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Sacred Rituals

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Fifty Years Before

A couple of weeks passed as Azumi remained in her home after losing her fang. Her daily routines consisted of moving between her bedroom and the lab to exchange scrolls with Orochimaru and to measure her gap while being updated on the news of hunters roaming the area, and being told not to go outside over and over again, then helping Log and Mitsuki adjust to their new life. It was a routine she had started to grow bored of but without Sasuke around there was nothing else to do. She told herself over and over that once he returned, they would have to go out more and have more fun to make up for how boring it was without him.

After nearly a month, she heard that her prototype fang was ready and she would be able to see it soon as well as have to make sure it fit in her mouth. She had just gotten used to her gap and soon it was to be filled again. She looked over the scroll she had worked on the whole night and decided she was finished with it. There were a few things she skipped over and one or two things she could have gone into more detail about but she figured Orochimaru was an intelligent man and he could figure out the small things from her work. She stood up, rolled it up, and began to walk down to the labs to exchange it for a new one. She also wanted to sneak a look at her fang.

Upon entering the lab, she noticed Orochimaru was not there. She stepped in and looked around the worktables at whatever he had been working on last. She understood most of what was laid out on the tables since she decoded all the scrolls that pertained to them. “I guess he’s not home?” she mumbled to herself. She figured he had gone to a meeting or that he finally decided to leave his lab and sleep for once in his eternal life. She left the scroll she brought down on an empty desk and turned to leave. She was immediately startled by a redheaded man who stood behind her in the doorway. 

“Is there something I can help you with?” he asked.  

She let out a heavy breath and looked up at him. A small gasp escaped her at how cute he was and how nice his voice sounded. He was almost too attractive to be human. But he most certainly was human. “I was just looking for my father...” she said. 

He smiled at her and she felt her heart skip a beat. “He had to step out momentarily,” he said smoothly. “I take it you’re the daughter who lost her fang?” 

“Yes, that’s me,” she said with a sigh and a slight nod. She had not been self-conscious about her gap until that moment. It was suddenly quite embarrassing to have such a noticeable hole in her mouth.

“I’m making you a new one. Would you like to see it?” He took her immediate smile as a yes and nodded for her to follow him to a worktable. On the table, held in front of a magnifying glass was a natural-looking hollow fang. Azumi gasped softly at it. “Do you like it?” he asked. 

“It looks so real.” 

He moved the magnifying glass to another small stand like the one the false fang was being held up in. “This is your real one,” he smiled as he let her look at how almost identical they were. 

“Wow,” she whispered, looking between the two fangs. The only difference between them was that the false one was hollow. 

“It might feel a little different when it’s implanted,” he said. “Your father is going to have to do the process because he needs to attach it to your venom sac. But you may feel like this fang pushes out more venom. Since it is hollow, it holds a little more than your natural fang. But if it suits you, I can always make the tip smaller. That’s if you don’t mind undergoing the procedure more than once.” 

“We’ll see out the first one goes,” she chuckled. “This is amazing,” she said as she compared the real one with the fake one. “It’s beautiful. You’re very talented.” 

He smiled at her again. “I’m Sasori,” he said. “I’ve been working with your father for a couple of weeks on different prosthetics.”

‘He has been here this whole time?’ she thought, wondering why she never met him sooner or why her father never introduced them when he first arrived. It would be a conversation she needed to have with Orochimaru. One where she could already predict what he would say.

“I will say, my Lady, that you are a very interesting breed of vampire. I’ve never had to account for something such as a venom sac.” 

“Serpentine vampires are very few and far between,” she said. “It’s probably why he worries so much about me keeping all of my body parts.” The pain in her mouth from the torn tube subsided but she could definitely feel the remnants of it. The last couple of weeks consisted of her catching drops of venom from her mouth and having to do damage control after nearly ingesting her own venom. She was sure they were immune to their own venoms but it was still something she never wanted to have constantly gone down her throat.

“He might have mentioned that you were...a little reckless.” 

“So that’s the word he uses when he tells other people about me,” she hummed. “I’m not reckless, I just lost a fang.” 

“Fangs don’t naturally come loose like human teeth, my Lady,” he smirked. “You have to have done something he would consider reckless for that to have happened.”

She took a moment to respond, not wanting to admit that she jumped off of a cliff to conduct a stupid experiment. “Okay, maybe I was a little bit reckless one time and it resulted in me losing my fang.” 

“I recall him mentioning a couple of other incidents.” 

“I like to test the limits of my immortality.” Like her father, she was keen on experimentation. Unlike her father, she usually used herself as a test subject rather than other people. She jumped off of the cliff to test the height at which a vampire could fall and live. She came to the conclusion that the height at which she fell from was equivalent to a human child jumping off of a bed. All she lost was a tooth. “He doesn’t enjoy the idea of messing around with that kind of stuff.” She would not let that stop her. 

