I do not own Naruto. It occurred to me that this fic started out with humorous intent and grew, so, trigger warnings for dark themes. I mean it. Gore, violence, war, mental health issues that are both acknowledged and ignored, unhealthy friendships, childhood abuse, neglect, emotional, mental and physical abuse, sexual assault, and general fucked up stuff.
I will also admit 100% that the first few chapters can be...rough. Very rough. I have been informed that you can jump ahead and try and guess your way around if you like that though. One day I may clean them up, but who knows? There will also be editing mistakes littered through out this fic. Those are my bad. Whoops, I suck at grammar.
The thing about death, about really dying, she would say, is that it is nigh on impossible to describe. It's intense, beyond comprehension, insanely personal and yet at the same time infinitely beyond a single experience.
Now, it could have been a simple cop out on her part. Maybe she didn't want to talk about it. Maybe it was a dark part of her existence she wanted to forget about. Maybe it frightened her to this day. Maybe the phantom sensation of leaving the physical realm haunted her dreams. Maybe the actual, tangible pain that squeezed her lungs and the ache she felt when she remembered she had left everything behind deterred her. Maybe it was the bowel-loosening sensation of fright, and maybe it was the hungry desperation for a family she could not reach that held her tongue. Perhaps it was the spiraling existential crisis it sent her into each time she thought too hard about the subject, or the lingering mental instability that would hang over her when it was spoken of. Or maybe it was the fact that describing death to the living was impossible.
With all of that in mind, it didn't stop her from trying to talk about it. She really did love to talk.
(Not so much about this, though. She would only really get into it if she trusted her conversation partner. She would also have to be thoroughly fucking wrecked for such a talk to take place. Like, painfully, horribly drunk. If she was going to spill something awkward, it was going to be awkward for everyone around, not just her.)
She wouldn't tell you how she died exactly.
It was an overdose. Accidental, the clicker on her drip was broken and she pressed the button, like, six too many times. Multiple Staph infections and broken ribs hurt. Morphine made that hurt turn into detachment and warmth.
On a shitty hospital bed with a really itchy blanket that kept absolutely none of the cold out and a plastic wrapped pillow that crinkled each time she so much as breathed on it tucked under her head.
What she would tell you was that death was probably different for everyone. Some would most likely get pearly gates, others a lake of fire. Some would get a river whose banks teemed with lost souls, or a slate world covered in mist, or a feasting hall, or their ancestors' awaiting arms. There was probably a shit ton of deaths, she would theorize, but all she could tell you about was her own.
She would tell you that it wasn't what she expected, and then give a laugh that would have an edge to it. It wasn't instant death and then rebirth. There was a place that came after, but not really a place, because it was nothing.
It was a void, and she guessed she had become part of that nothing for a while. She didn't really know, because part of being nothing is not thinking. It's also having no sense of self, or time. Could she have even existed if she had no concept of herself existing? Shit, she was always horrible with philosophy.
Anyway, she was part of the empty chasm, and the chasm was part of her.
(It never really left.)
It pulled and pulled at her, but never really pulled hard. The endless void accepted that struggles would come, and it had an eternity to wait. It is forever blessed with patience, waiting for her to surrender whatever it was it needed. She struggled against it, against the vastness of it all, because it was too much for any single entity to understand. She was a single bodiless existence in all of space and time, submersed in an incomprehensible mess of absolute nothing. Tendrils of nothing slipped into her miasma of self, and they didn't hurt, and they didn't feel good. They were just kind of there, but then again not. She would say that the closest thing she could ever compare the Void to was an idea, because it existed, but it had no form and no inherent power. Yet at the same time it was the most powerful thing she could imagine, the most imposing presence ever, despite never having anything to give it presence.
So she clung onto… whatever, and curled tighter and tighter into her own self-but-not-self, and eventually she compressed tightly enough that she, in fact, became herself again. There she lay, a tight curl of something inside a great expanse of nothing, and that was a god damned feat of fucking magic.
For a while still she floated, something in the nothing, before she understood suddenly that she was leaving to go. She understood that the Void could not be with something inside of it, for such a thing was a paradox. In her soul she knew she would be back again sometime, some place, someday, and maybe then she might be ready to let go. That the Void would not accept her until she was ready to go, that until she could let go all of what she was, she would be barred from here. She was thankful, because being her-but-not-her had been okay, but also fucking terrible and weird. There was a sort of peace in it, a tranquility, she supposed. She knew that the nothing would wait until she could let go of all that made her, and she accepted that too. At peace with the choices that were made, she did not fight the Void when it began to push her away.
That is, she accepted right before the nothingness violently spat her out and she was free-falling through a straight up terrible tunnel of fuck-that-shit.
She was wrong, like, super fucking wrong. Oh God, she had pissed off the Void and now it was sending her to hell. She regretted so hard, like, why could she just give up everything that made her? Was it really so hard to let your entire existence be wiped away? It was just being cleaned from the state of the entire universe, it wasn't that hard, she could have done it! Honest!
Then she slammed essence first into a riot of physical sensation, and it was awful, just awful. She could see for the first time in what felt like forever, and everything was blurry. The light seared into her eyes with the force of a million angry bees, and it was all skin toned giants and dancing shadows. It was colors and colors and so many fucking colors.
If seeing was bad, hearing was infinitely worse. The noise was deafening. What sounded like a really bad opera blared around her, sung in the voices of three or four different women. One of whom was screaming. It made her head heart and it terrified her.
It smelled like blood, human feces, and maybe a little vomit.
Her body felt something akin to jello, like really really hungry jello. Her limbs felt like a more solid manifestation of rippling water. Which was horrifying, by the way. It was sorta like the universe was saying "Welcome back to existence, remember how terrible this shit was?"
She was exchanged from one pair of titan hands to another, and there was a cooing sound, and then it clicked.
She had just been reborn.
She was a baby.
High on physical sensation and dawning horror, she laughed so hard she cried.
On a balmy fall night on October tenth, Watanabe Ryuishi was born in Kirigakure, The Village Hidden In the Mist, and her bewildered infant laughter filled the night air.
AN: WE GIVE THANKS TO THE GREAT BETA ENBI. Bless her for going through old chapters and correcting horrible mistakes.