First meeting, part one

Past is past and we must live the present to survive the future. ~Martin Duncavne

It was during one of his early years that Yukimura first met his only blood relative from his late father's side. His young mother had told him when he was only five at the time, but he honestly couldn't remember. All he really did remember was that it was almost dinner time, because his little tummy was rumbling and his mother was hurrying around the kitchen and the sweet aroma of hot food filled the small house.

It had been a particularly lonely week for him since he had gotten yet another fever from the boiling summer heat and had to stay in the house. Why he remembered this and not his age at the time he didn't understand. He guessed it was probably because he often got sick as a child and it was often really bad.

His mother, Mayuri, who was the lily as her name suggested, was a very beautiful woman as many had told him. But no matter how much he looked at her "beautiful" never came across. "Beautiful" wasn't enough to describe her, a young woman who was barely out of her teenage years raising him up alone. She had always been the sky to him, an awesome expanse of whatever he needed her to be.

He was dozing off that evening waiting for his long waited dinner when suddenly there was a tiny, barely audible sound at their back door. His hearing has always been beyond a human's and his senses, including the sixth, were as well developed as a high-ranked ninja, even as a child.

"Mother," he said in his quiet voice, almost nodding off, "there's someone at the door."

Mayuri always knew her child was special. He had inherited many of his father's attributes, which she supposed was one of the many blessings from him. She knelt down across the small table and gently held his shoulder and gave him a little shake.

"Was it the front door or the back door, dear?" she asked tenderly.

"The back," Yuki mumbled sleepily.

His desire for sleep vanished almost immediately as he watched his mother's face intently. Yuki raised his head, and he could tell she was deciding whether to investigate or not. He could always tell what she was thinking. But this time, the lines on her face were firmer, serious.

Mayuri glanced at the direction their back door was located and swiftly turned to her son. "Stay here," she said. In a quick motion she got up and ran for the door.

Yuki wanted to run after her. He remembered feeling alone and left behind as his mother exited the kitchen on her doe legs and disappeared behind the cabinets for storage. But he knew she would come back. He put his arms on the table and used it as a pillow and waited for her patiently.

Just then the rain started to pip plop on the ceiling and soon showered down. The summer typhoon was coming around again.

Mayuri clamped her hands around the metal brass doorknob. The odds were against her. He could already be gone and she would be hit with disappointment again like the many times she tried to catch him before he disappeared into the dense forest behind her house.

But then again, what would she do if he was there? She couldn't think straight when Yuki told her he'd heard something. It could have been a raccoon or a fox or some other kind of animal living outside.

She closed her eyes and prayed for the best and opened the door. The cold wind and slashing rain hit her hard. But she reminded herself this might be a once in a lifetime chance. Don't waste it.

The back door opening came as a total surprise to the Missing Nin. A typhoon was coming about and the wind and rain was already at a speed that could take down trees. No woman in her clear mind would come out looking for him, especially when he was careful enough to put the supplies down as quietly as possible. No one could have heard or seen him, yet she opened the door just as he was about to leave in haste.

Her blonde hair whipped around her small lily white face, which was even paler than it usually was. Her deep violet eyes had a gray, silvery glow to them that reflected the rain and bore down to his soul, at the evil he has done to her and her child. Guilt sliced through him like a hot blade searing right to his heart.

His eyes felt like they were going to burst out in tears, but he held those emotions back. He was a ninja, and a Missing Nin at that. There was no room in his sinful heart for tears, for he hadn't the right to shed them.

The two of them looked at each other. Even though the one person that tied them together was no longer here, fate still found a way for the two of them to meet.

"Sasuke-san," she said in nothing more than a whisper, but his trained ears found the words.

He waited for the harsh, cruel, and vindictive accusations he deserved. To more than anyone in the world, those words belonged to her. To her and the child she bore for his brother. The more they condemned him to hell the better it was for everyone. The more they hated him the easier it would be for them. That's what he had thought anyways.

But there was nothing. No accusation, no hatred. The two just stared at each other for a very long time. Neither knew what to do or say to make the tension go down.

Finally, Sasuke turned slowly to leave. Maybe he'd never see her again. Maybe he'd never come back to this house, or ever go near the two of them ever again. He had given her the chance to take it out on him, but she had said nothing. Even supposing that, he still wished she had said something.

