A/N: Writing that prologue was just the thing I needed to get back on track and blow out that wretched dam dubbed 'writer's block.' Anyway, thank you to those who reviewed, your comments really do help motivate me to update quicker… most of the time anyhow. Well here's the first chapter of my twisted vision on the Naruto series' ending.
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto, Kishimoto Masashi does, though if I did, Sasori and Deidara would probably still be alive and Sakura, Sasuke, and Gaara (unfortunately), would be pushing up daises.
Chapter 1: Reunion
As dawn slowly came about in a small village near the border separating Ho no Kuni and some non-shinobi country, a redheaded young woman of about seventeen years old rose from her cheap, lumpy futon like she had every morning for nearly the past three years. The futon was in the corner of a small, one room cabin, which contained only but the bare essentials that the woman required.
She turned her head to look out the low window to her right and saw just above the trees, the dark navy sky beginning to mix with hues of purple, crimson red, and fiery orange, as the sun rose yet again on her hopeless world. The heavy, dark circles under her listless brown eyes, indicating that redhead had yet again succeeded in getting only a few hours of nightmarish sleep.
Grabbing the mediocre wooden crutch beside her place of rest, the woman hoisted herself to her feet and limped over to the small refrigerator. Most of her weight was clearly being placed on the crutch and her right leg as even after the incident almost three years ago, she could scarcely feel anything in her left.
Every moment she could, the woman, Tayuya, would curse the lazy, pineapple headed bastard and that blonde whore from Suna, for the state she was in. But even more so then the two enemy ninja who had dropped half a forest on her, broken both her legs, and left her for dead, she would curse the Hebi-teme that had gotten her involved in the situation in the first place. The damnable curse seal that was still present on the back of her neck but had remained quiet since her 'death' and the avenger Uchiha had made his way to Orochimaru was a constant reminder. Because of this she had grown her hair out, even more so than it was all those years ago when she'd use the life draining, Level 2 stage of the seal, till now when it almost reached the floor.
Once she got to the fridge, she rummaged around till she found some orange juice and grabbed a couple of eggs before moving over to the one burner stove beside the cold appliance. After placing the carton of orange juice and the eggs down on the half-meter wide counter, being careful with the latter as to avoid making a mess like she had so many times before, the redhead grabbed a half washed skillet out of the sink and placed it on top of the burner.
After the skillet had heated up a little Tayuya, with the grace that only came from once being a ninja, cracked the two eggs on the edge of the counter and dumped the contents into the searing pan. The ex-Otonin then reached back into the sink and pulled out the same cup she'd been using multiple times every day and quickly poured some orange juice into, before tossing the now empty carton into the trash. 'Guess I'll have to get another carton later,' she thought solemnly.
The redhead, unfortunately, didn't have a ryo to her name and had been supported by the village chief from the day she arrived. The elderly man had told her he'd provide her with anything she'd need to be comfortable, but back then, when that raging fire inside her burned much more brightly than it did now, she excepted only what was absolutely necessary for her to live; hating to be pitied by a "wrinkled old ass-wipe" as she had put it back then. Now she thought no different, but having grown used to her useless, crippled state, Tayuya accepted nearly anything the chief was willing to give.
Noticing her eggs had finally finished cooking, the flutist turned off the burner and slid the skillet onto the counter while she grabbed a mostly spotless dish from the sink and placed it on the counter beside the still scalding pan. Finally, the ex-Otonin grabbed a set of chopsticks and an old spatula from the counter draw and moved the eggs onto the plate before picking it up and walking over to the two-seater table and placing it down beside the glass of orange juice, which had been placed there during her musings.
