“She’s been out for over six hours. She usually wakes right after I do.” Itachi said, his silvery-black eyes showing annoyance. He reached for her again...
She looked angelic while sleeping. No one would guess she was the pride of the Aki clan.
No one either, save those who whispered, would know the ritual that had proven her as such. And even they, the whisperers, never spoke too loudly. After all, the Aki was a barbaric clan, willing to kill others, and its own, to keep its secrets. And Akina was their angel, the angel of the Aki. But just as the god of a war-faring people is a war-loving god, the angel of a barbaric clan is only the most barbaric of them all.
Woken, sleepily, her eyes scanned her surroundings. Though in her own home, she was always wary, anyone could attack her, at anytime, and there was no such thing as a safe place. It had just been her mother to wake her, and the girl wondered why, she could not have possibly been asleep for even an hour. But, as silence was motioned for her, she obeyed. Perhaps there was danger nearby. Then she remembered her birthday, and she smiled. It must be midnight.
Every year on her birthday, they woke her at exactly midnight. The day of her birth was special, and they had a special ceremony each year. Her mother had told her it was to assure her of her beauty and grace into the coming year. There would be thirteen in all, and this was it, this was her thirteenth year.
All through her life, Akina had never asked for anything. She had only had to say that she wanted, or was interested in such and such a thing, and it would appear, as if by magic. She was not spoiled by this, as many other children would be. When she was old enough to recognize the connection between her voiced desires and her receiving of them, she voiced only her needs, and only an occasional desire. Eventually, she voiced only her desires, rarely, because they fulfilled her every need before she could ask for it.
Akina was startled, understandably so, when they took a different path than was usual. The adult’s faces had become harsh and unforgiving, were cruel and emotionless. She looked back and forth to all of them, and then froze. She had her arm pulled roughly, but she held her ground.
“Where are we going?” She demanded, and the adults stopped and looked to her mother.
“You did not warn her, Adeline?” asked a male, and her mouth set in a thin line.
“No, I did not, as It should be.” Starting to become frightened, Akina looked back and forth.
“Tell me: where are we going?” She demanded this regally, her head held high and defiantly, her eyes showing none of her anger, or of the fear that warred with her anger.
She did not receive an answer. Instead, they grabbed her and covered her mouth with a strangely scented cloth, and as much as she struggled to not breathe it in, she was knocked out.
Amaya grabbed her Onii-Chan’s hand quickly, before he could touch Akina.
“She’s been out for over six hours. She usually wakes right after I do.” Itachi said, his silvery-black eyes showing annoyance. He reached for her again to wake her, only to have his hand more strongly pulled away by Amaya. He turned back to the raven-haired girl. “What?”
“Don’t touch her.” Itachi sighed, and ran a hand through his long hair. Amaya’s icy eyes were set, determined. This development further annoyed Itachi. He already was pissed off enough at the woman for ignoring him for three straight weeks. But with the way Amaya’s eyes were set, how determined she was, he knew it was likely important for him not to touch her, and he accepted it, for now. “She’s meditating. You wouldn’t like to be dragged into her mind.” Akina cast a genjutsu on herself as a meditation technique, it was common of her clan, but not of her daughter, who saw no point to the genjutsu part of the meditation. But then again, her mother had assured that she would not undergo the same ritual the jutsu meant to make her relive.
“Fine, Amaya, I won’t touch her.” Bad enough the mother was upset with him for some unknown reason; he would not enanger her daughter as well. He could have sworn that once the woman had simply walked through him as though he were not there. When he made this comment to Amaya, she only smiled and shrugged. Telling him it was a requirement for all Kunoichi in the mist, and proceeding to explain the jutsu to him, she refused flatly to repeat the technique for him while he watched with sharingan. As many different ways as he asked her [even silently, because Itachi would not plead, or beg, you know this] she still refused. When he learned the technique would pass any damage on one’s body to their opponent, and that the intended use was in dire emergencies only [the jutsu drained chakra like nobody’s business…] he stopped requesting her to teach him.
