Warning: This prologue is very dark and angsty. The rest of the fic however is not.
I do not own Naruto or Venom/Carnage
It is a sin to believe evil of others,
but it is seldom a mistake
Prologue: forward unto darkness
It had started to rain. A slow heavy rain that painted the world in shades of gray and brown and filled the air with the steady drum of water. Water washed over and through the village of Konohagakure as the sun dipped down towards the horizon. With a muffled boom the crash of thunder heralded the arrival of an even heavier downpour.
At least the sun isn't shining. The sun shouldn't shine on a day like this. Thought Kakashi as he stood in one of the waiting rooms of Konoha's main hospital. Taking a deep breath to compose himself he resumed his silent wait. The air was thick with the smell of wet stone and metal and the clean sharp smells of the hospital. How many times has it been? He wondered. How often do we have to repeat this? Waiting and hoping for good news.
The scratch of a match lighting broke him from his reverie. Looking up he saw Asuma lighting yet another cigarette. How many had it been so far? His last count had him at 6 in the last half hour. The man had been smoking continuously since they had arrived. Funny the last time I saw him smoke was when? A few weeks ago, No? it had been at least a few months. Other than that the only sign of Asuma's anxiety was the steady clenching and loosening of his fist. Then once again only the drumming of the rain could be heard in the room.
15 minutes passed by in silence both men waiting quietly, each lost in their own thoughts. And then almost simultaneously both Kakashi and Asuma looked up. With a hiss the doors at one end of the room opened and three more men entered the room. Maito Guy, Iruka, and Mizuki. Maito Guy's usually cheerful face was set into grim lines as he walked into the small room calmly, with none of his usual animation. Walking silently behind him was Iruka. Iruka's scarred face was pale and his hands were trembling. Bringing up the rear Mizuki hastily hid a smirk before anyone else noticed.
"Is it true?" Iruka asked, addressing no one in particular. Looking around he asked again "Is my brother dead?" His voice cracking at the end."Someone say something!" He yelled out.
Crushing his still lit cigarette in his hand, Asuma looked up and gave Iruka a single harsh nod. And with that Iruka fell to his knees. His mind numb.
It had only been 6 years since the Kyubi had attacked Konoha. Six years since it had came and killed off Iruka's entire family, and now with the loss of his adopted brother Iruka had lost yet another member of his family.
After the attack he had been put in the orphanage until things could be sorted out. Being one of the older kids had made him a sort of an adopted brother and uncle to many of the younger children. But he did have one person he could look up to, his older friend Ushio Aotsuki who had been in the orphanage all his life. The two had grown close very quickly. And once again Iruka had a family.
And when Ushio had left the orphanage when he turned eighteen he had taken Iruka with him. Together the two had made a home for themselves, becoming brothers in every sense of the word. And he had supported Iruka when he had decided to become a ninja. Ushio had helped with Iruka's training as best he could. Helping him study and working two jobs to help pay for Iruka's ninja supplies and tuition.
And then one day when he had gone to the academy to drop off some paperwork Ushio had met Kurenai.
And fallen head over heels for the raven haired girl.
After weeks of hemming and hawing Ushio had finally worked up the nerve to speak to the raven haired girl. It hadn't gone too well. Not at first anyways.
Stumbling over his words he had somehow managed to ask her out. and to everyone's surprise (even her's) Kurenai had said yes.
And after a whirlwind romance he had just as nervously asked her to marry him.
She had said yes then too.
Choking back a sob Iruka managed to stand, his mind still spinning as old memories began to surface.
The wedding. He remembered the day clearly. He had been the best man, and Anko had been err, the maid of honor. Guy had jumped into the air and caught the bouquet and Kakashi had caught Guy. And then thrown him into the fountain. And that had been one of the quieter moments.
Guiding Iruka over to a seat Mizuki turned to Asuma. "When?" he mouthed.
"This afternoon." Came the equally silent reply.
After a few moments Iruka looked up. Though his eyes were hollow he was in control of himself again. Gazing around the room as if looking for something he frowned suddenly. Then something clicked in his head. "Kurenai?" he asked suddenly his eyes aghast.
Kurenai was pregnant, she was due any day now.
"Surgery, Anko's with her." this time it was Kakashi who answered.
"And the child?" Iruka asked, but the way they all looked away told him what he needed to know.
Nevertheless Kakashi did answer him, his one eyed gaze holding steady on the younger man. "I'm sorry, but it doesn't look good."
