A/N: Guess who's alive? I am!
With a fiery heart and bleeding fingers, I pushed through and GOT THIS DONE!
OUCH, my poor fingers!
Between you and me, this chapter was getting extremely long, so I broke it into 2 parts! Part 2 will be out eventually.
Thanks again, Brindani, for working with me as a BETA!
Happy Reading! (╥﹏╥)
To Change Fate
Chapter 8: The Nine Tails Fiery Attack Pt. 1
Humiya sat up from her bed and stretched, feeling more refreshed than she had in a long time. She looked outside of her window at the bright morning and reflected upon the changes that unfolded.
Life in the Uchiha Household seemed to have formed into organized chaos the moment Mikoto returned from the hospital with baby Sasuke. With Sasuke came an abundance of screeches, his endless demands needing to be attended by every able-bodied family member.
Much to Humiya's dismay, she was not able-bodied but feeble and bedridden with another fever. So, she laid there, trapped in her room for two whole weeks. It was worse when Mikoto prevented her from meeting Sasuke a full week after just to make sure she was well enough to see the baby.
The only bright side to her plight was that she hardly saw Fugaku. He was graced by work. He left in the early mornings and returned in the late evenings, stealthily avoiding most of Sasuke's demands. The only time she saw him was when he opened her bedroom to stare her down once in the morning and once at night, a very eerie sight to see.
But today, Humiya felt as bright as the early morning rays with her fever gone. She got up and ran out of her stuffy room to Sasuke's, whose room was luckily next door. Humiya slowly slid open the door and saw her old crib stationed in the middle of the room, the gaps in the brown railing were wide enough for her to see Sasuke laying snuggly against its cream cushion. She crept deeper into his room and climbed the railing with familiar ease to get a better look at him.
Humiya smiled as she gazed at Sasuke while he slept soundly, marveling at his angelic appearance. Like a cherub, his cheeks and nose were rosy against his bright face. He gripped his fluffy blanket tucked around him with his lashes twitching as he dreamed.
"Nice to meet you," she whispered to him in English before putting her finger on his hand, inwardly gushing as the baby curled his fingers around it.
As she rubbed her thumb gently over Sasuke's fingers, she heard a distant knock that came from the front door, making her lift her head.
"Kushina, it is a pleasure to see you again. Come in,"
Humiya heard Mikoto's pleasant voice echo from downstairs. She felt her good mood crumble the moment she heard Kushina chuckle.
"It's so good to see you as well! How ya doing? I brought housewarming gifts. There is something for everyone. Here is yours,"
"Oh, thank you for the gifts. I am faring well, thank you for asking. I will make sure Fugaku and Itachi receive their gifts once they return. However, I must say that this house has been in my husband's family for generations,"
"So? It is never too late for housewarming gifts, ya know!"
Humiya gently pried her finger out of Sasuke's surprisingly strong grasp as she heard Mikoto and Kushina's voices become louder. Knowing that they were coming her way, Humiya sped out of Sasuke's room and into the long hallway, wishing she could hear their footsteps. It surprised her how light everyone's footsteps were, especially Mikoto's. She did everything silently now that Humiya thought about it.
"Sasuke is asleep in his crib and Humiya is most likely with him. She recently recovered from a fever and your gift will surely brighten her day,"
"The poor thing! I would have also gotten her something that could have helped strengthen her if I knew,"
Humiya looked around and saw the entrance to the bathroom slightly opened. She quickly entered the room.
The quaint tiled room consisted only of a white toilet, a vanity, and a mirror. The shower and bath were elsewhere, something she always found odd. Another oddity about the room was the window above the toilet.
Humiya turned to the mirror that reflected the natural light from the window, feeling a strong urge to look into it. She lifted her tiny foot onto the toilet lid and climbed onto the counter, her feet dangling off the edge when she situated herself into a sitting position. She stared at her reflection, her black baggy eyes staring back at her.
Her face, her hair, she hated everything. She watched as her dark brown hair flowed as she turned her head, blowing away the bits that landed against her discolored lips. Humiya haphazardly ran her locks out of her face, it dead against her hand. She swallowed the lump in her throat and placed her fingers on the cold glass.
It wasn't long after she made her deal with Naka that she realized she was not blessed with a photographic memory. Even now, the clarity that she had as a newborn was slowly fading, blurs of details disintegrating in her memories. What she could not recall were blurs in the vast collection of clear moments. Not even her appearance in her past life was completely safe.
