*Standard Disclaimer Applies*
I honestly never thought that I could ever do a fic like this. I've always thought that they were complex and required a lot of creativity – that I still believe I lack – but I'd like to give it a try. And for my patient readers who are waiting for me to update 'The World We Belong To' and 'Ai Gakuen' and 'Hogwarts' ANBU' I love you so and I apologize. But I have blessed you with a story that will hopefully take some of that edge off of your, probably waning, patience. I have been preparing this story for months and I have researching and I'm not going to make excuses about school and such because I have had the time to update and there is no other reason but a dearly unwelcome friend that I'd like to call Writer's Block. This story took much planning and referencing and from the select few I've read they've all been well written, well thought out, and have been excellently executed in a way that I possibly hope that I could compare to. With that taken care of –
"Lady Sakura, you still have your duties to attend to! You cannot spend all of your life training, you must rest. You have political matters that need to be attended to in a fortnight's time." Sakura's assistant rambled on about her duties and important matters that needed to be taken care of. Sakura was tired of this, she had graduated from university as valedictorian only two days past and she already had to start preparations for the Annual Winter Solstice. While their Elfen brethren reveled in the warmth of the sunlight, the Fae have found refuge and comfort in the darkness of the night. And as the High Priestess's daughter and first-born there were many things that needed to be seen and events that needed to be organized and other such consequential matters that had been shoved in the back of the young woman's mind since the beginning of autumn.
"Namine, I assure you that I am putting the majority of my time into organizing and overseeing these trivial things. I am well aware of Yuko-sama's decision and I have agreed that while not the strongest warrior out of our batch, Kagura is the perfect candidate for the next in line. Do not fret, young one. I have everything under control." Sakura confident voice, smooth as silk, soothed the young water Nymph. Sakura kept her gaze on the back of the ice blue haired teen and wondered why she needed an assistant in the first place. The exhausted young female sluggishly made her way up to her chambers and decided that a hot and steamy scented bubble bath was just what she needed right now.
Walking into the bathroom and stripping herself of her daily training clothes she pulled the chain at the top of the carved out room that signaled the Fae who work at the water station. Unlike normal villages, which were situated on the ground, the villages of Forest Island were hidden within the foliage of the trees and plants. This, as funny as it sounds, would make every building a tree house-type establishment that is handmade for every Fae in the Island. The largest "tree house" in the villages was the Temple of Nyx. The next biggest would be the Library of the Ancients, and next is the Healing Quarters, and the next is the Warrior's HQ, and then the Bizarre and the Market, and then her home, and so on and so forth.
Sinking into the warm herbal, cream scented bath she sighed in relief. This was something she desperately needed thanks to all the work that she had been doing this past week. Perfectly content with sitting in her bath listening to the soft music of the night she morphed different figures in the bath water. The first was a young man who looked to be eighteen or so with shaggy and slightly long hair and soft but fierce eyes. His body wasn't very buff, but he was lean and looked like he was rather fast.
The next figure was of a tall and beautiful woman, distinctly Fae – her markings were blatant and highlighted. Her hair was to her knees and flowed down her back in a waterfall of silk, her eyes, while warm and inviting were also strong and defiant. A voluptuous body and breathtaking smile completed the image of her mother.
The last figure was a man who looked to be in his early to mid-thirties and possessed an aura of power that was even made prominent from the life-like figure of water. His hair was shaggy and almost covered his eyes which were sharp but comforting, his build was slightly muscular but also seemed like he was more built for speed than for overall power – like the first.
The liquid male figurine splashed back into the water as the door opened and revealed a little girl who looked about seven entered the luxuriously made room. Sakura smiled gently at the pretty dark haired child and gestured for her to come into the room. The girl's face flamed a cotton candy pink and she padded lightly over to the deep tub.
"Good afternoon Nina. How is your mother?" Sakura is the Island healer. About 75% of the times she is in or out of the village, she is healing the Fae and Elves and Nymphs of the Island. Her mother may be the High Priestess, but she has no affinity for the soul. Sakura, however, does. Every Fae is a creature of the night and has an affinity with an element.
Nina smiled brightly, her chubby pink cheeks puffing out and eyes shining in happiness. "Ah! Mama's much better now! She is in bed resting with Papa watching over her. Mama wanted Nina to tell Lady Sakura thank you and that we'll be at the Solstice Banquet." Nina's parents were family friends and Sakura has spent the majority of her early teenage years watching over the dark haired infant and raising her to be a noble child of the Fae.
