Why was being different such a big deal? It was the one question nobody was able to answer. It was always the same features the bullies would point their fingers at.
"Oh look at the blue skin!" "He's got gills!" "What's wrong with his eyes?" "What a freak!"
No matter how many times they said it, it always hurt - badly. It was tough being in only fourth grade and already having been shunned by society. His mother kept insisting that he continued trying. Every single time, they would give him that look, as if to say: "Are you crazy? Of course we won't play with you!" followed by a witty remark about his appearance or his matching jutsu. It was starting to wear him down. His mood was at an all time low - he used to be such a cheerful bloke - and even his grades were affected by this change. It was early in the morning, and Kisame was getting ready for another day at the academy. His mum was prancing around in the kitchen, before her shinobi duties began. She'd made him breakfast, an onigiri, but he had no appetite. The rice ball was only nibbled a bit, before it was time for the young boy to go. As his mother sent him off to the academy, she couldn't help but worry about her son. How couldn't she? When a happy kid turns sad and isolated over time, something is wrong. She had to do something, soon.
The first class was over, and it was recession. The others were playing hide and seek. Kisame decided to once again try his mother's advice, and when it seemed as though everyone had been found, he snuck over and asked them.
"Hey, um... Can I join you?" They exchanged irritated looks but then snickered.
"Sure you can. You'll seek, we'll hide," they said, with angelic looks on their faces. He couldn't believe it - they actually let him join! He nodded happily, hid his face in his hands and leaned against a tree. He stared counting to 100.
"97... 98... 99... 100! I'm coming!" he exclaimed a few minutes later, and began his search. When recession was over, he had found nobody. It was like they had completely vanished. He began to suspect that they'd set him up, and went back to class, with a nagging feeling of defeat. A couple of minutes after class had started, the group he had failed to find noisily entered the class room, all laughing and looking happy. One of the kids, Zabuza, glared at him and smiled mischievously.
It was the last recession before the last class. Kisame had given up trying to play with the others. They hated him, obviously. That's when he noticed a kid he hadn't seen before, sitting on a bench in the school yard. The kid was cutting holes in a paper bag and put it over his head. Kisame decided to give it a shot, and went up to him from behind. He didn't know exactly what to do to start a conversation.
"Um... Hi," he muttered. The boy turned towards him. The holes in the paper bag were in front of his eyes, and Kisame could make out that they were yellow. The boy didn't answer, and just kept staring at him.
"Uh... What's your name?" he stammered.
"If you want to tease me, just get it over with," the boy whispered, with a sad tone. Kisame sat down next to him, and smiled warmly.
"I don't want to tease you. I don't even know you," he assured the boy.
"That usually doesn't stop people," he whispered and inched away from him. Kisame felt he needed to change the subject.
"Why are you wearing a paper bag on your head?" The boy looked down and fidgeted with his fingers.
"Because I'm ugly," he stated bluntly. Kisame couldn't help but laugh, and the boy glared at him.
"You can't possibly be uglier than me!" The boy seemed to chuckle a little and took the bag halfway off. His face was half black and half white, the black half's eye was completely round, and his eyes were indeed yellow. His hair was a moss green colour and around his neck was a small venus fly trap. He sure did look strange, but not ugly.
"No, you aren't ugly," Kisame reassured him, and the boy smiled.
“Are you new here?” he asked.
"Yes, I’m starting tomorrow. My name is Zetsu, by the way. It’s nice to meet you. No it isn’t." Kisame was startled Zetsu’s odd change of opinion, and the plant boy blushed.
"Sorry, I mean we are Zetsu. That’s better."
It was the first day of 7th grade and Kisame was surprisingly well rested. Outside the sun was shining and the birds were chirping. Miss Hoshigaki was no longer worried about her son; his condition had greatly improved during the last year. She was making pancakes, an American recipe, as she always did the first day of school. She called for Kisame to come and eat, but he was way ahead of her. He was already eating his share.
"Well you're up ea-" she began to say, before he ran off again. He did have to hurry, otherwise he'd be late. He wrapped up the last of his pancakes and put his shoes on, just as the doorbell chimed. The confused mother opened the door to find her son's only and best friend, Zetsu. Kisame pushed past her, and the two boys went off.
"See you later mom."
"Have a nice day, Ms. Hoshigaki. Not." Soon the two boys were out of sight. "Good grief. They grow up so quickly..." They were both in a good mood. The possibility of this being the last year at the academy was one damn comfortable thought. Kisame noticed that the fly trap around his friend's head had grown a bit during the summer.
"How's your summer been, Zetsu?" he asked, genuinely interested.
"It's been fine. It was boring. The weather has been nice. And the rest was lame. Stop being so negative! Make me," Zetsu discussed with himself.
"Anyway... How about you?" he finally asked, after Kisame had patiently listened to Zetsu and Zetsu arguing.
"Well it's been fine. A bit boring, but that was to be expected." The two (three) boys continued discussing more or less random tings on their way to the academy. They could’ve graduated much earlier than 7th grade, but they were going to have fun nonetheless.
It was the pre-jonin selection party. Everybody was attending - they more or less had to. The only problem was that the party sucked. Nothing was happening. The two (three) friends felt very out of place, since they were still mostly shunned by the “normal” shinobi. Some of the chunin had drunk before the party, but it was mostly dead. Suddenly Zetsu's stomach growled and Kisame realised once again that he had never seen the plant boy eat anything but snacks.
"Are you hungry...?" he asked, almost happy that his friend was acting human for once.
"Yes. Very." The multi coloured boy got up from the sofa they were sitting on, and exit the gymnasium. Kisame sat alone for a couple of minutes, before deciding to follow him. Where could he have gone? All the food was in the gym. He headed towards the bathrooms, when an odd smell struck him. He'd always had a good sense of smell, but the thought of what it was unnerved him. It was blood. He followed the scent, which lead him to one of the corridors. Zetsu was sitting next a girl, bent over her. Blood was pouring onto the floor, and Kisame couldn't move an inch. What had happened to her? His heart skipped a beat when he realised that his friend was eating her. The flesh had already been torn from one of her arms, and only the bone was left.
"... Z-Zetsu...?" He mentally kicked himself – the one thing he shouldn't do was catch his attention! Zetsu spun around with blood all over his face.
"Kisame?" He struggled to turn around and run for dear life, but somehow he couldn't. The expression on his apparently cannibalistic friend's face was a mix of fret and sadness.
"Kisame... we're sorry," both sides of Zetsu said, before a shriek echoed through the corridor.
"What the fuck?! What've you done?!" Zabuza yelled, before Kisame involuntarily punched him in the face. The pestilence cowered in pain before sprinting away as fast as he could. Kisame turned towards his guilt-ridden friend and tried to smile, but failed.
"Zetsu... Zabuza will tell people, I'll help you get out of here," the blue teenager said, not wanting his best friend's secret to be found out. Zetsu stared at him in disbelief, before smiling a red-toothed grin.
"It's okay. We can take care of ourselves," he assured him.
"Are you sure? I mean, if authorities find out you're screwed!" Zetsu smiled again, somehow managing to not look menacing.
"Yes, we are sure. We have somewhere to go." Kisame couldn't help but smile back.
"I'll keep your secret, I promise." He insecurely walked towards his friend, ignoring the corpse the best he could, and gave the cannibal one last friendly hug.
"Thank you, Kisame. And if you don't we’ll kill you." Zetsu shut his fly trap around his head and disappeared into the ground. Kisame remained, more or less stumped. He had lost his best friend. He was scared and alone again. Suddenly someone grabbed his shoulder, and he jumped t="on">10 feet in the air with a shriek. Thankfully, it was the former exchange student, Kakuzu, a member of his three-man-team. The scarred jonin looked rather confused at the gory scene in the corridor.
“Kisame… what happened here?” he asked, more careful than normal. Kisame realised that he was shaking all over fell to his knees, more or less horrified at what he had experienced. Kakuzu kneeled down next to him, and held his petrified friend tightly. Soon they heard footsteps behind them, and as people’s shocked screamed pierced their ears, Kisame passed out.
It seemed like any other summer day. The sun was on full power and every animal, big or small, was running wild and enjoying themselves. Although nature was having a blast, it was just another day for the students at the academy. Quite a few of the shinobi in the academy were like big fishes in small ponds. To them the classes were a boring routine. They should be genin by now, but the friendship some of them had was worth more than their duties.
"Hoshigaki-san!!" the ice cream man in his dreams screamed at him, for reasons he couldn't fathom.
"Hoshigaki-san, wake up!!" Kisame opened his eyes to a stare down from the teacher.
"Un... Sorry." The teacher sighed and continued the dreadful lesson. The blue shinobi looked to his right to see his best friend, a half-plant, black and white boy with a split personality, grinning at him.
"Just because you could easily pass the exams and be a genin, doesn’t mean you should act superior," he teased. A couple of people were staring at them, but that was nothing new. They'd always notice when people stared, since they were sitting in the back. The plant boy Zetsu's fly trap around his neck was pretty big, so it was necessary for him to sit behind everyone else.
The class continued for about 10 minutes, when another teacher entered the class room. Kisame was immediately alarmed - if they were skipping recession he was going on strike! The teacher smiled and they all noticed a boy behind her. Were they getting a new student in class? The teacher smiled even brighter and pushed the boy forward.
"Hello class. We have decided to entrust you with an exchange student. This is Kakuzu," she gestured towards the boy, who merely glared at her. "And he's from Takigakure. I want you to take good care of him, since he'll be here for a while. It looks like there's space in the back, you go sit there." She pushed this Kakuzu person forward again, and he looked like he could strangle her. He made his way to the back rows and sat down next to Kisame. The strange duo couldn't help but stare at this stranger. Kakuzu seemed to notice and shot them both a glare that could scare the shit out of anyone. They both looked away as fast as they could. His eyes were the strangest they had ever seen. The iris was green, and there didn't seem to be a pupil, and the sclerae were red. They didn't know what the rest of him looked like, since he was wearing a large grey hoodie and a black scarf in front of his mouth.
During recession Kisame and Zetsu decided to try to get friendly with Kakuzu. They wanted to make a good impression from the get go - they had enough enemies as it was. The new boy was sitting on the same bench where Kisame had met Zetsu a couple of years ago. They warily approached him, and tried the best they could to engage in a conversation.
"Eh hi there. Kakuzu, was it?" Kisame said and reached out his hand, to shake hands. The exchange student didn't take it.
"What's it to you?" he answered, with an uninterested tone.
"No need to be hostile from the beginning. Says you. Chikusho, shut up! Make me! Please, not now. That isn’t for you to decide," Zetsu and Zetsu argued. Kakuzu eyed them suspiciously, but didn't seem as confused as people usually did when experiencing the plant boy's split personality.
"Dammit Zetsu... Anyway, are you a regular academy student, or…?" Kisame took over and asked.
"No, I'm a genin. Again, what's it to you?" He scratched his head.
"Uh we just don't want you to feel left out... And Zetsu and I wanted to make a good impression," Kisame confessed. Zetsu's black side hissed at him.
