Azure Cat, Crimson Fox
Konohagakure no Sato
Eight Years Ago
Life wasn't fair.
The child looked up at the owner of the voice, an old man, maybe in his sixties with a balding head. His rugged features holding that same expression he had come to accept, an expression of hate and malice which just served to numb his heart and soul even further.
Looking up at this man the boy wondered, not for the first time, why this was happening to him. Why did people look on him with such hate and fear? For as long as he could remember he had been treated this way. The orphanage, the children, random people on the street all looked at him with those icy stares, sometimes they seemed to look straight through him, other times they were full of disgust, and sometimes, just sometimes they looked upon him with outright murder.
He should not understand this, but his few years had forced him to grow up faster than someone his age should. To the naked eye he looked like an orphan, barely four years old, but inside he was twice that age.
The old man approached, no one was coming to his aide. His fellow orphans seemed to scatter at this slightly drunken mans approach. The people who ran the orphanage made no move to help him. Some were even watching the event play out with a twisted type of enjoyment.
"You are a monster" the man said, pointing a rickety cane at the four year old blonde "You killed my son, you crippled my daughter and you will-"
Before he could finish his sentence the blonde child got up from his place in the sandbox and exploded into motion, running away from the deranged old man and his ravings. The old man gave chase, waving his cane over his head like a baton. Again no one came to his aide, not the orphanage workers or the Ninja that Jiji promised would save him.
He ran through the iron gates, and followed a footpath along the gray stoned walls, following a trail which was well worn to him. He had run away from this place many times before, sometimes when people entered this place wishing to bring harm to him, or when the people who were supposed to look after him locked him out of the orphanage at night.
Tears spilled freely from his oceanic eyes, his ears hearing the ranting of the old man who was threatening him. It wasn't fair. What had he done to deserve this? Why did no one help him? Why did the people hate him so much?
He turned the corner, his eyes closed to try and stop the flow of tears escaping them, only for him to collide with something. He bounced back, landing on a heap on the floor. He stirred, looking up to see what he had rushed head on into.
He was met with a frowning face of a woman. Her skin pale and smooth, eyes were a dark brown and shoulder length blonde hair mapping out every contour on her face. She wore a headband across her forehead, partially hidden by the bangs of blonde hair, but it didn't have the leaf symbol he was familiar with, rather it was of three cloud shaped markings, two of which seemed to be joined.
Upon seeing him the woman's frown shifted to confusion, then to concern. It was an entirely new scenario to him, as anyone he had met before had eyed him with discord and revulsion. It was then that the old man came, spinning around the corner, his cane held in his hands only to stop upon seeing the woman, who was now kneeling beside the blonde haired child.
She spoke, her words melodic and soft "Are you alright?"
The boy hesitated, moisture gathering along his eyes, ready for a release. The woman saw this and without hesitation picked him up in her arms, rocking him gently back and forth, her soft voice soothing to his ears "Hush, there, there. You're safe now"
The boy, not able to hold onto his emotions anymore buried his face into her shoulder, sobbing and crying, dampening her clothing with his tears. She smiled softly, holding the boy in an embrace before setting a murderous glare upon the old man, her killer intent flashed upon him, seemingly suffocating him under its intensity.
"What is the meaning of this" she asked softly so as not to frighten the child, yet with an unbreakable steel behind her words.
The man backed away under her suffocating aura. Of course there were Kumo-nin around, it was to be expected. One of their top Ninja had arrived in Konoha to sign a peace treaty with the Hokage and the Council of Fire. The High Ninja had brought half a dozen Ninja bodyguards with him. But he did not expect to see one of them wondering the streets so freely.
The woman took a step forward. The demon child held in her arms. She repeated her question, this time with considerably less patience "What is the meaning of this? Are you a coward who gets his kicks from scaring young children, or is there more to this than I am seeing?"