Sakura smiled again and gestured for the younger girl to undress and join her. Obeying her godsister, she gently pried the billowy white dress off of the little girl and wrapped a bath towel around the girl's undeveloped body. Having been used to bathing with the princess icon of the Island since birth, Nina had no objections when the infinitely stronger and older female easily lifted her into the tub and proceeded to comb her cropped short ebony hair. Sakura remembers that the last time she just sat in the bath and talked with Nina was before more threats on her mother's life came in. Nina's mother is a highly regarded warrior in the Elite Guard of Angora. She has made many enemies during her time in the Guard.
Gently combing her fingers through Nina's hair Sakura looked down at the small child in her lap. Her little head lay next to Sakura's towel covered heart and her soft indigo half-lidded eyes were slowly drooping as Sakura continued to hum her lullaby. "Nina, how was your day at the academy?" The, now lazy, seven year old looked up into the forest green eyes of her mentor and heart sister and smiled sleepily. "It was great, there was a new student today – he was really cute. When Miss Kurenai introduced him to the class he looked to shy and sweet. A lot of the girls were becoming quite attached, I was just glad that he decided to be my friend. He ate lunch with me during break hour."
Unlike the playgrounds in high class, aristocratic cities like Konoha – the large field that surrounded the dense forest of the Island was not a place for Fae, Elfen, or Nymph children to play in. Too many deadly creatures and deadly people stalked the area looking for a way into their haven. The trees were very large and the elegant creatures of nature have learned to hollow then out and use them for their needs – always recycling what they used if it was possible. The buildings were all separate trees anyway, connected by series of thick branches and sturdy bridges. If one needed to be on the forest floor for any reason, he or she had to be trained – if the person was not trained, supervision by someone who was would be provided. But the only people who went to the forest floor for any reason were travelers.
Sakura smirked lightly, so her little heart sister is starting to develop a crush on a new student. "And may I know his name, Nina? He seems like Daisuke when he was little." Daisuke is Sakura's eighteen year old brother. He left for Ellesméra a couple of days ago on a mission, he should've been back by now…
"No! Takeru is not like Dai! Dai is older and smarter and quieter and is never flustered and never blushes. But Takeru does, and that's why he's cute. Takeru isn't very smart, but he's very nice and I'm going to help him starting next week." Nina's little childish face puffed up in pride, Sakura was not just a babysitter but a tutor for Nina as well. Sakura sometimes teaches at the academy as well.
"I'm so proud of you Nina. Continue to do well, and I'll teach you how to fly in advance." Sakura bribed the younger child with the power of flight. Fae, besides having an affinity for an element – sometimes two – and for the night unlike their elven brethren, can also fly. A Fae knows that they will be able to fly when, within the years of infancy, they float. The dark haired child's eyes glowed and Sakura looked out of the large square window, seeing that it was around five o'clock.
Patting Nina's head she gracefully stood up, carrying the drowsy child in her arms. Sakura's petal white-pink hair was up in a bun, her bangs covering her forehead and framing her face, forest green eyes the same shade as the towering green trees of her home softened at the young girl who has yet to even step foot out into the world.
Dressing the young child back into her billowy cotton white dress and comfortable customary white flats she dried the girl's hair before lying her down on the soft down comforter of her large bed, a soft and pliable pillow under her head. With that done Sakura slinked into her closet to change as well. She herself dressed in an emerald green tunic made out of a durable enchanted silk and a pair of flexible leather trousers that cut off at her knees.
Her figure was not as voluptuous and curvy as her mother's, but she was unbelievably slim and she had a more than satisfactory amount of male appeal – such is the way of a female Fae. Slipping on a pair of worn, and also spell protected, emerald cloth flats very similar to the ones that Nina was wearing at the moment she grabbed her satchel and slung it over her shoulder before walking out into the bedroom to pick up the slumbering girl.
Walking with the grace and poise of a dancer, she made her way to the main floor of her home. Taking a deep breath and exiting the home-like structure through a carved entrance only barricaded by a cotton drape in the tree. The sight that greeted her never ceased to make her feel like one of the luckiest beings on the earth. Her home was preparing itself for the festival held every year before the Winter Solstice and it was most definitely a sight to behold.
The bridges were decorated with colorful vines and flowers and glowing lamps made from transparent leaves and scented candles lined the railings of walkways and, with the help of magic, floated in the air like lightning bugs. Homes, which were really singular levels in one tree, were filled with laughter and nymphs were flying around gathering fruits and sweet meats and other such things to bring to the Infinity lake. Walking passed the academy, Sakura was greeted with waves and smiles and hugs of little Fae children that were politely mindful of the little girl in her arms. Dropping Nina off at her home was not a difficult journey, and on the way back she decided to stop by the Market to buy herself a little treat.
