A/N: Yo, guys! My name is Ej!
So this is a story that won't be for everyone, I know. But, I wanted to write it and if at any point, you feel like it's not for you anymore or you lose interest, that's perfectly fine. Thank you for stopping by anyway. :)
Fair warning, the first act is entirely composed of disgusting amounts of fluff and some drama, so I guess you can say it's kind of slow going, but things get a lot more exciting when the plot picks up.
Rosse: pronounced as Rosie.
Disclaimers: I don't own Naruto, but I own Yuupika, so I think maybe Kishimoto drew the short lot in the end.
It was akin to drifting – like when she sucked in a huge breath and floated atop the waves of the ocean on the beach. It wasn't warm, per say, but it certainly wasn't cold and she felt as though she could stay there forever. Time, to her, was not passing, and yet passing all at once, like she had been squeezed into an infinite moment that floated down the thread of this universe and the next. She was in between, blissfully. Blissfully. When was the last time she felt blissful? Just like this, it was the same feeling… Perhaps getting lost in a manga, being enraptured by the moving pictures of an anime, the same one in fact, that she had grown up with as a child and watched all the way into her adolescence and adulthood. Through college, reading fanfictions, exploring the back story and all the possibility, familiarizing herself with all political aspects, the map as a whole, the timeline, the plot holes, the jutsu, the theoreticals, the feelings of each shinobi, the characters themselves, yes –
She associated the two together perfectly, like she had done all her life. It was the same with music, with her voice, with her passion, with her family, and with her own heart. Joy, joy, joy! Bliss.
She wanted to reread some of her favorite scenes right now, in fact. This peaceful place was nice, but she wanted to leave now. Maybe it was a dream? She should pinch herself. If she could look down. Her head felt like air, like it wasn't there. Where was her head? Funny. What a strange dream. It was dark, she then realized – very, very dark. Maybe she would bring up her hand and see how long it would take her to adjust? Her hand… where was her hand? Where… where was she? Where was her body?!
Then suddenly, the darkness around her contracted, and it felt like it was strangling her for just a few fearful moments before it relaxed and she was floating aimlessly once again. Wait.
Since when? Was she not drifting about of her own accord, blissful in her dream? Ah yes, her dream. What a strange thing, indeed. Odd. Queer. What was she thinking about again?
The darkness contracted a second time, seeming all encompassing again, this time for longer. Then there was relief. She breathed a sigh – or at least she though she did? Could she breathe? It was starting to feel startlingly wet, almost slimy, like she was covered in something, like it was encasing her, warmly now, she suddenly realized again. Warm, slimy, enclosed.
And then, the walls were squeezing her, squeezing the life out of her, she felt something brushing her back, like a tiny tube and she felt like she could not breathe, and she had to get out, get away desperately. And in that moment, as if her pleas were being answered, she was slipping down and away – out she almost felt like, and it ended up being true not a second later as the sting of cold air hit her, which she immediately breathed in.
It stung. She felt salty tears well up, as the sensation of a thousand pinpricks assaulted her lungs, every time she breathed, added by the pain of something in the vicinity of her stomach being cut, and felt them mix with the slime as they cascaded down her cheeks. Her mouth – oh god, she had one – was slick and felt tired so she decided not to open it in fear of the same sensation hurting her there. What was happening? Was she captured by foreign intelligence and being tortured for what lie in her mind? She had quite a budding reputation as a scholar, a scientist, and inventor. She was going to make the world so much more efficient.
"…silent baby, then? Her vitals are all normal. How unusual." An unfamiliar voice struck her ears and she listened intently to it, becoming serious. Silent baby? What does that mean…? She kept her mouth clamped shut, evermore curious, but not willing to compromise herself. It seemed she was asleep before this – perhaps staying silent and pretending to be slumbering still would prompt her captors to speak more and possibly reveal vital information. Her body was jelly. Boneless, almost, she took careful note, and she could not even shift in the slightest. Perhaps they had drugged her and broken all her bones to ensure she could not escape when she woke up. That would be troublesome.
A quick flash of a lazy ninja flitted through her mind, reminding her of a happy place she could always recede to if they did decide to torture her more, and she swiftly locked the thought away for usage later, focusing back on the present.
"My baby is silent…?" A tense pause. "Will you please check her for any mental…oddities, sensei?" This was a soft, feminine tone, very tired, it seemed.
"No need to worry, Yui-san. We will take good and swift care of your child."
