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Walk on the Moon (Naruto SI)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by SixPerfections, Apr 6, 2018.

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  1. Extras: Omake - Born Fifteen Years Earlier Part 1
    SixPerfections

    SixPerfections Know what you're doing yet?

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    000

    Omake

    Born Fifteen Years Earlier
    Part I

    000

    Many years later Sakura would look back with mixed feelings and recognize that meeting Rei-sensei for the first time had been one of the watershed moments of her life. In fact from that first day forth all of the most important moments of her life will have in some way been touched by, influenced by or manipulated by her enigmatic Jounin-sensei. However the Sakura of that first day had no inkling that any of that would be in her future. Mostly she was just so overjoyed at being on the same team as Sasuke that she hardly had any attention left to spare for anything else.

    In fact she had been so completely focused on looking at Sasuke’s profile where he was seated next to her and dreaming about all the possibilities in the future (how much alone time would she be able to get with him!) that she didn’t even notice when their new sensei entered the classroom.

    “Hey, hey, are you Rei Yamanaka? Are you going to be our sensei?” came Naruto’s irritatingly hyperactive voice snapping her from her daydreaming. Sakura’s annoyance and uncharitable thoughts about not wanting him on her team at all were quickly squashed as she processed what he’d just said. Her head snapped towards the doorway, spotting the new person who was suddenly standing there. Sakura took stock of their sensei for the very first time.

    She was tall for a woman, though not exceptionally so, wearing a simple but elegant “battle kimono” patterned in blacks and dark purples. Her hair was odd, with a light off-honey coloration and riddled with ringlets and curls, held back in an elegant manner by a few simple pins and clips. Her aristocratic face was set in an expression of neutral boredom as lavender eyes examined each member of her new team in turn. When that heavy penetrating gaze fell on her Sakura couldn’t help but squirm uncomfortably and she quickly broke eye contact with the mysterious new woman.

    “Eh? Eh? Where did she go?!”

    Sakura looked up at hearing Naruto’s startled exclamation. Their new sensei was… gone.

    “What the hell? I just blinked and then she wasn’t there anymore!”

    Huh. Even though Sakura knew something like that shouldn’t come as a surprise from a high level ninja… having someone just disappear without seeing any hand seals, without any sound, without even a whisper of that funny feeling that comes with people using Chakra nearby… it was still more than a little unsettling. If she can do that then what else can she do?

    She was pulled from her thoughts when she heard Sasuke standing up from where he was seated next to her. “Let’s go,” he said gruffly, stalking toward the door without looking at either of his teammates. Sakura watched him in awe as he exited the classroom. He’d been totally unaffected by the woman’s little display wasn’t he? Sasuke was so cool! But where was he going…?

    Her unspoken question was answered when she caught sight of the blackboard out of the corner of her eye. Whatever Iruka-sensei had written there earlier had been erased and had been replaced with a set of instructions in looping, elegant script. Team Seven. Report to training ground three for additional evaluation. You have ten minutes.

    “Eh?!” came Naruto’s way too loud shriek moments later. The sound almost had her cringing in her seat. “Wha-? When did curly-sensei even write that on the board? HOW?!”

    Curly-sensei? Nevermind. Sakura wasn’t going to let herself get distracted by Naruto-baka’s idiocy and lack of respect for his betters. Shooting him a nasty look Sakura refrained from giving him a piece of her mind and raced out the door after Sasuke. It was going to be a close call to make it to training ground three in time and she wanted to make a good impression on their new sensei… even if she did happen to be related to the Ino-pig.

    000

    Thirty minutes. She had been waiting in training ground three with her new team for thirty minutes and there still was no sign of their new sensei. Sakura’s patience was starting to get stretched very thin. Sasuke had taken to ignoring her completely (not that unusual admittedly) and Naruto had started jabber more and more insistently the longer they had to wait. Where the heck was their sensei? Was she even coming? Why was she making them wait like this?

    The three of them had sought refuge from the blistering Fire Country sun underneath a large tree. It was impossible to ignore the tension running through the three of them. For so long they had all worked for this moment… some of them had worked harder than others, but still. They were ninja now weren’t they? Defenders of the Village. Bulwark of Konoha, along with being her sword of justice. It was all so exciting. They were even adults now! Her eyes slid over to where Sasuke was sitting some distance away. Being adult meant… they would soon start doing adult things… didn’t it?

    “You know,” drawled a female voice from above. “I’ve been ten feet from you for the last half hour and none of you noticed. I’m starting to question the wisdom of letting the three of you graduate.”

    Sakura’s head snapped up along with those of her teammates. Sitting on a branch almost directly above them with her back against the trunk of the of tree was their new sensei, looking at them with dispassionate… judging eyes. In her hand she held a kiseru, silver and grey, with smoke slowly billowing up from the lit pipe. Now that she was paying attention the smoke from the tobacco smelled strong and bitter. Had she really been smoking up there the whole time and none of them had noticed? How could she not have noticed?!

    “Hey! Have you been hiding from us this whole time?” Naruto shouted accusingly while pointing his finger at the Yamanaka. Sakura just decided to ignore him. If he wanted to disrespect a Jounin then he could deal with the consequences.

    Their new sensei seemed to have the same idea Sakura did. She ignored Naruto’s outburst and took her time inhaling from her kiseru and blowing out the smoke slowly. In fact she was so leisurely about it that a glance at Naruto told Sakura that the blonde idiot was going to have another outburst. Thankfully the Jounin spoke before the blonde moron could make them look even more bad.

    “Congratulations on graduating from the academy,” the woman said in a completely disinterested tone. Her voice wasn’t particularly deep but there was an aristocratic resonance to it that commanded attention. “Your lives now belong to the Hokage and to Konoha’s military establishment. Good job. Now all that’s left to determine is if you’re worthy of having a Jounin instructor or not.”

    Sakura’s insides seemed to freeze at her words. Every year about thirty or so graduates were chosen for specialized apprenticeships with a Jounin-sensei. Everyone else in their graduating class would have to make do with less prestigious training and frankly dramatically poorer prospects. Their new sensei couldn’t be insinuating what Sakura thought she was could she?

    “Yamanaka-sensei,” Sakura ventured formally, “w-what do you mean? We were already chosen to receive training by a Jounin-sensei.”

    Rei Yamanaka’s eyes focused on her and for a moment Sakura wished she hadn’t spoken. Even though her body posture was indolent and completely disinterested her eyes burned with an intensity the newly minted Genin couldn’t help but find intimidating.

    I get to make the determination if I will teach you or not,” said Yamanaka-sensei, pausing only long enough to take a lazy drag from her kiseru. “If I find you unworthy then you will be bumped down to the general Genin pool. There are no appeals and my decisions will be final. If you wish to avoid such a fate then I suggest you do everything in your power to impress me.”

    Sakura’s mouth fell open and she could feel her teammates tense and stiffen besides her. The newly minted kunoichi swallowed nervously. Naruto had begun yelling something again but she just ignored his antics. Even though she hated to admit it Sakura wasn’t the most… confident in her practical skills. Would she be able to pull this off?

    “Your mission is to force me off this tree,” their sensei said, lightly patting the branch she was sitting on. “Use any means at your disposal. You have twenty minutes.” The blonde who would be their teacher took the time to make eye contact with each of them before turning her head away and seemingly ignoring them, taking another slow drag from her kiseru.

    While Sakura furiously began trying to think of some sort of plan Naruto’s loud yell derailed her train of thought. “Don’t underestimate me! I’ll knock you off that stupid tree and force you to acknowledge me, dattebayo!”

    Sakura froze and blinked in surprise as Naruto brought his hands together and suddenly there were a dozen copies of him. Bunshin? Since when could Naruto actually use that technique?

    The Jounin continued to ignore Naruto even as the clones spread out in a rough circle around her. With a yell from a dozen different Naruto’s the figures brandished their weapons. As one they began to throw a practical hailstorm of steel up as the woman.

    Yamanaka-sensei only caught two of the projectiles with her free hand. The rest of Naruto’s weapons began to swerve off course long before they even reached the woman. It was subtle, but it was clear that somehow Naruto’s weapons were bending away from her. Naruto was a bad shot but no one was that bad. Sakura noticed with some shock that where the weaponry from Naruto’s clones hit they tore up the ground and made cuts on the trees before disappearing. The weapons of the clones were actually solid? How?!

