Here are a ton of new chapters. I'd really love some comments from you guys, especially people who know the original story.
The hollow was at the base of the tree, more like a gap in the roots. After Misa set him down in the entrance, Moshiro took a good look around. There were signs of human use everywhere. The floor was clean, with a pile of debris in one corner. He guessed that was her bed. A dirty, patched backpack was sitting in a corner beside a tall walking stick that looked like it could be a fishing pole too. There was a ring of stones outside that looked like a fire pit. A small rabbit pelt was pegged to the side of one of the entrance roots, drying out so she could use it as another patch on the backpack, which she was presently rummaging through.
When she turned back towards him, she had something white and glistening in her hand. She came towards him and began to drape the stuff around him. “What is that?” He asked. “It feels good.”
She talked as she worked. “It’s spider web. I collect and keep it for bedding and storing stuff, but it works this way too.” She kept wrapping until there were about three layers over his shoulder wound. “Now help me with your leg. You’ll have to tell me what to do.”
He’d been dreading this. “You’ll want to give me something to bite down on. The first part is pretty painful.” She went outside and brought back a twig. He took it in his good hand and then laid down. He continued. “First, you’ve got to pull the leg so the parts of broken bone line up with each other. After that, you make a splint by tying four straight sticks around the broken spot and binding them to the leg. That should be good enough to get me home.” He bit down hard on the stick and talked through the corner of his mouth. “I’m ready.”
Misa took his foot in her hands and pulled. He screamed around the twig, but the worst of the pain was over in about ten seconds. Then the Human Animal-no, Misa- was running around outside the hollow, looking for straight sticks. She came back with six, bound them to his leg using the rabbit skin she’d been curing and more of that spider web. She put the fur side in, which felt wonderful on his irritated skin. As she started going out again, he asked “Where are you going?”
She turned to look back at him, and replied, “I’m going to get dinner. You need to eat to regain your strength and get back some of the blood you lost. A good meal and a night’s rest should have you back on your way to the village.” With that, she jumped straight up into the trees and leaped away.
Moshiro sat up and felt his leg. The set, splint, and bandaging were pretty good for a first try. He’d been treated by the Human Animal! This was going to make one heck of a story for the other guys. But he should look around more, get more details. The walking stick and bed looked innocent enough, but that pack was begging to be investigated. At first, he didn’t find anything interesting, just things like a wooden needle, dried meats, and a few different herbs and leaves. But them he felt something papery in his hand, and pulled it out.
It was birch bark covered in berry stains. He looked closer, and words came into focus. They were written like a poem, or maybe song lyrics.
All night and day I search and look
For that one place from which they took
Me in the night, to separate
Me from my brother. Them I hate.
For those blue eyes and that blonde hair
For that I travel everywhere
In search of Naruto, so sweet.
I hope my brother I will meet.
There was more, but Moshiro didn’t get the chance to finish it, because Misa snatched it out of his hands. She glowered at him. “Why were you going through my things?” He tried to come up with a believable lie. She raised her voice to a shout. “Answer me!”
“Okay.” He put his hands up. “I saw a rat crawling into you pack, and I thought I”
“You’re lying!” She hit him across the face. “I would have heard a rat in here. Now tell me the truth! What were you doing?!”
Moshino hung his head. “I’m sorry. I got so wrapped up in how good the story would sound to all my friends that I wanted to know more. More about you. So I started looking around.” He pointed at the birch bark in her hand. “That’s very beautiful. Did you write that?”
She relaxed a little. He was telling the truth now, she could see it in the tilt of his head, hear it in his heartbeat. It was relaxed now, not so fast-paced. She decided to tell him about the song. “Yes, I did, and every word’s true. I was thrown out of my village after my brother was born and my parents died protecting him.”
“Is he the one in the song?” She nodded.
“I should start getting dinner ready.” She turned away quickly.
Before she turned her back to him, he saw the wetness beginning to pool in her eyes. Him and his stupid need to impress people! He shouldn’t have made her remember something so terrible. He had to think of something to make her feel better. Then he remembered one of the items in his pack. He crawled over to it, wincing as he did. That leg just wouldn’t leave him alone. When he reached it, he pulled out his flute and started playing.
