Ok, I'm so so sorry I took so long...I wasn't procrastinating though, and I definitely didn't tell myself "I'll do it tomorrow"...repeatedly...shhh
Disclaimer: Here, here, come closer...I don't own Naruto! Shocking right? The owner is Kishimoto! Who would have guessed.
Also, just to say- Naruto meets Gai earlier than in canon, given that he knows of him already rather than meeting him in the Chuunin Exams, because in this story the time between each mission is not going to be canon. So if you notice that the length of each arc is longer/shorter, it's supposed to be, so please don't point it out to me!
Should I point out here that this is not a SI? It is an OC insert, but the only thing we have in common is the fact that we're both Irish. It just varies between POV's a lot, is that confusing for anyone?
Don't...do not...at all...expect frequent/fast updates...you will be severely disappointed as shown by the more-than-entire year between this chapter n the last. Um, haha...?
I found a comfortable-enough looking spot under the shade of a tree, and I gladly lay down on the soft grass and closed my eyes. I inhaled the sweet scent of nature, and the sound of the breeze through the leaves and the distant murmur of the village was enough to get me asleep in less than thirty seconds.
An involuntary shiver passed through me as I opened my eyes to find the Green Beasts hugging and crying together...in front of a sunset. I blinked woozily and thoughts such as what year is it and that top with them eyebrows? crossed my mind before I dragged myself onto my butt.
I tried to say hello but all that came out was a sound like a retarded seal. I coughed and cleared my throat, before croaking out a, "Hey."
Neji and Tenten, who had turned to find me looking like absolute shit, simultaneously raised an eyebrow at me. Blushing, I ran my hands through my messy hair and attempted to flatten it down to no avail.
"Um...hi Flynn," Tenten said with a small smile. Neji just frowned and turned away from me. Well, excuuuse me princess, I thought. Gai and Lee separated and flashed me identical grins, sparkle and all, but my attention was focused on Lee.
"...while we're still in our Springtime of Youth!...start off...push ups...flames of youth will burn..."
"...exercise...youth...laps around the training grounds!...Neji..."
GOD HE'S SO ADORABLE.
Gai, who had been giving us a speech about youth passionately, was interrupted by me running towards Lee and tackling him to the ground.
Lee wasn't expecting a glomp so he fell backwards on his butt with me wrapped around him like a leech. Or koala. I like koalas. Koalas don't suck your blood. Koalas don't sparkle.
"Flynn-chan?" I ignored Gai and concentrated on the adorableness of Lee. How could you not love him?! With his passion for training and friends, and his smile, and... I squealed.
He was the Usopp of the Naruverse! Lee wasn't appreciated enough. "A-Ano, Flynn-chan? Could you get off me please?" Lee squeaked. I squeezed him tighter, then stood up and offered my hand to him.
"Sorry," I said with a small smile.
Lee took it and I pulled him onto his feet. Gai, Neji and Tenten were staring at me weirdly, and I stuck my tongue out. "What?" I said. "Can't handle the booty?" Neji just looked away, scowling, and Tenten shrugged.
"Not many people just...hug Lee like that. Other than Gai-sensei," she said.
I scratched my head. "Does that mean I'm a hipster?" I asked seriously. Tenten looked lost.
"You've probably never heard of it." I said and sighed when I realised that no one would understand the joke.
God damn it... I could feel half of my humour just shrivel and die with that revelation. My arsenal of horrible puns and black humour...gone...
Ignoring my weirdness, Gai...sensei began the speech again. I zoned out for most of it, but I snapped back to reality when the sentence, "And now, two hundred push-ups to warm-up!"
I stared. Lee began eagerly, dropping down and doing push-ups so fast he was a green blur. Tenten and Neji followed suit, with less enthusiasm, and I still stared.
Oh my Jashin this is a bad dream. This is a very bad dream.
I could run at a jog-pace for a good amount of time, I had a lot of stamina. But I had little to no strength in my arms, something I would have to work on.
I frowned and began attempting to do...two hundred frikken' push-ups. Keyword being attempted. I struggled down, trying desperately not to collapse, and pushed up again.
"One," I grumbled. I leaned down again, and back up, aware of the strain in my arms. "Two." I glanced over at Lee (cue mental squealing) and Gai..sensei, and felt jealous of how they were able to do...
"FIFTY ONE! FIFTY TWO! FIFTY THREE!"
Yeah. And they were barely breaking a sweat while my arms were shaking from three push-ups and my chest ached. I frowned, temporarily shifting my body weight to a knee pressed in the ground as I rubbed my collarbone.
Strange, I can't remember getting hurt there...Oh wait, a mad god took a chunk out of me. But shouldn't I not be able to feel anything? Nerves being busted and all that...well he did say that not all nerves would be dead. Huh. But I got it stitched up? Oh I don't know, I don't understand medicine.
As I was pondering my strange ailments, the rest of Team Gai had reached 200 push-ups, Gai...sensei and Lee letting out shouts of joy. We got up from our positions, and I might have maybe possibly neglected to mention how I failed to reach five push-ups.
"And now, two hundred laps around the training grounds! This is our Springtime of Youth!"
I hung my head in defeat. I'm in hell, and the torture's just begun...
"Yosh! Gai-sensei, what next?" Lee cheered in the distance.
My legs felt like lead and my breathing was really laboured (what had Jashin-sama said about a ripped lung...?) as I trudged up beside them. Tenten was panting, albeit quieter than me, and Neji was fine, save for the couple of beads of sweat on his forehead.
"Now, my youthful students! Two hundred sit-ups! GO!"
The Green Beast duo began again with Tenten and Neji following suit soon after. I groaned and got into position.
"...Alright! That's three hundred squats! Our youthful training is over for today! I'm proud of you, and your youthful passion!"
My muscles burned. It hurt to move, but I had to walk through Konoha to get to Naruto's house - my temporary flat-mate until I found an apartment of my own. I moaned and wiped the sweat off my forehead.
"Same time tomorrow, team!" Gai-sensei called after our departing backs, reminding me that I had to go through all of that again tomorrow.
I mumbled a good-bye to my baby-sitters/torturers and began the long way to Naruto's house. I could only hope he wasn't too mad at me for going and only leaving a note.
Wait. I paused. Why couldn't I read any of the signs here? Because they were written in kanji. In Japanese. Eastern language. What did I write in? English. Western language. With a completely different alphabet.
Could Naruto read English? I slapped a hand to my fore-head as I realised almost six hours later that the note I left would look like complete gibberish to Naruto. Maybe I could explain it away as me attempting to write a note, but my dyslexia fucking it up?
Oh yes, when in doubt, blame a disorder you don't have. Oh good lord Flynn you should be ashamed.
I began walking again, wincing and the pain sent shooting up my legs every time I came into contact with the ground. It just served to remind me that I would be walking home in this amount of discomfort for a long while, until I somehow, miraculously, got used to Gai-sensei's work-out.
...at...at least I'll get fit really quick this way...? I tried to convince myself that it was a good thing, but if I stopped and listened carefully, I could have sworn I head my muscles whisper 'kill me'.
Because it was kind of difficult for me to walk, it took me longer than it should have to reach Naruto's apartment. I pulled myself up the stairs and knocked on Naruto's door. A few moments later it was opened to reveal the ever-adorable Naruto.
"H-Hey, Naruto..." I greeted whilst rubbing circles on my thigh in hopes to ease the stiffness.
"Flynn-chan?" Naruto blinked. "Where did you go?" And then he noticed what I was wearing. "Hey! Those are mine!" He exclaimed. I winced at the volume.
"Can I come inside and explain?" I asked. Naruto stepped aside to let me in his messy apartment. I collapsed at the table and sighed in relief.
"What happened? You look really beat up - wait, did someone beat you up?! Tell me who the bastard is and I'll kick his ass!" Naruto growled, and I laughed.
"Ah, no, I just had a really intense training session with Gai. Um, Gai-sensei." I corrected myself. Naruto scratched his head.
"Gai-sensei...?" he asked. Oh yeah, had he even met him at this point?
"Uh, green spandex wearing, uh...youthful sensei...loves work outs straight from hell...no? Uh, a jounin sensei who's watching over me for...reasons," I explained vaguely.
"Oh, yeah," here he slammed his fist onto his palm in recognition, "him! That also explains why you weren't at the team meeting today." He added.
