"Tainted Demon Eyes"
By Nes Mikel
I herby acknowledge that the work of fiction presented here is for my own personal amusement and entertainment purposes alone. Most of the story, characters, place names and other etc stuff in this fiction are copyright Naruto, Kishimoto Masashi, Weekly Shounen Jump, and any others I might have forgot. Enjoy.
- Chapter One -
"Flowers Never Bend With the Rainfall"
"Well then… I'll tell you a little secret." – Mizuki
Once, for reasons yet unknown, appeared a nine-tailed demon fox. With just a simple swing of one of its mighty tail, it crumbled mountains and caused tsunamis. Disaster had been summoned into the lands.
To fight this abdominal creature of unearthly creation, the people assembled the shinobi – those who stealth in darkness – to counter this threat and put an end to its existence.
The fight did not bode well. Many lives were lost, countless others shattered. The horror failed to cease until one brave shinobi stood in front of it and successfully sealed the demon, but with the cost of his life.
That shinobi's name…
The Fourth Hokage.
The Village of the Hidden Leaf was, well, a village that was intended to be hidden from the public eye within a rather dense forest, but in reality it was quite easy to find. Sure, it was rather hard for a clueless foreigner that had simply wandered in its forests and to stumble upon it, but for a village that intended to be hidden, it didn't do a good job at that. Really, if they wanted to be truly be hidden as the name should imply it wasn't such a difficult task for the skilled men and women who lived behind its walls, but it just won't do.
It's reason? Simple.
This Village was a village of shinobi, and shinobi were mercenaries. They received clients, jobs, and orders from their own country and beyond; accomplishing tasks none others could do. If they were really hidden away, how would their clients that sought their services ever find them in the first place?
A not-so-hidden hidden village. Oh, the irony.
Pushing that rather strange train of thought aside, let us look beyond the walls and into the village itself. Once inside, a thriving community lived. They went their normal everyday lives as many people should, but since this was a village of the shinobi the people that lived here were living normal lives by their own standards. Which, of course meant, they really weren't leading exactly 'normal' lives as many others outside the hidden village would've lead. The people in the outside world sure didn't leap tall buildings in a single bound as many people in this village could.
One particular girl in this village was doing just that as she leapt towards another building, a gleam of mischief reflecting in her emerald eyes. Today she was going to do something that many would not dare – vandalism – but not just simple vandalism, but of a particular monument.
This hidden village was nestled in close proximity to a large cliff face that loomed over many buildings it housed. On the cliff face were carvings of four gigantic faces, the murals of which many would consider heroes. The girl chuckled in excitement as she tied a rope around her waist and tied the other end to a tree on top of the cliff. Tugging slightly to test its durability, she slowly climbed down the cliff face, with a bucket of paint in her right hand and a large paintbrush in her left.
Hehehe, wait till these fools see what I done! Her inner self giggled, as she set off to work.
The wrinkled, elderly man flinched at that name, and as soon as he did he regretted it. Turning his attention back to the calligraphy he was working on, he sighed in defeat as his flinch had caused a big, unwanted smudge in the middle of the fine paper.
"What is it, is it her again?" the old man called the Hokage put down his brush and washed his hands off the black ink. He really didn't have to ask for confirmation, one look at the faces of the two ninjas that had busted into his room told him what had happened.
"Yes!" the one in the left shouted, his hands flailing in all directions in slight panic. It was uncharacteristic of a shinobi to do so, but it situations like these it could be excused. "That bratis desecrating the Hokage monument!"
"And this time with paint!" the partner to his right added.
The Hokage closed his eyes for a moment to let the news of his own monument being defaced sink in. He reached for the hat he had set aside besides him and slowly put it on top of his head. Fully clothed now in the traditional robes, the man wearing the symbol of "Fire" on his forehead stood up, inhaled some smoke from his pipe and slowly sighed. He walked towards the two before him, who were more than ready to take him to the sight of crime. Like it wasn't far away… he could clearly see the view of the monument on the roof of this house. Even before he approached the stairs that led up to his mansion's floor, he could hear the numerous shouts and protests the others were throwing at the girl in question.
"HEY!" he heard one shout. "Stop causing trouble!"
"Stop doing this every day!" another pitched in.
"You'll pay for this!" one declared.
"Look at all that…" stated someone in disbelief.
"Shut up you idiots!" A voice shouted above them, the accused girl grinning widely and shaking her fist in the air, tightly clenching the paintbrush that was the catalyst of the defacement. She was hanging onto the cliff face with a rope, paint covered all over her. Even a blind man could see that she was the one who did this. "None of you guys could do something this horrible! But look at me! Hehehe, I'm incredible!"
The Hokage looked up at the girl and then at the monument. Insults and obscene symbols were written all over the wall. He resisted the urge to slap his own face but instead sighed as he took one step after another until he was near the small fence that separated him from the monument. "Geez… what has that child done?" he murmured. Even my face… he mentally added.
A heavy sigh was heard besides him, and the Hokage took notice of a figure that was standing besides him all along. "Third, I apologize for this." The young and scarred academy teacher apologized. "She snuck out during break."
"Ah, Iruka…" the Hokage started, but Iruka stopped him when he took a big breath in to let loose the barrage of words that followed.
"What the HELL are you doing during class time, Sakura? GET DOWN HERE YOU MORON!"
With those words, the girl suddenly lost her foothold over the monument, and was now helplessly dangling in front of the cliff in midair. When one listened closely, they could hear the words of complaints murmured by the pink-haired girl. "Yikes, that's Iruka-sensei…"
Haruno Sakura soon found herself back into class, but in an unique position where another will probably never have to deal with in their time at school – she was not only forced to sit down on the floor and started down by her scary sensei in front of her entire class, but her wrists were tied to her back by a rope. She ignored that and avoided the gaze of her teacher. "Bah." Was all she said.
