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     Ryuishi's Unit — The Kiri no Kaijuu 

Tropes applying to all three of the Kaijuu

  • Child Prodigy: They’re all extremely dangerous for their (apparent, in Ryuishi’s case) age.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Ryuishi never intended to become close to the boys. After some time on the front lines, they’re inseparable.
  • Improbable Age: It’s in keeping with canon, but when they head to the front lines and get their reputation as “Monsters of the Bloody Mist”, Kisame (the leader, already a chuunin) is the oldest at eleven, Zabuza is nine, and Ryuishi is seven. And Ryuishi burns down their village and becomes a missing-nin just four years later—at the age of eleven. This would be ridiculous in another setting, but this is the Naruto-universe, where Kakashi was a jounin even younger and Itachi massacred his clan at thirteen.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: The boys to Ryuishi. As soon as she resolves to leave them, she has a complete mental breakdown.
  • Making a Splash: All three have the water affinity common to Hidden Mist, and all three use a lot of water jutsu in battle.
  • Parental Substitute: Zabuza and Ryuishi to Haku. And also Kisame to Itachi, in a way; when preparing to defect from Akatsuki he notes that he basically raised his partner.
  • True Companions: They’re not the healthiest surrogate family, but they definitely care about each other.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: Set up as such, like most Naruto-verse three-person teams. Eventually subverted. Their original closeness fits, including Zabuza’s eventual attraction to Ryuishi and the way Kisame seems to treat her as a sister. But there’s no rivalry between the guys, and the Love Triangle trope seems to be absent except as a brief joke… And then Ryuishi deserts the village. Zabuza resolves to not allow her to outpace him in strength, while Kisame promises to find her and get answers, and possibly revenge. At that point, in both their minds she has moved to the Rival Turned Evil part of the trope. (Zabuza’s and Kisame’s fantasies are closer, although wihtout the lancer betrayal part; they each cast themselves as the hero, the other boy as the next best warrior and their supporter, and Ryuishi as emotional, support sidelined from the action.)
  • Tyke Bomb: Ryuishi and Zabuza become genin—and frontline soldiers— at seven and nine respectively. Their unit commander Kisame is a chuunin at eleven. The child soldiers who survive the Bloody Mist are absolutely deadly; what they aren’t is stable, or necessarily loyal to the village.
  • With a Friend and a Stranger: At the beginning of the war arc, Ryuishi knows Zabuza very well (although “friendship” is pushing it) and had only met Kisame briefly some time ago. They quickly become inseparable.

