Ahhh, I don't know what happened here.
Started with a strange idea, and became something even stranger. It's story-ception again, sorry guys.
More random than Hyuugaception, and certainly not as deep. =3=
But here you have it.
I'm...seriously not sure what this is. lol.
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto, as usual. Neji, come back to life! TOBIRAMA AND HASHI, YOU TOO! (errr...)
30th chapter, whoo! . . . too bad such a milestone turned out to be a weird story...
Chapter 30: Chicken Nuggets and Stories
People have odd quirks, idiosyncratic habits that make them unique. Let it be known that shinobi tend to come in all colors, all sizes and ranges, and certainly, with all sorts of funky habits.
For example, there once was an Iwagakure shinobi, who died by the hand of a vengeful, at long last completed Raikiri, who enjoyed playing his fiddle prior to every mission. It was almost a religious act, to the point where he believed that his old fiddle would bring success to Iwagakure. It was too bad that such a skilled jounin was to die by the hand of a thirteen-year-old, silver-haired Konoha brat after killing his goggled Uchiha comrade. "Killing" being the trick word, here.
Anyway, that was more of a routine rather than a habit. Habit, in this sense of the word, meant a physical or verbal tic that often provoked strange reactions. Sometimes, it was a strange urge that nudged at you until you gave in. Anything strange, really, was categorized as a shinobi's odd quirk.
A great display of a strange habit would be Kagami, who would force himself to start hiccupping in stressful situations, thus allowing himself to flee. Sometimes.
Another was Mito, but her habit was more of a craving. She demanded Tobirama's famous Banana Bread, capital B's and all. She also ended her sentences with strange endings, suspiciously similar to Kushina's "dattebane" and Naruto's "dattebayo". That, and she accidentally hit things too forcefully. (She claimed them to be accidents, at least.)
Madara often found to urge to dance, but he'd never tell anyone.
Izuna liked polishing wood, particularly bows, arrows, and instruments.
Hiruzen found solace in pulling pranks. Well, that was just Hiruzen.
Koharu liked painting, actually.
When Biwako had nightmares, she went to the hot springs.
Nightmares. Horrible things, really. But the strange thing about nightmares, is that they affect everyone differently. Mariko, for example, seldom had nightmares, only pleasant dreams. However, when she was plagued by traumatic memories or experiences, she tended to curl up and not move for a long time. Naturally, this worried Tobirama, and he assured her that no matter what, he would always be there to hold her and comfort her.
This, in turn, led to one bright, cheerful day in Konoha, when ANBU captain Danzo and his top team knocked on the Hokage's door, and were allowed to enter, but what they saw stunned them. It was truly a strange sight.
A blue-haired girl, curled up in the lap of their Second Hokage, eyes tightly closed, arms wrapped around the Senju's neck.
"Eyes on me, soldier."
All five pairs of eyes snapped up to focus on Tobirama, and Tobirama only. It was quite hard, considering the blunette sitting in his lap. One of the ANBU gestured slightly at Mariko, a kind motion, as if to ask if she was all right. Tobirama, however, answered no questions, and only shook his head sternly. The ANBU were to completely overlook the bundle of blue curled like a cat on the Hokage's lap. Easy as pie. Not.
"I have news of the border town by…" Danzo reported his report, struggling to stop meeting Mariko's gaze, now that her eyes had opened and she was scanning the room cautiously.
"…the western Suna-Konoha patrols, and…"
There was a thunderous crash, and nearly everyone winced, and the five ANBU whipped round to find the door completely devastated. One little Tsunade, blonde and boisterous, stared at her own hand incredulously. Jiraiya laughed nervously, and Orochimaru's eyes went the size of saucers.
"Oops?" squeaked the little girl. She ran over to Tobirama, and poked her great-uncle's leg. He turned so that he and Mariko were facing Tsunade. The young Senju, in return, vaulted onto Mariko's lap, landing an extra weight onto both of them. Tobirama grunted uncomfortably, but remained silent.
Moments later, Hiruzen sprinted into view, panting and heaving.
"Sorry—Tobirama-sensei, we—just—uh—w-what's going on?" The future Third Hokage gestured at the scene before him, earning him a glare from Danzo and bewildered shrugs from the rest of the ANBU. "Group hug?"
