As I Wake

Hairy Ass Kicking

Standing before everyone was a girl who has been missing for days. She may be bruised with torn cargo pants and an even shorter than normal crop top, but her spirit was radiating.

“So, which punk wants to be dealt with first?” Her amber eyes were on fire. She wasn’t backing down.

“Will the supply of undertrained degenerates ever cease?” Dosu insulted, sighing with annoyance and disgust.

“Who cares? One arm or not, I’ll blast through every single one of them.” Zaku bragged, believing he was invincible despite the lame arm.

“Don’t you even dare,” I spat venom. I would never have my teammates injured because of me, not if I could help it. “Don’t you take one step closer.”

Zaku chuckled at my threat, not taking it too seriously since I was still a crumpled mess. Because of Dosu’s sound wave attack with that metal box on his arm, blood streamed from my ears and my last meal was at my feet.

“Now I get it. These are your teammates. I was wondering why you were alone. This deserves a proper greetings.” Zaku pointed his air cannon, palm out, towards Leda. It aimed directly at her heart.

“Don’t…” I coughed. My stomach was so empty, I felt the acid gnawing away at my esophagus. Leda stood offensively. Mae was on edge as well.

“Oh, I won’t hurt your precious girlfriend,” he stared between my two teammates. “Yet…” and he suddenly shifted his arm from Leda to Mae and shot, rapid fire.

“Mae!” But it was too late. The force sent her flying deep into the woods. Her body was nowhere to be seen, only the sound of rustling leaves and snapping branches.

Leda snapped. “You fucking prick.” Her words were venomous, but from the twitch in her brow, I could tell she was more nervous than she led on.

Zaku smiled at his accomplishment and aimed his weapon at his next victim. “Don’t worry, Fireball. I didn’t forget about you.”

Leda’s teeth clenched. “You’re going to regret that, Ass hat.”

Zaku smirked. “I’ve heard worse,” and he shot his air pressure cannon.

The air missed Leda by mere inches. With the power of the Sharingan, I swallowed my pain and raced to her before she was hit. We tumbled to the ground, but my reflexes threw myself on top, hovering over her, defending her.

“It’s okay. I got you,” I spoke, starring down my enemy with red eyes, avoiding eye contact with Leda. I wasn’t ready to acknowledge my newly found powers.

“Quorra…” her lack of a nickname drifted into the forest zephyr as I raced to Zaku.

Quickly approaching, the Sound ninja’s arm rose to backhand me, but I already knew it was coming and ducked under his useless attack. I raced behind him and with my leg aimed high, I wrapped it around his last functioning arm and pinned it roughly to his back. My knee dug into his spine.

“So I wasn’t mistaken. You do possess the Sharingan,” Dosu observed with his head slightly tilted. Intrigue riddled his face, but there was something else under those layers. Fear.

My ruby eyes glared menacingly at him, but he wasn’t mistaken. This was a new part of me now and I had to accept it. Some things I was forced to accept quicker than others. It was a kill or be killed world in here.

The group didn’t look so hot. Kabuto managed to drag himself to a nearby tree and fell into a comfortable state of unconsciousness. Sakura huddled close to Sasuke, who seemed to be in excruciating pain. He was hunched over with a hand gripping where he was bit.

Sasuke tried to stand. “I need to help her.”

“No, Sasuke. You can’t,” Sakura cried, but the pain was too much for him as he fell to his knees. There was no way he could fight.

“She’s right, Sasuke. Just leave it to me,” I said, not breaking contact with Dosu. Something about these Sound nin and their association with Orochimaru was affecting Sasuke. No way could he fight.

Sasuke growled, but he knew we were right. The effects from Orochimaru were wearing on him. “Dammit.”

Who got me even more worried was Naruto. He was awake, but he was staring into space, zombified. Something was up with him.

“Interesting. You seem to be experienced with the Sharingan, but your teammate here is staring at you like she’s seen a ghost,” Dosu observed, pointedly.

Leda sat up as she recovered from my tackle. She was, for once, speechless, staring at me like I wasn’t me. Like I was some kind of science experiment.

