Last Chapter Summary: After a little while training under Hyuuga Hiashi to control her eye, it looks like Juri doesn't have all that much motivation after all. And in between meeting Naomi, the Uchiha bugging her and the blonde tornado, Juri just doesn't have the strength to deal with anymore. But of course, she has to deal with one more— our lovely Kakashi of course! And to top it all off, the stupid eye drains her life force. Anymore good news out there?
Notes: Yo! I realized I'm terribly late… by the months. Meh. People don't seem to realize… that I have a life outside of my stories. Although I love these stories to death and would like nothing better than to write them day and night, I can't. I'm twenty years old, I have a job and I'm trying to finish my degree and get into my desired college. I can't just make writing my number one priority. This year has been especially hectic because I'm trying to keep my marks up. I set up deadlines in order to remind myself that I still have an obligation to finish my stories, not to force myself to drop everything to write a chapter. But when push comes to shove, and I need to choose between my studies and writing a chapter up, studying is going to win, hands down.
So enjoy this chapter, the next one will hopefully come out soon.
In Love with a Ghost
… A Naruto fan fiction
In Love with a Ghost © SilverDragon
Naruto © Kishimoto Masashi
Chapter 11 –
… Five, six… oh seven!
If you're wondering what I'm doing, think of being practically locked in a room with only a bed, a washroom with bare necessities, a dresser and my own person to amuse myself with. Oh, and you can't forget the window. The window was keeping me from diving into insanity. Praise said window!
"What are you doing?"
I yelped and managed to slam my head against the right side of the windowpane in my hurry to find out who the voice was coming from. Rubbing the side of my head, I turned slightly and saw a flash of silver hair and rolled my eyes.
"Good morning to you too, Kakashi," I said dryly. "Care to injure me any further while you're here?"
He raised his visible eyebrow at me and raised his hands in surrender. "No idea what you're talking about," Kakashi drawled, "But if you're referring to the fact that you're clumsier than an injured pigeon, I'm afraid I'll have to confess that I agree."
I blinked at him. How did he get my clumsiness out of— never mind!
"So I hear that you have this mission from Tsunade-sama…"
I felt my shoulders stiffen. "Well…" I started uneasily, steadily avoiding Kakashi's gaze. "Just a little one… that I accepted for uh… you know… as a favor, you could call it."
"A little one that includes dealing with an ex-sannin named Orochimaru?"
"..." I shifted guiltily, finally meeting Kakashi's one-eyed glare. "Maybe..."
After a few seconds, Kakashi's glare softened. "Juri, I warned you not to get involved." He sighed, leaning against the wall he was standing near. "You never properly gained the shinobi title and therefore I don't believe you have any obligation to get involved. Furthermore," Kakashi gave me a wry look. "I don't think you have the proper training for a mission of this caliber anyway."
I scowled at him instantly but didn't reply. I knew he was right. I had never graduated from the Academy. Not properly anyway.
"So with that said," Kakashi pushed off the wall and crossed his arms to stare down at me. "I believe now is a good time to tell Tsunade-sama that you underestimated the severity of the situation and wish to withdraw yourself."
Giving him an incredulous look, I shook my head fervently. "That isn't going to be happening you know. I already gave my word. Plus," I frowned at the 'ghost.' "Most of the more recent happenings aren't because I agreed to find your body but because I swore to find out the truth behind my parents' death."
Kakashi's eye widened slightly.
Oh, so maybe he hadn't known about that?
"So," I said finally. "Either way, I'm already involved so I can't back out. And if I back out, who's going to figure out where your body is?"
I saw Kakashi pointedly look away, rubbing his side pocket inconspicuously. "Mah, I'm sure it'll turn out fine either way." He drawled slowly. I rolled my eyes. Yeah, right.
I turned back to my window to continue my counting.
Hearing Kakashi sigh from behind me I turned slightly to see him stare at me thoughtfully. "I suppose there's no way to deter you now?"
