A/N: Hey! It's me, Tyranno's girl! And now, since I am kind of waiting on updating ASUE (I want to write the last few chapters and upload them all at once), I bring another installment of the Akatsuki Horror Series!
Deidara- Oh great, un. Who dies in this one?
TG- Actually, no one surprisingly.
Deidara- Are you serious?!
TG- Yeah, but you're technically insane in this one.
Deidara- What the hell did I ever do to you, un?!
TG- Any who… The song this fic is based on is "Dark Woods Circus" and it's sung by Miku Hatsune, Len and Rin Kagamine, and Kaito Shione. The fic is based in um… It's another old-time England piece. Hm… I don't know what else to say except that I hope that people like it.
Notes- "Italics"- Is speech from the song.
"(Is anything spoken in Japanese)"
Disclaimer- Although I hope to do a cover for this song one day, I don't own it or Naruto.
The Dark Woods Circus
It was a normal morning in London. People were either walking about the streets, shopping, or riding in horse-drawn carriages. Others were working hard as vendors and merchants, trying to make a living for their families.
"Father, can we get some jam? Please?" A small voice chimed out. A certain group of these people were a small family of three. There is a small, spiky blonde boy with blue eyes looking at the wares of a sweets- salesman. A man with messy silver hair tilts his head to the side and replies,
"Maa… I don't know Naruto, maybe we could get some for tomorrow…" Suddenly, he's hit upside the head by a feminine, yet perturbed-looking brunette with his hair up in a spiky ponytail.
"Oh no you don't! When you get him all hyped up on sugary things and you go to work, who has to deal with him, hm? That's right, me!"
"Iruka, you worry too much…" Kakashi cooed, trying to hug the brunette but only succeeding in hugging air as Iruka went to get Naruto away from the sweets-stall.
"Come on, Naruto! We'll get something to eat at a nice restaurant and then we're going home, alright?" The blonde boy whined but answered,
The Hatake family (Kakashi, Iruka, and Naruto) was a family of Japanese immigrants who had moved to Japan for a chance at a better life for the little orphaned boy they had taken in. It had worked, Kakashi had a good-paying job at a printing press, and Iruka gave piano lessons while Naruto went to school. It was a good life. "You know, I heard of a new restaurant on East… Street?" Kakashi trailed off.
"What is it?" Iruka asked. Naruto was curious too but after a minute, he heard it too.
"They're bells." Soon the bells increased in volume and everyone in the street slowly stopped their movements and listened. Soon, the bells were accompanied by the clacking of hooves on the cobbles-stone streets.
"Horses now too?" Kakashi asked, trying to see what was going on. It seemed like forever until a child cried out,
"Look Mommy, it's a circus!" At that moment, they all saw it. There was a large group of horses pulling large covered crates behind them. At least, from far away they looked like horses. As they got closer, Naruto's eyes widened and he gasped,
"Is that.. Is that a unicorn?!!" The white horse in the front with a flowing, golden mane, had soulful, brown eyes and a golden horn protruding from the center of its head. Iruka gasped,
"It's not possible..?" Until he saw another on of the horses. This one was pink and had large, feathery, soft-looking wings flapping on its back. There was another that creeped many of the citizens out. It was pitch-black with red ribbons in its mane and grey fins spiking out from its back. Its wide nostrils flared each time it took a breath and it looked at the citizens, specifically the children, with abnormally wide black eyes. Then, there was a horse that Kakashi and Iruka only thought existed in Japanese legend. It was an off-white color and had furious orange, slitted eyes. Its hooves were sharp and coal-black and its mane flowed like fire(1).
As these creatures pulled the crates, they were followed by an entourage of people covered from head to toe in red and black cloaks. Some of them were grossly taller than most people and others were scuttling against the ground. When they all caught up to the horses, the figures position themselves around them, a few of them bring out accordions, and others have bells. There's a sound from behind them and they begin to play a solemn circus tune. Everyone seemed to be entranced by the music, it felt as though it was taking ones childhood memories and warping them right before one's very eyes into a vague shadow.
As everyone watched the spectacle, another carriage pulled up. The music increased in volume and tempo and now drums were added as the carriage approached. Then, a man with long, spiky, black hair wearing a long black and red cloak opened the door of the carriage and began tossing out flyers. All the children that were present began trying to catch the papers, even Naruto escaped from Iruka's grasp to join them. As everyone, children and adults alike, were trying to get flyers, the man jumped out of the carriage holding a red cane and top hat. Upon getting to the ground he began to address everyone,
"Oh, you're here, you're here!" He threw out some more flyers and some candied-fruit. Children flocked to him to receive some of the sugary treats. When they were all around him, the man smiled and spoke, "Oh, hello there small ones. My name is Madara and as you can see from my carts and my beautiful animals…" At this, all the horses whinnied and snorted, "I'm the ringmaster of my own circus. Isn't that wonderful?" The children awed and ooh-ed at the man's words. Madara pulled a large flyer from his hat and held it open. It was a drawn picture of a black and red circus tent surrounded by spindling trees and a dark night sky. He began to speak in a loud voice, addressing everyone,
"Tonight, we'll be showing
The sad fate that some of this world carries..!" He then went back to the children but his gleaming eyes focused on one in particular: The little blonde boy that was waving his candy at the unicorn, trying to get its attention. Madara smirked and asked, "Would you like to pet them? They're really quite sweet." Madara tried to pet the unicorn but the creature whinnied and tried to run away. Madara grimaced and grabbed its reigns, growling, "Now, now, don't do this in front of the children!" The unicorn thrashed some more and at that point Iruka ran up and picked up Naruto.
"Naruto, get away from there!" Naruto squirmed and whined in Iruka's arms, stating,
"But I want to pet the unicorn!" Madara had finally calmed the horse down and walked over to the two, saying,
"Now, now, everything's alright. It's just a new city and she's nervous. You both can pet her, in fact," He stated to one and all, "You will all be able to see creatures like these, and some even more disturbing!" Just then, one of the covered carts shook and jarred as if something was inside it, trying to break out. Everyone gasped as they saw the cart shake. Madara huffed and continued,
"Yes, Children that God has abandoned, restlessly creeping out,
Children who can't even carry the trembling limbs they were born with!" Then the first cart, a scarlet red and white one, emitted a sorrowful groan of pure anguish. Madara stood in front of it and threw out more candy, trying to distract attention from it.
"Their shaking tongues even accidentally cry out!
The crowns of their head that caress the dark clouds!" Then there was a loud, raucous laughter from the burgundy and yellow colored cart, followed by a soft whisper of something in a strange language. Well, to most a strange language, to the Hatakes, the sound of their native Japanese being spoken had never sounded so… sad.
"(Be quiet… Come on now, be quiet!)" When the noises began again, Madara tried to drown them out again, signaling for the music to be played louder and calling out,
"They smile as they dream of their mothers embrace
Oh, the deformity!
DEFORMITY!" At this moment, Naruto asked,
"What's a deformity?" Kakashi replied,
"Something that's strange, Naruto. Something that someone was born with or that they have that people don't consider normal." Iruka held Naruto closer to himself, stating,
"Or it's just a term that cruel people use to describe those who are different than others." Madara smiled at the brunette's words before asking, "Ah, 'Naruto'… So you three must be from the land of the rising sun. Our beautiful Japan?"
"You're Japanese?" Iruka asked. Madara nodded and looked at Naruto.