Clenching his fists Iruka swept his gaze over the group, "What happened? Who did this?"
"A thief, we have him in custody." Asuma answered his voice frigid, the muscles in his jaws rippling in anger.
"A thief?" Mizuki asked incredulously "How?"
Pausing to light another cigarette Asuma continued. "It still a mess but..." He paused to take a deep drag on his cigarette. "We know Kurenai and Ushio were out shopping. They were on their way home when it happened."
Taking another long drag he blew a long plume of smoke out. "They came across some beggars. One of them was asking for food. When she came to give him something, some coins, food, were not sure. He stabbed her, and then he stabbed Ushio in the back went to he went to help her. Then he took his coin purse and ran."
"That's it." Choking back a hysterical laugh Iruka continued. "My family gone for what a few coins?" He started to sob . Guy crossed the room and took a seat next to Iruka. Placing a hand on his friends shoulder, he opened and closed his mouth a few times before finally whispering, "I'm sorry." Removing his hand he sat quietly next to his friend.
"Iruka I'm going to get you some answers." Asuma straightened up and headed for the door. Pausing for a moment he half turned and said."You can count on it." and with that he left the room in a rush. It wasn't until he had left the hospital that he let his self control slide. Not until the rain would hide the tears. And the thunder his cries. Because he loved her too.
Sensing his friend's gaze on him, Guy looked up at Kakashi. For a moment it looked like he was going to say something, but the moment passed and both men resumed their waiting again. The drumming of the rain was the only sound in the room even as the day finally turned to night. Iruka had fallen silent. This was a waiting room reserved exclusively for ninja, so at the moment there were only the four of them.
Mizuki stood up and glanced around. "I'm going to get us some coffee."
Kakashi spared him a glance "I'll take it black."
"Hot chocolate please." This came from Guy just before Mizuki left the room.
As soon as he was out of earshot Mizuki began to laugh quietly to himself. Finally! Finally that bastard had gotten his comeuppance. All those years of being the third's favorite, everyone's precious little orphan. Hadn't he lost everything too? When that bastard Ushio had taken Iruka, who had gotten left behind. Who had gotten through the academy alone? And it was all their own fault, oh how he wished he had seen it happen. To see the moment when hope died, when that light in their eyes faded. But now things were looking up, for him that is. With Kurenai and some of the other jounin's wrapped up in this mess, he would offer the Hokage his personal services. Purely to help his friends, to lessen their workloads, so they could grieve. Stifling a laugh he prepared the drinks at the small drink station.
Today had been a good day. He thought happily. And it looked to get even better. With any luck that bitch Kurenai would die too, she deserved it too after that defeat she had given him at their chunin exams. Putting the drinks on a tray he put on a believable expression of sadness and made his way back to the waiting room. Not surprisingly all the occupants were looking at him as soon as he stepped through the doors, it was hard to sneak up on a jounin.
After handing out the drinks he took his seat again. Watching Iruka out of the corner his eye, he gave a mental sigh. It looked like he had pulled himself together, now he was just sitting quietly sipping his coffee. And he had made sure to prepare it in precisely the way Iruka hated it, Bastard. Sipping his drink he settled down to wait.
Finally the red light over the door to surgery turned green.
A few tense moments later a surgeon stepped out, flanked by the Hokage himself. The Hokage looked to have aged a year overnight, but his stride was firm and unflagging. Crossing the room he took Iruka into his arms. Guy and Kakashi looked away to give the two a few moments of privacy.
Clearing his throat Sarutobi addressed the four ninja. "Kurenai is going to live, but she lost the baby. I'm so sorry Iruka."
There's more." He continued. "We did all we could but the damage was extensive. Her wounds may prevent her from carrying a child to term. But its just to soon to tell though. This won't hinder her career as ninja. Though at the moment I'm not sure if that's a good thing."
All five men in the room shared similarly angry expressions, if for different reasons.
Guy was the first to ask. "Can we see her?" Sarutobi glanced at the surgeon.
He nodded "Only for a moment she's resting now. Follow me."
Obediently they all formed a line and followed the doctor. He led them to a room at the end of a long gallery. Opening the door he ushered them in. Lying on the bed was Kurenai. Someone had combed her hair and she looked almost at peace, though her face was pale. Anko was sleeping with her head cushioned on her arms at the foot of the bed.
