Disclaimer: Don't make me laugh, I don't need to own Naruto to write fanfiction.
FanFiction Story: Such Sweet Sorrow
Summary: (Sequel of Backstabbing Love) In the Wheel of Fortune, Sakura tries her luck on men. But it seems everyone else is putting up some bets.
AN: Right now, I'm listening to one of my favorite songs, and while I went into a trance where my head was bobbing with my hair flying to my face, all I had thought of was the rhythm to the next chapter. It took me a week to back to my groove! Even though I knew what to write, I can't seem to grab that feeling! So when I went through my old music, I found this baby: Message in a Bottle by Police, and now I know what to do! Enjoy!
Caged Bird: Time Stop
The creek had smelled of water and forest, the dampened earth was almost a dark brown with the speckled gray pebbles and larger slates of rocks that curved around the slender bay. There was a small jetty, its wooden planks nailed together was damp and splintery. The section of this forest wasn't very visited by the residents of Hidden Leaf, when life had thrived only within the village that only shinobis had walked into the woods.
They planted the giant bamboo cage on the grassy stub by the narrow shallow river, resting for the hour before the two teammates could meet up with the rest of the team. The white doves twittered within, knocking to each other as they tried to look outside to meet the moist hot air of late summer.
"It's a great day isn't it!" the young woman cried, her voice echoed as she threw back her long unbound pink hair.
Her comrade did not answer back, she didn't really mind since she had always respected his bastard-like silence (At the same time, hating it).
The young man had propped himself on the gray-white boulder by the slow running waters, staring at his blemishing reflection in the creek which almost made him feel like he was looking into a funhouse mirror. He would have killed himself if his thigh and nose had expanded far greater than the rest of his body, like a bloating hot air balloon of some sort, turning his face and torso into lopsided pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
His female companion had walked quietly with curiosity smothered into the green pools of her eyes, she knelt down towards the cage where they placed all the birds they found and fingered one the feathers that had fallen on the dew grass. It was small, so pure white it had almost appeared blue and slightly green when the fibers had touched the wet pasture. She picked it up in her black gloved hand, memorizing the elegant shape.
She smiled, turning her face to his seated form.
"They're pretty, aren't they…?"
The older ninja turned his head, staring only for a short moment.
"I suppose…" he murmured, turning back to the creek.
"You're not even looking!" she pouted.
He took a gulp of thirst-quenching water from his plastic bottle before turning back to glare at her, showing his annoyance and irritation at the 'charmingly wide' fore-headed girl. His white eyes moved to look past the female to the birds, and only the birds in the cage.
He watched each one intertwined their forms together in the closed cage, hobbling their feet over each one's white feathers as if claiming post for the locked gate yet to be opened. Their singsong chirps and impatient peeps almost had hitches of slight yelps, pecking their triangular curved beaks against the greenish tan bamboo bordering, clicking towards the two humans who sat tiredly for a break close by. Their wings, almost like fans, beat against each other hastily. Their liquid dark eyes seemed to glimmer white when it hit the sunlight that shined on the small hill by the forest creek.
He was still looking.
The cage almost resembled fencing, with its crisscrossing borders and holes small enough to enclose the fluttering birds. Their white beautiful wings beat rapidly as if creating tornadoes, winds strong enough to knock it down or something. Their weak battle formations had turmoil over when they kept climbing on each other. Like something was holding them back.
His eyes stayed on them.
One bird had its clawed feet stuck on its friend, squeaking and chirping while flying tightly and bumping to other birds. Their chirping and peeping, the little sounds they made instead of singing their soothing lullabies, had turned into small screams. He heard them screaming, as if help was needed that they needed help. For a moment, it almost made him wonder if it was indeed a bird's wing was to be mended. Was it that? Where a doctor would be needed?
He looked up to see the girl whose back was to him.
