A/N: Yo! Been a long time hasn't it? I haven't touched this story for quite awhile, although i've faithfully kept up with the manga. In recent news, my computer has crashed and I won't be able to have it fixed until tomorrow (hopefully) at the earliest, thereby leaving me with this crappy backup that likes to LAAAAAAAAG. I barely managed to update yesterday as it was! As for that, I'm sorry to have kept all you guys and girls waiting for the next chapter and thusly, apologize for its shortness. We seesome action in this one!
...back to the awesomness!
"You...You...You piece of shit! How dare you act so high and mighty!"
Shirahama Kenichi arrived the next morning to a storm of fists.
Finding the door mysteriously ajar, he'd entered, thinking nothing amiss save the for the strange, rhythmic thwack-thwack-thwack sound near the garden. There was no one there to greet him, nor did anyone emerge to turn him away, so he continued onward. At the time he hadn't thought much of the lack of activity in the dojo, nor the fact that none of the masters he'd met yesterday were nowhere to be seen.
He still hadn't thought much of it...
...until he reached the yard.
Naruto was there just as before, as were the masters. Today, however, their disciple wielded no weapon. Only his fists. In place of the basic gi he'd worn yesterday, today, Naruto had chosen to don an unremarkable black sleeveless vest ,complete with matching shorts. If he noticed Kenichi's arrival, he made no metnion of it; bounding as he was on the balls of his feet, raising his gloved hands and sweat-slicked arms to ward off his opponent's blows.
He squared off against a great giant of a man who-though not nearly as tall as the elder-looked to be quite intimidating in his own right; with his glowing white eyes, massive muscles, and chiseled frame. Not to mention those rapid-fire piston punches of his, tearing leaves from the air as though they were nothing at all!
"Apapapa!" The Shinigami of Muay Thai chanted the words like a mantra as he showered the blond disciple with a barrage of bone-breaking punches and body blows. Naruto suffered through each one, grounding himself, and raising his gloves in a guard, tossing in blows of his own whenever his opponent's guard allowed. If Appachi was a hurricane, constantly moving, never at rest, lashing out with pure destructive power, then he was the eye.
Calm and at peace, weathering the full wrath of the storm with a keen and practiced ease that bespoke of years of harshly imbued training, both physical and mental. Such training, must've taken years to obtain, least of all accept, Kenichi realized as he watched master and student square off for another round.
And he wanted to learn this much in a week?
"Good job, Naruto!" The giant declared loudly, driving his clenched knuckles forward in a wild haymaker. "Now try to block this one! APPUNCH!" Appachai's fist barreled through the boy's guard as if it were nonexistent; smashing into the blonde's unprotected face like a freight train. For a long moment there was silence; not just amidst the masters but in the compound itself. As though they knew this was only the calm before the storm; and they were waiting for it to erupt once more. The silence seemed stretched on into eternity. Impassable. Unbreakable
Shigure was the one who shattered it.
"Go...Naruto." She raised a fist in the air and pumped it slowly, back and forth. Her words, this simple act of encouragement, produced an inexplicable result.
Because the Unlikely Disciple moved.
Naruto said nothing, but he struck like a serpent, yelling his fury and giving his body the sharp countertwist that made his kicks so blindingly fast and powerful. Kenichi, who was looking straight at him, barely saw the strike. Naruto's shin, crushed against Appachi's unprotected stomach. For all the good it did him. Appachai laughed; laughed, as though the vicsious blow actually tickled, rather than tormented. Naruto opened his mouth to reply but never made it; his visage crumpling in pain against some unseen attack.
And then it was over.
The blow barreled into the blond's face with gusto, bending his nose and destroying the capillaries in his nostrils. Blood spilled onto the ground, spurted through the air as Naruto's body was launched flying, back colliding with the adjacent stone wall surrounding the dojo, mere feet from where Kenichi stood. For a moment, Shirahama swore he'd heard the creak of bone. Brick and mortar broke against Naruto's body seconds later, crashing down on his shoulders as he slumped down to the floor. Their was a collective wince from the masters, Shigure chief amongst them, when the disciple made no effort to rise. All assembled looked to her.