"I'm surprised she's still here." commented Mizuki. "Anko not Kurenai." he added quickly, as everyone gave him a sharp look.
At this the Hokage smiled. "I may have arranged to make sure she didn't wake from her catnap." then his expression grew more serious. "We don't need any more bodies in the morgue."
The group stood quietly for a few moments before the surgeon spoke again. "I'm sorry but I'm going to have ask you to leave. At least for the moment." The men nodded and filed out of the room.
"Mizuki." Sarutobi spoke up as soon as they had all stepped back out into the hallway.
"Yes Hokage." Mizuki answered crisply.
"Take Iruka home, get some food in him and make sure he gets some sleep."
"But my Lord Hokage." Iruka tried to interrupt but the Hokage cut him off.
"Iruka get some rest and some food, and come back tomorrow" Smiling at him he cocked his head at Anko. "Let her take care of her Kurenai for the moment. You can take the morning shift."
"Kakashi, Guy I want to see you two in my office first thing tomorrow. You too Mizuki." he called over his shoulder as he walked away. Iruka gave the jounin's a wave before walking away with Mizuki.
"Come on Guy, we should leave as well." Kakashi said tapping Guy on the shoulder.
"Yosh." For the first time all evening a little color was starting to return to Guy. As the two left the emergency ward, a soft rumble came from Guy's stomach.
"Ha Kakashi I think we should stoke the fires of our youth."
"Fires of our youth?" Kakashi raised his only visible eyebrow. "Where did you get that from?"
Flashing a smile at Kakashi Guy struck a pose that would later cause untold nightmares across generations of ninja. "Yosh, remember my rival, its always darkest just before the dawn. Our fires will light the way to a better future."
Smiling at his friend. Kakashi gave him his one eyed smirk. "Rival huh? Well see about that. Lets get your fire stoked shall we."
And on that note the two headed down to the hospital cafeteria to get some food. As they walked Kakashi realized that Guy was right. Not about that damn fire thing, but they could make a better future. And it was about time they got started. And they could start by making sure that Kurenai received all the help and support she needed or wanted. And for the first time Kakashi felt his appetite return. Though truth be told he was glad he was glad the food in the cafeteria was bland and tasteless, Eating something delicious seemed inappropriate at the moment. All told it was about an hour before the jounin's finally left the cafeteria.
Both men headed upstairs making their way to the roof. It was always easier to roof hoop if you started from somewhere high. And he was feeling a bit stuffed, glancing over at his friend Kakashi shook his head a bit. Guy had challenged him to an eating contest of all things. Then he had triumphantly yelled out that the score was now one to zero in his favor.
Guy and Kakashi made their way up the final set of stairs to the roof. Stepping out onto the roof they took a moment to gather their thoughts. The rain seemed to be letting up a little as well.
As they stood on top of the hospital, a sudden flash of lightning lit up the roof. For a moment everything was thrown into a sharp black and white relief. Including a solitary figure standing on the far edge of the roof. Guy shot Kakashi a curious glance and nodded in the direction of the unmoving figure.
Curious both men jumped closer to see who it was. With the prevailing darkness and rain it was hard to see but it looked like a person wearing a cloak. Which made sense given the weather but something looked wrong to Kakashi, not wrong exactly but something was odd.
It wasn't a cloak. It was hospital gown. Now they both hurried to get even closer. Another flash of lightning illuminated the rooftop, finally revealing the identity of the stranger.
"Kurenai." Guy's startled shout caused the woman to turn around. Clad only in her hospital gown she was holding something in her arms but once again it was still too dark to see what it was.
Kakashi's instinct's were screaming at him that something was terribly terribly wrong. Hands moving without conscious thought he ripped two flares from his vest. Lighting them he threw them on the ground in front of him in a smooth practiced motion. With a sputtering hiss the flares ignited and illuminated the roof in a harsh red light. With the rain reflecting the light the sky seemed to be raining blood. And now finally the two jounin's could see just what exactly she held in her arms.
And she had just stepped out onto the very edge of the roof. Her eyes bright in the red light, Kurenai cooed to the baby in her arms, its small arms shaking in the red light. Smiling beatifically at the child, she sang a soft lullaby to the crying baby.
"Kurenai what are you doing?" Kakashi asked as he and Guy edged closer to Kurenai.
Smiling at her friend. Kurenai answered in a too calm voice. "Sshhh, you'll wake up little Ushio, were just getting some fresh air before Ushio comes to pick us up." Rocking the baby a little she arranged it a little more comfortably in her arms.
