The words for the poem Temari says come from Samuel Taylor Coleridge's, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, 1798. The music is Adagio for Strings (Agnus Dei). E-mail me if you'd like a translation of explanation.
(Italics mean thoughts or things happening in sand village, or in music)
The scent of battle hung in the air like crimson haze. Genma crouched low in the midst of fighting shinobi, jutsus, weaponry, and shouting. He stood poised, back to the ridge that once shielded their campsite. If he pressed close enough to the sand wall maybe nobody would notice him.
Nope. No such luck. Genma sensed the presence of a sand shinobi seconds before the enemy jumped him. Though the flaxen haired opponent came at him from behind (he had leapt down the ridge) Genma dodged. He sighed, and ducked again. Pretty good day for a battle, could only be better if things weren't so goddamn hot.
Things erupted quickly after Genma traded his guard dog post with Ibiki. He waited outside while Renji screamed. Ibiki came away white face. He had been wrong of course, and he knew it. Now the consequences belonged to him. Genma chewed his lower lip and blocked a strike with a shuriken. Ibiki was not a politician, but goddamn! He knew that Hokage had not just sent them here for Kakashi. Why had he provoked this battle?
Genma ducked through the sand healer's guard (a healer? Was the sand that low on shinobi?) and cut his cheek with a kunai. The shinobi carried extra packs for various medicines and healing components. Genma cocked his head, not looking his adversary in the eye, (it's hard to kill someone after you've done that) but judging the stance and body. This man was older then he, and probably did not even go on field missions anymore. So why had he come on this one? Must be some enemy the sand hunted…
Genma gritted his teeth. His patience began to wear thin with this slow circular dance. It felt like sparing, only with one's life on the line (except the life wasn't his).
Someone recognized Renji's voice and it became an attack-first-ask-questions-later-situation. Rolls reversed, and all of a sudden the sand knew the leaf kidnapped their scout, in a country where they were forbidden to be. Not to mention the lie Ibiki told Baki ("No, we haven't seen him"). Well, at least now Genma knew why Hokage generally did not send people on missions they cared about. Emotions tend to get tangled up. He wondered why Hokage had sent them.
Genma backed up, sick of this stupid dance. He felt the slope of sand rubbing against his back. His fingers formed a vaguely familiar seal. The sand shinobi began to cast a counter seal but time ran out. Genma never got to see what the shinobi's counter was. The sand around him solidified. He got lucky so much gusted around in the air today, because all of it morphed into an impenetrable cocoon. He could see out, but no one could see in.
Sweat beaded on his forehead, he felt it under his arms, and down his back. Genma locked his jaw in an effort to hold the jutsu for just a few more seconds. One. Two. Three. Release!
The shield exploded outward like a bomb.
Qui toll is…
Kankuro smiled for the camera. His dimples showed like deep laugh lines in his cheeks, especially since during the shot he froze pulling Temari's hair. His little fingers twisted through it in the heinous act. Temari's six year old face locked for the picture in an ear splitting screech of protest, pert mouth open, cheeks and nose contorted in displeasure, and eyes shut in painful annoyance. Kankuro used her hair to pull himself up on the counter one day and Yashamaru caught the shot in all its glory.
Genma winced as any shinobi within ten meters were rocketed backwards by the shockwave. A tidal wave of sand rose up and blasted away the surrounding area (not that Genma had ever seen a real tidal wave, but he imagined that it would look like this, a wall of water, a wall of sand). Genma immediately crouched low and waited for the dust to settle, now would be an ideal to time to rush him, when he couldn't see. His eyes teared from sand and wind. He pulled his bandana over his head and tied it across his nose. At least he could breathe now.
He bounced from foot to foot. The sand began to settle and what he saw made him grin a little. He stood in the middle of a deep crater, up to his waist, and around him bodies lay sprawled. A bomb, post- detonation.
"For Kakashi!" Gai mowed down a bunch of Sand Shinobi then bounced on the balls of his feet, looking in all directions. "Who's next to Challenge the Beautiful Green Beast of Konoha! Huh!" A gloved hand closed on his wrist and twisted. ERG! Gai felt a burning sensation. He kicked out, but Baki's grip remained tight. He twisted and leaped to free himself, but Baki only clenched, if possible, tighter. Gai's breath rasped from the exertion of trying to keep his wrist in one piece. He would have to stop soon and Baki would have his opportunity.
But Baki didn't wait for Gai to stop. He waited just until Gai's maneuvers slowed down sufficiently. Snap. Went Gai's wrist. Gai gritted his teeth. Damn! That hurts! The wrist hung at an awkward angle, perpendicular to Gai's forearm. He darted back from Baki, who gave him a half assed grin.
"You're fast. But not as fast as wind," Baki drew his fingers back to create a deadly blade of air.
Mis se re-re…
Kakashi over turned the water bucket above his head. The remaining cool liquid coursed over his face and down the back of his neck, soaking his shirt; good for later. He opened his mouth to catch some of it. Next to him, Iruka shook out his head like a dog, spraying droplets and making his hair protrude in thick dark spikes. Then he tied it back into a ponytail and sat next to Kakashi against the palm tree near camp.
