A/N (updated 2022): So this is my first fanfic, and I kinda just ran with the idea, a reincarnation story that drew some inspiration from the Chinese online stories I had been reading, which was all the rage back in the 2010s. I started this story back in 2016 and updated it until 2018 to chapter 43, then real-life stuff started kicking in and beating me around, so there was a three-year hiatus. I came back in 2021, after finally finding some balance in life and regaining some of my passion for writing this story, and continued from chapter 44 until now. Everything up until mid-chapter 47 was written pre-2018, so trust me when I say that I ask myself every day what the hell did I write five years ago? But umm, too late to change that now, I guess. I hope that my writing has gotten better over the past years, but that may or may not be true, depending on who you ask. I came back hoping to finish the story, tie up some loose ends, and express this mini-universe that has nagged my brain for many years. While I still can't guarantee a schedule for updates, I will try my best to see this to an end.
Some general clarifications, the OC does not know anything about the Naruto world prior to her reincarnation, so she's like a stranger to the new land, but with perks since she retains her past experience and intellect. Anyway, the story started a bit slow, since the first chapter is more or less setting the scene, so please, give it a try!
Huge thanks to my beautiful friend and beta Alice J, her grammar tips saved me countless times.
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto anime or manga, ever, so everything belongs to their rightful author, except for my OCs. I am definitely not making money out of writing this.
I named the story after a kind of flower in a Chinese legend, 昙花 (tan hua), which loosely translates to night-blooming cereus. It was said that it only blooms once in a lifetime for one night and then it dies. It was often used to describe a one-hit-wonder, but not always.
Chapter 1 - Reanimated
On June 18, 2016, I died.
That year, I thought I turned eighteen. At least, that's what my identity should say.
How did I die? Most likely from the severe burn and multiple punctured organs caused by an explosion. It was a standard raid and kill mission. The target was a group of international drug dealers, one of the competitors for the organization "OLYMPUS". I, formerly operative 31, now given the codename "Artemis", was the one who led this mission.
OLYMPUS does all kinds of things. Black ops, assassination, infiltration, wipeout raid. I was still not sure how they decide what mission to take or reject, even after working under OLYMPUS all my life .OLYMPUS was strange, it was an organization that didn't simply rely on money or authority.
I lived in OLYMPUS, lived for OLYMPUS, and in the end, died for OLYMPUS. I was trained as a black operative. Assassination, infiltration, and combat, I was well versed in all of them. That's why I was given the codename "Artemis", after my potential as a "hunter" was discovered. I was sure that I became a perfect agent, ruthless, emotionless and loyal, all in the name of survival. When I was three and became cognitively able, I quickly understand that there was no way out of the organization. Either I become strong and able to survive, or I will be disposed of. That's why I trained hard, along with a natural instinct for survival, I made my first kill when I was six. And from that time, I threw all my emotions into a black pit behind my brain, keeping it trapped like how the Olympians threw the Titan Kronos into Tartarus, so he may never be free again. Just like that, I became a perfectly cold-blooded killer.
It was supposed to be a simple mission, we get in, we kill the ones in charge, we plant a bomb, we leave and we explode the place into a million pieces. That's why I couldn't figure out what went wrong, or rather, but I didn't want to believe it.
We got in, we killed the ones in charge and we planted a bomb. Then, everything went wrong. The bomb was set to detonate in 10 minutes, plenty of time for us to get out and set the building on fire. However, just as my team was retreating, the bomb went off. It was only one minute after the bomb was planted, there was no way we could have gotten out of the explosion range in time.
Just like that, "Apollo", "Medea", Operative 19, Operative 63, and me, forever disappeared in the fire and smoke. The bomb might have malfunctioned or been discovered, thus resulting in the explosion earlier than we planned; or more likely, the bomb was set by the organization as one minute, not 10 minutes like they had us believe.
Why? To make sure that the bomb wouldn't be found out in the ten minutes range, or to make sure that the agents would die with the secret. After all, an explosion of this caliber, hundreds of lives, were not something they wanted to be related back to.