"He" the man began, fists balled up so tightly the skin on his knuckles turned white, he knew to utter these words were forbidden, and carried with them great punishment. But he didn't care anymore "He is a monster. He killed my son, he crippled my daughter and he must pay for his sins"
The women looked down at the child, and then back up at him, eyebrows raised in disbelief "Are you ill sir? A four year old doing such harm is hard to believe"
"He is the demon" the man crowed angrily "He holds within him the monster which attacked this village nearly half a decade ago, he must be made to pay, he must!!!"
The woman's eyes widened, then realisation hit her. The world had been led to believe that the Yondaime Hokage had defeated and killed the Kyubi no Yoko himself at the cost of his own life. Before she could ask further she felt a blur of motion, and three members of the Konoha ANBU shimmered into existence, dressed in the armoured attire of the Hokage's personal elite guard, porcelain animal masks covering their faces.
One put his hand on the old mans shoulder, his expression and intent invisible behind his mask "That's enough out of you old man, time to go"
The old man looked at the masked Ninja fearfully, before being led around the corner by another ANBU agent. The intent was clear, he was to be arrested and hauled to whatever incarceration facility awaited those who released important information to the enemy. The leader turned to the Kumo-nin and bowed respectfully before her "My apologies, he is but an old man, deranged by the terrible tragedies in his life. He blames everyone around him for his loss"
He was trying to erase suspicion, but she wasn't buying it, she could afford to play his game for the time being though. Even if he suspected that she believed the ramblings of some half insane old man he couldn't do a thing to her, not with her diplomatic immunity as a foreign ambassador.
She was startled when the ANBU raised his hands but gave no outward sign "Thank you for protecting the boy, but we need to return him to the orphanage"
She looked down at the child to see that he was sound asleep in her arms, his face completely innocent to the world. He looked so adorable that for a moment she did not wish to let him go. But she relented, and tentatively placed the child into the ANBU's waiting arms "It's quite alright, I have seen many a man lose his sanity with the death of loved ones"
Without hesitation she turned and walked up the road, leaving the ANBU to look after the boy. Outside she was composed. Inside she was brimming with excitement. That boy was just like her, he had been forced to take a great burden he did not deserve, just like her. Besides herself the woman immediately felt a kinship for the boy. She would need to report this to the High Ninja, perhaps add another name to the small one person list of abductees he had.
The abduction attempt was a failure.
The High Ninja was dead, killed by the Hyuga.
Konoha was on high alert, even now the ANBU were hunting down her fellow Ninja.
They had abandoned the hotel they were staying in and scattered in all directions, set to meet up at the rendezvous point. She jumped from rooftop to rooftop, ignoring the torrential rain as it fell from the darkened night skies and drenched her clothes and exposed skin, matting her blonde hair.
She stopped suddenly, looking down at that same drab building of gray stone and timber she had seen a day before. This was the same building where she had met that boy. Besides the situation her curiosity got the better of her and she jumped down onto the two meter high stone walls, looking down at the courtyard of the orphanage.
There was the same boy, sitting on a swing, the cords tied to a sturdy tree branch. Looking at the orphanages closed door with hollow, dejected eyes. She gritted her teeth. Those bastards must have locked him out in this storm. Forget about her suspicions about him, no one treated a child that way, no one.
She jumped down from her perch, landing at the other side of the courtyard and started walking towards the boy. Her leader had failed in gaining a Hyuga and their all seeing eyes. But she may be able to salvage the situation, and perhaps offer this boy a better life. She knew she was tempting fate by stopping, but she felt it would be worth it in the end. The child noticed her coming through the haze kicked up by the torrential rain, and immediately recognised her as the woman whom had saved him the other day. He smiled at her, a sad smile which she couldn't help but return. He did not fear her, good. It would make this a lot easier. She reached out with her hand, beckoning him to take it.
He hesitated, before reaching out timidly, and his little hand grasped onto hers, she gently pulled him to his feet and held him in an embrace, lips parting, whispering the words to a low level Genjutsu to put him to sleep. The journey would be long and treacherous, and she did not wish to scare him. His eyes drooped, his body became slack and after a moment he fell into her arms, asleep and oblivious to the world.