"Naruto, I'm not even on your team. Well, technically I'm not on Gai-sensei's team either, I'm just under watch. Oh! Right, yes, clothes! Sorry, I tried leaving a note but I'm dyslexic.." At Naruto's inquisitive look, I explained, "I can't read properly, and it's hard for me to write," and he nodded.
"But I'm dyslexic so it came out like gibberish. I, um, kind of didn't have any clothes, and you were sleeping and I didn't want to wake you so I took some of yours. I'll pay you back!" I said quickly. "Don't worry, I just need to do, like, genin chores n' stuff."
Naruto laughed. "Nah, don't worry about it, I can just get more stuff." I blinked.
"Sure!" Naruto chirped. "It also means you owe me and have to do me a favour," he added with a smirk.
I grinned. "Of course, Oh great Master Naruto," I said in a mocking tone. "Anything for thee."
Naruto stuck his tongue out at me. "You need a shower! You stink!" He said. I held a hand over my heart in mock offense.
"Moi? Stink? How dare you! I smell like roses!" I gasped.
Naruto snorted. "What sort of roses have you been smelling?"
I laughed and heaved myself to my feet. "Ok, I probably should take a shower before I turn this place into a gas chamber. Wait - would that mean I'm Hitler?!" I gasped.
Naruto looked at me, confused. "Who's Hitler?" he asked. I shrugged.
"Oh, y'know. One of those everyday people." I answered, flashed him a grin before limping down the hallway to the shower.
I scrubbed my hair, and I was gentle around my stitches. I winced. That was gonna leave a huge ass scar on my chest! Not even a week here and I have a scar. Wow Flynn, you are really good at this survival thing. I'm sure fighting ninja will be a breeze!
Sarcasm aside, I had a magical shower that eased up my muscles and the stiffness in my limbs. After an hour, I stepped out of the shower and tied a towel around my body. I realised that this morning decided to do a retake, and I made a face as I stared at the only clothes I had. Covered in sweat and mud? Oh yes, let's put that on lickety split.
So... I looked around the bathroom, again, completely devoid of any convenient Flynn-sized clothes. So... I cracked the door open a fraction of a centimetre, hiding my body behind the door as I checked that the kitchen door was closed.
So...I was going to have to go into Naruto's room, in only a towel, and borrow more clothes.
Wow, this place really does hate me. My shoulders slumped as I realised the situation I was in. Getting into dirty clothes was out of the question, going back to Naruto in nothing but a towel was out of the question, and that left stealing clothes from Naruto, a boy who I barely even knew (aside from watching all his life) the only choice I had.
But, if I could, I don't know, go criminal and steal clothes for him to pay back the ones I took...then maybe it would make it sort of ok?
I opened the door quietly, wincing at the creak it made, and tiptoed down to Naruto's room, my eye on the kitchen door. Maybe, just maybe, I should have been looking the other way too...I thought my last day on Earth taught me that?
Just as the corner hid the kitchen door out of sight, I turned back around and basically pissed myself when I saw Naruto staring at me with a blush on his face. I squeaked and almost dropped my towel.
"Uh - Ah - I-"
"Umm - s-so, er-"
My face was as red as my hair, I just knew it...Oh Jashin Flynn you've barely know him and you're already half naked! Forward much?...no, just no. What am I thinking oh god I'm gonna start panicking Jashin why does your humour include this?!
We slowly inched past each other, sticking to opposite sides of the hallway and looking the other way. I shuffled into his room, and almost shut the door before I remembered something.
"Now, this is gonna sound real bitchy, and naggy and needy n' all that good stuff, but you know the way I don't have any clothes...?"
"...yes, you can borrow some of mine."
"Don't worry, I steal you some so we're even!"
"Oh, oka- wait what?"
I turned around and grabbed a pair of beige shorts that looked as if they were supposed to end mid-thigh but on me they came down to my knee. Seriously. My height is ridiculous. After that I took a light-green t-shirt with the Leaf insignia on it.
I felt a pang of guilt at taking Naruto's clothes, but decided I'd make it up to him by stealing some clothes and leaving them on his bed. I'd wake up at the same time tomorrow (groan) and use magic ninja skills to get clothes.
I should probably feel guilty that I'm planning to steal, but hey, if I was gonna be a ninja it'd be part of the job description (also I was quite sure Gai-sensei wasn't supposed to be training me, just watching me, but I wasn't complaining. I wanted to be able to watch out for myself thanks).
I grabbed the towel and threw it into the washing basket, along with my borrowed clothes, before going back out to Naruto who was sitting at the table (with cup ramen...what a healthy supper) with traces of red still on his face.
I wanted to break this awkwardness between us so I struck a ridiculous pose against the door-frame, winked cheesily and said, "Am I fabulous yet?"
My foot, finding it hard enough to get a grip on tiles when it was wet, couldn't take my weight and I slipped. "Wah-!" All the breath in me left with a whoosh. Naruto snorted and began laughing at my heaped form on the floor.
"Agh- shut up -eh!" I grumbled, but smiling all the same.
"W-Wow, y-you just-" Naruto gasped between laughs, "'Am I fab-fabulous yet' and then you - you -" He broke off laughing again and I joined in.
Mission - Relieve tension - complete!
I rubbed my head and sat up, booty-scooting forwards on the floor towards the table. I lay down beside the table - getting up was too much trouble - and stretched.
We talked for a while after that, him telling me all about the best places in Konoha for eating and how he completely aced the bell test, and me telling him a bit about my hometown, and what ridiculous things me and my friends did at sleepovers.
"So, so, here I am, sleeping soundly, and all I hear is this cccchhhhhh. And so I wake up, sit up and see all my friends staring at me and laughing their fucking arses off cause I have an ear full of shaving cream!" I laughed, recounting how my friends liked to wake me up in a bunch of horrible ways.
Naruto was laughing too, and scarily enough it seemed like he was getting ideas from my friends. Good thing I woke up before Naruto, I thought idly just as Naruto checked the time and spluttered.
"It's half eleven!" He exclaimed. I blinked, hands still in the air where I was gesturing wildly for my stories. "So?" I said dumbly.
I was used to getting to sleep at around two in the morning, or even three, so half eleven seemed like an early time to go to bed.
Oh that's right, I have to be up at seven! Awww shit! My face lit up with understanding. "Bed time, yeah?" I said, getting up and brushing myself off. Naruto nodded, and we both trudged off to bed.
I had flopped down on my amazing dream boat when I let out a groan. Naruto looked at me quizzically. "I'm not tired, and I have to be up in like, eight hours. I'm not getting to sleep and then I have Gai's work out to do and my ribs still fucking hurt. Myehhhh," I whined.
Naruto blinked. "You can't sleep? Have you drank warm milk? That usually does the trick.." he offered.
I raised an eyebrow skeptically. "...if you say so," I said dubiously. Warm milk? Didn't that only work in movies and cartoons? Well, this was an anime...
I got up again and went off into the kitchen. I opened up a cupboard and pulled out a glass, filled it halfway with milk and stuck it in the microwave for twenty seconds. I pulled it out and stared at the warm glass for a few seconds. Would this really work...?
Shrugging, I muttered a "Yolo," and chugged it. My eyes widened. Holy shit, that was...amazing. I quickly poured another glass and stuck it in the oven, gulping that down too. I yawned, smacking my lips together.
What was I missing out on all these years? Warm milk was like magic - I really was tired. I walked back into Naruto's room, and he asked, "Sooo? You tired yet?" I looked at him before collapsing on my bed with a whump.
Naruto's laughing was the last thing I remembered before going to sleep.
What happened over the next month was me waking up at seven each morning, which I slowly adjusted to, and going to train with Gai-sensei. I got way fitter than I was before, managing to do around seventy push-ups as the others did five hundred (crazy ninja stamina like whaaat). My arm strength improved a lot, meaning I wouldn't lose straight away in an arm wrestling match.
Neji was suspicious of me. He wouldn't talk to me or anything, and whenever he did look at me it was with the Byakugan on and a huge scowl on his face like he was constipated or something.
It always made me giggle crazily when he did it, which earned a bigger scowl, which earned more giggles, etc. It usually ended with me on the ground gasping for air, him red in the face and gritting his teeth.
Sasuke was suspicious of me too. Funny, how the big bad prodigies of the infamous clans hated me, a nobody (but a fabulous nobody).
