Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or Highschool of the Dead
Kozeki Ryo, that was the boy's name. That was the name of the nervous unprepared boy who died that night when he had to go against the fourteen zombies that were on the upper level of the yard. And it was for this reason as Naruto stood there, finally stacking up the fourteenth headless body in a wall across the street that there was silence amongst the group gathered around.
Not everyone showed up, and Naruto wouldn't have forced them to. And it was for this reason that he only mentioned the death of their comrade, and not what he was going to do with the body. If they had cared, they would have asked.
That was why it was only him... and Korumo standing outside that night.
"I don't understand... what did I do wrong? I told him to be careful. I told him that there were two zombies on his left. He even had Saeko at his side. I... I don't..." his question froze on his tongue as he witnessed Naruto cutting off the head of the former Kozeki Ryo, before laying him out amongst the other countless bodies.
"Don't blame yourself." Naruto said as he looked down knowing full and well what Takashi was feeling right now. "It wasn't your fault."
Takashi shook his head, his eyes downcast, "How can you say that? You weren't there Naruto. You made me the leader, I should have..."
"What?" Naruto asked as he shrugged his shoulders, "There is nothing that can prepare you for what happened. You assumed he would be fine, and he should have been."
"But he wasn't..." Takashi said sourly.
Naruto frowned for a minute weighing the odds of telling Takashi of his past life, before crushing that idea with a lie. "If you keep blaming yourself for what happened, it will eat you up alive. I've been in your shoes right now before." Naruto said seriously as he tossed the head of the deceased Ryo into a pile at the end of the wall.
Takashi looked up at that, unsure of whether he was curious, or he wanted an excuse to not blame himself. 'Probably both...' he reasoned.
Naruto put on his poker face as he looked down at the bodies with distant eyes. "Me and some close friends of mine took a trip about a year ago over seas to hunt a particular kind of shark."
Naruto neglected to mention that the said shark was probably one of the top five most dangerous Missing Ninja in shinobi history.
"We had gotten in hot pursuit of the shark, and frankly we had everything right where we wanted it."
Naruto shook his head as he recalled the moment they had caught the man. All defensive measures in place, his mind was secured by Ino Yamanaka, his body restrained by Shikamaru Nara, Chouji had his hand wrapped tightly around him. Naruto had even had a seal on the ground designed to keep things that stepped inside the circle on the ground there until the drawn seal was broken. The catch was that the captured target couldn't attempt to break the seal himself due to unique neural responses that go through the body suggesting against it. However all of that didn't matter. Naruto hadn't even anticipated the depths to which the Missing Ninja. A ninja that was forever marked as a traitor, someone whom couldn't stay loyal to their home! No one ever anticipated the man to activate a jutsu that literally ate himself alive in moments.
It was too fast. It was too fast for anyone.
"However in the last moment, things went horribly wrong. One of my friends went overboard, and was killed from the combined efforts of the shark puncturing a lung, and drowning my friend. Another had lost a few of his fingers in an attempted rescue. The shark died in the struggle, but it was not without our own losses."
Naruto's lips formed a thin line. Kisame had died that day. However Ino's consciousness drifted aimlessly in the world, her body left in a coma. Chouji had lost his thumb and index finger to Kisame's suicide. Shikamaru retired from being a shinobi after that, opting to simply look after Kurenai and her child. He would only on rare occasion provide tactical advice to the Joint Shinobi War Effort when demanded of it.
"It took me awhile to get over it. However I had to come to realize that in life one takes risks, and without taking these risks one doesn't ever truly live. I blamed myself for a long time before I realized that it simply wasn't my fault. There are things that you just can't account on happening. If you live your life trying to prepare yourself for everything, you wont make it out the front door." Naruto said quietly before lifting his head and backing up.
"Anyways I'm going to head in, and see about getting a shower. I haven't gotten to wash up since..." Naruto's lips thinned, a couple days before even getting to this world. He was on a battlefield. "Too long." he said simply to his own amusement. The blood and guts from numerous zombies looked like they were part of a food fight he had taken part in. But the most important part probably was the fact that his body and hair had simply been drenched in blood from the night with Rei and the thug. Rei was by all means drenched too. However Naruto hadn't taken a shower that night. Naruto's hair was turning brown from the dried blood.
"Ahh Naruto-san." Takashi spun, the first signs of positive life in the boy since they had been outside. Although he was sporting a blush, "I believe most of the girls were going to try and get washed up."
Naruto eyed him for a moment owlishly. 'It wasn't a problem when I was with Rei was it?' he thought to himself slowly before shrugging as walking up the stairs without a further response than, "Don't die outside. You can rest when you're dead."
