Naruto: Shichiyo Gaiden LIII
Chapter 53: The Yuhi Clan
Koga places his hand on Mika's shoulder, snapping her out of her trance, looking into Ro. “Be careful.” Koga says with seriousness in his tone.
Mika closes her eyes and smiles, “Why do you care about my safety so much Koga-san?” Mika opens her eyes and looks at Koga with a teasingly seductive look.
“Don't kid yourself there, I just don't want you to lose so I can fight you myself.” Koga says.
“Really?” Mika says with sarcastic tone, “Because you never said anything about me winning a moment ago just a 'be careful'.”
Koga sucks his teeth and begins walking away from Mika. “I'm going to check on Masaomi.” Mika laughs slightly and she turns around back to where Ro was. She notices the Kiri shinobi gone and she sees Kurenai, her father, and Jin coming up the steps into the competitors section. Mika's smile fades as the three shinobi walk towards her.
“Mika-chan, I'm so proud of you.” Jin says. “I just know you'll do well.” The young shinobi smiles.
“Thanks Nii-san, I promise I won't fail you.”
“Mika, you're still recovering from your last training session we had. You're going to have to preserve your chakra in the fights.” Kurenai says. Mika nods her head as she looks into her aunt's cold eyes. “Even if it means you might lose the fight, don't expend more then a quarter of your chakra. We'll need you to be at full health after the exams.”
“We're going to take you to complete your training after the exams.” Kurenai's father says. Mika widens her eyes a little and Jin turns to his elders.
“She's going to be exhausted after the exams, she should be resting.” Jin protests.
“We can't afford to wait for this training, should the enemy return she'll need to be ready.” Kurenai's father says to Jin.
“She won't make any progress if she doesn't have the energy—”
“Jin, be quiet!” Kurenai snaps. “Mind who you speak to, this isn't your place to speak understand?” Jin bows his head down in depression and he nods. Mika looks at her cousin with sorrow filled eyes, “Remember Mika.” Kurenai's voice jolts Mika to attention, “Reserve your energy and your chakra, we leave right after the exams end.” Mika nods and the three shinobi turn around and leave.
Mika grabs Jin's arm before he leaves, “Jin-Nii, wait a moment.”
“I can't Mika, I have to go.”
“I know what you're going to ask...just leave it alone little sis.” Jin pulls his arm away from Mika and continues on his way with his grandfather and mother. Mika watches with a look of worry and pity for her cousin, when she hears a bark. She looks down and sees Kiba and Akamaru looking up at her. Kiba bobs his head to the right signaling Mika to come down and the young kunoichi does so.
“Kiba-sensei...” Mika says as she lands. She looks into Kiba's eyes.
“You're wondering about why Kurenai is so cold towards Jin.” Kiba says reading the child's face.
“He's her son, she shouldn't keep treating him that way. As long as I can remember she's always been—”
“Hey keep you're voice down will ya?” Kiba says. Kiba turn his head up and looks into the crowd. “Kurenai was my sensei when I was a genin, she's always been a kind hearted person. She was never the same when Asuma died...things only got worse after...” Kiba stops himself and looks to Mika. “It's not really my place to talk about this to tell you the truth.
“It doesn't matter, there's no excuse for her to treat him like that. Just tell me.”
“*sigh*To put it simply, Jin is the son she never wanted.” Kiba says. Mika widens her eyes and clinches her fist. “Before you go off the deep end, hear me out...Jin wasn't Kurenai's first child.” Mika widens her eyes in shock and confusion.
“What do you mean? That can't be possible. Kurenai only had one child before Asuma died...and she only has one child now.”
“What you said is true but so is what I said...Kurenai had two children under, fathered by different men...and her first child died a little after a year of his birth.” Mika's eyes widen and Akamaru lets out a whimper. Kiba's eyes fill with a deep trance like sadness. “I don't agree with the way Kurenai treats Jin either, but I can definitely understand how she feels, how much pain she has right now.”