"Don’t tell him that! I think it was a good idea. Shut it!" Kakuzu suddenly laughed and stood up.
"You're honest. I like that," he said and rummaged his pocket, fishing out a pack of cigarettes.
"You want one?" he asked, and they both stared in disbelief. They'd only ever seen teachers smoke. Kakuzu shook his head at the younger boys and removed his scarf. If they were cartoon characters, their jaws would've dropped to the ground. His mouth was pretty much composed of a large stitched scar across his face, making his mouth seem very wide. He took in their expressions, rolled his eyes, and lit a cigarette.
"Sheesh, you're acting like little kids."
The air was cool and crisp on the tongue. Since it was Sunday night, there were very few people outside. They were surely getting ready for their daily Monday routines. 3 (4) teenagers however weren't. Things had gotten a lot more fun at the academy for the not-so-dynamic duo since Kakuzu had arrived. He had a taste for everything controversial, rebellious, and most of all illegal.
"Pick a car, Zetsu," he commanded the plant boy.
"Hmm... I say this one. Well I say this one. But this one looks nice and shiny. And this one looks safe," he argued with himself. The scarred teenager turned to Kisame instead.
"Pick a car, Kisame." The blue skinned shinobi looked around for the crappiest looking car on the street. He hit jackpot when he laid his eyes upon a beat-up rusty sedan that looked as though it had driven through World War II and back.
"That one." Kakuzu nodded in approval.
"Good choice." Zetsu stopped arguing with himself, as he realized that it was no longer relevant. The 3 (4) of them walked towards the old car, and Kakuzu pulled up his sleeve and let his tendrils do the job. They easily snuck in the holes and cracks of the vehicle and unlocked the main door. They all got in and leaned back in the moldy seats. The older genin bent over and fiddled with some wires. Kisame's heart was already beating a mile a minute - he had really been looking forward to the adrenaline rush he experienced when being with the exchange student.
"Kisame, check the glove compartment. Look for some CD’s," Zetsu requested and Kisame complied. It contained a bunch of old bills and other papers, a pair of worn gloves and one CD. He had never heard of the American-sounding band.
"S… Sla... ye... yer. Sulayeru?" Kakuzu gestured towards the ancient built-in radio and Kisame popped it in. The stereo system came to life and pumped out a fast, heavy beat and badass vocals. Zetsu grinned, satisfied.
"Can you even drive?" Kisame asked the genin, suspicious. The response was a grin that could make the Cheshire Cat jealous. He couldn't make out whether it meant "of course I can" or "no, but I don't care". Soon they were on the deserted road, heading for the inner city. There was little to no life in the area around the school, so they had to get around the inner city to find anything fun. Zetsu was cowering in the back - he didn't like driving so fast. Kisame was thoroughly enjoying it though - anything to get the adrenaline pumping.
"Do we have to drive so quickly? It’s pretty uncomfortable…" Zetsu complained, and Kakuzu laughed and turned down the volume of the heavy metal.
"Because this is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time!" he shouted, still smiling.
"This is crazy..." the plant boy mumbled. Kisame was getting happier and happier, and was beginning to idolize the exchange student.
There was the inner city, downtown, and then there was... That. They had found perhaps the cheapest, seediest places of all time.
"It's vodka, tastes good, try it," Kakuzu assured Zetsu, who had already had a taste of Bacardi rum and gin & tonic. The plant boy nodded wildly - he had never drunk before, so the little alcohol he'd drunk was already affecting him. Kakuzu patted him on the shoulder and went to find Kisame who could barely stomach a breezer. The confused blue boy was dragged across the street to what looked like a strip bar.
"What about Zetsu?" Kisame asked, worried about leaving his friend in such a place.
"He'll be fine," Kakuzu insisted and pulled him into the club. There were ladies on stages, dancing with poles. Whoa!
"Act big and mature, I have business here." And just like that the young blue boy was alone. He stared at the women and was still stumped at what exactly he was supposed to be doing here. It took about an hour for him to get sick of waiting. His hormones were really enjoying the club, but he needed to know how Zetsu was doing, so he made his way out of the club and back to the bar. The only problem was that the plant boy was nowhere to be found. It shouldn't be very hard to spot him, with the venus fly trap and all, but he just wasn't there! Kisame was starting to panic. That wasn't the kind of excitement he was looking for! A lot of people stared as the young shinobi made his way to the strip club again. It was just as confusing as the bar. The blue boy was just about to give up his search, having been all over the club, when someone grabbed his arm. To his relief, it was Kakuzu. He looked very content, as he dragged him outside and lit a cigarette.
"What took you so long?!" Kisame shrieked. The only response he received was a wide grin, which only made the junior even more confused.
"We have to find Zetsu! I don't know where he is!" he yelled and the senior glared at him, as if he was the culprit.
"Sheesh, can't leave you kids alone," he complained, and they headed towards the bar once more. It was very crowded, but somehow Kakuzu managed to immediately spot the plant boy. They strode towards a spot on the floor near the bar, where a woman had passed out. Zetsu was sitting next to her, with a ridiculous smile on his face. As he caught sight of them, he giggled like a little girl.
"I don't know whether to mount her or eat her," he laughed, and Kisame realized that his buddy was wasted. They both shook their heads and helped the drunk minor to his feet.
"How much did you have, Zetsu-kun?" the senior asked with a caring tone.
"Not that much, just tried some stuff. Which is like a lot." He giggled again and almost fell over.
"Alright we're leaving. I'm not paying for that." They rushed outside and into the car that somehow hadn't been restolen, Kakuzu fused the wires to make it start, and they drove off even faster than before. Zetsu was giggling as though every single cell in his body was being tickled to death.
"Why didn't you pay? I mean, there wasn't a reason not to," Kisame asked quietly and Kakuzu glared at him like he was a complete idiot.
"Perhaps you’ll understand once you get a little older." Kisame was astonished. How could this young man turn from a generally nice guy to a selfish bastard at the drop of a hat?
"Kisame-chan, I got this for you. Drink it or die." Zetsu held a bottle of vodka towards him, and Kisame accepted with a sigh. Might as well. As the alcohol entered his stomach, the world became blurry and spinning, and soon after everything went black...
The sun was shining, though the air was a bit chilly. It was rather windy, and there was no one around. That was, except for 2 passed out teens. Some bird decided to serenade the sun in the bushes nearby, and Kisame slowly opened his eyes. His body was stiff and sore, and he felt quite hungry and dehydrated. He wanted to roll over, but realized that he was lying on a bench. Where in the world was he? And where were the others? That's when he heard a moan from the other side of the bench. Next to it, on the ground, was Kakuzu leaning against the bench. He had no shirt on and his long, brown hair was messy and dirty. Kisame sat up, got the sickest head rush he'd ever had, and inched towards where his odd friend was sitting.
"Kakuzu-senpai?" he called out, with a raspy voice. The genin appeared to be sleeping. He shook him until he got a response, which was another moan and an unconscious cuss.
"Kakuzu!" Kisame said loudly in his ear, which was more effective.
"N-nani...?" Kisame sighed and sat down in front of the scarred teen.
"Please wake up," he plead, and Kakuzu opened his eyes slightly.
"Oh... Kisame... Hi, how are you...?" he asked, still not quite awake.
"Chikusho!" he yelled in disbelief and shook the older boy again, harder this time.
"Kami, what's the problem...?!" he growled, most of all just wanting to go back to sleep. The younger boy sighed in relief.
"Well, I have no clue where we are, we've been sleeping on a bench, you're not wearing a shirt and... And I don't see Zetsu anywhere," Kisame explained, realizing that his best friend wasn't around. Kakuzu laughed slightly.
"So that's why I'm so cold..."
"We need to find Zetsu! Again... And to get home from wherever it is we are," Kisame said, getting very irritated. The genin yawned and began to stand up, only to stumble and almost fall back down.
"I got this," he mumbled and the blue boy shook his head, getting more and more frustrated. A lone man was walking down what looked like the dock they were on, and Kakuzu approached him, limping.
"Excuse me! Sir! We are in need of assistance!" he shouted, managing to look more hurt than he was. The man seemed to have decided to be nice that day. He walked towards them with a friendly and concerned expression on his face, when the scarred young man detached his arm and shot it towards him. The hand grabbed the stranger's throat, effectively keeping him in place. Kisame felt he had to do his part, and ran up and punched the man in the head. He fell unconscious, and Kakuzu retracted his arm.
"Nice punch," he complimented, and rummaged through the man's bag. He found a bit of food to eat, a pack of cigs and, most importantly, a cell phone. He also took off the man's jacket and put it on.
"You give Zetsu a call," he commanded Kisame and lit a cigarette. Kisame mentally beat himself in the head; how in the world did he end up in that mess?
It was probably the hottest day of the year, if not ever. As soon as one went outside, it was like entering a sauna. Some people enjoyed it, while some suffered. On days like that, there was almost nothing better than a cool shower.
That is, unless you were Kisame. After gym class the rule was that everyone had to take a shower. Most of the students had no problem with it, a few felt it was awkward, and then there was one blue boy who skipped it altogether. He was usually the first one in the large boys' dressing room, so that he could get out before the rest arrived. First of all, stripping completely in front of the people who had made his life a living hell was a big no-no. And as if it wasn't bad enough to have an appearance that most of all resembled that of a shark, he had to have two of... those. The shark had only once made the mistake of showering with the others. That experience had scarred him for life. As gym class ended, he leapt for the dressing room entrance. Unfortunately the teacher was one step ahead of him this year - literally. When he found the exit blocked by the teacher, he immediately began to panic. The argument about whether Kisame was allowed to skip showering lasted a couple of minutes, before the teacher got sick of him.
"No, and that's final, Hoshigaki!" Kisame's heart dropped. There was no way out; he had to do as the teacher said and be grossly humiliated. He reluctantly admitted defeat, slowly walked towards the spot where he had left his things, and began to take off his shirt.
While Kisame always skipped the showers, Zetsu skipped gym altogether – just that once. If the teachers knew what he was doing instead, they'd probably kick him out immediately. His venus fly trap blended in just fine with the bushes next to a specific window. Behind the perfectly clear glass was the girls' dressing room. They were, like the boys, done with gym and were now showering. That meant a perfect view of naked teenage girls. Quite of few of them were delightfully curvy, and one of the older girls had the biggest pair of... earrings that he had ever seen. The plant boy couldn't fathom what made them so wonderful, but it didn't matter. It was too delicious to ignore. Suddenly he felt a push on his back, lost his balance, and fell out of his hiding place. One of the teenagers saw him through the window, and screamed bloody murder. The rest of the girls noticed as well, covered up their womanly body parts, and hurriedly pulled a curtain in front of the window. Disappointed, Zetsu stood up and looked behind him, finding the culprit. It was Kakuzu, of course.
"What was that for, senpai? We might get in trouble," he complained, and the senior shook his head in what seemed to be disgust.
"I'm just not a fan of voyeurism," he stated bluntly and began to walk back to the boys' end of the gym building. The half-plant followed, though he was still upset about being interrupted. They covered up their mouths, since the janitors were spraying weed killer everywhere in the school yard. Neither of them liked the smell, though Zetsu seemed to experience breathing problems whenever he inhaled it.
