Disclaimer- I don't own Naruto! Capeesh?
A/N- new fic! I've read more than my fair share of OC/SI fics so thought I'd toss in my two cents. Hopefully, this one will be reasonably refreshing. Anyways, please drop me a review and enjoy!
P.S- my views on death etc., they are in no way meant to be harmful or insulting. If you disagree etc. then I'm sorry but they're kind of important for the development of Kiharu's character. She's me but also not, remember guys. She's not actually me. Anyway, please keep this in mind!
When I daydreamed about being in a fantasy world, I didn't actually…mean it.
I was one in a million in my life. Tall girl, two sisters. History degree and a couple of ex-boyfriends. My life, not to sound melodramatic, was completely normal. I was never particularly smart and I was too lazy for sports. However, my two elder sisters… they were smart. They'd read books and then spend hours talking about them. I felt kind of left out so I ended up reading them too.
And I loved it.
I wasn't the most…sophisticated of readers. My sisters read all the classics (I preferred to watch the films) and I kind of fell into the fantasy genre when my history studies got so boring or violent (mostly both) that reality depressed me.
Fanfiction was even better. For years I just read them, adoring the same characters but living different lives and written different ways. That was what depressed me the most about books; getting invested and then everything coming to an end. Maybe it was a bit unhealthy, not being able to finish a book series because it was like the character had died.
That was when I started writing.
I wasn't the best writer, in all honesty, too little dedication and too sporadic in my updates, but writing felt so good that sometimes I'd update and the update again and it was amazing.
I used to think for so long on how the story would go.
It was inevitable then that I imagined myself in these universes. We've all got favourite characters. People we'd love to help or save or just simply hug. I'd dreamt of being a Nara (I was certainly lazy enough and I'd loved Ino-Shika-Cho) or raising Naruto like those amazing Femharry prompts I'd adored. I never thought anything would ever come of them.
It wasn't until the car ran a red light and sent me flying that I honestly thought about death.
I was a Catholic. It was tradition to a certain extent (a cultural thing in this region, the done thing) but also the hope that I'd see my granny and grandad when I died. In school, rebirth or reincarnation had always scared me; the idea that I've been born again but remember nothing; would that even count as rebirth, if you don't even realise it? If the soul remembers nothing? I just couldn't say.
But anyway, here I was, flying through the air.
In so much pain it wasn't even painful. All I could think was my mum's gonna cry so hard and how I'd never hugged anyone goodbye. How I'd never been in love or owned a dog or got to wear that dress to my cousin's wedding in June. Little things. Big things. But then I hit the ground and it was red, my god I'd never seen that much red. Someone was screaming and the car had stopped and people were running. Black sensible heels in my vision and a woman- a stranger, dark hair, sobbing- is stroking back my hair, screaming for an ambulance.
They don't make it in time, I don't think.
I smile up at her-sad, she's so sad, I don't even know you- and she smiles back.
I feel so bad, I hope this moment won't torment her. I'd hate to hurt someone even as I went.
-"Oh honey, hold on, it's gonna be okay-"
As the last words, I thought they were lovely. Honey. Noone had called me that in years…
Then it was dark.
It was dark for a long time.
And very warm.
I was terrified, thinking that this must be hell in some form, even if I wasn't in pain. I spent what must've been days thinking of all the reason I could be in hell (the childish lies I'd told my parents, that one time I'd stolen a goody-bag from the freshers stalls at Uni – it wasn't technically theft as they were free but it wasn't meant for me, so surely that must have been it?).
It wasn't until I heard voices that the scariest possibility came to mind.
(Hell…I could possibly deal with. At least I'd know what awaited me. And possibly ask what it was that I'd done.)
But rebirth? Being a baby? I wasn't sure I could do it again. Love another family, grown up to what would feel like a stranger's face in a stranger's home. I didn't think I was strong enough. Sure enough of myself. Smart enough it live like an ordinary human(?).
Oh please, at least let me be human.