"You know, you three should really come to my circus. I promise you, it's an unbelievable experience." The black-haired man leaned down and ruffled Naruto's hair, smiling, "You might not ever want to leave." And with that, Madara walked off and signaled to the entire circus troupe. They began playing their instruments again and they marched away. "My show starts as soon as the sun sets!
Drop by and see the show tonight...
Drop by and see the show..!" Soon, the whole troupe had disappeared into the nearby forest, leaving a bunch of murmurs of curiosity. However, Naruto grasped Iruka's shirt and began to plead,
"Mother, can we go? Please?" Iruka... wasn't sure. Of course, he was always excited when they met another Japanese person in London. But something about Madara simply... unnerved him. But before the brunette could try and convince Naruto to try and do something else this evening, Kakashi took Naruto and stated,
"Of course we can! It'll be fun." Naruto cheered.
"You're kidding me, right?" Iruka whispered harshly into Kakashi's ear. The silver-haired man nodded, saying,
"Come on, Iruka. It will be nice to go out this evening. And besides, how long has it been since either of us has seen a circus?" Iruka whined softly but he knew Kakashi had a point. The last circus he had seen was when a small group of performers had to stop and take a rest in his small fishing-village back home. He was around five back then...
"Oh, fine. But if Naruto gets hyped up on sugar, you're handling him!" Kakashi sighed. A heavy price but it was worth it when Naruto's face shined with the prospect of going to the circus. "Now, let's get going to that restaurant. I don't want to lose our reservation." As Kakashi called their coach(2) over, Naruto began to chatter about the horses.
"Did you see the unicorn! It was so pretty! Oh, and the Pegasus was pink and it smelled like sugar! Oh, and..." Kakashi and Iruka sighed, it was going to be a long evening.
Later in the day the sun began to set, bathing London in a rich, orange hue. In the Hatake household, Naruto had been impatiently sitting at the window, eating the candy that Madara had given him and waiting for the sun to set. When it finally did, he jumped up with a shout. "It's time! Mother! Father! It's time for the circus!" Iruka himself had just finished getting ready when Naruto rushed into the master bedroom, exclaiming, "It's time! It's time! It's time!" Kakashi, who had been reading a book at the time, looked up at one of the windows and saw the sun setting.
"Hm, so it is... But just what were we supposed to do at this time? I wonder..." Naruto pouted right before he jumped onto Kakashi's lap.
"You know what we're doing! We're going to the circus! You two promised!" Kakashi laughed.
"Alright, alright. Iruka, are you ready?" The brunette put his hair up and nodded. Without anymore ado, they walked out of their home and signaled for a coach. The driver asked,
"Where to, guvnor?" Kakashi replied,
"Follow the signs." It seemed while everyone was going about their business, the circus had put up myriads of signs to direct people on where to go. The flyers advertising the 'Dark Woods Circus' led deep into the nearby woods and the driver asked,
"You want I should keep going?" Kakashi nodded and the coach moved on. This section of the forest seemed... darker than the rest and, as Naruto's slight shivering showed, it was a lot colder.
"Luckily I remembered your coat." Iruka murmured as he put the orange coat on Naruto before putting a brown one on himself and handed a grey one to Kakashi.
After what seemed like forever, the coach suddenly stopped. Kakashi asked the driver, "Are we there yet?" The man gulped before replying,
"You sure about this, guvnor?" Kakashi raised an eyebrow before opening the door and seeing for himself what had the driver so edgy. His eyes widened slightly as he realized the name 'Dark Woods Circus' more than did the spectacle justice. The main circus tent was as massive as if it were covering a giant arena. It was made up of sheets of the darkest black and the most vibrant red. Also, all the trees around the circus seemed to be dying. Kakashi gulped but said,
"Yes. This is the place." Soon after, the Hatakes got out of the coach and began to walk towards the tent. At first, Naruto was a bit scared and the storm that suddenly began rolling in didn't help. But then there was the whinnying of a horse and Naruto remembered why he wanted to come here.
"It's the unicorn! Come on, let's go!: The blonde boy said, grabbing his parents' hands rushing towards the entrance. Once getting there, though they all ceased and Iruka gasped. There, sitting at a desk in front of the entrance was what looked like a young man. He had long brown hair that was tied up at the end and pearly skin. However, the way he sat there so still in his colorful, middle-eastern clothes, and closed eyes, one would have thought that he was a statue. "Is he.. alive?" Naruto asked, inspecting the figure. Blue eyes widened as he saw the long, unkempt finger-nails on the hands that lay on the table.
"He can't be. It's probably just a prop for the show that someone forgot." Kakashi reasoned. Naruto, being the curious boy he was, simply touched the arm of the figure. Suddenly, the figure inhaled a shuddering gasp/squeal before moving his hands underneath the table. Then, with creaking noises accompanying every move, it moved its head towards Naruto and asked, in a creaky voice,
"Do you wish to see the circus?!" Naruto jumped back with shout and grasped onto Iruka's leg. The figure gave creaky laughs and actually coughed out some dust before bringing up his hands, which now held a roll of tickets, and asked again, this time much calmer, "Did you wish to see the circus this evening? Tickets at fairly reasonable prices.", and shrugged his shoulder at the poster by him. Kakashi wanted to nod but saw that the young man's eyes were still closed.
"Yes." Kakashi paid the figure and then the brunette ripped out three tickets and handed them to the family. The brunette smiled before stating,
"My name is Neji. I hope that you enjoy the show. Allow me to find someone to show you to your seats." Neji turned in his seat, eyes still closed, and called out, "Gaara!!" Soon, the sound of claws against the ground could be heard. Iruka expected something like a dog but when the fabric was put to the side, they all gasped. It was a boy. But he was very lanky, had narrow green eyes, long black nails, and, the most shocking part, he had red hair all over him. From his head to what seemed to be a large, bushy tail, the boy looked like a big, red raccoon! "Gaara. Here." Neji called. The raccoon-boy sniffed before going over to Neji and allowing the brunette to pet him. "He's very shy. But very vicious." Neji smiled before letting go of the boy. "Now, be a good boy and lead these people to their seats, alright?" Gaara growled softly but nodded before going back to the ground and walking, on all-fours like a raccoon, and gesturing for the family to follow.
When they were all gone, Neji smiled and moved his head up towards the sky. Before a single sound of thunder had occurred, he sighed, "There's a storm coming." Finally, when he was alone, Neji opened his eyes. Just to reveal the bloody orbs of glass that had been put in there to replace his eyes.
"Do you think he was born like that?" Iruka whispered to Kakashi as the three of them walked down the hall inside of the tent led by the raccoon-boy.
"It has to be a costume." Kakashi replied. But when Gaara's long, red ears twitched and he growled back at them, they stopped their conversation. Meanwhile, Naruto was being entranced by Gaara's tail. The way it gracefully swished back and forth, and it looked so soft! Just as Naruto was about to make the stupid mistake of trying to tug it, Gaara jumped a few steps ahead of them to a covered cage. He growled to it and in response there was a loud squeal. Gaara nodded and picked up a basket of discarded fruit from across the cage and pushed it closer. There was another squeal before what looked like a cross between a hand and the hoof of a pig came out of the cover, grabbed a half-eaten apple from the basket and went back in. After that, Gaara growled at the Hatakes and kept on going.
Finally, Gaara had led them to the main part of the tent where everyone else from the town was sitting in the arena-seating around the center of the circus. Gaara growled towards an empty section in the middle and Kakashi asked, "Can we sit there?" Gaara rolled his eyes and pointed a clawed hand towards the spot. "Guess that means yes." Kakashi and Iruka went to sit down but Naruto looked at Gaara a bit more. The raccoon boy growled but that didn't scare the blonde as Naruto hugged him.
