The strained sound of a pained moan was the only thing that escaped the bruised throat of the young shinobi as he felt a foot harshly push against his side, and roll him off his belly and onto his back. He tried to squirm away from the rough contact, because he could feel the grotesque movement of his shattered ribs loosely pressing into his distressed innards. It was painful, but just the disgusting, and disturbing sensation was what the young boy wished to escape more than anything.
He wasn't afraid- He was more confused now. He fidgeted away as he felt a hand clasp him roughly by his jaw, and yank his frail-looking face from one side to the other, then back, examining, measuring his worth. What was he? A stock-animal? An item?
He was glad he couldn't see this, he was glad he could feel himself slipping into a dark, numb abyss. He could escape from who ever this creature was that had just beaten him without a reason or care. He could escape from the feeling of blood and sweat all singed slightly into his cheek.
"...You're the one..."
The stranger spoke up, his voice dark, and ominous, and despite everything, the young boy stared up, slipping dangerously close to death, and yet he was still attentive- Coal black eyes flickered in dying sight, gazing in the direction of the man that hovered above, yet the boy's sight had already blacked completely out. It was all for show now.
The ruthless man laughed maniacally as he traced one of the dark lines down the young Uchiha's face with a tender fingertip. "Yes.. You are the one.. The one I need.. And in time, you'll be mine.."
A possession? Was that what Itachi was? He would have felt quite miffed about this if he could manage to feel any emotion while he was trying to concentrate on breathing- It was so hard, with every little inhale he could feel his broken bones shifting, rocking, jerking out of place, then falling loosely back in with each exhale. He could taste the blood settling in the back of his throat, collecting so much that it was bound to choke him if he allowed it to trickle down much longer- He had to move; He could now, because he could hear his assailant glancing upward, and dropping his possessive front due to movement approaching, and the predator then decided to abandon his prey and take his leave- For now.
Itachi rolled back onto his belly with the last little bit of his strength, sputtering, and coughing up blood, practically convulsing as his forehead finally met the soft grassy surface that had embraced the rest of his battered form.
Still... He could hear something- A flutter of feathers, a pulse, the beat of wings, a raspy cawing- A crow. The eight year old boy smiled to himself as his heavy eyelids finally allowed themselves to rest. The black bird perched above him was here for the soul that would soon exit his dying body, and he would not leave until he had that in his possession.
..Everybody wanted Uchiha Itachi, it seemed, and as he slipped from the grip of consciousness, he knew, the demons would tear him limb from limb to have a piece.. Let them come..
...He would regret his hospitable welcoming later...
/DARKO/ //Some people are just born with tragedy in their blood...//
There was a bustle outside; White light, bodies moving, quivering, panicking; So many emotions, so many people that were unknown, and a few that were not. The news was spreading, like wildfire, like disease- Death had come swiftly, it had come to claim three lives, lives of people nobody had expected to die today. An elite jounin, and two genin students, on a simple D-ranked mission, right here in the village. Their bodies were torn apart, wasted, gored, and mutilated in the most horrific, and disturbing ways. It was dusk when the bodies were found, and the sun had been sinking in the horizon, casting the most ominous red glow over the scene. A more isolated training ground was where four bodies laid sprawled, slashed open, and gutted, cut as if they had been played with, all except for one.
That was where all this manic attention was focused now- After nearly being sick to his stomach, the jounin that found the wasted group of Leaf shinobi had acted quickly, and discovering the eight year old Uchiha still just barely clinging to life, he rushed him to Konoha Medical Center, the emergency room. Within the time it took the doctors and nurses to give their full attention to Itachi, and have him hooked to IVs and cleaned up ready to be stitched back together and receive blood transfusions, all the staff, practically all the jounin in the village, many members of the ANBU, and the hokage himself knew of this disturbing event.
Everybody knew the situation- One jounin down, two genin murdered, and one genin hanging in the balance, though his wounds didn't match to those of his fallen comrades. They were killed by surprise, swiftly dealt a deadly blow, and then mutilated. Itachi was bruised up, as if there had been a struggle, and the cuts that spanned his young, fragile body, they seemed highly suspicious, almost as if they could have been..
The boy's perception of this was hazy- He was drifting somewhere between the realms of sleep and complete consciousness, and yet his mind was taking in the surprised, and slightly offended reactions of his parents- The proud head of the Uchiha, they didn't want to hear this. They didn't want to hear this doctor try to tell them Itachi may have done this. They didn't want to hear that their perfect son could have been the one that slaughtered his teammates, or that he may have injured himself to such an extent, though only to make himself look less guilty.
It was all rubbish, wasn't it? Itachi couldn't have killed a jounin and two genin by himself, could he? Maybe he could, but.. Why would he? What purpose would it serve?
Fugaku and Mikoto seemed to use the same logic against the doctor that had examined and treated the young boy, but it was to no avail; Itachi was still going to be here for a few weeks for monitoring, not just because of his obvious injuries, but on a deeper psychological level-
For the love of Kami- He was going to be monitored and examined by a shrink. The boy wasn't around enough, however, to know what to think. Perhaps this was for the best- Something inside him had changed, something was wrong.. He needed help, Gods, he needed somebody.. He tried and tried to grasp the reason for the fear arising, dragging his mind down into a nightmarish and yet blackened state.
Something had happened- Itachi couldn't completely remember. Only slight flashes of brutal slaughter played through his mind in a scarlet tone. His sensei, his team mates, they all fell before him so quickly, he couldn't figure out what had happened- They were dead, lifeless.
Did he do this? No, no, he didn't, he didn't! There was something else, somebody else, he had fought for his life, he had used all his knowledge, all his skill, and yet his enemy had merely toyed with him, and left him.
..But he had left him alive...Why, why would this creature leave this boy alive..? Why, why was Itachi's head pounding so violently, why did his eyes burn? Fire? There was fire. Itachi could see fire from behind the blood that had splattered into his eyes, and dappled his vision in crimson overcast. It hurt-It hurt- By Kami it was killing him. His eyes; There would be nothing but ash left. He had to keep fighting, he had to stay alive, he had to. He had to!
In a burst of movement the boy, still less than conscious, came up off the hospital bed with a scream that was completely feral- it sounded like an animal that was caught in the jaws of a predator, about to be forever silenced. The boy bolted as far as he could, ripping out IVs and other various monitors as he did, and the doctor, along with Itachi's parents, only watched in utter surprise and shock as the injured child made for the door, and took off down the hall. Luckily he was caught moments later after making it just around the corner, and escaping into the arms of other hospital workers. It took three or four of them to restrain the flailing child- Apparently he was stronger than he looked, though it was most worrisome because of his battered state. He was fighting for his life, or at least his overactive mind inside his dormant body believed so, and yet at the same time he was only making things worse.
It ended soon enough- Though it took a good portion of the hospital staff to hold the boy down so he could be restrained, and a heavy dosage of sedative to calm his endless inward battle.
It should have been so very apparent now- Itachi had not done this to himself, no matter what the medical testing suggested. Looking down at the child, seeing him still writhing, and fighting against the restraints that pinned down his bandaged limbs, panting, exhausted and brutally inured, all that should have been enough, but no.. There was one other strong indication that this boy had indeed fought for his very life, and lived where his team mates and sensei had been slaughtered, and now everybody in the room was gazing down in shock and yet.. In awe.
The slumbering boy finally began to still, and the crowd in the room moved in closer as he did- They all wanted to get a glimpse; The deathly pale, sweat beaded skin, marred here and there with cuts and bruises, making the boy seem as if he had seen a ghost, and as if he truly had, here he laid wide-eyed, though his eyes rippled fiery crimson, gazing, unblinking.
Sharingan- Activated in the face of death. Now all that was left was to find out..
Title: Darko By: BanishedOne/Banished1 Rating: M (For violence)
Long ago, the Uchiha's bloodline trait ran too pure and powerful for human bodies to handle. Many members of the clan went completely insane and eventually died by their own hand. That is what is happening to Itachi now. ItaSasu
//Wait, it's all that I can take. And every single day, a part of my soul is fading, but now by letting go somehow, unshackled and unbound, I'm calling out your name, I'm fading, so save me//
Agony; Burning, twisting, tearing agony. He knew from the beginning that this would be painful, but he had only imagined the slightest degree of torment he would endure. He struggled to keep breathing as the air was forced out of him and his lungs locked up, refusing to allow any more oxygen to pass within.
..It felt like something was within him, ripping parts out as if useless, shredding them and burning them away. The young Uchiha remained bent over, the harsh stabbing affliction growing, but surely as it met its peak, he expected it would dim away. He just tried to endure until then.
He was not one to mistake as weak- He had stood against harsh forces, threatening foes, pain and tortures dreamt up by the most twisted minds, and he always held his ground. He took suffering without a shred of emotion or reaction, just as he was taught to do. But he could admit to himself that he hadn't suffered as much as the average shinobi, not because of his age, but because he hadn't allowed himself mishaps, and he had been the image of perfection in the eyes of many.
His head felt light; Not just from the pain but from how he had frozen without a single breath for a few minutes now. His paralyzed lungs would have to be forced to work, but why wasn't this sharp feeling of destruction burning itself out? Would it end at all, or would this draw the young Uchiha down into the clutches of death? No, he shook his head softly, bangs moving against his fair skin as he denied such a thought, and he focused on breathing.
He finally was able to take in a small gasp of air, but doing so gave way to something even more horrible. It felt like his lungs had lined themselves with some sort of liquid and as he tried to breathe, he was overtaken by the sensation of inhaling water, or something else. His throat objected vehemently, and his chest heaved as he coughed fiercely, unable to control the spasms of his lungs trying to dispel what was caught within.
As the young boy coughed, he covered his mouth with a thin hand, trying to conceal his terrible affliction. A spatter of blood, a rush of liquid crimson was forced out from the boy's lungs, tainting the light peach of his frail fingers. Dark eyes shimmered with tears but only because of the irritation being endured in the young male's chest, up into his throat. Those tears didn't stop the coughing, which went on despite how they made the abdominal pain only worse, but surely this would end. This had to end eventually, or at least the young male was certain that he had handled things correctly, so nothing would go wrong.
And this was when the door creaked slowly open behind the young Uchiha boy, and the echo of footsteps could be heard at his back. It couldn't have possibly come at a worse time.
A masked man, cloaked like a shadow in solid black, crouched at the young boy's side and laid a hand upon his back. That appendage felt so warm and human, but the younger boy wouldn't fool himself into believing his ancestor's intention lied in comfort. (Or that he was anything close to human) Before the teen was even able to breathe properly, the dark stranger in his company spoke up in that deep, harsh tone, bidding answers from one who hadn't yet the ability to speak up.
"..Itachi. What has happened to you?"
When the coughing finally ceased, the boy's bloodied hand dropped away from his face as his downward stare hid his eyes behind hanging strands of ebony. He didn't want that man to look him in the face as he panted, catching his breath at last. It took a moment for him to recoup, and in the silence of the lingering, unanswered question, Itachi's mind devised his answer.
"The fading soul plague."
Five lost souls, tied together by the strands of fate, slowly, quietly, wandered into the grayish halls of their new hideout. The one in front, seemingly bound in the darkest shades of ebony, was a mysterious creature who hid his face but called himself by the name of Uchiha Madara.
He had taken this group under his wing for purposes yet unknown, but one had decidedly followed the masked man's lead for his own reasons. Uchiha Sasuke; He now knew the truth of his elder brother's past thanks to his dark ancestor, and he quietly mourned this unnecessary loss while converting his depression and woe into hatred to be used in new lusts for vengeance.
The others simply followed their leader, each having a particular goal in mind, or at least a reason.
They had all been walking for hours, having started their journey at sunrise, traveling until dusk with minor breaks in between long periods. The purpose behind this move was to leave behind one temporary hideout for the preference of at last moving into the main location of Uchiha Madara and Akatsuki's base-of-operations. This move had been delayed by two things in particular. The first was the choice of Akatsuki's secret leader- He did need to make sure his young relative and friends would go along with his plans before he allowed them into his main lair. The second reason was for Sasuke- He needed some time to regain his strength after having faced such a brutal opponent as Itachi, and he also needed time to recover from the shock posed by the truth about his sibling, after having assured (or at least sped up) his death.
The young avenger had hardly spoken since the fight, and at this very moment he didn't show any signs of breaking his own silence. The dark figure that had led the group (newly re-designated as 'Taka') to their new location simply showed them to one single level of the underground hideaway; This level consisted of a selection of rooms, any of which could be used for the purposes of rest and privacy. He didn't seem to care which room they chose, or if they all stayed in the same room to keep each other warm, but he showed a moment of hesitation when Sasuke paused before one certain door.
The teenage Uchiha had black, starless eyes poised downward, but his hand had reached out without his consent, causing him to stop in his path, and it shook his mind from whatever dark thought it had been wrapped up in all day. As surely as he shifted his concentration to the present moment, his face lifted slowly to peer at the door his fingers felt the need to so gently rest against. At the same time, the eldest of the group spoke up in that calm, rumbling voice, watching Sasuke's actions from behind his mask.
"...When he was here, that was Itachi's room. Though, it can be yours now, if you'd like.."
The ancient man paused to see a reaction, but when Sasuke merely stood as if in thought, Madara lost any interest he may have had, and finally turned his back to walk away, leaving the others in the dull glow of the hallway's candlelight.
The avenger blinked, clearly lost in thought, inwardly considering whether or not his emotional state could handle looking at Itachi's abandoned dwelling; He concluded that it couldn't possibly do him any more harm that life in general had already done, and with this in mind, he pushed the door open, and gingerly took the first few steps into the space, seeming as though he were walking on hallowed ground.
It was difficult to see, however, with only the candlelight from the hallway, but the graceful Uchiha found his way through the darkness to a tiny paper lantern placed upon a small table. (Those years of living in Orochimaru's lair really paid off in the end.) After lighting up the little lantern, the teen Uchiha turned to observe the room, noticing that while Suigetsu and Juugo had gone about their business, Karin was lingering in the doorway, glancing around with as much curiosity as Sasuke.
Sasuke ignored his female accomplice, for now, his eyes only finding any tinge of fascination with the current surroundings. There really wasn't much to the room, in general. The walls and floors were all dark and stony, of course, and the ceiling was slanted slightly, the shorter wall having little shelves carved into them, and those shelves even held one or two left over items.
On the same wall as the door itself was a modest bed set low to the ground with light, solid colored sheets and blankets. It was difficult to decipher exactly what color the sheets were, because the dim yellowish candlelight didn't make it very clear. The table where the lantern sat was directly next to the bed, and a mirror hung upon the wall just beside the table.
What caught the most attention from the young Uchiha was what waited against the wall opposite the bed, toward the middle of the small room. He walked slowly, almost cautiously toward the objects left behind by his elder sibling, looking like he was nervous that some haunt could be spooked from a hiding place. But Sasuke remained in such a state of unreadable revery due to something that shook nostalgic, old feelings from the very depths of his soul. These old feelings were not necessarily bad, just very distant in his mind, from when his family remained by his side and he was still a very young child.
