "Open your eyes Naruto...look beyond the constructed walls of your mind." His face stretched and began twisting, slowly three whisker like scars appeared on his left cheek.
"Fool!" He snapped at me his irises now suddenly as blue as the ocean. "Look around you—do you truly buy these cheap tricks?."
I looked at this man who was transforming into an identical copy of myself.
"How do you know my name?" I asked, and immediately regretted asking such a thing, when my doppelganger snarled and swung his giant spear against a tree in anger.
"Such a pathetic child," he spat angrily. "I never imagined you to be such a fool!"
"You don't know a thing about me! Drop the henge and show me your true self." I heatedly replied, while trying to calm my erratic breathing
I could feel my breathing cease as the forestry around us began to shift, almost as if the whole world was beginning to shake.
A unrestrained laughter echoed around the clearing.
"Do you even know who you are?" My carbon copy asked as he approached me, his spear conspicuously missing from his grasp. "Or...have you become one of them? A hollow shell with no identity."
I stared at him for a longer then I had ever gazed at one single person, admiring the identical features, and the blood dripping from the corner of his lips. His features twisted for a moment until it was the head hunter staring hollowly back at me.
Hyena had managed to sneak behind him while he'd been distracted. 'Distracted because he was trying to tell me something?' I thought miserably, I had never regretted killing or witnessing a comrade kill an enemy shinobi, and yet I couldn't help but wish this clone of myself was still breathing.
"Cheshire...are you alright?" Hyena's hesitant voice echoed from beneath his mask.
I stood stunned, Hyena had never shown any kind of worry or compassion towards me in the past, so that meant my inner dilemma was right in plain sight for all to see.
'But that would mean-' I touched my face, and sure enough my mask was no longer there, taking a second to look around I eventually found it in pieces, exactly where I had crash landed thanks to the head hunter.
"So what do we do from here?" I asked my second in command, Hyena didn't answer right away until I repeated the question.
"You and Cha will take our prisoner back to HQ," Hyena said as he walked in the opposite direction of the village. "I'll go retrieve his body."
I didn't bother to ask who 'he' is, there was only one man he could be.
"Yes sir!" I whispered quietly, while reaching into my robes and pulling out an identical mask to the one in pieces on the ground.
It took me longer then expected to reach Cha's injured form, and to my surprise I found him awake and alert.
"What's the situation?" he questioned, never lowering his guard. Standard protocol demanded that when a team is separated they have a certain code or password to acknowledge the other members of the group as themselves and not imposters.
"My life is too perfect." I responded casually. Cha immediately relaxed as the words left my lips.
"We're to return the prisoner to HQ asap." He nodded and struggled to pull himself up from his seated position. Watching him fight to prove his strength was annoying me, so with a quick chop to the neck Cha entered the land of dreams.
On more then one occasion his stubbornness had cost the team valuable time, we still accomplished our objective but I was in too foul a mood to deal with his insecurities at that moment.
"Sorry Cha but we gotta get home on the double." Energy fueled my body, as I called upon Kyuubi's chakra I took off towards home, two bodies hanging from my shoulders.
I had no intention of starting another story, but it kind of wrote itself.
I've never done anything quite like this before, so any feedback is greatly appreciated.