Disclaimer: I do not own anything from 'Naruto'. The only thing I own is my main character, Umari Yama, and maybe some unrecognizable characters that you may see.
Brief Summary: A girl finds herself dumped into Hatake's bed one day in a different world to deal with an emotional Sasuke, a hyperactive Naruto, a flirty Genma and lazy Kakashi. And of course, to deal with all the glory of life in Konoha to boot.
Warnings: Seeing as this story is rated 'M' be expecting a bit of language now and then.
A Girl Named Yama
… A Naruto fan fiction
A Girl Named Yama © SilverDragon
Naruto © Kishimoto Masashi
Chapter 1 –
I yawned repetitively, trying not to fall asleep. I was weeding a garden out - my neighbor's garden, to be specific - but only because my mother said it would be a good idea to help out. And the fact that my neighbor was old/lonely somehow convinced me to agree with my mother. I figured I could be some sort of company for the old lady. But nooooo - some company I was. All that really ended up happening was me sitting outside in the horrendous heat pulling weeds while the old lady stood inside, occasionally glancing out from a window. Just like last time... Of course, I already told my mother about this too, but what did she have to say? 'Well of course she's going to stay inside, old people can't stand the heat as well as you youngsters, you know!'
This eventually led to a huge argument between the two of us. And as all children of parents know, the parent always overrules the child. Not always the case, but for the majority, yes. I was also an only child - if I had a brother or sister (older or younger), we could've overruled my mother in a lot of situations. However, my father was no longer with us either. So technically I wasn't at a disadvantage. Which only left one fact - my mother was clever with words and well, she was my mother.
Thus, here I was; kneeling before the tall vegetation of my neighbor's garden, trying to tell the difference between her weeds and her plants. It would've been a hell of a lot easier if the weeds weren't as tall as her plants.
"Why am I doing this...?" I lamented, tugging at another unrelenting weed. I winced as one of its many prickles poked me in the thumb. I scowled. It was those nasty little thistles that always got to me! I should've stopped by the Takaoka Garden for some gardening gloves.
Inspecting my thumb briefly, I was relieved to see that the skin had not broken through. In retaliation, a small pinkish dot was starting to grow. I felt like running up and down the street screaming. I was allergic to thistles. In a couple of hours it was going to be one itchy patch of skin. Damn.
Shoulders drooping, I half contemplated running home this very instant. That thought flew out of my head a second later. The only scenario that had the possibility of taking place was my mother slapping a band-aid on me and then booting me back out the door.
I groaned, letting my backside hit the dirt and rubbed my thumb self-consciously.
Squatting for hours on end isn't as easy as it looks. I felt like I had taken place in a 2 K marathon… uphill.
I quickly glanced around for the billionth time and let out a pitiful moan. Naomi-san had a huge yard. It seemed as if her garden hadn't been weeded in years. Every inch – no – every millimeter, wascovered with weeds. Imagine someone with a hairy chest. I slapped myself upside the head; bad image, baaaaaad image!
Hearing a creak from behind me, I paused. There was a queasy feeling in my stomach.
That was funny.
I know floorboards creak… but cement? And I know grass does not creak.
I furrowed my eyebrows, rolling my eyes as far back as I could without moving my head. Upon seeing nothing, I turned around completely. The silence seemed suffocating as a single cherry blossom drifted down from a nearby sakura tree.
There was nothing. Maybe I was hearing things?
I frowned, narrowing my eyes and scanning the yard. Nothing... nothing... My eyes were just scanning the fence when something moved. I froze. It was from behind a knothole in the fence. All I had seen was something moving quickly beyond that tiny peephole. Something black… and probably big if I was able to see it move behind the tiny knot. The knothole hat was about… 4 feet off the ground.
I squinted and leaned forwards. There was no more movement. My eyebrows rose in surprise and I crept over towards the fence, rising to my full height of 5 feet and 4 inches to peer over the side.
Nothing was behind it. Wait – what was that?
My eyes zeroed in on one spot. I jogged towards the gate and slipped through. I quickly walked back towards the spot where the knothole was. I knelt down, eyeing the freshly crushed grass in one spot. Someone had been here.
Or maybe I was just paranoid. I mean, what could possible 'creak?' The grass? I think we've covered that fact.
'Maybe they had a kink in their leg...' I thought in amusement.