She was stopped, however, by the sight of a young bloodied and injured man leaning against one of her village's trees a good ways down – on the forest floor. It was obvious why he stopped to rest there, the Bellara-Tonée River ran strong and calm through this part of Angora and its waters were known to be a main source of healing for injured passerby. But, she noticed, he wasn't from the Island. A glint of something caught her eyes and she stared at a sword that lay next to him and from the design of the mask that hid his face from her view he seemed to be from Konoha's Army. Eyes narrowing with suspicion, she easily jumped from the railing after buying an apple and floated down, gracefully landing on her feet in front of the injured male.
His breathing was labored and his left arm was feebly trying to stop the blood leaking out of the wound in his side. His right arm hung at an odd angle, and from his gasps she could tell he was also very dehydrated. Deciding that he was going to die of blood loss or from being eaten by a saber-toothed panther or something akin to it, Sakura easily polished off the apple and heaved the larger than her but smaller than most men over her shoulder and, with close to no difficulty at all, flew back up to the safety of her home – not forgetting his sword or pack, thieves were higher in number than normal these days and this man looked important judging from the insignia sewn into his armor.
Walking nonchalantly into her healing quarters near the middle of the village, she laid him down on one of the soft patient beds and got to work on stripping him of his clothing. She noted immediately that he was a demon and her apprehension, and suspicion, grew tenfold. What was a Youkai doing so far from his home? And why here of all places? There must be a reason behind it. He's from Konoha…? I'll ask uncle when they get here.
Healing the gash took almost no time at all, but he was poisoned with a rather large dose of Water Snake venom. So that was why he was so close to the river. Despite its name Water Snakes are not snakes that live in the water – in fact they detest the liquid and refuse to go within a thirty foot radius of it. That certainly explains the dehydration and the poison in his system, but that gash in his side and the broken rib that had punctured his left lung was definitely not caused by a creature like that. The worried, but hesitant, Fae looked uncertainly at the sheathed sword she had dropped in a corner – something wasn't right about this…
But she had no time to think now, she had a patient and even if it goes against her instincts Sakura vowed on her life never to turn down someone in need. And right now, whether she wanted to or not, this man needed her.
And so, ten to fifteen minutes later, Sakura smiled. Her energy seemed like it wasn't even tapped into because of her expert abilities and this man was breathing normally again. His arm and abdomen would feel a little sore when he woke up and his breathing would be strained, but if he did what she told him to he would be back home and away from her and her village as fast as possible. She wondered what in the world had happened; the damage to his person was so intense…
Since she diagnosed that he wouldn't be up for a good hour or so and it was only late afternoon to early evening she grabbed a book off of her bookshelf in her office and opened to the silver bookmarking ribbon. She began to read her romance story in silence, but as time passed she grew drowsy and her eyes were starting to flutter closed. She rubbed her eyes with her knuckles under her thin silver rimmed glasses and tried to stay awake, but the urge to take a catnap overpowered her need to stay awake enough to watch over the suspicious patient and she fell asleep.
Itachi woke feeling like shit. He looked around and everything looked unfamiliar, didn't he make it home this morning? If he did, then why did everything here seem so homey and nice smelling? The hospitals in Konoha were bland and white and always smelled of antiseptic. Noticing a movement out of the corner of his eyes he regarded the pink haired maiden with curiosity and suspicion – everything was a threat until deemed otherwise, was the line he was taught in training.
Her eyes were closed and her breathing even, two sure signs that she was asleep. Itachi took this silent moment to study the strange girl. Her skin was porcelain and unmarred, her hair looked soft and shiny and she was obviously very beautiful – one of the most beautiful women he'd ever seen truthfully. He started his dissension from her odd white-pink hair, to her closed eyes – he noticed her eyelashes were long and full and brushed the top of her cheek – to her straight and aristocratic but very cute button nose, to full pale rose hued lips that looked oh-so-soft at the moment.
He tried to swiftly move out of bed like the stealthy warrior that he is, but it was enough movement to wake the slumbering goddess-like creature. Sighing in resignation, her emerald orbs widened at the sight of the male before him. She looked out the window quickly before returning her gaze to the ebony haired male before her.
"Why are you awake?"
Her smooth and silken voice shocked him out of his staring episode, slightly embarrassed he narrowed his eyes.
