author note: I own nothing. NOTHING.
The Ninja Gaiden
Chapter 2: The Boat Ride
"Come on, Akira-San, let go of that pole."
"No, I rather like this pole, thank you."
"But the ship's about to leave."
"Aw, such a tragedy."
"Dude! Let me go!" I protested as Hiro easily lifted me up and carried me towards the ferry. I could hardly fathom how he'd been able to pull me hard enough that my claws- which I'd burrowed deep into the wooden pole I had been clinging on to- simply sliced right through. And he didn't even look like he tried, unlike Roka, who had pulled and tugged me without much of a result. When Roka saw that Hiro had succesfully detached me from my safety pole, the boy glared in another direction.
"I loosened it up for you," he muttered. Of course. Because that was so believable. Nonetheless, Hiro grinned at our teammate as if the latter had actually done something useful and proceeded to lead us towards the large ship. The ship that was floating on water. I felt a shiver run down my spine as I contemplated how hard it would be to hightail it out of there and hide from my teammates until the boat left. Surely it wouldn't be that hard. I mean, if I really wanted to, I could probably keep us from going to Konoha.
Taking another furtive glance at the ship, I decided that I did really want to escape.
I freaking hated boats. Moreso, I hated being on water.
While Hiro and Roka were distracted by trying to navigate through the crowds to find our sensei, I walked more and more slowly than the others. Soon, they were far ahead of me, and hardly seemed to notice that I was dropping a significant ways behind them. I grinned. And now it was time to make a break for it! In a hurried fashion, I spun on my heel and dashed towards the safe haven that was the dock.
Within seconds, the three of us made it onto the ship (Roka holding one of my arms, Hiro gripping the other). I wasn't very happy about it, seeing as I hated being on boats, but you know. I understood my teammates' desperation; it was either chase me down or kiss the Chuunin Exams goodbye. Even I didn't really want to miss the exams just because of my childish fear of being on water. Still, I'd be so much happier if Konoha was within walking distance.
Once we were aboard and successfully located C, the four of us headed to where the cabins were. C had gotten two cabins; one for me and the other for all three guys to stay in. I felt a little guilty knowing that they'd all be crammed in one room while I got the other just because I was the only girl, but it didn't bother me enough to, say, offer up the other bed in my room. If having female parts meant I could get privacy, then who was I to complain?
I shut my room door after discussing a schedule with C (or, more accurately, C handing me said schedule and telling me not to be late while I moaned about my very short allotted time in the bathroom despite having my own) and examined the area around me. It wasn't too big, nor too small. Twin beds were on the far side of the room, and I was content to see that I had my own bathroom in there. Along with the bathroom, the room came with a vanity mirror and some drawers, and even a closet towards the back. I walked across the shag carpet and collapsed onto my bed with a sigh.
Maybe if I could go to sleep, I could pretend I wasn't actually on a boat. At the moment, it was docked, but I could still feel the sickening sways, the up and down motion the ship held in slow rhythmic movements. Ugh, made me sick to my stomach. As I turned over, I pulled the covers up over my head in an attempt to quickly and efficiently fall asleep...
Someone was trying to break my door down.
I immediately got to my feet and prepared myself for some sort of attack. Because no one snuck up on Chi Sakenomi Akira!
...Except, well, Hiro. And C. And Roka whenever he felt like being an adequate ninja. And, of course, most of the higher ranking ninja could probably sneak up on me if they wanted to...Um. But... besides all of them. No one snuck up on me, ever! Though, as I hastily scanned my room, I noticed that no one was actually in there with me. If that was the case, who on earth was banging on my-
"Akira! What the hell are you doing in there?" Roka? The knocking ceased for a moment and then the door swung open. "We were supposed to eat an hour ago!" My brow furrowed, partially in irritation that Roka was the "attacker", and partially out of confusion on how he'd opened my door with out a key. Roka noted my frustration and grinned. "C has an extra key; knew he needed it cuz he assumed your lazy ass wouldn't get out of bed." Well then.
"Assuming makes an ass of you and me," I snapped, stretching as I did so. "What time is it anyway?"
"Do I look like a clock to you?"
"Well, you have two arms and a face. That's good enough for me." Roka rolled his brown eyes.