Akina awoke in a large, empty room. Her prospects looked grim. The walls were bleak, grimy, and thoroughly dismal. They were a dingy non-color, neither white nor off white, nor beige or brown, and it streaked through with a mottled green that Akina knew was plant life, an algal growth, and she smiled at this. Looking around the room further, there was a man with her. His nudity alerted her to her own, made her surprised that she had not noticed it sooner. He slept distressingly, most likely in the icy grip of a nightmare. But as she did not know him, she was unwilling to wake him from the throes of pain to something that may end up worse. Her hair tied up in a tight coil attached to her head, and this distressed her somewhat, as she lifted her hands to her head to take it down, and thus, free her abilities that tied into plant life. But as she raised her hands to free it, her hands lowered of their own accord. Each time she tried, the same thing occurred. She attempted to put her hands together to make the hand seal for a genjutsu release, but it did not work either. Her mind raced with a calm sort of fear. It was measured; she only felt what she allowed herself to feel. She did not need it clouding her senses, but it would be helpful to have the adrenaline in her system. The man stirred, and her fear jolted for a long moment. Her eyes showed none of this.
Itachi looked down at her, then back through the door that Amaya had left. He sat next to the woman, without touching her. Though Amaya's warning had been clear, Itachi was not so certain that what she had said was true. A glimpse into Akina’s mind would not be a tragedy. The woman herself had said that she had nothing in her mind that she would quantify as a ‘bad’ memory when he had threatened her with the sharingan. And when he had threatened to simply stab her, she had reminded him of the curse place upon him that prevented exactly that. He had walked away from her in disgust. Now, he decided, once again, to touch her. Her mind could not possibly be such a horrible place. But he paused. Riku had said a similar thing to him once, and her memories haunted him still. Though he had only gone through two of them, he had seen them all as the sharingan selected those, which caused her the most pain. Several others he had seen in her mind were much more horrible, much more painful, including one of her being drugged and raped and deceived at the age of twelve by the husband of the woman lying next to him.
This woman was married to that man.
Itachi stood abruptly. He did not want to know. He did not even want to know anything about what he did not want to know. Curiosity had caught him once, and he still had dreams filled with pain, of a woman, most would call privileged. Turning away, he thought to himself that possibly, the mist was the most screwed up place in the world.
Akina jolted into a more demure position instantly, covering her body modestly and shying her eyes to the ground, trying to look as sedate and gentle as possible, drawing the least amount of attention to herself. In fact, this demureness served it’s purpose, on his first scan of the area, he glanced at her, then looked away, as though she were unimportant. Then his gaze fell upon her again, and Akina wished she were not pretty, that she looked her age, and not so much older. Her eyes stayed cast to the floor.
“What is your name?” he asked her, then seemingly grimaced as the action hurt his throat. She did not answer, instead gesturing to a bowl of water, and some bread, which she had not touched. He looked at her, and then made his way to the provisions they had been provided. Sitting next to her, he made to offer them to her. She partook of the water, but only a sip and declined his offer of bread. “You shouldn’t turn up your nose at such fare, meager as it may be. You never know when you may encounter another meal.”
“I would not refuse food if I were sure to eat it, sir…” she responded, keeping her head down and wishing her hair were not tied, so that at least she could cover herself with it. “I am afraid what ever sustenance of a kind that I was to partake of I would not be able to keep down, sir, I feel not at all well…” He smiled at her.
“Very wise of you, miss…” he trailed off, hoping to coax her into giving her name.
“It is rude to ask for another’s name before giving your own…” she demurred. Cruel things could be done to someone who gave their name freely to an Aki. They could be found easily, just by the sound of their name, because the earth could find them.
“Very well then. Forgive me my lapse in decorum.” The laugh he made was somehow calculated, meted out to try to keep her calm, and that only put her more on edge. If he were trying to relax her, he was failing miserably. The more he tried to be friendly to her, the more demure and submissive she acted, to pull less and less attention to herself. She had done this before; it had resulted in the person simply forgetting she was there at all. Not that she thought it would work this time, she only hoped to keep him distracted for long enough for- “You can call me Kurume Zabrze.” He told her, and made her lose her train of thought. Even had she been paying close attention, she would have never heard the hollow sound of untruth in the words that he gave her. She sat up a little straighter, taking in his straight, well-taken-care-of green hair and light skin in again and observing him curiously.
“The name… is not Japanese, is it?” She asked, and he shook his head.
“No, you are right. Zabrze is a place in Poland, and my surname.” She blinked at him.
“Kurume is your given name? Why did you offer that name first?” He chuckled softly at the inquisitive question. Young girls were rather predictable.
“That is the custom of my land. We offer our first, given name, then our last, surname, to a person.” She nodded, and then mentally cursed at herself, realizing that she would have to start over. But she still did not feel danger from this man. She only felt unease. But the unease could rationally be explained away; she was in an unfamiliar, uncomfortable situation. The unease was from the situation’s unfamiliarity, not the man itself. She had been cold and rude, and she had not been brought up to be rude. As she arrived at this conclusion, the man smiled to himself to see her posture changed and less defensive. He was a step closer to his goal.