The women of the group chatted excitedly amongst themselves as they ushered themselves into the bathroom. The small group was simply half of the girls in the house, the ones that had traveled with Takashi, Kohta, and Naruto. The other three girls from Shido's group opted to hopefully take a shower later on if they stayed there for longer. Otherwise since they hadn't seen any action, they let the 'Leader's' group have first dibs. They still had their clothes on, but the thought of a hot bubble bath in that big tub was simply too big of a dream come true. Not to mention the fact that they could likely relax all night in there.
It was heaven.
It truly needed to be repeated once for emphasis.
It was heaven!
However almost more importantly than the fact it was time for the girls to relax in a nice bath? It was time away from "the boys" for them to talk and even gossip a bit and just have fun.
And the first topic for the night?
"So Miyamoto-san... what is with your new attire?" Saya observed the long desired but unanswered question. "It is almost exactly the same as what Naruto wears."
Saeko seemed to perk up as she began undressing herself, and despite her usually calm and collected demeanor couldn't contain her curiosity. The blonde was virtually an enigma that no one really knew all that much about. Yet they conceded to let the boy lead them. Any information about him as far as Saeko was concerned was more than welcome. "I was also wondering about such a thing." she said in her polite even tone.
Rei flushed a bit at being under scrutiny from the girls around her, "Err... umm its a long story." She tried to write it off. She didn't exactly want to broadcast her near rape experience followed by her naked bath time with Naruto.
Saya looked suspicious and appeared to be ready to say something, but Shizuka-sensei, tactful as always beat her to the punch.
"Rei-chan!" Shizuka said loudly as she all but jumped the shorter girl, "Did you..." she then used her fingers in emphasis... almost like a train going through a tunnel...
"Shizuka-sensei!" Rei squealed out while undressing, nearly tripping over her own two feet as she tried to remove her pants, her face turning brightly red.
Saya looked rather triumphant at that, while Saeko looked up in surprised wide eyes as if they all gained their answer.
Even Ayane whom had been completely quiet off to the side as usual was actually quite surprised, but at the same time she seemed to be almost put off at the thought.
"So that means Takashi is free then." Saya said quietly to herself as she hit her hand into her palm. Although her "Quiet" simply wasn't quiet enough when the girls were hanging off every word of the gossip going on around them.
Saeko giggled a bit, "Oh and Takagi-san, you like Komuro-kun?" she teased in a tone one would use for teasing a younger sibling.
Saya's face adopted the form of a violent T-rex as she nearly yelled out, "I don't like Komuro-kun!" she yelled, but the tomato color on her face told an entirely different story.
Saya shifted her gaze back to Rei, fully intent of focusing any and all attention off of her. She was the genius. She was the observer. She was not the observed. Only when she was doing something intelligent, not like... admiring some boy!
Rei had even been through the process of pulling her tight shirt over her head, and Takagi had noticed something that would have gotten past the others present. "You even have a new bra Miyamoto-san... Did you do something at Uzumaki-san's home or something?" still on the track of the two doing the deed. "And borrowed clothing from his parents or something?"
Rei's blush went tenfold as she stripped the last of her clothing, and rushed into the tub, while the others slowly undressed, looking at her. "No, we didn't do anything like that!" The way she ended her sentence was an utter failure as her voice implied that had indeed done something.
Shizuka spoke up, "It is fine, I believe you Miyamoto-san. You wouldn't steal Naruto-kun's innocense like that."
Rei had no nearly hold half her face underwater in order to resist blushing at the comment, the utterly and completely ridiculous notion that Naruto was innocent. Innocent in any way shape or form. He was only two years older than her, and there was nothing innocent about him.
Shizuka only continued, "And Naruto-kun is covered in blood, I really doubt that they would do anything like that... unless..."
"No! No! No! No! No!" Rei chanted over and over again, shaking and promptly hiding herself in a mountain of freshly formed bubbles. There was no way she wanted to see anyone go down Shizuka-sensei's demented train of thought.
Saya saved the day with, "No, that doesn't prove anything. Miyamoto-san is cleaner than all of us, yet she was out there an entire night nearly on her own. Then she shows up in new clothes like Naruto's spotless." She explained her observations before trying to hit the nail in the coffin with, "And we have all seen how Uzumaki-san fights, he may have done all of the killing from that point on, and just got blood on him before they got back." Saya announced as all of the girls decided to start the bath by packing rather tightly into the tub, and playing around with the shower heads near the ceiling to aim the torrents on the tub. Although it was an act that utterly killed the bubbles. But it was fun. "You sure you are still wanting to be with Takashi?" Saya taunted lightly half hoping for the response she desired.
