Angel without wings

  Aiko blinked and she looked at Naruto. A boy, a mere baby was sitting cross- legged on the small kitchen table. A large bowl of steaming hot raman swirling before him. Small fingers grasped his chopsticks and began devouring his ram. Aiko joined Naruto at the table watching the boy in wonder, enjoyment and ammusment. “So Naruto-kun do you have any dreams? Asked the curious woman. Naruto’s face gleamed in excitement “I am gonna be the next hokage believe it” Naruto yelled loudly, deafining the young woman.

“Well Naruto-kun I do believe that you will be a fine hokage, when you are older” She smiled happily at the boy. However what she was feeling was completely different, inside she was still the crying little girl who lost everything she cared about. “Really, you really think I will become hokage” Naruto spoke in disbelief at the young womans loving eyes. No one’s ever looked at me with such confidence, such love before Aiko nodded.

“So um one-chan did you say that your new to this village?” Aiko stiffened “Well I’m” He looked alarmed as her wandering eyes settled on him, with an acomanying depth of sadness that startled him. “I’m not really new, I’m returning after a very very long absence”.

A very, very long silence seemed to follow this. Suddenly Aiko’s mouth and voice started to work on their own and she couldn’t do anything to stop it.

“...a little boy, a sweet little boy......

“.....but I couldn’t my heart was breaking.....

“......he reminded me so much of my farther, my mother and our now broken family...

“....Within the space of a few days, I had changed completely. I was no longer the same little girl, so cheeky and mischievous.... I felt that I couldn’t love again, my heart was so broken ...

“....Inside the space of one week, I’d had to bury by parents...

“.....I had to stand there, at the gravesite, my poor, motherless, fatherless brother in my little arms, and say farewell for the little time....

“.....And since that day I never was the same. Something had died inside.........

“.....And I threw myself in my training.....

“......Then, the year I turned eight, I graduated from the academy....

“.....And somehow, some way, I knew all along what my path was going to be, I knew then what else it was that my father had concealed from me. The fact that my mother had known I would leave. She had known I had my own path to follow, even before perhaps even father knew it.....”

A deep, thick silence followed her dying, hoarse words. All Naruto could do was stare at her and wonder how she managed to go through that all and still smile the way she did, you would never imagine that someone as nice as her would be suffering as much as this. Slowly, slowly her eyes rose, fixed on the boy, this mere child, seated so quietly before her. “You might be wondering... no I know your wanting to know... what became of the little baby, our long awaited prince?”

Naruto blinked, startled. The slowly he nodded “The truth is” she paused as her tears escaped from the pools that had been gradually building up around her eyes. “The truth is I don’t know” Naruto looked up, stating at her stunned. Her face almost hidden in her arms, it was her steady, deep royal blue eyes that gazed intently back into his, eyes so full of a strange emotion he wasn’t familiar with”.

“I left behind a helpless child, a poor little baby. I left behind a weak little angel, whose wings hadn’t  developed yet from him to spread them and fly... I left behind a child who had nothing and no one to turn to”. They were now locked in each other’s gazes, unable to tear away even if they’d wanted to. “And now upon returning , I’ve looked and looked for him, little one. I know that the passeage of time causes many changes in people, but I could not have expected much to come from the terrible pit in which I left him could I?

“I tried looking for that helpless child, for a lonely and insecure little boy, for a boy who repelled everything and everyone, because he was abandoned … a boy who hated the world for not caring enough to take him under a protective wing, a loving, secure embrace … I looked for a bitter and resentful nature … the kind of nature that would befit a boy who has been rejected, who has been left in the cold, harsh hold of Loneliness …”

Yet another silence followed, but this was full of a suspenseful tension, and of very short duration …

“And do you know what, little one?” Aiko took a deep, slow breath, forcing herself to control her voice. And with the calming, a lovely little smile returned to her face, her eyes … the smile like the soft touch of a butterfly’s wing …

“I can’t find him. I have looked around me, in this village, and I can’t find that kind of boy …”

And then, strangely, she smiled, almost as if she was … happy …

Happy that she can’t find her brother …?

“There doesn’t seem to be any child in this village like that … there is no child who seems to have lost faith …”

A soft, sweet little laugh, and Naruto felt a strange tightness in his throat as he watched her, as the tears continued to cascade down her face, as she gently rested his cheek against his hand. This strange, but lovely presence in this house, somehow lighting up the heightening the usually depressing mood and feelings he felt when he was in this kitchen by himself. In the light of the single bulb, he gazed at her, her tall, slender form folded into a heap as she knelt beside his chair, as she rested her head against his hands, the long strands of her straight golden hair, curling softly here and there down to her waist …

“Your past has been a painful story, Aiko nee–chan,” He whispered. “I hope that – coming back will make it better.”

Everything seemed to just stop in place. Her fingers, which had been slowly rubbing in between his, her smile, her gaze … Then, she suddenly rose, and placing her hands on his shoulders, gently shifted him out of the seat. Naruto stood before her, confused at the tension in the atmosphere, the strange but beautiful expression in her face, that expression he’d never seen in anyone before …

Then once again, with the gentleness of a butterfly, he felt himself enfolded into her embrace. Once again, his head was slowly pulled against her shoulder and chest, her trembling hand gently, slowly stroking back his golden hair, her chin resting against the top of his head … and a soft, halting, whisper, a voice that was struggling against tears …

“You know … It think it already has.”

The End

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