And then, suddenly, she was acutely aware of hands all around her form, and what she guessed was a towel being draped over her now shivering body – because fuck, it was cold – and in the darkness, as she not dare open her eyes, she realized that she was being carried away somewhere. But oh, those hands… they were so big, so rubbery, as though this person was wearing gloves, and it felt like they were almost as big as her. How odd… how utterly odd… something is not right, what… what is going on here?!
"Alright, Tanei, would you please examine this child in the next room?" That first voice again. Was it male? It certainly sounded so, and by the way the female was addressing him… sensei… wasn't that only a Japanese custom, to refer to doctors as such?
It hadn't even struck her until that moment that her captors were speaking Japanese. She had studied and learned it when she was in high school, it was her second language, came so utterly natural to her from watching so many anime all the time that she hadn't even noticed… how foolish was she? This was a vital piece of information in and of itself.
Her mysteriously tiny body was gifted to slightly smaller hands and then she felt the brisk air stinging her face once again as the one carrying her walked away. She noted the distinct 'clack' on the floor that accompanied the steps from heels, meaning her new captor was female also. The next few minutes went by in a breeze, the new lady cooing soothingly over her as she performed various tests. They all felt… disturbing to say the least, like something was invading her body over and over again, but there were no hands on her nor was there liquid being forced through her entranceways. And then the lady shifted her attentions to her head and gasped. …eh?
"Sensei!" The nurse called frantically. She started to go into a state of alarm at the sound of her upset voice. What's going on? What's wrong? Is it me? Is there an intruder? In an effort to try and defend herself, she pried open her eyes.
Or at least, tried. Because everything was still black. So, wiggling her mostly numb fingers to attempt to make a fist, she tried again.
Still. Darkness. All around her, even as she registered little daggers of air on her sensitive eyeballs. A feeling of dread overtook her and her breathing started to pick up. Oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god-
"What is it?" The doctor's voice came suddenly, accompanied by the sound of a door slamming against a wall.
"Her eyes! She's…"
"Blind." The man finished grimly after another brief, more heated invasion. "I… see."
"Can we operate…?" The nurse tentatively, hopefully asked.
The silence was deafening as the man probed her brain persistently. "I…no. Only a medic of Tsunade-sama's caliber could even think about attempting such a thing. Although, I've never seen a case in which such a growth occurred in the womb, the fact remains that it has occurred." She was gingerly picked up once more, and the walk back to the room was deathly silent.
I'm… blind? She felt completely numb once more, not processing any of the other information she had received.
"Ma'am, I'm afraid we have bad news." The lady's breath hitched. "Your child has Optic Nerve Glioma. It is a cancer in which the tumor puts pressure against the optic nerve. While it does not seem to have harmed any of her brain cells, she did come out fully blind. We… do not have the necessary skill to operate. She will never be able to see." He explained with a clinical voice. The nurse next to him broke down in tears right after a choked sob resounded from the other side of the room.
"My little Yuupika is blind?" That gentle question, laced with audible anguish from her supposed 'mother' made her break down in her own fit of tears. Somewhere along, she was placed into clammy arms and cracked lips were placed repeatedly upon her brow, whispering sweet assurances as liquid splashed in fat drops on the top of her head.
Two years passed and she was meditating in her little corner in the main room of the orphanage, tuning out the chatter of all the other toddlers and adults. By now, she had figured out that she was in the Naruto universe, which puzzled and amazed her to no end, because she didn't understand how she could be here without dying in her original world. So how did she die? And why didn't she remember it?
More than that, she had discerned that she was in the land of Rain. A very precarious place to be, to say the least, with the war that had just ended the economy was extremely poor. No one had money, no one had food; it was wet and cold all the time – hostile. Her mother had lost her life to this place, by ninja. Funny, she thought that was, because it happened similarly to how Nagato had lost his parents. Although, Konoha nin didn't just barge in unexpectedly and start slashing bitches up, her mother was cut down in front of her. She had accepted infiltrating Iwa nin into their humble home to feed them for a night and then shoo them on their way, but apparently, they had no intention to let anyone live even if they were friendly. So, while her mother slept, with Yuupika in her frail arms, one of the ninja slit her throat. It was her blindness that saved her. At the tender age of 1 year and 3 months, as soon as she had heard the slick whine of steel, a wet gargle and felt warm liquid run down from the crown of her head to her toes, she panicked and opened her eyes reflexively. All stilled in that moment and both Iwa shinobi had sheathed their weapons. They had seen the unusual color, saw the way she looked back and forth, seemingly oblivious of them, and quietly left.
