The evening was serenely quiet. An unusual trait for this community to posses. I had wandered quite far away from the heart of the town in a feeble attempt to drown out the constant bustling of village life, and in achieving so surprised myself.
I have seen many nights in many different lands throughout my thirteen years of life, but never have I been so astounded with one town's ability to be so comfortingly disruptive. Nothing was ever calm in Konaha, and I was beginning to suspect that I had simply been severely unobservant and missed some sort of great important gathering in a particular part of the village.
Sighing, I stared up at the vibrant sky, a beautiful array of pastel pinks and yellows painted over the mountain. Closing my eyes, I gently pushed my chakra away from my body, searching in the dusky atmosphere for any other signs of life. My eyes flickered open as my senses arrived in a clearing not far from where I was positioned.
My eyebrows knitted together. The presence was male, and significantly stronger than mine, but I didn't find anything threatening about him. Shrugging my shoulders I got to my feet, brushing the dust off my knees as I went to stand in front of an old, sturdy-looking tree trunk. I had sought this place out to concentrate on my training, and one measly nearby presence wasn't about to stop me.
I brought my hands together and, taking a deep breath, wove my fingers into the correct hand sign.
'Wind style, Wind Chakra Claw,' I spoke aloud, forcing chakra into a balled fist. I flung my arm forward, sending a boomerang shaped burst of energy hurtling at the trunk. It collided with a sharp crackle, splintering the wood and ripping a harsh jagged line across the bark.
I smirked, pleased with my progress. I was about to repeat the technique when a sudden movement caught my attention from the corner of my eye. I whirled on my heel and drew a kunai from my ninja pouch, dipping into a defensive crouch in the process.
My sapphire irises locked with jet black and I visibly relaxed as I registered the Leaf emblem portrayed on his headband.
'You shouldn't drop your guard just because of my village symbol, you know.' His expression was almost scolding as he made to walk towards me. 'Any idiot knows that.'
'Who said I dropped my guard. Maybe I wanted you to think that!' I scowled, lying through my teeth. When he didn't reply, I tightened my grip on my weapon and watched as he continued to invade my training site.
His eyes glinted with amusement as my annoyance became more and more obvious. 'Maybe you did, but even so I could still kill you without a problem, so you may as well relax.' He was toying with me.
'Who the hell do you think you are?' I snarled.
'I could say the same to you, outsider.'
I glowered at the honorific. He was right, I was not born in the Fire country and had only been residing in this village for little over a year. However I bore no physical evidence of this fact, and to the naked eye I blended in quite easily.
He, on the other hand, had quite a well-known clan crest that was distinctly native to Konaha plastered all over his attire. His dark hair was pulled back into a loose ponytail that fell just between his shoulder blades where the familiar red and white fan symbol was printed.
I jabbed my knife into the air where his face would be if he persisted in his advancing. 'What makes you think that, Uchiha?'
Finally coming to a halt no more than a meter away, he raised an eyebrow slightly and the corner of his mouth tilted upwards. 'So you've heard of my clan, then? That's not surprising, even those foreign to this land are aware of the importance of my family.'
Cocky bastard… I fisted my hand by my side as I returned my kunai. 'I wouldn't think so highly of yourself, Uchiha. I'm your worst opponent.'
At this, his expression grew serious, briefly pondering whether of not to call my bluff. In all honesty, I was no match for this boy, however there was a considerable advantage I held over the Uchiha.
It took me a moment to realise what I had gotten myself into. Within seconds, he was behind me, black eyes swirling and mixing with a deep crimson. I leapt forward, pulling out my kunai again and smirking as I stared deep into his Sharingan.
His eyes flashed in brief annoyance and confusion, and he shot forward at an unimaginable speed. His fist connected with my stomach and I grimaced, barely suppressing a squeal of both pain and shock. I was sent tumbling backwards until my back was slammed into the same tree I had been practicing on.
His face, now mere inches from mine, briefly contorted in an irritated glare before he regained a calm composure. I started to struggle against his hold, but on realising that was futile, settled on fixing my most hostile glare into his red irises.
After a moment, he spoke, his voice low and dangerous. 'Who are you? Tell me your name.'
I was about to protest but his furious expression convinced me otherwise. 'My name is Akira Haiyuka.'
'What clan are you from?'
'I don't… My parents were from a travelling race. A caravan, if you like. No particular clan.'
His eyes searched my face trying to determine if I was lying. I wasn't. My parents were both normal kunoichi, from no particular background.
If I wasn't on such thin ice I would have smirked and made a snide comment about his lack of Genjutsu use, but I swallowed my pride and clamped my mouth shut. I may have been an outsider, but I wasn't stupid.
'My Sharingan doesn't affect you…' It wasn't a question.
I shook my head slowly, watching his every move with caution. He didn't seem annoyed anymore, more curious if anything.
