And only in those pure green eyes could he find the serenity he needed to calm those murderous urges.
Juugo hugged his knees tightly, his breathing rapid and out of control. He could only tell that it was late at night from the clanging of the less volatile prisoners being locked back up within their cells. He could feel the heat of the curse spreading through his body. It felt like trails of fire searing across his flesh, scarring his chakra and destroying his self-control. He curled his fingers tightly in his ginger hair, trying his hardest to repress the urges before they overtook him. Flashbacks of rivers of blood and the sounds of screams piercing the night air spun through his mind, encompassed by the seething darkness of his other side. It made him sick to think of all the terrible things he had done, but with the raging influence of his curse he wanted to do it all over again; smash people's skulls against stone until the bone was crushed and blood lacquered the surrounding area thick like paint, revel in the screams of the damned as he tore through their homes and gave them a quick and painful send off. To see the light fading from their eyes as life left their body made his blood boil and the adrenaline rush that it gave him was indescribable. The sound of keys jingling reached his ear and he raised his bloodthirsty gaze to the reinforced steel.
Locks turned and his excitement grew. If it were a male he would kill. Slowly, the steel scraped against the stone floor to reveal the face of a young man. Muscles writhed under the darkening skin of his arm, transforming it into a weapon of mass destruction. With a cry of rage he lunged at the figure, aiming straight for the skull. His hand crashed into the stone wall, shattering it into pieces. As he went to look for the crushed skull of the releaser, he was met instead with empty space.
"Juugo… stop it." Kimimaro demanded softly, a hand resting protectively on his shoulder. Juugo could already see the light blue bruise forming on the pale skin of his friend. The anger within him wanted to resist the urge to meet the other boy's gaze, but his tender side won out. His angry orange eyes became enraptured by the deep green ones of his companion. Their depth was far greater than his anger, quelling the blood thirst that resided deep within his timid soul. With each passing moment he could feel the fury subsiding and the curse retracting from his skin. Kimimaro waited patiently, his eyes never leaving Juugo's. Soon the bigger boy was shaking, tears in his eyes just like he had been before the anger took over. He looked at the bruise on the pale skin and closed his eyes tightly. The last thing he had ever wanted to do was hurt his friend.
"I-I'm sorry that I h-hurt you-" he choked, covering his face with his hands. Slowly, Kimimaro took a step towards him. Juugo backed up against the wall, trying to keep distance between him and his companion.
"Juugo. Look at me." The other boy demanded. He stepped towards Juugo until his face was mere inches from the other's arms.
"I'll just hurt you again. Aren't you scared of me? Don't you fear me like the rest of them?" A small chuckle left Kimimaro's lips.
"You know that I don't. I could never fear you, Juugo." Something about the laugh relaxed the red head, and he slowly lowered his arms, surprised to find Kimimaro's pale face so close to his. Their eyes met for a few moments before the smaller boy grabbed his hand.
"Come with me. I have something to show you." They walked hand in hand down the corridor, past all the other cells filled with the angry wailing of prisoners and test subjects. Juugo cringed as a high pitched shriek came from the cell nearest them. Kimimaro squeezed his hand reassuringly, the torchlight reflecting off his perfectly white hair. White hair, fair skin and beautiful shining eyes; every feature of Kimimaro's reflected his pure and kind heart. Juugo had once seen a gorgeous white flower that looked similar to him. Silky white petals and a slender form, just like Kimimaro's.
"You shouldn't be taking me out of here… what if you get caught?" The red head whispered as they neared the doors.
"Then I get caught." The white-haired boy replied, pushing the doors open. They were met with a cool breeze. It felt foreign on Juugo's skin; much different from the muggy warm air he was used to feeling. He took a moment to enjoy the slight tickle against his face before looking up at the sky. Against the curtain of black the full moon and stars danced. Their glow reflected on the silver hair of his friend. Hesitantly, the taller boy reached his free hand out and touched the solid moonlight before him. Kimimaro's let out a soft sigh of contentment as Juugo ran his hand over the extremely soft head of hair.
"Come on, we're not there yet." He was urged forward by the pulling of his hand. They broke into a run across the dry, sandy ground, making their way to a nearby rock formation. It stretched far into the sky and seemed almost impossible to scale. Kimimaro led him to the other side of it were they could not be seen. Juugo examined the rock, noticing that someone had etched foot and hand holds all the way to the top.