"Thank you! And your fur is so soft!" Gaara blushed heavily before shoving Naruto back and running away from the confusing boy. "Aw..." Naruto pouted and whined.
"Naruto, get over here!" Iruka whispered. Kakashi called over,
"It looks like the show is about to start!" Naruto beamed and sat down in the space between the two men. Naruto was fidgeting in his seat,
"I'm so excited!" Then, someone in front of them asked,
"Naruto-kun?", before turning around and revealing a young woman with pink hair and green eyes.
"Sakura-chan!" The woman hugged Naruto from her seat and asked,
"So you guys are here too?" They nodded and Iruka asked his former student,
"I never took you for a circus person, Sakura-chan." Sakura smiled,
"Well, I just wanted to see what English circuses are like. You know, try new things." There was a flourish of drums and Sakura sat down. Then, the candles that had been lighting up the arena dimmed. There were some whimpers of fear as the light diminished but it didn't stay for long. Abruptly, in the center-ring of the room there was an explosion of red smoke. Everyone watched in silence until the smoke cleared up and then gasps rang out through the room. There was Madara standing on the back of a new, red Pegasus. He was wearing a red suit and a black cape and he addressed everyone,
"Good evening London! First and most importantly, I thank you for coming to my circus this evening. This evening, as I promised, I will be showing you strange and new creatures from the far east. But, as fearsome of some of these beasts are, do not be frightened. As long as I'm here, they won't try and harm you. Now, it is my honor to present to you all, The Dark Woods Circus!" With that, he stomped on the Pegasus's back and it whinnied in pain before taking flight towards the audience. The audience gasped as they saw the creature take flight and before it made a u-turn to backstage, Madara jumped off into the seating area where the Hatakes and Sakura were sitting. "Hello there. Ready for an unbelievable night?" Madara asked before running to the stair case and calling out.
"My first spectacle this evening shall be birds of legend. The first one is easily frightened, so I implore you all, keep your applause to a minimum." When the audience was quiet, Madara brought out a red flute and played a long, shrill note. Almost immediately from backstage, there was a shrill cry before a blur of red and orange flames flew out. It flew around twice before people could actually see what it was. What they saw was a flaming, brilliant Phoenix.
"Oh my! How beautiful!" Sakura beamed as the bird flew by them. Both Kakashi and Naruto were just as amazed. Only Iruka frowned because he was the only one who saw the look of pure agony the creature had on its face as it flew by. After going through rings of paper that had been set on the stage and setting them on fire, the Phoenix was called backstage and then he crowd applauded. Then Madara walked down to the stage and called up one of the covered assistants. They uncovered themselves and revealed what looked a young girl with the skin, tail, and, when she smiled, teeth of a crocodile.
"My assistant will help in getting the next bird." The girl ran back stage and when she came back, she was gently leading a creature that had the body of a lion but the head and wings of an enlarged eagle. "This, my fair audience, is called a gryphin. They actually used to run rampant in Europe before the modern-day." The gryphin's eyes looked around as the audience looked at it in awe. "Now, I will hold up this fish," Madara took a fish from another assistant, "And the gryphin will come and get it. Ready..?" The crocodile-girl nodded. "Go!" The girl unchained the gryphin and, immediately, it lunged at Madara. Everyone expected the creature to rip Madara to pieces right in front of them. But just as soon as the gryphin was in front of the man, it grabbed the fish with its beak and flew up and back to the center-ring. As it lay down and began to eat the fish, the audience cheered. Naruto looked up at Iruka and asked,
"Isn't this amazing?!" Iruka nodded absent-mindedly. He was too focused on the poor girl that was leading the gryphin backstage.
The evening went on with Madara showing off various majestic animals which included when he had all of his horses parade around the ring, which Naruto got a huge kick out of. Then he showed off a giant turtle that actually had a tree growing out of its back. Then there was a giant, black frog that juggled things with its tongue. "Don't touch anything it touched, ladies, remember it's poisonous!" He reminded his assistants when they cleaned up the stage. After many more fantastic creatures, Madara took the center stage and called out,
"Now, it's time for the child's-play to come to an end. It's time for the 'dark' part of the Dark Woods Circus!" His assistants, which, strangely, were all female, brought out a covered cage. Also, Neji was walking in with them. "This young man's name is Neji. About a few years ago, I took him and his cousin Hinata in to live and travel with me. Neji's eyes, or rather..." Neji opened his eyes and proceeded to take out one of the glass orbs. When he held the blood covered glass in his hand, Madara spoke on, ignoring the gasps and screams of horror, "Lack thereof allow him the power of foresight. His dear cousin, Hinata, however, has a much more... prominent ailment." With that, the assistants uncovered the cage.
"Oh my God..." Sakura gasped, her green eyes widening. The girl in the cage was a sad sight: Her feet were those of a bird, rubbery and clawed. Her body was covered in white feathers and she only wore a simple robe to cover herself. Her navy-blue hair was a mess of tangles and feathers and she looked around herself with wide, sad eyes. Neji put the orb back in and moved to the cage's side.
"Hinata..." He whispered. Hinata looked at him and cooed sadly, like a dove. Then Hinata's cage was pushed to the side. Madara whispered to one of the girls,
"After the pig and the raccoon, start bringing in my prized possessions. Beginning with my angel." They nodded and ran backstage, two of them returning with another covered cage. "This!" He began, "Is something I found while in my homeland. Her name is Ino and she just loves attention. Well, here she is!" The crowd gasped but some of them laughed at the sight. Ino was a chubby girl with hooves for feet and her hands were a cross between hands and hooves. She was covered in filth and her clothes were ripped up. Trash was strewn about her cage and there was even some in her blonde, pony-tailed hair. Her face was pudgy and her mouth was a snout that snorted and squealed at random times. Sakura laughed uncontrollably,
"Oh my God! Guys, do you-- do you see that?! Ino-pig! Ino-pig!" Iruka shook his head,
"This is cruel. This is so cruel..." His comments went ignored as the cage was moved to the side and everyone waited for the next freak-show. Soon, who should run up from behind the stage but Gaara, the raccoon-boy.
"Ah, here's someone you all must surely have met. His name is Gaara and he is, as you can see, mostly raccoon. If also found him while I was Japan." After rubbing the boy's stomach like a pet, he let Gaara run off somewhere. The audience was all chatter with the sights that they had just seen. But Naruto was kind of confused. He tugged on Iruka's sleeve and asked,
"Are these... What were they called? Deformities?" Iruka shook his head angrily, stating,
"No Naruto. This is called torture." Naruto still didn't understand but he said,
"I thought that Hinata-chan was pretty. And Neji is... different but still cool. Gaara is still cute and fluffy and Ino-chan just needs to be cleaned up a little." Iruka sighed, oh to see things through the eyes of a child. Then, Madara signaled for everyone to stop talking and quiet down.
"Now, I am going to show you all some of my most special creatures. In fact, you can hear one of them now." Everyone quieted down and they could hear what sounded like a soft, fragile voice singing.
"Deep in the woods, far beyond all the trees...
There you will find, a lonely circus..."