    Naruto yelled in surprise at his attack being rendered ineffectual and Sakura decided to ignore him as per usual. No matter what technique he had picked up or swindled from somewhere there was no way such a frontal assault would work against a Jounin and Sakura very much doubted such tactics would impress her. Sakura knew she needed to act as a ninja would. Glancing at Sasuke she saw him rooted to the spot, observing Naruto’s attacks with a grim and serious expression on his face. Giving the raven haired boy one last longing look Sakura began to edge away. It would have been nice to work with him but she doubted he would have accepted and she needed to try to find a way to impress their new sensei on her own.

    Sakura ran behind an adjacent tree and began to climb while the sounds of battle continued. Her idea was basic and straightforward but it was miles better than what Naruto was doing. She was going to sneak above Yamanaka-san and drop down in a surprise ambush attack. It probably wouldn’t actually work but if she did a good enough job maybe she would impress the Jounin enough to keep her as a student. She really didn’t want to be separated from Sasuke after having come so far.

    As she climbed the adjacent tree she had chosen Sakura managed to catch glimpses of the battle going on. The many cloned Naruto’s were trying to climb the tree, but they kept getting caught in wire that seemed to leap up out of nowhere, from the trunk, from the ground, hidden in the branches and leaves. Sakura frowned. There was no way there were that many wire traps, something funny had to be going on. As she watched Sasuke slinked away behind the tree line, looking at the battle while trying to be as unobtrusive as possible.

    Sakura climbed, her heart pounding with adrenaline and nervousness. When she got high enough on the branches of the tree she had chosen she jumped over to the one Rei Yamanaka was on, furiously doing all she could to remain undetected and spot any hidden traps. Looking way down at their possible new sensei Sakura didn’t think the woman had noticed her. Then again, she seemed to be ignoring all of them as Naruto tried fruitlessly to climb the tree over and over to get to her, cursing and yelling the whole time while his clones all got tangled in wire that almost seemed to be alive. Idiot.

    Sakura was surprised when from somewhere high and in front of Yamanaka-sensei a bright source of light emerged and a roaring sound erupted… before she spotted a hidden Sasuke spitting a massive fireball down at where the blonde Jounin was lazily reclining on the tree branch. Sakura watched on with amazement and just a little fear. Sasuke could do that? She knew he was amazing but… wow.

    Sakura tracked the trajectory of the flaming projectile bearing down on the Jounin kunoichi. She’s going to have to move, surely. However to Sakura’s shock she didn’t. Yamanaka-san paused from smoking her pipe and took a deep breath. She pursed her lips and a fireball equal in size to that of Sasuke erupted from her mouth, flying upwards and colliding with the one headed in her direction in a giant explosion of heat and flame. Sakura momentarily had to advert her eyes from the bright light and backwash of heat that she could feel even from as far away as she was. Inside however her mind was reeling and working on overdrive. How?! She didn’t even use hand seals. That shouldn’t be possible. Iruka-sensei said so!

    Yamanaka-san opened her mouth again and a pillar of flame erupted from her throat, racing with terrifying speed towards where Sasuke had launched his attack. Sakura caught a glimpse of him escaping at the last moment but she didn’t think he’d gotten away completely unsinged. The tree he had been on went up in a furious, roaring inferno as if the whole top half of it had been soaked in gasoline. Sakura shivered, all of a sudden losing much of her confidence. If the Jounin could counter such a powerful technique from Sasuke and send him running with an even more powerful technique without ever moving an inch… what chance did she have to do anything at all?

    With slightly shaking limbs Sakura did her best to at least not think about her doubts. She was about fifty feet above the blonde Jounin, almost directly over her position now. Sakura did her best to stalk slowly forward while remaining unseen, putting to the test every stealth lesson she had ever learned at the academy. Looking down below she found herself grateful to see that Naruto had made an even larger number of clones and was yelling even louder now, pointing at Yamanaka-san angrily. She could only hope it would be enough to cover her approach.

    At last she was in position, about ten feet above the Yamanaka. The woman had not made any indication that she had spotted Sakura and the pink haired girl took it as a good sign. It was also promising that she hadn’t been caught by any wires or traps yet. Readying her kunai with shaky hands Sakura licked her lips nervously. She had to do this. If she didn’t then all of her hopes and dreams could very well come crashing down and burn to nothing. She wasn’t going to give up her chance to be on the same team as Sasuke-kun… and hopefully become an elite kunoichi somewhere along the way.

    Letting go Sakura fell, her kunai brandished in both hands as she aimed for the Yamanaka’s shoulder. As she neared her target Sakura felt a mixture of both excitement and terror at the thought of actually succeeding. Closer and the woman hadn’t reacted yet. Closer, five feet, four feet, two feet…

    Yamanaka-sensei lashed out with her kiseru, casually deflecting Sakura’s kunai by inches without ever turning to look at the girl. The blow was just enough to alter her trajectory, causing her to hit the branch the Jounin had been sitting on instead of landing on it, and then sending her spilling over to the side. Sakura yelled in surprise and fear as she suddenly found herself falling an additional ten feet completely out of control.

    One of Naruto’s clones caught her, breaking her fall before it popped out of existence. For some reason being “saved” by Naruto made her so embarrassed and horrified that she lashed out without thinking and punched another Naruto clone out existence as soon as she was back on her feet.

    “No one asked for your help, Baka!”

    In hindsight she felt bad but in that moment she was too upset to care. Naruto’s hurt puppy-eyed look only irritated her further. Sakura was about to lay into him when Rei Yamanaka’s cultured and apathetic voice interrupted her.

    “Fifteen minutes left.”

    Sakura paled as she was reminded of the task at hand. She looked up only to find the Jounin looking at her with evaluating, critical, judging eyes. Sakura shivered unconsciously and would have flinched if Yamanaka-san hadn’t looked away first, going back to puffing on her pipe and looking completely apathetic to everything going on around her. Sakura couldn’t help but feel somewhat irritated by this even if it was tempered by her respect for her elders and betters. This was their future that was on the line, the least she could do was take it more seriously!

    Sakura bit her lip. She had fifteen minutes left. Looking around she saw that Sasuke was nowhere in sight. Well. It looked like she would need to try something else on her own. However, things were not going very well right now. Inside Sakura tried not to despair.

    Nothing to do but try again. Maybe ranged attacks from a different angle would work?

    000

    “You pass,” said the Yamanaka after she had rounded them all up together once the twenty minutes had expired. The various angry and depressed moods of the young Genin in front of her perked right up at hearing those words from the blonde-haired Jounin.

    “What, really?” Sakura blurted before she could help herself. She’d thought they’d been abysmal. None of them had managed to get Yamanaka-san to move, much less forced her off the tree. While Sasuke had made a good showing she couldn’t help but think that she and Naruto had been beyond awful.

    Naruto for his part started cheering (loudly) after hearing that, starting up again on his sad and ridiculous delusion about becoming Hokage. Looking over she saw Sasuke almost imperceptibly relax and a small smirk spread slowly across his full lips. That look on his face made Sakura blush a bit and her heart beat a little faster even against her will.

    Sakura knew she should just be happy, never look a gift horse, all of that. But a part of her that was all about the rules and that had a certain love for order and the way things should be just couldn’t let it go. “But Yamanaka-san,” she began cautiously, “may I ask how we passed? I thought the mission was to get you off the tree. None of us were able to do that.”

    The blonde woman nodded to herself, almost as if she had been expecting for somebody to ask her that. “That is an excellent question. I suppose I’ll break it down case by case.”

    While looking right at the female Genin of the team Yamanaka-san… or was that Yamanaka-sensei now?... used her pipe to point at Sasuke. “Loverboy here is the last of his line. He is the only person in the village left with the possibility of passing on the Sharingan to future generations. While there was considerable debate about keeping him under lock and key strictly for breeding purposes, conventional wisdom among ninja states that not allowing him to become a ninja would weaken his blood and ultimately cripple all potential future generations of Sharingan users. The determination was made that we would take the higher-risk, higher-reward route and allow him to become a ninja for the sake of his progeny. So even if I wanted to fail him, I would have been prevented from doing so by the Hokage and the other village leadership.”

