Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto…
Chapter One: Unforeseeable Compassion
Looking up from her paperwork, Tsunade shot me a dirty look and I rolled my eyes, half-heartedly twirling a piece of my black hair around my fingertip. Spotting Tonton, my pet pig that I shared with Tsunade, I scooped her up, cradling her in my arms, my dark eyes gazing down lovingly. Tsunade turned her face away, muttering something obscene under her breath and I smiled fondly at the older woman.
The paperwork pile had gotten ridiculously high and being the responsible one, I had forced Tsunade to cooperate.
"Be reasonable Lady Tsunade." I had argued, desperate for her surrender.
"You are the Hokage and signing, organizing and filling out the paperwork is part of your job. I just want you to become the best Hokage you can."
Rather proud of my encouraging mini-pep talk, I gave Tsunade my kindest smile and after meeting my eyes with a deathly glare, she had not spoken to me since. Although, as annoyed as she was, she knew I was right, but more importantly, she also knew that I was only looking out for her best interest.
It had always been like that. For as long as I could remember or as long as I wanted to remember, Tsunade and I had taken care of each other. Sure, maybe she was a risk-taking powerful blonde bombshell and maybe I was a laid-back, level-headed young woman, but we shared a friendship that was deeper than most and I couldn't imagine a time without her. As long as Tsunade would let me stay by her side, I would follow her to the ends of the earth and that was a fact.
"Shizune." Tsunade said, speaking for the first time in almost an hour.
"Don't you have anything else you should be doing?" She asked, her voice straining to keep a civilized tone.
"I don't think so, Lady Tsunade." I said, thinking hastily.
By now, I was used to her attempts at making me leave. It was a sort of game that we played together and every so often, she would win. We both knew she could send me out whenever she wanted to, but she never did. Tsunade was the type of person who enjoyed a good challenge and above all else, she played to win. If she was victorious, I would leave in defeat and she would drink from the hidden bottle of sake in her desk that Tonton and I pretended not to know about.
"As long as I don't give her a reason to send me out, I'll win." I said to myself smugly.
Tsunade looked up at me, her amber eyes gleaming and a sudden wave of panic washed over me.
"Nothing at all? Why that's perfect." She smiled, her teeth shining and I shivered despite myself.
"Why is she confident? I wasn't expecting that." I thought nervously, unsure of what to do.
"Well if that's the case, Shizune, why don't you take the rest of today off." Tsunade suggested innocently and I couldn't help but gasp in realization.
I had been tricked and utterly fooled by the Fifth Hokage.
"I…I'm perfectly fine, Tsunade, but thank you." I stammered, avoiding her confident gaze but by now, we both knew that she had won.
"Shizune, please, I am the Hokage, I can take care myself, unless you are suggesting that I am incapable…" She trailed off with a look of false hurt in her eyes and I still couldn't believe what was happening.
"Of course not Lady Tsu-"
"Well then, off you go. I'll see you tomorrow Shizune." She interrupted with a grin and before I had the chance to speak, I was pushed out of the office with nothing left but a squirming pig.
Still in shock, I let Tonton go and she scurried off down the hallway without a second glance as if on some important mission that I wouldn't understand and I supposed, she probably was.
"Well, that's that, I guess." I mumbled to myself in a discouraged tone and through the door, I heard the popping sound of a bottle of sake being opened.
"She sure doesn't waste time." I thought, biting my lip in worry.
Stretching my arms above my head, I began to walk down the long corridor, my eyes searching for the familiar door that led outside. Passing Genma in the hallway, he smiled as handsomely as he could and I sighed, turning my face in the other direction.
Recently, I had been the center of attention in almost all the eyes of the young men in Konoha, but I was far from happy.
One of the many annoying things Tsunade loved to talk about was my appearance. Somehow she seemed bent on making me recognize my so-called beauty but I just didn't see it. Our views of my appearance was very different and we were both as usual, convinced the other was wrong.
My hair was by no means beautiful. I kept it knot-free but that was about it. Other that that, it was shoulder-length and a boring black in colour. My eyes, dark as the night itself and my skin tone was the exact opposite. Tsunade described it as being porcelain-like, but I thought I just always looked sickly pale. Sure, I was thin and I wasn't lacking in the chest department, but besides that I was completely convinced that I was a very dull-looking person and to be honest, I couldn't care less.
Beauty didn't mean much to me and that wasn't about to change. I wasn't interested in Kotatsu or Genma or any of the other men, I just wanted to be left alone and I figured they would eventually give up and respect my wishes, though it wouldn't be anytime soon.
Tsunade had once asked me why I didn't care, why I somehow seemed content to just live out my life and die alone, but I never did give her a straight answer. Of course, people had their own assumptions about me and rumours floated around. Some people thought I was afraid of rejection, while others claimed that I just simply didn't have the time but I knew it was deeper than that.
