Hello everyone! So those of you who have been on this website for a while may recognize this story. This is an extreme rewrite of the original. I've basically edited everything. I mean, there's still some original parts (especially in the first few chapters) and stuff, but most of it is new. Yup. I'll be willing to admit that this chapter is not my favorite and I've tried fixing it, but can't figure out how. Suggestions/criticism are welcomed and appreciated! I'll update every Sunday.
Chapter 1: The First Encounter
Aiyana sat at the edge of her mother's bed. A slight breeze blew through the window and rustled her dark hair. She couldn't bear to see her mother like this, lying deathly pale and feverish, prone to hallucinations and delusions on a hospital bed. It was a rare illness, one with no cure. Aiyana reached out and brushed a strand of her mother's hair out of her face.
Suddenly, her mother's body jerked uncontrollable, Aiyana stumbled backwards in shock, knocking down the chair she had been sitting in. "Adrik! Don't you leave this family!" she yelled her blood shot eyes shooting open.
"Mother!" Aiyana cried out shaking her mom in hopes it would snap her out of it. It didn't.
"You'll be hunting your own daughter if you join that fucking gang!" She continued to yell. "Do you really want to? Do you really want to murder her?"
Aiyana felt tears streaming down her cheeks. The door behind her swung open, she had completely forgotten they were in a hospital.
"Would you really risk your own daughter to join some messed up group like that?"
One of the doctors grabbed Aiyana and dragged her away from her mother's bed, holding strong despite all her kicking and screaming. They couldn't! She wasn't going to let them, but struggling was proving nothing. The other three doctors that had entered the room surrounded her mother's bed. They were talking in whispery voices, then one of them glanced at the door, at her, and an expression of sorrow crossed his face. A needle went under her mother's skin and soon the screams faded to silence.
Aiyana awoke drenched in sweat. The humid outside air had practically suffocated her. Well, that and the nightmare. The nightmare that had haunted her for years after her mother's death. It wasn't entirely the death of her mother that haunted her though. It was the questions that were left. The questions left without answers.
Instead of settling back into sleep where she knew the nightmare would return, Aiyana got up and changed into a dry set of clothes. Of course given the humid air the new set was bound to be soaked by noon. The dreaded sun was already peaking it's head above the horizon. It was going to be yet another day of walking underneath its relentless beams as she traveled through the Land of Fire. The place was definitely doing a bang-up job of living up to its name.
After a few minutes of packing her meager things which consisted of a backpack with clothes and other necessities and food for two days, a small pack of seven kunai, and a katana, she left the abandoned hunting cabin and stepped out into the woods. With a high whistle that could have been mistaken for a bird, she summoned her partner.
The coal black wolf came bounding out of the trees within seconds. His anterior legs landed on her shoulders with enough force to push any unprepared person to the ground. Kisses were showered upon her in the form of a wet tongue. It was as if the wolf hadn't seen her in ages not just a couple of hours ago.
She laughed lightly and pushed him off. "Okay, Mingan, okay! We need to get going!"
After one last lick, Mingan lowered his attack and dropped down to all fours. Gold eyes shimmered up at her. Grinning, she ruffled his fur on top of his head and moved along. There was a trail that led from the abandoned hunting cabin to the main road which she followed. Over the years of the disuse, it had become overgrown and hard to spot, but it was far better than the alternative of forcing her way through the overgrown bush. God knows she already had enough scratches on her body to suffice.
It was their voices that alerted her first. Her natural reaction made her freeze and listen. Though she was hardly ten feet from the main road, the trees and bushes did well in hiding her from view. She waited and listened. Information was a vital part of her chosen career path. It was surprising how much one could learn from just listening to others on the road.
Two men, both wearing oddly decorated cloaks and straw hats, were approaching. The matching outfits meant they were part of some odd organization or another. The taller one had blue skin; she noticed it from his hands which were turning over a scroll curiously as if he wanted to open it and peruse its contents. The shorter one, well, there wasn't much she could say about him other than the fact that he appeared to be part statue. For a moment, he seemed interested in the area she was hiding in, but the moment passed. Instead, he addressed his companion.
"Kisame-san, put that away."
Kisame chuckled and twirled the paper around. "It's funny to think such a little thing could release the Nine-Tails. Don't you think, Itachi-san?"
"Shit!" she swore under her breath, jumping ever so slightly. Unfortunately, slightly was enough to break some twigs and crinkle some leaves. She cringed at the sounds and prayed that the two men on the road hadn't heard her.
"Aiyana, you must steal that scroll."
"Haka," she growled at the voice. "Stealing from them? With no planning whatsoever? Are you trying to get us killed?"
"As if I would let my container be killed," Haka replied with a huff. "And I believe they know you're here."
"Yeah, thanks to you," Aiyana muttered mentally.
The shorter man (Itachi, she believed) was looking directly at her. He stared right through the trees, the bushes, right at her with deep red eyes. Her breath caught when she found that she was staring right back at him and couldn't look away. His eyes were unnerving to say the least. It was as if he had put her under some sort of spell that only he could break. Thankfully, he did so by looking at his partner and saying something.
