Wind Monk Banishment #9
Naruto: Wind Monk Banishment 9
Author’s Note: Yes dammit it, I’ve finally split up the flashback chapters away from the main story. But only because the stories keep piling up in my head to where the next ten chapters would be flashbacks. Now the damn muse wants to return.
Chapter 9: Future Plans
In Suna – Hospital
Time seemed to drag on as the silence of the hospital room was rhythmically broken by an I.V. dripping fluid into the patient who had yet to awaken and the sound of the guest in the room straining to stay awake.
Fuu of Taki, the jinchuuriki of the Seven-Tailed Beetle writhed silently in her slumber, sweat lining her brow as she underwent the trial of facing herself in her own mindscape. Gently dotting her forehead with a cool and damp rag was the elegant Daimyo of the land they were in, the Land of Wind, Kanna. Two women who found themselves enamored to the same man, both having met with him in the past.
Settling the rag on her forehead, Kanna sat down in the chair next to the jinchuuriki’s bed and sighed. She had been a patient woman when she had to be, as she had been trained by her father, so she could wait until her opposite awakened. But it did little to unease her heart knowing that Naruto had been captured by Konoha.
There was also no doubt she was exhausted, not when the room seemed to blur continuously. She futilely rubbed her eyes, hoping to ease the strain, and sighed as the hours seemed to crawl by without any signs of improvement. It was only the sound of the door creaking open that made her perk up to appear somewhat attentive, as befitting of one of her status.
Taking slow and steady steps into the room was an elderly woman with a patient expression of her own on her face as she arrived to check up on the child that still slept. However, sparing a glance at the Daimyo, she couldn’t help but state, “We’ll have to bring another bed into this room to put you in at this rate. Exhaustion in the desert is not something that should be taken lightly, even in a hospital.”
“With all due respect, Elder Chiyo, I want to hear from her mouth what happened in that village from a source I can trust before the impending meeting,” Kanna stated. She couldn’t shake the feeling that maybe they managed to somehow permanently injure him or broke him in some way, perhaps using some shinobi art to affect his mind so that they could chain him within his former village and she wouldn’t see him again. “I can’t trust what was said on scroll or reports from the main village chasing after him.”
“These things take time, Dear,” Elder Chiyo told the young Wind Daimyo. “She will awake when she is ready. Depriving yourself of sleep won’t speed things along.”
“Perhaps,” she admitted, “but it’s all I can do for now. There’s no other way I can contribute, despite my position. If anything, my position leaves me a liability that can be used against all of us. ”
“I suppose that is one of the risks of love,” Chiyo mused. “In a way, it is an even more merciless than war between shinobi. It is a source of pain and conflict no matter who you are, and wounds brought forth from it never truly heal. However, if you think the risk is worth it, then continue to walk that path of thorns with caution.”
To that Kanna nodded. “I shall take your counsel to heart…”
Within the representation of Fuu’s mind, the Village Hidden in the Waterfalls was now a silent graveyard beneath a rotting canopy, instead of the majestic place where water surrounded the tree that rose to the sky and filtered the warming rays of the sun below. The large tree that remained rooted for centuries and produced the Hero’s Water was now withered and dried, the sparkling waters surrounding it littered with the countless carcasses of bug remains and hollowed out exoskeletons that floated on the surface and dyed the waters a shade of hyacinths. The homes of the villagers that were once whole were now hulls that housed skeletons, no scrap of flesh left behind as maggots that writhed about.
It was all ruined. The macabre facsimile of the stout tree at the crown of the village now acted as a post as Fuu remained tethered to it by spider silk. Her eyes were vacant. Her body was flaccid and unmoving. Fuu had fallen and was subdued, the battle in the mindscape ended with as little success as Naruto’s would have without unforeseen intervention.
Arachnids continued to weave the bonds around her, crawling along her flesh and hair and releasing fresh webbing from their spinnerets to thicken the bonds. As their protein ran low other minor bugs were cannibalized to replenish it and production sped up through chakra that still laced them from the source that continued looking down at the sight, Dark Fuu.
The shadowy manifestation mused that was another difference between Naruto and her true self, aside from the fact there had been no help forthcoming or safety nets established by overprotective parents here. What happened was that the strong had beaten the weak and would consume them, just like the less useful and weaker insects were fed to the spiders. But, despite being her darkness given form, Dark Fuu had no intention of merely usurping the original as the dominant force…
Or rather the cowardly mask she put on to make herself more appealing to Naruto that eventually took on a life of its own. Somewhere along the way she became the mask, as they would say for shinobi who became so invested in their cover that it became real. As tempting as it was to shatter that mask, she didn’t want to destroy that part of her that held the more positive aspects of her life in the form of memories and experience. Rather, it was union that was her goal, the assimilation of the past and present by acceptance of the truth to become someone new.
Darkness that encroached from the outer rim of the village was slowly bleeding in, a representation of who held the reins now. Once it finished cascading in and dying everything in her color, the mask would be dropped in and melded alongside the shadowy manifestation of her past, turning it all into a new being. The personality of the mask would be stripped raw, left hollowed out to be filled by herself, but the memories would remain as they were—locked away and treasured.
