Disclaimer: nope, I don't own Naruto the series or any of the characters.
A/N: Well, this idea has just been burning my brain for a while now and I just had to write it out. I'm not sure if I should leave it as a one-shot introspective or if I should add to it and make it an actual story. So read it and let me know what you think in a review. Please and thank you! Oh yeah, This fic will contain spoilers up until chapter 212 on the manga.
By: Tea Leaf/Banana Soap
The door slowly crept open, pushed from the outside. There was a subtle jangling of keys as they were removed from the lock and held loosely in her palm. She stepped in slowly, into the dark studio apartment and tossed the keys on the plain and bare kitchen table. She lived alone now but she'd felt alone since she was twelve. She stared at the keys glistening slightly in the cold moonlight that filtered in through the gauzy curtains covering the bay window.
She closed her eyes and closed the door, throwing the padlock, and rested against the cold wood for a moment. She was exhausted. She was always exhausted but she just couldn't manage to sleep. Insomnia plagued her.
So she stayed out late every night, just wasting the hours in some smoky bar with a barely touched drink warming in front of her. Then, when the bar closed, she came back her, back to this cold and barren room.
It was sparsely furnished, there was a table with a chair in the "kitchen" corner of the room, there were curtains on the window, there were a few thread bare white towels in the bathroom, a bed with plain black sheets and comforter (though it never was very comforting) was immaculately made, she couldn't remember the last time she'd slept in it, and then there was a stereo. She walked over to it and pressed the power button followed with "random" and then "play". Haunting cords from an acoustic guitar flowed from the speaker.
As was said, she was alone. She had once had parents but they had died a few years earlier during a second invasion by Orochimaru. His last invasion.
But she had been alone before they died.
It had been night, dark. She had waited; her heart in her throat, silently praying that the confrontation she felt coming wasn't going to happen, not tonight at least. She's been disappointed. He hadn't expected her and was annoyed with her presence, as he always was. She'd poured her heart out to him, done her best to convince him to stay. She'd cried…she hated herself now for it. He'd left anyway.
She shook her head slightly, clearing the memories and walked to the window, sitting in the bay seat, hiding from the empty apartment behind her gauzy gray curtains and opened the window. The cold air flowed in, numbing her skin, as her heart was numb, as her soul was numb, as her mind was numb, as her eyes were numb.
Naruto had gone after him, she had tried to hope he would succeed but deep down, she knew it really didn't matter if he did. He would never be the same. She would never be the same.
Naruto had failed, as she knew he would. Neji, Kiba and Choji had been critically injured and were in intensive care for weeks after. Everyone had returned injured but they had also returned with new allies. The sand siblings had come to their aid, the only reason any came back alive. She'd been happy for them, especially for Gaara, he'd begun his path to recovery.
She hadn't cried when they returned, she hadn't cried since they left. She'd been drained, she was still drained. So she when on mechanically, with a dark shadow hanging over her, the dark shadow that now filled her room. She'd gone on training, her sensei and teammate having enough tact not to comment on her strange behavior. She was pretty sure they pitied her. She was pretty sure they still did. She hated pity.
She'd gotten stronger, but not from any help from them. They treated her like some fragile glass doll that would shatter at the slighted touch.
She slowly unbound the strips of black material that covered her left forearm, the one facing the open window. There were several scars and fresh slice wounds spreading like cobwebs across her pale skin. With her right hand she pulled a kunai out of the pouch near the small of her back and pressed it to the injured flesh. Red oozed forward, glowing faintly in the moonlight. See, she wasn't glass, she was flesh. Far more fragile. She stared at the blood trickling down her arm. She couldn't feel it. She couldn't feel anything. She was numb. Suddenly she glared at her arm and in a sudden fit of rage, she sliced viciously at her arm, reopening the old wounds and creating more. Then, just as suddenly as it had come, the emotion attempting to spark in her eyes fizzled out, leaving just the cold numbness. She sighed inaudibly and dropped her arm, letting it dangle out the open window. The blood flowed in rivulets down her arm, over her wrist, pooling slightly in her lightly curved palm before dripping off her fingertips to crash in the alley below.
