A/N: Vaguely Nine Tails/Iruka, though really quite one-sided. It's an odd little fic . . . *grins sheepishly* I like the idea, though.

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"Such A Thing"

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He knows this scent. He has known it all his life, in fact. Not his own life, but HIS. The Boy, who is so stupid and brash and treats him like some kind of living battery.

If it weren't for the fact that he deserves such punishment, he might be bitter. He might be bitter anyway, if not for the owner of this scent. If not for the Owner.

He wonders if the Owner really understands what it means that he comes to him and forces his way into his arms, whining and nursing the small wounds of the soul.

And by whining, he means whining: a sound that he would have made in his old body, not one that the Boy would make. Whining and scratching and wanting the Owner to look at him and speak to him kindly, like he does to the Boy; to tell him that he is forgiven.

Forgiven.

That was not a word that he knew before the Boy. Nor were "sorry," or "regret," or "mistake." Because he could not be sorry, he could not be wrong. If you were wrong, you died.

Only . . . in the Boy's world . . . in the Owner's world . . . things weren't always like that. Sometimes, yes, but . . . not always.

But is "sorry" a big enough word for the feeling that comes to him when he catches the Owner's scent? Is "regret" the thing that makes him hurt so much?

He had not known, before the Boy, that there was such a thing as emotional pain. He had thought it all came from the body- it had never even occurred to him that the heart might come into play.

And that was most definitely a "mistake."

But he wants to make it better. Does that redeem him, even a little? Does wishing that he could bring back the Owner's parents make him a better person? Does hating his old self, his own stupidity- does that somehow make him worth something?

Or is he just deluded and desperate and wanting the Owner to love him like he loves the Boy? To love him MORE than the Boy, in fact, because the way the Owner feels for the Boy is not the kind of affection he desires.

Because he wants the Owner to own HIM as well. Though really, he does already.

Emotional pain is such a strange thing.

He has to wonder why it exists.

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* fin *

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. : locked heart : .