Yeah, so I'm currently working on A Favor but this has taken over my brain lately so I popped this one out. It was originally supposed to be a one shot, but I haven't even gotten close to doing what I'd like to do with this so it's going to be extended to a short story instead. It'll probably end up being about four chapters? I don't know, we'll see. But yeah, I'm just posting this one chapter and it won't be updated again until I finish my other story (hopefully) but I figured I would see if anyone is interested in something like this. It's completely different from the other things I've written, but this really is more my style. Anyway, yeah, enough of my rambling!
Oh yeah; yes I know that it's weird having a Japanese family have a position like this, but I attempt to explain that in the future so just bear with it for now.
Disclaimer: Don't own Naruto. Duh.
Their footsteps echoed softly as the two brothers walked down the dark, dingy, stone staircase. The younger, despite being only twelve years old, walked with as much dignity and elegance as his elder brother. His lip curled back slightly in disdain as they reached the bottom of the staircase.
"Brother, why must I choose one?" he asked petulantly.
His brother repressed an irritated sigh. "Sasuke, do not whine, you are much too old for that. It is the Uchiha way – you will choose a partner and that is that."
Young Sasuke scoffed. "Partner? Brother, you speak as if it will be my equal," he drawled lightly, a hint of amusement in his tone.
His brother fixed him with a harsh glare. "Do not take this lightly, Sasuke. This is extremely dangerous and if you do not behave you may very well get yourself killed."
Sasuke scowled and had opened his mouth to retort when another pair of footsteps was heard walking towards them. He shut his mouth tightly, his teeth clicking together audibly. His brother threw him one last reproachful glare before turning back to face the newcomer, both of them the perfect picture of how royalty should look.
The man that approached them appeared to be young despite his silvery hair. He had an eyepatch over his left eye and the bottom half of his face was covered. It would seem that his job was not kind to him. He bowed to his two patrons as he spoke. "Ahh, welcome Master Itachi. And this must be Young Master Sasuke." He straightened and looked more closely at the younger brother. "You still seem so young. Is it that time already?"
They both nodded curtly and the man sighed heavily, shaking his head. "They're just getting younger and younger these days," he said absently as he turned and walked in the opposite direction.
Sasuke bristled and was about to advise this insolent man to remember his place when Itachi's hand grasped his shoulder in warning. Sasuke refrained and resumed the emotionless mask expected of him as they followed the strange man. He recalled as they were walking that Itachi had told him earlier that morning that this man's name was Kakashi and that he should show him respect.
As they proceeded, the sounds of clinking chains and growls grew louder and louder. Turning the final corner, Sasuke was faced with cages full of various creatures. They ranged from deformed, ugly trolls to sinfully beautiful succubi. He was vaguely surprised to realize that he didn't recognize most of the creatures for what they were. There was one commonality among them: they were extremely deadly and any one of them would gladly kill him if given the chance.
"They all seem quite vicious," Sasuke remarked offhandedly as he moved closer to inspect one of the uglier creatures.
Kakashi nodded slightly. "Yes. They have not been broken in and trained; that is the duty of the master."
Sasuke nodded absently as he approached another cage, made of glass. "This one is filled with water," he noted, intrigued. He peered inside but saw nothing. As he looked again, he noticed a large rock, on top of which was perched a beautiful, nude woman. "What is that?" he asked, knowing it could not simply be a mere woman.
"Ah, that beauty is there is a kelpie," Kakashi informed him. "She wears the guise of a beautiful woman to lure foolish human prey then transforms into her real form before she drowns them and eats them. She is truly a water horse, with adhesive skin, so any that touch her are doomed."
Sasuke scoffed. "That does not sound fierce at all. And what if there is no water in the vicinity? I am glad that she is not my match."
Kakashi just smiled indulgently, though no one could see it. He watched Sasuke as he walked to the next cage that caught his attention, which contained a pale, elegant man. "That, my lord, is a vampire."
"Is it truly?" Sasuke asked excitedly. He gazed longingly at the enclosed man, who lunged at him and hissed, displaying his elongated canines. Itachi chuckled smugly as he watched his brother leap back, only to pretend that he had not been startled at all. Sasuke looked at the man in disdain then and continued.
He studied many creatures, including goblins, pixies, shapeshifters, sirens, banshees, ghouls, skinwalkers, djiin, and the like. None called to him, though he was not terribly eager to listen either.