She missed her old appearance, but she could hardly remember it.
What if I forget too much?
"Diana," she whispered in English, her breath heavy and shallow. "My name was Diana Baggarley. I am… I was 18 years old when I died. I was driving home from work when a truck hit me. I am now—,"
Before she could continue, there was a knock on the door that made her flinch. Her shoulder bumped against the mirror, and she grabbed hold of the faucet to prevent herself from falling off the counter. Her body shivered as she leaned against the cold mirror.
"Humiya, are you in there?" Mikoto asked before knocking again. "Is everything alright?"
"Yes," Humiya squeaked as she regained her balance, using the mirror as a crutch. "Toilet. On toilet!"
"Alright, remember to wash your hands after you are done,"
"Also, please, do not sit on the counter and muddy the mirror with your hands like before,"
Humiya immediately retracted her hands from the mirror, her palm clearly imprinted on it.
She bit her lip.
"Humiya?" Mikoto asked in a warning tone.
Silence spread between them before Mikoto sighed.
"Just don't do it again and come to your room when you are done in there. You don't want to keep your Aunty Kushina waiting, do you?"
"No! Coming!" Humiya called.
Mikoto's lack of response let Humiya know that she was gone. She felt safe enough to grumble as she climbed off the vanity. She then flushed the empty toilet and took out a stool to get up to the sink to wash her hands, knowing full well that Mikoto would know if she didn't. Humiya slowly opened the door to the empty hallway and resigned herself to her fate. She saw the door to her room was open, the voices of Mikoto and Kushina conversing inside.
"Mikoto, which one do you think Little Humiya would like better? This hairpin or the other?" Kushina fretted, her voice quick and jumpy. "I thought of buying her a kimono or two at that boutique I found near the market, but I was at a loss when the woman asked for her size,"
"Kushina, when have you become such a worrywart? My daughter loves just about everything I put on her and I think they are quite adorable,"
Humiya peeked into her room to see Kushina and Mikoto kneeling on seating cushions by her bed. Kushina was holding two shiny wooden stick hairpins with flowers carved on the ends of each one; one was reddish brown while the other was a deep chocolate. She leaned against the door frame, already feeling tired just imagining the activity that was about to ensue. Despite that, she must admit that the pins were quite eye-catching.
Mikoto turned to the bedroom door toward Humiya, and their eyes met. Mikoto's smile widened. Kushina looked at her and brightened as well.
"There you are, Humiya! Come in! Don't be shy," Kushina ushered.
Humiya hesitantly walked to where Mikoto was kneeling next to Kushina. She stood awkwardly between them; their radiating presence felt suffocating in the closed space of her room. She looked to Kushina, stiff in her movement and greeted her.
"Welcome home!" she shouted, blushing when she realized she slipped up her greeting again.
Kushina let out a gush as she put her hand over her heart.
"Ah! You're so cute, you know!"
She scooted closer to Humiya to give her a better view of the hairpins.
"Humiya, do you like them?" Mikoto asked. "Kushina made sure to get them just for you,"
Humiya stared at the pins in Kushina's hand, twiddling her fingers nervously.
"Yes. Pretty," she whispered.
"Let me do your hair! I know a perfect style!" Kushina piped.
Humiya unconsciously grabbed a piece of her hair and nodded.
"Okay," she said and watched Mikoto get up and take a brush out of the drawer of her end table.
"Remember to be gentle, Kushina. I don't want to see chunks of her hair all over the place like that one time,"
Kushina gasped as she grabbed Humiya's shoulders and sat her in front of her.
"You still remember that?! That was years ago! I really thought you had to pull the knots out, ya know,"
Mikoto sniggered as she handed the brush to Kushina.
"Yes, it was a miracle that you were not bald back then. Especially with all the knots I found when I brushed yours,"
Kushina laughed in reply.
Humiya felt Kushina lift portions of her hair and gently start to brush it, her tangles tightening as the brush forced her hair to separate.
Humiya flinched at the sting of getting her hair pulled before the familiar feeling of dizziness overcame her. Her heart stopped as the images in her mind's eye began to merge into her reality. She knew what was coming but wasn't ready for it. Humiya wanted to cry out and struggle to prevent what happened in the forest, but her body stilled like last time. She felt Kushina stop combing her hair, but could not hear what she was saying, for the voices of her memories filled her ears. Sadness filled her being, but those feelings were mixed with the ones present to her from long ago.
