Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.
"Now I understand why you were bored with the motorcycle. This is amazing." Rei said wide eyed. And the fact that Naruto hadn't gotten tired either during the journey was astounding. He had been running ever since they left the apartment, and the sun had come up since then. And he didn't seem to even acknowledge the fact that she would occasionally ask him to rest for himself so he wouldn't run himself into the ground. The comments he made the previous night about his stamina quickly coming to the forefront of her mind, with a bit of a blush tagged on.
'In fact the only thing he would do would be occasionally ask what color the little cracks currently were on his bracelet or whatever this thing is...' Rei thought idly to herself as she enjoyed the breeze rushing through her hair. She would have taken this over the motorcycle any day if she realized it was this pleasant. In fact, that small fact would have changed the entire way the night turned out.
Rei smiled sadly. She wasn't sure if she would change anything about last night. Sure it was stressful, and almost emotionally and mentally breaking. However if it weren't for those circumstances. If she didn't ride that motorcycle to that particular gas station, those chain of events that lead her to spend those moments with Naruto at the apartment likely would have never happened.
And that thought for her was a saddening one.
Rei sighed as she leaned in closer to Naruto's back and rested her head on his shoulder. She really wanted to catch some sleep, but she knew that now really wasn't the time for it. However she wasn't going to give up her rest and relaxation as they moved.
"So..." Rei began with her eyes closed as she said in Naruto's ear. "When we get back to the group, and you going to go back to being Mr. Frowny Face?" Rei teased, a soft smile gracing her lips even though she couldn't see Naruto's reaction.
Naruto while not wanting to relate to his apparent nick name could hold back the frown that had graced his face. Going back to being a frowny face? Naruto's frown could only increase at that thought. The truth was that it really isn't his intention to be like that. He had to be a leader. If there isn't a good leader in times of chaos, bad things happen, people get hurt... people die.
His frustration with the world around him he knew truly stemmed from the fact that he was a shinobi stuck in a world that really did not need shinobi to even save it. Even a skilled civilian could do wonders, a feat that was proven quite well by Busujima-san the day he met the young woman.
The constant stalling and safety precautions weren't foreign ideas to Naruto. It was simply that when he actually went through with plans such as those, there was actually something he saw as a threat. However these zombies would really only be a threat to him when he was sleeping. And even then he would be hard pressed to admit even that much.
"Does that bother you?" Naruto asked the girl resting her head on his shoulder, confirming her question.
Rei gave a sad smile, "You don't have to hide from everyone you know? I'm sure you could tell most of the others." Rei said trying to convince the blonde.
Naruto shook his head at that, "If I tell one person in the group, chances are the entire group will find out." Naruto paused as he spared Rei a glance, although she couldn't see it from her position. "And while you may believe me..." he paused at that thought that seemed almost ridiculous to him as it was, "It is doubtful everyone will believe me. And one person causing trouble is all it takes for a group to unravel."
Rei lips tightened at that, and clung on a bit tighter to the blonde. She had been quietly hoping that the blonde opening up to her meant he would open up to others. It seemed that was not going to be the case. "I just hope that you don't stop opening up to me simply because you are around everyone else."
Naruto pursed his lips at that thought. He honestly hadn't really even thought about it, but now that he did... he was actually quite sure he fully intended on putting some distance between himself and frankly everyone else. Before the night, he had honestly only intended to get Ayane to her family, and then he planned on leaving the group to their devices as he went about finding his own way home.
However that sudden concept had become a great deal harder after he thought over the night he most recently shared. He couldn't just up and leave now, not after the bonds he had created here. That and it was obvious that zombies wouldn't be the only dangers for people in this world if that thug from the night before was anything to go by. Naruto shook his head as he washed away his thoughts, "I don't want the others in the group to know that I'm a shinobi." Naruto said slowly with pursed lips.
This didn't surprise Rei a great deal considering what was said earlier even though she wasn't the greatest fan of the idea. She opened her eyes and lifted her head a bit from it's rested position on the blonde's shoulder and asked, "Why?"
Naruto shook his head as he lept across to another building. "Rei... lies and keeping secrets is pretty much my job, its my life. I don't normally open up to people like I did with you. I never even anticipated you to believe me honestly... I sure as hell wouldn't have. Frankly I don't normally open up at all," he said calmly. "Last night was a stressful night for both of us, and by the end of it I felt opening up would do some good. That and it might take your mind off of things."
Rei's eyebrows furrowed at that, "Well just because you don't normally do something doesn't mean you can't start." She said quietly, shifting her body ever slightly on his back. The ride itself was actually quite soft, she really barely shifted. However the shinobi clothing was taking some getting used to. It squeezed in places she frankly was just not expecting to be squeezed by clothing.
Naruto shook his head once again as he leaped down into the street. His feet coming in heavy contact with a zombie as it was tackled to the ground, it's head crushing on the pavement. All of this before Naruto simply jumped up again onto a near by roof top across from the former one. "And just because I can start doesn't mean I want to." Naruto responded.
Rei rolled her eyes at that. She knew that Naruto was more than capable of making these gaps. However every so often he would jump into the street to kill a zombie. She didn't know why, perhaps he was slightly bored with the constant traveling. Rei frankly just found the whole idea ridiculous at how utterly safe the blonde felt about doing that to those walking dead. It is as if he had no fear of them what so ever. "Well you never know." Rei began as she snuggled her head further into his shoulder and neck. "You may surprise yourself." She mumbled.
Naruto's didn't respond, but his lips formed into a thin line as he simply thought, 'Doubt it...'
