PRICES GO UP AT THE GATE
Disclaimer: I own absolutely nothing about Naruto, all said… except for my character - Hatayama Juri
Notes: This takes place briefly after Sasuke and Naruto had fought. Alternate universe: it doesn’t follow the regular plotline. What I’m going to use is as follows:
After the Rasengan and Chidori encounter, Naruto is knocked unconscious. Sasuke seems to snap out of his strange phase and realizes just what he’s done. When Kakashi arrives seconds later. Kimimaro was delayed and did not fight Garaa or Rock Lee. He arrives now, and Kakashi sends Sasuke to bring Naruto back to Konoha. Kakashi ‘dies’ by Kimimaro’s hand.
In Love with a Ghost
… A Naruto fan fiction
In Love with a Ghost © SilverDragon
Naruto © Kishimoto Masashi
Chapter 1 –
"Mo-om! I'm going over to Ichi's for a bit!" I called out, slipping on my sandals by the door. I slid the mahogany door halfway open before I was interrupted by my mother’s voice.
"Hai, hai. Will you be back for dinner?" I shook my head slowly before answering. Silly me, it wasn’t as if she could see me.
"I told you I was going to go to a restaurant tonight, remember? Ichi said that there's this really good restaurant that just opened up!" I didn't say bar. If I had would’ve said that... I wouldn't be coming within 10 feet of the door. So it was a 'restaurant' according to Ichi. Shiranui Ichi, one of my old childhood friends.
"All right..." my mother's voice came back faintly, "Don't come home too late!"
"I'll see you later then!" I called back.
I heard an answering grunt from my father, accompanied by my mother's soft voice. My father was more protective than my mother. Well, I wonder what gave me that impression? Let's just say he was protective and leave it at that. I don't want to go into details of what happened to the last boy who had looked at me wrong. And 'wrong' meaning trying to ask me for directions to the nearest bookstore. I'll tell you; it wasn't a pretty sight. According to my father, he was ‘eyeing’ me up. That would also explain why I refused to go out in public with my parents ever again.
Pushing the door completely open, I flinched when a couple of drops of water hit the top of my head. Cold! I narrowly dodged the next few drops and stepped further out.
I breathed in deeply as the front door slid shut behind me, stretching amiably. I loved the after smell of rain. It smelt like… rain. It had just drizzled a few hours ago, leaving its presence on everything around me.
'Mmm...' Blinking, I looked down. My feet were already starting to get wet. And I had barely taken two steps from the house! Sandals plus after-rain weather equals wet feet.
Making a disgusted face at my now wet sandals (as well as feet), I sighed softly and continued to trek my way through the puddles. Most of the street was starting to dry but there were still some pretty big ones left.
I glanced quickly at my watch, noting with worry that I was late. I had five minutes to get across town - the usual walk took about 30 minutes. You see, I'm the kind of person who doesn't like to be late. I would rather be a lot earlier, than a little bit late. But I suppose Ichi wouldn’t care. She was probably already getting drunk off her ass already.
I paused at the edge of the woods. If I cut through the forest, it would cut the time down in half. If I didn't and stuck with the usual path, I would still be late even if I ran. I was late going either way, but at least I could be half as late.
Very hesitantly, I took a step towards the forest, but stopped. I had heard rumors of... things... in the forest. But then again...
I glanced back towards the main road.
Bah. I was 22 years old! Why on earth would - should I believe in such things as ghosts and goblins? And if I did meet any, I could pretend to go ninja on its ass and then run like hell.
More confidently, I pushed my way past a few bushes and started to trek through the trees and grass. It really was a nice forest - just... not when the sky was dark and I was all alone.
A wolf howled and I whipped my head to the left, noticing that the moon was almost full. Great. Of all the nights it chose to be almost full, it had to be tonight. I quickened my pace, feeling my heart beginning to race.
Ba-bump. Ba-bump. Ba-bump.
My eyes widened as I turned my head left, towards the movement. I slowed to a stop. Maybe I should go back. This was a bad idea after all.
But when I turned around...
I found that every tree seemed to look the very same.
