By Nes Mikel
I herby acknowledge that the work of fiction presented here is for my own personal amusement and entertainment purposes alone. Most of the story, characters, place names and other etc stuff in this fiction are copyright Naruto, Kishimoto Masashi, Weekly Shounen Jump, and any others I might have forgot.
Let us say… there is a murderer.
He knows he is guilty.
He must lie in order to survive.
If he fails, death awaits.
But can he do it?
He may be able to control his words.
But he must control his face as well.
One must know about your smiles.
One must know about your frowns.
For failure of facial control will result in the failure of words.
Look into the mirror, my friend.
Look deeply into the mirror.
See that, my friend?
That, my friend, is the greatest weapon of deception.
- Part Three -
"Naruto, why are you smiling?"
"Hm? Oh, no reason, really."
"That's not fair, Naruto. It's no fun when you keep everything to yourself."
"It's nothing important, really."
"That's for me to decide. Not you."
"Fine, fine. As you wish, princess."
Naruto brought Hinata closer to his chest as he stared emptily at the night sky. There were in the middle of an empty grass field, those two, sharing in the comforts of their warmth.
"It's just that, whenever I think of Team 7…" Another chuckle escaped his lips. He couldn't help himself.
His chuckle, however, was not something cheerful and warm. It was tainted with dark humor.
Hinata noticed this and answered him in a coy smile.
"Yes, it's true, Team 7 is… interesting. For five whole years, from the time you were just seven years old, your team had been together as the 'perfect' shinobi team. But in the inside, there are cracks and tears; filled with love, hatred, and jealousy that keeps their relationships so strained it's always on the verge of breaking apart. It really is interesting. If I had known it would turn out like that, I would've volunteered myself for the project too…"
The blond-haired boy picked up the tiny tone of regret in there. Naruto laughed uneasily at that.
Hinata. On the outside, she was but a shy girl, a girl with no confidence. But here, in front of him, she was different. Who would've imagined it? She, the weak girl, would stop at nothing to enjoy herself in the slaughtering of enemies?
Naruto respected her. For someone like him who had always been shown the memories of the Kyuubi slaughtering countless villagers in its wake, he still hesitated when it came to taking another man's life. But she… she told him she felt alive when she killed, about how it put her in absolute ecstasy.
He saw her once, fighting enemies. The way she moved gracefully, the way she handled her twin knives.
He thought she was most beautiful thing he had ever seen.
"Iruka-sensei is loved by many, isn't he?"
She used the word 'love' casually, but Naruto knew she meant more than just that. "Yeah, guess so. What about you, do you like him?"
"Well… I respect him as a teacher. After all, I can't think of anyone else that would be best suited covered in blood…" She said, dreamily. Then she added, "Oh, Sakura-chan would look nice maybe, but Iruka-sensei is still the best."
"Of course. He was the one that inspired me after all."
"Is that so… well, who do you love the most, then?"
She snickered. An expression that would've been unimaginable from the timid girl she acts. "The Hyuuga. Who else?"
The two exchanged a small laugh.
He pitied the Hyuuga. They were a pathetic clan, unable to see recognize the real potential in the girl and dismissing her as worthless. Had they raised her properly and let her succeed the house, they could've been elevated into the position of the strongest clan in the world, eliminating all enemies that stood in their way.
Instead, they unknowingly faced annihilation. The day they tried to embed the cursed seal in this girl's forehead just like that talented but poor branch-house boy, the history of the Hyuuga will be put to and end by the very same of the girl they had once called worthless.
He imagined the scene. It wasn't so realistic when he thought about it. What thrilled him was the prospect of what might happen as a result. What would Iruka do? What would he, himself do? Oh, it's going to be so much fun…
And so Naruto laughed again.
"I wanted to ask you something." She cut in.
"Why do you put on an act? Not only in front of the village, but in front of your team, too."
"I think you're lying. I mean, it's such a… waste not letting others show your true self."
"Well gee, thanks. But to put it in someone else's words, it's just too troublesome, you know? Imagine what'll happen if I showed my true self in front of the village. Everyone would scream bloody murder and come marching to my house with torches burning."
"Oh, you don't have to worry about that. I'll just kill everyone who'd try."
"I'll pray that wouldn't happen, then."
He was serious when he said so. Judging from Hinata's expression, Naruto was certain that she was pretty serious when she said she'd kill all the villagers. The scary thing was, he could imagine her doing such a thing. But was she just saying that because she loved bloodshed, of because she actually cared about him? He couldn't tell.
But that didn't matter. All he wanted was for her to be at his side. And that was the only thing that mattered.
"Well, why in front of your team, then?"
"You really want to know?"
"I just feel like it."
Her brows furrowed. "Naruto…"
"Hey now, don't get angry. It's the truth."
"What do you mean, then?"
"Well… let's put it this way. I'm just acting out the image they have of me."
"Right, the image Sakura has of me, Sasuke has of me, and Kakashi has of me. I act that image out."
"Why would you do that?"
"So I can keep the balance."
A look of understanding finally dawned on her. "Ah. I see."
"Yeah, you see? The structure of Team 7 is always unstable, and it could essentially fall apart any time. Especially because of Sakura and Kakashi, since they hate each other's guts. So that's why I act to keep the balance, so Team 7 can stay as Team 7."
"Must be stressful."
"You think so? I find it rather fun. Besides, I'd only let you see the real me."
"True. Only I would be able handle the real you."
"Yep. And only I would be able handle the real you, too."
The two laughed together.
Ever so cold, ever so deceitful.
The two shadows folded into one, and danced away into darkness.
To be honest, I don't know what exactly came over me when I went astray from my main project (Medusa Javelin's Chapter Eight… coming so sloooooow) so I could write this… I really don't…
I myself find this story odd. It is very dark and creepy, nothing like the other stories I've written before, and honestly, I think it's rather… bad. Not to mention, the story has some very odd pairings (Kakashi x Iruka x Sakura in case you haven't noticed). Heck, I even included some yaoi elements in here too, and I usually hate yaoi outright. But I just found it… strangely appropriate in this story. I'm not even a fan of Naruto x Hintata too, and I even added a touch of Sasuke x Sakura as well, both of which I rather dislike. Bah, I don't know. I thought I might try something I never done before. I think it came out okay. Only reviews will tell on what the other's think of this strange piece of work.
The title of this story, 'Rosetta Stone', for those who do not know, comes from a stone by the same name. Perhaps one of the most famous written records of all time, the Rosetta Stone is the stone that features the repetition of the same text in three different scripts (hieroglyphs, greek, and one more language I can't remember) that finally allowed scholars to decode ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. This eventually led to better understanding of ancient Egyptian culture and their complex beliefs in the after-life. I found it somewhat appropriate to use that as a title for this story because it's between three different people and how they understand one another in this alternate universe setting. I hope I portrayed it well.
It also should be mentioned that the quote introduced in the beginning of Part Two has been taken (and edited) from a certain manga written by a certain author I am a fan of. If know which manga I'm talking about, then kudos to you, have a cookie! Okay, I have no cookies, but that's beside the point.
Anyway, hope you enjoyed it, and thank you for taking your time to read this story!
- Nes Mikel