Hello there and welcome to another chapter of Accursed Brothers.
I guess that by now, you have caught up to my strategy here, but I will tell it nonetheless. Naruto and Sasuke already possess the altered cursed seal and from last chapter, Anko will have it as well. The three will form a specialized battlefront team that will perform A-ranked missions and such, under Jiraiya's leadership. However, the team would not be complete without a long-range support. Who will be the fourth member, though? I believe some of you already figured it out, but here it goes.
I have some news to deliver at the end of it, just to let you all know.
Chapter 11 – Accursed Team formation
The Forest of Death was home to many frightening creatures. Above all, it was the highest manifestation of wilderness in Fire Country.
The only place in the forest that showed the presence of humanity's interference happened to be in the middle of the area. The village only used the tower when the Chunnin Exams was upon them. Konoha rarely used it for fights, though. Not every Chunnin Exams had so many genin talents concluding the first two steps, thus forcing preliminary matches. On most occasions, the tower remained empty of humans, which happens to appease Mitarashi Anko's taste just fine as her second home as she took one of the empty rooms inside the tower for herself. That fact alone convinced Sasuke that the woman's head was missing something.
She considered the Forest of Death home.
Naruto, though, was used to this place, as he enjoyed his peace and quiet when training. He had trained here with Anko twice already. Aside from the three, others were there as well. The procedure was simple, but the risks were high. As such, Jiraiya, Hiruzen, Kakashi and Tsunade were there to ensure that nothing went wrong with it. Tsunade and Jiraiya were the key players here, because the perverted sannin would be able to supervise the seal while Naruto used the fox's chakra and Tsunade could monitor Anko's health in the meantime. It did not mean it was easy to convince the woman to go along with it. The fox's chakra had a corrosive nature and the only reason Naruto could withstand it was because the very creature was inside of him, healing him daily. It was a miracle that Sasuke's chakra coils were not burned in the process. The fact that Naruto guaranteed it was harmless only increased Tsunade's worry for Anko's health.
Kakashi, being the Hokage, took a step closer to Anko while Tsunade was running diagnostics.
The slug sannin needed to ascertain that the woman was in top condition or else her immune system would not work like it should.
"I know I said it before, but you can still back off from this, Anko." She nodded at the Godaime Hokage, with a confident smile on her face.
"I've made my decision already. I want this damn hickey off my neck." Before she realized what she said, Naruto came forward with a predatory smile, ready to respond to the joke. "I know what you're going to say gaki. The hickey won't actually come out, but you'll rid Orochi-teme's presence from my system." Anko smirked at the blond chunnin, seeing him complaining that she ruined his joke. For some reason, she felt more at ease now. "Can we go through with this already? I want to finish this and drink all the sake my liver can take afterward." Seeing Anko in high spirits, everyone smiled as Naruto took one-step further. Jiraiya was behind him, while Tsunade was closer to Anko running her medical chakra technique, only waiting for Naruto to initiate the procedure. The chunnin closed his eyes for a while, focusing on the fox's chakra.
"I don't think you'll have the strength to leave this place, Anko-nee."
When he opened his eyes, the blood red chakra already enveloped his body, sending a terrifying aura around him and perhaps the entire perimeter as well.
The entire forest became alive with animals screaming as their sense of danger was much higher. Inside the tower, Sasuke was doing his best to keep himself from going crazy at such killing intent. When the same procedure was used on him, he was instructed to focus on Itachi, so his mind wasn't completely on Naruto's energy. Now that he could feel it, Sasuke doubted if being here was actually a good idea. He could hardly imagine how bad it would be to sense the fox's complete power. The others in the room weren't fairing much better, but for different reasons. The memory of the Kyuubi's attack on Konoha appeared in their minds. Images of people slicing their throats just to escape this very feeling; images of Kyuubi's tail causing major earthquakes and leveling buildings; these were just a piece of the horror that occurred that day.
Just as it happened with Sasuke, Naruto focused the fox's energy in his two fingers, before slowly placing them close to the cursed seal mark on Anko's neck.