'The hell?' I thought. I knew these woods like the back of my hand! When I was smaller, I would always come here; to find a place to read a book or to just fool around with Ichi.
But... I hadn't been in them for quite a while. Maybe that was why... Or maybe it was because it was you know… dark.
I did another full circle, hoping to recognize some sort of landmark. I did another turn, shrieked in fear, before taking off. No way in hell was I staying to find out what that hideous face was. I've seen those horror movies; people pause to find out what it is and then boom! They're dead. Simple, really. Well, I'm not going to end up being chop-suey like those people did! No siree!
'OH GOD!' I screamed mentally, urging my feet to run faster. When I broke out of the tree line and arrived in a clearing, I stopped. Wait a second...
Turning around and staring back into the trees, I tilted my head.
I've just realized something. Whatever had scared me had been wearing a Konoha forehead protector. I had seen it on its forehead. I quietly tiptoed back – quite a ways and then heard…
"Mou! Didn't know I was that scary looking..."
I frowned in both annoyance and anger.
Some little freak had tricked me! Glowering at a bush where the sound seemed to be coming from, I stomped angrily up to it; before placing my hands on my hips and staring at it. What should I do with the prankster?
Smirking, I brought my fist up and slammed it into the bush, letting out a satisfied grunt as it came down heavily on something solid.
There was a yelp of pain and something flashed out of the bush, disappearing down the path where I had just come back from - the clearing.
Growling, I bolted after it. I didn't want it to get away. I had to get that stupid... brat back! No one scares Juri and gets away with it! Ha!
I picked up speed, seeing as he was already gone. When I reached the clearing I had been in only a few moments ago, I stopped, frowning and breathing hard. I was so out of shape. And that damn brat was so fast.
I glanced around in confusion. Where did that freak go?
"AHHH!" I screamed, and whirled around - only to face a man. A man that was nearly half a foot taller than me, and had spiked up silver hair. I could tell that he was a shinobi of the Leaf. The big giveaway was of course – the forehead protector (that I had mentioned earlier), that was pulled down to cover his left eye. Well, that changes things. At least I didn't have to worry about him attacking me, since we were of the same kind, ne? Well, even if I wasn’t really a ninja. I’ll just count myself as lucky that he wasn’t another country’s nin. Or some goblin.
Unless of course; he was planning on being a missing-nin. That's when I would have to hope that I was faster than him.
I couldn't see his face because he had on a black mask on. That only made him more suspicious. I blinked at him. He was also a Jounin – the hint being his uniform.
I couldn't see why a Jounin was out on an evening like this, trying to scare the shit out of women like me.
I paused, "You!"
"Why... the... did... you..." I sputtered; unable to form any sentence that made the least bit of sense. But somehow, he got the meaning of it.
"I wasn't trying to scare you before. I was just having a late stroll in the woods when I saw a lady like yourself. Of course, a lady like yourself should not be out in these woods. Especially if a lady like yourself is alone and I think that a lady like yourself should of had an escort, yes?"
I stared at him. Huh? Woosh! All of what he had just said went right over my head; in one ear and out the other.
"All I caught was that you weren't trying to scare me," I commented in confusion. I blinked at him. He looked kind of familiar actually. Where have I seen him before? I hope he didn’t notice my careful scrutinizing of him, because that would just be plain awkward. I didn’t think he did, since he wasn’t really looking at me but ninjas are a sneaky bunch.
I heard him sigh deeply, "Very well. I was only checking on you, in case you were in any kind of trouble."
"Ohhhh..." I nodded in understanding, "Well, why didn't you just say so?" With that said, I turned and started to walk away. I had people to see, places to go. No time for small talk. I was positively sure that I was overly late now.
"Wait! Where do you think your going?"
I turned my head back, still walking. "I have to meet a friend and I'm late."
He shrugged indifferent, eye smiling at me, "So? I'm always late. Enjoy the scenery!" I rolled my eyes.
"I don't have time like you do."
"Are you positive that you don't have the least bit notion of who I am?" That question caught me by surprise and I stumbled, almost falling. Almost. I turned slowly and met his gaze dead on. Finally, I shook my head. Sure I thought he had looked familiar, but since I couldn’t recall him – I probably didn’t know him. Either that or he wasn’t important enough to remember.
