Top of the Tree
Death has always been a fascinating concept for us human beings.
The tires of our military Jeep stumbled on the hidden rocks of the desert we drove through. It was probably around a hundred degrees out in the dry heat. Our uniform stuck to our sweaty bodies as we sat patiently in our Jeep waiting to arrive at our location. We had sandy colored dirt and sweat smeared across our faces. We were tired after having finished a successful mission.
What happens when you're dying?
Lieutenant Jerry Mycroft was steering the wheel, occasionally chuckling at a joke or two one of my boys spluttered out. I was sitting in the passenger seat, turned to face the men sitting in the back, occasionally looking out a window or two; just to make sure. I snickered as Corporal Michael Carlson sarcastically commented on his partner's love life. I rolled my eyes. Men.
"Eyes on the road, Jerry," I comment as I myself turned back to face the front.
Where do you go when you're dead?
He gave me an easy smile, "Aye, Ma'am".
I briefly took off my helmet to brush back the bangs that were falling on my face, and re-do my ponytail; it wasn't an easy feat—having short curly hair and all. I put the helmet back in its place.
I thought that after death there was nothing.
A shine appeared in my peripheral vision. I tensed slightly, but decided to not tell my men; it was too far away to be a threat.
Jerry continued to speed down the desert.
I saw a blur of movement.
"Slow down, Sergeant and keep a watch out—ya' don't know what might be in the dirt," I said quietly.
My mind was racing. Something wasn't right. It was too quiet.
"Understood, Captain," the men behind me noticed my sudden quietness—the shift in the air.
I though that I'd forever be stuck in a void…
Before I could bark out any orders, we hit a rock, or at least that's what I thought it was at first.
I saw white.
My ears were ringing.
My head was pounding.
I could distantly hear the men shrieking in pain.
Burning. Burn. Burn.
That's what I thought.
I got up. I'll rest when there's time—when we get back.
I chanted in my head: up, up, up. Later, later, later.
With a groan I stood up reaching for my M16A2 rifle. I started shooting at the unidentified men. Our attackers.
There had been, on total, five of us in the Jeep, including myself. I only saw two fighting back. Corporal Michael Carlson and Private Sean Joan. I gulped.
I hid behind a particularly large boulder and started shooting for our attackers. Bang—one down. Bang—bang—two down. Duck. Duck. Bang—missed.
Breath. Calm Down. Think.
I saw Carlson fall. Bang—dead.
I reached for my radio: "This is Captain Judith Moore from assault team B88. We've been ambushed. Requesting immediate backup,"
I returned to shooting. Their numbers kept increasing. Bang—dead.
I saw Joan get hit in the leg. I left my hiding spot and ran to him—firing on the way.
"Joan! You okay?" I shouted.
I shielded him with my body, proceeding to shoot at out attackers.
Bang, bang—dead, dead.
Good. Their numbers were decreasing.
"Captain! They came out of nowhere—I don't know how this happened—the others—" he stuttered.
"Get a grip! I can't afford you to lose it now. Get up, get up! And help me shoot these bastards down".
He got up without a sound and helped me.
I felt blood slide down my temple—my left arm—both legs.
Sharp pain to the chest. I grunted. My bulletproof vest got hit.
Joan fell. He wasn't getting up. He was…
I cursed under my breath. Over and over.
I felt a hit to the back of my head.
They told me seventy-two hours had gone by. I didn't believe them—it was definitely more.
"What's your name and rank? Where were you going? Where are the others? What's your next move?" a shady guy with his face covered by a black mask asked me with an accent.
Like hell was I going to say anything.
"If I were you, I'd speak. Or you'll force us to get… creative," his eyes were smiling. I shivered.
I smirked. I spit in his face.
Punch in the nose. Blood oozed out. Ouch!
He said something to the guy standing guard at the door. I didn't understand what it was. The guard came back with a spiked chain.
Suddenly I felt absurdly cold. Uh Oh.
I didn't think…
"Last chance," he said.
I shut my eyes with as much force I could muster. This obviously wasn't going to end well.
Pain. Pain. Pain. And pain.
For a moment I opened my eyes. There was so much blood. Everywhere.
I was scared. Terrified. Shitless.
I was weak. My body felt like a ton. I couldn't move.
Bang! I heard. I looked down.
A hole to the chest.
I heard shouting in the background.
After serving the army for ten years… this was how it would end: tortured to death.
—That I'd be born again…
Bang! Blood sliding down my face.
My body slumped forward. And minutes passed.
And more minutes.
An hour. Two.
I felt fuzziness around me.
And finally… Black.
With my memories intact.
Before I knew it I was surrounded by darkness. The sound of gunshots ringing in my head—over and over.
I can't say when, but the ringing eventually faded.
And I was alone, floating in some sort of squishy/gooey/gross liquid.
Black turned to red.
And then I could hear sounds. They were muted—I couldn't distinguish what they were saying—where they came from—but they were there, and somehow it was comforting.
Every now and then I moved positions. My feet would hit some kind of soft wall, and I'd become uncomfortable. But I'd hear a soft voice, and I'd relax—I was okay. Safe.
I'm not sure for how long it lasted, didn't care, I just didn't want to ever leave the warm, comforting haven.
But it started to get smaller. It felt… constricted.
The walls were crashing down on me, pushing me down, down, down.
I was hit by as rush of cold air, that wasn't really cold, but compared to the warmness I was used to feeling, was freezing.