But, back to the voices.
They were muffled and sometimes so quiet I understood nothing or thought I'd imagined them. I fidgeted to try and get some attention.
A pause and then a flurry of movement, excited babbling and a vague pressure of the area- stomach, my new mother's stomach- in front of me.
And the voices…I'm pretty sure that was Japanese.
Now, as I'd said earlier. I wasn't that smart. My cousin had visited Japan and my sisters had a thing for manga. I was more of an anime and fanfiction girl, mostly because it was easier and my parents disapproved. I most definitely did not know any Japanese. The most I knew was 'Nani?' and some Naruto terminology I'd picked up from various fics. I wasn't that smart, in all honesty. I'd struggled as a kid with the English language and then later with French enough to know that I wasn't going bilingual anytime soon. So, upon realising that I was quite possibly going to be slaving away for years trying to understand an incredibly complex language, that didn't even have the mercy of a similar alphabet, I kicked the skin in front of me as hard as I could.
Not the most mature option, I'll give you. But hey, I'm a baby.
Unfortunately for the sake of my temper, this only encouraged the excited babbling of Japanese.
This, I could tell, was going to be a long ride.
Now, I won't bore you too much with the next few month because, except for being the most vicious kicker, nothing happened.
Pretty sure I'd bruised my mum up plenty but, hey, I'd never claimed to be an angel.
Speaking of, if I didn't actually die after this life (a bit early to be thinking this way I grant you, but still) I swore I was going to be the biggest troll ever conceived. Or a megalomaniac. Either one, depending on how far my sanity would last me.
I'd be good in this life though, I promise.
I'd had months now, however, to get myself sorted. Although I'd yet to actually face the real reality of human interaction, I had cried most of my tears already (mostly figuratively, I was in the womb of course) and gotten over the worst of my grief. I knew that these would really be my parents and this body would be mine, no matter how different it may end up looking. I had to believe that this was my body, that I'd not been forced into someone else and killed them in some way. I'd reasoned that such a process would be illogical; nothing had been special or wrong about my death so who could say if this didn't happen to everyone. Apparently, the rebirth theories had it right.
I had also briefly wondered if I was in a coma, locked inside some sick fantasy in my own head. That thought was mercifully and quickly discarded. I had no reason to believe this wasn't real and enough issues without adding 'existential crisis' to the pile.
So, here I was, drifting along for months. Aside from kicking I'd not really moved much. The thought of moving my little half-formed body before it was ready was deeply terrifying; the last thing I wanted to was to give myself irreparable damage in the womb. My mum had been a nurse and my grandmother a midwife; I knew enough horror stories about twisted umbilical cords to never want to touch mine. Ever.
It was incredibly boring. Up until the contractions started.
Oh shit, nope.
I immediately wished for the boring to return now, please.
It was the most bizarre sensation. Ever. It was worse because I knew I would never forget this. How…embarrassing.
It was like a vacuum, everything moving and contracting downwards and I was so terrified I wanted to scream right alongside my mother. That kind of background noise really wasn't helping me chill.
It went on for ages and it was so bad I blacked out a few times. I really didn't blame newborns for being so screamy and red. I was definitely going to be voicing my displeasure. Loudly.
For hours – it felt like years – my mother screamed and pushed and screamed some more. In Japanese. I could only hope they were colourful swears at my dad. On behalf of both of us, I could confirm it was all his fault.
After an age, something harsh and cold hit me in the face and then a sharp smack had me screaming in pain. I gasped and gulped at the new, colder stuff in my chest.
Air. I was breathing. It had been so long I forgot what it felt like to inhale and exhale, lungs and ribs expanding. In my previous life, I'd had a lung condition and never forgot the luxury of breathing freely on those days without an inhaler. I realised I'd stopped screaming, too busy drinking in the gloriously cool air to care. Something huge and warm was rubbing me, the materially inching my sensitive -too sensitive, everything hurts- skin. I thought I was surely be bleeding.
