As she studied, Sakura Haruno’s fingers tapped with the beat of the music playing over her headphones.
Suddenly, the headphones were ripped off her head.
Sakura turned and looked at her mother in shock. The shock turned to worry at the fear in her mother’s face. “Mom?”
Mebuki shook her head violently. “There’s no time!” She shoved a pair of jeans and Sakura’s winter coat at her. “Put these on and get your socks and sneakers on. NOW, Sakura!”
Sakura obediently did as her mother ordered, pushing her brown hair out of her eyes. “Mom…”
Mebuki spoke rapidly. “I’m so sorry, baby. I wish I had time to explain but you must go. You have to go now before it’s too late.”
Sakura stood up and Mebuki shoved Sakura’s arms through the coat. “You’re going to have to run.” She kissed Sakura on the forehead. Something tingled across Sakura’s senses.
Then a violent noise shook the house.
“Daddy?!” Mebuki prevented her from going to the bedroom door.
Mebuki flung open the window. “When you get there, things will be explained to you. Your father and I love you so very much.”
And with that, Sakura’s mother shoved her daughter out the second story window. Sakura was too startled to scream as she fell, and she was shocked when she landed on her feet.
“RUN SAKURA RUN!!!”
Sakura turned and ran for the woods behind her house. About a hundred yards in, the ground shook and an explosion battered her ears. She looked back over her shoulder and saw flames through the trees.
She tried to stop but her feet kept running. Taking her far, far away.
Naruto and Sasuke moved their way through the woods as silently as they could.
They had been coming home from a movie when they’d been attacked by humans who obviously knew what they were since the humans had Cold Iron with them.
Fortunately, the two boys were able to avoid getting touched by the Cold Iron and defeated their attackers. They made one phone call and received instructions on where to go.
Then they ditched their phones and ran. They used all their knowledge and skill to avoid the many humans that seemed to be looking for beings like themselves. They hid in shadows, ran across rooftops and even went through storm drains, being careful not to touch any metal, until they reached the woods. Even then they were carefully extending their senses looking for potential enemies.
Despite all his bragging about his skills, it was Sasuke that tripped over her.
Their classmate Sakura Haruno.
The delicate dark-haired girl was crawling across the ground, tears rolling down her filthy cheeks. She was obviously fatigued.
“Sakura! Stop, Sakura.” Naruto grabbed at the girl.
“I have to run. I can’t stop. Run run runrunrun…” the girl muttered as she evaded his hands and kept crawling even though she was clearly beyond exhaustion.
Naruto activated his Othersight and Looked at Sakura. There was what was obviously a Geas on her forehead and something else on the back of her neck. “Sasuke, are you Seeing what I’m Seeing.”
Sasuke grunted. “Geas. It has no finesse though.”
“Whoever did it, had to do it quick and dirty.” Naruto darted forward and grabbed Sakura, preventing her from moving.
She screamed in pain.
Naruto covered her forehead with his palm and muttered a few words and felt the Geas shatter like glass.
Sakura collapsed at his feet.
Sakura swam out of the darkness to the sound of nearby voices.
Voices that sounded familiar.
She managed to open her eyes and she saw the brightest blond hair in existence. “Naruto?” she rasped.
“Yeah. And Sasuke, too.”
Sakura realized that she was being carried on Naruto’s back. “Put me down. Please.”
Naruto stopped walking and let her slide off. She staggered a bit but Sasuke caught her by the elbows and steadied her. Then she realized something. “I’m not running!”
“I broke the Geas that was binding you.”
This time Sasuke spoke. “A simple description…it’s a spell that compels the person that its placed on to do the bidding of the person who placed it. It was doing you more harm than good, so Naruto broke it.”
“Oh.” Sakura didn’t quite know what else to say. She frowned slightly there was something different about the two boys, but she couldn’t place it.
“We need to keep going. We can’t stick around here.” Naruto took her hand and gently tugged. “Are you able to walk?”