One single touch was enough for Anko to let out a high-pitched scream in agony while Tsunade worked her magic assuring that Anko's chakra coils wouldn't be damaged by the dark energy. Anko filled her mind with thoughts from her old sensei. The vile acts he performed in front of her while still a loyal shinobi of Konoha; the time he placed the cursed seal on her and left her for dead inside an abandoned base. Above all, one image made her blood boil so much that every time it appeared, her veins threatened to budge from her skin. It was a simple image of Orochimaru looking at her suffering because of the cursed seal. He smiled when she screamed at the time in pure agony from the pain. Anko remembered how thrilled the man looked to see her look of desperation, of agony. She then believed that the man preferred torturing someone to death than simply performing the art of killing.
The procedure actually took longer, because Anko's hatred was active longer than Sasuke's.
When the procedure was finished, Jiraiya analyzed the seal while Tsunade checked Anko's vitals. They gave Kakashi a positive nod, before Kakashi ordered his Anbu to take Anko to her room. Naruto was panting on the ground from exertion as using the fox's chakra placed a great strain on his body. Sasuke couldn't help but wonder about it, though. He remembered the excruciating pain he felt when he received a small sample of the Kyuubi's chakra. He couldn't imagine it having it all of it 24/7 like Naruto did. He guessed that such power comes with a series of drawbacks. Kakashi approached the two of them.
"As soon as Anko wakes up, we'll gather and discuss about the future. In the meantime, you two are free to do as you wish while remaining inside this tower."
Naruto and Sasuke were now alone in the room, as the others already left towards their respective duties. With nothing better to do, Naruto walked outside the area of the tower. He usually came here with Anko to train, so he knew better than most the safest areas to train. For some reason, he couldn't feel any sort of danger out in the woods. Normally, the forest had an innate sense of danger. Once inside, you couldn't let your guard down until you left. Now, as Naruto opened the door of the tower, he felt as if he was inside a normal training ground, which was weird, considering the threats he had faced in here a couple times. Shrugging it off as nothing, Naruto quickly summoned three clones to do some training, while he took off his sword. The first clone practiced wind manipulation and wind techniques. The second one practiced his earth techniques while the third clone was busy performing kekkai techniques.
Naruto could obviously summon more to do the same, but his stamina had suffered quite the blow from using the Kyuubi's chakra.
Sasuke stood inside the tower as his training for the day required his mind more. His newly acquired skills provoked a wider range of possibilities for him to explore. His quest in his clan's library now grew to more than fire techniques and taijutsu styles. He now had eyes for genjutsu, lightning techniques and kenjutsu. He sealed an extensive material inside a scroll and chose a specific room for some peace and quiet, while he unsealed his material to read. Hiruzen was walking throughout the tower halls when he saw the scene of Uchiha Sasuke studying. He decided to spend some quality time on his own for a while. He figured that Kakashi was busy now as the Godaime and his clan grounds weren't exactly the most quiet place with Konohamaru there causing havoc.
"I always pictured you as a more hands on person, Sasuke-kun. This is an interesting sight, indeed." The Uchiha saw Sarutobi come in and nodded.
"I wouldn't say I enjoy reading as opposed to training, but my affinities are extremely dangerous if I don't fully understand the risks behind them."
Sarutobi nodded as his interest picked.
"I understand completely and applaud you in your decision. Indeed fire and lightning can cause a lot of damage to your organs if you misuse them. Although, I see that your research is much more extensive than simply elemental ninjutsu. Keep up the good work then. Perhaps you could bestow the necessity of research onto your partner as well. Naruto-kun could use some patience exercises, if you ask me." Sasuke nodded with a smile as he went back to his scrolls. Seeing Naruto holding a book was a scene he would like to see someday. He always found the academy books too boring for his tastes. Hiruzen Sarutobi walked a bit throughout the tower searching for the other chunnin. After a while, Hiruzen found himself outside as he saw four Narutos going through all sorts of ninja arts training. According to Anko, Naruto always summoned a pack of clones to aid him in training, but this time he summoned only three for the deed.
