There will probably be five chapters I'm calling "inter-chapters" The first was obviously covering her earliest years, this one is her parents' deaths, next will be the Massacre, and then the years before and of the war in the fourth chapter, finally will be the aftermath of the war, and then the "real" story will start.
No Beta, and I don't really care about grammar mistakes.
"Eventually, however, the denial turned into emptiness and my childhood ended."
― Floyd C. Forsberg
She may have only been five years old, but Aya would always remember that day.
The confusion, chaos, and bone shaking fear.
Her nightmares would contain the nine-tails raining death and destruction down on the village for many years.
She would never stop imagining her parents deaths, even after she learned the full truth more than a decade and a half later, that actually probably only made it worse.
The day had started out so normal too. The redhead had woken up just after dawn and had breakfast with her father, it was only the two of them in the house. Her mother and Kashi had left to a safe-house weeks ago.
He was a good cook -her father- much better than her mother, and she told him so. He had laughed, mussed her hair, and told her (for both their sakes') to never tell her mother that.
Ever since the war had ended her godmother was back to being off duty. So she was dropped off at the Uchiha compound after breakfast like usual, and her father promised he would be there to pick her up after supper. So long as her mother didn't go into labor of course, as she had been due any day.
Since she and Itachi had gotten older the time they spent running freely through the grounds and surrounding forest had dwindled to almost nothing.
Most of their time was spent studying scrolls, or doing physical training to prepare for attending the academy that coming term. It was exhausting, hours upon hours of exercise to build muscle and stamina, and then there was practicing forms, dodging, footwork, hand seals, and throwing kunai and shuriken.
Aya took to using triple-prong kunai, like her father, when forced to fight close range, but with her chakra chains and seals she was more of a mid range fighter.
And that said nothing of their personal training they had to do.
Her working on the Uzumaki Sealing Techniques, her mother had been teaching her since she was old enough to hold a brush. Itachi also had his own training to complete without her, the Uchiha Taijutsu stances, and exercises which were supposedly best suited for someone who had awoken Sharingan.
Even though Itachi hadn't yet activated his bloodline at that time.
That day was no different than most others, they spent almost six hours in the private Uchiha training grounds, only taking a break when they were called in for lunch. And going right back to it after they ate. When they had worn themselves out they went to the library for a few more hours. Itachi went to the history section, while Aya worked on her sealing, her mother would be very displeased if she didn't keep up with it while she was away.
A couple of hours later, the aspiring shinobi were just making a list of the best chakra control exercises, when an excited Mikoto Uchiha rushed into the room proclaiming to have just gotten a message from her father, her mother had gone into labor. The baby was on the way and she would be spending the night with her godmother and her family.
Excitement had filled her, nearly making her bounce in place. Her little sibling was finally on the way, and she remembered being so ridiculously happy. Itachi took her hand, giving her a happy smile of his own, though much more subdued than her beaming grin. He knew how much she was looking forward to meeting her brother or sister.
There was nothing about Aya Namikaze that he didn't know, but it went both ways.
There was nothing about Itachi Uchiha she didn't know.
She was to energized to sit and study for the rest of the night after hearing the news, so the two of them had spent the rest of their time before supper walking through the extensive gardens outside of the main house hand-in-hand. The flowers were always so beautiful, but that night she hardly saw them.
It was when the four of them sat down to eat the evening meal, Fugaku having gotten home only about a quarter of an hour earlier, that the first signs of something having gone terribly wrong made themselves known.
It was so sudden that everyone around the low table froze, or sucked in a harsh breath. The air around them, and the entire village, was instantly filled with a sense of hatred and fury so strong and heavy it had made Aya's hands shake, her chopsticks falling to her plate with a clang. Sasuke started crying from the basket he had been sleeping in, knocking them all from the shocked stupor they were momentary caught in with the instant shift in the atmosphere
Both the older Uchiha's got to their feet at once, Mikoto running to retrieve Sasuke, as Fugaku made his way to the window.
