Two sound ninja complicate and already complicated situation.
Volume 2: In the Land of Waves
Chapter 12: A Sound Plan
Sasuke expected a lecture when he returned to Tazuna’s home but what he received was silence. Tsunami, Hinata, and Miku appeared to be in Tsunami’s room where the girls had been sleeping during their stay. Kakashi sat by the door whispering something to the girls on the other side. Sasuke couldn’t read his lips given the mask but he could catch a word here or there. Check her stomach and something about a seal.
“What is going on? I asked my mom but she just said girl problems.” A worried look was on Inari’s face, he had already seen enough tragedy of losing two fathers.
Sasuke turned to see Inari watching the door. “Don’t worry. What that means is that it’s a private problem and she doesn’t want to talk about it. They aren’t in danger.”
When the three returned from the back room Sasuke noticed Miku was a little less animated than her usual self. Remembering what he thought he heard, Sasuke glanced at her stomach to see it covered by one of Miku’s off cream tops under her uniform top. Maybe something else triggered this. He remembered the shadow clone he was talking to said that the fox girl clone was by the water but somehow made it to his position faster than he knew Miku could run.
The meal they ate was a bit uninspired compared to what he could have gotten in Konohagakure, but then again a blockade would do that. He was lucky that Choji had apparently given Miku some of his travel rations. He was already sick of the bbq pork pills but it did relieve the stress the extra people put on Tazuna’s food stores.
“Gochiso sama deshita”
Kakashi motioned for his students to join him in one of the back storage rooms. He was just about fully recovered so it would be time to talk strategy for when Zabuza attacked again. When Miku filled them in on what she had talked about behind closed doors he noticed she wouldn’t look him in the eyes.
“I’m not sure I can fully control one of my Shadow clones. I thought I knew what was going on but something happened during training.” Sasuke noticed she didn’t mention him lashing out at her. “I think nine tails went through me and it felt like my entire body was on fire and jumped from there to another shadow clone. I don’t know what Kurama did to the clone it originally took over but leaving the clone destroyed it as if the shadow clone had been hit or burned across her entire body.”
“I saw her, she didn’t seem that aggressive. In fact, she reminded me of a friend my mom used to visit. She looked more like her than Miku. She was nine tails last host, wasn’t she? Can you even call her a clone?” it seemed to Sasuke a strange way for the shadow clone technique to work.
Kakashi had a strange look in his eyes for a brief moment before he replied. “I think that is a strong possibility. Hinata and I will keep an eye on Miku but try to avoid that fox clone.”
Hinata, however, was looking at him with a colder than usual look on her face, did she know what happened? She didn’t say anything but her look had clearly said one thing, don’t do what you did again or I’ll break you.
Miku who had been mostly quiet during their meeting spoke up. “We should help clean up after the meal… if that is okay.” When Kakashi nodded she fled followed by Hinata who shared a look with Kakashi.
Sasuke was about to follow to prepare for evening training when Kakashi coughed. “So what did happen… Sasuke?”
Sasuke gulped thinking he should have known better than to think Kakashi wouldn’t figure out there was more to the story than what Miku had told him. The lecture on a ninja controlling his feelings wasn’t as bad as Sasuke thought it would be. He really did need to learn how to control the outbursts of anger he kept feeling. Kakashi had even warned him about something called ‘Nikushimi No Noroi’, the curse of hatred. He could feel the anger rising in him at that part of the lecture but somehow he had managed to keep a straight face. Maybe Kakashi had a point, it was possible that was what drove Itachi, but the thought of Itachi drove his anger even further. Each time his anger bubbled up his eyes began itching. Two specific points on the irises of his right eye and one on his left eye felt like they were burning and those points began twisting circling around his eye in a clockwise pattern. Before Sasuke had realized what was happening Kakashi stopped talking looking right into his eyes.
“Is this the first time you’ve manifested the sharingan?” Kakashi handed him a hand mirror.
Sure enough in his right eye, the stage 2 sharingan was in full view while the left eye was still in stage 1. “My eyes have been burning for some time but ever since I accidently shoved Miku it has been worse. “ Sasuke closed his eyes and concentrated managing to return his eyes to normal. “During the fight with the Oni brothers when I thought they were going to hit her with the chain and earlier today when I was face to face with her fox clone. The other girls annoy me. They pester me when I want to focus on restoring my clan, but they were easy to handle. They are so persistent it is easy to handle them. Hinata isn’t but I know her father will select who she’ll choose but there is something strange about Miku that I can’t explain. I sense a hunger in her that I know she holds back and an anger that rivals my own, but it’s not like she’s suffered now is it?”