It had been twelve hours now.
Itachi glared at Akina. Damn her for making me care… he thought to himself, sitting across from her. Her eyes flickered back and forth under closed lids, as though in the REM stages of sleep. Outside, her face was a mask, showing nothing of whether the dream was bad or good, but this meant nothing. Aki women were strange, he had learned. When in the depths of her worst of nightmares, Amaya would smile pleasantly. But if woken she would scream, shake, and tremble, clinging to him as though her life depended on it, crying. The only time a dream had pierced the veil of her dreaming mask was when it had been about Hiroko. And only the night it happened did she show this reaction. He looked at the clock. It was five in the afternoon. Right on cue, the door opened.
“Hello Raiso.” The male made a sound halfway between a grunt and a sigh as he took off his shoes at the door. He was not an unpleasant-looking person, but beyond the handsome façade, he was a dangerous, cruel man who enjoyed the pain of others.
“No soaps tonight, Itachi?” he asked him, a little mockingly. Itachi sighed.
“They were re-runs.” Itachi breathed the lie easily. He wasn’t about to tell Raiso he wasn’t watching television because he was worried about the wife Raiso didn’t care that he had, or because she was lying on his couch, damnit… His eyes narrowed upon seeing his resting wife.
“Well, hell. She’s sleeping.” Raiso said.
“Well observed, Mizukage-sama.” This was said in the same mocking tone that Raiso had used to comment on Itachi’s habit of watching soap operas after training, whenever he was bored. But Itachi had not really cared much about the aside Raiso had thrown him about his little habit. “Actually, she is in a genjutsu meditation.” Raiso rolled his eyes.
“Because lord knows she has not the attention span to meditate properly…” Raiso trailed, his tone slightly amused. Itachi agreed silently, but made no indication of this thought. “How long has she been out?”
“… All day…” Itachi responded finally. Raiso looked down at her, and then walked away.
“So it’s that day she’s reliving? How useless…” he commented to himself as he left.
‘What day?’ Itachi wondered to himself.
It had taken several hours for the last of her unease to drain away. He had entertained her almost to the point of giving up; she had taken so long to finally drop her guard. But as he spoke about his dead wife and his two children whom he adored, she began to laugh, and started to trade stories herself. He leaned against her slightly, as if to brace himself while laughing. When she did not tense, he smiled to himself.
“So, when do you think they’ll let us out of here?” he knew it already had to be past midday, as she was so cautious he knew that breaking her defenses had taken as long as it seemed to have taken, if not longer. And the seemingly incautious question made her regain herself, bring her defenses back up, as was intended. Somehow, she had still not given him her name, finding alternate ways around it. “You cannot keep doing that, miss… we are going to have to talk about it sooner or later. There has to be something we need to do in order to leave. Unless… you want to try living on just this” he held up the piece of bread “for the rest of our days… and I don’t know about you, but after a while, I’m going to need to use the bathroom… and shower…” his words loosened her up again, making her laugh.
“Okay, so what do you suggest we do?” she asked him. He shrugged.
“I don’t know. I’ve been thinking about that the whole time, and- Snake!” he jolted violently when holes began to open up in the wall and more snakes began to slither into the room. Akina groaned. Her back was already against the wall, he had jumped into the middle of the room. “I hate snakes….” He said, looking around. She sighed.
“They are more scared of you than you are of them, Kurume-san. Just, try to relax.” Akina said, trying to think her way out of the situation. No power meant she did not have any ability to communicate with animals. She had already tried getting Kurume to take her hair down; it simply did not work. His hands drifted away from her head as her own did. As the snakes seemed to congregate on her, ignoring the panicked Zabrze, she gently closed her legs. But they found gaps in her defenses, and she whimpered when one of the snakes nudged at her opening, trying to slither in. She put her hand to it gently, trying to push it away, only to be hissed at by the angry creature. She was not familiar with the kind of snake that was now threatening her, but judging by the way it’s tail started to make a noise like a rattle, she thought it to be very poisonous. She withdrew her hand slowly, and it lowed itself back to trying to enter her. Her eyes closed. She needed to think, and quickly. Trying to reach her mind out, she found that it worked for her to mind-speak a person, but she only had enough chakra for one person. So she reached out to the lord of snakes.
“Orochimaru?” she asked cautiously, her mind touching against his. She almost pulled away, as the feeling of his mind against hers was repulsive. But his mental voice was soothing, stroking along the edges of her mind like a kind father. She nearly forgot how cruel he could be, so entranced was she by his silken voice as he chuckled softly.
