Author: aruyo PM
'People come in here for happy endings and reassurance, not reality.' NaruKarin.Rated: Fiction T - English - Spiritual/Romance - Naruto U. & Karin - Words: 3,733 - Reviews: 9 - Favs: 36 - Follows: 7 - Published: 04-24-11 - Status: Complete - id: 6936046
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
T i t l e: Divine Intervention
S u m m a r y: Karin is a palm reader with extremely high standards; Naruto is a particularly irritating patron with a bad case of curiosity. 'People come in here for happy endings and reassurance, not reality.' NaruKarin, AU
W a r n i n g: Possibly sensitive topics, although none of them really display my personal views. Just read.
E d i t: As of January the 13th. Nothing huge, just polishing up a few grammar mistakes and inconsistencies. I like this story, but the writing is sort of elementary and it's been bugging me for months. By all means, though, it's the same as it was before. Just better quality.
Therefore if a man look sharply and attentively, he shall see Fortune; for though she be blind, yet she is not invisible. – Francis Bacon
A flash of white hot lightning, and ice cold drops of sky rained down on the small town of Konoha. Two strangers sat in a small room, waiting for fate to take the reins. One bespectacled redhead and a blonde-haired-blue-eyes young man. Karin Sonohara and Naruto Uzumaki, respectively.
"I see a long and prosperous life, numerous children, a loving wife-"
"But what if I'm gay and terminally ill?" Naruto interjected, iceberg blue eyes shining with curiosity as rain pattered incessantly against the roof. "Then I couldn't have children or a wife, and I'd probably already be dead."
Karin growled, her thinly varnished nails digging into the skin of her client's palm in a manner that made him wince in pain and resulted in daunting crescent marks along his knuckles. She had never been one for gentility."Would you just shut up?"
"What? It's a reasonable question!"
"I'll give you reasonable, you little-"
Naruto whimpered and cradled his stinging cheek in his hands, face displaying a prominent hand mark as Karin sat primly back down on her chair. The small, circular table that separated them was thrown slightly off kilter, one of the books keeping a wobbly leg stable having been disturbed through her assault.
Around them, the tiny shop was filled with an assortment of items- from lengthy books involving divination to delicate glass bottles of what could only be sweetly scented perfumes- and looked more like someone's living room than a storefront. The storm raging outside howled forebodingly; the dim golden lights above flickered as though barely hanging onto life every few minutes and showed signs of going out. Naruto frowned, leaning back in his overstuffed seat.
"I'm not really sure what's scarier- you or that fucking hurricane out there," he mused, running a hand through his rain-dampened golden locks before shaking them out and flecking the table with water. Karin frowned distastefully. "At least with the hurricane I can probably manage to preserve my virginity by the end of the night- Ouch! Would you stop hitting me?"
"You deserve it more and more every time. And it's hardly a hurricane, you baby. If you're so frightened of little old me, why don't you just leave?" She leaned forward, hands lacing together on the table before her. Her patron threw her an incredulous look with those wide ocean eyes, obviously at odds with the idea.
"It's a madhouse out there, woman!" He objected.
"Afraid of a little rain, are we?" She seemed amused.
"More like afraid of freezing my balls off," he corrected. "I do enjoy my ability to reproduce, thank you."
Karin snorted derisively. "I thought you were gay and terminally ill?"
"Hypothetically." Naruto replied matter-of-factly. "And weren't we in the middle of the whole 'palm reading' bullshit before you so rudely interrupted?"
"It's not 'bullshit!'" She hissed. "And you were the one who interrupted, Mister 'Hypothetical!' At least I was trying to work-"
"Calm down! I was just joking! Jeeze…" He frowned, eyeing her critically. "You're really vicious, you know. If we were married, this would be borderline domestic abuse. You actually remind me of Sakura a little, except you're a lot less pretty-"
"Excuse me?" The bespectacled girl screeched indignantly, ruby red eyes narrowed almost to slits and hand already forming a fist. Naruto waved his hands frantically in defense, shaking a bit as she seemed to grab for the vase a few feet away with the fullest intention of throwing it at him.
"J-Just kidding! Now, where were we, long and prosperous life? Loving family? Yeah, yeah, I think that was it…"
Karin settled huffily back down, still glaring but thankfully not holding any heavy projectiles. He relaxed a bit and let her take his calloused, tan hand in her delicate pale ones, her manicured nails tracing along his palm lightly and causing goose bumps to ripple up his arm. He wasn't usually so sensitive to touch. Her hawkish eyes lit up a little after a second, and she continued her original decree in a transcendent murmur.