I glared back at him pointedly. "A shinobi should never take back their own words."
Kakashi blinked at me in surprise. He seemed to stare passed me out the window for a second before stating, "I remember one idiot who said that a lot." When his hand dropped onto my shoulder I jumped in surprise. When had he gotten closer?
He gave me an eye-smile. "See what I mean? You didn't even see or hear me move, did you?" I shoved his hand off my shoulder irritably.
"You're a ghost! So therefore you don't count." I muttered.
Kakashi merely cocked his head in reply. "You're no shinobi either, therefore you don't count."
There was a little mini showdown of stares before I gave up first and turned back to the window.
"What are you doing?" Kakashi materialized beside me. Being used to his sudden surprise visits, I barely flinched.
"Counting the number of glares I've been receiving from the group of kids down there since I've woken up." I said dully. Kakashi leaned forwards slightly, squishing me against the window pane. Rolling my eyes, I retreated slightly to allow him to see.
"The group of kids standing by that lemonade stand?"
"Yep," I replied cheerfully.
Kakashi turned his head and gave me a strange look. "And what on earth did you do to be the receiver of their hatred, may I ask?" I flopped back onto the bed and stared up at the ceiling.
"I'm not sure really," I said slowly. "But they've been at it since I got here a few days ago." I sat up suddenly. "Now that I think about it… I think I saw one of them drop something in my drink yesterday…"
I received an alarmed look from the copy-nin. "Did you drink it?"
Scoffing, I gave my hand a little dismissive wave, "Of course not. What do you take me for?"
When Kakashi actually looked like he was going to answer, I whipped up my hand, "Never mind, you don't have to answer that." When I leaned up slightly to look out the window again, the trio was heading away— presumably towards the training grounds. At least that's where I assumed they were going. They were Hyuuga kids after all.
I flopped back down onto the bed.
"You like to get into trouble don't you?" Kakashi said wryly, "Now you've got Hyuuga brats after your life?"
I glared at him. "It's not like I've done anything!" Okay so maybe that's a lie. Maybe dumping cockroaches down his pants wasn't exactly a mature way to extract revenge. But the kid deserved it! They were the ones who started the whole thing in the first place.
If the tallest one hadn't made it look like I had broken one of the heirloom courtyard ornaments that first day, we wouldn't be where we were now. And yes it was a big deal because the kids did it when most of the clan members were lingering around. That was the first day I had come to Hiashi for lessons. Let's just say that all respect for me went down the drain in about two seconds. And I haven't earned it back since.
Besides, if they would've dealt with the matter more seriously, they would've likely discovered that it was not my fault in the end after all. I mean, they are Hyuuga and I'm sure their all Seeing Eye power would be able to find out the truth about the situation, right? I think they just wanted a reason to hate the newcomer that was forced to live here by orders of the Hokage. And of course they would rather blame an outsider rather than one of their own. They are a proud clan, after all.
Kakashi cleared his throat noisily. "So what are you supposed to be doing today?" I glance towards him in a sideways motion. He was leaning casually against the wall, no book in sigh. Mmm… that was different. Maybe he finally got sick of reading that book?
I let out a loud sigh and rolled my eyes. "I don't have any pending lessons for the next week or so… Hyuuga-sensei is going out on a mission. He's going to be gone from Konoha for a week… or longer, depending on how well his visit to the neighboring lords goes."
The Copy-nin gave a murmuring sound. "So who did he leave in charge? Besides the Hyuuga council, that is."
I gave Kakashi a startled look. Why the hell would he ask that? Did it really matter who was in charge? After a few more expectant looks from Kakashi, I relented. "He left Neji in charge." I grumped.
"Hehhhhhh." Kakashi smirked at me. "That's certainly unexpected."
Rubbing my shoulder and curling up on the bed, I snorted. "Well… not really. The kid's eighteen now… and a Jounin. I'm sure he can keep this place from blowing up for a week."
