A/N: Yo! I know I shouldn't be starting anoher FF since I haven't finished my other ones yet...but you know...ha ha. Anyways, I've had this idea for a while, but haven't gotten around to actually writing it yet. Check out my profile for more stories if you want...uh...Don't forget to REVIEW and tell me what ya think so far!
Rated T for cussing and stuff like that.
FYI- Otou-sama= a very polite way to address your dad (like father)
Oka-sama= a very polite way to addres your mom (like mother)
DISCLAIMER: I've actually just realized that I haven't done any disclaimers in a long time...so here it is! I'm pretty damn sure you all know I don't own Naruto. You are all very intellegent...and sexy...;)
"The eyes are the gateway to the soul."
- Herman Melville -
C H A P T E R O N E
The sickly young woman of 19 stood on her balcony, watching the rain fall. She took a deep breath in. How calming it was to smell the rain. So calming, so relaxing, the soft rain cleansing the Earth, it made her feel as though it was cleansing her as well. "The crying night sky seemingly sorrowful and sad, reminds me of my loneliness tonight. And yet it washes away, it washes away the many miseries I may have…"
"Sayuri-sama," Another voice caused the woman to stop singing. "You shouldn't be up at this hour. You should be asleep."
The young woman turned her sky blue head to look at her maid, Shizuka. Shizuka was a woman of 34 years of age, with a long black hair and electric blue eyes. She had taken care of the young woman since she was born. Sayuri returned her attention to the scene outside. "I can't sleep again," was all she told her servant.
"Please you must try or at least lay down. Your father will be upset. It's only for your well-being."
Sayuri sighed, but obliged to her maid's wishes. "Of course, Shizuka."
"Come, I'll braid your hair back before you return to your bed." This made Sayuri smile. Sitting in front of her vanity, Shizuka began to braid Sayuri's hair. Sayuri examined her appearance in the mirror with her coal black eyes. Oh how she hated her mirror. Her skin was a sickly sort of pale and her cheeks were hollow. She knew she wasn't getting enough eat, but as much as she tried to her stomach couldn't seem to hold it down. Thanks to her lack of nutrition, she not only was she fearfully thin, but very weak as well and couldn't perform any extraneous activities. Everyone around her treated her as though she was a fragile porcelain doll. A cough rising from her throat caused her to close her eyes.
"Sayuri-sama? Are you alright?" Shizuka asked worried, pausing to check on the young woman. Sayuri continued to cough, but nodded. "This is why you shouldn't be on the balcony while it's raining. You know how easily you catch colds." Shizuka hurriedly finished up the braid, which reached the middle of her back, and ushered Sayuri to bed. "Doctor Hakama will be coming again tomorrow for your weekly check up. So be sure you rest up, okay?"
Sayuri sighed to herself again. "Yes Shizuka." Shizuka smiled kindly down at her, before leaving the room. Sayuri tried to fall asleep, but couldn't, which was strange since she certainly felt tired. But then again, this sort of thing happened a lot. Some nights, since she was little, she wasn't able to sleep and sometimes during the day, she'd drop to the ground wherever she was dead asleep, not waking up for days. She coughed again, yawned and then listened to the rain falling outside. Listening to the rain made her happy; it made her feel like she wasn't entirely alone.
Kakuzu and Hidan lined up in front of the large oriental castle along with about 200 or so other men. All of them were rather young and had just turned 18; they all seemed to be rather excited. Today they were going to receive blessings from Hasegawa Katsuro. It was tradition in River country for boys to journey to the daimyou's castle each year to receive blessings as they grew from boys into men.
Hidan snickered. "You sure you can pass for an 18 year old kid, you old man?"
"You better keep your mouth shut Hidan."
"You know, the fucking leader should have sent Deidara instead. How old is he, 19?"
"Like I'd care to know."
"Man! This is so damn boring. When the hell are they going to let us in the damned castle!"
Someone standing in front of the two partners turned around and spoke to them. "They let us in at noon, when the sun is at the highest point in the sky…shouldn't you know that?"
"Of course I knew that!" Hidan yelled and Kakuzu fought to keep his growing annoyance in his partner show. The man in front of them turned back around a little taken aback. "Hey old man, how long will it be until noon?"
"Who knows? Maybe an hour."
"Holy hell! What the hell am I suppose do for an hour?"
"Why not shut up?" Kakuzu growled and turned around to talk to the people behind them. "Hey you two, what do you know about the daimyou's daughter?"
"His daughter? He has a daughter?" Said the one with the black hair.
"Yes, didn't you know?" Said his buddy, who had flaming red hair. "They say she's never been out of the castle because she's so sick."
"Oh...any idea how old she is?" The black haired man asked, forgetting that Kakuzu was there. The red haired one laughed. "Don't even think about it. There's no way you'd have a chance with the daimyou's daughter. She's probably already engage to some son of some nobleman."
The one with the black hair smirked. "I think I could get her to sway her my way." The red haired man slapped him upside the head. Kakuzu sighed. Why was he surrounded by idiots?
Meanwhile in the castle, Sayuri's appointment with Doctor Hakama was coming to an end. Sayuri's mother spoke to the doctor. "Well, how is she?"
Hakama pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose. "She isn't getting any better, but on the bright side she isn't getting worse. Does she fall asleep at random very often anymore?"
"No," Her mother shook her head. "I think her meditation and t'ai chi classes with Mikazu are really benefiting her."