“But still, Jin is her son...I don't get how—”
“How much do you know about your clan Mika?” Kiba asks. Mika doesn't say anything, understanding the rhetoric in his question. “I spent a lot of time with Kurenai when I was on medical leave in the war, I don't know the specifics but I witnessed everything she went through.”
A young medic has her hands over Kiba's left peck and shoulder. She uses the healing technique to heal a huge scar on Kiba's body, which ranges deep into his left pectoral and running along a large streak down his arm. “Alright Kiba we'll start your physical therapy now.” The woman says.
“Damn it this sucks, I should be out there fighting!” Kiba shouts in frustration.
“I heard about you Kiba-san. You were among some of the last in your unit, you defended the last members of your unit with your double headed wolf technique against a huge explosive based ninjutsu. You and your dog saved a lot shinobi that day.” The medic begins wrapping bandages around Kiba's arm and body. “You managed to protect your dog and took the brunt of the attack, you were pretty banged up, and to think you still want to be out in the front lines.”
“Yeah, what of it?”
“Nothing, I just think that's a really brave thing to do is all.” The medic looks at Kiba with flirtatious eyes and Kiba blushes.
“hehe, you think so huh?” Kiba says flustered. Just then there's a knock on the door and the medic opens it up.
“Looks like you have some visitors.” The woman opens the door wider and Akamaru enters the room followed closely by Kurenai, holding her baby. “We'll start the therapy a little later.” The female medic leaves the room leaving Kiba alone with Akamaru and Kurenai.
“Sensei, this is the fifth time you've come to see me since I came back.” Kiba says.
“Is that a problem?” Kurenai asks, sitting down beside Kiba's bed.
“Na, it's better than being stuck here by myself.” The baby begins to whine and grab towards Kurenai's chest. Kurenai smiles and opens her robe and the baby suckles on her breast. “I had almost forgotten had given birth. He's already so big. And the hospital...last time I was here it was completely demolished. A lot of things have changed, the village is coming back together.”
“Yes, little Asuma is almost a year now.” Kurenai says with a smile.
“Named him after Asuma-sensei I see.”
“Yes, he looks just like him, down to the hair and eyes.” Kurenai says with extreme affection in her voice. “He's the spitting image...I just hope he doesn't take up that awful smoking habit.” Kiba says nothing, he just looks at his sensei staring deep affection for her child. Her arms cradle him gently yet firmly with love and she seems completely out of tune with the rest of the world.
*Sensei...* Kiba smiles. “I know Shikamaru said he'd look after you guys but while he's out there being a hero as the Proxy Commander, I'll help with the little guy.” Kurenai looks up at Kiba with a somewhat surprised look, “It's the least I can do for everything you've done for us sensei.” Akamaru barks and begins panting holding his tong out.
Kurenai smiles at her student and closes her eyes. “Thank you Kiba.” Just then the baby starts crying and Kurenai begins rocking him back and forth. “There, there, everything will be alright.” The baby continues to cry and whimper as if he were in pain and Kurenai pick him up and places him to her shoulder and begins patting his back. “What wrong?”
Kiba's nose twitches and he smells blood and he sees a small amount of blood on Kurenai's breast where the baby was suckling. “Hey sensei, it looks like the little guy bit you a little.” Kurenai looks down and sees the small dribble of blood and she gets a worried look on her face. Kiba looks at her and Akamaru lets out a whimper. “That's...not your blood is it?” Kiba says with despair in his voice.
~Several Weeks Pass~
Kiba stands alongside Akamaru at the village gates, his arm in a sling. Suddenly a hand is placed on Kiba's back and he turns around to several shinobi behind him. “You're shift's done Kiba.” One of them says.
“Come on Kiba, take a break, you're in a sling for crying out loud, you're not supposed to be doing this sort of stuff.” Another says laughingly. “Go get some rest, we'll take it from here.”