Near the wall waited a cushion for kneeling upon the ground and the young Uchiha sauntered over to it, moving down to his knees on the cushion. He could hear Karin taking the notion to approach, surely wanting to know the meaning behind Sasuke's actions and the objects before the young avenger, but she didn't yet speak up so Sasuke continued to mostly ignore her presence.
Before the cushion was a table that was lengthy, but not very wide, and only a few centimeters off the ground, meant to be within reach of a kneeling humans arm. At one end of the table was a collection of candles, which Sasuke lit so to illuminate the area and allow him a better viewing of it all. It was a small shrine of sorts, based of off a very old spiritual belief that was followed once by only the Uchiha clan, as well as a few scattered individuals who somehow became involved. Here and there, members of other clans throughout Konoha would show some interest, but they hardly ever made it a stout dedication.
In Sasuke's childhood, he found that only the older members of the clan remained truly engulfed in the following and not even the boy's parents believed in any of it anymore. It had been dismissed by younger generations as mere mysticism, and the teenage Uchiha could even recall his father referring to it as a waste of time and effort. Sasuke also remembered that it had been Itachi that those words were directed toward.
For whatever reason, Itachi would visit the shrine in the Uchiha district from time to time, and he would even stray into the ceremonies on rare occasions, being sure to bring his Otouto along with him. Now that he looked back on it, Sasuke was sure Itachi thought it was all mysticism too, and it was just a way of spending time with Sasuke, but now the teen would never know if this assumption was factual, especially considering that Itachi had obviously collected a number of the items associated with the prayers and ceremonies.
Sasuke couldn't recall exactly when, but he knew that when his elder brother started to get more and more tied up in his shinobi missions, the two brothers just stopped sneaking into the ceremonies, though Sasuke had really missed it, if only because he got to be near his Niisan all the while. He took a deep breath slowly into his chest before he released it as a softly audible sigh, the pleasant memories serving to break the boy's heart that much more, once he thought about them. Still, he didn't yet turn away because he had hardly investigated at all.
Upon the table were a collection of items that Sasuke let his eyes first wander over before he dared to shift them about. Near the candles were two finely decorated boxes; They were painted and carved with intricate designs, and one sat atop the other, the one on top a bit smaller than the one beneath. There were a couple a glass bowls, also painted with the most delicate designs, and like the boxes, one smaller one sat within a larger one, with a tool for mixing and grinding just beside the two glass objects. The avenger's fingers strayed outward to touch the object, noting that it was the perfect size for Itachi's dainty hands.
At the other end of the table was an antique incense burner; It sat upright on three tiny, curled legs, and had a removable top, allowing the user to place incense within, light them, and close the top so the smoke would come drifting out of the small holes. Directly beside the burner were two clear glass bottles, which contained little incense cones in shades of red and brown. Sasuke pulled the loose-fitting cork from one of the bottles, letting the scent drift from within, and it served to further remind him of the old days. The incense were made from herbs grown in the forests and meadows near the Hidden Leaf and they were common to find. Sasuke supposed that Itachi kept a few bottles so that he wouldn't run out so easily, given that Konoha was so far away. The teen shook one cone from the bottle and held it between his fingers as he corked the glass object and placed it back where it had been sitting. Sasuke then opened up the tiny incense burner, and placed the fragrant cone inside, lighting it so it caught flame just to let the initial fire burn out and leave only slow-burning embers. After that, Sasuke put the top back on the burner, letting the twirls of smoke filter out and upward.
Near the burner sat a couple of idols that appeared to be carved from stone or perhaps ivory- One was of a spiritual creature that the Uchiha particularly regarded with respect. The other carved figure was one that Sasuke did not recognize, though it resembled a dragon.
Upon the wall hung a few depictions of highly regarded spiritual creatures; These beings were not necessarily worshiped but they were considered to be on a higher level than other animals, closer members to the human soul. They could represent all things from the spirit itself, to healing or preserving the human form, to death and reincarnation, as a cycle. But, aside from the respected creatures, were a few commons texts, and art of important celestial occurrences. Then, hanging by a thin, red thread was a traditional carved mask, this particular one resembling a bird-like entity, and it was painted with a few common markings in a brownish shade which the teen assumed was dried blood.
Sasuke could remember going to a mask painting ceremony with his brother; Being given a freshly carved mask, a tiny bowl of ceremonial blood, and a feather quill in which to paint the small, intricate markings.
Having investigated enough, Sasuke felt satisfied with his findings and merely closed heavy eyes before bringing his hands together before himself; He also recalled visiting the shrine with Itachi, offering a few coins, taking a moment to pray, and then the two were off on some venture that only young kids knew of. Sasuke never really knew or understood exactly what people prayed about in particular, and that especially included Itachi. He wished now that he -could- know what things his sibling prayed for so long ago.
Sasuke, as a boy, mostly just remained quiet as he imitated the praying position, and he contemplated this and that to himself, unsure what he should be thinking. That was also what he was doing now; breathing the lovely scented smoke and wondering if Itachi was watching him be so melancholy. Could the elder hear Sasuke's thoughts now? Would Itachi be so kind as to answer Sasuke's prayers? Probably not, because the teen was sure he didn't deserve it. Regardless, Sasuke couldn't help but silently speak to his brother, asking Itachi to please forgive him, not just for killing him, but also for what Sasuke planned to do next, how Sasuke intentionally was set on going against what he assumed his brother would have wanted.
This quick prayer was interrupted, however, when Sasuke heard Karin finally kneel next to him. This was certainly not because she wanted to pray as well, but most likely because she wanted to snoop.
The avenger opened those charcoal eyes to peer over to the woman at his side. She wasn't looking at him and, instead, had those calculating, framed optics flickering over the entirety of the setting. She did well pretending to be interested in Itachi's old belongings, but after a day of keeping her mouth shut, her urge to speak with her infatuation had to be overflowing, and this was her true purpose. She proved this theory shortly after Sasuke took the initiative to look at her.
"What are all these things?" The woman shifted her glasses on the bridge of her nose as she gave the items a skeptical glance, her mind somewhere between confusion and curiosity. With careful fingertips, she brushed over a tiny shelf hanging just above the table, shifting a few old scrolls about before pulling one out to give it a glance.
Sasuke watched her, if only to see what her reaction was; He concluded that she didn't make much of whatever she found to be written in the scroll, but she did at least give it more than just a quick glance, so the avenger kept himself from being offended by her actions. The red-headed kunoichi didn't show a shred of disrespect for the fallen Uchiha, which the teenage boy appreciated to a certain degree- Otherwise, he wouldn't have bothered responding.
He did finally break his silence, however, his voice soft from disuse, and because of how eerily quiet the surroundings were. "...They are items related to a dead spiritual following."
"They were... your brother's?" The woman turned to the avenger, and she quirked one delicate brow, still looking like she either didn't believe or that she was generally confused concerning not only the connection between the brothers, but the finer details about the elder. All she had known, after all, was that the older of the two had killed Sasuke's family, and this was the reason for Sasuke's initial revenge. (More or less, the only things Sasuke ever told her.)
The young Uchiha, in response, simply nodded to his female company, thinking she would probably go about her business soon enough, if he just gave her silence. He hadn't been finished here, after all, and he turned his countenance back to face forward as he closed his eyes, still inwardly bidding the fates to favor him in any upcoming struggle.
Karin, however, felt safe enough remaining with her infatuation for a bit longer, even if it meant she had to remain quiet. This was part of Sasuke that she had never seen before (as it was surely intended to be private anyway.) And for that matter, she was learning a thing about the avenger's dead brother as well. That could only serve to aid her in her pursuits, right? If she understood Itachi a bit better, then she could console Sasuke so genuinely!
A thin hand came next to the top upon the small, painted box, and it was lifted free so that nimble fingers could probe within to understand the contents, or at least acknowledge them for -what they were-. This ended up being a harder concept than the kunoichi originally thought, though, as she pulled a few tiny glass bottles into her palm to examine.
The contents were a mixture of different shades and textures, and mostly indecipherable as to exactly what they were. One bottle contained a liquid, while others contained dry, powdered substances, and yet another seemed to contain some lightweight sort of fibers, like thin threads cut into the shortest lengths. One other little bottle was filled with tiny flakes, some colored and dusty, some clear. It was all mostly a mystery to Karin.
"What are all these things?" She whispered in an honestly curious tone, but kept herself very meek in her words, just in case Sasuke was aiming to not be disturbed.
He took her questioning relatively easily, though, shrugging his shoulders without interrupting his own praying, and he gave an answer based solely on his memories. "Who knows.. Blood, bones, herbs, insect wings.. It could be anything."
The woman took the answer she was given with a shrug in response, mildly disgusted, though she wisely choose not to show it. She placed all the tiny bottles back into neat little rows, just as how she found them, before she found herself giving a small drawstring-bag a nudge. It shifted with a recognizable rattle, making it obvious that nothing more was contained inside but small, smooth stones. This was a concept that the woman did, indeed, recognize.
"Chakra stones." She spoke up to herself, though she smiled slightly, wondering if Sasuke noticed her moment of cleverness. It didn't take a single sideways glance, though, to tell that Sasuke had just pretended he didn't hear her, or that she wasn't there. The red-head sighed softly, in disappointment, before she left the stones in place and closed the smaller box, just to move it aside and take a gander into the larger box. With a quick movement, she lifted the hinged top.
Similar to the smaller container, the larger of the two held this and that, though luckily enough, the substances seemed more whole and were much more easily identified. This way, the kunoichi could know what things were before she picked them up.
With one hand she fingered her glasses up a bit once again, (since they slid down with the angle of her head.) and she rested the fingertips of her other hand at the edge of the opened box, letting her eyes scan the objects over first. From what she could see, it seemed that this was mostly a collection of animal-derived items. A few different sorts of bird feathers, some with tips fashioned into points used for painting smooth, fine lines, and others which were threaded with various colors of woven fibers tied to beads or coins or ornaments of some kind.
Also present, the shinobi woman found cuts of antlers and fragments of bone, even a perfectly shed snake skin, and a butterfly preserved in an amber resin. True, these things were kind of repulsive, but at the same time, she found them just a bit interesting. Something about knowing the person who collected these things happened to be Sasuke's brother intrigued her, though it was hard for her to understand why; It made her wish that she could get such a personal glimpse of the avenger himself, like this.
"Hm?" She blinked, the smallest tinge of an inquisitive sparkle arising from the depths of her reddish-pink eyes (though they looked murky red in the dim light.) as they were laid upon the one item that seemed out of place in the box. The kunoichi immediately assumed that this item must have been particularly special, and maybe if it was something that would interest the Uchiha at her side, then.. Well, she would just have to figure that part out! With an inkling of a grin on her lips, her fingers finally reached out to clasp a smaller sort of scroll from within the container.
She held the object in her hand at first, able to clearly see what it was, but it was different from the typical ninja scrolls. First, it was contained within a sort of protective tin jacket, which -had- to mean it was important, and secondly, as Karin tried to slide it open, she found it was either locked or jammed.
She let out a barely-audible huff of exasperation while she searched the metallic surface for the latch which would open the thing. That task was simple enough, but once her fingertips met a tiny button in an attempt to slide it to the side and pop the case open, the woman found that it was just a bit on the stiff side. Still, she persisted, putting all of the strength she had in one thumb behind pushing the tiny button, and eventually, it snapped aside, chorused by a sound that resembled cracking.
"Whoops.." With one tiny word to label her potential mishap, Karin glanced nervously over at her leader with a slight blush and an apologetic grin; Sasuke had looked up from his own silence and he returned her look with a rather unimpressed look of his own.
Investigating, just to see for sure if something had gotten broken or not, the red-headed woman slid the paper scroll from the sleeve and unrolled the sturdy-feeling object. The paper was definitely thick so it likely wouldn't tear very easily, but it was surely possible. The text characters upon the yellowish scroll were completely unrecognizable to the young kunoichi, and she noticed that it all fell between two smudged, reddish-brown lines that ran lengthwise upon the top and bottom of the rolled paper. Then, at the far end of the scroll, the lines met with a sealing symbol.
Then, just above the seal was a tiny glass vial which was bound to the paper with wire threading. And, it just so turned out that the vial was the very thing that had cracked upon opening the scroll. The kunoichi was immediately afraid that this was some sort of fail-safe to keep the scroll secret, and it would ruin the object she initially assumed could be very important. (And it seemed even more so now) However, the clear fluid that leaked out didn't seem to stain the paper or erase the writings, rather, it did no harm at all, leaking along little crevices in the paper, conforming to the lettering and the seal before evaporating; This had no obvious effects. (At least not that were apparent to the human eye.)
Karin, admittedly, could not be any more relieved, especially as the dark-headed male at her side continued to give the scroll a semi-interested sort of gaze. He looked as though he, also, was attempting to figure out the meaning of the writing upon the paper, but the tiniest wrinkle in his brow and a slight shake of the head showed his defeat. He spoke his defeated attempts in a soft, neutral tone, while cool, black optics remained upon the print as they continued to flicker across it.
"..I've never seen anything like that before..It probably has nothing to do with this.."
The kunoichi gave Sasuke a half smile, though she could tell his mood hadn't really improved any. Because of this, she -attempted- to keep herself in a somber appearance, lest she cause friction to Sasuke's current state of mourning, and doing anything to get pushed aside was unacceptable. She spoke up in response, her tone striking the same state of neutrality as the young avenger.
"It is obviously some kind of sealing scroll.." She looked from the scroll to the protective jacket she had set aside. "When I opened it, the latch in the protector struck a pin attached to the glass vial which was threaded to the scroll. It not only allowed two separate substances inside the vial to mix, but then they wet the seal itself.."
Suddenly feeling a surge of nervousness along with some relief to counteract that exact anxiety, Karin quickly found herself rolling the scroll back up and carefully placing it back inside the holder, though she laid it down upon the table instead of slipping it back into the box it had come from. Her reaction stemmed from the realization of how complicated a device it was that she had meddled with, and subsequently she also realized that any device that had so much thought put into it would typically -also- have some kind of consequential effect. She only breathed a sigh of relief because nothing had happened yet.
"That could have been some kind of trap.. Thankfully, whatever effect it was supposed to have didn't work.." With a nervous brush of her hand against her forehead, the red-headed woman paused, before meekly adding to her previous statement. "I don't think."
The young Uchiha gave hardly a reaction, aside from a shrug to reflect an 'I-couldn't-care-less' attitude. This was returned by a partially disbelieving and partially enamored sort of expression from the kunoichi (Because she was mixed between thinking her fine friend was a bit strange for being so unworried, but at the same time, he was just so darn cool about everything, and it was..hard to resist.) as Sasuke at last returned to his feet.
He didn't feel the need to explain his reasons behind being unworried as he turned on heel, but it was something rather akin to, 'Itachi setting a trap that could cause me harm? At this point, that would be hard to believe, and Itachi wouldn't even risk such a thing.. Assuming he just didn't consider the risk was also foolish. Itachi thought of everything.'