Not seeing anything else suspicious, I shrugged and got up to walk away. A couple walking by gave me a strange look but said nothing. Naomi's home was in one of the quieter streets of Japan. Not many people came down this street - thank god - and it was astonishingly quiet compared to the center of Japan. I like quiet. That doesn't mean I hate crowds. But living in Japan isn't exactly 'people-free,' so give me a nice and quiet day alone any day. That is, of course, decided by taking into consideration that every other day you'll be stuck with a huge crowd of people.
Just then the sun rays seem to shift, and something glinted in the grass. A frown creasing my lips, I reached down and ran my right hand along the grass. A few inches later, I gasped, jerking it back when I felt something slice into my hand. Itai…
Studying my hand, I ran my other finger along the fine cut, which was cutting across the palm. Immediately, blood began to seep through the wound. I cinched my eyes shut quickly. Talk about ouch. I opened my eyes, glaring at the cut with distaste. Could this day get any worse? Grimacing, I attempted to estimate how deep the cut was. After a while, I figured it wasn't serious enough to go running down the street calling for help. However, if I didn't slow the bleeding I would probably have some problems.
Ripping a piece off the bottom of my shirt, I made a makeshift bandage, by wrapping my hand in it. That was going to hurt later on when I had to take the bandage off. I could only pray the material of my shirt didn't tend to stick.
More carefully now, I slowly checked the grass, using my other hand to run my fingers carefully through the grass. What could possible make a cut that wide? It wasn't all that deep… but it couldn't be something like a small razorblade. Luckily, I didn't seem to have penetrated an artery, or the blood would be gushing out. It was only oozing out - which wasn't all that much better. 'But then again, there were no arteries in the hand... ' I thought in amusement.
My hand closed around a flat object. I stared at it.
A sharp 5 pointed metal star.
There was a stain of red on the fourth edge. This was what had cut me. I rolled my eyes. Well, obviously.
It reminded me of a star-shaped Frisbee - but smaller – very much smaller. And by being smaller equals easier to throw farther away.
Well, it wasn't like I would have any use for it. Straightening, I strolled over towards the garbage can around the corner.
As I was about to toss it in, something made me hesitate. Was it worth keeping? To tell you the truth, things like these didn't come cheap. I'd reckon that whoever had dropped it there was swearing up and down at that moment.
I let out an evil grin as I thought of what I could do with it to all the evil kids that liked to fool around in the neighborhood.
I'm just kidding! Kids are annoying, but not that annoying – if you get my drift.
Maybe I'll keep it after all. As I slid it into a pouch hanging from my hip, I thought wryly, 'Maybe it'll bring me some luck for a change.'
My gaze landed on my hand. Luck was what I needed.
Lip curling up, I glared at it. My make-shift bandage was starting to stain red. Not exactly what I would call reassuring. I pressed it against my black shorts and started to head back into the vicinity of the yard.
My eyes slid towards my pouch. It just didn't happen to appear magically here, right? Someone must've brought it here. And that someone... was probably the same person that was here before. That shadow from before.
They didn't actually sell these either. Or manufacture them for that matter. How the hell did someone get their hand on something like this? It's not exactly look like a cooking utensil, if you know what I mean. Could you imagine that? The new way to slice and dice up vegetables! Get yourself a multi-purpose Slicer-Dicer today!
If I wasn't mistaken, it was a weapon, a ninja star.
"Umari-san?" the voice of my neighbor rose from behind the fence and I quickened my pace towards the gate.
"Where are you, Umari-san?"
Mosquitoes fluttered by my nose and I swatted at them in annoyance. I don't like bugs.
Slowly heading towards the fence gate and breezing through, I called out, "Here!" She rushed over towards me - amazingly fast for one so old. She was around 86 or something of the like.
"Are you all right? Why were you out there?" she asked, worried. And did I mention that she was overly protective?
I gave an apologetic smile.
"I thought I saw something behind the fence, but I didn't find anything," I lied. My throat constricted slightly. I felt guilty for lying to her already! She nodded. Her gaze suddenly focused on my bleeding hand.
"Dear! Oh my! What happened?!" she asked, eyes widening slightly. I shrugged it off, "It's nothing," I mumbled. She only shook her head.