Rei had no response to that other than firmly denying, "I didn't have sex with Naruto-kun!" She proclaimed in annoyance. "And yes I still like Takashi!" she gasped out in frustration, her heart clutching a bit at admitting such a fact. She probably would have been embarrassed under other circumstances. Yet telling even the slightest bit of truth while having to hold her tongue from saying lies at every turn was refreshing. However the reality was that in comparison to how she used to feel about the boy? She barely felt that brief butterfly sensation at the thought.
It was then that the platinum blonde Ayane spoke up, and filled the room with a whole new level of tension as she said, "Really?" a bit bitterly. "Then please explain why you have hand prints on your waist and on your tits." She finished dryly in a mood none too pleased, feeling that Rei was trying to play the group for a fool.
It was then that every female's attention suddenly drifted to Rei's body, making the said female feel very uncomfortable.
Naruto sighed as he walked into what he would grow to call home for hopefully the next couple of days. It was only then that he heard the grunts of a person upstairs like they were trying to carry something extremely heavy.
Curiosity got the best of Naruto as he went about half way up the stairs to get a peak, only to see none other than Kohta and the very same crowbar that formerly laid in the hands of Ryo being used to try and pry open a large container.
"There a problem Kohta?" Naruto asked with a raised eyebrow, trying to figure out what he was doing. It was only as he got closer did he see the other side of the locker had a very impressive bow with a quiver of arrows right beside it.
"Oi Naruto-san, want to take this as a chance to peak?" as he absent mindedly crouched down and tried to readjust the placement of the crowbar.
Naruto had to admit that of his "crew" Hirano Kohta was certainly one of his favorites. Quite the apparent genius with weapons of this world, while still retaining the humorous hormone driven mentality of an average teenage boy. "I was actually going to step in and try and take a shower before I came to see what you were doing."
"What?" Kohta asked in wide eyed surprise. He quickly stood up and gave a salute as he said, "I will be sure to bury your body and decorate you with numerous honors Uzumaki-san." as the impressive salute turned into an even more impressive teary eyed salute.
Naruto shook his head in amusement at that, but was a bit more focused on not smelling like the dead they were killing. He had already opted for stripping off his shirt on his way in from outside. "Kohta." Naruto said simply with a nod to the locker silently asking for an explanation from the distractable teen.
Kohta regained his composure, although he knew he would soon be saying goodbye to a dead friend. He sniffed a bit and rubbed his eyes. "I found ammunition for guns when I was looking around for stuff that could be useful. And well... when there is ammo, there is guns." he said confidently as he gave a heavy abrupt pull on the locker, which only served to land him flat on his ass and shake the lockers.
Naruto laughed at that before nodding his head, "Alright." He gently grabbed the locker and then with one harsh tug of his arm, with his ironclad shinobi grip, he opened the locker quite effortlessly with his enhanced strength.
Hirano sat there wide eyed for a second as the locker slowly swung open, before he adjusted his glasses. "I loosened it for you!" he said quickly, trying to regain some of his lost pride as a man.
Although that thought clearly died as he caught sight of his the guns in the recently opened locker. He proceeded to dance around the room like a kid that had asked for a single action figure for Christmas and had gained the full set.
Naruto smiled at his excitement. It was nice to see someone so happy at their situation given the recent understandable downer it was being outside with Takashi. It probably would have been the equivalent of opening the locker and finding it empty for Hirano.
"Kohta, where are Shido's people?" Naruto calmly asked.
In his own world, Kohta dismissively waved, "Downstairs. Sound proof movie room. Very fancy..." he droned before he burst out, "That's an Ithaca M37 Riot Shotgun!" as he grabbed the first weapon he put his hands on.
Naruto shook his head, and left without a word, he knew what he wanted to do. Hirano would go on to do... Hirano things.
Naruto made his way to the bathroom, passing Takashi on the way with a nod of acknowledgment. He reached into the closet and quickly wrapped a purple towel around his waste as he stripped the rest of his clothes. He looked down and decided to grab a bucket and sponge that was located on the bottom shelf in the closet on the off chance that there weren't actual showers in the bathroom. It wouldn't be the first time.
And it was just as Ayane had finished her comment did Naruto decide to make his presence know.
Naruto stepped through the unlocked door. Or perhaps it was locked, he had honestly forgotten given a rather instinctual act he had developed over time. Too often were there simple doors during the war that were armed with certain explosives that reacted, not upon turning the door knob, but simply upon touching the door knob. It was mainstream to account for ninja reflexes. Then various seals would be used to key the correct people into the room. All of this so Assassins wouldn't have simply entryway access to the room.
