A/N: This started as a side story, but I managed to work it in. Sorry if it seems a little... er... odd. I was insane when I wrote this!
Disclaimer: Don't own, this is a hobby, not a job.
But don't you believe them,
Don't you drink their poison too.
These are the scars that words have carved,
That's the name we've long held back,
From the core of truth.
So don't turn away now,
I am turning in revolution.
These are the scars that silence carved,
I am a constant satellite
Of your blazing sun.
I obey your law of gravity,
This is the fate you've carved on me.
Chapter 20: Phantom of the Night
Her fingers flickered over the blade, twirling it slightly in her hand. Slowly, she ran the blade across her slender finger, watching the blood seep from the trail. She smiled approvingly, tucking the blade under her pillow, the cut finger in her mouth. Lifting her head, dark animalistic eyes gazed at trails of water seeping down the windows, unable to slide in, but nevertheless trying. The pounding of the rain as it hit cement caused her to sigh irritably. Rain was never a good sign.
Being an Inuzuka, the sense of smell was the key characteristic of her life. It was not only a way to pinpoint targets; it was a way to identify emotions, personality, and memories. Smell was more important that sight or sound; looks aren't quite as one would appear, and sound could be altered. Scent, one's unmistakable odor is too unique to be altered quite so.
But rain drowns away scents; rain cleans and washes away old memories and aromas. At times, rain was useful. But not now, not today.
Carefully, she placed seals, stronger seals this time, against her windows, blocking entrance. She lifted herself from the floor, straightening the sleek black undershirt before heading out of her room. No need to change into a nightgown, it was too thin and prohibited maximum movement. The skin tight pants and shirt was easier, comfortable enough without the bulkiness of her flak jacket.
Her apartment was small, cozy, but frigid on the rainy day. She sealed the front door too, in time, glancing at the three sleeping dogs on her couch. They knew of something, they knew that their master was hiding something, but could never understand why she locked away that thing from them. They would not understand why she did this, and thus, could not be a part of her plan. She had drugged them again, the guilty feeling in her throat rising as the dogs slept soundly.
She shut the door quietly, sealing it too, before sighing. Lastly, she walked to her mirror, and hesitated, before picking up the crimson ribbon on the desk.
Wounding it around her neck, she tied the ribbon loose enough to let her breathe easily, but tight enough to hold against her neck, the ends brushing against her collarbone.
And as she stared at her reflection, she vowed once more.
"I will kill him this time."
She crawled into bed, trying to calm her shuddering shoulders and her trembling heart. She was not weak, not her. She had dealt with this time and time again. She would not break down, not anymore.
There was a crash of thunder and the strike of lightening, and the seals were broken.
Her heart raced at the sudden arrival, she had not expected him so soon, but then again, she had not expected him at all.
He entered silent; the only evidence of his arrival was the smell against his cloak and the dripping of the droplets against the floor. The rain could not wash away the scent of death, the smell of pain and agony that he had caused.
Slowly, she slid a hand under her pillow, gripping the knife tightly, and huddling her body closer. The intruder did not move, watching her back towards him. There was the rustle of fabric, as the wet cloak dropped to the floor.
And she waited, by scent alone, for him to drop his barriers and to falter, ever so slightly. It came sooner than she had hoped, and she threw the kunai straight towards his heart.
He had caught it as he always did between his fingers, as she rose to her feet, panting. He did not look at her, as he examined the kunai blade he gripped in his palm. His blood seeped as he unraveled pale fingers. She was the only one in a long time that had ever seen his blood. The blade was sharp enough to protrude a good amount of blood, as he twirled the blade to its grip.
"Not balanced enough," he murmured.
She growled deep in her throat. Why did she even bother? Why didn't she just move, run away instead of holding her place and letting him come time and time again?
Senbon flashed in the moon lit night, slashed angrily at him, almost as a child throwing a tantrum. There was the clash of metal and the rumble of thunder.
Because he would find her. He haunted her in his mind more than he was actually tangible. And she preferred the real him than the ghostly phantom.
Forming hand seals, she muttered the usual Beast Mimicry, as her animalistic side took over. Her eyes darkened, claws replacing broken fingernails, as the tattoos against her cheeks lengthened with the white of her fangs.