“What you sense is probably nine tails… I hope you understand that.” Kakashi was giving him a youth is wasted on the young look. “Until she gets a handle on some of the changes she’s going through try to work on keeping your anger in check around her. Her seal is fine for now but keep avoiding that Fox clone. I’ll have her train with her shadow clone technique to figure out a way to keep it from appearing.”
“Yes, sensei… is it okay if I may return to train before it gets too late?” When Kakashi nodded Sasuke retreated out of the home avoiding both Hinata and Miku who were busy whispering something while they worked on washing the dishes.
Sasuke took in a deep breath as he reached open and damp night air. The moon was out giving him more than enough light to find the open area not that far from Tazuna’s home. Large enough to train and close enough that if something actually happened to him the others were close enough to respond but far enough away to be private.
“What took you so long?” a feminine voice reached him from the branches of one of the many trees surrounding the open park. He watched as a figure leapt from the tree, the Fox clone again. Her clothing had changed to match the shirt Miku had added to cover her stomach. The new shirt had a fox eye like pattern on it that seemed to move of its own accord.
Everything in Sasuke’s mind told him to retreat back to the house, but he found himself walking towards this girl who seemed to fascinate him so much.
As Miku put up the last of the dishes she did feel a bit better but still embarrassed at her reaction from earlier. It was the first time the Nine-Tails seal had appeared and she had hoped it would be something small and not noticeable and not plastered all over her stomach. Sasuke snapping at her shadow clone went right out the window when she felt the pain in her stomach and then noticed her strange symbols on her stomach glowing light red. Miku couldn’t read the words that formed spikes the seal but she did recognize the spiral that looked like an Uzumaki clan seal. Hinata reminded her that the Uzumaki clan had been known for their ability with seals. At the time it happened the only thing on Miku’s mind was, ‘I can’t be seen like this in public’. Without even thinking her hand went reflexively to her stomach.
“You should check it… maybe it won’t appear all the time.” Hinata nudged Miku out of her daydream.
With shaky hands, Miku lifted her added tank top after checking to see if anyone was watching to see the symbol had faded. It was barely visible and you had to look for it where before it had seemed to glow with chakra it now looked more like a tan line. Now she felt embarrassed at her reaction. Some ninja she was turning out to be if she panicked at how the seal looked on her.
“Some Hokage I would make if this causes me to panic”
“You didn’t know it would appear like that,” Hinata replied loyally as she hugged her friend. It reminded Hinata of the first time she meet Miku. She was four years old, terribly shy and had gotten separated from her parents. Her anxiety spiked she found herself looking right at a five-year-old Miku who grabbed her hand and helped navigate her out of the crowd and to where her Father and sister Ino stood. Hinata had wandered in the crowd down the street to the front of the Yamanaka flower shop and somehow Miku saw her from the entrance of the store where she helped her sister attract customers. She remembered fondly her time playing with the Yamanaka sisters and how amazingly forward and brave the two were. From that point on she vowed to be like her new best friends. It wasn’t the easiest thing to do but little by little she found the strength in her. To this day she was still embarrassed at how shy she was back then. She did notice that her father treated her slightly different after she returned home that night. “It’s Sasuke too isn’t it?”
A completely puzzled look crossed Miku’s face before she blushed. “Oh, I was so panicked about this seal that I wasn’t really thinking about him. He’s a little bit too angry for me. I don’t see what Ino sees or anyone else sees in him. I remember him being nicer before… you know”
Hinata was happy to have her friend’s mind off her embarrassment so she continued. “But Neji is cute.” She watched as her friend fanned herself a bit.
“Neji is so cute. Definitely in the top five.”
Neither of the girls noticed Kakashi scooting over to listen in or Tazuna sitting next to him and whispering “spying on your students?”
“A good teacher needs to know where problems might arise and some of the kunoichi these days seem to prefer romance to training. I thought I was safe with these two but maybe not” The two leaned a bit closer while neither seeing the old-men-trying-to-be-younger look Tsunami gave them.