She was no longer sitting in her room as Humiya Uchiha, but in her bathroom as Diana Baggarley.
"Ack," she hissed quietly, letting go of her brush that sucked to her puffy light brown hair.
She stared down at the cause of her discomfort. Her left hand felt prickly and numb. She knew the cause, the jagged scar that ran down her palm made sure of it. Diana looked at the wall of the large bathroom at a painting of a young girl looking out in a hilly landscape, its realism shining brightly with its concise colors. But Diana noticed none of the intricate aspects; they looked faded against the script of her initials painted in the corner.
There was a knock on the door.
"Come in," Diana called as she glanced at the door, flexing her hand as pain tingled across her fingers.
"Diana Sweet, are you— Oh dearie… you should have called me," her mom remarked, assessing Diana's condition before closing the bathroom door behind her. "Is your Carpal Tunnel—"
"I'm fine. I'm just…" she rubbed her agitated hand. "Quite nervous about today,"
Diana motioned to the shiny navy-blue graduation robe hanging on the shower curtain rod. Her mom gave a look of understanding.
"I see. Well, just standing isn't going to fix your hair. Sit down,"
Diana sat down on the toilet seat lid, facing the tub that was littered with scented beauty products that were sold in her mom's company, "Baggarley Bangs" written on the different sized bottles. She felt her hand receive a hard pinch which caused her to hiss in pain and Mikoto calling her name, making her flinch.
"Sorry, Diana Sweet. You should have wet your brush more," her mom sighed guilty, the brush that was stuck in her hair in her hand.
Diana smelt the nostalgic scent of pure lavender emit from the product her mom put in her hair before feeling the soft bristles of the brush against her usually rebellious curls.
"I am thinking of doing a mermaid braid," her mom remarked.
Diana bit her lip. "Mom, we can't do that. We don't have time. Can't I have something simpler? Like a french braid?"
Her mom snorted.
"A french braid? My daughter will not wear a casual braid on her graduation day. You really hurt my pride as a hairstylist. A simple elegant style like a mermaid braid is not something that would take me hours to do," Her mom turned on the sink to wet her brush. "Besides, there's nothing wrong with being fashionably late. And you have a large class size. They need time for the seniors to gather, organize your class, and have you all practice at least once if my memory is correct. So being a few minutes, heck, even fifteen minutes late will not prevent you from attending graduation. I am sure your teachers must have frightened you into thinking that you had to be early. Teachers can be sneaky like that,"
Diana relaxed her shoulders as she followed her mom's logic. A few moments passed between them, her feeling at ease in her mom's company.
"There, all done! What do you think?" her mom asked as she put her hands on her shoulders.
Diana got up from the toilet seat and looked at herself in the mirror. She pulled a few strands behind her ear before she assessed her appearance. She was of average height with skin a light coffee. She disliked the freckles on her face and bags under her hazel eyes.
"I almost forgot. Your dad will be driving you to graduation," her mom bluntly told her.
This made her body freeze and the serene feeling within her shatter.
"Dad is?" she asked, her voice cracking a little.
"Of course," her mom tutted as grabbed a bow from the drawer and tied it to the end of her hair. "Your father insisted."
Diana wanted to argue, but she knew that she would shut her down like all the other times she tried to argue about her dad before. Sometimes, she wondered how her mom could be so clueless. Her frozen body went ablaze as she thought about him.
As if on cue, there was a knock on the door and a deep voice call from behind it. Diana leered at the door whereas her mom's face brightened with hope.
"Come in, Honey. Just finished doing our daughter's hair," her mom called cheerfully.
Diana wished her dad would decide to not open the door and just ignore her like always, but slowly, the door creeped open to reveal the bane of her existence.
At a glance, he did not look like someone who would devote their life to being a concept artist for a videogame company. In his black suit and navy-blue tie, he looked as much like a military man as he did in his youth. However, unlike in his youth, life chipped away at his appearance. Deep bags hung under his sharp light brown eyes and frown lines carved his espresso brown skin.
He straightened his back as he approached and cleared his throat. Diana's shoulders hunched and looked toward her mom with the look of betrayal. Her mom only smiled. Diana felt as though she was slapped in the face, but she was pinched in her cheek.