"Were you skipping gym class too?" he asked, and the genin chuckled darkly.
"No, they merely decided to have me teach gym instead. I'm too good for you academy students," he explained smugly. The black side of Zetsu laughed.
"So you’re too good in gym, but at the same level as academy students in the rest?" he teased. Kakuzu stopped and glared menacingly at the younger boy.
"Watch your fucking mouth, or I'll sew it together," he threatened, and kept walking. Zetsu followed, cursing his black side. Just outside of the gym building entrance, Kisame was waiting for them. They immediately noticed that something was wrong.
"Kisame? What's wrong? You look like Christmas has been cancelled or something," Zetsu asked, concerned. The depressed blue boy just shook his head. "I really don't want to talk about it." With that he walked towards the school buildings, looking very glum.
"Kisame you know you can tell us. We're friends, right?" Kakuzu assured him, but the shark shook his head again and sped up.
"Sheesh, thanks for the trust," the senior complained sarcastically. The blue boy ignored him, and continued towards the class room. It was recession, but he didn't feel like being outside with all the others. His 2 (3) friends caught on, and they spent recession in the class room. The plant boy and the scarred senior were still very curios as to why their blue friend was so gloomy. The bell rang and soon after the rest of the class was pouring in, all staring at the odd trio. As usual the class was unspectacular, though the boys stared more than usual at Kisame and the girls sent Zetsu devilish glares. The black side of the boy was unusually crude that day, and decided to tease the senior more, since he seemed to be in a bad mood.
"Kakuzu senpai?" he whispered, so that the teacher wouldn't hear him. The genin didn't answer, but looked at him curiously.
"How come you weren’t interested in the pretty ladies? Are you perhaps… not into girls? Don't ask him that!" The white side tried to strangle his black side, but strangled both of them. Kisame stared at his friend. Why would he ask Kakuzu, of all people, that?! To their surprise, the scarred senior laughed at him.
"As I said, I'm just not a fan of voyeurism. I prefer touching, not looking," he answered rather smug, though it was hard to tell since his face was still mostly covered up. Kisame felt that he was definitely missing part of that conversation.
The girls in the class were not going to let Zetsu's actions go by unnoticed. They were more or less planning his demise. What could they do though? Should they go for humiliation or pain or something entirely different? They had all noticed that the plant boy was having trouble with the weed killer - he was sounding more and more like Darth Vader. As such they snuck into the janitors' closet and snatched a can or two. Once again it was recession and the 3 (4) teenage boys were sitting outside, as far away from the stench as possible. The toxic smell was instead replaced by the smell of Kakuzu's cigarettes.
"You should really quit," Kisame stated, though still rather gloomy.
"Self improvement is masturbation. Now self destruction..." the senior stated confidently. They were all very bored, and waiting for school to end, so that they could have fun. They could hear laughing behind them, and figured that everyone else was having more fun than they were. Suddenly a voice right behind them addressed Zetsu.
"Zetsu-chan, we have something for you," the girl's voice said. The black and white boy's curiosity couldn't be controlled, and he turned around to look at the speaker. It was the girl who discovered him peeping on them and with a cheeky smile on her face, she pulled out a can of weed killer and sprayed it right in his face. The group of girls laughed loudly, while the 2 other boys were most of all rather confused. Zetsu however had violent spasms, fell to the ground, and started foaming around the mouth.
"Zetsu!" Kisame shrieked and was next to his friend in an instant. He tried to get in contact with the plant boy, but he seemed to be completely gone.
"Kakuzu get the nurse or something!" he shouted and the genin quickly got up to run. The girl realised that she might have seriously hurt the voyeur, and dropped the can. Kakuzu seized the opportunity, picked it up, and flung it right back in her face, hitting her nose with an uncomfortable cracking noise.
Waiting outside the nurse's office was excruciating. Not being allowed to know whether your best friend was totally fine or dead wasn't exactly fun. The senior put a hand on the worried junior's shoulder.
"He's going to be fine, it was probably just an allergic reaction," he assured, in an attempt to calm them both down. Kisame smiled half-heartedly at him, not quite convinced. A few minutes later the door to the nurse's office opened, and the nurse herself addressed them.
"He's okay, you can come in now." The two boys were immediately on their feet and followed the nurse into the office. Zetsu was sitting on a sickbed, chugging a bottle of water. As he saw them he smiled and waved, seemingly quite laid back. Kisame was very relieved, and couldn't help but hug his best friend tightly.
"Are you okay?" he asked, and the plant boy nodded slowly, a bit drowsily.
"What happened?" Kakuzu asked, directed at both Zetsu and the nurse.
"We don't remember. That girl just sprayed something in our face and everything went black," Zetsu explained, obviously quite confused.
"It seems that he's highly allergic to a toxin in the weed killer. I gave him some antibiotics, and some medicine that work against the toxin, in case he should come in contact with it again. Also, I've already contacted his parents, but I'd like you two to take him home, just in case," the nurse said with a wink. The boys got the hint and helped their friend to his feet. He brought the water bottle with him and made sure to cover up his mouth and nose as much as possible. As they crossed the school yard, happy that they were off a little earlier, someone called out behind them.
"Kakuzu, you bastard!" The scarred senior immediately stiffened, and groaned in irritation. The 2 (3) others looked behind them and saw another exchange student that they had met a couple of times before. He and Kakuzu didn't seem to get along very well.
"Kakuzu how the fuck are you, long time no see, baka," the silver-haired student asked.
“Hidan... Not now. Just go away," the senior growled and tried his best to ignore this Hidan person.
"Oi don't be like that Kuzu-chan! I ask you how you're doing and then you treat me like shit! You sad bastard," he continued, with a teasing smirk on his face.
"What's the problem with you two?!" Kisame interrupted – he just wanted to get Zetsu home. Hidan laughed loudly.
"It's not me who's got a problem, it's Scarface here. You see, all the ways he wishes he could be? That's me. I look like he wants to look, fucks like he wants to fuck, I am smart, capable, and most importantly, I am free in all the ways he is not," he stated, and a split second later he was flying across the school yard, having been punched right in the gut by Kakuzu.
"HIDAN!!!" he bellowed and strode towards where the young man had landed. He grabbed the pink-eyed man by the throat and shook him.
"Don't EVER say something like that again!! Do you hear me?!!" he yelled, right in his face.
"No, I didn't quite catch that," Hidan laughed, and Kakuzu punched him a few more times in the face, hard.
"Still not getting it," the beat up teen teased. Once again he received a flurry of fists to his face, and was eventually bleeding from the mouth and nose and had a black eye. They were both panting and exhausted.
"Okay, I got it... Shit, I lost it," Hidan laughed and Kakuzu roared with anger. Before he could land another hit on him though, two teachers had grabbed him. Other people had noticed what was going on - how couldn't they? - and had of course told the authorities. The scarred teen was struggling to get loose and shaking with rage, while the bleeding young man on the ground was laughing, as if he enjoyed being hurt. Kisame and Zetsu, who had been more or less stumped at the violent scene, decided that they should just continue home. Kakuzu probably wasn't going anywhere anytime soon. As they left they had a bizarre feeling that the day had been nothing out of the ordinary; and it probably hadn't.
The sun was already shining vividly through the curtains, as it usually did during the summer. Thankfully it was one of those fund raisers at the academy that day, so the students were allowed to sleep a little longer. It was odd that the academy thought sleeping was more important on an easy day, than a normal school day. Soon the sun shone through a hole in the curtains, and lit up Kisame's face.
The sleepy boy groaned - he wanted to sleep longer. Eventually the shark rubbed his eyes and sat up with a yawn. His two (three) friends were still sleeping. They had had a sleep over the day before. It was nothing special really, they just watched some movies, ate some candy, and drank a bit of sake. It had been very cozy, but they were of course tired the next day. Kisame looked at the clock - it was almost time to get up anyway - and proceeded to wake up Zetsu. The plant boy was sleeping with his fly trap shut, so he knocked on it, like he was knocking on a door. There was no response, so he repeated his action while whispering for the boy to get up. Soon the venus fly trap slowly opened and revealed a tired-looking half black and half white boy.
"Is it morning already?" he moaned, irritated. Kisame nodded and his friend sighed.
"Damn. We couldn’t fall asleep last night," he complained and sat up.
"You should've just said, I'd have gotten you some tea or something," the blue boy said, but Zetsu merely shrugged with a smile on his face. Kisame moved towards the third mattress, occupied by the senior Kakuzu. The scarred teen seemed to have already woken up, perhaps due to the little commotion going on.
"Rise and shine, senpai. It's fund raiser day," the junior encouraged with a smile.
"Wake me up when something interesting happens," he growled and pulled his blanket up over his head.
"Then you’d sleep forever," Zetsu's black side teased, and the genin chuckled darkly.
"True enough. Alright, let's go destroy the academy's economy."
Each class had been assigned a task to complete during the day. Some had to visit peoples' homes and ask for donations, much like annoying door-to-door salesmen. Others were putting up stands all around town to sell different items. Unfortunately the three (four) boys' class had to sell cookies. Everyone had complained at the lame, cliché task, but the teachers insisted. As such each student was given ten boxes to sell. The boys were walking around town, trying their worst to sell the baked goods. Zetsu mostly ate them himself.
"Excuse me, good sir, are you interested in buying some cookies?!" Kakuzu exclaimed at a random man passing them. Thankfully he pitied the teens and bought a box for his kids. The scarred senior stuffed the few coins into his pocket, satisfied with earning a little pocket money. They definitely didn't intend on giving the academy all the cash. Soon they came across one of the stands the other students had put up. The particular one that they happened to pass just in front of a small market happened to be selling green tea. A girl from one of the other classes was behind the “counter” and smiled at them.
“Hey boys. Care for a cup of tea?” she suggested with a genuinely nice tone, and gestured for them to come closer. Zetsu nodded wildly, and Kisame decided to join his friend for tea. Kakuzu was on the defense, until the girl stated that it was on the house. Soon the three (four) boys were all enjoying freshly brewed cups of tea, probably as the first ones on the warm day. They enjoyed a few moments of silence, before the girl talked to them again.
“So… you guys are from the parallel class, right? You’re Kisame, you’re Zetsu, and you’re Kakuzu, am I right?” Kisame was taken aback by her interest in them, and Kakuzu glared at her, on the barricades again.
“How do you know? Are we famous?” Zetsu asked, with gleaming eyes. She giggled and smiled broadly at the plant boy.
“I guess you could say that. You’re certainly famous at school,” she said with a positive tone. The black and white boy seemed disappointed however, and couldn’t help but turn his gaze to the ground, and keep it there whilst drinking his tea. The three (four) boys all took her comment the wrong way, and copied the actions of their friend. The young woman realized what was wrong, and tried to think of a way to make it up to them.
“Well you are “famous” for being strange, but I think that’s what makes you cool,” she stated. Zetsu and Kisame seemed cheered up again, but Kakuzu had given up on the conversation, and went into the market behind them, leaving the two (three) others with the girl. They were engulfed in an awkward silence for a while. The plant boy was the first one to break it.
