Chapter 1: Black Mirror
In her hands she held a mirror.
But when she looked into its depths,
all she saw was a never-ending darkness.
Anko strutted through the streets of Konoha and wore a cockily grinned at the people she passed, who either disdainfully glared at her or just ignored her completely. Today was a proud day indeed, for on this day, October 10th, she was promoted to tokubetsu jōnin; the youngest on the force.
She had to admit, though, that she hadn’t expected to pass the exams on the first try. She had heard horror stories about the tokubetsu exams; stories that were worse than the ones for the actual jōnin exams. But she had passed all three parts of the examination, the only one of her fellow examinees who was able to do so.
‘I told you that allowing me to stay would be beneficial,’ Anko thought to herself as heavy raindrops bombarded her body. ‘I’ve always been faithful to this village, no matter what they may think,’ she stated.
Ever since her former sensei, Orochimaru, defected from Konohagakure she had lost all of her comrades’ trust and loyalty. Even her own younger brother, the only family she had, began to act wary around her, avoiding eye contact with her and skirting any type of concentration. And as if she weren’t distressed enough at that point, the Council of Elders were considering keeping her under house arrest for the rest of her life, lest she turn traitor as her sensei had. However, the Hokage steadfastly disallowed the Council from doing so.
But even though it seemed as if everyone despised her for the horrific deeds Orochimaru had done, she kept hope. At the age of thirteen, she truly learned what isolation was like; and conquered it with a smile. She worked harder than any other genin her age to gain the respect of her elders and was subservient to any and all of her elders.
If they told her to bathe in ice water so that she would become stronger, she would do it with a grin. Because nothing would keep her from her dream; to become an elite ninja, like both of her parents were before they were tortured to death by ninja from Iwagakure during the Third Great Shinobi War.
Eventually word began to spread of the willingness of Mitarashi Anko to do anything that her elders told her to. And so more and more people began giving her increasingly dangerous and trivial tasks; ranging from housecleaning to resolving personal vendetta.
But, like with all gossip in the profitable ninja village, word of the subservient girl reached the ears of Sarutobi, the Sandaime Hokage. And, to grossly understate, he was furious that a girl so young could be manipulated by the very people that had vowed to protect their village and everyone within it.
And so he did what he always did in these types of situations; he decided that he would meet Mitarashi Anko not as a superior, but as a consultant.
And after searching for her for hours, he finally found her. She was naked and soaking wet, standing in front of a hidden waterfall.
“Anko?” the old man asked as he stood behind the teenager as she watched the sun begin to disappear over the horizon, painting the sky in a rainbow of color. And as she turned to face him, Sarutobi couldn’t let go of just how young Anko really was.
“Hokage-sama?” she asked, seemingly unaware of her nudity. “Can I do something for you?” she asked while grinning widely.
“What’s your favorite food Anko?” Sarutobi asked as he tried to keep his eyes focused on Anko’s face; it would do him no good if the girl thought he was a lecherous pedophile.
“Dango!” she answered cheerfully. “Why do you want to know?” she asked while
“How would you like to go eat some?” Sarutobi proposed. Within seconds the still wet girl was clinging to his robes tightly. “But Anko, there’s something you must do first,” the Hokage solemnly said. Immediately Anko released the elderly man and looked at him attentively.
“If you were to instruct me to, I’d give my life to you this very second,” she responded just as solemnly.
“Don’t talk such nonsense,” chided Sarutobi gently. “Your life is your own and should be sacrificed only by your own will; never on the orders of another.”
“Of course, Hokage-sama. I apologize for proposing such a foolish offer,” she apologized as she gazed at the ground, refusing to look back at Sarutobi.
“It is alright; just keep that knowledge for future reference. Now as for my one condition; get dressed. It wouldn’t do either of us any good if you were to walk through the village streets naked,” he instructed as he smiled.
“Of course, Hokage-sama.”
Several minutes later the two were eating dango and talking about frivolous things like the weather and how Anko was faring in her new squad, while they walked throughout the village. Everyone who saw the two were effectively baffled by the Hokage’s kindness and acceptance of the girl; after all, she was the protégé of the Orochimaru.
