Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto…
Ninja Clash! Of Nightmares and Daydreams
.;:Chapter One: Enter, Akari Tsukuyomi: Memoirs of the Past:;.
"Old man, it sure was nice of you to let us ride in the carriage with you all that walking would have been murder!" Naruto smiled brightly looking out the window at the passing trees.
"Well, I had to get here somehow didn't I? Walking all the way here would have been dangerous, even if I had brought guards with me," Sighed the old man, "But I suppose you're welcome…what's your names again?"
Naruto gazed out the window and stared at the cloud obscured sun and a strange feeling ran up his spine, somehow it was familiar…but it couldn't be because it felt like death…That's weird…
"Our young girl here is Sakura Haruno," Kakashi introduced gesturing to who was in front of the old man, "the boy beside her is Naruto Uzumaki and to your right is Sasuke Uchiha. And I'm Kakashi Hatake at your service."
The old man nodded, "I suppose I should tell you why I went to the Leaf for help instead of the Cloud; first I should tell you my name is Hitenzo Usama. I am Head Advisor to the Tsukuyomi Clan, one of the noblest in the Lightning Country. In four weeks' time the eldest of the Tsukuyomi Clan will take her place as the Head of the Clan and become its leader, I was to make sure that she is ready for that responsibility…I was supposed to prepare her and keep her safe from the constant threats that surrounded her life. It was my job to protect her." Hitenzo admitted silent tears falling from his face.
"Was?" Kakashi asked unsure, when we met with the Hokage she didn't really give us any specifics on the mission, just that we had to go to the Land of Lightning…something tells me this is more than we bargained for…if anything that involves that Clan has anything to do with this mission, it may be beyond the scope of an A-Rank mission.
Hitenzo wiped his face with a handkerchief and continued, "Yes, the Princess's life has been threatened…104 times this past year."
"What? Why?" Sakura asked fearing for the little girl's life. She unconsciously tightened her hold on her knees and looked at the man straight on, "One hundred and four death threats all for some heiress? That doesn't seem possible…"
"It is possible when we're discussing the Tsukuyomi…" Kakashi stated, noticing how Sasuke and Naruto turned their attention to him when he mentioned that name, "The Tsukuyomi Clan is a clan of ancient nobility and power beyond the scope of what should be of a non-Shinobi line."
"Meaning?" Sasuke spoke his interest peaking.
"The name Tsukuyomi is derived from the Moon god, who is believed to have given man the first of his dreams and the beginning of his nightmares," Kakashi nodded toward the window and to the sky above, "the sun is the representation of day usually, so the Clan's crest is quite odd, it has both the sun and the full moon intertwined as one…"
Akari's foot falls padded on the ground in a rhythmic fashion as she walked from the Cloud Village's boundaries. Her head lifted towards the sky and noted how the clouds obscured the sun completely. Don't know why but that somehow gives me the creeps! I better get going. Tenzo will probably be furious with me for running off like that but…, she laughed, sometimes it can't be helped!
She continued walking for about an hour and a half and halted to a stop jumping on top a nearby boulder to rest. Akari grinned triumphantly and pulled out all of the ninja tools Bee had given her as an early birthday present, in four months she'd be fourteen and proud of it! She had hoped that maybe her father would let her become a Shinobi, but that ship had sailed when her brother died.
Akari laughed at herself, without realizing it she snapped two of her senbon in half. Why do all those old memories get me so worked up?
"Ugh!" she screamed to no one in particular, "Why do I always have to be so damn selfish?"
As if answering her, a huge white tiger pounced on the rock beside her and made her jump straight out of her skin, "Yorimaru! Don't scare me like that; I thought you were some other vicious, white tiger trying to kill me!" she said as the large animal buried it's too big head into her lap.
She giggled as its large tongue lapped at her face, "Well aren't you a sight for sore eyes, you been hunting?" she asked the animal and its stomach growled in response. "Well, let's go hunt and see what we can cook up, shall we?"
She slipped from the rock and Yorimaru joined her, "You know I'm starting to think the Raikage was right about you being too tame, you don't even like to hunt by yourself if you know I'm close by," the girl said running a hand through its fur, "Or is it you're just getting lazy?"
The feline ignored her and continued on the path ahead.