She scowled at his appearance, soaked to the bone, his gray shirt and pants clinging to his skin, his hair matted by the rain, any longer and he would have caught a bad case of pneumonia. The woman looked at his face and picked him up in her arms. She took a deep breath, fell into a crouch and jumped up high.
She ran across the rooftops, the only evidence of her passing being the tapping of her sandals against the timber roofs, the splashing of water as she went through puddles with blurring speed. Eventually the roofs ended and the huge vertical surface of the city walls towered before her. Concentrating her chakra into the soles of her feet she jumped, making contact with the wall and running up the superstructure. She scaled it within seconds, ran across the empty walkway, hopped onto the battlements and jumped down to the forest below.
Focusing her chakra into the soles of her feet yet again she hit the first sturdy branch of a tree she came across, and took off running, jumping from sturdy tree branch to sturdy tree branch with a feline grace. Finally she arrived at the rendezvous point, a clearing nearly ten kilometres from the village perimeter. She landed on a branch on the boundary and waited.
As she waited she heard a soft moan, and looked down to see the child stirring, his features grimacing as if in pain. She set him down, unslung her backpack and rummaged through it, finding a brown cloak she pulled it out and wrapped him snugly in it, to give him protection from the rain at least.
His hand gripped her forearm, startling her. She looked down to see him still asleep, his other hand gripping onto the fabric of her brown cloak. His lips moved, a single word dulled by the pelting of the rain, but she was a master lip reader.
He must have been dreaming of his mother, most likely long gone by now, either dead or unable to care for him, or maybe she left him there to rot. The thoughts were thrown aside for later as she looked into the clearing, seeing a duo of shadowy figures exploded from the undergrowth and running to the centre. They must have been two of the High Ninja's Chunin bodyguards, Haru and Ren if she remembered.
Picking up the child she jumped to the ground, landing on her feet like a cat and rushing towards the two darkened silhouettes, using the rain to mask her movements. They didn't notice her even when she was within two meters of their position.
"Thunder" she spoke the call sign, startling the two Ninja.
"Lightning" they both piped up in unison.
She rose from her place, a silent dark shadow in the night. They feared her, she knew they feared her, but they also respected her battle record and prowess "The Head Ninja is dead. The mission is a failure. We're moving out"
Both nodded and were about to follow her, then Haru stopped, the large Ninja looking at the bundle in her arms, particularly the blonde hair "What's that?"
She looked at him, an icy glare which made him shy away "Collateral"
It took a week to traverse the dense forests of the Land of Fire. They could have used the dirt roads to the border, but Konohagakure would have most likely sent word about the failed attempt to the Daimyo by now, and he would have put the entire country on full alert. The roads and settlements were bound to be watched, and the security in the borderlands was bound to have been tightened.
They passed the border between Fire and Fang easily, and from there to Claw and finally to the borderlands of Lightning. By a week and three days they had made it to the border towns of the land of Lightning, or more specifically the border town of Akaikumo. There they were scheduled to meet with the Raikage himself, and give him an in-field debriefing.
They went to a local inn and paid enough for two rooms for a night, she placed the boy in her room, redid the Genjutsu and left Haru to guard him while she and Ren went down to the pub on the bottom floor. They took a table, ordered a couple of Kumo whiskeys and waited for their Kage to arrive. It was another hour before he came, a huge mammoth of a man, easily twice her size and thrice her width, this was not due to fat but to muscle, skin was a dark brown with slicked back white hair with a small moustache and beard. He wore simple Kumo Ninja attire with dark gray fatigues and a high collared Jonin vest of the same colour. To all those in attendance he was just another Ninja of the Lightning army, not the leader.
He sat down on the chair, his dark eyes not leaving those of his two underlings, she respected few of the Ninja, but this man was one of them, he could overpower his younger brother Kirabi, and he was the host to the eight tailed beast. For someone like herself, who contained the two tailed monster cat, she believed he could easily subdue her.
