Be Happy! I've finally had a break through about how to continue the plot in chapter six, but, it's going to be a lot of flashback (specifically Naruto's memories) in the form of dreams. Don't fret though, I shall push the plot forward, I just really feel like explaining a bunch of crap about Naruto's past and why he's come to be the way he is.
Yeah, so I don't know what Naruto's mother's name is in the actual series or if they ever even mention her name (or what she looks like), but for my purposes I'm going to give her a name and description since she plays a fairly key role in the shaping of Naruto's world view and his ideas about what love is and how it ought to be expressed, etc.
So, for my purposes, her name shall be Asaya Uzumaki Namikaze. Because I have no idea where the hell Naruto's last name came from in the series, this is how I'm explaining it in my fic. Naruto's mother's maiden name is Asaya Uzumaki and when the kingdom Naruto's father ruled was overtaken – in order to escape death at the hands of the dominating kingdom – he dropped his father's last name and took up his mother's maiden last name.
I add Namikaze because it's my fic and I can. No, the real reason is because in my story, Naruto's mom is basically like a 2nd or 3rd wife. She's of lower pedigree than the person that Naruto's father marries to become his 1st wife, meaning she's the empress, but Naruto's mother is still married to him. Thus, she takes his last name. I apologize if this is historically inaccurate (within the scope of ancient civilizations – Mesopotamia, Egypt, Hittite Empire [Anatolia Region]) but I'm still learning about history and don't really know a ton about ancient marriage practices…Nor do I feel like looking it up.
If anyone who reads this fic happens to know about ancient marriage practices though, please enlighten me. I won't change the fic, but I'd be appreciative of the knowledge. Especially if I decide to write another fic set in the ancient past. Do not write me if you only think you know. Only write me if you know for sure or have some sort of reliable source to back up what you say…Wikipedia absolutely does not count as a reliable source!!
And, yes, I realize I'm making up a bunch of wired shit with the kingdoms, but I don't care because the kingdoms need names dammit! So, Naruto's from Fire Kingdom and Gaara is from the Earth Kingdom.
/blah/ - indicates a dream and/or flashback
My Butterfly: Chapter 06: This Feeling I Know So Well…Part I
"Naruto…Naruto, baby, what are you doing over there?" A soft feminine voice called to the sunshine blond. The voice was familiar, almost nostalgic and made Naruto turn to see who it was that had called out to him. His heart clenched tightly, trying to keep all the emotions that threatened to rush out of him from spilling out. It was his mother that had called to him in that all too familiar tone.
She looked just as Naruto had preserved her in his young memories – long, long light brown hair that seemed to shimmer in the sunlight was pulled into a loose ponytail, though some hair remained to frame her face. In the hair that framed her face hung a few strands of decorative beads and in her ponytail were similar strands. On her ears hung the earrings Naruto knew were her favorite – they had been a gift from his father, the king – each earring had five chains of differing lengths made of silver, and at the end of each chain an amazingly clear blue sapphire was attached. His father always said they matched her eyes and he was right – though in Naruto's opinion, his mother's own sapphire blue eyes were much more beautiful and expressive.
The clothing she wore was simple yet at the same time whenever Naruto's mother moved expressed a sort of unearthly elegance that made all the women of the palace jealous. She wore a subdued red dress and tied a black belt around her waist. Over the dress and belt, she wore a white robe, similar to a kimono that was pitch black at the base and as the color seeped up, gradually divided and became black butterflies, though none of the butterflies reached past mid-thigh. The robe had a small set of strings that tied on the inside, allowing a person to wear the robe open or closed, though his mother often chose to wear the robe closed since the robe usually rested on or around her shoulders. The robe, like the earrings, had been a gift from his father.