“Thank you very much for the honor of eating with you Hokage-sama,” Anko thanked sincerely with a genuine smile as they reached the Hokage tower.
“Before I leave, Anko, I have a question for you to solve,” he announced as he drew something from his robes and held it in front of the girl. “What do you see?”
Anko gazed at the majesty of the object the older man held in his hands.
“It’s a mirror,” she answered hesitantly, anxious at disappointing Sarutobi with the wrong answer.
“Yes, but what do you see in the mirror?” the old man asked. Anko knitted her brows in thought as she looked at the mirror’s sleek surface.
“I see the dark,” Anko answered after gazing intently at the polished black glass that failed to show Anko her reflection. Sarutobi only smiled gently at the young girl as she looked at him with begging eyes.
“I want you to keep this Anko; and in return you’ll tell me if what you see in it ever changes,” stated the Hokage as he offered it to Anko.
“Th-thank you Hokage-sama,” Anko replied breathlessly. “I’ll treasure it always.” The Hokage then began to walk into the tower, but suddenly stopped.
“Oh, and Anko?” the Hokage said.
“I want you to stop obeying those ridiculous orders that the others give you; the only ones you should follow without question is yourself. And I hope that the next time we meet you will have grown into a ninja I can be proud to call by name,” Sarutobi ordered as he entered Anko, leaving her alone in the streets of Konoha.
And for the first time since her parents died, she wept; all of her emotions that she had bottled up inside her for the past few years had finally reached breaking point. And on that day she swore to herself that the Hokage would not regret his actions.
And throughout years passed she had kept that promise well; elevating to the rank of chūnin at the age of fourteen despite threats to her health and bribes to drop out of the exams and completely changing herself. No more was the subservient, quirky, ever-smiling girl in the modest clothing; and, more likely than not, this was the reason she had been able to gain the trust of her teammates.
Even though her spontaneous, boisterous, and cocky attitude annoyed the hell out of them sometimes, anyone who had ever gone on a mission with her would instantly vouch for her ability; her unpredictable and spur-of-the-moment fighting style baffled even her own teammates. In addition, she would be able to accurately assess the weaknesses of her opponent and then discover how to exploit them within seconds; making her virtually invaluable on high ranked missions.
By the time that she had been nominated for the Tokubetsu Exams, she already had more A-ranked missions under her belt than any other chūnin at the time. And throughout the six years she spent completely ameliorating her lifestyle, she had not once visited the Sandaime Hokage since that day they ate together; excluding mission assignments that is.
She had been waiting for the single moment in her life when she could approach him and ask him; “Do I make you proud?”
And now, as a full-fledged Tokubetsu, she intended to do so.
‘But I still haven’t solved the riddle of the black mirror,’ Anko thought as she approached the tidy flat that she lived in. ‘And that seriously pisses me off.’ But as she reached to open the door to her house, she found that the doorknob was covered in grime and mud and the door was slightly open.
Immediately Anko switched from a relaxed and self-satisfied mood to a tense one.
“Kuchiyose no jutsu,” she muttered as she preformed the seals and blood ritual for the deed. When she was finished, several medium length blue snakes and one small black one were on her doorstep, waiting for her command.
“Search for any sign of intrusion and if you come across whoever the bastard is, immobilize him and signal me,” she ordered. Immediately the snakes slithered through the sliver made by the open door and disappeared into the darkness.
Anko waited outside the door, waiting for the signal from the scout she had sent, a kunai drawn and held at the ready. She breathed lightly and stood sedentary, not willing to make any kind of mistake that could make her location known so early. And then, two minutes later, it came; the black snake dispersed into a cloud of smoke, signaling that the intruder had been located.
The second she felt it she silently pushed open the door and ran into the house just as silently, not allowing a single noise to escape. And as she ran into the house, she collided with something, or someone; which fell to the floor after its collision with a grunt.