Watanabe Ryuishi

  • Animal Motifs: Several, reflecting her deceptive and fragmented nature: snake, magpie, raven, cat. Notably, when Orochimaru meets her he picks up on her snake theme, but not the others, suggesting that he only sees her cold schemer and manipulator aspect, the part of her that’s most similar to him, rather than the other parts of her.
  • Bad Dreams: In one chapter opening, she wakes up dreaming of Kisame’s death in the anime. Another time she dreams of the dead children from the graduation, all with either Zabuza’s face or her beloved little sister’s.
  • Battle Strip: While fighting the teenaged Kakashi and Tenzo, she rips her shirt off. She knows that a real battle between the three of them could be horrifically destructive, so she tries to keep them off balance instead of allowing things to escalate too far.
  • The Chessmaster: She’s plotting the downfall of the entire ninja system. As well as many other things. So far, she’s successfully gathered an army, saved portions of four ninja clans (and recruited the survivors of three of those clans), and destroyed the power of one of the great villages.
  • Consummate Liar: Ryuishi sees herself as a liar first and foremost. This is eventually a source of trouble between her and Kisame: he still cares about her, but he finds that he can’t trust her because he isn’t sure she even knows what the truth is any more.
  • Cool Big Sis: To Gaara and Naruto. She inserts herself into their lives and provides affection and knowledge of the outside world.
  • Covered in Scars: Most of Ryuishi’s body is covered in scars, only a few of which are plot-relevant in any way. When Kakashi first sees the extent of her scarring, he realizes that he’s grateful to be from a village with a full staff of competent medic-ninja.
  • Cuddle Bug: Ryuishi has No Sense of Personal Space and tends to express her affection with lots of physical contact. Also, if Ryuishi likes you, she regards your bed as hers, even if she has one of her own.
  • Daughter of a Whore: The daughter of a civilian prostitute from Kiri.
  • Death by Irony: In her past life, she was a former drug addict who kicked the habit only to be killed by a broken morphine drip in the hospital.
  • Emotion Bomb: Her training match against Orochimaru reveals that this is why her genjutsu is so powerful: she overwhelms her target with emotions, usually from a scene in her life, and which keeps them stuck in her illusion until they reach the part of it with the Void.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Void in her veins is apparently this. Ryuishi herself may be more a case of Touched by Vorlons.
  • Friend to All Children: All might be pushing it, but Ryuishi has a serious soft spot for kids.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: From the POV of the loyal Kiri shinobi, she is this. She was born as the daughter of a whore and was so disregarded that her classified file referred to her by a number and not her name. And then she burned the village down in a single night.
  • Gambit Roulette: Ryuishi has many complicated plans, some of which outright contradict each other. Her goals include: overthrow the ninja system, save Kakashi, kill Kakashi if necessary to save Zabuza, save Zabuza’s and Kisame’s lives from their canon fates, befriend the jinchuuriki, kill Zetsu, return to her own dimension. She even gives Konoha some hints about her own weaknesses so that they can take her down if she goes too far.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Her friendship with Kakashi, as he’s a loyal Konoha shinobi and she is still a missing-nin. Of course, he’s under orders from the Hokage to get her on Konoha’s side, and while she genuinely likes him and wants to help him, she’s also planning to kill him if she has to do that to keep Zabuza alive.
  • I Have Many Names: Watanabe Ryuishi, Cat Frank, the Kiri no Ningyo, the Rakki Ryuu… She actually loses track of some of her names, forgetting that her identity as the candy woman in Suna is actually named “Risa”.
  • Man Bites Man: How she makes her first kill.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Mostly on a large scale, but she’s using the Mumei and planning to use Gaara and Naruto, even though she does care about them (especially the kids).
  • Master of Illusion: Her genjutsu is legendary. It isn’t subtle, but since it starts with an Emotion Bomb and ends with The Nothing After Death, it tends to successfully incapacitate her victims.