Sarutobi would have preferred that Naruto trained without the use of clones, from fear of becoming over-dependent on the technique.
However, he figured that using small groups of clones; Naruto could better analyze the information than having to sort out multiple memories at once.
"Hi there Jiji, what are you doing here?"
The one practicing the sword katas asked, so Sarutobi figured that he was the real one. Physical exercises couldn't be trained using clones after all.
"Just enjoying some peace and quiet, Naruto-kun; I'd imagine you would be tired after using the Kyuubi, but I guess your stamina reputation precedes you." A broad smile was Naruto's only answer. "Say Naruto-kun, I can see you have a knack for close-range fighting. If you wish to give this old man some of your time, I can help you practice. It's always better to train with a partner than alone." The prospect of training with the old man pretty much gave a rush of energy to Naruto. He stopped his practice and appeared in front of the Sandaime Hokage with his sword stance, earning a chuckle from the old Hokage. The boy was quite eager for a showdown. In less than a second, Hiruzen was using his battle gear and in his hand was a training staff similar to the one the Monkey King Enma became when transformed. It was black as well, but much thinner.
"Let's see how much you have improved, Naruto-kun; weapons only."
The boy was smiling from ear to ear, not even realizing the amount of pain he would soon feel. If Jiraiya, Orochimaru or Tsunade were present to oversee the battle, they would have warned Naruto against doing something as foolish as going against Hiruzen Sarutobi using only weapons. Naruto did learn to avoid the strikes of someone close to Anko's level, but he would learn soon why Hiruzen was a feared individual. The animals in the forest were once more cowering in fear at the amount of screams of pain.
Sitting alone inside a dark chamber, Tayuya's was lost in thought as she recalled the recent events. First, she recalled the event that lead to her capture at the hands of that sneaky blond son of a bitch. When Ibiki began his interrogation, Tayuya remembered how little resistance she offered against the man's questions. As one of Orochimaru's elite shinobi, Tayuya was privy to a lot of information, especially regarding Konohagakure. She knew about Ibiki's fame as a top interrogator, but only now was she able to verify that the rumors were all true. The man knew his way around the entire procedure. He offered little pressure at first, so Tayuya would have a false sense of security. When he unleashed the killing intent and literally bombarded her with questions, Tayuya had fallen for Ibiki's mind tricks.
From that point onward, it was just a walk in the park for the top interrogator as he hit the jackpot with information about Orochimaru and his forces.
Tayuya wouldn't dare betray her master and members of her organization, if it weren't for one crucial fact, one that Ibiki happened to capitalize upon. None of them seemed to give a rat's ass about her well-being. Sure, it wasn't that much different before. In Otogakure, it was every man for himself. Contrary to Konoha, there wasn't any sense of camaraderie among them. Their existence served only to appease their master's orders. Tayuya was rational enough to understand that they had betrayed her first, thus allowing her to betray them in return. It was that simple in her mind.
When she pretty much gave Konoha everything, Tayuya realized afterward that she had just given out her only chance of survival.
She believed that the only reason she was still alive was because Konoha still wanted answers from Orochimaru. If that wasn't the truth, Tayuya would be nothing but a minor nuisance to the greatest hidden village. Because of this particular mindset, the redhead and bad-mouthed kunoichi was surprised when just thirty minutes later; a different person entered her prison, offering her something that shocked her further. Hatake Kakashi walked in and she was surprised to see him wearing the Hokage's outfit. His face was impassive as he looked at her without saying anything at first.
"The information you've given us was mostly beneficial. In exchange for that, I'd like to offer you a place in my ranks."
Tayuya looked at the copycat shinobi Sharingan no Kakashi.
