An Alternative Path Side Story

Written in Flesh: Twenty Facts About Sajiki Atsuko

Author's Note: Here we go, twenty facts about Atsuko. I know she's a character that a lot of you are unsure of, so hopefully this answers some questions.

I didn't think I'd have this up so soon, but Chapter 18 is getting tough since I want it to be really really perfect. I figure I'd put this up until then.

Warning: This is depressing as shit, but then, Atsuko's story is. Also contains a couple massive sections, but they're really important.

IMPORTANT: This story is AU. That means ALTERNATE UNIVERSE. That means I can do whatever the hell I want and you have to suck it up and deal.

BTW: I don't own Naruto! I do however own Sajiki Atsuko, Yamamoto Yuuka, and Kimura Shuu. You can borrow them if you give me credit.

Written in Flesh

One:

Sajiki Atsuko's parents were shinobi of The Village Hidden In the River. Her mother had been a chunnin and her father a jounin.

One day her mother accepted a mission to assassinate a politician in Waterfall. The politician had hired a team from Waterfall to protect him.

Her mother never returned.

Her father went mad with grief and sought revenge. He failed.

Atsuko never forgave her parents for choosing duty over her.

What she's conveniently forgotten is that her father was not acting like a shinobi that day.

After all shinobi rule number one is loyalty to the country above all others, including wives.

Two:

Sajiki Atsuko was raised by an ex-medic nin. Her aunt, her father's sister had announced her retirement and plans to move to Tea Country the day after her father was declared dead. The left the day after that and never looked back.

Her aunt got a job as a doctor at the hospital and soon began teaching her niece all she knew about healing.

So long as it wasn't jutsu. Atsuko refused to learn even the ninja art of healing.

Three:

Sajiki Atsuko received a death sentence at the age of seven. After three weeks of spontaneous fainting, shortness of breath, and chest pain she was diagnosed with a rare degenerative heart condition.

She was told she wouldn't reach the age of fifteen.

Her Aunt cried for three weeks and then turned to Atsuko and told her that if they were going to beat this thing they better get to work.

Atsuko had mastered the basics of fuinjutsu six months later.

Four:

Sajiki Atsuko has an IQ of over 180. She is incredibly gifted in the fields of mathematics and physics. She passed the medical examinations to be a nurse by age ten. She became a licensed doctor by age twelve.

Like many geniuses she has very little idea how to interact with 'normal' people however. Eventually she learned enough to know that most of them didn't understand big words and that logic had long escaped them.

After years of trying and failing to fit in, only to be ridiculed and belittled she stopped trying. Soon after she stopped caring.

Five:

Sajiki Atsuko created a life saving seal at the age of twelve. The first person it was ever tested on was herself. The testing process still isn't over though.

Atsuko knows that at any moment the seal could fail, and she will die.

That's why she's never used it on anyone else.

The waiting is killing her, she won't let it kill anyone else.

Six:

Sajiki Atsuko had her first heart attack at thirteen. She's had fifty-two more since then.

It's the most terrifying experience in the world. Pain lances through her arm and she can't breath properly, but through it all her heart keeps beating at the calm, even pace the seal forces upon it.

She cries after each attack. It's the only time she ever cries.

She just so relieved that she's alive. But she can't help but wonder how much longer she can keep this up.

Seven:

Sajiki Atsuko is wanted in Tea Country. After her aunt died when she was sixteen Atsuko was left with several millions of debt, debt incurred trying to develop a cure for Atsuko. She could not pay it. She left the country to avoid the banks.

Seventeen years later she has more than enough money to pay off the debt, with interest. She doesn't though.

She wants a reason not to return.

Eight:

Sajiki Atsuko strongly upholds the oaths of a doctor. She truly thinks of herself first as a doctor, and second as a Fuinjutsu master, despite her titles and claims to the contrary.

Of the six hundred and seventy four seals Atsuko has created in her life, three hundred and twelve are used to bolster or heal the human body, one hundred and twenty two are used defensively, two hundred and ten are a variety of proposes not pertaining to healing, harming, or defending, and only thirty are offensive attacks.

Sajiki Atsuko does not like actually seriously harming people, no matter what she threatens.

She has never killed anyone.

Nine:

Sajiki Atsuko is not a god, not matter what others think. Not matter that she has performed miracles, there are some things that are beyond her limits, and she is well aware of them.

No matter how much people beg, demand or threaten she cannot produce miracles out of thin air. So she holds her head up high, rolls her eyes, and asks as sarcastically as she can, "Do you think I am a god or something?".