"That's not what I meant," Kakashi said in amusement, "I meant that the Hyuuga council probably isn't too happy about that."
I rolled my eyes. "Well happy or not, I'm sure he'll do fine." I frowned. Not too happy was an understatement. They had been furious. And all that fury seemed to be aimed at me! And I didn't even do anything!
Er… okay, maybe a little. I also had a feeling that Hiashi had placed Neji in charge for my sake. Seeing as nearly all of Hyuuga despised me after my oh-so-disrespectful-entrance, I probably would've been kicked out or something. Neji on the other hand… seemed to be able to tolerate me.
I leapt to my feet abruptly, making a beeline for the closet and whipping it open. I could feel Kakashi's curious gaze on the back of my neck. I was still in my fluffy cotton pajamas, but I didn't feel like changing… not really. I reached for the black casual yukata the Hyuuga maids had given me and quickly wrapped it around me, giving the obi a quick yank. Then I made my way towards the door.
Kakashi's voice followed me. "That's not exactly… how you're supposed to wear that." I slid open the door and made a quick survey of the hall. Perfect –no big, bad Hyuuga's coming at me with sharp pointy things.
I turned to give Kakashi a look. "It doesn't really matter me to. They should be glad that I at least wear it," I said sourly. Apparently I wasn't allowed to 'run around wildly' dressed in my disgusting clothing. And just so you know, those were that Hyuuga-bastard's exact words. Damn council. At least Neji had the decency to tell me my clothing wasn't adequate enough for formal meetings with the council.
Well, fat load of help it did for him to tell me after the freaking meeting.
"So… where are you headed?"
"Library," I said shortly. "Hyuuga-sensei told me to do some research."
I slunk down the hallway, trying to keep my footsteps nonexistent and my chakra low. I suppose it wouldn't have mattered if I had kept quiet. If any Hyuuga had been keeping track of me (which I'm sure there were, seeing as no one really trusted me) they would know where I was every time I moved out of my room.
But I can at least hope they were just ignoring me, right?
Mentally thanking that Neji had placed me in a room close to the library, I slowed my pace and carefully slid open the decorated door. One brief scan of the room told me that no one was present and I gleefully stepped in, closing the door behind me.
I was about halfway across the room when I realized that Kakashi hadn't followed me. Whirling around, I eyed the door suspiciously and yelped when Kakashi's head came clean through.
He raised an eyebrow. "What's wrong with you?" I opened my mouth to answer but he cut me off. "Well, never mind that. I figured I'd inform you that I'm taking off for a few hours. The Hokage wishes to speak with me."
With that said, Kakashi merely dissipated. I stared blankly at the thin door and shook myself a bit, turning back towards the shelves.
It was a little nice to see Kakashi now. Since he's been updated with the more recent information he had been coming to see me less and less. I think it's because he realized that my statement before about the eye draining my life force wasn't exactly a lie on my part.
In fact, when Hiashi told him, Kakashi stopped coming to see me altogether. And if he ever visited me at night (when my life force wasn't effected by using the eye), I wouldn't know because I was usually sleeping.
Thumbing through a few books, I frowned. So I guess another reason for Kakashi's poor opinion of me helping him was that. He had already tried on several occasions to deter me from my decision (without success so far) and I doubt that he was going to stop any time soon.
Maybe he just didn't quite get the concept quite yet.
I was going to help him, whether he liked it or not. If not for him then it was for Naomi. But maybe, deep down, I think it might've been a little bit for me too.
Setting down a book about Youkai & its ancestries, I heaved a heavy sigh and latched onto another book from my 'reading' pile. I eyed the stack with distaste. At first, I had only tried to find things that were relative to ghosts, spirits and things like that. But by the time I gone through one shelf – yes, one shelf— I had already accumulated a hefty pile of books– a very hefty pile of books. I swear I must've taken down nearly half of the books on that stupid shelf.
