A/N: It's been a while, but I'm back for an update on this story! This is Melissa Norvell/Revamp, and I'll be bringing you the next chapter of Torn Family Portrait. We have about three more chapters on the way, so we'll have updates for a little while.

Please enjoy chapter 40 of TFP!

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Torn Family Portrait

By: SilverIsamu & Revamp

Chapter 40: Path of a Ninja

A girl with short, dark green hair walked through the halls of Tejifura high school. Her matching eyes glanced around at all of the doors, in search of the principal's office. A few students were around, but all of them weren't very close to her. She would have to go out of her way to reach them.

'Hmmm…I wonder where the principal is…oh dear.' The pixie-cut girl sighed to herself and walked a few feet further before she saw a male student with black, spiky hair limping by as if he had hurt himself somehow. This young man didn't look in the best of shape.

Gently, she grabbed his arm. "Excuse me…but, um, do you know where I can find Principal Hountake?"

He turned around and looked at her. "Oh, he should be around…Somewhere…Oh, it's you." The boy had seen this girl before. She was very familiar to him, and to be truthful, he was happy to see her around.

"Oh, hello," She smiled in a friendly manner. "How have you been? Baki, is it?"

"I'm hurt. How does it look like I've been doing?" Baki shot. It should have been obvious by the way he was walking that he was far from well.

"Oh, forgive me. My apologies... If you need any pain killers or herbs, I can assist you with that." The girl offered kindly. She was there for him before, and she would continue to be there for him if he ever needed her help in any form or fashion.

"You were always good at that stuff, weren't you?" Baki smiled slightly. Finally, someone was on his side. He wasn't used to being paid attention to like this.

"Well, it has been a practice of mine for years. I rather am interested in the natural herbs and what they can do to help replenish our bodies. So, still maintaining the tradition and reputation of the family business?" She explained to the hurt ninja.

"Yeah, even though some people don't appreciate it…" Baki huffed for a moment before he sighed and grumbled. "Oh yeah, and I have a brother who goes to this school."

The girl, whose name was Fyuga Onyx quirked an eyebrow. "Oh? I thought you were the only child. Is he a step brother?" She was learning something new about him every day, and now that they attended the same school, she was sure to learn even more about the mysterious boy that she encountered that fateful day.

He frowned. "Unfortunately not…"

The girl wore a confused expression. "Isn't it just you and your father?" That was the way that she had heard it, at least that was what she thought.

"I kind of get put on the back burner because of him. Oh well, I guess, shit happens." Baki waved it off in dismissal. To be truthful, he really didn't feel like going into depth about this subject, especially not right now.

"Well, if it's any consolation, I have always enjoyed your company. It has been a real pleasure seeing you again, my friend. I may not know the situation about your brother or who he is, but you have always been a favorite shinobi of mine. Your energy could easily withstand the toughest opponent out there. Even the likes of someone as strong as The Black Ninja. It is in your blood, dear Baki. If no one else recognizes your strength, always remember that you have a fan in me and a lifelong friend." That was something that Onyx could promise. If nothing else, if no one else, she would be faithfully his friend and always at his aid if he ever needed someone to confide in.

"It's nice to hear that. It's good to know that somebody appreciates me." His voice was low and kind in tone. Baki could feel a warm embrace around his once icy heart. After all of this time of being disregarded and thought of as second, the ninja was first for once in someone's heart. He couldn't help but feel uplifted by such a thought.

"It's no problem at all. You have the potential to be one of the best in history." She gave an encouraging smile. "We will be seeing more of one another. Maybe we can catch up on old time and I can assist you with your injuries if you wish. I am back in town for good."

"Really? You think so? The best in history, huh?" All of these compliments were going to give him an ego complex. She certainly knew how to make a guy feel special. "I'd like to be that." If others would take notice of his skill, that is. However, that seemed like a far off dream.

"You're on the right track, my friend." From what she had seen, Onyx didn't know how anyone could ignore an upstanding young man with such budding prospect. He was the first ninja that she had seen in a long time with that much potential and true talent needed to be recognized.

"What do you mean? I definitely don't see it." Especially not given his current situation. Surely she joked, either that or she was just filling his head with delusions.

"I do. I believe you can be. Just give it enough time or practice." She didn't say that he was already but he definitely had the potential to be. Anyone with eyes could see that, and Onyx wondered why no one else had.

"Easy for you to say. Even if we are on friendly terms, I still want to be better than him. It hasn't changed." That was his solemn vow, and he wasn't about to break it for anyone.

"Better than your father?"

"Than my brother."

"Is your brother a shinobi? I assume since ninjutsu is in your bloodline." To be truthful, Onyx didn't know anything about his family. She was just now hearing the whole story.