But sometimes she wishes she were, because then she wouldn't have to tell desperate parents that there is nothing she can do for their child.

Those words always hurt more than anything else.

Ten:

Sajiki Atsuko was offered an entire village to rule if she would provide a seal to the Daimyo of Kusa that would, when activated, torture the one it was placed on.

She answered him in her typical fashion.

She flipped him off, stuck out her tongue, called him a fat, hairy ape, and said she'd rather burn off her eyelids.

She is no longer welcomed in Kusa.

Eleven:

Sajiki Atsuko doesn't charge people for medical services if they can't afford it. In almost every town she expects to spend more than a month in she opens a free clinic, free to the poor at least.

At her clinic everyone must wait their turn and everyone receives equal treatment. Money won't get anyone far.

Atsuko doesn't do it out of the kindness of her heart however. It's in memory of her Aunt, possibly the only person she really ever loved. And it makes for excellent practice.

Twelve:

Sajiki Atsuko just plain doesn't like people. She honestly doesn't . They're irritating, stupid, and hardly worth the effort it takes to maintain good relationships with them. They're selfish and cruel and rarely willing to see outside of their own little preconceived notions. She doesn't understand them and she doesn't want to, and she denies any thought that she might not be so different.

Atsuko has spent months in seclusion, with only herself as company and she was just fine with it.

If she's just a little lonely because of this, then that's fine.

Thirteen:

Sajiki Atsuko learned long ago that is was better to use people before they used you. How many times had she been taken advantaged of? Times she'd gone unpaid, times she'd been lied to, times she'd been forced into things she didn't want to do. Enough was enough.

Soon it would become known that Sajiki Atsuko was not a person to be played around with.

Fourteen:

Sajiki Atsuko doesn't like the way she looks. Every time she'd look in a mirror she would see that sick, tired person just waiting for death and she hated it.

She didn't design the Men seal to hide from people. She developed it to hide from herself.

The reason she changes it so often is because no matter how beautiful and young she makes herself look, all she sees is that ugly sick woman's reflection.

Fifteen:

Sajiki Atsuko almost said yes the last time Yamamoto Yuuka asked her to stay in Iwa. Each time she visits that peaceful country and Yuuka tries to talk her into living there she wants to just a little more.

At thirty-three she isn't as young as she used to be and it's getting hard to keep moving around.

Sometimes she wants a house. A placed filled with her things and her personality.

But the idea of having a house with no one to come home too is just so heartbreaking, that she always resists.

Sixteen:

Sajiki Atsuko has lost the function of her left leg, along with her liver, pancreas, uterus, right lung, left ear, right eye, the ring and pinkie of her right hand, and small intestine. If it weren't for Fuinjutsu she couldn't maintain the use of these appendages and organs.

The fact remains however that her body is slowly but surely shutting down, and while her seals can slow and even halt the process, they can't reverse it.

What worries Atsuko the most however is that her brain as well is affected. She can no longer recall her parents' faces, her Aunt's voice is beginning to fade from her mind, and scariest of all perhaps, she now has to refer to scrolls to perform seals she herself had created.

Seventeen:

Sajiki Atsuko has only one person she would count as a friend.

She's old, crotchety, a worse bitch than Atsuko is, and happens to only have one eye. But she makes the best damn tea this side of Tea Country and she doesn't take lip from anyone.

The tea lady from Iwa, whose name is Matsuka (whether that's a first or a last name Atsuko has never figure out) is the only person Atsuko has felt she could have a decent conversation with.

Because Matsuka cares jack shit about Atsuko's genius and fame.

So the day after Atsuko's fiftieth heart attack Atsuko found herself staring at a photo covered wall in that tiny tea shop on a tiny street in Iwa. When Matsuka, with her one eye and hideous shawl plunked a cup of Niiro Ha Cha on her table she barely looked at the ugly old woman.

"What's with you brat. You're more stupid looking than usual." Matsuka always did have such a way with words.

"Do you ever think about dying?" Atsuko asked, for once ignoring an insult.

"Sure, I'm an old lady. I could kick the bucket any minute now, as you so kindly remind me of every time we meet."

"Are you scared?"

"A little. Mostly I'm just sad." Matsuka shrugged as she began moving back to the kitchen.

"Sad?"

"People that die, and people that get left behind, they all feel sad."

Atsuko isn't sure she has anyone to leave behind. The thought makes her feel terribly lonely.

Eighteen:

Sajiki Atsuko is determined to be immortal, or at least as close to it as she can get. Atsuko isn't stupid and she knows, she deeply, deeply knows that her body will fail her one day, hopefully before her mind does, and she will shove off this depressingly mortal coil with no one to mourn or miss her, but even so she's determined to be remembered.