    Sakura’s mouth fell open, her mouth going dry. Naruto didn’t understand everything that had just been said but he understood enough to also be rendered speechless, a small miracle in itself. Sasuke’s pleased smirk transformed to a look of horror before morphing into a carefully guarded, angry scowl directed at their new teacher. Yamanaka-sensei ignored their reactions and pointed her kiseru at Naruto.

    “As for the Uzumaki… many things about his nature, his history and his origins are classified, you understand,” Sakura saw Naruto flinch at Yamanaka-sensei’s words. And no, Sakura did not understand. “But for now it is enough to say that the Third Hokage has had a soft spot for him since he was a baby. For all these reasons and more that I will not mention there was literally no possibility of him getting bumped down to the general Genin Pool either. Again, the Hokage and other village leadership would have prevented me from doing so, even with the abysmal performance that he put on today.”

    Naruto opened and closed his mouth a few times before he found his voice again. “Take that back! I’m a ninja because I earned it, and what do you mean –muph-!

    There was a tiny spike of Chakra and suddenly Naruto couldn’t speak. His mouth kept moving and he kept trying to make words but no noise came out. Sasuke and Sakura looked at him incredulously as he jumped to his feet and waved his arms around violently around trying to make noise. The pink haired girl realized with a start that suddenly Naruto wasn’t making anynoise, not just what was coming out of his mouth was being completely muted. Sakura shivered, the sight of a completely silent Naruto flailing around somewhat unsettling her.

    “As for you,” Yamanaka-sensei said, pointing her pipe at Sakura. The girl in question swallowed nervously. “It would probably piss a lot of influential civilians behind the scenes if the top civilian in the class this year got bumped down to the general Genin pool. But generally speaking most ninja don’t give a shit about that and I could have failed you if I wanted to anyway. However I saw some real potential in you… and it would have been a pain in the ass to find a third Genin to round out this team.”

    Sakura blinked at that, not having been prepared for the compliment she had just received. After she had a moment to let it sink in pride filled her chest and a broad smile spread across her face. “Thank you Yamanaka-sensei! I’ll do my best and work hard to live up to your expectations.”

    The Jounin waved at her dismissively. “Call me Rei-sensei. That goes for all of you.” Then she paused and took the time to look each of them in the eye in turn. Then a slow smile spread across her lips. Her eyes glittered with something unsettling and taken on the whole Rei-sensei’s expression in that very moment became one of the most terrifying things Sakura had ever seen.

    “Be here at four in the mourning tomorrow,” the Jounin suddenly said in a gleeful, menacing voice. “If any of you are late I’ll feed all of you to my summons. And I’m not using hyperbole either. Are we clear?”

    The air was so threatening that there was only one response they could give.

    “Yes Rei-sensei!”

    At least Sakura was pretty sure that’s what Naruto tried to say along with her and Sasuke.
     
  2. Extras: Omake - Rei Visits 1.1
    SixPerfections

    SixPerfections Know what you're doing yet?

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    OMAKE

    Rei Visits 1.1

    000

    There was pain. Which was… not at all what she had been expecting. In fact she had concluded that the most likely scenario after the stunt she pulled would have been reincarnation yet again. Barring that, only oblivion. Instead she was still breathing somehow, the cold air rushing in and out of her lungs as her diaphragm rhythmically worked. Her heart still beat. The ground beneath her was cold and hard and felt filthy. Most of all, she could feel her depleted Chakra still flowing through her. That was what finally cinched it for her.

    Somehow she was still alive. Rei didn’t know whether she wanted to laugh or cry. Her sacrifice had been supposed to be just that. To fix what was broken while at the same time having it all… end. It was what she had been prepared for. Being denied that Rei couldn’t help but feel more than a little bit cheated.

    Rei opened her eyes and instantly realized something was wrong. Her eyes… she no longer had the eyes she had stolen. Feeling alarmed the woman dove deeper. What she found caused her to frown, caused fear to crawl up her throat like fire. The eyes she had taken, all of her surgical and genetic enhancements, the seals tattooed all across her body… all of it, gone.

    How?

    That was… extremely distressing to say the least. However a tactical assessment of her current situation needed to come first. Such mysteries (whywasshestillalive?) were going to have to wait.

    Slowly Rei rose to her feet, taking in her surroundings. What should have helped orient her did nothing of the sort. The architecture was like no place she had traveled to in the Elemental Nations, and she had pretty much been anywhere and everywhere of import in her twenty years as a Yamanaka. She was in a narrow alley, flanked on either side by two buildings made of red brick. That was a building material she hadn’t seen anywhere in the Elemental Nations. A little suspicion began to take hold in the back of her mind.

    Could it be...?

    Checking herself over she was relieved to see that she still had all of her ninja gear on her person. Sending out her senses she could spot no one in the immediate vicinity. In fact… she couldn’t feel any Chakra at all from her surroundings. Swallowing thickly, mind numb, Rei cautiously stepped out of the alley.

    There were… cars parked on a side walk. Rundown buildings four or five stories tall on either side of the street. Alien. Totally alien. There was nothing like this at all… nothing like this anywhere in her world. In fact… this looked… suspiciously like a typical street of her first wo-

    Rei was pulled from her thoughts by sound. Turning the corner a hundred feet away were a handful of individuals, the sound of their steps and the rustle of their clothes easy enough for her to hear. Rei frowned, her unease deepening. Her hand itched to reach for a weapon. Wherever she was… people here didn’t have Chakra. Her usual methods of detecting people were for the moment worthless then.

    Still reeling from her current circumstance and undecided as what to do Rei just stood there and stared at the men when they spotted her. They were young and… what they were wearing made her fear that she really had somehow ended up back in her first, real world. Tank tops, blue jeans, wrist watches. Sneakers. That logo that looked like a check mark… that had been a popular shoe company hadn’t it?

    Her features remained stoic, but inside she was reeling. Was this real? Was she under some sort of Genjutsu? No, she had checked. Even high-level Sharingan Genjutsu would not be able to fool her Chakra senses since that was a sense no one could replicate. Whatever this was… it wasn’t Genjutsu. Which most likely meant it was real.

    Rei got her second shock as the men swaggered over to her, leering and predatory looks on her faces. When they were a few dozen feet away one of them called to her.

    “Hey there darlin’. Kinda late at night for a pretty little thing like you to be out by yourself, don’t ya think?”

    Only many years of constant acting and deception kept her from reacting outwardly except for a slight stiffening of her posture. But inside she was a maelstrom of confusion and panic. It had been so long... it had taken her almost ten seconds to recognize and decipher what he was saying. English. This civilian punk was speaking English. She was so floored by the revelation she didn’t see or hear anything else until one of the young men cried out when the group was only a handful of feet away from her.

    “Aw shit, she’s a fucking chink! Trying to fool your betters by dying you chink hair blonde, huh?!”

    Rei blinked and turned again to look at the men, taking them in more closely. Swastika tattoos on most of them… and by the shaved heads and thuggish attitudes it wasn’t intended as a peace sign. Gold teeth on a few. Muscled. Scarred knuckles. One of them pulling out a switch knife. The atmosphere turning hostile and “dangerous” once they identified her as a chink.

    So… Neo-Nazi gang members?

    “Teach you not to be in Empire territory at night, bitch,” one of them sneered as he stepped forward to grab her.

    Rei almost rolled her eyes. Instead she just molded some Chakra, changing its nature on the fly. With a sharp gesture she unleased a silent Wind jutsu.

    Rei barely spared them a second glance when all five thugs were cut in half at the waist. She took a quick and graceful step backwards to avoid the blood splatter when the closest thug fell to the ground in twain. With an injury like that, the body instantly went into shock as the spine is severed and all internal visceral organs are spilled simultaneously. One of the thugs however managed a few weak motions with his hands for a few seconds before completely going still. Curious. She had never quite seen that before. Rei thought to ask one of her medics about it before remembering that currently doing that seemed to be… impossible, given her circumstances.

