Author's Note: This is a sequel to my previous novel, Dark Knight. I suggest you read it first, otherwise little to nothing will make sense, simple as that. XD
Warnings: (mass) character death, blood, mutilation, swearing, (hints of) yaoi, (hints of) yuri, original characters, nudity (lol yes), deviations from the canon manga, possible spoilers for the canon manga, psychological trauma, references to outside things (obscure; to greek plays or myths; to present-day psychological problems; to japanese myths; etc.)
Disclaimer: I, Digital Skitty, do own a lot of these characters. But they were designed solely for the Naruto universe, which I don't own. They are also, in most cases, the children of canon Naruto characters, which Masashi Kishimoto created and own. I do not own any of the actual things from Naruto, nor do I own the character Daisuke, but I do own Seishirou, Hitomi, Tomozou, and several other main original characters. I hope I don't get sued for this.
And now, the story commences! (And you can't blame me for not warning you about anything now. XP)
Once upon a time…
Arc One: Kirigakure
"Can't catch me!"
Team 8 skated across the water, fast enough that their sensei was worried they'd fall, skid to a stop, break their necks and various other bones, and then finally drown. It seemed quite likely, especially considering how his two boys were zigzagging across the ocean's surface. Honestly, why had he taught them how to walk on water in the first place…?
Because you live in Kiri, idiot, and it's a necessity. Would you rather have them drown? he asked himself. The man shook his head, and then continued at his leisurely pace behind his three students. They had been genin for half a year now. He should have a bit more faith in them all.
This mission had been simple, thank the gods. Head on over to one of the nearer islands, and take care of a few non-ninja thugs terrorizing a village. C-rank, really. And he had done most of the work… Miki and Seishirou had goofed off the entire time; Ryo was the only one who had helped at all, and that was on accident. One hell of a team he had here, that was for sure…
That was when Miki tripped. In her effort to catch up with the boys, a wave caught her toes and she went tumbling head over heels--right into Ryo. Both kids went under the water with much splashing. Seishirou skidded to a halt ahead of them, his grey eyes wide. The sensei just sighed, jogged over to where the two kids were splashing and flailing, and blew them back out of the water with a jutsu.
"And that is why you don't go racing around like the little hellions you are."
Miki landed less-than-gracefully back on her feet, but Ryo just hit the water again and sunk like a rock, again. The man hauled him up by the upper arm, sighing as his student coughed all of the water out of his lungs. "Th-Thanks, sensei…"
"You're all idiots," Seishirou said. "Who trips on water, seriously? But at least Miki-chan landed on her feet. Ryo, you fell like a rock!" He then dissolved into laughter, holding his sides. "And now I'm the only one who's dry. It's called karma."
"Karma for what?" Miki demanded. Their sensei, however, sighed again; Seishirou was right. Now he was just as wet as the other two, thanks to all of the splashing and Ryo dripping on him. Lovely.
"I don't know. Screwing up the mission?" Ryo said, running a hand through his hair to try to get some of the water out. It didn't help much. Miki kicked the water in his direction, splashing him. Seishirou just laughed at them again.
Yup, one hell of a team he had. Soon, all three of them were splashing each other, and not even Seishirou was dry anymore. At least they weren't far from Kiri.
"And the princess who became a dragon found her prince again, and they lived happily ever after…the end." The woman closed the book, which was just a simple, leather-bound tome. It was a modified journal, where she wrote bedtime stories for her children. Most of them were based on true events, though hopefully the small girl and her older brother wouldn't ever figure that out.
"I don't see why the princess would become friends with the dragon, anyway." That was the boy's main remark about the story. Every time the woman told one about the princess--because, of course, not all of them were--he would complain about why on earth would a princess want to become friends with a lowly dragon who kidnapped her.
Hinata didn't quite think that the Stockholm Syndrome would be a suitable answer for a twelve-year-old, regardless of how mature he liked to act.
She sighed minutely, tilting her head to one side. Sei is growing like a weed…Hitomi has grown so much, too, she's not going to be my little girl for much longer, she thought mournfully.