The only way to be truly immortal is to be forever remembered.

So she builds up her own legend, making it much more fantastic than it really is. She plays up every strange quirk and annoying habit she has, because she isn't heroic and never will be, unlike some she can name (Namikaze, Yamamoto, and so many others who incidentally were all shinobi, a fact that pissed Atsuko off to no end.). She isn't heroic, so she can't be remembered for that.

But if she can live forever as that Crazy Genius Bitch Seal Master, that's good enough.

Nineteen:

Sajiki Atsuko fears a lot of things. She fears dying, pain, and sadness. She fears that morning she finally, finally just doesn't wake up (or that day she has her last heart attack or that night she just can't pull enough air into her lungs or whatever) and she's all alone and no one even fucking realizes. She fears being told what to do and having control taken away from her (because Atsuko is near desperate for some form of control, she has so very little over the one thing humans can claim to own, themselves). She fears moving water (the Land of Rivers has a lot of rivers surprisingly, and Atsuko nearly drowned in one at age three). She fears the desert (she can't breath there and it's so easy to get lost). She fears cliffs. She fears ANBU. She fears Jinchuriki. She fears demons. She fears the night. She fears snakes. She fears killing. She fears losing a patient. She fears so so much.

And no one is allowed to know. Not ever.

Twenty:

Sajiki Atsuko looks out at the world, and knows that she belongs to a dying age.

She remembers having to fight, having to bite and claw and scratch and hiss her way to the top, because it was a man's world, both medicine and fuinjutsu, and women were rarely allowed to play. But now, there are two female Kages, some of the best doctors in the world have been women, and she herself has paved the way for lady fuinjutsu masters, although it was never her intent.

She remembers a time of constant war. The fighting never ended, and when it did it was generally acknowledged as a brief respite only. Boys walked out on the battlefield to become men and left as corpses. Girls who didn't fight (and there was so few of them then, much fewer than the one to two ratio villages are pushing now), the girls who didn't fight were taught that at any moment then men they loved could be gone and they would be conquered, in every meaning of the word.

She remembers when ninja were ninja, without any sort of honor or rules. But even ninja need to be able to look at their lives and not feel regret, and somehow honor just sprang up, and suddenly it was okay to stand up and stare your opponent down and have an actual honorable fight and expect the other to agree to the terms you laid down. And while half the ninja out there would still knife you in the back at the first chance, the other half, the younger half, the future of shinobi, wouldn't.

She remembers when Jinchuriki were intentional, and they were weapons, and no one ever saw them as anything more than that. But then a man gave his life and wanted the child to be a hero. And the child taught another child that there is more to life than the blood that gives it. And when she visits that tiny, tiny village somewhere deep in the swamps of Marsh Country, the one where five years ago she sealed a demon dog with five tails in a tiny little girl who grew up to have the greenest eyes and the widest smile (even if the canines are a little too long), she is amazed to discover the girl happy and healthy and the absolute delight of her village.

She remembers when Fuinjutsu was highly respected and revered as the true art of the Gods because only Fuinjutsu could restrain the demons and bind even the Gods of Death. She remembers when people who line up for miles to learn from the so called Masters (Masters she surpassed at age eleven). She remembers when shinobi would travel hundreds of miles to try to get her to teach them the most simple of basics. But now you can't find a child anywhere willing to put in the years of hard study it takes to truly know fuinjutsu, not when ninjutsu is so much flashier and easier to learn.

Atsuko remembers the world being a harsh, ugly, place to live. She remembers that survival was hard fought and won. She remembers that happiness was fleeting and rare and never expected, and she, despite her troubles, was one of the happier children.

The world is changing and Atsuko is falling behind.

So when a little boy who understands having to fight uphill battles, and that war is sometimes the only resort, and that honor is only good so long as he can keep his precious ones safe, and that he is a Jinchuriki and a human and a weapon too, and that fuinjutsu is worth it, even if its hard, and that the world is harsh, and ugly, and survival must be won and that happiness is fleeting, and that the world is beautiful, and joyous, and so completely worth it because happiness is fletting, so when Atsuko meets this little boy who hasn't been a child for a long time she tries desperately to cling to him in the only ways she'll let herself.

Because Atsuko isn't willing to give up her world yet.

--

Author's Note Reprise: Sorry for the massive last section but it's one of my favorites and I didn't have the heart to cut it. I think it's very important that I left the whole thing as well.

I hope you all understand Atsuko a little better know. She isn't all that she seems but sometime seems to be more than she is xD

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