The screams, earth shaking bangs and roars, and other noises of chaos started not a moment later. The rest of the night was something of a blur. Her godmother had put Sasuke into Itachi's arms before giving Aya a heartbroken look, telling her to stay with the boys no matter what happened, or what she saw. Fugaku grasped Itachi's shoulders and told him to take care of his brother and Aya, and to make their way to the south-east shelter built into the rock bed of the Hokage Mountain.
With their orders given Mikoto and Fugaku had gathered their weapons in the blink of an eye, and disappeared out into the chaos, with one last command to hurry and get to the shelter themselves. Both she and Itachi also armed themselves, there were no weapons allowed at the table, before making their way from the house. But as soon as Aya had stepped onto the back veranda she saw something that froze her in her tracks.
There in the distance, was a fox, but it was no normal fox. It was as tall as the Hokage Mountain, and nine long tails flew around it purposefully, leaving nothing but destruction in their wake. The terrifying sight mixed with the almost paralyzing feel of the beasts tainted chakra wasn't what had her stuck where she stood though.
If the fox was lose than her mother... who was its Jinchuriki...
With watery eyes, the five girl had sunk down to sit on the top step leading into the yard.
Itachi, with the still crying Sasuke in his arms sat beside her, and intertwined their fingers. When she pried her eyes from the horrible sight to look at her best friend, the tears she was trying so hard to repress nearly escaped upon seeing the sad and understanding look in his black eyes. It was always so hard for her to hide, or contain her emotions around him, he could break all her walls with a glance, he always could.
And that look in his eyes..
He knew it too, he was no good at hiding from her either, her mother was dead.
When he regretfully told her they had to go, it was in such a soft voice that she barely heard him over all the noise. But she did, and even though she wanted nothing more than to breakdown and cry right there, they had to get Sasuke to the shelter. So she had bitten her slightly wobbling lower lip hard, and nodded. But as they ran, hands still intertwined and Sasuke cradled in Itachi's other arm, Aya had only been able to think about how or why any of this was happening.
Her father had assured her everything was going to be fine, he promised..
Broken pieces of buildings, and Kami knew what else, littered the roads. And then there were the bodies, many of them looking like they had been thrown from, or fallen from, a very high place. Twisted, broken, and bloody. It had been an atrocious sight, her stomach had churned with every one they passed, and her hand tightened around Itachi's.
Aya would never know how long it took them to make it to the south-east shelter. Everything around her seemed to move in fast forward, but in slow motion at the same time. All she had known was, eventually, they did in fact make it there. As soon as she was spotted the three of them were hurriedly ushered inside by the hard faced shinobi guarding the entrance.
Just before she was pulled through the doorway, Aya remembered looking back in time to see her father appear on top of a toad as big as the fox. And a small bit of hope entering her chest at the sight. He was the strongest shinobi in the Leaf, surely he would fix this, he would fix all of it. It was childish, but she honestly believed it.
The idea that her father would fail never once entered her mind.
He would never fail. How could he? He was Minato Namikaze, the Fourth Hokage, he was her hero, and she had all the faith in the world in him.
Together she and the Uchiha boys huddled in a corner of the cave-like structure, the loud booms, and ground shaking roars stopped about ten minutes after they made it inside. But they were all held there until dawn anyway. Hikari was collected by a masked ANBU as soon as the doors opened. And as much as she had hated to leave Itachi and Sasuke there, she wanted to see her father more.
But she wasn't brought to the Hokage, instead she was rushed to the hospital, which was thankfully still standing.
For almost two hours Aya had wondered why her father was taking so long to come see her. She needed to see him, ask him if her fears were true and her mother was really dead, or where her little sibling was. She was even angry he was making her wait. But then she realized he wasn't, he never would have left her alone like this, he never would have made her wait for him.
He wasn't coming to her because he couldn't.. because he was gone.
