I didn't update yesterday ｡ﾟ･(x﹏x) ･ﾟ｡I was driving all day and I didn't have the chance to write a chapter in advance! Today marks the last 'daily' update. I'm super thankful for the support you guys have given me thus far! This story might not be updated for another week or so after this, since the first two weeks in December are finals weeks. I'm gonna miss you (ಥ﹏ಥ)
Benihime waved happily back at Gai's dad as she followed Sakumo out of the immigration office, the burly man returning her farewell exuberantly. He was fun. She liked him.
"Did you finish your paperwork?"
She looked up at Sakumo with a smile. "Yuppers! I'm a full blown citizen, now!"
He chuckled lowly. "Not yet, I'm afraid. There're still a few things that need doing."
He held open the door, letting in a blast of frigid air that set her teeth on edge. She'd never seen snow. Ever. In either life. It got pretty cold in the desert, but there wasn't enough precipitation for snow to happen. The weather around the temple was temperate year round, so, despite the ridiculous amount of rain, it never got cold enough to turn it to snow. It was really pretty to look at, she admitted, but she was already shivering and she wasn't even out there.
Mushi must be freezing!
She turned to Sakumo and raised her arms at him with a pout. He raised an eyebrow at her, the corner of his mouth twitching.
"I'm cold," she whined. "And I don't have shoes!"
He looked down at her bare feet and sighed tiredly, giving in to her grabby hands and crouching down in front of her.
She threw herself at him, wrapping her arms around his neck as he hooked his arms under her knees. He stood, lifting her with ease and shifting his grip on her before stepping out into the winter cold. Mushi complained from his hiding place inside her hair, burrowing closer to the warmth of her scalp.
"Where are we going," she asked, swinging her feet happily.
"To the hospital. All new immigrants are required to undergo a medical screening."
She buried her face in his back, not at all happy with that. They wouldn't be able to see her seal, would they?
Not to worry. I'll deal with it. You have more important concerns at the moment.
You're being followed.
Tch. How unlucky.
Really, she kind of expected it. Things were going too smoothly. The old geezers in charge were probably trying to lull her into a false sense of security by letting her go through all this with as few hang ups as possible, all the while keeping a close eye on her from the shadows. Well, two could play at that game.
In the spring, when the beetles weren't all hibernating.
Hmph, I can do it. No need to get Mushi's wings in a bunch.
Awesome. How the heck did other jinchuriki function without their bijuu buddy front and center? She couldn't fathom it.
Sakumo carried her through the snow, going much slower than necessary. She upped her shivering, hoping to trigger his parental instincts with her suffering child act, but he kept his steady pace. Tch.
She took the opportunity to actually look at the village. She'd arrived in a panic, after all, and hadn't had the chance to sight see in the whirlwind of activity since saving Sakumo's life. Far from the dreary, grey toned monotony a lifetime of American propaganda had led her to expect from a military dictatorship, it was actually pretty colorful. Blues, yellows, and reds all stood out against the stark white of the snow, reminding her of her cousin's homes in rural Mexico. Except, you know, tall. It looked like Konoha grew upward instead of outward, precarious high rises leaning to one side or another and connected by lines of wire or planks of wood. There was scaffolding everywhere, even though there wasn't a lot of visible construction. She imagined it probably made life easier for the shinobi in the village.
It had character, she'd give it that. Still, she preferred the mossy stone of her temple. It, at least, had already collapsed. Not like these buildings that looked like they would fall over at any second.
Plus, it wasn't cold.
When Sakumo stepped through the automatic doors of the hospital—yay, technology!—the temperature didn't really change. The doctor's office was always cold, she knew, but did it have to be freezing? He set her down, ignoring her yelp as her feet touched the cold tile like the meanie he was to speak to the receptionist. Beni pointedly ignored the suspicious stares she was receiving from the handful of people in the lobby. Most of them were patients, she noted. There might be a shortage of doctors in the village, since they were all probably shinobi, too. War was a greedy thing.
