I do not own Naruto.
Also, I have decided to make this an AU story. You will see why in this chapter.
"There's no easy way to put this," said Anko is a strained voice. "Yūgao, we had to amputate your legs an inch above the knee."
As the words left Anko's mouth, everything seemed to stop around the 23 year old ANBU. She slowly lifted her blanket off of her legs and looked down. Bandages and wrappings covered the stumps of where her legs had been.
Her heart sank as she stared at them. Tears came to her eyes but she refused to let them fall. She refused to be weak or pathetic. She was a member of the ANBU Black Ops, the toughest of the tough, the best of the best. There was no way she was going to be a victim.
She opened her mouth to try and speak but the words wouldn't come to her mouth. What was wrong her? Why couldn't she speak?
Before anybody else could speak, the door opened and a coughing fit brought their attention to Hayate Gekko.
"Sorry I'm late. I just got back."
"Ha…Hayate," The words finally left Yūgao's mouth as she looked at her husband. No one said anything as Hayate walked up to his wife.
Kakashi looked at Tsunade and Anko and nodded. He finally said, "We'll give you two some privacy."
Neither of the couple said anything as the others left. Nothing could be said, really. No words could bring her legs back. Her life was…
Her thoughts stopped as she felt an embrace. She felt the tears coming back to her eyes. Almost on instinct she tried to hold them back. At that moment, whatever inner strength Yūgao was using to stop her tears failed and they ran down her cheeks.
Anko could still swear she had Yūgao's blood on her hands as she threw away the empty sakè bottle. It was the fifth one of the night and she still wasn't drunk.
It should've been her instead of Yūgao. It should've been her in a coffin instead of her best friend in a hospital bed.
Why hadn't it been her?
Anko started hitting her head against the wall she was sitting next too. A part of her hoped that the bartender would just kick her out.
The other part wanted more sakè.
She stopped banging her head for a moment and looked at her own two legs. A wave of nausea came but she suppressed it. Anko decided then and there that she'd make this right.
She'd help her friend as much as she could.
One week later
Hayate had been called away on a brief assignment that morning, and he had asked Anko to stay with Yūgao that day at the hospital. Anko had said that she'd do it almost as soon as he asked her.
That was why Anko was sitting next to Yūgao's bedside, reading a magazine with her friend.
Neither of them really knew what to say. Other than greeting each other, they hadn't said anything. Yūgao figured it was because they were both lost in their own memories. For her, it was the thousandth time since she'd been there that she had thought about the accident.
'I should have done something different,' thought the ANBU. "I should have…'
Anko broke the silence.
That pulled her out of her thoughts.
"Anko," Yūgao's voice was quiet, almost a whisper. "It's not your fault."
That didn't get any response so she just let it hang in the air for a bit. That's when Anko remembered something.
"Hey Yūgao, you know Satoki?"
Yūgao raised one of her eyebrows and said, "Yeah, what about him?"
Anko reached into her coat pocket and pulled out a scroll. With a poof, an Origami swan appeared and she handed it to her friend.
"He made this for you," she said before sitting back down.
Yūgao had known that Anko's teammate was an Origami master and sometimes had wondered why he didn't do it professionally.
"Anko…this is beautiful,"
"I know. I think it's his best work yet."
Five days later
Yūgao was reading a book, waiting for Hayate to get back when Akuma came in out of nowhere and sat down next to her bed. He didn't even say anything. He just sat down and started picking at his nails.
This surprised her quite a bit. Maybe that was his tactic, to shock her out of any cohesive thought. Akuma Tanaka was not a predictable man. That was the one thing that was predictable about him, that he was unpredictable. From her 5 years in the ANBU, Yūgao had found out very little about the emotionless man, except for the fact that he been there the night the Nine-Tailed Fox had been sealed away, and that he had been an ANBU for 10 years.
They sat in silence for what seemed like ages. Finally Yūgao had had enough.
"What is it, Akuma?"
The Healer was silent as he removed his devil-shaped mask and locked eyes with her. Burn marks lined the left side of his face. His haunted eyes hid the horrors of war that he had surely experienced in 33 years of hard living.
Come to think of it, Yūgao realized that this was the first time she had ever seen him without his mask on.
"What's the point?" His gruff voice brought her out of that realization.
"What do you mean?"
Akuma snorted at her question. "You'll never be a kunoichi again, much less an ANBU, Yūgao. So why bother getting better?"
Almost as soon as the words left his mouth, Yūgao felt anger rising in her. It took every bit of strength in her to not strangle him.
"You're wrong," the words came out almost a whisper, seething with rage.
That brought a chuckle from him. "Prove it."
As he said it, he put his mask back on and got up. He was almost at the door when Hayate walked in.
"Is everything okay?"
Yūgao and Hayate could practically feel the smugness radiating off of him. He muttered something under his breath that, when Hayate looked back on it, had to have been "Should've left her under that rock," before he moved past Hayate.
She clenched her fist as Hayate came into the room. That man had no soul. She was sure of it. Akuma Tanaka was a soulless son of a bitch if she had ever met one in her life.
"Don't let him get to you," was what Hayate said, in that caring, loving tone he always had when they talked with each other.
"I will prove him wrong. I swear it, on my honor as a kunoichi."
Four weeks later
"Here we go. Home sweet home," said Hayate as he and Anko wheeled Yūgao into the couple's humble apartment. It was small, but inviting and thanks to their combined efforts, was now, until further notice, wheelchair safe.
"Yep," replied his wife. "Glad to be back." It was at that moment that Hayate saw her do something that he hadn't seen in over a month. She genuinely smiled.
Just as they wheeled her to the couch and gotten her situated onto it, an ANBU appeared at their window. He said something about the Hokage needing to see Hayate right away.
Before he left, he leaned down and gave Yūgao a quick kiss on the cheek. He whispered, "I love you,"
"I love you too," was her response as he leaped out the window with the ANBU.
After nearly a minute of silence, she finally looked at Anko and her face grew grim.
"When are my prosthetics getting here?"
Almost two days after she had woken up, Yūgao had started physical therapy in Konoha Hospital, an hour a day for the time she was in checked in. She had been told that when she was released, she'd receive her new legs.
"Tomorrow, at the Physical Therapy Center," replied the older woman with a solemn look on her face. "Me and Hayate are going to be taking turns getting you there until you are fit for duty."
"You know who's going to be your therapist, right?"
"Yes," said Yūgao.
If she was going to prove Akuma wrong, then she was going to have learn how to walk again. For that, one had to go through intense physical training.
And who knew how to go through intense physical training better than the man who had trained Rock Lee?
When Anko was finished explaining everything to her, they spent the rest of the day trying to relax. Anything to get her mind off of what was going to happen tomorrow.
That night, they watched the full moon for an hour. It was at that moment that Yūgao decided that enough was enough. Tomorrow was the start of her future. Yūgao Uzuki would not give up. She refused to. She had to prove that bastard wrong.
The Moon Watcher would rise again.
I hope you all enjoyed it. Feel free to leave a review.