Her pastel pink hair had sprawled against the dark red of her training blouse. Her knees had dug into the hard yet soft ground. Her elbows were moving with her steady hands, revealing that a green knapsack was in front of her. A fly of a zipper had torn through the small bird-chirping water-running silence. Hard in concentration, she was double-checking the supplies. She laid out several bandages, ointment, antidotes, some of her weapons, everything she needed. Maybe she knew a bird needs mending, maybe that's why she's checking. When she turned only a small fraction to pick up a bandage roll, her hair fell to one side, covering her left shoulder. A white circle was etched on the upper small of her back, like a target.
A perfect target where one hidden enemy could have easy access in throwing a kunai and killing her at that point. He consciously arched his back, feeling that empty void at the same exact spot. His blind spot.
Stupid girl. Stupid clan. What kind of moron would have a bull's eye shot for a symbol?
His mind drift over the thought of that crippled man. Stupid cripple.
His eyes moved over her back, to the white circle, the red of her blouse, to the bend of her back, the fallen clumps of hair on her left shoulder, to the bump of her bra strap, he had only listened to the screaming of the doves. He darted his stare to the fluttering birds, one bird was pecking its ivory beak against the large heavy lock strapped around the bamboo bars. The pale yellow of its hard mouth had disappeared into the shadow of the keyhole. What's it trying to do? The lock is too heavy, it can never break out.
He watched, for that long moment, as the bird was in disarray, already beating its wings impatiently. Its beak was too small, and the keyhole was too deep. The young man closed his eyes, foolish idiot animal, too dumb for its kind. Sometimes he wondered if the birds would just go into extinction.
And with a screech within the bunched group of the doves, another stubborn bird had pushed the failed loser out of its way. He watched with amazement. The second bird shoved its slightly bigger beak into the keyhole of the metal lock. It quickly clicked its way through the deep shadows. It was unable to do any good that other birds around the door had begun to scream and stab their beaks against the lock. It was only a several desperate birds, he noted, the others seem to have stayed behind and watch the spectacle with fond dumbness, or being trampled on when they tried to poke their heads through much smaller openings of the cage.
The ornamental bamboo cage was too heavy for a few dozen birds to move around, but it shook. In that small shake of the cage, his breath was hitched too like their yelps and screams through the innocent chirping and peeping. Fluttering of wings went around, camouflaging each and every bird into large combined clump of white feathers like scurried arrangements of polar bear fur.
What are they trying to prove? He thought earnestly, wanting to know, wanting to learn. Stupid animals, mindless birds in their majestic forms, what are they trying to do? Are they hungry? Are they thirsty? Are they still hurt—?
Where is that medic-nin? Didn't she know? Can't she hear their screams, their cries of help and need, their craving to leave the cage? His eyes turned to the young woman who had now zipped up her green backpack, smiling in glee when she bit into a Red Delicious apple. He watched her greedy mouth devour the fruit, small juices spurt around her pink lips and straight white teeth. The crisp crunching, he stared, she swallowed the pieces down her white neck while taking another bite.
He looked at her mortified. She didn't see. She didn't hear the doves screaming, yelling at her and him for help, for salvation. That is why she packed everything away, only eating an apple right next to the cage when the birds were starving and thirsty, dying even.
They were prisoners in the cage, they hated it. They loathed their masters. They despised their place in life. The second bird had fiercely pecking its way into the keyhole with about three or four others biting into the thick handle, to loosen it, to break through even when they were weak. The first bird he had saw had itself pushing its way to the second bird, which was much bigger in size. They glared at each other. And in an instant, they pecked each other.
What are they doing?
In his widening shaking gray-white eyes, it was a battle for survival. Birds, one by two, by three, were being stepped on and warring against each other with hate in their liquid black eyes. Screaming went around, yelling and battle cries had plunged into his ear drums, vibrating with such velocity.
No, they can't hate each other. They want the same things, they can't hate each other. They can't just kill each other. No, they can't do that. That would be murder. That would be homicide, genocide. Not each other. The doves, those mindless unforgivable creatures, they needed to get out. That craving, that want, that desperation they showed in themselves had turned greedy and hateful as they fought one and other in a battle.
Not their wings, their beautiful white wings. He saw in their eyes, crimson blood that must have dirtied their purity. The need to get out, even when fate had sealed within the cage. They were slaves, they're not allowed to get out. Stop screaming. Stop fighting. No, stop it, you can't do that.
