Something Better

By Jia Zhang

Part I


If I were a wagon wheel,

Would I then cease to feel?

Would it matter if I were unclean and battered?

Could I travel the rocky road,

In a pair, yet all alone?

She threw the kunai angrily at the tree, cracking the wood and sending a long scar down against the skin. It split open, the tree, as if it threatened to bleed from the insides. That was what she felt like, screaming, bleeding, cutting, burning, hoping to be rekindled by the dream and the fantasy of what was once there. But it wasn't the same anymore, and it would never be the same again. She simply had to take it all in, and accept this as reality. She couldn't go on pretending anymore. She was tired of this façade.

She was tired of perpetually pretending that there was something there, but when in truth it was too much like the hollow insides of a tree.

She wanted to throw up, to pour out her insides and cry against the world of her anger, and her pain, and the dull and numb feeling that she wished would help silence whatever fired burned within her. She was tired of this—too tired of this damn game. She wanted to hurt, for anything to hurt, to break glass into shards, smash the tree into pieces, and all let it fall into the flames of the Inferno, to join her in her moment of utter desperation.

She hated him—she absolutely despised him. She wanted to tear him into pieces, to make him break like stained colour-glass.

She was sick and tired of this torment, of his apathy at everything. Especially her. She wanted him to feel, for him to breath and be human for one moment in his life, and not be just some reflection of a perfect image. She wanted more, she wanted to see more, but most of all, she wanted him to be more than this—this mannequin, this puppet, this absolutely false reflection.

And she felt all this because she had loved him, because she had fallen in love with an impossible man—someone she had knew for so long, so well…so she should have known that he, of all people, who was place on a pedestal of glory and power and strength, would never love her back.

"Aaaaaaaah!" she cried in anger as she threw another kunai into the tree. "Bastard!"

Never knowing when it'll end,

I quickly land in my old ruts.

You'd think I've been used enough,

As I bring you something better.

What will happen when you get there?

Would you just leave me here?

Are you trading up for something better?

She never had the intention of telling him how she felt about him. At the beginning, she never loved him like she did now. Before, she had always admired him quietly for his strength and power. For his absoluteness. They complimented each other well, knowing always what the other thought. They were an unbeatable pair, and she had helped him on his way to the glory that she always believed he deserved. To her, he was a god—a glorious marble statue that stood in perfection, cold and soft to the touch. Something you were never allowed to feel.

But she had been young then, clueless as to what the world offered her on a golden platter made of jeweled rubies and emeralds. She had been too naïve as a child, too lost in her own world, to perfect herself, to make her what she should be—his opposite, to be his other reflection.

Unfortunately, like all people, she grew up. She changed and altered, finally born away from her pristine chrysalides shell. He had never had one, she knew, and she felt ashamed to have needed a transition to change into this black butterfly. But it was as this butterfly that she fell in love—fell drowning in this bitter-sweet elixir that was warm and twisted inside of her. For the first time, she felt it—true, unadulterated, absolute love and devotion. She would have gladly placed her body and soul in his hands.

Ah, but the story is never as simple as we want it to be.

She knew him best—the way he moved, the way he thought, the way he looked through everything, including her. Sometimes she felt so naked standing in front of him, completely bare to the bone. Everything she did felt utterly useless sometimes, because he would always expect it. He was her prophetic conscience, and it was because of him that she had been able to grow.

She knew him best, and he knew her better than anyone ever could. It all seemed too much like a fairy-tale, that threatened to crash and burn.

If I were a broken doll,

Would you even care at all

if I were old and torn?

Would you help patch up my rips?

Or would you just call it quits,

And buy a newer model?

She never intended to tell him anything, after she realized how deeply in love she was. She knew him best, so she knew exactly what reply she would receive if she had poured out her heart. It was too dangerous, too frightful, for she was still so young and feared of the repercussions on her broken heart for this unrequited love. So, she took what she could, and stood by his side through all the storm of the ports, through everything. And that was the trouble, for she'd come to love him even more.

She loved him for his strength, his enigmatic presence that seemed to light her senses on fire. She loved him for his ability to come through all the hardships thrown at him. And she loved the fact that even through all the pain he had gone through, he was still this perfect statue of clear marble—that he was still him, never changing, always with his firm beliefs and morals.