"Oh okay, you go ahead and ignore me then, but if you want to wrestle you're on your own!" she called after her companion. Sheesh, Look at me the only thing that can make me feel better is a tiger and heck the tiger is the only one I can really talk to too, aren't I just a mess?
The girl's feline friend was a good two meters ahead by now and getting farther and farther away by the minute. That cat's gotten faster, she thought, but…
The second the girl had barely even processed the word run she was by the tiger's side in an instant.
The great cat tilted its head to the side as if to say, "The Raikage taught you well."
"Well, sometimes it pays to have friends in high places," the girl laughed, answering a question that was never really asked. Yep, her talking to a tiger was almost as weird as Bee's rapping skills.
"But why is that strange," Naruto asked trying to pretend he knew where the story was headed; "They share the same sky don't they?"
"Well yes, but the full moon for them signifies the opening of the Nightmare Realm, it makes their powers even stronger, in fact it's quite dangerous to be around one of them when the full moon is out. With that special ability of theirs they could very well kill you, so that's why I think the girl was always threatened in the daytime when the sun is out," Kakashi crossed his arms, and looked on the faces of his team. "Whereas the sun represents the daydreams and a power that is not meant to destroy but to paint a world of happiness and infinite bliss, the moon represents the exact opposite."
"Glad we're the ones protecting her," Sakura sighed in relief sliding back in her seat.
"What do their powers do, you know just in case we happen to be too close at night?" Naruto quizzed, squinting at his sensei. "How do we escape it?"
Kakashi sighed and leaned forward, "You don't escape it. It gets you, you die. Point. Blank. Period."
"Whaa!" Naruto said getting as far away from Kakashi as possible.
"You did say Tsukuyomi right?" Sasuke faced Kakashi, "Is it like the Sharingan?"
"No as strong as your brother's was, this particular jutsu could even put that jutsu to shame. Not because it's of its lineage but because of its power to demolish its opposition."
"Is it possible to break it since it is genjutsu, right?"
"Wow, Sasuke you act like you're going into battle today or something, we don't need to know how to defeat it sense we're the ones protecting it," Naruto interjected with a grunt, "So let's go to sleep and forget we even had this conversation."
"No, your friend's right to ask these questions, it'll help you to better understand why she needs protecting…let your master continue, kid," Hitenzo said finally breaking his own silence.
"Anyway, this jutsu is unique to this family and this family alone; it cannot be copied," Kakashi stated.
"A kei kei genkai, right?" Sakura guessed.
"Correct, aren't all of you a sharp bunch today?" Kakashi smiled lightning the mood.
"Sensei, you didn't answer my question. Is it possible to break this genjutsu," Sasuke pushed. Furrowing his brow, he too leaning more into this conversation. What a strong clan, maybe one of them wouldn't mind fighting me, he smirked inwardly, that would be fun.
"First off before I confuse you any further let me say that this is not genjutsu and no there is no way to break it. I highly doubt even one of their own could break another's hold, all depending on the user's chakra; how much they have left and how much they have used. You all know jutsu works. Moreover this particular kei kei genkai is purely physical. Whatever happens to you in the realm happens to you on the outside; every bruise, every scratch completely and utterly visible and very real…"
The flames in the fire Akari had built danced fluidly as Akari fanned its embers to grow bigger. Unlike happy over here, she looked over to her tiger companion, I like my food cooked not raw. The girl smiled; Mother would freak if she found out I liked hunting for food.
Akari's mother always used to prefer to sit at a table and be served than cook it herself, but Akari loved her for it, she was so angelic but so sure and strong…strong enough to defend someone she had just met and someone Akari secretly loved…
"Akari what are you doing?" brother's face lit up as she charged him. "I see you're glad to see me."
"Of course, big brother," Akari sang digging her head into his lower stomach. "I forgot how tall you were, you were much shorter before." She explained admiring how dark his hair was and how long and beautiful it was.
He took her caramel face into his hands, "You've missed me?"
"More than anything, big brother!" Akari exclaimed. She looked up into her 'big brother's' dark eyes and amongst the black carpet of night she could swear she cloud she stars and huge planets luminous in his eyes. Truly she was the luckiest girl in the world.