    Rei frowned as she began to walk away, wordlessly using Henge to turn herself into a Caucasian man wearing jeans and a fairly generic and somewhat battered canvas jacket. For so long growing up she wanted nothing more to be free of the Elemental Nations. Now that she might be… she wasn’t sure how she felt about it anymore.

    However first things first. Information was power and currently Rei felt very weak indeed. It was time to vanish, and then during the day… try to figure out where the hell she had ended up and what the hell was going on.

    000

    Three days later Rei was once again using Henge, this time to appear as a non-descript college aged woman. She was in the public library, using their computer and finally feeling like she remembered enough to at least competently use a web browser and basic search engine. This was her third day spent researching this new world. In that time had come to one of two conclusions:

    Either someone or something in the Universe hated her, or Karma was real and fate had decided to start collecting on her sins.

    Rei remembered, more than twenty subjective years ago now, reading a certain story named Worm. Once she suspected she knew where she was Rei meditated and used several Yamanaka techniques to recall everything that she could.

    Worm had been a grim and dark story about a doomed world that was slowly collapsing. Rei had only ever read maybe a third of the story before she had died the first time which was enough to paint a grim picture. The internet had pretty much confirmed what she had managed to recall. Parahumans. Endbringers. The “Protectorate”. The Golden Man. The colorfully named Slaughterhouse 9.

    And wouldn’t you know it? She had woken up in Brockton Bay, worst city in America for Parahuman crime. Another fictional world. One that, while less objectionable in a lot of ways than the Elemental Nations, was nevertheless infected with its own brand of shit to absolutely detest. It was a death world, and one where, from what she remembered, there was very little hope.

    Rei didn’t think she could kill an Endbringer. Not without her eyes, her alterations, or her summons. She was just… Rei now. S-Class vanilla as opposed to someone who could have been on the very, very short list for most powerful being in all of the Elemental Nations. If she did decide to accept that she was stuck here she didn’t think she would be able to do anything about those threats.

    Well… not by herself anyway.

    Even though she hated to admit it, part of her was already coming to accept her place in this new world. The Elemental Nations… she had done something good before the end, no matter how many people wanted to kill her for it. Also coming to this… Earth-Bet had most likely been ordained by Fate, the Kami or simple Hitsuzen. If she had come through intact? She could chuck that up to a freak accident. But somehow being altered to her original body, lavender eyes and all? That wasn’t an accident. It couldn’t be.

    Going back to the Elemental Nations… it was probably a lost cause, and something she wasn’t even sure that she really wanted. Even if she would miss… some people back there. Some people she loved.

    But after everything she had done, all the bridges she had burned, all of the destruction she had wrought... was there even a place for her in the Elemental Nations anymore?

    No… better to move forward here.

    In fact she already had an... inkling of what she wanted. Rei wasn't someone who did well without a grand goal in her life after all. But whatever she decided to do she wouldn't be able to do it alone however. She would need subordinates. People devoted to her, or to her cause. Minions. The more fanatically loyal, the more firmly under her absolute control… the better.

    Looking over “PHO”, Rei’s grin widened as she contemplated that even if she had ended up in a shit world, Fate at least had been kind in a few small ways.

    Apparently the teenage Parahuman gang known as the Undersiders had hit a casino with suspected ABB ties not even a week prior.

    Though she might not know even most of the story, she could place herself fairly accurately in the timeline she did know right now.

    That meant that one individual in particular on that team had a problem that Rei was very well suited to help fix.

    An individual that Rei very much wanted. One individual that her memories told her would be oh so very useful.

    Her memories even gave Rei her first lead. The only lead she would need.

    Redmond Welding.

    Parahuman powers huh? Interesting. Let us match wits, you and I. But make no mistake. In any game I play, I always come out on top. One way or the other.
     
  3. Extras: Omake - Rei Visits 1.2
    SixPerfections

    SixPerfections Know what you're doing yet?

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    Rei Visits 1.2

    000

    Lisa knew, intellectually, that in some ways she relied too much on her powers. For example she had come to rely on her powers to warn her ahead of time if she was heading into any sort of danger or hostile situation. Ninety-five percent of the time her power did its job admirably in that regard and allowed her to neatly sidestep any trouble that might be headed her way.

    Of course, ninety-five percent still left that five percent that would occasionally bite her in the ass. That one time that Coil’s thugs had gotten the drop on her and she had been subsequently forced to work for him at gunpoint was the most glaring example, but unfortunately not the only one. Still even with those horrible experiences Lisa still for the most part relied one hundred percent on her power to keep her out of trouble.

    It was really hard not to, to be perfectly honest.

    However after her power completely failed to inform her of this latest unexpected surprise she might really need to start re-evaluating her approach to personal safety.

    Night had long fallen when Lisa arrived at the small apartment that she kept separate from her room at the Undersider’s lair. She’d opened the front door and had taken two steps into the apartment before she froze. Her power was suddenly blaring at her that something was wrong.

    Feeling her fear and adrenaline spike Lisa quickly scanned her dark living room but found nothing out of place. Someone has been here. Did not use doors. Windows? Windows not forced. Undisturbed. Someone entered by unknown means. Entered, but no sign of exit. Meaning…

    Whoever entered has not left.

    Her heart now racing Lisa did the sensible thing and turned around to run out the door since whoever had broken into her apartment almost certainly had to be a cape. Her heart jumped to her throat as the front door slammed shut before she could take more than a single step, seeming all by itself. The echoing sound of the door slamming shut had a distinct ominous feel to it. Telekinesis? Stranger effect? Some kind of specialized Shaker power? Maybe- Lisa shut down that unhelpful trail her power had chosen to follow. What mattered right now wasn’t how it had been done. What mattered was that she was now trapped in her apartment with a complete unknown.

    “Good evening Miss Wilbourn,” a lightly accented female voice said behind her. Lisa jumped. Just a second ago when she had looked there had been nobody there. Japanese accent? Very close but not quite. Native English speaker. Spent many years speaking an unknown language exclusively. The voice was cultured and there was a lazy, comfortable sort of arrogance to it that set Lisa’s nerves on edge.

    Slowly as to not seem threatening, and already trying to figure out how she was going to talk herself out of this mess, Lisa turned around. Sitting on her living room couch with one arm thrown lazily over the back of headrest and with her legs crossed was a woman. Looking her over the outfit she was wearing instantly made it obvious that she was a cape. It was a tight fitting and rather embellished leather outfit in black with dark purple highlights, done in a style that reminded Lisa vaguely of a D&D rogue. Not a real outfit. Energy construct. Molded and made solid. The woman looked to be in her late teens or early twenties, her features clearly Asian but her hair was tied back, blonde and wild with ringlets and curls. Not hair dye or a wig. Natural coloration. Result of powers? Genetic manipulation? No. Non-standard genetic profile.

    The woman’s face was sharply sculpted and aristocratic, her eyes a lavender color that couldn’t be natural but her powers kept telling her that it was. On her face she wore an indolent and rather indulgent small smile that only served to raise Lisa’s alarms even further. However perhaps what the Thinker found most disturbing was that the woman, who was clearly a cape, wasn’t wearing a mask. If showing up like this in her home didn’t already indicate that this woman didn’t give a rat’s ass about the unwritten rules then this certainly cinched it. It was surprising to see someone being so cavalier about revealing their face though. Her power was telling her that the woman on her couch wasn’t concealing or distorting her features in any way.

    Subject is amused and confident. Feels like she holds all the cards. Is not here to harm you. Most likely not here to coerce you. Is going to offer you a deal. Is confident that you will accept her deal. Is not terribly worried about it either way.

    With that information Lisa slowed the information her power was feeding her down to a trickle. The teenage villain relaxed fractionally as her mind raced. If this woman wasn’t here to hurt her, and in fact wanted to deal with her, then this would be about conversation and not violence. Conversation she could do. That was her strong suit. Despite the inappropriateness of it in her current situation, Lisa put her hands on her hips and gave her “house guest” a confident, cocky grin.

    “You’ve got a lot of nerve breaking the unwritten rules willy-nilly like this. You might not know this, but this kind of stunt could get both the gangs and the Protectorate out for your blood. No one wants to risk letting a Stranger that is willing to break into their civilian homes run around doing whatever they want after all.” Lisa shook her head in a mocking manner. “Bad move, breaking in here like this.”