Aiyana quickly looked at Mingan. Haka wanted the scroll which means that it was important. She had no reason to doubt the wolf spirit in any way. So, if it was important to the spirit it was important to her. So she had to steal it. But, now that they knew she was hiding here, she had lost her element of surprise. But Mingan hadn't. And her prize was still sitting in the unaware blue man's hand.
"What are you doing here?"
Aiyana started again and looked up at the source of the voice.
"Traveling," she replied as she slowly stood. Itachi was quite a bit taller than her. "Isn't that what most people on the road do?" Her hand rested on Mingan's head. All she had to do was give the signal and the growling wolf would jump on the man, take what he wanted, and run. Itachi's eyes flicked to the canine cautiously; he perceived the wolf as a threat and put up his defenses.
"Most travelers do not hide behind bushes," he replied suspiciously.
She couldn't help but laugh lightly at his comment. Grinning, she moved onto the road and studied the taller man closely. Though, she'd admit that Itachi gave off a more unsettling air, Kisame gave off a murderous one. And Haka wanted her to steal that scroll that was tightly clenched in his fist. She could take it, if only she could get close enough.
"So there was a little mouse hiding out in the woods?" Kisame said, grinning at her. His mouth was filled with bizarre pointed teeth.
Her eyes narrowed and she instantly decided that she did not like being referred to as a 'little mouse'. Suddenly, she gave him a sly smile. "Yes, hiding from the two monsters on the road. You two aren't ordinary travelers, are you?"
Itachi's head tilted ever so slightly at her comment. He was interested. But unfortunately, she wasn't interested in him. All she was interested in was that scroll.
"By the matching outfits, I would say the two of you are part of some organization."
Her reasoning was too vague for either of them to care.
"The scroll that they have releases Kyuubi. Their organization is after demons, and since they are after Kyuubi in particular then it's probably Bijuus that they want."
Aiyana relayed the information that Haka had told her to the two men. Immediately, the two of them stiffened and Kisame's hand slid over his shoulder to grasp a hilt. Perhaps she had said too much. Either way, she took a deep breath and advanced towards Kisame. "Your organization wants power. And the only people who want power in this world are those on top of it. Like ninjas." She grinned at him. "The two of you are ninjas. Probably missing nins, trying to use the Bijuus' power to overthrow a government."
Kisame burst out laughing as he removed the straw hat from his head. Across his forehead, just as she had predicted, was the headband that indicated his loyalty to his village. Unfortunately, the band was marred by a large scratch through the middle. Missing nin. "You're very perceptive, girl."
Her nose wrinkled. She disliked being called 'girl' as much as 'little mouse'. "Perceptive enough to see that you are nothing more than a fish out of water." His black beady eyes glared out at her. "Literally and figuratively. Did you know that most coups fail? Also, did you know you have gills? Like a fish? Do you breathe through them?"
Annoyed, Kisame grabbed her shirt collar and pulled her closer. It was all she needed. With a slight of hand, she had the scroll in hers and carefully hid it up her shirt all while looking Kisame straight in the eyes. "Girl, you need to learn when to keep your mouth shut."
"Keep it shut?" Aiyana commented dryly. "If you keep yours shut. Your breath smells like fish."
Kisame growled and a kunai appeared in the hand that had previously been holding the scroll. He was too preoccupied with her he hadn't even realized that something was missing. For a moment, a flash of fear went through her but then she heard the comforting bark. Mingan latched onto Gills' hand and refused to let go until Aiyana was safely back on the ground.
She grunted when she hit the ground and quickly scrambled back up and away. Her eyes landed on Itachi, some distance away, who was watching her with his blood red eyes. "Tell your partner Gills there to quit being so sensitive," she snapped at him.
Kisame was advancing at her, clearly insulted by his new nickname.
"Kisame," Itachi said in a warning tone. "Leave her. She is only trying to pick a fight."
Aiyana let go of the breath she had been holding.
"I'm in the mood for a fight," Kisame muttered, but he turned his back on her and rejoined his partner. "Shouldn't we kill her? She knows too much, Itachi-san."
For a moment, she was terrified Itachi would agree and tensed ready to run at any given movement, but instead he studied her. Studied her travel-worn clothing and fearful blue eyes, her desperate attempt to hide her fear and keep an air of haughty confidence about her, her messy black hair and the bandana she wore to keep it in check. She couldn't be more than fifteen, a child. And he had enough of killing children.
"No, she knows nothing. Those were simple observations anyone could have made from hearing what she heard. It would simply be a waste of time to kill her and Leader wants us back as soon as possible."
Thank God, she breathed out again without even realizing she had been holding her breath. Itachi had turned out to be her unlikely savior. And she was sure that a death by Kisame's hand would not have been a pleasant one. The two men turned to leave and she smiled warmly at Itachi, giving him a small wave. He seemed startled by the gesture and immediately looked away from her, falling in stride with his tall partner who constantly shot her dark looks.
The two of them walked away completely unaware they had been robbed.