Sometimes Naruto would drag me off to where Team 7 would be eating and I'd have to endure Sakura's fangirling (I so desperately wanted to box her in the face), Sasuke's emo-ness and the embarrassment of not knowing how to use chopsticks.
Me and Tenten were cool. She'd show me how to throw shuriken and kunai properly, as I couldn't aim for shit. We'd talk together, mostly about how badass her weapons were and how Neji could possibly get his hair that soft. Y'know. The important things.
It was hard, of course, without my family. Without my mom nagging me to clean my room (a lost cause - the place was toxic, habitable to only me), without me Dad spouting horrible puns whenever he saw me, without my dogs waking me up on a school day by barking at nothing at four in the morning.
It hurt, but I'd endure Gai-sensei's training, go home, chat with Naruto and the likes and silently mourn the loss of my family.
Sometimes, thinking about the 'what ifs' kept me up for hours at night, but most of the time I was so exhausted from training I didn't have long to dwell.
The worst part though? There wasn't a drop of fucking coffee anywhere. On my days off, sometimes with Tenten, sometimes with Naruto, I'd stroll the streets of Konoha searching. (obviously not the worst part, but it kept my mind occupied from the overwhelming loneliness from being in this universe, seperated from everything I knew, without my family and friends - it hurt. So. Much.)
I'd go into cafés and ask if they served coffee, to which the answer was always no. I'd go hunting through shops searching for coffee jars, packets of coffee, anything! But nada showed up.
It was frustrating, because it was hard to get up so early in the morning (even after all this time!) and Jashin knows coffee would make it ten times easier. It was slowly becoming harder to remember the amazing taste of the work of God...
Speaking of which, Jashin-sama hadn't visited my dreams a while. While the rosary he gave me confirmed that I wasn't crazy I still had my doubts. I had no idea what to do with the fact that I was a Jashinist.
I mean, I was hardly going to start sacrificing people now - I've barely gotten the hang of a kunai, shuriken were a lost cause, and the idea of me killing people was laughable.
I managed to steal a couple of tops and pants for Naruto, and some for me, in varying times and places during a week. I knew it was bad that I didn't feel guilty, but truthfully it was exhilarating. I hadn't got caught - at least not yet - and I stopped once I was able to join Gai-sensei's team with D-ranked missions and get payed. I, of course, went back to the shops and left money on the counter when no one was looking, so it technically wasn't stealing. Kind of.
It wasn't a big sum of money, but after a few weeks of hard work I was able to afford an apartment next to Naruto's.
Only because the place was a dump, and literally only Naruto and some grumpy old hag lived here so the rent was really cheap.
It was small, with an adjoining kitchen and living room. The kitchen was big enough, not too big but since it was just me I didn't mind. There was a mini fridge, a sink, a small stove and a couple of cupboards all shoved off to one side with a plain L-shaped counter on the other and dirty tiles and grubby walls that begged for a wash.
At the end of the room stood a doorway of sorts, only instead of an actual door there were long strings of colourful beads. I liked them - they gave the apartment a more home-like feel.
In the next room was a low table, an old two-seater couch with a window behind it and a bookshelf that swamped the entire left wall. The painter must have been colourblind, what with the murky purple that covered the walls.
To the right there was another beaded doorway which lead down a small hallway. On the right side was a door (it was a bad shade of yellow...ugh) that led to my new bedroom.
There was a single bed and a wardrobe, and the walls were covered in a faded layer of green paint. Behind another door in the back was a bathroom connected with a laundry room, and that was the extent of my lil' apartment.
Maybe, it would go from a badly painted hovel to a cosy home when I repainted and cleaned it...(never mind that I was thirteen and I shouldn't have to support myself or that I didn't know how).
Of course, that entitled more chores - sorry, D-rank missions - with Team Gai to get the money I needed. Lee was enthusiastic with them, as he was with everything, and powered through them "youthfully" with Gai-sensei.
Tenten did them slowly, mostly because I would be constantly distracting her - not that she seemed to mind. Neji acted as if they were beneath him and did them with a scowl etched on his face.
Didn't Princess know he was going to get wrinkles from always frowning? I wondered on our current 'mission', weeding somebody's garden. Tenten snorted beside me and I could feel Neji glaring at me.
"I - I said that out loud didn't I?" I mused. Tenten was holding back her laughter beside me and I could swear my skin was shriveling up from the look Neji was giving me.
"My bad." Neji scowled but went back to weeding, as did Tenten. We worked quietly - well, as quiet as Lee and Gai-sensei could get anyway. The silence was stifling.
Just to break the dullness, I began humming a random tune under my breath as I plucked weeds. "By lonely prison wall...I heard a young girl calling...Michael, they are taking you away...For you stole Travelyn's corn..so the young may see..the...morn...w-what?"
I blinked when I realised that Team Gai were all staring at me, even Neji. I felt my cheeks practically glowing under the scrutiny. "What?" I mumbled. Tenten blinked.
"I haven't heard you singing before," she said, and behind her Lee and Gai-sensei nodded. I scratched my ear awkwardly.
"Um, I'm not that great, I'd probably get arrested if I sang too much," I said.
"That song you were singing, I've never heard it before. Is it a foreign song?" Tenten asked curiously, and my mind stuttered.
"Ah - yeah, it is. Foreign, I mean, it's from my homeland. Which, uh, is quite far from here," I told them, leaving out the fact that "quite far" meant "another world". Probably wouldn't bode well for my sanity.
"You're not from Konoha, Flynn-chan?" Lee gasped. Tenten and Gai-sensei looked at me fully, expecting an answer. I blinked. What, did they not notice that they've never seen me in the Academy? Although, I could be from a different class...but still, they would never have seen me around the village?
"My parents died when I was born, see, and I was adopted by travelling merchants from some orphanage and we travelled around my homeland for a bit and I heard songs n' stuff like that one and then we went to Hi no Kuni but I ran away 'cause they wanted to marry me off to some other travelling merchants to join us together in happy merchant unity and I came here!" I took a huge breath, panting.
God my lying skills are so good. Wow. A++ Flynn. I thought. When I looked up I saw Tenten look at me sympathetically. Had...had they actually believed me? Meanwhile Lee and Gai-sensei had tears in their eyes. I gulped. Why - why do I feel like I should be running...?
The answer came to me - literally. Lee and Gai-sensei trapped me with a flying hug and began wailing into my ears. "Oh you poor soul! To not know your parents, to be away from home, and yet to still smile like you do! Your flames of youth shine brightly! Let us take note from your bravery Flynn-chan! UWAHH!"
I twitched. My ears were ringing and my vision was swamped in green spandex. "Y-yes, ok, please let me go...!" I gasped. This was lung abuse! For a moment I caught a glimpse of Neji between the green.
The bastard was smirking.
"Son of a - "
After being paid for painting a fence, along with the other (traumatic) missions, I headed home to my apartment around nine o'clock in the morning. I glanced around my bare kitchen before settling on pulling out a cup of instant ramen.
I know Jashin-sama said my stomach was bust, but everything felt in place, not all squished and loose, and there was no rattling of organs in my chest, so while I wasn't exactly sure of the details, I guessed that when they took me to hospital to inspect my body they patched up my organs for me.
Considering the fact that I had a complete lack of any hunger pains, I had no need for food. Yet if I ate food I would need to go toilet, a fact I found out by forgetting Jashin-sama's explanation and eating out with Team Gai. The food...came out...like I had just chewed it up and spat in the toilet so I chalked it up to my organs being...well, a dead girl's organs.
Therefore, my stomach wouldn't digest, my intestines wouldn't absorb, but I could safely eat food without it rotting inside me, due to my muscles still functioning, I suppose. It would just be like passing food through a tube - nothing really happened, it just went in one end and out the other.
Since now I only had to eat food for the taste, I would never, ever have to eat vegetables again! Mwahahaha!
Five minutes later I was eating the noodles with the only piece of cutlery I possessed, a solitary fork. No wonder Naruto pretty much lived off the stuff, I mused, twirling my fork idly. Cheap, quick to cook and probably filling. Great for a lonely orphan kid who couldn't get the proper food...
I blinked. Did Naruto ever get visitors, outside of being called for missions, before Shippuden? I went over the anime in my head, and frowned. No, I don't think so...Should I...?...sure, why the heck not.
