Just a little one-shot about Anko. I really like her a lot, and was inspired by a recent anime episode. However, its just my point of view.

Anyway, I don't own any of the characters in the story. But you know that already. Well, enjoy.

Anko: what goes inside

I was ten years old when I had my last peaceful sleep.

Since then, fifteen year have passed, and every single night I wake with my heart bouncing, my mouth dry, my eyes wet, my hands trembling… and images of a nightmare printed in my mind, a bad, bad dream, where snake eyes full of evilness stare at me, enjoying the pain he caused me…!

Yes, I cry. I mean, sometimes I do. Not always, since there are days, many days, where I can do nothing but endure the pain, grasp the sheets with both hands, clench my teeth to avoid the scream, the scream that the agony tries to tear out of me. In days like this, I don't cry. I have no more tears for myself, no, not for my pain, not for those memories. After all, those are memories that enrage me. My neck burns, and I can feel it growing on me, inside me, anger feeding it, hate making it stronger, and I realize: that's what he wants!

And no, I will never do what he wants.

My name is Anko, and my greatest sin, my worst mistake, was to trust the man who was supposed to take care of me.

No one understands. They don't know how it was. Today, it's hard to believe that many people would do anything to get what I had then.

Orochimaru may have always been evil, but he sure didn't always appear to be. Once he was admired and loved, the pride of Konoha, the favorite ninja of the beloved Sandaime Hokage. The genin and academy students can't even imagine, but years ago, Orochimaru was a hero in this village.

And I was his greatest fan…

I don't blame anyone. If anything, I blame my luck. After all, many others could have been chosen to the place I got. Yes, Anko was very talented, but so were others, right? Timing was the problem. When Orochimaru finally thought it was time to choose a pupil – or should I say experiment subject? -, I was the only one available among the most promising young genin…

However, I was perfect for his goals. I trusted him so much! Stupid me, so proud of myself when I got the news… Even now I can remember, walking around in the village with him, all those looks, all the talking, all the faces showing admiration for him and… well, and for me, since being the chosen of Orochimaru-sama meant a lot back then…

To be honest, it wasn't all a nightmare. Yes, he taught me many things. In a way, Orochimaru was a great sensei. He knew jutsus like no one else, he was unbelievable smart, and there was nothing he didn't know. It's hard for people to understand, but, while you are with him, everything he does or says just feels… right. After all, don't snakes seduce their victims?

No one ever asked, but I know people always think: "How could you not tell things were so wrong?" I know that many of my colleagues still distrust me. And, honestly, I can't blame or resent them. Yes, I was there. Very much there. I was a victim myself.

Orochimaru is no ordinary ninja. He had the strangest talent: he could make the most disgusting thing looks perfectly normal. Yes, he would show me and teach me things that would make a jounin shiver, but I saw it as a normal training. No, more than that, I use to think it was special training, the greatest training of Orochimaru-sama… Believe it or not, he never had to ask me not to tell anyone about my training. I was the one that would never tell, jealous of the knowledge he was giving me, nor willing to share any of that with other ninja. He knew that, of course. Actually, that was probably the reason why he chose me: because I was ambitious and selfish.

When you are Orochimaru's student, there is nothing strange in getting use to hurt others and in constantly being hurt by him. He always believed in tests, and I was tested all the time. I had to be successful, since failing meant that I was not worth of Orochimaru's training, and would be rejected by him. And that, for me, was worst than death.

I can almost hate myself for the things I did back then, but thanks to Sandaime Hokage, I came to understand the Orochimaru was the one to blame. He played me. He manipulated me. He used me for his own purpose. Add to all that the fact that I was a child.

Still… I can't blame myself for the things I did, he made me do it…! But I sure can blame myself for all the times I enjoyed doing it… Orochimaru changed me. He killed something inside me; he took something I will never be able to regain. Today, I'm heartless. Even today, I must control myself to not feel pleasure in spreading other people blood…

In a way, I'm also a snake.

Today and forever, the curse seal he gave me will always make me remember. I have no doubt: he gave me this because he knew time was ending for him in Konoha. I was one of his last experiments, he had to know if it would work. And also, he had to be sure that, if I didn't die, he could still control me.

Because of that, I'm not like every other ninja. I'm marked. This thing he gave me, it will never go away. This seal will always hurt, it will always make people look different at me, it will always be a nightmare in my life. I'll have to bear it forever. Control it forever. Fight against it for every second of the rest of my life.

Some days, I get tired. Some days, I think why I should keep trying. In the worst days, I even think it would be better if he had killed me, or taken me with him. There are moments when I'm so exhausted that I wonder what would be like to die.

If I'm that bad, I look up to the faces carved on the mountain. I go to the highest roof top and look to Konoha down there.

Looking from above, the village seems peaceful and right. I can see the ordinary people from the village working and doing their shores. I see young children playing, and even pretending to be ninja. If I'm lucky, I can see the students from the Academy running to next class, their faces shining with excitement just because they are about to learn something new… In the streets, my fellow ninja come and go, busy with their trainings or missions. I see Kurenai and Asuma talking, they are growing closer every day. Gai is always taking his team to another training session; he never seems to get tired. Kakashi is usually in another roof top, not far from me, reading one of his dirty books and looking as cool as always. I see the newest genin yelling at each other, so happy that they can't control their tone of voice. I see leaves that are taken by the wind, flying around me, making me remember fall is coming, and nothing I or anyone can do will change that.

And I look up to the stone faces, the four men and the woman. I remember Sarutobi, and how he took care of me. How he was good to me, and how much he cared. He said he was sorry for what happened to me, and that he would, until the day he died, be there for me. You know what? He was. He was always there for me. He was there to protect me, not only me, but every single person in this village. He died doing it. Just like Yondaime did it before him, and just like Tsunade will do if she has to.

Just like I will do it.

Because this is Konoha, and it's my home.