"You should come in right now so I can take care of that cut!" she exclaimed, "Now, come. I believe you've done enough for today. Maybe you can finish it off tomorrow,"
I nodded, plastering a bright smile on my face, but inwardly thought, 'Right, maybe in a year or two, you mean,' She took a hold of my arm, practically dragging me towards her back door.
Once there, she opened the door, ushering me through and closing it quickly behind her.
The spicy smell of her house filled my nose and I saw her disappear around the corner. Damn did she ever scuttle fast or what?
"I'll be right back! I just need to get your pay. And I'll be right back with some disinfectant and a bandage. That cloth of yours won't do. What will your mother say if I took such ill care of you?"
I frowned briefly. She didn't have to pay me. She did help my mother and me when we first came to Japan.
I glanced down briefly at my hand. The bleeding had slowed now but I would have to hide it from my mother when I got home. My father being recruited for war plus the new war-based movies compiled into a phobia for my mother.
I waited impatiently in the hall Naomi had left me in, taking the time to glance around. Even though I had been in her house so many times, I was surprised to notice things I had never noticed before. But then again, she probably had all this put away when I was a kid. Kids aren't exactly 'careful' around things.
She had Japanese paintings and sculptures down the hall, paintings on the wall and sculptures on stands in corners down the hall. Talk about old-timer. The wall was a creamy white, and the floor was lined with dark hardwood flooring. I could tell she went through a lot of money for this house. There was a door to my right and an opening that led to her kitchen further down to my left. I walked past it and glanced around for any sign of her. None. Where was she?
Tip toeing down the hall, I met a bizarre room, which had 'Naruto' on the door. Naruto? Did she have a grandson? Funny, I never noticed any of her relatives before... Wait a second - didn't that used to be my room? My hand twitched. And why the heck did the name sound so familiar?
I stopped in front of the door, before reaching a cautious hand and - I stopped. Maybe I shouldn't... I mean, I would be trespassing then, right? Especially if this was someone else's room.
I turned around, and stopped.
But... I glanced back longingly. Well, it used to be my room.
Oh, what the heck. I whipped back, sliding the door open quickly...
... And was met by a very bizarre scene…
The room was filled with 'Naruto' merchandise; from clothing hanging on racks to posters on the walls and toys/games on shelves. Naruto being… some blonde kid plastered on a t-shirt I was staring at, I assume.
"Well..." my voice echoed throughout the room, "This is certainly different,"
I snapped my fingers. Now I know why that name had got such a reaction out of me. Naruto was an Anime show that was on television! I had seen it a couple of times recently and I used to watch it when I was younger!
Well… I still watch a few episodes when they aired it – just to pass the time. It was a good show after all, and you're never too old for anything.
I was only just 19, after all.
I know what you're all thinking: a 19 year old working for an old lady? Weeding?
Well, it's because I just got fired. Again. I work –well I supposed it's worked now– at a restaurant.
But I got fired. Mainly, because I was late so many times and I kept dropping things – plates, bowls, you name it. I admit it - I'm clumsy. Well it's not my fault I'm clumsy. And it's not my fault my alarm clock and the train station doesn't like me either! I was surprised that I managed to maintain the job for nearly 2 months before I finally got fired.
I had even specifically told my mother (who persuaded me to get that job) that "customers would be wearing their food more than they would be eating it." I had warned her. Maybe I should've warned all the other customers that I had been serving too…
So! While I was still looking for another part time job, I was weeding my neighbor's yard - of my mother's request.
Stepping further into the room, I started to browse, running my hands over the books before glancing over towards the racks. Geez, the old lady had everything! Glancing thoughtfully at the blonde haired kid plastered on the front of a magazine, I momentarily wished that I was 10 years old again. There was too much to worry about at 19… way too much.
I took a step and heard a voice behind me.
"Ahh, so you are a fan too?" Well, looks like the old lady decided to appear again.
I whirled around to see her standing in the door way, holding a white envelope in her left hand, and a bottle with some white cloth in her other hand.
"Iie, I used to be," I remarked. Her eyes twinkled.
"Aa, you don't watch it anymore, do you?"
I hesitated, before nodding my head briefly. Well, I do, just not... consecutively.
Naomi cocked her head, as if to ask, 'You are sure?'
"Well…" she drawled, "How about this - for all your hard work this week, I'll throw in that forehead protector you're holding with your pay," I glanced down in alarm. I hadn't even realized that I had been holding it.