A hand landed on her head and she scowled. Her hair was still a tangled mess from her desperate flight across an entire country and she hadn't had time to fix it. She looked up at Sakumo and he chuckled at her expression, wisely taking his hand from her head.
"Come on, this way."
She followed behind him, playing up the guileless child act as she took in her surroundings. The hospital was rather worse for wear. There was visible grime in the corners and she balked at ever receiving treatment there. Was that why so many shinobi in the show avoided it? She kinda understood now. Yucky.
Sakumo led her into a room, the walls and furniture all an aged off-white. Her first instinct was to jump right on the examination bed, but she stopped herself, instead following Sakumo's lead and standing to one side. He raised an eyebrow at her, again, but said nothing.
It was several moments before someone wearing threadbare scrubs stepped inside the room. It was a woman, age lines just starting to show on her face. She looked a little surprised to see Beni, but she hid it well.
A friendly smile crossed her face. "Hello, you must be Benihime-chan. I am Sajime Hotaru, and I will be your doctor from now on. It's nice to meet you."
Benihime ducked behind Sakumo, purposefully widening her eyes at the newcomer. "My mother's name was Hotaru."
The smile on her doctor's face didn't falter. "Really? What a coincidence. Do you mind getting on the bed for me? I need to run some tests, but I promise none of them will hurt."
Beni looked up to Sakumo for confirmation, only moving to comply at his nod. She'd been to a million doctor's appointments, Before, but never in this life. Keiko was never afforded such a luxury, either. As far as Konoha was concerned, she was a feral child, just barely being introduced to civilized society. It wouldn't do to come across as too knowledgeable. Also, she was, admittedly, kind of a bitch. That was on purpose, but showing a little vulnerability now would go a long way to avoiding trouble in the future.
She wasn't in her temple, anymore, Toto—er, Mushi.
"I," she declared loudly with the confidence only a child could get away with. "Have never been to the doctor, ever, in my life."
Sajime's smile finally slipped, a looked of horror growing on her face before she tried valiantly to hide it—and failed. Horribly.
"Really?" She asked, somewhat shakily. "Not even in your old village?"
"My old village would throw a party over a funeral if I kicked it," Beni replied honestly. "My breeding is not to their standards."
That explanation was horrifying, and it clearly had the intended effect. Both the adults reacted with varying degrees of anger and shock and Beni decided that was as far as she would go, today. She swung her legs off the side of the examination bed, watching as her doctor regained her composure.
"Alright, Benihime-chan," she said through a decidedly thinner smile. "We're going to start with a physical examination. I'm going to put my hands on you and you'll probably feel my chakra, but that's it. If anything feels strange or painful, let me know and I'll stop immediately."
A likely story.
So far, Sajime seemed like a nice enough person, but, given the entourage monitoring her every move, odds were she was a member of Danzo's secret police. She'd scan Beni's body and send back all the data she collected for her nefarious master.
Whatever. It wasn't like he could use it for anything. Good luck replicating the effects of generational exposure to a fucking bijuu. She'd like to see Orochimaru's take on that.
On second thought, no, she wouldn't.
As expected, Sajime pressed her hands onto Beni's back, the doctor's chakra a cool mist that brushed up against her own. Beni was glad she didn't have to strip, the black fabric of Sakumo's shirt a welcome barrier between Sajime's hands and the burning center of Choumei's power.
The doctor sucked in a sharp breath and Sakumo crossed his arms over his chest.
"What is it," he asked, tone brooking no argument.
Sajime's chakra petered out as she removed her hands from Beni's back. Her words faltered and Beni momentarily reconsidered her assumption about her Root status before concluding that her stammering could be an act.
"Her back," Sajime said, at last. "It's structured completely differently from a normal human's. There are muscles and tendons I've never seen before—and they attach to nothing! I can only assume they are for the wings mentioned in her file."
Of course, her wings were mentioned. She tossed a Look™ at Sakumo before shrugging off her irritation. She couldn't be too harsh with him. He was a good little soldier. If his government weren't so corrupt, that would be a good thing.