While not exactly what she was going for, there was no other choice since Fuu refused the truth and kept denying what they were. Worse, the mask kept insisting that her true self wasn’t part of her and fought against it, which was akin to saying that an uncertain future would be enough to drown out so many years of loneliness, hatred, and bitterness.
Foolishness at its finest. That future that she hoped for, that empowered that living mask, was shattered by the Leaf as their home went up in flames. So she had lost and Dark Fuu trapped her within a prison of her own making, forcing her to replay her past and face what she was until the assimilation was complete.
Choumei sat on his perch outside the general darkness. He was hesitant to act as Kurama had done so earlier with the Hokage and his Wife. There was nothing for the bijuu to support or maintain within the mindscape, no side for him to take between the two.
Attaining the purified chakra required one to come to terms with the darkness and acknowledge it, but what if the darkness merged with them and became whole? Would the new being be able to use it? Would the new ‘Fuu’ that emerged need it?
One way or another, it would end soon…
In Konoha – Tsunade’s Office
Hiashi Hyuuga had felt fear few times in his adult life. Once was when his daughter was nearly kidnapped by Cloud. Then was when his brother offered to take his place, leaving behind a nephew that loathed his own family and the cursed destiny of twin branches they had. Currently he was now fearing the wrath of a woman who could beat him to death with her desk if she so chose. Of course, he didn’t let it show on his face. He was the head of the Hyuuga after all.
The clan heads had gathered in response to their children’s major injuries and the mess of a mission that spiraled out of control. As Hokage, she didn’t owe them answers at all, she was in charge and this wasn’t a democracy after all. But she allowed them to know why their children suffered damage between Akatsuki, Orochimaru, and Naruto.
And then they left while Tsunade asked Hiashi to stay behind. Once the door shut, she steepled her fingers in front of her mouth and began slowly. “I was not pleased with your daughter’s actions during this mission. Not pleased at all, Hiashi Hyuuga.
“The initial objective was to capture Naruto Uzumaki without using lethal force. When Orochimaru showed up along with Akatsuki, the objective should have been to work together to neutralize the more imminent threat or retreat. Did these not seem like clear objectives?”
Hiashi nodded that they were.
In a flash Tsunade slammed her hand onto the desk and broke it in half. “Then why do I have a report about her disobeying orders and using lethal force right from the get go! Not only that, but she actually attacked one of her allies—a fellow leaf-nin—in order to continuously attempt to kill Naruto Uzumaki! It was her actions that actively began a second-stage transformation and all the resulting damage from it!”
Taking a deep breath, she sighed. “Now, these actions alone would warrant imprisonment, if not death. However, her teammates pleaded with me that she hasn’t been mentally stable in light of several factor and neither of those solutions will stop what has been set in motion. Regardless, I’ve had Inoichi himself do a deep scan of the girl’s psyche, only to learn that she was not only not fit to be on this mission, but even be an active kunoichi…and that this information was found out beforehand and hidden from me when it involved one of my kunoichi, whose loyalty and responsibility is to the Hokage.
“What say you of this, Hiashi Hyuuga?”
Hiashi closed his eyes as he spoke. “I have no reason to justify my actions as they did not—at the time—have any consequences outside that of the Hyuuga clan. Now that the issue has come to light, steps can be taken and reparations made.”
“Hmph…” Tsunade settled back in her chair. “I will not make it a secret that I dislike what I’ve read on her mental evaluation. However, this is now an internal matter of the Hyuuga clan and, as part of the original rights of the clans that make up Konoha, I will not raise my hand to deal with this as Hinata Hyuuga is no longer a kunoichi—barring reparations from your clan towards the damages caused to the developing village. Is that understood?”
Hiashi nodded silently.
“That being said, I’ve issued a standing order to ANBU. If she comes within 150 yards of Uzumaki, she dies. No questions asked and no quarter given,” Tsunade warned him. “You are dismissed.”
With Kiba & Shino
Hinata’s former teammates made their way out of the Hyuuga compound, allowed a brief and rare visit to the extensive domain of one of the most prestigious clans in the entire village. Such an opportune moment was rare, to the extent that Kiba left Akamaru behind and bathed…thoroughly.
“…It would seem she is doing well given her circumstances,” Shino said, his tone neutral as usual.
Kiba nodded. “Yeah…I figured she’d be more bummed about being kicked out of being a kunoichi. But…”
When the Inuzuka trailed off, Shino looked at him and gave a silent nod. The message was obvious. She no longer cared about being a kunoichi, nor her fate or what that would entail afterwards. Considering the most people either were relieved of the burden of the duty or disappointed to various measures, the absence of any strong emotion was downright disturbing…then again, her behavior lately hadn’t been all to stellar in that field either.
“It is indeed troublesome and concern-worthy,” Shino said after a pause. “But there is little we can do about it at the moment.”