Just like that, I died, at eighteen years of age (more or less), most likely by the organization I gave my life for. I am disposable since after I died, someone else would be branded the codename "Artemis", and my existence would be no more. Even with my self-taught method for burying emotions, I couldn't help feeling betrayed. What I didn't realize was that it opened a dam, a little creak into the abyss I closed off. So when I was drifting in space or consciousness or wherever people were supposed to drift after they died, I felt like I experienced a life full of negative emotions. Guilt, ripping me apart from the inside and out, so painful that I guess the barrier of death couldn't keep it out. The sadness, the regret, the loneliness, they came like waves, crashing into whatever consciousness I have left, overwhelming but unavoidable. They burned, but at the same time, they froze like the ice age. At the end of the abyss, I reached out and found the memory I rejected the most, my first kill, my first hidden emotion, my first action that tainted my heart into black, and operative 32... I am a horrible human being, I thought one last time. I guess I deserve a worse end than death.
However, someone, something, some power, screwed me over. I was ready to die, take my punishment and end this meaningless life. Then I opened my eyes once again, staring into a group of huge men and women with clearer vision than I would have ever imagined. Although that came with a splitting headache, it felt like something flowing inside of me were all getting sucked to my eyes to support my abnormal hyper-vision. In my short attention span, I noticed a flow of a certain strange current inside all of these men and women watching me, something akin to a special kind of energy, a magical substance.
The adults were muttering something, I couldn't hear them, but I could see the movement of their lips perfectly. In my lifetime, or rather, past life, I was well trained in lip reading and five different languages: English, French, Mandarin, Russian and Japanese. I suddenly realized that they were speaking in a rather formal Japanese and that was all I could conclude before I closed my eyes due to a painful headache and the feeling of exhaustion. I slipped into a slumber again, praying that this was just a phase before I get to die completely. However, a small part of me, even if I didn't even realize, was hoping that maybe, just maybe, I got a second chance. A second chance at living my own free life, or at least a chance of redemption.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on my perception, I was indeed alive once again. I lived my first year in a mix between confusion and mind blowing. Despite being reborn as an infant, I retained some of my previous memory, pleasant ones (do I even have any), the unpleasant ones, and all my level of intelligence. From the information I gathered from all the adults talking when they had no idea that I could understand them, my most prominent impression was that this world is crazy.
Apparently, the world I now lived in was full of ninjas, a life energy called chakra, and wars. My name - an actual given name, not a number or a code name - was Uchiha Maiko, daughter to Uchiha Fugaku and Uchiha Mikoto. I had one brother who was one year older than me, Uchiha Itachi.
Being born in a prominent shinobi clan had it's pros and cons. For one, I now had a family, although I had no idea if this was what I want, being isolated in a ruthless training facility for eighteen years, I didn't know if I have the capacity for love. Another pro had to do with my eyes, or the sharingan - the Uchiha kekkei genkai. I realized soon enough that the clearer vision I gained during my birth was due to the sharingan awakening. Of course, since it required chakra to support the sharingan, it caused my splitting headache and exhaustion, since I couldn't properly control it yet. Nevertheless, I became the first person in Uchiha history to awaken the first tomoe sharingan upon birth.
My brother, Itachi was a prodigy. Today, on June 18, my first birthday, he performed a small Katon: Grand Fireball technique in order to please the demanding elders. As small as I was, I could see their greedy eyes, eyeing him like prizes. It was the look of those who wanted something, against all cost. Itachi being a two-year-old little boy had already developed his stoic poise. His calm eyes overlooking everything like he was drifting on a canoe far far away. Sometimes, I got this strange feeling that he was just like how the operatives at OLYMPUS used to be, emotionless and isolated.
I didn't doubt that Itachi thought of me as something precious. He probably thought that if he performed like a genius, then the elders would overlook me and leave me alone. No doubt, my little awakening at birth stunned the elders, and they were dying to get their hands on me, another 'prodigy' of the century. It was only with me and Mother, Itachi would show a bit of smile, a bit of playfulness and occasionally, the childishness that was of his age.
After my second birthday, I saw Itachi significantly less than before. I heard that he started to get lessons from Father, who aimed to create another strong Uchiha leader. One day, he came home with his clothes half burned and tore. Mother and I were startled by his appearance, and no matter how hard Mother tried to persuade him to tell her what happened, Itachi wouldn't budge. Late at night, I heard Mother and Father yelling at each other, with a little concentration, I understood why they were fighting. Apparently, today's training session was built to awaken Itachi's sharingan, the near death experience and killing intent induced high emotional states that allow the activation of sharingan. Hell, they even planned a fake kidnapping just to make Itachi think the killing intents were real. Just like that, Itachi gained his sharingan, and he just turned four.