“Which means, either you’ve been hiding it or you just acquired it,” Dosu concluded. “Which isn’t possible.”

I pushed my current thoughts and avoided the accusations and pulled a knife out. Zaku laughed under my grasps.

“You’re going to take my arm off with that dull thing?” he joked.

“Oh, no,” I sneered. “Haven’t you heard of Hammurabi’s Code? An eye for an eye; a tooth for a tooth.” I don’t let him answer as I laid my final verbal blow. I hovered close to his ear and practically at a whisper, “And hearing for hearing… bitch.”

Before he could react, I drove my blade into the conch of his ear. Twisting the blade, he hollered as I released him and he collapsed in pain. Stepping over his crouched body, I returned to my partner.

I held out my hand for Leda. She looked at my hand, foreign, like it was a cornered snake about to bite. Her necklace hung out of her shirt. The lapis jewel brought out her doe eyes, making the whites look whiter.

Her seeing me like this broke my heart, but her protection was more important than my feelings. “We are a pact,” I smiled, knowing her would know the secondhand meaning.

The words hit her and she shook out of her daze. A loud slap came from our hands connecting as I pulled her to her feet.

“Thanks, Quart,” Leda smirked.

“I gotcha back,” I smirked back.

Zaku was on the floor, hold his bad ear with his good hand. “You’ll pay for this,” he growled. He sounded disoriented from his ability to only hear out of one ear. His words were delayed, but his bitter hatred was plenty there.

“Don’t think so, Deaf Boy,” Leda instigated.

Between the Sound ninja and Leda and I, we were at a standoff. Two against three wasn’t impossible, but it definitely wasn’t preferred. The advantage we had was while they knew my move sets, they didn’t know Leda’s. She had a similar fighting style as the Sound, the ability to manipulate wind and air at multiple stages, which gave us the upper hand. If we planned this right, we still had the element of surprise on our side.

“Suck on this!” Leda shouted, performing hand signs and punched the air. Each blow sent off a wind sucker punch. The Sound dodged and countered with their own wind techniques.

We rolled out of the way. “You know we could have used your abilities as a surprise attack, right?” I gave Leda a disapproving look.

She waved me off. “Fuck the surprise attacks. I’m cutting it to the chase. I came here to fuck shit up and I intend on doing just that.” She laughed, maniacally. Sometimes I questioned how I could be teamed up with someone so reckless.

The Sound ninja weren’t too pleased with us. “Let me handle them,” Kin volunteered, stepping forward. “If there’s something I hate more than one Vanity Girl, it’s two Vanity Girls.”

“Who are you calling vanity?” Leda said with attitude, placing one hand on her exposed hip. “I think you got the wrong girls.”

Kin stared Leda down like a lion tracking her next meal. "You're right. You're less of a Vanity Girl and more of a street hooker," she gestured to Leda's slightly over-exposed abdomen and underboobage.

Leda didn't miss a beat. "The correct term is escort. And at least I'm not a washed up, tone deaf, military sergeant." Leda referred to Kin's camouflage pants and combat boots.

It was then I remembered why she was my teammate. She's an encyclopedia for hurling insults and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Kin's eye twitched. She didn't appreciate the comment. "I'll give you tone deaf, bitch," and she clapped her hands into a seal. A piercing sound wave emitted from her.

Leda and I covered our eardrums, praying they wouldn't blow out. "Way to go, Leda. You just had to aggravate them even more," I yelled.

"Someone had to tell her," Leda grinned, clearly entertained even with fisted wedged into her ears. "Just called it my Random Act of Kindness for the day."

Kin screamed with frustration as her jutsu was set into motion. The annoying ring became less straining and more of a controlled sound. A bell that hung from the kunoichi's waist rung, creating a séance.

Even though calmer, this jutsu didn't fail to drive us to our knees. The world became disoriented. Up and down became indistinguishable.

"The bell resonances off to a particular sound wave that travels from the outer to inner ear, then to the brain. First comes paralysis and soon you will start hallucinating."

As Kin promised, each ring in the crisp air had us hallucinate multiple clones of her. Every moment the bell changed its ring, it controlled the number of Kin we saw. The lower tones we saw a few while the higher tones had multiples.

