This is the first of a three part fan series I decided to write for Naruto. Reviews would be great if you could. Thanks.
To Tame a Beast
Red….everything was cast in fiery, burning red. Heated, boiling blood gushed through my body like deadly venom until I felt as if fire burned me. My body convulsed uncontrollably as violent tremors of rage ripped through my body. I felt the black void close around me, the rough, savage voice in my head forced out any trace of sanity. The black door closed and I was shut in the blackness and shut out of my own body. Once again, I had lost all control to the demon within.
The blood of the first victim gushed under my claw-like nails, and the second I tasted blood, nothing could stop the terrible beast.
Dismembered bodies of more than thirty of the villagers lay around me before the red madness finally receded. By then I was curled up in a whimpering heap on cold blooded ground. The once white snow ran red and pink in evidence of my bloody massacre, though under the Madness's influence everything was red. Finally the red haze faded away and I was left only with the black void of unconsciousness.
Sandaled feet trod the well worn snowy forest path. Many had trod this path from the small village in the deep forest. Itachi Uchiha was also a frequent. A little beyond the village lay a hidden grove good for training he used.
But now today through the thick white fog something felt wrong, very wrong. Itachi picked up his pace, becoming anxious at the sick feeling in his stomach; his mind reeled with worst-case scenarios. He hadn't gone much farther before the awful stench hit him, the stench of blood…and a lot of it.
Now he ran, becoming more anxious by the second. When at last the trees broke into the village, the gruesome scene that met his eyes nearly turned out his stomach. The snow, once so pure white ran red with blood. Human and animal corpses lay scattered everywhere, their innards ripped out. Itachi couldn't hear or see any signs of life or survivors in the area. He ran from half standing cabin to partial cabin looking for survivors. There were none. He doubted there would be, seeing the damage visible. Was it the beast again that had torn apart several other places? The damage looked similar to what had happened to the other places. It also looked terrifyingly similar to damage a tailed beast could cause.
This thought crossed his mind when his Sharingan eyes caught a thin blood trail in the snow leading away from the village. The trail was thin but the blood drops were close together which told him the person was hurt fairly bad. It also headed into his training area.
A small glimmer of hope rising in his chest, Itachi swiftly followed the trail.
A chill wind caught the scent of more blood, carrying it to Itachi's nose. A break in the trees revealed what his pessimism had already predicted; a still heap of trembling flesh splayed over the frozen bloody earth. She couldn't have been much more than his age, but oh she looked awful! Under all the dirt and blood he imagined her quite pretty, but beauty held no importance at the moment. Long, tangled black hair splayed out over the red snow. The small pixie-like frame looked as though she would break in his arms. Not but dirty and bloody, torn, rags clothed her quivering form. Even through the dirty rags, her ribs stuck out to reveal an emaciated condition. Though unconscious, her breath came in small, erratic gasps. He guessed by her terrible condition the poor girl had been a slave somewhere. Her very rosy complexion told him she also had a high fever, likely from pain. By the blood soaking her side, she was hurt but not bad enough that it would kill her.
Immediately he took pity on her, unable to leave her like this. After checking for broken bones and finding not but perhaps cracked ribs, Itachi carefully gathered her in arms and wrapped her shivering body in his jacket. Rationality told him to take her to Leaf Village hospital but instinct warned him otherwise. He followed his instinct. He knew a safe place he could take her.
I first remember the sound of a crackling fire somewhere near me. As my nerves started to wake I felt warm; though a good warm, calm and comforting. It felt so good I didn't want to move from where I lay though I knew that fire meant danger for me. So against my aching body's will I attempted to sit up and open my eyes. The second I tensed my muscles to try, agony shot through me like nothing else and I fell back gasping.
Then I first heard his voice, smooth like velvet and calming. "Easy, slowly, just breathe. I'm sorry it hurts." A damp, cool washcloth slid gently across my forehead.
Without my mind registering it, my body went into immediate defense mode. Despite the agony ripping through me, I scrambled away against the wall behind me. My violet orbs widened in awe as I studied his image.
He was actually quite handsome. Long black hair fell to at least his shoulder blades that he pulled back in a ponytail. The two front parts, shorter than the rest, hung down to frame his attractive face. Two thin scars extended from the inner corners of his eyes to the bridge of his nose. I wondered briefly how he'd gotten them, though they detracted none of his potency. In the fire's flickering light, his pale skin appeared alive and shadows danced along the edge of his strong jaw line. But it was the onyx orbs that drew me in. Never before had I seen such eyes as his. They were altogether strange and familiar at the same time. While the flickering light made everything else about him move and dance, those black eyes remained the same. They reminded me of a moonless, quiet, starry night; something I had not seen for a long time.