She was speechless for a good minute, processing it. If the situation was reversed, hell she wouldn't think twice in delivering the death sentence as everyone within Orochimaru's grasp would have. Killing someone was simply the nicest punishment in Otogakure. Orochimaru reserved the worst punishments for those he had more interest in, experimenting on them day and night, until the one captured actually begged for a mercy killing. Now, not only was she being spared, but also received an offer to become a Konoha kunoichi. Sure, she didn't believe that Konoha was that lenient to leave her be, but she would take anything right now, as opposed to losing her life. She had given her answer accepting the offer, earning a nod from Kakashi.
He left the prison soon after, though, not saying anything about what her future job would entail. That was half an hour ago, when this time Ibiki appeared once more followed by two Anbu. The man's look was the same, even though, technically, they were on the same side.
"Hokage-sama has told me about your choice. I wouldn't expect less from such a clever girl like you. Had you chosen otherwise, we'd be having a different conversation." Despite the situation, Tayuya couldn't help but nod at what Ibiki was implying. If she didn't accept the Hokage's offer, then they were only two possibilities for her; life in prison or death. Despite Konoha being the most peaceful of the hidden villages, she couldn't expect any less from them. Above all else, they were a shinobi village as well. Simply letting her go after all this was very ill advised.
"Also, being a clever girl, you do realize that you won't be given free reign, even if you are now a Konoha kunoichi. These two men behind me will brand you with a peculiar seal that will help us keep track of you at all times. The effects of the seal will remain for a period of a year. Of course, should you display your loyalty to Konoha, the Hokage can override the seal and release it, but knowing him, I wouldn't hold my breath." Once more, Tayuya nodded, now feeling more at ease with her new living arrangements. She could at least respect the man she now worked for. Having nothing else to say, Ibiki handed a brand new hitai-ate for Tayuya and her belongings back, except for the Oto hitai-ate of course. The Anbu branded her quickly and left her alone with Ibiki in the room.
"Here are your clothes; an Anbu will be here tomorrow to take you to your new team and the one in charge. He is already familiarized with your situation". Tayuya nodded once more.
"Despite you fucking my brains out literally, I'm at least satisfied in knowing that it took the great Ibiki to force me into revealing the information." Ibiki smirked at the girl's creative cursing and nodded at her, before vanishing from the location. Now alone, while changing from her prison outfit into her old clothes, Tayuya actually found herself looking forward to her future as a Konoha kunoichi. Of course, she had very little awareness of who were her new teammates and the Jounin in charge as well as their personalities. She would soon regret having high expectations.
===the next day===
When Anko had awoken the next day, she immediately rubbed her head repeatedly in order to keep the major headache from hurting. The memory was similar to one of her massive hangovers, but she didn't remember drinking at all last night. The sunlight was performing its job in directing its beam directly at her face, which increased her annoyance and her headache. She felt like Tsunade-sama punched her repeatedly in the head. Her blurry sight registered a group of people inside her room, forcing her to open her eyes a bit, until she could see everyone. Instantly, her memory returned to what happened yesterday. Her hand went to her neck almost unconsciously, before realizing that the constant pain was now gone.
"How are you feeling, Anko?" Kakashi took a step forward, being the Hokage and all. The rest was content on simply standing there.
"Honestly; I feel like I had two bottles of sake yesterday and was on the constant end of Tsunade-sama's punches." The entire room looked at the woman in surprise, with the exception of Sasuke who went through the same procedure. While he didn't know the feeling of a hangover, he certainly knew the amount of damage Tsunade could do with a single punch. Anko's description was surprisingly accurate. Anko continued to talk. "Also, I feel strangely at ease with myself, as if Orochi-teme never existed in the first place." Jiraiya nodded at that, seeing the same feeling in Sasuke.
"The Kyuubi's chakra was able to cleanse your system from Orochimaru's influence. The same thing happened to Sasuke." Anko nodded, with a smile on her face.
She could feel her shoulder being much more relaxed right now.
"Do you have any questions, Anko?"
Jiraiya asked, earning a nod from the kunoichi. She found it odd as to why a certain blond chunnin was sleeping on the couch, completely covered with bruises.
"What happened to the gaki?"
Everyone in the room let out a sigh while Hiruzen smirked deviously. Kakashi was the one who explained, though amusement was clear in his tone of voice.