"It's an hour passed noon. C is very upset with you. You know how much he likes his schedules." It was true. I did. It was part of the reason that I tried so hard not to follow them, because C put his schedule over everyone else's. Or, namely, mine. "Anyway, I saved you something. It's not that good now probably, since it's getting cold, but I figure it's better than nothing." Roka walked across the room while he spoke and handed the box of food to me. I stared at it with wide eyes, feeling a warmth spread across my chest.
Sometimes I really forgot that Roka was actually a really good friend.
I thanked him as I took the food, a grateful smile on my face. Roka nodded and plopped down beside me.
"You don't have to keep me company, you know," I told him. "I'm capable of eating on my own." Roka shrugged his shoulders.
"Well, C wants to know as soon as you're done eating so that we can go train." I blinked at that one.
"Train? On a boat? What kind of boat has a training ground?"
"One that I will own sometime in the future." My exasperated expression only made Roka laugh. "What? I can train on land and on sea! That'd be awesome!" Only Roka would actually want to train on a boat. More rational people such as myself could see the flaws of this design. Like:
"What if our kunai rip through the ship and it floods so we all drown?" I asked, feeling the food I'd started eating hardening in my stomach.
"What?" Roka asked, raising his thick eyebrows.
"No I heard you. I'm just confused on how you could be so dumb when you read so many books." I wrinkled my nose in confusion. Roka rolled his eyes at me before continuing. "You can't pierce a titanium plated ship with one tiny kunai."
"What if it was chakra laced?"
"...Well, good luck swimming to shore, Hag, cuz I sure as hell aren't saving your ugly ass."
Sometimes, I remembered that despite being a good friend, Roka was, to put it bluntly, an asshole.
We didn't do anything hard, though. C actually just went over typical gen jutsu (Hiro was obviously flawless at this while Roka seriously struggled). Afterwards, we did a little cardio exercises and simple paper-bomb-making drills. However, due to my discomfort about the whole ship situation, I felt sick to my stomach even before training began. You could imagine how horribly my stomach reacted to the five laps of running we were ordered to do.
By the end of training, I was lying on my back and moaning something about wanting to kill everyone on the ship, women and children included.
"Aw, Akira-San," Hiro began to comfort me, "I can carry you back to your room if you'd like." Now that he mentioned it... I lifted my arms like a feeble child and grinned.
"I love you, Hiro." He smirked.
"I know." The boy easily lifted me up in his arms.
"Akira, you're going to be as fat as a whale when you get older if you can't even handle this easy training session," Roka mocked, acting as sensitively as he usually did (note the sarcasm). Hiro turned his smile to Roka, though the cheerfulness in it was somewhat frightening when paired with the albino's following words:
"Watch yourself, Roka-San." Even Roka with all of his confidence and vigor looked a little shaken. C walked up just then, holding up his precious schedule.
"It's your afternoon break," the blonde informed us. "You have exactly two hours to eat lunch and do whatever it is your little hearts desire." A grin grew on our faces. "No, you cannot wreak havoc upon the unsuspecting public, Roka and Akira." Roka huffed and I frowned.
"So, you don't think Hiro's going to bother other people?" I demanded haughtily. C raised an eyebrow at me. "Fine," I muttered. "Come on, Hiro, take me to the food court."
"Hey, guys, wait for me!"
Once we reached the food court, Hiro gently set me to my feet. I thanked him and proceeded to lead the way inside the cafeteria, which was teeming with people. Some of them were civillians- you could tell by how relaxed they were, their muscle density, and the way they completely let their guards down- but you could tell there were plenty of shinobi there as well. At first glance, the ninja looked like your average people, but take a closer look, and one would notice how much stronger they were, how much more tense they seemed.
It was actually quite interesting to see.
The three of us walked into the lunch line, which had three rows of food and a few chefs standing by each one. We grabbed some plates and walking around the buffet line to find food for us. I walked around a little, feeling a bit surprised that none of the food actually looked appetizing to me at that moment. Even when I grabbed a bowl of piping hot ramen (the last one), I didn't feel any kind of attraction towards it. Funny. I usually liked ramen. I mean, I knew I still felt kind of sick, but I should've been used to the boat by now (except you know I felt like screaming every time we hit any size wave).
"You okay, Akira-San? You look kind of pale," Hiro pointed out. I shrugged my shoulders.