"Shigure-don?" Ma Kensei gestured.
'What is she...?'
The mistress of weapons was already striding forward, bending down to check for a pulse. She didn't even deign to glance at Kenichi, as she bent lower still, either ignorant of simply uncaring for the boy's flush whilst she whispered into the ear of her inert disciple. Whatever she said it must've worked; because Naruto jerked back to life with a gasp, blue eyes bulging so large Kenichi was almost certain they'd fall right out of his head.
Shigure tuned to flick her fellow masters' a thumbs up.
"As expected of Shigure,"Akisame nodded.
"Ah, crap." Kenichi heard Sakaki mutter. "I thought we lost him for a minute there. More importantly...you need to learn how to hold back, Appachi!"
"Sorry!" the giant exclaimed aghast, fearing the worst for his disciple. "Appachai is sorry!"
"No, it's alright." The Unlikely Disciple spat out a bloody gob. "Your punch didn't do that to me." He wiped the blood away from his mouth with the back of a hand and, with some assistance from Shigure, managed to find his footing. Then, and only then, did his blue eyes finally settle upon Kenichi. As if that were his cue, Kenichi suddenly felt everyone's eyes on him; abruptly realized that everyone had finally been made aware of his prescence.
"So you came after all, gaki!" Naruto grinned. "I'd thought you'd chicken out."
"M-Me?" Ignoring the knocking of his knees, Kenichi forced himself to speak. "N-Never!"
Naruto snorted as he stood on his own power.
"You do know Miu lives here, don't you?"
The silence was his answer.
"You really didn't know?"
"You didn't! Oh man, that's rich-gack!" The blond started to laugh; his mirth quickly ended in a coughing fit. Shigure flung a concerned glance and moved her shoulders as though she were about to go to him, but the blond waved her off. "Alright, alright." He admitted, steadying himself. "I promised I'd put in a good word for you, if ya had the balls to show up. Don't expect me to train ya, though, Shirahama. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm starving." Without another word, he allowed himself to be helped inside, guided by Shigure and Akisame. Kenichi didn't even have a chance to try and protest, faced as he was on a sudden by the elder himself.
'When did he get here?'
"You have come prepared for this, have you not?" Asked the bushy-bearded giant. Faced with the great mountain of a man.
"Let me ask you again, Shirahama Kenichi-kun." The elder began. "Are you here to join us? Here at Ryouzanpaku?"
Kenichi steeled himself. This was what he wanted. He wanted to become stronger. He was sick and tired of being beaten, battered, and bullied. He wanted strength. Strength, to protect himself, but also to protect others.
"If I can become stronger, yes!"
"Well then, there's just the matter of admission...
Naruto couldn't help gut guffaw as, once inside, the price of admission was swiftly lowered to a mere fraction of the cost within seconds of negotiating with Shirahama's silence. That wasn't fair at all! He'd paid three times as much when he started training here! Naturally, the elder didn't much seem to mind as he explained the situation.
"The truth is that we of Ryouzanpaku is experiencing some financial hardship...
"Well we've managed so far thank to Miu's clever bookkeeping and the occasional odd job Naruto takes on." He stroked a hand through his bushy mustache and flowing beard. "Though most of those tend to become charity cases...
"Charity cases?" Kenichi blinked. "You mean he actually helps people-yike!" He narrowly ducked a bowl of rice, flung at him by Naruto. The Unlikely Disciple was glaring bloody red daggers at them from across the table, armed with another bowl and a pair of chopsticks.
"If you value your life, Shirahama, you won't say another word."
"H-Hai!" Kenichi swallowed, momentarily distracted by a soft beep from his watch. "Say, shouldn't we be going?"