Akari felt herself being lifted off the forest floor and onto his back, "You should not wander around the forest by yourself, it's dangerous. I don't care if you did think you saw me."
The brown skinned girl pouted, "I didn't go in there because I thought I saw you! I just thought I saw a baby rabbit go in here!"
But I did, the girl thought snuggling closer to the older boy, I did think I saw you, that's the only reason I'd going running into the woods…only to find you.
"Sure, sure," he replied walking in the general direction of the lake house Akari and her mother was vacationing in, "So how old are you now?"
"Guess!"she sang happily in the boy's ear, "You said you have a brother right," the boy nodded, "And you said we're about the same age, right?" he nodded again confirming this, "then guess!"
"Hmm, let me think you were six last the last time I saw you and four the first. You have an excellent memory," the boy smiled knowing changing the subject would annoy her.
Strangely it didn't, "you saw me a bunch of times in between those years remember?"
"Oh yes I remember," the boy said peering over his back. Akari clung to him as if her life depended on it and he smiled. "You must be eight, right?"
"Yep!" she sang happily. Her eyes searched his features and clothes to locate any extreme changes that took place whilst he wasn't with her. She noted this strange cloak he wore, with no hood and his fingernails were painted a dark color. Must be some strange fashion in his ninja village, Akari thought holding tighter, my big brothers are so cool, both are ninja! I wish I could be!
"Hey, um big brother?" the eight year old asked.
"Hmm?" he replied turning his head to her again with slowing his pace.
"I don't mean to be nosy but what's with the strange cloak?"
"You're right," he said his tone getting dark and the girl looked up in wonder, "That is nosy."
Everything inside her just dropped, and died. Quickly she hid her face and gulped, no! I made him angry now he'll never come back!
"Kidding," he said and she could hear the smile in his voice, and she breathed a sigh of relief. "Sorry did I scare you?"
"I-I thought I had made you angry…" she said and closed her eyes, promising to herself to never bring it up again.
"Well, well, well who do we have here," the most angelic voice Akari had ever heard chimed, "Akari you didn't tell me you made a new friend!"
Akari's eyes snapped open and she leaned to the side to greet her mother's usual smiling face, "Mommy!"
"I was wondering where you ran off too, this must be eighth time you did this today," her mother sighed, "Chasing rabbits, I know they're cute but you shouldn't scare your mother like that!" she continued, "I was worried."
"Oh, sorry Mom, I didn't realize…" she buried her head in the boy's soft, luxurious hair.
The mother breathed a huge sigh of relief, "Now for your punishment…you little princess are going to be doing the dishes instead of Rhito. You understand me missy!" she laughed as her daughter face appeared again in triumph, "And if you behave yourself, your boyfriend can stay for dinner!"
The mother turned and walked to the porch of the lake home and the girl shouted after her embarrassed out of her mind, "Not BOYFRIEND, big brother!" she said quietly not daring to loosen her grip on him.
"So where does this jutsu take place?" Sasuke asked.
"Inside the mind, they are somehow able to infiltrate its darkest secrets, its worst nightmares and alter that memory so that a walk in the park could turn into a criminal torture chamber where every pain you feel in the inside, also takes place on the outside," Kakashi finished laying back. "But that's all I know on specifics…Mr. Hitenzo why don't you enlighten us a little further on the matter. You should know more than I."
The man released a deep breathe he hadn't realized he had been holding, "There's more to the Tsukuyomi Clan than just the Nightmares, there also the Daydreams…"
"Daydreams?" Sakura questioned.
The man nodded and continued, "The Head of the clan always possesses the Daydream Ability, which can be labeled as the Sun considering what's opposite the moon on the crest. This Daydream Quality can make any memory that is dreaded appear and be a happy ending, conjure up a universe that you may be stuck in for years and years but to the outside world a harmless comma that lasted a few weeks or days, create beautiful memories that do not exist, or completely erase some."
He took in the stunned expressions from his fellow carriage riders and went further, "There are, like most elite clans, a main family and not so important family. This is another reason the clan departed from the ninja world after the first Great Ninja War. They did not want to be viewed as weapons. Still, although there were different sides of the family, none complained, because of the power the Head brought them…pure happiness and wealth. Who would argue when such a successful system worked? Who in there in their right minds would argue? No one sane would even dare try."