    However instead of looking alarmed or even mildly concerned the woman on her couch just looked amused at her words and her not-so-subtle threat. One of her fingers trailed the upholstery on the back of the couch… and Lisa wasn’t sure what it was but there was something inherently threatening about that simple move, so innocuous but at the same time very much not. The woman raised one eyebrow at Lisa as if to say “you really think it’s a good idea to go there?”

    Subject is extremely dangerous. Not here to threaten because does not feel the need to. Wants you to agree to her deal. However has ability to make you comply with what she wants even if you prove intractable or recalcitrant. Subject has the ability to Master you completely.

    Suddenly Lisa’s confident grin was wiped off her face and replaced with a look of horror, causing the woman currently sitting on her couch to positively radiate smugness. Capes who could so completely Master humans were extremely rare and all of them extremely terrifying. The first thought that people had when they though of people Mastering Parahumans Canada's Heartbreaker immediately came to mind… that or the Simurgh. Having someone who could do that in her own apartment…

    Lisa swallowed fearfully, unable to help herself. Her legs suddenly felt weak. Even though her better sense told her it was a bad idea she sent a query to her power anyway. How dangerous is this woman?

    Has killed before. Has killed many people. Hundreds? No, thousands. Directly and indirectly. Directly probably has killed hundreds. Has used poisons, fire, expl-

    Lisa cut her power off then, now looking at the woman sitting on her couch with an expression of horror. The expression on the face of her “guest” turned positively wicked, taking in a slow deep breath as if she were savoring the scent of her fear.

    Not that far off. Can feel your emotions. Another part of her power? Subject pleased by your reactions. Subject enjoys feeling she has power over others. Subject has a mild sadistic streak.

    “I see that you understand your situation better now, Miss Wilbourn. Lisa. Or would you prefer Tattletale?” the woman asked. Even though her words could have been a taunt… her tone was softer now, more conciliatory. An olive branch, almost. For what felt like the tenth time now Lisa was surprised by this woman… something she really wasn’t used to.

    Subject wanted you to know not to take her lightly. Subject despises being talked down to, especially by people she has some reason to care about. That last part brought her short. Why would this woman care about her? She hopes to work together in the future. She finds you pleasant to look at. She likes you because of previous knowledge about you. She enjoys her games. The Undersiders, the city, a mutually beneficial partnership, money, subjects to follow her will-

    Lisa cut her power off as she sensed it had started going off into far too much speculation. The teenager now looked at the woman warily and with a healthy sense of fear and respect. This cape was so far above her league that it wasn’t even funny. Suddenly feeling numb Lisa stumbled to a battered love seat across from where the woman was sitting and flopped down gracelessly. If this cape wanted to talk, then they would talk. It was only her power telling her that this crazy cape in her apartment didn’t particularly want to hurt her or Master her that was keeping her relatively calm at this point.

    Still, even scared, Lisa simply couldn’t stop herself from fishing for information. “Lisa is fine,” the teenager answered cautiously. “Well, I’m afraid you have me at a disadvantage… Miss…?”

    The woman seemed to give it some thought, eyes momentarily going distant. “A cape name huh? Too bad Nezumi no Hime would be too much of a mouthful. Not all that appropriate anymore anyway.”

    Her power translated that for her… and even though she really should be more afraid, it only made Lisa even more curious. “That’s an odd nickname,” she said tentatively.

    The woman’s attention snapped back to her, and Lisa momentarily wished that she had kept her mouth shut. The intensity that burned in those eyes… it was overwhelming, making even the usually supremely confident Tattletale feel somewhat small and insecure. Then the feeling eased a fraction as the woman shrugged one shoulder casually.

    “That’s the nicest of the nicknames they gave me. Maybe I’ll tell you the rest of them one day. Provided you don’t reject my offer of friendship, that is.”

    Lisa bit her lip to keep from giving away any reaction. She didn’t need her power to tell her that rejecting this woman’s offer of “friendship”… would not end well for her. But who did she think she was fooling anyway, trying to dress this up with such pretty, empty language?

    Not empty language. Subject is looking for companionship. Has concerns about own mental stability. Subject is all alone. Subject is seeking someone with intellect/abilities/powers she can trust/respect to give her perspective. Subject has concluded you are suitable candidate. Subject reaction to being rebuffed unpredictable.

    “Great,” thought Lisa to herself with something akin to despair, “an insanely powerful mass murdering Master – among other things I’m not sure about yet – cape that I’ve never heard of before picked me to be her BFF and to help keep her sane. Yay me.”

    The woman gave Lisa an amused look that somehow gave the impression that she knew exactly what was currently going through her head. “Relax. I really only hurt people that give me a reason to, so you don’t need to worry. As for my name… you can call me Rei. I’ll have to come up with something suitable for a cape name later.”

    There was a long awkward silence after that when the two of them just looked at each other, “Rei” seeming to get even more smug and amused by the second and Lisa even more unnerved. Subject content to wait in silence. Subject patient when it furthers her goals. Subject knows waiting for you to speak first will give her a conversational advantage.

    Realizing that trying to out-wait “Rei” to have a slightly better conversational position was probably a completely wasted effort, Lisa gave in. With a small huff she broke first. With a tone that was as long suffering and insolent as she dared she rolled her eyes and asked, “So what is this ‘offer of friendship’ you’ve so generously broken into my home and scared the crap out of me to deliver?”

    Rei’s lavender eyes glittered with amusement, seemingly not at all insulted by her tone. Subject likes feistiness. Subject does not expect complete submission and devotion in this instance. Subject glad you are not completely cowed. Subject will poke at and test you constantly.

    “I kill Coil for you,” Rei said causally, “and you become my close friend and come work with me. Simple.”

    Lisa’s eyes widened in shock at the revelation and she felt dread pooling in her stomach. Would it really be that much better trading one master for another?

    As it stood though… she didn’t really have a choice at the moment.

    Lisa gave Rei a weak, unconvincing smile. “Sure,” she said, her voice trembling a little. “Simple.”
     
  4. Extras: Omake - Rei Visits 1.3
    SixPerfections

    SixPerfections Know what you're doing yet?

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    Rei Visits 1.3

    000

    Three nights later the supervillain known as Coil, civilian identity Thomas Calvert, entrepreneur, millionaire and part time PRT agent, came to a swift and ignoble end.

    Once upon a time Rei would have been sick and would have felt great emotional pain at the act of killing a man in cold blood. However time, the crushing weight of expectations, practicality and her personal nindo of wholeheartedly persuing her goals no matter the cost had worn away at her high regard for human life like a river wore a jagged rock smooth. During her time in the Elemental Nations Rei had learned down to her bones that life was cheap and that ultimately, blood was the only currency that could purchase true change in the world.

    Something – many things – inside of her had to break so that she could hold herself together in that world. Occasionally she still mourned it, in her private, more quiet moments. She was an unrepentant murderer now, a literal monster. A monster in every way except for her DNA. She didn’t take pride in it or pity herself for it. It had simply been the price she’d had to pay for survival while still holding on to the tattered remains of her principles.

    Monsters, however, could still occasionally do some good. Even a broken clock was right at least twice a day after all.

    000

    Coil only had moments to realize something was wrong before he was killed. In the end, all of his precautions and paranoia helped him for absolutely nothing. If he’d had the opportunity to contemplate that he might have pulled his hair out with a scream of frustration or broken down into hysterical and tear-filled laughter.

    He had left his job at the PRT and split the timeline. In one timeline he drove towards his base and in the other he drove home. It was his standard security procedure. He staggered his leaving in each timeline fifteen minutes apart. Each version of him drove different routes every day. It was not left to chance that the same event could possibly harm him in both timelines.

    His house was much closer to the PRT headquarters than his underground base was. Coil was already clicking away on his laptop at home when he was just arriving at his base in the other timeline. That’s when everything went wrong.

    In his car Coil felt something cold and hard stab him at the base of the neck, paralyzing him instantly. Then he felt it as the blade was removed from the base of his neck and unceremoniously stabbed into his temple. It happened so quick that Coil was dead in that timeline before he could even think to collapse it. The pain, and it had happened... so fast. Coil dropped his head into his hands. Though he hated to admit it, his swift and brutal death in the other timeline had left him shaken.

