A Fox at War
The great ninja war never ended. Naruko, the villages weakest genin has been beaten down into nothing. To survive in a world without sympathy she must build herself back up by overcome many trials and remember the spirited girl she once was. weak!naruko Possible Yuri.
Chapter 1: The Test (Part One)
Entering her apartment Naruko fell back against the doorframe, eyes hollow and vacant staring down at her feet in resignation. She should have know it would not be so easy, should have known they would find a way to screw her in the end. She looked up, head turned towards the ceiling as if staring off into the sky asking a far distant something 'why?'. There would be no answer, there never was. It was just another 'thing', something she had to take in stride and accept because refusing to accept could only lead her to one place... and she didn't much care for dyeing just yet.
"Stop complaining... just deal with it... like always." She breathed scolding herself and it gave her the will she needed to get past the torment in her mind.
Pushing off the door she entered deeper into her apartment, a rundown simple one room apartment. It was ill kept by the landlord, but it was warm and dry inside hosting a compact kitchen and dining table, her bed, a closet bathroom, and a few shelves that remained mostly bare except for an odd item or two she had collected thought her childhood.
She had planned to eat when she got home, but her feet with a mind of their own carried her across the floor to her bed where she fell into its comforting embrace and contorted into a fetal position. It was a warm here bathing under the glow of the sun shining in through the large window beside her bed.
Laying there as she was curled among her blanket she appeared a child hiding from the world, from some nameless boogeyman. It was not entirely untrue... sometimes she did wish to hide, to run away from the world and shamelessly she would admit there were worse places to do it then in her own bed. Right now though, she only angst that her blankets could not truly shield her from the world. She could really use that kind of protection today.
"Another test..." She mourned. Having only just graduating the academy, she had thought she had achieved something. Her, dead-last most-likely-to-die-her-first-mission not-good-at-anything nameless-Naruko, had graduated and there was no one who could say different.. Not unless their name was Kakashi, her new genin team leader.
Out of the blue on the first meeting of team seven Kakashi nonchalantly declared an additional test for the team to truly determined if they were ready to be genin. Anger boiled up at that, but quickly died away. If anyone in the village had such a right Kakashi had surly earned it... Kakashi the copy-cat ninja with a reputation that could rival many or the pure blooded Uchiha elite.
Still it felt so unfair... it was difficult enough to pass the academy graduation exam and now here she was faced with a new unknown challenge, one that threatened to send her back to that hell known as the academy. For some the academy was paradise, but for her... well she had made the mistake of challenging the system and there was nothing a high handed clan member hated more than an upstart nameless.
She was given a choice when she was a child, starve on the streets like the rest of the war orphans, or enlist into the ninja academy to become cannon fodder for the endless ninja war. Star struck and naive Naruko happily became a ninja with childish dreams of showing the clans they were nothing special... how could she have been so foolish.
In her early years at the academy she approached everyone who thought they were her better with hostility and bravado, keen on proving otherwise. As it so happened, it often resulted in visits to the infirmary, but only for her. Clan members were so strong, so talented, bolstered by years of experience and expert training before they had ever entered the academy. To imagine she had ever thought herself their equal... she never had a chance, not even a little one, and they saw fit to remind her of that each and every day.
Life in the academy became nothing but a live battlefield for her then, only avoided by her ability to remain unnoticed, to avoid the ire of her betters, and to remain docile and humble even in the face of prejudice and cruelty. Oh how they liked to see her docile and humble... the bastards... but it only worked part of the time. There was always someone with something to prove, someone with a chip on their shoulder and a nameless like her, someone without a clan, was a good a target as any. After all no one cared about the nameless, if you were not in a clan... you were simply trash to be stepped on.
"Was it because of me?" She wondered as her thoughts returned to team seven's meeting. It was not a stretch considering the incomprehensible unknown mind boggling reason that lead anyone to assigning her to a team with an Uchiha and a medic nin. There was two types of ninja, the elite, and the cannon fodder, and by both scales she was neither... just simply trash. How it came about that she was placed on such an elite team, much less allowed to stand in their presence was a conundrum.
The great ninja war remained as strong today as it was when it first began, the various hidden villages painting a canvas of blood across nameless battlefields all at the command of the incompetent lords who held their leash. It was often singularly credited to the terrifying strength of the Uchiha clan that the hidden leaf still stood so strong and resolute. Within the village the Uchiha where seen as no less then royalty, praised and worshiped by the mass's as savors and protectors of the village.