"Rei, we're here." Naruto said as he made touch down on the ground next to the bus he had tracked Ayane to. He frankly doubted anyone in all of the chaos was really even going to notice him falling briefly from the sky and landing around them. Chaos, hardship, and stress end up making people see things that sometimes aren't really there. Yet at the same time causing them to ignore the reality of the situation around them.
Rei opened her eyes from her comfortable relaxation and got off of Naruto's back. Although the process was fairly comical in Naruto's eyes.
It was the same affect as having been sitting down for too long, with the circulation of blood slightly cut off from certain areas of the body. Then upon standing up too quickly, you were filled with that momentarily dizzy sensation.
Naruto almost wanted to laugh when Rei in her confidence took her first step on her own after a few hours and nearly tripped over her own feet as she stumbled but found her balance on the edge of the car. However Naruto quickly squashed that feeling, and replaced his humor with the face of a shinobi leader. The moment he got back on the bus, there would be no time for games.
Rei shot her head in Naruto's direction and gave him a glare, "Shu-" Rei's retort died on her lips. It was like staring at a completely different person the way he stared at her with a blank face and a penetrating gaze. No longer the blonde that she had just spent hours alone with in an almost intimate fashion. This was the leader the blonde said he needed to be. Rei wasn't quite sure she liked it... Rei simply opted for straightening herself out as she stood up straight, this time on stable legs. She nodded to Naruto, motioning him to continue on, and that was what he did.
The duo moved around the back of the bus in the traffic leisurely onto the side of the doors in a calm and collected form. The inside of the bus however was anything but... they could hear the fanatical preaching from outside.
"Exactly!" Mr. Shido continued his preaching to the student of Fujima High. "That's why we should secure a safe place first, and then we make moves together! A unit! A team! Companions! Making random moves on an individual basis will cause our inevitable downfall!" He continued, waving his hands in the air dramatically. Clutching his hand over his heart as if his words weighed very deeply on his soul.
A light knocking on the side bus door was heard by the few close knit group at the front of the bus. The blonde hair doctor, and designated driver turned to her side to see what the noise spawned from. She clumsy doctor nearly fell out of her chair in surprise.
"Miyamoto-san!" she exclaimed to herself, catching the attention of everyone at the front of the bus. However despite her exclamation, the preacher at the back of the bus apparently didn't notice.
"Rei!" Takashi exclaimed as he bolted up from his sitting position, and stood by the entrance.
The doctor fiddled around looking at the various parts used to operate the bus, and she figured out how to open the door. She accidentally hit the horn and the windshield wipers much to other's amusement before she was finally able to get the door's open.
"For example, we should wait until we're ready to act as a disciplined group. In order to confirm the safety of our family members, I think that's the most important thing we need to think about. Right now, the framework of our unit is the most important thing that will attribute to our success. Do you understand?" Shido asked the students he could tell were listening attentively near the back of the bus.
Ever since the doors had been open, Naruto had been listening carefully to every word. Truthfully, if he hadn't seen the man's earlier stunt in the parking lot, he may have accepted him as a decent leader. He was a bit weird, but he had some level of charisma to the way he spoke. And he had a general idea of what he was talking about. He honestly doubted that everyone would listen to him. But if hadn't pulled the stunt he did in the parking lot with Saito-san, things may have been a lot different.
"Rei!" Takashi exclaimed as he embraced Rei tightly before she even made her way up the steps. "Are you okay?" he asked almost in disbelief at simply how okay she actually looked.
Others near by actually paying attention to the two smiled at the little reunion they were having. Although they were also quite curious as to just what the hell the girl was wearing.
Rei smiled lightly in her childhood friend and crush's embrace. "I'm fine, just a bit tired. It was a long night," she said slowly.
Takashi detached himself and gave her a mixed look between worry, and just happiness at the fact that she was alive. "Rei, tell me everything." he said quietly as he grabbed her by the arm, and practically dragged her to sit down in a pair of seats near their group in the bus.
Naruto smiled weakly as he watched the scene unfold before him. However it was then that he realized that within the next few minutes, a lot was going to be put on the line in regards to the time both he and Rei spent together last night.
Would she respect his wishes, and not speak of his shinobi background. Would she lie to her childhood friend for his sake? Or in turn would she tell the truth, and compromise the trust Naruto had put in her.
Naruto frowned a bit at that. Truthfully there was no wrong answer, just as there wasn't really a right answer either. Both actions had their own consequences if either party found out. It really just came down to Rei and what she was willing to give up.
Naruto did know one thing though. If she breathed a word about it, his trust in her would all but vanish. As would any fond thoughts of the time they spent together.
Naruto shook his head and made his way up the steps, blood from the night before still staining his hair, body, and clothes.
"We shouldn't forget out pride as students of Fujima High." The former teacher spoke proudly. "Uzumaki and Miyamoto-san, both who left the bus... They are unfit to be with you guys!"
Naruto clenched his fist at that. Was this happening the entire time he had been gone? Naruto drew a kunai into his hand, an action that was caught by everyone else at the front of the bus. The truth of the matter was though that this to him was a serious offense. Trying to undermine his authority after being decided as leader. That was something he couldn't have happen on his team. The team that decided he should lead.
Frankly? He had killed people for less.
"Oh really?" Naruto called out loudly through the bus, not bothering to respond to the light greetings he received from the few people at the front of the bus, and even some surprise glances but nods of acknowledgment from people at the back of the bus. It even was a bit painful to have to ignore Ayane's suddenly lit up eyes as she moved to stand up for her own personal reunion. Although Naruto knew he simply had more pressing matters to attend to at the moment.