( A/N: Yeah, this is really hard to explain, but if any of you have seen Rurouni Kenshin, I can offer a similar example of something similar to what I mean with the robe Naruto's mom is wearing. Go Here to See: http:// s25. photobucket. com/ albums/ c82/ Empire_Child/ ?action= view¤t= MB- NarutoMomRobe- EX. jpg And if it isn't obvious, take out the spaces)
Before Naruto's father had gotten married to the woman he intended to take as his first wife and Empress, his world had revolved around Naruto and his mother. She had been his first lover and technically she was his first wife, even if her true position in the eyes of the court and the public was that of his second wife, a mistress. When he took a first wife, she would have to live in shadow. But until that time, she was, Asaya Uzumaki, the one and only wife of Minato Namikaze, Emperor of the Fire Kingdom. Not that anyone could complain about her standing by his side; upon entering the palace, Asaya had insisted upon learning the etiquette of the royals as well as any other subject deemed necessary by court officials or the king himself. She was never averse to speaking her mind and always told people quite bluntly what she thought of them, which earned her mixed reactions but more often than not people found it refreshing to be told the truth instead of lied to. And even if a person failed to see the humor in her responses, Asaya either didn't notice or simply didn't care.
"Naruto," she called again to him softly, a gentle smile on her face. "Come here."
Just as Naruto was about to obey her command, a younger version of himself rushed past him, smiling brightly as he ran towards his mother. The woman leaned down and gathered the small blond up in her arms before standing upright once again. The two smiled at each other before his mother began walking back towards their rooms, carrying the mini-Naruto as she went.
"Now then, Naruto," she spoke again, he voice as soft as always. "What were you doing over there?"
"I was looking for something," the young Naruto chirped in reply. When he realized his mother wanted more elaboration in his answer, he continued on. "Did you know, Mama, that the best place to see the sunset is on the castle walls?"
"I didn't know that," his mother replied. "But how do you know such a thing?"
"Because I've seen it from the trees just behind the walls," Naruto continued his explanation. "And I was looking for the best way to climb up the castle walls and see the sunset from its best viewpoint."
"Whatever for?" Naruto listened to the conversation, vaguely recalling the memory itself. He couldn't say why the memory was surfacing itself now though, especially as a dream.
"Mmmm…" Naruto's younger self deliberated within his mind, trying to find a reason beyond simply wanting to see the sunset. After a moment, it seemed that the answer came to him because the boy smiled at his mother and replied, "For my heart."
"Your heart?" The woman asked in a still gentle voice, though she'd stopped walking. That was certainly not the answer she'd been expecting from her son.
"Yeah, because sunsets give me the feeling of parting and sorrow and at the same time, sunsets are all so different. I've never seen two sunsets look the same," Naruto expanded on his previous answer, closing his eyes and touching one small hand over his heart. "Every time I see a sunset, my heart clenches tightly, as if it doesn't want to say goodbye to this day, yet at the same time, my heart becomes lighter for some reason I can't understand."
"Naruto," his mother began, setting the boy back on the ground and simply taking hold of his hand. The young blond tightly gripped his mother's hand as they began walking again. As they walked, she continued speaking, "Naruto, that feeling of your heart clenching and lightening at the same time is the feeling of longing."
"Yes. Your Mama knows this feeling really well. It's the feeling of loving or wanting something, yet being unable to have or attain it. Yet at the same time, your just happy being able to see or be with the thing you're longing for. That's why your heart clenches and lightens in such an unbearable way," Naruto's mother explained, placing her free hand over her own heart and giving her son's hand a little squeeze as they continued to walk towards their rooms. "You really are my son if you already feel longing at such a young age."
"But…But, Mama. What is it that I'm longing for?" Naruto asked, confused. "What is it that you're longing for?"
"Each person longs for something different, Naruto, but what your Mama longs for is love," she replied.
"Then, Mama isn't loved?" Naruto looked up at his mother, clearly confused now. He'd always thought his mother and father loved each other dearly. "But…What about Papa?"
"Ah, let me explain," Asaya paused in her walking and looked down at her son. "Your father loves me, but your father has another wife, one whom he has made his empress. He cannot love me more than he loves her. It would be an insult to her status and position as the first wife. But you see, Naruto, your Mama still longs for the love of your Papa. She gets unbearably jealous when she sees the Empress and her child because Mama sees her as the woman who stole your Papa away from me. I loathe that woman and when I see her together with the Emperor along with their young son, my heart clenches in an unbearable way because I remember how we used to be the same and I wish so desperately for that love to be rekindled.