"More branch stuff, I had enough of it with the Hyuugas!" Naruto complained but quickly quieted at the look Sakura shot him.
"Only a few of the clan are gifted with the Sun mark that they carry with them on their person, one every generation to be exact. And to tell the truth, the reason that we can't as Kumogakure for help is because the Leader of the clan is holding the Raikage responsible for his son's death, because he became a ninja under his rule and that is his fault that he died. The true head of the Tsukuyomi Clan died about seven years ago and now her husband is in charge and doesn't really know what to do because he is still very distraught…The true head was Lady Benihime, the strongest of the Clan there ever was and the most beautiful, she used to take Lady Akari with her everywhere she went and they visited your Konohagakure one year and fell in love with what she called the Will of Fire. From that day on they visited Konoha constantly gave great description of the nation's kindness."
"That explains a lot Mr. Hitenzo but I still feel like you're hiding something from us," Kakashi added, his face blank.
"Ahh, yes…" Hitenzo answered again wiping his eyes, "The day I arrived in the Land of Fire I received word that the last place the Princess was seen was her garden and that the Princess… had completely disappeared."
"Dinner's ready!" her mother sang calling the two from their game of hide and seek.
"Here we come!" little Akari called back grabbing her 'brother's' hand and leading him to their table.
"We have miso soup, tea for your friend and I , and finally milk for you," she placed the food down in front of each of them and took her seat as well. Akari's mother made sure to pack a lot of food because she sure couldn't cook.
Akari pouted, "Oh Mom I want tea too! I'm a big girl now."
Her mother was about to protest her outburst but Akari's 'brother' beat her to it, "Drinking milk will help you build strong bones and a healthy body. I used to drink a lot of it when I was your age that's how I became a strong Shinobi." He stated with a smile ruffling up her long bangs that covered her forehead.
"Oh, well never mind Mom. I want to be a Shinobi one day too, so I need all the milk I can get!"
"So tell me young man," the mother started, pilling the dishes into the sink and going over to sit next to the boy. Akari was busy at work in the kitchen so she took this as an excuse to get more information from the mysterious boy. "Where do you come from? My daughter seems to be quite found of you, where did you two meet?"
"The first time I saw her she was in Konoha visiting…she was with you and that was five years ago. I met her officially when I was on a mission here and that was four years ago. I am from Konoha and may I ask the name of my new acquaintance?" the boy spoke locking eyes with the woman's magenta gaze.
"I can see why she clings to you, a face like that could even charm snakes."
The young man smiled, "You have no idea."
"Benihime Tsukuyomi," the woman eyed the cloak he was wearing and lifted her gaze to his hitai-ate which bore the symbol of his village and a slash mark. Her eyes lowered once again to meet his gaze, "Maybe it's best if I don't know your name, young one. Does she," she gestured toward her eight year old daughter.
"She does." He agreed solemnly thinking of something.
"If the time comes when I have to, I could make her forget it," the mother stated point-blankly. "Don't misinterpret what I am saying though. For this is not a threat but a precaution, for your sake and hers. A gift," the woman smiled gently, "for always protecting what is precious to me when I am not there."
"Understood," the young man agreed, "And thank you for protecting what is also precious to me."
Benihime smiled wider, even kinder than before and spoke, "I will not ask your name but I do ask that you do stay the night, I don't think she could bear it if you left so early."
"I wouldn't dream of it," he said as Akari bounded into the room.
"I'm done!" she announced, "Let's all play a game! You too Mommy!"
"Oh, alright but it's getting late so after we finish playing its off to bed!"
"Akari, Akari?" the young man said shaking the little girl who had fallen asleep in his arms.
"Big brother?" she asked in return.
"I have to go now, its morning," he answered back, rising off the bed and taking her with him down the stairs to her mother who had set aside a meal for him.
"B-But, I want you to stay, I want you to stay with me forever!"
"As much as I would like that, I can't. But I promise I will visit again okay," he reassured.
"Stay then, you, me and Mommy can stay here together forever! We'll be our own family and we don't have to go back home."
"But don't you have a father back home?"