As Sasuke took a few steps toward the door, he was halted with an abrupt inquiry from his obsessive female teammate, but since he had a decent amount of tolerance for her behavior, he very patiently cast a dark stare over his shoulder to give her his attention. The question she posed, which had stopped the avenger in his tracks, was a very simple one and yet it seemed hardly relevant (or any of her business for that matter.)
"..Where are you going?"
With the same detached tone, Sasuke spoke his response to the question Karin had thrown him, and though he turned his eyes back toward the door as he spoke, he was kind enough to elaborate on other things before attempting to leave, as opposed to giving her a one or two-word answer. (Even if it wasn't really for her sake.)
"I don't think I would want to stay in this room, so you can if you wish. But I would advise that you leave Itachi's things alone."
With a soft, nervous laugh, the young woman nodded, having already decided that she was going to stay out of this mysterious Itachi's possessions, just in case. Otherwise, she had no problem with staying in the room, and since Sasuke suggested it, she would. She would have followed after the young Uchiha to accompany him in the rest of his explorations, but he still didn't seem to be in a decent enough mood for it. She sighed, disappointed, as he disappeared out the door.
The heart-broken avenger, as he left, found himself all too pleased that Karin did not follow. He wanted to submerge himself in his gloom and self-pity, and for that.. He needed to be alone.
::: The battle was a fierce one; Suigetsu was pushed aside like nothing, and while Juugo was able to assist, he still didn't seem to match the opponent.
And Sasuke, he was acting so strangely, fighting more recklessly than Karin had ever seen. He rushed in so obviously, heading straight for close-combat, not thinking things through. He didn't bother trying to lure his opponent into a trap, and it left the kunoichi wondering, had the avenger gotten full of himself, or was he intentionally trying to get himself killed?
Had he really become so depressed? Or had he become so blinded by emotion that he fought as if in a state of madness? This was wrong, all wrong, and the red-head fidgeted nervously as she watched, feeling helpless.
She tried to help by dragging Suigetsu's unnecessarily large sword over to him and giving him a stout cussing to get him off his ass. (She couldn't understand why Sasuke picked him. Sure, he couldn't be killed by a blade, but his fighting style was so useless.. Then again.. No, she wouldn't put herself in that category, she WAS useful in some regards, at least!)
Before the kunoichi could even get turned back around properly, she saw Sasuke get shoved back by an immense, deadly force. She gasped as the avenger rolled across the ground and she ran with all the speed she could muster to dive in and break his fall somewhat. She was able to successfully catch him and stop him from rolling any further, and she pulled him onto her lap to investigate for any injury.
And, of course, he had gotten himself hurt. She looked up, seeing that for now Suigetsu and Juugo were holding off the opposition, but how long could that last? She had to be quick- Sasuke needed her help, fast. With speedy, diligent hands she partially unzipped her jacket down beyond her collarbones, exposing the skin of her chest slightly.
"Sasuke, bite me quickly."
She was panting from nervousness, knowing their enemy could force his way past the other two at any moment, yet at the very least Sasuke could still hear her and make out what she had said. She saw those strong, ruby eyes reveal themselves just the smallest bit from beneath pale lids and black lashes, and she knew Sasuke would do as she asked, which would give him at least some of his strength back.
As he forced himself up enough to try and reach the flesh presented, the red-headed kunoichi pressed him to make haste by helping him up a bit, her fingers laced in those glossy spikes as she pulled his head closer until she could feel the warmth of his mouth on her skin, and his teeth biting down on her, and then..
Actually, no, it really wasn't, in fact she quickly found herself wincing. It felt more like Suigetsu's razor-sharp teeth, digging right into her skin and it really, really hurt! But, for some reason, Sasuke wasn't stopping as he usually did. No, instead, he was holding more tightly, digging his teeth in. He was latched on and even as Karin voiced a complaint, he only clutched her that much more tightly. With a whine she tried to push him away, feeling her chakra leaving her to an almost fatal extent before...
"Huh.. Oh, it was a dream."
The groggy kunoichi lifted herself up onto her elbow as she rubbed at her sleepy eyes and yawned. She must have been more tired out than she realized after the trip yesterday, because she had gone to bed soon after Sasuke left the room and she fell asleep so quickly that she hardly realized she was dreaming. Usually she slept without dreaming, and when she did dream, she always knew in her mind that it wasn't real and that she could wake herself up easily enough.
A delicate hand came to rest against her chest, just beneath a collarbone, and she rubbed at this area with dainty fingers. Strangely, it felt a bit sore, as if her dream had really happened, but it was most likely some bruise she had gotten at a previous time without knowing how it had gotten there. Why it started hurting in her sleep, she hadn't a clue.
She reached over to the table next to the bed, quickly lighting the tiny paper lantern and then she grabbed up her glasses. 'What time is it?', she was wondering; Surely it couldn't have been late, as she typically found herself waking during the early morning hours, years of habitually doing so now entirely imprinted upon her behavior. She sat completely upright, brushing a stray hand through her hair before she pushed her glasses to their typical spot on her face, and she looked around with her vision finally clear enough to see, and the first thing she laid eyes on was-
She practically jumped out of her skin as wide eyes stared at what appeared to be a person sitting at the end of her bed, watching her with empty-looking black eyes, just staring without a single flinch or a blink. She quickly rushed to back herself against the wall behind her, which the bed sat against, though thankfully this creature who was watching her didn't come any closer.
The kunoichi took quick, frightened breaths, though as a hand darted to take hold of a kunai that had been sitting on the table next to her, she felt just a slight bit safer. She had to remind herself that she had come here from a prison full of goons, and that they never got an advantage over her because despite her appearance, she could deal out a pretty brutal beating, and on top of that..
The thing in front of her didn't seem to be a 'thing' at all, but rather, it was a kid, and despite the fact that it (She couldn't tell if it was a boy or girl) had a countenance without a splinter of emotion, it was actually.. Pretty cute. That aside, Karin was still cautious within decent reasoning. She had no idea where this kid came from or if it -was- a kid, or just.. A wolf in sheep's clothing.
"Where the hell did you come from?" The red-headed woman spoke sternly, sharply even, not sparing a kind tone for the one who had startled her so terribly. She hoped that by showing her harsh side first, she could discover if this was an enemy or if it was really just a little kid.
"I come from Konoha."
"Konoha?" The young woman blinked, noting that this was, of course, where Sasuke came from and therefore, was it possible this could be somebody who was looking for him in some kind of clever disguise? It didn't seem like they would give an answer that would ruin their cover if that was the case, but then again, maybe they expected people to think like that?
"Then why are you here?"
The young child just gave a shrug, its face looking mostly distant but at the same time, the red headed woman swore she saw a trace of worry in the kid's big, dark eyes. She relaxed her tense muscles slightly as she further observed the kid sitting at the end of her bed. Its skin was awfully pale, and now that Karin thought about it, it did look a bit like Sasuke- It was in the little child's face. And then there was also the kid's charcoal-black eyes and that shiny obsidian hair to the shoulders.
"Are you.." She paused, a worried expression coming over her face, and she pulled the blankets up over herself a bit, keeping her eyes on the still figure that was staring at her. "...a ghost?"
To this, the little kid knitted its brows together, looking a bit confused, and blinking at last with a slight tilt of its head. "No, I'm a boy."
Karin gave an uncertain nod, lowering the blanket down and she leaned a bit to the side, trying to get a glimpse of the little boys 'parts', just to be sure. The 'boy' was sitting with his legs drawn in and his arms wrapped around them, his ankles just covering his private area. He certainly was a modest child, but, why didn't he have any clothes in the first place? That seemed very odd. He had to be cold.
Now that she thought about it, given a slightly closer examination, the boy did seem to be shivering a bit, though it was harder to see in the dim light. The red-headed kunoichi crawled over to the boy, and laid her hand against his shoulder, being given a wary look from him in return- She wasn't sure if he was hiding his emotions or if he was just weak from whatever had happened to him before he ended up here, but while he was obviously a bit shaken inside, he wasn't as a typical child would be, or so Karin could imagine. Wouldn't a lost child be in hysterics?
That didn't make much difference right now anyway- The boy's skin was absolutely freezing, so there was no time to waste with over thinking who he was and how he got here. The woman sighed to herself, finding these circumstances a bit regretful; She really wasn't much of a babysitter. "Let me try to find some clothes for you, okay, until then, just get under the blankets alright? They should still be a bit warm."
Her framed optics watched the little boy as he nodded to her and crawled sluggishly toward the top of the bed, pulling down the blankets in order to slide his thin frame beneath them and absorb the body heat that still rested underneath. She moved over to the shelves, looking through the clothes she had brought with her. (Which was not much) She had an extra change of clothes, but despite how tight they were, they still would probably be too big for the tiny boy. On top of that, they wouldn't cover very much skin, so it was pretty much useless.
Oh wait, she did have one thing. She glanced around sneakily, as if somebody could really be spying on her, before she dove after one of her stashed trophy items. With a sly smirk she held the thing in front of her face- It was Sasuke's old shirt that had been discarded when he first came to Orochimaru's layer. Karin wasn't sure why, but the avenger had held onto it for a while without throwing it out, and when she got a chance, she swiped it.. He wouldn't miss it anyway! It had two gaping holes in the back, before, assumably where Sasuke's wings erupted from his back, and the kunoichi went to the trouble of stitching the holes up.
She held it to her face, taking a deep breath with a pinkish tinge across her cheeks. It had been washed in the past, but it still smelled just like Sasuke. It made her almost sad now that some other boy would be wearing it and it was destined to lose the lovely scent that clung to it. With a sad sigh the woman grabbed her extra pair of shorts, just to try them on the kid.
When she walked back over the boy had his eyes closed, and almost appeared as if he had fallen asleep. He really must have been weak from some kind of ordeal. She did notice before that his movements were very lethargic. Maybe this was also why he couldn't recall what happened to him, maybe it was something terrible?
She sat at the edge of the bed, laying the clothes next to her, and she reached a gentle hand out to touch the young boy's head. His eyes almost instantly opened in response to the soft fingers in his raven locks, and Karin tried to smile at the boy as she spoke up in a mildly concerned tone. "Hey..Do you feel okay? You seem like you might be sick or something.. Are you sure that masked man didn't bring you here?"
With a slight effort, the young male lifted himself up into a sitting position, and Karin handed the clothes to him. He spoke up as he pulled the shirt easily over his head. "I don't think I'm sick.. And I don't know how I got here. The last thing I remember is being home, and then I was here."
That shirt fit him well enough for now; It was baggy and looked like a nightgown but as long as it covered him, then it was best that he wear it. He tried to put on the girl's shorts, but they were simply too big for his tiny bottom. She figured they would be- Even if they were tight on her, a woman's hips were just too wide for a young boy to wear their pants. The boy showed the smallest sign of frustration, and Karin apologized, taking the shorts back.
After she gave him what she could to wear, she moved onto his next basic need, clearly quite sympathetic toward him. He said that he didn't feel sick, but he was so pale and looked terribly weak, so the kunoichi spoke up in curiosity, trying her best to strike a sweet tone.
"Are you hungry? I don't know if there is any food here, but I think I had some ration pills with me, if you're absolutely starving.. That will be some kind of nourishment until I can get real food for you, anyway."
The pretty little boy looked up at her as she spoke, those wide eyes seeming like they could see everything all at once, or maybe they could see through people to grasp a deeper understanding of a human soul and intentions. It was honestly frightening, but just the same, he looked so harmless otherwise. He looked so utterly innocent as he nodded softly but with certainty, blinking to let long, fine lashes graze his pale, rounded cheeks.
Kami, he looked just like a delicate doll. Karin had never laid eyes on a prettier child. (That WASN'T a girl) Her admiration for the boy could probably be seconded by other people, but she knew well enough that it also was due to her affection for a certain Uchiha. She even came up with a strange, sudden notion that perhaps this boy was what her own child would look like, if fathered by Sasuke.
She blushed, distracted for a moment by such an adorable fantasy, but she snapped out of it quickly enough as she recalled what she had been doing; That was when she sifted through a bag she had left on the floor near her bed and she found her stash of emergency ration pills. In a neatly sealed box she carried about ten of the food pills, meant to be a quick source of nutrients to shinobi in the field or otherwise away from other sources of sustenance.
She took one from the box, and held the dry mass between her fingers, looking it over. It was roughly two or three centimeters thick, and as a last-second thought, the kunoichi considered that since it was meant for teens and adults, people with a greater body mass than a child, it would be a bit much for the boy. Because of this, she first bit the thing in half, hoping the boy wouldn't be terribly offended by the fact that it had touched her mouth. If anything, the kid would probably be more offended by the flavor of the food substitute, because, though these were better than others Karin had tasted in her life, there was no such thing as a 'good' ration pill.
"Here.." She spoke softly as she sat beside the boy, offering the brownish half-ball to him. He looked at it warily, but reached a small hand out to accept the gift he was being given, obviously either famished or else he had enough manners within him to realize that being stubborn to somebody trying to help you was incredibly rude, and could cause a loss of any last resource you may have.
The young boy spared not another second of thought, he just slipped the makeshift food into his mouth, chewing it before he even had time to taste it. However, it was fairly apparent at the very moment he did catch the taste of the thing. It may have been slight, but he wrinkled his nose in the most subtle way and he had a look deep in his eyes that spoke a wordless disliking for the horrid flavor in his mouth. The kunoichi watched with concern for the boy, yes, but also with a partially amused grin that she attempted to cover with her fingers. Her previous fantasy had stirred admiration within her, and now she couldn't help but find this kid adorable in everything he did, even if it included dealing with the flavor of ration pills. But, yes, he -must- have been starving, though at least he was fed somewhat now.
But the situation was playing out to be a taxing one, in the end- Karin was in no place to be adopting a child, plus she had no clue how this kid even got here, or what to do with him. She didn't have any other clothes for him or any food either, and she had no idea what to do with him. With frustration mounting in her mind, she sighed softly to herself as she gave the quiet boy a pat on the head.
"I guess the responsibility of helping you falls on me. Nobody else around here is going to care enough to do anything with you."
The woman paused, looking down into those dark eyes and that round face, almost expecting the boy to hand her a logical suggestion. She hadn't a clue why her mind had even played at such a thought, because the boy was obviously confused himself, and he even further showed this (And perhaps some amount of shyness) because he remained silent. The red haired kunoichi tried to smile to herself.
"I don't have very much money, but maybe after we find some real food for you, and get you a bath, we can head toward a nearby town and find you some clothes.. From there, we'll just see what happens."
To this suggestion, the boy gave the woman a nod and Karin nodded in return.
Kakashi was drowning into his newest novel of the "Icha Icha" series. Occasionally chuckling under his mask, he'd flip a page and sit back in his chair. A whole week with no missions. How was he to describe the pleasure of that? But he ran out of luck. The week had flown by extremely fast. He was now enjoying his last day of his laid-back week with his novel and his chair. They'd be his best buddies in the next couple of hours. Or so he thought...
