It was silent in the room, minus the occasional command coming from the artist. The room was dark even if it was only 9 in the morning, the owner of the house was blind, he failed to see why he would need light when he couldn't tell the difference from the ever present darkness.
"Okay, Ms. Hyuuga. You may move. Sorry to make you sit so still." said the young man as he grabbed a wet cloth off the table to his right and cleaned his hands.
"No, no! It's perfectly fine! Are you hungry, Mr. Uzumaki? I can make you some breakfast." offered his student.
"That would be nice, thank you, Ms. Hyuuga." He smiled in the general direction of her voice.
Meet 24 year old Uzumaki Naruto, art teacher at the school for the disabled and gifted. He was popular with his students because he was also like them, they weren't 'normal.' Hinata was a gifted young lady, her photographic memory was extraordinary. She can get the briefest glimpse of something and be able to give you exact details down to the most microscopic scratch and hole.
She stood from her seat, careful not to disturb anything in the room as she made her way from the big studio room to his small kitchen. His house was spacious, to make room for his sculptures and models, the walls were painted a breathtakingly beautiful green. With a personal touch of her art teacher. He had someone paint the walls and then guide him as he mixed shades of green and browns, with purples and blues. The end result was a lively forest, it took a lot of time and a lot of paint, but he was able to get it done.
Shaking her head, she got to work making food while Naruto was finishing the last details on the sculpture of her. Naruto laughed as he walked out of the room and into the kitchen area, he walked over to a cupboard and pulled out two glasses before he went to his fruit bowl and grabbed some oranges. He liked having fresh squeezed orange juice with his breakfast, it gave him a nice boost for the day.
"How is you sister?"
"She's learning her sign language very fast. She even asked if she could come see your class, sensei."
"I don't mind, I bet she'd love it. It's a bit sad that she'd never hear your voice, you sound like a harp that has been finely tuned and played by an angel." Naruto said.
"Sensei, you are teasing!" she said as he laughed.
"Am not. Now then let's sit and eat. I hardly get visits from my students at home. What brings you hear today besides the bust I just made for you."
"Well, I was worried."
"Worried?" He cocked his head to the side, an indication that he was both confused and interested.
Hinata took a deep breath, trying to steel her nerves, but also observed her teacher. His ears twitched slightly as he listened to her breathing, and the beating of her heart. He tilted his head slightly and closed his eyes, he waited for her to steady her heart down and to relax her breathing, once she did, he opened his eyes and smiled.
"There's nothing to be afraid of. Just tell me what's worrying you." He said after a few minutes.
"Well Neji came home from work last night and he was talking with papa about the latest news..."
"The burglar that's been terrorizing the neighborhood?" Naruto asked.
"Hai... He attacked a deaf woman and left her in a coma... I overheard him and got worried so I came to see you and make sure you were okay."
"I'm quite alright, Hinata. But I appreciate the concern... Now then it's about time you got home, otherwise people will accuse us of having a sexual affair." Naruto said, standing after they had finished eating and he put the plates in the sink to soak before he washed them.
Hinata giggled and got up, gathering her things off the coat rack she let him guide her to the door. She smiled and leaned up to hug him.
"Thank you sensei, for being a steady stream for me." She said and he laughed as he opened the door.
"Hello Neji-kun." Naruto said as Hinata let go and blushed seeing her older cousin there.
"I will never understand how you always know who's at the door." Naruto laughed and pointed to his ears and then his nose.
"I may not be able to see like you can, but I can see with my others senses. Now then, I just finished the bust so come back in a few days to get it, it should be dry and set by then. And thank you again for being my model Ms. Hyuuga."
"Okay sensei and please be extra careful!"
"not to worry! I have leftovers so I won't be leaving the house tonight." Naruto assured her and she smiled.
"Sensei? Did you put in a new garden?"
"Yes I did, mint and lavender leaves a pleasant scent around and in the house." Naruto said. Glad to know that she was a sharp as ever.
"It's lovely, I wish you could see it." she said with a soft sigh.
"Now, now. No sad thoughts young lady." Naruto scolded softly, a bright smile on his face. Neji chuckled and placed a braille memo in his and about the burglar.