I finished slurping up the lukewarm noodles, put the cup in the bin and pocketed the keys to my flat. I headed upstairs, as I was on the first floor and Naruto was on the very top.
I knocked on his door and waited. A few moments later the blond answered, seemingly surprised at my appearance. "Flynn-chan?"
I smiled. "Last time I checked, yeah." I ran a hand through my hair, fingers snagging on a few knots. I really had to buy a hair brush.
"Sorry, I just thought I would pop by, see how you've been, y'know?" I said, offering a small smile. Naruto offered a cheek-splitting one in return and invited me in.
We sat down in his kitchen and began talking about anything and everything, from D ranks to the hidden ramen cults, from famous nuke-nins favourite foods to the silliest jutsu we could come up with.
It was relaxing, just to sit around and chat with my friend. Hmm...wait a second... Cutting off from my colourful description of how to scare the whole of Konoha via luminous pink ANBU suits, I frowned down at my fingers.
How many people did I know personally that were my age? There was...I held up six fingers, Naruto looking on curiously. Now how many did I get along with? I hummed to myself as I was left with two fingers.
"What's going on Flynn-chan?" Naruto asked, confused by my apparent inability to finish a sentence. To answer, I held up my two fingers, the result of my complicated thought process.
"What's going on is that I only have two proper friends in this village, and I've been here, what? A month? I mean, I know a good amount of people, but they either hate me or are twice my age...not exactly good friend material, yeah? So, can you please please please come with me and possibly introduce me to people my own age? If you're not busy, of course, I really don't want to trouble you or anything, so if it's too bothersome-"
"Flynn-chan!" Naruto interrupted my rambling. "It's ok! I know some people you'd probably get along with...actually, now that I think of it I haven't seen them in a while either!" He slapped his fist and palm together.
"So, you'll...?" I trailed off, and Naruto gave one of those smiles able to light up a city at night and grabbed my hand, pulling me off my ass (for someone younger than me, he was stronger than he looked, christo) and dragging me out the door.
Huh, deja-vu much? Much like the first time I met him, Naruto was running ahead of me while I attempted to keep up with the bundle of energy. Seriously, the kid was on caffeinated steriods or something! Even with the month of hell- training with Gai-sensei I still found it hard not to fall over my feet.
Speaking of the first time I met him, wasn't he supposed to lead me to the gates of Konoha? Or maybe he got mixed up between leading me to the gate and meeting his team and thought he had to lead me to his team? ...or maybe he was really excited to meet someone who didn't hate him on sight, and wanted to show his team?
Feeling slightly guilty over asking the orphan boy with limited friends to help me meet more people, I ran into aforementioned boy when he stopped while I was daydreaming. He was in front of training grounds...13, from what I could tell of the worn down sign.
In front of me, in the spacey grounds, I could see three people, about my age, training hard. I almost screeched when I realised it was Team 8 who were in the grounds. That meant, Hinata, Kiba and Shino were right there, the most adorable (other than Naruto) lil' ninjas-to-be and they were right there -!
I clutched Naruto's arm. "Oh sweet baby Jesus," I wheezed. I didn't know if my poor nerd heart could take it.
Naruto, who either didn't hear me or ignored me, stretched out an arm and began waving madly to catch their attention. "OIIIIIIII!" He called out, right beside my ear. Ouch.
The three figures stopped their movements and turned towards us. I was able to just about make out the marks on Kiba's cheeks and Hinata's pupil free eyes before they were jogging towards us.
"Oh, it's you," Kiba said. Naruto huffed.
"What's that supposed to mean, huh?"
Kiba shrugged. "So why did you come here? Trying to check out some of my totally sweet new moves?" He grinned. Naruto snorted.
"No way! I came here cause I wanted to introduce you to Flynn-chan!" Me, who was quietly in awe of being in front of the Team 8 blinked to find three pairs of eyes on me. Mentally, I took in a deep breath. Ok, first impressions matter, make it count, don't embarrass yourself in front of them-
"Ohmygodisyourhairassoftasitlooks?!" I squealed, rushing over to Hinata and patting her hair, admiring how soft it was. It was like petting air! I didn't know that someone's hair could be this perfect! "Woah~!"
Hinata squeaked and turned bright red instantly to have a random stranger touching her hair, and in front of her crush too. Noticing how worryingly close Hinata was to fainting, I gave her a bit of breathing space.
"Um, whoops? Sorry, Hin- so! I'm Ryder Flynn, you -eh?" I said quickly, covering up the fact that I knew their names.
"Inuzuka Kiba and Akamaru!"
"Hm...haven't I seen you somewhere before?" Kiba muttered, breaking the five seconds of awkward silence that came up. I blinked. Shino seemed more focused on me too (although it was kind of hard to tell with the glasses) and I racked my head for memories of meeting them.
"Ah...maybe? I've been here for a month, so you could've seen me around..." I offered.
"A month ago, a month ago, a month- OH!" he snapped his fingers suddenly. "You were that girl we found in the forest!" My eyebrows arched. In the forest...? Did he mean when I first woke up in the Naruverse? Huh. That would explain a lot, such as why I woke up in the morgue of a hospital.
"I was?" Was what came out of my mouth. What also came out, funnily enough, was the veins in Hinata's Byakugan, and the kikaichu out of Shino's sleeve, and the growl out of Kiba's mouth.
"You're a spy, aren't you?!"
"Surrender peacefully or we will use force."
Before I could explain myself, Kiba leaped at me. Somehow Akamaru seemed less cute when it looked like he wanted to tear my throat out.
I stumbled to the right and narrowly avoided a full-on body collision with Kiba - instead, I got a full-on body collision with Naruto! Yay me.
"N-Naruto - help?!" I squeaked frantically. I fell to the ground as my human cushion straightened up, which helped me dodge another attack as Kiba pounced and narrowly avoided tackling me.
"O-Oi, what are you guys doing?!" Naruto yelled. "If she was a spy, shouldn't she be doing more - more spy stuff?! But even ask Bushier-brows-sensei, he'll tell you that she's always been training with him, and that means she wouldn't have time to do spy-ish stuff!"
Naruto's argument...actually made a lot of sense. Enough sense to stop Team 8 from attacking me, thank Jashin. I got to my feet and looked at the suspicious faces of Team 8.
"Well, this was a memorable first meeting," I remarked stupidly. Kiba snorted and dropped out of his battle stance.
"Well, I don't know. If you aren't a spy, then how come you were covered in blood?" Kiba demanded. I blinked.
"And how come you fell out of the sky?"
"And what was with that power wave thing?"
"What the hell-"
"A-and how c-come you ha-had no heartbeat or ch-chakra network?"
"Wait wait wait!" Naruto yelled, interrupting the questions being fired at me. "What the heck are you talking about?"
"We found her body lying in a crater in the woods," Shino supplied, "and us, Kurenai-sensei and Kakashi-sensei brought her to Hokage-sama." 'Her' is right here, stop talking like I'm not, I thought irately.
Naruto seemed to take this all in and think it over, before saying slowly, "Well, if she was dead and covered in blood, then how come she's up and moving now?" This brought a silence upon the five of us, one which, surprisingly enough, Hinata broke.
"Maybe i-it was a ju-jutsu, or an experim-ment gone w-w-wrong?" she stuttered quietly, blushing when everyone turned their eyes on her as if evaluating the theory.
"...could be," Kiba muttered, although it seemed to me that he still wanted to believe I was a spy. I huffed.
"Well, maybe it was an experiment! Maybe I'm some - some test tube baby gone wrong or something, but that doesn't change the point here!" I exclaimed.
"Uh...what point?" Kiba asked, probably because of my complete lack of mentioning any motives prior.
"The point is, do you wanna be my friends?"
Stunned silence followed. Kiba's mouth opened and closed, like he was eating an invisible burger. Or maybe a kebab? Hmm, he didn't really seem like the kebab sort of guy - maybe it was a bar of chocolate? God I would kill for some chocolate right now!
Or coffee. Coffee would be good too. I craved that mineral.
Naruto stared expectantly at Team 8, as if he fully expected them to leap at the chance. Knowing him, he probably did.
"W-well, how can we know if we can trust you?" Kiba shot back. I rolled my eyes. It seemed like he was clinging to any reason not to be my friend - honestly, he made it look like it was "unreasonable "and "not wise" to be friends with that one body you found in the woods that you thought was dead but was actually not! The nerve!