Yuupika did not mourn that woman's death. It was sad, for sure, but that was not her real mother and it taught her a valuable lesson – her first one since she had been 'reborn'.
She thought a lot about her old life.
Yuupika sighed, trying to empty her mind once more to properly meditate. In her own world, where the room was no more and everything was dark, it was comfortingly quiet. She had activated her chakra at some 1 year and 6 months, and it was barely there, but bustling with life, and she was able to maintain three pebbles on different parts of her body at one time now. Since she could not see properly, she had devised, with her knowledge of the series, that through the use of nature energy, she would be able to make a map in her mind that would allow her to walk to and fro without stumbling or help. In time, she could learn to fight like that, with just her senses and the energy of nature. So, for the past 6 months, she had spent the time she had doing chakra control exercises and meditating. The teachers thought she was a good child, not bothering anyone and being quiet to save their sanity, and the kids thought she was weird. They all liked her voice though. When she sang, the delight was made clear to her, even if she could not see it. It was something that carried over, she supposed, as well as her collective knowledge and awareness.
Sometimes her mind would wander and harry over what she looked like. Her hair, her eyes, her smile, was her face pleasing? Did she look the same?
Then she reminded herself it did not matter. She had goals far beyond this place.
So, when the perfect opportunity came, she took it.
"Ah! My Lady Angel, please come in." One of the elders ushered in someone that she knew well, just by that title. Konan. The woman often liked to check up on various orphanages, her weakness for kids like herself overcoming her. It was her time to impress, she realized immediately.
"How is everything here?" She asked softly, but firmly. The elder was quick to recite the state of the orphanage and its inhabitants, the rest of the room going quiet as the younger caretakers began gathering up and putting the children to sleep in their rooms. When it was mostly clear, Yuupika got up on her own two legs, and made her way over to the blue haired woman from her corner, tugging on her long coat. In moments, two hands scooped her up and long fingers carded through her lengthy hair. Yuupika raised her own to gently feel over the woman's relaxed face and slowly opened her eyes.
"What is wrong with this child?" Came Konan's immediate question.
"I'm blind." She answered quickly, surprising the Angel. "Optic Nerve Glioma." The elder, sounding flustered and sad, asked how she knew such a thing. She was not an unkind lady, Yuupika decided, if she felt apologetic over not telling her.
"The file in your office is in braille – are you going blind too?"
"You are able to read braille?" Konan asked, her monotone managing to sound somewhat surprised. Yuupika nodded. That afternoon, Konan walked around with her all over the village, never letting her down from her perch in the Angel's arms as they visited other orphanages. It was nice to get out, feel the rain in her palms when she stuck her hands out of her coat and talk quietly with the other woman. The lady admitted that she was extremely surprised, yet again, that Yuupika's vocabulary was so expansive (of course the girl was careful not to sound too astute), which made her smile and caress her smooth cheek. When it was supper time, Konan returned her and said that she would come back to spend more time with her when she was done with her duties. Yuupika – formerly Rosse – found it somewhat odd that she could speak and feel so relaxed around one of the worst criminals in the series. Remembering all the things that she had done had forced Yuupika to also remember that she was not necessarily that person yet. After all, never in the manga or anime was there any mention that she frequented orphanages. She decided to give the woman a chance.
The next few visits were filled with more intelligent talks and walking, Konan had let her feel the air whizzing past her face in flight just once, and Yuupika was absolutely delighted. And then, when the chance came again in the form a Konan dropping a gold coin on the floor, the younger girl hopped out of her arms and snatched it up, using chakra to stick it to her forehead.
"Look what I can do!" She smiled up at where the blue-haired Angel was most likely standing and felt the air still, then stir and change.
And at 2 years and 1 month, she was taken to the Akatsuki base.
"Konan, why have you brought a child here?" Yuupika recognized that as Pain's voice and the grunt in the background that sounded of two at once was Zetsu. Where was Obito?
"Watch." Konan put the toddler down, and handed her another gold coin. "Show them what you showed me." Yuupika nodded, and stuck the first one to her forehead and the second one to her chest and the room was silent once again. "She's two years old, lives in an orphanage with no exposure to chakra."
"A child genius." Shiro Zetsu affirmed, sounding bewildered.
"What does this have to do with Akatsuki?" Pain did seem a bit surprised, but otherwise skeptical.