She stopped mashing the acorns and looked at him. “What’s that?”
“A flute. It makes music.” She was adorable when she was curious. “What would you like me to play?”
She blushed, although Moshiro couldn’t see it through the fur. “I don’t know any songs.”
“Really? Then allow me to teach you some. I know plenty. Everyone at the Sound Village knows at least a few.” He started with “The Wanderer”, and she joined in on the refrains and eventually learned the whole song. Once she was singing it on her own, he joined in with the flute music. She had a beautiful voice that blended well with the flute. They sang all through dinner and way past midnight.
Misa woke up on the floor of the hollow. Moshiro was still asleep in her bed. She went over to check on him. The leg looked better, but blood was showing on the bandage. She sang in his ear to wake him up. “Rise and shine, and give all you glory, glory.”
He woke up at the beginning of the second glory. “What?”
She pointed at his shoulder. “We need to bandage that again. It bled through during the night. Besides, I didn’t want you waking up alone while I was getting breakfast.” She pulled another roll of spider web from her pack and began gingerly removing the bandage.
It hurt, but not as much as taking the shirt off yesterday had. The would looked much better underneath too. You could clearly see the slash, and the skin surrounding it looked fairly healthy. Misa started wrapping around the fresh bandage. “Do you think you’ll be alright?”
He nodded. “The skin around the cut looks healthy, and there’s so sign of an infection. I should be alright. Do we need to check my leg too?”
“No. There’s no blood or pus on that bandage. Do you think you can manage not to go through my things again while I’m gone?”
He said yes, and she pounced off into the woods. He still couldn’t belive that she could jump straight up like that.
Once outside the hollow, she tuned out the natural sights and sounds so she could tune into anything unexpected. Bears were bellowing over by the river. That’s right! The salmon were running this time of year, and the bears were gathering. She could get some good fish, and if she was lucky, bear meat. Bears never gathered in numbers like this without there being casualties. Both were hearty dishes, which would be good for Moshiro. She headed for the river.
The bears hadn’t gotten into any fights yet, but there was plenty of fish in the river. Misa didn’t need a pole or net for this sort of thing. She just stood by a particularly fast patch of rapids, and when the salmon tried to jump it, she caught them with one hand and speared the fish through the eye with a Kunai.
She went back to the hollow with a catch of ten, and found Moshiro sitting right where she’d left him. Obviously, he had learned his lesson. She skinned and fileted the fish, then spread out seven of them for drying and cut the remaining three into long strips. “I hope you like your fish raw.” She said, turning with a leaf full of salmon bits wrapped in different greens. Even the Human Animal liked to do things prettily every once in a while.
They sat and ate together. Moshiro watched her intently. She didn’t have any real manners, but she didn’t wolf down the food or act unpleasantly during the meal. She would have disgraced herself on a date, but she could have managed a family meal just fine.
Misa waited for him to finish the food, then asked the question that had been burning in her. “Do you remember that thing you were playing last night?”
“You mean my flute?” He reached behind him and picked it up. “It’s not a very pretty instrument, but it sounds alright. Would you like to hear something from last night?”
Misa shook her head. “Actually, I was wondering if you could tell me where I could get one. It’s very pretty.”
“I made it. It takes a while.” Her face fell. “But…” She looked back up. “If you came with me when we went back to the village, I could buy you one. The store-made ones are much better quality, and it’s the least I can do after you saved me yesterday.”
“Then you think you’re strong enough to get going?”
“That depends. How far are we from the village?”
She thought for a second, calculating the distance. “It’s about two times farther than the distance we walked yesterday.” She looked at him, her brows drawn together with worry. “Do you really think I should go with you?”
He nodded enthusiastically. “Everyone’s going to want to meet you. You could stay with my family, there’s more than enough room. My family’s pretty well-off so it’s not like you’d be a burden.” He could see her leaning towards the idea, smelling it, tasting the prospect. She just needed one more push. “There are some things about music that only we know. Maybe if you stayed long enough, we could teach them to you.”