"Obviously, the princess was lonely and wanted a friend. The dragon seemed rather nice, anyway," the little girl in her lap said, with a small nod. "Mother, am I a princess?"
Hinata blinked, and looked down at her daughter. She smiled, petting her black hair affectionately. Hitomi gave a small huff, and her tiny hands hurried up to smooth the ruffled locks. She was always so fixated on how her hair looked. "I'd like to think you are, sweetie. Why?"
"I want a dragon," she said simply, as if having such a thing would solve all of her problems. Maybe it would. Hinata just gave her a little squeeze, and sat her down on her bed.
"I don't think you'd like to get kidnapped, Hitomi-chan. I hope you don't! I'd be terribly lonely without my little Hitomi-hime to keep me company!" She kissed Hitomi on the forehead, petting her again. Hitomi's hands fluttered up to fix her hair again.
Seishirou watched the bonding with a guarded look in his ringed eyes. Hinata glanced at him for a moment out of the corner of her eye, and then smiled at him. I hope you'd be pleased with your son, Konan…He's a fine shinobi, at least, she thought, shaking her head to clear her mind of such silly, sad thoughts. She didn't even know why there was this sudden wave of nostalgia. Maybe it was Seishirou's last mission, his first C-rank. Or maybe it was Hitomi looking up at her with those innocent, big doe eyes of her, asking politely for her own dragon.
No doubt Deidara would love to come kidnap her and spirit her away, but Hinata didn't want the same dangerous lifestyle for her daughter. She was still in the academy, anyway. Hinata had been fifteen when she met up with Deidara. There was a large difference between that and a nine-year-old who, to her knowledge, hadn't even created her first Bunshin yet.
Plus, Hitomi didn't even like the Byakugan. Hinata had never seen her daughter utilize it out of curiosity--unlike every Hyuuga she had known growing up--and had only wanted to learn the Juuken style so she could learn taijutsu at an earlier age than her peers. True, she was good at the style, but she was probably just learning it to augment her basic training at the academy.
Hinata kissed Seishirou goodnight as well, ruffling his hair. He didn't mind it as much as his sister, though it was messy enough that it didn't even matter. He wore his hair down for bed, something Hinata had always been somewhat amused at. With it down, he looked a lot younger. (Which was why it was always tied back during the daytime.)
"Goodnight, you two, I love you."
"Yeah, love you, mama." Seishirou grumbled. He was always sour these days at being put to bed like a child, especially with Hitomi. Hinata shushed his complaints with 'even shinobi need their sleep'.
"I love you, too, mother." Hitomi replied formally.
Hinata was about to close the door, when the door downstairs opened. Seishirou was out of bed so fast she could have sworn he used a Shunshin, and even Hitomi sat bolt upright in bed. "I'm home," Neji called, his voice floating up the stairs over the sound of the front door being closed.
Hinata exhaled with a smile. Somehow, she always felt like she was holding her breath when he was away on missions. She had quit her profession as a kunoichi, since someone had to stay with the children, and Kirigakure paid extremely well, anyway. Without any of the other villages still functioning, Kiri could charge as much as they wanted for their missions. It wasn't as bad as it sounded; it meant all of the ninja families were quite well-off, even with only one or two working. And as a jounin, Neji made quite enough money for them to be comfortable.
But, of course, jounin always had the worst missions. Especially with all of the Bijuu still roaming the lands. So far, they hadn't bothered Kiri at all, but it didn't mean that the village wasn't prepared for the inevitable.
Hitomi sidled around her mother, standing in the doorway, and quietly padded downstairs.
Hinata followed her at a more sedate pace. As she came downstairs, she found Neji still standing in the doorway, a kid wrapped around each leg and sitting on his foot. Seishirou was telling him excitedly something about bedbugs, and Hitomi was just staring up at her father with a solemn expression.
"Hello," he said calmly. He looked incredibly tired, but he was smiling in something like disbelief from the sudden addition of the children to his feet. "I thought they'd be in bed by now."