And now that I've gone through nearly half of them, I've concluded that the stupid hefty pile of books were full of shit. Absolutely nothing in them had been useful to me so far. All it told were the legends and ancestry of spirits and demons. That stuff really did not help me all that much. It's not like I was going to be meeting any of those creepy things soon, right?
Besides, I really needed to get cracking on getting information. Although Kakashi had made it plenty clear that I was not obligated to do anything to help pertaining to his curse, I figured doing it faster would be better. The sooner I help him, the sooner he can return, right?
And it wasn't like I was the only one working on this case anyway. To my knowledge, I'm pretty sure Tsunade has a team scouting out Orochimaru's whereabouts and Kakashi's body location. And the minute they catch wind of something, they would likely need my help. That's why I need to do more research. I can't go in blind. I needed to know how to properly identify things and use my ability when needed.
I'd always felt kind of out of place. My friends usually had an idea of what they were going to do, and they pursued that. Me? I was the lazy, indecisive and 'wait-for-tomorrow' kind of person.
Not this time though. I was going to decide to do something and see it through. And since I'd already given Hiashi my word, I was going to do it.
I wasn't going to be useless.
Feeling a surge of determination, I glanced at the cover of the book I held— Spirit viewing techniques— and flipped it open. My eyes scanned the first couple of lines.
—history of techniques to view spirits and demons varied greatly throughout the ages. It all started with a great historian called—
I felt a tingle at the back of my neck and I brushed it, frowning and trying to wrap my head around the information I was reading.
—one such technique, required the use of the user's chakra—
My back stiffened. What… the fuck was that? It came again, this time from the right corner of the room. I could feel my palms start to go sweaty. Okay, so maybe I had said earlier that I had never seen any vicious and scary spirits, but that didn't mean I wanted to start seeing them! I kept my eyes focused on the book, trying not to freak out.
My eyes rose towards the right corner of the room. Everything seemed to freeze then, and I felt my blood run cold.
Two red eyes were staring back at me.
I recognized what it was immediately.
I felt myself tense. The white cloth didn't look that menacing, seeing as all it was, was a long white cloth that had eyes. But I've heard the stories about them from my parents. These things specifically hunt down humans to kill them.
It was still staring at me unblinkingly. I slid out of the chair and stood up straight slowly. The creaking was from its own swinging, I realized. It was hanging onto one of the ceiling planks with its tail end.
The first thing I needed to do was get out of that room and get to someone… anyone.
But that thing was hanging right over the door. It certainly hadn't been there when I arrived, I can attest to that. And just my luck, there were no other windows in this fucking room. Joy.
I stiffened. It had coiled up slightly and its eyes closed slowly.
Chance time? Definitely.
I took off; sliding when I closed in on the door and kicking the light wood clean off its sliding mechanism. It slammed into the opposite wall, with me following it and thudding into the wood painfully.
Curling up, I forced myself to stand, despite being terribly winded and started to move down the hall shakily. I think I hit my head on that damn wall. But I had only taken two steps when a white strand slid around my left wrist and yanked hard.
The spirit merely threw me back into the library with ease, sending me crashing into the first shelf, knocking it over. The momentum formed from my weight caused me to somersault and slam into the second shelf behind it.
I moaned painfully, my eyes opening carefully to find myself lying in the middle of the second shelf. The middle of the shelf had snapped, with a new Juri-shaped hole accompanying it. How much force had that thing used?!
"Uhg…" Some high-ass Hyuuga was going to have my head for this…
My eyes widened and I rolled to the side, wincing when I felt my side stitch. If I wasn't mistaken, I had probably broken a rib… or two. As I glanced to the side, I saw the stupid ittan-momen floating a few meters away from me. It shook slightly, as if mocking me.
Okay… what to do, what to do?
That's when I saw the lighted lantern beside it. I bit my lip. That wouldn't do, I would probably end up burning the whole place down! But what else could I do?