That did it. When Moshiro got ready to go back to the village, he wasn’t the only one packing. With one of his arms over her shoulder and her walking stick for a crutch, the two of them made their way into the Village of the Sound.
When they reached the front gates, Misa jerked back, letting go of Moshiro’s arm. “Are you sure about this?” She was scared. She hadn’t been in a real town since she was four. What if she acted weird or they thought she was dangerous?
He took her hand in his good one. “I know you’ve had bad experiences before. I get it. It’s natural to be scared, but you have to remember.” He pointed at the main gates and said. “Everyone in that village is waiting for you. So no matter what you do, they’ll still be happy to see you.”
She was still scared, but she grabbed his arm, slung it back over her shoulder, and walked through the gates. There was a lookout post near the gate, with two men on duty. They saw her. Misa expected fright or hostility. Instead, they gasped in amazement and called out. “Moshiro, is that…”
He smiled and nodded. “Would you tell my family I’m back? I’ve got to go to the hospital first, but I’ll be stopping in later. Tell them to expect a guest.”
One of the men bolted from his post, headed in the direction of the residential district. He ran into Moshiro’s mother a few blocks away, in the marketplace. “Hello Kurita. Weren’t you on guard duty at the front gate?”
“Yes.” Said Kurita, panting. “Moshiro’s back. He brought someone with him.”
Haruhi, Moshiro’s mother, asked “Thank goodness. I was beginning to worry. Was he alright? Who was with him?”
“The Human Animal, orange skin and all!” A grin spread across his face as he say the delight and surprise spreading across her face. “She’s probably the reason he made it home at all. He said he was going to the hospital, but that he’d drop by later and to expect company.”
“In that case, I’d better buy extra! Thank you for coming to tell me. You should probably tell the Mizukage about the Human Animal, he’ll probably want to honor her somehow.” Kurita agreed, and tore off toward village headquarters.
Meanwhile, Misa and Moshiro made their way towards the hospital. As they went, people stopped to stare. Misa noticed, and got more and more nervous. She gripped his wrist tighter and tighter.
Moshiro flinched. “Are you planning to strangle my hand?” He said, half joking.
She immediately loosened her grip. “I’m sorry. It’s just that everyone’s staring. Am I really that unusual?”
“Are you kidding? You’re orange, dressed entirely in hide, and beautiful, not to mention a hot topic of conversation for almost three years. You’re the type of story everyone loves, and now you’re here in person! Of course they’re staring!”
She giggled a bit at her nervousness. She’d been away from others for so long that it had made her reclusive and shy. Misa hoped that wouldn’t last long. She didn’t want to cause Moshiro trouble, and it would be good to have friends again.
When they got to the courtyard in front of the hospital, they faced a dilemma. Moshiro had to go in to get his injuries treated more expertly, but he couldn’t leave Misa out here all alone. He looked at her, about to ask her what she thought they should do, when a pack of kids ran up the street and crowded around them.
One sharp voice rose above the general clamor. “Brother, you’re back!”
Moshiro shouted “Hiro!” And started digging through the crowd of children, eventually coming up with a boy about five years old with black hair. ”What have you been getting into, Hiro? You’re covered in scrapes.”
“I’ve been defending the village!” The little boy puffed out his chest. He looked so cute, Misa could have hugged him. Then he looked over and pointed at Misa. “Is she the Human Animal?”
The clamor immediately died down as the kids waited for the reply. Moshiro paused for dramatic effect, then whispered “Yes.”
The courtyard exploded. All the kids started talking at once, bombarding Misa with questions.”
“Where are you staying?”
“Why’s your fur orange?”
“Did you really fight a bear?”
“Can you come to my house?”
They started climbing on Misa, grabbing her hands, legs, shorts, and anything else they could get their little hands on. One even made his way onto her back, with his arms around her neck. Misa shouted to Moshiro, laughing hard. “Moshiro! Get them off me!”
Moshiro had on a huge smile. “Sorry Misa, you’re on your own this time. Hiro, make sure to take her home with you when you’re done playing with her.” He headed into the hospital, leaving Misa to the tickle torture and endless questions.