:D Massive thanks to Mirai Reiko for the entertaining-as-hell messages XD
Enjoy the (filler!) chapter :D
~~||~~||~~ Hitomi's PoV ~~||~~||~~
"U-umm… do you know…um… where I can find… um… Chiyo-baa-sama?"
"Well, um, if you go, um, left, then right, then um, then down the little alleyway, um, then –"
"I really don't have time for mockery."
"Oho! So you can speak properly! Here, girl, go left, you'll see a little path, keep following it until you see a house the size of my magnificent shop. You know, I sell 35 kilos of cabbage–" He gestured, waving his arms at the stall behind him. I rolled my eyes – pompous people make me laugh.
A house the size of your stomach, more like, I thought, staring at the rotund man. One of his dinners could have fed the orphanage for a week. But smoothing my face into a mask of inscrutability; I smiled, bowed, and walked down the path mentioned. Ooh how I would have killed to see his expression – I knew I had cut him off in his daily eulogy.
Sometimes, my own mood swings scared me. How could I be so scared one second, yet walk away composed the next?
Ha, scratch that last sentence.
After wandering around, hunting the elusive alley that would prove my 'shortcut' to Chiyo's that seemed to be bleeding INVISIBLE, I was left staring at a house that practically vomited magnificence. It was a typical compound, but larger and grander than any I had seen before. White, airy and emanating meticulous cleanliness even in the dusty, arid atmosphere, I felt dirtier and more insignificant than ever before – this house had the same effect as Sasori himself did. No wonder this was his home.
I was no longer unperturbed.I shifted my black, baggy, capris around – they were laced in a sheen of dust now, after traveling for 4 and a half days. I pulled them up – they had been a hand-me-down from the orphanage, and hung limp around my thin waist. I wore a green tank top, also caked in grime, which had been a hand-me-up, and was now too tight, riding up to expose my flat, white stomach when I wasn't paying attention. My mouse brown hair swept into a high ponytail, clothes refusing to be cleaned, face splashed with water, I breathed deeply, stepping onto the immaculate grounds.
Oh, yes, I was no longer unperturbed.
Servants and various visitors flouncing around, in robes as spotless as the rest of the place. The guards had let me in reluctantly, after making sure I wasn't option a) a lunatic or option b) armed with kunai and a variety of other instruments of death. I meandered for about half an hour, trying to look like knowledgeable, my pride and shyness preventing me from asking for help.
"Can I help you?"
A girl in a plain pink yukata and white oboi looked down a pointed nose at me. I blushed instantly, only to remember to stay calm. The pink faded from my cheeks instantly, and I drew myself higher, feigning a haughty air.
"Yes. I am Hitomi Mitarai, daughter of Hao and Amaya, sole heir to the Mitarai fortune and estate, coming to speak to Elder Chiyo," I rambled on, fingers lifting imperiously, the words spilling from my mouth with no meaning whatsoever. For there was no 'Mitarai fortune and estate'. Hopefully this girl didn't know.
"Then why exactly are you dressed like that?"
I cocked one eyebrow at her. "I've been traveling for 4 days in disguise, after some rogue ninja threatened my guard and I. Now you dare refuse me admittance, after my perilous journey?" I raised my pitch dramatically, a hand on my hip, trying desperately to pull off the whole 'I'm a spoiled brat!' act. Pink Yukata Chick looked a little scared, scuttling off, beckoning for me to follow.
Things moved surprisingly quickly after that little performance. I was shown to her door immediately – obviously this girl wasn't exactly... a genius – and pushed inside. I abandoned my façade as soon as I lay eyes on Chiyo.
My first impression was of oldness. Gray, lank hair framed a face pitted with wrinkles. Long, pale robes covered a stocky figure. I looked for a sign of Sasori in her – a fruitless search.
Until I saw her eyes. Oh, yes, they were an older, duller version of Sasori. Not as wide, clear, or beautiful - beautiful?, but gleaming with the same deception, the shrewdness. This woman could see through lies, indeed.
"And who are you?" She asked, mildly interested, though her face was composed. I took a deep breath, my shyness returning in all its unwanted glory.
