Uzumaki – Chapter 1

I love being wrong…

It was almost a scene out of a movie, he thought, standing there on the bow of the great ship, his bare leg raised and resting atop the safety railing, his pose appearing slightly heroic in the setting he found himself in now. The sun rested high above him in the azure sky, the gentle heat bearing down on him as he sipped at the cool drink in his hand, feeling the wind against his shirtless, slightly pale body. A pair of sun glasses rested upon his nose, doing their best to keep the bouncing sunlight from the boy’s muddy brown eyes. His brown hair fell about his face, gently blowing in the wind as it pushed the boat along on its path across the sea. He wore only a pair of red swimming trunks, hoping to expose his skin to a little extra sun to improve his complexion to a shade his mother didn’t consider sickly, and that might catch the eye or two of a girl who might wander by.

While that was a pleasant thought, the voice of his mother slipped into his reverie, her usual scolding about how thin he was crashing into his mind like a star of an action movie through a break-away window. “How do you ever expect to find a girl if you’re that thin?” she would ask. “Eat something would you, honey? How am I ever going to become a grandmother if you constantly look like you’re about to pass out.” He winced at the thought of bringing a date home and hearing his mother admonish, “Would it kill you to have another slice? You’re thinner than she is!” He loved his mother, and knew she meant well, but matricidal thoughts refused to go away when she pointed out how other boys looked “healthy.”

He dashed the thoughts away, though, throwing a rock of “I’m on vacation, dammit” into the pools of his mental hell, hoping to cast thoughts of his mother and family life on the rocks for a while as he turned to survey his surroundings with a laser-like focus the men of his family were famous for. Well. Perhaps not famous, but a notch or two below “neighborhood knowledge” at least. He slid his sunglasses off the bridge of his nose, his eyes adjusting to the light quickly and taking in the growing vibrancy of the colors as the dark brown haze of the lenses was lowered. All about him was paradise, or or at least his closest version of it.

The women on this boat wore bikinis. Bikinis they could swim in. Not the thin gauzy types he noted the truly beautiful models wearing in the glamour magazines. He could live with it, though. He had never been this surrounded by beautiful women in his life, and he thanked whatever deity, powerful force, or simple stroke of dumb luck had granted it to him.

“Y’know,” he said, not truly expecting an answer, “I really do love being wrong…” Shinji smiled, and puffed out his chest.

“You must be in nirvana most of the time, then,” said a melodious voice from a half-meter away. Shinji turned to his right, his brow furrowing just a bit as his beloved Miho’s barb found its way into his heart, wounding him spiritually, if not physically.

“Oh, come on, Miho… I’m not wrong all the time…” he said, his voice taking on a slight tone of irritation, though maintaining his usual playfulness.

“That’s right,” she said, cocking a smile from where she sat in a chaise lounge on the deck, “You do manage to make a correct statement when its perfectly obvious.”

“Miho… How are we going keep peace in the house if you run me down like that after we’re married?” he said jokingly, knowing how the simple inference of them as a couple raised her ire like water coming to a boil within a few seconds.

“Seriously, Shinji… Say it one more time, I really need blood on my hands…” she said, cocking an eyebrow, but allowing a sliver of a smile to part her red lips. Their attraction to each other was unspoken, but it was there. Their friends took bets to figure out when one would break and begin making the romantic overture. Their inevitability as a couple was oblivious to no one but them.

They had been friends since their assignment landed them on the same team, though the attraction had taken much longer to develop. One moment in Shinji’s mind always stood out about the two of them. A simple walk with a group of their friends, and Miho looking down and saying to him, “Idiot… Tie your shoes…” Why he found that moment so significant, he found it hard to say, it was merely the single moment he could trace back to his attraction to her being more than physical.

The physical attraction had begun from the moment he had met her. From a early on, Miho had been an easily attractive girl, but now as she was growing up, and the trappings of womanhood beginning to make their subtle influences on her body known, Miho had begun blooming into a beautiful girl, and most people agreed she would reach knock-out status by sixteen. He found it difficult to find a retort as his brain rifled through its files, trying to find his usual wit. Instead his eyes traveled the length of Miho’s body, clad in a modest one-piece white swimsuit that hid none of her growing beauty. He kept wanting to see her in a two piece, though it was frequently denied him by Miho’s conservative taste in clothing. “She is brazen only in her tongue,” was an observation offered by their sensei.