"Why the hell would I know who you are? We just coincidently met.” I retorted, before whirling and nearly bumping into something.
My eyes widened in surprise and I turned my head around, before looking back in front of me. He was no longer behind me – that was for sure.
He just had super-speed.
"That's nice," I commented, almost as if to myself, before trying to walk past him. "So you're a stranger with super-speed."
His hand shot out, seizing me by the wrist. He had a surprised look on his face, "I thought I was hallucinating before..." he murmured softly. I frowned. Hallucinating?
As in seeing things?
"What are you talking about?" I jerked my arm out of his grip, surprised when he just let me go.
"You can actually see me?" he blurted out finally. I hesitated, starting to think that this guy was actually crazy.
"Yes..." I said slowly, backing away step by step. Was this guy going to hurt me or something? Or was he just a little... mentally unstable?
I half expected him to jump on me and attack me but instead, he pulled out a book and flipped to a page; starting to read. I stood there, dumbfounded. What had just happened?
A few seconds later, he looked up at me, "Oh, sorry. Can you possibly meet me here tomorrow at 2 p.m.?" I glanced around slowly. We were at the Shinobi Memorial.
My eyebrows rose even higher. I just met him and he expected me to meet him here? Alone?!
I watched him chuckle, "I'm not going to hurt you, you know." He commented. "You want to find out just who I am? Ask around. A shinobi with silver hair. Perhaps you will come when you find out."
I backed up once again, only to see him disappear in a cloud of smoke a few seconds later.
I glanced around; curiously, cautiously. Where was he? No one was in the clearing now...
Not wasting another second - in case he decided to come back - I bolted off hightailing it out of there to meet Ichi.
"You're terribly late." My bubbly brown haired friend commented as she stood outside of a bar marked; 'Hound'. I raised an eyebrow. Interesting name.
"Sorry," I muttered, "Something came up." I lied. Well, technically, it wasn't a lie... just... not the entire truth. Lie by omission.
She only nodded, before latching onto my arm and dragging me into the building. "Well, what are you waiting for? Come on!" After nodding to a big guy that was guarding the door, Ichi pushed the swinging door open to reveal something akin to a huge party going on.
Well, a party filled with drunks.
Okay. Night club, anyone?
I gave Ichi a look, who returned my look with a sly grin.
You see, technically, I've never been drunk before. Never had a drop of alcohol, unless you counted the one time when I was four years old. My father had been holding a mug in his hand, his eyes fixed on the television. Me, being a curious little bugger that I was, had slipped over and took a sip, only to spit it out again. I didn't know what it was, and it just happened to be a mug of beer. Put me off of beer forever.
"EWWWW!! ICky!" I whined, gagging and putting on a hangdog face.
My father's eyes crinkled up in confusion. "What's wrong?" As you all would've guessed, I had taken a curious sip out of that mug.
Wordlessly pouting haughtily, I pointed at his mug, which caused him to roar with laughter.
When he had calmed himself down enough to speak he gasped out, "Oh, Juri-chan," he commented. "Life just wouldn’t be the same without you." He shook his head and returned his attention back to the television.
And so; other than that little incident, I have never had any sort of alcohol. None. Zip. Talk about psychological trauma.
Ichi had now pulled me up to a stool, planting me firmly in it and taking the seat beside me. She flashed me a grin before waving for the bartender to come over.
I rested my head in my arms in defeat. Ichi was just trying to get me drunk, I could tell. Well, looks like I would have to resist her.
The bartender came over; a tall, broad shouldered man that looked to be in his 20's or 30's. He had short brown hair and a scar that ran down the left side of his face. I would hate to think about who gave him that, or who would even have had the guts to go against this big guy.
"And what can I get you two young ladies?" he flashed us both a smile, by which Ichi responded by ordering.
"Two tall glasses of Chi-Chi, please."
The man winked at me, before turning around to get the drinks, "Two glasses of Chi-Chi, coming right up," (A/N: 1)
I turned to Ichi, hissing, "What are you doing?!"