  • Morality Pet: In a way, Zabuza and Kisame are this to her. They’re not the only people she cares about, but they are the only ones she became close to by accident rather than as a part of her overarching plan, and their survival is one of her highest priorities. Later, Kakashi slips into a similar position: she saves his life partly because he was her sister’s favorite character, not because he has any particular importance to her plans, and she then goes out of her way to be his friend.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: In one of the fic’s lighter moments, Ryuishi realises that she (a grown woman’s mind in a seven-year-old’s body) has been making sexual jokes with and jokingly proposing marriage to a nine-year-old and an eleven-year-old. She is appalled and they are deeply confused; as far as they know she’s younger than them and has a crude sense of humor due to growing up in a brothel.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Ryuishi is very, very free with touch.
  • Oh My Gods!: She frequently swears by Earth deities, including Loki, Freyja, Hera, and the Buddha, among others.
  • Pet the Dog: Takes a drunk Kakashi home to his apartment, and later defends him against Mist hunter-nin. Many of her acts of kindness are actually part of her plots (helping the nameless gives her an army later on, befriending Gaara and Naruto as kids gives her strong future allies as well as some emotional support) but those are more or less spontaneous.
  • The Power of the Void: Ryuishi’s chakra is tainted by “the Void” through which she passed when she died and was reborn. It makes her chakra hard to look at, introduces existential despair to her genjutsu, and allows her to sense death. More usefully to her, it makes it impossible for Orochimaru to use her as a host body, as the Void in her chakra would destroy his soul if he tried it.
  • Red Baron: The Kiri/Chigiri no Ningyo, Mermaid of Bloody Mist. The name reflects her preference for fighting from underneath the water, but otherwise seems to have been chosen mostly to fit with the rest of her unit. Eventually it’s revealed in a side story that one of her Academy teachers is responsible for the name, and it reflects how totally the child Ryuishi creeped him out. More subtly, in the myths the ningyo causes destruction if removed from its environment; Ryuishi has wrecked absolute havoc on the Elemental Nations because she was unwillingly reincarnated there.
  • Reincarnation: Premise of the fic. She used to be a woman named Cat Frank.
  • Sanity Slippage: She’s been reincarnated in a deeply fucked-up world, trained as a child soldier, and sent to the front lines. She’s not at all well, although up until her battle with Kisame she hides it pretty well. As an adult, she clearly has PTSD but is coping well—as long as she has her psychological medication, because not all of her mental problems were caused by trauma.
  • Scars Are Forever: Most of Ryuishi’s scars are not relevant to the plot, but she has three that are remarked on often: the scar that goes from her hip down her thigh that Zabuza gave her (aiming for the spine) when she attacked him at the Academy massacre, the one on her ribs where Kisame just missed her heart when she deserted the Bloody Mist, and her slit throat from Orochimaru the time he got tired of her mouthing off to him. She also has electrical burns on her palms from her first meeting with Kakashi. Basically, she has one from all the main ninja in her life. (She also gave Zabuza a scar over his kidney at the Academy massacre, although Kisame escaped their last fight with only mental trauma.)
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: It becomes very clear when she meets and briefly travels with Killer B. She has trouble interpreting any gesture towards her as not an attack. It gradually becomes clear that Ryuishi has PTSD and has for a long time—it just went unnoticed in Kiri, because the Bloody Mist didn’t exactly put a high priority on mental health.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: She’s extremely foul-mouthed.
  • Taking the Bullet: She makes a habit of taking blows meant for “her boys”. They disapprove, because they think they’re more capable of taking those injuries than she is.
  • Weapon of Choice: Her meteor hammer. It makes her stand out from her teammates, who both prefer swords, as well as highlighting the fact that she’s much twistier and less direct than they are.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: She believes that the hidden village system is unjust to civilians, the lower classes, and children. In order to give the disenfranchised (and herself, a civilian-born ninja) more power over their lives, she has betrayed her closest friends, burned a Hidden Village to the ground, manipulated desperate people into a rebellion that cost many lives, and allied with one of the most dangerous missing-nin of her time. Of course, that’s just one of her motives: she also just wants to watch the world burn at this point, get revenge on it for hurting her and for just not being her world.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Ryuishi is terrified of beetles. At one point she thinks that if Kisame or Zabuza had known and taunted her with it, Kiri would have burned years earlier.
  • Would Not Hurt A Child: She tells Kakashi and Tenzou that for all the bad stuff she has done and will do in the future, she’s never killed a child. This is her one real moral rule for herself.