“Yes.” Sakura looked down at the hand holding hers and she realized that Naruto had a leaf and vine tattoo on his arm. She looked over at Sasuke and he had an identical one.
Then she saw their ears and realized what was so different about them.
“Your ears. Tattoos…” she breathed.
Naruto and Sasuke looked at each other then at her. Sakura felt a trickle of fear run down her spine.
“You don’t have to be afraid of us, Sakura.” Naruto’s blue eyes became impossibly bluer. His face even more earnest. “We’re just showing our True Selves.”
“True Selves?” Sakura’s voice shook with fear.
Sasuke picked up her other hand. “We’re on the run and it takes energy to hide what we really are, so we stopped using the Glamorie we’ve been using to save our energy. We are Fae.”
“Fae. F. A. E. Or you might use the term Fairy, but I wouldn’t really recommend saying around a lot of the others. They’d take offense.” Naruto snorted good naturedly.
Sasuke nodded and gently tugged on her arm. Dazed Sakura followed with Naruto by her side. “There are more like us. I’m not sure what you are but I’m guessing from the Geas that was placed on you and the Seal on the back of your neck, you might be one of us too.”
Naruto gently rubbed her back. “Do you know who placed the Geas on you? How did you get out here anyway?”
“My mom. My mom came into my room and made me change, then she kissed me on the forehead and she said that they loved me then she tossed me out the window and screamed at me to run and I did and then the house blew up and…” Sakura’s voice grew louder and louder with every word.
Naruto stopped and wrapped his arms around her. She buried her face against his chest and burst into tears. He simply held her, placed his face on the top of her head and gave a wordless croon as he swayed back and forth. She felt Sasuke gently rub her fingers and hand. Gradually, she calmed down. Naruto wiped the tears from her face. “Okay, I’m guessing that you might be one of us. The Seal on the back of your neck looks like my Dad’s Master’s work. I ain’t touching it for damn sure. So, when we get to where we’re going, we’ll have someone look at it. Okay.”
Sakura sniffled. “Okay.”
The trio began walking again. Sakura kept hold of the boys’ hands. Holding onto them kept her grounded. “So why do you have identical tattoos?”
“They’re not tattoos.” Naruto smiled down at her. “They’re Soul Marks. We’re a Quad.”
“But we haven’t met our fourth.” Said Sasuke. He grinned at the confused look her face. “That means…well…see how each leaf has four points?” Sakura nodded. “That means we’re a group of four. Now, if we had met our fourth, the leaves would be solid instead of just being outlined.”
“So, how do you know who you’re supposed to be with?”
Naruto pointed to a section where the vines twisted and turned in a manner almost like writing. Sakura felt like she was almost able to read it. “That section is how we know. It’s written in the Old Language.” He pointed to the first grouping. “That’s Itachi, then Sasuke, then me and the blank space will be our fourth.”
“Is this…is this…um…” Sakura didn’t know how to ask what she wanted to know.
But Naruto seemed to read her mind. “Sexual? Yes.” He leered at Sasuke. “Very much so.”
She stared in shock at Sasuke. “But, Itachi is your brother!”
Sasuke smiled at her and shrugged. “Doesn’t matter, even if I’m the one to change gender, we won’t be fertile together.” His smile became even more sensual. “Besides, Itachi is an excellent lover.”
Naruto scowled. “And what am I?”
Sasuke reached around Sakura to run his free hand across Naruto’s face. “The best lover.”
“Good.” Naruto seemed mollified at that answer.
Sakura kept walking. Her mind in shock that her two classmates were in a sexual relationship with each other and one’s older brother. And to change gender?
Suddenly, both boys froze in their tracks. Naruto flung himself at Sakura and Sasuke, knocking them to the forest floor. He began chanting in a language that tickled the back of Sakura’s mind. Sasuke joined him in the chant, their hands weaving patterns in the air. They finished, and Sakura could see something shimmer in the air just before her head was pressed to the ground. “Hold your breath!” exclaimed Naruto.
Then black flames roared over the top of them.