"I made a copy for you in braille, I hope it comes in handy for you and I'm sorry if I misspelled anything, I'm not use to writing in braille yet." Naruto nodded as his fingers traced over the bumps in the paper.
"A few mistakes, but I can still read it. Thank you for taking the time for making it for me. I feel terrible about what happened to that woman... Now you two be safe now." Naruto said bowing to them as they did as well before they said one last goodbye and left. Naruto waited until he heard the car pull away from his front yard before he turned to head inside.
He spent the rest of the rest of his day finishing up projects and setting up lessons for his class the next day. Moving around his house with ease as he went. Often while he was alone he let him mind wander back to how he had lost his eyesight.
He was only a child then, he and his father were on their way home from seeing the movie, Lilo and Stitch. He sat in the back seat hugging the oversized Stitch doll his father bought him, singing Hawaiian roller coaster ride while his dad laughed, keeping his eyes on the rode. They had had fun, it was a good movie and everyone was dancing in their seats. They stopped at a red light and while they waited his dad looked back at him through the rear view mirror.
"I take it that you are glad we went to see it." He said with a laugh when he got Stitch's version of a yes. "Well when we go to see your grandma this weekend be sure to say thank you to her for sending us the tickets."
"I will! Can I call her tonight?" an 8 year old Naruto asked.
"Well it's passed your bedtime now... I guess a quick call won't hurt." his dad said as he turned on his turning signal when the light turned green.
As he was turning Naruto saw something white flash as he screamed for daddy to look out. That was the last thing he recalled before waking up in the hospital bed, he opened his eyes, but when he saw that he couldn't see anything he screamed in panic, struggling to get out of bed, only to fall and hurt himself further.
There was another in the room with him, they pressed the panic button before trying to help him. The only thing he remembered about them was the scent of mint and lavender and hands that felt too strong to belong to a child.
After that the doctors came in and got him back in bed and sedated; once he woke up again he heard his grandma sobbing, but it sounded so very loud, the drip of the IV sounded like a steady crash of thunder, the smell of disinfectant hurt his nose and made his eyes tear and made him sick since he could TASTE it from the smell alone. He cried out in pain, wincing when his own voice hurt his ears. He curled up tight, the overlapping sounds and smells were overpowering him.
He laid there a moment, calming his breathing down. That was when he noticed something. He focused his mind on the sound of a bird outside the window, he could hear the chirps as if it were sitting in his lap right in front of him. The flapping of its wings, the slight rustling sound of the feathers shifting into position to take flight and the quick beat of its heart moving slightly faster as it too off into the air. He could hear nurses and patients in the halls outside of the room, even above and below him.
Children, who were sick and dying were smiling and laughing at some jokes, he could hear the squeaks of wheels, the elevators, he could smell flowers, water and even the subtle hint of perfume. After he got use to it he focused his ears on his grandmother's sobs and carefully got out of bed. He felt around for the IV stand and grabbed it, the cold metal felt even colder and he could even count the nearly impossibly small dents from the various hands that grabbed it before.
Following the smell of his grandmother's tears he found the door and opened it.
"Granny?" He asked softly.
He heard her gasp and then felt her strong amazonian arms around him. He was a bit freaked out to hear everything and fell everything from just that movement alone. He relaxed into her arms and listened to what she said even if the doctor could hear it since it was almost inaudible, but he picked it up with ease.
"I'm so sorry Naruto... I'm so sorry, Minato- he- he..."
He didn't need to hear the rest he knew what she was trying to tell him and together they cried and mourned his fathers passing. Shaking the sad memories away, Naruto touched a panel that gave him the time in braille. He gasped seeing that it was so late. He hurried into his kitchen and opened the door and pulled out a turkey sandwich he had made the day before for dinner. He grabbed his cup and poured himself some juice.
He walked over to his table and set down his food but froze, there was draft in the house. He was pretty sure that he didn't leave any of his windows opened, so why was there a draft? He listened to the silence of his house, there was nothing, just his breathing and the slight creak of the window in his studio.
Moving through his house, he listened for any signs of some there, felt for vibrations or other heat signatures, sniffing around for anything out of place, but all he smelt was the fresh mint and lavender plants in his garden. He smiled a bit before he made it to his studio and over to the window. He leaned out to grab the handles and pulled them closed, putting the latch down. He when he did he smelt paint and now remembered that he had been painting something earlier while lost in his thoughts and explained why he left the window open.