"He sparred with Sandaime-sama." Anko immediately paled at the prospect of facing the old man. Hiruzen, for his part, remembered how the fight went. Naruto had shown very fast movements, being able to evade his attacks and even get into attacking position, but Hiruzen soon broke Naruto's guard and began the torture section soon afterward. The kid was actually able to take a lot of beating, before he was unconscious. Bruises covered his entire body and even a couple of ribs were broken as a result. Naruto thought that Anko was tough in her training, but he never knew that the old man had it in him. Hiruzen was now smiling at everyone.
"I remembered Anko explaining how she trained Naruto and merely repeated the same procedure. Trust me that he'll be much better when he wakes up."
"Seriously sensei, after almost killing Jiraiya and Orochimaru, I'd think you had learned some restraint. I wouldn't dare fighting against you with a more lethal weapon." Tsunade was called right after their fight to fix Naruto's broken ribs. Jiraiya nodded, while glaring daggers at Hiruzen who was busy laughing his ass off at Tsunade's remark. If they believed his training was rough, then neither of them would survive a day under the Nidaime Hokage. Hiruzen had a feeling that Naruto would, but that just because of his tenant and the kid's desire to improve no matter the physical consequences to his body.
"You kids complain too much. When Tobirama-sensei trained us, going to the hospital was a daily occurrence."
Anko now found herself wishing to go back in time and meeting the man. She then turned to the Hokage.
"Now that this is over with, what is our next path?" Kakashi nodded.
"Yesterday, I was able to find the fourth member of the squad. She should arrive any moment now. After everything is settled, you four will travel with Jiraiya for your two-year training mission. Before you say anything, let me explain. Right now, aside from the team's regular assignments, both Naruto and Sasuke have powerful enemies, S-ranked. Orochimaru won't stop until he captures Sasuke; same as Akatsuki with Naruto. Right now, both of them are C-ranked, bordering on B-ranked chunnin. Our plan is for them to reach A-ranked at least by the end of the training. That means that I expect you, Anko, to become S-ranked as well. Right now, you are low A-rank, but Jiraiya will be training you as well." Kakashi could see that Anko was practically drooling at the plan.
"Okay, what can you tell us about the fourth member? Do I know him or her?" Kakashi looked at Anko for a moment, pondering on what to say.
"She has a very similar trait that I believe everyone will recognize; and no you don't know her. In this room, only Naruto and Sasuke have met her in the past." Sasuke was silent throughout the entire encounter, but paid attention when he heard his sensei speak about their fourth member. He was about to ask some questions, when he heard Naruto waking up while rubbing his head in a similar fashion to Anko.
"Wow, I never would have thought Jiji could be so vicious in a fight. My head is killing me right now." Naruto took quite a while to realize that he was not alone in wherever he was. He blinked a couple times as he saw six set of eyes looking at him, forcing him to scratch his head in slight embarrassment. Why they were staring at him like that, he didn't have a clue. "Whatever I did to any or all of you, I'm terribly sorry." That seemed like when he had to apologize to the Hokage for his pranks when he was still an academy student. Everyone chuckled for a while.
"You did nothing of the sort, Naruto-kun. It just that no one expected you to wake up this early. You took quite a beating from Hiruzen-sama."
Kakashi said with a smile on his face. He then turned to the room door and saw an Anbu there escorting the fourth member of the team. As expected, though, both Naruto and Sasuke moved in battle stances immediately upon seeing the woman that threatened to capture Sasuke and take him to Orochimaru. In all honesty, Kakashi was surprised that neither of them saw the Konoha headband across her forehead.
"Naruto, Sasuke, stand down. That is no way to greet your teammate is it?" Sasuke looked at Kakashi with suspicion, while Naruto looked outraged.
"Kakashi-sensei, she was one of those guys who tried to kidnap Sasuke, what is she doing here?" Kakashi nodded, moving into explanation mode. He just hoped his students would not make a big deal about this.