The real reason was that I was afraid of loving someone too much, only to have them torn from me by the greedy hands of death. The fear being so strong, I resolved to be alone, but it wasn't really a huge shocker that I felt this way. After all, I knew the story between Tsunade and my own uncle, Dan, the love of her life.
They met and had instantly clicked together like two sides of a locket. With similar opinions and wanting nothing but the best for the village, they were perfect for each other, and then the unexpected happened. Dan died. He was mortally wounded on a mission and although Tsunade had put her soul into trying to save him and would have gladly given her own life for his, he had died.
Now, because of his death, her suffering would never end. She could dream of him every night, but no matter how much she yearned for it, she would never see him again and that was the truth. It tore me apart to see her around the anniversary of his death and if anything like that ever happened to me, I knew I wouldn't be able to stand it, like she bravely did.
So, I had vowed to give my heart to nobody and I was positive that I would have no trouble at all.
Gently, I rested my bloodstained hand on my aching ribs, that I knew had to be broken and I started to run. Running blindly was not something I was used to and neither was the overwhelming pain, as I usually won all my battles with complete ease, but I could handle it, I had to handle it.
Getting back to Orochimaru was more important pain, it had always been like that, but I didn't mind too much. He had to know that I had been targeted because anything that had to do with me, had to do with him. I was his right-hand man after all and I had to work hard to keep that position.
Although I was well aware that not only was Orochimaru evil, he was cruel and manipulative, but we shared a mutual bond and I planned to stay by his side forever. He was, in a way, like a father figure to me, although that may have been stretching it. Still we trusted each other and I had to warn him.
The ninja that had ambushed me were dead and if I didn't return soon, I, Kabuto Yakushi, would quickly join them. I would have liked to have stopped and healed myself, which probably would have made things a lot easier, but my chakra was almost completely drained and I could sense my vision was starting to fade.
"This is bad, I have to get back." I thought to myself desperately and the pain spread throughout my whole body, forcing me to slow to a fast walk.
"At the very least, I have to get away from Konoha, I'm getting way too close." I said quietly, urging my beaten body forward.
The attack had happened so quickly. One minute I was walking with ease and the next, I was dodging kunais.
"I'm such an idiot for letting my guard down like that." I cursed at my own foolishness.
For a while, I had held my own and then some but there were just too many of them and my chakra level was already low, having just returned from a mission Orochimaru had sent me on. It had been planned almost perfectly, as if they had been watching me for some time and they had all seemed to be around jounin level. Who they were, I didn't know, but I could tell by their outfits, that they weren't from Suna or Konoha. It was a miracle, I had won and I hadn't won by much.
"I have to keep going, there's no way I'm letting that Uchiha brat take over my position, I don't care how strong he's gotten, I can't give up." I thought, stopping to lean my battered hand on a giant oak, my breath coming in great gasps and I felt a stream of blood trickle down my chin.
"I have to keep…" I trailed off, feeling my knees collapse from under me and everything went black.
I stopped at the edge of the forest, trying to calm my breathing. The forest had always seemed large, dark and something to be feared, but usually once I was inside, I really enjoyed my walks. It was peaceful and calming and more than anything, I felt that I had escaped the stress that was my life. It was refreshing.
With one last deep breath, I started into the leafy forest and as usual I found myself content with my route.
"At least, it's only the late afternoon and is isn't dark." I said aloud, optimistically and I tried to smile.
Walking in silence, even my mind seemed to shut off and my thoughts were muffled by the steady sounds of my own footsteps. I was so immersed in the rhythm of my own beat that I almost missed it.
Backing up slightly, I could see a shoe sticking up over a huge oak tree root and I saw something move just behind it. As usual, my curiosity got the better of me and instead of just continuing on, I decided to investigate. Cautiously, I crept over to it, my gray kimono catching on sharp twigs and I gasped in utter shock. It took me less than a second to recognize the owner of the shoe, as I looked up his leg to his face and for a minute I thought I was hallucinating.
His body was so badly beaten up, that besides his face, there wasn't a spot on him that wasn't covered in blood, dirt or a mixture of the two. His silver-tinted hair was undone out of its usual ponytail and it was strewn across the forest floor and his bruised face.
I knelt down next to him and removed his cracked glasses. His expression was calm and serene as if he couldn't feel anything couldn't feel anything, couldn't feel the pain but I knew that was impossible. The infuriating smirk that always seemed to accompany him, was nowhere to be found and I never before felt the way I did at the exact moment.
"Kabuto." I whispered, my voice thick with pity, as I brushed some loose, silver hair away from his eyes.
Shaking my head quickly, I turned away from the bruised, young man.
"No, this is wrong. I can't help him, I should leave him here to die, he is nothing to me. He is a puppet of the enemy and to die here in pain, is what he deserves." I said firmly, but I still wasn't completely convinced and I looked back at him, biting my bottom lip in worry.