That night, I stumbled into Itachi's room, under the dim lights, I locked eyes with him, the four-year-old boy who was my brother. I felt a pang of guilt for everything he had done for me. If he didn't have to cover for me to keep the elders' attention away, he would not have to try so hard to exceed their expectations. I had no idea what my eyes are expressing, but I had a feeling that he knew that I knew. For the first time, I approached him, like a three-year-old child, I crawled into a position beside him, Itachi hugged me close. For the first time in three years, I called out to him the endearing term "nii…." and all he did was smile.
Shortly after Itachi gained his sharingan, I turned three, and that's when my training began. No matter how hard mother tried to persuade my Father to let me start training later, he wouldn't budge. Soon, I started sharing the same training schedule as Itachi. Morning, we would have taijutsu and weapon training session with Father. In the afternoon, we would have chakra and ninjutsu session with one of the elders, a rather strict and rigid lady. At evening we would have sharingan lessons from another elder. Of course, this was only the standard training menu, Father would always give Itachi more training to do when he didn't have lessons with the elders. Being a hard worker as he was, Itachi would always diligently finish his extra lessons without complaints.
When my physical body started to adjust to the training sessions, I started to plan for my own training as well. In the previous life, I was a very proficient assassin and combat operative. I would shamelessly admit that my hand to hand close combat skill was top notch. Even with my small body frame in my previous life, my lack of strength was never a problem as I only aim for the spots that would break easily for the kill. Neck, joints, throat, and sometimes even cracking their spines if I came from the right angle. Fast, accurate and ruthless was probably the best way to describe it. The Uchiha fighting style that Father was teaching us right now was more aggressive and they required harder punches and more power, which was something I simply didn't have right now. Even with the help of sharingan, sometimes throwing a power punch would get me off balance if I missed the target. So every morning, before the session starts, I would secretly train my old fighting style. Flexibility stretches was key, in my old life, you really didn't want to let me get close to you. As long as I locked someone, I could use my flexible stances to maneuver my position and I could easily crack their spines and necks into positions no one wanted.
Every morning, I would start with gymnastic maneuvers, and then move onto actual close combat training. Using an old dummy I found in the training room, I would practice different ways to crack people's bones and joints, either from fast and accurate punches and kicks or from locking the body and twisting it using my flexibility. Usually, moving partners would work better, but well, it was supposed to be a secret, so beggars can't be choosers.
The weapon training was kind of a pain. Apparently, Uchihas were supposed to be good at throwing daggers - I'm sorry, kunai and shuriken. The problem was, in my time, we used guns. In fact, my marksmanship was great in my previous life and I had no problem seeing and marking for the bull's eye, but the throwing motion was making me want to crawl into the hole in shame. Sure there were those who were very proficient in dagger throwing in the organization, but I was not one of them, and there was the fact that the grip for kunai and shurikens were just plain weird. Well, I sucked at it at the beginning, I was pretty sure Itachi excelled at this kind of stuff when he started the training. Trust me, Father's eyes beamed every day when he and Itachi returned from weapon practice during the first year of Itachi's practice. Now, his face was either blank when he returned with me after practices, or sour whenever I managed to hit something I shouldn't hit. Of course, I was still young with no experience, so I could still grow proficient in it, or at least that was what father wanted to believe.
The chakra and ninjutsu training was just plain freaky. After three years in this ninja world, I thought I would get used to the strange power people seems to possess here. But no, after I saw the grand fireball jutsu the elder performed for us, I was absolutely stunned and terrified by it. Immediately, I was determined to learn all I could in this area, seeing the fact that no matter how good my close combat technique from the other world was, it would be no match for this monstrosity known as jutsu. If I wanted to survive in this world, then I would have to be a master at this. So my free times was filled with chakra molding and controlling exercises as well as hand seal practice. It might be because of my famous Uchiha gene or my higher self-control due to my older "age", my chakra reserves were quite large and my chakra control was okay. With a fair amount of practice, I could already mold chakra to enhance my body in taijutsu a few months after the start of my training. Obviously, Itachi was better than me in this area as well, but at least father was not as sour as he was when we did the weapon training.