"Sasuke, you must choose!" Itachi chastised sharply an hour later, supremely frustrated with his younger brother's childishness.
Sasuke glared back at him. "I cannot simply pick just anything, and you know it! Do not speak to me as though I am a child! I understand the importance of this, but I must choose the right one for me and it is not here," Sasuke retorted. It was not simply that he was purposely being obstinate, but he would know when he found his match and it just wasn't here.
"You are a child! And it must be here or else you would not have been given the Sign. This is one time where you cannot simply refuse to do something you do not wish to do." Itachi was starting to lose his composure. Had he known that Sasuke would act like this, he never would have agreed to accompany him. That child would never behave this way if their father were present, he thought with disdain.
Sasuke remained stubbornly silent and refused to move, his arms crossed across his chest. There seemed to be no way to make his brother understand that he wasn't simply being immature, that he truly had tried (somewhat) to find his match. Itachi glared harshly and grabbed him by the arm, bodily dragging him out of the room.
"Forgive me, Kakashi," he called behind him without halting his long, angry strides. "It would appear that you were correct; Sasuke is too young and needs more discipline before he is ready." The silver-haired man simply waved as they left him behind.
"Father will be very disappointed in you," Itachi hissed. Sasuke grit his teeth and lowered his head. Father would indeed be furious when he heard of this, of that he was certain.
As they neared the end of the corridor, they heard a terrible roar. The noise sent a shock through Sasuke's body and he stopped dead in his tracks. Itachi was sorely tempted to roll his eyes heavenwards, so exasperated was he. He was opening his mouth to reprimand his wayward brother once again when the boy eluded his grasp and bolted down the corridor. Itachi cursed and rushed after him. Now what was that stupid boy up to?
He saw Sasuke skid to a stop, his chest heaving and his eyes impossibly wide. Curious as to what made his brother react in such a way, Itachi rounded the corner to see five men trying to wrestle another man wrapped in chains, attempting to make him follow their lead. The chained man snarled and growled and it was evident that this was the source of that great sound earlier. He was a magnificent specimen, well over six feet in height, slightly thick with muscle, caramel-colored skin, and bright blond hair that fell in a wild array of spikes. As the man's head thrashed in their direction, his eyes fell on Sasuke. There was a moment's pause, where it seemed everyone halted with baited breath.
Itachi's eyes flickered from Sasuke's prone form, rigid with tension, towards the beastly man and watched as the man's eyes started glowing bright, electric blue before they flashed red. Suddenly, claws sprouted from his fingertips, hair erupted along the back of his neck, standing straight up and bristling in his anger, his face distorted to form a short muzzle and his canines lengthened exponentially, and there was an explosion of fur behind him. This all happened in a split second. Within that same second, he was lunging straight at Sasuke, clawed fingers aiming for his delicate neck.
Oddly enough, it was at this moment that the tension seemed to leave Sasuke's body and he did not flinch as the beast moved towards him almost faster than the eye could see. Itachi inhaled sharply and started towards his brother, but he knew he'd never make it in time. He was expecting to see Sasuke shred to pieces, bleeding out on the grimy stone floor of this dingy dungeon. What he did not expect was for the demon to stop short, his claws grazing Sasuke's pale neck but not piercing skin. Sasuke and this beast stared directly at one another, neither willing to submit.
As Itachi watched the pair in amazement, he noticed that the explosion of fur had actually been three large tails that flared out menacingly behind the man.
One of the men that had previously been trying to restrain him finally came to his senses and pulled forth a whip. He went to flog the beast, but Sasuke held up a hand. "Stop. Do not touch him," Sasuke commanded lowly, still maintaining eye contact with his opponent.
His bafflement at the command caused him to pause before his face twisted in annoyance. "I don't take orders from no kid. Now 'less you aim to get yerself killed, you'd best step away and let the grown-ups handle this."
Itachi stared in shock at his younger brother before he noticed something that made his eyes widen. This time it was he who stood in the man's path. "You will listen to this child, you filthy peasant," he sneered.
The man was not deterred. He merely stepped closer in a threatening manner. "I don't take orders from no one but me boss. So get yer pretty face outta my way before I bash it in," he growled.