A group of girls walked in pushing a cage covered in a brown sheet. Madara walked over and shooed the girls away before beginning, "Kakuzu is a very... unique individual. By just appearance, you could say that he's a living rag-doll but that's only half the tale..." With that, Madara uncovered the cage and everyone gasped at the sight. There was a young man with stitches all over him tied to one wall of the cage. His tired green eyes roamed about the room and he simply groaned. He was dressed in a pair of tattered pants and his brunette hair looked as if someone had taken a machete to it. But the saddest thing was his mouth: it was stitched up so he couldn't speak. "Kakuzu, say hello to the audience!" Madara spoke before pulling on of the ropes that held Kakuzu. The brunette yelled, it being muffled but there nonetheless. "Alright, that's enough fun." He gestured for the girls to move his cage away before a new cage, with red and white sheets covering it, was rolled in.
"With the ringmaster, a cruel and heartless man...
Through his torture, standing ten meters tall..."
Madara hissed, he never liked it when his angel referred to him like that. But he placed a hand on the sheet of this cage and spoke, "Does anyone here believe in vampires?" There were a few laughs from the audience. Vampires? Who was this man kidding? "I know, it sounds far-fetched. But I, Madara, have found a true to life vampire. His name is Hidan and he is no joke. Allow me to show you!" He uncovered the cage and inside was a young albino male dressed in an old, Victorian suit. His short, white hair was messy and his pink eyes narrowed as he hissed at the man in front of the cage. Madara held up a small cross. "This is a silver-cross, two things that a vampire can't stand in one. Come here, Hidan..." Hidan looked at the cross and shook his head furiously. Madara frowned and grabbed Hidan's arm and pressed the cross against his hand. Hidan's screams and hisses of pain filled the tent, and everyone could see the fangs in his mouth, until Madara let go. Madara smiled and pulled out a clove of garlic, tossing it into the cage. One whiff of the herb and Hidan was out like a light. "Hidan's taking a little nap right now. Garlic tends to do that to his kind." The girls moved his cage next to Kakuzu's and the brunette began screaming with all of his might in order to get Hidan to wake up.
"The actors' bodies, trampled and misshapen...
Creatures so odd but kind and entertaining..."
The girls brought in a cage with a green sheet covering it. "This next creature's name is Zetsu. He, like Gaara and Hinata, is more than simply human. He is part plant, Venus flytrap to be exact. A carnivorous plant but no one should be scared. He wouldn't hurt a fly... Well, maybe he wouldn't..." He removed the sheet.
Zetsu sat in a cage that was decorated with flowers and bushes. He himself had green hair, skin that was tinted half black and half white and from his shoulders up, there was the mouth of a flytrap. Zetsu stared at Madara with a blank stare until Madara threw in a rat. The poor creature squeaked and ran about until Zetsu jumped near it, caught it in his hands and took a big bite out of it. Madara laughed and stated, "Zetsu everyone!" Then his cage was pushed away.
The girls brought in three more cages and set them around Madara, ready to pull of the sheets (burgundy/yellow, black, and blue) when they got the signal. The voice sang again, and everyone could hear that it came from the black-covered cage.
"Come join the fun, come join the revelry...
Come join us here at Dark Woods Circus!"
The girls pulled off the first sheet, and it was a wretched sight. A young man's body that wore an outfit that was a wedding-day suit on one half and a wedding dress on the other. Yet around the shoulder area it had been widened to host the heads of the body. Yes, heads. One the shoulders there was one head of a young man with blood-red hair. He looked around at the audience with sad brown eyes but a smile on his face.
It didn't take a genius to figure out it was forced.
The other head, looking much happier, was that of a young male with long blonde hair up in a pony-tail. He watched the audience with wide, blue eyes and laughed. It was a mixture of gleeful and manic, what came out of the blonde's lips and he leaned over a bit and said something to the red-head, once again in Japanese.
"(Don't they look strange Danna?)" The red-head nodded sadly. Then they stood up and waved to the audience, singing,
"The child with two heads--" The audience arose in laughter. "Smiling!"
The girls uncovered the cage with the black sheet and revealed a fragile-looking, pale young man. He wore plain white robes, had an ornate mask covering his eyes, and a red halo resting in his long, raven hair. He raised his head upon hearing the cover being removed and exhaled before a pair of large, off-white, feathery wings extended from his back, feathers fluttering to the ground. He sniffled, as if in pain, for a second before singing in that beautifully fragile voice,
"An angel who's a deformity..."
Finally, the girls uncovered the last cage and screams of horror arose from random parts of the audience. This cage was covered in blood, bones, and other remains from what seemed to be human body-parts. In the center of the cage was a young man with blue skin, wild blue hair and sharp, hungry-looking black eyes. He himself had splashes of blood all over himself and rose up something for the audience to see.
It was a human arm.
The blue-skinned man smirked before taking a bite out of it with razor-sharp teeth and singing,
"I'm the blue monster they keep caged up
And feed the flesh of his own kind..." After letting the audience stew in shock from the sight of his favorite... possessions, Madara spoke up.
"Sasori and Deidara," He pointed to the two-head male, "Were born... very close to one another, as you can all see." Then he pointed to the male with the wings, "Itachi here is my little angel. When I first found him, I had to share him with the world!" Finally he gestured to the blue man, "Kisame is a special type of creature. But nothing to worry about. This vicious, hideous beast is very well tamed!" Madara didn't notice but when he said 'hideous', Kisame's ears perked up. With a roar of rage the blue male jumped up against the side of his cage, trying to tip it over. The ringmaster raised an eyebrow and asked in a whisper, "(What do you think that you're doing, Kisame? You're scaring the audience.)" Kisame took a few steps back and replied, in a voice that was like a mixture of growls and Japanese,
"(They ought...rrr... to be scared. Being this close...grr... to a monster like you..!)" And with that, he tackled the side of his cage again. While Madara tried to calm Kisame down, Itachi scooted over to the side of his cage that was closer to Sasori and Deidara. When he was close enough, he whispered to them,
"(Tell me what this audience looks like. Please Sasori?)" The red-head nodded and looked around, observing,
"(Mostly like any other. Staring and gaping at us with those wretched sneers and stupid smiles. Nothing different.) Deidara was looking too but then he saw Kakashi, Iruka, Naruto, and Sakura and he smiled and shrieked,
"(JAPANESE!!)" Sasori groaned and covered the ear closest to the blonde with the arm he had control over. But Itachi gasped.
"(What did you say?!)" Deidara began to hum and twist the body around, much to Sasori's dismay, and replied,
"(Japanese! Japanese! Just like us! Way up there!) When Deidara pointed to them Sasori looked and gasped before whispering to Itachi,
"(He's actually right this time!)" Then he removed the mask that covered Itachi's eyes. "(Look!)" With that, Itachi opened his eyes. They were red and bloodshot and every movement of them hurt but Itachi looked up. Though his sight had become blurry over the years, he saw them clear as day.
"(We have to try...)" With that, Itachi grabbed the bars of his cage and began to try and pull himself up. It was excruciatingly painful, he even fell down a few times. But when he finally managed, he screamed at the top of his lungs in his native tongue,
"(Please!! HELP US!!!)
At this point in time, the majority of the audience was confused. Being a bunch of English, they had no idea what was going on with the performers speaking in their strange, foreign language. But some of them could actually hear and understand what was going on.
"Are they actually... talking to us?" Sakura asked, eyes wide and fearful. "No, they can't be..." Kakashi wanted to stay as oblivious as Sakura was but he knew that what the angel was saying was directed towards them. When he was sure that he had gotten their attention, Itachi did the only thing he really knew how to do. He sang:
"(We never hoped to become the freaks
That this monster has made us out to be...
I don't want to be the rotting being
at which people scream upon seeing my face!)"
After singing that, Itachi collapsed to the floor. When his wings touched the ground, feathers spilled off and the brunette screamed out in pain. Kisame saw this and roared, trying once again to get out of his cage. Sasori stood up and sang out,
"(It hurts to be, yes it hurts to live
This is what we go through everyday...
