Disclaimer: Masashi Kishimoto owns Naruto. The following is a fan-made fictional piece of writing authored by PromistDream based on Kishimoto's Naruto. No monetary profit is gained from the writing of the following fiction.
A/N: Happy Belated Birthday Naruto!
When the Moon Sets
Chapter 2: Your Name
Darkness surrounded him. He was cold, confused, and…
He didn't know…
What is this feeling?
Tired? he internally questioned. Maybe... Or is something else...
His body ached dully and he felt that he should know something but… His mind was blank… hazy….
He focused on finding something but all he could see black… It was a nothingness that stretched forever before him. A part of him knew that there was more than this endless darkness.
And so he searched.
He did not know how much time had passed (time seemed meaningless here) when, distantly, he became aware of gentle sparks of life brushing up against his mind. With these sparks came a rhythmic sound, low and muffled.
His mind turned to the babel and, even though it was muddled, he recognized it as a voice… No, several voices. And they were talking slowly and hesitatingly, almost like… like what? He felt so confused. He did not like this feeling at all.
All of a sudden, a warm hand landed on his wrist, startling him badly. Acting reflexively, he jerked his eyes open (had they been closed this entire time?) and leapt up, pulling away. He was blinded by the unexpected onslaught of light and his eyes shut again as he stumbled back.
Another set of hands was on his shoulders, steadying him. He panicked and resisted as the muffled voices grew louder. He tried to pull back but the hands kept a firm grip on his shoulders. He felt dizzy and his chest hurt and the confused cloud cloaking his mind grew stronger.
Suddenly, a soothing warmth spread throughout his body. And even though his mind was still frightened, his body automatically calmed. He stilled, finding that he liked this warmth better than the chilling terror from before. Finally, when his chest no longer continued to pain him, the boy chanced opening his eyes.
His sight was filled with kind, grey eyes staring back at him with concern. The boy tried to draw back (he was confused, he didn't know this man, he didn't know what was going on, he wanted it all to stop!) but the hands kept him in place. They belonged to an aging man with long, graying-red hair.
Behind the man stood four other people, a woman and three men. Each were staring at him with varying levels of concern and interest.
With a pop, the hum around him suddenly came with startling clarity: the steady breathing of each person, the soft crackling of a fire, and the myriad of nocturnal cooing and cawing. Each resonance made his own erratic breathing seem too loud. At the edge of his conscious, he could still feel the old panic simmering, ready to consume him, but the warmth flooding his body kept it at bay.
"Who are you?" The boy asked, his own squeaky voice startling even himself.
The man slowly moved back, removing his weathered hands from his shoulders. The warmth faded and the boy took the chance to shuffle back a few steps while the man regarded him.
Finally, the man answered him in a rough, graveled voice, "It's rude to ask for someone's name without giving your own."
Something about the man's voice calmed him further. His breathing slowed of its own accord while he stared blankly at the man in front of him. Silence enveloped them.
Name… My name…The boy searched his mind but he could find nothing. I don't know…
He felt himself begin to panic again but the man's voice sounded again, consoling him, "What is your name?"
A beat of silence passed before he answered, unsure, "I… I don't know…"
The man's eyebrows rose in mild surprise. He glanced back at one of the men behind him – an old one with long, whispery-white hair, some of which was held up by a high-placed bun. The two men seemed to have a conversation before the man with grey eyes nodded and turned back to him.
"My name is Uzumaki Akio," the man began, "behind me is Uzumaki Osamu," the old man with white hair and violet eyes, "Satomi Ruka," the woman with green hair and blue eyes, "Takeshi Ken," the man with brown hair and brown eyes, "and Hideko Yasuo," the man with dirty-blonde hair and grey eyes.
"Can you tell me what you remember last?" Akio asked, interrupting his thoughts.
He glanced at the other people and was surprised to see that they no longer were focused on him. The boy frowned and set his fuzzy mind to try and remember something—anything.