It was also pretty cool to hear about her body's adaptations from a professional. But…why was her back structured for wings when hers weren't permanent?
Choumei piped up and she listened to his explanation before sharing it with the adults in the room.
"It's because I'm still a larva," she said with as straight a face as she could manage. "Once I undergo my final metamorphosis, my wings will be permanent. For now, they're an emergency measure and cost a lot of chakra."
Sajime came to stand in front of Beni, picking up a clipboard and scribbling furiously. "Would you say this is part of your kekkei genkai? Most humans don't have wings, you know."
Yeah, she knew.
Could her abilities be considered a kekkei genkai, at this point? They'd be inherited by her children, right?
She nodded. "I guess, so."
"Can you please tell me all the abilities that fall under your kekkei genkai? And its name, please."
"I can communicate with beetles," she said dryly. That ability was probably already in the doctor's notes. "And I'll have wings when I grow up. That's it."
Sajime nodded eagerly. "And its name."
"It doesn't have one."
That drew her up short. "Oh, really?"
Beni shrugged. "I'm the only one left and no one ever told it to me. If it had a name, it doesn't anymore."
Yes, play up the tragedy. Look at the sadness in their eyes. Mwahahaha!
The doctor set aside her clipboard and cleared her throat. "Well, then, now that your physical is done, it's time for your inoculations."
Pointless, Choumei grumbled. You will never fall ill.
Yeah, but they don't know that. It's for the disguise!
You just want the candy they'll give you when they're done.
The candy was delicious and very much worth the bajillion needles she was stabbed with, thank you very much.
She hung off of Sakumo's back again, still vey much unwilling to walk in the snow. She used one hand to hold on to him and the other to hold the stick of her lollipop. It was basically just sugar flavored, but it was still yummy! Definitely sweeter than anything she had back at the temple.
"Yo, Sakumo-senpai! That's an interesting pack you've got there."
Sakumo turned to look at the person who'd called out to him, bringing Beni along for the ride. Ooh! She recognized him!
"It's the candy man!"
Chouji's dad smiled at her, clearly not recognizing her. Of course, she hid from him and his friends when they visited her temple. Well, she knew how to jog his memory.
"Where are turtle food and whiny?"
That did it.
He threw back his head and laughed, looking very much like a jolly, redheaded Santa given the winter backdrop.
"I see," he said, wiping a tear from his eyes. "So, you're the girl from the temple. It's nice to finally meet you, my dear."
That endearment was a lot less grating coming from him than it was from the Hokage and she smiled widely up at him. He frowned.
"Where are your shoes?"
"I don't have any!"
He frowned deeper.
"Why not? This is hardly the weather to be going barefoot."
"It doesn't snow back home! I don't need shoes, so I don't wear them!"
He looked very concerned. "Well, that's no good. This isn't even that cold. How's about you come with me and we'll get you set up for the winter?"
She was perfectly willing to run off with the giant Akimichi, but Sakumo shifted his weight away from his comrade. His hesitance didn't go unnoticed.
"It's alright, senpai. Your son will be getting out of school, soon, right? I'm sure he'll be happy to see you. I can take her and have her back at your house by sun down, how does that sound?"
Great! Wonderful! Take me shopping!
"Ah," Sakumo sighed. "I don't know. She's a bit—!"
He winced, his grip on her leg slackening in reaction to the knee in his ribs. It was an act, clearly, since a man of his reputation would never be caught off guard by a child he was carrying.
"A bit what?" She demanded. "Mind your words or I'll sue you for slander!"
He gave a long, dramatic sigh before handing her over to his taller comrade. "Fine. I don't want to hear any complaints, though."
He disappeared, confirming her suspicions that he was walking in the snow just to torture her.
The Akimichi—Chouza? Was his name Chouza?—was much warmer than Sakumo and she delighted in her newly acquired human radiator.
They looked at each other, holding each other's gazes for a long moment before Beni broke the silence.
"I have no money."
He snorted, his whole body vibrating with the force of his mirth.
"That's alright. I know a few people who can pitch in."