Beta'd by Black Sparrow
When the topic rebirth comes up, most people think about Hinduism and Karma. Fewer people, most of them fanfic addicts think about a second chance at life and redoing your life or being reborn with your complete set of memories in a different reality.
But only one person of which Shiori could be sure of, had went through the process and could precisely tell you how it felt when the two distinct personalities of the old and the new life clashed, fought and desperately tried to survive in some way or form…because this was what had happened to herself.
Smiling sardonically down at the faded fabrics she was washing in the river Shiori shook her head. What would the hundreds of thousands of fanfiction writers and readers think of her if they could see her now? All this time when they had dreamed up stories of a life after death and getting a second chance they had been writing about facts and not fiction. Shiori chuckled slightly, the irony was killing her, how often had she dreamed herself into the same scenario, even years after graduating, marrying and becoming a so called 'responsible adult' she had still loved to give into her childish urges and lost herself in the dreams about fantasy worlds and stories.
And now here she was, a female Original Character trapped in a young fragile body, in a distinctively violent reality without any physical or monetary way to protect herself from the cold hard reality. Shiori sighed while she pressed the freezing water out of the yukata in her hands before she put it back into her washing bucket and fished out the next piece. So here she was now, in the Naruto universe as the daughter of poor farmers, without a chance to ever improve her life, let alone become a ninja.
Not that she wanted that, god no, neither in her last nor in this life had she felt the urge to be brave and lead an exciting life full of adrenalin and adventure. She was a coward, although she liked to think that it was her common sense and survival instinct that urged her to live a completely normal and unspectacular life than cowardice. Of course she had read the stories of the OCs and SIs that had become ninjas because they were scared to die as a civilian, but no that was definitely not Shiori's idea of living. Civilian it was.
She sighed for a third time while her thoughts wandered to the next problem, having lived an unbelievably wealthy life in comparison to this new one, Shiori already knew that she would never be satisfied with her current situation, working herself into exhaustion to barely survive from day to day was NOT what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. Even at the age of ten she was already expected to help out as much as any adult member of her family and she knew that her responsibilities would only increase the older she became.
Shiori could remember that before she had turned seven she had lived the life of a cheerful and more or less content but most important oblivious lower class civilian. The village she was born into was tiny. There were barely a hundred people living in Kawa, with no school or doctor or even general store. The little village relied on the bigger villages around it to supply them with other goods then edibles. Kawa, like many other small villages in Fire country, consisted entirely out of the small houses of farmers and their helpers. To be honest even the buildings were more huts than houses and most of the time built out of any available natural resource the inhabitants had been able to find. Kawa was about seventy kilometers away from the capital, the seat of the Daimyo and close to hundred twenty kilometers away from the Hidden Village in the Leaves, better known as Konoha.
So here was where Shiori learned to speak, walk, run, help in the fields and take care of the house. The chores weren't her favorite thing but she didn't know anything else and never even entertained the thought of leaving the place of her birth. This changed when she, in her young exuberance, followed the older kids in her village one day and in an attempt to impress them climbed a precarious cliff beside the river and promptly fell into it.
As a result she had nearly drowned and hit her head rather hard on one of the rocks close to the shore. If an attentive villager hadn't heard the screams of the other children, she probably wouldn't have survived that day. What followed was a week of delirium and fever dreams, or at least that was what her parents told her later. They had been unable to pay for a doctor and had just waited for her to wake up or die, as morbid as it sounded.
Shiori knew better, in the time she had lain in the small side room that she shared with her grandmother; her two consciousnesses had fought for the dominance in her mind, the seven year old Shiori, with the desperation and power of her youth against the thirty six year old, just awoken and confused Eliza from New York.
Shiori had won.
Her will to live had had triumphed over the more life experienced Eliza and so Shiori, with all her knowledge and habits of a seven year old, naïve civilian made up nearly ninety percent of the personality that inhabited the young body. Eliza wasn't much more than an inner voice that could be ignored if Shiori tried hard enough. And the young girl had done exactly that for the first year after her accident, Shiori had ignored the memories inside her mind and had locked them and Eliza somewhat away in the back of her mind. Now any good psychiatrist will tell you that such a behavior won't help in the slightest bit and that memories always find other ways to surface, but Shiori was a child and didn't understand what was going on. So instead of actively occupying herself with her past life, the little girl dreamed. She dreamed about growing up in one of the busiest cities in the world, going to a strange school, speaking and writing a completely different language. Growing up, finding a love for plants, going to college, marrying, working as a pharmacist, divorcing and dying.
Most of the images didn't make sense to her, the school curriculum and technology were different and far more advanced than she had ever heard of. There was violence too but not in the same quality like in the Elemental countries.
Shiori was confused, she was after all only a little girl at the time the first dreams began but with time the voice inside her head had become stronger once more and explained the things she didn't understand. So while Shiori learned in the real world how to read, write and count from her grandmother, her older other self taught her in their mind about medicine and plants and other things she thought Shiori could use. Shiori even started to replant the plants she recognized in a small clearing in the woods beside their home, to which she returned at every possible moment.
The reason why Shiori was listening to the voice in her head was twofold, firstly because she had been drilled since earliest childhood to be respectful to her elders and to obey, and secondly because something deep inside her told her that she could trust this other person in her mind.
Shiori grew and with that came more knowledge and the understanding of the world she now lived in. She gradually found the connections between the memories of her old life and this new one. She had put them together slowly like a puzzle until she started to recognize certain places and titles as the ones out of the Naruto mangas in her childhood that had been her companions till her death. The thought in what kind of world she had landed made Shiori tremble.
Ninjas, wars, tailed beasts…how the hell was she going to survive this?