This obviously didn't bode well with the teacher, and another scolding soon came forth. "Tomorrow is the ninja academy's graduation exam, and you have failed the last two times! This is no time to be causing trouble, young woman!"
She continued to ignore Iruka. "Yeah, yeah."
Perhaps that was a bad move, as she swore she heard a vein pop inside her sensei's head. "All right, that's it!" he shouted in frustration. "Time for a review on 'Henge no Jutsu'. Everyone line up! Transform perfectly into me!"
"WHAT?" everyone in the class shouted in unison, Sakura included.
"I mean it!" Iruka didn't sound like he was joking. He crouched down to Sakura and untied her ropes, then shoved her lightly forward into the line that was forming to take the unexpected test undoubtedly created because of her.
One after another, students performed the seals perfectly and transformed into a good resemblances of their academy teacher. And soon…
"Ok, good." Iruka said as another one of his students completed his task. "Next, Haruno Sakura."
"Pfft, this is all your fault." A voice behind her said.
She didn't recognize the voice, but she replied to it anyway. "Like I care."
Damn this sucks… the pink haired girl thought as she took a step towards her sensei and performed a number of seals. Hmph, I know your weakness Iruka-sensei…ok, here we go!
With those words, a large bellow of smoke erupted. It didn't take long to clear, and when it did everyone discovered that Sakura had transformed herself into her adult form… but lacking one major thing. Her clothes. Not to mention that she was poised in a very… well, seductive pose. Just to add extra damage to her open-mouthed sensei in front of her, she winked and threw a little blow kiss. It was a killer.
Iruka fainted, blood gushing out of his nose.
Sakura released her seal and transformed back to her original self, ignoring the gawking gaze by the boys and the disgusted looks by the girls gave her. "Hehehe, you fell for it!" Sakura giggled in delight. "I call it 'Sexy no Jutsu'!"
She didn't realize that Iruka had already recovered and was staring at her with killer intent. She took a step back and attempted to smile. "It was a joke, a joke, okay?"
"You DUMBASS! Don't invent stupid skills! You have detention!"
Aw shite. Sakura cursed silently. It wasn't as if she didn't see it coming, but she cursed anyway.
Sakura found herself in front of the Hokage monument once more, but for a different purpose. Instead of defacing the monument like she was moments ago, she was here to clean up the mess she created. She wiped off some sweat off her face as she worked. Sakura dunked the rag back into the bucket of water and took it out again as she went back to scrubbing the paint off the stone cliff. She cursed again, this time loud enough so the Iruka-sensei watching above could hear.
"I won't let you go home until you clean it all off." She heard him say.
Sakura looked up to him, and spoke with spiteful words. "Hmph, like I care. It's not like I have anyone to go home to…" she paused mid-sentence, and stared down to avoid Iruka's eyes. "Bah." She spat out the words, as she hastily returned to undo her own work.
"Hey Sakura…" she heard Iruka speak again, this time in a much gentler tone she didn't expect.
But she growled at him anyway.
"Well… umm…" he scratched his cheek. She noticed it was Iruka this time that was avoiding her gaze. "If you clean this all up, I'll buy you some Dango tonight."
Sakura immediately brightened. With renewed vigor, she scrubbed the stone with her rag twice as fast as before. "Okay!" she cheerfully spoke. "I'll work hard! I will!"
It wasn't turning out so bad after all.
The Ichiraku was a small but rather famous Ramen stand, famous for it's wide varieties of Ramen and it's rather cheap price. However, Ichiraku wasn't just known for its Ramen, but also for its sweets as well. The Dango they sold her was Sakura's favorites, and Iruka smiled at his pink-haired student besides him as she happily sipped some hot green tea before reaching out for another Dango.
He decided this was a good time to start a conversation. "Hey, Sakura."
"Hmm?" She asked in a muffled voice, her mouth still full from three Dango she consumed all at once.
"Why were you doing that to the monument?" he asked. "Don't you know who the Hokage are?"
She rolled her eyes. "Hmph, of course." She said before she reached out for another serving. "Basically, those that receive the Hokage name are the strongest ninja's in the village, right? And among them is the Fourth, a hero who saved the village from the fox demon."
Her response only served to make Iruka more confused. "Then why?"
She smiled. "Simple. One day, I'm going to get the Hokage name… and then I'm going to surpass all the previous Hokages! Oooh, won't that be so cool? A kunoichi surpassing all of them! Hell yeah!" she threw a mock punch in the air. "And then, I'll make this village recognize my strength!"
Iruka stopped eating his Ramen he ordered for himself, and stared at his student in disbelief. Before he had a chance to comment on her dream, Sakura threw him a question.
"By the way Sensei… I have a request."
"Hm? What, you've already eaten eight Dango. You want more?"
"No, no… um…" she looked away, as if she were embarrassed. She brought a finger up to her lips, and brought her shoulders closer together. "Can I borrow your Leaf head protector?" she asked in the sweetest voice possible.
Iruka laughed as he brought his hand up to his own Leaf head protector. "Hahaha, nice try, Sakura! I'm sorry but this is only after you graduate. This is a symbol that you've come of age. Maybe you'll get one tomorrow." He said cheerfully and gave his student a pat on the back.
Perhaps that wasn't the wisest course of action, as that left him relatively unguarded.
She attempted to punch his face, and Iruka managed to avoid it barely before Sakura's fist connected into the wall behind him.