“Eyes on your own paper, Kido,” she said, catching his lingering gaze, reaching up to tie her chin length hair into a loose pony tail.

“Should I leave you two alone?” came a voice from behind them. The voice was deeper than you would expect from a boy of fifteen years, but Ren took to base the moment his voice changed, and never looked back. Much to the dismay of his mother who commented on his angelic singing voice before puberty came in and showed him there was more to a girl than just cooties. His black hair was short and slightly spiky, close-cropped, giving him a military look. His face was defined and strong, in contrast to Shinji’s, who was still in the process of losing the last bits of baby fat. He was also well-defined in body too, his muscles having good lines that threatened to only become harder as he aged and trained more.

“Funny, Ren…” was all Shinji said as he approached the two of them, his “rival’s” approach making the air just a bit thicker with their playful rivalry. “You know theres nothing going on between us…”

“Yeah,” Miho added, “I’d sooner have teeth pulled than date him…”


“Knock it off, you two… You flirt so much I’m amazed you’re both still virgins…” Ren said, finding the back of Miho’s hand connecting to the back of his skull, little force held in reserve. Ren wasn’t a being of tact, and had to be reminded of his limits from time to time. “Ow… Shinji?”

“Yeah, Ren?”

“Since you usually carry so much stuff, can I persuade you start carrying a helmet in your packs for me? She’s going to collapse my skull one day…”

“For about five extra ryou a week. Odd, though… She never hits me…” Once more, Miho struck, this time, to Shinji’s gut.

“Yes I do… Now, can we please get back to our vacation? Its our last day before we have to meet Yoshi-sensei at the port. I’d like to show up with a nice tan, and two intact teammates.”

“She’s… right…” Shinji said between breaths, playing up the punch a little more than necessary, something he stopped doing when he swore he could hear Miho’s teeth grind.

‘Anyway… We’re meeting him tomorrow at Noon…” Ren said, deciding to get serious and back to the matter at hand.

“So, did he settle everything with the Soba clan to his heart’s content? Or are we looking at a hotel stay until we’re sure no mimes with poison-squirting flowers are going to try and kill their dignitary?” Miho said, sitting up and slipping on a small pink vest.

“His note said so…” Ren replied.

“Good. I know he’s meticulous, but you would think he believes he can take care of every problem under the sun,” Shinji said, sitting down next to Miho with a bump from his behind to get her to move over a bit on the lounge.

They were Team 19, a shinobi squad from the village of Konoha, and their Jounin commander/teacher was a man called Hamato Yoshi, the most anal Jounin in their village, or so they had heard in passing from Maito Gai, another of the Jounin teachers. They’re mission had been received a week and a half-ago when a retainer from the Soba Clan had come to Konoha to request bodyguard’s from a dignitary’s passage through Fire Country territory. The Soba Clan was a powerful shipwright juggernaut with connections to the Wave and Ocean Countries, and had been supplying most of the larger ships some nations used on the water. They’re fortunes had been going well, and they were about to be recipients of new contracts when for some reason, sabotage had begun running rampant in in their shipyards. Yoshi’s team and another had been dispatched to work on the problem, with the other team in charge of ferreting out, and solving the problem of sabotage. Yoshi’s team would be in charge of the dignitary’s safe passage. While Yoshi and the other team was already there at the scene, Yoshi had decided to go ahead of his team, so that he could ensure the mission would go smoothly. He took the opportunity to send his students on a short vacation while they moved to their destination, a little reward for rapid fire missions they had completed recently. Shinji was worried, and confided in his teammates that he didn’t believe their sensei knew the meaning of the words “good time.”

“Give Yoshi-sensei a break…” Ren said. “He’s kind of wound-up, yes… But this contract the Soba Dignitary is bringing with him could be steady work for Konoha, and good money… Or, that’s what he says at least. Besides… Look at some of the other teams our academy class turned out… We could have ended up like them.”

“Two of them are training with Sannin, and six of them are already Chuunin… Right… Our class sucks…” Miho said, looking none to amused.