“Yeah, I…” Kiba blinked and caught a scent that was one similar to Hinata’s. He turned his head to the clan compound’s wall, where he was sure someone was watching them through it. “Hanabi, you can come out now.”
Stepping into sight was a long-haired and petite Hyuuga girl who bore a faint resemblance to their teammate. Fairly young and only recently graduating into a team. She gave a small bow to the pair. “Good evening, Inuzuka-san…Aburame-san. How are you both?”
“We are well,” Shino stated.
Pressing her fingers together in a manner that reminded the two of her sister at that age, Hanabi refused to meet the gaze of the hooded insect-user. “I…wanted to…to apologize for Onee-sama attacking you.”
Reaching into a pouch, she pulled out and presented a container. “It’s a healing salve. I had Onee-sama teach me how to make it some time ago. The herbs I used shouldn’t bother your companions at all.”
Shino raised an eyebrow (not that anyone could see him do so beneath his hood and shades) as he accepted the gift. Very few ever accepted their insects as comrades rather than disposable bugs. “You have my thanks.”
“Then, please excuse me.” With haste she made her way into the compound, hoping the blush on her face wasn’t visible to the pair. Quite pointless, considering who the pair was and her the body giving off signals that they both recognized.
“Heh…” Kiba gave the insect-user a smug grin once the girl turned a corner and was out of earshot. “Looks like someone has a crush on you…”
“It is…perplexing…” Shino said with a slight sigh. “However, it is merely precocious. It will pass.”
“Keep telling yourself that,” Kiba teased. “If Hinata dropped you with a single move before just to get your gear, imagine what she’ll do when she hears about this?”
“Yes. It is a good thing that such an event will never happen,” Shino said calmly. “For, if it did, I can imagine that a great deal more fleas will just so happen to find their way into your bed and that of your partner. The flesh-eating kind…many of them…”
Say what you wanted about Kiba, but he knew when to draw the line when messing with Shino. “Message received. It never leaves the two of us.”
With Neji Hyuuga
At the same time as the pair left the grounds, Neji Hyuuga returned to his home in time for him to see a young branch family girl being crowded by few other members of the main family. It looked as though they were about to cross a line that he wouldn’t allow.
“What do you think, you’re doing?” he said.
“Tch…it’s Hiashi’s favorite,” one of them muttered as they walked away. He was a jounin and not someone to be trifled with, even by members of his own clan. Activating his seal was the equivalent of a death sentence as Hiashi would react with tranquil fury at his nephew’s unjustified torment.
“Are you alright?” Neji asked once they had left.
The girl gave a polite bow, but her eyes showed no gratitude when she raised her head. There was only an envious and spiteful visage that was well-masked by their traditional, stoic upbringing. “Thank you for your assistance, Neji-sama.”
As she walked off as well, he said nothing. He understood her source of discomfort and anger all too well. He was the only one whose treatment was better. The rest still suffered and nothing overall had changed. He did not allow himself to think otherwise at all.
I wanted to change the fate of the Hyuuga, but can it really be done as I have been doing so far? Neji contemplated. Even if my own treatment has improved, it hasn’t been the same for others who bear the mark.
As long as that seal of submission existed, the Hyuuga would always be divided and true equality would be beyond them. Thinking back to Naruto’s offer, he could only wonder if once the jinchuuriki awoke he would be willing to make a deal and how he would implement the change without risking a civil war.
For now he would check up on Hinata-sama.
With Itachi Uchiha
Itachi Uchiha had received his final orders from Pain: Eliminate Danzo & Prevent Tobi from unleashing the Nine-Tailed Fox.
His orders had been well in line with his own goals. For too long Danzo had been poisoning the roots of the leaf village thinking that he was the cure for the rot that existed, rather than the cause. As for the jinchuuriki…well, he had been doing well to keep him out the masked man’s hands for this long. He would simply have to hope that Konoha could keep him in check and that his replacement was incompetent enough to stave off his capture.
Although he would set a final plan in play and leave the rest up to his brother. Sasuke had become strong in his own way. In the end, he found his own path that would keep him away from the curse of the Uchiha and the masked man’s manipulations.
As Itachi stared at the water from the harbor of a small village, getting ready for his final journey, he paid no mind to the footsteps that came up from behind him and rested at his side. From the sound and presence he had already deduced that it was his partner, Kisame. The pair said nothing for a few moments, the only sound between them being that of the crashing waves.
“So…” Kisame started out to break the silence. “Finally off to die, Itachi?”
He nodded. “The medicines I’ve been taking have lost quite a bit of their effectiveness, and my vision has degraded to the point where I would qualify as legally blind. My worth as a shinobi and usefulness to Pain-sama would have been reduced to nothing had this come any later. Everything that lives must eventually die.”
All Kisame said was, “I see…”
Itachi placed the straw hat on his head and turned to walk away to his fate, stopping for a moment to say his final piece to his partner. “Kisame. For what it’s worth, you were an excellent partner despite our differences. I wish you well in your endeavors.”
A small, slight grin on Kisame’s face formed as he came to accept the decision. Though they were close, there was no other end befitting ones such as them. “…Die well, Itachi.”