"Wait," Mayuri called after him.

He could have easily just walked away; she had no power over him. She had no power over him, but his feet just wouldn't move. He would not let himself move.

Mayuri hesitated nervously. He remembered that she had always been a strong-willed person. Well, that was how she seemed when he first met her six years ago. Her eyes were the same, effervescent as ever, as they shone when she looked over her shoulder and right into his eyes.

Those memories were so vivid, as if they happened yesterday. He closed his eyes to blot them out like he always did. Emptying his mind and becoming an assassin again like thousands of other times. An empty shell made for killing.

But this time, maybe it was because of her, but the memories only became more lucid.

He had just killed his own brother. The very mission of his life, accomplished. Done. Finished. Then Uchiha Madara had shared with him the sad truth about his clan's extinction, about his brother's sacrifice. He was burning with rage. How can Konoha push her own warrior to his death and then label him as a criminal for the world to chase and despise?

He had agreed to work with Madara and the Akatsuki to plummet Konoha into the ground where it came from. To burn every house, every livestock. To leave its mothers crying as they watch their children murdered, and to hear the desperate cry of the men and warriors as they can do nothing about it at all.

He didn't know what led him to that sacred pond. He was probably just looking for a place to cool his head, calm his emotions and think of a plan. Or maybe just somewhere he could be alone to mourn for his brother's death. All he knew was that he was still confused when he walked into the abandoned temple.

He walked down the empty and dark halls of the old temple aimlessly, without direction. Well, it was meaningless until he walked out to the back where the sacred spring, or what was left of the spring.

The lady stood over his brother's body lying by the ruined steps of the pool with her back to Sasuke. He suddenly felt like he didn't belong. There were water lilies of pink, white, and blue floating over the crystal clear water dancing with the ripples from the fall of water.

The woman in the pool dipped a white cloth in the water and whipped away the blood stained on the cheek of his brother's face. Her motions had a certain feel to them that made Sasuke know immediately she was someone special. Her long golden hair was bound together in a thick loose braid.

Her fingers were long and skillfully manicured, but she couldn't have been a lady of the court or a rich and pampered daughter of a prosperous family at all, Sasuke had thought as he examined her who touched his brother's body. She was wearing no more than a hadajuban and a susuyoke, just under garments. But then he doubted that she knew anyone would actually come here.

Something on her finger twinkled under the light as she pulled back a strand of hair from Itachi's face.

A ring? Sasuke thought. He took a shaky step to take a closer look, throwing his ninja instincts away. Did he destroy more than just a brother? He thought and panicked.

He was just about to turn around to hightail it out of there when she suddenly turned around, her lilac eyes capturing him. How sorrowful they were. She had been crying for the whole night, but had not dropped a tear as she washed the dead man at her feet.

Sasuke froze in his step.

"You," she said, pausing. He didn't know how fearful his face looked. Like a guilty child who wanted to dig a hole and hide in it away from reality. He dropped his head and looked away.

"Sasuke-san," she whispered.

She tried to sound as gentle as possible. He had instructed her to watch over his younger brother before his departure. She didn't want to scare him away. He had told her everything, all the secrets of his life and what he found out. Well, enough to know what kind of person he was. He couldn't risk her life just like how he could not kill Sasuke.

Sasuke looked at the ring on her finger again. There could be no mistake, but he needed her to confirm it with her words.

"Who are you?" he asked harshly, building a thick wall between his heart and his mind.

She stepped out of the water and wrapped a haori hanging from a low branch around her small body. She walked barefoot across the grass until she was but a few feet away from him. She wanted to show him that she meant him no harm, but he became defensive.

"I asked you who are you?" Sasuke asked again, his voice raising. He needed the answer, no matter what it was, he could deal with it. But he needed the words to come out of her mouth.

She waited patiently for him to calm down before she answered his question. "They call me Shinpi, but your brother called me Mayuri. He married me in secret."

Doom. Her answer brought about his ugly side. Her existence and the existence of the life she was bearing in her was the proof of his hideous crime.

He knew she was with child just by watching they way she moved around, they way she cherished her own body because of what was growing inside of her. What did he owe her and her son? Nothing he could ever give back.