Shido spun around, mouth slightly ajar for the moment. It wasn't long after that that the former teacher turned preacher went pale in the face. The man was looking at Naruto like he had seen a ghost, and a such was quite speechless.
"Unfit to be with you guys..." Naruto repeated as he tilted the sharpened kunai in his hand and looked over it with an intimidating gaze. "Where did that come from?" Naruto asked to anyone as he looked up from his blade.
The bus had turned completely silent and cold during the exchange. Rei in particular was now extra wary now knowing a great deal more about Naruto than anyone else present. Although truth be told she could really care less if Naruto ended Shido. It would probably just be best to not do it in front of everyone else.
Naruto raised an eyebrow, "And who are you to decide that... Shido-san?" Naruto asked, his tone becoming one that caused the man to freeze in place and remain deathly still. "You remember what I told you? I will lead... You will follow." Silence reigned throughout the bus as everyone bared witness to the intense stare off between the two men fighting for leadership.
Naruto grimaced briefly as a thought that it was wrong to use shinobi techniques on civilians flooded through his mind. However he crushed that thought quickly as he released his oppressive shinobi killer intent upon a group of civilians.
Everyone present, no exceptions stilled instantly as an ominous presence loomed over the room. The very air became thick as the gravity of the world seemed to weigh down on them. Many students fell back and collapsed into their seats, while others leaned forward needing to support themselves with their arms.
The constricting feeling that collapsed upon every area of their body and began to squeeze at their lungs was suffocating.
"Undermine my authority again." Naruto spoke down to the now fallen teacher, "And I will see to it that you can never attempt to again." And it was just like that. The constricting and suffocating presence of a season shinobi's killer intent vanished. It was as if the blood had returned to the brains of everyone on board, and the light headed feeling they had was quickly fading.
But still, Naruto knew they would never forget the feeling of being under a seasoned shinobi's gaze. He never forgot his first encounter with Orochimaru. Sasuke had even revealed to him, much to his displeasure, that he was about to kill himself with a kunai just to escape the man's presence.
Naruto frowned. He hoped it wouldn't come to that for the people on the bus. He gave a careful glance around though just in case.
Naruto shook his head lightly and turned at the front of the bus before reaching down for the medical bag, and making his way over to Ayane. Everyone else should probably be fine. However the young platinum blonde that had anxiety problems? It would be best to double check.
Naruto knelt down beside the girl, half expecting her to be borderline frozen once again. However he was pleasantly surprised when he realized that the younger Sinjah had taken his killing intent just like every other passenger on board the bus...
Like a frightened bunny backing away from a hungry tiger.
Ayane quickly wrapped her arms around Naruto's neck as he knelt down right beside her. This reunion also brought a smile to many faces despite the fact that some were still recovering from their former terror. Although, Rei on the other hand seated directly behind Naruto did adopt a pointed look of frustration.
Rei grimaced from a couple rows of seats away, she shouldn't be jealous or frustrated at the fact. She had just spent the entire night out with Naruto. It was by no means a special date or a standard night out, but it was time spent together none the less.
She told herself that she knew it wasn't right to get jealous over a simple hug. However she knew she was a jealous person. Despite being with Hisashi, she still didn't like seeing Komuro even talking to other girls.
And it was at that point she suddenly flushed in embarrassment, and realized that Takashi had been talking. Suddenly a wave of guilt washed over her. She had borderline tormented Takashi for the fact that she had ended up with Hisashi, and not him. She was bitter, and angry, and honestly acting childish. It was certainly not her proudest moment. Particularly because she knew that Takashi indeed cared. He just wasn't the best with expressing his feelings... and well that is what Rei had wanted. She had just wanted more.
So when Hisashi, a proclaimed black belt had registered into the spear martial arts club, and became her partner, friend, and just someone to talk to. She had found more with him.
Still the idea of wanting something more weighed heavily on her mind. It was a simple idea, and a basic one. It was an ideal really that many girls her age had. Wanting a boy to be there for them that is strong and interesting but also caring and not afraid to express his feelings. It was a rare quality. And the guilt washed over her when she realized that she was jealous of Ayane gaining attention from Naruto when Naruto was frankly by all accounts nothing she had actually wanted.
Sure he was open with her, and he is undoubtedly strong. However so was Takashi. Albeit, Takashi was considerably weaker than Naruto, but she knew it wasn't exactly fair to compare him to a Ninja General.
The truth was that they both fell short in the way that they could express themselves. Honestly Naruto was even worse than Takashi in that regard. Even if Naruto ever did choose to open up to her, she didn't even know if she could ever really believe him. After all, his words continued to repeat through her head.
"Rei... lies and keeping secrets is pretty much my job, its my life."
How could one trust a person's word? How could any shinobi trust each other and follow orders when they all lived a life like that?
Rei pursed her lips and shook away her thought as she tried to grasp the gist of what Takashi was asking, before she thrust herself forcefully back into the discussion. She couldn't afford to be thinking on that train of thought. Particularly in a world that has changed so much.
Naruto pinched the bridge of his nose. They had been in this traffic as they called it for hours, and had made little if any progress. This was evidence by the fact that Doctor Marikawa had the time to fall asleep using the steering wheel as a cushion. Yet despite her complete and utter inability to pay attention to the shifting traffic, they hadn't actually had to move.
It was for that reason Naruto was fed up. He didn't get tired physically. He simply wasn't capable of it. Tiring him out physically would require him to sprint from Konoha to Suna without water. That would tire him out. Killing pawns for a few hours? Not so much.