“So you actually think we’re cool?” he asked the girl, with a shy expression on his face. She nodded with a broad smile.
“Yeah! I mean, people must be hard on you, but they have a tendency to be prejudiced. I think you’re the most unique shinobi in the entire academy,” she enthused, which made Zetsu smile sheepishly.
“By the way, what’s your name?” The shark-like shinobi asked.
“Oh, how rude of me! I’m Katsumi,” she stated, blushing, and reaching out her hand to shake hands with the blue boy. He couldn’t help but blush as well, as they shook hands. Her hand was so feminine and frail, unlike his. Kisame and Katsumi chatted for a while, while Zetsu listened and focused on drinking his tea and eating cookies. When he had finished another box, he realized that he was quite bored. As such he opened another box of treats and went to find Kakuzu in the market. K and K were hitting it off quite well, and he didn’t want to be in the way.
The market was bigger on the inside than it looked on the outside, and the black and white teen wandered around, looking at the antiques the old women at the stands were selling. There were some old, bejeweled kunai, traditional Japanese paintings, finely decorated plates, and so on. Suddenly the plant boy spotted Kakuzu alongside Hidan in the market. For once they weren’t fighting and bickering. Zetsu was just about to wave and call for them, but then noticed something odd – they were holding hands. The plant boy’s heart skipped a beat. Were they… together? Like that? Before he could think further about it, Hidan had said something he couldn’t hear, and left Kakuzu’s side, caressing his shoulder first. The scarred senior then spotted Zetsu and froze, before he strode towards him. The plant began to panic, and hid beneath one of the stand tables. The woman who ran it however virtually hissed at him and kicked him back out. Soon Kakuzu was towering over him and sent him the glare of death. Zetsu smiled awkwardly, and the senior put his foot on the plant boy’s chest, his tendrils crawling out of the edges of his many stitches. The junior was praying for his survival, as the senior put his index finger in front of his uncovered mouth in a shushing motion. He held out a hand for Zetsu and helped him to his feet.
“So… What are you doing here?” he asked, seemingly embarrassed. The younger boy couldn’t control his curiosity.
“What the hell was that senpai?!” he shrieked, and quickly covered his mouth with his hands. Kakuzu sighed deeply, still looking quite humiliated.
“Don’t tell anyone. Not even Kisame. Please, Zetsu,” he plead. It was the first time he had ever heard the senior use the word “please”, and he couldn’t help but nod wildly. His friend smiled with genuine relief, and pulled him back the way he came. After a minute or so, they were back at the entrance of the market, finding Kisame still talking with Katsumi. Apparently he still hadn’t finished his tea. The blue shinobi had a disappointed look on his face, when he spotted his two (three) friends. Kakuzu had a smirk on his face, like nothing had happened, as he approached the two.
“You two seem to enjoy each others’ company,” he stated, with a vulgar undertone. They both glared at him, though it had no effect. Kisame noticed that Zetsu seemed a bit off, and he put his now cold tea on the “counter” and walked up to his best friend.
“Hey man, are you okay?” he asked, genuinely curious. The plant boy nodded slowly and smiled half-heartedly. The blue teen knew his friend well enough to know that this wasn’t something he wanted to talk about. Zetsu grabbed another cookie, and the three (four) young men finally decided to move on with their tedious task.
The old paediatrician took a look at his list. Next were a young couple with an unknown problem with their newborn child; the doctors at the hospital had apparently not been able to give them an answer, so they had been sent to a specialist. He twisted his white moustache with a confident smile on his wrinkly face. He was confident that he had the answer to whatever was wrong with the baby. The secretary was contacted through the speaker, sending in the couple. Soon the regular looking pair entered the door to his office, with a bundle in the mother’s hands. They tried their best to return the paediatrician’s smile – they had travelled a long way to see the best in the land – but they just couldn’t manage. The doctor felt the heavy atmosphere, and went straight to the point.
“Well then, let’s get straight to it. How can I help you and your child?” he asked, with a professional look in his eyes. The mother took a few deep breaths, before unwrapping the bundled baby a little. He had been prepared for anything, but was taken aback by the young child’s appearance. Even he had never seen anything like it. The child was half black and half white, and the right, black, side didn’t seem to have any facial features, except for the yellow iris that was also present in the left, normal eye. Along the neck was an odd, green substance. The surprised doctor adjusted his glasses, and cleared his throat. It would definitely be necessary to run some tests.
“Come on Zetsu-chan, you know you like it,” she cheered her son on. The strange boy’s father was still at work at such a late hour; it wasn’t that strange though, since he was a shinobi. It did however leave the young mother to care for their child on her own, most of the time. The stubborn boy shook his head and pouted. The green substance grew bigger in tact with the child, and it seemed more and more plant like. She held the spoon with the baby food up to her son’s mouth again, encouraging him to eat it, but he simply refused.
“We no like!” he complained. She couldn’t figure out why he sometimes preferred to refer to himself in plural.
“Well you liked it yesterday, didn’t you?” The boy shook his head again. His entirely normal big sister was sitting at the other end of the table, rolling her eyes at her annoying little brother.
“No, we not like!” he uttered again, but with an entirely different voice. She dropped the spoon with a gasp – she’d seen her son do many strange things, but never speak with a different voice! As he took in his mother’s expression he climbed out of his chair, and headed towards his room.
“You no like us,” he stated with that peculiar voice, as he disappeared out of sight. The young mother quickly picked up the phone to call the doctor once again. Her daughter shot her mother a worried look – some time that boy was going to do her in.
It was lucky that the academy was so close to home, so that their parents wouldn’t have to worry about them getting home safely. Zetsu was walking alongside the road, heading home like usual. He was walking slower than necessary, since he knew he was going to have to take all those nasty nutrients when he came home. It had been a couple of months since the doctor told his parents that he was malnourished. They couldn’t explain what was wrong in his diet, so they gave him pills and vitamins to make him “normal” again. What he did know was that he had had an odd craving, long before the malnourishment. He described it as wanting a specific kind of food very badly, although he didn’t know what kind of food it was. Soon he arrived home and unlocked the front door; immediately an odd but delicious smell struck him.
“Oi otouto, can you fetch me a band-aid? I cut myself accidentally,” his sister called out, coming towards him from the kitchen. Blood was visible on her hand, and he knew that it was the origin of the delicious smell. As he strode towards his big sister, he had no intention of getting her a band-aid. Just as she was starting to get confused as to where he was going, he bit her where the cut was. She screamed at the top of her lungs, and struggled to get free, but his teeth had dug into her hand and he knocked her over. She struggled and squirmed, as he moved his hands to her throat – he had to stop her screaming! When she slowly quit squirming, he began to tear the flesh off of her arm, and eat it. It was as though his teeth were made for it. As he ate more and more of her, still keeping a knee on her throat, he felt the craving subside. That was what he had needed all along. He continued eating as though he hadn’t eaten in years, until the front door was unlocked. His mother’s scream woke the dead, as she laid eyes upon her dead daughter and apparently cannibalistic son.
Only the most important items in the house were being packed, such as beds, chairs, tables and the like. They wanted a new beginning in the new village. Once the movers were done loading the furniture into the truck, the tired and worn-out father gestured to his son, to get in the car. The cannibalistic boy was a little hesitant – there was still one last thing to do before they left entirely.
“Can we... Can we visit mother before we leave?” he asked, almost whispering. His father sighed and seemed to think about it for a moment. Eventually the older man nodded, and his son got in the car, with a satisfied and expectant look on his face. The movers were told to drive to their new location, in a new village, on their own as the father and son travelled to the local mental hospital.
To Zetsu, a mental asylum was a place for the people whose minds were abnormal and dangerous. He’d never been to the hospital where they kept his mother, after she lost her mind. The loss of a daughter by the hands of a cannibalistic son was too much to bear for her already fragile psyche. After having attacked him several times, his father decided putting her in an institution would be best. He wasn’t quite sure if he agreed; why would his anxious mom fit in between all those lunatics? When they finally arrived though, he was, again, the odd man out. As he and his father were being escorted to a meeting room, which was guarded just in case anything happened, he noticed the staring. All around them the patients – who seemed to be treated more like inmates – were looking out of the small glass windows in the doors. All eyes were on him; at some windows several patients were fighting about the slim view of the hallway and the strange boy. Thankfully they soon reached the meeting room. Two guards were waiting inside, looking rather uneasy.
“Zetsu-kun please wait outside,” his father suddenly requested. Zetsu stared at him in disbelief, and was just about to get mad when he spoke again.
“It’s best if I see her first. You will see her, don’t worry, but I need to be here alone for a few minutes first.” He knew there was no arguing about it, so he reluctantly went outside and sat down on one of the conveniently places chairs – the patients’ staring resumed. Thankfully his father kept his promise, and about 10 minutes later the door to the meeting room was opened anew, and one of the guards said he could come in. Longing to see his mother again, Zetsu hurried inside, but stopped dead in his tracks when she began to scream. She had placed herself against the wall, looking as though she’d seen a ghost, and was screaming at the top of her lunges. It took a few seconds before he realized that it was because of him. His father quickly grabbed him by the arm and pulled him all the way back outside. He didn’t even bother to say goodbye – but maybe he already had? Once outside Zetsu was about to ask him what happened, when he was hit in the face; his father had slapped him with the back of his hand, with such force that the young boy was pushed back and fell to the ground.
“It’s all your fault…!” he growled.
The weather had become milder during the late summer. Most people were thankful for it, since the summer had topped many heat records. Often this milder weather would feature light drizzling, as it did when Kakuzu was waiting outside the academy. He didn’t really mind the rain, since his hoody covered his head very nicely. That, and he found it amusing to watch people freak out over the tiny bit of rain. On the contrary, waiting for Hidan wasn’t very amusing. The boy had no sense of time, and as such often left everybody else waiting. Thankfully he was still the only one there – the school-home consultations hadn’t started yet, and their strange little group was first in line. He knew none of them had any reason to be nervous, since they were pretty much the best in their class. But the parental consultations were never a fun event, so everyone was anxious nonetheless. Just as the kids on the playground, and especially their loud screaming, were beginning to annoy Kakuzu, Hidan arrived.
“Oi Kakuzu-chan! Shitting your pants yet?” he yelled and began to remove his scarf, to place a kiss on his lips; Kakuzu immediately pushed him away.
“Not here, people are watching!” he whispered through his teeth. Hidan pouted and whined.
“So? Not our fucking problem,” he groaned and pouted harder. “Still afraid that people might judge you or something?” he teased. Kakuzu sighed deeply and shrugged.
“Fine whatever.” Hidan jumped for joy and kissed him; their tongues lightly caressed, and Hidan carefully bit Kakuzu’s lower lip before he pulled back. Their embraced had finished just in time, as Kisame and his mother arrived behind them. They greeted each other with a short wave and sluggish expressions on their faces. Kisame’s mother dragged him inside, and left Kakuzu and Hidan alone outside. They exchanged another short kiss, before Zetsu and his dad arrived. They only ever saw his father at events like these – none of them had ever been to Zetsu’s place and been introduced him; he didn’t want them to. They had a feeling something was wrong between him and his father. Even as he accompanied his son to school to confront the teachers, he looked like something the cat dragged in. Lots of stubbles indicated that he rarely shaved, just as his oily, filthy hair indicated that he close to never bathed. And then there was a constant stench of alcohol around him. Some time, one way or another, they’d drag the truth about what was going on out of that silly, shy plant boy.