Slowly sitting down, Tayuya went about eating her simple breakfast in silence, thinking to herself, 'Just another dull, normal, fucking day. For once I wish something, anything, would happen to give me something to be fucking happy about for once!' Sighing dejectedly, the redhead looked down at her left leg, more specifically, the large, circular scar in the middle of the lower half of the limb. A clear picture of a long, thin branch puncturing right between her fibula and tibia was set in her mind. The flutist didn't know all the details of it, but between the branch forcefully separating and breaking the bones and all the muscle that had been torn to shreds, there and been an incalculable amount of nerve damage done, that left the leg from the knee down completely useless.
'If I'd only seen the suna whore coming instead focusing on the bastard rat maybe I…' her train of thought was quickly broken when an image of the Hebi-Sannin flashed through her mind. Tayuya just sat there with her listless eyes moving about, not truly focusing on anything, as she thought about how twisted her life had become ever since she'd meet Orochimaru that day.
A nine year old Tayuya was stumbling weakly through a street in a town somewhere in Ta no Kuni as the sun set in a fiery mixture of red, gold, and orange. The redheaded child's face was worn and drawn in with dark bags under eyes, evidence that she had been suffering from both a lack of sleep and proper nourishment for some time; her waist length hair shows that it has been numerous weeks if not months since it was properly cleaned. The oversized, dark brown pants and faded, khaki colored shirt that were tied down with half torn rope was all she wore. What stood out though in her dilapidated attire, was the bright gleam from the silver flute held to her right hip by the rope.
Feeling the agitating grumble from her stomach, the half-dead child slowly wandered aimlessly into a nearby alley, in some desperate hope of finding something that would quiet her aching belly even for an hour. To her dismay, there wasn't anything in sight that could resemble food or something that may contain some carelessly tossed away leftovers.
As the feeling of dread, helplessness and loss washed over her, Tayuya collapsed with her back to a wall and she weakly reached for her only possession, her flute, and slowly raised it to her lips. As she played a simple, dreary song, her dirtied fingers slowly danced, commanding the instrument to play in music what her mouth could not say in words.
When the redhead finished a few minutes later, the silver item dropped from her hands, down into her lap as her head barely stayed up, and yet her arms slumped to her sides. Then, the light crunching of shoes on the dirt road could be heard, until they came to a rest beside the fading girl. With what little strength she had, she looked up and saw the face of the man that would forever change her future. The pale, albino skin; the thin almost smirking lips; the golden, snake-like eyed; and the mid-back length, jet black hair that framed the face.
"I heard your song, it was quiet beautiful," the snake-like man said sweetly. "I must say I'm surprised that such talent exists in one such as you."
Tayuya, in her near-death state, could barely hear the words the pale skinned man said, let alone even begin to comprehend them; however, what she heard him say next, she understood as clearly as the sun shined off her only possession. "Tell me," the dark haired man began, "Would you like to come with me, to a place where you'd be wanted, accepted, and could call home?"
The young flutist's dimmed, brown eyes opened wide at this and with her throat being far to dry to speak, the redhead only slowly nodded her head. "Excellent," was all the snake-eyed man said before taking one of the girl's bony hands and disappearing with her in the blink of an eye.
'If that bastard had come just a minute later I would've been just another dead piece of shit bitch in that alley. Looks like he did one thing for me at least,' Tayuya thought, ' Let me live long enough to know what it was like to really suffer!' the flutist roared inwardly. The ex-Otonin then sighed hollowly before grabbing her crutch and slowly getting to her foot, then quickly placing the cup on the plate of half eaten eggs and limping it over to the sink, where she'd wash it later.
'Why the hell am I so worked up today?' the redhead thought, slightly confused by her actions so far this morning. 'It's just another day that'll be just as fucking dull as every other day for these past two and half years.' The flutist then slowly hobbled over to the small dresser in the corner opposite her futon, where she looked through what few articles of clothing she had and picked out a loosely fitted, long-sleeved, beige shirt and dark brown pants whose legs stopped at about mid-shin; her Otoyon uniform having been disposed of long ago, wasn't present amongst what little she owned. Along with those, she grabbed a simple set of a white bra and panties; with all the bits of clothing under her right arm, Tayuya slowly made her way over to the bathroom that was on the opposite side of the room facing the kitchen.