She pulled out another kunai, freshly sharpened, as she charged headfirst, the pump of adrenaline and chakra in her system.
He blocked her attack, her feral eyes glaring into his own impassive onyx ones. She knew of his unique eyes, the Sharingan. She knew of his torture weapon, she knew of what it could do to her. However, he never used his special ability against her, not anymore. Maybe it was to even the field, she did not have the aid of her dogs and thus was considerably weaker. Maybe it was to taunt her, that he was still impeccably strong without his most useful weapon.
Or maybe it was because he didn't want to harm her quite the way he harmed others.
She knew of it, how he too wanted to kill her as much as she felt the same with him, but could not bring himself to it. And he despised the weakness of compassion the way she despised her physical weakness. She could smell the mental desire to kill her and the emotional desire to protect her boiling down deep inside him.
And physically, well, they both never quite thought of physically. The sharp screech of metal against metal filled her ears, as she swiped at his side. She missed as always, as he breathed into her ear, "Too slow."
She blocked his next attack with much accuracy, only receiving a cut across her arm rather than the gash it was intended to produce. The fabric ripped as her blood stained the black material. She hesitated, suddenly, before ducking fast enough to dodge another attack.
They fought taijutsu to taijutsu, as always. His ninjutsu could easily overpower her, and genjutsu didn't have quite an effect upon her.
She understood why he did not automatically kill her with his ninjutsu, why he did not relieve his mental toll and finally destroy the only part left of his past.
He was training her; he was making her stronger, so then, she would be a strong enough opponent not to hold back upon. And then, if she was still alive, he would take her away, he would lead her away from the life she had made to blind her in his own. He needed her hate, hate stronger than his brother's, hate to finally defeat him or for him to finally take.
He was always a selfish creature; he desired the happiness of others to satisfy his own. He was like a wounded animal, wanting everything for himself and having nothing but himself and she was life, the very foundation of his entity.
But they both knew that day would never come, that she was already succumbing to his scent, that she was already falling and gradually weakening to his very being. And she knew that she had to end this little game of tag, she needed either to triumph or to die.
The knife was at her neck, protruding a slit of blood as it bled together with his own crimson. She panted heavily, his cool fingers wrapped around her wrist. Her fingers gripped the knife tighter in her caught hand, her nails cutting into skin and the trickle of blood from her clawed palms.
"You hesitated. Why is that?" he muttered, his breathing smooth and unlabored. Cold fingers unraveled her own, as it lifted the blade away from her fingers, touching the warm crimson liquid against his pale skin.
"Go die, you bastard."
"You don't seem to want to kill me anymore. What a shame," he whispered, moving away from her and placing the dripping blades on the desk beside them.
Her blood boiled at his comment, as she whirled around, her fingers clenched in a fist as she aimed for his head.
He caught it, his hand pushing against hers and causing her to reel her arm back. The taller man frowned, leaning in towards her panting form.
The whisper of her name caused her heart to pump faster, as she pulled away from his touch, sitting on the bed and healing her wounds. Glowing fingers traced cuts, scratches adorning her body to leave her skin smooth, the way it was before the battle. No one expected a thing, from either ends.
She looked up, an eyebrow cocked.
He crossed towards her, as she grabbed his hand and traced the wound. It was deeper this time, she realized as she traced the scar, sealing it. She pulled him down to sit on the bed beside her, as her fingers ghosted over the scar.
"You gripped it too hard, cocky bastard," she commented. "Never expected it to be that sharp."
He was silent, before replying quietly, "Don't flatter yourself."
She rolled her eyes, checking his other hand. And the feel of his callused fingers against her glowing fingers caused goosebumps to travel up her arm. She was drowning in his scent, in his body, in everything. She was healing the man her village despised, she was healing the man that ruined her life. Hana was letting the man live once more by this traitorous act. Bile formed in her throat. How could she betray her village? How could she betray the people she loved, how could she hide away her feelings from everyone, even her dogs?
"Go, now," she whispered, releasing his hand and moving away. She should have told the Hokage about these secret meetings, about the way he came whether she liked it or not. She should have told the Hokage that he was slowly killing her.