To live like this is an awful fate
Which can only be compared to Hell..!!)"
Deidara suddenly grabbed Sasori's arm and began spinning them both around in a ghastly parody of some kind of dance. The blonde cackled and sang while laughing his heart out,
"(But it's so much fun! Yes, it's so much!
Oh, running this circus is so much fun!
My flesh shall rot, but I shall live on
In the eyes of the spectators here!!)"
Madara had noticed that his performers were singing with out his permission. "What?! Stop! Stop it you stupid beasts!!" From behind him, Kisame laughed. It was bitter and cold and could have easily been mistaken for crying. Madara turned and hissed, "What is it now, you stupid little bastard!!" Kisame looked straight at Madara before singing,
"(I want to die, yes I want to die!
Anything is better than this prison called 'life'!)"
Then every performer in the circus seemed to join in on the last phrase, even those who couldn't speak tried to join with various squeals and groans.
"(But there's no escape from this awful fate,
for all of us this life is the only way!!)
At that moment, Madara roared in fury and called out all of his assistants. He then called out, "Ladies and gentlemen! We are having a bit of technical-difficulties so I'm afraid I will have to cut tonight's show short!" Then he whispered to his girls, "Get them the hell out of here!!" The girls nodded and began to shoo away the audience members. However, when one girl who seemed to be half-lobster passed by, he grabbed her shoulder and whispered, "The blonde boy with the Japanese. Grab him!" The girl nodded before disappearing into the chaos.
Back with Sakura and the Hatakes as the audience was being shooed away, Kakashi commented, "Well... That was interesting wasn't it?" Iruka wiped away the tears that had been forming at his eyes.
"That was cruelty in its purest form, Kakashi." The brunette whispered harshly, holding onto Naruto's arm as the blonde boy trailed behind them. "I knew that man was disturbed. To take advantage of innocent children like that..." Kakashi huffed and retorted,
"Iruka... They were all probably in costume. There's no way that everything in there was real." Iruka looked at Kakashi as if the silver-haired man had lost his mind. "What?"
"You honestly can't tell me that you didn't feel anything when they cried out for help!" When Sakura tried to butt in with her own interpretation of what had just transpired, Naruto sighed and let his eyes wander. There was still so much of the circus that he hadn't seen yet and his curiosity was blazing. Suddenly, amongst all the chaos, he heard the whinnying of a horse. He gasped and looked in the direction of the sound. There was the unicorn that he had seen earlier. Before Naruto had known it, he had let go of Iruka's hand and stopped to stare at the beautiful creature.
"Hello there. My name is Naruto. What yours?" He asked, walking closer to the unicorn. "Why are you out here? You should be with your friends." The unicorn stayed quiet until it looked behind Naruto and began whinnying and thrashing. Naruto didn't know what was causing the unicorn's distress but he walked closer, saying, "It's alright, I won't hurt you."
The unicorn kept on doing its best to get the foolish boy to leave this place. Before it was...
A red combination of a hand and a claw wrapped around the boy's chest before another held a damp rag to the blonde's face. Naruto kicked and screamed for a few seconds before he suddenly began to feel very sleepy. The last thing he saw was the unicorn trying to charge towards him but being held by a chain in the wall.
"You two are insane!" Iruka yelled when the group was outside and looking for their coaches and rides back home. The brunette was furious that his companions could be so heartless. He held his head to hold back the headache that was forming, and screamed, "I can't believe what type of example you two are setting for Naruto and..." A horrified gasp tore itself from Iruka's throat and he looked at his empty hands and around himself. "Naruto?" He called for the little boy. "Kakashi, Sakura, is he with..?" The two shook their heads before beginning to look around frantically for the boy. Iruka looked around and began asking people, panicked, if they had seen a small blonde Asian boy.
As they searched, Iruka's most fearful thought was what if..
..What if Madara had him?
"Mrm..." Naruto groaned out as he tossed around, trying to wake himself up. After a while of twisting and turning, the small blonde sat up and rubbed at his eyes. "Wh-where am I? Where's the unicorn?" He asked as he looked around. He was on a bed in a dark, damp room. Upon looking closer, he saw that the floor was covered in straw and sawdust. There were shelves in this room filled with strange vials, sinister-looking tools, and caged animals. All the creatures were shivering in fear or hissing at the boy and Naruto looked at them all, realizing that one of them was missing. There was an empty space over a label that read 'Fox'.
Naruto shivered himself before getting off of the bed and trying to find a way out of the room. "Hello?" He called out upon reaching what felt like a wall. "Is anyone there? I-- Ah!" He fell through a sheet when he leaned on the 'wall'. "Ow..." Naruto whined as he helped himself up, now in a hallway. "Now where am I? I want to go home..." He began to cry softly. Suddenly, from down the hall, he heard a familiar cackle. "Deidara?" He whispered the name of one of the performers. He walked down the hall, hoping that he would find someone to get him out of here. And finally, he made it to a room. Naruto walked in and immediately had to cover his nose. "Ugh... What's that smell?" It was a revolting mixture of flesh, vomit, and other things that no one should have to go further into.
Before long, the boy heard the laugh of Deidara again and when he looked in front of him he saw the two-headed male. Naruto gasped softly, shock from being this close to them. Deidara lolled his head back and coincidentally saw the small blonde. A gleeful smirk grew on his face before he sang out, "(Japanese! Japanese! Just like us, lucky day!)" Sasori turned and saw Naruto before speaking up,
"(Who are you? What are you doing here?)" Naruto blinked, confused for a moment. But then he replied,
"(My name is Naruto. Where am I?)" Sasori sighed and made their body stand up. He took a few struggling steps before growling in agitation,
"(Damn it all Deidara! When I walk, you have to follow!)" Deidara laughed again before they got closer to the small boy. Sasori shook his head at his partner's antics before stating,
"(You are deep in the hell known as The Dark Woods Circus.)" Naruto gasped at Sasori's choice of words but looked around them. Now that he looked around, he saw the covered cages from the show and the open cage that held a sleeping Hidan. "(Yes. There's our 'vampire'. Poor guy--well, just as poor as the rest of us.)" With that, they walked over and picked up a bowl of thick, red liquid. Naruto gasped and asked,
"(Is... Is that blood?)" Sasori nodded and Deidara giggled before singing,
"(Hidan's stomach is oh-so weak! On blood is the only thing he can feed! Ha ha!)" Abruptly, Hidan lurched up and with a cat-like yowl grabbed the bowl and drank it down ravenously. Naruto stood there, shivering in fear and blue eyes wide. After he was finished, Hidan looked at the three and asked,
"(Who's the kid?)", his words melting into hisses and mewls. Deidara laughed,
"(His name is Naruto! Japanese! He's just like us, you can see!)" Hidan glanced at Naruto and hissed,
"(No Deidara, he isn't like us. He's not a monster!!)" Hidan lunged at the bars of his cage and immediately recoiled, yowling in agony. "(In the cage too?! DAMN HIM!!!)" Hidan began rubbing the burns that had now appeared on his arms. Naruto tilted his head questioningly before asking,
"(Is the cage made of silver? Is that why it hurts you Mr. Vampire?)" Hidan looked at Naruto in pure horror before yowling again, thrashing violently in his cage. In response, there was a knocking coming from the cage covered in a brown sheet. Sasori raised an eyebrow.