“Not them,” Shinji interjected, “He means Team 18… “

Miho’s eyes grew wide, “Oh right… Them…” She shivered visibly.

“Exactly…” Ren said… “Hey…” Ren craned his neck a bit, looking around slowly, noticing for the first time that there seemed to be a rather thick fog rolling in from the port side of the ship. “What the hell?”

Miho and Shinji turned almost at the same time, noting the mist had already managed to make its way on deck, and was easily already the consistency of thick soup. The fact that the day had been sunny only three minutes earlier, and the best forecasts didn’t give rain of any form of inclement weather until they were already safely moored at port was not lost on them either.

“A water jutsu, maybe?” Shinji asked.

“I’d bet a fiver on it,” Miho said, getting to her feet, her sunglasses off and eyes already peeled.

“So much for a nice boring vacation, huh?” Shinji said, removing his own sunglasses, his fists closing and tightening to the point his knuckles were turning white.

“Just hold up,” Miho said. “Let’s make sure we’re not getting ahead of ourselves… Last thing we wanna do is transform and freak out the civilians.”

“So the fact that a wall of fog rolling in isn’t already going to have them edgy?” Shinji asked.

“If they’re just typical vacationers, they might just think its freak weather… As long as nothing out of the ordinary happens, we’ll be fine…” Ren replied, his eyes following the black kunai as it sped past his field of vision, imbedding itself into the wooden deck of the boat a good quarter of the blade. “Dammit… Why don’t I just shut up at times like this?” Three more followed it, one snapping a very taut line, bringing part of the sale down with it.

“Crap! Its an attack… Ok, no more of this then… Henge!” Miho yelled, being engulfed in a plume of vapor and emerging from it in her trademark white belly shirt, and tight, white pants. Her eyes were now covered by the same pair of sun glasses she had laid down a moment ago. She adjusted her forehead protector, then reached for the kunai holder at her thigh, withdrawing two of the small throwing blades and deflecting two of the oncoming missiles from their unseen attackers.

Shinji and Ren followed suit, both making seals with their hands, and narrowing their eyes, emerging from the vapor seconds later, dressed in their usual “work attire.” Shinji wore a red, sleeveless robe and white undershirt, long pants in the same white color and red boots, his hair now adorned in a tight bandanna that his forehead protector adorned. Ren wore all black, short sleeves and tight black pants, his forehead protector resting on his waist.

Shinji was already moving deeper into the fog as Ren drew a short blade from behind his back, using it to deflect the sudden storm of kunai that now rained upon from seemingly all directions. His arms were moving quickly as they could, almost blurring before the eyes of the other passengers as they watched in a mix of fascination and horror. Ren could barely keep up with the rain of black metal death, and caught several cuts on his arm for his trouble, one even grazing his cheek. He cursed beneath his breath, seeking some shelter behind one of the smaller masts. He was barely able to see in front of his own face now, and the cries from the other passengers were growing in commotion.

Shinji was having his own trouble’s as he made his way across the decking. Being the member of the team with the superior strength, he had taken it upon himself to begin grabbing passengers from the vulnerable positions topside, and trying to get them below deck. It had been an extra scenario or two that Yoshi-sensei had put them through as he began their training, making sure they were the least specialized team among the other shinobi squads turned out that year. His ideas were that through various situations the team would be able to perform without him when absolutely necessary, and remember their roles well, then, be able to work these situations together to form more complicated plans as their training wore on. It was one reason the three of them were still Genin despite being well trained, and near a base Chuunin level. Their sensei did not think them ready quite yet. Not that they minded. The jobs were good and steady, and the money was typically good for a team that could take on several levels of missions. Beyond their scores of D and C ranked missions, they had done several B-class missions, and assisted on one A-class mission.

Shinji was making good time, having cleared a good half to sixty percent of the passengers he remembered being on deck before the fog got too thick. He was almost to a little girl he could hear easily through the maelstrom of metal rain and impassioned cries when he felt a kunai stab into his arm, sending pain lancing up his nerve and into his brain like a train with no brakes. He concentrated, generating chakra and concentrated it on his feet and hands, using it to slow himself almost immediately, and get his bearings. He pulled the kunai from his arm, getting a good look at it, noting it was not anywhere near the typical kunai used by Konoha shinobi. Not that he had counted on this being one big mistake, as hoping it would just turn out to be one against what he knew was his terminal case of bad luck. He also noted the force of the stab, and the angle. Almost perfectly parallel to the decks angle. “Fuck,” he said. “They’re on board.”

