Disclaimer: I do not own the series Naruto or any of the characters or concepts within it. I don't own Onimeno-sensei either; he's from another series entirely, and is merely twisted around to fit the premise of this story.
The Eyes Have It
Chapter 1: Evidence
Looking back, later on, Sakura would be embarrassed to admit that it actually took a little while for her to notice that anything was amiss. In her defense, it was a very gradual process, in the beginning. It was a process that had begun months, possibly even years, before it manifested on a visible level. As it was, when her attention was finally drawn, there was a scant month and a half left until her Genin Exams.
It went a little something like this.
Sakura woke up with the sun, glaring blearily at her balcony door from beneath her thick comforter. After about fifteen minutes of trying and failing to continue snoozing, she reluctantly crawled out of her warm little nest and slowly ambled to the bathroom for her daily ablutions. After a nice, hot shower, she toweled off and wiped some of the steam off of the mirror.
After a moment of quiet stillness, she robotically dressed herself and went down to eat breakfast. Her mother noted the girl's preoccupied expression, but simply chalked it up to the various miniature crises that came with the territory of being a girl on the cusp of being a teenager. Her father had gotten in late the night before from a mission, and was too busy sleeping it off to form any conclusions about his child's state of mind.
When she finished eating, Sakura went back upstairs, brushed her teeth, and stared deep into the mirror. She rinsed her mouth out, not breaking her one-girl staring contest, then calmly placed a hand firmly over her own mouth and let the scream she had been repressing bubble out.
Each of her pupils had a small, all but negligible milky white dot in its center.
That afternoon, Sakura didn't even try to hang back and talk to her teachers about the material, or try to garner Sasuke's attention. No, she had far more important matters to attend to, and very little time in which to attend to them if she wanted to keep her parents from asking questions she didn't have answers for. She made her way towards the hospital at a pace that was just barely capable of being called casual.
"I need an examination," she told the nurse manning the reception desk.
"Do you have an appointment?" The nurse asked with a pretty, pleasant smile.
Sakura shook her head. "Um, no. No, I…" she faltered. "It's sort of a…sudden development, I guess you could say." She gestured discretely to her eyes. The nurse leaned forward after a moment, her expression sharpening into something more professional. For a terrible moment, Sakura was struck with the mortifying thought that she might have imagined the entire thing and was about to be offered an entirely different 'examination' than the one she had originally come for.
Her irrational fears were assuaged once the nurse's expression lightened with understanding and she sat back. "I see!" The lithe brunette grabbed a spare sheaf of paper and scribbled room number on it, before attaching it to a clipboard full of paperwork. "You should head straight up there, sweetheart. The doctor will help you fill out what you need to after he gets a closer look at you."
Sakura nodded, mumbling her thanks and hugging the clipboard to her chest. She resumed her just-shy-of-panicked pace through the hallways and went up the stairs at a run until she reached her destination. She was brought up short by the name emblazoned on the door.
"Onimeno…?" She frowned, feeling a trickle of apprehension. "What kind of name is that for a doctor?"
"My kind of name," growled a voice behind her.
Sakura whirled around, and it was only years of etiquette from her mother and observation lessons at the Academy that kept her from outright staring at the man scowling grumpily down at her. He was incredibly tall and muscular, easily dwarfing her slight frame and making the normally spacious hallway seem stiflingly small. His skin was deeply tanned and peppered with the odd scar, evidence of some amount of field experience, if not an outright career as a shinobi. His hair was a dark crimson, messy, and almost unmanageably long, spilling carelessly over his rumpled white coat and nearly obscuring his nametag completely.
But most striking were his eyes: they were bright scarlet and cat-slit, and Sakura kind of wanted to cower until they went away. His name suited him perfectly.
But Sakura was a good girl, and less than two months away from acing her Exams, so she smiled prettily and bowed. "Good afternoon, Onimeno-sensei. My name is Haruno Sakura. The nurse at the front desk referred me here."
"Did she now," he drawled, tilting his head to study her. He caught the way she kept her eyes riveted to the floor, the way she tilted her head so her long forelocks drifted over her face, the deathgrip she had on the clipboard in her arms. Her smirked, revealing an unnaturally sharp set of fangs, and prowled—that was really the only word for it—towards his workspace, unlocking the door and kicking it open. "Well then, let's get you examined, Patient Number 719."
Sakura blinked, before scowling slightly. "My name is Ha—"
"Your name," Onimeno told her slowly, as if speaking to…well, to a child. "Is not something I really give two shits about. Odds are, I might never see you again after today. It's easier for all parties involved if I just call you Patient Number 719, so deal with it."
Sakura felt her protests die when that fiery glare was turned upon her, and meekly slunk into the room. Unlike the examination rooms she was used to, this room was outfitted with a large black chair instead of a paper-coated table. Sakura hesitantly settled on the imposing work of black leather as Onimeno threw himself down onto a rolling stool and picked up a clipboard of his own.