"Anywho, I think I hear Sterling calling. I will see you two later! Love you," her mom cheered to break the ice before kissing Diana and her husband on the cheek before leaving.
There was a moment of silence between them as Diana's dad stared her down, his expression unreadable. She could hardly stand the tension.
"Diana, we need to talk," her dad commanded, his voice soft but stern.
Her stomach curdled at his voice, making her cross her arms over her stomach. The spiky feeling of fear wrapped around her fiery, clutching it tightly.
"There is nothing we need to talk about, dad," she uttered, the numb feeling in her hand intensifying. "I will be out in a bit. I… still have to put my makeup on,"
Her dad took a step forward, making her recoil.
"You can do your makeup in the car. We can talk here or there. I am not a patient man,"
Before Diana could reply,a hot energy filled her and the scene before her shattered. In front of her was no longer her intimidating father but her frantic guardian kneeling before her, tightly gripping her arms.
"Humiya, can you hear me?" Mikoto cried, gently shaking her.
Humiya nodded sluggishly, her mind feeling foggy and her body heavy. She blinked down at Mikoto's eyes glowing red with the Sharingan.
"It is okay. You are fine," Mikoto whispered before giving Humiya a tight embrace.
She felt limp in her guardian's arms, so she leaned against her with all her weight. In response, Mikoto picked her up.
"You must be exhausted. Time for bed," Mikoto said carefully before doing just that.
Humiya looked to see Kushina lifting the covers of her bed and helped Mikoto tuck her into it.
"Has this happened before?" Kushina asked with a concerned expression.
Mikoto nodded as she took the pin out of Humiya's hair.
"Yes. I am sorry you had to witness it,"
"Don't be sorry. I am just glad that we got her out of whatever she was in,"
Humiya watched as the pair talked and felt a pang of guilt as they conversed. She knew the hallucination that she was having was not normal and wondered if she was really going crazy.
Suddenly, the sounds of baby's Sasuke's screams echoed throughout the house. Mikoto got up from Humiya's bed and looked toward the door in a rush.
"Kushina, can you stay with Humiya for a moment,"
Mikoto sped out of the room.
"Can," Kushina voiced, looking deep in thought.
Humiya gripped her blanket as she looked at Kushina's distant expression.
"Sorry," she whispered with a sniffle.
Kushina exhaled and kneeled by her bedside.
She let out a chuckle.
"You're as apologetic as your mom, ya know," she replied before brushing Humiya's hair from her face.
"We just want you to get better," she replied, "Do you hurt anywhere?"
Humiya shook her head.
Kushina grabbed Humiya's hand.
"Then, I will just tell you a story that was passed down by my grandma to my ma and from my ma to me,"
Kushina began her tale.
Humiya tried to listen to the story, but her eyes were growing heavy. She watched as Kushina got very into the story she was telling, changing her voice whenever the characters were talking and even making sound effects. It really wasn't a story that someone would normally sleep through, but Humiya couldn't keep her eyes open. When she closed them, she felt Kushina rub her hand against her head. Humiya wanted to back away from the chakra emitting from her touch, but it was so warm and comfortable. She felt safe as she was lulled into a deep slumber.
Humiya knew that she was not safe. The moon appeared bigger in the opaque night sky and the silence that surrounded her was deafening. She was deep in a forest outside of Konoha, its tall trees making the area darker.
"Don't worry, me. It's just a nightmare. A dark nightmare,"
She froze when she stepped on something wet with the smell of iron overwhelming her senses. She looked down to see a bloodied chain below her. She covered her mouth at the sight and backed away from it as quickly as she could.
Humiya tried to wake herself up, but nothing happened. Instead, there was a beckoning impulse for her to follow the chain that led down a path of broken trees. Trapped, she complied.
She walked down the tattered path, the glow of the chain and the moon being her only light. As she walked, she heard raging roars in the distance which made her tremble.
She then entered a clearing and what she saw was worse than she ever imagined. Blood, blood was splattered everywhere and there laid Kushina and an unidentifiable man lay motionless in the middle of it, the chain that led her to this clearing ending in a gaping hole in Kushina's stomach. They both appeared to be reaching out. Above them stood the Kyuubi in all its glory, its claws covered in their blood.
