"Parodia, why are you making another fic? You haven't updated The Light since January and you take forever to update Re-Re-Re as it is!"

Had to do it. Couldn't let this idea go to waste. Thought to myself, "Have I ever seen an Aburame Protagonist OC?"

Disclaimer: Yadda Yadda don'townNaruto Yadda Yadda.

Erika had expected to live quite a bit longer.

Her lifestyle was two steps off from decadent and only that close because her parents made quite a bit of money and her brother and father had desires. Erika took after her mother in that respect, who wanted nothing but to continue her work in relative peace.

Said work was far from ethically or morally 'correct'. Of course, nobody really cared.

"Ah, excuse me. Am I currently speaking to Miss Erika Blum?" Some man was calling her.

It was two in the morning. She hadn't been sleeping but wasn't it polite not to call people around this time? That's what she'd been lead to believe. She felt greatly disrespected.

"What do you want?" There was a sigh— she presumed of relief— on the other end.

"I'm glad I've got you on the phone. I'd thought that maybe I had the wrong number but I couldn't— you sound just like your mother."

Erika hadn't particularly feared dying but as she saw it, it would be the end of all that was her and there would be nothing left. She hadn't particularly feared that either; she wasn't the kind of person to struggle futilely in the face of inevitability.

She would die. There was no reason to dwell on it.

If she tried to pinpoint exactly what moment had shaped her life, she'd come up with nothing. Her life had been pleasantly simple save for a few particular points of unpleasantness that happened long after her personality had become something more rigid.

During her childhood, her father had her learn to dance; when that failed, to sing; and when that failed, to play the piano. She was aware that it could be considered rather callous of a parent to put so much pressure on a child but she had enjoyed those activities for as long she'd participated in them. She'd been pretty decent at the piano too.

"You see, I'm a colleague of your mother"— Yeah right— "and we've been going over a few things recently. She told me that your expertise on the subject exceeded her own and suggested I contact you. Would it be possible if we could meet within the next hour? I need to get this done quickly."

Erika was not convinced for a multitude of reasons, chief among them being that she in no way had more knowledge than her mother did on her own work. Even if she had, her mother would not have pointed somebody her way. Still, she was curious.

"Fine then; let's meet."

"Ah, then write down this address." She listened and didn't bother writing it down. She knew the location he'd given well enough.

"Until we meet." She hung up and pulled on her boots— rarely did she ever undress completely, at most removing her shirt in addition to her shoes.

When she got downstairs, she saw her mother in the kitchen.

At the start of her teen years, Erika began taking self-defense classes, at her mother's request. She was considered talented but was supposed 'unnecessarily cruel' during spars and therefore kicked out the dojo. Afterward, she took to wearing steel-toed boots and going on jogs to keep up her health, uncomfortable as that may have been while wearing boots.

Erika didn't mind that the life she lived could be considered lonely. She didn't mind that she'd made a name for herself in her school as somebody who'd spit in the face of your offers of companionship. It wasn't necessarily true but she had made a point of being particularly friendly towards her peers. If she were entirely honest, she was less than friendly.

It wasn't until her third year of high school that she made something resembling a friend.

A research partner of her father had recently lost his wife and found himself without anybody to look after his son. As a favor, Erika's mother— that had been something of a surprise— told her husband's partner that Erika would be able to look after him. Erika didn't disagree but when she'd finally met the boy, she found he was only two years younger than herself. She didn't understand why he'd need to be monitored.

His name was Rowan.

Erika's mother slept even less than she herself did so Erika was not at all surprised to see Sophie Blum nursing a mug of coffee while she read over some non-descript papers she'd pulled from a manilla folder.

Her mother's hair was done up in a messy bun and was a blonde a few shades darker than Erika's own. Her mother hadn't bothered to look up from her papers when she'd arrived but Erika was fairly certain her eyes had stopped their steady scanning of her work.

"You're going out, Erika," And of course it wasn't a spoken as a question. Erika knew— above all else— that her mother far from stupid.