Not each other, don't kill yourselves! You all want the same things! He looked on horrified, his heart beating with every beat of their battling wings. They have to stop this! If no one was stopping this madness then—
He dropped his water canteen from his tight grip. It had made a nasty fall on the jagged rocks, a stream of glistening water had poured out from the opening. The screaming was still going on. He stalked almost blindly towards the ornamental cage. His ears were numb and his mouth was dry and haggardly breathing. His teammate looked up, biting on the sticky core of the apple she had eaten, with a moistened smile, she greeted his prone form.
She wrapped a clean napkin around the core, throwing it into her knapsack, "Hey! Finally you're done resting!" Her words came out from her mouth like throw-up, she was grinning, "If you're ready to leave, let's go. I think Shino and Tobio might need a little help, seeing that his bad luck spell is still in full mode, if you know what I mean—"
"Be quiet, woman," he growled, his hands were clenched.
Her face contorted, then turned into anger, "What is your problem, Neji! I'm just trying to be—"
"Shut up, just give me the key," he held out a trembling hand.
"Key? What k—"
"The damn key to that cage!" he roared, screaming like the birds. She staggered on her feet.
"Why are you yelling!" she bit back, her eyes were slightly fearful, "What's wrong with you…?"
All she could see was this towering man with his blazing eyes, a killer intent with that horrible vein that marred his temple. She reach out to touch his shoulder until her fellow shinobi made a step forward, stopping her caring motives. She had tried to soothe herself with the sounds of the chirping of the doves, but he didn't seem to like their singsong voices. His voice was deep and trembling like his outstretched hand, sadness and desperation had covered his paling face.
"Give me the key," he ordered, struggling not to launch on her.
She wanted to know, she wanted to see what he saw that she didn't seem to be able to, "Neji—"
"If you don't have it, give your kunai," he order, his teeth clenched.
"Neji? What's the matter—"
"GODDAMN IT WOMAN! GIVE ME SOMETHING!"
"FUCK!" he swiftly pulled out a throwing dagger in a flash, holding in a threatening way, in a way an attacker would cut a victim.
She gasped, stumbling on her feet. She flew a yard away from this crazed man, watching and waiting for that treacherous blow. He raised the kunai and stabbed—into the cage. She screamed like the doves he heard, she saw the shearing of greenish tan bamboo splinters and the heated halves of the metal lock had fallen from the bird cage. He threw away the kunai, missing her body by inches. With claws for hands, she watched astounded when he tore through the door.
When the birds had stopped fighting, when the sounds of screaming had soon died down, he gloried in the silence and he staggered away from the cage and he watched, as she was looking, at the scene he had created. His hand reached into the hood of his long dark hair, loosening the strands of his black forehead protector.
As if something in this action had told the tale of his own.
She watched through the wings of the birds, her hair flying with the wind they made, she saw his gleaming, now impassive silver-white eyes. In a whirl of that strong breeze, when the birds had disappeared, so did his hitae-ate. Seeing that carved green seal on his forehead, that lonesome sadness had washed over his face when she was startled by his actions.
She was caught in her breath, gripping her hands into curled fists on her chest. Those birds…that cage…
She didn't know…
Birds, beautiful birds. So many of them had flown out with happiness in their beady eyes, something he had done had reflected on his face. A pure childish smile had crossed his brightened face, raising his pale face to the sun that gleamed on the creek pasture and forest clearing. She watched on with wide emerald eyes, her pink lips parted when the birds flew form the broken cage restraints in between her and that distant man she thought was a bastard.
White doves had flown towards the golden orb, into the blue sky, their wings beating to feel that freedom.
They just failed their mission.
To Be Continued
Here goes your chapter! Thank you for reading! Now wait patiently for the next chapter!
'Heh, even a captured bird, if it's clever enough, will try to open the cage with its beak. Never giving up, its desire to fly freely in the sky…this time you lose…' –Quote by Shiranui Genma, to Neji (Ha, my inspiration for the chapter)