"We could raise her to-," Two hands clapped over her ears and the rest of the sentence was too muffled for her to hear. The conversation between the two that ensued was inaudible to her, even with her heightened senses. However, Yuupika knew that Konan was bargaining to culture her natural talent for the organization. It was not an idea that she was opposed to, being trained by S-class fighters. Yuupika considered herself lucky in that moment, for being born so close to such resources and the opportunity that she was presented with. Fate had smiled down upon her.
And then another set of gloved hands were picking her up, cradling her close to someone's ribs – this is a male – and she was spirited away, down a few hallways and finally into a room, she deduced after hearing the door shut. Yuupika straightened her back, and her tiny hands reached up, feeling a cool ceramic under her fingers, with ridges in the shape of swirls. Ah. Obito. He seemed to settle down in a bed with her on his chest, playing idly with her locks and humming to himself.
"So you are a child genius?" He asked, in such a ginger voice that Rosse was taken aback for a moment.
"Aa," She agreed, hands still studying the mask over his face.
"The blind, little genius named Yuupika." He said, cradling the back of her head.
"Aa," She agreed once again, stubby fingers reaching under the mask and pushing it up. He let her, strangely, and she mapped out his features, pouring over the scarred skin on the left side, caressing his closed eyes and the fine hair of his eyebrows. "You're pretty." She told him and he chuckled.
"Pretty is not something you call a man," He corrected lightly. "I am rather ugly." Yuupika opened her eyes, even though she could not see and smiled at him.
"Your scars make you very pretty." He stilled beneath her and Yuupika relented, resting her head on his shoulder, lips brushing against his collarbone. Hook, line and sinker, bitch. "And what about your name?"
"Madara. Madara Uchiha," He murmured after a moment, twining his fingers in her hair once again. "You shall be my apprentice."
"What will I learn?" She inquired and he hummed in consideration, a vibration that tickled the inside of her cheeks. Why is this Obito much different? Perhaps it is because I am a child? He never showed any love to children before… Rosse recalled the night of the Kyuubi attack, how he pointed a kunai at the jugular of a child with no hesitation. But that was under much different circumstances…
"Everything I know, short of my sharingan techniques." He replied.
"What is the sharingan?" She asked innocently, nuzzling into him.
"One of the most powerful tools in the world," He picked her up with two hands underneath her arms and dangled her in the air above him, like one would a baby. She giggled like one, playing the part and reaching down towards his face, fingertips playing along his thick eyelashes. He brought her back down and she cupped his cheeks, touched his nose with her own and felt his breath on the underside of her jaw. "Prove your worth to me." He set her down on his lap and pressed a smooth stone to her forehead. "Hold this there for an hour." Yuupika hesitated for a fraction of a second, but began to channel her chakra.
And so the hour passed long and excruciating, she was sweating, feeling his gaze on her, as her tiny reserves dwindled and dwindled. After an eternity, he removed the stone from her and patted her sticky hair.
"You have potential. But what about those eyes? Those tumors need to be removed if you hope to achieve your fullest potential. Getting a hold of Tsunade will be a pain." He sighed and she heard a rustle of fabric in front of her. He mumbled incoherently, something about Konan, and lifted her once more, holding her body a small distance from his. They walked, and a door closed, then water was running. She was stripped down, wiped with a wet towel and then placed inside a basin of warm, bubbly water. Callous flesh graced her skin, scrubbing.
"I'll find a way to see just fine." She assured as she lifted her arms so he could reach the places underneath them.
"You sound so sure," His tone was slightly skeptical.
"Aa. I already have something in mind."
He hummed once again and continued in his task, and Yuupika's toddler body grew tired with his gentleness. She was asleep before her bath was finished and when she awoke again, he was gone, and she was lying in his bed, outfitted in a shirt that swamped her. It smelled of pine and generic soap.
How long have I slept? Is this his?
Yuupika eased into her meditative positon, clearing her mind for the time being. She breathed in a rhythm, in 6 and out 3, like she used to do back in her office late at night when she was stressing over a project. It seemed so long ago now since she had invested herself in quantum energy, the mysteries of travel in sound waves, making recyclable energy, revolutionizing touch screen into free touch technology, oh all the ideas she had… it was surreal. All her experience, her degrees, the days spent pouring over her tedious work, her head so full of possibilities, it was absolutely bursting! Rosse wanted to continue that. She wanted to recreate all the culture and technology that she had put her former life into.