I felt then that we were moving but the hands weren't enough, surely they were going to drop me! I was too small to survive such a thing and found myself screaming at the thought all over again. I couldn't help but cry louder when I was wrapped firmly in what must've been swaddling, limbs trapped so tight I knew that if I was dropped now, nothing would save me.
I'd thought I'd be mature and reasonable about this. But I didn't trust anyone here, not with my helpless body. I felt so unsafe, I could be hurt at any moment.
That was when I was curled up against something soft and warm. By the feel of it, it must have been my mother's chest. Her hair brushed my face as she cooed at me softly in that foreign language. Earlier the sound had made me angry, evidence of my own helplessness. Now, …it just felt strangely familiar, from all those months curled up in her body.
This was my mother. And I wanted to see her.
Cracking open my eyes way a trial and a half, the world a watery blur of colour (like that time I'd gone under in the swimming pool and vowed to never again swim without goggles). Her face was so close to mine though that I could almost see it.
She was…pretty. And mercifully human. And normal looking. Her skin was pale under the hospital lights (yes! Electricity and healthcare!), her golden brown hair sticking to her forehead and brushing her shoulders. Her eyes, exhausted but still essentially happy, were dark blue. Her smile was trembling but still warm.
Her face moved from mine, chin tilted up and I automatically followed her gaze. To the man.
Oh, hey, dad.
Where mum had been normal, dad wasn't so much.
Oh, he looked fine, albeit a bit on the unfairly handsome side of life (dark hair, deep chestnut eyes, and tanned skin). But it was the green bodywarmer and metal headband which had me screaming out once more.
A flack jacket and hitai-ate. With a leaf. As in, Konoha. As in, Naruto.
Queue more screaming.
Could you get any more cliché?
So, as I was screaming out for the Shinigami (when in Narutoverse, pray to Naruto gods) to come reap my soul, my hopefully-just-a-dedicated-cosplayer father stepped closer and relieved my deeply unhappy person from my exhausted mother.
I was too furious at the universe to feel guilty.
A gentle humming and shushing from aforementioned father gradually interrupted my hatefest. His voice felt wonderful beside my ear, a bit like Sher Kan from the original Jungle Book. As lovely and soft as my mother had been, I was instantly a fan of my father's deep rolling baritone. Even if I didn't understand anything he was saying.
I supposed I could forgive him his job if he kept that up for a while longer.
I mean, ninjas, as cool as they were in anime, were actual mercenary killers.
I'd also taken too many politics modules not to be able to acknowledge that I was now living under a military dictatorship and that, no matter where I was in canon, I would see War in my lifetime.
I didn't really want to think about it too much.
Thankfully, Dad provided a timely interruption. He said something, a lot to my mum and a fair bit directed at me. I mean, even if I was a real baby, I still wouldn't understand? Rude. Baby talk was always cute; now it was just an aggravating tease. I was almost tempted to try speaking English (even though I knew I'd mangle it with no teeth and no practice) but I couldn't risk it. Even if it could be excused as baby talk, all languages had a rhythm to them that made them sound like actual languages and not just random noises. Ninja's were incredibly suspicious; I couldn't risk anything.
I'd already resigned myself to never speaking of my former life to anyone, ever.
I could have claimed that it was a part of who I was and I had to tell the people I would come to love. Nope, not in my book. I'd had a lot of thinking time, stuck in my mum's belly. This was my life now and I doubted my previous would have any influence. And I was just asking to get killed or shipped to a cell or labeled crazy. No proof I could provide would give me any protection. And yeah people did it in the OC fics all the time and it worked out ok!
But this wasn't a fic. This was my life.
I couldn't live it like all those stories I'd read. Life didn't work that way.
And I told myself I wasn't that stupid.
It was at that point that Dad said something else to me, lips brushing a kiss over my head. "-ru-chan" I caught. I guess I'd been named...
At least I was born a girl again. I definitely didn't want to learn how to pee standing up.