“Oi Zetsu! Just in fucking time!” Hidan yelled with a big smile on his face. It wasn’t repaid, and the black and white boy followed his father closely as they entered the school. The smile faded from the pink-eyed boy’s face, and Kakuzu took his hand and dragged him inside as well.
“Oh there you are, boys! I was wondering when you’d turn up.” The two lovers froze when a middle-aged chubby woman spoke to them, as though she was their mother. The rest of the strange group was staring at them, wanting to know who she was. Kakuzu gave them the look of death, and they stared everywhere else instead.
“Well then we’re first! Let’s go, come on,” she chimed and dragged both of them into the classroom where the conversations were taking place. The waiting teens and their parents became eerily quiet. Kisame found it pretty amusing that the presence of parents could make teens so quiet and well-behaved. They were all sitting straight up and down, waiting for someone to break the ice. Aside from the occasional cough from Zetsu’s father, nothing happened – everyone was silently waiting for the big moment. After about 10 minutes Kakuzu, Hidan, and the strange lady exit the classroom. The woman was smiling like the Cheshire Cat, although the lovers seemed indifferent, if not annoyed.
“Well then I assume you’ll stay here. See you tomorrow then, boys!” she chimed and left – as did the couple. They were most likely avoiding questions about who she was.
“Hoshigaki Kisame, it’s your turn now.” The shark-like boy got up alongside his mom, and entered the dreaded classroom. Instead of eerie silence, the atmosphere in the hallway turned tense. Zetsu had never liked being with his father… not since they moved to town. He tried his very best not to think about it, but it was always looming in the back of his head. Sometimes all he wanted was to speak with his dad as normal human beings, without thinking of everything that had happened; he knew it was impossible though. Soon Kisame came back out, and both he and his mom were smiling brightly. Zetsu was dragged into the classroom by his father, pushing past them.
“Is that really his father?” she suddenly asked, taking Kisame by surprise.
“Yeah… he’s pretty odd. Kind of aloof, you know? I don’t think they like each other,” he confessed. He knew his mother wasn’t the gossiping type.
“Yeah no kidding… Anyway see you later. Don’t be home too late,” she said with a smile and waved goodbye. Kisame decided to join to couple outside. Unfortunately he interrupted a kiss.
“Oh never mind me, do continue,” he said, and they continued kissing… until he asked;
“Who was that la-“
“None of your business,” Kakuzu grumbled, giving him another look of death.
Soon all four (five) of them were heading to Kisame’s place for a small weekend “party”. All the evaluations had gone smoothly, and, apparently, they were all ready to graduate from the academy – the question was if they wanted to. They were all talking nicely and easily, until they passed a large, 5-story building. In front of it was a large lawn with a playground, children included. None of them took notice of it, until the chubby dame from earlier suddenly waved at Kakuzu and Hidan.
“Hey boys! See you tomorrow!” she yelled with a huge smile on her face. Hidan just rolled his eyes, while Kakuzu sped up his pace. Kisame and Zetsu noticed a big sign on the fence in front of the lawn that read: Yūjōgakure Orphanage.
“Um guys… what’s this about?” The two lovers kept walking, and the shark and the plant followed quickly behind. When they had gotten a few blocks away from the orphanage, having walked in complete silence, Hidan put his hand on Kakuzu’s shoulder and stopped him.
“I think they figured it out. We might as well fucking tell them,” he said, looking at his boyfriend with a, for once, serious look in his eyes. Kakuzu slapped Hidan’s arm off of him, and crossed his arms, looking embarrassed.
“Fine! Then I’ll fucking tell them!” – he cleared his throat – “Um… uh… well… you see… err… hmm… We and the teachers have lied to you. We’re… we’re from Yugakure and Takigakure, but that was long ago. We’re not fucking exchange students… we’re orphans,” he explained, with a rather shaky voice.
Rain was hammering against the windows on the third floor, room 156. One of the two beds was abandoned, and hosted only a pile of dirty clothes and messy sheets. The other was occupied by two rather down teens. For once the silver-haired pretty-boy wasn’t the one who needed consolation.
“Are you really that bothered by this shit?” The pink-eyed young man asked his lover, with as soft a tone as he could muster. His stitched boyfriend shrugged.
“I’m not sure… something was just wrong after you told them that.” The sleep-over had been pretty strange. Everyone suddenly seemed a lot more careful around them, like they were riding a horse across a minefield.
“You know, they probably just need time to think about it. I mean… we did lie like shit to them. It’s only, um, natural I guess,” Hidan pondered, and began to nuzzle the back of Kakuzu’s head.
“Yeah. I suppose you’re right,” he admitted, and rolled over to kiss his boyfriend, but Hidan had other plans.
“Heh it’s not often you get anxious like this. I kinda like it. It’s like you’re the fucking uke-“ he was cut off as Kakuzu punched him off of the bed – he fell onto the night-stand and knocked it over alongside the (thankfully) unlit candles.
The Beginning of the End of the Beginning/Nightmare Night
The leaves were turning into beautiful shades of brown and red, and were slowly, but gracefully, falling from their branches. The weather was finally getting cooler, which was a nice change from the intense warmth of the summer. Inside the Shinobi Academy there was a lot of tension though. It was time for the annual graduations, and this year Kisame and Zetsu were attending. They both felt ready for it, more or less, so they had decided to graduate. The students had been divided into two groups, since there were quite a lot of students in the graduating class. The second team of pupils was still completing their practical exams, and the first team was waiting outside the teacher’s office, to be told if they passed and how it went. Kisame was part of the first group, and was slowly going crazy from waiting. He felt as though he had done well, but he was still nervous – he was trying his very best to make his legs quit shaking. Someone else was in the office, and he was next. To keep his mind off of the exam, he thought of the things to come. Three-man teams would be formed, and assigned to a jōnin sensei. The three (four) friends had decided to throw a party that evening, to celebrate the end of their academy days, at a local bar. They had managed to encourage people to come, so there would probably be a lot of people at the club. Katsumi was invited as well, and Kisame was really looking forward to spending time with her. She was such a lovely girl, and she really seemed to care about him. He liked her humour and she liked his, she was always nice towards him, she was damn pretty and they got along really well. Honestly he’d like to place a big, long kiss on her-
“Hoshigaki Kisame, come on in.” He was kicked out of his fantasy, as one of the proctors called him to the office. Immediately his legs resumed their shaking.
The calm transition season autumn was the very best one of all, according to Kakuzu. It was very soothing, and had just the right temperature. Not too warm, not too cold. For once he didn’t mind waiting, as he was sitting underneath an old, shedding, beautiful oak, and Hidan was resting his head on his lap. Since nobody was allowed to touch his perfectly slicked-back hair, he was nuzzling his cheek instead. The younger male had passed the genin exam a couple of days earlier and was now resting on his laurels. Soon they heard fast-paced footsteps coming towards them. Looking in their general direction, they spotted Kisame running towards them, sporting a huge, sharky smile on his face. As soon as he got close to them, he yelled;
“Guess what!” while trying to catch his breath.
“You failed?!” Hidan shrieked with a sarcastic look on his face; he received a slap on the back of his head from his lover.
“Do tell how it really went,” Kakuzu asked, albeit knowing the answer. Kisame jumped a little in place, as though gathering enough strength to tell him.
“I passed! With flying colours, they said!” he shouted, and jumped again. Hidan clapped excitedly, and Kakuzu flung all kinds of congratulatory remarks at him. As soon as he had settled down, he took a seat on the ground next to the couple. All that was left to do now was wait for Zetsu, since he was in the last group to graduate that day. It could take up to two hours still. Soon Hidan had fallen asleep and was snoring lightly, causing Kisame to feel drowsy as well. He didn’t want to fall asleep though, since he wanted to be the first to graduate Zetsu on passing his exam. Kakuzu was wondering how many people would actually show up to their party. He and Hidan had been the ones to pass around the invitations, and they had used a pretty excellent strategy. If someone didn’t want to join, the stitched genin would merely threaten them, and they’d comply. He’d already gotten quite the reputation for his temper tantrums, so it was no wonder that most people didn’t dare defy him. Mostly the girls just needed to take one look at Hidan, and they decided to attend. Having a sexy boyfriend sure was handy sometimes. Soon he spotted Zetsu shuffling across the school yard towards them – he looked a bit down. The stitched senior elbowed Kisame, and, before he complained, pointed to his black and white friend. Kisame immediately noticed that his best friend wasn’t as giddy as he had been, and got up and walked towards him, ready to handle an emotional emergency the best he could. Soon they were standing face to face – except that Zetsu wouldn’t look at him. His eyes were pinned to the ground. Kisame put a hand on his shoulder…
“Are you okay…?” he asked gently. After taking a deep breath, his friend finally looked up at him; he was grinning widely. Kisame grinned back, realizing that he’d been had. He pulled his best friend into a tight hug, only letting go when he felt him squirming in his grasp. They turned back towards the couple, and Kisame was quick to flash a thumbs-up and yell;
“It’s okay! We’re all genin!”
It had just turned dark, and the small rented bar was alight with life and lights. The newly fledged genin were enjoying their last night as students, before having to carry out missions and take responsibilities. For now though, it was pushed to the back of their minds. Kisame and Katsumi were sitting next to each other in front of the bar, sipping their drinks. They had been talking very well that night, and their friendship had really moved forward since they met. The shark was very excited – she was the first girl who had ever paid any positive attention to him! He had just ordered another drink when one of Katsumi’s friends dragged her away from the bar, to dance to a particular song. Moments later Zetsu had taken her place.
“You two really like each other, don’t you?” he inquired with a smile. The blue boy grinned widely.
“Well yeah! At least as friends… for now.” He winked at his plant-like friend. Kisame’s drink finally arrived, but Zetsu was quick to snatch it from the counter.
“Ooh I love this drink,” he chimed and drank it in big gulps. Kisame rolled his eyes at him, before spotting a strange light outside the bar windows. The small bar was at the edge of the village, its façade facing out against the big forest that surrounded the entire village. Seconds later they all heard screams in the distance. His vision became blurry, as the windows exploded, and fire came crawling in the bar. Soon screams were surrounding him, and he was dragged into a side-room by an unseen person – it turned out to be Zetsu, and he shut the door just as the flames reached the doorway. It took them both a few seconds before they dared look around. They exchanged looks with the others that had made it to the room. Katsumi and her friend were there, alongside Kakuzu and Hidan. What a piece of luck.
“Wh-what the hell happened?” Kisame whispered.
“We’re under attack, dimwit. You don’t know that! It’s very likely though,” Zetsu stated bluntly, and Katsumi’s blonde friend nodded.