I twitched when thundering footsteps seemed to start up from nowhere and then people were gathered at the doorway-that-was-missing-the-door. Most of them looked shocked, but I saw that there were those who looked enraged.
I didn't see why, I mean, I'm sure they'd understand if they got attacked by some spirit—
Then it occurred to me that maybe they couldn't see the fucking thing.
Neji stepped up from behind a few people, his face stoney. He frowned at me, giving me a glare. When I opened my mouth to respond, the ittan-momen decided to move and it flew towards me.
I barely had time to think, 'it's coming!' before it was mere centimeters from my face. I managed to dodge it by doing a clumsy back roll— that probably would've killed me by cracking my neck if it weren't for the pile of books that alleviated my shoulder.
I heard voices from the doorway.
"—why the nerve of—"
"We take her in and this is how she repays us?!"
"Of all the things—"
"She's crazy, I tell y—"
The force of someone's chakra flaring told me Neji was getting really pissed off and I dimly realized that the crowd was dissipating. I spared a quick glance at the doorway to see Neji speaking with someone in low tones. It was one of the elders, I thought warily.
Wait, where was the—
Oh. The stupid spirit was wrapped around shelf this time, lazily giving me a smug like look— with its red eyes. Okay, so maybe it wasn't after my life? It would've killed me by now. Plus, it would still be trying to kill me, if it was planning to kill me, that is.
I winced. Oh, he sounded pissed. I tried to reason. "Look, it's not what you think—" I raised my hands, palm facing him. "I just—" This time I couldn't help but scream when I felt a smooth-like silk slide around my jugular. My eyes widened immediately and my hands flew up reflexively, wrapping around the cloth to pull it away.
Neji hadn't seemed to realize something was wrong, because he was yapping on about something. His eyes were running over the ruined shelves. All I could see was his mouth moving, but no sound seemed to reach my ears. I really did not care to listen to at the moment, because I was trying to stop the thing from killing me!
But when I tightened my grip on the cloth, it only seemed to wrap tighter around my neck, tightening until it started to cause me to take in sharp low air breaths. When I tried to pull forwards, I felt a sharp pain and realized the cloth had cut into my palms and fingers.
I could hear the blood drip onto the ground, and I through my panicked vision I saw Neji tense suspiciously.
Oh, finally realized something was wrong, did you?
The grip around my neck tightened to an unbearable pressure and I began to back up, hoping I could fucking find that damn lantern. Instead of trying to breathe, I was holding my breath now. But that wasn't going to help my situation for long. I think the worse way to die would be to suffocate to death.
With one hand continuously trying to grab onto the stupid ittan-momen to grasp it and perhaps hoping to flap it around in revenge, I groped around blindly with my other hand.
I remembered that the lantern wasn't far from the wall I had been close to, and I dimly felt my hand knock a few books to the ground before I saw it out of the corner of my eye.
In the back of my mind, I could hear Neji yelling for a medic and I could feel his chakra trying to approach me, but I kept waving him off. If the others had not seen it, it was likely he hadn't either.
My throat tightened and it was then I realized I was gasping desperately for air— when that had started was beyond me— and I collapsed to my knees. For a second, my vision blacked out completely.
I panicked, flailing my free hand wildly.
The last few things I remember was that while trying to get off the ground, my hand touched something hot and then I collapsed onto my back. I recall peering blankly at up at the ceiling as flames licked the wood above me.
"Oi… exactly what happened?" the voice sounded pissed.
There was a few answering murmurs but I didn't seem to hear those ones. I was still a little focused on the first voice and how it sounded so damn familiar. What the hell was going on now?
The last thing I remember was looking through books in the library…
My eyes snapped open and I bolted to a sitting position. The first thing I noticed was that the room was dark. Very dark. But even in the dark I could make out three figures around me. I blinked stupidly at them. What the hell happened that that damn cloth-spirit?
A light flicked on, and I found myself staring dazedly at Neji. Something lifted my arm and my gaze focused on my left hand to see someone hold it up. My arm was completely covered in bandages.