I tried to target the real Kin with my Sharingan eyes, but as resourceful has it was, it couldn't help me pinpoint which illusion was real and which were frauds. It could be that the Sharingan can't pinpoint illusions or it was because my inexperience and didn't know how. I've only seen Sasuke use it a handful of times.

My eyes couldn't spot the real one but I could still calculate her next move. "Leda, dodge!" I warned and rolled out of the way as Kin threw senbon needles, aiming for our vitals. We made it out of the way in time for the needles to hit the ground in front of us. Bells were attached to them.

I was too exhausted for these games. My brain tried to conquer up a plan. With the Sharingan, I was able to spot a blind spot in Dosu's attack. Maybe I could find one in Kin's.

With that intuition, I ran towards Leda. "I want to make that perv pay!"

Leda understood my code. "You got it!"

Just like the time I tried to catch Jiraiya from spying on the women's bath, Leda bent down as my foot stepped on her clasped fingers and she threw me skywards. She released a gust of wind that threw me even higher.

Sailing at my bird's eye perspective, I saw the vulnerable Team Seven and Kabuto huddled a distance away, shielding themselves from further injury. Below was a clear view of the Sound ninja. Zaku starring at Kin, overzealous with confidence. Knowing Kin was capable of taking us down. Dosu, however, had his head tilted upward, studying me. He was trying to solve the mystery behind my red eyes. Little did he know, there was no answer.

Kin was directly below me. My vulnerable eardrums ached as the bells and pitched sound resonated from up here. The number of Kins corresponded to the bell chimes. As quickly as the grainy, static entities came, they disappeared and reappeared. The real Kin, however, was clearer than the others. Kin was stagnant in the swamp of sound.

"Leda! Real one, 2 o'clock!"

"Got it!" Leda went on the offensive towards Kin, who anticipated the attack.

The red head quickly performed signs and threw both hands at Kin. Palms outwards, her fingers fanned. Wind blew from each spacing of her fingers and swirled into a vortex. Leda manipulated the powerful force towards Kin.

The hurricane winds blew Kin's knee-length, black hair with such force that it became undone and whipped violently around her. Her hands tried to protect her face, but it was pointless. The winds were too strong.

Between the monsoon winds and the veil of hair, Kin was virtually blind. She was so vulnerable, she was unaware of the barrage of skuriken embedded in the wind tunnel. A horde of weaponry teared through her, cutting up her skin and clothes. And there was nothing she could do.

By the time I landed softly by Leda's air current, the damage to Kin had been done. Blood seeped through the Sound Ninja's clothes. Her arms and face were badly cut as well, but she remained standing. Leda grinned, giving me the thumps up.

"You Slut," Kin coughed. She stared downwards, casting a heavy shadow over her eyes. "Don't you think for a second you're through with me."

Leda opened her mouth to spit some kind of snarky remark, but I couldn't hear her. My Sharingan sensed a surprise attack. I ran to defend her, but something caught my ankle and I stumbled. I was suddenly submerged in a deep mound of earth.

Across the way was Zaku. He was squatting with his good hand on the ground. His smile was a picture worth a thousand words, a thousand farewells.

And then I felt it. The premonitions. Dosu ambushed Leda, running top speed towards her blind spot, and there was nothing I could do to stop it.

It all happened in slow motion. Leda bragging and insulting Kin, Dosu approaching Leda, pulling out a kunai knife. Me, performing hand signs. Fire leaving my lips, but the speed was too slow as it crawled. It might has well have been smoke.

The line reached the grassy cover and set the grounds aflame, soon obstructing my view of Leda.

"Leda!" Panic rose from my chest. There was no answer as my panic multiplied. "Leda!"

"I'm okay," she called as the flames lost their fuel, dying down. But her voice shook; her words invalid.

The flames turned into candlelight allowing me to see her silhouette. She sat on her knees, cradling herself. Her fingers covered her rib cage, where her heart was.

"Leda!" She wasn't okay.

