Hi everyone! First, I need to confess one thing: I totally dislike fanfics featuring OCs. It's a real turn-off for me. I feel kind of bad and hypocritical writing one myself, but what we write and what we read don't need to match I guess! So I apologise for writing one of those…
The reason why started this fiction was to help me deal with the difficult and often cryptic relationships I lived in the last two years, but also with the hard times in general. Those years have been violent, I lost many friends, some of whom died, but also grew from rich and intense experiences. The storm has passed, but I have still to understand what happened to take life-changing decisions, so I just keep on writing.
This means that, in a way, I am opening my heart to you guys… so thanks for the read!
Warning: Yes, there will be violence, even torture, it might even reach rape further ahead. It's rated M for more than just smut! It's a hell of a ride and I won't back up!
Other warning: Writing this I also needed to cope with the friends who died in real life, so there will be character deaths. Among them, there is at least one major character. It won't be a breathtaking surprise when you'll read it. As I did in real life, you'll see it coming and be able to quit before it happens if you can't bear it.
Chapter 1: Yatsuko: The Slave Child
"Yatsuko, stop daydreaming you useless girl and go clean his cell!" the prison master said with a clear impatience, "And you don't need to feed him!"
I knew that for the prisoner in that cell, this was the equivalent of a death sentence... a slow one.
"Y... Yes, master," I answered.
I grabbed a water bucket and I waited for the master and his guards to leave the area.
Then I saw him.
The bucket of water fell to the ground with a loud thump. My whole body was stunned, totally unable to move. It took me several minutes before I could finally breathe again.
I remembered the day he arrived here. Our soldiers had come back with bloodied uniforms, something that practically never happened. All evening, I had listened to the conversations between soldiers trying to understand what could have caused such a massacre, but apart from the capture of three shinobi, nothing had really gone wrong. I was curious to see what the new prisoners were like. They must have been real brutes to be able to do such heavy damage to elite soldiers. There were rumours that two of them were quite young and that the trouble had mostly come from the older one. I had tried to picture them in my head. One of them must have been a fat giant with spikes all over his body, the other a cruel demon with fire red hair, another probably had fangs…
The next morning, I filled the bowls and was ready to bring food to the prisoners. As I passed in from of the cells, the men got agitated. They kicked the bars, shouted insults or whistled at me, but I was used to it that I was quite indifferent. Most of the prisoners were rough and would certainly have jumped on me if they would ever have been given a chance to. It was easy to convince myself that these prisoners belonged there, but the ones that had come in last evening were clearly different.
First, there was this yellow haired boy who was arguing with the man in the cell in front of him. He immediately stopped when I had brought him the food. At first, he looked at me with defiance but finally feasted on the stew as if it were the fanciest meal. He even thanked me, which was a startling. The boy was around fifteen or something like that and looked mostly uninjured. It felt strange to me to think he could have been part of the group that caused yesterday's commotion, but I knew there were only three new captives and I had never seen him before, so he must have been one of them.
Six cells further there was a girl with soft pink hair. She was calm and reserved. When I passed in front of her, she raised her head. There was a strange compassion in her gaze as she looked at my bloodied restraints. I knelt and placed the food where she could grab it. She slowly walked on her knees and grabbed the food.
"It must hurt," she asked still looking at my ankles, let me heal you..."
I was stunned.
Those two captives didn't belong in prison, it made no sense. They seemed to be too kind to deserve to die here. I had to go to the end of the corridor to finally reach the cell of the last captive. He was in the high-security section. At least, there was a true monster among them! The door was opened and the master was waiting outside. This spelt torture session and I wasn't too keen on seeing it. I went away and made certain all the prisoners had their rations then came back to the cell. The master was leaving.
"Only water for him Yatsuko, he said, if he's nice, we might give him a bit to eat later. Close the door when you're done."
I took a cup and some water and walked slowly toward the cell. I was anxious because I had often been attacked by the prisoner held in that section. I was expecting a horrible beast with dirty claws or something like that, but the man I saw there was nothing like that. In fact, he looked rather harmless. His face was mostly hidden. The wet silver hair fell in thick strands over his forehead protector which in turn was half falling over his left eye. Under all of this, he wore a black mask. Despite the fact that he wore a unrevealing standard Konoha uniform, I could see that he was muscular but thin. He truly didn't look like the kind of person who could kill a whole army like he just almost did. In fact, he even looked pretty weak.
They had beaten him hard for what he did. The blood made shiny wet patches on his sweater and pants and had reached the cold concrete floor pooling around his feet. His wrists too were bloodied and were tied up over his head. The chain was slightly too short and his heels barely touched the ground. He must have been the strongest by far to deserve such a treatment.
He finally made a raspy sound.
I brought a bowl of water to him. I was about to pull down his mask when his only visible eye shot open. I immediately backed up. Although he was restrained there was no telling what he could do to me given the chance, but for some reason, I wasn't really scared. He looked at the ground as an apology.
"It's water, I said trying to gain his trust. That's all they have allowed me to give you. Do you want it?"
I knew he was in pain, but he did not complain. He simply nodded.