After making sure the latch was in place, Naruto made his way back into the hall. He yawned tiredly and stretched as he went, letting out a deep breath and then breathing in. He was hit with a strong scent but before he could react he was slammed into the wall, his head hitting it pretty hard and throwing off his sense of direction.
He staggered to his feet and tried to run but crashed into the opposite wall and slid down a bit as he tired to recall the lay out of his house. But before he could, two strong hands grabbed his in a vice grip and tied them tightly together. He screamed, yelling as loud as he could trying to cause enough commotion to get his neighbor's attention.
"Help! Someone- mmph!" Naruto blinked when a gloved hand clamped tight over his mouth and nose, closing off air access.
He struggled and tried to scream, making himself lightheaded and slowly black out as he heard a low voice shush him. He felt his eyes roll up and then nothing...
Naruto jumped awake when he heard something very loud crash over head. The harsh rattling noise was constant an he could smell the water in the air. It was raining outside. He tired to move, but noticed that he was tied to a chair. He winced when the rope bit into his skin and hissed when he tried to move his feet only to have the same reaction.
He could tell that his clothes had been changed to a simple robe of some sort, kimono judging by the feel of material. He whimpered and tried to spit out the thing in his mouth but it was strapped onto his head. His unseeing eyes moved around, since he had no lay out to follow, all he knew was that the room was cold and damp, it smelt like rust and gasoline.
"Finally awake?" He jumped when the voice was in his ear, the hot breath tickling the sensitive flesh.
He shivered and let out a muffled cry when he felt something wet and slightly rough lick his ear. He shook his head and tried to struggle free.
"Heh... Struggle all you want, little fox, you're not getting away from me." The man laughed.
Naruto whimpered when he felt the man move around him, his foot steps echoing in the spacious room. He heard something squeak and then smelt wood, was there an easel? He smelt the sweet aroma of oil paint and the slightly musky smell of charcoal. What was this man doing? Did he kidnap him just to paint a picture of him? Or was he a serial killer making his MO before he did the deed? Either way it left him shivering in fright as he listened to near silent, even to his heightened inhuman hearing.
He shifted on the chair when he felt the slight change in temperature as his captor stepped toward him. He whimpered pathetically as his clouded blue eye searched everywhere, but saw nothing but the eternal darkness he lived in. with a small cry of shock his feet where untied and the man did the same for his hands. As soon as they were free, he swung his fist where he last sensed his body heat, but med air.
"A fighter, are we?" the man laughed before catching the poor man off guard, again.
Naruto was scared this man was too silent even for a blind man to follow, maybe he was a killer! Naruto struggled in earnest as the man picked him up and carried him, not letting him figure out the distance or space of the room with his bare feet. Naruto gasped when he was set down a little roughly on a bed, but was given little time to recover before he was bound once more, his hands to a the metal bares at the head of the bed and his feet where shackled down with lose chains so he could move them, but not more than a a few inches.
"I'm going to move you into position, do not move or you will be punished. Am I clear?" The man asked, squeezing his left ankle.
Naruto felt like he'd snap it in half and nodded his head vigorously. He closed his eyes knowing that he'd never keep them still since he was blind. The man seemed satisfied by the submission and set to work setting him up. He was forced to rest his face against his right arm, his left laying completely flat as the right was bent as if he were hiding his face in shame.
His body was twisted into a odd by comfy position so giving him the idea that he was struggling to get free of his bounds, his legs were set up so his left leg was bent up as far as the chin allowed him and his right was flat on the bed but bent in word as if trying to hid his modesty. He screamed in shock when the kimono was pulled open, the obi lose, but not undone. The skirt part of the kimono exposed enough of his legs that told him that the slightest shift in position would reveal his underwear.
"Stay just like that." The man commanded before there was a slight clatter and then the soft scratching of charcoal on paper.
Naruto laid there, breathing shallowly as the thunder crashed and rain pelleted the tin roof over head, but the underlying sound of charcoal on paper was still there. He could could lay there and ask himself: why?