It wasn't the physical exhaustion that had gotten to him. It was the mental exhaustion. The reason he had stepped up to the plate of being a leader for the civilians in the bus around him was more than just him not wanting Shido to be a leader.
People don't understand what it is to be a leader. However he did. He learned through blood, sweat and tears of both himself and his enemies what it meant to be a leader.
A leader bares all for his team
A leader carries not only his burdens, but the burdens of his companions as his own
A leader places the safety of others above himself
A leader keeps the peace and loyalty of those around him
Naruto rubbed his temples as he thought to himself. It was a bit disturbing really, the qualities of a leader he had learned. In truth, the qualities of a leader grew to be disturbingly similar to the qualities Orochimaru had expected from his own unique brand of genetically modified shinobi.
It may be for that very reason that he found Shido so disturbing. Because the man had reminded him of the Snake Sannin. He would never forget the words that had been elegantly written in a personal journal as he raided one of Orochimaru's many labs in order to shut the program down.
They shall be my finest warriors, these men who give themselves unto me. Like clay I shall mould them and in the furnace of war forge them. They will be iron of will and steely muscle. In great armour I shall clad them, and with the mightiest of weapons I will arm them. They will be untouched by poison or illusions, no genjutsu will blight them. They will have tactics, strategies and machines so that no shinobi can best them. They are my shield against terror, my sword against my foes. They are my defenders. They are my finest creations, and they shall know no fear.
Naruto looked down with an unreadable expresssion. The shinobi world was never black and white, it was filled with a bunch of gray. While Orochimaru's crazed writings may have been something of amusement to many. The man was by all accounts a genius. A genius that had his pride stripped from him.
During his invasion of Konoha, he was completely and utterly destroyed. Even with two former Hokages on his side, he stood no chance against the next and brighter generations with the Sandaime, Jiraiya, and Enma fighting alongside each other.
Jiraiya found a way to permanently seal off the Snake Sannin's chakra. A ability that transcended flesh and blood, but actually scarred the spirit. A seal that tainted the soul. Even Orochimaru's repeated reincarnation couldn't save him if he were able to utilize it.
It was publicly said that the Snake Sannin had escaped. However Naruto having joined ANBU shortly after the invasion knew the truth. They had let the man walk, forced to live in the now decaying body as it broke down from the inside, unable to escape. His mind deteriorating as he walked the Elemental Nations with his pride completely stripped from him. Not to mention he was trapped in a woman's body for the rest of his life. Naruto could definitely see him going insane with his projects, quietly plotting his revenge in isolation.
Naruto shook his head free of thoughts of the past that frankly didn't matter anymore. What mattered now was the weight that had been dropped on his shoulders by the people he had taken under his wing. In the shinobi world, taking other shinobi under his wing it wasn't nearly as stressful. All shinobi are expected to die some point in combat. It just comes down to being careful to prolong the period before that date with death comes.
Civilians on the other hand. They live every day of their lives often ignorant of war, only subtly feeling the effects of it. On rare occasion do they witness it first hand like in an invasion. Naruto felt the civilian ways of life, but also their ignorance was only more potent in the world he found himself in. A world at a form of world peace with one another?
Civilians would live their lives every day, often sacrificing their own health in order to achieve fortune and wealth to be well off. Only then as they grow older they are forced to sacrifice the wealth they gained in order to preserve or fix their health. So in short they end up wasting their entire lives away, away from war. They live every day as if they are never going to die. And they proceed to die having never truly ever lived.
It was sad honestly. Naruto almost wished more than just the concept of dating and sexual relationships at a young age had bled over into civilian culture. It might have even helped his childhood a bit if people's outlooks on life had changed a bit.
Naruto grimaced at the thought of a better life, and how things may have turned out differently. However despite the negative thoughts coursing through him, he stood up on unwavering legs as he briefly looked over everyone in the bus.
"Everyone!" Naruto called out allowing his voice to carry across the bus as all conversation quickly stopped. No one really wanted to experience whatever had happened earlier when they had been under the blonde's gaze. "I have decided we are going to try and find a place to stay for the night. This bus simply isn't moving, and the sun will be setting soon. We will be moving now since it will be safer than being overrun in the dark."
The tall muscular teen with two hair colors launched up at that, "Feh!" he spat out a scowl gracing his features, "I'm not going anywhere with Komuro!" he yelled out.
Naruto rolled his eyes at that as he moved down the bus to the entrance, "Don't care! Stay here if you want to!" He yelled back in response. "On your feet, lets go!" Naruto ordered loudly as he caused the bus' doors to open before stepping off of the vehicle.
Everyone on the bus seemed to be throwing around a few questioning gazes at the abrupt decision from the blonde. However surprisingly for the divided bus, Rei was the first and quickest person to stand up and follow the blonde without question.
"Rei?" Takashi asked almost surprised at his childhood friend blindly following a person that at least he had no clue about. Rei had told him details of their time traveling together, but it still surprised him that she would be so willing to trust him with something as serious as this. Particularly with those things walking around.
A frown graced his face as he realized that Rei likely had a great deal more experience than him... than anyone else with dealing with them except for the blonde outside. While they had spent the night resting comfortably in a warm and safe bus, they had spent their night running and riding around on the streets of the city.
Sinjah Ayane and Kaji Saito both shortly followed, for different reasons however both had significant trust and respect for the blonde outside. The later being more intent on just not staying on the bus with a certain former teacher.
It was then that while Naruto and Rei had been absent, the boy that had gained the trust and respect of the half of the bus stood. Komuro Takashi made his way off the bus.