Ichi offered me an innocent smile, "Getting us a drink,"
"You know I don't drink," I grumbled, putting on an innocent face as the bartender came back, setting our drinks down before going off to serve others.
"Awww... come on! You're 22 years old and you've never had any kind of alcohol! You have to live a little, Juri! You can't just sit around and do nothing until you’re an old granny sitting in a rocking chair, sewing some scarf up,"
I mentally shuddered at the thought, "Better than getting drunk and making an entire fool of myself," I retorted. Old granny or not, I didn't want to get drunk, especially at a place like this.
It was a really nice place, really. There were too many strangers and weird people around. I wasn’t willing to act like an idiot in front of a bunch of people I didn’t know. That was just asking for it to come back and bite me in the ass. Just because we lived in a good village didn’t mean that bad things didn’t happen.
"Come on! Just one then," Ichi encouraged. I made a disgusted face at the drink I was holding, before taking a small sip.
Swirling it in my mouth, I could taste the pineapple, the ice in it only made it colder. "It's not bad..." I muttered, eyeing the drink. It sort of tasted like a fruit punch, just... with less kinds of fruit. That's when the vodka kicked in and I gave Ichi another look.
"See!" Ichi exclaimed, "I told you that you would like it!" She took a sip of hers and we settled into a comfortable silence - not counting the conversations and situations going on around us.
I paused, remembering the silver haired ninja I had encountered in the forest.
She grunted in reply.
"Do you know of any silver haired ninja's around here?"
She choked on her drink, coughing and nearly spewing it all over the table.
Alarmed, I sidled over, slapping her lightly on the back and holding her drink for her. "Are you all right?"
"I'm - cough - fine... -cough, hack-" When she had calmed down enough, she spoke once again, "What makes you ask that?"
I shrugged. "Curiosity," I mumbled.
Ichi only gave me a suspicious look before continuing, rolling her large brown eyes, "Very well. I will tell you, since you are never up-to-date with the present situations..." She paused, "... well, technically, this isn't a present situation. It happened nearly 4 years ago… or was it 3? I don’t remember."
I nodded, giving her my undivided attention. "Go on,"
"Well, you have heard of the almost occurring War with the Sound, right?" Ichi asked, taking another sip of her drink.
I nod again.
"Well, this is a story about a mysterious ninja named Hatake Kakashi.” She blinked at me. “I’m assuming it’s him, because he’s just about the only ninja in Konoha with silver hair." My eyebrows rose. Silver hair...
"He was known as the Copy Ninja of Konoha; the one with the one Sharingan eye, although he almost always kept it covered by his forehead protector. I... I think it was his left eye that had it. The most mysterious thing about him was that he had the bottom half of his face covered by a black mask."
My eyes widened. So... the possibility of this man that I had met being Hatake Kakashi was pretty high, considering the description Ichi had just told me. In fact, Ichi’s description was basically dead on.
"He trained a team; Team 7, and was a Jounin. If I’m not mistaken, he used to belong to the ANBU squadrons.” Ichi explained softly.
“Hehhhhh…” I murmured. “So what happened to him?”
“Well.” Ichi downed the rest of her drink and motioned for another refill, which the bartender granted. “Orochimaru, a former sannin, launched an attack on Konoha, remember?” I nodded. “Well, a little while after that something big happened. Not all of the villagers know about it. I only know a little myself.” I saw her eyes scan the room quickly, for eavesdroppers.
"Then how do you know?" I whispered, leaning my head closer to Ichi's and keeping my voice low.
"My brother, Genma, you know him, right?"
"He was one of the few Jounin who knew about this. But he wouldn't reveal any more information than the fact that something big had happened." Ichi winked, "And besides, you don't know how much information you can get out of a guy, especially if he comes home drunk," I snorted and Ichi continued, "But I know this. Hatake Kakashi was sent to go after a team of Genin that was led by a Chuunin. They were supposed to retrieve something, or someone."
"Chuunin..." I echoed softly, my brain clicking away.
"Yes. But... he never returned."
My eyebrows rose, "He never returned?"
"No one knows what happened, but his body was soon found afterwards; after the team had returned. All of them were severely injured. I think their mission succeeded though, because the came back with another Genin as well. Uchiha Sasuke."
