Disclaimer: Nope still don't own Naruto! Lyrics at the end are from the song 'Tall Tales Taste Like Sour Grapes' by Fair to Midland :D From here on in there is going to be a lot of jumping around in the timeline and flashbacks (cause it just isn't Naruto w/out flashbacks, right? ) Enjoy and R&R (and thankies to those who reviewed meh prologue!)
Chapter 1 :
Tall Tales Taste Like Sour Grapes
"Get back here, Amaya!"
"Yeah, you useless brat!" yelled the two men that had been assigned to follower her.
A five year old Amaya ran faster as she heard them catching up, her left shoulder ached terribly, but she couldn't slow down, she would not let herself be caught by them, she would not go back to that awful place. She rounded a corner sharply and heard various metal weapons hit the wall behind her.
Now they were throwing weapons at her? She was scared, and her tears were blurring her vision. Before she could get out of the alley, and into the crowded streets, one of the men suddenly appeared before her. "Going somewhere brat?" she tried to run the opposite way, but found the man's partner blocking her only way out of the alley. She looked from one to the other, trying her best to hide her terror, as they pulled out their katanas.
"Did you really think you could outrun us?" the first man taunted, holding out his blade.
He took a step forward and leered at her triumphantly, even with the distance between them Amaya could smell the alcohol on his breath. She cringed and took a step back, glancing behind her; the man behind her took a cocky step forward and said, "Now there's no way for you to escape, so just come back with us quietly, and we won't hurt you, much." Amaya frowned, and grit her chattering teeth, "NO!" she hissed.
"Heh, and the boss had such high hopes for you, he would have made you one of the most renowned Geisha in the ninja world." The first man sneered.
Amaya clenched her fist, she didn't really understand what Geisha did, having only arrived at the house a week prior. What she did understand, was that these men had taken her from her orphanage, and they were not kind to her by any means.
The man behind her began to laugh, "You would have made a pretty whore!" he yelled katana raised, gleaming in the fading sunlight.
"Now that is no way to speak in front of a child!" said a stern voice.
The man paused mid-strike and Amaya took the opportunity to shrink closer to the wall behind her. The two thugs, turned to face the one who had spoken, seeing a fragile looking old woman standing at the entrance of the ally, a black cane in hand.
The thugs burst out laughing, "Mind your own business old woman." One of them said after his bout of laughter had passed.
"Yeah, keep walking granny or suffer the same fate as the whelp here." Said the other, holding his katana threateningly at the old woman.
The woman undaunted by the men smirked, "Well, you see, now that you have threatened me, this has become my business, you will not touch that girl."
"Oh yeah?" slurred the man before her, "and just what is an old hag like you gunna do about it?!"
The smirk faded from the old woman's face as she glared at both men. She regarded the distance between the thugs and Amaya carefully, and tapped her cane on the ground twice. The ground in the alley began to shake and two loud cracks could be heard. Dust and earth were thrown into the air and Amaya was temporarily blinded. She heard the two thugs scream and moan in pain, and was suddenly very frightened.
She began to cough, and the dust began to clear. When the dust settled Amaya sat stunned at the sight before her. Where the first thug once stood was a large hole in the ground. Amaya turned her head toward where her other attacker had been, and there too, was a hole. Amaya peeked her head over the edge of the hole, and saw the man lying motionless at the bottom, knocked out by the fall. Had the old woman done this?
The loud noise and commotion had caused many people to gather near the old woman to see what was going on. The old woman merely ushered them away, "Nothing to see here, just some stray dogs fighting." She threw the onlookers a sweet smile and slowly the crowd began to dissipate. Once the crowd had gone the old woman turned back to Amaya, who only looked at her with wide, nervous eyes.
The woman smiled sadly, "Come on out of there dear, I'm going to help you." She held out a fragile hand to Amaya.
Amaya thought about her options, anything was going back to that place. Amaya ran around the hole, and up to the woman. Instead of taking her hand, she threw herself against the old woman and burst into tears. The old woman was surprised at first, but a smile crept onto her face, and she returned the small girl's embrace.
Between sobs Amaya managed to let out a small, "Thank you." The old woman laughed softly and pulled away from Amaya, "No trouble at all my dear; now no more tears, they will not trouble you again, that I can promise." Amaya nodded and sniffed.