To be honest, the sharingan training must be the most interesting training I had ever heard of. Having something different in my eyes were both terrifying and mesmerizing. In fact, I had not activated my sharingan again after the time I did when I was born, but somehow, when the elder asked us to show him the sharingan, I activated it with ease. I blinked and let my chakra rush to the eyes when I opened them again, my visions were much clearer and I could see the flow of chakra in Itachi and the elder's bodies. In the first year, we started with learning how to control sharingan activations and how to distinguish chakra we saw, then we started on the genjutsu. Eventually, after two years of training, both Itachi and I had completed the evolution of our sharingan to three tomoe.
Everything that broke the temporary peace I may or may not had seemed to happen in the year when I was five. The first thing that seemed to put the fragile wheel we called fate into motion was a boy named Shisui.
That morning, I was practicing my self-taught style of close combat. After two years, I managed to return some of my previous skills to a degree that was satisfactory for me right now. Since my body was still five, there were a lot of things I couldn't accomplish. However, I was able to perform maybe at most ten percent of my level in the previous life. I succeeded in hiding this style from Father, but like usual, Itachi found out but he did not tell anyone about it. Actually, sometimes, he would spar with me so I could get used to practicing on a living target. Although he seemed reluctant to try again after the first time we sparred, and for the first time, I felt a bit of pride against him. It was unlike the time when I beat my opponent in the organization during the assessment, during that time, it was not a victory, but rather a survival, gaining my own life by beating others would potentially mean pushing the other to the brink of death. There was no pride, only a sense of dread that most of the operatives were too numb to feel about.
Itachi came like usual, but this time, he brought another spectator. For a second, I thought it would be Father. It's not that I didn't trust my brother, but rather I couldn't think of anyone else he would bring. But when I halted my training to look at the new arrival, I saw a young boy, several years older than us, wearing the same kind of Uchiha high collar t-shirt as Itachi (I hate those high collars…).
"So, Itachi, this is the Maiko-hime you wanted me to meet?" The boy suddenly appeared in front of me out of nowhere. I was intrigued by this so called body flicker technique since it pretty much disobeys any law of physics I had ever learned. So for a second, I did not register whatever he was saying, and simply stayed silent.
"Wow, you are as cold and silent as they say." The boy continued in a teasing manner.
"Sorry for my rudeness, but who are you?" I finally asked. He was obviously a member of the Uchiha clan, but I'd been ordered to stay in the compound for as long as I could remember and the only people I met were the elders that were assigned as my teacher.
"My heart bleeds, Itachi, how come you've never told her about me. Hime, I am Shisui Uchiha, a friend of Itachi, he said he wanted me to come here today so I did." The boy - Shisui- answered after he feigned hurts at Itachi. I stared at Itachi with an expression that silently asked "Really?", seeing he did not contradict, I took the silence as a confirmation.
"My apologies, Shisui-san, it's a pleasure meeting you. However, I am not a 'Hime', simply Uchiha Maiko." I felt that excess socializing was not really beneficial right now, seeing most people already avoided me in the compound, I guess that awakening sharingan at birth did speak of something wrong with me.
"Itachi-nii, I thought you promised to spar with me at least once per week, are you here to keep that promise?" I asked innocently, noticing Itachi paled a bit at the prospect of sparring with me. In truth, I rarely won against him, but that was just because Itachi was being a genius all the time, but I imagined it wouldn't be feeling so great fighting against me.
"Right, that's why I brought Shisui with me. I'm sure that he will be interested in your… eccentric fighting style." Itachi quickly answered in his monotone voice. Shisui, on the other hand, looked very intrigued by Itachi's words. He quickly flickered onto the other side of the training room and asked "Taijutsu? Body flicker?"
"Of course, just Taijutsu, and body flicker is allowed." Technically, I didn't even know body flicker, so definitely not up to the level Shisui just showed. However, from my understanding, body flicker was not teleportation, but rather utilizing chakra to enhance one's body to allow it to move at a speed that human eyes couldn't follow, which meant, if I could lock my opponent's body then they would not be able to flicker away without enough force.