She gave me a wry smile, "That wasn't even mine. I found it just last year on the streets. It just so happened that year that my granddaughter was a fan of this show. She had all of this-" she waved her hand around the room, "- as a result. However, once she grew out of this obsession, she ended up dumping all of this stuff on me."
I nodded in understanding. Wait... she wanted to give this ratty, old thing to me?
My eyes narrowed slightly. Why was she giving it to me? It wasn't like I wanted it or anything, "Iie, it's okay, I don't need it anyway," I placed it back onto the table I had found it on, "I don't really watch it much anymore anyway," Oops. I had just admitted that I watched it. Drat.
"Honto?" she commented, "Well, I have no use for it either. All this stuff is just sitting around, collecting dust. How about you take that and give it to those friends of yours that are big fans? I've heard about them..." She gave me a halfhearted grin.
I flushed. Yea... well... about my friends - we weren't really close friends, per say. We were really more like friendly acquaintances. Okay, so maybe that's what I considered us to be. They thought differently. There were three of them - two girls and a guy. It was rather amusing how we met actually; if you didn't count the time they decided that I should be a part of their group. I didn't find that all too amusing.
It was actually last year, when I was still attending school at Sakuraba Gakuen. It was my last year, to be more specific. The demanding trio was 2 years behind me. To tell you the truth, I had never been one to go out there and make friends. I preferred to be on my own. I was cloud-gazing on the rooftop when the three had burst through the door. I don't think they noticed me at first, but I saw them, of course.
And Tono Raicho.
Mizuno was dressed in a red kimono. And she had a pink hair. Whether or not it was a wig… I never found out.
"Wah! Who knew Amino-sensei was so strict!" Mizuno whined. Tono had noticed me immediately and had pointed me out. The three stared at me. "Who are you?" Mizuno demanded. I raised my eyebrows, glaring at them from where I was laying down.
"Why the hell are you dressed up like Haruno? Never mind," I muttered, "Turn around and go through that door will ya? And while you're at it, close the door too." Ignoring them, I returned to my regular lunch-time nap.
Then the whispering started. "Did you hear what she said? She knows about it!"
A few seconds later, I felt something poke me in the side. I opened my eyes, glaring harshly against the sunlight. "What part of LEAVE don't you under-"
I froze. Tansho was squatting beside me, squinting his eyes, "Hey," he drawled, "You're a third year!" I peered back at my jacket (I had taken it off to use as a pillow).
"Yea…" I said slowly, "So what?"
Mizuno immediately pounced on me and I emitted a disgruntled oomph. "You know what Naruto is!"
So? I shoved her off of me and sat up. "Stop bugging me. Go away." I wanted to sleeeeep. Sleep was good. Especially since I had a late shift that night at work.
Ignoring them, I proceeded to attempt to sleep. The last thing I remember hearing before nodding off was Mizuno's voice again. "She's officially one of us!"
I thought she was kidding around.
I was very wrong.
Since that incident they would follow me to places at break and lunch. I still didn't understand why they wanted to pull me into their group. They've never spoke to me before. Plus, they were a 3 years younger than me too. They were all fifteen. For all of you being confused… We were in high school. This runs for students from 15-18 years old. I'm sure you can do the math.
The three were also Naruto-fanatics. It was all about 'Naruto' 24/7 for them. I wonder how their families feel...
"Well actually, I think that they already -"
"Nonsense!" She snatched my hand and crushed the forehead protector into my palm (my uninjured palm) and dragged me towards the door, "You can take it and give it to your friends!"
"Uh... I was trying to say that -"
She unraveled the bandage around my hand.
"Ma, ma, we should get this wrapped properly, yes? It might get infected soon. Brace your self -" My eye widened as she dabbed disinfectant onto the cut.
"Aahhh!!" I yelped. That was unexpected. I think I was going to –
"Well, that wasn't too bad, was it?" She gave me a toothy smile and began to wrap my hand. I grimaced. 'You weren't the one on the receiving end of it...' "What happened here?" she asked in worry, indicating the red welt on my thumb.
"It was a thistle,"
"Aa," She nodded in understanding and proceeded to wrap that small welt.
"As I was trying to –" I tried again.
"Now, now, your mother must be getting worried about you! I suggest you hurry on home then!" She then pushed me down the hall and out the front door, "Ja ne! Have a nice day!! She shoved an envelope into my hand and slammed the door shut.