I slowly pulled his mask down and offered him some water. He drank it all. There was no anger, no revolt in his gaze, only a calm seriousness.
"What is your name?" He asked.
It was the last thing I had expected. Usually, I was either harassed or ignored, but those three shinobi were not like our usual prisoners. With a tint of shyness in my voice, I answered:
"Yatsuko... and yours?"
"Yatsuko, he said pensively, like slave child?"
"Yes, like this."
"Mine is Kakashi."
He was silent for a while, then continued.
"I came here with two other shinobi, a boy and a girl, have you seen them?"
He was probably their leader, that is why he had made so much damage compared to the two others. He seemed to be protective and like them a lot. I knew that even with the lack of corporeal punishment, the prison was a horrible place to live. I grew there, so I knew well how uncomfortable those cells were. It was so cold and humid that people would often die before there was even a need to kill them, but I couldn't bring myself to tell him that.
"Don't worry about them, they are fine, they did no touch them. It seems they are mostly after you."
He sighed in relief.
"Thank you Yatsuko," he answered with something that looked like a faint smile.
I pulled the mask up again and quickly exited the cell.
The following days I realised that they really were after that Kakashi. It was not about what he knew, but about making him pay for what he did. That morning when the master had asked me to clean up, I had expected to see a terrifying scene. I had heard loud screams coming from his cell which was very unlike the soft prisoner. They had lost patience and had decided to get to him the hard way. I felt a knot in my chest.
The bucket of water laid on the ground.
"Kakashi…" I repeated, uncertain of if it was to get his attention or to vent the painful feeling that was building inside of me.
He couldn't stand on his feet anymore and had thrown up blood. They had torn his shirt away and his whole torso was covered with deep cuts. He was breathing heavily. I took a small medicine flask and put some of it in his water, then walked back to his cell. I tried to make him drink some, but he would take none of it. All of his muscle shivered from the intense pain he was still feeling. In fact, he was in such pain, I could almost feel it myself.
I put the bowl down on the floor and pulled a lever in the far corner of his cell. The chains unwound themselves lowering gently on the floor. As his knees touched the ground, I heard a sigh of relief. Then, his body slowly lowered on the hard concrete floor until he laid on his side. I delicately took him in my arms and brought the bowl to his lips. He took a sip then stopped suddenly looking at me with wide eyes. He had tasted the medicine. At this point he probably thought I was poisoning him out of compassion or something alike, so I quickly took out the flask from my kimono, just enough for him to see it.
"It's medicine, don't worry, you can take it."
To prove him I was sincere, I drank from his bowl
This time he drank the whole bowl.
I remembered the first time I met him, I had expected to see a monster, but, now that I could see his whole face, he was rather delicate and gorgeous despite the scar that split his face across his left eye. At first, I thought he might be missing an eye or something as he always left it closed, but what I saw was even more interesting: his eyes were mismatched. One of them was a dark stormy grey while the other was a bright red. He was like nothing I had ever seen before. He was gorgeous in the wabi-sabi way, his beauty emanating from his very imperfections.
Definitely, his hitai-ate and his mask did not do him any favour.
As he finished the bowl his eyes closed with relief. The medicine was already starting to act on him.
"Thanks," he said.
"It's the least I can do," I said leaving him to clean the rest of the room. He calmed down. When I finished cleaning up, he was sleeping deeply. He was exhausted. I wish I could have left him there for a while, but this was longer than it was safe already. I knelt beside him and woke him up.
"I am sorry, I said, I really need to wind up the chains now."
I was already standing up.
"Wait!" He said. I let his voice echo in the room before I knelt back beside him.
"Thank you for all that you are doing for me, but don't risk too much. It will be bad for you if they figure out..."
I stopped him. So he was thinking of me despite all of this…
"I am already a ghost, I answered, death would be a relief."
I could see it was not the first time he saw pain in other people. He felt compassion but no pity.
"Sorry Kakashi, I will need to get you back up before they notice."
"Please go ahead," he answered his voice a bit stronger than before.
I went away and pulled the lever. I heard a faint gasp coming from him, but nothing more.
All along, I felt as if he was more concerned for me than his own sake. I only understood why when I saw his gaze follow the trail of blood I had left behind me. I had gotten used to it with time, but the shackles I wore around my ankles were often soiled with blood to the extent that I would leave a red trail behind me. I felt a deep sadness in his eyes, but I couldn't acknowledge it, so I merely smiled and went away.
I couldn't sleep that night. I knew that the feeling I had about this place was right. The evil ones were not only behind the bars, but also in front... It had just happened that up until now they had only brought in the petty criminals, but who knows who they would threaten and rob outside of these walls.
In front of them, the captive shinobi would keep his proud and defiant gaze but, whenever we would be alone together, he would close his eyes and breathe heavily. Invariably, I would let him lie on the ground taking the longest time to clean up his cell. Then, I would feed him and let lukewarm water flow over his body. To make certain he wouldn't get cold I dried him with a clean towel. He weakened at a fast pace as each day they would push the limits of torture further and further.