“I agree. Which is why we shouldn’t hide, but help the others.” Yells and screams were still heard from the other side of the door, alongside many panicked footsteps and the sounds of metal weapons clashing. Hidan stared at the young girl.
“Who the fuck are you?” he asked, and promptly received a death-glare from her that could rival those of Kakuzu. Katsumi sighed.
“This is Shinju. She’s one of my best friends,” she explained and patted her blonde friend on the head. They were silent for a few seconds, before another scream ripped through the night.
“Okay let’s get the hell to it then! We can’t just hide here like cowards; we’re shinobi for fuck sake!” Kakuzu yelled, and everyone nodded. They couldn’t afford to let everybody else suffer.
“Okay then. Kisame and Shinju, you two focus on putting the fires out,” – Shinju gave Kisame a thumbs-up – “Kakuzu and I will attempt to take down whoever’s attacking us. If you see a chance to help us, do so!” – everyone nodded – “And Hidan you’ll get everyone away from here, survivors and those in need of medical attention!” Katsumi ordered.
“Zetsu you go find medical-nins! You’re the fastest one of us,” Kisame stated and the black and white boy grinned.
“Indeed. You can count on us!” With Katsumi’s orders they opened the door back up. Kisame and Shinju immediately formed hand seals, and Zetsu melted into the ground.
”Suiton: Suikōdan no Jutsu!”
With their combined effort all fire in their close vicinity had been extinguished. Katsumi ran through the room, and grabbed the big iron fan that she had stashed behind the bar. In the meantime a shinobi from another village had quickly snuck up behind her, and was just about to strike her down with a kunai, before Kakuzu intervened with a hard punch that sent the ninja flying across the bar; he landed on his feet, and was quickly forming hand seals – Katsumi swung her fan out in front of her, which caused a powerful gust of wind to knock the shinobi off his feet. Hidan was dragging all the hurt genin outside, as fast as he could. Although he wasn’t exactly sensitive, it staggered him to see how many were already dead. He attempted CPR, but only managed to save two. With blood all over him he went back into the bar to get the rest out. The team work of the blue boy and blonde girl had managed to put out almost all the fire – only the roof was still in flames. As they moved on to rescuing people, another shinobi was inches from hitting Shinju, and she barely managed to dodge in time. Thankfully Kisame’s jutsu was still at full power, since he had a pretty decent chakra amount for a newbie genin, and he quickly performed a water jutsu at the unknown shinobi. He managed to dodge the attack, and came straight at the shark – just as he began to panic the ninja stopped dead in his tracks, to withstand the forces of a powerful gale. Katsumi and Kakuzu had just knocked out the first attacker, and now came to the rescue of the two fire fighters. The young brunette was tired out however, and she barely managed to deflect the kunai thrown at her. Kakuzu was just about to counter-attack with a lightning technique, but was interrupted when there was a strange spin in the air, and moments after a man with a swirly, orange mask had appeared and silently slit the throat of the opponent. The newbie genin all stared in awe. Katsumi sighed in relief, and everyone seemed to relax a little, as Zetsu appeared in the ground next to the masked man. Sensing that the atmosphere was pressured, he decided to try to lighten the mood.
“Hello there children!” – he waved at them – “How awesome was that?! Just in time, huh?! You’re lucky to have a shinobi like me around here, or you’d all be dead!” he chimed, and smiled underneath the mask. The youths were uninterested, and continued outside to take care of the injured. With slumped shoulders the joyful man joined them.
Soon all the fire had been put out, and the medical-nins were focused on the injured. Unfortunately they had lost many young genin, and the number of new shinobi and kunoichi had dropped drastically.
“Why the hell aren’t we taught basic medical jutsu…?” Shinju complained, and Katsumi wrapped her arms around her in a comforting hug. Kisame was sitting against a wall, resting. Even with his chakra something like this was tiring. Even though he had helped extinguish the fires, he felt awfully useless. If he had been just a little better, a little faster, maybe fewer lives would’ve been lost. Suddenly the strange, teleporting man clapped his hands loudly and yelled;
“Well then! Looks like the rest of you will have to work even harder!” He was promptly silenced by one of the medics.
“Shut the hell up Tobi!”
It had finally gone dark outside, and a light summer rain was drizzling from the sky. It was warm and humid, which had made it even more difficult giving birth than usual. One such struggling individual had just finished the most painful, but at the same time most amazing, experience of her life. Thankfully she had her husband to care for her now, as they waited to see their newborn again. The baby boy had been born prematurely, and had been taken to an NICU to ensure that he would live. They didn't doubt for one second, however, that their child would be alright. Soon the doctor entered their room. They were both smiling at him, but he didn't seem to harbour the same happiness.
"I'm afraid I have some bad news for you," the young mother immediately shot up from her bed, but the doctor assured her with a hand gesture that she did not need to. "Your child appears to have a cardiac problem."
"A... heart problem? What does that mean exactly?" her husband inquired.
"Well, you see... So far we've determined that he has a type of congenital heart defect. Unfortunately, in his case, it will most likely mean that we won't get very old," the doctor explained, and the couple all but stared at him, stunned. Soon enough the young mother lost it.
"But that can't be! That's impossible! We don't even have any line of heart diseases in our family! You've made a mistake! I want my baby! NOW!" She ended up screaming at the midwife and her husband, and anyone in the vicinity, as she attempted to make her way through the hospital to find her child. The doctor had anticipated this, and made sure that several nurses, and even security guards in case things got terribly out of hand, were ready to stop her and try to calm down the young kunoichi. He was dreading their reactions, when it finally sunk in that their newborn son would most likely be taken from them all too soon.
It was always in the middle of the night that it happened. The decorated children's' room was pitch black, and its inhabitant had awoken. Most likely the neighbours were having the same experience. It occurred about thrice a week; his parents would argue so violently that it woke up the entire neighbourhood. It always scared him - the few times that he had cried and screamed for them to stop, all he received was a slap in the face. So now all that was left to do was plug his small ears with a pillow, and wait for the storm to clear.
This particular night they were right in front of his door. Unfortunately the arguments always seemed to be about him; even if they were merely "discussing" work related issues, the conversation usually ended up involving him. Negatively.
"What do you suggest we do then?!" his mother screamed.
"I don't know! I already told you, I've run out of ideas because you keep dismissing-" she cut his father off.
"Then shut your trap until you figure out something useful!" There was an awkward and angry silence between them for a few seconds.
"There's always the forbidden jutsu," his father whispered, just loud enough for the eavesdropping child to hear.
"I know. But we agreed that it's a last resort. I don't want him to hurt more than he already does." He cuddled up under his blanket, trying to relax his body. After an argument they would always check if he was still asleep. Due to his first miserable attempts to stop them, he had since feigned sleep when they checked on him. He heard the door to his room open, and soon he felt his mother's presence behind him. She sighed and slowly exit the room again. A few tears ran across his face, before he was overwhelmed by sleepiness.
The way home from school was long and arduous. Just right for a shinobi, he thought. Well... at least an academy student. At least the road went through the local park, which made the trip a little more beautiful and a little less tedious. Walking home on that particular winter day, he made a game out of kicking a snowball to see how big it could get. It lasted all the way home, and he placed the now large ball of snow on the pathway to their house - he wanted to make a snowman later. As soon as he entered the house he noticed a weird smell. Like the sanitizing liquid the teachers at the academy would use to clean the students' scrapes and bruises. It was completely quiet, which was very strange to the child - normally the TV or radio would be turned on at this time of the day. His mother's voice startled him, as she peeked out from the trap door leading to the cellar.
"Hey Kakuzu, honey, there you are! Can you come down here for a second?" she asked, with what seemed like a fake smile on her face.
"But I was gonna-" He was interrupted when his mother grabbed his hand.
"Now," she demanded. He nodded slowly and followed her down the trap door; she held him tightly to ensure he did not fall. The basement looked very different than usual, with a large iron table in the middle, and lots of medical equipment and a huge scroll on the standard coffee table. The young boy was very confused, but as his father gestured for him to get on the iron table, it turned into to anxiety. He struggled to get loose of his mother's firm grasp, as she dragged him towards what he had realized was an operating table. Eventually she just picked him up and put him onto the table, and his father strapped him to it with leather bands.
"What are you doing?! Let me go!" the child shrieked. His mother caressed her son's cheek, her tears dripping onto his academy uniform.
"It's going to be okay. This is for your own good. We love you, remember that forever and ever." With that she opened the ominous scroll, and the trembling father prepared a scalpel...
Everything was dark. All sounds were muffled and distant. He wasn't entirely sure if he was sleeping or awake. Had it all been a bad dream? Was everything okay? Slowly the darkness faded, and the sounds became louder - then the pain arrived. He would scream, if his throat wasn't so dry. The people around him barely phased him, as he slowly sat up on the table. Blood was spattered all over the room, and he realized why the pain was so intense. His body was covered in scars. Police men were talking to him, trying to get his attention, but they didn't matter. He had to get out, and away from the now horrid house. Somehow they let him. Slowly and painfully he went outside, dragging a trail of blood after him. As soon as he came outside, his legs could no longer carry him - it was so cold, which made the pain that much worse. A few metres away his parents were being handcuffed by the police. They were both bawling. Why? Drops of blood tainted the pure, white snow, and shortly after he blacked out again.
"So, Kakuzu-kun, what do you like to do in your spare time?" the pedagogue asked, with the kindest tone possible. The bandaged child merely stared at the floor, with an angry look on his tired face. She could only imagine what he was feeling. The police had told her that his parents used one of Takigakure's most prized and forbidden jutsus to save their child from some kind of disease. She had heard many amazing medical tales about the jutsu, but had never witnessed it herself. Of course, the parents were now in jail. No matter their reasons they had committed a great crime stealing the jutsu scroll, and an even greater one by tormenting their small child with it. Her biggest task, however, was to care for him. Most likely this was only the beginning of his problems.
"Do you just want to see your room?" The sullen kid nodded. She offered that he held her hand, but her offer was ignored. His room was one of the only single-rooms the orphanage had available at the time. They figured that it would be best if he didn't have to be forced to socialize in his current state. On their way to the room, nigh all the other kids stared at him. How couldn't they? Even in a building where everyone were orphans, he was obviously the sore thumb. Soon they arrived at his new home. She opened the door and left him to it - a moment of peace for the tormented child. A lot of his things were there; his books, clothes and a few toys. It didn't really interest him. He sat down on the bed - which was a tad too soft - and sighed deeply. Sadness wasn't really the main emotion at play, as the caregivers seemed to think. It was anger. How could the people he trusted the most in the whole wide world betray him like that? Why would they hurt him so much? What was the purpose of all the pain they had caused him? He felt like putting his fist through a wall, but figured it wouldn't be a good way to start his new life.
Kakuzu soon found out that the other orphans weren't shy about gawking at him. That, and the food was terrible - everything tasted like cardboard and the cooks didn't seem to give a damn about anything else than their measly salary. At one such awful dinner, he made a special effort to ignore the others. The bandages had just come off, so all the idiots were staring more than usual. He wasn't particularly hungry, so he left dinner early - unfortunately a few of the other orphans had done the same.