"OW!" Sakura exclaimed, and began hopping about in pain.
Iruka laughed out loud again. So that's why she removed her ribbon she always wore… she wanted to replace her ribbon with the protector.
"That's it, I'm gonna have more Dango!" Sakura declared.
"You got it, lady!" the manager of the Ichiraku exclaimed in joy.
This time it was Sakura laughing, and Iruka hopping about in pain. Economically wise.
Nervous wasn't exactly what Sakura felt in class the next morning. Anticipation. Today, she was going to be a ninja, and she was so sure of it. Third time's a charm, right? She had her arms crossed in front of her, waiting for Iruka-sensei to tell the class of today's exam topic. The last two times were tests of that jutsu. There was no way in hell that could be it for three times in a row…
"Now." Iruka spoke up, flipping through some papers on a clipboard he was carrying. "For the graduation exam, you will…"
Yes, yes, come on now… don't let it be…
"…you will do the 'Bunshin no Jutsu'."
"When you are called, come to the next room." Iruka finished, and left the classroom. Soon after he left the class erupted into a ball of conversation, but Sakura ignored all that and slouched down at the dilemma she was placed in.
Dammit! She hit the table with her fist, gently enough so no one would notice, but enough to satisfy her feelings. Somewhat. Why that one! That's my worst jutsu!
"Next, Haruno Sakura."
She eyes opened wide in shock, as she continued to sit in her seat dumbfounded. Then she realized why she was called so early. She hated having her last name start with the eighth letter in the alphabet.
But no matter! She thought to herself as she walked into the next room. She saw the rows and columns of brand new Leaf head protectors neatly lined up in front of desk Iruka-sensei sat, and a new determination rose within her.
I'll be a ninja! She performed the hand seals as she was taught. Watch this!
"Bunshin no Justu!"
The result wasn't… spectacular. She had created a clone, all right… but the one clone that stood besides her – no, not stood, slouched on the floor – looked like as if she was beaten up after four or five girls ganged up on it. A small sweatdrop formed on the side of Sakura's face, and she slowly turned her head towards her sensei to see what they had thought.
Iruka had the most peculiar emotion on his face.
Not good. She immediately concluded. Sakura tried to smile, trying to look innocent and pretend as if everything turned out all right…
Iruka's voice was like a knife that stabbed through her heart. She was now bleeding emotions profoundly, and she slowly sank to her knees. Sakura was ready to burst into tears if need be.
Sakura looked up from where she sat, and noticed for the first time that Mizuki-sensei, another academy teacher, was sitting next to Iruka-sensei all along.
That's right! There are always two people to supervise the test… maybe he…
"This is her third time, and she… well, technically did create one clone. We could let her pass…"
Sakura immediately brightened, as hope rekindled within her.
But it was Iruka that snuffed it out once more. "No way Mizuki-sensei." Iruka waved his hand in dismissal. "Everyone else divided into three. But Sakura only created one clone, and it was a useless one. We can't let her pass."
Emotion progressed from hate, rage, and then sadness. Before her two sensei's could stop her, she was out of the classroom and ran out into the playing field, desperately trying not to cry. She found her favorite swing outside she loved to play with, and sat down, rocking silently back and forth, back and forth…
She didn't know how long she stayed there. But long enough until students came pouring out of the academy – no, they weren't students anymore. Ninjas. All of them were proudly displaying their newly won forehead protectors, chatting amongst themselves happily, sharing their dreams and ambitions. Soon, parents of those children soon appeared, and the happy conversation intensified. Some even reached Sakura's ears.
"Great job! That's my son!"
"Now you're a man!"
"I'm so proud of you! I'm going to make your favorite dinner!"
It was too painful for her to hear those words. She stood up from the swing, and turned to leave. She wanted to be alone now.
No, I am alone. I always am. Always was.
Out of Sakura's earshot, two adults turned their gaze towards Sakura and started a conversation that was forbidden to most ears.
"Hey, that girl…"
"Yeah, that's the girl. She's the only one that failed."
"Well, that's good. We can't have her become a shinobi. After all, she's…"
"Shush. Remember, we can't talk about that."
Sakura slowly tied her ribbon back onto her head. She had only wished for this ribbon to be replaced by the forehead protecter she desired so much… but for her, it looked as if she had to wait for another year. Another long, and painful year.
Soon, she was out of sight. And as soon as she left, a figure from the shadows emerged and walked over to Iruka who was hoarding the children. It didn't take long for him to recognize who he was.
"Iruka, I need to talk to you."
Sakura didn't expect to be comforted by anyone, but she was. And it was from a rather unexpected source… Mizuki-sensei.
Somehow, it didn't really surprise her. For some reason he always treated her nicely, although Mizuki-sensei was teaching a different class. But whenever she had a chance to meet him or be taught by him, Mizuki always paid attention to her. She had always appreciated it, and she really appreciated the attention he gave her now.
"Iruka-sensei is a serious person." Mizuki said as he stared off into the distance. "His parents… they were killed when he was young and he's had to do everything by himself since then."
Sakura looked away. She's heard the rumors, but didn't think it was true. But it wasn't as if that changed anything. "But why… does he only pick on… me…?" She continued to stare at her feet, never bothering to look at her teacher directly. The volume of her voice was barely above a whisper.
Out of the corner of her eye, Sakura saw Mizuki smile a little. "He probably sees himself in you, Sakura." She lifted her head up, a little startled. "He's probably thinking…" Mizuki continued. "He wants you to become strong in the real way. Try to understand Iruka's feelings. After all… you don't have any parents too."