“Yeah, whatever. Come on Akamaru.” Kiba hops on Akamaru's back and they head out back into the village. “Hey, lets stop by the hospital to check up on sensei and Asuma.” Akamaru barks and they head towards hospital. “Last time they said he was doing pretty well.”
As the duo makes it to the hospital Kiba goes to the front desk and asks the nurse at the head to go and see baby Asuma. The nurse goes through the records and she pulls out the file. She gets a rather uneasy look on her face as she turns to Kiba. “Sorry, but we can't let anybody see him right now, he was moved into the OR early this morning.”
Kiba slams his hand on the desk angrily. “What happened? The doctors said he was doing fine just yesterday.”
“Something happened and he...he had to go into surgery.”
“Where is he?!” Akamaru whimpers and Kiba begins to hear faint crying in his ear. Kiba's eyes widen and he runs down the hall through the OR.
“Wait, you can't go back there!” The nurse yells. Kiba runs through the halls and he sees Kurenai on her knees in front of a door, crying hysterically. Akamaru stops in the middle of the hall as Kiba continues on towards Kurenai.
“Kurenai!” Kiba shouts. He comes over top of his former sensei and he kneels down. “Kurenai, what happened?!”
Kurenai looks into Kiba's eyes, her heart shattered. Kiba eyes widen as he looks into Kurenai's eyes, intense pain surging through her body as if a great fire was set to her heart. Kurenai throws herself into Kiba's embrace and Kiba holds his sensei in his arms. “Kurenai...I'm so sorry.” A single tear runs down Kiba's face as he grits his teeth trying to stifle back his own tears. Akamaru walks towards them with his head down, whimpering in sorrow as well and gets close to Kiba and Kurenai.
The day was dismal and bleak the day of baby Asuma's funeral, directly mirroring that of his father's funeral. Kurenai stands in front of the tombstone with the name of her child engraved on it. Kiba stands behind her, in front of Konohamaru, Moegi, and Udon.
Kiba walks towards Kurenai and puts his hand on her shoulder. “Shikamaru was notified a few days ago...He couldn't come though, the situation in the Land of Lightning got too out of hand and they couldn't let him leave the forces. Ino and Choji say he's beating himself senseless about not being here.” Kiba says.
“It's not his fault...he has his duties to the entire shinobi world, not just us.” Kiba looks at the back of Kurenai as her hair begins to blow in the breeze. Her voice and her tone were emotionless and void of any life.
“That child, you don't understand how much he reminded her of Asuma.”
“I...I didn't know.” Mika says.
“She doesn't talk about it...to anybody.” Kiba says.
“But what does that have to do with my clan, or Jin?”
“You have a special ability from your clan, which is only apparent in certain members with the genes strong enough correct?” Kiba states. “I believe your grandfather possesses the ability as well.”
“How do you know?”
“Like I said, I was there for it all.” Kiba says.
Konohamaru and the others look behind as they hear the footsteps approaching them. An older man approaching them. They move aside as the man walks through them and to Kurenai. “Kurenai-chan.” The man says. Kiba and Kurenai turn around and notice the man.
“Father...” Kurenai heads to her father and embraces him.
“Kurenai, I need to speak with you.” The man says. “It's urgent.”
“Father...just let me—”
“I understand, you'll know where to find me.” The man pulls gently away from his daughter and begins to walk away. Kiba looks at him as he walks away. An uneasy sensation rolls through Kiba's stomach as the man passes him by.
~Several Hours Pass~
Rain falls over the Konoha in the debt of night. The moon is shrouded by thick thunder clouds pouring down rain. Kiba and Akamaru walk through the heavy rain towards Kurenai's house. “Damn this rain, it's giving me this damn wet dog smell.” Kiba says. Akamaru barks at Kiba, “Sorry boy, you have it worse than I do.” Akamaru barks again and Kiba looks in the distance, realizing why he was barking. Kiba looks and he sees Kurenai walking next to a younger looking woman behind their father. The three are heading into forests of the park in Konoha. “Good boy Akamaru.” Kiba says softly. Kiba hops on Akamaru's back and they begin to follow the trio.