"Where am I?" He responded, but Sakura would not be deterred.
"You have not answered my question yet, Youkai. Why are you awake?"
"I am hungry, onna. Surely you can at least take care of your patient enough to gather sufficient food when it is needed." He deduced that she was one of the medics of whatever village he was in due to the equipment and medical texts and other such items in the room.
Deciding that she wasn't going to get an answer out of him she dropped the subject, until what he said registered in her mind. "You are in no position to call me 'onna' Youkai. You are in my village and I don't know where you came from but respect is earned. My name, if you so please to acknowledge it, is Sakura – and what of your name, Demon?"
She would be nice this once, she mused, to a stranger who was injured. After all, if he meant to harm her people then he wouldn't have gotten past the barrier in the first place.
If one crossed the grueling grassland that surrounded her home and made it to the outlining edge of the forest, they would be met with a shield of sorts. Those who bore ill will to her people would be immediately repelled from the Island and would be denied entry. Obviously if he broke through said barrier, he was not an enemy… not yet, at least.
Walking over to the little kitchenette, she brought him a glass of water from the Bellara-Tonée. It was the only source of water in the village for a good few miles.
Handing him the glass, she put her glasses on and continued to read the book. And in all that time, he observed her. She was a very beautiful female. That much was obvious. He was even going as far as to call her gorgeous. Her hair was white-pink, like the cherry blossom petals in the Imperial Garden. And her eyes were a shade of green that could never be replicated, but they were the oddest eyes he'd ever seen. They were sharp and feline-resembling, but her pupils were elongated so they actually did look like cats' eyes. She had definite curves in the right places, and though they weren't as profound as some of the courtesans in Konoha they suited her perfectly. Her skin was porcelain and healthy, but there were strange marking all over her torso – including her arms. She was a strange individual indeed. She had not acted like the females in the palace normally do.
"I would appreciate, Youkai, if you would stop staring." His eyes narrowed again at her blatant disregard of the 'respect' that he had demanded of her, that and he was a little embarrassed about being caught in the act.
"Uchiha Itachi." He replied. Sakura blinked, confused.
Seeing her gaze, he repeated it slowly. He disliked repeating himself. "My name, Sakura, is Uchiha Itachi." She blinked again, not as confused as she was seconds earlier. She was surprised. She didn't think that he would give out his name so freely.
"And it means Weasel, does it not?" It was such an innocent question, but he was ridiculed about it enough from his cousin and friends, he did not need to hear about it from someone outside of the palace. Especially this baka onna.
"It is of no importance if it does, but what I would like to know Sa-ku-ra is where I am and how I got here." He placed the empty glass on the table next to the bed.
It took more will power than she thought to block the incessant flush from her face, and she was slightly irritated by it. Her eyes narrowed at his outright demand and she thought about refusing to give him the anesthetics for his injuries so he could heal the old-fashioned way when she remembered that she hadn't answered his question yet. Stupid upbringing.
"You are currently in Angora." Sakura replied simply.
He blinked twice, his face blank but Sakura had enough experience with her brother to know that he was surprised.
"You mean to tell me," he began "that I am currently in the Fae capital of Forest Island?" It sounded like he thought she was duping him as some sick joke.
"Yes. Why do you seem so skeptical Youkai? Surely you recognize a Fae when you see one?" She smirked at his disbelieving look. It wouldn't have been detectable to many people but if she can read her brother and cousin like a book then this man was a piece of cake.
"Do not lie to me, for I assure you that it would not be the wisest choice onna."
She growled menacingly, "You dare call me a liar? Are you so stupid as to foolishly believe I would lie about this? If you are so doubtful then walk outside and take a look for yourself."
He did as she said with some difficulty. Sakura swallowed the majority of her pride and slung his arm over her shoulder so he could at least make it to the railing of the wooden walkway.
His eyes widened and he could practically hear the smirk on Sakura's face. But right now he couldn't care less. In front of him was the most breathtaking scene he'd ever witnessed in his twenty-five years of life. It was so green and peaceful and there were so many Fae and Elf concentrated in one spot that he had to blink to make sure his eyes didn't see spots from the intensity of their auras.
Sakura was glad, for some reason that he seemed to be taken within the sights and sounds of her home. And as soon as he saw the smile on her face, he thought that it wouldn't be half bad acquainting himself with this baka onna.
Tada! Reviews are most certainly welcome. I appreciate constructive criticism, not blatant flaming. Thank you to all who read – It totally makes my day, every day.