Participant: Aburame Konosuke
Reward Requested: LP
In the middle of the training field on the very edges of Konoha, a certain fifteen-year-old Genin from the Aburame Clan stood sweating and breathing hard in front of a beaten-up training post. For the past eighteen hours, he had been doing nothing but pure Taijutsu to the poor piece of wood, which now looked like it had been hit by Isshi Resshin three times.
Konosuke felt as if he was about to drop dead. There was almost no energy left in his body, and he felt like he would collapse at any given moment. Had a Medic-nin looked at him at this time, they would have been astounded to see that he had injured nothing, except perhaps for some pain in his knuckles from continuously punching a log. Despite what would seem to almost any other person as Hell, the Genin continued to barrage the training post with all manner of punishing fighting maneuvers, ignoring everything around him, and his protesting muscles.
He was about to deliver as strong a kick as he could in this state, when his leg suddenly stopped in midair, which confused the sin out of him. He slowly turned his head, his tired eyes moving towards the irritation that had caused him to lose his concentration on his goal of training himself into oblivion. The “irritation” was none other than his father, Aburame Takeshi.
“Konosuke, what is the meaning of this foolishness? You left almost an entire day ago, without telling a soul where you were going, what you were doing, or why. I demand an explanation.” Konosuke grunted, and snapped his foot out of his father’s hold, and dropping his fighting stance.
“I came out here to give myself plenty of time to think. I’m fine, so please go home. I will probably be back in about six hours, so don’t worry. I need to be alone for a while.” Konosuke felt a pressure on his head, and was forced to the ground by the strong arm of his father. “You will train no longer until you explain to me what has gotten into you.”
Konosuke cleared his throat, announcing to Takeshi that he was going to begin the explanation. His father just stared at Konosuke’s sunglasses, as if trying to peer into his son’s soul and find the answer himself. “I came out here to think. About… why I ever decided to become a ninja. I am aware of the fact that there are very few people who aren’t or who have never been ninja in Konoha, or any of the other villages. But I could still have chosen to do something different. However, I was driven and determined to become a Shinobi. Why is that, I wonder.”
His father’s mouth was open slightly, and he looked as if he was having some trouble getting oxygen. Finally, he was able to speak.
“You would never be able to be anything but a ninja! It is in our family’s blood, it is our entire reason for giving our bodies to the Kikai bugs. We have no purpose in life, with the exception of serving Konoha to the best of our abilities.”
Konosuke wouldn’t accept this as an answer. “Damnit, that isn’t true, and you ought to know that, father! You should know very well that every person has choices in their life, and they can easily decide what to do with that life that they are given! You and mother! She was from Iwagakure, the village that hated the Leaf, and a clan that despised ours! And yet, you both chose to marry of your own free will. You could have killed one another at any time because of the feud, and yet, you did not!”
Konosuke’s father couldn’t look his son in the eyes and tell him the truth. He just couldn’t. It would kill his son to know how his mother really passed away. It was no accident. She wasn’t killed by disease.
Aburame Takeshi looked back on the event with sadness…
Takeshi stood before the Hokage, and waited to hear what the Fire Shadow wanted him to do. It seemed serious; he had been summoned very urgently. The Hokage took a deep intake from his pipe, before blowing the smoke out from his mouth.
“Aburame Takeshi. Your mission is to be right here in Konoha. Yet, it is still an extremely vital mission to our safety. And, I am afraid, you will be losing someone very dear to you.” Takeshi didn’t say a word behind his ANBU mask. He couldn’t. He was too terrified to hear what he would be doing that would end in the death of a loved one.
The Sandaime spoke again, instantly increasing the tension in the Aburame’s mind and body.
“This is a matter of your wife, Aburame Sayuri. You know as well as I that she is from Iwagakure, whom we still have strained relations with. Unfortunately, I have been pressured from the Council of Elders, who believe her to be a spy, into ordering a quiet assassination. I am sad to say, you are the only one who can get close to her without arousing suspicion.”
Takeshi stood suddenly, and slammed his fists onto the Hokage’s desk, then walked out silently. As he walked out the door, Takeshi heard the Sandaime say, in a low voice, “I’m sorry, Takeshi…”
Three Days Later
Aburame Takeshi, dressed in his ANBU uniform, stood over his wife’s lifeless body, crying into his hands, which were tainted red with her blood. The senbon he had used to halt her movement were still lodged in her arm and leg joints, and the sword he had impaled her with was still stuck through her chest, pinning her to the wall.
“S-Sayuri… please, no, God please…” He pleaded, though no one was around to hear his crying and begging.
She was given a funeral, but the body they used was a log made to look like her through the use of a Jutsu. The real body was first inspected, to check for any secrets that could be exploited to the Leaf’s advantage, and when none were found, the body was disassembled and burned, leaving no trace that she had ever existed. No one could be allowed to know how she had really died because she was a suspected spy, so Takeshi was ordered to inform anyone that asked that she had died of illness.
Konosuke’s father could feel the tears welling up as he remembered the worst and most regretful moment of his life. It had been discovered shortly afterwards that Sayuri hadn’t been a spy, because the Konoha ANBU squads found the real source of confidential information leaks: a man who was under a disguise jutsu, from none other than Iwa.
