Disclaimerrrrrr: I DON'T OWN NARUTO! So you crazy fans stop breakin' my door down... (J/K, I don't get attacked by random crazy Naruto fans... save for my friend who claims I am "Her Royal Evilness"... XD he's crazy!)

OK, so... remember how Chiyo was talking about how she had a secret project but had been forced to shut it down? Well, I decided that project was creating artifical humans - basically, human puppets. Kind of like Homunculi (if you're a Fullmetal Alchemist fan) only with specialized jutsu. And she was forced to abandon her research, but not before she created... bum bum bummmmmm... Kurosuna no Nemu, the first artifically created human puppet. Slash... puppet wielder... XD

Well, hope you enjoy! This is just a prologue, and the next chapter is REALLY sad, I think... T-T

"Nemu... that is her name."

"When will she awaken, Chiyo? Do you know? Have you planned that far ahead, sister?"

"I don't know. She is fully developed... I designed her to be the age of six years - that's just a year older than Sasori - and she is at that stage right now. She grew faster than I'd expected, actually... it took her three months. Look at her, Ebizo. She's so beautiful."

"Beautiful. Is that what you call it, Chiyo? She's a mess of artificial organs, bionic blood, synthetic skin, and the wires that are attached to it. Tell me, is that beautiful to you?"

"I don't care what you say, Ebizo. I don't care if you can't see her beauty - I can. Look at her. You honestly can say she's not the lovliest creature you've ever seen?"

"Mmmm." The "creature" opened her eyes. She fluttered her lashes and tried to clear her vision. She couldn't see well at all - everything was simply blurred color. Where was she? Who was she? What was she? She rubbed the sleepiness from her eyes and looked out into the world.

Before her, she saw two elderly people - one man and one woman. Both their hair was graying, and they looked like siblings. The man had thick eyebrows and wore a cap over most of his hair, and the woman's hair was done up in a bun with some bangs left on each side of her face, a green band across her forehead. They both looked so kind. She blinked twice, and reached out a hand. All she wanted was to touch one of them. But her hand bumped something else. Something smooth and cold, and she shivered. She looked around, and realized she was in some sort of containment unit, or so it seemed. She looked back towards the two old ones, and began to talk. "Excuse me, but could you tell me where I am? And... and who I am?"

The woman blinked. "Oh! I think she's trying to speak to us, Ebizo. Let me get the microphone on..." She pressed a button. "There. Can you hear us, Nemu?"

"Is that my name?" the girl asked softly, placing a hand to the cool, smooth surface that separated her from the two. "Where am I? And who are you?"

"Perfection!" The old woman clapped her hands twice. "Look at this, Ebizo. I've finally beaten the law of equivalent exchange. She's got her own heart and body and mind!"

"She has no soul," the man, Ebizo, pointed out blankly. "The law of equivalent exchange accounts for that. You built her, of course, and gave her a computer for a brain... developed a fake substance to run through her veins, and composed her organs of protein, built metal bones to attach synthetic muscle to. But she's not real, Chiyo. She can't be. If she has no soul of her own, she isn't a real person, sister."

"She'll develop a soul," the woman, Chiyo, argued against the man, who was obviously her brother. "In good time, Ebizo - all in good time, my dear brother! She will attain a personality of her own through daily life as a human, being a servant to the council and an apprentice to me. She will gain her soul, and she will be both a puppet... and a puppet master. How's that for irony, Ebizo?"

"It's definitely ironic. You have a twisted sense of humor, Chiyo, I'll give you that."

"My name," the girl spoke up. "Is it Nemu? Is that my name?"

"Yes," the woman, Chiyo, answered, turning her attention away from Ebizo and back to her. Her smile was warm and inviting, her dark eyes surrounded by laugh lines and her mouth defined by dimples. "Your name is Kurosuna no Nemu, and you are six years old. Yes... Nemu of the Black Sand, six years old. You will soon be trained, by me personally, to wield puppets. You yourself are a puppet... but don't feel guilty about controlling your brethren. They are nothing like you, dear." She traced over Nemu's smaller hand through the tank. "Soon, you shall be ready to leave your containment unit and explore the world. Then you can meet my grandson, Sasori! Oh, he'll love you so much. You're such a cute little thing, and he loves cute things."