"Um… ah… err… My name is umm… uhh…"
With each stuttering pause, Chiyo's eyebrow traveled higher up her forehead. My timidity increased as the grey eyebrow trekked up, degree by degree.
It was like a grey worm, the eyebrow. A hairy one. A caterpillar? No. A noodle. A noodle crawling up her forehead?
Wait, no, noodles weren't fuzzy.
And I started laughing.
Oh yes, I could feel the sane part of me looking on with horror. My god, it wasn't even funny. My nerves had gone overboard.
Waves of amusement and horror rolled off me simultaneously. Spluttering, I could feel my cheeks going red, tears of mirth traced silver snail-tracks down my cheeks. Out of my crinkled, tear-blinded eyes, I saw Chiyo smirking slightly, tapping her fingers on her knee. The habit was so much like one Sasori would wear, I shut up immediately. She smirked a little wider, probably because of my split-personality temperament. That old woman had the power to burn me until I was nothing but an eyeball, just with her look.
Note to self: Never, EVER, laugh in front of Sasori's family. They'll kill you when you sleep.
"Well, are you finished yet? May I ask what was so amusing?" She said pleasantly. Her eyes softened a little, or was that a trick of the light?
"S-sorry, Chiyo-baa-sama, it's just that you looked SO much like your grandson…" I lied, feeling a little pleased with my quick thinking. I really don't think telling her that her eyebrows sent me into hysterics would have helped.
Apparently, Chiyo was one those people who ALWAYS saw the negative. Though this time, I couldn't blame her – poor thing, having a personality like Sasori in the house.
Her eyes grew flint-hard. "Ah, and here I was thinking you would be different from the inflated officials and even more irritating girls I must see every day. Is that why you've come here, to bother my grandson? Frankly, I am sick of all of you girls. Do you have no hobby whatsoever, other than infuriating people who clearly aren't interested in your advances?"
Ah. So here was the 'fangirl' thing again. It was a recurring theme, wasn't it, first with Amaya's gang, now with Chiyo?
"Oh, no, seriously, Chiyo-baa-sama! I swear, it is NOTHING like that. Sasori just helped me a lot on my way to Suna, and I was unrightfully mean to him, I need to apologize, or else it'll be hanging on my conscience for the next 5 months. Really, I just need to talk to him."
Chiyo sniffed disdainfully. This was not her earlier manner. She was all teeth, nails and disdainful sniffs when it came to the topic of Sasori's supposed love-life. "Girls, they're all the same… whether from Suna or Konoha… need to 'talk' to him…"
I coloured. "Elder Chiyo! Please! I don't give a damn if Sasori has two girlfriends or two hundred! Actually, I don't even care if he's impotent! I'm just trying to do something right for the first time in my life and really, you're not helping. I said something horrible to him… but I'm in the same predicament myself. It hurts a lot more, you know, if you really are one."
"An orphan." I whispered.
Chiyo was silent. I was partly grateful for this, and partly annoyed, because I spent the next five minutes staring at my knees, wondering if I could look up.
"I'm not sure myself… but you may be able to find him on the roof."
"I'm not sure myself. Sasori's so secretive… he just calls it "the roof". I really can't tell you much more, other than it's most probably up high somewhere… he likes to look at the sunset…"
"Is there anything else you need to know?"
"Yes… have you heard of, or even seen, a man called Hao Mitarai? My father. He disappeared in Suna fifteen years ago, and I'm trying to find him, or learn of what happened to him." Funny how I nearly forgot that. Funny how it came second to a mere boy.
"Hao… Mitarai…? Hmmm… I cannot remember anything right now, but I promise you I will look in on the matter. Where are you staying?"
"Thank you. Um, I…. I haven't found a place yet. Sorry."
"No matter. Contact me when you do."
"I will. Thanks so much! It really means a lot to me, it truly does."
She nodded absentmindedly, waving her fingers towards the door. I scuttled out of the rooms as fast as possible – boy, that woman scared the SHIT out of me!
But before leaving, I had one more question…
"How did you know I'm from Konoha?"
"Your headband's sticking out of your pack."
Filler Chapters FTW!