He glanced up immediatly when he sensed that something was coming. Trouble was on the way. And trouble had an enormous amount of chakra. From in the kitchen, he could hear a door closing. It was the door to his backyard, only he thought he'd locked it... Quietly, he stood up and pulled a kunai from his pouch. Making no noise on the tricky parquet at all, he swooped over to the tiny wall seperating his kitchen from his livingroom. He held it up infront of him and cocked his head to the side so he could see the person who'd entered his house without permission.
"A-a kid?" he asked himself, removing the kunai from infront of his face. He perched down before the tiny blond with the big sapphire eyes. "Uhh, kid, would you tell me what you're doing in my house?" he asked with an anime sweatdrop.
"Ssshht! You can't let them find me!" he hushed him, running over to one of the cabinets in his kitchen and crawling in.
Kakashi just stared at the assumed 4-year-old with a confused expression on his face. He walked over to the cabinet, hunched down before it, and opened the tiny doors cautionally. The boy sat there, hugging his knees and awaiting any real threats.
"Uhh.. who isn't supposed to find you again?" Kakashi asked.
"That mean Iruka-sensei! He's gonna' lock me up somewhere in a basement for sure!" the boy replied.
Kakashi couldn't help himself and a loud laughter filled the room. "Iruka's gonna' lock you up in his basement?" he asked, still chuckling.
"Ssshhht!" the boy hushed him oncemore and shut the cabinetdoors again.
"Okay, kid, listen, Iruka's not gonna' lock you up somewhere, alright? So just get outta' my cupboard and chop chop outside."
The boy didn't make a sound though. Kakashi tried opening the doors, but they remained firmly shut. He tried them once again, but the wooden things wouldn't budge.
"Come on kid, come on out. It's okay, nobody's gonna' hurt you."
"I'll give you candy if you come out."
"Not a fan of candy, huh? Well how 'bout cookies?"
Still no answer.
The child wouldn't speak.
"Well how 'bout I tell Iruka-san not to lock you away in a basement?"
"... would you do that for me?" came the innocent child's voice.
"Yeah, I promise."
"Pinky-swear?" Kakashi repeated, confused.
The squeeky doors opened slightly and a slender arm reached out. The pinkyfinger on the child's hand reached out and motioned toward Kakashi's several times.
"Uhh.." Kakashi went, assuming he had to put up his pinky finger aswell. The child wrapped his pinky around Kakashi's a briefly shook it.
"There." he said. "Now you've pinky-sworn."
"And what's that mean?" Kakashi asked, laughing nervously.
"It means that you have to do it! Once you pinky-swear, there's no turning back!" the boy declared.
"Alright.. so you'll come out, then?"
"Only if you tell Iruka-sensei first!"
"Oh come on, kid, it's not like he'll eat you if you come outta' there, he isn't even here!"
"SSssshht! Don't say that! It only upsets them!" the boy appeared to yell in his whispering voice.
Kakashi chuckled. "They're not ghosts, alright, they're teachers." he said soothingly.
"You don't know that!" came the child's reply.
"Yes I do. Trust me."
"How can I?"
"Well I've just pinky-sworn, haven't I?"
"..." Suddenly the doors of the cabinet opened again squeekily and the boy climbed out slowly. He peeked his head left and right, just to make sure that the coast was clear. Kakashi couldn't help but suppress another chuckle as the boy hid behind the table and turned occasionally toward the door to see if anyone was coming.
The child yiked and ran toward Kakashi, grabbing hold of his leg and hiding behind it. "It's just a cat, kid, it's okay." he replied with a smile. The cat entered the kitchen via the window and trippled over to Kakashi. The older man went to get a plastic bowl from the cupboard and the little boy followed him, still clutching his hand around the soft fabric of the man's pants. He filled it with milk and set it on the ground where the cat enjoyed it frantically.
The blond boy watched as the cat licked the milk in such a speed you'd think cats needed to exercise their tongues to move that fast, and patted the cat on its head. "He's cute." he noted, scratching the animal behind its ears. "Hmm." came Kakashi's reply. The cat purred and brushed up against Naruto, begging for more attention. The child giggled and patted the stray cat's head happily.
"Naruto!!" came an angry yell. "There you are!! I knew I saw you run into some stranger's house!! You can't do that, you baka!" Iruka scolded the child.
Naruto ran to hide behind Kakashi's leg again and watched as Iruka's gaze lifted from Naruto's to Kakashi's face. Only Kakashi's face was hidden behind a mask. The only thing there was to be seen was his right eye.
"Ah- Kakashi-san!" Iruka choked, shocked.
"Wow, sheesh, Iruka-san, no wonder he thinks you'll lock him up in a basement." Kakashi said, chuckling.
"Wh-what?" Iruka asked.
"The kid's like what, three, four?"
"You think it's canny to yell at him like that? I mean, not that I know better, but it sure shit scared me." Kakashi commented with an anime sweatdrop and a nervous laugh.
"I'm sorry if I scared you, Kakashi-san, but this is the way they learn."
Naruto burried his face in Kakashi's leg and Kakashi could feel the child's fingernails press into his skin.
"Come on, Naruto, we've gotta' go."
"Iie! (no!) the boy cried."
Iruka stared at him, surprised. Naruto had never really grown attached to anybody in such a manner that he'd actually burry his head in the man's leg.
"Wow.. Uhh.. Well what if we give you cookies?" Kakashi proposed
"Iie!" he declined though.
"How 'bout a cool ball to play with?"
"Iie!" the stubborn child refused.
"Aw crap I'm all outta' ideas." Kakashi admitted, seeing no other way than to forcibly yank the child off of his leg.
"You don't have to watch over him, Kakashi-san, he's no yours to look over. Besides, he gets enough care and attention at the orphanage. Iruka told him.
So you work at the orphanage now, huh? Kakashi asked, attempting to pull the child off of his leg. The stubborn blond wouldn't let go of the man's pants though.
Only temporarily, just filling in for somebody. Iruka answered, trying to pull Naruto off aswell.
Huh, that so? Kakashi faked interest as he tried to peel the child's fingers off of his pants.
Iruka and Kakashi were having lots of trouble to get Naruto off of Kakashi's leg, but eventually, Kakashi was able to pull him off by using a fearful technique. ... Tickling.
When Kakashi wanted to pass the kid to Iruka though, the kid wouldn't let go of Kakashi's arm.
Oh crap. he noted.
We can be here forever. Iruka declared.
Kakashi sighed and sat down. You know... Iruka started. Kakashi looked up. This is the first time I think that Naruto's actually grown so attached to someone in a short period of time. Iruka finished. Kakashi raised a brow. That so? he asked, indifferently. Mm-hmm.
The child traced his fingers over the visible veins in Kakashi's arm. His legs hung from the table and started to gently wabble.
You know, they're looking for fosterparents for him.
Well ofcourse they are, I mean, he's in an orphanage.
No, that's not what I meant...
Kakashi re-raised his brow.
They try their best to give children with problems homes to move to first 'cos they believe it has a whole lot to do with the fact that they don't have anyone to watch over them.
So why don't you?
Iruka chuckled. If only. he sighed then. As you've already heard before, we try to help the children with problems first. These are usually the older kids who steal, use violence or perhaps even do drugs.
Kakashi's eyes lifted slightly, interested.
Which is why we also almost never have time for the younger ones. The older ones come first at the moment. But the older ones have social contacts outside of the orphanage. Friends, classmates, etc.
And the younger ones? Kakashi asked.
Don't. Iruka replied plainly. They cannot leave the orphanage yet... this is also why most of the little ones start copying the older ones for attention.
Kakashi sighed. It must be hard to keep up with it all.
It is. Iruka replied, chuckling.
So this punk is one of those troublemakers.. Kakashi said, ruffling through the blond locks with his free hand.
No. Not really.
Naruto's usually the quiet one. He keeps to himself. Only... that's actually the problem for the quiet ones.. when we have a little free time on our hands to help the little ones, we grant the troublemakers of their agegroup the attention and try to help them. They think the quiet ones don't need any attention or any help 'cos they're so quiet. Only that's the problem. They're quiet because they have problems.
Wow..what an explanation. Kakashi said, smiling.
Hehe. came Iruka's nervous laugh.
Kakashi looked at the boy who had now started playing with his fingers. Curling Kakashi's fingers and twirling them gently, the boy's legs swung a little more playfully. He seemed to be entertained. If only by the company of the two older men's voices. He didn't have to understand the conversation, only hear and know that they were there.
The child looked up, noticing that someone was watching him. His big, sapphire eyes stared straight back into Kakashi's as if he could see right through him. As though he could read what he was all about.
Well, I guess it's time to go, then.
The boy's eyes suddenly filled with fear and he clung to Kakashi's arm even tighter than before. He hadn't understood a word of their conversation earlier, but he understood that sentance all too well.
Oh crap. Did you have to say it that obviously, Iruka? Kakashi mocked, laughing.
Gomen. Iruka replied, flushing a red as he realised that it was, indeed, stupid of him to just anounce something like that.
Come on, kid, you've gotta' go. Kakashi told him, lifting the child up and trying to hand him to Iruka. Naruto hung to the man's neck though, not prepared to let go. Iruka tried to pull him, but every time he did so, he had to make sure not to pull Kakashi along with him.
Jeesh, kid, you're strong. Kakashi complimented him, but the blond's eyes didn't look amused at all. Sad and scared, actually.
What was it about Kakashi that made that the kid didn't want to let go?!
Well, I see no other option than that you just bring him to the orphanage yourself.
What?! Kakashi replied.
Well, clearly it's something about you that attracts the kid to you, so how 'bout you bring him back?
Are you kidding me now?!
Do you want me to rip him off of your neck?
The child looked at Kakashi as if he had just asked the question instead of Iruka.
Fine. I'll bring the kid to the orphanage. But you sure as heck aren't a nice rolemodel for them.
Haha. Not my problem, Kakashi. Iruka replied, already way ahead of him.
Tsk. You sure are a handfull. Kakashi mumbled, glaring at the little blond child. He just cocked his head to the side though, staring at him confused. And so, Kakashi set the boy on his shoulders and followed Iruka to the orphanage.
Children were running wild all over the orphanage. Yelling, screaming, crying, fighting, laughing, playing, talking, gossiping, etc etc. Everything humanly possible do to to make any type of noise or sound they did. Some were even singing!
Naruto pinched his eyes closed when they entered the extremely loud facility.
Alright, thanks for bringing him here, Kakashi-san.
Not a problem (not like I had a choice).
Iruka did another attempt to pull Naruto away, but the child now held on to Kakashi's head.
Great. Iruka moaned, rolling his eyes. Naruto, let go right now!
Iie! the child replied though, closing his eyes tight as he wrapped his arms around the man's head.
Can't---breathe. Kakashi managed to say.
Iruka managed to move Naruto's arms from Kakashi's mouth and nose to his eyes and neck.
Suffocating.. he complained this time.
Iruka sighed and now managed to bring Naruto's right arm back up again so it was now covering Kakashi's mouth.
Can't complain. Iruka said for him this time.
Kakashi rolled his eyes, as if to say, Ha-ha, Iruka, very funny. sarcastically.
Iruka-kun, did you manage to find the Kyuubi-kid yet? they could suddenly hear a female voice call.
I've found Naruto, yes. Iruka replied, clearly also not very fond of the title Kyuubi-kid.
Oh, hello Kakashi-san. the famale brunette to whom the voice belonged greeted him, slightly bowing.
Kakashi just smiled back and tried to hand Naruto to the female person, but apparently, Naruto wasn't fond of females either. You'd think he'd grow easier attached to a female though, seeing as children are ususally more attached to their mothers. But not this kid, no, he needed to pick the toughest person.
QUIET!! the room filled with an angry demand and suddenly all the screaming/... children stopped doing what they were doing and stared at the old man who approached the three adults and blond child.
Hatake Kakashi, I take it?
Err.. Hai! he replied, formally.
This child seems very attached to you.
Ehe-he-he. Kakashi laughed nervously. Who was this weird old man?
Do you want him?
Would you like to adopt this child, Hatake Kakashi?
Would you like to sign some papers and take this child home with you?
The older man clearly started to get really irritated and the female person took over for Kakashi. I'm sure Kakashi-san's just in shock, being asked a question like that so plainly.
Well, it is a very plain question. Would you like to or not?
Uhh.. Isn't this a very extreme question to answer on a whim? Kakashi asked.
Not if you really want him.
But what about the responsibilities and-
Listen, Hatake-san, we all know that this child cannot stay in the orphanage. He is to be raised the proper rules and structures of life. This is no ordinary child we're talking about.
Naruto, who was still sitting firmly in his place on Kakashi's shoulders, now released his left hand to stretch out to a butterfly that had entered the room via slightly open window. All the other kids just stared at the older men as their conversation went on.
And apparently, you know enough about seals and chakra-control to do so. So my question remains the same. Would you like to adopt this child or not?
Bato-sama- Iruka started, but he got cut off.
Iruka, this matter does not concern you!! he snapped at him.
With all due respect, sir, but it does. I, for one, think we should inform Kakashi-san that if he'd leave Naruto here, he never would be granted the proper education he deserves. Iruka continued though.
(Aw, crap.) Kakashi thought. (Why did Iruka have to use such a guilt-pressure?)
And, being the child of the Fourth Hokage, I don't think Kakashi-san would like the child's talent to just go to waste.
(Is he SMIRKING?!) Kakashi thought, aggrevated on the inside, but completely calm and uncaring on the outside. (But he IS right though... I really don't want sensei's kid to wind up like a kid who got locked up inside of an orphanage... He was supposed to be the hero of the village. He sealed the Kyuubi away, he saved the village from ruin. If not for sensei's son, the village would've been destroyed.)
So, would you like to adopt this child, Hatake-san? the older man asked him oncemore.
Kakashi sighed. (I must be crazy..) he thought, glancing up at the child on his shoulders, who returned his look with his big, innocent, azure eyes.
Later on.. ^_^ You know.. I have no idea why I adopted you. Kakashi told the innocent, sleeping boy on his shoulders. The child's hands were still under the man's chin, just making sure that he was still there, as his head leant on Kakashi's. What is it about me that invited you in though? What on earth could be so cool about me that interested you? Is it my mask? Is that it? You know, if a mask is what you wanted, I could've just given Iruka one... he grumbled. (Who am I kidding, though? I didn't adopt him 'cos I wanted to rid others of this burden. I adopted him 'cos I felt like it.... No, that's cruel. I adopted him 'cos I wanted to. Yeah, that sounds nicer..) He unlocked the door to his house and carried the child inside. Well, we're gonna' have to get you a bed, but the couch's fine for now, I guess. he whispered, gently putting him down on the couch and pulling a blanket over him. At least, until you wake up. he corrected himself.