Sakura was silent. She didn't know what she wanted to say. She could understand… they were alike, so deep down Sakura knew what Iruka probably felt. Still… "But… I just wish… I had graduated…" she said, sadness clearly echoing in her voice.
"Well then… I'll tell you a little secret."
She turned her heads towards Mizuki. "Huh?"
And hope was aflame again.
Night. It was a time when shadows thrived. Darkness was the very home of the ninjas. The moon was bright today, but the dark clouds hid it from view, creating an eerie mixture of faint light and total dark. And in this atmosphere a young, beautiful, yet strong kunoichi (self-declared) was on a mission of majestic importance (also self-declared). She slowly crept forward to her target. She must not fail…
A light switch turned on. Illuminated and exposed, the female ninja froze in place.
"What are you doing in my house at this hour?" The Hokage behind her asked.
"Sexy on Jutsu!" was her reply.
Blood was split, and a leader that commanded a village was defeated that night, but in a way that was… well, unique. Satisfied with her handiwork, Haruno Sakura proceeded onwards to the scroll cellar, and after rummaging through god knows how many pieces of paper, she finally found what she was looking for. Opening a nearby window, she leaped out and disappeared into a nearby forest.
"Now let's see…" Sakura opened the scroll once she arrived at her destination "The first skill is… What the hell? Why does it start with the one I'm bad at?"
Sakura was too concentrated on reading her way through her newly won scroll to notice anything around her, so she wasn't aware of a figure watching her every move the entire time. Mizuki, with a twisted smile on his face, turned around and proceeded to execute the second phase of his plan.
Lying in his bed, staring at the moon that had finally decided to show itself behind those clouds, Iruka was feeling sad. Hokage-sama had approached him this evening, and when he did he knew exactly what his leader's order of business was.
I know how you feel, but… she is similar to you.
He knew. Iruka knew that from the beginning… but Sakura was…
Iruka didn't really want to think of her that way. If he were, he was lowering himself to what the rest of the village thought of Sakura. He didn't want to be like that. After all, he could understand the girl's feelings, her pain.
Iruka couldn't help but think, that it was a night like this when the fox…
Never will he forget those eyes, those claws, those teeth, those tails. The demon, the nine-tailed fox. With its unholy roars and almighty power, it was crushing everything that stood in its way. Shinobi after shinobi threw themselves against it, desperately trying to stall it until the preparations by the Fourth were complete. They were all swatted away by the demon, as if they were annoying flies that didn't need paying attention to. All it cared… was destruction.
"We have to hold on until the Fourth gets here!" A shinobi shouted, and a roar of agreement sounded through the ranks of the shinobi as they began their reckless charge. One boy tried to go with them, but a strong arm grabbed him and pulled him back.
"No, let go of me!" the young Iruka shouted. "My mom… my dad… they're still fighting!"
He felt a sharp tap on his neck before he realized he was losing consciousness. The last thing he saw before he blacked out was that murderous red eye, destroying everything he ever knew.
Two knocks made on the front door of his apartment suddenly brought Iruka back to reality. Two knocks… that meant something was happening in the village. Quickly grabbing a nearby shuriken holster, he slides open the front door. Mizuki greeted him.
Iruka wasted no time. "What is it?"
"We must go to Hokage-sama's place! Sakura has… Sakura has taken the scroll of the forbidden seals as a joke!"
Iruka's eyes went wide. Quickly retreating into his house, Iruka grabbing his Chuunin uniform besides his bed and the rest of his equipment from a nearby cabinet, he rushed out of his apartment and joined Mizuki to head towards the Hokage mansion.
When they arrived, complaints were openly voiced.
"She won't get away with this one! Hokage-sama!" Mizuki shouted. Many others around him agreed. Iruka, as much as he hated to be dragged into the mentality of the mob, had to go along with the flow this time.
"Yes…" the Hokage sighed as he publicly addressed his men. "Those are dangerous scrolls forbidden by the previous Hokage. If used in certain ways, it can and will cause incredible trouble."
Iruka gritted his teeth. How did this happen? How could he let this happen?
"It's been half a day since the scroll was taken. We must hurry and find Sakura!"
"Yes!" the shinobi's assembled in front of their leader shouted in unison, and immediately spread out in all directions with unimaginable speed.
Only two shinobi gathered at that location guessed correctly where Sakura was. One of them was Iruka, who wisely decided to head towards the woods, as that was where Sakura liked to take a walk from time to time.
The other was Mizuki.
I'll spread the world throughout the village a little more, and then I'll get rid of Sakura. I'll make it look like Sakura disappeared with the scroll… and then…!
Mizuki smiled to himself, evil intentions running amok in his mind.
Carrying the scroll behind her back was rather straining. This, unlike many other scrolls, was not an ordinary one… it was HUGE! It must've weighed as much as she did! Tired from her exercise and the additional weight, Sakura finally fell back and rested against a tree to catch her breath.
It didn't take long for her to realize that a smiling man, yet at the same time shaking in anger, appear before her. "…I've found you… hey there pretty lady." Sakura couldn't tell with the tone of his voice if Iruka-sensei wanted to hit her or to hug her. So she decided to check.
"Oh hey, I guess I found the nose bleeder."
"IDIOT! I found YOU!"
Okay, so he's angry. she thought, amused. She grinned mischievously, her hand scratching behind her head.
"Hehe… you found me… well, I guess that's too bad. I've only learned one skill in the meantime." Sakura sighed. "I wish I could've learned a few more, but…"
"You're… you're all beaten up." Sakura saw that anger no long existed in Iruka's eyes. Only concern. "What were you doing?"
