He had no room for useless things.

But that didn't explain the paintings that lined his walls, frames against the plain wood of his walls; a splash of color in a darkened apartment. Even if none of his pictures had a name, even if his floor was strewn with ink splotched papers, even though the bed was not as worn as it should've been—it was home.

'Home,' he thought in the suffocating emptiness of his apartment. 'Maybe home is not the right word.'

He dipped his brush in red ink and struck it against the stretched tarp laid out on his table beside thick scrolls and pristine, white-bristled brushes. Time alluded him as he painted his peace, his hand lightning across the canvas.

An hour later, his brush clattered against the wood of his desk and he sat back.

Red clouds traversed the sky against a black-gray background.

He held it upright and let crimson rivulets run down from where paint pockets collected, and without waiting for it to dry he mounted it up on an empty space on the wall in front of his bed. As per usual, he stuck a blank tag beneath his work and turned to leave it empty like the rest of them, but he stopped.

His hand raised to touch the skin of his neck that had been covered by a metal collar for the better of a month and a half.

And he grabbed his still-wet brush to write a single word beneath the painting.


Never write the names of the living in red, he could hear the world say. Unless you wished them harm and sorrow and pain and death.

"I do not know if they are already dead," he whispered. His brush dripped and a drop splattered on his floor, and his voice carried no further than the open window that let in a faint breeze. "But the least I can do, for their sake, is hope that they are."

But what did it mean to go too far?

:: ::

New Story:


The Third Hokage was dead.

It wasn't enough.

Team Eight knew loss like the seals on the backs of their tongues. They'd been silenced, branded, abandoned, ambushed, left on the enemy's doorstep like a gift—unlucky was their nickname, but they would make it their trade.

The Third Hokage was dead.

It was Danzo's turn.

:: ::

SEQUEL TO: Hoshigaki (2017-2019)

:: ::

Commissioned Cover by AwesomeDragonTamer on Wattpad (caleb-crow on Tumblr; caleb_thalia_crow on Instagram)

BETA: OfCloves on Wattpad

:: ::

Out Now.