Into Thin Air x Naruto ficlet (2016-11-17)

“Fuyu-san,” a voice says, young and hesitant and easily ignored.

Windy isn’t interested in getting involved. Isn’t interested in anything.

“Fuyu-san,” the voice repeats, coming closer, not catching the hint at all.

Zie sighs, shaking out of hir stupor, turning to face her… nephew.

Coloring and spiky hair aside, Naruto doesn’t look much like her brother. Face rounder, skin darker, and while the furrowing of his brows isn’t too far off, it doesn’t suit Naruto’s face.

“U-intaa-san?” Naruto tries, accent stumbling over the pronunciation of Windy’s Turk name.

“Fuyu is okay,” zie assures, hir own accent no doubt odd to his ears. Winter was trained to understand Wutaian, but there didn’t seem to be much use in teaching him how to speak it–no one would believe any version of Windy to be of Wutaian heritage.

And the language of the Elemental Nations isn’t quite Wutaian… not anymore.

Naruto still looks hesitant, and for all that Windy is miserable that doesn’t mean he deserves to be.

She smiles, or tries to, and Naruto gives a shaky smile in return.

Once, Winter was the best actor of the Turks, capable of charming anyone; oh, how the mighty have fallen. (Once, Windy remembers being stabbed through the chest, eyes closing for what should have been the final time.)

“Naruto here, why?” zie asks, gesturing to the sparsely furnished room that is all zie has in this strange place (time).

“Food!” Naruto says with a truer grin, “Ramen!” he clarifies, a little unnecessarily.

Ever since the old man–Ho-ka-ge, zie has to remember–gave them an apartment for two, it seems as if every other meal is ramen. She’d worry about malnutrition, if she cared at all.

Naruto waits, reaching toward her but not touching, letting her decide.

He deserves better than a distant relative who can’t speak properly and needs to be taken care of and doesn’t do anything. He deserves better than Windy.

But fate has never been kind to Strifes, and they’re all each other has.

Zie takes his hand.

Winter’s suit is packed away, too sharp and too cruel for this world of color and brightness. Instead, Windy wears borrowed clothes–ironically enough, it’s still a dark blue uniform.

Though without the green combat vest and the strange metal plate with the symbol of Ko-no-ha, the uniform looks more like pajamas or sweats. Regardless, Naruto beams when she emerges from her room, and rattles off a sentence too quick for her to understand.

Zie thinks maybe it was a compliment, or an attempt at one, something about looking like a shinobi.

Shinobi, Windy understands, is what the military call themselves. Ninja is the term civilians use.

On their way to the ramen stand, Windy catches flickers of movement in hir peripheral vision–black cloaks and bone white masks–and wonders what those hidden guards are called.

Naruto continues to chatter, heedless of whether zie is understanding, much less responding. His facial expressions and wild hand gestures are far more engaging than his words, from what zie can interpret he’s talking about fighting someone who is grumpy.

As they near the ramen stand, Naruto calls out, a greeting to his team.

Windy tries not to freeze in place.

Sephiroth, the silver hair warns her. Murderer, run away, Sephiroth.

Hir steps do not falter.

Naruto rushes ahead to take a seat beside his female teammate, splitting his time between fawning over her and ordering a bowl, which somehow leaves the only free seat next to his teacher.

He does not do Windy the discourtesy of turning around and watching, but she can still sense a vibe of attentiveness as she meets the challenge.

“Miso please,” Windy says to Ichiraku-san, and waits for the other shoe to drop.

~

A/N: Uuum… my brain is still mostly in Naruto mode, but I stumbled on some FFVII stuff and I ended up with this?

Oh, snap! It’s been over a year since I touched the Into Thin Air tag.

So… uh, have some depressed and paranoid and traumatized Windy Strife?

Post Word Count: 619, Running Word Count: 6363

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