"Considering the fact that I have been here a month and have done nothing remotely threatening to Konoha as a whole? Well, maybe I made a probably-most-likely-definitely-insane jounin really angry and led her on a rampage through town, but c'mon! No one could possibly hope to pay off that much dango!"
...they just stared at me.
"A-Ano...I w-wouldn't mind...being your f-f-friend," Hinata said quietly. I turned to look at her, and beamed.
"Thank you Hinata-chan!" I cheered. Hinata blushed even further, if that was possibly, and twiddled her fingers adorably.
"I do not mind having an acquaintance with you," Shino said stiffly, readjusting his glasses. I nodded, still smiling.
Kiba turned his nose up. "I can't be friends with a girl! Yuck!" At this point he made a face, Akamaru yipping on top of his head. I snorted.
"What, so Hinata-chan isn't your friend? Rude," I said, shaking my head a little.
"W-wait, no - I didn't mean it like that-!" He spun around to Hinata, "don't listen to her Hina-chan! You're definitely my friend!"
While Kiba was distracted, I leaned over and whispered into Naruto's ear, "I'll explain the whole "spy thing" to you later," and he nodded, a solemn expression on his usually cheerful face.
I turned back to Team 8 to realise that Hinata was laughing quietly and Kiba was yelling something at Shino. What did I miss?
I turned to Naruto quizzically but he began laughing so hard he couldn't hear me.
But as if he had heard my thoughts, he straightened up suddenly with a look of 'oh shit' written all over his face.
...did...did Naruto forget he had to breathe? I wondered as he sprinted away. I squinted into the sky and judged that it was around noon. I vaguely thought about what mission Naruto would get, if it had any relevance to the anime at all.
"Seeya, new friend-pal-buddies!" I called over my shoulder. I got the impression that only Shino heard, judging by his one hand salute.
It was just after one o'clock when Naruto came a'knocking on my door. He seemed breathless but very very excited when I opened the door. Also covered in scratches and bite marks for some reason.
While he caught his breath, I looked over him. "I hope you have a lot of plasters," I said. "Because that it a lot of cuts. What did you do, offend a blender or something?"
He shuddered, muttered something about a cat demon, then did a 180 and smiled again. "Guess what? Guess what?" I stared at him, bemused. He took my silence as confirmation to continue and said, "I just got my first C-rank! Can you believe it-dattebayo?! I'm so excited! Jiji said something about being gone for two weeks or something so I thought I'd tell you! I gotta leave in an hour though, so maybe-"
I slapped a hand over his mouth, cutting off his blabbing. Ok, I liked to talk a lot too, but c'mon, sometimes it was just ridiculous. "Ok! I get it, Naruto! You should get packing, don't want Sakura to get mad at you again do you?" I laughed.
His eyes widened comically and he took off for his own apartment, keen on not upsetting his crush.
I closed the door and frowned, tapping my chin thoughtfully. C-rank mission? That was something important, right...? Hm...hmmm...oh.
I nearly slapped myself. "Oh my Jashin Flynn you idiot!" I whisper yelled. This was the mission where Duckbutt gained his Sharingan, where Naruto realised his bond with Sasuke, where Momichi Zabuza came along and was going to come close to killing my friends and hurt them all terribly -
I hadn't noticed I was shaking until my butt hit the dirty tiles of my kitchen and trembled, like there was an invisible massage chair doing it's thing, but it wasn't very good if I was panicking and couldn't seem to breathe was it?
I gasped, then actually slapped myself this time. "Get a hold of yourself, christ Flynn!" I grumbled, and slapped myself again for good measure.
Didn't they all come out fine? Didn't they all go to the Chuunin exam together? What was the point of worrying about something that probably helped them all in the long run?
But! What the anime didn't fucking show was how the characters were actual people, and very easy to get attached to (even Duckbutt..) and knowing that these in-the-flesh, real, emotion feeling people were off to go throw themselves into danger, and the feeling of having to step aside and let it happen made me feel like one of the most useless friends to ever exist.
After all, what was the point of friends if they didn't help each other?
I shook my head. What, was I going to use my non-existent ninja skills and follow them? The village's trust in me was thin, at best, and actually giving them a reason to throw me out on my ass? Nah mate.
So what was I going to do? Train. I was going to become strong enough to hold my own, because god knows I was pathetic as I was now. Sure, I had an over average amount of stamina, and semi-immortality, but what use was that if I didn't have the strength to actually defend my booty?
Well, I guess that was decided then! I got up the floor, dusting off my rear (this place really, definitely, needed a wash!) and put on the kettle.
By pure luck, when I was coffee hunting, I found a large box of tea - the type where you added milk, you know the one - tucked away in the back of a little corner shop. It reminded me of home, so I bought it.
It also came in tea bags, which was a bonus for me.
After precisely calculating the exact force and amount of dunking my teabag should go through, and analysing the measure of milk that went in, I had myself a perfect cup of tea.
I sat on my couch, and drank my tea leisurely, until I heard a knock on my door again. I opened it and surprise! It was Naruto, the only person who knew where I lived! Who would have guessed it was him?
"I'm going now Flynn, I have to escort this old geezer Tazzy or something to the Land of Waves, it's gonna be fun!" He grinned.
"D'you mind if I go with you to the gates?" I asked.
I stepped out and locked the door behind me, and we began walking - for once! - down to the gates. Just before we came into earshot of Sasuke, Sakura and Tazuna, I said quickly, "I promise to tell you everything about how I came here when you get back, because it's kind of a long story and you're gonna want to sit down." I bit my lip, before turning to look him in the eyes.
"Do you trust me?" He blinked, seemingly caught off guard from the question, before smiling widely.
"Of course! We're friends, right?" I grinned widely in relief. I'm...not too sure what I would do, actually, if Naruto gave me the cold shoulder. It hurt to even think about, considering that he basically became my pillar of support in a familiar yet horribly unfamiliar world.
I waved them good bye, even though they probably wouldn't leave for another two hours thanks to Kakashi's impulses to help every little old lady with her groceries, and made my way to the nearest weapons shop to purchase some kunai.
I was going to begin training right away - the sooner the better right? Yeah, the sooner I got some coffee the better...
It was three weeks before they returned.
In that time, I had gotten closer to Team 8, even went out for barbecue with them sometimes! Even if it was a pain in the ass to convince Kurenai that no, I was not a spy and no, I was not trying to hurt her team, and yes, I was aware I was surrounded by jounin and therefore could not attack the village, not that I wanted to.
But apart from that small blip things went by smoothly with my new friends. New friends. I had to smile at the thought that I was friends with some of the most amazing people ever to grace this filthy plane with their level of fabulousness.
As for training, with kunai in hand-to-hand combat I wasn't actually half bad, and hey, if I hit the target six times out of ten, well, it was better then accidentally hitting my friends, right?
I was still pretty scared of touching shuriken, what with them being pointy lethal things and me being a right clumsy idiot, so those were a big no-no. I knew that I was getting -very, very gradually - stronger, and in a few more years I might actually be a decent fighter. Who would have thought?
I kind of half-hoped that I would find a weapon that would fit me perfectly, like Zoro and his katana, or Harry and his wand, or something, and I would be able to use it perfectly, like a match made in heaven.
But for now I would stick with kunai. I should focus on my strengths right?
I was walking around the village - near the gates, conveniently, when I noticed four blobs in the distance. I spun around so fast I'm pretty sure I got whiplash and stared at them.
I had a long-distance staring competition and just when my eyes were watering I could see the features of the four.
I felt like the smile was going to break my face. "Naruto! Duckbutt! Sakura!" I yelled out the gates. I could see Naruto perk up, and Sasuke scowl, and Sakura cooing. At Sasuke, mind you.
Naruto ran all ten metres towards me and nearly crushed me in a hug. I laughed and hugged him back. Sasuke ignored me, and Sakura gave a polite "hello" before going back to kissing the ground Duckbutt walked on.
In Shippuden, Sakura would be a great character, strong and independent, but Pre-timeskip, she was just a girl with a crush.
Not that I could say anything, I wasn't anything great either, but at least I wasn't doing the whole ninja business for a boy who could literally give less shits about my existence as a whole.
Anyway! With Kakashi's half assed departing comment of, "training, same time and place as usual," Team 7 split up. After dragging me off to T&I, Kakashi, previously named Silver, just ignored me.