My eye twitched. I was trying to say that they already had forehead protectors like this one.
I stared at the piece of cloth in my hand. Oh, what the heck. I turned around with a huff and started down the steps. Shoving the white envelope into my red jacket pocket, I unzipped my hip pouch and a few things fell out.
Sighing, I stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and bent over, picking up the dropped items.
My eye twitched again as I straightened up. It was them.
I turned left - and voila! There they were! My three people I was talking about earlier. There was brown haired Tansho Yasuo, wearing black slacks and a black long-sleeved shirt. He was kind of cute… I guess.
Okay, I guess if you want, you could call him handsome too. With short brown hair with bangs hanging over his eyes, he's what you call the mysterious type. Okay, he looks mysterious, but once he talks you know he's not. But he has this innocent attitude that any girl would call cute.
Not my type though. Beside him stood Mizuno Urako, her black hair and dark blue highlights glimmering in the late afternoon sun. She was waving her hand furiously.
And lastly, behind the two was Tono Raicho, the most timid of the entire group. Unlike Mizuno, she was wringing her hand nervously. Her brown eyes met my eyes briefly, before lowering them again, her long black bangs covering most of her face.
All three still had their school uniforms on, indicating that they probably went out for supper together instead of heading home immediately. I glanced at my watch quickly.
5:32 p.m. glowered back at me. Okay, maybe not, they probably went for a quickly snack then. Or maybe they had some club activities or something.
I sighed. And I thought I would be able to get home without meeting them. And I only lived next door, too!
"Yama-chaaaaaaan!!" Mizuno leapt in front of me, startling me off to another planet.
"Gahhh!!" I yelped, "... Don't scare me like that..." I mumbled, noticing that I had dropped the items I had been holding. Sighing, I knelt down to pick them up again.
"Ohhhhh!!" A few seconds later, one of the items in my hand disappeared. I blinked. Huh? I stood up straight. What the heck –?
"Ne, ne, minna-san! Isn't this a shuriken!?"
I glanced up, seeing the inflictor-of-my-wound sitting in Mizuno's hand. The other two were hunched over, staring at it curiously.
"Hai, hai!! Oooo... it's metal too! I thought they only sell plastic ones! It's so sharp and shiny..." I could see Tansho's eyes shining at the 'shiny' ... what was it? Shuriken?
Clearing my throat, I held my hand out. I really don't want to deal with this right now.
"Ahem," I cleared my throat, "..."
That caught their attention and two of them began bombarding me with questions.
"Ne, Yama-channnnnn—!" Tansho covered Mizuno's mouth. He glowered.
"Too loud," he muttered, snatching the 'shuriken' and plopping it into my outstretched hand. Satisfied, I slid the shuriken back into my pouch. Tono gave off a small giggle.
"Mmmff fmfmmfm mfmfmfmm fmmff?" Despite being prevented from talking, Mizuno made a series of muffled noises. I gave her a hesitant look. What had she said?
"Ano... Urako-chan asked…" Tono gave a small blush, now that all the attention was on her, "… Eto… where is it that you got that shuriken." Mizuno gave a satisfied hrmph before crossing her arms.
I glanced longingly at my house – so close, yet so far! – And answered, "I found it in the grass while I was helping Naomi-san..." Speaking of which... I dished out the forehead protector. That stupid hag gave me this... and I didn't even need it!
I shoved it out towards the three, "Here—"
"Oh..." Tansho's voice lilted into a surprised tone, "Yama-chan got a hitae-ate too?"
My mind drew a blank. I'm not fully Japanese, so there are still words I don't quite understand, "Hi-tae... ate??" Tansho gave me a sheepish look.
"It means forehead protector. Gomen, Yama-chan. I forgot you don't know the Japanese language to it's fullest quite yet, since you were not born in Japan," I gave a small shake of my head.
"Eh. It's all right…" I rubbed my left arm, "Iie, I uh... got this from baa-ch – er… Naomi-san a little while ago but I don't—"
Mizuno promptly jumped on me, "Waa! Now Yama-chan's a part of our group!!" The rest of us deadpanned.
