A/N: Today I went to uzumaki addiction. Very pretty art site; you should try it. It's got really good variety couples-wise (whoo, Ino x Naruto! XD). Then I checked out the link list and pretty much died.

I've been locked in my room and scribbling off Naruto fics all freaking day because of the art on just the first two or three sites there. I have never typed this fast in my LIFE. And I have NEVER wanted to learn Japanese more than when looking at those comics. Excuse me while I go have a heart attack. *hyperventilating* See, this is why, when you're bitching at Sunfreak the Slow to update all you REALLY need to do is find a good art site and push it at her. What can I say- I'm a visual learner.

Warnings: shounen ai-ish, het-ish, threesome-ish.






Three is a strong number. Don't desert it. Don't pull away: this is the best thing that has ever happened to you. You just don't know it yet.

It's everywhere, you know. All your life, these things have been coming at you. There are three stripes on each side of his face (are they scars? how the hell did that happen to him anyway?). There are three shades of green in her eyes (but you're not supposed to notice that).

There are three of you here, together. Id, Ego, Superego. The Instinct, the Control, the Morality.

You might be surprised to know that you are not the Control. You are really anything but.

She is the Control. He is the Morality, laughable a thought as that may seem.

And you?

You are the Id. Instinct, like quicksilver and mercury, who jumps in headfirst and never really thinks things through at all. Primitive and wild, with only one goal- like a starving animal wanting nothing more than the sweet taste of blood.

You are one of three, and you can never forget that. You, who were the loner, have been quite mercilessly drafted and dragged kicking and screaming into the real world, where- surprise, surprise- sometimes you have to get along with people. Isn't that terrible? Having to deal with those bastards who dare to care about you? And not just the face: but the soul beneath it, the one you thought you'd locked up so well.

Well, guess what.

You didn't.

Oh, you tried, and you pushed people away and ignored those who wouldn't be pushed and grew thorns around your heart, but it didn't really work.

And now you have them to deal with.

Her. Flighty, flirty (and not very good at it, mind). Wears a shell like yours, but not at all for the same reasons.

And him. Immature, overconfident (and can't back up his mouth). You think he doesn't need a shell, but you're wrong.

You don't understand them at all.

But she is so afraid of being rejected that she'd never let anyone see her soul. And he is so afraid of going unseen that he screams what any other fool wouldn't even whisper.

The real problem, though, is that you know what's coming up. You're going to be with them all the time; you're going to have to talk to them and work with them and defend them and trust them to watch your back. Two stupid kids who both annoy you to the point of homicide, and they're going to be your teammates.

Worse, you're afraid they might grow on you. That they might somehow worm their way into your affections.

What you don't know is, they already have. So slowly and slyly they slipped in. A kiss. A look of adoration. Such wisps of emotion have tangled themselves up in the ragged thorns of your hard heart.

And someday, there will be more. Threads and bits of fabric, all catching hold and wrapping you up tightly, until the thorns are buried beneath them and your heart is safe from those who might do it harm. And then the thorns will become useless and drop off, and then . . .

Oh? Now you want to know?

Too bad- no one's telling.

Just remember: threes are important. Three stripes. Three shades of green.

And the three of you.

But you already know that- even if your brain has yet to catch up with your heart.



* finale *



. : three times three is . . . : .