Hello, anyone reading this story! I would like to tell you a bit about it right off the bat.

Don't label ANYONE MarySue straight away, okay? If you do, you are ignorant. In fact, I think anyone who flames on the first chapter, unless it is for terrible grammar or something along those lines, is ignorant. Let me get a few chapters to get the plot and characters develop, and then flame if you still want to.

Anyways, I won't tell you too much. Hopefully the summary was good enough. (I tend to be not that good with summaries.) At any rate, enjoy the story!

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto, or I wouldn't be wasting time writing FANFICS!

...I do own my OC, though. Whether she likes it or not. (evil laugh)


PROLOGUE

The pain subsides from the agonizing cramps and searing burns to a steady, raw soreness. Blood is everywhere, but above all she does not feel hurt so much as simply exhausted. She wants to sink into numb, blissful sleep, but first she must see them, the beautiful faces she has brought into the world. Wanting to speak impatiently, but too tired to do so, she waits for the nurses to finish rinsing both of them off.

But the nurses are speaking in low, serious voices. There is a terrible silence, and worry creeps into her system, entering as a stab in the stomach and swelling up into a monstrous throb. Her throat constricts.

"Umm…anou…" comes a tentative voice. She struggles to lift her head and glimpses the youngest nurse twisting her gloved hands together and looking scared. "Congratulations… you've just had a lovely baby boy." She says it like a question.

She clears her throat and manages to speak, urgency spurring her on. "There were two," she croaks. "There's another."

The doctor steps forward, an older woman; her nose and mouth are obscured by the blue medical mask, but the bland brown eyes above the line of her mask are sympathetic. She cradles a small bundle in her arms. There is a long, long silence.

"No," the woman in bed whispers. The doctor bows her head.

"I'm sorry."

"No!" She struggles, ignoring the blood that rushes up her throat from straining her voice, reaching for the lifeless form pleadingly. "You're wrong… let me see… let me…" she whimpers like a child.

The doctor is already backing away, eyes averted apologetically. "She was stillborn."

"You're wrong!" A thin trickle of blood seeps from the corner of her mouth.

"I'm sorry," the doctor repeats, and hurries out of the room, motioning for the nurses to follow. One of them is relieved to do so, scooping up the first baby, the one that had lived, as she follows the doctor, but the young one who spoke first hesitates and takes a tissue out of the box on the bedside table. She approaches the woman in the bed to wipe the blood from where it dribbles down her chin, but the lady thrashes to get her away, nearly backhanding her. When she had come in, she had been a soft-spoken, gentle lady, but that lady was nowhere to be seen right now. A screaming, hysterical dervish had taken her place.

"Tanaka-san," says the doctor, appearing in the doorway. "I said come."

Ms. Tanaka bites her lip. "But—"

"Now."

With a last sympathetic glance at the mother, Tanaka reluctantly leaves the room, and the doctor closes the door with a sense of finality. And the lady in bed is left in the empty room to flail and scream and cry.

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CHAPTER ONE

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Sasuke savoured the peacefulness. After the tragic events of the Sand Village attack and the Sandaime's death, even his fangirls were temporarily uninterested in their usual hobbies of stalking him. It was nice to be able to walk alone for awhile, or with his teammates, without being followed by tittering girls.

He absently plucked leaved off of low branches while he strolled along. He was now entering the forest, though keeping to the sparse areas and not intending to go too deep. It was comforting here… cool, in the shade, a placid sanctuary.

A left turn onto what Sasuke had thought to be a deer trail turned out to be a dead end; thick underbrush clustered over the ersatz path and rotting logs lay hidden in moss for people to trip over. Sasuke turned to head back and nearly strangled himself on a vine. Disentangling himself (not without difficulty), he took a step backwards and stumbled over a fallen tree, landing ungracefully on his butt on the mossy ground.

Uchiha Sasuke… so graceful, so deadly accurate in battle, so clumsy in everyday life, he though sarcastically. He muttered a curse at the shred of vine still wrapped around his neck, flung it aside, and twisted his upper body around to plant both hands on the ground so he could get up. He froze.

His hands had plunged into a tangle of grass, fallen leaves… and hair. In shocked, unthinking horror he twined a handful of the thick strands through his fingers, disbelievingly, then yanked his hands back in disgust. His gaze trailed up. The stringy hair, black as a nightmare, was emerging from behind a holly bush, its owner blocked from view by that and a thick curtain of glossy Nightshade berries. The hair was spread out in a dark tendrilled splash, like a blot of ink, like a splatter of blood.

Sasuke slowly got to his feet and inched forward to sweep aside the spray of Nightshade leaves.

It was a girl around his age, though given the appearance of added years by how unhealthy she looked. Her skin was dry and cracked, and her lips as pale as the rest of her face, so as to be barely visible. Her eyes were closed, and the skin over them was stretched tight. She was not unnaturally thin, but nevertheless the word "gaunt" seemed appropriate to describe her. She was sprawled across the ground, and her hair that was splayed all over was the longest Sasuke had ever seen. It must have reached to her lower back at least.

