I stood in front of the door, trying to calm myself. We were there, at my parent’s house.
I took another deep breath, shifted uncomfortably my feet, and folded my hands nervously.
I didn’t know how long I already stood there, trying to force my hand to knock on the door – but I couldn’t. I didn’t know what it was, but deep inside me my mind wanted to turn around and run away as fast as I could.
Kazumi put a hand on my shoulder. “It’s alright Tora. You can do it.” I was so happy that she was there, that she came with me to support me.
Taking another deep breath I finally managed to raise my shaking hand and knocked slightly at the wooden door. First I heard nothing and almost sighed in relief that no one was there and that I had an excuse to flee from that place – when I heard feet steps. A moment later the door opened.
“Yes, what do you want?” a woman asked. I still didn’t remember, the voice was totally unfamiliar to me, but somehow I knew that this was… my…
“M-mother?” I whispered unsure with my voice shaking.
There was silence, before she said in disbelieve: “Tora…? Tora!” Then I was pulled into a tight hug. Suddenly I didn’t want to run anymore. I only wanted to stay here, on the veranda to my parent’s, to my house, and hugging my mother.
“Who’s there love?” a manly voice asked from inside and someone else came toward us. My dad…
“I-it’s Tora” my mother said and I felt something wet drop from her onto my skin. Just then I noticed that I was crying too. “S-she came back… It’s Tora, our Tora.”
The man came running to us and a second later I felt strong arms wrap around me and pulling me against a strong chest.
My body was trembling and I didn’t even try to hold back the tears. I was so happy…
“We… we should go inside” my mother whispered sniffing and I knew that she was smiling.
“Yes, I guess you’re right love.” My father cleared his throat. “And who are you when I may ask?”
“I’m Kazumi, Tora’s friend. I accompanied her on the journey and helped her finding you.”
“She shall come in too” my mother said. “Every friend of our daughter is welcome here.”
With my heart beating extremely fast I gripped Kazumi’s hand and squeezed it hardly. She didn’t pull away but let me hold her. Everything felt so unreal that I was afraid to wake up by every moment. I hoped so much that it wasn’t only a dream.
I was so nervous that I didn’t pay attention to where we were going. The only thing I felt was that the house was very huge with three floors… and my parents who walked in front of us.
I sat together with Kazumi on a couch, still gripping onto her. My parents sat across from us on another couch, a small table stood between us. I think it was the living room but I didn’t care, I only concentrated on my parents.
“Do you want to have some tea? And something to eat?” my mother asked. I nodded and I think Kazumi did it as well.
“Haruto, please bring us tea and food for the two ladies” my father ordered. Yes, he ordered. I felt another light built person enter the room and with a smooth voice he said: “Yes master.” It was a butler. We had an own butler! Sweet~
“Tora, may you tell us why your eyes look so different?” my father asked softly.
“Yes, and what happened to you” my mother added. “We were so worried that something happened to you…” I heard her sniffle again and tried to let my own voice sound strong when I answered:
“I was kidnapped by such a mad psychotic snake-bastard. He… he experimented on me and turned me blind. I was able to escape but lost my memories. That’s why I couldn’t come back to you earlier. I’m so sorry that I arrived only now…” I trailed off, my voice wavering. The truth was that I maybe could have come back earlier, because after all Tsunade the Hokage offered me to send a message to the Sound Village and giving me an escort back home. I had refused, because my feelings had told me not to go back.
“It’s okay, dear” my mother said with a warm voice and I thought she smiled. “We’re not blaming you for anything. It’s just wonderful that you found back to us after all.”
My father was quiet for some time before he said: “So, you’re blind?” I nodded and I bet that his aura darkened after that.
“But… but I can still see!” I said quickly. I didn’t want him to think that I was useless and weak. “I can control the earth and see every movement because of it. I can feel vibrations! And I can fight! After my escape I was in Konoha for some time and I learned to do awesome tricks like tunnels and walls and mud traps and stone fists and column of stones and so on… I managed to beat Kiba, Shikamaru, and all the others who are genin. Oh yeah and then I was kidnapped again, this time from S-rank criminals called the Akatsuki. I also fought against them and I almost won! Before we arrived here we again had a fight against the Akatsuki and I trapped Woody Doll in mud. That was so funny…” I grinned and chuckled a bit. “I know that I was not very strong as a ninja, and I’m still not, but I can control earth! I am strong now, on my own way, and I can fight!” I was so proud to myself, proud that I wasn’t a failure to my parents after all.
“Y-you were kidnapped… by criminals?” my mother whispered shocked.
I nodded but added quickly to reduce her worry: “But they did nothing to me, they were even kind of nice. Kazumi here helped me escaping; she was also a captive of them.”
I heard my father sigh but it didn’t sound happy. My grinning face turned into a frown when he said: “So your shinobi skills are still the same? They didn’t improve one bit?” His voice was dark and heavy with disappointment.
I gulped and said: “N-no, but it doesn’t matter, does it? I can strike every opponent a couple of feet deep into the ground now…”
“Why should her ninja skills have improved after all?” Kazumi asked suddenly a little bit cold. During my explanations and telling what had happened I had let go of her hand but now I gripped it again.
“I-it’s nothing” my father mumbled. “I just thought that when she was in Konoha she could have learned something…” He lied. I could feel it.
“Why don’t you tell your daughter the truth, Kaito…?” a smirking voice asked from the entrance of the room. It was the butler, but he didn’t act like a butler should. He sounded too confidence, too less-obeying.
“Haruto, what is the meaning of this?! I told you to serve us tea and food!” my father said angrily.