"Black. Everything was dark."
Akio asked cautiously. "Were you cold?"
The boy frowned in thought. "A little."
The man nodded in thought. "Were you scared?"
"No!" The boy shouted suddenly, surprising himself, but he continued anyway, "I just don't like being alone!" The boy huffed and crossed his arms, then froze. 'I don't like being alone?' How do I know that?
Akio gave a small smile at his outburst. He then stood up from his crouched position and walked over to a backpack near the fire.
"We found you two days ago," he said as he picked through the pack, "You were unconscious in the middle of a forest leagues away from any form of civilization."
The man withdrew a bundle from the pack and returned to kneeling in front of him.
"Do you recognize any of this?" the old man asked, handing him the bundle.
The boy looked down at the pile of tattered clothes. Smears of brown littered its surface.
Blood, he realized. But how do I know that?
He pulled the top piece loose, letting the rest of the clothing fall to the ground with a soft thump. He held it up. It was a large, black and orange jacket that looked like it had been thrown into a fire. He turned it around and examined its back—there was a large red swirl sewn in the top center. He looked back at the older man.
"Hey!" He shouted, pointing at the man's forehead, "that's the same thing that is on your head!"
Akio chuckled and briefly touched his hand to the engraved metal resting on his brow, "Yes, this the symbol of my village, Uzushiogakure."
The boy looked over at the other people gathered around the fire. They each had the same symbolic metal on their person.
The boy placed the jacket down and rifled through the remaining clothes—a torn, black shirt, a heavy shirt made of small rings of metal, a pair of dark, very frayed pants, and one shoe that looked to have been mauled by some beast.
"What is this stuff?" The boy asked as he put the shoe down on the stack of ruined clothes.
"We found it with you," the man answered. "Yesterday we stopped in a small town and bought you some more appropriate clothes."
The boy's eyes widened and he looked at the graying redhead, "This stuff is mine? What happened to me?"
"We were hoping you could answer that for us but…" Akio trailed off. Then he turned, pulling a small piece of metal and cloth out from behind him. He handed it to the boy, "This was found with you as well. Do you recognize any of this?"
This is… mine? The boy clutched the metal tighter, suddenly feeling like the hunk of metal was much more important than he originally thought. He ran his fingers over the engraved metal, following the carved symbol. It was different than the symbol Akio and others had. He felt that he should recognize it but…
"No, I don't."
Akio frowned slightly but nodded in understanding. "That," he said, pointing to the swirling symbol, "is the emblem of Konohagakure."
The boy frowned in thought. Konohagakure… Something within him resonated at the word.
"Do you know what that is?"
He thought about the fuzzy confusion and the endless darkness. He thought that maybe some part of him recognized it but… Nothing…
He shook his head. "No."
"Konohagakure is a village of ninjas. We're traveling there and are about a day's journey away. Would you like to come with us?"
The boy looked at the surrounding forest, the people around him, and then at the kind man before him. Where else would he go?
He nodded his head with determination, "Yes."
The next day, the group resumed their travel. It was a silent walk and, even though he was much smaller than the other members, the boy had no trouble keeping up with the adults.
Around mid-morning, the boy finally spotted something different in the landscape. It was a tower wall with two giant doors.
"Kakkoii…" He ran ahead of the group to get a better look.
He stopped at the base of the large doors and stared up in awe. The symbol for 'fire' was painted in red across its panels of wood. It was… amazing…
A loud voice and a hand pointed at his face pulled him from his gapping, "Who're you?"
The boy stumbled away from the bulky man addressing him but was stopped when his back hit against two legs—Akio.
"We are the convoy from Uzushio," Osamu answered as he stepped to the front of the group.
"Ah! U-Uzukage-sama!" The guard bowed quickly, "I apologize for my rudeness."
The white-haired man waved off the man's apology, instead asking, "May we enter?"