Brow furrowed, Sasuke knelt by the girl and pushed a clump of hair aside to take the pulse in her neck. It beat erratically, weakly. Sasuke got to his feet, backed up slowly, and then turned to race back to the village.

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"She looks half dead."

"Get out of my way—excuse me—"

"Put her here…"

"I'm trying, you moron, if you'd move—"

"Oh—sorry—"

A light puff of sound…

"She's so light, look, she barely dented the covers."

"Dehydrated… water, hurry up, pass the water."

The voices were the first to penetrate through the darkness. They floated faintly in between the layers of sub conscience, the words chopped apart and not registering enough in the girl's mind to make sense. But what came next made sense: a cool trickling over her chapped lips. She tried to open her mouth, but someone had pressed a finger between her jawbones in the hollow of her cheek and done it for her already, and then, finally, yes, there was water flowing down her throat. She chugged greedily at the bottle, the icy liquid brining her slightly more to her senses.

"Not so much, you'll drown her," someone said, as water dribbled down her chin.

No! I don't care, drown me, please, just so long as there's water… she thought frantically, but the waterskin had been drawn away. With great effort, the girl opened her eyes a sliver. Her eyelids felt dry as parchment and rasped against her bloodshot eyes. A glimpse of the world presented itself to her: white ceiling, a crowd of serious faces peering down at her, a window on the far wall. Patches of a quilt. Then the water bottle was pressed back to her lips and she cared about nothing else.

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This time when she awoke she felt, finally, clear headed. Her eyes itched but didn't feel dried out anymore, and they opened easily. She sat up hesitantly.

A hospital room, by the looks of it. Her bed was narrow and the thin blue covers overtop her smelled of disinfecting soap. Beside her bed was a small table, on which rested a pitcher of water, an empty glass, and… her clothes? She looked down in horror, and sure enough, she was dressed in a hideous, though comfortable and warm, pale green hospital gown.

She swung her legs over the edge of the bed, drank half the pitcher of water in one breath, and got up, testing her weight experimentally. Her legs ached and threatened to give way, but she stubbornly forced herself to walk across the room. Like hell she was going to rot away in bed all day. And she wasn't going to wear this ugly rag either. She shucked her arms from the sleeves of her gown and the door opened.

"Excuse me!" she yelled indignantly, the limp arms of her gown hanging by her side.

"Ah… gomennasai…" said the nurse who had poked her head in through the door. "I didn't think you'd be up. You were asleep for almost a day, but considering how close you were to death, you actually recovered very rapidly…"

"Where am I?" the girl asked brusquely, cutting her off. She slid her arms back into her sleeves. She obviously wasn't going to change in front of the nurse, and she didn't feel like standing like a dope.

"Konoha," the nurse replied, "Konoha hospital."

"Konoha…?" The girl's dark onyx eyes bore into the nurse's for a long moment, stunned, contemplating, hesitant.

"Is something the matter?"

"I must speak with your Hokage!" the girl whispered urgently, and her hand flew up to her mouth as if she couldn't believe what she had just said.

The nurse's gaze dropped. "Such a time for you to say that…" she said quietly. "I am most regretful to say that merely yesterday… he was killed."

So they have already acted… but of course, I lost track of time in the desert, it must have been quite a long time. I'm too late, then… the girl pinched the bridge of her nose and closed her eyes.

"I'm not sure what business you would have had with the Hokage—certainly, you are not a familiar face in our village," the nurse said, casting the girl a curious look. "You will be answering a considerable amount of questions later on, I'll tell you that. But first!" she clapped her hands, suddenly cheery. "Let's get you cleaned up; you're filthy. And your clothes have just been washed, so don't even think about putting them back on until you've had a bath. Let's go, then." She opened the door and motioned for the girl to follow her out into the hallways. Stabs of pain continued to shoot up her legs as the girl walked, but she gritted her teeth and forced herself not to hobble.

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"I heard you rescued an unconscious girl from the forest, Sasuke-kun!"

"I just found her. Genma-san actually carried her away; she's in the hospital now," Sasuke told Sakura, who had just rushed up to him with Naruto.

"Genma-san?"

"He was the first person I saw."

"Hey! Hey! Was she really beautiful?" Naruto wanted to know. Sasuke gave him a scornful look.

"Who cares? Not really."

"Oh," said Naruto with a small sigh.

"I wonder where she comes from…" mused Sakura. "Maybe we should visit her at the hospital."

"She'll probably be interrogated, what with the recent attack," Sasuke pointed out.

"Yes, but… that might not happen right away. I'm really curious. Let's go see her, Sasuke-kun!" Sakura pressed. He shrugged. Admittedly, he was curious about the strange newcomer as well.

Naruto tagged along as they set off, whining. "Why are you so interested in some injured girl? What's the big deal?"

"You don't have to come!" Sakura snapped. Naruto sulked and fell silent.