    “Hello Coil,” an accented female voice said behind him.

    Though he had not been in the field for a long time, Coil still had some of his old reflexes from his active duty days. Instantly his hand went for the gun he had hidden within easy reach of his desk. The attempt was in vain though. Before he even realized what was happening the woman was suddenly on him, brutally breaking one arm after the other with a violent cracksounds. Coil let out a scream as he suddenly felt a monstrously powerful hand grab the back of his head and slam it down on his desk. Hard.

    “None of that now,” the woman practically purred. “You’re already dead Coil. Your mind and body just haven’t caught up to that fact yet.”

    Inside Coil began to panic. No! This is exactly what he had contingencies for! In desperation he split the timelines, begging for his life in one and bluffing for all he was worth in the other. The woman in both timelines, however, didn’t seem to take notice of a word he said.

    “Let’s see what’s in that mind of yours shall we? While I’m sure my new minion could figure out everything I need from you better not to take any chances. Besides, who knows what else you have been up to that nobody knows about?”

    What Coil experienced next was something that was impossible to describe. It felt like… something was suddenly trying to forcefully wiggle its way into his brain, into his mind, into his very sense of self. It was unnatural, and invasive, and foul, and Coil suddenly knew what it was like to have something irreplaceably precious taken from you against your will.

    “By the way. Tattletale says hello.”

    Coil tried to scream. But he didn’t manage to make a single sound before his mind was completely destroyed. A blade finished off his now empty shell only moments after.

    000

    Stepping away from Coil’s now rapidly cooling body Rei took a few moments to sort through the memories she had stolen from him. Thomas Calvert has been trash, but also intelligent, ambitious and extremely paranoid. What she had seen in his mind was mostly along the lines of what she had been expecting. Other things that she had taken from him in there however… not so much.

    So that is where you got your powers? My, my. I knew about the conspiracy but not in quite so much detail. And hoping to blackmail the Triumvirate if it ever became necessary? I’m not sure if you were bold or just a damn fool. Still. I kind of really wish I had finished reading the story. I’m obviously missing a few things.

    Coil had been sick, but no more so than people like Orochimaru or Sasori or Hidan. Still wiping him from existence had been a public service and Rei couldn’t help but smile a small smile at the slowly pooling blood beneath his corpse. Kill an evil fucker, steal his stuff. It was almost becoming her modus operandi at this point.

    Rei’s smile spread further into something most people would be wise to be wary of. She had begun to strongly suspect this but mining Coil’s mind had conclusively cemented her theory. Yamanaka mind techniques had been highly prized in the Elemental Nations but there had always been some limitations to how they could affect an unwilling mind. A person’s Chakra network naturally and instinctively tried to reject foreign Chakra inserted into their system and this was something that the mind techniques of her family were always forced to push against. Against civilians and low level ninja a skilled Yamanaka could do nearly anything they wanted to someone’s mind. The reason the Yamanaka were not more powerful as a clan was that their techniques began to experience problems with Chunin level opponents or higher. Past a certain level of opponent most of their clan techniques were simply no longer useful.

    However, on Earth-Bet… Rei’s grin took on an almost maniacal gleam. People did not have Chakra here. That meant that there was no energy attempting to naturally fight her influence. Everyone here, even the most powerful capes alive, were even more susceptible to her mind altering techniques than an untrained civilian in the Elemental Nations would have ever been. Yes, it took some on the fly adjustment to compensate for suddenly working with a mind that seemed so much less since it lacked Chakra, but for an unrivaled prodigy in Chakra manipulation like she was the adjustment was simple enough to make.

    While she had lost the majority of her truly devastating techniques, having her clan abilities much further empowered was at least a nice consolation prize.

    It almost felt like cheating, really.

    Well. There would be time to figure out how to use this later.

    Pulling herself from those tantalizing thoughts Rei took out a burner phone she had recently acquired and dialed the only contact on her list. She’d held up her end of the bargain. Time to give her new friend (or minion, depending what she was in the mood for, though really she was both now) the wonderful news.

    Tattletale picked up on the third ring. “Yeah?” she said. The teenage blonde sounded short of breath and Rei could hear the wind blowing by at high speed, like she was on a motorcycle or something. She also sounded simultaneously a little wary and a little insolent, like she couldn’t quite stop herself from giving some sass even if she was afraid of what might happen. It was cute. Like a kitten hissing at a very large Doberman.

    “It’s done,” Rei said with no small amount of good humor. Really. It was nice seeing her recently hatched plans unfolding without so much as a hitch so far.

    There was a momentary silence on the other side. “Holy crap, you really got him didn’t you? I knew you were strong but Coil was known for being slippery. And really really paranoid. How did you do it? You knew his civilian identity? And can be in two places at once? How did you even-? Reall-? Wha-… oh that is such bullshit!”

    Rei couldn’t help it. She laughed. A real laugh, spontaneous, unscripted, loud and deep from the belly. It felt good. It felt like she hadn’t laughed in a long time. In fact she knew she hadn’t. There hadn’t been any room for that for a long time.

    Here, she didn’t have an image she needed to maintain. Here, she didn’t feel the crushing weight of being one of players fighting a shadow war for the fate of a continent. Here, even teenage supervillains felt safe enough to be open and transparent with their emotions… even with someone as blatantly dangerous and suspicious as she was.

    Yes, Earth-Bet was a death world. But so far it was starting to feel an awful lot like a vacation.

    “It’s not that funny,” Tattletale said, incredulousness, poutiness and just the tiniest hint of amusement in her tone.

    Yes. Yes it was.

    “Well, my new friend,” Rei said, a trace of laughter still in her voice. “You now officially work for me. I’ll promise to be much, much less of an asshole than your previous boss. How soon can you get to Oakland Heights? I need you to start working on stealing all of Coil’s assets for us as soon as possible. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you it would be a bad idea to sit on this. We need to get this done as soon as possible.”

    “Yeah, about that…” Tattletale said, suddenly sounding nervous.

    “What?” Rei asked pleasantly, but with a small tightness to her voice that Tattletale would have found impossible to miss.

    “We’re kind of, uh, busy right now.”

    “Oh?” Rei asked with a raised eyebrow, mental gears shifting. “How so?”

    “Yeah. We just got word a little while ago. Lung is out looking for us. We hit one of his casinos ten days ago and now he’s out for blood.” The teenager tried to sound casual, but Rei could detect the underlying nervousness in her tone.

    “And now you’re out looking for him?” Rei asked, finally piecing together what the sound of rushing wind must be. Tattletale was most likely riding one of Bitch’s dogs. The Undersiders out and about, looking for Lung... could it be?

    It looked like tonight would be the start of a certain bug-themed cape’s career then.

    “Yeah. Look. You want me to work for you right? Well, Lung is no joke. I can’t completely guarantee that I’ll survive without a little additional help,” Tattletale said, trying to sound very-much business like.

    Rei rolled her neck lazily. “I don’t know…” she drawled out. “Not sure I’d really go that far out of the way for some work acquaintance. I am pretty far from the Undersiders and ABB territory right now.”

    “I hear a but coming.”

    “But for a good and loyal friend I’d be willing to do almost anything,” Rei said, playful and serious at the same time. It was also true, what she had just said. She was counting on Tattletale’s power to pick up on that. “What say you, Lisa? It was part of our bargain after all.”

    Tattletale made a little sound of frustration on the other end of the line... which really just caused Rei to smile. The human mind was funny and had a lot of quirks. Saying something out loud, especially something you fervently wanted to lash out against or deny, was powerful. In a battle of wills it was a concession that gave the other side a psychological advantage. Tattletale was smart enough to pick up on that. However the beauty of it was, even if the subject was aware of the manipulation that did not really do a whole lot to lessen the impact.

    “Fine,” said Tattletale, sounding exasperated. Then she proceeded to speak with an overly saccharine and almost disturbingly good cutesy voice. “Oh great and mighty ninja, who broke into my home, now my very good and precious friend, will you please use your bullshit powers to make sure me and my team don’t get roasted alive by an angry Asian fire dragon?”

    Well, it didn’t have quite the same impact when she said it like that. But it was good enough for now. It would be real boring if Lisa wasn’t any good at this game after all.