"Hatayama-san." I focused on Neji again.
Wasn't I supposed to be dead or something? Choked to death? Burned to death? Either way, just… dead?
"Do you remember what happened?" the Hyuuga pressed.
I felt myself stare passed his ear, focusing on the back wall. "Uh… I was in the… library?" Neji nodded slowly and motioned with his hand, as if telling me to continue. "And then…" My eyes narrowed slowly. "There was that stupid thing that attacked me, and wrecked those shelves and door!" I finished triumphantly. I suddenly felt full of energy and glowered at Neji. "I had nothing to do with it!" I insisted.
Neji frowned. "Never mind that now. Hokage-sama explained to me that you may see things that normal people cannot see. I suppose I never realized how serious it would be."
I let out a sigh of relief. Finally, some good news at last.
"On the other hand, however…" Neji continued. "The fact that you were attacked in the Hyuuga home is a bit suspicious."
My arm was set down, and I finally realized that a medic was in the room, inspecting me. The third person in the room was… Kakashi. He looked preoccupied and seemed to be glowering at nothing in particular.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw Neji take the opportunity to speak with the female medic as she packed up her supplies.
Something flicked my nose, and I felt myself practically jump five feet.
It was only Kakashi. If he wasn't out to kill me via humility he was definitely trying to give me a heart attack. After what had just happened… I'm pretty sure I was going to be jumpy for the rest of my mortal life.
His eye was narrowed at me sternly. I shrunk back, holding my nose.
After what seemed like forever, Kakashi finally sighed, rubbing the bridge of his nose. "I leave for a few hours and already you're getting into more trouble? Are you an eight year old child or something? If I would've known you'd be this much trouble, I would've never dragged you into this mess in the first place."
"What are you talking about?" I retorted. "Though I do blame you for dragging me into all of this— seeing as how I would've been living my life as normal if you hadn't shown up— I also believe that I did not get into trouble intentionally! That stupid cloth-no-baka found me by itself!"
I crossed my arms childishly, scooting back to lean against the headboard. "It's not like I wanted for it to attack me." I muttered.
"Hatayama-san." The substitute Hyuuga head addressed me from the doorway. He pushed the door closed. The medic had left, I realized. "The medic already healed most of your injuries. Your throat should only irritate you for a few more days—"
My left hand rose to touch said throat. To my surprise, Neji was right, it no longer hurt. Since I had been practically wrung like a doll by that thing, I was a little bit surprised that it no longer hurt.
"—and those bruises will remain for another week or so."
"Your arms suffered second degree burns, and although the medic healed the majority of them, they'll hurt for a while yet. The deep epidermis was damaged."
I started at my bandaged arms. It was painful to move them, so I was letting them lie in my lap and trying not to move them. How was I supposed to research or go about regular activities for the next little while then?! I felt my eye twitch. Too bad I didn't see that little bastard go up in flames myself. I guess this means I actually managed to set the thing on fire.
When I finally looked up, I saw Neji frowning at me. "Other than that, all other wounds were superficial, and has already been healed by chakra."
"I saw whatever it was that attacked you when you threw that lantern." He continued, his white eyes staring through me. "I have never been a true believer of spirits, but I'm positive that nothing like that should be present in this household. We have wards placed up."
Wards? So the Hyuuga clan was actually… plagued by such spirits as well?
"The Hyuuga clan has not done proud things several times in the past," Neji elaborated. "It is of no surprise that there are several individuals that would curse us as such."
"I will speak with the elders about this matter." Neji said finally. "In the mean time I ask that you try to not wander far around the household. Stay near where others are present. There are rooms that should be very… unpleasant if our wards have indeed been tampered with."
With that said, Neji shuffled out the door. My eyes followed his form warily. He looked different when he was dressed up in that formal yukata. Though I had not seen him a lot over the years, I had sometimes spotted him around the village in battle gear.