But what she loved most was how he'd watch her, with eyes that saw right through her, seeing everything about her—all her hidden scars, her secrets, her lies, her pains, her dreams…And he had done what she had done, stood by her side and helped her grow.

She was so grateful to him.

She was so madly, furiously, so deeply in love with him.

And one day, so ordinary in essence, so plain and simple and unimportant, that she finally spilled out her insides and told him she loved him.

"I love you…"

The reply was not what she had expected.

Would you still sleep with me,

Or have you given up that security,

Knowing that you're safe?

Have you grown tired of these games we play,

Have you put me away,

Forever more?

Would you cherish the good times together,

Or would you find something better?

For a long time, she danced in this world of bliss and love and happiness like nothing she had ever known. He was her knight in shining armor, made of gold and silver. He became her everything. For the first time, she was able to pass that velvet rope, and touch that golden statue that stood eternally on that far away pedestal. She had gone to where no human had ever gone before, inside the caverns of his heart.

But even then, she was naïve too, for she knew him better than anyone, she should have expected differently.

Everyone had always thought he was this constant force of strength, yet cold as marble and twice as hard, who was this heart of ice that could only be melted by the Sun. She wanted to be his light, his pillar to show him the way to all the human feelings he had shunned and forgotten. She wanted to show him love, to give him happiness that would be endless. She wanted to give him the world, starting with herself. And being this naïve child, she thought she would be the one to break his iron exterior.

Such a foolish girl she was. She believed so much that if she loved him enough, everything would be like fairy-tales. But the life they lived was far from that, far from the pristine and clean image of perfection.

She should have seen this coming; after all, he wasn't just some simpleton. He was a Roman Emperor, more magnificent than any god. She should have seen it coming, for she was just a simpleton, a nobody-special girl, who had tried her hardest to reach a standard that would match his. She wanted to be like her god. She should have known better, since she knew him best of all.

He broke it off rather unexpectedly. It came, out of the blue, simple words uttered, with simple reasons that all made too much sense. He had a responsibility, a goal to achieve—this was what Fate had handed to him since the day of his birth. He couldn't love her—didn't love her…only wanted to explore and grow. But he had found someone else, someone better, someone that truly did compliment him.

She knew him best, so why didn't she see this coming?

Not even the Sun could melt this ocean of ice.

If I were a shattered mirror,

Would you still keep me near?

Even though I'm cracked and useless

Would you help collect my pieces,

Even though you might get hurt.

Would you still look at me,

Or would you only see

A warped image of what was there before.

It hurt. It hurt so much that she almost believed it to be a physical wound that shed blood and left a scar. She nearly wished it would be, so it'd heal and she would be able to move on. But in her heart, that was left broken and shattered into pieces, she knew she would never get over this. He had been her one true love—that someone you search for your whole life. She tried to fly towards the Sun, only for her waxed wings to be melted, letting her fall into the sea and drowning in her own cruel torment.

And here she was now, this shattered doll—those rose coloured-glasses she had worn were nothing more than dust and mold. The fantasy she had lived was nothing more than just a mere shadow of what it once was before, and she was left with her extravagant cramps, begging to be save from this whirlwind.

She should have know better, should have known he could never love her like she loved him. She couldn't melt his heart—he had found someone better. She was no more than a left over carcass.

She threw another kunai, before running forward and thrusting the shuriken into the tree. She twisted it, plunging it into the bark. She hated him, for breaking her heart and making her think he could love her. She hated him, because beyond everything, she still loved him. And she would always love him.

She broke down, falling to the dusty ground as rain fell from her eyes.

"Neji…why?"

What did you break me for?

Don't you know that means seven more

Years like the last one.

Would you hide me in a room

Up where I can't bother you?

So you can find something better.

You've found somebody better…


to be continued


Author's Note: This was written at midnight, and I am tired and sleepy. So screw it. I think it's actually pretty good. The song is made by a friend of mine, Christine Blight, who's kickarse song inspired me to write. At this godforsaken hour in the morning. Oh, and read and review. Neji's thoughts will be posted later. A totally major "sankyuu" to my wonderfully fast beta, K-chan. I'd be dead without your help.

Jia Z.


© May, 2005 by Jia Zhang. All rights reserved.