A chick in the night,
yet to leave the nest
Lost in the forest,
only to be found by a weasel

One

Moriko Keiko had remembered clearly, the moment she became aware of exactly what she was.
It was raining on this dreary day. She had just turned the age of four. The young child had watched the rain patter on the ground with much curiosity. The girl wandered all through the forest, realizing quickly this is all that she has known since she could remember. There she was running for shelter to get out of the rain into her makeshift tree house, made of scavenged sticks and twine. Climbing the tree and into the small space, she tried to get comfortable and dry, recalling her late mother drying her off and rocking her to sleep each and every night. Then there it was-a giant blast of chakra then an explosion, knocking her out of her safe haven. Keiko had crawled fast to her feet, her heart in her stomach from the shock of the blast and scared to death. Her ears were now bleeding uncontrollably and she had a major migraine. Behind her now broken house and tree, she peeked over it, pressing her ears tightly. There was a burning sensation and ringing in them...
The once densely filled forest was now a gigantic crater. There fought the shinobi of the Third Great Ninja War. Keiko watched begrudgingly as she was afraid to move an inch, afraid of being noticed and caught. Possibly even killed. A lonely tear fell down her face...
"Momma." It fell to deaf ears. She was now dead. The girl was now deaf...unable to hear her own weak voice. Everything went blurry, then black.


Mountains of dead bodies lay within the crater as far as the naked eye can see. The corpses stiff and smelled of rot due to rain. Another four-year-old came walking, alongside their parental figure.
"Remember this is a battlefield." His father's words, powerful, pushing through the rain for the youngster to hear.

Battlefield?

Not a word uttered out of the boy's mouth, he took in the scenery, his heart ached wildly but he continued to listen to his father as he spoke, "In a few years, you'll be a ninja too. This war might end, but the reality of the ninja does not change. This is the work you will step into." His father's voice pierced the youngster's heart. He felt tears brimming at the corners of his eyes, not wanting to relax for even a moment, knowing his tears will spill out.

Control is key.

Uchiha Itachi-the small boy had rationalized that his father wouldn't even had noticed if he cried in the rain. Not that he was scared, but rather saddened to witness all of this.
"Father. Why did you bring me here?" his father was silent for a long and suspenseful moment, trying to find the right words for his son.
"You are a clever boy. I wanted you to witness this reality." Itachi quickly searched his mind for the definition of "reality", though he was only four. He hasn't a sense of "reality" or "fiction" yet. The boy felt a warm hand on his head, knowing it was his father's, only to stray out of his touch and jump further into the crater.

He began to look at the twisted faces of the long dead shinobi, taking it in with grievance, he looked at all of the head protectors from the Konoha to the rest of the villages. He continued on to up and out of the crater to the other side, looking at a turned over tree, with twine tied to it. He ran up to it, catching his eye. Someone lived there clearly, they must be alive! The young boy easily scaled the tree, finding a young girl passed out on the ground. Itachi almost let out a sob seeing that her ears had dried blood coming out of them. Is she alive? The young boy tapped her cheek trying to wake her, and the girl moved, only just a bit though.

She's alive!

Itachi felt good about this, reaching into his satchel he will leave her some water and a rice ball for when she awakens, reaching over and turned the girl on her back, and that's when he seen her face fully...he looked at her with a sense of new fascination. The young girl had a deep ebony complexion something he wasn't used to seeing, everyone in his clan had fair to pale skin. And her hair, was beautifully coiled, and the young boy wanted to touch it. Itachi felt heat to his cheeks, admiring this girl.
Footsteps were heard and only getting closer, the young boy did not want his father to see this girl, so he gave one last glance and jumped back over the tree.

"What is it son?"

"It's nothing father." The man only nodding at his son's response.

Keiko awoke, though her body was heavy. Her ears were still ringing and burning, and she saw a boy walk away from her. It was his final glance at her, when she had seen his full face...he was an angel. A guardian angel sent from heaven above. This was it right? She'd be able to be with her mother once again. It was her thought, until she had seen the boy flee and that's when she mustered the strength to sit up on her own. Her whole body ached. The ringing in her ears subsided, but now she felt the stickiness from dried blood in her tympanic membrane. Keiko saw that the boy had left her some water and she started to down it, but realized she needed some for her ears. She rinsed them out for the most part. The girl jumped to her feet, intrigued by this boy that was so kind enough to leave her water and a simple rice ball. The youngster hasn't received this type of kindness since her mother...
Keiko didn't stand up, but rather peeked over the tree again, oh so carefully, not to draw attention to herself. She watched the boy's small form walk away with his father back up the crater and out.
It was then she decided to take in the scenery below in the belly of the the crater. Keiko scaled the tree and then slid into the hole, seeing the piles of the bodies. She felt her small heart break, taking in the different head protector insigne. The Konoha one specifically strikes out to the small child, realizing her father may have been a shinobi from there from her mother's telling. So this is war. Desolation and sadness. Keiko had learned the concept of death earlier this year, when she had lost her mother to an ailment that couldn't be cured. But, to see death at such a mass scale was too much for the youngster. Rigor mortis began to set on the poor souls that fought for which they thought to believe what was right. Twisted expressions of agony and regret forever on their stiff, cold faces.