Takeshi had been ordered to kill his own wife, and there hadn’t even been a point to it, in the end. Sure, Konoha had tried to help him. His pay was doubled, the Aburame were given a new clan mansion, and he received free services and goods from many shop owners, who did their best to help him through it and give him their condolences for his loss of Sayuri. All their kindness did to him was to make him feel sick and guilty for what he had done.
Konosuke saw a tear slide down his father’s cheek from under his shades, and said, “Alright father, now it’s your turn. You forced me to tell you what is on my mind, so what is bothering you?”
Takeshi shook his head, a sign that showed that he would not reveal the secret in his heart, and started to walk away.
“Hey, wait! You told me to explain, so you do the same!” Konosuke’s father turned back to look at him, and said, “I can’t possibly tell you now. Please wait a couple of more years, and I will tell you.” Takeshi placed his hands together, made two hand signs, and disappeared in a storm of whirling tree leaves.
Konosuke growled, and went over to the tree where his Kyodai Sensu, which he had inherited from his mother, laid on its side, folded. He held the oversized wind weapon in his hands and began polishing the glossy, dark wood handle. He said to himself, and the fan, “Mother, what is father thinking? What’s the secret he’s hiding?”
He stopped polishing the fan and leaned back against the tree he was sitting near. “Well, I guess I was interrupted from my training, so I suppose I should put some real thought into what it was I came out here to think about.”
He let his head rest on his chest, and started to think about why he decided to become a Shinobi instead of anything else. Of all the things he could become, why a ninja? ‘Could it be because I wanted exactly what father expected of me, because he expected it of me? Or was there a deeper reason? I know that my life goal so far has been to make the Aburame Clan more prominent. As its heir, it’s my duty to. But I know there was something else…’
It seemed that the harder he thought about it, the faster the answer slipped away from him. Finally, the answer, or, more appropriately, answers, flooded back to him. He had decided on his own to become a ninja for various reasons. One was to prove himself a worthy heir to the clan. The second was to strengthen himself in all aspects. The third was that the girl who gave him his gold ponytail ring, a Hyuuga from his Ninja Academy days, had become a ninja as well, and he hoped to someday become close with her. The last reason was to make sure that everyone in his village was protected and happy, kept safe from the ravages of the war at hand.
He held his hand up in front of his face, and inspected it. It was calloused, scarred, bloody from his abuse of the training post earlier, and was almost entirely covered in bruises. It hurt just to look at it, not to mention clenching it into a fist again. Lowering the hand that was in such bad shape, he looked himself over, taking in every mar and flaw that had been beaten into his body through extensive training.
Konosuke had never noticed before, but his lightly tanned skin was covered in scars, most of them from slight wounds, though there were some that had been from powerful blows, and had required a run to the hospital. It almost made him smile.
‘Heh heh. I guess I pretty much live to hurt, and yet, I still enjoy it. It must be something you get from the job. High tolerance, and gradual acceptance of pain.’ He stood, and walked back over to the training post that he had almost worked to the point where it cracked and fell apart. Shifting his body into an attack stance, he prepared to demolish the wooden post.
He performed Senpuu three times, then finished by delivering two backhand punches to opposite sides of the log. Stepping back, he got ready for another round with the wooden pole. In Konosuke’s mind, the post was taunting him, daring and wagering with him to get stronger. And he wouldn’t let the post win the wager.
He didn’t have much energy left, having used most of it before his father came, but he had just enough for a huge combination of moves that he called “Typhoon”. He disappeared temporarily, then reappeared at the base of the training post, with one hand up in the air, one foot on the ground, one hand on the ground, and his other foot kicking the training post into the air. He crouched on all fours, and used the force of all his limbs to shoot him up into the air. He hovered below the training post, and pressed his right index finger against the side of the wood that was facing him. He smirked at it, imagining the frightened look of an enemy instead of the smooth wooden texture.
He kicked the log higher into the air, and when it came back down to where he was, he performed another Senpuu technique. In the process, he latched onto the log with his foot, swinging it around so that it was positioned underneath him. Holding his fan in his right hand, he swung it with all his might, performing Kamaitachi. The training post was swept up into a slashing tornado that quickly threatened to pulverize it. But Konosuke wouldn’t allow that.
He pulled out two kunai and placed one in each hand, and positioned himself for a dive back to Earth. And dive he did, angling for the log. As he passed by it, he rotated his body very quickly and blindingly, making himself into a tornado of blades.
Konosuke landed on the ground below, rather painfully, due to his already sore muscles, and the fact that the fall was a rather long one. The training post landed behind him, and upon impacting with the ground, scattered into cleanly cut one centimeter-by-one centimeter cubes.
Konosuke stood straight and placed his kunai back into his holster, and looked back at his handiwork. “And that was the Typhoon combo. Well, that should feed the termites for quite awhile. Whoever owns this training ground won’t be too happy, though. It seems I destroy their equipment on an almost daily basis.”
He shrugged his shoulders, strapped his Kyodai Sensu to his back, and walked back to his house. He needed a lot of rest now, after about nineteen or twenty hours of pure training.