She put a half smile on her face and moved her left arm to wipe away her remaining tears, when an immense pain tore through her arm, she had forgotten about her injured shoulder. Amaya grabbed her wounded shoulder, and gasped for breath, blinking away tears of pain. The woman seeing the girl bent over in pain, cursed the thugs under her breath, and reached out to check the wound.
The old woman heard, and turned toward the familiar voices,"Itachi, Shisui, come quickly!"
Amaya raised her head in an attempt to see the two figures approaching. The pain had become so great that she felt light headed and her vision began to blur. She saw two boys stop before them. One was slightly taller than the other, but both had dark hair and eyes, beyond that Amaya could not see anymore as her vision totally left her. She sunk down to her knees, shutting her eyes tightly, to get some control of her senses.
She heard voices speak quickly, "Grandmother, what?"
"No, time to explain, Itachi, go fetch your father and meet me back here."
"Shisui, get her to the hospital as fast as you can, I'll meet you there when we have cleaned up here." Amaya felt someone kneel beside her.
She took a deep breath, and opened her eyes slowly, taking in the woman's kind smile, "What's your name, dear?"
"A..Amaya." she managed through pained breaths.
"Well Amaya-chan, my name is Bachi, and Shisui here, is going to take care of you, alright?" Amaya nodded weakly. Bachi placed a cool hand on Amaya's forehead. Amaya noticed Bachi's hand began to glow green, and felt her pain alleviated as the world went dark.
Amaya was awakened later by a sweet scent, one that she didn't recognize. Amaya opened her eyes slowly, blinking as her eyes adjusted to the blinding light shining through a nearby window. She took in her surroundings, when her eyes adjusted, and noticed she was in the hospital. She remembered the old woman that had saved her, and smiled softly.
'Bachi-sama' she thought affectionately.
As she scanned the room a little more, she found the source of the sweet scent that had woken her. There on the bedside table was a vase of beautiful blue roses. Amaya eyes widened when she saw them, she had never seen roses of that color before. She sat up quickly to get a better look at them, and immediately regretted it. She gasped as a sharp pain sliced through her shoulder.
Ignoring the pain, she reached out to grasp one of the roses, and she heard a voice, "Good, you're awake!"
Amaya retracted her hand as if she had been caught doing something she shouldn't, she found the source of the voice. It was one of the boys that she had seen with Bachi. He had been sitting in a chair on the other side of the room, Amaya felt foolish for not having noticed him sooner.
The boy acknowledged her with a large grin. Vision no longer distorted, she noticed that the boy was no older than her. His raven hair was pulled into a loose ponytail at his neck, and his eyes, although dark and fathomless, seemed friendly enough.
"We were really worried about you; you've been out of it for almost a whole day." Amaya remained silent, but nodded.
The boy stood up, and made his way over and stood beside her bed, he picked one of roses from the vase and handed it to her. Amaya blushed, and took the rose from him, with a shy, "Thanks."
The boy nodded, "You like them? My grandmother picked them from her garden for you."
Amaya held the flower tenderly, "Yes, I have never seen anything like them before."
The boy seemed to puff of his chest with pride, "That's because this kind of rose only grows in our part of Konoha."
Amaya looked at him a little confused, "Which is?" The boy smirked, "The Uchiha district of course."
A realization hit Amaya, 'Uchiha, that means that Bachi-sama, and this boy are…' As if reading her thoughts the boy introduced himself, "My name's Uchiha Itachi, what's your's?" Amaya felt a bit embarrassed she did not have a proud last name, like that of the Uchiha, in fact she did not have one at all.
"Amaya." She said hiding her eyes from his curious gaze with her bangs.
"Nice to meet ya, Amaya-chan."
He surprised her again by not noticing her lack of last name, and at this she smiled warmly, "Nice to meet you too, Itachi-kun."
"Aw, isn't that sweet, I think I'm going to be sick." Both kids turned toward door that had just been slid open, walking through it was the other boy that Amaya had seen with Itachi.
"Shisui!" Itachi piped, "Come and meet Amaya-chan."
The boy named Shisui looked a few years older than Amaya and Itachi, he had dark hair and eyes like Itachi, but his hair was much shorter, only about shoulder length, and his long bangs covered one of his eyes.