It has to change.

Keiko had learned the twisted truth and ways of being a shinobi. So this is what it means to be a ninja...nonstop fighting and death. Not to protect and to serve, but to be a senseless pawn. It was a mistake to try and resolve things by endless fighting, for whatever reason. This world has to change. This belief became the foundation of the woman known as Moriko Keiko. Keiko never forgot that day.

The end of the this Great Ninja War came several weeks after the day everything clicked in Keiko's mind. The day was bright, sunny, and well the girl's fifth birthday. She had been lounging about in her tree in The Land of Fire's forest as she stood up and reached upon the forest floor, which lie trees of yesteryear, fallen in battle long forgotten. The past season had been harsh, stripping away the bark and outer layers, yet rendering them all the more beautiful. They have the appearance of driftwood, twisting in patterns that remind Keiko of seaside waves-well she's never seen them, only but in pictures her mother had shown her as a baby...even the color of the moss is kelp-like. They are soft, damp, yet her fingers come away dry. The young girl heard the forest whispering to her deaf ears, she felt at home. It was just something the youngster felt in her core, nature spoke to her. She found a lonesome vine began to wrap around Keiko's hand softly as her mouth opened agape realizing she had the ability as her mother did. Plant manipulation.

Mother Nature whispered to her deaf ears.

"How...?" the words came out louder and uneasy than expected. And that's when a leaf kunoichi grabbed her arm. "Hey, are lost sweetheart?" a woman.

Keiko was frightened. Her mother always made it clear to never make contact with anyone-let alone a kunoichi of the leaf. The plantation around began to contort and grow larger, the young girl only screamed and pushed the woman from her grasp as her small form began to run away. The roots of the trees began to unroot itself from the soil, cocooning itself around Keiko. Nature will protect her. As it once did for her and her mother. She is the force of nature.
The female shinobi gasped in disbelief, never seen such a kekei genkai. The kunoichi only began to tear at the roots but to no end, it continued to wrap itself around Keiko. The kunoichi shook her head deciding to go to the homage himself about the lost child living on the outskirts of the Leaf. She's close to an old war zone they've still yet to fully clean up, and the shinobi worried if she was a child of a casualty. "I won't hurt you." she cooed. The roots only twisted further as Keiko held her legs to her chest.

"Go away!" her yell was uneasy and extremely louder than expected due to her deafness.

The roots contorted and moved until it smacked the woman across the way and the child was released from the cocoon. The kunoichi lay, knocked out cold. Keiko crept closely to the woman as her eyes were closed. She examined the woman even closer looking at her face to see if the woman was fully unconscious. The woman wore her Leaf head band and Keioko brushed her hand against it in a longing way try to remember any type of memory of her father, sadly she only recalls what her mother told her of him. She was grabbed suddenly by the woman, "You're coming with me." Keiko kicked and screamed as the trees contorted and tried to attack the woman.. again, but she managed to counter with a lighting style jutsu...


The Third Great Ninja War had been proceeding favorable for Konoha, Hiruzen, the third Hokage, established a policy of reconciliation to bring an end to the fighting with an unprecedented offer to not seek reparations from Iwagakure. Advocates for the war opposed Hiruzen's seemingly weak decision, and to keep dissatifaction in the village in check, he decided to step down as Hokage. This lead to the new selection of Hokage, and the Hero of the Great War, Minato Namikaze, became the fourth. With Hiruzen's retirement as Hokage, the village inched toward recovery after the tumult of the war.

Keiko found herself in a giant office room. Just her in it. The room is oval shaped with miscellaneous stacks of unfinished paperwork and books. Behind the center desk was a large back window to survey the entire village, and there was writing on the desk, stylized kanji for the word "shadow". The young girl walked to the window, and looked in awe...

So this is Konoha...

Observing the scenery, the door to the office opened, The Third, Hiruzen was the one whom walked in to grab the rest of his belongings. Keiko did not hear the door open, oblivious. "Hello, child." His words were soft, voice deep. The girl continued to look out the window, awestruck. Small fingers pressed against the window as she balanced herself to try to look up, watching the birds.

Hiruzen tilted his head to the side, not really understanding why the child hadn't heard him. He spoke loud enough. Clear enough. The old man stalked closer, not really wanting to startle the child if she truly had not heard him. The girl was memorized by now, not ever seeing city life before. she was feeling the vibrations from the bustling natives and tourists.

So cool!

A tap to the shoulder brought her out of the trance and scared the life out of the youngster. She looked to the old man with pure terror in her hazel eyes. Hiruzen only gave a soft smile, "Hello my young one, my name is Hiruzen." the girl only gave a look of confusion, her eyebrows threading together. Hiruzen was a loss for words himself, maybe she was a mute? The tragedies of war can often cause a child to regress.