“Your butler Haruto is long gone, my dear Kaito. He’s now merely a vessel.” While he spoke his voice changed. It was still smooth but with a mocking hissing undertone. And it sounded familiar, all too familiar. My hands started shaking again and shivers ran up and down my spine.
No, this couldn’t be…
“Lord… Lord Orochimaru! I’m s-sorry, but I didn’t recognize you. It’s a pleasure to welcome you in our house” my father quickly said. And then something happened I never would have thought it would: My parents stood up just to kneel down in front of the butler who wasn’t a butler anymore. They bowed to the monster that had tortured me.
Kazumi stared. She stared at the parents of Tora who kneeled on the ground respectively. She stared at the butler which skin started to crumble and fall apart to reveal two yellow shining cruel eyes.
“W-what’s going on here?” she whispered confused. Her right hand felt numb because Tora gripped it so hard that the blood was cut out but Kazumi almost didn’t notice it.
“Oh, you want to know the truth, my dear? Well, Tora’s parents are very wealthy and high respected ninjas. So imagine their disappointment when their only child turns into a failure as a ninja and puts shame upon them. So they came to me, asking for help. Of course I took the challenge to turn a useless child into a warrior and despite her escape and the accidental blindness I can say that I succeeded.”
“No, you did not” Tora’s father, Kaito, looked up and a slight anger was seen on his face. “She is still a failure as a shinobi, she said it herself.”
“You should listen better” Orochimaru hissed. “I couldn’t change that fact, no matter how hard I tried. But luckily I found old scrolls and records to solve it on another way and now she is in control of the earth. Her blindness even improved her power so it seems. She’s a worthy fighter-“
“But she is blind!” Kaito again said his voice growing angrier. His wife quickly pulled his sleeve to stop him but Orochimaru only said:
“I understand your disappointment, but I assure you that it all worked out. The experiments were worth it. As an excuse for the long wait I’ll give you your money back though.” He smirked evilly looking at the two shocked girls. “I’ve got what I wanted. The experiment was a complete success and I’m about to test it on other subjects. But before that, I’d like to know what secret this other girl has.” Putting out a sack of probably money and giving it to Kaito he stepped forward toward the girls.
Kazumi quickly came with her friend around the couch, her shock changed into a growl.
“Tora, you can go and join your parents now. You’re no longer of use for me” the snake Sanin said, his eyes never leaving Kazumi.
“Lord Orochimaru” Kaito said putting the money away, “it was a pleasure to do business with you. But now I’d ask you to leave my house please. We have to discuss some things with our daughter.” Tora’s parents stood up. Her mother looked down the whole time, afraid to look anyone into the eyes, but Kaito stood self-confident.
“Of course, Kaito, but I’ll take the other girl with me.” Kaito nodded. Orochimaru smirked wider and then his head snapped forward, his neck growing larger and larger. Despite her hard grip, Kazumi pushed Tora away from her and dodged the attack, gripping a kunai and cutting through the throat so that the Sanin’s head rolled off onto the floor, mouth wide opened. But not even a second later black hair appeared from within the throat of the head and Orochimaru rose from the mouth, chuckling darkly. “My dear girl, I’m immortal. Killing me is useless.”
Kazumi put her palms together, summoned Masayoshi’s chakra and said calmly: “Secret element jutsu: Dragon of the-“
“Kazumi, behind you!” she heard Tora’s voice but it was too late. She felt a hard pain on the back of her head and everything went black.
I felt the energy coming from Kazumi that was foreboding her dragon spirit. I felt my father moving around her, sneaking to her back. I heard myself yelling a warning, but my father had already hit her. The energy died as fast as it had come and Kazumi lay motionless on the ground.
My mother rushed toward me and pulled me into a hug, whispering again and again: “I’m so sorry dear, I’m so sorry. I swear that we’ll never do anything like this again my sweetie. Everything will be okay…” I didn’t hear her. I just heard the monster thanking my father, my own shameful, greedy father!
In rage I pushed my mother away from me, yelling: “Don’t you dare lay a finger on my friend you monster!”
“Tora! Behave yourself and step back! Don’t you talk like this to Lord Orochimaru!”
I felt tears coming up in my eyes. Suddenly it all made sense… why I didn’t wanted to come back to that place, why my brain had pushed the memories of my parents away, why I did wanted to run away when I’ve been on the veranda… I somehow knew it during the whole time… that my parents were monsters too, that they had sold me.
A memory came back. I was on a field behind our house; training with my father, my mother watched us from the garden. Suddenly there were strange ninjas around us, gripping me painfully, yanking me away from my parents and my home. I screamed, yelled for my father and mother to help me, but they only stood there, motionless, letting it happen. The next thing I knew was that I was in a dark cell, scared to no end, whimpering, praying for my parents to come, to save me.
“They won’t come little girl” the monster had told me the first time I saw him. “They were the ones who sold you to me after all.”
In the living room of my parents’ house I stood up, shaking in helpless fury, fighting against the tears, trying to calm my mind so that I could beat this monster, so that I could save my friend.
Orochimaru bent down to pick up Kazumi but I shielded her body with earth.
“Like I said, step back!” I growled. I had my whole senses on the monster, to react when he was only moving an inch. That was the reason why I felt too late that my father had appeared behind me. He tackled me to the ground, pinning my body down, pressing a knee in my back, holding my wrists. I screamed bloody murder, but I was helpless. I couldn’t prevent the monster from taking Kazumi and disappearing.
Kazumi was gone. My friend was taken, and I was left with my helplessness, my tears and the two monsters who were calling themselves my parents.