Carrying him up the stairs would make too much noise. The stairs squeeked, which would probably wake him. And that's the last thing Kakashi wanted right now. "'Night, Naruto." he whispered, ruffling through the boy's blond locks. "We'll see if you're trouble in the morning." he chuckled.
eventhough this ISN'T yaoi! (srry fangirlz of yaoi,, but I've got no clue how to write a yaoi story about a guy who's like at least 15 years older than the kid XD ) && I'm not writing grown-up gay sex! ;O
Not my thing Ö_ö Anywhuuu... I'm srry 4 making Iruka look like such a jerk XD I think it's cos I made him 2 mushy in my previous stories ._.
He started to irritate me XD && I think Kakashi could look after Naruto WAY better cos he doesn't care XDDD bahaha ;D
anywhuuuu.... listen to Everything from Lifehouse! rly,, it's an amazing song x3 I've gotten strangely addicted to it XD whilst writing this story I listened to it the whole time
oh well,, what can I say? The person who wrote this story is retarded O.O" XD
Have fun reading the first Chapter of my awesomeness food story XD I mean, like,, come on,, who DOESN'T like frozen yoghurt? ^-^
Naruto sighed as he sat on his master's bed, waiting. Nothing else was in the room, save the blonde. The room was decorated in onyx and crimson; just like his master's eyes. How long had he lived here? Being a cursed human, Naruto was given as a sacrifice to the creature he called master. His village feared or hated him just because of what slept inside him. So they were more than willing to give him to the creature that could end his life in the blink of an eye. He had been chained to something that looked like a stage. He screamed, cursed, cried and begged and no one looked sad or guilty. They all just went into there homes and locked the windows and doors. Naruto shook his head to stop his remembering of the past.
The curtains covering the bedroom window fluttered in the wind. By the time Naruto turned his head to look, his master was sitting on the bed next to him. The man's hand was buried in the soft spiked hair within seconds and the fingers played with it sweetly. "You waited up? Ii ko." The man purred in the boy's ear. His voice was silky like melted chocolate. The voice sent shivers up and down Naruto's spine. He loved the sound.
"Of course, Sasuke-sama." He smiled. Sasuke pulled Naruto's hair softly, just enough to tilt his head slightly, then kissed him hard, causing the boy to moan sweetly. Every little touch Sasuke gave him turned the blond into a horny schoolgirl. The blonde kissed him back. Being a cursed human meant Sasuke held all the power over his pet.
The raven kissed him almost desperately. The longing took over the passionate kiss. It had only been six hours since their last make out session but both boys craved the other. Naruto could taste someone's blood in his master's mouth before they pulled apart. The blonde disliked the taste not because he disliked blood but because no one's blood should pass those beautiful lips but his. As if sensing the blond's jealousy, Sasuke smirked, "I only took a taste when I was about to pass out. I needed a snack to make it back to you. You know you're blood is by far better, my pet." He kissed down his neck. "Did you eat and drink well in my absence?" His pet needed strength whenever Sasuke wanted to feed on him. He could only feed on his blond once every three or four days so he tended to get weak after the third day.
"Hai." He nodded and Sasuke mumbled a 'good' then pulled the soft hair to tilt the boy's head back. His fangs extended and sunk into the soft flesh of the human neck. There was a choked sound of pain then only the slowly laboring breath of Naruto. The warm liquid that attacked Sasuke's senses was almost orgasmic. It took all of his willpower to not drain all that kept his pet alive. The copper taste that he drew from the blonde and the sweet sounds he made drove the vampire insane. He wanted more and more. " Sa-su-ke " the pet's voice was passionate but fading. It was a warning. A strong wave of darkness hit the human hard and he fought to stay awake as the fangs retracted.
Sasuke licked away the few drops of blood that dripped down Naruto's neck and then he licked his lips, "Sleep Naruto." He purred into his pet's ear. He kissed the blonde's neck then his mouth. His tongue playing in the other's mouth until the exhausted human slipped into the sleep his body craved. As a vampire, Sasuke didn't need sleep so he was content to lie there holding Naruto and watching him sleep.
It was the light of change in his life; Indecisiveness. It was having light again, and forever more, in general, and yet he still felt so empty inside. Curious fingers wandered up to stroke over his face- That thin skin surrounding his ruby sharingan eyes. He wanted to touch them, he wanted any solid way to be with him once more. He blinked; They were still very sore- Perhaps his body hadn't fully accepted the new addition yet? He knew deep inside he could never ever adjust to the traitorous knotting in his gut, forever haunting him.
Itachi- He was dead now, and though Madara had spoken of Sasuke's elder brother having lived the last months of his life suffering most horribly from a devouring illness, Sasuke still could never forgive himself for being so blind. He recalled, when he was a child, he felt he had known his precious Niisan so very well. He didn't question what had happened, and why that ability left him- No, he knew. The little voice in the back of his head, the heart that beat in time with his older brother's, it had all been shut away in a single night. Terror, and pain, and chaos can really change a child.. It can take away the perfection every child houses within himself.
Regardless, the younger of the two brother's was eaten away by his guilt. He caused Itachi's death. -He could blame whoever else he wanted, but it never made him feel any better for not seeing through Itachi's emotionless act.
And now Sasuke had gone against his initial wishes, and taken Madara up on his offer to aid in replacing the young Uchiha's eyes that would soon fail. Yes, Sasuke now had a piece of his brother within himself that he could keep for as long as he lived, and yet... That knowledge that no matter how remarkable his vision, he could never truly see Itachi again- That made his self-preservation feel worthless.
But being lonely and depressed- Those together can form an intense hunger. One hardly ever knows what they want in life, but Sasuke wanted something very simple now. The entire time he had allowed himself to be sheltered by his ancient relative, he had known Itachi was being kept in the very same facility, but.. He never requested to see his brother again. He just went about his business, completely without knowledge of exactly -what- Madara may have been doing with Itachi's body. It was funny how little Sasuke had thought of it, but he could blame that on the little mechanism he had gained after his family was killed- When something hurt him, he just didn't think of it at all. Truly, perhaps he was afraid.
Maybe he was afraid to look at his brother again- His cold, lifeless, brother. At least now Itachi wouldn't be able to stare at him with accusingly empty eyes. Still, how ever was Sasuke to take this- Looking down at a person who had loved him so, and died for him, without ever asking for any gratitude? Faintly, Sasuke tried to imagine his dead brother.. That pale skin, completely drained of what color it had held when the elder was alive; cold to the touch, and probably still marred here and there from their battle.. Itachi's very last battle.
Sasuke shuddered, but maintained his cool indifference. He couldn't allow anybody to see his lapse, even though he also knew that nobody was lurking the halls to see him anyway. It was only him, and Madara waiting alone in his chamber, waiting for Sasuke to finalize the long trek down the hall, so he could make his request.
Sasuke wasn't sure how Madara felt about being disturbed, but.. He could care less. This was a first for him, anyway. Never before did Sasuke have any reason to make any private requests from that man, in his own time, but Sasuke felt as if all the world owed him something, so the elder Uchiha could deal. All he wanted was to know where Itachi was. He needed to be with his brother one last time.
At last he came to the end of the hall, and with quick confidence the young Uchiha slid open the door that hid Madara's room from the rest of the world. With a single step he stood in the doorway, on the threshold separating the light in the hallway from the darkness Sasuke found within Madara's private area. Politely, the boy waited in the doorway for his presence to be acknowledged, but his manners would only stretch so far. Luckily, Madara's voice echoed calm, and darkly from the abyss he was hiding within.
"What do you want..?" The ancient Uchiha spoke up, addressing the younger male in his doorway. He had been aware of Sasuke's presence long before the boy even arrived.
"Madara- I want to see Itachi." Sasuke's response was quick, and demanding, but very calm. He was straightforward, but polite just the same. He made sure everybody understood the seriousness of his words and actions, but he restrained that side of him that pushed him to merely overlook the feelings of others, and be a complete jerk. Still, he felt his request was very simple, and he was well within his rights to just stand in the same room with his fallen elder brother. However, his ancestor took his time answering, as if he were truly thinking about what his response should be, and then after at least a minute of contemplation, he spoke up lowly.
"Why now..? Why have you waited so long, Sasuke?" The ancient male's tone was dark and faintly curious, but his voice also sounded very tired, as if he truly did not wish to be asking such a question, nor did he care about the answer. More so, he seemed very unwilling to even be in Sasuke's presence now.
The younger male instantly seethed in agitation, stepping forward into the darkness of the room, invading the older man's privacy without a care. Brilliant crimson bubbled up in the depths of Sasuke's usually inky black eyes, a mix of anger making itself known, and a rise in perception, allowing Sasuke to travel more comfortably through the darkness Madara liked to surround himself in. Those luminous sharingan broke through the black haze, glowing in the lack of light, and within a few extended paces, Sasuke had made it flawlessly over to a large chair in which, Madara was very comfortably positioned.
With the aid of Itachi's eyes, Sasuke could see remarkably well- Yes, there in front of him was the elder Uchiha. His sleek form was clad in black, as usual, and his posture was that of a person who had nothing more to do than rest, and ponder. His lower body was forward in the seat, allowing him to lean at a more comfortable angle so that just his upper back was positioned against the cushy back of the overly large chair. His elbows were propped on the arm rests, and his gloved hands were folded neatly in his lap. Faintly, young Sasuke had to ponder such a position- It struck him as a deja vu. He felt he had looked upon somebody else who always sat in this same position when they got comfortable. However, the boy's memory failed him, and more than likely the imagery was insignificant anyway. This was just some lapse of the mind, distracting him from his purpose here and now.
Once back in a state of concentration, Sasuke didn't allow too much of his emotional side to show, but unlike his elder brother, he always slipped in the faintest traces of what he was feeling- Being human, rather than a robot, helped to emphasize your points, and how very serious Sasuke was at this particular moment. Crimson eyes had narrowed slightly, and the faintest wrinkles between his brows could be detected as he formed a sort of glare. "What the hell does it matter? He's my brother, and I want to see him. It isn't as if I'm asking much."
The younger males tone was laced with poisonous fury- Sasuke had a passionate edge about him, and tended to be much more rebellious, oddly enough, in comparison to Itachi. Still, this didn't seem to faze Madara, because he merely continued with his detached attitude. "I just wanted to know what it was you were feeling.. Perhaps I could show more sympathy.. But I'm afraid those eyes were the only part of your brother that was preserved.."
That masked face turned more toward Sasuke as the young Uchiha reacted with inward violence- His array of emotions were like an intricate spiral locked within his heart. What had happened to Itachi? Was he thrown out like garbage? How dare somebody disrespect him like that! Why would anybody do that? The young male took a deep breath, however, though he was still glaring straight at that mask- And what was with Madara's mask tonight? It had changed, for now he was wearing a solid black cover, one without eye holes, even. Sasuke scoffed at that; The damned twisted old bastard couldn't even see how bristled Sasuke had gotten at such news. The boy wasn't sure whether to be grateful or most livid. Still, somehow he managed to find it within himself to remain calm, and ask one more question. "Then... What happened to him?"
The cruel elder Uchiha gestured lazily as he spoke up, tone as nonchalant as ever. "I just.. Gave him to Zetsu.."
Not even a fraction of a second was allowed to pass after Madara spoke up before Sasuke launched himself at the man. The boy had enough, and was offended, and emotionally distressed. Madara had actually allowed that plant-freak to eat Itachi!? Sasuke wasn't sure what to think of such a situation, other than to feel anger- Such an anger was blinding, and surged through the boy's system, taking away any hope for logical thought or reason. He just did what he felt was necessary, right at that very moment, and that was to take out his hatred on the nearest target, the one who had put the rage there.
The attack was powerful to the point that it flipped the chair onto its back, and it sent the older man rolling a good distance across the floor, up until his body harshly met with the wall. The wooden mask that had been covering his face even split into two halves, and a dozen tiny splinters. Sasuke took a breath as ruby sharingan beamed down on the destroyed scraps of facial covering, and feeling a tiny hint of satisfaction with his deed, he allowed a smirk to trail maliciously across his pale countenance. He said nothing to the disrespectful bastard that was laid out on the floor now, but he did try to collect some fraction of amusement by wandering closer, to inspect the damage. He hoped he had busted Madara's ugly face up good.
Sasuke practically counted the paces it took to close the distance between himself and the other male. Every step was another victory, and he was sure that if there hadn't been a wall to stop to rolling body, the other man probably would have gone on for a bit longer. Still, a harsh clash with an unpleasantly solid surface was just as well, if not better. At last the young Uchiha halted, standing with only a few feet separating him from his current enemy. He waited then, hoping Madara would try to preserve some of his pride, and get up off the floor, but to Sasuke's surprise, the man didn't budge. He was still perfectly conscious, but as the seconds ticked by, he showed no sign of moving at all. Finally, impatience got the best of the younger male, and he reached down to grab Madara by the shoulders, and with a brutal tug, Sasuke pulled him up into a sitting position, shoving him so that his back met the wall behind him with a painful slam.
Once the young Uchiha's new sharingan eyes met with that previously hidden visage, however, he could not restrain the reaction that followed. Sharply he inhaled as his crimson optics widened, unsure of what they were seeing, and he sank down to his knees, down to the other man's level so he could get a better look, so he could try to comprehend what it was sitting in front of him, or rather.. Who it was. And, yes, a heavy change had occurred, but still the figure was unmistakable- Even beyond the now shortly cropped hair, and the more sickly-pale complexion, marred slightly violet with bruising and trauma, and painted on just a bit by a thin trickle of blood coming from the man's lip. And most ghastly of all was the thin, white bandages wrapped around the man's head, and over his eyes, or rather.. Where his eyes should have been. There, stained into the crisp wrapping were two circles of crimson- Evidence of there having once been eyes where now there were none. Ruby sharingan moved lower to take in those signature dark lines trailing from just beneath the bandages, and lower, down along the man's cheeks. Yes, this was a face that Sasuke recognized, though the comprehension of this matter was another story. It must have been obvious in the way his body grew very still, and even his breathing stilled in the shock of the moment. With guilt-laden, and yet highly confused sharingan eyes he stared, until finally his lungs escaped the grasp of shock, and he took a breath, barely uttering the name of the man that sat before him now.
Sasuke's spoken word seemed to echo forever in the dark emptiness of the dismal quarters, but at last the two brothers were once again surrounded in silence. Neither budged for a very long time- Itachi, having not even wanted to be discovered, and merely waiting for Sasuke to make his next move, and Sasuke himself still trying to wrap his mind around what these new eyes were telling his fragile consciousness. The space within his skull, all at once buzzed with questions, though his tongue hesitated. The man he was intending to speak to now was one he had known forever, and at the same time, this person was an unknown soul to him as of this very moment. Sasuke didn't know what to think or believe, but that small fraction of trust beat within his heart. That tiny piece of confidence came in the form of Sasuke's newly acquired vision- The fact that he had been gifted a higher realm of sight, and power, and here sat his brother, completely blind, and likely in a great amount of pain.
The younger male's first question poured out in such a feeble tone, he almost cringed at how closely it could be matched to the voice of that child who had walked in to find his parents dead, and his brother standing there suspiciously. Bitter, weak, and confused- Sasuke hated the way it came out, especially now that he knew it was Itachi he was addressing. "...How? Was it you the entire time..?"
