Sixteen years… sixteen years of harsh ninja training, from the cradle and this was only as fast as she could go. It was an insult to ninja everywhere, how slowly she seemed to run as her destinat...
It is strange, is it not? The world we live in? I cannot seem to find my place among the skies.
The brunette girl ran faster than she had ever thought possible. She felt the disappearance of one of her friends from her mind and she forced her legs to move even faster. Sixteen years… sixteen years of harsh ninja training, from the cradle and this was only as fast as she could go. It was an insult to ninja everywhere, how slowly she seemed to run as her destination remained far from her. Though she knew it was only her mind playing tricks, she felt so woefully inadequate, unable to do what was necessary. The chakra signature of adorable little Haruki, just learning how to transform now, disappeared with a flash the girl could feel deep inside her. Green eyes flickered with pain, but she did not stop. Finding Kakashi, she braked in front of him.
“Kakashi-Sama…” her voice was breathless, rasping through her lips. Her desperation was obvious, and Kakashi put his book away.
“Riku-cha-” She shook her head fervently, her brown hair whipping around her face.
“Kashi-Kakashi-sama, you have to listen to me.” He nodded, immediately serious.
“Riku, what’s wrong?” Her hazel eyes, currently a brilliant shade of viridian green, so pure and piercingly bright, never failed to stun him. But now they lanced through with pain, the part of the iris closest to the pupil slowly turning a deep reddish-brown. She breathed heavily, much more than her previous activity -running- would cause any ninja. Kakashi’s lone eye caught all of this in an instant, even the slight wince of pain at the very edges of her eyes.
“Kakashi-Sama, I-” she looked around and lowered her voice so he had to lean in to hear her. “I’m going to the Uchiha compound. If I’m not back in-Nngh...” She stopped and put a hand to her side as though a sword pierced her body. Kakashi reached out a hand to steady her, but she ensnared him with her eyes. “Twenty minutes… assume I’m dead.” Kakashi’s eyes widened, even the one behind his Konoha headband. Before he could say anything, however, her lips touched his clothed ones lightly. “I love you, Kakashi-sama…” She whispered, and then ran again. Kakashi lifted a hand to his mouth, damning, for the first time, the mask he constantly wore.
“I love you too, Riku…” He whispered back to the air, and then shook his head. He was not going to wait twenty minutes. Not if waiting meant she could die.
Itachi had no care, no discrimination in whom he decided to slaughter. As his blade slices through his mother, she whispers, ‘it has begun,’ because his action set in motion the curse that awaited her death. Her death is fugacious, but she is the last to close her eyes in that room. And a smile on her lips as the shoji slides open makes Itachi think, if only for a moment, that it was a mistake to kill his mother. He looks at the girl in the doorway. Her lips are red with blood, her own, from using chakra to propel her along, and a jutsu Gai would forbid his future students from using [without just cause, after the autopsy report on the girl] is to blame. Inside, she is bleeding; her eyes show the damage as the dark red in the inner pupil of her eyes has expanded even further since her talk with Kakashi. She is still late, even though she forced her body to its limits. She sees everything in shades of red; her vision is clear, though the colour is unbalancing. Itachi looks at her.
“I do not intend to spill any blood not Uchiha.” He says to her calmly, and she struggles to look at him and not the dead woman on the floor, not the curse that he had unleashed upon her. She hopes he will not tell her point-blank to move aside. She knows how incautious Makoto was in setting the curse upon her; she knows there will be side effects too to the binding jutsu. Her body is shaking from exertion, and even at her best, Riku doubted she would ever have been a match for Itachi. The stunningly dramatic hue of her emotionally luxuriant eyes dulled not at all by the overtaking red. They seemed to smolder with an internal fire, fueled by the lambent green colour that was natural for her.
“I’m afraid I will have to stand in your way.” She answered, shutting the sliding paper door behind her. His eyes narrowed, and he stepped forwards, toward her. She held her ground bravely, though his presence was so disconcerting, so suffocating, that she just wanted to run. She had never been afraid in battle before, but now she was. She was terrified of facing Itachi, of trying to fight him, to stop him. The only other Uchiha left to kill would be Sasuke, and she would fight for as long as she could to keep him safe.
Her mind flooded with pain as Itachi reached out and touched her, his hand on her face, forcing her to look into his eyes.
“Mangekyou Sharingan… ” he whispered, and she stared him directly in the eyes, not flinching, not looking away. Makoto’s words come back to her, her worst memory among a million horrible things that have happened to her. And as Itachi forces her to relive it, Itachi has to watch as well. Watch, as Makoto, his mother, binds her.
“Makoto, please, don’t do this!” Riku begged, but the woman’s features are set in stone. “I only wish to help you!” the younger girl drags behind Itachi’s mother, and Itachi could never have imagined his mother could look so cruel. And as Makoto throws the younger girl against a tree, she coughs up blood and moans in pain.