"Eh?" Naruto blinked. "Going where?"
Now it was Kenichi's turn to blink.
"Nah." The blond waved him off. "I'm good."
"But won't you get in trouble if you miss class?"
Naruto paused in mid-bite, as though he realized he'd just revealed a terrible secret. Caught in the act, he whistled innocently.
"I may...have a way around that."
The kage bunshin gave its tail a short, sidelong glance, just long enough to confirm that it was still being tracked. Someone had been following him ever since he'd left Ryouzanpaku for the school grounds. The boss wasn't going to like this. He wasn't going to like this one bit. Taking a series of twists and turns toward a nearby alleyway, he found the girl-her figure was emphatically female-was still tailing him. Banking a hard right, the clone waited until it was certain his pursuer would follow. The sound of footfalls drew close, then closer still; cautious, hesistant and uncertain of their path now that their quarry had escaped.
Abruptly, the clone emerged, leaving its quarry to run smack into its chest.
"Oi!" They yelped aloud, "Watching we're you're going, jackass-oh."
Naruto's clone found itself face to face with a dark-eyed girl, her crimson hair cropped short beneath a green cap. Everything about her; her attire, the way she held herself, even those narrowed orbs and tense posture, screamed delinquent. She peered up at him in srurpise
"Did I stutter?" The blond shrugged off his jacket, exposing lean, muscular forearms to the sun. "You've been tailing me for at leas three blocks now, and its obvious you're itching for a fight. So, I say again, if you're going to fight someone, it ought to be me, ya know?" Kisara appraised him briefly; he looked lean beneath his school uniform, but looks could be deceving. One look at him, an immovable pivot came to mind. An unbreakable wall of stone. Damn Odin's orders but...she suddenly wanted to fight this guy! She'd been told to tail Naruto 'Hurricane' Uzumaki after he'd made that mess of Loki and his duplicates just the other week. Her orders were to follow, but to avoid engagement at all costs.
"Don't come crying to me if you get yourself hurt!"
So much for that plan!
Her kick snapped short against his shin, left rigid by an equally abrupt block. Naruto had merely raised his knee in recompense for her temerity; if, he was at all fazed by her blow, he did precious little to showcase his pain. Balance as he was upon his left leg, he didn't so much as bat an eyelash.
"You're strong." she observed.
"As are you." The blond remarked as they broke away from one another. "For a delinquent."
"So you're not afraid to fight girls?" she asked, hazarding a spinning kick at his head. The blond replied in kind, effortlessly parried her kick with one of his own. Strong! Kisara gasped, wincing as the bones in her leg creaked beneath the strain of sustaning the block. They landed opposite one another; two predators, intent on a single piece of meat. Kisara tucked her body into a roll and came up swinging, her heel colliding violently against the blonde's temple before he could do the same. The student spun with the impact, however, and it was with some trepidation and elation that Kisara saw the back of his hand, carreening toward her face. If she could just manage to dodge-
Such was her only thought as her face collided with the alley wall, her visage violently smashing up against it, her ears ringing from the open palmed strike. Naruto was on her before she had the chance to recover, locking her arms behind her back, stradling her legs with his own. Damnit! She squirmed furtively against him, trying her level best not to break free from him, as he shoved her back against the wall.
"Fight fair, you ass!"
Abruptly, the blond released her. Kisara stumbled forward and caught herself against the wall.
"J-Jerk." She managed half-heartedly.
"Don't blame me for your short-comings."
"Says the ass!"
The Hurricane-as Odin called him-offered another of his foxy grins.
"I will face whomever raises their hand against me." He paused, sent an appreciative glance at her bare thigh, locked against his own. "Or in this case, their leg. Yours are quite lovely, by the way ya know?"