"What happened to you?" a boy with a high pitched voice asked. He ignored him, but an older boy grabbed his shoulder, and forced him to face them. They all had strange smirks on their faces, like they were ready to mock the local freak no matter what he said or did.
"I asked what happened. Answer me, wuss," he insisted. Kakuzu stared at the floor, angered by their persistence. It was none of their damn business!
"Hello? Are you deaf?!" the boy whined and poked his forehead - before he had a chance to react, he was flying across the room. Kakuzu was startled by himself; not that he snapped, that wasn't uncommon, but that his fist had turned dark. Much darker than normal. Black tendrils were crawling out of his scars, without his consent - whatever they were. His wrath turned to fear, and, distressed by his own actions and weird symptoms, ran as fast as possible to his room on the third floor, and locked the door. Turning around he was unfortunate enough to face the mirror. That felt like the very last straw. Everything was so... weird. With big stitches everywhere his appearance was completely altered, and his odd red sclerae made him feel like a monster. For the first time in what felt like an eternity he cried, crawling into the nearest corner. It was all too much. Nothing made sense anymore.
Most people were idiots. It was the one thing consistent in life. Classes and homework at the academy were so easy that monkeys could pass with flying colours. Yet most of the students were struggling with it. They would most likely never become good shinobi - then again, the ninja life was rough, and the majority of the students would never make it to genin level, and even then tonnes of people were stuck being chūnin. Kakuzu had sworn to never end up like that. Therefore he worked as hard as he could, aced all the tests and... hated authorities. Academy teachers, the pedagogues at the orphanage, the police force, everyone. He was aware it was a problem, but he simply didn't care. They were merely in his way - always pestering him with responsibilities and virtues. For now though, he had to complete the repetitive homework. "Basic chakra natures - the five elements". Piece of-
Banana, banana, banana, terracotta, banana, terracotta, terracotta pie!
Banana, banana, banana, terracotta, banana, terracotta, terracotta pie!
Oh hell no. Why was he the only one with such an obnoxious neighbour? Sure, his neighbour's room was at the end of the hallway, but were the people above and below him deaf? The floors were thick, but not soundproof. The volume was turned up even further - that just wasn't alright. He was trying to work! Soon enough Kakuzu was knocking on the idiot's door. It took a few knocks before the inhabitant noticed. The old door was opened, revealing a surprisingly handsome young man. His hair was a silver colour, and perfectly slicked back with, he assumed, lots of gel, framing a pretty face with piercing pink eyes. They stared at each other for a few seconds.
"So... you want something?" the pink-eyed boy asked, with an irritated tone. Kakuzu shook his head and furrowed his brow.
"Turn the damn volume down," he growled. The boy glared at him, with a dumbfounded facial expression.
"What the hell is wrong with your eyes?" he inquired. The scarred young man was taken aback by his direct question. When he didn't answer immediately, the door was slammed in his face. Was this idiot intentionally playing with fire? The boy jumped ten feet in the air, when his door was kicked down by his enraged neighbour. He quickly surveyed the room, like a wild animal looking for its prey. The stereo was quickly spotted, and the volume was turned down to a minimum. The two boys glared at each other for a few seconds, before pink-eyed boy smiled widely.
"I like you already! The fuck is your name?" Kakuzu wondered if he was always that blunt, but he decided to answer nonetheless; he might as well get to know this idiot of a neighbour a little better.
"Awesome! I'm Hidan, nice to meet you or whatever."
Come What(ever) May
A brisk wind shook the brown and red forest, making it look like an ocean of leaves. It had been rather windy for the past couple of weeks, which was a big change from the summer. It was quite nice, actually. The continental climate created great differences to the summer and winter weather, so they were looking forward to a very cold winter. Shinobi were required to adapt easily to such environments, so running around in a breezy forest was good training.
At least that's what the three (four) boys told themselves. So far there was no running and training, but lots of waiting. Kisame, Zetsu, and Kakuzu had been waiting to meet their new sensei for about an hour. At any other time they would chat and have fun, but they were all anxious and expectant. Why he thought it was okay to be so late was beyond them. Of course, the boys had been paired up in a team - Team 4. The teachers and jōnin agreed that is was the only team that could work; the young freaks didn't get along with almost anyone else than the three (four) of them. Kisame was practicing throwing a kunai at a nearby tree, Zetsu was leaning against the next, falling asleep, and Kakuzu was still waiting, as patiently as possible. It took another ten minutes before their sensei arrived...
An orange swirl tore a hole in the air, and a smoke bomb clouded their vision, as a loud laughter emerged from the smoke. All three (four) genin were on their toes, waiting for the smoke to clear - soon a familiar person appeared.
"Hey kids! It's me, your new sensei! Tobi! Da-da-da-da!" he chimed, struck a heroic pose, and his students face palmed. The hyper jōnin was slightly disappointed, having expected his new team to be super excited about having him as their sensei.
"Aw come on guys! I'm one of the best shinobi in the entire village!" the masked man yelped, jumping a little in place. The newbie ninjas exchanged sceptical looks.
"Um... No offense, Tobi-san, but- You seem like a total loony." Kuro-Zetsu was ever so blunt, and the others nodded in agreement. Their jittery sensei put his hands on his hips, and stomped the ground in what seemed like childish annoyance.
"I'll have you know that I was a kage nominee at a very young age! Younger then you three I'm sure! And I'll have you become brilliant shinobi, even if it kills me!" - before any of them could say a word, he continued on an entirely different subject - "I have a task for you. You'll need to pass it to become full-fledged genin. I have these three scrolls," - he pulled out three brightly coloured scrolls - "and you need to find them all. That way you'll have one each. If one of you doesn't get a scroll that person fails, and will be sent straight back to the academy. Now excuse me while I spread these around the area." And gone he was, in another orange swirl. Kisame and Zetsu were flabbergasted. Back to the academy? They both stared at Kakuzu, who appeared oddly calm. In what seemed like no time Tobi was back, sporting, they assumed, a huge smile behind his mask.
"Alright! When I say go, you go collect the scrolls! Are you ready?" - he gave them no time to answer - "Go!" he shouted, and disappeared. Before Kisame and Zetsu ran off in panic, Kakuzu grabbed them by their collars.
"This task is about team work. That's all. I've tried something like this before, so if we just work together we should all pass easily, and none of us will be sent back to the academy," he explained, and it was obvious that the task now made more sense to the two newbies.
Soon after they had come up with a nigh fool-proof plan. Of course they'd have to search for the scrolls together, to work as a team properly, and had decided that it would be best to leave the scroll-grabbing to Zetsu, while Kisame and Kakuzu defended him. Tobi-sensei would most likely attempt to ambush them, but they would be ready... to a certain extent. They realized that they had no knowledge of his jutsu and abilities, besides his teleportation trick, and as such the newbies were at a huge disadvantage. With that in mind, the three (four) boys darted off into the windy forest.
Soon enough the first scroll was spotted. It was a shimmering royal blue colour - very easy to catch sight of. It was held together by a white seal, sporting the "wisdom" kanji. Zetsu morphed into the tree they were hiding in, and reappeared by the scroll. They were all anxious, and expecting an attack at any moment. Nothing happened. Zetsu picked up the scroll, and gave it to Kisame who put it in his backpack.
"Well. That was disappointing," Kuro-Zetsu complained, and the blue and scarred boy nodded in agreement. They were certain something would have happened. Something should have happened! Why was the flower child able to pick it up without any consequences? It just didn't make sense, when it was supposed to be a test and all.
They decided to move on to the next scroll. Just as Kisame turned to leave, he felt a sharp pain in his abdomen, and the unseen force pushed him backwards a few metres. The shark quickly got back on his feet, to face his attacker, alongside his genin comrades. It was, as they had at first expected, Tobi. The masked man closed in on him again, despicably fast. Kisame drew a few kunai as fast as he could, and threw them at their sensei - to his surprise, and horror, they went right through him! As he formed hand signs, Kakuzu hardened his fist, ready to attack from behind. The blue young man stopped the jutsu and paused at the last sign, hoping to catch the attacker off guard - and to avoid hitting the stitched senior if it somehow phased through the jōnin again. Tobi was several steps ahead of them, however, as he stopped dead in his tracks, spun around, caught Kakuzu's arm mid-punch, and sliced his shoulder with a hidden kunai. In the meantime a few small vines had wrapped themselves around their sensei's feet, effectively trapping him, before he disappeared in an orange swirl once again. Kisame sighed, with a mix of relief and disappointment, and Kakuzu growled angrily and examined his wound. The plant boy, who had saved them at the last second, was also very focused on his friend's wound.
"It's fine, it's just a scratch," he assured his friend, forcing a smile. Zetsu stared intensely at the small wound for a few more seconds, before looking up in a flash, smiling vaguely.
"Good..." Soon the bleeding had stopped, and a few small, black tendrils closed the wound entirely, and the boys moved on in their quest for scrolls.
They had decided to thoroughly search the area around the next scroll, and then jump into a Manji Formation around it, to make sure their jolly sensei wouldn't take them by surprise again. A surprisingly short way from the first scroll they found the second. This one was a matte magenta colour, donning the "courage" kanji. Their plan was quickly abandoned, as they spotted Tobi resting on the mossy forest bed, right next to their target. The three (four) young shinobi jumped back a few trees, and quickly revised their plan...
The masked man seemed to have fallen asleep - he was certainly snoring a little - as the black and white boy emerged from the ground. He stayed halfway in the earth, to refrain from being spotted and to escape faster if necessary, as he ever so slowly reached out to grab the ridiculously vital scroll. A loud snap behind him broke his concentration - he quickly turned to look in the direction of the sound, and saw Kisame dangling from a nearby tree in a net. Milliseconds later his blood froze, when a powerful hand grabbed his wrist and dragged him out from the ground. Hiding within the branches of the nearest tree, Kakuzu was waiting for just the right moment to strike. As the awoken jōnin pulled his plant-like friend from the earth, he hardened his fist and leapt towards them. Tobi flung Zetsu into the woods, as the scarred boy's attack went straight through him and made a great crack in the ground. The young man kept attacking, and the newly appointed sensei no longer made himself intangible, but merely dodged the attacks with ease.
"Is that all you've got?! Ha, you're no better than the others, loser!" he taunted - it was super effective, as Kakuzu seemed to lose it and attack indiscriminately. Meanwhile Kisame was struggling to cut himself loose from the net - the threads were very well made and sturdy. After about a minute of furious carving he finally fell out of the net, jumped to his feet, and received a kick in chest. The shark flew backwards into a tree, accompanied by a painful feeling of déjà vu. A small chain trickled out of Sensei's sleeve, as he charged towards Kakuzu, phased through him and trapped the stitched genin. As he fell to the ground, firmly tied up in the chain, the cheerful jōnin laughed loudly, like a child on a rollercoaster. As he pulled out a kunai and walked towards Zetsu, who had been sitting as still as possible against the tree Tobi threw him at, his laughter turned menacing. With the tip of the kunai pressed against his throat, the boy was forced to stand up. His entire body was shaking with fright. Seconds later the now intimidating sensei vanished, and the kunai fell to the ground with a soft thump. Kisame quickly ran to Kakuzu's side, untying him from the chains. While Zetsu was still shaking with fear, Kakuzu was trembling from rage, as he strode towards the plant boy and grabbed his throat.