I didn't think that Ichi was lying about that. She was a nurse that worked at the Konoha hospital, so she would know about this sort of stuff.
"His body… Hatake’s body... was barely injured. There were no signs of injuries, except for two punctures in his chest," Ichi lowered her voice even more and I had to lean closer to hear this part, "But... his insides... It was as if whatever had gone through those two wounds tore his insides apart. It... He must have died instantly..." Ichi swallowed thickly, "I... I shouldn't be telling you this... you know… patient confidentiality and all…"
Ichi took a big gulp of her drink, eyes focused on the table, not meeting mine.
I sighed softly. "It is okay, Ichi-chan, you know I won't tell anyone."
"I know..." she whispered, "But... I still remember the body... the x-rays we took of him." I felt guilty almost instantly. Ichi, being a nurse, was a hard person to shake up. But talking about the status of this fellow’s body was seriously freaking her out. Why?
I decided to change the subject, thinking of cheering Ichi up. I could always find out later, some way or another. "Well, enough of that," I said brightly. "Drink the night away?" I asked, raising my glass.
She offered a small smile. "Drink the night away." She confirmed. We clashed glasses and I watched as she downed her glass in one gulp, "Excuse me! Another glass please!"
I sighed. I really shouldn't have brought up bad memories for Ichi... She acts really rash when she gets into one of her moods.
My mind focused on a single thought.
But... if Hatake Kakashi was dead... then who was the man I had met earlier?
I grunted as I helped Ichi out of the bar, listening to her sing a song horribly off tune.
I really, really, really shouldn't have brought up so many bad memories.
I really regretted asking her about this mysterious figure now. But despite that, my mind was still stumped on this mysterious person. Who was he? He most definitely couldn't be this Hatake Kakashi we had talked about, because he was dead. But Ichi had said it herself, there weren’t that many silver haired ninjas in Konoha. And the description she had given me was terrifyingly accurate.
"Ichi." I grumbled as she swayed, nearly taking us both to the ground. "I'm bringing you home first,"
"No," she muttered childishly. "I dun wanna go home yet. I wanna go ‘n drink some more! WeeEEE!!" she pumped her fist into the air, nearly hitting me square in the face. The stupid thing was that this was her attempt to get me drunk, but yet, she gets drunk herself. I suppose it was because I was pretending to drink half the time, which probably led her to believe that I would get drunk before she would.
I rolled my eyes and oofed as Ichi passed out, arm still slung around my shoulder. Aww... crap! Now I had to carry dead weight... a limp body, which was going to be very heavy.
Glancing down the main street, which was virtually deserted, I began to make my way slowly down the dark path. I stopped at a junction. Take a short-cut through the alley or no? Meh. I started through. Guess I haven’t quite learned my lesson about short-cuts yet.
I stumbled down the alley, cursing under my breath and trying to carefully regain my footing - only to fall flat on my face with Ichi right on top of me.
I lifted my head slightly before letting it fall against the ground.
This was going to take a while.
I knocked on the door, Ichi still leaning fully against me.
I heard footsteps and soon the door creaked open, only to reveal the sleepy face of Shiranui Genma.
His eyebrows rose at the sight of me and his sister on the doorstep. "And you are..?" His sleepiness seemed to be gone now.
"A friend of Ichi's," I mumbled, "Hatayama Juri, if you wish to know."
"Ahhh," Shiranui smirked at his sister, even though she was unconscious. "Let me guess. She tried to get you drunk, but got drunk herself."
I nodded sullenly and was relieved of her weight a few seconds later as Shiranui himself picked up Ichi, before turning and looking over his shoulder. "You want to come in?"
I shook my head. "I have to get home or my mom will freak,"
Shiranui’s eyebrow went up once again. "You still live with your parents?" My eyes narrowed.
It was a sore topic, considering how everyone still made fun of that fact. "You got a problem with that?" I snapped, suddenly grouchy. It’s been a long night. A very long night, indeed.
"Gomen, it was just a question. I think it's rather nice that you can still get along with your parents at your age,"
My anger died down, and I waved goodbye. "I should get going, I guess."