A bitter tremble rolled down her spine. She was ripped away from everything she had dreamed of, her eyes taken in flight somewhere down the line she tripped over to tear from her all the things she had envisioned. Her old life, her friends…her family? No, they had not been on the best of terms, her parents were dead and she had no siblings, but she had so much to achieve yet, to strive for and accomplish. It wasn't…fair, it just wasn't…
And then, she mentally slapped herself, imagining a road roller flattening all her thoughts into dust. She didn't have time to mourn if she wanted to get everything she needed done. There were so many things to change, based on the tenderness of the skin on Obito's face, she would say that he was still young, even if his biceps were well developed to deceive her. He was certainly…interesting, to say the least. Not what she had expected. Was this a slightly different timeline? Because her existence here had jostled something? She knew she wasn't supposed to be here but…
No, she wasn't that important, she decided. Maybe these were just where the holes in Obito's character filled in, because Kishimoto had definitely not covered everything.
Yuupika settled back down and reached out to the area around her, feeling for the nature energy. There went another hour, quietly and peacefully, with no disruptions until Yuupika decided that it was time for her to put something in her stomach. She crawled and slid off the bed, just recently used to her stubby legs and made her way towards the door. She would have to start training soon, she thought, she could feel her muscles just about sturdy enough. Yuupika wanted to start at the earliest possible age. A plan about her time here was already coming into mind as she felt along the walls for an archway. Another set of hands – smaller this time – picked her up suddenly. She yelped, trying to wiggle out of it.
"It's okay, Yuu-chan!" Konan exclaimed, humor in her voice. Yuupika relaxed, breathing out a sigh of relief. What if that was Zetsu or Pain? She resisted a shiver. "I'm your legal guardian from now on," there was a gentle tweak of her nose and a chuckle at her surprise. "You should call me Kaa-san when we start gaining more members. I don't expect you to call me that when we're alone, but…" Vulnerability, a little hesitation seeped into her tone. "I mean, you can, if you want, I'll really be your Kaa-san…"
Is this lady for real? Giving me a chance to cement emotional bonds already… oh my god, if I emotionally compromise this whole base I could stop a war…
Yuu paled, bit her lip and opened her mouth a few times to test out her tongue before speaking. "K-Kaa-san?" She said it like more of a question, tentatively, with her fingers twiddling and hair framing her face. She learned this one to manipulate her last boyfriend into getting her ice cream when she dieted.
"Oh!" And then she was pressed against an ample bosom, and Konan was squeezing her. "Kawaii…" Damn, I'm good. "So we have a new member, honey. Let's go meet him." Wait what.
Rosse blanched, fists clenching the robe of the woman as she prattled off questions and gave her information that she already knew, but her mind was elsewhere. Who joined Akatsuki this early?! A few more steps and they took a right, entering somewhere in which the air felt freer. A larger room perhaps?
"Yuu-chan, this is Kakuzu. Kakuzu, this is my daughter."
Oh great. Just great. The coldest bastard in the base.
"You have a brat?" He questioned, unimpressed. A warm tendril – must be those tentacles – brushed her arm and cheek and Yuu forced out a giggle, squirming a bit. Guess I better start now. She reached her arms out towards the thing and when it wandered back into her grasp, she held it to her chest. Yuupika keened in mock glee, rubbing her face to it (this is so fucking gross). She could sense a dull aggravation opposite to her and the rumble of two contained laughs, both deeper than Konan's. Yuupika figured it was Zetsu.
Konan shifted her form in her arms and held her out in the air, her legs dangling. "Yuu-chan is unfortunately blind. Please let her feel your face for identification." Kakuzu sighed, grumbling irately as his tentacles wrapped around her body and drew her close to his heat. Rosse reached up until she found his face, covered by rough cloth under her fingers that she slipped her hands under and mapped him out slowly – his jaw was set, eyes closed, and his teeth ground slowly – perhaps he was annoyed?
"You're very handsome!" He froze and Yuu had to hold back a smirk. "Will you be my Tou-san?" He sputtered a moment after, angrily, and thrust her quickly back into Konan's arms. There was a swish of a cloak and the air moved her locks and then she had the feeling that he was gone. Konan burst out laughing – it was light and so very musical, that she pressed her lips together to hum along with it.
"Yuu-chan, you scared away our first member! What do you have to say for yourself?" She teased and Rosse relaxed into those arms just a bit more.
"He's easy to rile."
Zetsu grunted in agreement in the corner somewhere.