Plastering a huge smile on his face Guy called out to her. "Yosh, how about letting uncle Guy hold him a bit?" Seeing no visible response he took the chance to get a little closer. Sparing a glance at Kakashi he saw him preparing something in his gloved hands. The two shared a quick nod. Taking another chance he stepped fully in front of him blocking Kurenai's sight of Kakashi.
"Hmmm, not right now Guy hes sleeping." Kurenai smiled at guy. Her eyes were still strangely calm and it was beginning to unnerve him. "I'm sorry Guy but we have to go now." And with that she stepped off the edge and fell.
Willing his body into motion Guy jumped over the edge and fell after her. Pushing off the wall he managed to increase his speed and close the distance and made a desperate grab for her. Somehow he managed to get an arm around her and the baby, twisting around in mid-air he stretched out with his free hand and reached for something, anything that would help him slow his fall. He knew that both he and Kurenai could survive the landing but that the baby wouldn't.
With a crash all three slammed into the side of the building, and slid down a good ten feet more before coming to an abrupt halt. Guy looked up at the length of ninja wire wrapped around his arm and up to Kakashi who was anchoring them up on the roof. Somehow he managed a smile and a thumbs up. Kakashi simply waved back.
Taking his bearings Guy kicked open a nearby window and jumped into a thankfully empty room. Placing Kurenai and the baby onto a handy couch he sighed with relief, and began to check on the two.
Kakashi jumped into the room after Guy.
"How are they Guy?" Shaking his head to try and get some of the water out of his hair Kakashi walked deeper into the room. Getting no response from Guy he walked around to the far wall and turned on the lights. The warm amber glow made the room seem very peaceful. From where he stood he could only see the back of Guy's head as he crouched down next to Kurenai who was lying unmoving on the couch. He could see her chest rising and falling steadily.
"Guy?" He called out.
Sniffling Guy turned his head to look at Kakashi. He was crying, tears streaming down his face. Crossing the room as swiftly as he could manage Kakashi looked over Guy's shoulder. Cradled in Guy's huge hands was the baby, his head lying at an unnatural angle. Falling to his knees beside Guy he reached out a trembling hand to the child. Touching the head gently he stroked the soft downy wisps of dark hair. Its skin was already starting to cool. On the couch Kurenai stirred but did not wake.
"Kakashi what do we do?" Guy looked over at his friend. With his hair plastered down over Kakashi's eye he couldn't see what he was thinking.
"Guy give me the baby, take Kurenai back to her room, Quietly." He said, emphasizing the last word.
"Right." With trembling hands he handed it over and picked up Kurenai. Noddingto Kakashi he sunshin-ed out of the room.
Kakashi looked down at the tiny thing in his hands.
"Never again." He whispered. If the council found out about this, if anyone knew about this Kurenai would be finished. He had only one choice. He would have to cover this up. Hide everything. No one would know. He would not lose another friend. Underneath his hiate his Sharingan shifted, warped, changing to a new form. Lifting his headband he turned his mangekyo sharingan onto the body in his arms. Outside the rain continued to fall.
Kurenai walked through the park alone. She took a moment to drink in the beauty of the sky before continuing her walk. It had been only a few weeks since she had been declared fit for duty. Months since she had lost her husband and son. Her husband was gone but her son wasn't. She would find him again, it was only a matter of time. And then they would be a family again. Taking one last look around the rapidly emptying park she spotted a lone figure sitting on a swing.
Walking over to the swing set she sat down next to the boy. "Sweetie where's your mom" she asked.
The blond haired, blue eyed boy looked up at her. "I don't have one" he whispered.
Kurenai smiled, reaching out a hand she wiped a bit of dirt from his cheek. Tilting his head up so he could look directly in her eyes she whispered. "Dream of somewhere warm."
At her words his eyelids fluttered and closed, and he slumped forward. Catching him before he fell she pulled him close, stroking his hair gently.
"And when you wake you'll be there." Straightening up she cradled the sleeping boy in her arms. "My Son."
AN: Thanks to my Beta's Whitedragon17 and Psudocode Samurai, without whose help and inspiration this story would never have gotten off the ground. Both are amazing authors and I highly recommend all of their fics. And thanks to all my reviewers.
AAN: If you think I made a mistake or have a suggestion or an idea, Please PM me or leave it in a review.