"No," Tobirama deadpanned.
"I swear on my great-uncle that I didn't do it on purpose," Tsunade hissed. Ten years old, and sassier than her mother and grandmother combined.
"Sure you didn't," Toka replied nonchalantly, not really paying attention. She was slightly worried that the young girl had taken a bit too much after her grandmother, inheriting that insane, inhuman strength that came "accidentally". She would have to learn to control her power, this girl.
Suddenly, Tsunade's eyes widened, and she grabbed for a glass of water.
"Aundie, you diden thay dis wath—" Tsunade took another swig of water, and managed to squeak, "so spicy!"
"Oh, I didn't? I'm pretty sure I told you before you grabbed it, but you ate it anyway," Toka answered. Too bad for Tsunade that last night's meal was spicy. Toka wasn't about to change anything just because this was her cousin's granddaughter; she was too solid in her ways.
"Auntie, someone's coming." Tsunade observed the obvious, because there was a thundering of footsteps emanating from the hall. Tobirama burst into the room, half-dressed, and soaked in…bubbles from a bubble bath?
"TOKA!" he hollered, even though they were now in the same room.
"WHAT!" she screamed back at him, out of habit. They'd had these yelling conversations ever since they were little, and Hashirama always told them that either their voices would go out, or everyone's eardrums would burst.
"WHO LET THESE GUYS IN?!" demanded the albino Senju, slapping the sliding door aside to reveal a giggling Jiraiya, and an amused Orochimaru. Orochimaru wiggled his eyebrows. Tsunade wanted to giggle with them.
"I DON'T KNOW, WHAT HAPPENED?!"
"LOOK AT ME, TOKA!"
"I SEE YOU, YOU IDIOT!"
"THEY FREAKING RAN THE DAMN BUBBLE BATH! WHEN DID WE GET BUBBLE BATH?!"
"I DON'T KNOW, ASK MARIKO!"
"I DON'T KNOW WHERE SHE IS!"
"GO FIND HER, YOU NUGGET HEAD!"
At this, Tobirama paused and made a face. Toka hadn't called him Nugget Head since they were ten years old, just like the three kids in their company. He was tempted to laugh, but a blob of foamy bubbles plopped down on his face from his hair, obscuring half his face.
"Uncle, you look like Santa Claus," Tsunade piped up.
"Ho, ho, ho," growled Tobirama, vigorously swiping away the bubbles. He went back to yelling. "WHERE'S MARIKO?!"
"LAST I SAW, SHE WAS CURLED UP ON YOUR LAP LIKE TENZOU THE CAT, STUPID!"
"Tenzou the cat?"
Toka could've physically placed a light bulb atop Tobirama's head, and it would've lit, with the ding of a bell accompanying it. The Second Hokage's mouth formed an "o", and then drifted quietly out of the room towards the courtyard.
Everyone stared at the door, all sorts of thought processes occurring. Toka, for one, shook her head, mumbling about another Ghost-boy incident, which none of the children really understood. Orochimaru's eyes widened as he blandly stated that there must be some mental jutsu that he had not learned yet. Tsunade wanted to chase after her great-uncle, and Jiraiya, lastly, wanted to ask Tobirama to put on a cool pair of shades and disco with him, for the white-haired people are the coolest.
History of the Nugget Head: a bedtime story.
It was a fine, bright day on the western plains of the Fire Country, several miles outside of what would soon become Konoha. About twenty miles inland from the coast, was the Senju camp. The children played and the adults worked, always keeping an eye out for rogue clan movements, always wary of even the settled clans, and always on the lookout for village requests. There was one boy, however, that was always alone, except when his brother around. Gifted with snow-white hair and pale skin, red eyes more scarlet that the Sharingan, and a talent for Suiton jutsu, Tobirama sat on the stump of an old tree, drawing a map in the dry soil.
"Whatcha doin'?" drawled a tomboyish young girl, her hair thrown up into a messy topknot that she refused to allow her mother to redo.
"Drawing a map," replied the albino boy, a ten-year-old with a creative mind, a good work ethic, and more than enough of a reputation for being mischievous. No one could really blame him; some in the community shunned him, branded him as a demon for his unnaturally white features.