"(Kakuzu?)" Then another voice added,
"(Grr... You might as well uncoverrr... all of us, Sasori." With that, the red-head nodded and limped his and Deidara's body to the cages and, one by one, uncovered them to reveal Kakuzu, Zetsu, Kisame, and Itachi. Kakuzu looked up and mumbled something while trying to speak. Hidan stopped his thrashing for a moment just to scream,
"(No one can understand you! You stupid bastard!!)" Kakuzu rolled his eyes before shrugging a shoulder towards Kisame. The blue-skinned man shook his head, saying,
"(We don't get fed for anotherrr... hour. Gaara should be by soon.), before licking some of the blood that had caked onto his hands from the performance. Naruto raised an eyebrow before making a bold move. He took one step... then another... and another until he was finally in front of Kisame's cage. The blonde boy then commented,
"(Mr. Monster, you don't seem that vicious. Why are you all caged up like that?)" Kisame watched the boy in front of him before smiling, showing of those sharp, sharp teeth. Before he could speak, however, Zetsu looked from where he had been staring at and said,
"(Tobi wants to know who the kid is. And I do too.)" Naruto asked,
"(Tobi? Who's that..?)" But he was interrupted when Hidan screeched,
"(Tobi is dead, you idiot!!)" There was a groan from Itachi's cage. "(And quite frankly, I envy the little bastard!!!)"
"(Hidan, please..!)" Everyone turned and saw Itachi trying to pull himself up again. The 'angel' coughed before he fell to the floor of his prison. Kisame growled,
"(You shouldn't be moving! If you need something, let Sasori get it!)" Before Kisame could go on, Itachi shook his head and whispered,
"(It's alright Kisame. I just want to see the boy...)" Kisame moved over to the side of his cage that was closest to the brunette. He lowered himself down to the ground and Itachi asked, "(Could you remove the mask?)" Kisame nodded before reaching his hands over and removing the decorated mask. When he was pulling it away, Itachi still had his eyes closed but he slowly moved his hands so that the pair could touch. Naruto watched in awe as Itachi rested his face in Kisame's hands for a while and finally kissed them, despite the blood, before letting them go.
"(Love can be found even in hell! Ha ha!)" Deidara laughed and sang. Hidan, having enough of the ramblings picked up the bowl that used to have blood in it and hurled it at Deidara's head. "AAH!!" Deidara screamed as the porcelain made contact with him, Sasori yelped too before he snapped at the albino,
"(You idiot! Did you forget that whatever pain Deidara gets, I receive ten-fold?!!)" Hidan turned around before murmuring an apology to the red-head. After the commotion had calmed down, Itachi opened his eyes.
"(Could you come closer, please?)" Naruto nodded and moved over to the brunette. "I apologize, my eyes aren't what they used to be...)" When Naruto was in front of the cage, Itachi sighed in awe. "(Only a child could be innocent enough to see past our mangled appearances... Tell me, what are you doing here?)" Naruto smiled and exclaimed,
"(I was leaving the circus with my parents and then I saw the pretty unicorn! But then I felt something cold and hard wrap around me and then I felt really sleepy. But I woke up in a really weird room with lots of strange things and a bed and a lot of animals!)" Upon hearing the tale, Kisame stood up in his cage and stated,
"(Kid, you need to listen to me. Get out of here... and run away as fast as you can... you here me?!)" Naruto was scared now.
"(Why?)" He asked with wide eyes.
"(Yes Kisame, do enlighten us.)" Sasori said, cynically. Itachi shook his head but asked,
"(Kisame. What is it?)" The blue-skinned man shook his head and closed his eyes. "(Kisame?)" Kisame opened his eyes and asked Naruto,
"(When you were in that room, were there any animals missing?)" Naruto put a finger to his lips and thought really hard.
"(Umm... Let's see. Oh yeah!)" He smiled, "(There was no fox! I thought that was really weird!)" Kisame growled and hit his fists against the bars of his cage while Kakuzu groaned heavily. Itachi sighed heavily along with Sasori and Hidan tried not to look at the blonde child anymore. Zetsu shook his head and then Deidara laughed wildly,
"(Japanese! Japanese! Just like us, you wait and see!)" Naruto whined,
"(I don't understand! What's going on?)" However, before anyone could speak anymore, they heard an ominous sound.
Footsteps. From down the hall and coming ever closer.
"(Shit!)" Kisame growled before putting Itachi's mask back on, kissing the brunette's lips before going back to the corner of his cage. Zetsu calmly sat down and appeared to go into a meditative stance. Kakuzu simply lay down whereas Hidan started prowling around his cage. Sasori struggled but after a while, he finally managed to get him and Deidara into their designated chair.
"(Madara-sama! Madara-sama! How I love my Madara-sama!)" Deidara sang out, rocking his and Sasori's legs back and forth like a child. Naruto was left scared and shivering in the center of the room. Itachi whispered,
"(Run! Now, run!)" Suddenly, the wall opened up like a curtain and there stood Madara with a smile on his face, a briefcase in one hand, and a small cage in the other. The older man was accompanied by the lobster-girl an Gaara, the raccoon-boy pulling in a wagon of various items. He looked around the room but when his eyes landed on Naruto, his smile widened.
"Naruto-kun... What a pleasant surprise!" He walked over to the blonde after gesturing for Gaara and the lobster-girl to go about their tasks. As the girl gave Sasori and Deidara cups of milk, he spoke, "I'm so glad that you made it to my show, by the way. But, where are your parents?" Naruto smiled softly and stated,
"I.. I don't know." Madara grinned.
"Well, isn't that a shame? And I think that they've gone home by now. It's probably best that... that you came with me now." Naruto gasped and took a step back, saying,
"But! But Mother and Father said that they would never abandon me!" Madara huffed.
"That's not what they told me when they left."
"Huh?!" Naruto's eyes began watering, which just made Madara smile more.
"Yes, I saw them as they left in that coach of theirs. They said that they would be more than happy if someone else would take you in. You have become such a hassle." Naruto shook his head, trying not to listen to the man. Gaara gave Hidan another bowl of blood before giving a series of questioning growls. To which Hidan whispered a response that made Gaara shudder in fear. "But there is one place in which you would always be accepted, dearest Naruto." The blonde looked up as Madara gestured around them. "My precious circus. Join us, Naruto. It's so much fun! Right Deidara?" Deidara smiled but shook his head 'no'. "See?" The lobster-girl gave Zetsu a cat which the young man took and pet for a while before suddenly snapping its neck. "All we would have to do is... oh, get you into... costume..." Gaara tossed an arm and a leg into Kisame's cage, the man pushing the two body-parts to the side. Naruto gulped.
"C-Costume?" Madara nodded and held up the covered cage, stating,
"Yes. You see, as special as my performers are, even they needed some... assistance. So I helped them out a little bit. And as I look at you, Naruto..." He uncovered the cage, revealing a dark-orange fox scratching it's way around the small space. "You would look adorable as a fox!" Madara cackled, dropping the briefcase and taking out a syringe. "Of course, we'll have to add a little dog-extract for loyalty!" Suddenly, there was a groan from Itachi's cage. Madara turned and cooed, "Oh, my angel. What is it? Is your tummy upset?" Itachi groaned again causing Madara to walk over. "Angel?" Abruptly, Sasori and Deidara jumped up and shoved the lobster-girl towards Kisame's cage.
The girl could only let out a shriek of surprise before Kisame viciously snapped her neck to the side, the body falling to the floor. Madara looked and groaned out, "Oh… Now I have to make another lobster-girl!!" After that, he reached into his pocket and took out a glittering, silver whistle. At the sight of it, Itachi cried out,
"(Cover your ears!)"