“Yes? Who is this? I feel the touch of an Aki…,” he said, and his mind wrapped around hers, encompassing her mind as he engrossed other’s souls.
“I am Akina… the angel of the Aki clan.” She said, giving her name to him without hesitation. “I need your assistance.”
“Akina? What could an angel such as yourself need from a demon like me?”
“I’m trapped,” She said simply, “In a small room with an undressed man and many snakes.”
“Ooh! How fun!” she could almost see the look of enjoyment on his face and she sighed.
“Orochimaru, please. One of the snakes is trying to… well, violate me.” Orochimaru’s laughter was long and loud.
“Alright, alright, I’ll help you, my dear girl. But I need something from you in return.” Akina blinked and sighed.
“What is it?”
“Why, the right to call on you, of course!” his voice was chipper and overenthusiastic. “Say that perhaps… in a few years I need you to do something, so I ask you to do it, will you?”
“This isn’t a Rumple-stilts-kin type deal, is it?” he laughed again.
“Well, it might be, Miss Aki… but can you afford to refuse my offer with your chakra so dangerously low?” Akina sighed.
“No. No, I cannot. Please help me. I will do my best to give what is my due, when the time comes for it.”
“Pity you will not stay this way…” Orochimaru commented, and the snakes retreated from the room. Akina was confused, but Orochimaru was only cheerily dismissive to her. “Bye now, Miss Aki…” his presence vanished from her mind. Her body was exhausted from the effort that the contact had drawn from her, she had barely the energy to lift her head and smile wanly at her cellmate.
“There, Kurume... you do not need to be afraid anymore…” her face was pale from exhaustion. She could have asked him to help her out of there, but she was unwilling to leave her new friend behind, trapped in this dismal cell. She would not be able to ask for the both of them, especially with the price of what she had just asked for. But as Kurume looked at her, she felt she had made a grave mistake. There was dark humor in those teal eyes. And as he walked over to her, Akina only closed her eyes and accepted.
She was most definitely a fool.
Itachi glared at the clock on the wall. Amaya had brought him food, and he had eaten it. It was eight forty-seven and eighteen-nineteen-twenty seconds, and she still had not woken from her meditation. He began to wonder quite some time ago if she were trying to kill herself again, this time with chakra depletion. Her chakra was already dangerously low. Amaya came back into the room and led him out, pulling on his arm. He allowed her to lead him, startled when she began shamelessly undressing him and pushed him into the bathroom. “You could have just told me to take a shower.” He comments at her back as she walked away, and she turned back to him and smiled, looking nowhere but his eyes.
“What fun would that be? You weren’t listening to a word I said anyway, so what would have been the point?” Itachi grudgingly had to admit that her words had not registered; he really was not listening to her. He shut the door behind her and prepped the bath, getting into the water and trying not to think of the annoying Aki woman known as Akina. When he exited the bath, he found clothes folded for him on the counter of the second room in the bathing room. He put them on and walked out of the room to go back into the living room and watch Akina some more. If there was anything that Itachi was, it was tenacious. He would be there when the woman awoke, and damned if he would not make her talk. Raiso looked into the room again, and saw him.
“Funny, but it seems like you love her more than I do.”
“It isn’t exactly a difficult task.” Itachi retorted, before Raiso’s words really sunk in.
“Why doesn’t Amaya start calling you daddy then?” Raiso mocked, and Itachi looked up at him. Instead of defending himself or becoming angry, he responded in a simple way that he knew would get past the façade that Raiso played pretend and hid behind, as he tried to show no emotion.
“Because if she did, then you would never get a chance to be the father you want to be to her.” Anger instantly flared in Raiso’s eyes, and he turned away from Itachi.
“Thank you for the comment, Doctor Phil…” his room door slammed behind him before Itachi could say,
“Well, you’re welcome…” It was now eight fifty-one and thirty-four-thirty-five seconds.
Akina let him pull her to the center of the room, and she opened her mouth when something- something she really did not want to think about- pushed against her lips. It was thick, and it was long, and tasted strange. She wanted to bite down, but could not summon the energy enough to care. He moaned through his teeth when it started to move back and forth.
“Suck…” he snarled, and she did, but only to get this over with faster. And as it spouted something into her mouth, she spat it out, disgustedly. He slapped her, hard. “Next time, bitch, you swallow.” She gritted her teeth.