Kiba and Akamaru follow them deep into the large park until the trio stops. Kurenai's father makes three seals and they continue onwards. They walk a few paces and suddenly disappear. Akamaru lets out a low bark and Kiba starts to sniff. “Yeah, I can still smell them...Stay here boy.”
Kiba walks out into the open, sniffing and he puts his hand out and he feels a door out in front of him. Kiba slides the door open slowly and he enters. Akamaru watches as Kiba enters the invisible area and disappears. Akamaru whimpers and gets under a tree. As Kiba enters he notices the entire area manifest into a large house and the door appears behind him. He looks back and sees the outside of the park and he begins to scratch his head. “This is too weird.” Kiba says. He walks through the corridors and he gets to a large sliding door and opens it partially.
He looks in and sees a small group of people in the room. Kurenai and the younger woman she walked in with sit on the on one side of the room with three other females around Kurenai's age. On the other side of the room, 6 males and 3 females sit in rows of three. In the center of the room, two men stand, Kurenai's father and an older looking man.
“Everybody knows why we're here today.” Kurenai's father says. “The two of us are nearing the ends of our lives. I'm in my late 50s while my brother here is coming close to his 70s. The tradition and genes of our family linage are past down ever two generations. Yet none of you have produced heirs that have bred children baring strong enough genes to possess our clan's abilities.”
“This is an urgent matter that must be dealt with immediately. It is highly likely that I shall not be here to assist in the teaching for the next generation, therefore it is up to my brother to oversee the training. However the longer we wait the less likely either of us are to be able to live long enough to raise the child's abilities.” The older man says. “That is why we must adhere to more drastic measures if we're go assure that our family line is preserved.”
*What the hell is going on here?* Kiba thinks to himself.
“Kurenai, Makina, you two have the strongest genes of the Yuhi family line as females.” The older man addresses Kurenai and the teenage Makina. “Shinzo, Ko.” Two of the men stand from the right side of the room. “You two are the strongest young males from our clan.” The man says. “The four of you, are our last hope to assure our clan's abilities appear in the next generation.”
Kurenai clinches her fists in her lap. Kurenai's father looks at his daughters. He sees apprehension in Makina's face and anger in Kurenai's. “Kurenai...I know this is a difficult time for you, but this is for our family.” He says trying to be sympathetic to his daughter's pain.
“Don't speak to me about that.” Kurenai says angered. “My child...my last connection to the one I loved died because of this family and you expect me to be so willing to just sleep with a man I know barley anything about just to have another child for the sake of this family?”
“Kurenai the traditions of our clan are sacred—”
“More sacred then the children of your clan?” Kurenai cuts off her uncle with a rhetorical question. “So much emphasis is placed into preserving our family's abilities that nothing is more precious, not even members of the clan.” Kurenai turns to her father. “You would dare have me respect the traditions of family that took my child away from me? You would also take away the freedom of your youngest daughter to have a happy life of her own for the sake of this family as well?”
“Nee-chan...” Makina says...
“What blame and anger you have may be rightly placed but it doesn't change your obligation.” The elderly man says with sternness in his voice.
“Of course...though I despise these principles I was raised to respect them.” Kurenai turns to her father. Her eyes change from anger to heart break as she begins to remember her baby. “I know this has to be done.”
Kiba begins to move backwards but he hits a table and a vase breaks onto the ground. The sound of the vase breaking alarms the entire room and Kiba begins to run. Kurenai's father makes the half tiger seal suddenly the house disappears and Kiba finds himself running down an invisible hallway. “What the hell?” Kiba continues running through the corridor until he runs into the door, not knowing it was in front of him and he knocks himself out.