We performed the seal of confrontation simultaneously. It probably looked quite comical from far away, seeing Shisui was significantly taller than me. Without further ado, the sparring started.
Shisui was no doubt a talented individual, his taijutsu was a mix of traditional Uchiha style and high-speed body flicker. In the beginning, he flickered in front of me in the blink of an eye, then he threw a punch toward my midribs. I did not want to be hit by one of his power punches, mind you, so without any hesitation, I dodged by jumping up and let his fist flew under my feet. Before I could even land, Shisui flickered behind me and aimed to grab my body while it was till in the air. It would have succeeded if I had not prepared for it and twist my body and bend it in mid air. Instead, I did a backflip and landed on my hands before doing a back walkover and then landed on my feet about a few meters away.
Shisui did not give me anytime for prepare. When I looked up again, I barely managed to see him reappearing in front of me again and threw another punch towards my head. The body flicker was starting to annoy me now, I swore, right after this session, I was going to learn and perfect the body flicker.
Instead of jumping up again, I flipped backward, making an arch with my back. The moment his arm sailed right above me, I shot up my legs and locked it between my two calves. Using his momentum, I twisted my body along with his hand, strengthen my leg with chakra flow. My feet were locked right on his shoulder joint. When it twisted, it let out a small pop, signifying the shoulder was dislocated.
Now that I was finally able to touch him, obviously, I was not going to let him go. With his body flicker, if he managed to get away, I won't ever be able to touch him again. This time, he let his guard down for a second, and I was able to catch him. Without a second thought, I bend my arm slightly and let it rebound, pushing my body up in the air. Shisui's other arm was already swung toward me, if I gave him time, he can very well fling me towards the ground and crush me there.
When I fall back to earth again, I brought down my arm and latched it right onto Shisui's neck behind my head. Curling my leg up to a fetal position, then I crashed my knees into Shisui's spine. When I landed on the ground, I pulled his neck down with me, using the momentum, I crashed him in front of me like a shoulder flip. The moment he landed on the ground, I wrapped my arms around his neck and used my knees to push him to the ground. I lifted his neck up a bit and tightened my grip. Usually, in my old world, one twist and the neck would be broken.
"Okay, let him go, Mai. It's his first time." Itachi ordered from the sideline. Slowly I released my arm from the choking position. Shisui let out a few coughs before standing up.
"Oh, hime, that's harsh, I think my shoulder is dislocated. Itachi, serious, what the hell did you get me into." Shisui complained, but he still did a seal of reconciliation and I returned the seal like the tradition dictates.
"That's because you've never fought her style before. Now you learned a lesson." Itachi commented, he still remembered the first time he fought against his little sister, it was a world of surprises and hurt.
"Sorry for the shoulder Shisui-san, but I assure you the neck bones will hurt a lot more," I said calmly before walking toward Shisui. It's pretty awkward as a five-year-old petite girl grabbed onto the right arm and the shoulder of a larger boy, however, I pushed them back together with full force without giving Shisui or Itachi anytime to object. With another pop and a pitched scream, Shisui's shoulder was as good as new (maybe).
"There, as good as new, I didn't hurt any tendons or anything, so keep it rest for a day or two and watch for any swelling, you should be fine." I gave him a perfect smile as I watch Shisui gave my brother an "is she serious?" look.
"Nice job, Maiko-hime, violent, but your taijutsu is nice! Can't wait to see the pain it will bring when you master body flicker." Despite the sore shoulder, I gave him, Shisui showed me a genuine smile. I contemplated, not only was he on point about what I thought the direction of my taijutsu should be, I saw no resentment in the boy's clear black eyes. Doesn't he hate me? Doesn't he think I'm an abnormal little monster?
"Teach me." I said shamelessly as I watch his eyes widen with surprise, "please teach me body flicker." I repeated again.
"And you are asking the person whose shoulder was dislocated because of you?" Shisui gave me a disbelieving look as if he was checking my sanity.
"Why not, you are good at it, Shisui-san. Besides, I put your shoulder back to its place, didn't I? Surely, someone as generous as you wouldn't be holding a grudge against a five-year-old girl, right?" Now both Shisui and Itachi were looking at me as if I was crazy. Then, after a moment of silence, Shisui laughed.