The battered elder male sat unmoving, even after his little sibling began to question him. He looked just like some beaten-up old doll; Completely lifeless, and torn apart, and still somewhat beautiful just the same. However, eventually his body shifted, and pale, but blood-stained lips could be seen parting just slightly as words hovered on the tip of his tongue.
"Not the entire time.." He spoke up softly, his true voice now echoing forward in the clutches of the lonely space surrounding them. The resonance of his spoken words were silky in tone, yet very quiet. Despite all the damage he had allowed to dealt upon himself, he didn't seem very distressed, just.. Tired, disappointed, maybe. "The man you saw when you arrived here after our fight, at first, had been Madara, though he perished in the flame of Amaterasu I implanted in you... It was then, once he vanished from your visual spectrum, that I carried on in his place, masquerading in his identity.."
"Then.." Sasuke began to speak again, his curiosity still rippling within his mind. "..Was everything you told me... True?"
The Uchiha heir answered promptly, seeing no reason to withhold the answer. "It was, yes."
Sasuke took a few deep breaths, feeling he had gotten behind on his breathing whilst he was locked up in surprise- But now he had calmed himself, and slowly he inched forward, crawling toward Itachi, wanting now to touch the older male, just to see if he truly was there, and this was not just some trick of the mind. And if this was some sort of cruel genjutsu, then Sasuke would have the heads of whoever had put him under such a spell, as soon as he escaped. "And you did all those things you spoke of.. And.. You truly were the kind brother I remember from my childhood..?" The young male reached out, fingertips connecting with his elder siblings cheek, and gingerly they traced up to the stained bandages, probing in an attempt to unwrap them.
"..Don't." Itachi jerked his head to the side slightly, trying to escape from his younger brother's invasive physical questioning. This resulted in those delicate fingertips being drawn back slightly, but it did nothing to halt the process of Sasuke acquiring further knowledge.
Sasuke rebelled against his siblings wishes, though as he spoke up he lacked the aggressive tone he had taken when he assumed it was Madara he spoke to. For once his tone was undemanding, while at the same time he was pushing his wishes most insistently. Sasuke was now accustomed to getting what he wanted, and he knew with some delicate urging, his brother would not deny him. "What I said before still stands, brother... I want to see you. I need to see."
Giving in, Itachi turned his head back to face Sasuke, and carefully the younger boy went to the task of unwrapping the tainted bandages. Sasuke was fearful, yet driven at the same time. He knew what he would find beneath the wrapping, and he felt he would be greatly disheartened to see his brother in such a condition, but just as much he was too inquisitive to deny himself this knowledge, and also he knew in his heart he had to be grateful- If things had not happened this way, then both brothers would have been stuck blind as bats.
Once the gauzy material was removed, Sasuke stared with an indifferent expression at the pitiful image he beheld. Sightless Itachi was without eyes, and his lids were sewn shut. The skin around the still-unhealed area was discolored from the blood, and from the bruising of that sensitive flesh. But the younger boy sighed, not wanting to patronize his elder with unneeded pity, and he raised a tender hand up to stroke along the elder's cheek.
"Why, Itachi?" Not meaning to be unappreciative, Sasuke questioned his brother's selflessness, hoping that Itachi would understand why Sasuke was asking. He just wanted to know what had driven the elder to be so giving, when Sasuke had been utterly demeaning of his previous sacrifices, plotting to seek further revenge in Konoha, since it was all he knew in life- An avenger's destiny.
Itachi had just given Sasuke exactly what he needed to go against his elder brother's wishes. The younger male desperately needed to know why.
The heir allowed a mischievous smile to tug subtly at his lips as he answered Sasuke's question. "To save you... From your blindness."
The two brother's hovered in silence as Sasuke tried to comprehend his siblings cryptic words- As it now stood, nothing to do with Itachi was what it seemed. No, there was always a hidden meaning behind sensible literal definitions. Despite the younger boy's endless visual power, his brother never let things hover in plain sight.
Title: Plain Sight By: Banished1 / BanishedOne Rating: T (For some scary imagery.)
Sasuke finally accepted the fact that he needed his brother's eyes, and with his new sight he sought to see his sibling again one last time. The trouble was that he didn't realize how blind he truly was, still.
They say the moon is lonely, always trying to catch up to the sun to bask in it's warmth, and that it is nothing but kind and pure but in truth, I find it reminds me of you.
So in my case, I can not help but wonder if in fact the moon is cruel as it is hauntingly beautiful, just like you. Perhaps that is why the sun continually scorns it, for it knows of the malice that hides beyond that addictive allure.
Midnight brings with it a chilling silence, one that leaves the thoughts in my head unspoken, dead and I am forced to remember screams I try so hard to run from. Under the flooded moonlight, my skin is seared by your touch, those pale ivory rays that bring an ethereally glow to my alabaster form.
Why will you not leave me alone? My heart ached enough in your absence, but now, that poison of yours is infecting my mind, much worse than when your life was mine to end.
My debt to you is finished, collected, completed, and yet I am naught but empty. Is it foolish to look at my life's purpose like that, as naught but mission? When considering the pressure you put upon me, the hate you filled me with as your last request, I realised something. You see, I use to think you were a sadist, but it is now apparent that your foolish otouto was wrong again as usual.
You are truly just a masochist.
Such cruelty you inflicted upon yourself. You murdered them all, and left the one that you loved the most the one that loved you the most in that bloody wake of yours, with the ability to ruin you. Why did you want that from me, that pain I could cause you?
Why did you twist myour love into something so hideous?
I do not understand why I am always wrong when it comes to you. I had hoped there would be some immense relief when I satisfied our desired with my blade's kiss to your heart. You were always the cruel one, but not that time. I traded my lusts for pain and threw the desire to be yours to the wind.
And now I only wish for it back.
To be caressed by you, much like how your moonlight blush bathes me in the purest white. Why does it lie to itself? Why do you lie to yourself? I am not pure, not since you left me to be devoured by the ruins of my past. A shiver runs over my flesh, alerting me to the fact that you are once again consuming me, ebbing away at my sanity at least, what is left of it.
If I were asked about the truths of the moon, I think I would smile, and lie.
I would say that the moon was beautiful, and kind to light up the night. Selfishly, I would keep the truth to myself and allow the dream of the Moon's serenity to continue. It would be our secret my last connection to you.
Why can I still hear your voice? In a bed of scarlet you stole my victory with your confession, your love and I strived with all my heart to shut you out. I tried so hard to reject those tears, but once again, you had sealed my fate with the warmth of you lips.
Oh how I hate you my love.
You always were such a bastard.
What did you see when you laid there, broken, so beautifully stained in violent red, what did you see in me? Gazing into my eyes, so like your own, did you know I was yours forever?
I am sorry I left you to face death alone; if truth be told, I yearned for you to claim my life in the end, like you did my soul. I suppose, all things considered, I never stopped being your foolish otouto, eternally striving to even the score, to consume you, like you did me and to be by your side
Within my room, I am free from your touch, your moonlight. Instead, shadows crawl across these walls of whitewash and ice, consuming all light within their path. They say that "Light will always prevail," but they were wrong. With you gone, these shadows ravage my mind and my soul, leaving naught but my body, this shell to move in remembrance, following the endless routine as I yearn for you.
Please Onii-sama, take me with you end my suffering.
Hehe, this is my first one-shot try at ItaSasu that doesn't really have much plot. Hopes it's okay, and I have this incurable failure at being able to spot my own mistakes, so if anyone notices any, please let me know.
Also, obviously this is not CANON, it's is but an individual's take on a relationship, and has been written for naught but artistic expression.
Don't like it...press the back button and respect my views!
For those who are happy to read, enjoy XD
Disclaimer; Sasuke, Itachi Uchiha belong to Kishmoto
I couldn't make Kushina and Minato, don't you think? XD Wait to see what happen in the next page! Oh yes: in two words someone, I don't remember who, asked me if Naruto has Kyyubi inside him. Now, we know that the previous jinchuuriki was Kushina, so in this story she is the jinchuuruki.
For more information about the role of Minato and Kushina in this sotry, go and read 2 Words, the prequel: [link]
/..Hey, let's go, hey, let's go, I'm happy as can be. Let's go walking you and me../
Both boys were standing in silence, two pairs of eyes gazing into the dim, dusty area of the kitchen, where small, screeching, furry creatures had scampered off into cracks between the walls and floor.
The younger male scooted himself over closer to his older brother, clinging to Itachi as he partially hid behind him, peeping from around the older boy's thin frame. His big, innocent eyes were looking about, no longer catching sight of any movement, though he was no less startled, and certainly too nervous to consider going into the room without his Niisan in front of him.
Itachi, who was just as offended by the smell of the musty room as the unexplainable movement from unidentifiable creatures, kept one hand over his nose, while reaching back to grab his little brother's tiny hand in his own. "Come on, Sasuke.."
Peeking out from behind Itachi a bit more, the younger male gave the room another emergency glance to make sure it was safe, then he nodded his head to his brother, stepping out from behind him, though he kept a tight hold on his hand. "Okay, Nii.."
The Uchiha heir straightened himself, keeping his head up, his shoulders back, and his chest out, as if it could make him appear larger and more threatening to whatever strange creature he was doomed to encounter. His sandals were kicked from his feet, and he continued forward lightly, his feet making the softest patters on the wood floor.
At the older boy's side, Sasuke carefully mimicked his brother's posture, though the small boy walked with his legs spaced far apart, similar to a Sumo-wrestler; This was his idea of a threatening stance, and as Itachi's eyes flickered down to regard Sasuke for a nervous second, he couldn't help but laugh softly under his breath at how comical Sasuke looked.
The tinier boy crouched down, examining the space beneath the tiled counters and wooden cutting-counter, just in case something was hiding there. Itachi hesitantly allowed his brother's hand to slip from his own, continuing along while Sasuke looked.
The area below the counters was black with soot, and the counters themselves were stained, but Sasuke found nothing suspicious below. He was still nervous, so he quickly finished investigating and rushed back to his brother's side as Itachi wandered near to peek over a half-wall.
A tiny hand lifted to tangle itself in the loose shirt Itachi wore, which was emblazoned with their family crest on the back. In this manner, Sasuke kept a hold on his brother as Itachi crept around the wall to stand upon a couple of stairs that led into the next room.
The older male looked around the corner first, followed seconds later by curious Sasuke; Neither boy found anything strange as they observed what appeared to be a washroom with two old fashioned Goemonburo-bathtubs, which were dusty from a lack of use.
A sudden noise startled the two boys, and they both gasped softly before sharply turning their heads to the source of this disturbance, it being the gritty sound of the old, sliding kitchen door being opened. From the door appeared a person, rather than a monster, and the two young boys calmed as their father walked into the room carrying the old cat.
Sasuke perked up, cheerfully noticing the old cat who was resting calmly in his father's hands, and he took it upon himself to declare his happiness at seeing the cat again. "Tousan has Momo-chan!"
With an attention-span that was more focused than his young sibling's, Itachi looked up at his father with a serious expression, his bright, black eyes shining with intelligence. "Tousan, we saw something move in here when we opened the door."
The eldest male wore a frown on his face, worried at the notion of there being rats living in the house; His frown only deepened at his son's words, though he responded in a neutral tone, questioning Itachi about what he saw. "Was it a rat?"
Sasuke scampered over to his father, standing on his tiptoes in order to pat the cat, who reacted to the child's hands by batting playfully. The elder sibling gave a shrug to his father, disappointed and somehow spooked that he had absolutely no idea what those things were. "I don't think so. They looked more like furry black octopuses because they had long, squirming tentacles, and they were screaming as they ran away."
Fugaku quirked a brow at his son's explanation, not analyzing it. He wouldn't conclude that Itachi imagined this occurrence, nor that his eldest son was lying, but.. He wasn't very certain about what Itachi was telling him. The man bent over, letting the cat down to walk about the floor. "Let Momo have a look."
As the cat was set down, the old creature gave the dusty floor a sniff, examining. She shook the dust from her whiskers in subtle annoyance, but still arched into the small hands of the child who was showering her with pats.
Unsure of the cat's investigative abilities, Fugaku also began to look around himself, sharp eyes scanning the floor for any scampering pests. Surely, if there were any rats, they had hidden themselves well enough by now, so he walked briskly over to the tubs, removing the covers to look inside. He was surprised to find the insides decently clean, despite the disuse of the old house.
Glancing over his shoulder, the Uchiha head noticed that his sons were watching him expectantly, as if they were waiting for an explanation to the abnormal occurrence they had witnessed. It seemed silly that they were both so shaken, and even though Itachi stuck to his shinobi training, keeping his emotions concealed, Fugaku could tell that his eldest son was still nervous, somehow. (No, Itachi was hiding his feelings less than usual; That's why he seemed easier to read. But he probably wasn't frightened. Maybe just confused, his bright mind seeking to understand things.)
"There's no reason for the two of you to worry." Their father spoke in a soft, neutral tone, actually letting himself smile slightly as he straightened, and sidestepped over to open the window, hoping to air the room out. It was actually.. Kind of funny catching his son's fretting, outside their normal comfort zone. Life in Konoha was always the same, every single day, and it had made the entire family a bit complacent.
"You mean those things don't eat people or kitties, Tousan?" Sasuke spoke up in question, his naive mind always tending to assume that things are only dangerous if they might potentially eat you.
"Well.. I don't think that those strange, black things the two of you saw were alive." Fugaku explained.
"They weren't..alive?" The eldest son narrowed his eyes suspiciously, letting his head tilt to the side inquisitively, a bit unsure of his father's words. His first thought at hearing the creatures be mentioned as 'not alive' was that they could be some sort of spirit, and as much as legends interested him, he regarded it all as strictly fictional. "Are you trying to trick us, Tousan?"
The man chuckled softly at his son's skeptical nature before speaking up to explain. "No. Itachi, you should already understand this; Those things were an illusion. Makkuro kurosuke.*"
"Makkuro..." Itachi spoke slowly, pausing.
Sasuke then finished the repetition. "..Kurosuke?"
"That's right." The father nodded his head to his sons as he fought with the old window; It was so ancient that it hardly slid well on its tracks any longer and it had to be given a forceful shove. "You see, sometimes when you walk into a dark room from a brightly lit place, and vice-versa, your eyes have to adjust rapidly, which causes you to see a rush of black spots; An illusion."
The older boy nodded his head, a small smile upon his rosy lips as his eyes shimmered with understanding. "I get it."
Itachi's smile faded away only seconds after he verbally acknowledged his father's words, and he glanced down at Sasuke, who was busily laughing and chanting 'Come out, now! Come out, now!' in order to summon the makuro-kurosuke, since the sun from the window was now beaming strongly into the previously dark room.
(One thing still bothered Itachi, though he didn't mention it, not wanting to scare Sasuke all over again; Optical illusions didn't make noises.)
The entire family glanced back toward the kitchen curiously, but somewhat startled, when a loud yowl escaped from the old cat, and she went wildly tearing from the room, her fur bristled. They all knew that something had obviously surprised her, but none of them questioned it aloud.