She looked down at herself. True, she had cuts and bruises all over her body, not to mention mud all over her beautiful pink hair. She regretted getting dirty, but in a situation such as this it really couldn't be helped. Besides, Sakura thought it was worth it. "Never mind that, Iruka-sensei. Just wait, I'm going to try an incredible skill! So if I do it, please, let me graduate!"
She held her hands together to prepare executing the seal for her new skill, but Iruka once again interrupted her. "Sakura… where did you get that scroll on your back?"
"Oh this?" Sakura looked over her shoulder briefly, and then grinned widely at Iruka. "Hehe, Mizuki-sensei told me about it! And about this training ground here too! He said that if I got this scroll and learned the first technique written on it, I'll definitely gradua…"
Sakura never had the time to finish her sentence, as Iruka suddenly pushed her away violently. Shocked at the sudden movements of her teacher, she was about to shout in protest but was soon silenced when various shuriken and kunai flew out from the shadows and struck where she was just standing moments ago. It was Iruka that took the fall instead.
"Tsk… nice job in finding her…" a foreign voice spoke. It didn't take long to find it's source, Crouched down atop a tree branch, there sat Mizuki-sensei.
Did he… he… just try to kill me?
Sakura turned to seek comfort from her other sensei, desperately wishing for help, but instead of getting help it looked like Iruka was the one who needed it. Pinned to the shack that stood nearby by kunai, he coughed up some blood. With several kunai stuck into him, it would've been strange if he didn't. "I see…" Iruka spat out. "So that's what's… going on…"
Mizuki ignored him and turned his gaze towards Sakura. She wanted to take a step back, but she couldn't stand up.
"Sakura." Her name was spoken in the most cold, dismissive way she had ever thought possible. "Give me that scroll."
"…What… what is going on?" she stammered, unable to comprehend the situation in her mind.
"Sakura!" Iruka shouted as he pulled one kunai that was embedded into his chest. A spray of his blood flew in the air and a shade of red was slowly starting to stain the cloth around his wound. "Don't give him the scroll… even if you die! That is a dangerous scroll that has forbidden ninjutsu sealed within it! Mizuki… he used you in order to get his hands on it!"
Sakura's eyes went wide in shock. Thankfully, it was only brief, and soon anger boiled within her. She slowly came to her feet, and glared at Mizuki with as much hate as she could muster. How dare he trick me! Her inner self screamed.
"Sakura… there's no point in you having it." Mizuki brushed his hair in front of him. She saw he had a faint smile on his face. "In fact… I'll tell you the truth."
"NO! No, don't!" Sakura didn't expect such an outburst from her Iruka-sensei. The ill-tempered yet usually calm-mannered sensei was clearly panicking. Just what is going on? she wondered.
"Twelve years ago…" Mizuki continued, ignoring Iruka's plea. "You know about the Demon Fox being sealed right?"
"Yeah, so what?" she wanted to spit at Mizuki's face, but realized that he was standing rather far away. But even if he wasn't, she couldn't. The caring Mizuki-sensei she came to respect was gone. It was all just a fabrication for him to get close to her so he could use her to accomplish his goals. She knew that, and her rage was boiling… but she couldn't just come and go beat him up. He was an adult, and deep down she knew that she couldn't win against this man. He was a shinobi after all. She, on the other hand, was a dropout, a failure. She knew better, so she simply stayed put.
"Since that incident… a new rule was created for this village."
"But Sakura." Mizuki close his eyes, a trace of a smile clearly visible. He was… enjoying this? "This rule was never meant to be told to you."
"Not to me? What is this rule anyway! You're getting annoying!" She shook her fist threateningly at him.
Mizuki was laughing now. Sakura ceased her threat as she realized that he was serious. Whatever this 'rule' was… it had to do something with her.
"What… kind of rule is it?" she asked.
She never should've have asked.
Iruka watched helplessly as his former comrade, now turned traitor, spoke the forbidden words that was never meant to be heard by the pink-haired girl.
"The rule – is that no one is allowed to talk about the fact that you are the demon fox itself."
Iruka saw Sakura visibly freeze in place. "Wha… what… what do you mean?" her voice was shaking. She was starting to…
"STOP IT!" Iruka shouted. It was meaningless, he knew, the damage has been done. But it was so cruel, so heartless… he couldn't just stand there, shut up, and let it happen.
"It means that you, Sakura…" Mizuki continued relentlessly. "Are the Nine Tailed Demon that killed Iruka's parents and destroyed the village twelve years ago! You were sealed up by the Hokage you admire and…"
"STOP IT!" Iruka shouted another shout, in an attempt to drown out Mizuki's voice. Naturally, it didn't work. Mizuki had Sakura's full attention.
"You have been lied to by everyone! Didn't you find it odd that everyone hated you?"
Iruka was about to say stop once more when he realized that Sakura's expression changed. She was squeezing her eyes shut, attempting to blockade the tears that were no doubt forming behind her eyelids. A couple of drops did break through, and it fell down her cheek. She wasn't going to move, and Mizuki knew that.
"Iruka is the same!" Mizuki declared once more. He grabbed the giant shuriken he had it equipped on his back and started to spin it between his fingers. He was getting ready to throw the deadly blade. "He actually hates you! Nobody will accept you! That scroll you have on your back – it was actually used to seal you up! Haahahaha!"
Mizuki suddenly stopped spinning the shuriken, and pulled his arm back, readying the throw. He thrust it forward, aiming at the helpless little girl to finish what he came here to do.
He had to move! NOW!
I know how you feel, but… she is similar to you.
I… yes, I know.
She's never known a parent's love… and all the villagers hate her because of that incident. So to get attention… she makes a lot of trouble. She's seeking acknowledgment of her existence in any possible way. She acts tough, but she truly is suffering. Surely, you must understand.