Suddenly, Humiya heard crying in the distance to see a baby Naruto on an altar. The Kyuubi ears twitched at the baby's cries and its eyes gleamed like a predator who found its prey. Slowly it walked, its tails thrashing.
Humiya tried to move, but she stood there frozen and could only watch the beast lift its paw to squish the child. She screamed.
"Kyuubi stop! Not Naruto! Not Naruto!"
Humiya's eyes sprang open with a gasp, only to find herself back in her room. She could still smell the blood which made her tremble.
"H-how do you know those names?"
Humiya's blood went cold when she turned around to see Kushina, her face ashen with her hand quivering over her stomach. She knew instantly that she talked in her sleep again and the last person she would want to hear her, had.
"Know name? No know! What wrong? Scary! Aunty Scary!" she cried, feeling as if she was grasping straws to salvage the situation.
She struggled out of bed and walked toward Kushina with her arms open.
"Aunty!" Humiya begged, "Please,"
Kushina flinched and doubled over, making Humiya stop in her tracks.
"Ach! What you said… and your… vision have serious meanings… tell me what you saw. Tell me the truth,"
"Truth?" she asked, her body beginning to tremble.
Then, the door opened to reveal a concerned Mikoto with a babbling Sasuke on her hip.
"I heard a commotion," Mikoto said as she walked toward the pair.
"Is everything alright? Kushina, you look quite ill and what is Humiya doing out of bed?" she asked while she readjusted little Sasuke who was sucking on his fingers.
Before Kushina could reply, she hunched over in pain, her knees buckling.
Mikoto tried to help Kushina with her free arm, but Kushina moved away and struggled to straighten herself on her own. Mikoto watched Kushina with her hand to her heart.
"Kushina, are you—"
"I'm fine…there's nothing wrong," Kushina uttered as she clutched her stomach, "I just got a horrible stomachache, ya know. Yeah! A stomachache. Augh! I… gotta go,"
Humiya noticed liquid spreading across the floor. She looked toward her guardian and gasped.
There was a puff of smoke. Once it cleared, it revealed that Kushina's stomach wasn't flat but showing clear signs that she was pregnant. She looked down at the puddle on the floor in shock.
"I-I can't have him here! I can't have him here, ya know!" Kushina cried as she shook her head before trying to run away.
Mikoto grabbed Kushina with her free hand, her eyes flashing red. Kushina stopped struggling.
"I numbed them with genjutsu. It is a very fragile jutsu, so I must be touching you to cast it. Your water just broke, and the hospital is on the other side of the village," Mikoto said before handing a whining Sasuke to Humiya.
Humiya held Sasuke with wide eyes, him heavy in her arms. She watched as Mikoto stubbornly assisted Kushina into the hallway.
"There is enough space in the living room for you to have your child. I have some spare futons somewhere," Mikoto mumbled, more to herself than to Kushina.
"But Mikoto—" Kushina cried.
"And Yashiro's wife worked as a midwife before she retired,"
"Mikoto!" Kushina shouted before ripping herself out of Mikoto's grasp in front of the stairs. "You can't help me, ya know!"
She bent forward again with another contraction, grabbing the railing for support. Mikoto stepped forward and gently grasped her hand, looking hurt.
"I apologize for being rash," Mikoto told her softly, "I will not ask you why you hid your pregnancy nor why you are so hesitant for assistance. So please, let me help you as you helped me,"
Kushina looked down at the stairs.
"Okay. I need you to contact Minato and Biwako. They need to know. And you got to listen to them when they come," she fretted, "Ah, my son. He was not supposed to come yet, ya know,"
Mikoto gave Kushina a weak smile.
"I understand. The doctor was not accurate with my children's date of birth either," she said as they walked down the stairs. "Now, I want you to breathe deeply. You will feel your contractions once I let go, but you need to stay calm. Stress will hurt the baby,"
Kushina nodded before taking a deep breath. Mikoto led her to the large living room and sat her down onto a seating cushion before looking back at Humiya. She let go of Kushina and took Sasuke out of Humiya's arms.
"I will be putting Sasuke back into his crib and will be right back. Strangers will be here to take care of Kushina. I need you to be brave, Humiya. Can you do that for me?" Mikoto told her softly, her voice quick.
Humiya nodded and watched her guardian go upstairs and deal with Sasuke before rushing out of the door. She stared at the door in a daze, completely at a loss. She did not feel brave.