Behind Kisara's pale skin, the slow flushing of her face looked almost like a growing forest fire, and she seemed literally unable to catch her breath. She tugged down her cap just to hide her eyes, just so she wouldn't have to to look at those smoldering blue orbs. Oh wow. He was smooth, this guy. Fighting her and hitting on her at the same time? Outside of Ragnarok she'd never met a man capable of both before. Of holding his own against her while at the same time respecting her as a woman. She burned beneath his gaze, color rising in her cheeks to match that of her hair. Unthinking in her exasperation, she lashed out seeking to drive that smug smile from his face, in flustered desperation.
It was a mistake.
The Unlikely Disciple parried, neatly raising a forerarm to endure her axe kick. Balancing flawlessly on a single leg, he met her follow up, with one of his own, their foreheads colliding violently with one another in a vicious headbutt; even as each fighter struggled to stand on a single limb.
"Not bad!" Kisara laughed, grinning widely as she thrust the opposite heel deep at the blonde's stomach. "I like you, boy! You've got some skills!" Naruto riposted, skipping backwards as her heel brushed off his chin. He touched hand to the slight scuff mark there. Frowned, as his eyes drifted shut. Strange. Was that orange eyleiner against his eyes? When did that get there? Kisara, really was curious, but she held her tongue all the same as the blond raised his now golden gaze. Something about his eyes-those godamned sexy eyes!-set her hackles on end. Why weren't his eyes blue, anymore? Was he wearing contact lenses? And when did he have time to put those in?
"Should I take that as a compliment?" he asked quietly.
"Doesn't matter to me!" thumbing at her nose, she sneered across at him. "You haven't even been able to touch me yet! Idiot!"
"Is that so?" Naruto disengaged from her with an abrupt flourish, took a single step back, raised his left leg for another assault. "Then please, permit me to tear away that folly."
Kisara's visage screwed up in confusion. The hell was he talking about?
And then it was over.
Her head greeted the ground with alarming swiftness, stars exploding before the black of her vision. Even as she realized she'd been struck between the ribs, he was there; stradling her, pinning her to the ground with the weight of his body. She sucked in a breath, wincing, as her body screamed in protest. Damnitall! No one should be able to move that fast? Not even Odin! Especially not this jackass! Even as the thought flashed through her miind she felt the his hands clamp down upon her wrists and shoulders, dislocating them in the span of an instant. The pain was excruciating in the worst of ways...
Kisara tried to cry out, but even that was denied her; the clone had already gagged her with a dirty cloth. She tugged at it with her teeth, and succeeded only marginally in loosening the thick and heavy cloth. She could feel his hands on her face now; could see him now, as he forced her to look him in the eye. They were sapphire once more she noted, not that strange, eerie saffron. Kisara shrieked at him through the gag, her cheeks flaming as she str
"Checkmate," Naruto breathed, his breath warm in her ear, hot on her face. "Kisara-chan." He swatted her once on the ass as he rose, eliciting a sputtering blush from the redhead. How dare he do such a thing! She turned her head to glare bloody red daggers at him, helpless as he breezed past her. She tore at the gag with renwered fervor, managed to work it free enough to speak; to spit at his retreating form.
"I won't forget this, asshole!"
"If you manage to get out of that, I just might be willing to teach you." he mused aloud, apparently uncaring. "But for now, I'm late for class."
"Teach me what?!" She screamed at his back, but to no avail. The blond raised a hand in lazy farewell and then he was gone.
"Ja ne, Kisara-chan."
It didn't occur to Kisara until sometime later that she'd never bothered to tell him her name. So...
...how the fuck did he know it? More importantly...
...why did she care?
A/N: Hope you enjoyed it! Seems Naruto's made himself an enemy in Ragnarok...and a potential rival/apprentice in Kisara. He didn't NEED Sage Mode to defeat her, he was merely trying to make a point; the difference of power/resolve between them. Still not quite sure if this is a harem, though. We'll jump into the full swing of things next chappy! And...with that that I'm off! So, in the immortal words of Atlas...
...would you kindly review?