Lots of symbolism here. I'm sure you all know what "Akatsuki" means.
In a sense my dear readers, there are two Akatsukis and this is in the time of the first one.
"These will be the flowers of hope that never die."
Above the buildings of Amegakure, stood three dark figures. Each wore a long cloak, high collared and plain black. Already it was obvious each cloak was not only made of a heavy coarse material, but it was also designed to be waterproof. Squinting, one could probably see the tell tale glint of metal, set around the area of the forehead. They cast an ominous light. Strong chakras, shinobi attire and they carried the aura of killers.
Then, one by one, the three figures shucked off the black articles, revealing brighter coloured and less conservative clothing underneath. Laughing together… probably an inside joke nobody will ever know. They sat down upon the large statue that towered over Amegakure.
Imagination would shut down and die before picturing three evil looking shinobi laughing with such delight. However, imagination would leap at the chance to picture three children laughing with such delight. As soon as black cloaks were gone, there were no more shinobi, just three very young adolescents, enjoying themselves. Even the forehead protectors looked more like a mere toy upon their childish faces than the actual genuine mark of a ninja.
What kind of face is the face that stops crying?
What kind of world is the world that stops dying?
The face would be blotchy, red streaked with swollen eyes. Perhaps the lips will be overly swelled and the cheeks might still hold a faint blush from misery.
And the world will have peace.
There shall be no more sadness and the skies will no longer have to bleed their tears.
But there were some days where the sky wasn't crying, those rare once a decade days when the Hidden Village of the Rain… did not rain. It was those sorts of days where Yahiko postponed most of the missions… most of them. Because even though it was tranquil, it was important not to forget their goal or their comrades whose blood have already been spilt.
This however, was truly the perfect day. Fighting has been ceased; there were no missions to do. After all, in about a week's time, they would be meeting Hanzo and, perhaps there truly can be peace after all. It had come as a surprise, that news… that the fearsome Salamander was finally willing to have peace talks with Akatsuki… stop the endless tears… as Yahiko had put it.
And even with the lingering misery, the faint smell of death, living by the moment for plans in the future is not so daunting with people you love by your side.
She smiled. There is nothing like the thought of a dream, an obsession shared with your closest friends that can lighten up the day.
Literally speaking, the day was already quite bright by Amegakure standards. The greys had been washed out, replaced by a lime yellow. Not overly hot, not even warm, but more like the cool promise of better days. It was as if some mad artist had taken the faintest and most translucent of watercolours and spread the paint across the entire city.
Buildings that used to be stricken with grey purple now glowed with a light pink and the entire atmosphere was sheltered by the slightest layer of lime green. Yellow streaks were haphazardly sprinkled at random intervals, morphing into a darker rich orange at parts, and Konan could see where the watercolour had perhaps run a bit thin in the white speckled streaks.
"There are always so many clouds…" she said quietly.
"And they'll never really go away," Nagato had replied. "But its fine, I quite like them there."
Ringed grey eyes squinted upwards.
"It kinda… kinda looks like cotton candy," the Rinnegan user had continued, the wisdom of youth blatant in his tone.
Yahiko gave his two friends a disbelieving look.
"The rains finally stopped, it's a beautiful day and you guys are thinking about stupid clouds?"
"I'm still trying to make clouds, but the paper always gets all messed up. Why not admire the real ones?"
"You can't make origami clouds. Clouds are soft… and paper is…" Yahiko tilted his head thoughtfully. "Paper is kinda stiff you know?"
Between her hands, Konan held her first attempt at an origami cloud – a white sheet of paper crumpled up so that it looked like any ordinary scrunched paper ball.
Nagato stared at the mess. "Maybe you might want to stylize it a bit, a flat cloud and just fold the outline."
"Hmm… you're probably right," Konan said thoughtfully.
The threesome sat there silently for a moment, the constant slight breeze blowing hair towards the horizon, blue hair… orange hair… red hair… The point of talking wasn't to say something important. The point of talking was to know that throughout the entire war, your friends were still alive. The words don't matter.
"Come on Konan… let's see you make a crane!"
"Nah, do a dog instead!"
"One of those flowers you always do huh?"
They continued on like that. Konan opened and closed her hand, a new object of paper taking form with each of their suggestions. A bird. Then the hand closed once more, crumpling up the paper and when it opened again, it would show something else. A ship. A butterfly. A box.
Maybe it looked like a cool magic trick. Of course it was just a simple jutsu, the basis of all her techniques. Honestly, Konan preferred folding things by hand than using chakra. It was more personal. And it seemed a waste of chakra.
Sure, their conversations here were inane, senseless… they could have been discussing battle techniques, training… sparring… but it was a good day and mindless conversations were the best way to spend it.
"It's nice…" Konan murmured, squished between Yahiko and Nagato. "It's nice if everyday remained like this."
The Ame Orphans sat on the top of Amegakure, perched upon one of the many metal gargoyles the dominated this recently colour crazed metropolis.