"Sure why not, Itachi and I usually have some training afternoon when he doesn't have classes. Why don't you come along, and I'll show you the great body flicker of Uchiha Shisui!" Shisui suggested. I looked at my brother, he showed no sign of disapproval. Like usual, I took his silence as a yes.
"Of course! Thank you, Shisui-senpai, I guess I'll see you and Itachi-nii later!" I gave him one of my perfect sweet little smiles and I saw him brighten up at the prospect of being called senpai.
Later, when I walked away to put the training stuff back, I could hear Itachi's calm and stoic voice telling Shisui "You are too easily pleased" to which Shisui responded brightly "That's only because you are too hard to please."
Sasuke was born when Itachi was six and when I was five. When Mother found out she was having a third child, she was absolutely ecstatic, while my father seemed less so. If I were to be harsh, I would say he was indifferent. With Itachi bringing him the glory of a prodigy, and me bringing him the fame from my sharingan, he probably didn't know what he would want from a third child. However, being the perfect husband he was, he celebrated it along with Mother.
When Sasuke was born on July 23, I was suddenly hit with the acute realization of how Sasuke's life would have been different if I was never born. Sasuke was a boy, a male just like Itachi. If I wasn't born, he would have been the second heir for the Uchiha clan, and of course, seeing how cautious my father was, he would want to build up a second powerful possible heir in case anything should happen to Itachi. However, I was born. Even if I was a girl, the fact that my sharingan awake at birth was a feat worthy of a miracle. Even if the stats are slim, there were powerful kunoichis in Uchiha family. Even if my skills weren't on par with Itachi, even the elders had to admit that my talent was far above average. So now, Father was definitely raising me as the second successor instead of Sasuke, and that would have significantly lessened the amount of pressure he had to face, as well as the number of expectations.
I wasn't sure if that was a good thing or not, but just like how Itachi tried (keyword: tried) to protect me from the focus of the elders, he and I also wanted to protect Sasuke from the heavy burden the clan dumped on us. When I first made sense of this feeling of wanting to protect him, I gave myself a shock. Why I would care for someone that I had just known for a few hours, as he was only born a few hours ago. Mother and Itachi I understood, they cared for me and protected me, it was only natural that I reciprocate their affections. In this second life, I had a chance of being loved, and I wonder if that had changed me more than I thought it would.
Just three months after Sasuke was born, all hell broke loose. We hid in the house, Itachi hugged me tight, and I hugged Sasuke tight in my arms. He was just a wee little baby and I guess I couldn't blame him for crying a river when there was a deadly destructive force rampaging outside in Konoha.
Once again, my view of the world was shattered by the appearance of this so-called tail-beast. I got the feeling that it's similar to the nuclear weapon, but… alive and more powerful. Sasuke was crying because of the poisoned and malicious chakra the tailed-beast, Kyuubi, was emitting. Had it not been for his Uchiha genes, Sasuke would have been worse off than just crying.
I thought that night was the first night since I came to this world that I felt a sense of danger akin to death. Sure, I struggled and planned for my survival every day, I trained with everything I had, improving my skill set so I could reach a level where I wouldn't have to be afraid anymore. But this, this made me realize how much I wanted to live. The first time I died, I died too quickly for any thoughts, but now, I had the time to cling on to my life, grasping for it like a thin spider thread and never letting it go.
Sasuke was crying harder now, I put my hand on his face and gently caressed the tears off, "Shh, don't worry, Sasuke, it will be over soon, and everything will be okay." I said to him gently, a tone I never thought I would be utilizing. Sasuke's crying lessened for a moment, but he had another outburst when another wave of Kyuubi's chakra emitted through the air. I continued to hug him tighter, and in the darkness, Itachi's finger touched Sasuke's forehead. Sasuke's cries lessened again and his large black eyes stared towards the direction of Itachi's finger.
Despite all the malicious intent surrounding us, I managed to find a chuckle, I murmured quietly to Sasuke who probably didn't understand a single word I said, "You are right, Itachi-nii will always be here for us, always." Sometimes, I forgot that Itachi was only six right now, still only a child.
Thanks for the read! Please review if you ever feel like it, cause I like reviews or just general comments!