So try… try to be a little more honest with her.
The pain was horrible, but well worth it. He had lost a lot of blood from saving Sakura in the first assault, but this was a bit… well, more painful for sure. Due to the size of the weapon, the wound went much deeper than the many small kunai that were intended to finish Sakura off. But it was worth it. They were both alive still, and above all, Sakura was safe from harm. He gritted his teeth and closed his eyes to try to stop himself from screaming in pain, but it only caused more blood to flow forth from his mouth. A couple of drops loosened from his lips and it fell onto Sakura's red dress, turning it into a deeper shade of crimson.
"Why…?" he heard a soft voice that belonged to the girl beneath him ask a question. "Why did you…"
Iruka slowly opened his eyes. Beneath him laid a girl – a lonely girl. Nothing more. "I…" he began. "My parents… after they died… there was nobody to complement me or acknowledge me…" he paused, coughing up a little more blood. The wound must've been more serious than he'd originally thought. "I would always… act like a idiot, to get people's attention… since I wasn't able to do well in things like…" he smiled slightly. "…school."
Iruka closed his eyes again. "It was better than nothing. So I kept acting like an idiot. It was so…"
He didn't know when he started to cry. He only realized it when the first drops left his eyes and succumbed itself to gravity. "Yeah… Sakura, you must've been in a lot of pain too… I'm sorry… if only, if only I had done a better job… you didn't have to feel this way…" He winced in pain, both physically and emotionally. Iruka ignore all those. Now, he had to heal this girl's heart…
When Iruka looked into Sakura's eyes, he saw a swirl of emotions swirling through. But then, the rage of emotions suddenly stopped as it came. She shut it out of view for a second. When she reopened them, it sent a chill down through Iruka's spine.
Her eyes… they were no longer the green emerald eyes he once knew.
They were tainted red, the gaze was ablaze with hatred yet cold as ice.
"Saku…" Iruka didn't expect Sakura to push him away, and struggled onto her feet. Before Iruka had a chance to stop her, Sakura had already run away into the deeper parts of the woods. "Sakura!"
"Hehehe, sorry…" An amused voice sounded behind him. Iruka didn't even have to turn around to recognize whom it belonged to. "But Sakura isn't the type to have a change of heart. She probably plans to use the scroll to get revenge on the village. Isn't that interesting?" Mizuki snickered. "Hell, you saw it yourself didn't you? Those eyes… now those were the tainted eyes of a demon."
As much as Iruka wanted to avoid feeling more pain, the hate he felt for Mizuki was enough to dull it so much that he gathered the courage to pull out the large shuriken that was embedded in his back. "Ugh!" he grunted in agony as the sharp metal left his flesh. He tossed the shuriken aside as he struggled to stand up. He was out of breath… he didn't have much strength left in him.
"Sakura… she isn't like that!" Iruka protested.
"Heh. Well that doesn't really matter. I'll kill Sakura, and get the scroll. Be thankful that I'm going to take care of you later." Leaving behind those words, Mizuki jumped to a nearby tree branch and disappeared after Sakura. Iruka wanted to follow, but the wound was too deep - he couldn't control his own body like he wanted to.
"I finally find her, and I see this…"
The Third Hokage of the Hidden Leaf wasn't known to swear, but if he could he would've. Even after imposing that strict rule – in the end it, it had failed in its purpose. It was meant to protect the girl who had been chosen to be the container of the fox, but the Hokage knew the risk involved in creating such a rule – the risk of Sakura finding out. And now his fear had become reality.
Leaning back in his chair slightly, he puffed at his pipe lightly. Using the crystal ball to detect and trace a person's movement took up a lot of chakra. In the old days he could do this no problem, but he was aging, and he was well past his prime. Oh well, you can't go back against time… I just have to accept that.
He put his hands around the crystal ball once more and it glowed slightly in response. Slowly, colors started to swirl through the transparent rock, and eventually an image of Sakura running through the night forest came into focus.
This was going to be a major problem. Mizuki had told her the truth, and she was afraid like never before. The power that was sealed within her may be released, plus she was holding the very scroll that was used to seal the fox within her…
The chances of Sakura breaking the seal and reversing back into the nine-tails fox were a one in a million, but there was a possibility. And most of the ninjas that he had sent after Sakura were well aware of that possibility, and feared it. Some may even go as far as killing her when they found her.
But, if the seal did break… then…
Then I will be forced to kill her.
Iruka jumped to another nearby tree branch as the chase through the forest continued. "Hurry, pass me the scroll!" Iruka shouted to Sakura. "Mizuki is after it!"
Sakura suddenly stopped dead in her tracks. Breathing a sigh of relief, Iruka jumped down from the tree and slowly walked over to Sakura. "There, there, Sakura." Iruka said consolingly. "It's okay to cry… OOF!"
It was a fatal mistake on Iruka's part to carelessly approach the girl. Before he could avoid the oncoming kick to him stomach 'Iruka' took the blow full-hand and was flung backwards with much force. After skidding through the ground a few meters 'Iruka' finally came to a stop.
'Sakura', now completely exhausted and 'her' entire body in pain, slowly slouched down and fell back towards the tree truck nearby to rest.
"Why… why Sakura? How did…" 'Iruka' vanished in a puff of smoke. "How did you know that I wasn't Iruka?" Mizuki questioned, anger clearly reeking from within.
"Hehehe… Simple." 'Sakura' smiled before 'she' too, vanished in a puff of smoke, replaced by a wounded man. "I'm Iruka!"
"Hmph, I see…" Mizuki slowly came to his feet, dusting his vest off. "Clever. But… heh… it's funny."