Nemu touched her head and chest, and grew alarmed. Why were there strings attached to her body? "L-Lady Chiyo!" she called, frightened out of her newly formed mind. "What is this?"

Chiyo looked back. "Oh, those? They are wires that I connected to you, dear." She put her hand on top of a big black box that had some sort of screen with a jagged line. "This is the one that I attached to your chest. I set it up to monitor your heart rate and breathing pattern. The one connected to your head is keeping track of your brain waves. The rest of them are just monitoring your muscle tissue."

"Artificial muscle tissue, you mean," Ebizo scoffed, heading for the door of the room. "I'm leaving now. Have fun playing with your new doll, sister." The door opened, closed, and he was gone.

"Well, that's fine, then." Chiyo sat down in a chair, grunting slightly. She picked up a book and leaned back. "We don't need that old fuddy-duddy, anyway. He was killing the party. Now... why don't we test your memory? Okay... I'll see if you can remember what I already told you. What is your name?"

"Um... Nemu. No, no... Kurosuna no Nemu."

"Good - you remember the entire thing. Now, how old are you, Nemu?"

"Uh... sev... no, six. I'm six... right?"

"Good, Nemu! That's right, you're six. And now, a bonus question. Can you remember my grandson's name?"

Nemu searched her mind, giving a frustrated sigh. She knew it... she did. It started with an "S"... "Sa..." she began, still trying to remember the rest. "Sas... o... rai?" She said the last part tentatively.

"Sasori!" Chiyo exclaimed, and Nemu became ashamed, for she had pronounced it wrong. "Good job, Nemu. That's correct. Your mind is well advanced, even just for a six-year-old human puppet. Your memory is functioning fine." She settled into her chair. "Ah... I think I'll take a nap. You should rest, as well, Nemu." She closed her eyes and started to go to sleep.

Nemu wasn't sure why, but she didn't want to go to sleep. So she just stayed there in her tank, keeping herself floating. She watched Chiyo, who slept with her book on her lap. She looked so peaceful, sleeping in her chair. Her chest rose and fell with the steady rhythm of her breathing, easy to follow. She hoped this woman would take good care of her. She was sure she would - after all, she seemed so nice.

All of a sudden, the door opened. A young boy of about five walked inside. His hair was a lovely carmine-pink, and his eyes were deep chocolate. He wore a pale green shawl around the shoulders of his white robe, and he was barefoot. He pulled the shawl tighter around himself, shivering lightly. "Ugh... it's always so cold in here... I hate it. Granny Chiyo? Uncle Ebizo?" He glanced over at her direction, and his eyes widened when he saw her. He walked closer toward her. "Wow... I knew Granny was working on a new project... but wow! This is so cool!" He put his hand to the glass. "Can you... can you talk?"

"I'm Kurosuna no Nemu. Lady Chiyo... she is asleep."

"Nemu. That's such a pretty name! I'm Sasori." He waved. "Cool."

"Lady Chiyo told me your name."

"You're awesome!" Sasori tried to wrap his arms around the big tank she was in. "I can't wait till she lets you out! We'll be best friends, I know we will! It'll be so fun! You can play with my puppets and you'll play dolls with me forever!"

Nemu smiled, placing her hand on the tank where the boy's face was. She couldn't feel his skin, but she could feel the heat radiating from his blush-clouded cheek. She decided she probably wouldn't mind that... staying with him forever.

Yeah I know Sasori's a little out of character... but remember, he's still a kid. Don't worry, he's more in character for the next chapter. Okie-dokie? Well, it'll have to be XD OH BY THE WAY. Here you gooooo... preview of chapter 1.

"M-Master Sasori?" She could see him moving about the room, bustling through drawers and putting things into a bag. "What's going on? What are you doing?"

"Hmm?" He turned around, and she no longer had a view of his backside. As blush filled her cheeks, she shook her head - not that she wanted to, of course not. "Oh, Nemu, it's... it's nothing. Really." He sat down on the bed and ran his hand through her bangs. "Boy, am I going to miss you..."

"Miss me?" Nemu sat up at these words. Before she knew what she was doing, her hand shot out and grabbed him around the wrist. "Why will you miss me, Master Sasori? What's going on?"

Till next time,

-Ai-chan ^^