"Hey," he greeted cooly a lopsided grin plastered on his face, "Now that you're awake, I'll go get Bachi-sama, she talking right now with your father, Itachi."
At the mention of his father, Amaya noticed that Itachi seemed to stiffen, "Okay." Shisui nodded and sauntered back out the door.
Itachi remained quiet, but did not move from his spot next to her. The smile was gone from his face, and his eyes seemed to dull. Concerned for her new friend, she was going to ask him what was wrong, when the door slide back open and in stepped Shisui, Bachi, and a man who Amaya assumed was Itachi's father.
Bachi walked right up to Amaya and took her by the hand, "How are you feeling, dear?"
"Much better, thanks to you Bachi-sama." Amaya said bowing her head slightly to the woman.
Bachi's heart melted at the girl's sign of respect, "Now, Now, none of that, Amaya-chan, I am no feudal lord." Bachi laughed softly and Amaya raised her head, giggling as well.
Itachi's father, who had remained silent throughout the exchange, snorted and said, "At least the girl has a sense of propriety, mother." Amaya was surprised to see Bachi roll her eyes and wink at her.
"Well, Amaya, you've already met Itachi and his friend Shisui, let me introduce you to the sullen looking killjoy against the wall," Amaya noticed said man roll his eyes, at his mothers comment, "Uchiha Fugaku, my son, and head of the Uchiha clan." Amaya, who had been biting back giggles, suddenly felt very self-conscious.
Amaya met the clan leader's steady gaze, he had stern features, and he did not smile at her, rather he looked as though he were looking right through her. Amaya blushed and looked at her free hand on the bed to avoid his stare.
Noticing the awkward silence, Bachi spoke up, "Fugaku is also a captain in Konoha's police force, and he has taken care of those men that were hurting you." Bacchi paused seeing Amaya tense at her words, she gave the small girl's hand a reassuring squeeze before continuing, "He is heading up the investigation to close up the Geisha house their boss is running."
Amaya didn't really understand everything, but she supposed this meant good news for her. Amaya gathered her courage, and look up at the clan leader, "Thank you, Uchiha-sama."
The man gave a curt nod, and a "Hn."
Itachi, spoke up, "So, what will happen to Amaya-chan now, grandmother?" Bachi smiled and opened her mouth to answer him, but Itachi's father beat her to it, "Naturally, she will go back to the orphanage, where she belongs."
Itachi was disappointed with that answer, but did not argue. Shisui put a hand on Itachi's shoulder. Amaya hid her face in with her bangs, to hide her blush of shame.
Bachi twitched and her smile faded, her lips forming a thin line, she turned to face her son, "Actually, Fugaku, I was thinking of adopting Amaya-chan, and training her myself."
Fugaku's eyes narrowed, "Mother, you know that is out of the question, you're in no state to raise a child."
Bachi pursed her lips and placed her hands on her large hips, "Uchiha Fugaku, are you calling me old?!"
Fugaku brought a hand up to rub his eyes irritably, "Mother, please…" Bachi raised a hand, which made her son stop mid sentence, her tone serious, "I know what you are saying, my son, but I believe I am old enough to make my own decisions," she paused the playful note back in her voice, "Besides you might need Amaya nearby for the investigation," she turned back to Amaya who was looking at her with wide eyes, "and I do need someone to help me tend my garden."
After several tense moments, Fugaku sighed, "Very well, mother, Amaya-chan will be in your care, but she will not take the name Uchiha, that, she will have to earn."
Bachi narrowed her eyes at her son, "Caution to those who place so much pride in something so fleeting as a name, Fugaku." The clan leader merely raised a brow at her comment, "But very well, I will make sure Amaya-chan becomes one of the strongest kunoich this clan has seen, you can be assured."
Fugaku smirked, "We'll see, come Itachi, you've wasted too much time here, you need to begin your training exercises for today."
Itachi, who had been sharing a triumphant smirk with Shisui, let his face fall when his father beckoned him, "Hai, Father." Itachi made a move to join his father at the door, but Bachi blocked his path.
