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She watched.

She did it, and she had no choice but to watch the consequences of her actions. She had driven the blade into him, watched the spray of crimson rise into the heated air around him, and witnessed the life fade from his eyes. However, life could only be defined as a burning rage in his eyes, and he showed no recognition of who she was.

She threw the blade to the ground and gathered his weakening body in her arms. His gaze was already blank. He had not uttered a sound save for the grunt that escaped him when the metal had dug into the skin.

The words sounded strange to her as they left her lips, filled with sadness and regret:

"I'm sorry."

It was an apology he would never hear.

She fought back the sting of tears, although her throat was starting to tighten, and she knew she would not be able to hold them back for much longer. She could barely speak his name, Genra-sama, in the courteous and honoured form it deserved after so many years of his teachings.

He had meant everything to her, accepting her when no one else would. He had taken the time to teach her on a daily basis, to hone her skills as a ninja even though others thought she was not worth the effort. He had treated her as if she was his own – and through many training sessions and encouragement, he became her true father, the father she had never really had. He was the one person – the only person – she had felt she could ever trust.

She wanted so badly to hate herself - to curse what she had done - yet at the same time, she knew she could not have done it any other way. From the moment they had locked gazes at the beginning of the final fight, she knew she owed it to him to set him free, to allow his mind and soul an escape of what they had turned him into.

But she also knew freedom would mean death.

And as she tenderly held his body, the sting in her eyes grew persistent, until she felt hot moisture on her cheeks. Although she tried, she could not stop the anguish that was filling her heart.

He shouldn't have ended up like this.

However, upon hearing what they had turned him into after hearing the news of his capture, she knew he needed to be freed, and that she was the one who would complete the task. It was her duty to destroy what had become of him.

But that did not make it any easier.

She closed her eyes, steeling herself for what she had to do. She had no choice. Not after what they had indirectly forced her to do, not after what circumstance had caused.

She would continue on.

She gently set the limp body back down and rose. His expression looked almost peaceful in death. For a moment, her gaze softened and she simply stood there, watching him. Remembering.

Then she swallowed the rest of her tears and, wiping her cheeks, she turned to leave.

She was determined to make them pay.



Written: July. 7th, 2006

Edited for Grammatical Errors: July 8th, 2006

Edited for Canon Characterisation and Reference: July. 11th, 2006