Pairing: DateSana, MotoMoto, KojuSasu.
betaed by the wonderfull : pokeaddict17
Disclaimers: I own nothing that my mind didn't provide
The afternoon sun broke trough the wall of the building, it was magnificent castle built in the purest Japanese tradition almost melted into the forest, only the high and refined walls allowed to say that a noble family lived here. Six golden circles where painted on a wooden door.
Through the luxuriant vegetation of the huge garden, either of different trees or flowers expertly arranged, we could clearly hear the monotonous voice of an apparently old man. The sliding door of the room he occupied was ajar to let the warm breeze in of this late spring. A young boy stood in front of the kneeling man, in a purple kimono, branded with the same gold symbols as the castle gate, clothing his small stature elegantly.
The child had messed up long auburn hair on the top of his head, that were brought into a silky pony tail cascading down his lower back in spite of his apparent small size, and large reddish brown eyes with this mischievous and cheerful aspect of childhood, with his fine features it could be easily imagined what a beautiful young man he would became later.
The young student listened to the lecture brought by his sensei with a distracted ear, he was usually was very interested in stories about the great warriors of other times, all these generals and brave men, and he dreamed of being like them one day. But on such a beautiful day, the boring lesson on the political system of the Heian era hadn't managed to hold his interest, it was just too long. Anything distracted him, a rustle of leaves in the shrubs and bushes, the song of a bird. The young boy knew he had to find a way to escape the vigilance of his master if he would not die of boredom before the end of the afternoon.
His russet eyes fixed the porch before returning to the brush he was holding. Placing it gently on its support, he started opening his mouth before seeing his attempted escape broken by the harshness of the old man.
"Your lessons are far from over, young master. Your father, the lord Masayuki was very clear about this. You can't get out before I finish..", he said, striking the tatami with his folded fan.
Once he had finished his sentence, he began to point to different locations on a map fixed on the wall. The little one didn't fail to pull his tongue, showing openly what he thought of his father's orders. With a heavy sigh of boredom, he turned his gaze to the outside, watching a leaf fluttering on the floor of the patio, he had an idea. A silly smile formed on his lips. Of course he would probably be punished after, but right now it didn't mattered. His body exclaimed for exercise, his skin wanted to feel the wind, and his feet languished to step on the rough floor. Staying in this room was not an option.
With his ever present smile, the boy quietly gripped the table in front him, and couldn't help from bursting into laughter when he sent it across the room, dispersing all kinds of papers and spilling his bottle of Chinese ink. Taking advantage of the sudden panic which seized his old sensei, the boy took his chance and ran, escaping into the garden while his laughter covered the old man outraged screams.
"And where are you going like that, Yukimura-Danna?"
The small Yukimura turned just in time to hit the belly of the teenager who had just ruined his attempt for an escape. He looked up at him pouting, but with a smile in his eyes.
"Sasukeeee!" the little boy showed his tongue again, annoyed at having been caught.
The teenager with strange reddish hair grabbed him by the shoulders, cutting his retreat. Yukimura looked down at the ground, shot down by disappointment. He did not see the smile which spread on the young Sasuke lips when his sensei came to them.
"Thank you Sarutobi-san, this young man is unbearable recently. If please tell the lord about my mistake." said the old man, holding out his hands to recover the child.
But Sasuke only response was to hold Yukimura closer against him with unfeigned affection. "To be honest, Ukita-sensei, I'm not here to do your job."
Yukimura observed the exchange between the two, restraining himself from laughing while hiding in Sasuke yakuta. He began to rejoice what it felt like when his friend would probably try to avoid punishment for him.
Ukita hid his disgust, he hated being under the orders of a kid, plus when it's a ninja with no formal education or ethics, yet he had no choice. Sarutobi Sasuke was the youngest head of the Sanada clan ninjas that has ever been, and there was no doubt that under the seemingly frail appearance of a teenager, he was formidable. Their small age difference, only four years separating them, made Sarutobi the ideal playmate for his young master. He was just difficult to accept that he was also given the job to be guardian of the child, a job; he says, that should be his.