"Actually, I was hoping Itachi would stay with me today, you have been working him too hard lately." Fugaku sighed once again, "Fine, but I want him home for dinner." Bachi nodded. Fugaku glanced once more at the injured girl, to his surprise she met his gaze, unafraid this time, green eyes flashing with determination. He gave her a curt nod and exited the room.
Once he was gone, everyone left in the room, seemed to give a sigh of relief.
Amaya suddenly felt guilty, "Bachi-sama, I don't want…" "To cause me any trouble?" Bachi finished her sentence, giving Amaya a knowing look, she continued, "Amaya-chan, don't you worry about Fugaku, he is a proud man, but a good one, you will earn his favor in no time," Bachi picked up the blue rose that Amaya had placed on the bed beside her, snapped off the head of rose, and placed it in Amaya's hair, behind her ear. "And even if he does not accept you, you are part of my family now, and that's all that matters."
Amaya merely stared at the old woman. No one had ever said such nice things to her before; she didn't really know how to react. Itachi piped up and took her hand in his, "Yeah, don't worry Amaya, Shisui and I will help you train!" She looked from Itachi to Shisui who smirked and nodded. She looked at her hand in Itachi's, and up at his grinning face. She blushed, and looked back at Bachi, who nodded her approval. 'Is this what it is to have a family?' she thought. She smiled warmly at the group gathered around her, "Hai, I'll do my best!"
Amaya heard a distant voice calling her, 'Itachi?'
"Amaya, come on, wake up, we have to get moving!" the voice was closer this time.
"Alright, you leave me no choice, go for it Sol."
Amaya sat bolt upright, when she felt a wet tongue begin to lick her face, "Okay, Sol, okay, I'm awake!" Amaya said through a fit of giggles.
She managed to push the large wolf off of her, and threw her teammate a dirty look, "You couldn't have just shaken me or something, Mara?" The girl in question smirked, "Nah, it's more fun to watch you suffer."
The girls shared a laugh, as the third member of their cell approached them, "It's too early for you two to be laughing like monkeys."
Amaya and Mara shared a smirk, "Good morning to you too, Sunshine." Mara hissed.
Amaya laughed at her friend's comment, it was true, the male member of their group, Taro, was not much of a morning person. Taro rolled his eyes and sighed, "Let's just get this mission over with, so I can get back to bed."
He moved back to his part of the campground, and began to pack. The girls shared and knowing look, but soon got up and did the same.
As Amaya packed her sleeping bag, she thought about the dream she had just had. Another dream about her past, she had been having a lot of those lately. It made her uneasy; she hoped it was just her mind playing cruel tricks and not some kind of bad omen. Mara who had finished packing, noticed her friend staring off in the distance.
Mara smiled sadly, she had a hunch about what was bothering her longtime teammate, "Had another dream about him?"
Amaya glanced at her friend, but remained silent, and continued packing.
"Amaya, he isn't worth…"
"Thank you, Mara, I'm ok." Amaya smiled brightly at her friend.
Mara nodded, but didn't believe her one bit. She decided to let it go, but made a mental note to talk to Amaya when they were back in the village. The trio was really tired; this last mission had kept them away from their beloved Konoha for about three weeks. Now that it was over they were looking forward to returning, and getting hot showers.
Taro looked toward the horizon, the sun was just beginning to rise, "Let's get going!" he called to the girls as he took off into the trees.
They girls rolled their eyes at his sudden burst off energy. The girls taking one last look at the camp, launched into the trees after him, with Sol bringing up the rear. As the squad flew easily from branch to branch, they began talking about what they were going to do when they arrived at home.
Mara smirked at Amaya, "Well, I know of one Uchiha who will be happy to see you today, huh?"
Amaya looked over at her friend, with a raised brow, not really getting her meaning. Then it hit her, 'Sasuke-kun!!!' She could have smacked herself for forgetting. Today was the graduation ceremony at the academy, Sasuke's graduation, there was no way she could miss that.
"Oh shit, come on guys we have to hurry!" Amaya yelled as she quickened her pace with Sol in toe, within a second Mara and Taro lost sight of her. They shared a look of defeat. 'I guess nobody told Amaya that the ceremony isn't until tonight.' Mara thought with a silent laugh.
Tell me a story,
Tell me not to worry..."
- Fair to Midland
Wow that took me forever to write! Let me know what you think! 8P