There was light, laughter, blurred shapes and dulled colors. Screaming.
Something was holding on to me. They looked like… hands. I was passed to other hands, and then others.
But all I could hear was wailing—screaming—bawling—howling—weeping. Crying. But I couldn't pinpoint its location. I knew it was close. Very close. It was the familiar cry of a baby. It was loud, deafening, even
I found myself being cradled—being bounced up and down in an annoyingly steady rhythm.
It hit me.
The wailing, the baby's wailing… was coming from me.
"Well, fuck," was my very first thought. And maybe a few other curse words.
I can't tell you exactly what happened after my birth, can't say I remember all that much. All I know is that there was a lot a sleeping and cuddling—'Suppose it's a way of bonding. I couldn't see the faces too well; my eyesight wasn't as pristine as it was before I… died.
The family, in which I was born to, brought me to their homely abode after two days in, what I would assume was, a hospital. I was wrapped in a soft pink blanket to keep me protected from the cold wind. I scarcely remember the trees were naked, and their leaves were being crunched under my parents' oddly opened toed boots. It was winter; I came to the conclusion.
The woman carrying me, my mother, whispered soft, calming words into my ear—not that I understood any of it… sounded a little like Japanese.
I was quiet for the most part. I'd whimper every now and then, still stunned at the situation I'd found myself in. I suppose from an adult's point of view my quietness was concerning. I just figured I'd have plenty of time to cry in the future.
Thinking about my past gave me a headache.
I looked over my mother's shoulder, and saw a man, my father, trailing behind my mother, with a proud but small, smile stretched across his face. He had a full head of weirdly styled dark graying hair that was the same color as my my mother's. I was struck by the amount of love I saw in his eyes. He looked… familiar—for some reason. He noticed my staring, and his smile widened. He reached out and patted my head gently, carful not to hurt me. I felt funny inside.
In my old life I wasn't so lucky as to have a loving family. I had a drunk as a father, and a weak hearted mother, who was too afraid to lift a finger against said father. I hated them, and I wished that I had been born into a different family—a different life.
Note the irony in all of this?
One day I arrived home—I was sixteen at the time—and I found my mother, Caitlyn, in the kitchen, with a gunshot wound to the chest, and my father, Jeff, with a bullet to the head in their bedroom.
The neighbors heard the gunshots and called the police. It was quite some commotion in my small hometown.
Apparently, from the police reports, my father came home drunk—while I was at school—got angry at my mom for some reason, and shot her in the chest, realized what he'd done, and committed suicide.
I was soon thrown into the Foster System, and jumped form house to house until I reached eighteen. I graduated from high school, went to community collage and studied history for four years. Three months after graduation I joined the army.
And ten years later, at thirty-two, I kicked the bucket.
We arrived at a house—I suppose I should start calling it home—and opened the door. I heard little footsteps patting against the wooden floor, coming into our direction. It was a little five-year-old boy with a mop of dark brown hair and eyes. He looked excited, I guess; I don't know how siblings work, I never had any.
My Mother lowered me to the floor, closer to the little boy. She said something in gibberish.
"…Kozue," I heard.
He reached out and pecked my cheek. I could have sworn I blushed. He repeated "Kozue", and let out an enormous smile. I felt funny again.
I later came to find out that Kozue was the name given to me. It means treetop. It's a weird name, but in an odd way, I suppose it fit perfectly.
In the same week in which I was born, a lot of people came to the house for, what I assume were, congratulations on the new addition to the family. And by the amount of people coming in and out of the house, and coming to see me, I could guess that my family was well liked.
Most of them, however, had these odd-looking metal plates, with a somewhat swirly symbol on it, attached to their foreheads (and other places too, but mainly their foreheads). This puzzled me.
My Father said something to a tall man with spiky white hair. He looked… Familiar. My Mother, who was holding me, handed me over to said man.
Under his hold I felt immediately safe.
He also had a metal plate hung around his forehead. I reached out to grab it, but was stopped by a boisterous laugh. The man said some more gibberish and walked over to the window. He pointed to a mountain with… things that looked like heads on it—I couldn't see well; I'd been born a week earlier. He began spouting some sentences. There were two words that I understood. Shinobi. Hokage-sama.
The reason the people called my dad Hokage-sama.
The reason why everyone wore open-toed boots.
The reason why I couldn't understand the language.
The reason no one made a sound while walking.
The reason why my father looked familiar.
The reason why the white-haired guy holding me looked familiar.
I looked over the man's shoulder and spotted a ten-year-old blond and blue-eyed kid talking to my Father.
I was in the Naruto World, the manga that I was obsessed with when I was a teenager.
The swirly symbol was a leaf.
I was in Konohagakure.
My father was Sarutobi Hiruzen, the Third Hokage.
I was being held by one of the legendary Sannin, Jiraiya.
The future Fourth Hokage was a child.
I was surrounded by trained assassins.
I started crying right then and there.
Okay! So, this is my first OC fanfic. This is a semi-self insert—for one I'm not in the army, nor am I thirty-two, or have a shitty family. But the attitude and personality is definitely mine.
I'm looking for a Beta! So if you're interested, please PM me!
Now for Kozue's family, the Sarutobi, we know that there are two sons: Asuma, and one that we never learned the name (who is also Konohamaru's father)—I'll give him the name Hiro... Maybe. Asuma hasn't been born yet, so Kozue is the middle child.
It's going to be a wild ride for Kozue, so stay tuned.