Because of that it was easy to understand why the thought of her, the very worst ninja of her age group being, to be honoured with the right to fight alongside an Uchiha, Sasuke Uchiha no less, was difficult to accept. Sasuke was gifted, even by Uchiha standards, and was currently the top ranked ninja of their age group. If that was not enough, then there was Sakura Haruno.
Sakura was a medic ninja, a very rare breed. She had the ability to heal the most grievous of injuries even under the pressure of live combat. It was almost a given she would be paired with Sasuke, though she was not ranked the highest as a combatant, her ability to preserve Sasuke's life should the worse come to pass made her a priceless asset to the team.
"But why me?" Naruko grit her teeth with the frustration of the mystery. She brought nothing to the team, not a thing. How could she stand side by side with the pair of them and even dream of saying she was part of their team. She was a liability, a weak link. There was no logical reason for her to be paired with them, she belonged on a minor team... but they had given her an elite one.
It was too much to think about, and far too stressful. With a dismissive grunt she rolled onto her back with an arm across her eyes, an action the bitterly taunted she was once again running away from her problems. She didn't care right now... she had to many problems so running away from a few was hardly an issue. Taking a deep breath she decided to think of things of a different nature, mainly her betterment at her lack of development.
It was obvious she was underdeveloped for her age of sixteen years with a body that was far too petite for the things she demanded of it. Perhaps it was bad nutrition, or just biology. She didn't know, but in comparison to the other girls her age she was definitely the runt of the litter. Though fairly athletic she lacked hardened muscles a taller fuller body could give her and so she was left physically weak in many situations. A trait that proved extremely painful in many of the academy's mandatory peer combat exams.
What frustrated her most or at least equally if she were to be a little vain, was her tomboyish appearance, something she was often criticized and bullied about. She had a cute face, smooth and round, but it lacked the sharp hard angles that made girls like Sakura and Ino stand out as beauties. With below average breasts and a depressing lack of feminine curves she had all the sex appeal of a preteen, or a very feminine boy, both were extremely very soar points to be sure.
It wasn't like she wanted sex appeal, she already had enough problems without having to deal with such a dangerous topic, she just wanted to feel like a girl sometime. Not the cute faced tomboy that everyone treated like a kid, but only when they went treating her like a punching bag instead. It was a little surprising to realize she truly could not decide which she considered worse. In a fight at least she could hit back, but being treated like a kid... how do you defend against that?
With a groan she burred her head into her pillow to push away her thoughts. If she was going to brood away the day in bed there were far better activates to focus her energy upon. So with a shameful sigh she slowly let a hand descend down her youthful body and dip between her thighs. As it disappeared beneath her clothing it drew the softest of breaths when finger tips met her innocence.
This was a paradise she had discovered some time ago, a comfort she could bring to herself. It gave her something she desperately lacked and even if it lasted for only the briefest of moments it would be enough. It had been more then a month since she had touched herself so intimately in this manner and her anticipation was expressed as longing upon her face, her teeth biting into her lower lip with expectation. She could do with a little comfort, if just a little, just enough to get her mind off things she no longer wanted to think about.
Long minutes passed as her breath grew deeper, a sheen of sweat building under the warm gaze of the sun who was the only witness to the lewdness of her innocent act. Her lips pouted distressed with pleasure as each breath became tighter and hoarser, continuing to escalate until finally her lung seized stiff in a sharp shuddered breath. She winced then, not meaning to have gone so far, but it was too late for regrets as her body gave soft reactive jerks to the passion that washed over her in powerful nerve tingling waves. When her body eventually stilled she drew her hand free letting it fall beside her coming to rest upon her pillow gleaming and sparkling with the incriminating evidence of her realized passion.
It was not much long after thought that a rebellious expression etched its way across her face. She had to stop committing this degusting act, it was something she told herself each and every time she did this. What could a fake moment of pleasure and comfort do to defend against the life of pain she lived? How much must she make herself regret with theses temptations, these teasing comforts that always ended in hollow regret. Wasn't she only hurting herself in the end? Perhaps... but no matter how many times she beat herself up over it, in the end she always ended up touching herself again.
A rather loud grumble from her stomach delivered the demands of her stomach for her to eat, she would not disappoint it. Pushing herself up in bed she tried her best to forget about afterglow that still warmed her and went about the rest of her day. Tomorrow would come whether she wanted it to or not... all she could do is prepare for it.