"Did you do this?" he asked as he began to climb. His friend nodded and smiled slightly. It wasn't often that he got to see the serious Kimimaro smile, but when he did it was dazzling. They spent the climb in comfortable silence. For once in his life Juugo felt free and safe outside of that metal box. The breeze blowing across them smelled earthy and carried a hint of rain on it. Probably from miles away. He enjoyed the rough feeling of stone against his bare feet and fingers. Another welcome change from the cold metal he was used to. Warmth exuded from the earth beneath his skin. Upon reaching the top he saw a couple of blankets and pillows laid out in the nook of a few rocks. Next to those was a box of sweets and a few canned drinks. He pulled himself over the edge and watched Kimimaro follow.
"What is all this? I mean, how did you do all of this without someone seeing you?" Juugo asked, unsure what to do next. The other boy tilted his head to the side and gestured towards the makeshift nest within the rocks.
"Most people don't question what I do, for they fear angering Lord Orochimaru. Unless I speak to them directly they normally avoid my presence. Sit." The taller boy did as he was instructed, settling himself on one of the soft blankets within the rock nest. For a moment he wondered if Kimimaro would join him, but as he looked up he became entranced with what he saw. His companion stood bathed in the light of the full moon, his hair and skin shining like the noble creature he was. Despite the deadly power he wielded, he looked so fragile in this lighting; as if even the gentlest breeze would break him. Juugo tensed as an unfamiliar feeling claimed his chest. His heart seemed to tighten and his stomach felt as if he had swallowed hundreds of very tiny birds.
"Kimimaro, I-" he started, but fell silent again as the boy turned to him. Curiosity glittered in those beautiful eyes. He had never seen his friend so calm and relaxed. It went both ways.
"I-, I uh-… Aren't you going to sit with me?" He mumbled, glancing at the place next to him. A small smile crossed the white-haired boy's lips.
"Of course, I'm sorry." He took his place at Juugo's side and handed him some of the sweets and the drink. "I'm sure you don't get anything like this in that prison. Eat up." Juugo stared at the dango in his hands with unease, but after a few moments of consideration he started to eat them. It tasted… surprisingly good. He savored every bite and sip he took, wanting to remember the tastes forever. Halfway through his second stick of dango he happened to glance to the side. Kimimaro was chewing slowly, and it appeared he was thinking very deeply about something. His gaze was distant, trying to see some far off object that may or may not be there. Suddenly his gaze was locked tight with Juugo's, a look of surprise overtaking his features. A laugh flew from his lips, and for once in his life Juugo could see the happiness behind the smile.
"Juugo, you have some on your face." The red-headed boy's face flushed darkly and he quickly attempted to wipe away whatever mess he had gotten on his face. He looked at his friend for conformation. Kimimaro shook his head slightly, his eyes misted over with what looked to be tears.
"Here… let me." He whispered softly, scooting closer to his friend. The next few moments crawled by as Kimimaro took Juugo's chin between his thumb and forefinger. Each boy could feel his heart hammering against his ribcage. Juugo could see them now; the dark circles under his friend's eyes. Now that they were this close he could tell the normally pale skin was even paler. Even in the flattering light of the moon, he could see his best friend was fading. He understood now. Something was wrong. Kimimaro could disappear any day and Juugo wouldn't know until it was too late. Now he understood the butterflies in his stomach, the tears in his eyes. This was love. This was Kimimaro's way of leaving him with a happy place to go to when things grew hardest. Just as he was about to close the gap between their lips, the green-eyed flower coughed into his hand. When his hand pulled back they both saw the red bloodstain on the lavender fabric of his robe. Juugo felt a mixture of emotions as he observed the bloodstain, but one emotion was far stronger than all the other's put together. Juugo pulled his friends face back up to his, and in one swift motion pressed their lips together. Kimimaro put up no resistance and instead slid his tongue into the other's mouth. The red-head could taste the metallic tang of blood, a hint of salt from the tears now falling from the emerald eyes, the sweet aftertaste of dango, and something that was completely and uniquely Kimimaro. They broke the kiss a few minutes later, and Juugo wrapped his arms tightly around the other boy.
"Kimimaro... You can't go… You're all I have…I need you…" he shuddered a small sob into the soft, silver hair.