“Oh and Shino”
“Shino? I haven’t had the chance to talk to him much.”
“He always comes in our flower store… because of his clan’s secrets. He’s like really really sweet but he kind of blends in a lot. He sometimes asks Ino and me to help him find certain flowers. Because of the bugs that love them, it’s easier to find the flower sometimes than the bug.”
“Ko is cute too and sometimes I wonder what Neji would look like if he had Ko’s haircut.” Both girls kept giggling at the antics and pranks they pulled on Ko a member of the Hyuga clan and Hinata’s bodyguard. Both girls had been flower girls at his recent wedding. “Izumo is pretty cute as well…” Miku leaned closer and whispered “Kakashi too”
Hinata blinked in shocked and leaned closer to her friend. “But he wears the mask we haven’t seen his face.”
“Ino and I have while we were delivering flowers for Ayame who has a huge crush on Kakashi… it was right before we left so I hadn’t had the time to pass the gossip on… sorry” Miku hugged Hinata and continued “She has a huge crush on him. How do you think Kakashi won that year of free pork Ramen? She bought extra tickets and signed Kakashi-sensei’s name… anyway, he’s so cute.” Both girls peeked over at Kakashi and Tazuna who both feigned interest in an incense burner. “Team Ayame?”
“Team Ayame” The two girls giggled before heading off to join Tsunami on the porch.
“And sometimes you find out things you really didn’t want to know.” Kakashi glumly shook his head. “They are conspiring against me”
“If they have a team it’s already too late for you to run. It might not be so bad. You young’uns should settle down after all. May as well I’ve found few things can stop a matchmaking teen girl.”
“Critical hit” Kakashi grunted out as he turned his attention back to the incense burner.
“I’ve recovered and just in time” Zabuza crushed the apple he held in his hand. “Haku, I need you to do something for me. Go into town and keep an eye on one of Kakashi’s students, the blonde one. There is something strange about the technique she used on me and I want to know what that is.”
“Are you having second thoughts?”
“Maybe. The clone she used on me was different. Looked differently and attacked strangely. It reminded me of my Chunin test and for a moment I wondered if that was what the other ninja felt when I killed them. Regardless of what we do to Kakashi we will kill Gato and leave this island, I have a contact in the land of Wind who lives in the Village hidden in the Sand. There is a strange contract coming up soon and he’s looking for operatives. This mission should give us the funds we need to return to the Land of Water.”
“I’ve heard the Sand ninja are sort of closed.”
“Oh he’s not a Sand ninja, rather a Sound one. Killing Kakashi’s students might be problematic since they are allies with the Leaf village so I need to figure out…” Both Ninja turned to the door of their one room hide out as a strange tune from a flute filled the room. At the door of the room stood a young girl who looked identical to one of Kakashi’s students but with red hair and a uniform that mimicked the fur colors of a fox.
“You two scatterbrains need to work on security” The girl held up a ninja hitai-ate with the picture of a note. “I swear you are as bad as the fastso I have to work with. Oh yeah, I did forget to remove my transformation jutsu.” The smirk on her face said otherwise. As the girl released the jutsu her hair became more wild and untamed turning several shades lighter closer to pink than red. She was an older girl than Kakashi’s student but barely by two years if that and a bit more muscular than the slim girl she tried to mimic. “Sorry, I’m late… I was busy having fun with a pretty boy in the village that my master is interested in. My name is Tayuya of the Sound Four and I’ve heard a lot about you Zabuza. Tell me do you really want to make more money than that fool Gato will ever pay you?”
Zabuza was tempted to kill the girl, he barely knew her and already she was annoying him but he had to think of the future. “What do you have in mind” with a twist of his wrist he sent the signal to Haku to stand down.
“My Master wants one of Kakashi’s students tested. Hurt him but don’t kill him, my master wants him to activate his Sharingan, he’s one of the last of the Uchiha clan and very valuable. Do what you want with the others.” Tayuya places a sheet of paper face down on the table “This will be the payment if you succeed”
Intrigued by the mission Zabuza picked up the note looking at it. His eyes quickly widened. Her master was offering him more than enough to fund an army to take back the village hidden in the mist and remove the Forth Mizukage, Yagura from power. “you have a deal.”
“Orochimari will be happy to hear it."
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