"They were supposed to be." Hinata gave them both a stern look, and the pair looked properly chastised. She walked over and extracted Seishirou by the back of his shirt, giving Hitomi a look that said if she didn't follow suit, the same would happen to her. The girl immediately let go. "How was the mission?"
He leaned down and gave her a peck on the cheek, before kicking off his shoes. "Tiring." There was something about the way that he said it that said it was more than that. Hinata shooed the children back upstairs, with many more threats of earlier bedtimes if they didn't go to sleep right away.
"What happened?" Hinata asked quietly, taking his hand and leading him into the kitchen. She pushed him down into one of the chairs, and set about to making tea.
"Two teammates died. One of them was Mizukage-sama's nephew." Neji mumbled, resting his head on his arms. "No, no tea tonight…I just want to follow the kids and go to bed."
"You'll have nightmares if you don't talk about it," she said wisely, still continuing preparing the tea. The water was already hot, and she poured it into a mug for him, pushing the glass in front of him. Neji looked at it dully.
"There's nothing to talk about, really…We just got ambushed by some rogue ninja. They seemed to know who we were, they went after Taichi immediately, I think they were going to capture him and ask for a ransom…" Gratefully, he placated her with a few sips of the tea. After a few moments, Hinata saying nothing, Neji said slyly, "Okay, kids, go to bed. Seriously now."
There was the pitter-patter of feet back up the stairs.
Hinata smiled. "I don't see how parents can cope without the Byakugan."
The next day, Seishirou didn't have a mission, but Hitomi had school. Which made for one very bored boy. His genin team all seemed to be busy with something or another, which meant he was basically confined to his house. His mother kept him busy enough, but of course he wouldn't want to spend the day doing chores, of all things.
So he decided to practice his jutsu.
Outside, his mother and father watched him idly, having their own conversation. Still, their white eyes were only on him. Seishirou first practiced a few taijutsu styles he'd picked up on his team, to warm up. And then he practiced several water jutsus, using a nearby pond as a water source.
But even that got boring very quickly. So he walked over to his parents, and asked, "Hey, can one of you spar with me?"
"I'm too tired, Seishirou," his father said with a wry smile. "I wouldn't make a very good sparring partner. Ask your mother."
She gave him a mild glare, and then shook her head. "Sorry, Sei-chan. I'm not a kunoichi anymore."
"Haven't gotten rusty, have you?" Her husband elbowed her in the side, eliciting a small squeak and a blush.
"N-No, of course not. I just don't see why--oh, fine, then." She stood up, brushing off the seat of her pants. She walked out to Seishirou, who was both amused and surprised that his father would back him up like this. "Alright, Sei-chan. Your move."
"Uh, okay then." He glanced sideways, almost for confirmation. Then he ducked low, and ran at her. But she easily sidestepped him, and he didn't even tag her hair, let alone her body. She smiled indulgently at him, and Seishirou just scowled back.
As if sensing his next question, she said, "You can go ahead and use whatever jutsus you want."
He didn't exactly want to hurt his own mom, but if she invited him…then who was he to say no? And there was this new jutsu he'd picked up from his sensei on his last mission that he'd just been dying to try out on something.
He started sealing, and his mother just watched him with her white eyes. He never really understood why both of his parents--and Hitomi--had white eyes and dark hair and he didn't, but he never felt the need to question it. Though he couldn't see anything near their level, somehow, his own eyes gave him an edge. He just had yet to pinpoint how.
"Katon: Gokakyuu no jutsu!" He brought up two fingers to his mouth to help ignite the fire, and created a fair sized fireball that engulfed half of the small courtyard.
When the fire fizzled out, however, his mother had just come out of some sort of strange spinning jutsu, completely unharmed. She was staring at him with curiously wide eyes. "I didn't know you knew that jutsu, Sei-chan. I thought you only knew water jutsus…"
Seishirou had the odd feeling that he'd done something wrong, but as to what it might be, he had no idea. So instead, the ginger-haired genin shrugged. "All they ever taught us at the academy was water jutsus, and boring stuff like the Kawarimi and stuff. But my sensei used a fire jutsu on our last mission, and he taught it to us on the way home." Sticking his chest out with a bit of pride, he added, "I was the only one who could do it by the time we reached the gates."