"Of what?" asked the girl, leaning over him. "That looks like a chicken."
"Does not," replied the boy, offended. "This is the map of a village Hashi and I are going to make."
"A village? You mean, like the Fire Country capital?"
"No, like a ninja village."
"…Ninja village?" The girl paused, then snorted with laughter. She didn't ridicule the idea of a ninja village, but rather, its shape. "A ninja should have a brilliant village, not that chicken-nugget shaped thing in the middle!" She gestured to what Tobirama had tried to make a mountain.
"What do you mean, chicken nugget?" he demanded, frowning at his mountain. Landscape was important for village-building, he'd decided. He was going to have a beautiful village for the people to enjoy.
"Chicken nugget blobs, just like you," said the girl, laughing.
"That's not funny, how am I a chicken nugget?!" The boy vaguely recalled that the girl's mother often made small chicken meals for the younger children who whined about having to eat off the bone, the silly things.
"Shaped just like my Mama's chicken nugget, you are," the girl justified. "A little wacky in the head, mushy in some parts, but not bad, you know?"
Tobirama wondered if that was a compliment. Then, he said,
"Chicken nuggets don't have heads."
"The chicken, I meant."
Tobirama looked at her skeptically, and she angrily slapped his shoulder. He winced at the forcefulness of her blow.
"I heard them calling you Ghost Boy," she said softly.
"I don't really care anymore," Tobirama sighed, going back to his messy map drawing. A squirrel had approached him, pattering all over his roads and buildings, before snatching an old acorn and scuttling around the back of the tree stump.
"Your face is like a chicken nugget, too. Shows everything."
"Okay, that one made no sense."
"Sure it did! You can tell from a chicken nugget's outside whether it'll taste good or not. The crispiest, most fried ones are sorta charred, most of the time. At least, Mama's are."
Tobirama raised a white brow.
"Seriously! You show everything on your face. You sort of turn dark when you're not happy," the girl stated flatly, hands on her hips now. Tobirama noticed, then, that she had bruises all along her arms, scarred knees, and a cut across her cheek. Her nose had been broken once, and set again, but the slight bump along the once-straight bridge revealed that the otherwise prim nose was marred by fighting. She'd always been a fighter, this one. Never afraid to throw a punch, Tobirama remembered.
"I do not."
"You know, you can be both," the girl decided, changing her mind. "You can be dark and crispy like a flavorful nugget—and hey, those ones can be bad too, sometimes—but also bland, like the ones that aren't cooked all the way."
"Bland?" Tobirama made a face, protesting the comparison to food. It was making him hungry, but his parents weren't back from their scouting duties yet. He couldn't ask his uncle, because his uncle claimed to be busy all the time, and he couldn't ask his aunt, because she shunned him just as all the others did. Hashirama hadn't been home since early that morning.
"Yeah, bland. Can I call you Nugget Head?"
"Hey, didn't we just say that nuggets don't have heads?"
"Yeah, but you resemble a nugget!"
Tobirama glowered, and the girl laughed, a coarse, grating sound that rebounded like a horse's whinny. This was a girl that didn't giggle politely, like any other Senju girl. Tobirama decided that he liked her. He'd met her a few times before, but never really met her.
"I'm Toka," she said, holding out her hand. Tobirama shook her hand firmly. The two ten-year-olds consolidated a new friendship, one between cousins that would bound into blood and war without hesitation.
"Tobirama," replied the white-haired boy.
"Don't be afraid to yell at me," said Toka mysteriously. "I'm often hard of hearing."
"LEFT, TOBIRAMA, LEFT!"
At the command, the albino ducked to his left hand side, tucking himself into a compact ball and rolling away safely. The enemy missed him, the blade of his long sword cutting nothing but air.
"TOKA BEHIND YOU!"
The Senju woman spun on her heel and let her fist collide with the enemy's face, a sickening crack displacing his nose and cracking his jaw. She and Tobirama came back to back, squaring off with the five remaining opponents.
"I GOT THE LEFT, YOU TAKE THE RIGHT!"
"HEY NOW, I'M TAKING THE BIG GUY."