"I don't think so!!" Madara grinned before blowing it. Naruto flinched but… he didn't hear anything. However, Kisame, Zetsu, and Hidan all reacted to something. Zetsu yelled in pain before banging his head against the cage, trying to get rid of the noise. Kisame howled and roared, clutching his head and falling to his knees. Hidan yowled in agony, clawing at his arms as he collapsed to the floor of his cage. After a while of this, Madara removed his lips from the whistle. "Now, be good little freaks while I prepare Naruto…"
Naruto flinched and began too back up from the ringmaster. He bumped into someone and he quickly realized that Sasori and Deidara had moved behind him. The males wrapped their arms around Naruto before Deidara sang, "(Japanese! Japanese! We can let you become like we! Ha ha!)" Sasori added,
"(Like I said before, no one should be subject to this hell.)"
"(Sasori… Deidara…) Naruto sniffed as all three of them backed up from the oncoming ringmaster. Madara scoffed and smiled,
"(Dei-chan… You're breaking my heart! Why are you protecting that little brat when it would make me so happy if you let him go?)" Deidara whined at this, Sasori barking out,
"(Don't you dare listen to him, Deidara!)"
It was quiet.
Deidara slowly smiled and removed his and Sasori's hands from Naruto, moving themselves toward Madara. "(Damn it all, Deidara!!)" Sasori cried out, cursing that Deidara's control of their body was better than his own.
"(But who are we to disobey Madara-san, un?)" The blonde male walked over and wrapped arms around Madara. "(He's like our father, un! So caring…)" Madara laughed softly, Deidara was the one child out of all of them who would never betray them.
"(Good boy, Deidara. I…)" Madara stopped. Looking at his waist, he saw Deidara wrapping them both tighter and tighter together. "(Deidara… Let go of me this instant!)" Deidara shook his head, laughing back,
"(And by caring, un, I mean NOT AT ALL!!!)" At that moment, Itachi screamed again,
"(Run Naruto!)" The blonde boy nodded and, taking one more look at them all, ran out of the room. Madara's eyes widened in shock, he screamed,
"NOO!!" He struggled against Deidara and Sasori, yelling, "Let go of me you… little monster!" Deidara and Sasori tried their best to hang on to Madara for as long as possible until Madara managed to bring out a small dagger. "Get off!" He yelled, whipping the sharp metal across Deidara's arm. The blonde male screamed and Sasori was forced to let go of the man. "If you all made me lose my fox..!!" Madara screamed as threw the dagger to the ground before rushing after the boy.
The room was quiet, all of the performers were wondering what they could do before the small boy was forced to share their fate. Kakuzu looked around at the dismal scene, almost sad that… Wait.
What was that?
On the ground, shining and glimmering.
Kakuzu's eyes widened as he moved to the front of his cage. He stretched his arm out, trying to reach what he saw. Come on.. Almost… There. He retrieved Madara's dagger from the ground and twirled it in his hands, observing with great intensity. Hidan shook himself, much like a cat, trying to regain his senses when his eyes landed on Kakuzu holding the utensil.
"(Hey bastard, what are you doing?)" Kakuzu's shoulders trembled, a chuckle if you knew him, and then he moved the dagger to his lips. Everyone watched as Kakuzu pressed the sharpened edge to his lips and began cutting at the seams.
There was a lot of blood, the threads had long since set in by now, and Itachi flinched with every drop that fell to the ground. It was a while, but soon Kakuzu dropped the dagger to the floor, covered in blood. The brown-haired male shakily ran his fingers over his open and bleeding lips, shock was coursing through him. Kisame moved over and asked,
"(Kakuzu… Arre… You okay?)" Slowly but surely, Kakuzu nodded his head. But he soon had a brief coughing fit, his mouth adjusting to the first tastes of air in a very long time. After it passed though, the bleeding lips moved, a deep voice struggling to come out.
"(So long… Haven't spoken for… so long…)" He shook it off, grabbing the dagger and beginning to pick at the lock to his cage. Hidan exclaimed,
"(Bastard, you can pick locks?! Why the fuck didn't you ever tell me?!!" Kakuzu flinched a bit from his work, half-wondering if he had heard hat he had just heard. But he went back to it, replying,
"(Hidan, you… idiot!)"
Naruto's heart was beating rapidly, his lungs flaming from the abuse but he couldn't stop running, he was too scared and he had to get out of the circus. He stopped to look around quickly and see where he was but then he heard Madara's voice coo through the halls,
"Where are you my little fox..?" Naruto whined before running down another hall. As he ran, he saw many cages and boxes. These containers were colorful and well-decorated, but they were filthy. Covered in blood and vomit and all sorts of other filth. Worse yet, some of the circus performers and animals were still in these torturous cages.
Naruto slowed down when one creature caught his eyes. It was the unicorn that he had taken a fancy to. He walked up to it and whispered, "You poor thing, you were just trying to protect me…" The horse breathed out and nodded. It looked behind Naruto and whinnied, Naruto looking behind him just to be grabbed up by Madara's greedy hands.
"Ha ha ha ha! You can't run from me, little fox!" He cackled, "I'm the master here and I control all. No one can run from me," Naruto was struggling to get free, Madara's hands just clutching tighter, "No one opposes me! Here in this circus, I am God! I-AGH!!" At that moment, Madara dropped Naruto with a yelp of pain. The blonde boy fell to the ground. When he recovered, who should he see but Gaara biting Madara's leg with all of his might.
"Gaara!" He called, and the raccoon-boy let go of Madara, pushing him over into the unicorn's cage. Gaara ran over and growled before running in a certain direction, Naruto immediately running after. Madara growled out and was about to pursue. He was stopped where he stood. He turned to see the unicorn fiercely holding his cape with her teeth.
"Stupid creature!" He quickly removed the fabric and ran after the small boys.
Naruto and Gaara were quickly making it to the exit of the circus. The small blonde looked at the red raccoon-boy. He seemed so vicious before, why was he helping him now?
But soon, that thought was whisked away when the two heard the sound of rain pouring to the ground. They had made it out, and the heavens were drenching the earth were they stood. "I'm going to catch a cold if I don't get home soon." He looked at Gaara, the raccoon-boy growling at the water that was soaking his frame. Naruto smiled and, before Gaara could stop him, gave the red-haired one a big hug. "Thank you so much! I'll never forget you for this!"
Gaara purred softly, carefully hugging the boy back. He didn't know what this was but… He liked it a lot.
"There you are!"
Naruto screamed as he was ripped from the embrace, Gaara growling and trying to get the blonde back down. "I told you, my little fox, no one can run from me…" Gaara gave a loud growl and jumped at Madara, pushing them all to the muddy ground. Naruto was flung a while's away but he could see Gaara trying his best to distract the older man. Abruptly, he felt cool arms around him. With a gasp, Naruto looked up and saw who had picked him up.
"(Don't worry.)" Itachi began. "(I'm going to take you home, alright?)" Naruto sniffled and nodded. Then, with a wince of pain, Itachi began running towards the city, disappearing in the trees.
When Madara saw his angel disappearing, he yelled, a furious roar amongst the pattering rain.
"Itachi…" Naruto whimpered as the brunette held him, quickly walking through the woods.
"(Shh, shh, shh… Now, just tell me where you live and I'll take you. You'll be home and -Ah!)" Itachi was interrupted by a sharp, stinging sensation that began at his feet and moved to his spine before resting in those cumbersome… thingson his back. Naruto cried out, worried,
"(Are you alright?)" Itachi nodded. He began walking again, determined to get Naruto home.