However this technological annoyance completely and utterly died when Naruto obtained the Rinnegan, and found a way to bypass the said system with chakra manipulation, something he taught his own shinobi infiltration units. Although the act often tended to bust the lock.
Bottom line as far as trap explosives went. If they took a shinobi the amount of time to open a door to trigger, and for them to sense the slightest bit of chakra igniting an explosive? It took too long to be of use, unless the explosion was across the entire building... at which point the trap would be more detrimental than good.
Closing the door behind him, stepped into the bathroom without a care in the world. All eyes turned to the teen with browning hair, wrapped in a purple towel, covered in blood, caring a blue bucket with a orange sponge.
After most of the girls got over the momentary ridiculous, they all burst out and covered themselves. All of them but Rei at least, whose mind was elsewhere and was considerably more comfortable around Naruto's presence in her current state.
Naruto on the other hand raised an eyebrow at the scene before him. The room was thick with steam, and all of the girls were crowded in a single tub that was simply not made for 5 people to try in relax in without someone sitting on another's lap. They had two separate shower heads streaming down a haze of water into the tub of the girls frantically wishing they still had bubbles.
So Naruto said the first thing he could think of, "This seems to be a good use of the hot water." he said dryly as he stepped forward and ran his hand under the stream, that was surprisingly still hot. For how long on the other hand? He didn't know.
It was then that the girls seemed to regain control of their mouths. Although all of their attitudes were vastly different.
"What the hell Naruto!" yelled the pink haired girl which reminded him quite vividly of his childhood. "Get the hell out of here you pervert!"
Naruto looked taken aback at the comment, "I'm not a pervert, I came in to use the shower." he replied honestly, slightly offended at the pink haired girl's insult.
"Uzumaki-san please leave and respect our privacy, we are all women in here!" Saeko pleaded as she made her greatest attempt to cover herself, a great contrast to usual cold, proud, and collected self.
Shizuka appeared to be taking the whole matter in stride and seemingly perfectly comfortable in the younger man's presence as she giggled a bit, "Naruto-kun you pervert." she repeated Saya's earlier comment. Although her's was considerably more playful.
Naruto's frown increased as he looked over the two remaining girls. Ayane was quiet and had a distant look as usual as she simply had a hand over her chest and stared at Naruto expectantly. Although there was a bit of hurt in her eyes. From what, Naruto could not place. Not that he was caring too much about that in his current situation.
Naruto finally gazed at Rei as he just stood there waiting for an answer. This act seemed to catch the attention of the others the looked between the two, before Saya quite tactfully in her embarrassment decided to blurt out quite rudely.
"Here he is for round two. Not even covering herself..." Saya said in bitter annoyance, as she tried her best to cover herself up in the tub using her knees and arms as a shield. Although she didn't realize how badly her words cut as Rei flinched.
Naruto did a double take at what the pink haired girl said, before allowing a retort to form. However just as it was about to roll off his tongue, Rei stepped out of the bath and simply walked over to her towel and clothes, tying the towel around herself before exiting without a word.
Naruto could only look between the tub, and the doorway clearly believing he missed something.
"Well aren't you going to go screw your new girlfriend in your fairytale fantasy?" Saya spat out. "Just tell her to stop playing Komuro, he deserves better than a girl he can never have." She finished through clenched teeth, memories of her own crush constantly in a bad mood for the past year due to Rei's decision to date someone else. That pretty much summed up how she felt at that very moment. The idea that Takashi was still going around depressed about Rei when she has gone through not one but two different men in front of his face? That thought was insulting.
Suddenly recognition dawned on Naruto's face before his features hardened. "You think we are a couple?" Naruto said slowly.
Cracks formed in the girl's formerly unwavering resolve at his confused glance. Of course she was right? She was almost never wrong. She was great at reading people. "Of course you are, we saw the hand prints you left all over her."
Naruto's expression went from hardened to immediately sour as he realized what happened. He looked over all of the ladies in the tub, "And you all immediately thought..." Naruto frowned as looks from puzzled to surprise appeared on all of the female's faces. Naruto shook his head at the teenagers.
"It is times like these I wish Kakashi had given his speech to civilian children..." he said to himself, although the others overheard it.
"What do you mean civilian children?" Saya questioned quickly suddenly the answers she was sure she had in stone felt like they were more so simply in wet cement.
"Anyone in on this is an ignorant fool." Naruto said harshly as he ignored her question and stepped forward with his bucket in hand, and leaned over to dunk it in the hot water. "When me and Rei were out alone in the city, we had been riding a motorcycle and needed to stop for gas. We had no money so I went in for the register while Rei waited by the bike." Naruto said with a scowl as he scooped up a bucket of water.