"Demo—" I started, trying to pry her arms from around my neck, "I need—"
"She was always part of our group, Urako no baka," Tansho snorted. Mizuno let out a sheepish laugh. Now I feel guilty. 'And I was just about to say that I didn't want to be in their group anymore... crap! How the hell am I going to get myself out of this one??'
"Yea, that's what I meant! Just, now she belongs more and stuff—"
Once again, I tapped Tono on the shoulder and handed her the... hitae-ate and started to walk away.
"D-demo! Chotto matte!!" I hesitated and turned around. Tono had her hand in the air, her eyes frantic. In her hand was the head protector I had just handed to her.
"Hai?" Tansho and Mizuno were quiet, watching their friend.
"D... I can't take it. It has... has your name on it." She said nervously. She lifted it up, pointed to a small marking at the edge of the navy blue cloth. "Miru?" (See?)
"Eh?? Yama-chan, you don't want it??" Mizuno's disbelief filled the air.
I shrugged, "The old lady just shoved me out the door with it. I didn't want it in the first place," Mizuno made a move as if to speak again, but Tono's next movement stopped her.
Tono stepped up to me, took my hand and placed the forehead protector into it, "If Naomi-san wanted you to have it, you should keep it," For the first time in my life, I stared at her in disbelief. I had never heard her say a whole sentence with such confidence. I think Tansho and Mizuno realized it too, for they were staring at Tono as well.
"... Think of it as Naomi-san's last wish," Tono gave me a bright smile, before turning around and walking down the street away from us.
"Ne… Ja ne!! Yama-chan!" Tansho called out as Mizuno and he made their way after Tono.
"Aa," I responded. I turned around but caught the whiff of their retreating conversation.
"Ne, ne have you guys watched yesterday's Naruto episode? I almost cried!! The Hokage died!!"
"I was crying…"
My eyebrows rose. The Hokage dies? I frowned. Why didn't I remember that part? Oh, wait... that's right! The Hokage had died... Huh, trust my memory to fail me after so many years had passed.
Wait a minute. Naruto only airs on Wednesdays... that meant today was Thursday. Mmm… why does saying Thursday make me feel like I have a rock in my stomach? Let's see... Thursday... Thursday – what the heck is on – Oh shit.
That's what Thursday was.
Today was my father's death date.
But I didn't like to call it that. We have to name it something though, right? There was still a chance he was still alive. Today's date was just the day that my father was 'proclaimed' dead, but there was never a body found. I mean... just because someone seemed to disappear off the face of the planet doesn't mean he was dead, right?
Walking up the steps to my home, I flipped off my shoes and slid open the door, "Tadaima..." (I'm home!) Hearing no familiar 'Okaeri' (Welcome home), I sighed and tossed the forehead protector onto the couch before flopping down beside it. 'Guess Mom's not home yet," I thought. She had recently picked up another part-time job at a nearby restaurant. I'm certain she has better balance with dishes than I do.
A sound caught my ear and I turned my gaze towards an uncovered window. Ame... it was raining. Guess I was lucky to have managed to get inside before it rained. At least now I know the old lady isn't out to get me. She could've very well left me working out there until it had rained. I hadn't ever noticed the sky looking as if it wanted to rain… It was actually pretty nice out. But then again, the Toyama prefecture of Japan had been in the middle of a dry season.
Intrigued, I sat up, edging my way towards the window, resting my head on the sill. The sofa was placed right by the window, so I didn't have to stand.
The large drops trickled down the window and I watched blankly as they slid their way down the crystalline glass. Have you ever tried to say the words, 'I'm actually alive!' out loud? And if you say it enough it and think about what it means it starts to sound weird. It's kind of hard to explain. But it does make you think back on your life because it actually seems like you actually haven't accomplished all that much. Blink once and ten years would've already passed by. Carpe Diem, I say.
My mother and I lived in Beijing at first, but had to move to Japan because of the war in China.
I can still recall several memories of my childhood - but not very happy memories, trust me. Most of my memories were from the war. Living in a war-torn country isn't fun.
I still remember the day our town was overrun. I remember the screams of my neighbors. I remember the sky being alit with light from the village on fire. I remember hearing the explosions of several bombs being dropped by fighter jets.
But that's all in the past. All that matters now is that I was alive and so was my mother. Making our way to Japan was probably one of the best decisions my mother had made. Sure, the air wasn't as clean as Canada, and the population wasn't as low as the Artic, but you could live in a suburb where you see the ocean on the left and mountains on the right. It was wonderful. As the Japanese would say... Sugoi! Although the Japanese citizens were probably used to it. I surely wasn't. China had mountains too, but we hadn't lived near the ocean.