"I'm alright. It didn't hit anything vital. I'm fine," she reassured. She was right. The knife fell a few inches short of her heart but blood sept between her fingers. Her abdomen was covered and more dripped on the ground. I knew she was lying about being fine.

Dosu stood in front of her. His slumped shoulders made him look possessed. Even more so with a kunai in his hand and a mien in his eyes that screamed pure evil. Blood dripped from the blade, Leda's blood.

"I had it, Dosu," Kin spat, recovered.

"You did not," Dosu said nonchalantly, but with force. "That's why I had to step in."

"Let me finish these bitches," Kin demanded, pulling out her sebon needles.

"No, you had your turn. Let me have a bite." Zaku stepped forward. His smile was full of promise; none being too noble. His smug grin looked like he has already won this battle.

"You have no say in this. Neither of you," Dosu stared between his comrades. It was obvious he was the one who called the shots. Neither of them objected, but that didn't stop them from making unsatisfied faces.

"I'm ending this. I'm tired of playing these games." He rose his bloody blade. Catching the sun, light reflected brightly on the dirty blade.

"I'll kill you," I tried to keep my voice steady, menacing. Like I was his worst nightmare.

I failed.

Dosu smiled at the gesture. "You will do no such thing. Don't you see? You're not going to see the following day… neither of you will."

He frightened me. Zaku and Kin were all bad mouths. Their demeanor and actions were predictable, chaotic. Dosu, however; was very calm. He thought out his plans and was very methodical. When he said he would end us, I believed him.

I tried tugging at the mound of dirt, but it was useless. My foot wouldn't budge. Dread surged through me. I didn't know what to do.

Leda became paler than usual as the pool of blood around her grew bigger. She tried to put on her I-hate-the-world attitude, but her front fell short. She was losing her spunk.

"This is over," and Dosu's knife took the plunge.

Just as the knife was inches away from Leda's throat, a stream of water shot out of nothingness and knocked the blade from Dosu's hand. It clattered to the ground, adding dirt to an already filthy blade. At the same time, I felt the earth which engulfed my foot liquefy. Water filled the mound, turning it into mud. It loosened the soil enough to wedge my trapped foot out.

Dosu and the others look wildly around, trying to pinpoint the source of the attack— right as the leaf kunoichi presented herself from deep within the wilderness.

It was Mae.

"Mae!" I shouted, overfilled with joy. Now that's how you do a surprise attack!

"It was about damn time you showed up," Leda smiled, shakily. The blood loss was eating at her conscience.

"So you're still alive," Dosu pondered. Talking to Mae like she was a failed science experiment that miraculously shined from the dark.

Mae's fighting stance was straightened. She position herself into a posse she had done often. It was a position to lecture.

"I was observing from afar," she spoke matter-of-factly. She stared Dosu down, adjusting her glasses with authority.
Together Mae and I helped Leda to her feet. Even if we weren't on the greatest of terms since our last encounter, I was grateful to see her. But did she have to take so long before helping us?

As if she could read my mind, "I needed to evaluate the enemy's attack moves to formulate a plan."

Still quenching her wound. "Well, did you come up with a grandiose plan, then?"

Mae looked at the injured Leda uncomfortably. "Yes, but it's not going to be easy to pull off. We're going to need some major teamwork. Especially from you, Leda, if you can handle it." She eyed Leda, just as unsure as I was with whether this was going to work.

"I can handle it," Leda confirmed.

"Leda…" I began. "I don't think—"

"I can handle it!" Leda pushed. She stared deeply at me. Even with the amount of pain she must be in, she didn't want to stop fighting. She couldn't. "So what's the plan?"


After Mae gave the run down in secrecy, I had to admit, it was brilliant. It was incredibly thought out, which I expected nothing less from Mae. But, with brilliance comes complication. We never did the things Mae filled us in on.

The Sound ninja didn't look too concerned with our plan session. "You girls done with your little time out? Not like it will do you much good," Zaku insulted. His entertainment by our attempt to defeat him was written on his face, clear as day.

I wish I could tell him off, warn him how he was going to eat his words. But, I couldn't. Even with my comrades and a solid plan, I didn't feel confident. What if we couldn't pull it off?