"NO, NO YOU'RE NOT."
"WHERE'S HASHI WHEN YOU NEED HIM?!"
"HOW WOULD I KNOW?!"
The enemy shinobi ignored this loud exchange and attacked. One got behind Tobirama and gave him a good shove, hoping to throw him onto his partner's knife.
"TOKA, THEY'VE GOT A LIGHTNING USER!" Tobirama elbowed the man behind him, and kicked the one in front, just as the revealed Raiton shinobi came down with an bright, shocking jutsu emanating from his sword. Tobirama himself used mainly Suiton, so he had to be careful not to allow his jutsus to be used against him.
"THINK, IDIOT! WHERE'S HASHIRAMA?!"
"Oh will you two be quiet?!" Arms of wood came arching around them, tree branches extending from their natural positions to encompass the enemy group. Tobirama was swept up into the arms of what looked like a tree giant, while Toka was plucked up in the fingers of its seventh arm. The face of the gargantuan beast was not a face at all, but rather, a mass of leaves and an exasperated brunet among its limbs.
"HEY, NUGGET HEAD, WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME THAT HASHIRAMA WAS HERE?!"
"I DIDN'T KNOW!"
"And that, my dear, is how your great-uncle came to be known as Nugget Head. To me, at least." Toka patted Tsunade's little shoulders lightly. The little blonde stared at the woman, her expression a mixture of slight disappointment, disbelief, and an unsatisfied frown. It wasn't even worthy of being called a bedtime story...plus, Toka had detailed the events during dinner, so what was the point?
"That's silly," she said matter-of-factly.
"But true," added Toka smoothly.
"You're just like Grandpa," complained the ten-year-old. Come to think of it, Tsunade was about the same age they'd been around that time. Toka smiled at the thought. A sassy up-and-coming girl, with the insane strength of an Uzumaki…or, of Mito, at least. What an interesting future she would have.
"Me? Like Hashirama? How?" Toka smiled gently, cleaning up the plates.
"I ask for a story, but then they turn out weird," complained Tsunade.
"Can't help it, Tsu-chan. We just tell them like they are."
"Maybe one day, I can tell my grandkids stories, right?" Tsunade beamed. "And they'll be interesting ones, not some weird stories about lonely kids, chicken nuggets, or those funny ones that end suddenly. I think yours had all three."
"Sure, sure," Toka laughed, waving a hand. Tsunade took this as her evening dismissal, and ran off to find her teammates.
"Why are you in that tree?"
"I don't know, I woke up, and I was here."
Tobirama and Mariko had a staring contest for a couple of minutes, before Tenzou the cat leapt down from the willow's branches and nearly clawed out Tobirama's eyes.
"Um, what was the point of that story?" asked the whiny little blonde kid with mysterious whiskers on his face.
"You asked me to tell a story, didn't ya?" the white-haired man replied, patting his godson on the head fondly. "I told ya one."
"It was…pointless." Naruto narrowed his eyes at his teacher, who shook his head and shrugged.
"I tell'em like they are," he defended, brushing some dirt off his trousers so that they could be on their way. The short blonde in front of him mimicked the action and cheekily dusted his blue and orange jacket off. "You say I'm a perverted quack, but I see you copying me all the time."
"Really." Naruto stuffed his hands in his pockets, lower lip jutting out in defiance.
"It's not a bad thing, really, I used to copy the man I admired."
"I don't admire you, you pervy sage."
"Ha!" Jiraiya laughed, then, throwing his pupil the grin that would get him punched through five walls. Tsunade always scowled when he smiled that way. Maybe because the white hair and the red tattoos on his face, in combination with the lopsided smile, reminded her of her great-uncle, in those rare moments of his Hokage reign when he risked a chance smile and cracked a joke.
"I…don't really know, -ttebayo."
"He's right here." Sai pointed at the forest. They all gave him a strange look, but then, Sakura did a double-take and her jaw dropped.
There was their sensei, perverted novel clasped in his hands, curled up in a tree.
"Kakashi-sensei, why are you in that tree?" Naruto asked, his nose curling up in laughter.
"Hmm? Oh, it's you guys." Kakashi shifted in the tree. "I don't know, I woke up, and I was here."