"No, he's barely a high school student, but somehow he has some special power that needs to be guarded." Frankly, that was bullshit to him. Baki didn't see what power was so special that Koji needed to have an army protect him. If the power really was that great, why didn't he man up and use it?

"Special power?" She was even more curious now. "Does he, himself know of this? The way you describe him, he doesn't seem very bright." Either that or he really was that dense and oblivious. Onyx didn't really know what exactly to make of this strange situation.

"He's an idiot and I don't even know if he has a special power at all." Baki had always doubted the existence of such a power, but since Blaze insisted it existed, he had no choice than to act on his father's wishes.

"You're definitely better than some idiot who may or may not have a special power." That was her thoughts on the matter, anyway.

"Tell my father that." Baki spat. "He guards my brother like he's a precious treasure in the most fortified bank in Japan."

"I see. I'm sorry that you have to go through something like that. I, myself cannot fathom such a pain. To be rejected by one's father…it's unbearable…" Her expression saddened and she cast a crestfallen gaze to the ground.

Baki frowned. "You're telling me. I've pretty much been on my own for years." He would probably continue to be as well. Blaze wasn't giving up his objectives any time soon.

"It's troubling. My heart hurts for you." In so many ways. She hadn't realized until now how unfortunate his life had truly been. More than anything, Onyx wanted to ease him of some of the pain that he had been feeling.

"Why would your heart hurt for me?" The ninja inquired as he turned to face her, limping as he took uneven steps. "I'm sure you've got other things to worry about." He didn't view himself as anything to be concerned with. If anything, this girl was wasting her feelings on him. Baki was never a main concern by anyone, why should people start caring now?

"I, too have been on my own for as long as I could remember. So, I sympathize. My father died leaving my mother lonely, pregnant and yearning for physical contact and she fell in love with another woman. I haven't seen her since." Onyx hoped that her own tale would be something that the two of them could relate to. Baki had been under minded by his father, and she was abandon by her own mother.

"Why would she leave you behind?" His features softened. He could understand putting her on the back burner like his father did to him, but completely leaving her? That was pretty screwed up.

Onyx looked thoughtful for a moment. "I'm not quite sure. I guess her new lover didn't want a child or…maybe she died…I never knew her so it didn't hurt too much. I always had a sitter."

"Can you find out? Don't you know her name?" If anything, confronting her past would help settle the restless and questioning feelings in her heart.

"I was far too young. Of course, I always referred to her as mother. I heard someone else say it before, but I can't remember…It was Alexandra or Alandra, or something…" Try as she might, it was nothing but a defeat when she tried to recall specifics. Onyx was truly lost on the whereabouts or identity of her mother.

"Have you tried searching for her? I've searched for my father until I found him again. We were happy until he came into the picture and shit on everything." It was all Koji's fault. That blue-haired menace pretty much ruined the only semblance of family that the spiky-haired boy had ever known.

"I see. Did you know his name? When you were searching for him, I mean? And yes, I tried about a year ago whenever I turned eighteen and was financially able to begin searching but with me not knowing her name…" She looked down again. The situation truly seemed hopeless to her.

"His name is Nishio Blaze. Are you still searching for her now?" If she was, then maybe he could help her. Baki wanted her to know why her mother left her, no matter how painful it must be for her. Everyone deserved answers on that topic. Everyone.

Onyx looked back up to him, nodding. "I'd like to know why she left me…I just hope that she didn't change her name or worse…" She didn't even want to think of the possibilities behind making herself more anonymous to her own daughter.

"Maybe I can help you look for her after I finish my missions. It might be better to have someone help you. Besides, I owe you for helping me out." That and being so kind to him when he thought he hardly deserved such treatment. Unlike the others that have passed through his life, this girl was a true friend.

Onyx perked up. "Really? That would be amazing. How would I repay you? I suppose I can by making sure that your wounds are healing nicely."

"We can help out each other. We'll be like our own little team. It'll be better than the shitty one I'm on." Baki poked fun, although he actually did mean it. The team that he was on right now was a pretty bum rap. He'd much rather be with her.

"Right, I'd love that." Onyx smiled happily. This chance meeting at school really brightened her day. She held out her hand for the ninja to shake on it to make their alliance official. "I'll be your most dependable ally."

Baki took her hand and shook it firmly. "Deal. It'll be nice to see how this bond works."

"Indeed. Would you like to take a walk and get to know each other? You seem interesting to me as I have stated prior." Suddenly, she forgot about finding the principal's office and concentrated more on her relationship with her new found friend. School could always wait until later. It wasn't as if she was ready to face off against the many students who would be staring her down like hawks.

"Since you helped me. I'll get to know you and let you walk me around." It was the least that he could do for such a faithful and wonderful friend. The girl agreed and took his hand as they walked out of the school's entrance with Baki in toe. He hobbled alongside of the girl inquiring what she wanted to talk about.