"Tayuya here provided us with valuable information about Orochimaru and his whereabouts. After verifying everything, we came up with the idea of offering her a spot in our ranks and she accepted it." Kakashi had a look of utter boredom while explaining as if he didn't care about it. "She will be your fourth member as she specializes in long range support and genjutsu techniques. I trust that you won't have a problem with her, despite the fact that she has a very creative mind when it comes to cursing people." To this, everyone looked at the Hokage in wonder. He had found their past conversation quite humorous, which in fact pissed the girl off even more.
"I am going to be on a team with these two fuckers here. I'm actually changing my mind; please tell Ibiki I wish him to kill me instead." Anko smirked at the girl's comment. She had a feeling she will enjoy being a part of this team even more now. She could see that Naruto and Sasuke were deeply offended and was even happier. Everyone in the room got mixed feelings with Tsunade wishing to beat some sense into this girl's bad mouth and Jiraiya already imagining how she will look like in two or three years from now. Hiruzen was just amused. Kakashi was amused as well, but he was the Hokage this time.
"Yes, Tayuya, Naruto, Sasuke and Anko will form a specialized battle team that will be trained by the Sannin Jiraiya for the duration of two years. Oh and I forgot to mention it, but before you begin, we must do something about the cursed seal of yours Tayuya. We have to rid Orochimaru's influence over it." Tayuya looked at the man for a while, as if Kakashi was crazy. Tayuya happened to be a very observant person and managed to see cursed seals in her future teammates just as her old team. However, their seals didn't match hers at all. She remembered Orochimaru saying that removing the seal would be impossible.
"What are you talking about? The seal cannot be removed." Kakashi nodded.
"Yes, the seal cannot be removed, but we have found a way to rid Orochimaru's influence over the seal, thus keeping the positive properties of it and ridding the negative ones. The procedure will begin right away." Kakashi looked at Naruto who nodded before the Kyuubi's energy enveloped his body, making Tayuya jump in surprise and wonder if they will kill her now. Kakashi explained it before she drew the wrong conclusions. "Do not fret, the procedure will be extremely painful, but everyone in your team went through the same thing. We will use the fox's energy and rid Orochimaru's presence from the seal. I know that you don't have a reason to trust us right now, but we are not like Orochimaru."
Tayuya still did not look convinced, though.
"For this procedure to work, though, you have to focus all your strength in your hatred. I trust that the cursed seal only worked on you because of it. So whatever it is, focus on it."
Naruto was slowly approaching, now with the energy focused on his fingers. All she had to do was focus on her hatred. That was easy enough. Her life in Earth Country before Orochimaru came along, offering her power to defeat the man who killed her parents. Just imagining the Iwa-nin trapping her father in the chair with his wrist bleeding to death while the man raped her mother in front of her father, made her blood boil ten times over. When Naruto's fingers touched her seal, Tayuya screamed to the heavens as she imagined the scene playing in front of her once more. She screamed for half an hour, before falling on the ground unconscious.
As Tayuya's seal became red, it marked the formation of the Accursed Team.
It was indeed short, but it served its purpose. Oh and for Tayuya's story, I got the idea from one of my favorite writers called Tess Gerritsen.
Okay, I will drop the shitty news here (for some at least). I will be declaring this story as complete after this chapter.
Do not fear, though, I plan to make a sequel of it soon after finishing my other story Regret. If you wish to call it, the next will be the Accursed Team (I'm still thinking about it, though). I'd like to take the opportunity and thank everyone who, through your reviews and PMs, contributed and still contributes to my stories. I know it gets repetitive, but I'll say it once more. Fan fiction maybe a hobby of mine, but without your support, I wouldn't be where I am right now. For example, Brown Phantom published a poll in his profile stating that I was voted as the 17th best fanfiction author. Who would have thought that I would reach this far and it's thank to all of you.
Thank you so much.
Lastly and most important, I'd like to thank Kyuubi123 for the patience in correcting my mistakes. He has helped me a lot with my chapters.
See ya all next chapter (of the other in progress stories).