"So where are we going, General?" Rei teased lightly as she stepped off the bus, being close enough to whisper the last part of the question.
Naruto smiled lightly at the teasing as he turned over his shoulder for a moment to check and see if anyone else near by had overheard the spear wielder. However it seemed Rei had checked herself beforehand as the coast was indeed clear.
"Don't know." Naruto admitted honestly. "But we can't stay here. While some of these cars may be vacant, most of these engines are still on, and some of them are making quite a bit of noise." Naruto shot a pointed look to the muffler of one of the cars that appeared to be diagnosed with a smoker's cough.
Rei stepped up beside the blonde to see what he was looking at as she gently adjusted a few places in the uniform she was wearing. It fit, and it was warm, she was comfortable with that. However she had honestly never worn anything so form fitting in her life. "You don't even have a plan?" she asked with a frown.
Naruto shrugged as he whipped out the map from his back pocket before unfolding part of it. "We can't stay here for the night, so there isn't much point into waiting around for it to get dark before we move." he replied as he glanced over the map. "So most people live on the other side of the river right?" Naruto asked out loud mainly just seeking clarification.
"It depends really. In recent years over seventy-seven percent of the students have been shown to live in the residential areas on the other side of the river. However that may not mean that everyone in our group is from the other side of the river." called out a male voice as he made his way down the steps.
Naruto turned around to the virtually unfamiliar voice before he raised an eyebrow seeing none other than Kaji Saito following Ayane down the steps.
"I see you also seem to have my map?" the teen asked a small smirk spreading onto his face. "I hope it was of some use?"
Naruto gave an amused grin in return as he fanned the map a couple times in the air, "Hope you don't mind." he said back to the new comer.
Saito held his hands up and wave them in front of him, "No worries. It was just a class project that I ended up turning into a bit of hobby of mine."
"A hobby?" Rei asked curiously. "We didn't get that project, what year are you?"
Saito gave a grin, "Technically?" he began proudly, "I'm a sophomore, but I've been taking a few college classes for geography and a couple computer tech classes."
Rei looked a bit surprised at that fact, while Naruto and Ayane both didn't bother to give acknowledgment to the fact.
Ayane frowned to herself before saying, "If we don't know where to go, I believe Shizuka-san has an apartment or something not far from here." this little fun fact did gather a bit of scrutiny from those around her.
"Why do you know where Shizuka-sensei lives?" Rei asked in surprise. Shido had properly soiled her idea of developing any form of friendship with the teachers around her. Although she had always found Doctor Marikawa to be quite pleasant to be around, partially due to the fact that she was so young yet still an authority figure. Still despite how close she had gotten to the bubbly nurse, there was no way she would ever anticipate knowing that much about her.
"I was in an accident when I was younger with my father and developed a rather severe case of anxiety." she said, none too proud at that fact. "My mother called Marikawa-san in hopes to personally meet the school doctor that she would be giving my meds to. I think when Doctor Marikawa had invited us over, my mother assumed that it would be to either the school or her own house. However I think she was house sitting or something. Still the place was nice and would be worth a shot."
Naruto spoke up before everyone else, "The real important part would be if it could realistically house all of us for any unspecified time longer than a few days. We have no idea what could happen in the near future with this thing. For all we know this may just the first bits of a blight on the people. For all we know this sickness could quickly mutate into something more dangerous, and I would want a safe place for everyone if that was the case. Regardless of how divide things may be, I am expected to be the leader, and I would prefer that we all rest in a place somewhere close to each other."
Naruto ran a hand through his hair as he handed the map back to Saito, "If we lack the room in one residence, I would want a safe place that could be effectively defended that would connect to another near by residence."
"What would be an ideal place Naruto-san?" was the voice of the new arrival, Takashi as he stepped off the bus.
Naruto snorted at that question. "Ideal? An expansive tree house in the middle of a large forest with fruit in the trees. The ground being soft enough to dig a good seven foot trench around our camp site with a collapsible bridge. Then finally a small stream that we could irrigate through the area. That would be ideal." Naruto snorted once again at the thought. "But not realistic." he added on at the end.
He almost felt bad for being a rather big asshole right there. However he needed more ideas and suggestions, and less speculation.
The response Takashi received only caused him to frown and move off to the side by Rei in order to not block the bus' exit.
"Come on everyone! Off the bus!" Naruto yelled again his patience growing thin as time went on with him standing there.
Shizuka, in Naruto's gaze perked up quite a deal at that. Whether it was from Naruto's yell, or merely because she was under his gaze was quick to stand. She grabbed her medical bag before almost skipping down the steps, an act which promptly caused a lot of shifting on the bus afterwards.
After all in times like this, they want to be with the pretty nurse.
"Shizuka-san, Ayane-chan tells me you have a house, or a friends house not far from here? We are looking for places on this side of the river for us to rest for the night and get a good nights sleep. No offense to you all, but you all appear to be dead on your feet." Naruto commented as he looked around at everyone before turning back to Shizuka. He wasn't really going to tell everyone that he was starting to feel a bit tired himself, although that was for different reasons.
"Oh me?" Shizuka asked in her rather aloof personality before tapping a finger to her mouth in thought. "Well Rika-chan's place is close I suppose... but it would be a long walk." she said as she rubbed her chin in thought as if contemplating the meaning of life.
Naruto nodded before turning to Kohta, Saeko, and Saya who were all filing out of the bus in a neat fashion. Those three were shortly followed by the tall teen with multiple hair colors. Naruto was about to be rather annoyed at just the sight of the boy. Naruto's opinion of him was severely lacking from the few interactions he had seen the teen take in. Although he was pleasantly surprised when he spoke.