Momochi Zabuza

  • Ambiguous Disorder: He’s very literal minded, lacks empathy, and sees people as tools, himself included. Ryuishi is pretty sure he isn’t neurotypical, and Kisame worries that there might be something wrong with him, but since Kiri isn’t really big on mental health, just what is going on with him isn’t clear.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Zabuza has an unusual view of the world and people in general. Essentially, he sees people, himself included, as tools and tools need to be properly wielded, maintained, and cared for. If you don't or can't you deserve whatever terrible thing happens to you. This is the reason he doesn't blame Ryuishi for her actions against their village as in his eyes it was just her retaliating for their miss using not only herself, but so many of their tools.
  • I Just Want to Be Badass: His motivation in a nutshell. Zabuza values strength and not much else; he wants to become Kage simply because the Kage is the best ninja in the village, and later, he wants to become strong enough to deserve to “wield” his “tool” Ryuishi again.
  • I Will Find You: Promises Ryuishi this. It takes him years before he's willing to try though, because he views himself as unworthy of her without gaining the power and skill to "wield" her properly.
  • Lack of Empathy: He has no idea why Ryuishi is upset with him for slaughtering the Academy students. He also thinks of Ryuishi as his tool until they meet again as adults, when he’s grown enough to see her as a person.
  • Literal-Minded: Very much so as a child. His mentor attempts to give him The Talk. It goes badly because Zabuza doesn’t understand the metaphors involved, and briefly thinks that he may have gotten Ryuishi pregnant by stabbing her with a kunai. (Ryuishi eventually manages to clear things up.)
  • Meaningful Name: In Ryuishi’s stories, he is “Odayaka Oni”, Gentle Demon. This doesn’t fit the younger Zabuza at all, but he seems to be slowly growing into it in his treatment of Haku.
  • Pet the Dog: “The Medallion” reveals that he treated Haku better than anyone else up to that point, partly because of things he learned from his earlier relationship with Ryuishi.
  • Simpleminded Wisdom: Adult Zabuza is surprisingly full of this. He's hardly stupid, he's a rouge hunter-nin after all, but his views on the world are rather simple. He also curbs a lot Ryuishi's self-destructive tendencies by simply being straightforward and not allowing her to over complicate things.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: By the time he and Ryuishi meet again, Zabuza has made the leap of logic that she isn’t a tool but a person, and a person he cares about. He’s also much kinder to Haku than he was to Ryuishi in their childhood, despite considering them both his tools.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: All three of the “unit” exhibit this, but Zabuza is the worst of the lot (and Ryuishi at least has the excuse of not actually being a child.)
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Zabuza really does not see the point of shirts.

Hoshigaki Kisame

  • Blood Knight: Grows up to be one, although he’s not there yet when he first appears.
  • Irony: He’s obsessed with honesty and loyalty, so of course he’s childhood friends with a girl who lies constantly.
  • I Will Find You: He promises himself that he’ll find Ryuishi again. Even Kisame isn’t sure if he wants answers or revenge.
  • Meaningful Name: When Ryuishi tells Naruto the stories about her unit, she calls Kisame “Chūjitsuna Same”— Loyal Shark. This becomes the Mumei’s name for him.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: While he's more of an Anti-Villain at the time, he has no idea what he's doing by denying Ryuishi her psych meds, but she's the one who pays the price. Of course, Ryuishi and Orochimaru are the only ones in the world who know how psychiatric medicine works...
  • Older Than They Look: At one point Ryuishi guesses his age to be fifteen. He corrects her—he’s eleven.
  • Only Sane Man: By far the sanest and most “normal” of the trio, much as he will later be among the stablest members of Akatsuki. Granted, he’s still a child soldier developing into a Blood Knight, so “sane” is a relative term…
  • Tragic Dream: As a kid, he’s distrusted because of his looks and reputation, but he hopes that his strength, honesty, and loyalty will eventually win over the people of Kiri. After Ryuishi leaves, he and Zabuza are viewed with suspicion because of their association with her, and he’s then pushed into the role of the comrade-killer and betrayed by his sensei, just like in canon. He finally deserts a village that despised him already, becoming an infamous and hated missing-nin—the exact opposite of what he wanted for himself.
  • You're Insane!: Accuses Ryuishi of this when she burns their village. She agrees.
  • Was It All a Lie?: Towards Ryuishi, again. After the Burning of Kiri, he wonders if he ever really knew her.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Kisame wants the world to be fair and believes that if he’s honest, brave, loyal and a good enough fighter, eventually he’ll be accepted. Too bad he’s living in a Crapsack World, the backstory rather than the main plot of a shounen manga. And too bad he’s not actually the main character of either of those stories.

