The Maiden in the Garden

Summary: Around the drama of the demon fox, two romance blossoms and legends are created. At the center stage, two young women, generations apart, struggle to take hold of their identities. HashiMito and MinaKush.

Note: Kind of experimental with a lot of jumping forward and backward. A story in the past, nearer past, and the present as seen, heard, and felt through Uzumaki Kushina. Collaboration with Denii.


Prologue

"You are special."

It started with the one phrase she had always wanted to hear.

She smiled smugly. She was going to become the first female hokage, so of course she was special. She was dismayed to find her parents didn't seem as excited as she was. Her father was frowning—no, he was smiling, though it was forced smile. He was bad at doing things like that so instead it faintly reminded her of the face he made when he's constipated. Maybe he was just constipated. She hoped so. It bugged her that her father didn't seem enthusiastic. It was odd. In the past, he would reward her for acing the most minor of tests in the academy.

Her mother stared her fingers, which were red from constant wringing. She was not smiling either.

"It is a great honor to be chosen for this," the old Uzumaki continued, nodding, though his eyes were on the parents and not on the clueless, stupid twelve year old who was nodding fervently. You see, the girl had a bigger head than she could fill with brains.

"Great honor," the Uzumaki repeated, "Great honor." Under those bushy, white caterpillars that were born as eyebrows, cataract-ridden gray eyes were sad. Sad for the girl, sad for this world, and sad for the stupidity of both. The old man kept repeating "A Great Honor…a great honor…" As if also to convince himself, because you see, that stupid girl who wanted to be so special was his grand niece. She was the little girl he taught her first Uzumaki seals, and his favorite (even if only) grand niece. So it would be utterly inhumane and not in the tradition of the forefathers who prided themselves in humanity to not feel sad that he was going to damn her to become a live sacrifice.

But she was special.

And that girl smiled and smiled, waiting for what she was special for. She thought they finally noticed her super awesome talents. Perhaps she was going to learn a secret move only taught to members who showed the potential for it. Perhaps she was going to get a special mission for the clan. Perhaps she was going to become an apprentice of the Seal Masters to be part of the distinguished group. Oh the possibilities! Imagine the face of the face the other kids when she would boast about her newfound skills and importance.

The wound and guilt in the old man's heart was as big as her excited grin.

But all she was going to become was a tool. Sure, a bigger, more special tool than everyone else, but still a tool nonetheless. Though there was never a time she wasn't, to be honest. So perhaps it was okay for her to feel special because she certainly would be so.

And this girl wakes up four years in the future in a dark room, sweaty and rolling with a burning stomach.

I wake up in a dark room, sweaty and rolling with a burning stomach and I growl to the night, "Stupid fox."

I prop myself onto my elbows and glare at my stomach. I imagine the damn beast there, tied up and struggling. He releases his chakra to harm me because the seal is imperfect, and because he can, and because the fox was a miserable, old bitter bastard. That meant another trip to Hokage and the old Uzumaki Seal Master. The old geezer is overdue for death, though he really can't die before he perfects the damn seal. I want to say he's over 100 years old, but the memory of Mito-sama calling him Sou-chan always puts a stop to that thought and reminds me that he is really just 61 years old. Old by shinobi standards.

"Shuddup and lemme sleep," I mumble to my tummy. It answers with a stinging pain in the lower abdomen. And I'm still stupid you see, because such things don't go away with time so easily. And that stupidity takes hold of me and compels me to punch my own stomach.

Smack! Groan. Pain.

"Aggh…damn it…why…did I…?" For some reason, the image of Minato pops into my head. He's laughing uncontrollably at what I had just done, slapping his knees just to emphasize the point. I smack him and he shuts up. A reasonable enough scenario, yeah?

I lie back in bed and breathe heavily for several minutes. I'm sweaty and I stare at the dark and I'm angry. Special, special, yes indeed special.

And as I blink and blink and my eyelids get heavy, I then blinked, and I travel. Into the past, 54 years into the past. Why I know this exact time, I don't know. Perhaps because she knew, and through her eyes I knew. I open my eyes, and there I was, watching, feeling and being. I could even smell the faint odor of sandalwood in that room, and honestly it smells the same 54 years in the future. Time travel in a split second. Or perhaps another sign of madness. Or specialness.

She sat there, on her legs dressed in a very pretty yukata. She's beautiful and dignified. An elderly man sat in front of her with a grave expression on his drooping face. Her face was tight and unemotional. Inside I feel her squirming indignantly. I still haven't figure why I can feel or hear certain things from her as I am not always privy to her internal thoughts. Perhaps it's the intensity. Example—right now, even the most dense person could feel the tension that radiated from her stern face. Her arms are locked and burned with repressed anger.

"Mito-chan," the old man croaked, "You are special." Her lips tightened and she does not feel so very special. She was smarter than me, though I can't tell if she knew about the fox. Perhaps her immediate fate was worse to her than being a host.

And when I blink again, the world becomes darker. I'm in my dark room, again, sweaty and rolling with a burning stomach. But this time it wasn't the fox, but Mito-sama's lingering rage and bitterness at being told she was going to become someone's wife.

And we were so very special.


Note: Thanks for reading!

I don't write in first person usually, so this is an experiment. I'm still adjusting to Kushina's voice and personality. So, if you want to know more, stay tuned. Critiques are very much welcomed! So are comments! :)