He looked… more grown up.
Even if he was younger than me by four years.
As Neji stepped out, I called out to him. He stopped in mid-step, his hand poised to close the door.
I rolled my eyes. He could've at least acknowledged it.
"I should've stayed with you…" Kakashi mused. "Maybe then I could've done something to stop it."
"I don't think you could've done anything." I said slowly, watching Kakashi settle against the wall. I think he had a thing for walls.
The copy-nin raised one eye brow. "And why not? Do you actually believe that I am useless in this form?" As if to prove his statement, I flinched when a gust of wind rustled my hair. Kakashi winked at me. "I can manipulate a few things. It's not much, but it does help… once in a while."
"Huh." I said thoughtfully. "Well it's nice to know you'll actually help me rather than humiliate me or something… but I'm serious about the 'I don't think you can do anything' part. I just sort of… noticed that you usually can't seem to see the same things I do."
It was true. Ever since I managed to gain a somewhat decent control over my eye I noticed that when the smaller spirits wandered around at night, Kakashi never seemed to acknowledge them.
Neji may say that there had been wards erected around the mansion but I don't believe those wards kept out all spirits. I had still seen kitsune, nekomata, fish spirits that occupied the pond and several others. I had even seen a Kanedama, the spirit of money. That one liked to sit in the tree out front. Maybe that's one of the reasons why the Hyuuga clan had so much money.
Maybe the wards kept the bad spirits out and allowed the good spirits through?
Either way, Kakashi never seemed to notice when a kitsune sat beside me or if a nekomata decided it wanted to play with one of my books.
"Is that so?" Kakashi asked slowly. "Mmm... that's strange. I was able to see them before. And now that you mention it, I haven't really noticed other spirits for a while now…"
At that moment, a kitsune wandered through the door.
"Well," I said dryly. "Here's a perfect time to prove it. A kitsune just came in the room."
I watched as Kakashi gave the room a quick once over. He seemed disturbed now. "I don't see it."
"Well that's too bad…" I muttered. It let out a coo when I gave it a pat underneath the chin. By now, I think Kakashi was giving me a strange look. I glanced back at him. "What? It's cute. And very harmless." I added.
"What?" I demanded, straightening.
"Iie, iie…" he said, giving me an eye-smile. "I've learned that when a woman says that something is cute, you just can't trust it."
I gave him a bland look, and shooed the kitsune off.
"This is what I meant by you not being able to help me if you had been here." I threw the blankets off and stood. I was surprised when I was able to stand relatively steadily without any feelings of nausea. The only thing that tinged in pain was my arms, but that was somewhat bearable.
I felt, rather than saw, Kakashi straighten up in alarm. "Juri…"
"I'm fine," I said shortly. "I just need to go back to the library for a second… It won't take long. Besides, I'm fine!" I waved my arms up and down as if to prove that. I slid open the door, and jumped back in alarm when a kneeling figure appeared.
"GAH!" I yelped. "Another ghost!" I cover my eyes, wincing when my arms protested painfully.
"That's very rude, you stupid lady."
I peeked through my fingers and lowered my arms slowly. "Oh, it's just you." It was the tallest of the Hyuuga brats— the one who had broken that artifact and pinned it on me. He's also the one who received cockroaches from yours truly.
Stepping forwards, I leaned against the doorframe. "What do you want, you hellion?" I received a resenting glare from that and that's when I noticed that Neji and one other were standing off to the side. It was a pretty Hyuuga lady. I saw her give the kid a stern look when he seemed to hesitate.
Imagine my surprise when the kid practically threw his head against the floor and mumbled out, "I apologize for my disgraceful behavior."
"What?" I said stupidly.
Before I knew it, the lady had apologized as well, shoved something into my hands and dragged the kid off down the hall.
I stared at the package in my arms. Something… I tilted my head sideways. It was some kind of ointment for burns. Well that's nice of her.
Now what just happened?