Every person who came to check on her had the same irksome look of pity in their eyes, and she wanted to rip them from their heads. She didn't need or want their pity, she needed her parents! Her little sibling! The hours had passed with her ignoring anyone who tried to talk to her. All she did was stare out the window with hard eyes, her little hands clenched so tight her nails dug into the fleshy pads of her palms.
Anger was just so much easier to deal with at the time. The fact that she was now an orphan was all but confirmed in her mind by then, and it was threatening to send her spiraling. The crushing sadness that she could almost feel closing in on her was easier to ignore when she was angry.
Angry at her mother, for letting the fox out. Angry at her father, for dying to get rid of it, which was the only thing in her mind that could have happened. Angry at her godfather, he was supposed to be guarding her mother, why didn't he stop this?! Angry at the baby, childbirth weakened the seal, she had read about that. It was when the seal would be most fragile, that was why it was considered ill advised for Jinchuriki to get pregnant.
Angry, angry angry.
She remembered the Third and her godfather coming into the room.
Both looking like they had come from battle.
And when she saw the Hokage hat on his head, well, Aya lost it. She had known her father was dead, known it when he didn't come to her, but seeing him standing there had the fact slamming into her like a punch to the stomach. It was the very last emotional blow the little girl could stand, not nearly emotionally mature enough to deal with the situation.
She never would be.
And so she lashed out.
Before either of them even opened their mouths she called them liars. Denied that her parents could be dead, demanded to see the, and screamed threats and curses no five year old should say or even know.
It felt like someone was squeezing her chest. Her breathing quickened, and her eyes were so filled with tears she could hardly see from them.
When she asked (demanded information) about the baby, and was told she had a baby brother, but he was being hidden,(for reasons unknown at the time) and she wouldn't be able to interact with him until he made genin she actually tried to attack the man.
Hokage or no.
Brother.. she had a brother. If it was a boy, her parents had been planing to name him Naruto, after the hero in her fathers sensei's book. Naruto.. he was now the only family she had.. she was the only family he would ever have.
And they were going to keep him from her.
Aya remembered screaming "You can't do that! You can't take him from me!" Enraged and taking another a step towards the old man before Kashi grabbed her tightly. She had tried to fight her way from him, punching kicking and pushing against the older boy's hold fruitlessly.
"You have to calm down." Kashi had yelled in her ear as golden chains exploded from her wrists for the first time, and acting upon her duress, started whipping around dangerously. "Calm down Aya!"
But it was useless, she was too far gone to listen to reason. Both her parents were dead, and her baby brother was being stolen from her. The generic hospital furniture stood no chance as the room was all but destroyed in moments. Kashi hissed in pain from behind her, as he lifted her and went towards the window. But before he could get her out of the room the door had banged open.
Two masked ANBU were instantly in front of the Hokage, bodily blocking him from the chains and flying debris. And behind them were Itachi and Shisui Uchiha in their usual garb. As soon as she saw the younger boy, the instant her wild teary blue eyes met his worried onyx eyes, the chains froze in midair.
Her godfather released her cautiously, like everyone else, he looked between the two five year old's the room. She didn't pay attention to any of them, her eyes never leaving her best friend as he stepped closer to her. With every step he took her hands started to shake harder, her lips trembled until her teeth were chattering, and her breathing becoming more and more erratic.
"Ita." His name had came out strangled.
When he was about an arms length away he spoke to her softly, in an equally pained voice, reaching for her.
And that was all it took. She threw herself forward, wrapping her skinny arms around his neck, and feeling his equally thin arms go around her ribs to clench at her back. The softly glowing golden chains, capable of withstanding even the strongest of the bijuu, twining around them to ensure he too couldn't be taken from her.
As his arms had grasped her tighter, Aya shattered in his hold.
Broken sobs escaped her lips, muffled by his warm skin as she buried her face in his neck. All her strength seemed to have left her, and her knees had buckled. Itachi could have held them both up, but he didn't, allowing them to fall to their knees in the middle of the destroyed hospital room instead.
As the world fell apart, like the broken glass surrounding them, he was the only thing anchoring her to the ground.
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