Miho had come to the same conclusion only seconds earlier, and was already her brain to use on a way to hopefully turn the situation around to their favor. She narrowed her eyes, and concentrated, feeling the familiar tingling of chakra within her chest. A moment later, she was moving quickly, her speed augmented by small bursts of chakra from her feet and moved towards the main sail. A moment later, she was using her best speed to run up the large shaft of wood as fast as her legs would carry her, making the crow’s nest in moments. Hopping the safety rail, she came to a landing, finding herself above the fog. She quickly made a once around of the nest, cursing as she found no sign of the other ship she believed to be attacking them. She had to even the odds just a bid, so she knelt, and began generating chakra, she would need a lot for what she was about to do.

Ren began moving towards the single access door there was to the lower decks, seeking to be a vanguard against any attacks that could be directed against the civilians in an enclosed death trap like that place could become. He had managed to avoid a most of the kunai that were falling upon the ship, unfortunately, he was still cut up, and a little bloody from the sheer fact that from the amount being thrown, some had to hit something. Unfortunately for him, he was that something. He pushed on though, ignoring his pain and moving as fast as he could towards the large box the access way created on the deck. By now they must be on board, he thought, knowing there was no way they would let the ship sit this long. He tripped over a body occasionally, another poor soul who had his life snuffed out because of Gatling approach to weapon use. To Ren’s family, the use of weaponry was an art, that they only grudgingly used in the pursuit of combat, and to see someone using this method, it not only offended his moral side, but also his artistic side. He took up his position, hoping Miho had made it and was about to pursue the action he thought she was about to take. He drew a second blade, and made ready.

Shinji could almost feel the death around him as he heard people yelling and grunting in pain as they were hit by the kunai assault. He noted the waning number of death implements falling from the sky, probobly not wanting to hit their own, he thought to himself. The idea of one of the “gunners” saying “Ooops, my bad…” as whoever was attacking ran into one of their own doing his best pin cushion impression brought a momentary smile to hi face. He was snapped out of his reverie though as a single footstep echoed across the deck boarding. It was steady, and not hesitant at all, moving to the side ever so slightly as one of the last few kunai fell from the sky. He eased back against the rail of the ship, hearing it coming right towards him. He could barely see, but this punk was moving as though he could see through walls. If he was found, he’d be killed in a second. He thought back over the plan, and began thinking. He needed a diversion. He’d seen this technique done once before, and though he thought it was cool at the time, he never thought he’d be caught dead doing it. He made the seal combination quickly, whispering, “Henge!

Miho could feel the chakra tingling at the edge of her skin, and felt it as it surpassed the amount she would need for this jutsu. Her fingers began moving rapidly, feeling the energy about her bend to her will and begin to co-mingle with the energies of the environment around her. As the energy began taking on a more and more complex form, she completed the combination, narrowing her eyes as she said, “Futon! Dai Cyclone no Jutsu!” Suddenly, the air about her began to swirl and move faster and faster as her will and her chakra drove it on, air pressure dropped, air heated and cooled, and energy began to build as near cyclonic force began to toss her hair and loose parts of her clothing like limp rags. Slowly, the mist began to rise from the deck as the miniature cyclone pulled air upwards and into the sky from the ship. This jutsu was one of the few higher level techniques she actually knew, its chakra requirements were tremendous and even then she could not generate as much power as Yoshi-sensei could the times he had shown it to her. Yoshi-sensei had uprooted a tree with the power he could create… She only hoped that water vapor was not beyond the extent of her abilities.