"A thug had come out when I was in the shop and attempted to rape Rei on the spot, holding her hostage with a knife. He cut off her clothes, and grabbed her hard so she couldn't struggle while he groped her." Naruto took a step back as he looked down on the females in the tub, particularly Saya.
"I killed him with his own knife, and we were covered in blood." Naruto stretched out his arms to motion at himself for emphasis. "Rei was emotionally exhausted, so I took her to an apartment to wash her up and give her a change of clothes before we got back on the road to catch up to all of you while you sat and slept comfortably in a bus." Naruto finished bitterly. "Still a fairytale fantasy?" He asked coldly not too keen on the pink haired girl's opinions.
Naruto shook his head as he took a step back to resist from hitting the girl. An act that was rather standard from the Elemental Nations where he had to lead all forms of shinobi. Some emotionally and mentally in check. Others... not so much. Still regardless of his past as a leader, one rule of when he was simply an Anbu team member bled through.
You don't harm civilians.
It was a rule that had been forever engraved into Naruto's mind from a child. A ninja, a soldier fights to protect the people. A village is nothing without the people inside it. The people are the heart of a Shinobi Village.
However disciplinary action from squad commander to subordinate was an entirely different story. However in most cases they would simply opt to take it out on the subordinate in a more subtle fashion such as full contact sparring.
Other than that the silly civilian ideas that were passed around the world such as "Men should never hit a women" were frankly ridiculous. If that were the case, they should have just had Tsunade man the front lines as an untouchable wrecking ball to eighty percent of the shinobi population.
So the gray area Naruto found himself in with having civilian subordinates was not a pleasant place to be, especially when they were in his opinion, this blindly ignorant.
"Jump the conclusions again, and don't think before you speak? I will drop you on the side of the road as you do more harm than good to team morale." Naruto spoke out suddenly in a commanding tone as he looked down at Saya treating her as any other person he would have under his command. It was utterly ridiculous to see their 'Leader' giving a pep talk in a purple towel. But Naruto could give a damn where his talks were given as long as the point was made clear. "Think before you act. That goes for any of you. The only thing that separates us in here, from them out there is our working brain function. If you aren't going to use your brain, then I will let you join the rest of your friends outside. Understood?" he asked coldly to everyone in the tub.
The water had seemed to chill for everyone in the tub as they let those words sink in. Words that they probably would have opposed if it weren't for the fact of how royally they felt they had messed up earlier.
Naruto was happy that it appeared that he got the message across, and he turned to make his exit, bucket in hand. He was now going to find a place to wash, as he was not in the mood to do it there in the present company.
However first... he would find his brown haired friend.
Naruto raised an eyebrow as he stepped out into the back of the house only to see Rei making attack after attack at a metal post in the back yard.
"Should probably stop that before you lead them all here."
Rei spun around an upset glare on her face, "This is all your fault!"
Naruto didn't care he snorted. That thought was ridiculous. Her flinch only showed him that she knew it was a ridiculous notion as well. "Yeah and the sky is falling." Naruto said dryly with a roll of the eyes as he stepped outside into the chilly night in a towel. Although for him he didn't really get cold.
"It's not funny!" She cried out, "This is your fault..." she said quietly as she looked down in her hands as the gift she had received from the blonde.
"Would you have preferred to have been raped and strung along as that guy's sex slave for the rest of your days?" Rei flinched quite violently at that thought, and suddenly covered herself up a bit more than the form fitting ANBU shirt she had slung over her body before simply going out in her underwear.
"No..." she replied pursing her lips. She was just taking it out on Naruto, venting. She knew that much. It wasn't fair to either of them. However Naruto had just made it quite evident that he was not the kind of person that dealt with that well. "Its just..."
"You should have just told the truth." Naruto cut in with a frown on his face. Despite the lies that revolved around him and his profession. He longed for a time where things were simply black and white like when he was taking the chunin exams. There were no crazy lies that he had to hold on to or craft. He just called it like it was, that was that. He would just call things whether they were right or wrong, and made sure people would never forget them. It made life easy.
"I couldn't..." Rei said quietly, "I like Takashi, but I lied to him in order to keep your secrets." Rei said quietly as the spear in her hand grew more slack.
Naruto's rather insensitive attitude quickly changed on that note as he sat down with the bucket in front of him. "I'm sorry." Naruto spoke slowly suddenly realizing that her dillema was partially his fault. Now he was actually quite glad that she hadn't chosen to strictly tell the truth. It was almost always easier to tell the truth for one's self. It was far harder to rat out a friend.