Rude much? He was probably just embarrassed about being so hostile towards me. I should tell him that I forgive him.
Later though, more important things going on like the ever desperate hunt for coffee.
After feeling like all my organs exploded for the second time from the force of Naruto's hug, we parted and I offered to pay for lunch. Naturally Naruto agreed, and I stared Sasuke down before he grunted and agreed.
Which led to the four of us - yes Sakura "you can't use chopsticks you must be stupid" Haruno decided to grace us with her presence - sitting in Yakiniku Barbecue and awaiting our orders.
The silence was horrible. My foot began tapping.
The general babble of the other diners seemed to be unable to penetrate the bubble of awkward silence that surrounded us. My fingers drummed on the table.
I felt anxious. Oh god, should I say something? Were they expecting me to say something? Did I even have money to pay?
A brief pat-down of my pockets told me I did, in fact, have my wallet and enough money from a hell of a lot of D-ranks.
Even Sakura refrained from saying anything, and just as I was about to yell something highly offensive to break the tension the waitress came over like a godsend.
She laid the array of food down on the table and everyone else - even Duckbutt, emotionally stunted as he was - chimed (or monotoned) an "Itadakimasu!" and collectively turned to look at me when I stayed silent.
Ah yes, hello again blush, long time no see.
"I- Itchy-tacky-mass?" I tried. My mouth seemed to be unable to spit out the foreign words, to my chagrin. Sakura rolled her eyes and muttered something along the lines of "no manners, honestly" under her breath before tucking in.
On cue, Naruto and Sasuke joined in, laying slices of meat on the open barbecue, and I was left staring at the chopsticks reproachfully.
My worst enemy, here to thwart me socially again, I groused internally. I struggled to hold my chopsticks in the same way everyone else did, the ends slipping off to different directions whenever I applied force.
Picking up my food? Nah. Sliding it across a somewhat clean table and prodding it onto the open barbecue spot while everyone stared at me? Yeah. Ugh.
Even Naruto stared, Naruto, my only ally. I huffed. "Don't give me that, not my fault I can't use two sticks elegantly! This is bullying..."
I stuck my tongue out at the smirk Duckbutt sent me, smug bastard. Sakura glared at me in defence of her crush. Bluh.
Just as she opened her mouth to yell at me, Naruto asked, "Are you gonna eat that, Sakura-chan?" Oblivious of the shouting about to happen, he redirected Sakura's anger to him.
Judging that my slice was done, I attempted to pick it up on my plate, sticking my tongue out in concentration. Shakily, I managed, pinching it between the chopsticks messily...and now I had to transfer it from the plate to my mouth. I swear, this was an impossible mission.
I gave up trying to keep my dignity, and while Sakura was giving out to Naruto, who looked confused as to why she was angry, I angled the plate above my head and swept the cooked meat off into my mouth.
As I chewed, I almost cried. That was...amazing? Holy shit I should eat here more often!
...on second thought, I would find a fork, and then come here more often.
Luckily, no one noticed my third slip of manners...except, of course, Duckbutt had an immunity to the frequent shouting that occurred between his teammates, and eyed me as I hastily chewed my slice.
I blinked, and narrowed my eyes at him and dared him to make a jab about my lack of social etiquette (in another dimension with a different culture I had never experienced before like seriously what did you expect).
Although, most of the affect was probably ruined by my puffed cheeks and blush from my ears to my neck. He snorted and looked away, taking his dainty little fingers to daintily use his chopsticks to daintily pick up a slice and put it daintily down on the barbecue...daintily.
He was mocking me wasn't he?! I swallowed my yakiniku angrily and continued to slide the meal to the barbecue spot instead of saving my dignity. Maybe, in the middle of the night, it would come crawling back to me.
When we were done and the bill came, the little silver dish reminded me of my single plate and bowl. I should probably work on that - did they have an Ikea in the Narutoverse?
I glanced at the bill, and tossed it to Sasuke who was sitting across from me. "How much?" I asked. I could see the sassy remark about to hop out of his mouth so I quickly added, "I'm dyslexic, mate."
I raised an eyebrow and he broke eye contact first, gruffly reading out, "Two thousand five hundred."
Hm...that was something around twenty euro right? Not bad for a meal of four...I think. I didn't exactly pay for meals often.
I put the slightly crumpled notes on the dish and we left, Naruto blabbing about training, as usual. Sakura said something about her parents and left, and Duckbutt took that as cue to walk off to the Uchiha compound.
...thinking about it now, I felt bad for him. I couldn't imagine one of my family members killing my whole family, even on orders, and then being forced to live in the same house with the reminders of what happened still present.
I shuddered, and to be honest? I didn't blame Sasuke for going off the deep end while searching for the power to destroy Itachi. Most of the social interaction he got was fangirl attention, and pitying looks from complete strangers. How many "I'm sorry for your loss"'s could bring back the dead?
In a nutshell, with limited interaction and a constant reminder of how his entire family died...what did you expect to happen to the orphan boy?
Maybe I should try to be a bit more friendly with him? Not making awkward small talk though, hell no. I'd just, say, stop being stand-offish with him?
Hey, maybe if I could get the Duckbutt to open up a bit to his teammates, he would have stronger connections with Konoha and not be coerced out of the village by the creepy pedophile with a fetish for cursed hickeys!
I was pondering all this as I meandered in a vaguely familiar direction around the village, making my way gradually to where I could have sworn I saw a shop that sold crockery.
Speaking of people who had gone off the deep end, what was I going to do in preparation for the Chuunin Exams? First off, the Sound Team, and Kabuto. Then the unstable Gaara, and that small lil' invasion thing that was being cooked up in Suna. And to top off this shitstorm, a crazy nuke-nin out for a twelve year old's body.
And then there was little old me, with my dead body, little-to-no combat knowledge whatsoever, and too much foreknowledge than was probably ok to let slip.
...maybe my body would start decomposing and I wouldn't have to deal with this shit.
It was a couple of weeks before the thing that probably changed my whole future in this universe came around.
It was a scalding hot day down in some random training ground, the one where Team Seven usually met up, with the little red bridge.
The actual ninja themselves were sparring, Naruto against Sasuke and Kakashi against Sakura. Me myself was sitting on the edge of the riverbank, with my feet in the water and my face upturned to the sun.
It was sunny for what? Maybe a week in Ireland per year? Warm days were so rare it was ridiculous. I had almost no tolerance for heat, but with the ice cold water providing a nice contrast, the sun seemed pleasant on my face.
I debated the pros and cons of seeming like a vampire for the rest of my life to gaining more of those god damned freckles, and decided that since it was a rare day where I had no practice with Gai-sensei, why not?
Thus I was wearing a random pair of shorts and a tank top (that I actually owned!), sunning myself to the relaxing sounds of insults being screamed at Sasuke, courtesy of Naruto.
I heard the Duckbutt shouting, "Kaaton!" and I turned around to look. Technically, it was my first time seeing a jutsu, so I don't think you can blame me for my excitement. What was less exciting though, was to see a ridiculously large fireball bearing down upon me after Naruto obviously dodged.
My mouth dropped open and I didn't have enough time to scramble out of the way completely. A burst of white hot pain roared up my entire left leg and left me reeling.
That was when I felt it, a loud, grating buzzing noise that shook me to my core. My head felt like it would burst, and burning flaming hurtpainhelpmeohgod crawled up my leg, inching to a stop at my waist and shooting down my other leg, leaving agony in its wake.
It was the kind of pain that left my senses clouded over with white noise. I was numb to the dirt shoving its way into my mouth as I covered my ears with shaking hands and screamed.
I don't know how long I was hunched over beside the river screaming like I was dying. It felt like everything from my waist down was put through a blender, so I think you can see why I couldn't concentrate.
But, what I remember - perhaps the only thing I can remember, actually - clearest about the accident was the feeling of something foreign blooming in both my legs. Imagine having brambles growing in your legs, reaching outwards with thousands of pinpricks of thorns. Multiply that by ten and that's what I felt.
I don't know what happened between the time I inevitably passed out to when I woke up in a hospital bed. An actual hospital bed, for patients. Wow. I was honoured.
I was pretty sure someone from Team 7 carried me to hospital, most likely Kakashi, but I had no idea how long had passed. Gee, sure hope I didn't wake up in another world again.