"Juugo, please don't… You're going to make me…" Kimimaro started, but his words became soft sobs and he clung to his closest friend. Juugo's cries were much louder than the other boy's, but they held equal amounts of pain.
"I did this to you! Orochimaru put this-this curse inside your body and now it's destroying you!" He cried, forcing Kimimaro's shirt open to reveal the curse mark as well as the partial outline of his ribcage. Slowly, the boy shook his head.
"This is in no way you're fault Juugo. Don't you dare blame yourself for it." It was not a question, or a suggestion that could be debated. Juugo could tell just by looking in those sparkling green eyes. The sparkle in those eyes could never fade. He leaned over the slim body beneath him and let his tears fall on the pale chest. For a few moments they stayed like this, Juugo crying quietly against Kimimaro's chest and Kimimaro running his hand over Juugo's brilliant vermillion. Suddenly, another unfamiliar urge came over him and he crashed his lips against Kimimaro's, pressing his body as close as he could as they locked in an embrace. Then, in the light of the moon and the presence of stars, Juugo made Kimimaro more than just his friend. He became his everything; he became his one and only forever.
"To finally be needed by someone… that alone made my body move."
Juugo awake to the feeling of Kimimaro's warm body pressed flush against him. Their clothes lay to the side, just out of reach. The sun was peeking over the horizon, dusting the sky a powder blue. He ran a hand through the white hair and pressed his lips to the top of the boy's head. A small groan brought his attention to a pair of very familiar and very comforting green eyes. They lay like that for a few minutes longer, but they know that Juugo had to return to his cell before the morning role-call. There was only silence as they dressed and climbed down the make-shift ladder. Kimimaro had some difficulty getting down without jostling himself too much, but eventually they stood on solid ground. They joined hands and walked slowly back to the prison. It sickened them both, this walk. They both knew it could very well be their last together. They got back to Juugo's cell without trouble. Once the steel door was open the two exchanged sad, but loving glances.
"You'll come back, right Kimimaro?" Juugo asked, his hand desperately clutching that of his lover. He took comfort in seeing that smile for the last time.
"Of course. I'll come back. You remember what I said to you. You're not alone, Juugo. You have me." They kissed one last time before Kimimaro shut and locked the cell door. Once again he was locked within the dark room. Just outside he could have sword he heard his friend and lover, his everything, choke back a sob before walking quickly down the corridor.
Juugo waited weeks for Kimimaro to open the cell door. Maybe even months. He couldn't tell anymore with nothing but the perpetual darkness to keep him company. Finally he heard the sound of keys jingling and the locks turning. It raised his hopes higher than anything ever had, but just as easily as they had risen they fell and shattered into a thousand pieces. There stood Kabuto, Lord Orochimaru's right hand man, with what looked to be some sort of necklace. His heart wrenched as he recognized the two beads on the string. Red wooden beads; beads that Kimimaro had used for his hair.
"Kimimaro has died, Juugo. He gave his life to retrieve the new vessel for Lord Orochimaru. I'm sorry. I did everything I could to save him Juugo." Empty, heartless words. They meant nothing out of the mouth of that snake. Kabuto threw the beads into the cell at the boy's feet and closed the cell door. As the locks clicked into place Juugo felt himself being swallowed by his rage, the tears in his eyes full of bitterness and hurt. Again the searing pain of the curse flowed through and changed his body, but this time there were no tranquil pools of emerald to quell the fury in his heart. He slammed his fists into the metal walls, leaving dents every time he did so. His screams could be heard throughout the entire facility as he once again lamented the loss of everything he held dear. Eventually the anger subsided, as did the curse. It left nothing but a hole that Kimimaro had once filled. He picked up the beads and clutched them to his chest as he sobbed. Now there was no anger, no rage. He didn't want to tear anyone limb from limb or destroy a home. All he wanted was one more day; one more night out in the moonlight, caressing the fading face of his only friend. But… that couldn't happen. He would never see Kimimaro again.. and all he had left of him was his hair beads. No… that's not all. He also had his memories. One in particular that he looked to now for comfort.
His skin was soft, like the petals of a flower, and he smelled of blood and cherry blossoms. His kiss tasted of blood and sweets, and something uniquely his. The touch of his hand could draw the maddest of men from darkness, and his voice could put angels to shame. But what stood out most was the tranquil emerald portals that could take a man to a world of love and serenity even in the most violent temptest.