"But at the same time, when I see your Papa smiling with his new wife and child, my heart can't help but lighten up because I know he's happy, even without me by his side. And I wonder, Naruto, does he truly need me to stay here in this palace. Perhaps it would be better if I just disappeared. But then the pain of never being able to see the Emperor again comes crashing down on me and crushes my entire being; and I realize, that to deny myself the painful-happiness of at least seeing the Emperor is like denying air to my lungs, like denying myself the food and water I need to survive. I can no longer live without the Emperor. Even if he no longer needs me, I can never leave him. The mere thought of it is suffocating.
"And my longing, Naruto – my little one – is that your father would return these feelings of love I have for him. Even though I know it will never be possible for him to do so and I know I will never stop suffering from these thoughts of longing for him and loathing his wife, I simply cannot stop them anymore. These feelings have consumed my entire being – my body and my soul. And I will continue to suffer from these feelings until the day I die…Which will be the same day the Emperor dies because once he has vanished from this world, my life will no longer hold any meaning. Naruto, he is my world; my one and only; my God."
Asaya looked down at her son, her eyes brimming with emotion and gently brushed a hand along Naruto's cheek. The young blond looked up at his mother and reached up to take hold of the hand that had caressed his face.
"Mama, will I be able to fall in love like that one day?" He asked curiously.
"You will. Because you are my son, this desire for such an intense love will surely find it's way to you, too," the woman assured her son. "But remember Naruto, that with that desire will come all sorts of trials and pains you can't possibly imagine until you experience them…That this longing will slowly eat at your heart, soul and body until it consumes you…Now then, it's getting rather cold out here. Let's head back to our rooms, okay?"
"Okay!" The young Naruto replied cheerfully, keeping hold of his mother's hand as they began walking once again.
The memory slowly started to fade from Naruto's mind and he soon found himself awakening to the real world. He blinked a few times, allowing his eyes to adjust to the small amount of light that was invading his room. Sitting up, the blond realized, he was on his bed. As he was still sleepy and thus out of it, he couldn't recall how he'd gotten there until the sound of sheets rustling caught his attention. Turning his head just slightly, Naruto saw red hair. When he turned his head further, he saw a longhaired figure sitting (or rather, sleeping, as Naruto could hear the soft breathing) in one of the few chairs in his room. Another, shorthaired male slept in the chair next to him. Gaara, Neji and Sasuke were all sleeping in his room as if they'd been watching over him. That's when the memory of breaking down crying and being unable to stop came back, turning Naruto a very, very deep shade of red.
"Oh…My…God," Naruto muttered to himself, feeling completely humiliated. He gripped the bed sheets tightly, almost wishing he could sink into the ground and never resurface. He'd never felt so humiliated in all his life. He couldn't believe he'd done such a thing in front of those three. And the things he'd told Neji! Oh, all those private things! Naruto was fairly certain he was going to die of embarrassment now.
Naruto stealthily slipped from his bed. He just couldn't face those three right now. He had to find somewhere to hide and calm down or else his face a most likely going to become stuck a permanent shade or red. The blond slipped on the nearest pair of shoes he could find (silently thankful that they hadn't undressed him while he slept) and, as quietly as he could manage in his current state, fled from his room.
- - -
As Naruto walked down the halls of the palace, he could slowly feel his body and mind relaxing and allowing him to think straighter. Now, he definitely couldn't go back to that room. Either Gaara and the other two were still asleep and Naruto would be able to sneak back in without them knowing he'd left - however, knowing those three, they'd be annoyed that he hadn't woken them up when he himself had become conscious. The other choice was that at least one of them was awake and had realized Naruto was gone, thus waking the other two, meaning they'd be coming to find him shortly anyway so he just had to wait. Naruto decided he wouldn't chance getting caught trying to sneak back into his own room and would just wait for them to find him.
"It's dangerous for a courtesan to walk alone at this hour," a voice spoke suddenly from behind Naruto, making him yelp and jump in surprise. "Especially you, Naruto-kun. After all, you've become a favorite of many people in the court, have you not? Not to mention, Gaara-sama, Neji-sama and Sasuke-sama all dote on you quite a bit."