"You'll come into some money soon, and meet a nice..."She hesitated, glanced up at him, and blushed heavily, "... nice person to settle down with. You're- you're experiencing hardship now, but it'll fade in a short amount of time. A family member will drop by for an unexpected visit-"
"Don't have any family." Naruto interrupted, blinking ingenuously. Karin looked up with the fullest intention of scolding him again, but stopped when she saw the almost sad look that tinging his eyes a peculiar grey-blue. In a rare moment of generosity, she looked meekly back down.
"…Friend, I meant. A close friend will drop by for an unexpected visit sometime in the near future."
Naruto seemed appeased by that, resting his chin in his free hand as his companion went back to inspecting the other one, biting her lip in concentration. It wasn't concentration in her work, of course. Such a farce required very little thought on her part; by now it was almost second nature. But something about this strange boy made her thoughtful. A loud rumble of thunder permeated the room, and the scent of rainwater was heavy in the air as she continued.
"There's travel in your future- you've obviously been a lot of places. You're adventurous. Um, you're likely to settle down in some place far away from here and meet a lot of new, exciting people. You're going to change the world for the better…"
"And world peace will assuage the land and mankind will be ruled by magical unicorns." The blonde finished lamely, and pinned her with a hard stare. "What's with all of the sugar-coated fairytales?"
Karin's cheeks puffed out a little as she looked up through her lashes at him petulantly. She noticed a speck of rainwater at the edge of her glasses and made a mental note to wipe them off, but the moment hardly seemed appropriate. Naruto looked her expectantly.
"It's my job." She stated simply, after a stretch.
"It's your job to lie to people?" Naruto replied dubiously, eyebrows raised. She puffed gently, tucking a stray lock of hair behind her ear. The water droplet seemed to be demanding her attention by now, but she let it be.
"I'm not lying. For all you know all of that was completely true."
Naruto snorted disdainfully, tugging at a loose strand of his own golden hair. "My life's never been all happy and wonderful, lady. What makes you think it'll start?"
Karin's cheeks flushed as red as her hair color in annoyance.
"Well I don't know," she snapped irritably, crossing her arms in front of her chest. "Excuse me for trying to make you feel better. What am I supposed to do, forecast your doom and tell you that you're going to die in three days? I'm not some fucking gypsy."
Naruto merely shrugged indifferently. "It would be a lot more honest."
"People don't come in here for honesty," Karin replied sardonically, red eyes sharp with disdain. "People come in here for happy endings and reassurances, not reality. It's how I stay in business."
"But don't you get tired of lying to people?" the other inquired, cornflower blue eyes curious as he scratched at his cheek. Karin growled.
"That's- That's none of your concern." She muttered.
Naruto wouldn't be deterred. "But I'm your client-"
"That doesn't mean it matters to you!"
Directly after the statement, a bright flash of lightning flooded the room and the lights immediately went out thereafter. Karin cursed loudly.
Naruto blinked in confusion as he watched the faintest outline of the palm reader get up from the table and glide through the small shop towards the back room. He listened curiously as the sound of clinking glass and crinkling paper reached his ears.
After a short five minutes, the soothsayer arrived with two perfectly white tea candles and lit them, casting an eerie glow on the surrounding area. Naruto watched in fascination as the warm, flickering light kindled in his hostess's eyes, bringing to them a gentle glow that he was certain hadn't been there before.
She noticed him looking and cast her own gaze sidelong, embarrassed.
"I-Idiot. Didn't your mother ever tell you that it's impolite to stare?"
"Maybe. She died before I turned two along with my dad, so I don't remember a whole lot about her." He paused as a guilty look overcame his face, then added, "But you look a lot like her. I mean, with your hair and all. There's a picture somewhere-"
Karen looked on curiously as her customer riffled through his pockets, came up with a sleek brown wallet, opened it, and proceeded to present her with a six by six inch picture displayed with pride in the very forefront pocket.
It showed a woman with long, pretty red hair and blue-green eyes smiling dazzlingly at another man, who resembled Naruto in everything but facial structure. They appeared to be a couple, if the way the man was holding her was any indication. Very cute, like the kind of pair you would expect to see starring in a late night drama on TV. Her gaze flicked back up to Naruto, who was looking at the photo so happily yet so sadly, as though it was all he had ever wanted but could never have...
She coughed, shifting her gaze to the floor.
"She's really beautiful. Your mom." she commented quietly, finding a distinct interest in the floor boards. Naruto chuckled and slipped the photo back into his wallet.