    Also, something else she'd said piqued Rei’s attention. “Ninja?” she asked. Rei hadn’t thought that Tattletale had figured that much out yet.

    “Yeah, it seemed to fit what with all the powers you’ve shown and-… wait, you’re an actual ninja?! What the fuck?”

    For the second time in one conversation, Rei genuinely laughed. She was really starting to like Lisa. Sure she might be soft and weak and relied far too much on her powers, but she was amusing and quite clever in her own ways. It was nice not to feel completely alone.

    Rei really hoped she wasn’t stupid enough to try to run away. She really didn’t want to have to alter such an entertaining and emotionally open mind.

    “Sure Lisa, oh great friend of mine. Give me your address and I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

    “I’m in costume right now, so please use my cape name,” Lisa said, sounding exasperated but still wary of her.

    “Fine, fine,” Rei said dismissively. “The address?”

    Tattletale gave her the general area she would be able to find them in and they hung up. Rei put her phone away and took one last look at Coil’s cooling corpse before walking out of his house. As she cloaked herself in a concealing jutsu and began to run a thought occurred to Rei.

    Should she have warned Tattletale that they were probably about to get jumped by Oni Lee?

    … Naw. They would be just fine.
     
  5. Extras: Omake - The Afterlife 1.1
    SixPerfections

    SixPerfections Know what you're doing yet?

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    Omake
    The Afterlife - 1.1





    The the gardens of the Kuchiki Manor were absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. No, they were more than that. While Soul Society as a whole could most accurately be described by the word "stagnant", in some areas there still existed a strong culture of innovation. Strangely enough, the art of nihon teien was one of those areas. After tens of thousands of years of incremental improvements Rei could almost imagine that the gardens of the Kuchiki Manor were the closest to one could get to the mythical Pure Lands in this incredibly bizarre version of an afterlife. In short, taking time to meditate in the gardens and admiring the masterwork that was their existence greatly helped her to find the emotional balance that she sought.

    Rei sat by the edge of a lake that sat on the mindboggingly absurdly large Kuchiki estate, Koi with pedigrees that could be traced back a thousand generations swimming without a care under the heat of the afternoon sun. Her eyes half-open, Rei sought the refuge that meditation offered. Meditation done correctly had many benefits. A clear mind. A focused mind. A disciplined mind. It was a tried and true way to train and refine one's Reiatsu. And also, most importantly to her at the moment, in meditation a mind could find peace... or at least as close as someone like her could come to achieving such a thing, in any case.

    Still, Rei couldn't help but feel some part inside of her whisper that this was a waste of time, that she didn't have the disposition to find contentment in meditation like a Yogi or a Zen master. Maybe that was true. But unless she was willing to take some very drastic actions, this was the best release she was likely to get anytime soon.

    Then, without warning, someone suddenly pushed her from behind. Hard. Hard enough that even from a sitting position she went tumbling head over heels and fell into the lake in an undignified heap, scattering frightened Koi in all directions.

    "Sojun!" she , her voice full of anger and indignation as she surfaced from her impromptu dunking. "I will fucking kill you!"

    "Now, now," said Sojun, making motions with his hands for her to calm down while wearing a positively shit-eating smirk. "What kind of language is that? Directed at your own flesh and blood no less! Don't I get any sort of respect around here?"

    Rei splashed water at him but Sojun nimbly sidestepped out of the way, that irritating smirk plastered on his face the whole time. Rei just glared at him, until her look of anger slowly morphed into evil little grin of her own. Sojun was suddenly a lot more wary than he had been before.

    "Hey now, my adorable little sister, let's not do anything rash-"

    "Hado # 1: SHO!"

    The water Rei was in detonated with the force of a grenade in all directions due to the Kido spell she had hideously overpowered, completely soaking everything within thirty feet... including her annoying older brother who got absolutely drenched from head to toe. If she had to be wet, well then by the Kami she was going to make everything wet along with her. That part of her personality, at least, had managed to survive her transition into this new life.

    "Geez," said Sojun, looking a lot less smug now that the tables had been turned on him as he stood there dripping. "I'd forgotten how petty you could be Imouto. You know if you killed any of his prized fish with that little stunt father will punish you severely. Probably by making you memorize the genealogy of every one of your victims."

    Rei tried not to shudder at the thought. That did sound like something Kuchiki Ginrei would do. Pulling herself out of the water, Rei glared at her brother for all that she was worth. "None of this would have happened if you hadn't tried one of your little 'practical jokes' on me. So in a very real sense, it's all your fault. And aren't you supposed to be all serious and refined and well mannered and all that? Oh what woe, for our father to have such an unruly, ungrateful son as his heir," Rei said in overly dramatic fashion. "Truly, the heavens can be cruel and fickle, cursing our clan with an Heir who spends his time bullying poor, innocent little sisters."

    "Hey, now that is uncalled for," said Sojun, taking mock offence at her words. "And after I went through all the trouble to come out here and tell you that you have a guest."

    Rei began squeezing water our of her very fine and expensive clothes as she looked up at her brother who stood a full head taller than she was. "Who?"

    Sojun's smirk came back. "That little boyfriend of yours, Shihoin Yukihiro. He can't seem to stay away for more than a handful of days, now can he? Do I need to start worrying about my cute little Imouto marrying into the Shihoin Clan?"

    Rei gave her brother a disdainful look but didn't deem to humor such foolishness with an answer. Instead she turned and headed to her rooms. "I'm going to change. Tell Yukihiro I'll be there shortly."

    "You know, boys tend to think that bossy girls are uncute. Unless there's something about Yukihiro you haven't told me yet?"

    Rei didn't bother with a verbal reply to that either, but she did make a rude gesture at him over her shoulder.

    000

    AN: After reading a Bleach fanfic and listening to some of the music from the anime I got inspired to write this. I'm going to write a series of Rei-Bleach Omakes. I'll post at least one per day and they will be short. My aim is to write something like a short story with a conclusion I can be happy with. Let me know what you think so far.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2018
  6. Extras: Omake - The Afterlife 1.2
    SixPerfections

    SixPerfections Know what you're doing yet?

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    Omake
    The Afterlife - 1.2






    After a very quick bath to rinse off the lake water Rei stood in front of a floor length mirror in her spacious rooms, dressing in the traditional white and black cloths of the Kuchiki. Everything was of the highest grade and quality, the material feeling like the softest of feathers against her skin. Almost listlessly going through the motions of making herself presentable Rei risked a look at the mirror.

    Her reflection showed that she was pale and thin, dark of hair and of delicate features, looking around twelve or thirteen years of age... even though her actual age in this world was more than triple that. It struck her all of a sudden that she now looked the same age as she had been when she had died in her last life. Looking at herself in the mirror as she fixed her hair Rei focused on the one physical reminder she seemed to have carried on from her former life: her lavender eyes. However those lavender eyes looking back at her always seemed to be missing something... missing a fire that they had always seemed to hold in her previous life.

    Rei sighed and rubbed at her face, wondering why her thoughts would so often circle back in that direction even decades after the fact. In her past life she devoted a decade of her life to feverishly improving, dedicated her whole life to that singular goal, just so she could be free... and then she had died, shortly after she'd finally made Genin. She had very mixed feelings about how things had ended. Rei couldn't help but sometimes think that something out there must be having a great old laugh at her expense.

    Now, living a life in yet another fictional universe, perversely Rei would sometimes find herself thinking she would have rather remained in the Naruto universe. For all that she thoroughly hated it, at least there she had found purpose. Get stronger at all costs, because otherwise the S-Rank missing nins, the invasions, the wars, the conspiracies, and just the world in general would kill her. Get stronger at all costs so she could earn her freedom from being a lifelong soldier to a brutal militaristic authoritarian state.

    Now, Rei could choose the life a noblewoman socialite if she so desired and no one would bat an eye. Her older brother would be the one to take over the leadership of the Clan and of the 6th Division after all, thus fulfilling their family's obligations to the Gotei. No one expected her to join the Gotei 13, though the option was open to her if she so desired. If she wanted to, she could probably live the rest of her life (thousands of years in length) in the lap of luxury with the bare minimum of responsibilities.

