1A/N: Just a little story I thought of when I was putting peanut butter on my apples...yum .

Don't own. Still in denial of that fact.

Her Release

He could release her...

She sat among the bottles littering the otherwise empty table, hunched over, hiding in her memories. It was pitiful, really. A 27 year-old virgin who'd already gone through two husbands. What are the odds.

Remembering their faces was difficult, especially as inebriated as she was at the current time. But their names always rang out through her mind, like a bell ringing in deep resonation when the clock struck the hour. Along with the image of their names.

On the memorial.

The white letters carved into the slab of smooth, dark rock. How her fingers traced each outline on either name until they became red and raw. How she wouldn't stop until they bled.

How after the first name was etched into the stone, she became a fool to have a second. How when the second's ceremony carried on, she stood and left. To drink. To drown in the brown liquid that burned her throat.

He approached her. The name carried familiarity; the name of a friend of her second husband's. His eyebrows quirked when he asked what such a pretty thing was doing alone. At her reply of a glare, he seemed amused and interpreted it as an invitation to sit down. She was tempted to kick his ass into next year, but was too tired to carry out her plan. So she sighed at his advances towards her, and drank just enough to drown out his efforts.

Soon the bar was nearly empty, save the bartender himself wiping down the counter and shooting furtive glances their way. The man who had single-handed held up the conversation for hours noticed after the sixth time, and accompanied her out the door.

When there was a fork dividing the path to her home and his, she threw caution to the wind and followed him. She needed to be released.

He could understand her...

He didn't bring up the fact that she had gone with him. In his mind, they were only two people going in the same direction. The walk was in silence, but one understanding was mentally passed between them; what they would do when they reached his apartment.

He opened the door, and she obediently entered. She draped her coat over the couch and stood by it, waiting. He closed the door behind him and turned to her. She looked so fragile in the dark of the apartment. Her arms were wrapped around herself, not from a need to keep warm, but from one that required the acknowledgment of her own existence. That she could still be here after all. He knew it all too well himself.

Still, no words had been spoken. The speech that so naturally flowed from him had been halted. His usual attitude was gone as well. He was not himself. She was the cause of this. If he screwed this up, he was sure at least one of her dead love's would condemn him the rest of his life and beyond. Not to mention ones who still cared about her that still had a beating heart.

He approached her, wrapped his arms around her thin frame. Too thin. She reached for his face to bring it down to her own. The two pairs of lips met in the middle, a quiet, un-assuming kiss. One could almost consider it innocent. But not for long.

Quickly they had found their way to his room. This was not a union of passion, but one of uncontrollable need to know. To know you could still be alive enough to preform the one action that was in itself holy and damnable.

They threw themselves into the act with fervor. This was no the ferocity of want, of desire. This was animalistic, no feelings involved. Or so they hoped.

It didn't surprise him that when she entered her pleasure it wasn't his name she screamed. In between pants it wasn't his that she moaned. Hell, he doubted she remembered it.

The next morning, he awoke to find his bed empty, save for a cherry blossom. He brought it with cautious fingers to his nose and breathed in the fragrance. It smelled...like her. He shook his head to clear the thoughts. She wouldn't care for him, nor he for her. This was just a relationship based on necessity, nothing else. She just needed to be understood.

He could love her...

She found herself wandering to the memorial stone the morning after. It always shone in the bright sun of daybreak, a sight she thoroughly enjoyed. She had come here often with either one, though to pay homage to different names.

She kneeled in front of the large death-count and clasped her hands in prayer. It wasn't long before she felt another presence in the clearing. Not looking, she knew it was he. He knelt beside her, joining her quiet reverie.

She was touched, but just barely, and didn't show it. She needed no other man in her life, just a nightly companion. He knew that and wasn't about to object.

Abruptly, she left without so much as a glance towards him.

That night, he found her in the bar again, already stone drunk. It was amazing she hadn't felt the hangover from the night before. Though even if she had, he still would not know.

The night was like the one before, and so it continued. Pray, do whatever they had to do during the day, drink, fuck. It became a daily routine. One they both found addicting. It was only interrupted when a mission was in order. Because, she thought bitterly, Konoha always came first.

Frequently, she would scorn the name. Lovemaking, it was called. It didn't feel like love. It felt like a burning hunger that needed to be sated. It only held an appetite for one thing.

He would laugh at its absurdness along with her, than be muted, lost in his own thoughts and emotions. She had no idea what she was doing to him, he mused sadly. It would've surprised him to know she thought the same thing.

She needed to be loved, and he was the only one available to fill the position.

He could have her...

It was becoming too much. They became too much for each other. It had evolved past carnivorous hunger, past the need to be needed. There was passion now, a burning desire that fueled both of their actions. It was more than need. It was beyond not caring who their partner was. They needed to be together. They wanted to be together.

In a way, she felt pre-used. She'd had two lovers before him, had made unbreakable commitments with them. She was about to do so with a third...could it be right? Though she felt old, a widower twice over, there was a different bond than she had ever had with the previous two. They had done the ultimate act of love...thought that had not been in it to do so.

She just prayed a third time was a charm, as he so brightly put it when she questioned the proposal.

The nasty girls she passed on the street would snicker behind her back, though she could plainly hear it. She was able to find another victim? After the fate of the last two, would it go right this time?

She turned to pummel them into oblivion, only to be beat at it by a familiar blonde female.

She never heard the gossip again.

He stood there, looking a bit more stressed out than anyone could imagine. It had been a shock to their village as a whole. One being it was her...again. And another being it was him...which was just unbelievable in itself.

Through the ceremony she had managed to keep down memories of the past two times this had occurred, and the feelings of guilt that would swallow her whole. But as they kissed for the first time as husband and wife, an act she had gone through before, tears flowed from her eyes and he gently wiped them away.

She knew then, she would let him have her; mind, body and soul. As if he hadn't had her body enough already.

He could leave her...

She wouldn't believe it. It wasn't right. This wasn't supposed to happen. Not after last time. And the time before that. How had she have sentenced herself to such a fate? Who had she angered? How had she brought their eternal wrath upon her? Was she not allowed happiness?

A hated voice spoke up from the dark depths of her mind. It was her own fault. She brought it upon herself. By loving, it made her vulnerable to the hurt caused by loss. By caring, she was anathematizing her sanity.

Numbly, she sat at the service. She had cried all her tears; there had been few left from the preceding deaths of two others so dear to her. But this time was different. Though she had loved them all equally with all that was left of her shattered heart, he had had something special. He and her had been one, figuratively and literally.

He was her one and only. She had been one of his many, but the only one that truly mattered.

After meaningless condolences, she sat alone by the cold, lifeless rock, now bearing three names. Three important names that had changed her life.

For the better? During their time with her, at least.

For the worse? Yeah, right now she felt like shit.

She passed a hand over her slightly unsettled stomach, hoping to ease it by her chakra. But as she felt the cooling sensation of her energy hitting the surface of her skin, it was halted.

There was already something inhabiting that area with its own chakra.

She sat there, as still as the stone in front of her. Somewhere, there still were tears left inside of her and now they spilled over her eyelashes in floods.

He had left her with a gift.

A/N: Huh, this was sort of different from the stuff I usually work with, which is all light and fluff. I felt really dark while writing this (peanut butter gets to you like that). I hope you could guess who they wore, since I just noticed I never really identified the two...but I thought it was a bit obvious. Anyway, tell me what you thought. If you hated it, say so. Just not horribly mean. You can be constructive about it .