It was at this time that Kakashi ambled in, wondering what all the fuss was. His visible eye sharpened as he saw the young master Sasuke in the grasp of their newest charge and was shocked to find that the child was still alive and well. He had expressly forbidden that this particular creature be available for sale; he was extremely powerful and probably more dangerous than all his others combined. This beast now was already on sedatives and he was still this troublesome.
Kakashi noticed, with a hint of both amusement and annoyance, that his brother, instead of trying to help, was arguing with one of his idiotic workers. He cautiously approached them, watching intently for any sign that the beast was going to continue his attack on the young boy. As he got closer, he saw what was keeping that formidable being in place.
Sasuke's eyes had turned blood red, his irises appearing to spin rapidly as they gazed intently into those of the beast in front of him. The corner of Kakashi's mouth twitched upward. Ah, so that's how it was. Who would have guessed?
He didn't see his other workers creep around the other side of the pair until it was too late. His eye widened as he shouted, "No! Don't!" But it was in vain. One of the men grabbed Sasuke, startling him and causing him to finally break eye contact. The demon's mouth twisted into a vile smirk as he was able to move again. The other men worked quickly to regain control of the beast, but he was quicker. He managed to embed his claws in Sasuke's shoulder and rip them all the way across his abdomen to his opposite hip.
"I will never be controlled by a human. Not by these stupid men and certainly not by you, you pathetic child!" he snarled as he was yanked back harshly by his chains.
Sasuke stumbled into the side of the man that grabbed him, but held his head high as he whispered venomously at the demon, "You are mine," before the shock of his body caught up to him and he fainted.
Itachi watched in horror as his baby brother's blood gushed from his body. He shoved the worker out of the way and gathered Sasuke in his arms as he crouched on the floor. He held him tightly to his chest for a moment before he gathered his wits about him and laid Sasuke on the floor, hurriedly taking off his waistcoat and pressing it firmly against the wounds to staunch the flow. It seemed to do little good as he watched the rich scarlet flood still streaming beneath his hands. His face twisted in anguish as he helplessly watched as the floor was stained with blood, forming a viscous puddle around his brother's prone form. He didn't hear Kakashi barking at his men to "Quit standing there like the idiots you are and hail a cab!"
The beast had calmed down considerably and was now observing the disaster he had caused with amusement, now fully returned to human form once again. "It is beautiful, is it not? The color of his young blood. Look at the exquisite rose blooms of color on your pristine white shirt," he said to Itachi dreamily. "Tell me that is not more beautiful than any painting Michelangelo could ever hope to create."
Itachi trembled with barely suppressed rage. He glared at Kakashi. "Kill him," he commanded. "Kill him now! I want him dead!"
"No," Kakashi responded nonchalantly.
"W-what?" Itachi sputtered, probably for the first time in his adult Uchiha life. "Look at what he has done to my brother! He will probably die. If you do not obey my command, my father will force you to do so himself."
"I have no doubt that he would," Kakashi said calmly. "But it would be in nobody's best interest to kill him. What's done is done and killing him will not repair what he has done to Master Sasuke. And I am sure that you saw what I did when the two were facing off."
"I agree with the old man; no good would come out of killing me," the blond drawled. They all glared at him, but he just grinned offensively.
"I don't care about that. I just want him to pay for what he has done," Itachi said through grit teeth, ignoring the beast's comment.
"I understand, but there may be other ways to do so rather than execution. And what if your brother does indeed survive? Would you deprive him of his Match?" Kakashi questioned.
Itachi was silent, glaring hard at the floor.
"And what better revenge could Master Sasuke have than to break in the wild beast that tried but failed to kill him?" he continued. The beast snarled at the implications of that statement.
Itachi struggled with his thoughts for a long moment. "…Fine," he acquiesced bitterly.
Kakashi's visible eye crinkled at the corner with his grin. "Fantastic. Now, the carriage should be here, so hurry and see that your brother survives to take his revenge."
Itachi nodded curtly and gathered his brother's body in his arms before he hastened up the staircase.
The medic on hand at the establishment met him at the top of the stairs with his black medical bag in hand. He paled at the sight of the bloody body hanging limply in his arms, but quickly shook it off and hurried to open the doors.
They laid Sasuke flat on his back, stretched out on the bench seat inside the coach. The medic's bag was already open and he was withdrawing cotton gauze and bandages by the time Itachi had finished arranging his brother and stepped inside. The coach set off at once at a brisk pace as the medic busied himself doing the best he could to stop the blood flow and bandage Sasuke. After about ten minutes he sat back in his seat, his face grim as he got a decent look at his temporary patient.
