A/N: A requestfic. I'm so happy! -^__^- This was from Ky, who E-mailed me asking for a fic from the kyubi's POV and also flattered me terribly. So I think, "well, that's nice, but it's three A.M. and I'm going to bed." Something similar happened the next day and so on, but then I suddenly got hit with the PERFECT idea, and so here I am.

Making all this up, by the way, because I know jack about the kyubi's canon motivations. ^_^;;

Nine Tails' POV. Lil' bit o' implied shounen ai.



"Sparrows in a Bright Place"



There is a story . . . I heard it once, when I was young . . . even though that was so long ago, I still remember it. I've forgotten who told it, forgotten where I learned it . . .

But I never forgot the story.

And the story is this:

There is a sparrow. And this sparrow is flying. It has always, in fact, been flying, and always will be. It will never die, never land, never fall. It will forever be flying through a great, dark void. There is no light in the void. There is no wind in the void. There is no time there, and nowhere to go and nothing to see or hear or smell or touch, but the sparrow will never think to stop, because it knows nothing else. It has no memory, because there has been nothing different to remember. Everything has always been the same.

And then, one day, it flies into a room. A brightly lit room, with walls and a ceiling and a floor, where there is air and it can hear its own wings flapping and smell and taste and feel . . . And for one instant, it experiences all this . . . and then it flies all the way through, and it is in the darkness once more and will never again see the light.

But it still keeps flying. Through the darkness and the emptiness and the loneliness, it keeps flying.

The only difference is, this time it has a memory.

I remember very little of the specifics of my life. It was always the same: hunt, kill, eat, fight, mate. Nothing else really occurred or mattered. Sometimes a fight would be harder; sometimes it would be easy. However, it never actually mattered in the end, because I have always been unusually strong, and I never lost.

Until that day.

That day, I lost. I attacked them, ripped them up, screamed and tore and made them bleed . . . and in the end, I lost.

That man- he stopped me. Fought me, chained me, bound me: made me weak and small and clumsy. Made me worthless and human like him.

I love that man.

Can you understand what it is like? What it is like to walk forever through the darkness, and then suddenly, out of nowhere, someone grabs you and pulls you to them in one fierce embrace, and suddenly you can understand everything that ever mattered? To suddenly, in one mad rush, understand love and hate and fear and what it feels like to fight for something better than yourself?

You see the light, and then you wonder: how could I have been so naïve, so stupid, as to never know that this existed? How could I have been so caught up in worthless things that I never noticed it, even briefly?

And then they let go, and it's all darkness again, but you keep going, because there's still a chance that maybe . . . maybe, if you walk far enough, look hard enough, someone will pick you up again and show you the light. Or maybe you'll find it yourself.

Humans live so briefly, like those fabulous flowers that bloom only for a week or a day or an hour: lovely and entrancing and amazing to see, but fragile and quick to die.

This boy that I am in will die. And then . . . I do not know what I will be then. Will I be freed from this body and return to the darkness as my old self, or will I go with this boy even in death and share an afterlife, as we now share our true lives? Will I be with him forever, or will this room of light come to an end?

Because I am a sparrow, and this life is my lighted room. This life and the people in it shine. The pains and the joys and the disappointment . . . I never felt like this when I was only myself.

And this life is SUCH a life! It has such grief, such passion! It reminded me that some things do end, and that others will never change, that beauty is a state of mind, that love . . .

I cannot begin to describe what I learned about love.

A fox cannot understand the subtleties of a spoken language. A fox cannot understand what it means to second-guess yourself every waking moment of your life. That is an exclusively human trait. If I had questioned myself in the darkness I would have died long before I met the Fourth Hokage.

And long, long before I met . . .

"What are you doing on my roof, dead-last?" Sasuke asks as he leans out of the window beneath me, mild irritation coloring his voice. "It's the middle of the night."

"You're up too," I point out. No need to correct him on exactly whom he is speaking to.

He just scowls at me for a moment, and I automatically pat the shingles beside me. A moment's consideration, and he slips out and up the wall to join me. I am pleased- more so because Naruto is too drowsy to realize that it is I and not him who is the one conducting this conversation.

"Are you hungry?" Sasuke asks after another moment of watching me. "I have instant ramen in the cupboard."

I immediately attach myself to his waist. "Have I ever told you that I love you?" I ask. I love ramen. No one should ever eat anything else: it is the greatest thing since the invention of boiled water (appropriately enough).

"Shut up, dobe, it's just food," he growls, trying ineffectively to wriggle out of my grasp. I am better than Naruto at holds like this- that look harmless but keep your victim basically paralyzed. Sasuke does not even seem to realize what I am doing.

So maybe I'll keep it up a little longer.

Just until the darkness comes back.

Sasuke has lived in darkness also, but of a different sort than mine. Still, I think he could live my story- just not understand it. He cannot comprehend the way a memory can get you through the bad times.

But then again, he is still very young. It is forgivable.

The lighted room that is this life- I know it won't last forever. I don't know what will happen after, but right now, what I want- what I hope- will come next is that afterlife shared with Naruto.

And . . . with any luck . . . Sasuke will be there also, and perhaps . . .

I would like to see Iruka again, and Sakura, and a few of the others. I just feel like it is necessary.

But if I do not get that . . . if I go back into the darkness . . . then at least I will have the knowledge that it happened.

And I still remember what a kiss feels like.



* ende *



. : sometimes, when you fall, you fly : .