Naruto sighed as he dunk hit hand into the cooling water , pushing past the spounge before muttering one of the many jutsu learned with the Rinnegan as he superheated his limb and cause the water to rapidly heat. While doing to he was constantly mindful of the shackle on his wrist. He didn't exactly know what the contraption did. But anything that reacted to his chakra, and could send him to different worlds as far as he was concerned was not something to be tampered with. He was quite comfortable staying safe in the meantime until he figured out how to remove it.
Naruto then decided to give the obligatory comment of, "I told the girls the about what happened. Well most of it... I didn't describe the shower... or the end of it..." Naruto started mumbling off at the end absentmindedly, a light blush appearing on his face.
Rei however didn't have the same reaction as a large blush appeared on her face. She turned to Naruto only to see him reaching into the bucket for a sponge.
"No soap?" Rei mused as she looked over to the blonde, the shadow of the night hiding her blush.
Naruto shrugged, "I left after giving them a pep talk about using their brains. And honestly it slipped my mind... I just want to get the blood off. I was in combat for two days before I even arrived here." Naruto said being mindful of the door behind him to make sure no one was standing there.
Rei had learned to best keep her surprise to a minimum when it regarded the world traveling ninja before her, so she merely shook her head. "I can help you inside if you want?" Rei offered as she rubbed her own arms.
Naruto tried to read the body language, but he couldn't guess whether she was being shy... or just cold. But none the less he nodded his head, "Alright..." he said curiously before he followed the already standing Rei inside.
Naruto sighed as he stepped into the laundry room between the kitchen and the back door that lead outside. Rei had walked right past the laundry room and Naruto quickly heard a bit of chatting, which surprised him because of the voice. Or at least it was an attempt at chatting.
Naruto stepped into the kitchen only to get a full view of Saeko dressed in nothing but a skimpy black thong and a cooking apron. Saeko had done her best to get Rei to stop for a moment to give an apology, but Rei only decided to brush past the swordswoman.
"Interesting choice in clothing..." Naruto said with a grin tugging at his lips as he stepped into the kitchen. Saeko spun around quickly at realizing it was not just her and Rei in the kitchen. So a large majority of it was her simply spinning to only be showing her backside to a girl, rather than a certain blonde who already had a fair share of her body to look at.
Saeko was suddenly quite self conscious. She already had an encounter with Takashi moments before about her choice of temporary clothing. Naruto on the other hand was a completely different story.
Saeko knew as she grew up that there were two different types of men in the world, and as the world was now it only grew to be more evident. When she had first met the group that had turned into her traveling companions. She would admit that she really thought the blonde to be nothing special. He carried unique weapons, but that thought fell on deaf ears as she thought back to all of them resting in the school with Takashi and Kohta building a barricade. All while this was happening, Naruto simply sat back and was too absorbed in his own world, and the girl beside him to truly help.
She had known from the beginning that Hirano-kun and Komuro-kun were two different sides of the same coin. Komuro-kun was going to be what she thought as the unlikely leader of their group. Despite her father teaching her the way of the sword, he didn't neglect that a woman is still supposed to take care of the men in her life that take responsibility for her. So when Komuro-kun had arrived on the scene with a girl practically on his arm, and had quite instantly garnered Saya's attention which only came with Hirano's shortly after. To her it was obvious who would rise up as the leader, and it was not going to be the blonde. Takashi was by all means the unexpected Alpha Male of their group, or so she thought.
It was this thought that brought her to Hirano-kun. Where Takashi-kun hadn't ever anticipated such a role being dropped on him. It was a role that Hirano-kun desired. He didn't particularly care if he lead the group or not. However he wanted to be seen as an equal in their group. Although the young boy had proven to go above and beyond the call of duty in that regard with his nail gun. She could only imagine what he may be able to do with actual weapons if he were to find any.
Yet these two young teens suddenly paled in comparison to the blonde that was by all purposes still an enigma to the rest of the group except perhaps Rei who may have learned a bit about him during their journey together. Where Hirano-kun desired to be dropped into the category of an Alpha male, and Takashi didn't really even understand the position he was in? Saeko could tell from just looking at the blonde that he knew, he just knew.
He knew his position in the group. The fact that he had asserted himself as leader of the group without actually knowing anyone from the group except for Sinjah-san was proof of that. He always carried himself in a calm and collected manner. His combat capabilities while not having been heavily showcased or flashy like her own were deadly. He could wade his way through a sea of zombies with a lone dagger, and show no fear.
Saeko flushed a brighter red at that thought. Showing no fear...