“That shit was bitter and nasty. Kind of like you.” She retorted, her silver tongue fully functional though her throat was hurting from his rough treatment. “There’s no fucking way I’d let that go down my throat.” Her words were monotone, emotionless. He slapped her around some more, and then pushed himself inside her. It hurt. It really, really fucking hurt. She was bleeding all over the ground, but she made no noise. She did not scream, cry, or yelp, or whimper, or even moan, later, when it really started to feel good. She only closed her eyes and turned her head to the side, bored. When he finally finished, Akina had fallen asleep twice, and had bruises to prove it. The door opened, and he walked out. Her hands slowly lifted to her hair and she pulled it down, the genjutsu stopping as soon as the door had appeared. Her chakra, finally released, began to make her skin glow lightly.
The plants growing on the side of the wall suddenly acknowledged her as an Aki, as one of those with the bloodline trait that could speak to them. And they acknowledged the man as one who had hurt her. Growing suddenly and quickly, they wrapped around him and began to return his insult. They were so forceful with him; plants began to burst out of his mouth. Akina watched this with amused eyes. He screamed, so satisfactorily. He was not dead yet, but at a subtle whim from the girl, acid-coated spikes burst forth from all over his body. His last breath gurgled through an agonizing mass of acid and plants, and the plants helped Akina to her feet. She stepped delicately around the mess of the man who had raped her; and walked out of the room, ignoring the pain in her body as the plants began to soothe her. Akina rolled her shoulders and looked around. Those who had caused this would pay.
She would start with her mother.
Itachi blinked when her chakra seemed to return in full force. Her skin seemed to be emitting a strange kind of radiance, bluish-green in color, like the glow of Mother Nature from the paintings of Fra Pandolf. He looked at her curiously, then to the clock. It was almost midnight. Akina opened her eyes, to see Itachi. She blinked in surprise. Her hand moved to her abdomen in a protective manner, her green eyes fixed on his silvery-black ones. Her mind rushed through memories of their time together, him underneath her, then her underneath him in turn, and she thought to herself for a long moment why it was Raiso she loved and not this person in front of her. But that moment passed, Itachi would not love her any more than Raiso did, why should she hurt herself further trying to love him? He was young, far too young anyway. She looked down at the chakra still emanating from her and she released it, though she still felt tense.
“You are still not going to talk to me.” It was a statement, rather than a question, and she wanted to answer. But the moment when she could have said anything, could have let go of her pride and told him her fears and unburdened herself of her secret was gone already, before he even spoke. It had vanished when she had thought of loving him, of trying to let go of Raiso and finding someone new. It had vanished when she knew he would never return the futile attempts at caring that she would never make. It had vanished long before this day, when he had told her that he could not willingly sleep with her, though he hated Raiso, he would not disrespect him by sleeping with his wife when he had the ability to say no.
Akina closed her eyes and only shook her head from side to side, silently saying no to his question. Her throat had clogged up with tears she would never shed. It was exactly midnight now, and the soft chimes mocked her so that she wanted to destroy the clock.
“Why will you not talk to me?” She had never thought Itachi could sound vulnerable. But then again, he most likely did not. She was hearing what she wanted to hear. In a way, she wanted him to feel hurt by her ignoring him. But the simple fact was that he could probably care less. She was annoying him, and that was all. She felt the tears threatening to show, and she got up from the sofa, running away to her room. Her entrance woke Raiso, and he looked up at her, took in the tears in her eyes, and the look of utter exhaustion and got out of the bed, sitting in the chair at his desk, and began to work.
“Don’t be loud.” He said emotionlessly, and this callous dismissal only made menacing tears start to fall. Silently, she cried until she fell asleep. Raiso worked at his desk, ignoring her. Though he was tired, fatigued by a long day of politics and idiot-politicians, he let her take the bed. What, after all, did he need rest for? There was no rest for the wicked anyway. He sighed to himself quietly, so as not to disturb his sleeping wife, and continued to work.
Itachi looked after Akina’s retreating form. She had looked like she wanted to talk to him for a moment, but the moment had passed rather quickly. She seemed too fragile currently for him to try to talk to her; he had noticed the tears she had tried to hide. Silently, he asked himself why he cared, why he had not simply grabbed her arm and forced her to look at him until she broke down and spoke. Shaking his head, he got up to go to his bedroom. Finding Amaya in his bed half-asleep made him almost smile; he moved her over and lay down next to her. And as her arms wrapped around him in her sleep and she snuggled into his chest, he allowed himself to forget everything except this girl, and sleep in her arms.
I dunno if I should apologise for this chapter being long or the others being short. ~laughs~
Anyeay, this is exactly fivethousand and six words long, if you count the title. otherwise, it's five thousand words. ~blows hair out of face~
I might stop working on this story...