He kicked at the wall, sending himself sailing over her way, and stopped far too close for comfort. Sakura's apprehension only mounted when her leaned forward, catching her chin between two heavily calloused fingers and forcing her to meet his burning, hellish gaze. "Twitchy little thing, aren't you?" he rumbled, though there was an amused, approving edge to it. "Good. Might save your life someday."
Sakura blinked, then quickly resolved to try her best not to when his scowl deepened and an irritated snarl echoed out of his throat. She didn't have much of a choice, and was forced to stare directly into his eyes, which actually made not blinking easier. It was a paralyzing experience. Her muscles locked up, to the point where her lungs contented themselves with shallow, soft breaths.
After what felt like an eternity, he released his grip on her chin and turned away, quickly scrawling something on his clipboard as she blinked rapidly and tried not to gasp for air. "Well," he mused, not looking at her. "It looks like I was wrong. You and I will be seeing quite a bit of each other in the future, 719."
"And…why is that?" Sakura asked, inwardly wondering why he couldn't use her proper name if that was the case.
He looked up, idly tapping his pen against his clipboard. "Tell me, 719, what do you know about doujutsu?"
"They exist," Sakura told him after a brief pause, her mind rocking and reeling with the implications. "And that the Sharingan and Byakugan fall under that classification."
"Of course." Onimeno rolled his eyes and muttered something vulgar under his breath. "Well, moving away from the extremely condensed and unhelpful definition you're aware of, doujutsu actually covers a much broader spectrum. There are various branches, covering minor doujutsu, catalyzed doujutsu, illusive doujutsu, immutable doujutsu, induced doujutsu—which is a misnomer, those are temporary effects generally caused when idiots dick around with genjutsu techniques way out of their leagues—and various others."
"The Sharingan would be catalyzed, right?" Sakura asked, thinking of her fathers stories about the pinwheel-eyed police force that had kept order inside the village during her childhood. "Since it can be activated and deactivated. And the Byakugan would count as…" She frowned, her brow furrowing in thought.
"The Byakugan is technically immutable, phenotypically at least," Onimeno explained, serious and straightforward for possibly the first time in their brief acquaintance. "But mechanically, it's catalyzed. I have a traditionally immutable doujutsu," here he tapped his cheek, just below his eye. "Which means that it's always active, all the time. It lets me see chakra currents, which is how I landed this cushy job."
"So…what do I have?" Sakura asked, both anticipating and dreading the answer.
"From what I can tell from the developing chakra pathways that are beginning to settle, you have an emerging immutable doujutsu. It hasn't reached its stable form yet, so there's no way to tell exactly what it does. We'll need to schedule some regular appointments," he reached over and tugged her clipboard away from her chest, flipping through it and circling various blanks while scribbling out others. "And you'll need to fill out the marked areas and file all this at the Hokage's Tower, so arrangements can be made to accommodate your new circumstances." He handed the paperwork back to her, as well as his pen.
"I see," Sakura said hollowly, beginning to fill out the necessary information without really reading it. "And…this will be public knowledge?" Her stomach clenched at the thought of telling her parents or her classmates. It wasn't a bad thing, by any means, but…having eyes that would warp and mutate with time wasn't something that many people would be able to swallow gracefully. Perhaps it was silly of her to feel that way, but the jeers of 'Bill-Board Brow' still haunted her.
"Hell no," Onimeno told her flatly. There was something almost like compassion softening his demonic gaze. "It's a shitty idea for a ninja to wave around a weapon that they have no clue how to use. Until those eyes of yours are fully developed with a tested, confirmed and documented use, the only people who absolutely have to know about this are you, me, Hokage-sama and your jounin instructor. Everyone else, and I do mean everyone else, can be informed at your discretion and your discretion alone."
"That will be a little difficult, won't it?" Sakura asked, even as relief welled up. "Since it's going to be an immutable doujutsu, I mean."
Onimeno scoffed and wheeled closer, bringing his hands together in a seal. "Spare me, 719. You think doujutsu users haven't figured out a way around that over the centuries we've been around? There's a low-chakra intensive bastard cousin of the henge that is used most of the time. Now watch closely, because I'm only doing this once and I don't want you badgering me with any stupid questions."
Sakura watched and memorized, focusing on her strength—learning—and carefully bottling up the panic and exhilaration and fear roiling through her to deal with later.
Onimeno caught that too, but said nothing. The knowing look in his frightening eyes had yet to leave.
Chapter Word Count: 1,861
Total Word Count: 1,861
Targeted Word Count: 1,667
Well, here it is! The beginning of my FaNoWriMo project: a slightly more realistic take on the 'Sakura unlocks a brand new blood-limit!' storyline. As the summary might suggest, this will not be a tale of sudden superpowers and curbstomping all enemies in her path. This is going to be an irritating, sometimes emotionally draining experience for our girl.
Hopefully, you guys will enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed planning it out!
As always, reviews and constructive criticism are always welcome. Thank you all for reading!