"Aa. I guess so. Good night." I saw him shift his hold on Ichi and nudged the door with his toe slightly. The door began to close.
"Good –" I broke off, remembering something. "Wait!"
Shiranui opened the door again, "Hai?"
"Do you know a ninja who has silver hair?" I blurted out. Shiranui’s expression dulled.
"Why do you ask?" he asked finally, eyes searching my face.
I shrugged, "I... ano..." I muttered. Should I even tell him the truth? Would he even believe me? What the hell would I say anyway? ‘Oh, a man I met in the woods today wants to meet with me alone. While I was trying to figure out who he was, I found out that he was supposedly dead. Therefore I shouldn’t have been able to meet him. Do you have any more information you wish to drop on my head?’ Yes, that would go over really well.
Shiranui shook his head, "Then I cannot tell you anything. If you wish to know something about one of my closest comrades, I suggest you give me a reason why."
An alarm system inside began to nag at me. I had to get home soon.
"Can we talk about this tomorrow?" I asked finally. Shiranui hesitated, before nodding, his brown hair falling in his eyes.
"Meet me by the memorial at 2 p.m. You know where that is, ne?"
I raised my eyebrows, but nodded before bidding a second goodbye and walking down the street, hearing the door close behind me.
‘It’s the same time that that mysterious ninja had told me to meet him at... and by the same place as well...’
Coincidence? Let’s hope so. No more surprises, please.
I walked into my dark house, tiptoeing, knowing— hoping that my parents were probably asleep.
"Hatayama Juri, where have you been, young lady?!" my mother shrieked, standing at the top of the stairs. "It's nearly half past 3 in the morning!" I stared blankly at her. She was still wearing black slacks and a short sleeved shirt. Had she waited up for me?
I hesitated, and made up a quick story. "Uh... Ichi invited me to go to her house to play some Shogi, and... Uh... we lost track of time?" The ending sounded a bit like a question and prayed to Kami that my mother hadn't caught it.
My mother narrowed her eyes at me. "We are going to have a talk tomorrow about this. Right now, go to bed."
I cringed as I walked past her and into my room, falling into my bed in relief. Thank Kami that my mother hadn't decapitated me or anything... yet.
I was already an adult, but yet my parents still treated me like I was a young teenager.
Changing quickly into pajamas, I paused. Maybe I should shower... I did smell like alcohol. I was surprised my mother hadn't noticed it at all. Or maybe she had and I was going to get it tomorrow. Damn.
I stepped into the hall and tiptoed into the bathroom, closing the door behind me.
Done showering and now dressed in my pajamas, I rubbed my hair with a towel, sitting on my bed cross-legged.
"Bah," I muttered. "Dry enough..." I didn't really care anymore; I just wanted to go to sleep. Man was I ever tired.
Tossing the towel over towards the general direction of where my desk was, I burrowed under the covers, shutting off the lamp beside my bed.
"So... your name is Juri..." a voice commented.
I jerked up into a sitting position on the bed in fear, clicking the lamp on…
… Only to stare at none other than the same silver haired ninja from before. A head protector covering left eye. A mask covering the bottom half of his face... He fit the description of Hatake Kakashi perfectly.
"So... find out enough?" he asked finally, eye curving.
"Who the hell are you?" I hissed quietly, noting that I shouldn't wake my parents. They wouldn't appreciate barging in here and finding a man standing in here - much less a man standing in my room. A girl's room at that.
I pulled my blankets up slightly. I didn’t want some strange man staring at my teddy-bear pajamas...
"Didn't you already find that out from your friend? Or her brother? Or should I say... my comrade?"
I felt my blood run cold. But... that meant... he was... a...
"Let me refresh your memory, if you had forgotten." The man continued, his hair gleaming in the moonlight. "I am Hatake, Kakashi."
To be continued…
1 - Chi-Chi : A Chi-Chi is made from:
1 & 1/4 oz. vodka
2 oz. pineapple juice
1 oz. cream of coconut
8 oz. crushed ice
All the ingredients are blended together until smooth, served in a wine glass.
Revised July 24, 2008
cool..... I really like your story........
keep it up
I am what I am
catchin up with anime