"Yes…," the little girl said her eyes darkening, "But he doesn't care about me all he cares about is Akirin, my older brother. He doesn't care what happens to me!"
What the girl said rang a bell to him and flashed an old memory through his head. He didn't answer but he did pull her to him and said, "I'm your older brother and that means you granted me the right to protect you, and if by leaving I am protecting you I'm doing my job as your honorary brother."
Tears ran down her face, she didn't understand what he was saying, "will you promise to come back?"
"I SWEAR." He said and kissed her forehead.
The tired little girl yawned; it was way too early for her.
"Until then." He said finally and walked over to Benihime, "Thank you for everything."
"You're very welcome," she nodded to him and gave him his food.
The boy made it to the front door and turned around to see Akari crying her eyes out on the couch, crying herself to sleep, "Forgive me…Akari."
"Don't worry about her she'll be fine," Benihime said catching his arm as he turned to leave, "You have a younger brother, don't you?"
"Take care of him."
The young man's eyes darkened, "I intend to."
Akari watched as the last of flames burn out along with her brother's promise. Well, it's time to go.
Yorimaru stood along with her and they both glance up at the sky, it was getting dark and in one day's time the full moon will be out. By then Akari should be back with horrors of Nobility.
She ran her fingers through her tiger's fur who was two- thirds of her height on all fours, "Can you do me a favor?"
Yorimaru lowered himself to ground and she climbed on his back gripping his fur for support. "Let's go home."
With that Yorimaru was off and Akari closed her eyes and rested against his fur.
"Akari, you still upset he left?" her mother asked.
"Nope!" she said blissfully. It was now evening and several hours had based since her beloved left.
"Why is that?"
"Because he's coming back and then I'll be able to show him how strong I've gotten. He'll marry me for sure then!"
"Aren't you a little young to be thinking about marriage? And isn't he a little old?"
"Of course not, he's only five years older, that's nothing," she chirped gleefully. "Not to mention that Hitenzo said I looked just like you when you were my age so that means, I'll be beautiful just like you Mom!"
"Oh, sweetie you're way prettier than me," she said, "And Mother's don't lie."
The girl hyped up, "Yay! Then he'll love me for sure!"
"That's right," she said as there was a sharp and harsh knock on the door.
Akari stared after her mother and stared at her beautiful bubblegum pink and baby blue streaked hair. The hair itself ran past the bend in her knees and it was already in a ponytail.
Her mother's skin was a flawless caramel like her own but her mom's glowed even when she was angry. She was defiantly the luckiest girl in the world.
"Where is he!" an angry husky voice shouted.
"WE KNOW HE'S IN THERE!"
"WE HAVE HIS SCENT!"
"HE IS WANTED FROM THE LEAF AND MORE!"
"LET US IN!"
All the strange voices shouted all at once. Who are these people? Why are they here? Do they want to hurt us? No, they were talking about a man…oh no…big brother!
Akari ran to the door behind her mother and tugged on her shirt, "Mommy." She whispered.
"Don't fret sweetheart, your mother will take care of this," she stated reassuringly.
Akari glanced at the men and saw that they were wearing headbands, they were Shinobi!
"I don't know what you're talking about, no one else was here but us," Benihime stated.
"You. Lie!," one ugly one said and he sniffed the air like a dog, "He was here all right, tell us where he went and no one gets hurt."
"Akari go to your room!" her mother ordered but Akari didn't budge, "Go. To. Your. Room NOW AKARI!"
Still no movement. The mother sighed in defeat and turned her head to her daughter and slammed the door in the Shinobi faces. Quickly grabbed her daughters hand and forcefully pulled her face to face with her. Benihime closed her eyes, "I love you baby, forever and always."
"I love you too mommy," the girl gulped and grasped what followed. "More than anyone in this entire world."
"I know baby, so I ask you to forgive me!" she opened her now glowing eyes and Akari felt herself being pulled away from the room. "Sweet Dreams, my precious…"
At that moment the door burst open but Akari didn't see it she was too busy reliving every happy memory she had ever had.
When she woke up, the first thing she saw was mother's body still as stone. She crawled over to her mother and closed her eyes and for the second time that day she cried herself to sleep…
Author's Note: I made a few changes to the chapters, things that I found really annoying when I read over them.