And this brat was staring at him with those golden brown eyes of his. Sasuke had this triumphant look which gave him the irrepressible wanting to slap him while Yukimura hid even more in the forest colored clothes the ninja wore. The teacher found wearing that was really indecent. It was too short, too open, despite the fact that he was wearing capris and a black ninja net underneath, and showed too much flesh to his liking.
"Do I have something on my face?" Sasuke asked, he had hoped for more than the icy stare he obtained in return after he made his remark.
The old Ukita recomposed himself. He opened his fan to hide the blowing redness on his cheeks, he said. "What then are the reasons for you to come here?"
Sasuke untied himself from Yukimura and pushed him away slightly as he was searching for something hidden under his clothes.
"The Lord Masayuki sent me to fetch you, therefore this small one is allowed to play for the rest of the day."
The boy's eyes sparkled with happiness, especially when Sasuke pulled out of his inside pocket a dish wrapped in a cloth and handed it to Yukimura. "A little something in case you need a snack."
"Dango?" asked Yukimura hopeful, a sweet chime in his voice.
Sasuke was really the best. Of course Yukimura was aware that like any other who looked after him, he was paid to do so. But the boy knew that his affection was genuine, he was not motivated by any promotional opportunity as his teacher or his nurse, which the ninja had also assumed the major part of the job. The child loved the ninja like a big brother, sharing his games when he had the time ... and he knew that Sasuke liked him as much.
"Could it be something else? Do not eat too fast," replied the ninja, interrupting the trail of thoughts and ruffling the soft hair of the youngest.
"I'll behave, I promise." said Yukimura while his friend and his sensei returned to the building. Sasuke did not fail to give him a nod to signify that he had recorded the promise. "Sensei!" I'll tell the maids to tidy the mess that I made." he added, waving his hand. Ukita couldn'tt restrain a smile, shaking his head. For now, he dared not to doubt for the future of that child.
Sitting on the bridge overhanging the koi pond, his legs dangling over the water, Yukimura watched the movement of fish more colorful than the others.
Though being free was his first goal since the beginning of the afternoon, he had to face the evidence that after several hours spent running barefoot in the grass, chasing bugs and watching the clouds, he was indeed bored. Usually Sasuke would come join him after his work, offering to be a playmate with whom he could play tirelessly with until night time.
"But what can they be doing that would take so long?" wondered the boy, sighing heavily.
Yukimura was only certain of one thing, it was that his father did not receive a guest because in those moments, he was dressed and exhibited as a pride, the heir of the noble house Sanada …everyone should know his name. Yukimura snorted in disgust when such thoughts forced themselves upon him, he had to resign. The path of a son of a clan was already traced. He should be the best, he should be the strongest, he had to make the best wedding...
Yukimura suddenly stood up and ran into the garden without a specific end point, he just wanted to get rid of his thoughts, and he didn't wanted to think of that. Yukimura had this problem, he was a dreamer, and he was far from being able to put his mind in a cage as requested by his rank and always had a thirst for novelty and adventure. He wanted to be a general, a warrior whose exploits are sung even centuries later. He refused to become like all those fat and pompous nobles visiting dignitaries of his clan.
Yukimura now knew what he wanted, a little chance that presented itself to him. It was a nagging thought to him, the simple idea that, at least for a few hours, he'll escape this life he didn't want. There was this hole left by a fox in the wall, hidden between two bushes that no one else had noticed but him. It could not be a coincidence that he had found it by chance. Yukimura had just wanted for once to be a bad boy, to live a bit, and he would commit the biggest stupidity of his life and break the biggest interdiction imposed onto him. Just for a few hours, and if he was lucky, no one would notice his disappearance and... that was what hurted the most.
His steps led him to his destination quicker than he had hoped. Checking that no servants where in the area, Yukimura checked his pocket where the dango was. What a better way to rebel then enjoying his favorite food and committing the worst crimes against his family? A smile appeared on his face, it would be his little revenge. Not caring that his clothes would be stained, Yukimura crawled into the hole just big enough for a child's stature and for once, Yukimura was happy to be one of them. The wonder as his eyes finally rested on a world he had rarely seen, and never freely, was unprecedented in his heart. Everything was so different than in the large garden.