"Of course!" The guard hurriedly rushed to pull out his clipboard. "Names?"
"Uzumaki Osamu, Uzumaki Akio, Satomi Ruka, Takeshi Ken, and Hideko Yasuo," he supplied. "In addition, we have four hunter-nin traveling with our party."
Hunter-nin? The boy looked behind the group but could not spot any other figures. Where are they?
The guard nodded as he finished writing down the names. "They may check in with our own hunter-nin," he said, pointing up to an empty tower next to the one of the great doors.
Osamu flicked his wrist and the boy jumped when four figures dressed in black dashed from the treetops and up the wall.
The boy's eyes widened. Were they there the entire time?
"And what about the boy?" The guard asked, looking at him.
"The boy has amnesia," Akio answered for him, "he doesn't remember."
"Hmm," the guard's mouth set into a thin line as he rubbed at his chin, "He needs a name to enter the city."
Akio looked back at him with a contemplative look. "Kazama Arashi."
The guard nodded, jotting the name down, before letting the group through with another bow.
Kazama Arashi? Is that my name?
Akio's voice brought him from his musing, "The boy and I will continue to the hospital."
Osamu nodded once, "Meet us at the Hokage's Tower when you are finished."
Akio bowed and began walking away. The boy hurried after him, not wanting to loose sight of him in the large city.
Uzumaki Akio strode down the bustling halls of Konoha's hospital. Though many passed him, he walked alone. The boy (Arashi, he reminded himself, I named him Kazama Arashi) had been swept away by a nurse upon arrival, leaving Akio to find his daughter.
Though unconscious, Kushina was alive and that was all that mattered. His chest ached at the sight of her, weak and unmoving, and yet… Her Uzumaki blood would pull her through – of that he was sure.
It had been over three years since he had seen her last and he could now see even more of his own great-great-grandmother in Kushina. Though the Uzumaki Mito he knew growing up was aged and timeworn, her beauty and elegance had still shown through. Now he could see that same refined elegance and beauty in his own daughter.
His lips quirked up in an almost-smile. He was glad that Kushina already had a man. With her ever-emerging beauty and, by default, suitors, he doubted his quick-tempered daughter would stand for dozens of men following at her heels before pummeling them into the ground.
Akio looked up briefly from his musings and paused. He was standing at the end of the hall, quite literally facing a blank wall.
I passed it.
Ignoring his own lapse (he was not getting old), he turned and re-traced his steps, this time focusing on finding the correct room.
Finally spotting it, Akio opened the door of Namikaze Minato. He looked at the unconscious yet vibrant young man, who's skin was now pale with chakra illness. This was the boy who, only several weeks ago, approached him for his daughter's hand.
And though he had laughed internally (because he remembered the consistent complaining of his daughter about the young orphan brought to Konoha by Jiraiya), Akio could not see Kushina happy with any other man. He had looked at the nervous yet determined face of Namikaze Minato, had smiled with relief (Finally this boy was claiming Kushina as his!) and gave the anxious blonde his assent.
Akio approached the foot of the hospital bed and picked up the clipboard containing the blonde's medical charts. Reading through the papers, it seemed the younger man was in a somewhat better than Kushina and would make a full recovery. Satisfied with his perusal of the blonde's medical status, Akio replaced the chart and turned to leave…
But paused when he saw a small, thoroughly charred and slightly melted ring-box sitting with Minato's belongs. Curious, he stepped closer to examine it.
All of its velvet lining had been burned away and a large section of the box was completely missing. He carefully picked it up but frowned in dismay when small flecks of the case fell apart into in hand. Delicately, he pried open the ruined box and peeked inside at the ring. Some of the silver had melted and one of three diamonds was missing from its hold.
Akio's mouth set into a grim line. He contemplated for several silent moments. Then, after glancing once at the prone blonde, surreptitiously slipped the ruined velvet box into his pocket. He was gone from the room seconds later.
Kakkoii – Cool