I was propped up on my bed before a medic nin came in. At least I thought it was a medic nin. They might've been a plain old medic, I couldn't tell.
"Ah, you're awake!" she exclaimed. I felt like saying no, really? but I didn't want to sass out someone who could tell me what the actual fuck happened.
The pain in my legs had subsided, but why did being hit by a gigantic fireball hurt so much?
...well, shit, it's not like I was burnt horrifically or anything! But I mean, how could frying my left leg hurt my right leg? I'm pretty sure it wasn't caught in the flame...was it? Naw.
So what could have caused it?
"..iss? Miss?" I blinked, brought out of my thoughts by the medic peering closely at me. I registered the concerned glance she threw at me, blinking at her again.
She was flicking through a clipboard I hadn't noticed before, muttering something about not hearing of any head trauma...
I almost hit myself. Wow, how out of it did I look? "Ah, sorry, medic-san!" I chuckled, bunching the quilt under my hands in my fists, "I zoned out there for a moment, could you repeat what you said?"
She stopping flicking through pages for a moment, before smiling at me. "Right, well miss, you've sustained serious third degree burns to your left leg, and you've been out of it for...a day and a half."
She began flicking through the charts again, her smile disappearing and a frown growing as she read on, but all I could think of was, god damn it am I cursed to remain pale forever? How the heck am I supposed to stop glowing if I can't stay in the sun?
"...that can't be right...surely..."
The medic was staring at the clipboard as if it had insulted her family. "Medic-san? What's wrong?" I asked, curiosity peaking. Was there something wrong with my health?
Her eyes flicked up to me and back down to the clipboard. "Well...it says here that you don't have any chakra..." I blinked, oddly disappointed. Damn, I was hoping I had gained, like, a second heart I didn't know about or something. The whole "I'm a being completely devoid of chakra!" thing wasn't new.
"And no chakra pathways..." Was that all? Maybe I should tell her it's nothing to worry about?
"Except for in your legs."
...What. The. Fuck.
I blinked. And again. And I slowly breathed out and pinched my cheek.
What manner of utter bullshit is this?!
"Um... god, must be an error or something right? That's ridiculous!" I chuckled nervously. The medic hesitated before nodding with me.
"Right, of course, must be! Anyway, we've treated the damage as best we could, and you should take it easy on putting strain on the muscles. Oh...and we're afraid there will be some scars." She winced, as if expecting me to start sobbing hysterically.
"...sweet. I can say I was fighting a dragon for the honour of kidnapping the princess, and it roasted my leg while I was chopping off it's head!" I rambled. I didn't mind that much, not compared to the fact that I had developed something that should be impossible.
Ugh, I was so confused.
"You're free to go, unless you want a check-up on your head?" She said. I could feel the worry in her tone.
"Nah, it's grand, I'll have to escape before they realised that I am the Dark Overlord who kidnaps princesses!" I cackled, and threw the bed covers off of me. I stood up carefully and shuffled out of the room, beaming at the concerned medic.
What a nice person.
Anywho, what was the deal with the pathways? Why did my body randomly decide to be more weird than normal?
Unless...it wasn't random?
But why would being hit by a gigantic fireball in this universe be different from being hit by one in my old one? ...what if it had something to do with chakra? I'm pretty sure the other universe didn't have it, so maybe that's the reason?
Maybe when it hit me, my leg reacted to the chakra or something? Like growing pathways? Was that even possible - well, considering in this universe I'm dead, there's ninja and the rules of physics don't apply, what would be considered impossible?
But what did all this mean in regards to me being chakraless? I doubted that I would suddenly be able to do ninjutsu, or even produce chakra. Did that mean I went through all that pain for some useless pathways?
Even if my theory was true, which was highly improbable.
God damn motherfucking universe throwing random shit my way. I wasn't even the main fucking character.
I shook out my legs a bit, and jogged back to my house to ease out the stiff muscles and headed home for a nice cup of tea.
The next day, after ascertaining that I did not dream up the chakra pathways in my legs, I headed down to training ground three, where I was meeting up with Gai for the day.
As I walked into the spacious grounds, I noticed that Team Gai were sort of just milling about, conversing quietly.
Strange...they're all here, why haven't they started?
They hadn't seemed to notice me, how dare they. "Uh...yo." Lee immediately spun around, beaming.
"Flynn-chan!" That seemed way too overenthusiastic over just seeing me, even for Lee.
"What's going on?" I asked, although I got interrupted by an excited mass of green slamming into my (still tender!) ribs and proceeding to leech any oxygen I had in my body via bear hug.
Only from the divine intervention of Tenten were my lungs spared from Lee. I caught my breath and noted the concerned looks of the team (bar Neji).
"Flynn-chan! What happened? We heard that you were in hospital!" Tenten said at last. I blinked. Right - I didn't show up to training yesterday...I suppose they would have been worried about me...
Something about the generally happy Team Gai being concerned over me made me very uncomfortable, so I just shrugged.
"I was an idiot, emos can't aim well, the dirt is tastier than I thought it would be, y'know...regular stuff?"
I was pretty surprised when she cuffed me over the back of my head. Looking up with wide eyes, I took in her frowning face.
"Don't joke around like that! We were seriously worried about you!" She scolded. I felt like I was five again and caught stealing biscuits before dinner, and I sighed.
"Well, I may have gotten horrifically burnt?" I corrected, hastily adding, "but it's okay! I'm fine!" at the look of utter horror on her face. "Honestly, look," I said, quickly pulling up my pant leg at the sight of Tenten about to hit me again.
She paused and her eyes went wide at the sight of the huge scar covering the entirety of my left leg. I peered at it closely too as I realised I hadn't seen it properly.
It was, in a sense, fascinating. The sensitive skin was a bright angry red, with charred black woven around each hole where a blister was popped, and strung so tight that when I shifted my leg you could see the muscles contorting under the skin.
"...oh my kami Flynn..." Tenten whispered. I nodded fervently.
"Pretty cool right?" I said as a way to lighten the mood. Also it was pretty kick ass...it would be even better if I hadn't got it from fucking Sasuke of all people. God damn it.
A silence followed, where a tear falling could be heard...literally. A second later and the waterworks duo were squeezing me in between their rock hard muscles and spandex.
"Even in the face of such hideous disfigurement, you still smile!"
"I am in awe of your Flames of Youth!"
"Let us commemorate Flynn-chan's Youth by doing one hundred press ups and crunches!"
I PREFERRED THEM SO MUCH MORE IN THE ANIME WHEN I WAS AWAY FROM THE YOUTH.
I managed to break free and somehow prevented myself from running back to my apartment and locking myself away from humanity for a couple centuries.
"How did you get that?" Tenten asked. The two green-clad monsters paused mid-push up and looked over at me, and even Neji seemed to be paying attention.
"Ehm...it was an accident, first off," I mumbled. "I was chillin' by the river, minding my own business and all, and then a huge fireball came my way and I woke up in hospital." I explained.
"So...it was...a fireball? That came out of nowhere." She sounded dubious.
"Yeah. Well. It was a jutsu. But basically, yeah," I clarified.
Her expression changed to one of alarm. "You were fighting against someone with ninjutsu?" She blurted.
I had been trying to avoid saying who caused it, but this was going nowhere.
"No, I was watching Team Seven training and one of Mr. Duckbutt Uchiha's jutsus missed Naruto and hit me instead," I burst. She paused, and her face fell blank.
"Uchiha, huh?" She said carefully. She had this distant look in her eye that I didn't like.
I squinted at her. "What are you planning?" I muttered, and made the universal 'I'm watching you' sign, which she ignored.
I turned back to Gai-sensei and Lee, who were just finishing up their 'commemoration' to my leg, to ask, "Are we going to start training, or..."
They froze, and I got a feeling that I had made yet another mistake.
Oh my god noooo.
After another flying tackle aimed at me, along with them crying over my "dedication to training, even in the face of a horrific injury, how Youthful!" Why did I somehow always manage to incur the terror of a hug sandwich between Lee and Gai-sensei? Did this usually happen before I came here? Did Neji ever get caught up in one of these?! Probably not. How dare he.
Eventually we did start training again, even though Gai-sensei thought it was perfectly logical to double the training for some reason. Maybe in the midst of shouting how he was going to light the Fire of Youth™ in me was an explanation, but nonetheless I was still sent home limping.