Kiba awakes outside, under a tree with Akamaru looking over him. Akamaru licks him when Kiba begins to open his eyes and Kiba shoots up. He sees Kurenai standing over him, looking at him in a scolding manor. “Sensei!” Kiba says startled.
“Kiba what do you think you're doing here?” Kurenai asks in a demanding tone.
“I uhh...I saw you and your dad walking through the village and I uh...sort of followed you.”
“What did you see?!” Kurenai snaps.
“I saw enough.” Kiba says, changing his expression and tone. “What they're doing...what they're expecting you to do is—”
“None of your business and you needn't concern yourself.” Kurenai cuts off. “This is my family affair.” She says to Kiba.
“Kurenai, you're not honestly going to do what they're asking you to do?” Kiba asks. “They're basically asking you—”
“To be the one who bares the next generation of the Yuhi clan with our clan's abilities. That's exactly what they want me to be and that's what every member of our clan is expected to do. That's been the tradition of our clan since it's founding. Every other generation gains the special abilities of our clan and they bare children of the next generation who act as carriers of the genes to pass on to that next generation who will possess the genes strong enough to possess the ability again and that cycle continues. That's the way of our clan.”
“Baby Asuma...he would've been...” Kiba stops himself as he sees the immediate tears generate at the mere mention of Asuma's name. Kiba and Kurenai remain silent for a while, the only sound that resonates is the rain falling throughout the village and the gentle roar of thunder. Kiba looks up a Kurenai and goes to break the silence. “So you're actually going to do this?”
“I have to respect my clan, even if it doesn't respect me.” Kurenai says, her eyes expressing pain and a great deal of anger. “I got you out before anybody found out. I want you to go home and just let this go.” Kurenai looks at Kiba with extreme honesty in her request, “Do this for me please.” Kiba feels the pain of her sacrifice she's making but he bows his head and agrees.
~A Year Passes~
Kiba is in his full Konoha uniform beside Akamaru. The two stand at the main gates of Konoha, looking at their village, rebuilt back to the strong village it once was. Several other Konoha shinobi walk past Kiba at the main gate.
“Kiba-kun.” Kiba looks and sees Kurenai holding baby Jin in her arms. Her look is depressed as well as her tone. “Say hello to Shino and Hinata for me, and bring everybody back in one piece.” Kurenai puts on a smile but her eyes still tell how she really feels. Akamaru barks and Kiba nods to his sensei.
“Come on Kiba!” One of the shinobi shouts. Kiba turns around and joins the platoon of shinobi, and they all head out to the war front.
“Jin is a reminder for her of the sacrifices she was forced to make for her clan as well as how her clan was responsible for Asuma's death.” Kiba says.
“But how was the clan responsible for that?”
“Kurenai and your mother possessed the strongest genes supposedly. They were potent and strong but when they appeared in her first child, they did not sync well with the set of genes Asuma passed onto the child. Baby Asuma's body was too weak to sustain them and he got sick and died. That was the cause of it...Kurenai blames both her clan and herself.” Mika looks down depressed. “As it turns out Jin didn't inherit the genes strong enough for your clan's abilities either. I suppose that made it harder for her to accept him as well. “
“Jin has you though.” Mika looks up at Kiba. “Don't resent Kurenai, she's in a heavy place right now and she's blocked out everybody. I'm not saying don't try to change her, I'm just saying stick to what you're doing with Jin. You two have that relationship so don't try to pressure the situation just yet. Kurenai will need a real kick for her to come to her senses...but now isn't the best time.” Akamaru barks and Kiba looks up and sees the crowd returning. “Looks like our time is up...since you're both down here already, we should begin.”
Mika turns and sees Ro standing in the middle of the arena and she squints her eyes. She walks to the center of the arena with Kiba following close behind. “The intermission is over. We can now start the next round. Ro vs. Mika Yuhi...Begin!”
To Be Continued...