"The mission was a failure" he said, his deep voice stony and gruff and she found herself flinching under his words.
"Technically" she replied, her brown orbs making contact with his "But while we failed to capture a Hyuga we were able to get something else"
His eyes rose in curiosity at this "What?"
"A Jinchuriki" was her simple reply, his eyes widened for a fraction of a second "Maybe, I need someone to check the boy but I believe he is a host to a tailed beast"
Even Ren was surmised by this, but the Raikage, E Yotsuki, was completely mystified, before a grin came across his face "I will have a sensor check the boy immediately, but if it is true then this will be more than enough recompense for losing my second"
"What news from Konoha" she asked, genuinely curious.
"We were able to turn it around" E replied "We have denied that we even tried to kidnap a member of one of their clans and have demanded that we have the head of the one responsible"
"And they agreed to it?" she asked, genuinely surprised.
The Raikage shrugged "They are weary of continuing the war"
"So are we"
He smirked "But they don't know that"
She sighed in relief, before realization hit her "The Hyuga will undoubtedly seal his Byakugan away, there is still no way for us to attain that Gekkei Genkai"
"Maybe" the Raikage replied dismissively, it was no secret that he and the next in line for his mantle didn't get along, in fact there were rumours that the Head Ninja had been secretly preparing to try and seize power in a coup "But if this boy is indeed a host the loss will be nothing great"
"What will become of him if he is" she asked, suddenly worried for the small child.
"Obviously he will go through the same training you and Kirabi have. If he is to become a tool for the village then he needs to contain and control his beast. As for accommodation, I doubt anyone in the village will take him in, though they respect Jinchuriki for their power they still fear them"
The words left her mouth before she thought about them "I will take him in"
Once again the Raikage's brow rose for a moment, before it descended into a frown "Are you sure? You do realise that with your power I can't just let you go to raise a child"
Off course not, I am one of your weapons after all; was her thought, but she kept it down, he was not Kage when she had the demon sealed, he was not to blame.
She respected the man, but that was all, she was only two when she had her demon sealed inside her and for a while she hated the village and the country for it. After a while though she realised that walking down that path would only lead to her becoming an unstable monster like the rumoured Sanbi and Rokubi of Kirigakure, the Village Hidden in the Mists. That and the Nibi was not as bad a monster as she had originally thought, in fact the creature was pensive of her being forced upon such a burden and had basically taken her as its kin. It was the main reason why she was able to control the two tailed cat the way she did.
"I know the hardships of the life of a Jinchuriki" she replied "If the boy is then he will need someone who knows what he is going through. Besides if things go the way you think there will be no war, so we will go back to peacetime activities. No need for a weapon like myself"
He thought about this for a while, before sighing in resignation "Very well, if he is a host then I will make you his guardian until he is old enough to begin his conditioning. But remember this, if war comes you will be recalled immediately. You will still do missions for the village and the nation" he opened his eyes, hardened orbs starring at her "Is that clear?"
She nodded "It is clear"
"Then I bestow upon you, Yugito Nii, the A-ranked mission of taking care of the boy" he said "You will be given the same salary as you did when you were an active Ninja, this is to look after the boys needs…I take it your apartment is suitable for a second person?"
Yugito bowed slightly, eyes closed "It is"
"The he is your responsibility"
"Normal" – humans speaking
"Italics" – Humans thinking
"Bold" – Biju talking
"Bold/Italics" Biju thinking
ANBU – The personal guard and Special Forces of a Kage
Konohagakure – Village Hidden in the Leaves
Kumogakure – Village Hidden in the Clouds
Kirigakure – Village Hidden in the Mist
Yondaime - Fourth
Hokage – Fire Shadow
Raikage – Lightning Shadow
Genjutsu – Illusionary Techniques
Kekkei Genkai – Bloodline Limit
Byakugan – White Eye's
Jinchuriki – Power of Human Sacrifice
Nibi – Two Tails
Sanji – Three Tails
Rokubi – Six Tails
Kyubi no Yoko – Nine Tailed Demon Fox