Not risking any chances, Anko placed the prone person into a submission hold, one hand twisted behind the back with the other pinned to the ground by her knee, and held a kunai to where she believed the invader’s neck was.
“Who sent you here?” Anko demanded as she put more pressure on the arm. ‘Something doesn’t feel right; his arm, it doesn’t feel like a ninja’s. It’s scrawny and weak,’ she thought. However, the intruder did not make a single sound, even under the intense pain Anko was putting him through.
“I asked you a question!” she barked as she withdrew the kunai from his neck and felt around for his hair, which, to her luck, was long, and pulled hard on it, bringing his head several inches off the ground.
“N-no one sent me! I-I was just trying to hide!” the invader practically yelled. Anko immediately released her submission hold on the person but immediately grasped his arm in a death-grip and pulled him to his feet. And once he did, she promptly dragged him towards the wall, near a light switch.
But when she turned on the lights, she could not have been more surprised at who the intruder was. He looked to be no older than five, his skin and clothes was soaking wet and mud caked while his untamed, filthy, blond hair hung limply over his face, which was barely visible through the old and dirty bandages that covered both of his cheeks. But the most disturbing thing about him was that he had no substance; his arms and legs were short and knobby while his shirt hung loosely over his body, despite the fact that it was soaked.
“What the hell were you thinking?” Anko yelled at the boy. “You’re what, four, five, and you decide to just barge into my house like it was your own?” And as Anko moved her other hand closer to the boy, his entire body recoiled in anticipation as he squeezed his eyes closed. Anko slowly put her hand back to her side as the boy squinted his eyes to see what she would do. She then sighed in exasperation as she also released the boy’s arm, causing to visibly relax
“What’s your name, brat?” Anko demanded as she rubbed her temples. ‘Tonight was supposed to be the night to celebrate and drink, not interrogate some mangy little brat.’
“I don’t have one,” he answered abashedly. Anko took a deep breath as she processed the information.
‘He must be an orphan, either that or a neglected child. Whatever the case is, though, his caretaker must beat him often for him to react so violently. Also, he looks severely malnourished. Whoever looks after this kid has been doing a pretty shitty job; it’s a miracle this kid has enough energy and will to even talk and walk.
“Then what do other people call you?” Anko interrogated in a calm voice. It would do her no good if she only alienated him to the point of mentally shutting down.
“A bunch of things,” the boy answered factually. “Brat, bastard child, wimp, little shit, loser…” Naruto listed. However Anko raising a hand, which made him flinch and stop talking, stopped him.
‘Effective, despite being cruel,’ she thought as she looked over the boy. “So what I call you?”
“Uhm…I don’t know,” the boy answered as he re-opened to the woman. “I guess you can call me whatever you want to call me.” Anko sighed once again in frustration. Obviously questioning him in his current condition wouldn’t give her anything. And so she decided to change the current situation.
“You ever have ramen before Kid?” Anko asked the boy, who merely looked at her oddly.
“Is ramen like a dog or a cat? ‘Cause I’m not allowed to have a pet,” he asked skeptically.
‘What the hell is this kid; how has he never heard of ramen before?’ she thought. “It’s food; you know, the stuff you put in your mouth when you’re hungry?” she sarcastically answered. However she immediately regretted her harsh words as the boy hung his head in embarrassment. ‘Crap; I didn’t mean to make him feel bad. But, I mean, who hasn’t heard of ramen before?’
“How about I make you some ramen to eat and then you tell me why you thought it would be smart to break into my house; that sound good to you?” Anko asked.
“That sound good to me,” the boy agreed with a large grin.
Ten minutes later Anko sat at her kitchen table, drumming her fingers against the table as she listened to the young boy speak as he vigorously dug into another bowl of instant ramen. Initially she thought that she’d have to prod him to answer her questions, but it turned out that once he began eating the instant dish he began endlessly talking about how good ramen tasted.
It was only after his third bowl that he began talking about himself. And Anko, to say the least, was sickened by the stories the young boy told; stories about how he’d be locked out of the orphanage at night and be forced to sleep outside with nothing but the clothes on his back and how the matron would beat him for doing something as simple as talking or of “causing mischief.”