"Easy, it's okay. You're alright. I didn't mean to scare you." The quiet words rolled off his tongue as smoothly as water, as if his vocal cords were encased in satin.
I didn't move or reply; I simply stared at him wide-eyed and clutched my burning side. I tried to force my mind to think rationally, but pain blocked any thought. A small animal-like whine escaped my throat and I doubled over, having lost strength to hold myself up.
Strong hands caught me before the cold, hard floor met my skin. At this point I was too weak to try to fight so I let myself fall limp in his arms. Besides, he didn't appear to want to hurt me…and least I hoped.
"It's alright. There's no reason to fear. I'm trying to help you. My name is Itachi," he said gently.
'Then kill me…' I pleaded in my thoughts.
He lifted me and carried me back to where I lay before, which appeared now as a futon mattress on a wooden floor covered by animal furs. My weary mind wondered briefly where this was, though I had no will to ask.
As if reading my mind, Itachi answered. "This is an old abandoned cabin deep in the forest that only I know about. It's been vacant for nearly twenty-five years so the only person you'll ever see coming here is me. You're completely safe here."
He lay me down on the futon gently and tried to make me comfortable. He put pillows behind my back so I could sort-of sit up and wrapped me in a black cloak and one of the animal furs. Still I didn't speak, I only looked down.
"I bandaged your wound but I'm not a Medic Ninja so I couldn't heal it. It was pretty bad, so it's best not to move too much," the boy said.
I didn't respond.
Again he overlooked my silence. Any normal person would take offense by it, but there was something about this boy that I couldn't quite grasp. It confused me.
"I'm afraid I don't have much in the way of food to offer now, but I'll give you what I have and bring more tomorrow." He set a roll of bread and a wrapped rice ball on the edge of the futon along with a steaming cup of water.
Again, I remained silent and made no move to touch the food he offered. No one had shown me such kindness in a very long time. I couldn't understand why he did. How could this boy care so much when no one else had?
"Aren't you hungry? Can you not hear me?"
I didn't answer or move.
"Come on, you have to eat something. Even just one bite would help," he encouraged. He held out the bread to me.
The first tear slid down my face. Why did this boy care so much? I don't understand. Why?
When at last I spoke my voice was shaky and raspy.
"I d-don't understand…Why are you helping me?...You don't even know me…yet you want to help….Anyone else would've let me die….Why do you care?" I shook hard now, clutching my side from in pain.
"Easy, easy, calm down! You'll tear open your wound again," he said, kneeling by the futon.
The tears came faster now. "Why didn't you just kill me? You should've let me die there….then I wouldn't have to fight…that terrible creature anymore. I can't fight it anymore."
His soft touch surprised me enough to stop the tears. His hand came down very gently on my shoulder and he knelt in front of me.
"Hey, it'll be alright. I don't know what you're talking about, but I will help you fight it if you'll let me. Trust me."
It was something in his onyx night eyes, or perhaps his sure smile that finally broke the barrier I had built around my heart so long ago. In that moment, it felt as though the darkness that I had let consume me for so long had at last been pierced by light, and that light was Itachi Uchiha.
Itachi-san…perhaps I do not have to carry this burden all on my own.
My eyes met his and for the first time in over four years I managed a smile.
"Keitara, Keitara is my name," I told him gladly.
He was the first person I had dared put faith in for almost four years. That first week and a half he stayed the nights with me in the cabin, taking only short leaves so his family wouldn't get too curious. He'd wanted to make sure I was okay alone I suppose, not to mention his discovery of my regular nightmares. He also tried to bring different varieties of food when he came from the village, I suppose to find out what I liked. To help control the pain that still virtually paralyzed me, he tried to learn bits of Medical Ninjutsu from books and things like that. Unfortunately, this didn't work well so he learned herb lore instead. He talked to me often, despite the pain and my fears he was able to make me laugh. He would talk often of his family and little brother but never mentioned his last name once. I began to take a quick liking to him and found myself looking forward to being with him and vice versa it seemed.
Despite this, the menacing power of the demon always haunted the back of my mind, reminding me that I shouldn't get my hopes too high. As much as I wished otherwise, Itachi would inevitably find out what I really was and when he did, he would likely turn away from me, like any rational person would.
I would never forget the day he found out that tormenting dark secret.