Clutching his stomach tightly in an attempt to slow down the blood flowing from his wounds, Iruka raised an eyebrow. "What's so funny?"
"You'd actually transformed into what killed your parents. What are you doing? Protecting her?"
Iruka spat out some blood onto the ground floor. He glared at Mizuki. "I won't hand over the scroll to an idiot like you."
"Pfft, you're the idiot." Mizuki waved his hand dismissively. "Sakura and I are the same."
"That's right!" the glimmer in Mizuki's eye changed. "If you use skills in that scroll… you can do whatever you want! There's no way that demon fox wouldn't try to use the power! Unlike what you're assuming, I presume."
Iruka lowered his eyes slightly. "Yeah…"
Damn it… damn it… see, I knew it. I knew it all along. Even Iruka-sensei… deep down… even he doesn't acknowledge me.
Unknown to the two men who were conversing, Sakura was hidden behind the bushes not too far away, listening into every word of the conversation.
Perhaps Mizuki was right; perhaps she and he were the same. She had always wanted to do something she never dared to do; she wanted to erase those who were happy in order to ease her pain of being alone. Now that she knew what she was, she knew she was doomed to always be alone. She could never be accepted into society, always isolated, never to be loved. Then why did she exist? Why did others deserve to by happy while she was never to be? She clutched the scroll she carried tightly. Perhaps, perhaps she could use this to destroy, just like Mizuki had suggested…
"Yeah… the Demon Fox will do that… but Sakura… she's different." she heard Iruka's voice over the bushes. "She is… I've acknowledged her as… one of my excellent students."
Sakura squeezed the scroll closer to her as her ears digested Iruka's every word. He continued to speak. "She may not be the hardest worker… she's clumsy, so nobody accepts her… but she, she already knows what its like to feel pain in her heart. She isn't the demon fox anymore… she is a member of the Hidden Leaf. She's…"
A single tear escaped from her eye.
"She's Haruno Sakura." he finished
Sakura cried to herself silently, an action that she once swore that she would never repeat.
Thank you… Iruka-sensei…
The blood that poured out from the wound on his back was intensifying. Iruka knew that without proper medical treatment soon – heh, as if that was forthcoming – he would die from blood loss. And what he had just said to Mizuki probably pissed him off. Well, he intended the speech to be that way, but he had truly meant every word he said.
Mizuki simply shook his head and shrugged. "Okay, whatever." Carefully reaching behind his back, he unfastened the other shuriken strapped behind him.
"Iruka." Iruka looked up at Mizuki at the mention of his name. Mizuki's face was calm, almost emotionless, but he knew that he was angry. He wouldn't be surprised if he would erupt into rage anytime soon…
"I said I would take care of you later, but I'm changing my mind."
Mizuki spun the large shuriken between the fingers with such speed Iruka could feel the wind it created. "Hurry up and DIE!" Just as Iruka predicted, an insane twisted look was etched all over his face.
Iruka smiled. Having accepted this fate so long ago, it wasn't that bad. So, this is it… led kind of a pointless life didn't I? Couldn't even protect one girl. Sakura… please escape, and don't blame the village. Just blame me… and live. Live and be happy.
It all happened in slow motion. Mizuki was just about to release the quadruple-bladed weapon from his hand when a rustle was heard from the nearby bushes. A blur of pink suddenly ran straight towards Mizuki in unimaginable speed, and jumped at him, delivering a devastating knee-kick directly at Mizuki's chin that sent him flying backwards. The blow was successful in redirecting the windmill shuriken to an odd direction, causing it to miss its intended target.
Iruka heard Mizuki growl. Even after such (what seemed like) a devastating blow to the head, Mizuki still held possession of his consciousness. "You should not have done that…" the man said it with venom.
"Don't you dare touch Iruka-sensei!" Sakura responded with equal poison. "I'll kill you!" she shrieked.
"You… you idiot!" Iruka shouted with whatever strength he had left in him. "Why did you come out? Run awa-" Iruka stopped mid-sentence before he noticed something wrong with Sakura's eyes. They were still…
"Shut up, brat! I'll kill someone like you in one shot!" Mizuki retorted, oblivious to the murderous red eyes that glared at him with hate.
Sakura slowly raised her hands in front of her to perform a particular cross-shaped seal. "Then try me. I'll return the pain a thousand times over." Sakura's voice sent a chill down Iruka's spine. Never before he had heard her voice sound so cold…
"Then do it, DEMON FOX!"
Mizuki will have to eat his words for the rest of his life.
"Kage Bunshin no Jutsu!"
The sight Iruka witnessed that night was amazing. Haruno Sakura, the girl he had once thought had no talent for clone jutsu divide into a thousand individuals before him. If fact, this was 'Kage Bunshin' we were talking about. Each wasn't an illusion, but an actual body, able to perform actions as if it were a real live human being. It was a high level ninjutsu, definitely not capable for by an ordinary genin.
She may… she just may surpass all the previous Hokages…
The end result: Mizuki beaten to a pulp. Alive (barely), but a crucial body organ crushed - one where it would cause severe, severe pain to a man.
Most embarrassing part: By a girl.
"Hehe, do you think I went a little too far?" Sakura stuck out her tongue a little, a mischievous smile on her face. She almost felt a little guilty for the poor man. Almost.
Iruka laughed slightly. "No, I think he deserved it. And Sakura… come over here for a moment. There's something I want to give you. Now, close your eyes…"
"Did anyone find her?"
"Damn it! This is bad!"
"She may be far away now!"