Naruto turned to see who exactly had just scared him out of his skin and several years of his life, and came face to face with Hatake Kakashi. The silver haired man looked amused and Naruto was tempted to glare but thought better of it. Instead, he straightened himself out before turning and bowing slightly to be polite.
"I've nothing better to do though, Kakashi-sama. My three main doters are all currently sleeping, leaving me to entertain myself," Naruto said, his voice soft. "And as for becoming a favorite of members of the court, it is true I have attracted some court members attention, but I'm sure there are many courtesans much more popular than myself."
"You really know how to be humble," Kakashi laughed lightly, scratching his head. "You praise yourself and at the same time you deny it. It's really quite amusing to listen to, especially because most people don't realize your doing so."
"It's a talent," Naruto shrugged indifferently. "To accept and deny praise at the same time is an important talent nonetheless. It tells people you are not a person to be drawn in by flattery, while at the same time refrains from causing any insult to the person who has praised you."
"Indeed. It sounds like a fine talent to have," Kakashi nodded in reply.
"The trouble is, that I often let my emotions get the better of me and speak from my heart before my head has a chance to reign me in. Thankfully though, the people of the court seem to find such a thing more amusing than insulting," Naruto sighed. He wasn't particularly interested in the inner workings of the royal court. He knew it well enough because of his lineage.
"Ah, so the den of sharks and demons have taken a liking to you, then?"
"It is naught but a passing fancy, Kakashi-sama," Naruto corrected. "Courts and its members do not like anything but themselves. Anything else is but a pass fancy, used to entertain and pass the long, boring hours they would otherwise spend alone."
"My, my, what a cold outlook on the people of the court," Kakashi said, while trying to hide his laughter.
"Do you have a different opinion then, Kakashi-sama?"
"Not at all. The people of the court generally are as shallow as they seem to be, but I'd be careful saying it out loud if I were you," the silver haired man chuckled, not able to hide his laughter anymore. Naruto smiled slightly; for being a general, the man certainly had a great sense of humor. Not only that, Naruto had heard a great many rumors that the General Kakashi was, in fact, a pervert. However, Naruto never gave much credence to rumors and had never witnessed any sort of perverted behavior on the general's part around him; perhaps the general simply only liked acting perverted around certain people.
"Naruto, Kakashi-san," a new voice suddenly spoke up from behind the blond. Naruto turned to see who was speaking and was faced with a brown haired man with a scar running across his face.
"Iruka-sama," Naruto greeted, bowing slightly. Umino Iruka was a general, just like Kakashi, though not as famous, he was still fairly well known and thus respected. Naruto had to say he was rather fond of Iruka. The man reminded him of a field of sunflowers of a summer day for some odd reason. Not to mention, he'd always treated Naruto kindly, though not in the way one would treat a lover; it was more like he saw Naruto as a son. "What brings you out here?"
"Ah, well…this is…uhm…" the brown haired man seemed to struggle to find the words to explain what he was doing. A blush slowly started to creep its way onto his face and a similar one began to lightly form on Kakashi's cheeks as well. Naruto looked at Iruka for a moment, who looked at the ground, then looked at Kakashi, who chose to look up at the fading sky. He looked back and forth between the two once more before holding a hand – which also held a piece of shawl – over his mouth and started giggling softly.
"I seem to have interrupted the two of you," Naruto simply stated. Neither of the generals looked at him, which only made Naruto giggle again. He headed back in the direction he had come, calling as he walked, "So sorry. Please don't let me get in the way!"
He could hear something like embarrassed sputtering coming from Iruka and, he was fairly certain, Kakashi trying to calm him down. Naruto couldn't help giggling some more as he made his way back to his room. He felt better now that he'd awkwardly come between the two best generals in the Earth Kingdom, while they were trying to romantically rendezvous. Now he could face his three suitors…much as loathed the idea of them being awake when he walked inside that room.
I have decided that, for the sake of actually posting something before a year goes by, I'm going to split this into two parts. This is the first part, and I apologize for it being shorter than my normal posts, but I felt that I'd found a good place to leave off. That way you're all looking forward to the second part and I feel encouraged to write it. Much Love to All – Othello's Adonis