     Other Characters 

Hanako

A street child Ryuishi taught survival skills to.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Ryuishi taught Hanako and her fellow street children how to survive, and won Hanako’s lifelong loyalty by doing so. Of course, Ryuishi was playing a long game, but Hanako doesn’t know that and might not actually care at this point.
  • Hero-Worshipper: Hanako starts out simply admiring Ryuishi, but by the time they’re both adults, Hanako is basically the high priestess of the cult of Rakki Ryuu. She has literally built up a religion surrounding Ryuishi.
  • Knight Templar: What she ended up with when Ryuishi is abducted by Kisame and is no longer around to keep the Mumei in check. She took the religion of Rakki Ryuu and begun a campaign of terror and violence towards the upper classes beyond what Ryuishi is willing to tolerate.
  • Original Character: She has no canon counterpart; given that she was a street kid in the Bloody Mist when Ryuishi met her, she probably wouldn’t have made it to adulthood in canon.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Ryuishi. Or at least the concept of Rakki Ryuu, as she willing to go to the extreme in her beliefs and became something of a religious terroris, something that Ryuishi had tried very hard to avoid.
  • Walking the Earth: After leaving Kiri, Hanako lives a more or less nomadic life.

Kagami

The madam of the brothel where Ryuishi was born and spent the first seven years of her life.
  • Femme Fatale: As a kunoichi of Mist, she was a seductress and infiltrator rather than a frontline fighter.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: When Zabuza finally seeks Ryuishi out, Kagami is annoyed at him for waiting so long. She warns him that if he hurts Ryuishi, he won’t have her specifically to deal with, but Ryuishi’s legions of followers and her mysterious and powerful ally.
  • Retired Badass: She’s a former kunoichi. Her training allows her to survive the ninja brawl that destroys the brothel and kills every one of her employees. And Orochimaru himself notes that her survival to retirement age is impressive.

Watanabe Keiko

Ryuishi’s mother in this life.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: She seems like a nice enough person, although she was totally unprepared to be a mother—especially to Ryuishi.
  • Loving a Shadow: Towards Ryuishi. She loved the idea of having a daughter, but she didn’t know Ryuishi herself all that well.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: Her death as collateral damage in a ninja brawl—and the fact that there's no chance the perpetrators will be brought to justice—is the last straw that makes Ryuishi finally turn on her village.

Orochimaru

The Snake Sannin, who in this fic becomes Ryuishi’s mentor, business partner, and therapist.
  • Big Bad Friend: He and Ryuishi's relationship is complicated, but they understand each other and there's a bizarre amount of trust between the two. His narration of her is often remarkably fond sounding and she admits to loving him at least once.
  • Drama Queen: Ryuishi considers him this and he does indeed have quite the flare for dramatics.
  • Evil Mentor: To Ryuishi. She knows he’s a monster, but she needs his help and respects him in her own way. On his side, he’s genuinely proud of her abilities, and it’s implied that he sees a lot of himself in her—and of his team in her team, which is why he disapproves of her obsession with Zabuza and Kisame.
  • Parental Substitute: It's heavily implied that this is how he has come to see his relationship with Ryuishi.
  • The Shrink: He's this for Ryuishi. Shockingly, he's a type 3 despite being completely evil.

Gaara

  • Green-Eyed Monster: He’s jealous of anyone who tries to take Ryuishi’s attention away from him.

Naruto

  • The Nicknamer: Early on, he calls Ryuishi "the garbage fairy", due to the way they met. Later, he calls her "fairy-nee", which Sakura had somehow assumed was the name of his cat.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: He's very knowledgeable about fashion and happily goes shopping with Sakura and Ino. After being raised by sex workers, it's quite obvious he would pick some "feminine" hobbies.
  • Son of a Whore: A variant. The prostitutes Ryuishi introduced him decided to care and watch for him, so he's an akasenko without being born such.