They entered the hospital and asked the lady at the reception desk if the girl from the forest was well enough to see anybody. She said yes, but she was being cleaned up first; however, she paged the nurse who was with her at the moment and requested that the girl be brought down to the reception room when she was finished. Naruto, Sakura, and Sasuke sat down to wait. Sakura immediately grabbed a fashion magazine, sighing wistfully over the pictures, and Naruto tried to read it over her shoulder; Sasuke slouched in his seat and glared at the world in general.

"This is boring…" Naruto started to whine, when Sasuke looked up. Sakura did the same quickly, and Naruto followed suite.

"Well, hello, Naruto. Sasuke, Sakura." The nurse nodded to each of them respectively. Beside her stood the girl. A day's rest and lots of water had done her infinite good: her eyes were no longer sunken and she didn't look decrepit and sickly anymore. She was very short, about Naruto's height but looking even shorter because of his spiky hair, and still a bit too thin, but something about her posture, her expression, made it clear that she was not the sort who took trouble from anyone. She had a stubborn chin and dark, penetrating black eyes, which bore into each of the 3 ninjas in turn. Her hair, though, was what really caught one's attention. It had been washed and combed, and hung in a sleek, glossy curtain down, not just to her back, Sasuke noted, but actually down to her knees, except for the bangs on either side of her face, which were cut slanted so the started out level with the bottom of her nose and ended up chin length. She wore olive green, baggy shorts and a black tank top. She had custom ninja sandals, but no headband. Her features were perfectly average, but her hair was so striking that it lent her a certain attractiveness.

"You're my visitors?" she asked. Her eyes could have drilled holes into their skulls, and she wasn't even glaring. Her lips, as they moved, were still badly enough chapped to bleed, but at least they were a normal colour again.

"Yeah," said Naruto, speaking up first.

"Why do you want to see me? I don't know you." The girl frowned. "You can leave," she added to the nurse.

The older lady smiled placidly at her rudeness. "Do I hear a please?" she asked pleasantly.

"No," the girl snapped outright. "You can pretend you did though, if it matters."

The nurse raised her eyebrows. "I hope you don't speak that way to the committee advisors that way when they question you; it could only cause petty troubles. Speaking of which, they will be coming by soon, so please stay in the hospital."

The girl stared at the nurse for a second, apparently thinking something over. Finally she bowed. "Yes… of course. I'm sorry for my tone."

"No problem." The nurse gave her a half-smile and left her with the other three. The reception room was empty except for them and the lady at the desk.

The girls sat down on the seat next to Sasuke. "Alright… hello," she said awkwardly, seemingly making an effort to be polite. "Who are you?"

"Uchiha Sasuke."

"Haruno Sakura."

"Uzumaki Naruto!"

"And you?" asked Sakura, leaning forward to look at the girl. "What's your name?"

The girl laughed. "I was raised without such a thing," she said conversationally.

"Raised without a name?" Sasuke looked straight at the girl for the first time.

"How can you be raised without a name?" Sakura asked incredulously.

The girl inspected her fingernails. "For a true ninja, names are an inconvenience. Names, possessions, habits—they tie you down to your identity."

Ignoring how she had basically just said that they were not true ninjas, Sakura raised her eyebrows at this statement. "That's a bad thing? You don't want an identity?"

"It is the difference between stomping through sand in heavy boots for everyone to follow, or treading lightly in bare feet, erasing your tracks. In my world, it is better to be a blur. People can't pin you down, can't recognize you."

"You're not in bare feet," Naruto said, frowning at the girl's sandals. She looked up at him, brow creased in puzzlement.

"What?"

"You said it's the difference between—"

"It's a figure of speech, Naruto!" Sakura said sharply.

"Oh."

"How do you get through life without a name, though?" Sakura pressed. The girl opened her mouth, but Sasuke actually spoke up.

"It depends on just what kind of life it is, doesn't it?" he said in his quiet monotone. The girl gave him a slightly appraising look and a nod.

"But… well…" Sakura stuttered, not sure at how to react to this unexpected comment. "…what do your friends call you?"

The girl stared at her. A long stare, blank. Even Naruto got the hint. "I mean… never mind," Sakura whispered.

The girl shrugged indifferently. "If it's so important, I do have names, of sorts. My… mentor, they never allowed me a permanent name, for reasons I have just explained, but you're right, it would be virtually impossible to go through life without something for people to call me, on occasion. So I would every once in a while have a name to be called by, if it was convenient for the mission. They never stayed the same, though…" She gazed blankly at the far wall, twisting a strand of her bangs.

"Well?" Naruto prodded. "Gonna list some of 'em, or what?"

"I'm trying to remember," she said, not even turning her head. "I've been… Kyoufu, Kyoukou…" (A/N: translations: fear, horror; panic)

"What?" Sakura recoiled in shock, while Naruto's eyes widened and Sasuke's narrowed.

"…and Kyouki…" the girl finished quietly. (A/N: lunacy; madness, or deadly weapon)

She smiled disarmingly and then beamed at them. "You can call me Kyo."


Yay, a lunatic! Okay, well, please review, though I'm not expecting many... most people don't have much to say for a first chapter. And I shall update soon! The more reviews I get, the sooner. Hint, hint.

-KarAokE