"(I live… in the center of the city. Ah look!)" Itachi looked up to see that they were already in the city, lights akin to fireflies in a swamp. Itachi gasped,
"(It's beautiful… In all those years at the circus…)" Itachi mused, "I would never have imagined such a place…)" Naruto smiled softly, warmed by the thought. Itachi walked through the city, thankful that the rain provided a veil against his misshapen appearance. Naruto wondered, if Kakashi and Iruka really were looking for him.
Or if they had actually abandoned him.
"Naruto! Naruto!" Iruka cried out, walking through the storm. Armed only with an umbrella, the dolphin had wandered into the night, more than determined to find the boy he had come to care for. He stopped, coughing heavily as the frigid temperature was trying to set in his bones. "Naruto!" He called, rounding the corner around the house and looking to see if Naruto had somehow made it home.
He saw nothing.
Iruka's heart sank. "Why did I let go? Why the hell did I let go?!" He groaned out, sinking to the floor. Tears stung at brown eyes and he couldn't do anything but let them come through. "What kind of person could do this to a..."
There was a knock on the door in front of him.
Iruka looked up and gasped as his eyes landed on the sight in front of him. The 'angel' from the circus was on the doorstep, knocking weakly at the door. Naruto was at his side, shaking the brunette and saying,
"(Get up, Itachi. Please get up!)" The pale brunette shook his head and whispered back,
"(Not until you're inside. I..)" Iruka cleared his throat and both individuals looked up. The older brunette flinched as those fading red eyes looked at him. He was so tired, not just from the trip but his whole being just seemed drained. Naruto looked at Iruka and with tears flowing from his blue eyes, ran to him, crying,
"Iruka!!!" Iruka grasped the boy tight in his arms, not ever wanting to let go after this nightmare. They hardly noticed Itachi smiling softly and getting up. He wobbled a bit from the water that was soaking his wings and he was getting a fever, he could tell, but Itachi had never felt warmer than the moment he saw these two reunited.
"Don't ever let me let you go again! Do you hear me? Never!" Naruto smiled back, still crying.
"Don't worry, I won't!" Something in Naruto's mind clicked and he spoke up. "I have to thank Itachi!" Iruka nodded, the feeling mutual. However, when the two looked to see and thank Itachi...
The brunette was gone.
Itachi allowed himself to be carried by two of Madara's assistants, a spider-girl with eight arms and eyes and a bear-girl, back to the Dark Woods Circus. The trip was silent mostly, except when once Itachi asked them, "(Why do you continue to work for that demon?)" The girls were silent. Itachi knew they wouldn't answer. Madara's calling card for every young woman he met was a new, monstrous form...
And a cut out tongue. Itachi hardly even realized that he was back in the monster's grasp until he was thrown down in the main ring. He looked around, all the other performers and creatures were here too.
Itachi sat up and moved next to Kisame, whose hands were actually chained up at the moment. "(What happened?)" Kisame growled out a whisper,
"(Madara... has brought all of us here.)" He shook his head, "(He has something planned but...)" All at once, all the more... animal members of the circus fell to the floor, roaring, squealing, and yelling in sheer agony. Madara slowly strided into the room, whistle in his mouth and whip in his hand. Itachi gulped, he knew from personal experience just how cruel Madara could be with that tool.
The whistle died down and Madara roams cold eyes over his little circus. Each creature looked at him with either fearful or pain-filled eyes.
"Now, all of you, I will ask once and only once." He looked around. "Who orchestrated that little... charade back there?"
Everyone was silent.
You didn't have to be a mind-reader to know how enraged Madara was right now. The man was about to raise up his whip and start striking at random when there was a footstep.
"(It was me.)" Kisame looked at Madara, walking forward. Itachi slowly shook his head, wondering what would compel the blue male to take the fall. "(I caused all of this. If you're going to take it out on anyone...)" His voice became a snarl before he cleared it up, "(Let it be me!)"
Again, everyone was quiet.
Madara looked over the blue male, walking around him once, and then smirked. "(You want to be a martyr, Kisame?)" He chuckled, "(I don't think so. You will be made an example of though...)" Madara turned and removed his cloak, calling out to the assistants. "Tie him to the wall. Hurry up!" The girls nodded and quickly moved Kisame to the wall in front of all of the members. They tied Kisame's chained hands to the hook that was there and turned him so that Kisame's back face everyone.
Kisame didn't even flinch when they ripped off his tattered shirt, scars from past conflicts with the ringmaster barely healing on his blue flesh. Madara looked Kisame over again before bringing out a green bottle. He opened it and poured it onto the whip. Hidan's nose wrinkled from the smell and everyone else recognized it as well: Vinegar. Then the pale man took put a bag and poured a white, crystalline powder onto the whip. Salt. Itachi shivered as he realized that Madara was going to the extreme with this. Madara wiped his hands clean and, glancing back at his little audience, he gave a sharp crack of the whip.
Kisame barked out as leather broke his skin, the mixture of vinegar and salt burning the wound. Madara went on from there, whipping from hard to slow, always trying to keep the male in a constant state of agony.
It was symbolic, everyone supposed. As long as they all lived, Madara would do just that to them: keep them in agony. And even when they died, their blood would be given to Hidan and their bodies would be fed to either the gryphin, Zetsu, or the male that was currently being punished, Kisame.
"(We turn and twist our deformed selves to try and be normal...)" Kakuzu whispered.
"(But still we cannot even walk down the city streets as anyone else would...)" Hidan hissed out.
"(Everyone knows the feeling, illuminated by the streetlights, but not us.)" Zetsu thought.
"These children must cower and cry alone..." The unicorn thought.
"I suppose the shadows are cast long on these little ones." The gryphin licked his beak.
"(Trying to fit into the normality of all everyone else...)" Sasori groaned quietly, tracing the seam of stitches at the base of his neck.
"Whether it's your first visit, returning, or if you're alone..." Neji whispered, closed eyes bleeding.
"Come one, come all!" Madara yelled as he kept slashing at Kisame's back,
"(Drop by and see the show tonight...)" Kisame snickered, pain coursing through every nerve of his body.
"(Drop by and see the show... at the Dark Woods Circus...)" Itachi finally said quietly, to no one in particular. As everyone watched Kisame take in the torture for all of them, Deidara's face still had a smile on it's face. His eyes gleaming in joy.
"(...it's fun.)" A voice giggled in the darkness.
(1) It's my crappy description of an Entei. For those of you who aren't familiar with Japanese folklore, an Entei (not the legendary Pokémon, although he's awesome too) is the legendary demon-horse. It made a special appearance in the anime Inuyasha.
The horse before the Entei was a kelpie (the black one with the ribbons and the wide eyes). They were legendary European demons that would lure children, pretending to be a pony, and when they would grab on, the kelpie's magic would cause them to be stuck before it ran into a lake and drowned them.
(2) A coach is another type of carriage.
Hm... I seemed to speed through this (at least that's how it felt to me). However, we aren't done with the Dark Woods Circus yet. There will be a sequel (that will contain a prequel) to the events that led up to the horrid fate of those in Madara's clutches. It will be up... Relatively soon? I don't know, after finishing ASUE there is going to be a big project from Tyranno's girl Productions (yay, I'm so corny...)
I hope that everyone will look into them (that's right, two. But one of them is way bigger than the other). There will be previews for them at the end of my fic 'A True Series of Unfortunate Events'. Any who, please leave a review if you liked this tragic tale, I have to go finish up ASUE. Ta ta!