Inside the bathroom, which had only a simple, white marble toilet, sink and tub that had a relatively new showerhead in comparison to the other bathroom fixtures; with a medicine cabinet above the sink, Tayuya undressed from the oversized white t-shirt and black boy shorts she was currently wearing. The redhead never bothered wearing undergarments to bed since she lived alone, but more so due to the fact that she didn't exactly have enough of said articles to wear them both day and night.
Despite the crippling injuries she had endured from having a forest dropped on her, the ex-Otonin had managed to develop normally since the incident. She was a modest, hundred fifty-seven centimeters (A/N: About 5'3" for those of you who don't know metric) tall and around forty-three kilograms. (A/N: Ok, I can't convert that to pounds in my head and I forgot the damn formula. I'll try to avoid these in the future.) The flutist considered that her breasts were average, nothing she could brag about, but her other two sizes were pretty damn good compared to some of the women she'd seen around the village.
Tayuya, using the wall for support, turned on the water for the shower and immediately stepped, or rather, hopped into the tube, knowing the water would never warm. As the cold liquid flowed over her lightly tanned body, she balanced with practiced ease on her right foot, which had a small stream of chakra keeping it securely attached to the tub's floor. The redhead went about washing herself as she did every day, spending a majority of the time cleaning the filth out from her body length hair.
After she'd removed as much of the sweat, grime, and dirt from her body, Tayuya leaned back slightly against the wall on her one good leg and let the now cool water rain down onto her as she let small flashes of old memories flash through her mind. The redheaded flutist stayed like that for about five minutes before standing up fully erect and turning of the water.
Ten minutes later, she stepped out of the bathroom, fully clothed, with her slightly damp hair clinging to the back of her shirt and pants. 'Guess I'll go get the damn orange juice, then go play somewhere,' the ex-Otonin thought as she limped back over to her poor excuse for a bed. Thanks to that six armed freak of nature Kidomaru, Tayuya had a minimum grasp on the idea of chakra strings and used a rather weak one to pull her flute out from under the futon, and with a quick flick of her wrist, sent the instrument airborne and into her hand. This was the same flute from all those years ago, just a plain old silver flute with no abilities at channeling chakra like the one that, that blonde whore had diced to pieces. The flutist slipped the thin instrument into one of the belt loops on her pants, the gleaming item being secured by a small removable clip.
With everything she needed, Tayuya turned towards the door and headed outside. It was still early morning and there wasn't anyone around as the redhead stood outside her small cabin in the quaint little forest village. The sun still hadn't risen above the trees so she figured it wasn't any later than seven thirty or so. Because of the early hour, Tayuya knew she'd have to wait awhile before the small grocery store was open, so she thought, 'Guess I'll go practice for an hour then get the damn juice.' With that thought in mind, the ex-Otonin lumbered her way towards the village's entrance.
A few minutes later, as she neared the entrance, the foulmouthed teen caught the site of some brightly colored object lying on the ground about twenty or so meters away from the gate. Normally, Tayuya probably would have thought little of the object, if only it wasn't for the colors. From where she stood, the closet bit was golden followed by a thin strip of black, then a large patch of orange. It took the flutist about half a second to process the color scheme, another half to figure out why it interested her so much, and another three to say, "No. Fucking. Way!"
Now three possibilities came up in the redhead's mind: One, her eyesight had suddenly gone to shit. Two, her solitude and crippled state had finally driven her insane. Or three, the blonde, Konoha dipshit Genin that had tauntingly slapped his ass at her those two and a half years ago was now lying unconscious, within killing distance, right in front of her.
