The next morning Itachi was in an excellent mood. He was even humming a joyful tune when he was walking across the academy ground, which occurred very rarely. Kisame was already waiting for him, standing next to the tree which had become kind of their meeting point. It was the tree Hidan had been leaning against when they first met him. But now the silver haired wasn't there, just a impatient Kisame was jumping up and down.
"Man, I got a sunburn", he whined when Itachi had come near enough to hear it.
"I told you to sit in the shade when we were on the isle yesterday", Itachi shrugged, "but you wouldn't listen to me."
"Yeah", Kisame grunted. It was annoying that his black haired friend was always right. He wondered if there was anything Itachi wasn't good at, but he couldn't think of anything. He always knew what to do, he always knew what to say, and he was pretty strong, too, as Kisame had discovered yesterday. He still felt frightened when he thought about those angry red eyes that had stared at him. Kisame really didn't want to be Itachi's opponent one day.
"How's your little brother?", the blue-skinned boy asked to get rid of those thoughts.
"Well", Itachi said, "he just spilled his milk this morning and got all furious about it, but apart from that, he's fine."
"Hm", Kisame replied, not really listening. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't pretend he was interested. Little kids like Sasuke were crying and yelling and asking questions all the time, and most of them were afraid of him, anyway, so he didn't care much about them.
Suddenly, the boy heard a whisper, startling him out of his thoughts. He turned his head in order to see where it came from.
"Shush, they're talking", another whisper could be heard from above.
"Oi, Hidan, is that you?", Kisame asked, but then rejected his suggestion. Hidan would have come running towards them, and he wouldn't have given a damn whether he and Itachi were talking or not. The young Uchiha had heard it as well and let his eyes wander across the green treetop.
"Oi", Kisame shouted, "we already noticed you, you don't have to hide up there."
"Oh", a chuckle came from above, "I guess I was too noisy, then."
Itachi froze. He had heard this voice before.
Leaves rustled and a small figure appeared, quickly jumping down in a graceful movement. A slim frame wearing a black coat landed on the ground, his head covered with an equally black hood. When he finally straightened himself and lifted his head, two familiar eyes were looking at Itachi.
"Found you again", he smiled.
Itachi gave a puzzled look at the boy who had appeared in front of him. He wasn't scared, but yet a bit shocked by the looks of his counterpart. Kisame was an eye-catching individual with his blue skin, and Hidan's hair and eye color wasn't normal, either, but the kid in front of Itachi was stranger than both of his friends together.
"I'm Zetsu", he introduced himself and bowed his head. Even though the dark hood and the popped collar covered parts of his face, there was no doubt about it – his skin was two-colored, the left side white and the right one black.
"Eh, another freak", Kisame snarled.
The new arrival turned his head quickly. "Shut up", he growled.
Kisame smirked at the yellow eyes that were glaring at him. Yellow eyes… Was this the boy Itachi had told him about?
"Be nice", Zetsu then mumbled as if speaking to himself, then smiled at Itachi again.
"You are the guy from the woods", the black haired said with a quizzical look on his face.
Zetsu nodded, causing some strands of frizzy green hair fall from underneath his hood and across his face.
"Where's your mate?", Itachi asked without introducing himself first, completely forgetting his manners.
"Mate?", Zetsu frowned.
"You were talking to someone when I met you", Itachi explained, "someone who threatened to attack me."
"Was that so", Zetsu mumbled, averting his eyes.
"Why are you wearing such strange clothes?", Kisame interrupted and stretched out his hand, "What are you hiding, eh?"
When he tried to pull Zetsu's hood off, the yellow eyed boy suddenly jumped up and onto a branch of the tree behind him. He had moved there without even looking. Kisame was amazed.
"Eh, how did you do that?", he asked. He would have never been able to jump that high, on top of that backwards.
Zetsu smiled at him from above. "I can teach you."
"So he's trying to make friends again", Tsunade mumbled quietly, buried in thought, when Sasori opened the door of her office. The blond woman was standing with her back to him, looking out of the window. Startled by the sound of the door Sasori had closed behind him, she turned around.
"Oh, it's you again, Sasori-sama", Tsunade said with a smile, then frowned, "your back again?"
"No, no, it's fine again", the red head replied quickly and walked over to his colleague, "thanks to you."
"Glad to hear", Tsunade said, "why are you here, then?"
Sasori sighed. "I wanted to apologize", he said.