"What the fuck are you thinking?! You should have helped us, you coward! What the hell kind of pussy are you?!" he yelled, firming his grip around his friend's throat. Zetsu squirmed under his grasp, scratching and pulling at the senior's hands to get loose, but to no avail. Kisame quickly got between them, also trying to force Kakuzu to let go.
"Stop it! Let it go, this isn't teamwork," - he urged - "He was just scared, it all happened so fast! Don't blame him!" After a few more seconds of strangulation the orphan seemed to have calmed down a little, and let go of Zetsu who was now gasping for air.
"W-we're sorry... we didn't mean to... fail you," the flower child whimpered. Kakuzu scoffed, picked up Kisame's backpack, and put the newly acquired scroll in it.
"Whatever. Let's just get a move on." They continued, albeit a bit strained, working on a new plan on the way.
The cyan scroll shimmered in the sunlight. Its swirly pattern looked alive, which made the jōnin giggle in delight. Frankly he was quite disappointed in his students. He knew one of them had taken the test before, and as such was surprised at how hard they were failing. But it didn't matter, as long as he had the funky scroll and delicious lollypop. In nigh perfect timing his lollypop was all gone, and he heard the sounds of approaching genin in the distance. The newly appointed sensei jumped to a well-hidden high point within the branches of a nearby tree, and put his mask back on. Soon the sound of footsteps against wood stopped, and the anticipation rose. A venus flytrap emerged from the forest bed, and the young freak - his name was Zetsu, Tobi recalled after some thinking - reached out to grab the scroll. What were they thinking, using the exact same strategy after it failed so miserably last time?! He drew two kunai and prepared to pounce. This time there was no playing around. They deserved what was coming to them for their insolence. Just before the kid grabbed the scroll, he dropped from the tree, stabbing him in both shoulders with the kunai. To his surprise the boy fell apart and turned into strange, white goo. A clone! Tobi quickly made himself intangible, as his two remaining students flew through him, in an attempt to take him by surprise. He quickly pulled his kunai out of the gooey clone mass, and threw them at the two boys. They dodged in the last second, and seemed to pull away from him. Oh no, they weren't getting away with that! He sprinted after them, swiftly catching up to them. He drew another kunai, about to attack, when there was a yell behind them.
"We got it!" The following second the blue teen had dodged his halted strike, and both students ran around him, towards the scroll. He turned to chase them, but soon realized that the scroll was gone. So they did have a good plan after all... wily rascals!
The three (four) boys promptly made their way towards the starting point, feeling very good about themselves. As they arrived, exhausted from all the running, Sensei was already there, clapping excitedly.
"You did it! You really did it! Oh man, I must admit you got me that last time! That was a great strategy! Who came up with that?" - he asked, and Kisame reluctantly raised his hand - "Ah! Great work, sharky! And you got all three scrolls. That, of course, means you all pass. Well then... those scrolls each contain valuable wisdom on the shinobi profession. I suggest you take the time to read them all, before you return home," Tobi chimed. The boys looked at each other, shrugged, and opened the scrolls. They tried their very best to make sense of the scrolls, but they were a bit strange...
"'I love you,' she said, and kissed me. Then, as if she read my mind, she slid her hands into my pants, and slowly undid the zipper. I was hyperventilating, and about to explode with... expectation. She grabbed my-" Sensei quickly snatched the scrolls from his students, and was ferociously trying to think of an explanation. Eventually he just threw them in the air, yelling;
Why me?! Hidan thought, glaring at his teammates. He'd plead to be put on the same team as Kakuzu, but of course the jōnin didn't give a damn. They just put him in a team with two girls. Two girls. Nobody else had been that unlucky. It was that one chick who Kisame adored, and her weird friend - he didn't even like them. The two ladies were ignoring his glares, as they were all waiting for their new sensei. They'd been staring at the clock, in the academy classroom, for about twenty minutes now; they had arrived early, and had waited patiently since then.
Of course, they were all wondering who their sensei might be. A strapping young lad? A wise, older woman? Would he be nice? Grumpy? Strong? Intelligent?
"I hope he or she is nice," Shinju pondered, drawing on the blackboard.
"Being wise is the most important thing," Katsumi claimed, crossing her arms. Hidan rolled his eyes.
"Bitch please. Strength is a lot more important than that shit." Both girls face palmed, as 3 o'clock rolled around; that was the time sensei was supposed to arrive. He or she could arrive any minute now.
Just as they began to get impatient, the door to the classroom opened, and a beautiful young woman entered. Her hair was a flaming red colour, put up in two buns with a few pins. She was wearing a complexly decorated kimono, a pair of geta sandals, and had a characteristic green diamond on her forehead. She smiled warmly at them, and was about to speak when Hidan whined...
"Another girl?! Are you fucking kidding me?!" His teammates glowered at him, but the woman didn't seem to mind.
"Oh my. Aren't you a feisty one. I'm sure we'll get along just fine, despite my gender," - she reached out her hand to shake his - "I'm Mito. I'm your sensei, Team 2." They all greeted her, and she sat down on a table.
"Well then. Since we're going to spend so much time together, I'd like to get to know you a little better. Let's start with you," - she pointed at Katsumi - "What's your name and age?" she asked, with a charming smile.
"I'm Reizei Katsumi, I'm 14 years old," Katsumi said, and sat down next to her new sensei.
"What do you enjoy?" she inquired.
"Uh... food, beer, sleeping. And my friends."
"I see. And what don't you like?"
"I don't like meat. And backstabbers. And hospitals." She shuddered, and Mito laughed gently.
"I'll make sure you won't have to visit one, then. What kind of kunoichi do you want to be?" she asked, and Katsumi put a finger on her chin.
"Hmm. I want to be a Kage. And have children," she said, with a sort of determination to her voice.
"Oh I see. It's good to be ambitious. Just be discreet around our Kage, yes? How about you?" Mito pointed to Shinju. The young girl pondered a little while before answering.
"Uh, my name is Minami Shinju, and I'm also 14," - she was fiddling with her clothes nervously - "Um I like writing, good music, my friends, almost all animals, and pastry. I don't like... Politics, it's fucked up, people who shove their beliefs down others' throats... and bullies," - she listed - "And I want to be a medical kunoichi," she stated.
"That's a good goal. A medic is very useful. And how about you, young man?" Sensei finally nodded towards Hidan, who sighed and rolled his eyes.
"I'm Hidan, I'm 15. I like my boyfriend, fucking around with my friends, and, um, hurting things. I don't like people who call me fucking stupid," he quickly explained.
"I see. And what kind of shinobi do you want to be?" He opened his mouth, as though he knew exactly what to say, but immediately closed it again. It was unlike him to think things through, but this time it was necessary. His mind, however, drew a blank.
"I... I don't know," he admitted, with a look of defeat on his face. The red haired woman smiled at him, and tilted her head.
"Are you sure? A medic, a dog handler, a diplomat? Do you have a nindō?" she suggested, but the boy merely shook his head with a sour expression. He felt so... left out.
"You're going to be a housewife!" Katsumi laughed after a few seconds of awkward silence, and dodged a chalkboard eraser. Sensei got up, and put her hand on his shoulder.
"Don't you worry, I'm sure you'll find out in due time. Well then I have only one thing to ask you three. Are you ready for your first mission?" Team 2 shot up from their seats, staring eagerly at their sensei. A mission, so soon?! The young genin were uncertain if it was insane or brilliant, but it certainly was awesome! Mito proceeded to take off her kimono - which caused the youngsters to gawk sheepishly for a few seconds - to reveal a shorter, more practical kimono, better suited for a kunoichi.
"I'll take that as a yes. I already got the mission briefing, so we can get started right away. We're going to collect some basic medicinal herbs near the foot of Nakama mountain. Now go home and pack whatever you think you might need for the mission. We'll meet near the shrine at the forest's edge in half an hour."
Aloe Vera? Check. Astragalus? Check. Hitomugi? Check. Shiso? Check. Shinju was really enjoying picking herbs with Sensei. It was a wonderfully informative experience, and very useful for her future as a medical kunoichi.
"Ugh this is so fucking boring," Hidan whined, collecting the wrong herb for the 34th time. Katsumi forcefully took it from him, stuck it back in the ground in an attempt to save it, and continued searching for the herbs and roots. A few minutes passed without them talking, while the silver-haired boy glared at her, before he thought of something different, and had to speak his mind immediately.
"I hope the boys didn't get an asshole sensei," - the brunette halted her collecting, and pondered the thought - "Who do you think they got?" he mused.
"Some asshole," she stated with a big grin. Before he could laugh, Mito suddenly whispered;
"Get down!" through clenched teeth. Team 2 threw themselves onto the ground, all confused as to why they were taking cover. Sensei gestured for them to come lie next to her - thus they were all lying on the edge of a small cliff. She pointed towards the forest edge, just below the cliff, where they spotted three young men and a masked adult. The boys seemed to be spying on three adult men, who looked suspiciously like bandits. They were hiding in the woods, only visible from above, and seemed to be whispering to each other, making descriptive hand gestures, while the masked man was relaxing on a tree branch. Soon it dawned upon Team 2 that they were planning to attack.
"Is he nuts?! This must be their first mission! They're not ready for something this difficult," Mito fumed, watching the scene intensely. A few moments later the three genin boys jumped into action, surprisingly strategically. Jutsus, weapons, and punches were flying everywhere, as the youngsters were trying their best to beat their much more experienced adversaries. After only about a minute of fighting, the rogue ninjas had the upper hand, and the boys were in real danger. As Kakuzu received a kick in the gut, Hidan could no longer stand idly by and watch. He swiftly leapt off the cliff, sliding down the side rather gracelessly, ignoring Mito's shouts of protest behind him. He tumbled to the ground, and quickly got up from his clumsy entrance, throwing a few shuriken at the bandits, disrupting the fight. Katsumi groaned in irritation, folded out her fan and glided down on top of it, closely followed by Shinju who ran down the mountainside using chakra. The girls provided much needed back up, and the genins were able to knock one of the outlaws unconscious - the newbies were however much too inexperienced to be much of a challenge to the remaining two, and were quickly losing the battle. Just as Hidan was beginning to regret his decision of joining the battle, a dash of red flew across the battle field, knocking out the two bandits. In the meantime Tobi had teleported from the tree to the battlefield, clapping sarcastically.
"Sheesh, just when I thought you guys might have poten-" he was cut off as the bolt of red stopped right in front of him.
"Tobi! What the hell is wrong with you?!" Mito shouted in his face, causing him to lean backwards awkwardly. It seemed to take a few seconds before he realized what was going on, alongside his students, who were quite confused as to what the other team was doing there.
"Oh! Mito-chan! How nice to see you. What seems to be the problem?"
And then I never got around to writing more. Maybe one day I'll finish it... but this is not the day!
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