"My house isn't far from here either, it probably isn't the safest place, but if we are desperate I suppose it may be better than breaking into a place blindly. My dad also enjoyed hunting, so his shed probably has some things that may be of use." he said begrudingly as he crossed his arms over his chest giving a pointed glare over the position where Takashi and Rei stood.
Naruto gave his own pointed stare toward the newcomer, "And whats your name angry teenager?" Naruto asked dryly remembering all of his past meetings with the young male.
He didn't seem to take to kindly too the nickname, but none the less responded, "Call me Jin." He said, his lips forming into a thin line, clearly not wanting to give his full name, but at the same time not wanting to start a fight with the blonde.
Naruto was almost annoyed at the kid not giving him his full name. He nearly decided to give the boy a name that he felt would be personally fitting. From the nickname that was simply 'Colors' to a spectrum of more colorful language. "Whatever, we will start heading to Shizuka-san's first, and if your place is on the way, we can make the stop." Naruto said with a roll of the eyes watching the final people file out of the bus.
He knew he was being a bit judgmental of the teen. Frankly getting some weapons into the civilians hands would be far more useful than simply having a place to stay, even if the place was slightly dangerous. But as far as he could see, the boy had been so absorbed in Shido's propoganda, he wouldn't trust the teen for a second.
A slow dry moaning sound was picked up by Naruto's trained ears as the last couple of students, plus Shido were getting off the bus. The zombie that was slowly going to make it's presence known from walking out from behind the bus only served to settle Naruto's conscience about his decision. It was obvious this place wouldn't be safe for the night if there were already things walking around on which was essentially the designated safety route.
"Alright lets go!" He called out as he spun a kunai out of his tool bag before throwing it dead on piercing the now appeared zombie's eye before the other students could react. He was a man on a mission, fully intent to get the students to safety by nightfall, and he was a shinobi that never failed his missions.
Naruto spared a glance at the dead zombie before he proceeded to lead the slightly frantic students away as stood behind for a moment as he was the last one to step off of the bus.
Naruto rub his shoulders lightly as he lead his group along the side of the river in ranks of three. For some reason Shido had apparently adopted the silly idea of his students that he protected not needing weapons in their situation. So as far as Naruto was concerned, for nearly all intents and purposes they were useless. The only exception he actually found in the group Shido had brought would be in Saito, and 'Jin'.
Naruto would admit that those were the only two he had attempted to talk to. But still, considering that Saito was a student that Shido had attempted to kill off only moments before learning of the man, Naruto wasn't quite happy.
The main reason for this was in all honesty, as far as Naruto could tell at present moment, Saito was by far the most useful civilian of the entire group. Albeit, he wasn't his favorite. He had a bit of a cocky pompous personality to him. However his knowledge was invaluable.
He led the front of the group with Shizuka walking along the sidewalk near the river, and Naruto was walking in the middle of the road, occasionally walking around abandoned cars. Saito was the last member at the front of the pack, standing beside Shizuka on the sidewalk.
Saito had his map in hand, although it was folded up and he wasn't even looking at it. The boy had seemingly memorized his map that he made for his class project turned hobby. He knew of all upcoming stores, and if they should have even made a one or two block detour for any other valuable stores.
To be fair, there weren't any. However the fact that Saito had the knowledge of everything from woman's clothing store to a family owned coffee shop, to even distant automobile repairs was impressive. To further prove the point as if he had read their blonde leader's mind he called out, "In a couple blocks we will be passing by a Sevenson," which was their version of a local convience store.
"It's fine, Marikawa-san said that where we are going, there is a store just like it near by." Naruto replied as if he was merely listing off of a fact sheet. He had gone over his plan quite thoroughly in his head.
Naruto turn behind him briefly as he moved around an abandoned car to look at the ranks, and listed them as the roles they filled to him and less so their names.
Skipping the front rank he began,
Big hearted teen, Shido girl 1, Shido girl 2
Brown haired friend, Platinum blonde obligation, Shido girl 3, Pink haired book smarts
Short ranged support, Shido boy 1, Shido boy 2
Purple haired Samurai, Shido, Angry teen
Naruto nodded slowly to himself at the ranks he had assigned. He had no doubt in his mind that Saeko could handle herself in the back against any zombies, or even against the people she was guarding if she so required. It was just something about the look that she got in her eyes during a fight that knew she out of all of the students was the most combat ready.
Kohta, Naruto had to admit was impressive in his own right. The accuracy he showed with the tiny nail gun was quite incredible. Naruto knew they even had nail guns in his own time, but he had never anticipated anyone using it in that form of fashion. If they wouldn't have been so inefficient with the amount of nails, he was sure that there would be some warriors that used them on the field for the rapid fire projectiles.
However as it stood, all Naruto could do was appreciate the Tenten like accuracy as he marched on.
He didn't even need to go over row three. It was his most important row for multiple reasons. However for Naruto, it was just most important because he felt it was the row he needed to protect the most for personal reasons. It was as simply as that for him.
Takashi remained close to Naruto, as Naruto felt that he was still in that heavily annoying position to place in any sort of defensive formation. Could he defend himself? Certainly. Did he have any form, could he do so reliably? Naruto had no idea.
However as long as Naruto opted to take care of the zombies in front of him, the second rank in formation shouldn't have any problems.
"Oh Naruto-kun!" the doctor cried out, "Don't call me Marikawa-san, it makes me feel old." the female whined. On most circumstances Naruto may have found it annoying. However it was refreshing to hear a woman whine about being feeling old rather than deciding to beat it into him when the women were in fact old. That and her pesonality in general was quite the huge contrast to everyone else who was rather tense with the situation.