"Uh huh. It's all I really have left of her, actually. You see, they both died in a house fire, and this photo was still at the print shop when it happened. My father's friend Iruka took me to pick it up when everything was said and done, and we never really had much of an 'extended' family, so it's really the last picture anyone has of her." He smiled sadly, eyes flickering upward to meet her own. "Your hair's the exact same shade, I think."
Karin felt her cheeks heat up even more. "Not really. Hers is a lot…brighter. More colorful. Mine's always been boring and dark…"
"I don't think so," the blonde quipped cheerfully, grinning. "It kind of reminds me of red licorice, y'know? Or poppies…"
Karin arched a brow, unsure as to whether or not that was a complement. She sighed.
"You're really unusual, you know." she said in an accusatory tone, staring at him harshly. He tilted his head.
"Well," she faltered, "For one thing, you're the first client I've ever had that disliked my fortunes."
"You must have a lot of delusional clients, then," he noted.
She smiled ruefully. "I guess. But you're also really… familiar. I don't know. Like, you don't just come in, get your fortune and go out. You stay and talk."
"That's partly because there's hell raining down from the sky out there," he reminded her equably, prompting her to roll her eyes.
"Not to mention the fact that you're incredibly blunt. Seriously, do you even know the meaning of putting things gently?"
Naruto shrugged. "I guess I just prefer honesty. Isn't it better to tell the truth and save people the grief?"
"But you can't blame someone for wanting to go easy on someone," she objected resentfully, frowning. "Honesty hurts just as badly sometimes, you know."
Naruto laughed. "Yeah, I guess you could say so. This is a really heavy conversation, though. Let's say we switch topics?"
"To what?" Karin replied, eyeing her patron distrustfully. Naruto offered a sunny smile.
"Well, for starters, what's your favorite color?"
Karin's arched an eyebrow acerbically. "…Seriously? A million topics to choose from, and you go straight for the generic 'favorite color' question? How lame can you get?"
Naruto sniffed. "I don't see you contributing anything. So, what is it?"
She sneered at him before tossing her hair back indifferently. "…Blue. And what about you? Orange, right?"
Her eyes drifted over his obnoxious orange t-shirt with marked aloofness, and he pouted.
"It's not my fault- it's an awesome color! Besides-" he hesitated for a moment before his face split into an almost blindingly bright smile. "My favorite color is licorice red!"
"R-Right. Idiot." she replied, face red. "Figures you'd pick such a stupid color-"
"It's not stupid," he objected petulantly, glowering. "I just think you're biased."
She flicked her hair again and avoided his gaze.
"Whatever." Insofar as she could remember, that was a safe answer. Time to change subjects again. "So, why did you decide to come here, anyways? Crisis of faith? Job interview coming up?"
"Nope." Naruto replied, popping the 'p' in a manner that made her wince almost painfully. "Just bored."
"Just bored?" She reiterated in disbelief. "That's it?"
"Well, Sakura actually recommended you. I just decided to do it today because there was nothing else to do. She said I need to start 'looking at things with a broader perspective' or something. She thought you'd be good at helping me with that. Don't see why, though."
"Do you remember her? She said she came in here a week ago and that you gave her some advice on her relationship with bushy brows." Naruto looked at her curiously, prompting her to cough in discomfort. She was very unused to people staring at her so openly. Usually her clientele just watched her hands or looked around her shop. Feeling vulnerable, she shook her head.
"Maybe you should describe her…?" Anything to make him stop staring.
"Oh, well." He thought for a moment, tongue sticking out slightly as he did so causing her nose to wrinkle in disgust. After a moment, he nodded to himself.
"She's kind of tall, but shorter than me. Her foreheads a little big, and her hair is pinkish-blonde, but not red or anything. She's really beautiful, kind of a like a model…" he glanced at her expectantly. "Ring a bell?"
Karin's face became blankly impassive as a memory taunted her consciousness. Given time to think, she did recall a woman of that description walking in a week or two ago. It was really awkward, she remember, seeing as they were both extremely alike- brainy, know-it-all, somewhat bitchy. Still, the woman had fallen for her pretty words just like everyone else and left a reasonably satisfied customer. She wasn't entirely sure why, but she suddenly felt ostensibly jealous of the girl, with her supposed 'model' looks. Feeling spiteful, she merely shook her head.
"Can't say I remember."
An awkward silence fell over them, and Karin frantically struggled to think of a way to break it. Outside, thunder rumbled restlessly and the rain came down even harder, if such a thing were even possible. They would be stuck in there a long time if nature had anything to say about it.