"Oh man," said Kakashi. He grinned. "That was harder than I thought'd be." Iruka was not falling for this feigned confidence. Not happening. They had things galore to worry about. If Kakashi had half a brain he'd be scared, and he HAS to have at least half a brain. Anbu doesn't except idiots, end of story.
"That was horrible," Iruka corrected. "I felt like I was beating up myself. And when I didn't feel like that, I was kicking a kitten. Where's the glory in kicking a kitten?" Kakashi grimaced.
"I'm supposed to do whatever it takes to protect the leaf. And I know where my loyalties lie,"
"My village," Kakashi sighed, instead of retorting. "I still can't believe this." And worse, I think I'm blaming myself.
"So," said Iruka. "That didn't hurt at all?"
"I felt kind of bad beating up a girl, but if you mean those lovey- dovey feelings inside or something… Nothing whatever,"
"I was being literal. I swear, half the time I was hitting myself. Every time we hurt Jezzy I felt it,"
"Sorry, I didn't feel a thing. You held up well. But if it was really that painful why'd you help me?"
"If I didn't you'd look like an asshole, and this is a team effort…" Right, thought Kakashi, a team effort. "And I have to believe in the bond because if I don't believe I know I'm insane,"
"You actually feel that connection… I'd hoped Watcher was just… I don't know… There are too many reasons why this has to be true. Why would he make all that up? I know, bad case of denial, right here"
"Yeah… Don't you wonder why I'm not unconscious?"
"I blocked the connection, Kakashi. She was yelling in my head and I cut her off. Do you think we should revive her now?"
"Not yet, we have a few hours. Well, if it's real, I'm not saying it is, but if it's real, what did it feel like?" Iruka considered this. It wasn't like a voice inside his head, just a sort of momentary presence whose physical sensations he could feel… And emotions. Jezebel's emotions haltered into his head sounding a lot like confused yelling. And Iruka could understand confusion.
"I guess I just wanted her out of my head. I thought ENOUGH," he emphasized the word. "And it was like a wall slammed down between my head and Jezzy's presence. Now I'm by myself again."
"You didn't hear voices?"
"I promise I did not hear one voice,"
Mi se re-re…
"No!" Gai shielded his head behind his arms, ready to attempt to catch or dodge the blade. But how did one catch a blade on air? The blade sliced toward him, invisible but he could feel it's impending force. Gai took a deep breath. Wait for it, wait for it. Now! He bolted sideways. Baki's blade surged into a cloud of dust, missing Gai cleanly. Gai grinned at the pissed look on Baki's face. "I'm faster,"
Mi se re-re…
Kakashi had not imagined the cooling breeze that penetrated his body. It swept through with a gentle melody that rose and fell in the background. Through, not around, like a caress. His heart beat in perfect tandem with the music, which reminded him of warm hands, the faint lub-dub of heartbeats, and gentle whispers. He wondered why he stood there, trying to gather fleeting thoughts.
Genjutsu! He dug his nails into his palm, nothing like pain to break the spell. He felt a little pain and stopped. Why had he done that? Now was time to relax and sleep.
He looked at Iruka, who grinned and waved, and then at Jezzy who stood between them singing… Her voice, Kakashi realized. But, why does she look so angry? That's what's wrong. How could she be upset now?
"Jezzy, hey Jezzy!" His voice sounded hollow and distant. Bothersome. He knelt in the sand. When had he gotten to his knees? His heart began to beat out of time with the music. And it hurt. No! He wrenched himself up and staggered sideways, feeling like a child who has to rip their tongue away from a frozen water pump, dragging his limbs like weights.
"Jezebel," He could sleep now, with all his desires granted. "Jezebel!" He tripped, shuffling into her. She rocked and caught her balance, concentration broken.
Kakashi glanced sideways at Iruka. If that had been allowed to continue they would both have died, right there.
Anko's fist connected with some sand dude's mouth. There was a sickening crunch as sticky teeth folded around her fist, giving way to warm squishy gums. Her hand came away extra bloody with tiny yellow teeth clinging to the knuckles.
1 hour later:
The Reluctant Quartet stood at the top of the rise watching wreckage in the making. Both Kakashi and Iruka looked at Jezzy as if expecting something from her. She suppressed the urge to tell them that she didn't know what was supposed to be happening.
"Erg," said P.S.
"You're wondering why I stayed with you and actually tried back there? What else could I do? I have nothing; I might as well try to find something!"
"Arg!" Someone body slammed Baki from behind, right into Gai's waiting arms.
"And this," said Gaara. "Is Uncle Yashamaru. He doesn't look like me at all,"
Mi se re-re…
"Miss Jezebel, pick yourself up,"
"Do you think if you sing again you'll find your chakra?"
"I don't want to."
Mi se re-re…
"This is my old pet cat, Gatchi. I liked him. He was good. Once he tried to scratch me and the sand got him."