"Okay Shizuka-chan." Naruto commented, a small smile tugging at his lips as he continued on walking, once again in near silence. It was rare that he ever had he opportunity to use such a suffix on anyone in the times he found himself stuck in back home. It was rather refreshing that he actually got to have a bit of time to relax in what he felt was a considerably safer world.
There were a few small conversations happening, such as Takashi, and Rei whispering back and forth between each other. Most of the pairs from Shido's group that were next to each other were also lost in their own small conversations. However it wasn't that big of a deal, they would be reaching their destination soon as far as Naruto could tell.
"How much further?" He asked the two people in the first row beside him. Shizuka had appeared to instantly get lost in thought as if thinking of her answer, however Saito simply gave one.
"Eh... a couple minutes or so, supposing we don't run into a sea of them or something." he said a bit disdainfully. He obviously wasn't a fan of the new world as he knew it.
Naruto smirked a bit at the boy's knowledge. He was almost tempted to keep shooting off random questions about the area. However he settled for looking to Shizuka's nod for clarification.
Naruto looked behind him once again to the taller students bringing up the back of the pack with a frown as his gaze rested on Shido. The man had plenty of time to preach about him during the night he had been gone with Rei. He had no idea how much credibility, if any he held as a leader of the group.
"When you were in the school Saito, what was your time with Shido like?" Naruto whispered at the front. Only the first row and Takashi who in turn walked a bit closer to Naruto's heels when he heard the question were paying attention. The two girls walking beside Takashi seemed to be lost in their own world with their conversation, with mild blushes on their faces.
Saito's face instantly twisted into an annoyed scowl at the mere mention of the man at the back. "I thought it wasn't that bad honestly." he looked like he had just had to swallow a pile of dog shit as he said those words.
"He wasn't a bad leader, the man sure liked his speeches though, often at terrible times. You would think he was some sort of former military with all the bravado." Saito said as he kept his eyes forward.
That fact surprised Naruto a bit, but he choose to listen, hoping the teen would say more.
"We didn't fight our way out of the school like most people did. The guy is pretty smart really..." Saito admitted slowly, a pile of salt in his mouth with every word. "Physical Education for all classes that day was outside. apparently came upon Jin, and a couple others before he ran by most of us. He had ushered us all inside of the Gym and we locked ourselves in there for quite awhile. We even picked up a couple others that ended up pounding on the Gym doors."
Saito paused politely as Naruto and Takashi had to walk around a car in their way. "However it eventually came to the point that all of the Gym's exits were blocked. Shido gave some speech about preserving the health of our generation, before revealing the vents that he decided to push a ladder to." Saito then grimaced, "We all climbed into the vents, under Shido's guidance. The vents lead to a hollowed out area between the ceiling and the next floor where lights and cable wiring could be. However Shido was one of the last people into the vents. Our last guy didn't make it." Saito's grimace turned into a scowl as he continued.
"The doors to the gym had been busted down, and Shido simply claimed that the ladder fell behind him, leaving our last guy still climbing to die. We all believed his speech about how gravely sad he was at losing a student he vowed to protect. But given what he did to me, and looking back? I really doubt that. He was a controlling manipulative ass to be honest. He even was able to talk the group majority into not collecting weapons due to how they were still our fellow students, and we needed to retain our humanity. Blah blah blah." Saito shook his head looking down.
"We lost three other guys during out escape, I would have been the fourth if not..." Saito spared Naruto a glance, "Well thank you for that."
Naruto shrugged, "No problem, continue." no one deserved to die like that.
"Yes, well... bottom line I really doubt the man cares. I think he just wants to be in control. In fact, honestly? I've seen the way he looks at the girls in the group that follow him." Saito started to whisper as he neared the end of his comment, forcing Takashi to not so subtly lean in closer. "I doubt the fact that the three people we lost, and that myself were all men in the group. It would not surprise me in the slightest that if you hadn't become the leader, he would have tried to lead the rest of the guys to their deaths."
Naruto gave an amused scoff at that, an act that he realized he probably shouldn't have done. However the civilians simply didn't realize why he had found that thought so entirely funny. If he even had the slightest feeling that Shido was actively trying to get him killed? He would just kill the teacher himself. "Yeah, well I wont be letting that happen." Naruto said.
Saito nodded momentarily before stopping and looking back, "This seems like the place you described Shizuka-sensei?"
Sure enough not even a moment later, a surprised cry from Kohta alerted everyone to that fact. "A Hum-Vee! It's the military model too!" he said, having stopped his march, his hands and eyes twitching in shock.
"Oh my!" Shizuka said shaking her head and her hands on her cheeks, "I was so wrapped up in the story, I forgot that I..." she drifted off a bit at that, much to Naruto's amusement. The woman's personality was something that he could appreciate on one hand. It was laid back and aloof, and rather funny to watch. However he hoped that this wasn't all there was to the woman, because her personality could lead to the deaths of comrades if she could never be attentive and serious under pressure.
They got there okay, so no harm done. He only hoped she didn't drift off like that when doing anything medical.
The group broke formation as everyone else from the band stopped. Shizuka walked up and put on hand on Kohta's shoulder, but he didn't even appear to notice. "Told you. It looks like a tank right?" she said with a smile.
Naruto figured they must have discussed the vehicle a bit while he was absent with Rei. Although he had no idea what a tank was. It had to be some kind of vehicle, because he knew there was no way the blonde was going to be comparing this obvious vehicle to something like the big water tanks found at the top of the Konoha hospital.