Tsunade lifted an eyebrow. "Apologize?", she asked.
"Yes", Sasori continued, "because I was pretty rude yesterday."
Tsunade tried to remember what had happened the day before.
"I interrupted your conversation", Sasori explained before she could think about it, "I'm sorry for that."
The red haired teacher hadn't intended to disturb them, but his back had been aching so bad he couldn't wait any longer. He wouldn't tell that to Tsunade, though.
"Ah, never mind", she said now, "we were finished, anyway. And Kakashi's always happy if he finds the time to read his trashy novel, so I think he didn't mind."
Sasori almost heaved a sigh of relief. At least she hadn't noticed how painful he really had been when he had come here yesterday.
Tsunade turned her head back to watch the scene outside and Sasori followed her look. On the yard there were a lot of students running around and playing together. There was some time left until the lessons would start, and the children were enjoying every single minute of it.
"Who's that boy?", Sasori asked and pointed at a child he had never seen before. It was obvious that Tsunade was watching him, and he didn't know him yet, so he was curious.
"Ah, that's funny", she said, "I wanted to talk to you about him, anyway."
"You did?", Sasori asked.
"Yes", Tsunade replied and walked over to her desk, sitting down, "there are a few things you need to know about him. I have to inform every teacher new to the academy about him. That's why Kakashi was here yesterday, by the way."
Now Sasori was really curious. Something every teacher needed to know? Very interesting. He sat down opposite Tsunade, giving her a quizzical look. The blonde woman took in a deep breath before she continued.
"His name is Zetsu", she started, "and he's considered very dangerous."
"Dangerous?", Sasori laughed. He couldn't believe an experienced kunoichi like Tsunade considered a child in his first academy year dangerous.
"Maybe not for us", she continued, "but for other children."
Sasori snorted. A lot of students were dangerous for other children. Hidan, for example, if he didn't learn to keep his temper.
Tsunade sighed. "You are able to sense other people's chakra, aren't you?", she asked the red head in front of her.
"Yes", he answered.
"So am I", the woman said, "and a lot of other teachers, too. Well, what if I told you we detected two separate flows of chakra in Zetsu's body?"
"That's not possible", Sasori called out, "nobody has two."
Well, there was one possibility known to him, actually. Jinchuuriki, people with sealed demons inside their bodies, had two different chakra types: on the one hand their own and on the other hand the one of the demon. But if Zetsu had been one, Sasori would already have heard of him.
"He has", Tsunade said, "and they're clearly separated from each other. One of them is in the right part of his body and the other one in the left part, and they're flowing in different directions, to be more precise, upside down to each other."
The male teacher frowned. He had never heard of anything like this before, but it was very interesting.
"That's odd", he said, "and do you have any explanation for that?"
"Yes", Tsunade responded, "we have."
"Hidan!", a soft call could be heard from somewhere far away. The sound made its way throughout the house, but was unheard by the silver haired boy addressed by it. His eyes were closed shut and he was breathing evenly, a slight snore escaping his half-opened mouth with every breath.
"Hidaaan!", a more forceful call was uttered, this time reaching his ears and startling him out of his sleep. The snoring stopped as he closed his mouth, running his tongue across his dry lips. He forced his eyes open and became aware of a cracked ceiling, a dark wooden wardrobe, some blankets. So he was in his room, after all. Hidan rubbed his eyes and stretched his limbs, but then stopped moving again. His body felt numb. There was no way he would get up, tired to death like this.
"Hiiidaaan!", the voice he had heard before called out his name again. To be more precise, it was a yell, pretty close now and sounding rather impatient. Angry footsteps could also be heard. Someone was going up the stairs. Hidan grunted and rolled over onto his left side, curling up into a ball and pulling his covers up to his nose. Suddenly the door of Hidan's room was slammed open.
"For the love of Jashin-sama, I can't believe you're still in bed!"
A young woman with dark hair and furiously sparkling eyes had entered and was now tapping her foot impatiently. "Do you know what time it is?", she asked.
Hidan bent his head. A frustrated moan escaped his throat when he had read the clock. Damnit, he had overslept again.
"Come on, move your ass already", the woman huffed. The next moment, Hidan's blankets were grabbed and pulled off his body in a sudden movement. He shrieked when he felt the cool air hit his skin, desperately reaching for the blankets.
"Fuck, give them back", he whined, "I'm freezing!"