"Well, do you have any time for other hobbies or interests?" Onyx decided that would be the best way to start the conversation.

"Not really, all I do is train and fight. I pretty much dedicated my life to being a ninja, well and I play the guitar." He did have one passion besides the way of life that he had been living for years.

"Oh, you must be a determined man and I love music. How long have you been playing?" Onyx asked turning her head to the spiky-haired ninja, she was interested in his little side hobby.

"Since I was twelve. Do you play anything or sing?" He asked. If she loved music, then maybe she had a musical talent as well.

"As a matter a fact, I do sing whenever I am not studying my Wiccan practices." They had more than one thing in common. This made her very happy. It seemed they were a team in more than one aspect.

"What genre do you sing?" The more he talked to her, the more he was interested in her. Onyx really was fascinating.

"Well, I love the more alternative rock or slow and steady mood music." She replied.

"I do mostly rock as well. I'm more into death metal." Baki told her with a smile on his face. It was nice that someone even wanted to know about his side hobbies, it was usually about ninja stuff and missions. The fact that anyone wanted to know about him beyond his professional level was shocking and flattering. For once, he truly felt special.

"Maybe we can sing a song together soon? It could be fun." The girl smiled with a casual nod.

"Really? I'd like that. We could form a band or something…Well, we'd need more people." The whole idea was exciting him. It would be great to have a band with her, and to finally have someone who was a steady friend. Baki felt truly happy just talking to this gothic girl. It was as if she had filled a void that had been present in his heart.

"True," she giggled in agreement, "unless it's a duet."

"Are you suggesting that we make one?" Was she serious? If she was, he would be the happiest man on earth right now.

"Yes, it will be delightful. Music is a great way to release your tense aggressions." In her eyes, rock music and putting your feelings into lyrics was a great way to project his pent up feelings about his horrible situation.

"It's how I get a lot of my feelings out. I write my own lyrics, too." Baki replied, throwing out suggestions for their future musical duo compositions.

"So do I." The girl blushed slightly. "You'd think mine were weird…"

"Why? What are they about?" Who knew? They might have even have been similar to his own.

It was embarrassing to admit, but she decided to tell him the truth. "They're morbid and filled with death and sadness." She looked down, not wanting to know his response to such subjects.

"What's wrong with that? It's how you feel, right?" He couldn't doubt that he didn't feel the same way at times. Life was hard, especially for him and to say that it had been nothing but happy times would be a lie.

"Yes, I'm a generally lonely girl. So, that's not depressing or anything?" It would have been to most people.

"Well hey, you won't be lonely anymore. You've got me now." He smiled in reassurance, causing the girl to blush once more.

"That's the nicest thing I have ever heard. The same goes for you." She felt a smile come to her lips. It was the first truly happy smile that she had given in a very long time. Maybe she really could get past things. Maybe the two of them could step forward, together. Hearing his words gave her hope.

"You really must not have many friends. I don't understand why. I think you're cool as hell." Baki smiled back. How could he resist? That girl had an infectious smile.

"Besides you, I have only had one other friend. I think you're cool as well, Baki."

"Who's that?"

"A girl I knew years ago. Her name was Sori. She was a lesbian, though and maybe have had a thing for me but I…prefer men." She looked away in further embarrassment. "I think…Love is a strange thing to me and I've never had a lover before."

"So, she's not your friend because you turned her down? That's so messed up." Baki arched an eyebrow. He wasn't sure of what to think about this "friend" that she had in the past, especially since she brought up her sexual orientation.

"No, that's not it at all. She moved with her family and we just lost touch." Onyx glanced back at him with a smile on her face. "I can see how you would perceive it like that. My apologies..."

"Well, that was awkward. Didn't mean to assume." Baki placed his hand behind his head and averted his eyes. Yep, that was really embarrassing and he managed to create a situation that he didn't even mean to create. What a way to start something off with a girl he liked.

His friend held up her hands. "No, it was me. I should have further explained." She rested a hand on his shoulder, trying to comfort the embarrassed boy.

"Well, I can tell you that I'll always stay in touch with you. I'll even write you when I'm away and I'll come back to you if I can." The only way that he would not keep that promise was if he had met an untimely demise. This was a promise that he intended to keep.

"Thanks, how thoughtful." The green-haired girl just knew that this would be the start of a beautiful friendship. For once, the both of them had truly felt like they had belonged.

To Be Continued

Melissa's A/N: This was a Baki and Onyx-eccentric chapter. I hope that everyone enjoyed this, especially those who love Baki and Onyx, together or as characters. Be sure to leave a review and tell us what you think! Thanks for sticking with this story and supporting our joint efforts!

Bye for now!