'Why?' He tilted his head and loosened his grip on my shoulders. I shrugged his hands off and edged sideways away, trying to distance myself.
'Maybe I just don't fall for such a weak Jutsu…' I cursed inwardly at my smart mouth.
'You really don't know when to shut up, do you?' Despite his words, his expression remained unchanging and it was beginning to unnerve me. I looked away awkwardly and suddenly his hands were on my face, holding my head up and forcing me to look him right in the eye.
I froze instinctively. Though I knew there was no way his eyes would be a threat to me, his level of skill definitely was, and I didn't plan on dying anytime soon.
'Why?' He asked again, more forcefully this time.
I hadn't wanted to give away my abilities so easily but I really didn't see a way out of this without giving him what he wanted. 'It's… part of my Kekkei Genkai…' I started hesitantly. He seemed momentarily surprised by this, but waited for me to continue.
'You're not the only one with a talent for Genjutsu.'
'Why should that matter? I've met others who have used Genjutsu, but none with an immunity to the Sharingan. I wonder…' He trailed off, lost in thought.
I took this opportunity to escape, once again from his grasp. I backed up slowly until I reached the other side of the clearing. He made no move to try to stop me, so I took my chance and sprung off into the depths of the surrounding foliage.
It had been three days since my encounter with the Uchiha stranger, and I had not made a habit of returning to that clearing. As I wandered aimlessly through the bustling market place, I found myself scanning the crowd in search of the mysterious stranger that now held the knowledge of a big part of my ability.
Cocky bastard. The whole Uchiha clan has probably been warned against me by now. I scowled at the thought and flipped my messy ocean-coloured hair over my shoulder trying to shake off the disappointing feeling.
The idea that maybe I had imagined the whole scene had crossed my mind, but I had rolled my eyes at my naïve ponderings and forced the encounter to the back of my mind.
My shopping bag was just beginning to fill up and I headed over to one of the smaller, less-crowded fruit stalls. I picked up a couple of apples and tossed them into a bag, plonking them onto the scales to assess the price.
'You know, the green ones are much cheaper and taste pretty much the same…' I looked up to see a boy I didn't recognise. He had short black, spiky hair that stuck out in all directions, maybe a couple of years older than myself. The shadow of the stall shaded the vivid colour of his inquisitive eyes, but they were still very blatantly red.
'Great another one…' I muttered, too quietly for him to hear, before plastering a smile across my mouth. 'Thanks, I'll keep that in mind.'
I went to move away but his hand caught my wrist. 'Hey you're not from Konaha, are you?'
Great, he really has told all his little Uchiha buddies… 'Not until recently. What gave me away?'
'Your ninja pack.' He grinned at my oblivious expression. 'It has the kanji for 'Wolf' on it, right? Not many folk around this village who even know of the Wolf summons clan.'
Smart. Very smart… 'Then how do you know of it?' I couldn't help but wonder. The wolves were an extremely suspicious clan when it came to humans, and they rarely trusted any creature other than their own kind.
'I heard some of the elders talking about it once.' He shrugged, not seeming to think anything of it. 'I'm Shisui by the way!'
He stuck his hand out in front of me and I took it reluctantly. 'I'm Akira… Erm, did you know that you have your Sharingan activated?'
He stared at me curiously but blinked them back to a deep black anyway. 'Sorry, I didn't mean to threaten you…'
I scoffed. 'I wasn't threatened, I just figured you hadn't realised. I've heard it can be very…' I searched for the right word. 'Chakra-consuming?'
He laughed lightly, reactivating them casually. 'Nah, not for me. Are you gonna pay for those?' He pointed to the apples that were still sitting in the scaling dish.
'Oh, right.' I quickly gathered them into my bag and handed over the money to the merchant.
'Here, let me help you carry something!' I eyed him dubiously but allowed him to take the lighter of the two bags. I wasn't sure what his game was, but I wasn't buying it.
'So, if you're not from the Leaf, where are you staying?' His tone seemed light enough, and there was nothing about his posture that seemed out-of-place, so I sighed and continued the conversation. Maybe he really is just friendly?
We arrived at my shabby little apartment a few minutes later, and as he began to make his way back to the marketplace, he paused and shouted back to me. 'Hey Akira, maybe I'll see you at the festival tomorrow?'
I smiled and waved, retreating through the front door.
I hadn't really planned on going since I didn't know all that many people in this village. I rarely stayed in one village for more than two years, so I was used to keeping to myself, never really allowing myself to get close to anyone.
The festival was to celebrate the coming of spring, when the Konaha cherry blossom trees began to bloom and a thin layer of baby pink petals littered the dusty floors. I had watched in solitude from my window the past year, and I couldn't help but feel a pang of excitement at the thought of witnessing it in full.
It couldn't hurt I supposed. I would go to the festival tomorrow, maybe even see Shisui there. But I refused to allow myself any attachments to this village or it's people. Ties are just too easily broken, and far too difficult to maintain.