"A colleague of yours wishes to meet with me." That drew her mother's attention and for a second she wished it hadn't. Her mother had that look on her face that told Erika exactly how stupid she sounded.

She hated being thought dim-witted more than most things— it probably ran in her blood.

"I'm aware of the risk, mother. I'm well aware that they aren't who they claim to be. I'm simply curious."

Sophie Blum never truly relaxed but after Erika's statement, she returned her gaze to her papers.

"Then by all means; if your brother awakes before you return, I'll tell him you are visiting Rowan." Erika made sure that her displeasure wasn't visible on her face.

"Goodbye then." She received no response as she made her way to the door.

Rowan was a mystery that Erika failed to understand. Well, that was incorrect. What she failed to understand was why his father believed he needed to be watched.

Rowan displayed all the bravado— false or otherwise— expected of a pubescent boy and the awkward mourning she expected of a boy who'd lost a parent. Aside from a few moments that most people might consider odd, she really saw nothing out of the ordinary. At least, within her own slapdash definition of ordinary. She saw no incipient signs of a potentially debilitating mental disorder— she had needed to ask her mother's opinion on that because while she was learning psychology, she took much better to just about every other branch of science— or anything else that had the capability to make him a walking time-bomb.

Erika really couldn't understand why Rowan's father decided he should be monitored.

The pair rarely met outside of Rowan's home because neither was particularly fond of going out. It wasn't until two months after their initial meeting that she'd seen him at the school they both went to. She was irritated at what she'd seen. Understandably so, of course.

She could be excused for mistaking the way the other brats had been speaking to him. He'd looked suitably cowed in contrast to their rather confrontational demeanors. How would she have possibly known they were his friends?

So yes, she could be excused for breaking the one of the offender's tibia— and of course, the bill was foisted onto her family— and grinding the bone under her boot. She'd been understandably angry at these people accosting her charge.

(A small part of her just felt like hurting somebody.)

Of course, Rowan stopped her from doing any more damage. And when he called her an idiot on top of that, she told him:

"Don't be a brat; if you didn't want the situation dealt with like that, you should've handled it yourself."

The two of them were excellent friends for the next seven years.

Erika arrived at the street corner with little trouble and leaned against the stop sign. The location was about two blocks away from the gas station so she supposed that if she really needed to, she could buy a drink there when this was over.

It was a few more minutes of waiting— Had this man no respect?— before she heard the clearing of a throat. Her gaze shifted easily to the side to take in the man who'd called her there.

He was... unimpressive at best— at worst, disgusting. His hair was a greasy mess, disheveled in a way that spoke far too much of too few attempts to clean it. While his clothes were comparably clean, his shoes were liberally coated in the dust of the desert they lived in and she could make out the dirt underneath his nails from where she stood even under the orange glow of the streetlights.

She imagined that he'd tried to make himself look presentable but either hadn't the common sense to maintain his appearance on the way there, was forced to rush due to a time constraint that he himself had set, or thought her fool enough to be tricked by a polo shirt and a pair of ironed pants.

"So, what did you want with me?" He opened his mouth to speak but he was cut off. "I'm aware that you don't actually work with my mother. Why did you call me here?"

There was a pause. "I want your help."

That was a surprise.

"With?" Here, the man grew silent and shifted his gaze, looking anywhere but at her. "Well?"

He took in breath— to steel himself, she supposed— before straightening his back and narrowing his eyes. "Sophie Blum."

She could tell, from how he'd spoken her mother's name alone, that he held some sort of grudge but only let out a sigh. "Why?"

"Do you know the research your mother's been conducting?"

Erika simply raised an eyebrow. "A lot of it of is some unofficial studies on the human mind. A timekiller more than anything, considering she doesn't necessarily need to work for her money."

The man— and at this point, she realized she didn't know his name— looked to be two steps aware from snarling like some rabid dog. "Is that what she told you?"

Erika shrugged. "Is there something more to it?"