A loud knock to the door, and another old man stalked silently. Seeming to be frail, sported a brown wooden cane and bandages around his head and over his right eye and his hair was a charcoal color. There was an eerie "X" shaped scar on his chin, maybe an old battle scar. His shirt was plain white white a black robe over the top of it, the robe concealing his right arm fully. His chakra was strong, and it had led Keiko to turn around to look at the man fully. Frightened she was, she hid behind Hiruzen. "Danzo, what're you here for?" Hiruzen asked puzzled. It was rare to see him outside of his office in the Intelligence department.

"The child. I want to meet her." was all he said. Hiruzen felt a sweat drop on the side of his head, understanding the girl was scared of Danzo and his appearance seemingly. Hiruzen nodded trying to coax Keiko into coming out from behind him, but it only made her clutch his clothing even harder. Danzo only rolled his eyes, walking closer the child and tugging her by the arm all in one motion. He took a good look at her, she looked healthy enough. "What is your name child?" he asked, stoic. The girl knitted her eyebrows again with same baffled expression. Now it was Danzo's turn to return the expression, "What is your name?" he repeated slight irritation dripping from his voice.

"Now Danzo, I think she might be digressing due to her being exposed to a traumatic event." The Third interjected. They both looked to the girl as Danzo let go of her, she only looked between the old men anxious and pointed to her ears.

"I can't hear." her words came out louder than expected, sounding choppy.

Danzo blinked with his one eye, "You said she had a plant manipulation Kekei Genkai? Like the Senju Clan?" He was aloof, yet interested in all the the possibilities this child had to offer. Hiruzen only nodded. Keiko looked at the exchange of inaudible words frighten for her life.

I want my mommy...

"I will take the child in my care."


The moon was mesmerizing. It shined radiantly that it nearly erased the light from the surrounding stars. It was full and round and Keiko started at it calmly as she walked. She was in Konoha strolling through, Danzo giving her an allowance to buy some clothing and well whatever else she wanted since he had volunteered to take her in. An act of kindness to the youngster, a red light for an elder person. He was trying to gain her trust... The young girl started to head back a gentle breeze stroked her cheeks, the trees began to rattle. "What?" Keiko looked around anxiously as the vegetation around her began to weep and tell her to get to safety. The girl began to run, but where was the real question.

The village was abruptly thrown into chaos. Keioko was terrified, she heard villagers scream "Nine Tails". Whatever it meant it wasn't good. Out of the dust cloud rising up in the center of the village crawled nine tails. The tails converged on the body of the burnt-orange beast, a sinister fox roaring as if to swallow up the full moon hanging in the sky. A beast of legend, here to wreak havoc on this world. Keioko stood there frozen in everlasting fear. Military police was one of the first respond, as they bore the "Uchiha" crest on the arm of their uniform. She was grabbed by one and brought back to the Uchiha headquarters. Left there in the middle of the small village see everyone run around and scream she was knocked around a few times, Mikoto grabbed her and ran for her house to find her babies... Itachi and Sasuke.

"Itachi!"

"Mom!"

"Thank god you're safe!"Mikoto sat Keiko down and wrapped her arms around Itachi who was standing in the lane in front of the house holding Sasuke. And that was when Itachi and Keiko made eye contact.

Its him, my guardian angel...

Its that beautiful girl...

Itachi instantly turned red, smiling to the girl, recognizing her. Keioko only gave a half smile, waving. Mikoto noticed this and only smiled to herself, not saying a thing. The tension soon relaxed. But fleeting.

"I didn't want to worry you if we ran away, and then you came home so I waited for you." Itachi noticed something soon behind his mother and Keiko, his eyes quickly regained its original grimness. "Mom!" practically throwing Sasuke to his mother, and then he flew. A boulder tossed into the air by the Nine Tails shattered near the house, and pieces danced above their looked down at his mother, younger brother, and Keiko with determined yet protective eyes. Keiko was surprised to see that Itachi's level of prowess was far more superior than hers. And at such a young age, he was definitely no older than her by any means. The rock he broke was enormous, enough to crush all four of them. "I'll protect you." Clenching his fists tightly. Those words fell on deaf ears, Keiko not understanding what he had said, though she felt safe. The ninja arts were not about strength. Itachi might have been a small child of five years, his body yet underdeveloped, but as long as he knead his chakra properly he was able to smash even this massive rock. He brandished his fist highn in the air, Chakra filled his arms, covering it in a faint blue flame. Another rock slammed into Itachi's tiny fist, and exploded with a shriek. The rocked turned into pebbles and danced in the air until hitting the ground below. Even a child could simply destroy a rock, if they simply kept their ninja training. "Are you alright?"Keiko only nodded and his mother jumped unable to keep herself contained from an overwhelming sense of pride.

"You are your father's son, huh?"

Keiko took this moment to fade back into the background of the chaos and ensure her journey to run back across town to get back to Danzo.

War...you can't escape it..