"Shit, that'll give her time to…"
Chaos would be the word that would best describe the situation that was happening in front of the Hokage mansion. The assembled chuunin and jounin in front of him were arguing amongst themselves as to what to do with the Haruno girl. Some argued to leave her be, some vowed to hunt her down, some suggested to try another day. But this had to end. The Third Hokage was getting tired of it. He stepped forward, and coughed loudly. Immediately his subordinates went quiet.
"There's nothing to worry about." He reassured his men.
Puffing on his pipe happily, he smiled. "She'll be back soon."
"Sensei, can I open them now?" Sakura asked Iruka, getting rather excited. She felt him arrange her hair some. Perhaps it was a new ribbon? Or was he getting rid of the mud that had become attached when she was training for her new (and now her favorite) jutsu?
"Okay," she heard him reply. "You can open your eyes now."
Blinking her eyes open and readjusting it to the morning light, the first thing she saw was Iruka's smiling, cheerful face. But her eyes immediately focused into a single part on her sensei's face – his forehead. Iruka's Leaf head protector had disappeared from his forehead. And in his hand he clutched the ribbon Sakura had always worn proudly on her head.
Did he…? Her hands immediately reached for her head where her ribbon would normally be. Her hands felt metal, with some sort of engraving on it. She traced the engraving, and soon came to realize that it was the symbol of the Leaf.
Iruka had given her a Leaf head protector. His Leaf head protector.
"Congratulations… on graduating."
Tears were flowing down her face again. This time not out of sorrow, nor anger.
No… I'm crying because…
Because I'm happy…
"Let's celebrate!" Iruka declared. "Come, I'll buy you a round of Dango-"
Iruka was suddenly assaulted friendly by a wave of pink hair. He smiled, and accepted his student's embrace.
For Haruno Sakura, this was the happiest day of her life.
I planned to lecture Sakura that the hard part of being a shinobi had just begun.
But well, I saved that until we got to Ichiraku..
- Umino Iruka
Tainted Demon Eyes
- Chapter One -
"Flowers Never Bend With the Rainfall"
My, my, that turned out to be a long chapter… really, didn't expect a chapter with only… what, a fifty-three or so pages in manga to turn out into a story that's (although altered, as many of you have seen) nineteen pages long in word…? Oh well, I guess it did. (chuckle)
Anyway, for those who had the patience to read through this long, long chapter, I salute you. Really. Ah, and many thanks for taking your time to read through it. It was fun making this chapter.
Reviews, comments, criticism, always welcome. As many of you (probably) know, those are the things that keep an author going. I'm not exactly pleading for reviews or anything (chuckle) but yeah, something close to it.
Anyhow, here are some translations of Japanese words that I have used in this chapter for those who don't understand them.
If I missed anything in that list below, I apologize. Also, if there are any typo's/grammatical errors in the chapter, I also apologize. It is nearly 9000 words long after all.
Well, that's it I guess. Until the next chapter!
- Nes Mikel
(Chapter Format Revised, 01/15/06)
Japanese Word Translations in Chapter One (in order of appearance):
tsunami – tidal waves
shinobi – literal translation is "those who stealth". Another word for ninjas.
hokage – literal translation is "shadow of fire". Title given to the leaders of the Hidden Leaf.
sama – could mean "lord" or "master". Either work.
ninja – a member of a class of 14th-century Japanese mercenary agents who were trained in the martial arts and hired for covert operations such as assassination and sabotage. This is in real life, by the way. The ninja's in this fic is not based off real life, but based off the ninja's in "Naruto"
sensei – teacher
henge no jutsu – transformation (metamorphosis) technique. Transforms your appearance into something or someone of your choice.
henge – could mean "transformation" or "metamorphosis". Most go with "transformation".
sexy no jutsu – sexy (seduction) technique. Sexy and Naked lady appears in front of you. A one shot KO technique to most men.
dango – a traditional Japanese sweet/snack. Packed full of stuff called 'anko', which I'm not exactly sure what it's made out of.
ichiraku – a ramen stand in "Naruto". Literal translation is "easy one". I think. Could be wrong.
ramen – Chinese noodles in flavored soup, usually accompanied with slices of meat and vegetables.
kunoichi – female ninjas. Literal translation is "nine is one." If one combines the three kanji's (one of the three types of the Japanese alphabet) that make up the word kunoichi, it becomes another kanji that means "woman".
jutsu – technique
bunshin no jutsu – replication (clone) technique. Creates clones. They're illusions, however, so the clones can't perform any physical action. Disappears when hit. Great distraction technique.
shuriken – a small, star -shaped, quadruple-bladed throwing weapon used by ninjas. However, shuriken's shape and size can vary widely. The example I gave in this explanation is just the most common form of shrunken.
chuunin – intermediate-class ninjas on the ninja hierarchy.
kunai – small, metallic daggers used by ninjas. Mostly used as throwing weapons, but unlike shuriken it could also be used as melee weapons.
ninjutsu – literal translation is "ninja technique". In "Naruto", these are the techniques used by ninjas that require the use of chakra that does physical damage.
chakra – one of the seven centers of spiritual energy in the human body according to yoga philosophy. This is in real life, by the way. In "Naruto" they are the necessary spiritual energy you need to perform ninjutsu, genjutsu (illusion techniques), certain forms of taijutsu (physical combat techniques), and blood-limit techniques (inheritance techniques).
kage bunshin no jutsu – literal translation is "shadow replication (clone) technique". Much like Bunshin no Jutsu, they create clones. However, in this jutsu, the clones you create aren't illusions, but are real physical bodies. Disappears when hit.
genin – novice-class ninjas on the ninja hierarchy.
jounin – expert-class ninjas on the ninja hierarchy