The Sanada family castle was surrounded by a rich and savage forest; hunting had been one of the favorite sports of the Lord Masayuki. Yukimura had never been invited, too dangerous for a precious prince. At this time, if the forest was dangerous, Yukimura hoped so. He had every intention of living his little adventure entirely. The prospect of exploring a wild and almost untouched world made his heart race, if only Sasuke had come with him. After several minutes of wandering, playing in the leaves, and hide and seek, a strange feeling started tugging at his mind. He hadn't met any wild animals, and began to wonder why. He noticed the sudden silence, too. Where were the birds? Where were the insects that swarmed even in the well maintained garden?
This oppressing feeling was reinforced when a shadow passed over him. Yukimura swallowed nervously, tried to ignore the goose bumps on his arms, and not lift his head. He did not have the time, a rumbling sound startled him and he ran straight ahead, hiding behind the first tree he thought was big enough. The little one shook with fear, huddling. Yukimura managed to find the strength to look through his fingers. Here, in the sky, fully visible between the less dense foliage of the clearing where he took refuge, Yukimura held his breath when his eyes met the most beautiful and dangerous creature that legends told of. A creature he saw only on paintings, sculptures, and in the books, currently very real in front him.
The little brunet could not be mistaken. The graceful movement through the air high above him, the shining scales of a pure gold color, it's snake like form, and those menacing claws. The adrenaline rush that paralyzed his body gave him the time to remember how to call this thing. It was a dragon. Yukimura had wished with all his heart for an adventure, his was wish granted. He immediately regretted it. A silly thought crossed his mind; he asked himself if the dragons devoured only the princesses. The mythological creature roared again shaking the forest and the child at the same time. Yukimura eyes glowed when he saw that the dragon was attacked, a barrage of arrows and spears seemed to be launched in pursuit, while the mighty aerial snake seemed to flee, a resemblance of panic in it's flight.
"Wonderful!" whispered the little brunet, once it was safe and out of view.
He got up, ready to cut short his trip, Not wanting to wander anymore after what he just witnessed, but a sudden muffled crash escaped from the treetops. Yukimura shrank again. The crackling continued and approached closer and closer. He was surprised when a small mass fell from the sky on a pile of leaves issuing a "phew" as the fall expelled the air from the lungs of the thing.
Yukimura waited, observing the pile of leaves on the other side of the clearing six feet from him. Nothing stirred; the silence resumed... Slowly, cautiously, almost tiptoeing, Yukimura approached the fallen figure. He almost began to ran when he had a clear view of who had just fallen from the sky. Before him was none other than a child certainly not much older than him. He prayed inwardly that this one was alive. The child, apparently a boy, wore clothes similar to those of Yukimura, indicating that it was very likely the same class as him, a dark blue kimono and a hakama. Mild long brown hair, a shade darker than Yukimura's hair fell loosely around his head. A bandage covered the upper right part of his face, his thin lips let a slight hiss escape. Yukimura sighed with relief and leaned on him knowing that this does not mean he was necessarily going to be okay. "Hey, can you hear me? Are you asleep? " Yukimura asked, slightly shaking the boy's shoulder. Yukimura's eyes began to sting, worried that the child who fell from the sky would not wake up. He didn't know what to do in such situations and panicked, the sole reaction that his body could make was to let go some tears.
The stranger grunted, bringing back his attention to him. "Wake up please." Yukimura said, his nose and cheeks blushing with both his hands on the shoulders of the other boy. After a sigh, the child opened his uncovered eye, revealing to Yukimura a look of the color of autumn sky, a captivating single grey eye. Painfully, the child raised his hand in front of the subdued brunet, lightly gripping one of the long locks flowing from the nape of the Sanada heir. His mouth opened, whispering some words.
"Are you the princess of the spirits in this forest?"