Kakashi

Tenzo

Introduced here as Kakashi’s subordinate. He is suspicious of Ryuishi and tries defend Kakashi’s honor from her.

Misaki

A Kohoha prostitute and follower of the Rakki Ryuu. Ryuishi tasks her with looking after Naruto in her absense.
  • Cool Big Sis: Towards Naruto. She and the other brothel workers can’t quite adopt him, but they look after him and give him much more in the way of normal, healthy human interaction than he had at the equivalent point in canon.
  • Hero-Worshipper: Like Hanako, she worships Ryuishi.

Itachi

Ryuishi makes a bargain with him: she’ll arrange to have the Mumei hide the five youngest Uchiha children in the Land of Iron, where no shinobi can go, if he will promise to take care of Kisame on her behalf.
  • Unexpected Successor: Ryuishi chooses him, rather than Haku, to become the new Rakki Ryuu... although it's implied that Haku will be his apprentice and successor in turn.
  • Shipper on Deck: By Word of God, he ships Ryuishi/Kisame because they were the only two adults who were there for him after the massacre.

Kakuzu

  • All There in the Manual: A side story confirms that he is Ryuishi’s biological father, a fact that the author says is unlikely to be relevant in the main fic. (It eventually comes up… over seventy chapters in.) It gets more play in the noncanonical snippets the author writes on her blog, as she gets quite a bit of commedy milage out of Kakuzu’s discomfort with having reproduced.
  • Disappeared Dad: He played no role in Ryuishi’s upbringing, as he had abandoned the false identity he used when he slept with her mother. He finds out of her existence when she appears in the bingo books, and only begins to suspect that she’s his daughter after several more years.
  • Long-Lost Relative: To Ryuishi. They don’t meet until she’s twenty-four, and that’s on opposite sides of a fight.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Averted so far. While he suspects the relationship and Orochimaru is sure of it, neither of them has bothered to tell Ryuishi (not that they’ve discussed it between themselves, either). Kakuzu feels rather odd about the connection and is intrigued by Ryuishi, but that’s it. In chapter 73, Hidan sort of spills the beans, but Kakashi figures out the truth before Ryuishi herself does. The truth becomes explicit in chapter 74.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: He and Ryuishi look enough alike to rouse suspicions among the few people who’ve met both.

Haku

  • Child Prodigy: As in canon.
  • Morality Pet: Compared to canon, Zabuza is a lot nicer to him in this fanfic. He still calls Haku his tool, but he also tells him stories and tries to get him to make friends. This underscores how different Zabuza has become thanks to Ryuishi’s influence. Later, Ryuishi and Zabuza both go out of their way to keep Haku out of most battles, because they—especially her—want to keep him relatively innocent.
  • Last of His Kind: Subverted: he isn’t the last Yuki anymore, although he didn’t realize this until he and Zabuza went looking for Ryuishi and saw one of his kinswomen stationed as a guard in Kagami’s brothel-stronghold.
  • The Medic: The second interlude suggests that Haku is going to specialize as a medic rather than a frontline fighter in this universe, since he feels that Zabuza and Ryuishi don’t need any help in combat, but could use a competent healer to tend to their wounds.
  • Technical Pacifist: As in canon, Haku is a superb fighter who doesn’t really want to hurt anyone. Unlike in canon, Zabuza notices the contradiction with his own worldview and begins to wonder if he’s wrong: he’s always thought kindness equaled weakness, so how can Haku be both strong and kind?
  • Replacement Goldfish: Invoked and ultimately subverted. Kisame accuses Zabuza of using Haku as a replacement for Ryuishi, but Zabuza is well aware that Haku has little in common with his lost teammate. Haku himself is simply glad that Zabuza intends to take him with him when he seeks out Ryuishi.
  • Shipper on Deck: Haku ships Zabuza/Ryuishi.

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