Tayuya immediately began rationalizing to herself what she'd manage to come up with a brief second, 'Ok, I know I'm not just imagining this crap, 'cause there's no way that would happen unless I was insane, but I know damn well that I'm sane because I how all this shit that's happened since I met that hebi-teme has left me slightly insane. So that obviously means that, that Konoha fucker is right smack-dab in front of me!'
As this realization finally dawned on her, the ex-Otonin slowly started limping towards the blonde headed ninja, thinking the first thoughts in almost three years that resembled those of when she was far happier. 'So how should I waste this little shit?' the flutist asked herself as a slightly crazed look came into her eyes. 'I could step on his throat and crush his windpipe; sit on his chest till he suffocates; or I could-"
"Or you could let him live and try to help him," came a voice that sounded much like her own from the back of her mind.
"What the- Who the hell said that?!" the redhead asked herself as she looked around for where the unknown voice may have come from.
"I'm your conscience; you know that thing that the curse seal's been suppressing for about seven or eight years now? And I thought you were the genius out of the Otoyon," the voice finished with a small huff.
All Tayuya could do was let her jaw drop mentally as she shouted inwardly at her so-called conscious, "Why the fuck should I have to listen to my conscious?! It hasn't been around to help me at all in my entire life, so why would I want it around bow?!"
"First off," the redhead's conscious started, "Before you got that seal on the back of your neck, you were always about half starved and knocking on the Shinigami's door, that's why I wasn't around then, but I know deep down you're a caring person, despite you being slightly insane," the voice finished.
"I knew staying in this backwater shithole of a village would make me lose it!" Tayuya shouted inwardly as her built up hate for the small village that had saved her life went up a few notches. 'And what in the nine levels of hell exactly makes you think that I'm such a caring person?'
"The simple fact that you're still arguing with me rather than attempting to kill that blonde kid; and instead of calling me 'you' all the time just call me Inner Tayuya," Inner Tayuya finished, hoping that the slightly insane flutist would listen.
'Yea whatever, now can I please just kill this retarded piece of Konoha shit?" Tayuya asked her conscience in an almost begging-like manner.
"No dammit!" the mental manifestation shouted, "Just get over there, use one of your freaking doki, and drag him back to your house to make sure he's alright!" The 'light' side of Tayuya's mind was now panting heavily and had slightly managed to freak the hell out of the redhead.
"Will you shut the fuck up if I do?" the ex-Otonin vulgarly deadpanned.
"I'll only talk to you when absolutely necessary if you help out the young man out," Inner Tayuya said calmly.
'Fine,' the flutist replied, trying her best not to lose her cool. 'I'll just kill his sorry ass later,' the redhead thought to herself.
"And no killing; the blonde kid stays alive!" the now disembodied voice shouted.
Tayuya went off on a string of mental curses as she went through those age-old hand seals and slammed her right palm down on a tree that was conveniently next to her and mumbled, "Kuchiyose no Jutsu." A moment later, a blindfolded demon was cradling Tayuya and the unconscious, orange-clad ninja as it bounded through the trees bordering the village towards the ex-Otonin's cabin.
Naruto had struggled through the forest for a good long while, but as his luck would have it, he collapsed from exhaustion just outside of a village. Currently he was within the room that held the Kyuubi and was sitting with his back against a soundproof glass wall that stood directly in front of the demon's cell. Naruto had no idea how long he'd been sitting there, but from time to time, he would feel the Kyuubi make an attempt to shatter the troublesome transparent membrane by ramming his claws between the bars into it. The demon had yet to even leave a scratch in it.
Naruto was deeply annoyed because while he was still receiving chakra from the enormous fox; though it seemed that the glass wall was forcibly extracting the Kyuubi's chakra and transferring it to him. The blonde Jinchuuriki knew that this was far from the natural process of the Shiki Fuujin and had come to the conclusion that it probably had something to do with the seal that, that super pierced freak Pein, had slammed over the Yondaime's greatest seal.