I was coming up the stairs, patting my pockets for my keys, when I saw Naruto with a look of crushing guilt on his face, making me falter. He didn't see me, as he was heading to the door on the right of his apartment, mine. I narrowed my eyes in confusion, what...?
He knocked on the door once, twice, hesitance outlining his movements. "...Flynn-chan?..." He called. He - he sounded like he was on the verge of tears! I shook myself out of whatever stupor I fell into and I couldn't stop my arm reaching out towards the hyperactive blond as I approached him.
The blond spun around, eyes wide, and I noticed that he actually had tears in the corner of his eyes. "Naruto?" I tried again, taking a slow step forwards. "Are you...what's wrong -eh?" My accursed verbal tic slipped out, but I ignored it in concern for my friend.
"Flynn-chan!" Naruto's body twitched, like he was physically holding himself back from throwing himself at me. "I'm sorry -ttebayo!" he blurted. I froze. What? Did he do something? Was he secretly hoarding coffee and never told me?
"I shouldn't have dodged the Teme's fireball! I shoulda...I shoulda stopped it somehow! I'm sorry," he apologised profusely. I shook my head, shocked. Did he blame himself? Over me not being able to dodge Duckbutt's jutsu?
But Naruto seemed to flinch, as if I rejected his apology. "Naruto, I don't - I'm not - it wasn't your fault Naruto! Holy crayola crayons, I'm not - mad at you, god no. You -" I ran a hand through my hair in aggravation. Why couldn't I be more coherent when it counted?
But I could see Naruto's eyes widen in relief. "You're not...angry?" He mumbled. I blinked. Just how badly was he treated, for him to think that him being somewhat involved in my accident - and only because he was sparring with the guy who actually did it - meant that I was going to instantly reject him?
I marched over to him and pulled him into a hug, because he looked like he really one right then. Plus, he was way too adorable not to.
I could feel him relax in my arms, and we stood like that for a while. Slowly, Naruto pulled himself away and rubbed his eyes free of tears on his sleeve. He grinned at me, making me feel instantly happier.
"I'm glad you're okay. When Kaka-sensei brought you to the hospital - " I was right! Ha! " - me 'n Sakura-chan n' Teme decided to go and visit you but the nurses wouldn't let us in because they were busy healing you so we left but then we came back the next day but they told us you left so we went looking around the village and then I came back here and knocked on your door and I thought that you didn't answer 'cause you were angry at me an' - "
I interrupted him by pulling him into a headlock and giving him a noogie. He squeaked in reply (which he denied to all hell later on) and squirmed. I let go of him and laughed at the expression on his face. "You were being silly Naruto! If I was mad at you, which would probably never ever happen, I wouldn't ignore you! That's just ineffective and mean." I huffed.
He laughed and rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly. "I guess I am being stupid, huh? Oh!" He perked up suddenly. "We should totally tell Sakura-chan and Kaka-sensei and Teme that you're alright! Even if Teme put you in hospital for two days," he added, grumbling. I tilted my head.
"Y'know, I blame Duckbutt as much as I blame you? That is to say, it was a complete accident so don't go around yelling 'n stuff and him, okay?" I said. Naruto seemed surprised that I wasn't furious at Sasuke, but shrugged and agreed, however reluctantly.
The blond proceeded to grab my arm and play "lets-see-if-we-can-trip-up-Flynn-100-times-before-we-get-there!", which I only managed not to do because of Gai-sensei's training.
By the time we reached the training grounds, where the rest of Team 7 were doing whatever they were doing, I was winded while Naruto remained completely unaffected.
Surprisingly, Sakura was the one who ran to greet us. "Flynn-san!" I blinked at the genuine worry etched on her face. "Are you alright?" I felt awkward and this formal suffix, and guilty at my previous dismissal of her. Sure, she had an obsession with a living cold shoulder, but she seemed like an honestly nice person, if a bit impatient with Naruto.
"Um, yeah, I'm good, the nurses healed me up well," I gave her a small smile. She seemed relieved, which made me fee guiltier, before I noticed that Duckbutt was off to the side, looking anywhere but me. I guessed he thought I was made at him too? Well, sure the fireball was probably the most painful thing I've ever experienced (except maybe my last moments in Ireland) but it was an accident. He obviously wasn't expecting me to be in the way of any jutsu considering I was sitting off to the side in the river, so I think any anger on my part would be unjustified.
"Uh, Duck- Sasuke...san? Um," I was a little confused with how I should address him, seeing as Sakura added "-san" to my name, and I was on basically the same terms with her as I was with Sasuke, "I'm not mad at you or anything, y'know. No hard feelings," I reassured. He finally made eye contact with me, before looking away again.
...what a tsundere. Oh well, it would do. There was a moment of silence, that surprisingly enough the scarecrow broke. "Maa, well my cute little genin, it's time to train again. You too Naruto." He eyed me up for a moment, which made me feel like I was being judged, before his eye curved up into a u-shaped smile. I blinked, before saying my goodbyes.
"Bye! Drop by later Naruto, if you aren't too tired yeah?" I called, waving in acknowledgment of his confirmation. I made my way back, enjoying the lull of the village again. This place was unbelievably calming, when I wasn't making a complete fool of myself.
I guess that went better than expected.
It was three days later before shit hit the fan.
It was one of my rare days off, and I was wondering around the village enjoying the sun. It was a refreshing break from the near constant drizzle back home. Heh, I suppose if I ever got homesick I could just head over the Kiri, I mused darkly. But nah, I was enjoying Konoha a lot.
I let my feet take me where they would, and eventually they lead me to a dead end. I looked at the fence blocking my way, a lone tree beside it, and I was about to turn around when I heard voices.
Not in my head, mind you. From the other side of the fence, I heard someone who sounded suspiciously like a certain ball of sunshine I knew, yelling his head off. I rushed over to the fence, but there was no way to actually check who was on the other side, because the fence was too tall for me. Unless...
I turned to the tree. It had many grooves in it, and the lowest branches were a bit over arms reach. I took a few steps back, before taking a running start at the tree, propelling my self up high enough to grab onto the branch. I swung myself up, something I found ridiculously more easy than I used to, before I climbed onto the next branch, a thicker one that could give me a view of what was happening on the other side.
I looked over the fence and I saw Sakura, Duckbutt and Naruto standing to the left with three kids I kind of recognised running off behind Team 7, and right under me...
I kid you not, the shock of seeing the Sand Siblings alive, in the flesh right down there in front of me, and the implications behind that, literally made me slip and fall out of the tree in shock.
I shrieked, drawing the attention of all of the genin down below, including a certain Sand shinobi as I fell on top of Gaara.
And that, dear readers, is how I was brutally murdered.
...not really, but oh man. I didn't actually crash into Gaara, because his sand shield sprung up in defense, and I crashed into that instead. I threw my arms in front of my face, but a loud CRUNCH was still heard upon impact.
Time seemed to come for a halt as it was dead silent. Slowly, oh so slowly I rolled off the shield, landing on my back with a gentle whump. I wheezed a little bit, staring at the sky.
Prime example of me making amazing first impressions - exhibit A.
There was a gentle sound of rushing to my left as Gaara's sand returned to it's gourd form, and I could feel the redhead's stare burning into my face. I turned my head slowly to look him in the eyes. His adorable little panda eyes. Aw.
My mind went blank as I raised a numb hand in salutation.
"...nice reflexes, you passed the test."
I could feel Team 7 collectively dying behind me.
*reappears in a poof of faded rainbow smoke* ...First off, let me say that I will never ever take that long again. I swear.
I am sooo sorry! I hope the length of this chapter makes up for the ridiculous wait! Thanks to all who reviewed/favourited/followed this story :D You guys are the cooliest.
I know I kind of skipped the Wave arc, but there wasn't any way I could really write it out. Sorry if anyone was looking forward to that or something lmao.
Thus, the fifth chapter has ended! If anyone has any concerns/questions/requests for omakes/wishes to know what exactly is Flynn's favourite food, w/e you want feel free to PM or leave it in a review! Apologies if I didn't reply to anyone ^^"
And the plot thickens. Here's to hoping Gaara doesn't crack and kill my lil Flynn after five chapters! That's all for now folks! I bid thee an early Halloween, because god knows I'm not gonna update in time for it! I'll try to aim for sometime around Christmas, but don't hold it to me because it's very likely than I will procrastinate horribly.
Farewell my tiny children!