It was still dark when she awoke the next day. She didn't waste time in bed, the moment her eyes opened she slipped from it and went about her routine. Discarding her sleepwear she took a quick shower in her tiny bathroom. This was the only situation her small frame benefited her, it was a very small bathroom after all... It took only minutes to wash and returning to the room she dressed.
Her outfit was not the most practical wearing a breath-constricting black elastic bodysuit covered by both a baggy orange tunic and a pair of orange boyish shorts. Each had their sleeves and legs bound down by cloth wrappings to prevent lose material being a hindrance in battle. There was similar wrappings around her wrists and ankles under her ninja sandals and gloves. Like Kakashi she too preferred to conceal her identify behind a mask and pulled hers up to rest over her nose while the bangs of her long hair would conceal the rest without obstructing her vision, her forehead protector held them in place.
Twist her torso Naruko reached back behind her gripping the concealed hilt of a sword making sure it was easily accessible. The sheath was strapped bellow her baggy wide collared tunic concealing the blade in such a way so only the hilt was exposed peeking up out from the back of her collar. Anyone standing in front of her would have no knowledge of its existence and that would hopefully give her an advantage when she had need to draw it.
Leaving her apartment she looked up at the pitch black sky, but an hour or two would bring morning. She only hopped she would not be late to the test... it was on the other side of the village, but there was no telling when Kakashi would arrive. With weariness arriving early was part of the test she made as good a time as she could without drawing the ever watchful eye of the village sentries... ninja happy to haggle anyone they deem suspicious. Normally they would leave students alone, but now that she had a forehead protector all bets were off.
Arriving at Training Area Four without incident, she wasn't surprised to find Sakura and Sasuke already there. She joined them quietly offering a hopeful nod of greeting and as expected received nothing in return. To them she did not belong here and she would not be one to argue.
It was truly demoralizing to stand beside her team mates, to try and compare herself to them... so desperately wanting to measure up but falling so painfully short. A simple glance at them revealed a world of difference... both Sakura and Sasuke though in nearly casual clothing, were outfitted with brand new ninja tools, pouches, and scrolls. Their equipment was of the highest quality and never used. Naruko's on the other hand was used equipment of questionable quality... all she could afford on the pitiful stipend the academy gave its undesired students.
If the laughable condition of her worn and used kuna and tool pouches were not enough to make her a fool then the rest of the outfit did. Her outfit was bright and flashy, compared to Sakura and Sasuke who wore practical casual outfits, she felt she looked nothing short of a clown and now was beginning to bitterly regretting buy the outfit. She could only assume she appeared such an amateur in their eyes, if they even cared to let her fill them.
"Everyone here?" Kakashi suddenly spoke from behind, before moved around front. His sudden appearance had startled Naruko, she had been to distracted with her brooding to sensed his approach. No one made comment, but it was hard to believe no one had noticed. Wearing a disappointed expression Kakashi scratching the back of his head. "Here I was hoping at least one of you would be late..." His eyes lingered on Naruko as he spoke and she shrunk under his gaze, she just wanted to disappear...
"Well since everyone is here…" Kakashi rummaged around in his pocket. "I can tell you about the test." He pulled a pair of jingling bells free and they drew everyone's eyes while he attached them to his belt. "Your test is rather simple." He explained, and paused for a deep yawn, Sasuke did not seem to appreciate it "You see theses bells. If you steal one i will acknowledge you as a genin and allow you to pass. Don't steal one, and you won't pass. Simple, any questions?"
"There are only two bells." Sakura stated with some confusion.
"Was that a question?" Kakashi smiled, asking with a dry tone.
"Why are there only two bells?" Sakura asked properly, a little miffed and embarrassed she had to correct herself.
"Why in deed?" Kakashi questioned himself and taped his chin with a finger not intending to answer. The meaning wasn't hard to guess with only two bells only two of them could pass. "You have from sun up till sun set to steal them by any means necessary. I do suggest you work together, but then again... there are only two." Kakashi concluded before lazily pulling a book from his pouch and began to read. Sun was still a little while off and the three stood waiting.
"Will we work together?" Naruko questioned against her better judgement, turning to Sakura and Sasuke.
"Trash should know their place." Sasuke spoke venomously, never turning his eyes from Kakashi. Naruko bit her lip behind her mask and felt a cold chills tickle down her spine. She should have known better then to ask. Now Sasuke was probably annoyed with her, or worse, angry with her.