My life stabilized after a while, and my mother was even able to send me to school after getting a job.
Casually snatching the remote from coffee table, I pressed the power button. Immediately, the television clicked on and a distortion of pictures filled the screen. When I recognized what show it was, I snorted.
'Peh,' I let out a wry grin.
On the screen, was one of the episodes of Naruto. It was a rerun. Oh, the irony of it all.
I studied the show for a while, before my gaze drifted over towards the unmoving forehead protector beside me. 'My name was on it, eh?' I picked it up and flipped it over, and sure enough, my name was on it. U-ma-ri Ya-ma.
I frowned. That old lady couldn't have done this... it... the words... they were sewn onto the fabric. If she had just decided to give this to me today, there was no way that she could've done this that quickly.
Had she been planning this very day all along?
My eyes narrowed in suspicion, television forgotten. I had met that old hag nearly 14 years ago, when I was four. But... I had never seen this in the house before. In fact, that room had been the room I had slept in as a child. We moved out of her house when I was 16... That was three years ago. So there was a possibility that she had been planning this, right?
Or... not. She said she had found it last year. And she didn't seem to be lying anyway… Maybe this was all just a coincidence.
Yea, some coincidence.
My gaze flitted back towards the television in time to see the third Hokage keel over, blood spurting out of his mouth. Definitely a rerun.
Then I flicked off the television and stood abruptly, grabbing the forehead protector.
Checking to make sure that the door was locked, I scuffled down the hall and into my room. Shrugging out of my pants and pulling my shirt over my head, I changed into pajamas and dropped down onto my bed.
Tossing my hip pouch and forehead protector onto my night stand, I stared at the clock on the left side of my bed.
A bit early to sleep, but I didn't really care.
Studying the cracks in the ceiling, I ran my hand through my hair, instinctively tracing a spot on the right side of my forehead, right by the hairline.
I could feel it. The rough edging that shaped like an X. My mother said I had gotten it after a scuffle with some school kids when I was young. But that didn't make sense because fighting as a kid usually meant using no weapons. And this kind of scar couldn't have been caused by fists. Dropping my hand, I stared up at the dark ceiling, not feeling even the slightest bit sleepy.
I rolled over to my side and pulled the blankets up closer around my chin. It was a bit chilly tonight, but that wasn't new. The traditional houses in Japan didn't have heating, and nights could get rather cold.
Sitting up suddenly, I suddenly realized that I had forgotten to buy milk like my mother told me to do earlier this morning. I sighed. I didn't want to go. The nearest grocery store was at least 5 blocks away. And it wasn't always all that smart to walk around in the dark. Alone.
I got out of bed, letting my feet trail along the hardwood floor. I might as well go get the stupid milk. My mother wasn't home yet it's not like I was about to fall asleep any time soon anyway.
A few minutes later...
I shut the door, locking it behind me and jumping down the steps. If I hurry, I could be home before –
I sneezed. Rubbing my noise in confusion, I saw drifts of white drifting down from the darkening sky. Well, more from the vicinity of the roof, but same difference. What the hell—? Snow?
I sneezed again. What was that stuff?
I spotted a few sprinkles of... dust? Was it dust? A spot landed on my nose and I wrinkled it in an attempt to determine what it was. It wasn't cold, so that ruled out the snow theory. It was falling down – that much I knew as I sneezed for the third time. Either someone out there was talking about me a lot or I was developing some sort of allergy. Sniffling and rubbing my nose, I started to walk down the pathway. Dust is dust.
I blinked. Shaking my head to clear the sudden drowsiness I felt, I groaned. Did my brain feel like it wanted to sleep now?
I wanted to sleep earlier but couldn't sleep. And now, when I had something to do, I felt sleepy.
But... this wasn't the regular kind of sleepy feeling... it felt like... like I was drunk or something.
Staggering a bit, I suddenly found myself sprawled on the front lawn of my other neighbor's house. Mmmm… Tired.
'Got to get up.' I thought, fighting to keep my eyes open. I struggled to get to my feet, but no avail.
Two seconds later, I was fast asleep.
To be continued…
Revised April 02, 2008