Mi se re-re…
Renji found himself back to back with a sand shinobi he did not know. Nothing else mattered right now because they were both in really deep shit. Anko stood before them and her mood previously bad mood had gotten worse.
"This isn't going to work?"
"There's too much going on,"
"We're too late then! How many already died?"
"Why do you care?"
"Yeah this again,"
"You're going to have to figure that out,"
"Guys! Kakashi, we need to get down there,"
Ibiki heard someone call his name. Anko?
"And this is you and me, Snooks, see us waving?"
"I'm not wasting all my energy on this,"
"You have to. If we three go down there we'll be slaughtered. Well, maybe not Kaskashi, but P.S. and I will be,"
"What does it matter?" Kakashi gripped her shoulders and shook, hard. Her head snapped back.
"People die in war! People die!" Iruka put a hand on Kakashi's shoulder.
"She can't possibly understand. But," he turned to Jezzy. "You have a reason to help us, don't you?"
"Look at us! Remember how much fun it was to jump in puddles?"
All motion slowed to a primordial ooze as Jezebel's voice filled the air. Great rolling waves of chakra boiled out from some hidden reserve within her.
Kakashi and Iruka clapped hands over their ears, blocking the enchanting sound. Shinobi below them knelt or look around in unadulterated happiness, and P.S. laid down in the sand. He rested his gray chin in the dirt and pressed his curly paws to his ears, holding them down airplane style against the ground.
"Who's that, Snooks? She looks like Yashamaru. Snookums, hey, Snookums, it's Mommy, I think it's mommy!"
Iruka bolted down into the slow motion fray, hands still firmly clasped to his ears. He would be a voice when all fighting came to a halt. Kakashi watched him, then turned his attention to Jezebel. Her eyes were unfocused, lost in a world that only she could hear. Kakashi worried that if she did not come out instead of stopping injury she would instead create death. She seemed talented in that department.
Hokage leaned back in his massive desk chair and looked out the window. The sky glowed rosy with twilight and shadowed clouds. Sandaime shivered in spit of the warm breeze drifting through open windows. He felt it, far to the west. Chakra swelled to mountainous proportions, he felt it from a distance and the strength stunned him.
He shook out a blue velvet cloth that had been draped over his all seeing crystal.. The orb showed him a window to the present. One girl, her mouth open, though he could not hear her voice. He pictured the massive charka spilling out of her like water from a dam. He dropped the cerulean cloth back over the crystal and paused before turning to the visitor darkening his doorway.
The man wore garb generally attributed to desert living, his face composed of crevices and cracks, and in his left hand he held a half empty bottle. His eyes hid nothing yet revealed even less and while Hokage could feel no charka emanating from this man, he knew it was there lying dormant and cat quiet until called upon.
"Please, Hokage-sama may I present Jezebel in Hell,"
Night was moonless in the desert and Temari would not have been able to see that hand in front of her face if not for the heavy flashlight she held. After she made sure her daddy thought she was asleep Temari whipped out the flashlight she snuck into bed. From under the mattress she revealed a large picture book and tucked it into bed as well. Now the little girl burrowed into a tent of pale blue covers flipping like mad through the volume.
She supposed if she were to stop she would be tired, the clock next to her bed read 12:30 before she burrowed into her tent. Yet, she was nowhere near sleeping. The medical nins from yesterday had given her the idea. A healing item! It had to be.
Temari could see it in the shine. And she felt it in the way the silver chain slid through her fingers like sand or water. Water to heal the sand! The idea was rather romantic and Temari liked it however off base it may sound. It was highly improbable that any water based healing item could come from wind country. But still she searched.
From her lips flew soft versus. Words she may have heard before but could not remember where. Nor did she realize she spoke aloud at all.
"My lips were wet, my throat was cold,
my garments all were dank;
sure I had drunken in my dreams,
and still my body drank. Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink…"
And there on page two hundred and forty-six someone had drawn a picture of her amulet. The drawing paled against the yellow of the brittle paper, but the faint lines were readable. Each color blended into the next, swirling and fusing into an array of pale rainbow. But still the picture remained unmistakable.
Jezzy gave Temari healing.
Qui tollis pecata mundi
Mis se re-re, mis se re-re, mis se re-re
Qui tollis pacata mundi
Dona nobis, dona nobis, dona nobis
The thank yous!
BTphreek- Thanks for your comments. The reason I didn't break between Pov switches was because I was trying something new (I was experimenting with fluency), thanks for explaining what you thought. Also, the name Renji is directly from Bleach: p nice that you picked up on it.
crazy-antman- Woot! hands out a muffin- the talking fur ball is actually a puppy dog! Surprise!
Jan-chan, I'm sorry about the wording in that phrase. I got it, but I guess no one else did. Review please!
DreamAnimeKitten- Yes, my story does have Gaara ;p compliments are always appreciated.
I do try, Josh Beebe, to add detail. After all, what is a novella without the detail? Or so my professors say.
For pbjsandwich- Good luck with that bloody homework. waves goodbye you were right about Kakashi's surname, I did make a mistake (I repeated it actually). XD