Sakura had heard the question, but like Sasuke her position on the matter was the same. She was by no means in the same category as Naruko and wasn't going to risk destroying her future to help her. Sakura glanced back at Naruko and gave her a determined glare which told her to stay out of the way. Naruko tried to ignore the feelings of alienation and abandoned, it was nothing new and had been fully expected, but that did little to make it hurt any less.
As sunrise finally came, so did the battle, Sasuke like a blur engaged Kakashi with such violence that it left Naruko momentarily paralyzed with shock. Kakashi was visibly surprised as well, but only for Sasuke's skill, but the experience gap between them was massive and Sasuke made little headway in breaking Kakashi's defence. Sakura dove in head first with ground shattering blows, and well thrown kuna.
It wasn't hard to see how far above their level Kakashi was and the final hopes of a miracle in Naruko's favour vanished from her mind. She felt like she wanted to cry at her inability and began to think simply standing off to the side observing the highly skilled battle was the best option for her.
The outcome was already decided and she wouldn't risk involving herself.. trying to step into such a maelstrom of violence would simply get her killed. As fate would have it, it was on that thought that Kakashi vanished from sight. Confused to where Kakashi had gone she felt and immediate uneasiness as both Sasuke and Sakura sharply turned in her direction.
"You know…" Kakashi spoke casually from just behind casing Naruko to startle and leap away defensively. He stood there twisting his pinkie finger in one ears before flicked the removed wax away. "This is a test, and I don't remember saying it was optional."
Fear stuck Naruko almost as hard as the merciless blow she barely absorbed with a cross block, the force of which sent her petite form soaring back through the air. She was able to recover and land on her feet but even that traction did little to slow her momentum. She needed control and franticly jabbed a kuna into the ground to anchor herself to recover her equilibrium. She had not expected the assault to end there and to her misfortune she had been right.
With no time, or ability, to defend herself, Kakashi materialized behind landing a bone numbing kick to her side tossing her violently like a ragdoll bouncing and skidding across the field. The impact was so strong she had blacked out for the duration of her tumble coming to moments after coming to rest and she struggled to climb to her feet out of panic alone. Her clumsy movements were a clear signs of the damage that was inflicted. She wasn't even able to stand before she doubled over pulling her mask down allowing blood to be choked free courtesy of a split lip and gashed inner cheek.
"Mmm you don't seem to understand do you?" Kakashi asked with mocking disappointment alerting Naruko she was still in grave danger. She looked up with terror and panic in her eyes at Kakashi who crouched so casually before her, well within reach. She expected another attack, prepared herself for the pain, but nothing came as Kakashi lifted his book to read idly, further mocking her by so very slowly turned a page.
It angered and humiliated her to stare up at him with her body trembling, addled with fear and panic. The bells, they were right there, so close, well within reach and he was taunting her with them, daring her to reach out and grab them. She couldn't, she couldn't do it in fear he would hurt her again. Whatever he planned she didn't want it, she just wanted to stand at the side and let the other two more deserving ninjas pass. Why was he forcing this on her.
"If you don't try to take one soon I'm really going to get angry with you. After all it's really troublesome to test you guys. If your refuse to follow the rules… Well that's just not nice of you." Kakashi lowered his book enough to let his one exposed eye peer down at her coldly. Naruko's blood ran cold and she didn't hesitate another second, she would be hurt ether way, but at least one way she would be spare her sensei's anger.
Shooting her arm out she was shocked to feel her fingers graze a bell and even made it jingle. She would have griped it in a fist as hope filled her, but Kakashi's free hand intercepted her arm and deflected it carelessly. "That's more like it." He spoke mildly and with a simple twist of his wrist on her arm an audible snap echoed clear across the field. She screamed, sharp and raw as agony ran through her veins, he had broken her arm so easily and her cries continued even as Kakashi leapt away to avoid Sasuke suddenly renewed attack.
She watched the two vanish into the dense forest as she remained where she was cradling her arm. The pain crippled her, but it wasn't the first time this had happened and she knew welcoming numbness would wash over it soon enough... she needed only catch her breath. Her teary eyes turned to movement just in time to catch Sakura's uncaring glance as she too disappeared into the forest leaving Naruko behind without medical care which she could have easily provided.
Naruko tried to ignore her feelings once again, laboring to control her ragged near sobbing breathing. She couldn't stay here, if she did and Kakashi returned to find her he would do far worse then just break her arm. Her fear gave her the strength grit her teeth and force herself to stand on shaky legs. Trying to win might break her but not trying would surely kill her.