"Um- well- If you don't believe in divinization, what do you believe in?" It was a really deep question, but it seemed to do the trick. The blonde smiled and rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly.
"Err, honestly, nothing." He admitted self-consciously, averting his gaze. Karin stared in disbelief.
"Nothing at all?"
"Well, it's not like I disbelieve anything," he defended hastily, seemingly insecure. "I just didn't grow up with any specific beliefs. I don't really think any specific idea is wrong or anything-"
"You've been calling my fortune-telling 'bull-shit' from the start." She objected, glaring. He laughed pleasantly.
"Well, that's because you've been spewing all of that 'cheerful fairytale village' stuff. If you had said something like 'you'll die penniless at a young age' I might have believed you." He smiled in a manner akin to a fox and leaned back, stretching. "So then, what do you believe in? You obviously don't believe in this 'fortune-telling' business if you dole out the feel-goods to everyone. Dish it."
Her eyes widened. "Um, I never really thought about it…"
In all honesty, faith had never been an issue for her. It had always been about making ends meet, about living her life on earth. Giving it a lot of thought, she ultimately only came up with one thing for which she knew she could vouch for.
"I believe in miracles."
She expected him to laugh, or joke, or look at her weirdly- it would be what she would do, certainly- and was thus reasonably surprised when he merely nodded sagely.
"Miracles are good things to believe in." He said simply, leaning heavily against the back of his chair. "Makes it easier to believe in people, I think. Any specific reason?"
Well, I met you…
No, that's ridiculous.
Pushing the stray thought from her head forcefully, she merely shook her head.
He smiled patiently back before letting out a loud yawn, eyes scrunched shut as she watched curiously. He really did remind her of a fox, with his cute looks and easy-going demeanor. Lighting up like a match at the thought, she got up from her chair and excused herself to go get blankets.
"It's obvious that the storm isn't going to stop for a few hours." She mumbled softly, eyes downcast. He had merely chuckled.
"Guess there are worse places to spend the night."
She awoke to the feeling of cold nipping at her nose and a warm blanket tucked over her body.
Sitting up straight and doing her best to ignore the stiff, aching feeling in her lower back, she looked around blearily. Wan morning light was streaming through the curtains, and birds were chirping loudly outside. Rubbing at her eyes furiously, she tried to sift through her groggy thoughts and come up with a half-decent account of the night prior. When she noticed a particularly brightly colored yellow birds outside the window, she snapped wide awake.
"Naruto!" she swiveled around to where the blonde had been sleeping the night prior only to be met with empty space. Fumbling for her glasses on the floor, she slid them on and glanced through the entirety of the shop. When there was no overly-cheerful blond boy forthcoming, she sighed and leaned despondently on the wall. Perhaps it had been a little presumptuous to assume that he would stick around even after the storm let up, but was it too much to ask for him to say goodbye?
He probably had to go talk to Sakura.
"…Idiot. Believing in people my ass." she muttered glumly, biting her lip.
She tried to think reasonably- she had been disappointed many times in her life, why should this be any different? It didn't really help, though, and she found herself going about the rest of the morning in a quiet, sullen mood. Most customers who turned up for their appointments were promptly shot down, and the few she did bother to see were all given straight-forward, curt premonitions nothing like her usual long-winded predictions.
By noon she was already irritable and snappish, but in a more helpless, hurt sort of way than her usual brand of snarky wit. Every time she saw the color orange, she went off in a huff. To her, it was simply an annoyance at being left without even a single farewell for her troubles.
Maybe she was right, or maybe she wasn't. In any event, the only thing that kept her from killing something at the end of the day was a single note taped to the door.
She really didn't see how she missed it, but she supposed that she had just been too angry or too depressed to notice. Just as she was going out for lunch it caught her eye. The paper was irregularly torn and ink-smudged, no doubt the work of someone in a rush. Curious, she had peeled it off the door with little resistance and flipped it open, fully expecting it to be a thank you note or a cancellation for an appointment. Instead, she got an apology in the form of several obnoxiously poorly written sentences.
Yo! Sorry I couldn't stay with you last night. I got a call from my pervy boss and he said he needed me to drop by. I'd have said this to you in person but you were kind of sleeping… You snore, by the way. Loudly. You should probably get help for that or something. Anyways, it would be awesome if we could meet each other again. It's not every day you meet someone who believes in miracles. Call me.
Attached was a simple seven-step phone number, and despite the jab at her snoring (she did not snore) she had to suppress a smile as she pocketed the small slip of paper.