"Oh, God in Heaven, have mercy," the medic murmured, reaching over and smoothing the boy's hair from his cold, sweaty forehead. "He is but a mere child."
Itachi was silent, his foot tapping anxiously as he glared out the window. It was much too loud, what with the clattering of the wheels across the cobblestones and the incessant clip-clop of the horses shoed hooves, and it only inflamed his agitation.
"I have done the best I can, my Lord, but I don't know that your brother will make it until the morn," the medic said wearily. "He has lost far too much blood."
Itachi finally turned to look at the man. "There must be a way. There must be something we can do," he said quietly.
The man opened his mouth but seemed hesitant to voice his thoughts.
Frustrated, Itachi had to refrain himself from grabbing the man and shaking the life out of him. "Out with it, man!" he demanded.
"Well there is a relatively new procedure that may be of use, but the danger is still extreme and I do not know if the hospital here is knowledgeable in it," he said warily.
"Yes? And what is it?" Itachi asked impatiently.
"'Tis called a blood transfusion, my lord," he answered obediently.
"Yes, I believe I may have heard of such a thing," Itachi murmured thoughtfully.
"But even if it was a possible task here, he would still need blood, and a lot of it," he said, concerned.
Itachi waved at him dismissively. "Nonsense. They will use mine, of course."
"With all due respect, my Lord, that would be unwise. What shall become of your family if you were to perish as well? You two are the last Uchiha heirs," the man reminded him.
"Then you should make sure that I do not die," Itachi replied simply.
"My Lord…" he said disapprovingly.
"Well, what else would you have me do? If there is even a chance that my brother may be saved, I will do everything in my power to make it happen!" he said fiercely. "We do not have the time to waste to go searching for a generous chap from whom we could willingly take blood."
"Of course, my Lord," the man said softly.
The carriage jolted to a stop and the two men wasted not a second in gathering Sasuke into their arms and hauling him into the hospital. Itachi handed him off to the medic once inside and stopped a nurse.
"I am Earl Itachi Uchiha, eldest son of Marquess Fugaku Uchiha. My brother is gravely injured and needs attention at once," he commanded.
"Y-yes, my lord," she stuttered, tottering into a low curtsy before rushing to accommodate his brother.
He next found a doctor and pulled him aside. "Good sir, I need to know if there is anyone here that knows anything at all about blood transfusions."
"Why yes sir, we have a doctor visiting from London that may be fairly familiar with such," the doctor replied.
"Fetch him immediately. My brother is knocking at death's door and this may be his only chance," Itachi told him, near pleading.
"Well, yes, but we will need a donor as well, which-" the man began but was cut off by the impatient man in front of him.
"No need to search, you have got him right in front of you, man. Please go and fetch your London doctor right away," he said.
The doctor bowed as he said, "Yes, sir, right away, sir," before hurrying in the opposite direction.
Itachi found his brother and the medic that had ridden with them in a nearby room full of medical beds. "You do not have to stay," Itachi said wearily as he sat on a neighboring gurney, watching the nearly nonexistent rise and fall of his brother's chest. He saw that the bandages covering Sasuke's torso had already been dyed a deep red.
"I know sir, but I wish to. I may be but a humble medic, but I would like to offer any help I can give. Besides, it may do my lord some good to have a familiar face nearby." The man's reply elicited a ghost of a smile from Itachi. He dropped a heavy hand on the man's shoulder. "You are a good man."
They were silent the few minutes longer it took for the London doctor to appear and start preparing. He went to explain the procedure and its risks, but Itachi cut him off. "Do not waste time! Just proceed and do not kill either of us!" he said sternly.
There was a small chorus of "Yes, my lord" from the surrounding doctors and nurses. As Itachi laid back on the gurney, the procedure began.
His vision began to get blurry as the process went on. He blinked hard to clear his vision to look closely at Sasuke next to him, but he could not tell if it was working or even if he was still alive. His eyes lingered on his little brother's face, memorizing every detail, before he fainted as well. He could only hope that it would not be for the last time.
So what do you think? It's still just barely forming, but it'll be interesting to see how it comes along.
I've been reading Sherlock Holmes lately, so I ended up adopting a bit of his speech here and there. Itachi speaking like Sherlock Holmes...haha