    And why shouldn't she? It had become clear to her even with her limited memories of the Bleach universe that either she wasn't in the same world or she had been born far into the past. While details were fuzzy Rei did remember most of the major characters and plot points of the Bleach anime she had once watched... at least up until the protagonists had rescued Rukia (who had also been a Kuchiki?). However this world she found herself in had few of the major characters she remembered. There was no one named Aizen anywhere in the Gotei that she could find. There was no Kaname Tousen, no Ichimaru Gin. No Zaraki Kempachi. No Kuchiki Byakuya or Shihoin Yoruichi. In fact the only person that both existed clearly in her memories and existed here was the Captain-Commander Yamamoto Genryusai Shigekuni.

    Plus, it wasn't like the Bleach Anime had some existential world ending threat (to her knowledge). Aizen had been bad because... reasons? And he had wanted to kill Rukia for some magical McGuffin? Something like that. It was hard to get worked up or terrified over what one man who might or might not exist in the future might or might not do.

    Still, that general lack of motivation and external pressure to act left Rei kind of off... floundering. Adrift. In her previous life she remembered she'd desperately wanted to wander, to explore the world, to be free to see and do everything. Now... that just didn't seem hold the same sort of appeal anymore. She didn't know why. It just didn't.

    With a sigh, Rei finished fixing her hair into something acceptable and walked out of her room. There was nothing she could do about how she felt at the moment. Maybe Yukihiro would have come up with some new crazy scheme to get her mind off of things for a while.

    000

    "Why are we going to your estate again?" Rei asked her friend Shihoin Yukihiro as they both raced through the Seireitei, sticking to back ways and roads that Yukihiro knew in order to avoid running into and annoying any Shinigami. Though they both used Hoho techniques to improve their speed Rei knew that Yukihiro was holding back somewhat so she could keep up. In her previous life that fact might have driven her into a competitive rage she would have done anything to overcome. However in the present it did little more than irritate her and make her sort of... sad, for some reason.

    "I told you," Yukihiro replied with a wide and excited grin on his face. "I want you to meet someone."

    Yukihiro looked like what everyone pictured a Shihoin clan member should look like, dark skin, golden irises, black hair with a feline-like physique. The two of them were roughly the same age and had first bonded over a decade ago through a shared penchant for ignoring the rules, being far too smart for their own good and the fact that there were very few choices for friends in their general age and appropriate social circles since births in Soul Society tended to be relatively rare. He often made her think that he was what would have happened if Neji and Ino's personalities had an unholy child. Yukihiro was a good friend. Her only friend, if she was being honest.

    "I thought you said we were 'taking a little trip'?" Rei asked him dryly.

    "We are!" he insisted with that same grin on his face. "I had that planned for afterwards."

    "Why don't we do that first? I'm not in the mood for all the tedious ceremony of meeting some stuffed shirt noble."

    "Nope!" Yukihiro said, popping his P. At seeing her unamused face he was quick to add, "I swear this won't be bad, Rei. No formal tea or meaningless pleasantries, I promise. This actually has to do with my future job for the clan."

    This piqued Rei's interest. "I thought you'd just be joining the Onmitsukido?"

    "Well yeah, we all do," replied Yukihiro. "But that doesn't mean we can't get special assignments. Come on, we're almost there."

    The Shihoin, like the Kuchiki, were one of the Four Great Noble Families of Soul Society and their estate reflected this. However whereas the Kuchiki were more concerned with the nobility and aesthetics of their lands the Shihoin were much more practical. Everything in their estate looked to be built either to be easily replaced or as defensible as possible, aesthetics taking a back seat to functionality. Yukihiro led them through a large estate that seemed largely empty, but Rei had no doubt that even as a regular guest of the Shihoin someone would be watching her at all times. It almost felt nostalgic sometimes, the paranoia that the quasi-ninja Shihoin clan lived and breathed by. The Elemental Nations had nothing on the secretive and cutthroat nature of the Onmitsukido.

    Rei was surprised when she realized Yukihiro was leading them to the home of the Clan Head. After all, Yukihiro was just a nephew of the Clan Head who lived elsewhere on the estate, and thus she couldn't imagine why he would be taking them there. Keeping her silence she followed Yukihiro as he entered with all the confidence of someone who visited often.

    After divesting himself of his shoes and the tanto he always carried on his person Yukihiro led Rei through a confusing maze of hallways until they came to a seemingly nondescript room. With a boyish grin he knocked three times in a pattern and slid the door open.

    What was inside was... not what Rei had been expecting. There was a nursemaid sitting next to a crib. On the far side of the room stood a man dressed in the garb of the Onmitsukido, regarding the two newcomers with hard and unflinching eyes. A crib, a guard, Yukihiro's odd excitement... Rei was beginning to get a picture as to what this was all about.

    "I didn't know that the Lady Shihoin was pregnant," commented Rei, hoping that her guess was correct and she didn't end up looking like a fool.

    Yukihiro shrugged as he walked to stand next to the crib, acknowledging the nursemaid and the Shinigami operative in the room with a subtle nod of his head. "It's an old law in the clan, to hide the pregnancies of the Lady Shihoin lest assassins see it as an ideal time to strike. A bit archaic but it is what it is. The birth of our new heir will be officially announced in a few days."

    Rei walked over and looked down at the child in question. It (because the sex wasn't immediately obvious) was sleeping, their head nearly bald and possessing the dark skin that was so prevalent in the Shihoin. It looked just like any other baby to be honest. Rei gave Yukihiro a look, not particularly impressed with his "surprise."

    "Congratulations on your new heir," Rei said a touch dryly. "Nice as that is, what does this have to do with you?"

    Yukihiro seemed a bit dejected at her less than thrilled attitude, but he perked up again and his chest puffed out with pride when he began to tell her about why this was personally important to him. "You see Rei, I've been assigned the duty of being Yoruichi-chan's bodyguard from the time she's old enough to start leaving the compound until she'd deemed to be strong enough to defend herself against any who would do her harm. It's been decided that for this purpose next year I'll finally be allowed to enter the Shinigami Academy. By the time she's old enough to need me I'll have enough training and experience to be the best bodyguard ever. Isn't it great?"

    Rei, however, had mostly stopped paying attention after she'd head the child's name. "Yoruichi?" she said with a note of disbelief before looking back down at the crib. "This baby is... Shihoin Yoruichi?"

    "Well yeah," said Yukihiro, looking genuinely puzzled at her reaction. "Out of everything, that is the detail you found important?"

    Rei felt her heart rate speed up, though if it was from fear, dread or excitement she wouldn't have been able to tell. Not that her thoughts dwelled on such things mind you. Instead her mind went off racing, running, trying to see all of the angles and implications of what this would mean.

    "Hello? Rei?"

    Yukihiro's voice snapped her out of her contemplation, and she plastered a smile on her face as best she could. "That's great! I'm really happy for you Yuki-chan, that your Clan Head would trust you with such an important mission. I guess that means they think you're really growing up."

    She used the nickname Yuki-chan that he absolutely hated, along with trying to embarrass him with praise, all to distract him from her momentary loss of composure. Rei had done that automatically, without thinking. Funny. She hadn't played those games hardly at all, those of misdirection and manipulation, for the decades that she had been here. Now the second she felt threatened even a little bit they came to her lips with the ease of her mother tongue. Rei found that it both surprised her and troubled her that she would so easily fall back into familiar patterns.

    Yukihiro rubbed the back of his head, embarrassed, but smiling happily. "Heh, I guess I am pretty lucky, aren't I?" Good, it didn't look like he would call her out on her little slip.

    "So I was thinking, since I'm going to be entering the Academy and all next year... do you think that maybe you'd want to join with me?"

    Rei blinked at that. She opened and closer her mouth, differing emotions warring inside of her. The young Kuchiki frowned deeply, crossed her arms and gave the only honest answer she could give at the moment.

    "I don't know."

    Unfortunately, these new developments didn't immediately change the fact that Rei had no idea what she wanted to do with this new life.

    000

    AN: This came out way longer than I planned. Probably because it was two scenes when it should have probably been one. Anyway, let me know what you think. I'm still sticking with my "at least one update per day" schedule for this Omake for now.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2018
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