Balling my hands up into tight fists, I rose and started to swiftly walk away.
"This is no concern of mine." I said aloud, trying to forget his innocent look, but my mind wouldn't let me and I stopped, not yet twenty yards away.
"I shouldn't be doing this…I shouldn't be considering…" Trailing off, I turned around and with a quick impulsive decision, jogged back to Kabuto.
Picking up his dirty glasses off the forest floor, I slipped them into my kimono sleeve pocket and sighed heavily.
"Nobody must ever find out." I muttered and I carefully slung the suffering young man over my shoulder.
"I don't know why I'm doing this…for him of all people, I just don't know." I thought, shaking my head and I laughed aloud in the foolishness of it all.
Being a person with logical thoughts, impulse was not something I operated on, and to be exercising it with the enemy was unthinkable.
On my back, Kabuto groaned in pain and my unexplainable sympathy for him rose, forming a lump in the back of my throat, making it hard to breathe.
For once in my life, I was glad I lived so close to the forest, my own balcony overlooked it, I was as close as I could get. This would make getting him inside my apartment a lot easier and I was grateful.
Slowing down to a walk, I approached the fair-sized building from the back and I faintly heard the chatter of people outside the front door.
"Why do people have to hang outside an apartment?" I asked myself, irritated.
Quickly realizing there was no other way, I tightened my grip on Kabuto and stared up, jumping from balcony to balcony.
"Thank goodness I keep my balcony door unlocked but why do I have to live on the top floor?" I groaned and I could barely contain my fear of being discovered.
I could just imagine Tsunade's betrayed face and I swallowed hard. The last thing I ever wanted to do was disappoint Tsunade but I knew, that if I was caught that was exactly what I'd do.
A cool breeze blew through my silver hair and I could barely open my eyes, as the pain was too intense.
I realized I had been saved, wincing through the ongoing stream of agony. Orochimaru was the first name that crossed my mind but I quickly discarded it.
"There was no way he could have known, I haven't been out for too long because I can tell it isn't dark and there's no way I would have lived through the night. Who would save me of all people?" I asked myself, deep in thought.
I could tell it was a woman who was carrying me, my face resting against the soft fabric, covering her back.
"I'm getting blood on her." I thought guiltily and I wondered why I would care about something as stupid as that.
She smelt nice and stargazer lilies were the first thing to come to mind.
"Lilies." I thought, trying to smile.
"Those beautiful flowers that last forever."
Thinking hard, I tried to remember what the word for it was.
"Perennial." I mumbled and I felt the woman's face turn to look at me over her shoulder.
Before I could think anything else, I felt myself start to slip out of consciousness again and I didn't fight it. I inhaled deeply, letting the wonderful fragrance fall over me and I knew full well that my life rested in the hands of the sweet smelling lady.
After much banging around in the living room, in am unsuccessful attempt to keep quiet, I carefully placed Kabuto on my bed, his head resting on the first pillow I found. Taking off his dark vest, I left his thin, white shirt on and gathering my chakra in the palms of my hands, I focused everything I had into saving his life.
Why? I didn't know, but something deep inside of me told me it was the right thing to do.
"How could this be happening? I'm the sensible one, I always have been." I asked myself quietly, but I didn't think about it to much, fearing the swell of pity that I couldn't understand.
I didn't break once and beads of sweat gathered on my forehead as I worked.
"What happened to him?" I wondered curiously and I decided I would ask him when he came to, after all, I deserved to know.
It felt like days had passes before I finally stopped, but in reality it had only been hours, long hours nonetheless. I was lucky, or more, he was lucky, it looked like he was going to live, but he was far from ok.
Nearly all his ribs had been broken, as well as a broken arm and other equally nasty injuries. Still, even with my healing, he would be confined to his bed, or, my bed for at least two weeks and that was at the very least.
"Those are going to be very long weeks." I thought drearily, but I knew it was my own fault.
Walking out of my bedroom, I reached the kitchen and I quickly wet a blue washcloth to clean his face.
"At least, he looks a little more like Kabuto and a little less like a neglected doll." I said under my breath and as silly as it sounded, that was exactly what he had looked like.
Making my way through my living room, into my bedroom, I sat down beside Kabuto and softly, I began wiping the dirt off his face.
"You're very lucky, Kabuto, I don't know what I was thinking, I still don't." I whispered to him even though I knew he couldn't hear me.
When his face looked a little more decent, I stopped and realized how much chakra I had used. Utterly exhausted, I collapsed beside him and I wondered in slight amusement, what he would think when he finally awoke to see my face lying peacefully next to his.
This was an experiment, to see if I could actually write about my favourite pairing and I like how it turned out. I know this is a little far-fetched, but I tried...