Ren watched as the mist began rising from the deck floor, smiling as he had counted on exactly the right thing Miho would do. He readied his blade, knowing whoever was attacking them would move with more vigor now that they were about to be uncovered. He hoped they might take it as just a pick up in wind speed, and write it off for a few more moments before they realized the mist was rising as opposed to drifting away. Unfortunately, Shinji was with them, and his luck made it impossible for them to get a break. One thing Team 19 was proud of was the victories they pulled off through hard work and sheer stubbornness. He caught the footsteps a split second before the figure bearing down on him with a blade was visible. The arm was raised, the gait was quick, and he obviously was not worried about stealth any more. Ren allowed the figure to draw closer, only a few more feet before he struck, plunging the short blade into the gut of his attacker, his eyes widening in surprise as…

Shinji’s attacker was on him inside of a half-minute, kunai raised to strike until he saw the form he was about to strike. Before him did not lay a ninja, crouched in a defensive stance, ready to parry his kunai strike and stab with a second, but a naked girl, curled up invitingly before him. Wide-eyed, he hesitated for a moment before he was stabbed in the lower back by a kunai in the hand of the real Shinji.

He had seen some loud-mouthed blond haired ninja do a technique he called the “Orioke no Jutsu” once, and at the age of twelve with his hormones just beginning to kick into gear, he had thought it was rather cool. He never imaged using it at the age of fifteen to strike an enemy in the back. From what he heard, the boy had gone on to do a variation on the technique with the forbidden Kage Bunshin no Jutsu. That, however was not a technique in Shinji’s repertoire. He transformed, then created a simple bunshin to take his place. It wasn’t too terribly original, but it worked, and as an added bonus, Ren and Miho had not seen him do it. If he ever saw that kid again, he was going to buy him lunch.

Unfortunately, his reverie was short lived, as the human form before him began to seemingly melt, then completely fall apart in a vaguely human shaped mass of water before gravity once more took hold of the form again, leaving Shinji in a puddle. He was dumbfounded for a moment, but only a moment as a kunai was suddenly thrust into his own spine, just at the base of his neck. For a moment, there was nothing but pain until Shinji’s nervous system fell into silence as the electric current carrying orders from his brain ceased. A second kunai lodged in his side, as a needle shot from somewhere else pierced his eye. Shinji Kido was dead before he hit the ground.

Ren and Miho both screamed, almost in unison as Shinji fell, Miho leaping from the crow’s nest and getting ready to strike, despite her exhaustion from the powerful jutsu. She landed in moments, but failed to register as a speedy shape managed to grab her, slipping his arm around her waist and bringing the kunai to her throat as easily as anyone else would move to pick up a jar. Her blood was coating her neck in moment, and the shape left her there to die as her precious life began leaking onto the wood of the deck.

Ren was moving inside of a moment, both blades bared, and his eyes filled with crimson rage and tears. The shape that robbed Miho’s life from her merely side-stepped, and spun in a swift kick to the small of his back. Ren felt something crack as he was flung over the sides of the craft, and hit the water, unable to move. Only having a single blade left, he swum for the side of the boat the moment he surfaced, jabbing the blade into the side of it, and letting it carry him along. He produced two more blades, using his arms to pull himself up the side of the craft, enough to get his head above water. Using his last two blades and a thin wire, he fashioned himself a small make shift harness, and slipped into it, feeling consciousness packing up for a long trip away from his body. Slipping into its dark embrace, he could feel the tears slipping down his cheeks, each one hotter than a drop of molten rock.

He woke up some time later, either days or hours later, he could not tell which. His body hurt all over, part from salt water hitting open wounds, part from dangling on the side of the ship for however long he was out, and part from his back injury. He moved his legs slowly, though found no relief as he confirmed he wasn’t paralyzed at the very least. He began to climb again, in too much pain to generate chakra, and with his wire tied as it was, it was now useless to him. He made it to the top after a long, grueling, arduous climb, and made his way to the body of Miho, falling and cradling her in his lap. He would have done the same for Shinji, but knew he was about to lose consciousness again in a matter of moments. So, he simply sat there, crying and cursing, not knowing which to do more.

Their attackers were gone, and only later would he find out the awful truth of what had happened while he was out. He looked over towards the door to the lower decks. No one seemed to be coming out, despite the passing of danger. Every one on the deck was dead as well. “Might as well join them,” he said, collapsing on the floor next to Miho. He didn’t see it before he was claimed by the darkness, but only a centimeter or two from where he landed, burned into the deck was a single word… Revenge.





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