"Okay.." The eldest man's stern voice broke the silence first. "We should stop dawdling and get to work.. Itachi, do you think you can find the stairs that lead to the attic? We need to open the upstairs windows too, so it can air out up there.."
"Yes, Tousan." Hurriedly, Itachi jumped to his feet and bolted through the door his father had come in from, rushing down the hall. He was honestly relieved to be out of the room where he saw those creatures, but he had also decided that he wouldn't let it worry him. Just before they moved into this house, the young heir had completed his Chuunin exam, and so, those tiny black things, no matter what they were, couldn't possibly be as dangerous as anything Itachi had encountered in the past.
Actually, as he ran down the hall, he considered to himself that now would be an important period in his life- This was a time where he would be redefining the meaning of 'danger' in his mind. Traditionally, he lived in a world where 'danger' was produced when something threatened Konoha, and the opposing factor was the protection of Konoha.
But how could shinobi ever live in safety if they constantly fought to maintain peace? Itachi was at an age where he questioned everything and this sounded strangely counter-productive.
The boy shook these thoughts from his head. All he could do now was learn through experience whether life outside of Konoha's walls was actually more safe or less. Only time could offer the young boy, full of questions, the answers to these riddles.
"Hey, Niisan! Wait!" Sasuke called out to Itachi, short legs unable to keep pace with the older boy.
Spinning on heel, the older boy turned a half-circle, casting a brotherly smile back in Sasuke's direction. "Come on. We can check for more of those 'things' upstairs."
Those 'things' had now presented the young shinobi with a challenge. To Sasuke, they could remain a fictional, childish perception of what their father had referred to them as- Just something you see when darkness and light shift from one extreme to the other, like a benevolent ghost. (Since children couldn't fully differentiate the idea of an illusion from something that was alive, but different from normal.)
Itachi knew those things were no illusion, and beyond his initial nervousness, he could feel the surge of adrenaline kicking in. He was no longer a ninja, but he still clung to the idea of going on 'missions' to give himself purpose. Now, he was on a mission to discover the true nature of those black creatures, and what the real meaning of 'danger' was.
"Yeaah! Makkuro Kurosuke!" The smaller boy chanted in a triumphant voice, elated at the idea of being on a mission with his Niisan, and intrigued with the notion of chasing after those elusive, but harmless makkuro kurosuke.
Sasuke followed after his older brother as Itachi bolted down the halls, peeking in doors along the way, declaring, "The stairs aren't here."
The older male opened up what he found to be a closet. He glanced inside, gave his head a shake, then shut the door back, just to have Sasuke follow behind him, and repeat this action. Of course, the younger male exaggerated his mimicry of Itachi, flinging the door open wide, and he stuck his head right inside to make certain that there were definitely no stairs, before he cried out, "No stairs in here!", and slammed the door shut with a mischievous grin.
The two sets of feet pattered down the hall, Itachi's footsteps rapid and soft, while Sasuke stamped loudly with the entirety of his weight on each foot. They maintained a short game of follow-the-leader, Sasuke copying his older brother all the way, until the entire chase came to an end when the older of the pair opened up a door to finally find the stairs.
"Hey, come here, Sasuke, I found the stairs!" The older boy called to his brother, giving Sasuke time to catch up. As the smaller boy appeared at the end of the hall, Itachi smiled and batted his hand to rush Sasuke along, so excited that he was shifting about on his toes.
"Huh?" Sasuke exclaimed as he rushed up to Itachi's side, and clung affectionately. "Let me see.."
Both boys stared up into the lightless reaches of the steep flight of stairs; From the landing, until about half-way up, the two could observe how tall each step was, and how there was only enough room on each stair for a person to balance on the front of their foot while they climbed. (For kids it wasn't so hazardous, unless they were just clumsy.)
Still, it looked rather intimidating, since the mountain of stairs vanished into complete darkness. The older boy just grinned to himself with a shrug, inwardly brushing it off as not being a real challenge so much as.. An adventure. (Again, he had acquired the level of chuunin in Konoha, so what was this to him?)
Just as he had convinced himself inwardly that nothing was up there, a sharp sound caught the older boy's ear, and he gazed intensely up into the darkness, watching for the source of this noise as it made a 'tic-tic-tic' sound, coming ever nearer.
"Look!" Itachi whispered, a tiny object coming into view as it toppled down the stairs with steady momentum. He recognized this tiny item and its brown shine as the light glinted off of it, once it was within reach. "It's an acorn.."
The elder boy, with skillful dexterity, snagged the tiny nut from the air mid-bounce, and he looked down at it as it rested in his palm. Sasuke did the same, examining the object that his brother held, while whispering in a tone that the boy was actively trying to make 'spooky', "Makkuro kurosuke must like acorns."
"Here." Closing his hand around the tiny acorn, Itachi held it out to Sasuke, who opened both hands and cupped them together to receive the gift. Giggling, he shoved it into one of his short-pockets. "Thanks, Nii!" (Itachi didn't know, but Sasuke was still playing the 'collect more acorns than Itachi' game.)
Turning their matching charcoal optics back to the upstair abyss, the boys took deep breaths, then simultaneously unleashed a chant that would startle away any threat that could be waiting beyond the darkness. "Come out, come out, or we'll tear your eyeballs out!"*
Faintly, the brothers could hear some sort of rustle from the darkness above; Itachi, more than ever, was sure that those things had been no illusion, but as he turned to his younger brother, who was looking somewhat hesitant about going into the attic, Itachi offered a confident grin and a nod, which gave Sasuke reassurance. A gentle hand came to pat Sasuke on the head before Itachi fearlessly headed up into the dark. "It's alright, Sasuke. You can stay behind me."
For a moment, Sasuke considered not going at all; But then he imagined the makuro kurosuke ganging up on his Niisan and eating him, so he bolted up after Itachi, just to help him in case the little creatures attacked. It was only halfway up that he remembered how Itachi was already a very skilled fighter, while he, himself, knew nothing apart from basic skills. Because of this, Sasuke decided it was best stay right under Itachi as they climbed the stairs.
While Itachi stalked up in a normal, albeit careful-footed fashion, Sasuke climbed up on all fours for better balance, the old wood creaking beneath the boy's weight with each step, completely throwing off his sibling's creeping-shinobi approach. Sasuke watched Itachi carefully as they reached the top of the stairs. The older boy poked his head up into the attic to look around, standing elevated on his toes while the younger male crouched beneath him, waiting to be told it was safe.
Patience was not one of Sasuke's better traits, however, and while Itachi was giving the entire attic a careful and calculated examination for any malevolent life form, the younger boy was satisfied enough in seeing that Itachi's head hadn't been mauled within the first five seconds of him sticking it up into the attic. Like some naive baby rabbit, Sasuke popped his head up into the attic as well, wanting to preoccupy his mind with something that he perceived as both dangerous and harmless. (His natural reaction to the unknown was fear, yet his mind wasn't matured enough to grasp to concept of death or something's potential to end his young life.)
"Makuro Kurosuke!!" The child screamed out in his best 'terrifying' voice, the sound of his intent to triumphantly explore this spooky attic his most clever tactic for scaring away the tentacled apparitions.
A hand was quickly clapped over Sasuke's mouth, the older male feeling that this noisiness was spoiling the potential for an ambush, though Itachi couldn't bother admitting that his brother's loud voice had actually startled him, if just a bit; He smiled warmly to Sasuke but gave the younger boy a firm shake of his head.
Perceptive eyes gave the dark attic yet another careful glance, Itachi finding that he didn't see anything like what had been scurrying about in the kitchen before. In a reassuring but careful whisper, the elder boy addressed the only person at his side. "Don't worry, Sasuke.. There's nothing here."
This statement had been meant, realistically, to calm Sasuke but it was also for Itachi to calm himself. Sure, he had faced monstrously overgrown wild animals and rival shinobi in a desolate and dangerous forest, but this was something else, something a little more.. Unknown. Unknown dangers were the gravest sort. (All else was just.. A game of pretend for pretend ninja.)
A soft whish of noise, like wind blowing gently through a cracked door, came to furiously contradict the shinobi-boy's words. The heir was unsure what his hopes where; Whether or not he hoped to find something abnormal, he wasn't certain. He had steadily allowed himself to grow closer to believing in what his father had told him before- That this was all the product of a childish, overactive imagination, yet the noise of something crawling along the floor, up the walls, and out of sight before the two boys could turn their heads to look, was more difficult to deny after a second occurrence.
The two boys caught sight of a smoky black puff of soot, the only remnant of something else's presence as it disappeared into a crack. Both pairs of eyes watched the small, charcoal cloud as it twirled in the air, then dissipated, neither boy willing to move a single muscle until the dust was no longer visible.
In a dash, Itachi rushed from the top of the stairs, across the unknown plane that was the dirty, forgotten attic floorboards, now determined to fling open the window to let in the glare of sunlight that would certainly banish those creatures.
Following, panicked at the thought of not being glued to his older brother's side, Sasuke also jumped up from the landing, his tiny body bouncing easily with his desperate little leaps. His slight frame also spun round easily, his little feet pattering against the floor, twisting him around as something caught his eye, and a louder whoosh of noise managed to meet his ears over the rattling sound of Itachi struggling with the old window-locks.
Sasuke's eyes were certainly nowhere near his brother's level of elevated vision or perception, but even through the dismal darkness, the youngest boy knew he could see a furry cloud of dirty ebony moving with squirming limbs against the walls and even floating through the air with ease. He could see a hoard of those same creatures spiraling here and there about the room, searching for the most suitable hiding place, somehow aware that their seclusion had been disrupted, and that soon the sun would beam in to make them shriek.
It was a distant or unknown instinct that Sasuke had certainly never tapped into before that caused him to keep his eyes on the faintly distinguishable cloud. He took a few small steps backward, yet he dared not let the swarm of black apparitions escape his gaze, something in the back of his mind convincing him that if he lost track of the movement, makuro kurosuke would come to take him (and maybe Itachi, too.) away.
"There!" Itachi exclaimed, though cooly and with confidence, as he whipped open the shutters over the window, which illuminated the room in what seemed like a vibrant, white flash. Momentarily, neither Uchiha boy could see anything in the sudden presence of beaming sunlight, both of them blinking in order to will their eyes to work.
Not one single movement became apparent in the tightly enclosed space, those creatures having completely vanished. Again Itachi reassured himself that this entire happening was the result of his imagination and inwardly he was somehow disappointed with himself. His pale-pinkish lips straightened into a neutral expression that was still, somehow, a grimace, and he searched the room with observant eyes, though he expected to gain nothing from this particular observation. He hypothesized that maybe, because he had allowed his shinobi training to be left somewhere behind himself, the sharpened edge of his sense was dulling, and the line between reality and fantasy was blurring. (Then again, life in Konoha was one big fantasy, in it's own way, so maybe Itachi never knew the difference, anyway?)
The smaller boy, however, had his eyes trained on a crack in the boards of the raw, wooden walls. He knew that he had seen those things dancing mockingly about in the dark, and he had watched them all vanish into a new hiding place only seconds before the light was allowed in, unhindered.
Leaving Sasuke to play pretend with the Makkuro Kurosuke, the older boy turned his attention away from this game that consisted of searching for oddities that he was still unsure where real or fake, alive or just illusions. Itachi would not shrug off anything he had reason to believe in, but for now, he considered that playing with ideas that skirted the borderline of fiction tickled his fancy, and he grinned to himself, before turning to look out the attic window, spying his father outside, carrying more boxes into the house.
Here, the heir decided to indulge his imagination, taking his last sweet gulp from the goblet of childhood, inviting his father into this intriguing game. (Maybe Fugaku wanted to relive his childhood too, who knows?)
"Tousan!" The Uchiha heir called to his father below, catching sight of the older man's sharp, black eyes as they lifted to greet the young face in the open attic window. "I think there really -is- something living in the attic."
With Itachi being a highly trained shinobi, Fugaku immediately had difficulty picking up whether his son was being serious. For a moment, he was dumbfounded, but then he remembered that this was no big deal, and in fact, a large part of the reason for the families relocation; He would let the boy have his fun.
Trying his best to appear serious, hiding a trickle of amusement all the while, Fugaku raised his voice loudly enough for his son to hear from the attic window, striking that same, stern, disciplinary tone that he had long perfected. "Itachi, if you're trying to scare your brother, keep in mind that -you'll- be the one sharing your bed with Sasuke tonight."
Finally, a small smile was allowed to be shown on the Uchiha head's face, a reflection of the rare smile that he watched crawl across Itachi's lips in reaction to his father's threats. (It was like a ray of sunshine, Itachi's smile.)
"Why don't you come downstairs now and help with the boxes, Itachi?" Like that, Fugaku carried on toward the house with his own armful of luggage.
The older boy nodded his head, a good, obedient son, still at the age that he aimed only to please, and he bolted down the attic stairs to do as he was told. This time, he didn't notice that he left a stock-still Sasuke behind.
Sasuke was building steadily on his courage as he stood as still and quiet as a statue, sizing up his otherworldly enemy, and analyzing makuro kurosuke's hiding place. Everything else around the younger Uchiha had faded into nothing, his full attention glued to the crevice between those wooden boards of the attic wall. The child found that if he kept his eyes locked onto that crack, every now and again, he could see a shift of furry blackness moving about beneath the surface.
With an unbreakable resolve, young Sasuke had decided that for today, he would be the shinobi prodigy of the family, and out-ninja his brother once and for all! His courage had been boosted to astronomical levels now that the vibrant sunlight from outside was pouring in, taking away the spookiness of the tiny room. His mission now was to pry one of those makuro kurosuke from its hiding place, and take it prisoner. He could see this all in his head; He would firmly grasp the squirming, squealing creature, its tentacles wiggling uselessly between the iron clutch of the young boy's tiny fingers, then Sasuke would carry it downstairs, and present it to his Niisan and Tousan. After that, they would both recognize his greatness, and offer endless verbal praise.
Despite himself, Sasuke gulped as he finally began to tip-toe over toward the hole where those makuro kurosuke were hiding. He was steady, for the most part, giving the crack one last inquisitive stare before lifting his hand, and tentatively bringing one single finger to examine the depth of the hole, more than sure that he was stronger and smarter than these little blobs, and that no bad could happen.
It came as a surprise that elicited a sharp squeal from Sasuke when an entire hoard of the ebony-furred, tentacled creatures whizzed from the hole in a mad, terrified dash to escape the intruding child's finger.
Like a cloud of the blackest soot, the swarm poured out, darting up and over, some flitting around Sasuke's head, brushing his cheek with cold appendages that felt like spider's feet. The cloud was so large and thick that not even the wall was visible from behind the stream of pitch-black. This cloud, however, unlike smoke or dirt, rushed by with squeals and squeaks, all part of the chorus to a constant 'whishing', akin to the sound of ocean waves stretching furiously out across the shore during a storm.