It was an ideal that her father had passed down onto her. It was said that ancient Samurai warriors knew no fear and loyally served their leaders until death, and that their honor demanded it. However she doubted that her father meant was showing gutsy ballsy fearless suicidal tendencies in the face of mortal danger such as walking into a group of twelve or so zombies, and push one into the wall to simply prove a point. That crossed the line between showing no fear and taking needless risks.
Saeko shook her head, she still just couldn't believe how Naruto acted. How commanding he was. It was almost like he was like a Samurai leader that her father had told her about. However that was impossible, Samurai don't exist.
She was brought back to reality as Naruto had simply raised an eyebrow at her red faced silence. He was getting ready to just follow after Rei, and leave the purple haired girl alone. However Saeko quickly blurted out.
"I know, I'm sorry. My clothes are in the dryer. I know, this is too revealing!" she said quickly in her embarrassment realizing she had just stood there for a few seconds in utter silence in front of the blonde before she even responded.
Naruto cast her a scrutinizing gaze as her eyes roamed her entire body. Saeko felt any heat that had formerly left return to her cheeks full force at Naruto's words. "I don't see anything wrong with what you are wearing."
No dirty smirk. No excessive licking or drooling. Just the shinobi's judging gaze was left on Saeko's form. At first Saeko wanted to try and convince herself that Naruto was gay or something. But that idea quickly died as her rational part of her brain came into play. She knew he wasn't gay. She saw interest under his scrutinizing gaze, but it was quickly crushed by a mountain of refined self control. Another fact that only served to make her feel like a woman under his gaze.
She didn't have many men pursue her in school given her intimidating reputation, and tournament winning kendo status. Most boys didn't want to date a girl that was likely stronger than them.
However Naruto, he didn't care. He looked at her, saw her as a warrior and as a woman, but wasn't intimidated in the slightest. Even with her wooden blade in hand, she could see in combat when she looked at anyone that there were hints of fear in their eyes. She enjoyed fighting, she loved it. It was something in those eyes that couldn't simply be replicated, and for that fact they served to scare anyone she laid eyes upon in combat. The simple thought that they could be next to be struck down by her wooden blade? It was not a comforting one.
Yet the blonde Uzumaki... he wasn't phased in the least. In fact if she was honest with herself. When she gazed into his eyes in combat, that look sent chills down her own spine. She was afraid of him, although she would never admit it. A Samurai is supposed to show no fear. She came from the Busujima family, she would not show her fear. However just because she didn't show it didn't mean it wasn't there.
Her father told her that there was a saying that warriors don't sense opponents on a lower level or a lower plane of skill than them. It was in the same way that human beings don't sense ants unless they actively searched for them. They oppose no threat, and as such there is no reason to be worried about them. It was for that reason when the blonde would look at her in combat... no look wasn't even the right word.
He spared her. He only spared her a glance in combat. That thought made her stomach get filled with feeling that was unknown to her. Although if she were completely honest... it wasn't an unpleasant one.
Naruto raised an eyebrow, before shrugging his shoulders. "I'm going to go follow Rei." he said giving himself his own dismissal. The purple haired female obviously had other things on her mind.
"Oh Naruto-san!" Saeko cried out snapping out of her thoughts, "Umm. I tried to apologize to Miyamoto-san but..." her confidence wavered once again as the blonde turned to her. Something she knew she would have to work on, it was frankly embarrassing for her. Yet at the same time it was only the second time in her life that she had found herself in such a position. "Dinner will be ready soon... as well as... tomorrows bento..." she said quietly repeating the words she had told Takashi, not quite sure she could even admit what she said formerly under the blonde's gaze, she simply settled for the later however with a whole deal less confidence in the blonde's presence.
Naruto pursed his lips before giving the Busujima female a curt nod before making himself scarce.
Saeko released a breath she hadn't known she was holding upon the blonde's exit, before sighed and leaning against the counter as she carefully eyed the cooking pot. She now desperately wished her clothes would be dry soon.
Alright, chapter seven. This chapter is actually once again what I felt as "Half a chapter" because I didn't want to post a 13k word chapter. Another thing that is noteworthy is that Rei and Naruto share another scene much similar, and I didn't want to have near back to back chapters showcasing that.
Anyways in ANs previously, I have mainly asked everyone what they thought and what not. However now if you are this far into the story, you have likely seen my writing capability, and have hopefully enjoyed it thus far. So now I can move onto more what do you want to see, and simply answering some questions. So that is what I'll do from now on. (If you have any questions about the story and want them answered in an AN, just post them in a review.) Also this AN will naturally be a bit longer. So if you have questions, read on ahead. If you don't like long ANs, you can freely go ahead and leave the page.