Somehow, that single jutsu concluded their sparring match. As he and his mother left, he also spotted his father watching him intently. As they walked back inside, he couldn't help but ask, "Mom…is it different that I can do two different types of jutsus?"
"Well…no…" She brushed a lock of her dark hair over her shoulder, once again reminding Seishirou of his own lighter hair, and chose her words carefully. "Most ninja can use a lot of different jutsus. But they seem to have a specialty that lies in only one element. Some shinobi don't have that specialty, and they can use all of the elemental jutsus with equal power, but that's somewhat…rare."
Suddenly, Seishirou thought he might have figured out what his weird eyes did for him.
That night, when Hitomi was helping their mother make dinner, he sat in front of the mirror in his room, staring at his ringed eyes. His vision was normal. And he didn't have the Byakugan. (Hitomi said it was weird, anyway, so he didn't want it.)
But somehow, these eyes of his saw jutsus, and he could use its element naturally. How did that even work?
They'd learned all about bloodline limits in their classes at the academy, and he could still recite most of them by memory. The Byakugan wasn't native to Kiri--it was native to some dead village that had been named Konoha. He could just barely remember moving into the village when he was three or four, so naturally they could have lived in Konoha first. Unfortunately, the school records didn't have much information on Konoha bloodline limits. He'd only known about the Byakugan because of his parents.
Somehow, he didn't have the courage to ask them about his own eyes. Or his own looks, for that matter. He had orange hair, for god's sake! And grey eyes. Hitomi was small with black hair and white eyes. She was like some sort of doll, and he was just…weird. He wondered if he was the bastard son of some other man, or if he'd been adopted somewhere along the line. And then he had to wonder who his real parents--or just father, as the case may be--were.
Downstairs, the doorbell rang.
"Seishirou, could you get that?" his mother called from the kitchen. Seishirou trudged downstairs, stomping his feet as much as he could manage on solid wood floors. Thinking all those things had put him in a bad mood. If it wasn't his dad--well, the one he thought was his real dad as of now--he didn't want any visitors.
He practically threw open the door, glaring upward into the guest's face. There was a moment in which said guest registered that a twelve-year-old was glaring daggers at him, and then came what could only be recognition. "Shit. Holy hell, Jashin-sama save my fucking soul," the man said softly, staring quite obviously at him.
"Mom, there's a guy here, and he swears a lot!" he called over his shoulder, and then turned back to this foul-mouthed man. He had white hair and pink-ish eyes, probably an albino. Weren't those supposed to be blind? Just to check, Seishirou kicked the man in the shin.
"You little--" The man clutched his shin, and then made a grab for the kid. Definitely not blind, then. "I'll rip your damn leg off, you little shit--"
"There is no swearing in this household!" Seishirou's mother called from the kitchen. The not-blind albino perked up, rage temporarily forgotten. Seishirou took the opportunity that he didn't have to defend himself in to study the man more closely. He couldn't be older than his parents…were they friends? But he'd never seen this man around the village before. And who was Jashin?
He was dressed in a torn, dirty, dark traveling cloak, with a bag slung over one shoulder. Something that made the bottom bloody was in the bag. The genin winced reflexively. Then he noticed that the man seemed a bit…lopsided. One arm was hanging loosely at his side, but the other one was…
"That's your arm in there," Seishirou said stupidly, pointing to the bloody bag.
"No shit, asshole. Now are you gonna let me in? I need to talk to the bitch princess like, right this fucking minute. It's kinda urgent."
"I said no swearing--" At that point, his mother arrived. She still had a dishtowel in her hands and her apron on, but she dropped the former when she looked at their guest. Seishirou stepped aside, looking back and forth between the two adults curiously. Yup, they definitely knew each other. "…Hidan."
"I need a place to stay," he said simply. "Some shit happened and I have a feeling that you need to know."
Next Chapter: Hidan brings bad news. Kirigakure is put on alert, while everyone tries to find Sasori and Deidara...