"Serves you right", the woman said with a sardonic laugh, "if you insist on sleeping naked."
Hidan clenched his teeth. He wasn't naked. He just didn't like shirts very much. There was no need to wear one at night, as he usually had plenty of blankets to warm himself at night.
"Hurry", the woman huffed and left the room, taking his covers with her.
Hidan was on the verge of tears when he jumped out of the bed. He didn't mind if somebody swore at him, or if he got beaten up by his schoolmates, but he hated being cold, and she knew it. He wasn't used to get up that early, and especially when he had gone to bed late at night like yesterday, he could barely open his eyes. Hidan opened the door of his wardrobe with a jerk and shuffled on the first shirt he could get hold of. He clenched his teeth when he felt the cold cloth on his body, but then started slowly to feel comfortable. The boy dressed further in a hurry. He had already missed first period. It wasn't that he didn't like school, he was actually very keen on going there, but he couldn't manage to get there on time.
His housemates weren't much help. The dark haired woman who had stolen his blankets some minutes ago was the only one who would look after him. The other ones would rather get in the way and slow him down, even if it had been their idea to send him to the academy. Hidan was the youngest person living in this house, and he was the favorite target of the others. He didn't mind the teasing and swearing, as he used to tease and swear at others as well, but sometimes he wasn't in the mood, just like now.
The boy ran his fingers through his silver hair, trying to brush some strands out of his face. Even if the color of his hair implied that it was thick, it was actually rather soft and fluffy and always fell over his face when it was windy, so he used to back-comb it carefully every day before he left the house, no matter how late he was.
"Hiiidaaan!", the annoying voice could be heard again, "You on the move already?"
"Yes, for Jashin's sake!", the boy yelled and averted his eyes from his mirror. He grabbed his bag and rushed downstairs, quickly slipping out of the house before someone else could see him.
Tsunade had gotten up again and was staring out of the window. She couldn't stop watching the three students outside.
"Zetsu is an orphan", she started to explain, "he has been living here for several years. We found him in the woods at the age of two, hypothermic and almost starved to death. We tried to find out who he was and why he was there all alone, but we couldn't find any hint about his parents or other relatives."
"Oh my", Sasori sighed, "poor thing." It happened all the time that children lost their parents in wars, and then wandered around on their own. Unfortunately, most of them died, especially if they were as young as Zetsu had been. He must have been really lucky. However, Sasori felt pity for him. He knew what it felt like to lose one's parents.
"But being an orphan doesn't explain why he has two separate flows of chakra", Sasori said, still curious.
"No", Tsunade agreed, "the reason for that is that he's schizophrenic."
Sasori pricked his ears. "Eh?"
"We figured that out very early", Tsunade continued, "when we found him, he was rather apathetic, but a few weeks later he would start to talk to himself. Well, not to himself, actually…"
"It was more as if two different people were talking to each other. Two different people with two different voices – and two different flows of chakra."
"I see", Sasori mumbled, completely astounded.
"So", Tsunade said and turned around quickly, "what we have here is two different personalities in one body. Each of them has their own chakra pathways, abilities and habits, and they're obviously opposed to each other. That can be seen by the chakra flows, which are sharply separated from each other and don't mix at any spot, as well as by his skin, which is two-colored, black and white."
"I guess that's also what his personalities are like?", Sasori asked, "Black and white? Dark and light, like… evil and good?"
Tsunade turned her head and gave the red head a surprised look. "Exactly", she nodded, "and one of them is really dangerous. When the dark side is in control, he would attack people randomly, without distinguishing between friend and foe. The light side is rather charming, though." She sighed and eyed the boy outside again.
"He's been alone all his life", she said with a pitiful voice, "He tried to make contact with other children sometimes, but always failed. He's considered antisocial."
"But being antisocial doesn't make him dangerous", Sasori said.
"He is!", Tsunade called out, angrily slamming her hands on her desk, "Believe me, he is. When he realized he wasn't able to make friends, he started to keep himself busy with training. He is rather ambitious, so he learnt how to control his chakra and use weapons in no time. His abilities are amazing, but it's no fun at all when his evil side is in control of them."
The blond woman almost whispered when she continued. "He keeps sneaking out of the orphanage at night. He is under medication, but… it seems as if his dark side was in control during the night, after all."
Sasori stared at Tsunade. She looked worried and angry, so she must be serious about this. The red head wasn't able to say anything. But one thing was certain. This village was full of freaks.