The Mysterious Shackle
I won't say much about this, as it is a rather major plot point. However people are asking why isn't Naruto using heavy amounts of chakra, utilizing massive jutsu. Why is it that he is simply using a kunai, and some wall walking or chakra jumps?
The shackle is suppressing his chakra. It hasn't really been too detailed upon because Naruto himself hasn't really had the time to analyze it. However you slowly but surely get to know more and more about it. I can say that by the time you leave Rika's apartment, you will know, and Naruto should know essentially what is going on with the shackle on his wrist. For now however he is simply being careful because... its a shackle that as far as he knows was the driving force that launched him into another world, and it is chakra powered. He doesn't want to take unnecessary risks with it just in case so he doesn't launch himself somewhere else.
"Bleed, why aren't you showing the main cast from Highschool of the Dead more?"
Why? Many reasons. Firstly, we all already know about the characters in the Highschool of the Dead series. Most of them already get expanded on in canon, and we know where they do as well. (EX: Saeko's inner self reveal when split from the group. Saya's issues with feeling useless, and her inferiority complex that she gains at her parents house. This is followed by her wanting to become better when they visit the police station. Kohta with the guns at Saya's place, or his time with the police officer girl, or his melt down upon his death.)
It is these reasons that I have been holding off on expanding on them. In this story, and I think it is the only story around that has kept Shido's group with the core group. So you have an entire party of OCs that you don't know that much about. Couple that with they are virtually blank slates without Shido's rather oppressive fanatical influence? You have a lot of potential outside of the core original cast.
Another note would be this story as I'm sure you have noticed revolves heavily around Naruto, and his impact on the world and those around him. Some change for the better. Some may change for the worse. Some scenes may pan out differently than they do in the canon story. An example would be on the bus with Shido, this is originally a time for Kohta to get his built up frustration off his chest with the former school teacher. However with Naruto around, he never got to do that. So you can imagine he is a bit more antsy being around the former teacher.
Then lastly, with all of the above put into consideration, I needed to make a choice. Who should I expand on in the allotted time that I am given per arc/episode of the story. And would those said characters being expanded on at this particular time actually feel right in the story? (For example, if Saeko randomly opened up to Takashi like she does in canon, but did so at Rika's house after barely knowing him, or seeing him rescue Alice. Would it feel as genuine to Saeko's character? Probably not.)
So as such the characters that I felt I could expand on in this early part of the story were also consequently the characters with the least amount of back story. (Takashi, and Rei, and a couple "OCs".)
Every character will have their time over the course of the story, I just can't make them all happen at once.
"Bleed! Highschool of the Dead has a lot of action. However reading your story, a lot of the action seems to get skimmed over, why is that?"
Well I'll tell you. This story as I have said revolves around Naruto's presence effecting the Highschool of the Dead world, and how things pan out because of it. Furthermore, a lot of people seem to overlook some things with zombie movies. Most zombies movies or shows are partly horror, and partly action, but mostly character driven. Sure there are zombies running around. However the zombies usually never differ and as such combat can only be so interesting and dynamic only a couple times before it just becomes "Okay last stand vs slow moving zombies."
As such zombie movies, games, and stories in general become very much character driven and about surviving in a new environment. (Ex: The Walking Dead, 28 days/weeks later, Shaun of the Dead, Dead Island, I am Legend, Dead Rising, Even Highschool of the Dead itself.) Often times instead of focusing on the zombies, they focus on the degrading sense of humanity amongst humans they encounter.
The exception to this "Rule" would be the Resident Evil series. This series is a lot more about a zombie outbreak caused by a virus or infection, and how the virus proceeds to mutate. Sure there are definitely character elements and portrayals in that. However in order to get through to that point you are usually fighting against some of the most horrendously mutated versions of zombies around with guns, close combat, and all sorts of deals. Even running around with super soldiers like Wesker.
"But Bleed... There will still be action right?
Yes there will be action as the story goes on. I haven't really decided how I intend to go about it. I'm not quite sure if I want to go the mutation route or not. But there will certainly be action as the story continues, so you need not fear in that regard.
If anyone has any ideas for this? I'm personally all ears. I would love to really be able to invoke fear in the audience. However making "impossible odds" feel "Real" with Naruto in the universe is pretty difficult. Add to the fact that most stories, you know that "Oh well this is a cool scene, Naruto and his group fighting a bunch of zombies. But we all know no one in Naruto's group is going to die so..." *proceeds to skim the action*
So I need to really find out a way to maintain a balance of action in a zombie apocalypse that feels worth it(like there is actually a risk for people). That balance I have not figured out how to do yet. So once again, open to suggestions.