"The reason for the broken wards was because Inoue thought it would be a great idea for revenge against you." Neji said wearily. "He managed to take down the west and north end seals, breaking the barrier partially."
"Oh," I scratched the side of my head, tossing the box of ointments behind me and listening to it hit the bed. "So that means all of this was because of a childish prank?"
Neji looked like he rolled his eyes. "Yes. I know that you were not in the wrong in the first place, but I ask that you humor me and try not to make this incident and bigger than it should be. The Hyuuga clan has always been suspicious of outsiders. They mean you no disrespect."
I felt my eye twitch. No surprise there. But I suppose I could be the big person and step back a little. It's not like I could really blame them… right? It is suspicion that has allowed them to have lasted this long.
"I'll try." I said finally. I didn't bother adding the fact that I wouldn't be responsible for any other actions I would do if the continued to antagonize me. There really wasn't a point. I'm sure Neji realized that as well. It's not like I could do much anyway.
With that said, Neji nodded and left. I barely saw him move. He was there one second and not there the next.
"That'll teach you to fight with little kids." I heard a snort from behind me. I threw a glare over my shoulder and slowly made my way down the hall. I had been placed back into my old room so the burnt library wasn't far off. I could still smell smoke.
"I guess." I said tiredly. "But it's not like I expected it to turn out this big."
Reaching the doorway that led to the library, I peered in carefully. I felt myself instantly feel relief when no white cloth seemed to be lurking in some hidden corner.
A hand fell heavily on top of my head. "Baka. There's nothing there."
I turned red and ducked to shake his hand off. "I know."
Stepping in, I ignored the wet patches all over the floor and made my way towards the desk I had been sitting at before. 'The fire had done a lot of damage,' I thought. 'I guess they didn't put it out in time.' I felt guilty. What was I to say to Hiashi when he got back?
Only the left side of the room had been left undamaged. Most of the shelves and books on the right side had been either water damaged or burnt to ashes. The walls had been blackened as well.
As I reached the desk, my eyes scanned it frantically. Before the spirit had attacked me, I had found something actually worth studying. Something that might actually pertain to what it was I had to do.
I felt my chest heave in disappointment when I realized the book was on the ground, everything burnt except for the cover. "So much for finding something…" I grumbled.
As I turned to leave the room, something caught my eye and I did a double take. One of the books on the table had been scorched by the fire but relatively undamaged. It was one of the first books had I flipped through. The one that spoke nonsense about water demons. I picked it up. Nothing was changed really, except a corner of the book that had been water damaged.
Squinting, I held it up, the make-shift lanterns in the room shining against the wet pages.
There were hidden words within the pages.
My eyes widened.
"Hey." I glanced up at Kakashi's smooth voice. I was about to tell him the good news when I saw his posture.
He looked tense and worried.
That's when I felt the temperature in the room drop. I heard sounds coming from the roof. As I turned towards the wooden planks, something exploded. The force blew me back towards the un-burnt walls and I blinked when I realized I wasn't feeling any pain.
That's when I realized Kakashi had cushioned my landing, and was gripping my shoulders tightly. I stared up at him in surprise. He looked like he was sweating— can ghosts sweat? —and breathing hard.
"I don't really know what just happened…" Kakashi started slowly. "But I do know that now would be a good time to run."
Thank you my loverly's~!
Yuuki Toshi, starStruck272, WarpedTenchu, OnimeKyo-Kyuubi, Little Fox Kit, plasticapplex3, Dagger Kitsune, Kylria, TogetherAtLast, HanaTenshiHimeko, Nats the Magnificent, Datali, DaTruePrincess, Hatakearan, Hinako, Me, tiggeranddash, SpikeyGirl, Hailey-Stone, Natalie, MistressofMacabre, Darkmoon9192, Vivianne, vampgirl16, daisukii08, She, justanothergaarafangurl, Sun warrior Daughter.
Completed February 20, 2009