"I guess I'm not that hungry." Hiro watched me for a moment, his golden eyes not blinking for what felt like an excessively long amount of time. I bit my lip. "What?" I asked, dropping my gaze to my navy ninja shoes. Hiro was silent for a moment as we began exiting the buffet line. And then:
"Nothing," he muttered. Hiro walked passed me, though I noticed he shared a look with Roka, who inclined his head in understanding. It made my blood boil, but before I could ask them about it, a loud shout grabbed my attention.
"What do you mean you don't serve Miso Ramen? What kind of buffet is this?" I looked over my shoulder to see who was yelling. He was kind of short for a guy, only an inch or two taller than I (and I was hardly 4'7''), with spiky blonde hair and vibrant blue eyes. There were also mysterious whisker-lines on his cheeks. I noticed Roka was glaring at the hollering boy, probably upset that he had managed to attract the gazes of others. "Are you sure you don't have any ramen? The menu clearly says here that you do," the boy continued. Still talking much louder than was socially acceptable.
"Listen, kid, the ramen's finished; it's pretty popular in these parts, ya know?" The news delivered from the chef did not satisfy the loud blonde, but he stalked off with crossed arms and an angry expression. I glanced down at my tray at the ramen bowl looking back at me. Then I looked up at the boy, who was starting to exit the lunch line as well.
What goes around comes around.
"Hey, Blondie!" The kid hesitated in his step and turned to look (um, glare) at me. Must not have appreciated my lovely nickname. Nonetheless, I held out my tray to him. "You want this?" Immediately, the blonde's eyes brightened and in seconds, he was before me.
"Are you serious!?" I nodded my head.
"Yea, go ahead, take it." He grabbed the tray with much gusto, but then paused.
"But, what are you going to eat? I can't take your food." I shrugged.
"I'm not hungry. Besides, you want this a lot more than I do. Take it." The blonde grinned at me, and opened his mouth to say something.
"Who's your friend, Akira-San?" Hiro asked, suddenly appearing at my side.
"Yea, I didn't quite catch his name," Roka added, standing at my other side. The blue eyed boy looked up at my two teammates who had a good six inches on him (well, five in Roka's case). I was a little amazed that he didn't seem the least bit fearful of them; Roka and Hiro had been instilling nightmares in the hearts of many boys back at Kumo, whether they were actually bullying me or not. And when they were (which thankfully wasn't often anymore) the two could get quite vicious.
"My name? It's Uzumaki Naruto," the boy proclaimed proudly. He looked to me again and grinned. "What's your name, lady?" Lady. Even though he looked to be about a year older than I.
"Her name's Chi Sakenomi Akira," Hiro answered. Quite foolishly. I elbowed him, because by now Hiro should've learned not to say my whole name during introductions.
I'd received too many wide eyed stares for it, and I was growing incredibly sick of it.
Strangely enough, Naruto didn't gawk/curse/gasp at me. Instead, he just continued grinning and turned to my teammates.
"So who are you guys? I can tell you're ninja! Are you going to Konoha for the Chunin Exams?" This kid sure was sociable. Roka and Hiro, still unsure if they could trust him, but knowing he wasn't trying to cause any harm, relaxed a little.
"My name is Himura Hiro," Hiro introduced, bowing slightly.
"And I'm Akiyama Roka, also known as the strongest ninja ever!" Naruto grinned at Roka.
"Oh?" he asked. I wasn't sure if it was a dubious 'oh' or what, but Roka viewed is as a challenge.
"Do you not believe me, Pipsqueak?"
"Hey, who ya callin' pipsqueak! I'm fourteen!" Hm, so he was my age... A smirk pulled across Roka's face.
Before the two could get into an altercation, a firm hand clasped onto Naruto's shoulder, immediately quelling the boy's rage.
"Now, now, Naruto, that's no way to make friends," a large white haired man spoke. When I say large, I don't mean fat per say. I mean, the guy was built like a wall. He was tall, wide, and strong looking. Roka's macho-act died down considerably at first sight of the man. And I knew exactly why. The man standing before us, with long white hair and immistakable red marks running down his face...
His identity was further confirmed by Naruto's muttering of "But, Ero-Sennin," as he tugged on the man's red haori.
He was... Jiraiya. As in Jiraiya, one of the legendary Sannin.
Just an update to move the story along. No, I did not throw Naruto in this for no reason. Well, I kind of did, but his being here justifies... other things. No he's not returning to Konoha just yet (he still has a year and some months to go).