If you're reading this, I have failed at Blaugust, and am even now looking for a swiftly flowing stream...
This is a Naruto / Hikaru No Go plot bunny that came to me in the middle of the night and just wouldn't go away until I wrote it down. I am sharing it with you all because I am a terrible person, and also because I'm perversely proud of it. If you haven't read Hikaru No Go, do yourself a favour and borrow it from your local library, it's the best manga about a Go-playing ghost around. If you haven't read Naruto, congratulations. If you've read neither, this will probably not make that much sense to you.
The basic idea is that the first chapters of Hikago will form a kind of prologue to Naruto, the insei chapters will correspond with Naruto's passage through the ninja academy, and then the Pro exam will be approximately equivalent to the Chunin exam. By this point I expect the universe to be so hideously malformed that it will collapse in on itself and explode, but if that ever happens we'll blame it on the 'Eye of the Moon' plan.
The sun set on a regular peaceful day like any other in Kohonagakure. Trainee ninja terrorised escaped family pets, friends casually attacked each other with lethal weapons; and in the civilian quarter, two teenagers explored a storage shed.
"Hikaru, are you sure about this?"
"Grandpa won't mind, he never even comes out here, he won't notice if we borrow some old junk."
Sure, Hikaru didn't plan on ever returning them, but Akari didn't need to know that. There was a lot of junk in his grandfather's shed, back-issues of magazines piled to the attic roof, old sports equipment littered the floor, he'd never find out if Hikaru acquired a few things. A boy had to live, after all.
Once he edged carefully past the piles near the door, Hikaru found the good stuff, some antique-looking gobans (too heavy to move easily), a set of illustrated hard-bound novels by someone called "The Great Jaraiya-Sama" (too embarrassing to properly examine in front of Akari), and a non-descript, but obviously ancient, scabbard.
"Hey Akari, check this out! Man, my grandpa must have been a total bad-ass when he was younger" he called out as he drew a sword almost as tall as himself out of the scabbard. Even in the dingy half-light of the shed, it was clear that the sword had a razor edge.
"Hikaru! Be careful with that! You could put your eye out!"
"Weird, it's got this strange stain on it, have a look..."
"Don't point it at me! All I can see is a huge sword waving in my face!"
"Look, it's right there. It's looks like dried blood or something..."
You can see the stain?
"Whoa! Who is it? If you're a burglar you'd better watch out! I'm armed... and dangerous!"
"Keep that thing away from me! If you screw up my haircut, Hikaru, I'll never forgive you!"
Can you hear my voice?
"I mean it! Show yourself!"
"I'm out of here before you poke your eye out or something and try to blame me!" Akari disappeared out of the shed, leaving her friend alone to wonder if he'd just imagined the mysterious voice. He didn't have to wonder for long.
Hikaru felt bewilderment and fear rising up in him as a humanoid shape appeared out of nowhere in front of him, filling his vision. He struggled to keep on top of his emotions, but he didn't do anything dumb and girly like fainting away. Even if neither he nor anyone he knew was a ninja, people appearing out of thin air was a common occurrence in the Village Hidden in the Leaves, it was practically a leaf ninja signature move, after all. Besides, he had a sword.
Thankyou, kami-sama. I will now return to the living world.
Hikaru might have been confronted in his grandfather's shed by the sudden appearance of a strangely-dressed woman (or man?), but he was still an inquisitive twelve-year-old boy. Encouraged by the comforting weight of the sword in his hand, he asked the first thing that popped into his head.
"The living world? Where were you before?"
I was...elsewhere. It is a long story.
"We've got time, you're not going anywhere until you tell me what you're going here."
Oh? It would obvious to anyone that follows the way of the sword that you have no idea what you are doing with that. And even if you did..."/ the man moved towards him passing straight through the sword and Hikaru to the other side, /"...I am a spirit. An earthly sword will not harm me.
"You're a...a spirit...a ghost?"
Please allow to me introduce myself. I am Fujiwara No Sai. When I lived, long, long ago, I was a tutor to the Emperor in swordsmanship and martial arts...
Hikaru sat in history class and tried not to look too bored.
So, Sai, you were so sad when you couldn't teach any more that you killed yourself? You really like martial arts that much, huh?
Of course I do. When you're facing an opponent in combat, a rival, there's nothing else, just you and he. It's simple and beautiful, like Go.