“Well, you are his only daughter,” he chuckled. “You are a natural-born and you even said yourself that your kind is rare. You cannot blame him for not wanting to lose you. Especially when you’re as young as you are and you have a very, very long life ahead of you.” He grabbed her hand and gently kissed the back of it. “Try not to lose all of that at once.” 

She stared at him for a moment as she considered his words and realized he was right. Orochimaru had once talked about how he lost his parents to a vampire hunter. She knew how hard it was to talk about it for him. She supposed the loss of one of his children would bring back that same pain. She did not want to do that to him. “How...do you do that?” she asked. 

“I’ve been told I can be pretty persuasive,” he smirked. He let her hand go and sat down on the workbench. “I have to finish a couple of more things with this prototype fang before it can be finalized for the finished product to be made. That will take a few months. Then your father can implant it and we will have to make sure it retracts like the natural one.” He looked at her and smiled and she felt her heart do that thing again. “The prototype should be done by the end of the week.” 

“I appreciate all the work you’re putting into this,” she said. “It was very nice to meet you, Sasori.” 

“The pleasure is all mine, my Lady.” 

“You can call me Azumi,” she smiled. “I like to leave formalities behind when not in the presence of my father. Plus, it looks like you will be here for a while,” she chuckled, “so you do not need to worry about titles.” 

He chuckled softly and she knew that if she could blush, she would have. “Alright then...Azumi. I’ll see you when this is finished.” He winked at her as she backed out of the lab.

She pressed her back to the wall beside the door to the lab and let out a heavy breath, running her hand through her hair. “Wow,” she whispered.

“Wow what?” Mitsuki asked, approaching her from down the hall.

She flinched hard, not knowing he was there and too lost in the thought of the man she just met. “Nothing,” she breathed through a slightly nervous chuckle. “Do you need anything? Father isn’t down here. I just came down here to give him the scrolls and he wasn’t in there. Have you seen him? I have no idea where he could be.” She could feel herself rambling and even Mitsuki knew that was what it was.

“I...haven’t,” he chuckled. “Kabuto told me to grab some blood for myself and Log.”

“Oh…” she hummed, hardly paying attention to him as she risked a peek into the lab and caught Sasori resuming his work on her fang.

“Are you okay, Azumi?”

The question brought her back and her gaze fell on him. “I’m fine,” she smiled. “Great, actually. You can find blood in any of these labs.” She ran her hand through his hair as she started to walk past him. “I’ll see you later.”

“Right…” Mitsuki said softly, watching her leave.

* * * * * * * *

Once she was gone, Mitsuki looked into the lab and saw the redheaded human sitting at a worktable. “Oh,” he smirked, deciding to go into a different lab for the blood. He looked around the lab for a moment before finding the warming cabinet that contained the blood pints. Debating for a moment whether or not he wanted to share a pint with his brother, he grabbed two jars. It was not a hard decision and Mitsuki was not one to dwell on making a choice.

He made his way back up to the main floor of the castle and through the hallway toward the library. He wanted to get the pint to Log before it cooled too much. They both learned quickly that blood was best when it was warm and it was only warm for so long after being removed from the cabinet. He pushed the door to the library open and went up to the second level quickly, finding Log sitting in a big armchair with a few stacks of books surrounding him. His nose was buried in one about the history of vampires in politics.

“I think Azumi has a boyfriend,” Mitsuki laughed softly as he set his brother’s pint on a small table next to the chair.

“Does she?” Log hummed, setting his book down and picking up the jar. “Why do you think that?”

“She was acting that way people get when they’re around someone they like,” Mitsuki shrugged, taking a sip from his jar. It was the second time he could drink freely without having to be watched closely by someone. He was sure he was not going to go into a frenzy but Orochimaru and Azumi knew better than he did. If they said he was finally now stable enough, he was going to trust that.

“Maybe she doesn’t have a boyfriend,” Log chuckled, taking a sip from his jar, “but she could really like him.”

“He’s the guy helping Father with her fang.”

Log’s head tilted a little. “Oh…” He nodded slightly. “Interesting.”

Mitsuki watched his brother for a few moments and then smirked when he recognized the look on his face. “You’re getting protective,” he teased. He knew that Log had started to see Azumi and Yashamaru as siblings, especially since they have had the most interaction with them since arriving at the castle. Mitsuki also started to see them as an older brother and sister. And seeing Azumi as an older sister meant he could tease her about the man downstairs.

“So what if I am?” Log hummed. “I just want her to be careful, just as I would want you to be careful if you ever met someone.”

“I know, I know,” Mitsuki chuckled. “I’m just teasing you.”

“Don’t bother her about it though,” Log warned. “You may be getting comfortable around them but it’s none of your business who she gets involved with.” He paused for a second. “Unless they do something bad to her. Then you can get involved,” he smirked.

“And she has three brothers to do that for her now,” Mitsuki laughed. “I’ll leave her alone,” he said, turning to leave his brother with his books. “For now.”