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Rotes Blut by BattyBigSister

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Story notes: Disclaimer: Naruto, both manga and anime, and any related work do not in any way belong to me. This is a fan-made story, unrelated to the original creators of Naruto, intended purely for the amusement of other fans. No defamation of any sort is intended towards the original manga and anime, its characters and creators or anyone else related to the official Naruto franchise. This work is available for free, on a wholly non-commercial basis, and no profit has been made or is intended to be made by its production and distribution.
Chapter notes: Why in the name of all things with spines am I writing a horror story? What on earth am I on? I can't watch or read horror stories myself. I get scared way too easily...

Oh dear...

I have no idea how often I am going to update this one as SWB and SA retain priority over it, but I felt like making a start just to see how this thing is going to be received...


Red hot dusty wind blew across the street, as the Kazekage stood watching the family packing all their belongings up onto the carts. The elderly white-haired grandmother scolded loudly as her son-in-law carefully attempted to load up furniture she had owned for decades. His wife and her sister were balancing on the boxes and crates, strapping them down against the strong winds on the journey ahead. Young children whined and cried among the caravan, hushed by their older cousins. Men tackled the baying camels, bringing them into line among a flurry of stamping hooves and stubborn lowing. Women hurried about checking on provisions and dashing back into houses for things that might have been forgotten. Camels huffed, carts shook and children squealed, rubbing their eyes against the early morning sun that barely tipped over the edge of the great stone walls of the hidden village. After decades and generations of loyal servitude, the family was now leaving Suna forever.

"I still cannot believe I am letting you do this," the Yondaime sighed, sticking his hands deep into the folds of his white haori. The sandstone courtyard around them was pale and heavy with shadows in the dim rosy light. Burning torches flickered on the walls and the air was still moist with the morning dew. His sandals slapped against the worn tiles as the Kazekage adjusted his feet, his strong features frowning as he gazed unhappily at the floor.

"It is for the best," came the reply. It was spoken by a broad-shouldered man of a similar age. He might have been an inch or so taller than the Kazekage and he was certainly wider, in all directions, having been born has the sort of man whom nature had intended to be big and muscly and … well… big. Square-faced and jawed, a long scar traced the underside of his thick chin and neck. His heavy brown desert robes were stretched tight over his giant frame. In the middle of his face he sported a short, stubby nose and a pair of deep-set eyes. A hardened cauliflower ear peeked through his mess of wiry hair and his voice was deep and gruff as he spoke.

Nestled tightly in muscular arms, loosely swaddled in the folds of his sleeves, a little baby kicked and cooed. Already as dark-skinned and ruddy-faced as its parent, it fisted bits of his clothing and gurgled away to itself in happy oblivion of the events surrounding it. "After everything that's happened," he continued in a softer, sadder, tone, "I don't want this little one to grow up the way we did. You understand that, surely?" He brushed the baby's bald head and smiled, as it cooed and reached for his fingers, attempting to suck on them like a dummy. Its father grinned and played with it, holding the fingers just out of reach as it tried to grasp them.

"I do understand," the Kazekage glanced at the infant. It turned its big brown eyes towards him, a fleck of drool marking its chin as it kicked away in its sand-coloured jumpersuit, ironically baring the symbol of their hidden village proudly across its front. "After everything that's happened, perhaps I don't even have the right to call myself a father anymore," he closed his eyes, angling his head back towards the floor. "It figures you would want to protect your child from me."

The man stared up at him, his features contorting into a frown. "Don't say that," he chided him, shaking his head as he adjusted the baby in his arms, "Your children need you now more than ever."

"My poor children," the Kazekage replied sardonically. He scoffed, shaking his own head, "I am the Kazekage first and their father second. In essence they became orphans the day their mother died." He turned his head away bitterly, glaring at the desert sand as it shifted across cracks in the tiles in the slight breeze. Alone in his long flowing robes, he cut a lonely figure in the courtyard. His naturally spikey brown hair lay bare without its hat and his contorted face bore a mask of resentment, as he scuffed his sandals and glowered against the world. If the man he was speaking to had not been his childhood friend, this conversation would never have even begun and very soon now the chance of ever talking like this again would be gone forever. The family were leaving and the man with them.

"Don't say that," he replied softly, holding the baby closer to his chest, "They are your precious children still." He rocked the infant against himself, his eyes wide with grief as he watched his life-long friend in his internal struggle.

"My children are as nothing unless they have value for Suna," the Kazekage spat coldly, his arms folded, as he turned away from him to stare at a wall instead, "I don't blame you for wanting to take your daughter away from all that… away from a cold calculating monster like me… and my son." His mouth tightened as he spoke the words.

"I am not leaving because of your son," the man retorted, his face fierce, "You know what my daughter faces if we stay… How could just expect me to stand by and let that happen?" Uncomfortable as he held it slightly too tight, the baby whined. Her father instantly loosened his grip, hushing it gently against his chest.

"I know," the Kazekage sighed, closing his eyes, allowing his head to hang slightly, "I don't expect you to stay. That's why I'm letting you go… Much to the council's disgust." He looked away towards Suna's distant centre, obscured as it was by the courtyard walls.

The man did not seem reassured. "I need you to protect this baby," he insisted, drawing closer and bouncing the infant against shoulder, "Or she will never be safe." His face had hardened and there was a wide desperate sheen to his eyes as he pressed his lips together, imploring his friend to listen.

His attitude seemed to surprise the Kazekage. "You already have my word," he assured him, holding up his hands out flat as he faced him. His brows knotted, as he regarded his frantic friend. "You know you have it."

"Swear," his friend demanded, narrowing his eyes, "Swear it again." His voice was strangely cold as he remained resolute in his worry.

"Alright, I swear," the Kazekage replied, rolling his eyes, "She will be safe. She'll never become a shinobi or know her own power. Nothing is going to hurt her for as long I live to prevent it. You know that." He held up his hands again, spreading them outwards from his heart as if to imply that he was concealing nothing.

The man shook his head, kissing the top of the baby's bald scalp. "I hope so," he murmured uncertainly.

"I swear," his friend repeated, his voice much more solemn this time, "As I am her Kazekage and yours, she will be safe. I promise you." He took a step towards his friend, his eyes stern as he regarded him. His fists curled tightly in the sleeves of his official white haori.

"Thank you…" the man breathed unhappily, kissing the top of the infant's head again, his gaze growing softer as he did so. He gulped down a breath of air, glancing up into the blood-red dawn, "I just… I can't…"

He was interrupted by a bushy-haired blonde in flowing green robes, who hurtled towards them from one of the wagons. Her oversized stomach wobbling, still full of post-natal fat, she clutched her ample skirts with one hand as she ran. "Anata!" she yelled, waving frantically with the other, "Your mother wants to leave now! She says we've got a lot of distance to make before the midday sun."

The Kazekage patted his friend reassuringly on his free shoulder. "You take good care of my daughter-in-law," he commanded gently, pushing him off towards his waiting wife.

It had been intended as a joke, but instead of reassuring him or making him laugh, the man balked, glancing uncertainly at the baby he held. "I hope she'll never have to become that."

As he watched him walking off, holding out the baby to her fussing mother, as he saw the little family of three climb into one of the wagons and signal to its driver, the Kazekage hung his head, breathing deeply. "Yeah…" he muttered, "Me too."

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