Then, for what must've been the umpteenth time since he'd sat down, the blue eyed Genin felt the glass rumble as Kyuubi's claws slammed into the cumbersome member. He turned to see if the glass had yet to be phased, but instead of clear crystal he saw what looked like a giant sheet of paper blocking his view of the cage. "What the hell?" was all Naruto said in his slightly surprised state. It took another five seconds for the blonde to figure that the demon fox had finally discovered a way to communicate with his jailer.
The blue eyed Jinchuuriki immediately proceeded to read the chicken scratch that was the mightiest of all the Biju's handwriting, "Oi, Kit, that bastard Pein is trying to transfer all of my chakra into your body. It's taking huge chunks at a time but it seems to only work at a super accelerated rate at night. If I had to guess it'll take at least six months. I can't get any more than that unless something big happens. Just try to avoid using my chakra as much as possible, otherwise, you, me, and the whole damn world are fucked."
When the blonde Genin finished reading the note, it burst into flames revealing the very angry eyes of Kyuubi and a demon sized tick mark were the teenager could only guess where the demon's forehead would've been. Naruto was one able to get one message from the king of all death glares that the hundred meter tall kitsune was giving him, "Break this seal or die with me."
The Kyuubi container almost instantly began to contemplate how exactly he was supposed to remove a seal he had no knowledge of, that had been placed over what was possibly the strongest seal known in the ninja world, when he heard the soothing sound of only what he could assume was some kind of instrument. Naruto watched as the room slowly began to dissipate as he regained consciousness.
Tayuya was currently sitting in one of the two very uncomfortable wooden chairs that went with her two-seater table as the futon she would have normally sat on was occupied by a still unconscious, orange-clad ninja. The ex-Otonin still couldn't understand why she let her conscience talk her into dragging the dipshit's ass back here, but she was positive that as soon as the blonde idiot was awake, she'd let two and a half years of pent up rage, anger, and just about every other negative emotion she'd felt, out on the blue eyed teen.
'The only question now is what I should do,' the redhead thought to herself as she continued playing her flute and the song that she so often used use to command her doki. 'I could shove a kunai up his ass, but knowing the gay prick he probably is, he'd enjoy it. Guess I'll wait till he's awake to decide what to do.' Tayuya took a quick glance at the sleeping blonde and closed her eyes to better focus on the one song she could still remember from back when she had a real family, a real home, and real life.
No more than ten minutes later did the Kyuubi container sit up and look over at the form of the redheaded foul-mouth playing a rather melancholy melody with clouded eyes. All he said was, "That's a rather beautiful song, though it's kinda sad."
The ex-Oto kunoichi instantly stopped playing and opened her eyes to look at the blonde as he rubbed the sleepiness from his eyes. When she saw him look at her again, he blinked twice before his jaw dropped and his eyes bugged out, giving Tayuya only enough time to think, 'Shit.'
That's when Naruto shouted, "You're one of the people who helped Sasuke go to Orochimaru-teme!! What the hell are you doing alive; Shikamaru said that Temari crushed you with half a forest?!"
The flutist's anger rose in what must've been record time as she shouted, "I have every damn right to be alive after what that lazy-ass rat and that blonde whore from Suna did to me!! How the hell are those two little shits anyway?" the redhead asked rhetorically. The blonde Jinchuuriki's eyes quickly grew wide and darkened not a moment later as he hung his head low and mumbled something that was incoherent to the brown eyed woman.
Tayuya was quick to snap at the container of Kyuubi, saying coldly, "What's wrong, they both die on a mission with you or something?"
Naruto's head only hung lower as he slowly shook it before stating, "Konoha was destroyed by Akatsuki and as far as I know, I'm the only one who's still alive."
A/N: And cliff hanger, well sort of. Anyway I hope I did a pretty good job writing this chapter. I'll be alternating between this and A Reason for Living with an update on either Thursday or Friday. So just do the usual; leave a review if you want and please contain the flames. Till next week, Ja.