Fright shot through the child like an electric current, prickling his pale skin in chilling goosebumps, and bristling the messy spikes in his hair even further, so that they stood on end, just like the fur of a startled kitten. It all happened so utterly fast, however, that before Sasuke could even consider running away, the entire hoard had spiraled off to some other, more secure hiding place, and dissipated.
Big, nervous, onyx eyes turned to look up toward one of the cracked corners in the ceiling where the swarm had crawled off to. Through the watery tears that had stung at the corners of the child's large eyes, Sasuke watched in hopes that makuro kurosuke was gone for good.
For the most part, every little black creature had, indeed, disappeared; The one exception to this was the last in line to crawl into the new hiding-hole. It appeared that the crack was full to the point that it couldn't occupy even one last sprite, and though this one, small creature pressed its tentacles into the hole to make room for itself, it simply could not fit. As the sunlight sapped its strength, this single makuro kurosuke became faint, and began to slip from the opening in the ceiling, coming to flutter downward, though it attempted to propel itself back to its nest with weak beats of it's squirming limbs.
Slowly falling down toward the floor, the last of the furry, black swarm spiraled into reach of young Sasuke, serving to remind him of the mission he had in mind previous to the scare. Suddenly, the kind of malicious grin that only ever appeared on the face of a rotten kid, sprawled right over Sasuke's rounded visage; Utterly vengeful toward the makuro kurosuke for spooking him, the young Uchiha intended to viciously capture the one weakened creature, and show it off to his Niisan and Tousan.
Sasuke slowly drew his arms outward, stretching his hands and fingers out as he waited for just the right moment, when the tiny, fluttering creature was in the perfect position, and then, 'Smack!'.
The boy clapped his hands together tightly, capturing makuro kurosuke between his tiny palms with the smallest puff of blackened smoke. Seconds after, now full of elation at his victory, the child yelled out for anybody within earshot to hear, (Though, he was directing his words toward his brother.) only prior to twirling round toward the stairs and bolting off to show his Niisan his wonderful prize.
"Niisan! Niisan! I caught one!"
After carefully waddling down the stairs, his eyes trained on his hands in order to make sure his prize didn't escape, the youngest Uchiha son went about the task of trotting at a merry pace down the halls, hoping to find his older brother, all while not looking where he was going.
Calling out, full of child-like glee, Sasuke's sweet voice pronounced, "Niisan!, Niisan!", over and over, knowing in his swelling, little heart that his brother wouldn't fail to hear him calling, and come to see what amazing thing had Sasuke in such state of joy.
The focus, and rush of this entire situation only further blinded Sasuke to everything in his path, and amidst one of his 'Niisan!' calls, he found himself bumping squarely into an unknown, but soft object that he wasn't aware of previous to now.
This object actually turned out to be the rear-end of a person, and with a curious, "huh?", the five-year-old boy lifted his head up to discover that this bottom also did not belong to his brother, but to a stranger.
"Eh?", was the only word (or, sound) that the stranger uttered as they turned to study the small being that had crashed headlong into them.
Sasuke remained in place long enough for his curious mind to take in the face that was thrust down near his as the stranger looked upon him. This face was not one that Sasuke immediately recognized, nor was it one that he was particularly used to; This person, a woman, so the boy was thinking, wore a mask of rough, weathered skin traced with the deep lines that mapped the emotions of her numerous years, her happiness, her sadness, her times of stern reserve. This skin was also of a peculiar, grayish-cream sort of pallor, dappled with dark spots, making it obvious that this woman had been damaged by the sun, living a life of outdoor work, despite her fair-skin's abhorrence for exposure. Her cheeks had sagged horribly, leaving the woman with deep crevices that curved along beneath her eyes, and skin that hung along the sides of her jaw. The thin skin above her eyes was just as loose, so much so that it laid atop her thinned, silvered lashes, giving her likely once-sharp eyes a misshapen look, though not hiding the blueish ring around her otherwise inky irises, her dimming vision completely obvious. (Hence, why she was looking at Sasuke so closely.) But what stuck out most obviously was a long scar that began in the center of the old woman's forehead, and traced downward along the right side of her nose, barely missing her eye, and ending just at the top of her cheek. (It was uncertain as to whether this was caused by some accident, or that it indicated that the old woman had maybe been a shinobi, in her youth.)
Not only was this hunched woman a stranger, but she was also old, which had some deeply rooted tendency to terrify children. (Somewhere, in the back of a child's mind, old people were closely tied with the concept of death, which was frightening.) So, of course, with a squeak of nervous fear, Sasuke bolted off in the other direction.
However, since he didn't yet fully know his way around the new house, Sasuke ended up coming back to the same area, only from a different direction, almost plowing right into the old woman again, who simply watched the silly child in amusement.
Yet again, Sasuke squeaked, and ran away, galloping with loudly pattering, naked feet down the hall, and out a door, at last coming to stand by Itachi, who had been about to politely introduce himself to the visitor, when Sasuke interrupted. The older male turned around to face his nervous brother, but Sasuke ran in an insistent circle around his sibling, needing to be hidden behind him, but also on the opposite side from the old lady.
The woman didn't appear to take the child's fear with any offense, laughing a soft and merry kind of chuckle before turning to address the head Uchiha at her side. "Ah, a couple of clever sons you have here."
Surely, she was speaking of Sasuke's momentary fear of strangers, which was wise in the case of young children, especially when they came from shinobi villages. Fugaku, on the other hand, was not so amused, and cleared his throat before righting his youngest son's reaction. "Sasuke, there's no reason to be so shy. Mind your manners. This is Uchiha Nani, Shisui's grandmother, she owns the farm next door."
Batting her hand at Fugaku with grinning, wrinkled lips, the old woman insisted in a sweet, grand-motherly tone that they simply refer to her as 'Obaasan'.
Polite as ever, a product of his formal family's grooming, the young Uchiha heir bowed with immense respect for his elder before he finally introduced himself. "I'm Itachi, and this is my younger brother, Sasuke."
Despite his shyness, and with his hands still stuck together tightly as if they had been glued, Sasuke managed to bow politely as well.
"Pleased to meet you both." The older woman gave the children a nod.
From here, the older woman turned back to regard the Uchiha head, insisting that she heard that they had planned to move into this house, but she hadn't a clue that they hoped to move in so quickly, or else she would have already come over to clean up. Then, she went on to say that she had been so busy in the fields lately that she had acquired a tendency to lose track of time.
While the adults chatted, the youngest boy's attention drifted back to the important matter at hand; Or rather, in his hands. His dark eyes blinked, looking down at his two tiny hands as he cracked his palms apart just slightly to look in at the creature he'd captured. When he wasn't quite able to get a good look at the makuro kurosuke through the small hole, he opened his hands wider, then finally pulled them completely apart with an offended gasp, finding that he held nothing within but charcoal-colored soot.
Completely baffled as to how makuro kurosuke could have gotten away, Sasuke blinked again, looking between his right hand and his left hand, buried in thought. He was severely disappointed, because now he had nothing to show off to his Niisan!
Itachi, who was unaware of Sasuke's battle with the black creatures in the attic, finally allowed his own wandering attention to drift away from the conversation of the adults, only to notice out of the corner of his eyes that Sasuke's hands were covered in filth. The sheer amount of darkness naturally drew in the heir's vision, and he turned to regard Sasuke, looking firstly at how the younger male's hands were stained black. He, too, found himself gasping at the sight, trying to hide his shock beneath a quiet whisper as he questioned his brother. "Sasuke, how did your hands get so dirty?"
Sorrowfully, the tiny boy looked up at his brother with a pout, whining an answer and hoping that his Itachi-Niisan wouldn't be cross with him. "I caught a makuro kurosuke in my hands, but he got away."
As Sasuke spoke, Itachi's eyes trailed along behind him, noticing as well that his brother had tracked the same black soot all over the floor. "Look at the mess you made!"
"Huh?" Sasuke looked down, lifting up his tiny feet to acknowledge that the bottoms were coated in dirt. "Oh no."
"Sasuke, did you say you caught a makuro kurosuke?" The elder Uchiha boy was busily trying to figure out how in the world his sibling could capture something that was supposed to be an illusion. Perhaps he was lying? This thought was interrupted, however, when Itachi discovered that there was a path of larger footprints accompanying the smaller ones, and he lifted one of his own feet to see that they were also filthy. "Oh, mine are black, too."
"Eh?", the old woman chimed as she discovered the plight of the two children in her midst. She padded slowly over to the boys to closely observe the mess, being granted a better look at little Sasuke's dirtied palms, and Itachi's blackened feet. "..Oh my.."
"Hm? What is it?" Uchiha Fugaku questioned the concerned tone struck by the older woman, and also approached in order to observe.
"It appears that you have an infestation of keukegen." The woman nodded her head wisely as she spoke her conclusion.
Itachi, completely ignorant of what the older woman was speaking of, tilted his head in a puzzled sort of way, though his dark eyes glimmered with questioning intelligence, hungry for knowledge. "Keukegen? Are you talking about those furry, black things with the tentacles that crawl around in the dark, and live in the attic?"
The wise old woman nodded her head to the child's description. "Yes, that is what they look like. The Keukegen are sprites that live in dark, undisturbed places like old, empty houses, or unclean homes. They typically build their nests in abandoned places and turn things into black soot, but when they come to live alongside humans, they'll feed off of your health and make you very ill. It's possible that they are lingering here from the last lady who lived in the house; She was a lady that had fallen ill with tuberculosis. I nursed her for a few years until she, well.. Anyway, Uchiha Fugaku-san, you're very lucky that you're children here can see the keukegen. At the very least, we're aware of their presence."
"So.." Itachi, after listening closely to the woman's story, had one specific question. "Obaasan, if they're so bad, then how do we get rid of them?"
"I was sickly as a little girl, so I used to see them very often." The old woman nodded her head in keen remembrance. "So I know exactly what to do; The first way to make the keukegen uncomfortable is for us all to put a big smile on our faces!"
One wrinkled hand, it's skin so pale and thin that the veins beneath the surface were almost entirely visible, reached with rough working fingers to touch the young heir's cheek, pinching it so that his lips were tugged into something that resembled a smile.
"Smile, Itachi-kun!" The old woman chuckled at the embarrassed boy, shaking her head at how serious young Itachi was. (Damn ninja training.) Sasuke quickly joined in, laughing softly as his Niisan was teased.
The elderly lady did not stop at Itachi, however, turning slowly around to regard the head Uchiha. She reached out to him, and pinched his cheek as if he were a child, just as much as his eldest son. "You should smile more, too, Fugaku-kun."
The laughter somehow escalated at this, the old woman chuckling a bit more loudly at Fugaku's grouchy expression as his cheek was pinched, while Sasuke almost doubled over without any regard, and Itachi attempted to hide his grin beneath thin fingers.
Deciding that she had teased enough for one day, the older woman's hand dropped to her side, and she turned back to the children. "Now, the second thing we have to do to make this house unfit for the keukegen to live in, is to clean it up so that it shines."
Agreeing to these terms, and willing to lend a hand in whatever way they could, both Uchiha boys nodded kindly to the woman.
The elder of the two brothers, though, stole one quick glance down at his sibling's hands, more specifically, the black stain that had tainted his tiny palms. These keukegen, as Obaasan called them, would make the family ill if they were allowed to remain. Even if it was just a story, Itachi was still questioning the presence of these creatures, chilled at the destruction they could cause if they weren't exterminated.
:: :: ..tbc.. ::
*; Makuro Kurosuke- This is what the father in the original 'Totoro' explained the black specks as. It translates into 'Pitch Black Blackie', and is exactly what Fugaku explained, an optical illusion that occurs with sudden changes in lighting.
*; "Come out, come out, or we'll tear your eyeballs out."- Another from the original Japanese 'Totoro', this was replaced with something closer to 'Let the sprites go away right now', I THINK, because it sounded a bit too grisly for North American kids. However, I kept this because I thought it sounded so appropriate for Uchiha kids to say.
Title: Tonari no Shinigami Author: BanishedOne/Banished1 Rating: T
When the lady Uchiha falls ill, Fugaku turns to his young son for help choosing whether to go through with the coup d'etat, or to leave Konoha to cherish what little time the family has left together. This leads Itachi and Sasuke mystical life journey.
What I've done???!!! xDD I LOVE the Sasuke in Road to ninja,all the people are waiting for him in the new movie!!! I'm so excited!Don't you? I'm very looking forward to watch it! Meanwhile today me and Recchan did a video...You'll watch it on my facebook (for all my friends) because I'll not upload it on my youtube because it's in italian and I don't think my fans want to watch it even if they'll don't understand :/
Well here is one of two Vampire Knight pics i'm doing, this was going to be for one of the Zeki's contests entry but me being me and spending too long on it I never got it finished in time haha. So I changed it about and decided to finish it.
I know there are a lot of flaws D : The hair... I just can't seem to get their hair right!
Artscow is doing a special right now where you can get customized photo products for 99 cents (with free shipping all around the world)!! Offer extended to Sep 30, 2012. This is my new mousepad from them
To get one of your own, choose an item from [link] and check out with coupon code Zxc46um9C8K5C or Z099PLAYVU8NC
**Update: There is a photo book deal now for 99c. Just pick one at [link] and use coupon code Z099BOOKBM4G2
I look too serious in this picture but I was fustrated with the bad lighting...well it serves me right for working on cosplays at 7pm.
I know I promised circus Grell but I am currently working on 4 different cosplays and my Grell ones can wait, I want to try other characters for a little while. (Even if circus Grell is almost finished)
Well this is the start of my Kaien Cross cosplay. I already had the wig so I thought I should give it a try. I just need to get myself a pair of slippers and I think I should be done.
Alakazam! Another Ghirahim picture. One of my favourites. I enjoy this one, for it looks very dramatic, and it shows off my 1st sword very nicely. It's also a full body shot, so yay. This location is the same as 1 other photo in my gallery... Can you identify it?
This is a photo we got while I was cosplaying young Anbu Neko Itachi. (See; Filler Episodes) I thought it would be a cute idea to get a photo of young Itachi with older Itachi. This cosplayer of Akatsuki Itachi was paticularly patient with us; Our camera insisted on taking a blurry picture each time, and we eventually bid this cosplayer move with us to sit under a light to help the camera get it together.
Photo by Zena, taken at Animethon 18
Also, enjoy a musical documentary of the wonderful Animethon 18!
This cosplayer was absolutely stunning in person. Words cannot describe how gorgeous this lady-demon looked. I saw her wander by a few times before I got her alone, and was able to take her photo. She was very sweet, and I'm glad she let me get a few snapshots of her!
Photo by me. Taken at Animethon18
Also, enjoy a musical documentary of the wonderful Animethon 18!
A staple of most conventions, the Jack Sparrow cosplayer! I love Jack Sparrow cosplayers, because they ALWAYS seem to be in character so well, from the way he talks, to his walk, gestures, and his facial expressions! This one was no exception. He was entertaining to watch, and he looked excellent. And, of course, he was happy to pose for hoards of photographs!
Photo by me, taken at Animethon18
Also, enjoy a musical documentary of the wonderful Animethon 18!