“You are, Riku, you are helping me immensely.” Makoto smiles, but it is a cruel smile, a sadistic smile, one that would frighten even the most hardened of warriors. It makes Riku cringe, but she does not seem to be truly afraid, only as though she is wincing at what it represents, the last shattered fringes of self-control that Makoto possessed torn away and revealing what lay inside the Miko. They had not chosen Makoto as Fugaku’s wife simply for convenience, after all. No, Makoto was worth something. Fugaku needed a powerful wife. “With my death, you will be bound. You will cease to be what you are and become a tool for the Uchiha line. You will not kill Itachi, and you will protect Sasuke.” The casual, off-hand phrasing showed little forethought, as though Makoto cared naught for what would become of Riku. Desperate, reaching out for any sort of escape, Riku gasped out,
“Protect him with my life?” The desperate gesture came across to Makoto as a plea, as though she were hoping the Miko would say no, but every fiber in Riku’s being was praying for the opposite. Praying, that there would be an alternate way out of the curse Makoto laced upon her. If she had to protect him with her life, then she would damn well give her life to protect him and give it willingly. She would not live her life the pawn, a plaything for these demonic children. Makoto’s lips curved in a smirk.
“Yes, Riku. Protect Sasuke with your life.”
The next memory was less painful to Riku, but Itachi did not understand this. How could this be less painful than what he had just witnessed? She was a child again, age of almost four, and dirty. Bedraggled, wet, and shivering, she looked for all the hells as though she had just decided to take a swim in a sewer, then done extra laps in a mud puddle. Her eyes were dry. A woman came out of the kitchen, took one look at Riku, and walked away. Riku stood patiently, though shivering, in the entryway as the woman came back with a bucket. She slammed the empty thing over Riku’s head hard enough to make stars appear in the young girl’s vision, making her fall to her ass.
“What the fuck are you doing inside?” The woman asked of her, her eyes cold and filled with hate. Riku lifted the bucket enough to look at the woman, her beautiful hazel eyes lanced through with pain.
“I’m hungry… and dirty… and it’s snowing outside… I wanted a shower…” she managed though chattering teeth. The woman’s foot connected with the bucket, slamming it into Riku and knocking her over. When she unwound a length of wire from around her waist Riku had just managed to struggle back into a sitting position. The house was not at all clean; she could not truly say she had an objection to how unclean the child was. Even the bucket slammed over Riku’s head was grimy.
“You wanted?” the woman screeched, and the makeshift whip assailed bare skin. Riku barely flinched as the wire opened a cut on her skin, tears not present. “You unnatural bitch! What do I care if you want something? I want something too! I want you dead! You just will not die!” The wire-whip accompanied the last four words with four more strikes on dirty skin, four open wounds that would go untended to, four more chances for infection and disease to enter a fragile young body. Riku only looked up at the woman as though she had done nothing out of the ordinary, nothing at all wrong.
It is painful, is it not?
“I’m sorry, mother…” Riku said. “I’ll leave…” She tried to stand up, but a foot connected with her stomach and held her down. The air left the little girl in a rush. She gasped for breath, once, but then calmed herself, even as her body struggled for air. The woman was beautiful on the outside; she had an ethereal sort of grace to her, as if she walked on clouds most of the time, so when she deigned to walk on the land people should worship the places where her feet encounter the earth. But inside she was just as horrid, malicious, vicious, malevolent, foul, revolting, disgusting, sickening, ghastly, and just all around simply unpleasant as the way Riku currently looked and the squalid interior of her house was. Riku breathed evenly, even as her body demanded she take in more air. The woman leaned down to meet Riku’s eyes; her own filled with hate, even as Riku’s eyes were trusting and almost... loving. The woman slapped Riku, hard across the face.
“Don’t call me mother, you horrid little bitch. You bear the onus for all that is wrong in this world. You are to blame for all the evil that exists on this earth.” Tears threatened, but did not form in the young girl’s eyes.
“I’m sorry you feel that way, Risa…” The blow connected with Riku’s face again, this time, nails scratching along the surface, making more wounds.
“Get out of my face, you foul, loathsome little creature. Leave my house.” Riku nodded, and put her hand out as the woman lifted her food from the child’s abdomen. Her hand landed in the bucket, and something crawled over her hand, she almost shuddered, thinking something similar was likely in her hair. The door opened behind her, and a girl, identical to Riku in almost every respect except the layer of filth on her bounced in taking off a heavy winter jacket and tossing it over her arm, careful not to let it touch anything.
“Hi mom!” she said happily, and Risa smiled, asking her favored daughter about her day at school. Tears still did not form in Riku’s eyes until the girl wrinkled her nose when Risa touched her. “Mom, that’s gross. You touched her with that hand.” Riku ran out of the house then, pushing her way out into the snow blindly, and tears came hard and fast; they were only warm thing, stinging her face like acid, in her cold, cold heart, and her cold, cold soul.
Itachi could not make his way out of her mind fast enough. He almost literally threw himself out of her psyche. Riku still had not moved from the doorway, and he had wasted valuable time. Her eyes were steady on his, now the iris was completely red, almost as if she had the sharingan herself, or as if, she was Kurenai.
“Step aside, Riku.” He said, as though he thought she would obey. She only shook her head and held her ground. The curse did not act on her, though she had disobeyed Itachi, she was obeying Makoto, protecting Sasuke. “Step aside.” He commanded again, and she lifted her head and looked into his eyes. “No.” she responded. The sword did not surprise her as it pierced her chest. What did surprise her was the lack of pain. As he made to pull the sword from in her, her hands grabbed onto his, and she returned Makoto’s curse.
“This is the last life you’ll take, if not to protect…” She whispered. Itachi did not look away from her as she died, their eyes remained locked until her eyes fully dimmed and her body grew limp. This revealed that the shoji had opened, and his brother was staring at him with wide, scared, confused eyes.
“Onii-san…? What’s going on?” Sasuke said, in a scared little voice, and Itachi opened his mouth to tell Sasuke something that would fuck the child over for life.