Go? That old man's game with the black and white stones? Talk about boring.
A game of the mind that is a reflection of battle. Strategy is the key to both.
Bah! They're both boring. I'm not going to play go, and I'm definitely not going to do any fighting. Martial arts is for losers and wannabe ninjas... Suddenly, Hikaru doubled over with a terrible pain in his stomach, like that time he hadn't noticed that he'd drunk week-old milk.
What the hell? I think I'm going to be sick! Sai, is that you?
Sorry! Sometimes when I feel strong emotions they flow over into my host.
Whoa. You were so sad about not being able to fight that you felt like you were going to chuck? You must really love martial arts.
I really do, Hikaru.
I thought you were taking over my body or something. Like a horror movie, you know.
I would never do that without your consent!
But you could, though, right?
I could, but only if you were willing for me to do so. I'm not strong enough to overcome your conscious control of your body.
This is weird. You've done this before, haven't you, Sai? Like, you've had other hosts before?
Once before. Hundreds of years ago now. There was a man called Bennosuke. I found him when he was very young, and we travelled all over Japan, fighting in many duels and battles. In his body, I met and fought many strong opponents...
"Shindo. Are you daydreaming again?" His teacher's voice interrupted their conversation.
"Ah...sorry. What were we doing again?"
"You were writing about the Heian period. And if you're not nearly done you're going to fail. Again."
"Don't worry, sensei! I'm on it!"
Hey Sai, what do you know about the Heian period?
The Heian period? But that was when I was alive. What do you want to know?
Great! How about you try taking over for a bit and write in the answers for me?
Hikaru, are you sure?
Hey, I can't do this myself, I never listen to this guy, he's really boring. It'd be nice to surprise my grandpa by actually passing history for once. I'll get my body back when I want it, right?
Of course. Very well, this will feel a little strange.
A sensation like an ice-pack being slipped inside his shirt filled Hikaru's whole body, and all of a sudden he was outside his own body, watching the back of his head from where Sai had been just moments earlier.
Weird. Really weird.
Do you want to switch back, Hikaru?
No, I'm ok, I think. Besides, I have to get something handed up at the end of this lesson.
It took him a little while, but eventually he got more used to it, and settled down to watch Sai fill in his assignment with flowing and intricate calligraphy that was so foreign to Hikaru's habitual scrawl that it might have been another language altogether. Something about the Emperor and his concubines... Hehe. His teacher and his grandpa wouldn't know what hit them.
Hikaru's teacher had been putting off the chore of marking the last paper in the stack for an hour now. It wasn't that Hikaru was a bad student, exactly, he was just easily distracted, and one more graphic description of a soccer match allegedly occurring between rival armies might be enough to ensure a fail mark for the term, or give his teacher a mental breakdown. Taking a deep breath and steeling himself for the worst, he turned it over and began to read...
The sound of chair and body hitting the ground brought the teachers from the nearby offices running.
As he doubled back to look for whatever had distracted Sai this time, he found the spirit lurking in a tree looking over the old Uchiha compound. Everyone in the village, ninja and civilian, knew what had happened to the Uchiha.
Hikaru! Hikaru! Look at this!
Whoa. Sai, come down from there. People don't go near the compound! There's like a family of ghost ninjas haunting it and they might kill you or something.
But Hikaru, I'm already dead! And look, that boy seems to be alive.
Hikaru climbed up beside Sai to see what he was looking at. In a small maintained area in an otherwise overground training ground, Uchiha Sasuke was performing a kata at ever-increasing speeds, flinging his body around as he dispatched hordes of imaginary attackers.
Oh, yeah. That's the last Uchiha. His brother went mad a few years back and killed everyone else in his whole clan.
Look in his eyes! Like a hawk ready to pounce on its prey! For one so young to be so committed to the arts of war...ooh!
He's a ninja! Bred and trained from birth as a killing machine. And you want to fight him?!
Yes! Oh, can I?
If you get beat up, won't it hurt me?
Hikaru! Trust me. I'll look after your body, just let me fight him!
Well, if you can do my history homework for me, I guess I can at least let you have one little spar. Just be careful with my body, OK?
Hikaru leapt down from the tree and fought his way through the undergrowth to the training ground.
"Hey, Uchiha. Fight me!"
Talk about out of practice. All I can say is that most thirteen year-olds write better than I do, and I'm sure that I wrote better when I was thirteen too. I am truly sorry.