I started to feel a compassion and even admiration for him. I didn't want him to die that way. At some point, it became too much to bear and, one day, I just dropped in tears in front of his limp body. When he saw this he looked at me with a pleading smile.
"Yatsuko, this is the life I chose, don't be sad for me..."
"But Kakashi… this is disgusting. They want you dead. There is no rational reason for making you go through this. This… is just plain sadistic revenge!"
"I know," he answered simply.
I gathered myself and went on with my routine. From that day onwards, I would heal him no matter if I was asked to do it or not. I would bring him food from my own meals to make certain he ate well. I took good care of his teammates too. He had to gain back his strength because one day he would get out of there... Even if I got caught and died, at least my life will have been truly meaningful at least one.
A couple of days later, a group of stormy prisoners were brought in. If given the chance, they would throw a tantrum into this place. It was time to do it.
I went to Kakashi's cell and pushed a small key in his hand.
"Take this and wait for the right time to use it, I said in a low voice. Something is preparing here." There was a glitter of hope in his eyes...
I dropped a shirt with a dark mask in a corner of his cell making certain he saw it. Under it, I hid an old and chipped kunai.
"I'll unlock the doors of your teammates and tell them to wait for you. Be sure to wait for the sign, we can only do this once!"
"And you, how will you get out?" he asked.
"Don't worry about me, just leave as fast as you can!"
I knew it would be the end of me, but the end of what life? Probably a completely worthless one... at least I could give them a chance. I passed food from one cell to the other making certain that the yellow-haired boy and the pink haired girl saw me put a piece of cardboard between the latch and the strike. I just told them to wait...
I felt a heavy stress come over me. Knowing that the end was coming was more stressful than I had thought. I took some time for myself. I looked at the warm sun filtering from my window and put a new kimono on. I knew that it wouldn't be suspect to my masters since, in a place like this, I could get soiled anytime. I relaxed for a while enjoying the pleasure of being alive.
When I came back, the prison was noisy, incredibly noisy. People were fighting and screaming through the bars of their cells... exactly the kind of energy needed to create a diversion.
I passed in front of Kakashi's cell and without even looking at him, slightly opened the door. Then, I took a big breath and opened door after door running from one to the other. The prisoner's just rushed out sometimes even hitting me in their attempt to escape. When I finally reached the last door, I looked back. Kakashi's cell was empty as were that of his teammates. I had done it. They must be safe now. I knelt in the hallway surrounded by running prisoners.
It took no time before the guards arrived, my master right behind them. The guards fought and killed many of the weak and starving men while the master stood in front of me.
"Did you do this," he shouted with his impressive voice. "Where is the white-haired prisoner? Answer me!"
He was threatening me with his sword. I just bowed my head, waiting for the blow that would hopefully quickly end my life, but I felt something pass between us. It was Kakashi. He had come back for me. I saw his tall silhouette all dressed in black. In his hand, a blinding ball of white electricity. The chakra released from it created a small breeze around us.
"Kakashi… but, why?" I said with a visible pain in my voice. He did not turn back, or answer me.
I got up on my feet and ran past him in an attempt to force my master to kill me. If I was dead, he would be forced to leave...
I threw myself under the blade. I felt a sharp pain over my shoulder, but as soon as it hit, I felt a hand on my wrist, dragging me back. The blade sliced my shoulder as I was pulled away, but ended its blow on the ground. In a quick flash, I saw my master pieced by the silver light. Kakashi turned back to me.
"Leave!" I pleaded in despair.
"Not without you. He answered, I am not the kind of person who lets his friends die!"
I could not get up anymore. I felt as if my body would split in two. He took me in his arms pressing the injured shoulder against him to force the edge of the wounds closer and ran away. His breath was heavy with short spasms due to the pain he had undergone, but he was still fast enough that he could avoid being caught by the overloaded guardians.
After a few minutes, we landed near a tall rock hidden by the dense forest, just under it, the two other shinobi waited. Kakashi put me on the ground and then rolled on his back breathing heavily.
"Sakura please stabilise her condition," he said before turning his head to me. "Yatsuko, do you have anywhere to go? A family? Friends?"
I shook my head.
"Then you are coming with us to Konoha, we'll take care of you there."
I felt tears rise in my eyes. I couldn't believe the trouble they were willing to go through for me.
"No, I can't walk, you are already injured and exhausted. I would slow you down," I pleaded.
"We owe you this, said the pink haired girl, you helped us out of there."
"Yes, without you, we'd be dead," said the boy with yellow hair.
"Thank you," I replied in a low voice. The pain was growing in my body.
The kunoichi bandaged my shoulder pulling hard to make certain all held in place, then she went to Kakashi.
"I can't carry her, but I'll heal you as much as I can. Naruto, watch out, tell us if they come close..."
"I'm on it!" he replied.
I looked at Kakashi's face. It was hard to figure out what he thought now that he had his mask on, but his eyes were softer. I felt in security. My vision went blurred and I fainted.
Thanks for the read. I hope you liked it.
I truly want to improve so please help me grow and review!
P.S.: I'll try to do my best to update once a weak… so if I know you are reading it, it will give me some pressure to stick to deadlines ;o)