‘The fact that they would isolate and manipulate a thirteen year old is one thing; but abusing an innocent boy? What the hell has the world come to?’ Anko asked herself as her level of anger began to rise. And the only way she could vent was by drumming her fingers, which didn’t help that much anyway.
And then, after polishing off his seventh bowl he began recalling that day’s events. Apparently some of the older children thought it would be fun to play a game of “cat and mouse.” But instead of being a harmless child’s game it was something much more brutal. The game consisted of a group of seven or eight children, the “cats,” hunting down the mice and then “kill” them by tagging them.
But these children played it a different way; instead of there being an equal number of people on each team there were six or seven more cats than mice; the only mouse being the boy. And when they would catch him, they would proceed to physically and emotionally injure him until he cried for mercy.
Like most times, however, the kid had been able to outrun them, however. But what amazed Anko was that he had run and hid for the past twelve hours, not letting his guard down for a single second. And so when it began to rain, he knew that he would eventually slip in the muddy streets or fall in a puddle; he’d surely get caught. And so he found the nearest house and hid in it; which just happened to be Anko’s.
By the time the orphan finished his tale, and his ramen, Anko was only barely able to keep her emotions in check. And so they sat in silence for several minutes as the boy digested the gargantuan amount of ramen and Anko tried to calm herself.
“What were those red and white swirly things in the ramen?” the boy asked curiously as his legs dangled under the table.
“Oh; those were naruto,” Anko answered factually. “They give it flavor.” He then startled the woman immensely by jumping on to his feet.
“That’s it then!” he announced. He then pointed his finger, which had been purged somewhat by the layers of mud that had previously caked it but was now dripping with ramen broth. “You can call me Naruto!”
“Naruto?” Anko asked skeptically.
“Yeah!” the boy answered excitedly. “Since I don’t have a name; I might as well give myself one. And what’s a better name than an awesome tasty food?” he asked. This outrageous outburst finally caused Anko to lose any control over her emotions.
Naruto looked at her strangely as her face turned red and she gripped the table firmly. “What are you doing?” he asked.
“I-I’m laughing,” Anko stated between laughing fits. She never would’ve thought that she would end up losing control of her emotion through a fit of laughter, but it happened. “I’m sorry,” she apologized through her laughing. “I’ve had a really long day. But Naruto’s a good name; really, it is.”
“Oh,” Naruto answered plainly. “I guess I should go back, right?” he asked as he got up from the table. Anko was finally able to gather her emotions under control once again as she looked out the small window above her kitchenette at the deluge outside.
“No; you can stay here for the night,” Anko answered. “You can borrow some of my brother’s old clothes while those are being washed and I have a spare futon you can use.”
“Really?” Naruto asked, excitement emanating from every part of his body.
“Really,” Anko answered as Naruto literally jumped for joy. “And tomorrow I’m going to teach you some moves to defend yourself in case you’re caught,” she added. Instantly she found herself in a tight grip by the younger boy.
“Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you!” Naruto practically screamed as he gripped the legs of the older woman. Anko couldn’t help but smile at the young boy.
‘I hope that I don’t get too attached to him though. It’ll just be that much harder when I have to report for my team assignments in two days,’ Anko thought as she gazed at the boy in front of her. “Oh, I never told you my name, have I?” she asked. Naruto energetically shook his head in the negative.
“Well, the name’s Mitarashi Anko,” she stated proudly. “And don’t forget it.”
“Don’t worry Anko-chan,” Naruto answered with a stupid grin. “I won’t.”
Chapter notes: Well, it’s almost been a full year since my journey as a fanfiction writer began. And so, after a lot of failures and a few successes, I present my newest story; Black Mirror. There is no pairing as of yet but there may be one later on. If you have a specific pairing (involving Naruto) you like, tell me in one way or another.
This is an AU, and certain events and dates may be different than the canon. I’ll try to keep the characters close to their canon description though, so don’t expect any major character changes.
I hope you enjoy it!
Disclaimer: I don’t own Naruto