A cat with a bow on its ear dashed out of the tree, yowling, and nearly taking out Naruto's eyes.
"I FIGURED IT OUT!" yelled the one-eyed boy. "THE SECRET TO YOUR STORY!"
"And what would that be?" rumbled the old man, ignoring the swirl-face doing the Gangnam Style dance beside him, and the grassy-topped Senju clone that was singing about exchanging phone numbers.
"Bakakashi is actually the great grandson of—"
"Wait, wait, back up, nee-san." Nawaki held up his hands. "Where's this last part coming from?"
"Mmm, I'm not sure, but Jiraiya said that a big frog told him a prophecy, and—"
"Frog? Nee-san, you okay?" Nawaki waved his hands in front of his sister's face, concerned for her health. She'd been acting funny lately, and mostly blamed it on that man with the long, silver hair, that stole his nee-san away time and time again. "Should I go get Grandma? I think you're sick."
"I'm not sick, Nawaki," sighed Tsunade, exasperated. "Besides, Grandma would totally understand what I'm going through."
Nawaki arched a brow skeptically, recalling the day that Dan had bought flowers for Tsunade, but Grandma Mito had opened the door, and he'd turned into a blubbering mess. Grandma had looked doubtful then, too.
"Grandma worries for you, too," Nawaki deadpanned. Tsunade glared.
"No, she gets it," Tsunade retorted. Mito had curiously watched the two interact one day, and then pulled her aside and whispered in her ear.
"Did you see him smile at you?"
"Don't let him know," Mito said secretively, smiling.
"If he's anything like your grandfather, he'll become a babbling mess if you catch him smile next time, and turn red as a tomato."
"Grandpa? Blushing? Grandma, that's hilarious."
Mito patted her granddaughter's back and urged her along.
"You woke up, and you were in a tree?" Tobirama shook his head at his wife, who shrugged helplessly.
"Hey, at least I'm not the one with a bubble bath beard." She giggled, and pointed at his still dripping form, complete with the bubbles that Jiraiya had set off in the tub meant for giving Tenzou a bath.
"Oh, just drop it."
"Nah, it's pretty funny. Shall I show Hiruzen?" Mariko opened her mouth to yell across the courtyard, as if the monkey was indeed on the premises, when Tobirama leapt up into the branches of the tree and clamped on bubbly hand over her mouth.
"Scream, and I'll tickle you."
"That'll make me scream," she protested, before making a face and spitting out the soapy suds. "Ew, soap."
Tobirama just glared. He highly doubted that she'd just randomly woken up in a tree.
"I'm going to go ask your brothers what it is with you and sleeping in weird places," he muttered, stalking away when Mariko refused to give up with the bubble bath teasing.
And then, after that, he failed at inconspicuousness.
Without being called, Hiruzen had arrived on cue, and he was suppressing a laugh.
"Play that song one more time," said one of his teammates. The man obliged, and put the fiddle to his chin, right hand ready with his old, trusty bow.
"We're going to protect this bridge," agreed another teammate. "And then we'll all go home at the end of the week to our wives and children."
Left hand poised at the strings, bowstrings resting lightly on the instrument.
"To victory," said the team captain. The fiddler smiled, and began his song.
There are things like odd quirks, and then there are things that come with regularity. Something was not regular today, and the team knew it.
Hiruzen inspected his teacher closely, and behind him, Homura pushed his glasses further up his nose and studied their former master sitting behind the Hokage desk. Koharu spotted it, and she gasped. The other two picked it up rather quickly, and Hiruzen dared to ask…
"Um, Tobirama-sensei? Is that a five o'clock shadow?"
I know just as little as you do as to what just happened here.
All top of the head rambling, sorry. Maybe the next chapter will actually have a plot.
Anyway, cheers to the appearance of Obito, old Man-dara, Zetsu, Tobi, Naruto (of course...), and Kakko!
Who's Kakko? Look him up - he started it all. XD
All hail Kakko, the instigator of the Naruto series...errrrrrrr.
Actually, maybe it was the Sage of the Six Paths. We'll never know, kufufufu.
(if you get the kufufufu reference, then LET ME HUG YOU)