Unconsciously the bloody hand formed a seal, her lips moved slightly but no sound came out. Slowly the small, summoned black and crimson butterfly fluttered its way up to her, perching on her raised knee and looking at her questioningly. The numb green eyes stared at it as her cold, uninjured hand rose to stroke the poisonous wings.
She remembered the first time she had made the blood pact with the butterfly. She'd been barely thirteen; he had left four months ago. Naruto and Kakashi had been doing some one on one training, leaving her to her own devices. She had wandered off into the woods surrounding the village. She'd found a small clearing that was heavily shaded in what had been the near twilight hours. As the sun descended, small black and red butterflies had risen from the surrounding wood. She had sat down and contemplated.
She was like a butterfly.
Small, fragile, insubstantial. Just a pretty thing that people liked to look at in a superficial way, that was discarded as soon as something more interesting came along, and everything was more interesting. The realization had fed the void inside her and she'd been desperate to prove that she really was a human. That was the first time she'd sliced her arm for the confirming blood. She'd been horrified with herself but the butterflies had come to her. They'd landed on all parts of her body; one of them landed in the blood and had looked at her. Then it had licked the blood.
Kakashi had shown up then, terrified for her safety. Apparently those butterflies were highly poisonous. She'd started to feel the effects then. She'd turned drowsy, her heart slowed, her breathing became labored. Naruto had panicked. Kakashi rushed her to the hospital. She'd fallen asleep. When she woke up, The 5th Hokage, Tsunade, had been there and told her that she was very lucky. Apparently she had a natural immunity to the poison.
She'd known better.
She'd trained, learned she could summon the butterflies, learned that the butterflies had different levels of poison. Some had sleep powders, others paralyzed, others still killed. She also learned that because the butterflies were so small, she could share her body with them with a customized summoning jutsu. When she did this, her skin become poisonous, just like the butterfly.
Her finger still idly stroked the crimson and black wing. She still hadn't mastered growing wings when she joined with the insect.
Three years after leaving, he'd returned. He'd trained with and used the curse seal to finally avenge his family and had destroyed his brother. He'd now had no reason to live and had been perfectly happy to hand his body over to Orochimaru. Orochimaru had wanted to have him help in the annihilation of the village before he took his body. They had attacked.
And that's when his plan had become clear. He'd been lying to Orochimaru and now, finally back in his home village, he'd returned to the ranks of the Leaf shinobi. She'd been so relieved. She still loved him.
Stupid girl, her modern self condemned.
Orochimaru had turned on him, intent to kill. She had rushed in. She refused to allow him to be hurt again if she could do something to stop it. He'd been surprised. She'd defended him as best she could, using every new skill in her arsenal, surprising everyone when she summoned the butterflies for the first time in front of them. Orochimaru had been slightly stunned at this, it had been a small opening but enough of an opening. Tsunade-sama had jumped in and decapitated him before he could react.
The curse seal had disappeared with Orochimaru. He had gone into heavy withdrawal. She'd tried to help as best she could but she'd come to the harsh reality that her new abilities were all destructive, she could not help.
She was poison.
Slowly, things had fallen back into their normal routine. After his excruciating rehabilitation, he and Naruto had become rivals again, constantly pushing each other forward. Kakashi-sensei had become preoccupied with training them. She'd been left forgotten in the background, forever the butterfly.
She'd tried for a while to return to some semblance of living but she'd failed. Every time she tried to help, she just seemed to make things worse. She felt like a pariah. Although she advanced in levels with them, and now found herself a jounin, Naruto had joined a group specializing in the development of new jutsu. He had joined ANBU.
She was still left behind.
And now here she was, alone in this cold darkness. The only one not actually moving forward of their own momentum. The only one still broken. The only one with no goals, no purpose.
She stroked the butterfly's wing.
She was the butterfly simply swaying with the wind.
A single tear, shining in the cold moonlight, slipped down her left cheek.