She could not bring herself to it, by daylight she was still the village veterinarian, healing the wounded animals, and living alone, a seemingly happy fiancée to an ANBU at twenty three. By night, she was haunted by the phantom.
His fingers wrapped around her wrist, pulling her down towards him. She was back in her seat beside him on the bed, leaning against her pillow. His face was veiled with its usual impassiveness, as hers was angry and tense.
He leaned in, brushing his lips against hers as she stiffened. His lips were cold; it always was, as it pressed against her warm ones. His brush melted into a kiss as it heated her body. She let out a soft moan, trying to collect her scrambled senses, forcefully turning her head away from his, only to supply him with her neck.
Teeth on the ribbon, he pulled off the fabric off, buying her some time.
She squirmed beneath him, her emotions raging as she tried to dodge him.
"Itachi..." she breathed his name the first time in a while, before her lips were silenced by his. He seemed to need her more tonight, his fingers ghosting over any and all exposed skin.
He seemed so surreal, intangible. The Uchiha Itachi, the S-ranked missing nin that murdered his family and hated nothing and everything about the town he grew up in was in her arms, kissing her, a loyal Tokubetsu Jonin and vet. It seemed so fake and mystical, a phantom of the night.But he was a phantom in some sense, haunting her mind, not physically there but behind her eyes, that every night their crimson blood flooded her, drowning her.
She knew that she would be found out. She knew that they would catch him, that it would soon end. She knew that he was the only stain on her perfect life, and he relished in the fact that she needed him quite as much as he needed her. Of course, he would never admit such weakness, and neither would she. Her back arched as his lips trailed down her jaw.
He stopped suddenly, much to her relief and disappointment. He was still, breathing in her scent.
"Leave here," he whispered, lifting himself from her to stand. He pulled on his cloak, wrapping himself in the black and red fabric.
She stared at him, slowly, dimly, realizing his words.
"L-Leave Konoha?" she asked quietly.
He gazed at her, not responding. She lowered her eyes, sighing. Her heart was bursting, tearing.
"Then don't. Next time, I will kill you," he turned, unable to look at her. They both knew that next time, by next time she would be married, that next time he would come and he would be caught by the ANBU. There wouldn't be a next time, and if there was, he would not kill her. He could not kill her.
She smiled knowingly at his empty threat, a sad smile. Lifting herself from her seat, she crossed over to where he stood. He stiffened at the proximity. She smiled once more, closing her eyes. She could smell him turn.
She understood why she allowed him to do this to her. She sighed, Itachi had made the decision they both had put off since the first time they met after the Uchiha massacre. Itachi had decided to end these games, and she knew she had to make a decision.
"Ne, show me why I should leave."
And she did not see the small curve of his lips, but she could feel it, as he leaned down towards her and kissed her again, one arm wrapping around her waist.
He was an angel, a fallen angel that seeks happiness in the pain of others. He was a fallen angel that wants to blind her in the darkness. He wanted to lure her into his darkness, he wanted to make her live in his own darkened destiny. He wanted to steal the priceless treasure that he could not touch; he wanted to take Hana away when her once broken life was finally mended so she could live once more in contentment. He wanted to seize every smile she gave him, every time those lips met his, every chance to stroke the heart that melted his. He selfishly wanted to protect her like a valuable gem; he greedily kept her shine hidden from the world, absorbing it all for himself. He craved only for her, and desperately wanted her for himself, thus he wanted to kidnap her away to form a new life behind the bars of his set in stone destiny as an enemy of Konoha.
And she has finally given in. She had walked through the bars, her head held high, without a word on her lips, faithfully cradling him in hers at times he despised human contact and hated life. Tenderly, she soothed his loneliness with soft words and gentle kisses.
A/N: This is the end of Crimson Ribbons. Thank you for reading all the way to now, waiting when I have been taking long breaks. I love you all for reviewing... and oh noez, I can't play the name game. sowwy. T.T
Now, here's a preview of a short story I'm gonna start! It's an AU, but hey, it's hard to stay in the Naruto world with this crack!pairing.
She has always been steady, just like him. She has always been a good dealer, and he has always been a good murderer.