Yahiko's smile was never fully happy, but it contained the brash enthusiasm and hope of what was left of his childhood. It spoke not of naïve soft times, but of hard times… a dark wicked tunnel that despite all the misfortunes stalking in it, still led on to a brighter future.
"It will Konan," he grinned. "Hanzo has agreed to meet with Akatsuki. From there, our negotiations will finally pay off."
His face darkened with determination and desperation.
"It has to. The blood of those fallen shall be repaid… and will never be forgotten."
They were fairly mature words for someone like Yahiko. But maturity comes with suffering and warfare and so out of the blood, Yahiko had risen like the hope that now linked them together.
"And we'll find the peace that sensei taught us," Nagato said quietly. "The chain of hatred ends here."
The red haired boy nearly chocked when Yahiko slapped him heartily on the back.
"Of course it will!" he said, glancing back out into the sprawling city below them.
Another moment of silent deep and reflective contemplation. In this case, one person contemplated "Ugh, when is lunch going to be… I'm starving". Another person contemplated "That dream last night of dancing lobsters was quite weird…" and the third person contemplated whether using red paper to make the clouds was a better idea… make it more symbolic… and also whether it was possible to convince the majority of Akatsuki to make iron on patches of said clouds because "only real men love cutesy things like that".
Far from watchful eyes, or the children's remarkably strong and honed ninja senses, lay another contemplation, a contemplation of a darker and more mature nature coming from a man in the shadows somewhere behind their sunlit spot. A mask covered his face.
One child had seen him before.
But it was not the child that would speak so suddenly next.
"We'll always be together?" Nagato said suddenly, leaning forward to look at both Yahiko and Konan.
"U-um," Yahiko was deep in thought, brows furrowed and lips perked. He was acting his age now, no need to be the mighty leader when all three of them were alone, on top of the world and enjoying the rare sun. "I 'spose there are some important stuff to do. I mean running a country is probably hard work isn't it?"
He looked to Konan for confirmation. The girl nodded, unsure but unwilling to share ignorance.
"So I guess we'll all be going around, busy…" Konan said, seemingly unhappy with the direction of the conversation. "And we won't see each other much. Or at all."
The three sat silently in mournful thoughts. Would running a country really be a huge responsibility? Harder than running Akatsuki?
"Of course not!" Yahiko shouted. He stood up onto the metal concrete, sun casting him as an overbearing silhouette. His bright orange hair stood out in the washed out colours. He turned back to his two companions with a large grin on his face as he spread his arms wide. "I am the leader and creator of Akatsuki! Nothing is too hard for me! We'll still see each other!"
Smiles spread across Konan's and Nagato's face, how could they not when their much loved Yahiko stood up so proudly like that? That was what Yahiko liked to see. Happiness.
"And even if we're too busy, we'll still set aside a holiday 'kay? A holiday where all we do is see each other!" he flopped down onto the hard metal, exhausted by his own enthusiasm. "That'll be enough for me… to just see you guys are okay…"
"Can you… can you really do that?" Nagato had asked. "Make a holiday for all of us? Make it so we can still see each other no matter how far apart or busy we are?"
Yahiko stared up at his friend with a grin on his face.
"I've said so already… when I become God of the new world…." He smiled with satisfaction. "I can do anything… God can do anything."
His hand reached outwards, as if to grab the brighter future that just lay in reach. Or perhaps it was just to shield the sun pouring down onto his face.
All three Ame Orphans lay back on the wall, looking at the city of Amegakure that will one day be theirs.
The world they would all one day rule.
And together, for they would always be together, they watched for the coming dawn.
A much shorter chapter for which I apologize… but quality, not quantity right?
As for a note on why they act so young… in the manga I have no idea what age they died. I know Deva Path is around 25-30… but I'm guessing he aged a bit even when dead. When you see Yahiko get killed, he looks a lot younger (or not…). So I made them very young. Very young and very talented.
Well I wrote this one to contrast with Madara's chapter. This one is supposed to be light hearted… not all dark and weird. Konan called Madara darkness, so I'm pretty sure she thought of Nagato as the light.
If you liked the tone of Paper Girl and would like to read more of it… I'll be posting a new story soon that has pretty much the exact same tone, but completely different idea/context. Look out for it! (Author alert… cough…)
So thanks for all of you guys for reviewing! I can't tell you how much I appreciate it! And what's best is that you kept reviewing even when I replied with my inane and random statements about my stories. I seriously hope it did not annoy any of you. ):
And still… because you know my desperation (AND the fact it is the last chapter…)
Please Review! Especially those who had alerted/favourited but had not reviewed yet!
And if you'd like… in your review… you can tell me your favourite chapter/which chapter you want me to expand on. Why? Because I want to do a multi-chapter with Konan and –insert Akatsuki member name here-… or just a really long one-shot. (Author alert to look out for it xD)
-End bloated Author's Note-