Leda wasn't as worried as I was. "Let's get this shit started then!" She pulled out small, red spheres from her weapons pouch and threw them at the enemies. Smoke erupted from the smoke bombs, clouding everyone's vision.

The Sound ninja conjugated in the center, back-to-back, ready to fight us off at any direction. The first part of the plan was set in motion.

"You think a little bit of smoke is going to stop us?" Kin yelled. "Then you bitches are terribly mistaken."

A bell ran through the air with striking familiarity. Kin's clones started to appear, disappear and reappear again. The tone of the rings rapidly changed, controlling the number of clones we saw with such speed, my Sharingan eyes couldn't keep up.

"I can't tell which the real one is!" I warned Mae as the Kins each pulled out sebon needles and threw them. Leda and I had our arms up to defend ourselves.

"You don't need to." Mae was expressionless – unconcerned- as she performed her first jutsu, ignoring Kin's threats and my distress. From the ground below, water rose and encircled the Sound ninja. They needles struck mid-way in the wall of water, also trapping them inside.

Dosu studied the water barrier intently, trying to figure out Mae's end game. Zaku, on the other hand, was just plain irritated. "Fuck this shit! I done with these petty moves!" His nose scrunched with irritation. Like our moves were insulting him, underestimating his power.

"Just tell me when." Mae mumbled to me. I didn't know what she meant by that.

Zaku rose his hand to the tsunami wall. "I'm going to blast through this puddle and annihilate all of you!"

My eyes saw what came next before it even happened. It finally clicked in what Mae expected from me. She wanted me to tell her the exact moment Zaku will strike.

"Now!"

Mae nodded briefly and with utter concentration, maneuvered and morphed her water into a bullet shape and shot it at Zaku.

Dosu's eyes widen as he put the pieces together. "Zaku, wait!"

But it was too late. He was too naïve, too overconfident. The moment Zaku activated his air pressure through the tube embedded in his palm was the moment Mae thrust water into it. It happened so quickly, Zaku didn't have time to react. Whenever you clogged one end of a loaded weapon, the direction of fire will always be the same—

Outwards.

It started with his arm. Chunks of flesh and muscle shot centrifugally, leaving his arm with bones. It didn't stop there as the momentum of the blast, the power he was so proud of, traveled up his arm and to his abdomen. His chest was gone. His heart and everything else detonated in a bloody, gut-wrenching explosion.

The Kins were clueless as the blast engulfed them. The last I saw were her eyes staring in horror behind the curtain of water.

The water protected us and the others as it stained red with blood and chunks of meat. It would have been a feeding frenzy for sharks.

Leda summed up the battle. "Holy shit." The words could barely leave her lips.

Leda and I stared in horror. Neither one of us knew Mae was capable of that kind of destruction. The girl who cried once when she got the extra credit answer wrong on a test. I was learning more and more about her in here.

"You did it." This time Leda louder, joyful. "You did it, Brainy-ache."

Mae didn't deactivate her jutsu. She stared sternly at the Dead Sea.

Through the chunks and blood, I saw it. Parts of the real Kin standing in place— or rather hovering there. Her bottom half was completely gone while the top half was barely recognizable. Standing behind her was the dead-eyed, slumped shouldered nin. Dosu.

"You used your comrades' body to protect yourself from the blast?" I couldn't fathom the option. The thought made me sick.

Dosu dropped his deceased partner. It made a nauseating squish sound on the floor. "I tried to warn him," he said. "But, he never listens. He was always so full of himself. Ever since he gave him his wind tunnels."

I assumed when Dosu used the word 'he,' he was referring to the only person twisted enough to perform surgery to enhance a ninja's powers. Orochimaru.

Dosu starred pitifully at his other comrade, what was left of her anyway. "As for Kin, it was simple. It came down to her or me… I choose me." His eyes crinkled, telling me he was smiling under his bandaged face.

Leda and Mae eyed each other, not knowing what to say.

"You're barbaric," I spat.

Dosu chuckled. "Maybe so. But I am alive and they are not." He lifted his metal arm, ready for his turn to fight. "And soon… neither will you."

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