She reached out to him with the cloth that she used to wipe away the blood that tainted his soul and body, but he backed away. He didn't deserve the kindness of her touch or the love that she offered. He should just quickly get away from her, disappear and never appear before her again.

But his heart melted. Could she really forgive him? After all that he had done. She should hate him. Hate his gut and curse him to hell.

He turned around as those fingertips were just inches away. He saw in the shadow of the building he emerged from he who told him the truth, Uchiha Madara and his twisted mask. He stood there beckoning his newly acquired underling into his revolting darkness of revenge and killing. He held out his gloved hand at Sasuke as if he could not walk under the purifying light. As if it would completely destroy him and his filthy soul.

Sasuke took a casual step towards him when he heard the words that would almost kill him.

"Uchiha Madara," Mayuri had spoken to him like he was the devil. And indeed he was, but Sasuke had to learn that he hard way much, much later.

He glanced back at her. How had she known who he was? He was about to ask her when her eyes moved back on him after Madara.

With a piercing glow to her mauve eyes, they looked like they would strangle him with some invisible power he couldn't fight against.

"Why are you with him?" she asked, her voice raising a pitch with rage and disbelief. She took a scornful step towards him and held her hands in fists. "Why are you with Uchiha Madara? Have you lost your mind? Or are you too confused to understand right from left?" she spewed out before he could answer. "Did your own brother's death mean nothing to you? The message he left behind? Nothing?"

Her hair whipped around her face like whips of lightening and Sasuke was afraid of her. More afraid of this tiny woman than anything he has ever faced. She held her head up to look right at him, expecting an answer that he failed to give her.

Before he could think any further he felt a hard slap across his face. It was cold and hard like stone, a more powerful blow than any attack he has withstood, but it was one he had to survive with.

She fell to the ground soundlessly. Sasuke just stood there and held a hand at his cheek which has started to turn a bold, angry red. After that he wasn't aware of anyone else around them. He looked at the ring around her finger, just a wedding band without any kind of design except for a moonstone set in the center. It matched her well, her simple beauty.

He looked down on her head of gold and uttered just one word.

"Sorry."

Then he left the serene place silently.

Mayuri was left alone at that place, her tears pouring out her eyes. What had she done? She just rejected the one person her beloved had asked her to watch over, and all because her emotions had sky-rocketed for a second. She drove away something he had left her with.

How she regretted what she had done. But now, she had a second chance. He, Sasuke, was standing right in front of her. Waiting for her in the icy rain just like the last time they met.

"Um," she said, trying to come up with a reason for him to stay. "It's late and there's a typhoon coming. Can't you for just one night? Dinner is almost ready and you are welcomed to join us," she said in a flash over the wind.

Sasuke stood there like a thick tree. Mayuri could see his dark eyes, emotionless and poised like his brother's. But he wasn't. He wasn't at all like his brother. She knew how to make him laugh, even if it was only a chuckle or a smile. But his eyes brightened each time and she felt giddy inside at the sight of him. She knew how to tease him and break his frozen fa├žade. She knew how to make his stress fade and let him sleep quietly.

But Sasuke was not her husband. She was at a loss of words.

"What can I do to make you stay?" she asked hopelessly. "What can I do to deserve a second chance?"

Sasuke looked at her, baffled. She was asking him for a second chance? She of all people? And for what? Not having the chance to yell at him? Spit on him, curse him?

But he knew she wasn't like that. He knew she was compassionate and still faithful to his brother, a hardworking mother, and perhaps crazy for letting her husband's killer into her house. She was loony, but he couldn't help but accept that. He could only accept her.

He took a reluctant step towards her. Perhaps here, in that small little house, he could find peace. Or he'd find what he has expected for five years. But he took the chance and walked to that tiny woman he'd learn to call Sister, to her boy, whom he will considered to be a son, and the house he wouldd learn to call home.


Author's Note: As usual I don't own any of the original Naruto characters or places of interest. This is simply just fan fiction. Um, when I wrote this I assumed that Uchiha Madara died in his war against Konoha and both Naruto and Sakura are both alive. Just a side note. Don't forget to leave a review. :D

RueLin