"That's good to hear. Well, in that case, my suggestions for your daughter are the usual. It's best she have little contact with the outside world, due to her weak immune system. She should be drinking three cups of green or black tea a day and should be eating a lot of fruits and vegetables. They've actually been shown to improve the immune system."
"Thank you Doctor Hakama." Sayuri's mother bowed in thanks. "Do you have any idea how to get her to gain weight? She's still fearfully thin."
Hakama scratched the back of his head. "Gaining weight requires her to eat, but for some reason her body rejects a lot of the food she puts into it. I can only say this may be a result of something psychologically wrong with her. Has there been an event in her life that may have impacted her negatively in any way?"
Her mother looked a bit troubled for a moment, before whispering in his ear. "Well, her older brother…ran away when she was 10. She was rather attached to him and loved him very much." Even though she was whispering, Sayuri could hear her. "I'm not sure, but I don't think she's been the same since."
"Yes well, I suppose the best remedy for that is for her to find another…brother like figure. Maybe find something, or someone, that can make her happy?"
Sayuri's mother nodded a bit furiously. "We do our best to make sure our child is happy. Thank again very much Doctor Hakama."
"Of course, of course, it's no problem at all," He waved her thanks aside as he packed away his things. "Until next week then." Hakama bowed and excused himself from the room, leaving behind Sayuri, her mother and Shizuka.
Her mother sighed. "Come now Sayuri, you must get ready for the First Coming of Age Ceremony today."
"Yes, Oka-sama." She replied obediently and her mother smiled sadly at her. "I have a new kimono for you to wear today." Her mother revealed a box and urged her to open. "Thank you, Oka-sama." Sayuri then proceeded to open it, revealing a lovely blue and white kimono. The flower designs looked very intricate and Sayuri silently gave thanks to the person who created this beautiful piece of clothing. "It's very beautiful."
"I'm glad you like it sweetheart. Your father and I will be waiting behind the Grand Throne Room. Shizuka be sure to hurry now, it'll be noon soon." And with that her mother left.
"Yes, Hana-sama." Shizuka bowed. Sayuri sighed. "Is everything alright, Sayuri-sama?"
"Yes, of course." Sayuri got off her bed and began to undress out of her yukata. With Shizuka's help, she then dressed into the new kimono. "Sit in front of the mirror Sayuri-sama so I can do your hair."
Once again Sayuri was in front of the mirror and once again she examined her reflection. She didn't like what she saw; she nearly resembled a walking corpse, her sunken cheeks, pale skin, the dark circles under her eyes from lack of sleep. She hated it. She hated it. She hated it. She hated living here. "Sayuri-sama, why don't you apply your make up as I fix your hair?"
Sayuri nodded and proceeded in applying foundation, lipstick and other cosmetic items to her face. In the end the reflection she now saw in the mirror was somewhat acceptable. She breathed in and out feeling slightly more relaxed. The kimono was becoming on her, the blue was a shade or two lighter than her own blue hair. "You look sad Sayuri-sama. You should be happy; you'll be surrounded by many young men today," Shizuka remarked, a smile on her face.
Sayuri couldn't help but smile back. "They're all younger than I am."
"Only by a year. If I was your age darling, I wouldn't mind having a go at a couple of them."
"Oh stop it Shizuka."
"I'm serious Sayuri-sama. I think the thing you may need in your life is a trustworthy man, someone to love and care for you."
Sayuri sighed again and looked out at her balcony. "I have you don't I Shizuka? I really think you're all I need."
Shizuka laughed. "Now I don't think my love for you is the same as the love a man can give you. Do I look like a man to you?"
It was Sayuri's turn to laugh. "Of course not Shizuka." She now stood up. "Come now, it's nearly time for the First Coming of Age Ceremony of the year."
As they made their way to the Grand Room, Shizuka's words ran through Sayuri's head. The thought of having a…lover seemed so foreign to her. She'll admit that she has read many romance novels that have left her with a fuzzy feeling inside, but whenever she finished reading she also thought that finding "true love" was impossible for her. Besides how could she trust anyone else, besides Shizuka, after her brother lied to her and left?
"There you are Sayuri, you took a little longer than I expected," came the voice from a grown man. Snapping out of her thoughts, Sayuri saw her father.
"I apologize for my lateness, Otou-sama." Sayuri bowed in respect. Her father shrugged it off. "Hurry up." He ordered and Sayuri and her mother walked out into the throne room. Many young men were kneeling on the floor and their whispers had come to a silence as they watched the two women knelt down in front of them on the raised platform. Sayuri's father came out next and kneeled in between them. All of the men in the room bowed respectively.
"Young men of River Country, you have travelled here today to receive your blessings as you now turn from boys into men…" And so began her father's speech. Sayuri had become rather tired of hearing this speech two times a year. This time was the first time this year. The next time this speech would be heard would be during the Second Coming of Age Ceremony just before the end of the year. As she did every year, Sayuri's eyes scanned the crowd, examining the people who were sitting there. Her eyes quickly caught on to a man with flaming red hair; she had never seen hair so red.
After her little shock, she began to look at the men sitting around the red haired one and she noticed something peculiar. One of the men wore a mask over his face and was looking directly at her. His eyes were of the strangest of colors as well. They were red where they should be white, and had green irises; he had no pupils. Their eyes seemed to lock and a shiver went down her spine. His gaze frightened her a bit and yet Sayuri found that she couldn't look away. No…she could not show weakness to this man.