"Just who is your friend?" Saya said a bit dryly rubbing her hand on her chin.
However instead of examining the vehicle, Naruto took it upon himself to examine everyone else as they gawked at their destination. There was some gawking, some talking, some looking. But what surprised Naruto the most was at the back of the pack, there was scouting.
Naruto observed Jin from a distance. The teen wasn't just simply looking around. The teen was looking from house to house, or more specifically balcony to balcony in the area. It was only after that when he proceeded to look at the various areas of ground cover, and the few gated fence walls in the area. The action surprised Naruto a great deal. While he didn't like the kid, perhaps he had written him off too soon. And maybe even perhaps he had written up Saito as the most valuable member off the group too soon. Jin may have some of his father's hunter instincts in him.
"Alright someone should lead a team to go clear the house, a small team. Then come out and signal us when the coast is clear. Anyone willing?" Naruto asked. He was not in the least bit surprised as Takashi stepped up to the plate with his golden bloody bat ready. He was soon flanked by Saeko, and Kohta armed with his nail gun. Rei looked like she was about ready to go, however as she clutched the tiny pipe in her hand and then looked around, she seemed to back down.
'She probably doesn't want to explain the weapon I gave her...' Naruto thought to himself with a small momentary frown.
"One more." Naruto said casting his gaze over the group.
The shorter haired lanky boy, part of Shido's group stepped up. Or perhaps he was forced up to the plate. Naruto had no clue how far the former teacher's reach had effected all of his former students. However he spoke in a quiet voice, he obviously didn't have much confidence. "I don't have a weapon..." he said quietly.
Naruto frowned, he didn't want to give the boy a kunai. The chances of him finding any more ninja tools in the world he was in was well... slim. All he had were the ones in his tool bag, and a couple extra sets in a scroll. And considering a "Set" of kunai as far as ANBU was concerned was just top of the line chakra conducting skillfully forged steel that came in boxes of five... he was running low.
Oh the days where going to the local blacksmitch could get you a bundle of thirty kunai for the same price, even if they weren't made as good. However as shinobi became stronger, in most cases tools became less prevelant and shinobi relied more on a single tool and their skills. More so like the seven shinobi swordsman, less so like the rapping eight tails and his numerous blades, or Tenten 'the weapons expert.' Naruto shook his head at the last part. Weapons simply wont carry a person to the height of the shinobi career unless your weapons were special. Like Kumo's five legendary artifacts taken by the gold and silver brothers. Or Itachi's couple relics from the sage. Or if someone like that Suigetsu kid was capable of obtaining all of the Seven Shinobi Swordsman's swords.
However his problem was solved as Saya reached into the bag she had been carrying around with her, and thankfully pulled out a crowbar.
Naruto nodded to the assembled group, "Alright Takashi, you want to be in charge?" Naruto asked with a raised eyebrow. The kid was nearly fearless, he might as well give the boy a chance.
Takashi gave a confident nod towards Naruto as he opened the gate.
"Alright, then go!" Naruto called out as he looked up the stairs to gathering zombies. One had decided to stumble down the stairs at the call of his voice, and busted it's head against the pavement...
Takashi gave it a whack for good measure.
Naruto gave a sigh as he looked up to the group and prayed for the best. He doubted the situation should be too dangerous. But realistically, anything could happen in combat. There were just things one could simply not account for.
Like A-ranked Missing Ninjas being assigned as assassins for a target of a low C-ranked escort mission.
Alright, another day, another chapter.
Anyways if anyone is super super into the Highschool of the Dead series, you will notice that I changed the name of the tall teen with dyed hair. Frankly I doubt any on you however will notice it because I don't think his name is actually ever mentioned in the series. It is only mentioned in rather obscure data books, that I myself just found out about yesterday.
So Naruto has met up with the group once again, and is back in his leader mode. He will eventually loosen up a bit, but I don't know when I plan to do that. If I do it too soon, I just feel it wouldn't do his character justice.
Rei is a bit more present in dialog and thoughts now as you have seen. Another reason for this is she is the only one that has any idea of how Naruto really is, so she is the only one that can judgmentally look at him. So just because Rei is more prevalent doesn't mean that the pairing is NarutoxRei or anything like that. This story is more character driven.
As you have noticed? I haven't really shown much zombie combat. Why? Because zombies are easy to kill. You will see action later on in the story for sure, but the early parts here are simply character driven.
So here you get some insight into Saito, Ayane, and even a bit into Jin. All of which are essentially OCs as far as the series is concerned. So I am trying to ease them into the story.
So anyways yeah the ways I have to really showcase story telling while at the same time building character aren't really as numerous as other stories because Naruto simply isn't that talkative. He has his focus on other things such as getting home, keeping people safe and healthy, keeping the group united. He ends up keeping to himself. So Rei is going to be a bit of a story telling device as well as Naruto's pov for probably a chapter more, maybe two.
Also I forgot to mention a couple chapters ago, but whoever said "Someone has been playing Mass Effect 2." You would certainly be correct!
It is actually a bit of how I am trying to go about the story telling as well as the development. It is more so Naruto's effect on people in a new world.
I also toyed around with some Warhammer 40k if anyone noticed that. Kudos to you.
So anyways I hope you read and review the story. I loved the reviews that I have been getting for the story.
There are a lot of characters in this story already. I already asked about Rei. However I didn't ask about other characters. In this chapter you see a bit more of the OCs. How do you feel about them thus far? What are your favorite characters in the actual series? Why?
Just things I would like to know and analyze as a writer as I continue writing the story. See you all around.