"Tch. You're damn right there is." He exhaled and ran a hand through his hair. "Your mother finds people in dire straits and makes an offer: 'I will wipe away your debts', 'I will pay your son's medical bills', 'I can give you enough to live on'. Always, she targeted people who'd never be missed, who had almost nothing left and her offers always end the same way. 'I simply require one thing.'" He locked eyes with Erika, gauging her reaction.

Erika waited patiently. He got right back into it.

"And always, they would say, 'We'll do anything, anything if you can save us.' And she would ask for a volunteer— tell them she was conducting research and was in need of assistance. They would accept of course—" He locked eyes with her. "— but none would return."

"So what you're saying is?" That seemed to set him off.

"Are you daft?" He grabbed her by the shoulders, shouting at her. "What I'm saying is—"

Erika silenced him, slamming the heel of her palm into his chin.

She wiped the hand off on her pants as he held in a scream of pain, a hand covering his mouth before she spoke. "I'd prefer if you kept your hands to yourself, Pissflitsche. I'm well aware of mother's business. I pretended otherwise because I wasn't sure you knew what you were talking about."

The man gave her a withering glare as Erika continued speaking.

"I'd like to point out that mother does not lie when she makes these deals. In the end, they were all told they'd be a part of her research; if they didn't realize to what degree, they deserved whatever fate befell them."


"Next, my mother has given what was promised to every one of her clients. Any money offered was handed to the next best person to accept and any payments promised were given."

Having not totally recovered from biting his tongue, the man spoke slowly. "Do you not... understand... what I'm saying?"

"Have you been listening, Saukerl? It's my mother's money to do with as she wishes and it is those peoples' lives to do with as they please. It's not like they were killed; though I suppose they may as well have been."

"You— I can't fucking believe you!" Erika watched as the man wound himself up. "You don't care? It's their own fault? That's bullshit!"

"Right." Erika pushed away from the stop sign and shoved her hands into her pockets. "I think we're done; please return to whatever hole you crawled out of." Honestly, this all felt like it was part of a poorly written book.

That was a fine set of last words.

After twenty-three years wasted on a life that eventually meant nothing, Erika was dead.

Suspended in the void, thousands of screams echoed in her head. At one point, she would've refused to believe that her own was among the noise.

Though, at one point, she'd also believed that her death would be the end of everything. Of all thought and action.

And in agony, she sat suspended in the void, until there was nothing.

Kiku clung to her boyfriend— and she wasn't entirely sure that applied anymore; they were planning to be married— occasionally throwing glances his way, despite knowing he was making a point of keeping his own gaze directed forward as they walked.

Nervously, she brushed a lock of brown hair behind an ear as turned her eyes back to their path.

"I'm sorry about my parents, Haruka-kun."

He didn't react and for a second she thought he hadn't heard her at all until he spoke

"The Aburame are considered odd even amongst the shinobi population; more so among the civilians who are wary of shinobi as a whole."

Kiku was entirely aware that he didn't truly mean anything by the last comment— he said things that seemed vaguely offensive often— but she couldn't help her cringe.

"Yeah." They continued their walk through the dark streets of Konoha in silence only interrupted by the occasional soft buzzing she heard beneath Haruka-kun's jacket.

She placed a hand on her gravid belly, smiling softly. "Haruka-kun?"

He inclined his head toward her, letting her know he'd heard.

"Do you want a son or a daughter?" When he opened his opened his mouth to respond, she slapped his arm lightly. "I don't want any of your logic, Haruka-kun; tell me what you want."

She watched as his lips twitched at that and after a moment's deliberation, he replied, "I suppose a daughter would be... pleasant."

Kiku giggled and reached up to pat his head. "I knew you could do it, Haruka-kun. Good job!"

He let out a huff but didn't make any move to stop her from tousling his hair.

Erika is a poorly-written, terrible person in a poorly-written story. It'll probably get better. Or worse.

I should have the next chapter of Re-Re-Re out by the end of the month but I've kinda been struggling with it.

Character tags will be added when I figure out what characters I want in this story.

Next Chapter: To Be Swallowed Whole