House of the Lamb

Chapter Five

V

She listened quietly and sat in place while he worked. "Tonight, you will be attractive to eyes while you hide your face, it just so happens that you will run into an old friend of yours by the name of Deidara." She didn't nod since he was still busy twisting her hair up into a complex knot she doubted any of her maids when she'd been within Konoha knew of. Dexterous fingers worked with ease as he took an ivory bone chopstick decorated with a handle of a scorpion's tail to place it within her mass of hair. She heard her silver earrings ring and clink at the sudden subtle movement. She felt bit of her hair being tugged in various places – before he grasped a slim toothed comb and brushed hair to frame the side of her faces; lean from his work on her. She heard his cloak move and his face was before her. Eyelashes raked through hers before he spoke, "You will not see him, first of all, do not look for him; he will find you and do not stray far from the party itself."

He reached into his cloak and withdrew a necklace of fine silver as though it had been woven by spiders and betwixt twin claws of polished white bone, there was a moonstone that lay there; innocently winking. His hands moved and she heard it clasp around her neck. "Do not remove this, do you understand?" syrup interlined with a type of poison called cruelty flowed through her ears and spite herself she alternately felt her body relax and all the same prepare for imminent doom should she do otherwise against his wishes.

Hair moved aside, "Keep to yourself and do not drink anything anyone has given to you." He moved from her and Hinata stood when he held a hand out, grasping hers in a small grip. The kimono itself was plain; snow white with spots of black flowers blooming from the bottom and their scattered petals reaching no higher than her waist. The wooden geta shoes she wore were newly crafted and well polished with their new oiled leather thongs. The kimono, however, had a low neckline so as to show off her pale neck in a manner of decadence. "Smile when needed, conversation limited and nothing revealing but do not be so guarded that they feel a need to keep a wary eye on you."

Sasori guided her to another higher chair and pushed a hand on her shoulder so she would sit. She did so, with her back straight and closed her eyes since she knew what was next; ignoring the niggling voice that taunted she was as he presumed she would be; a doll given claws. A fine haired brush pressed against her eyelids and proper powder was being applied. She kept her eyes closed though she heard the brush being put away. Talcum powder; white as appropriate, was smoothed over her cheeks by a powder puff.

He spoke as he once again changed utensils, "Should there be an unforeseen complication in this – do not look for him; come straight back because the carriage will be awaiting your return with or without him at the edge of the town's gates. If you are followed…" she heard the clink of a clay lid being removed – slick wetness left behind. "There chopsticks in your hair for a reason should you choose to use them." She was silent until he moved back and she opened her eyes slowly.

There was an appraising gleam in his rust colored eyes from which came the similar glint in which a doll collector would have whenever he looked upon the favorite and best of the bunch. He opened the door and swept out a hand; giving her the hint it was time to be carted off to the ball.

She hiked the bottom of her kimono up so she would neither soil it nor tear it with her new geta sandals. She moved down the stairs and every step that creaked said to her, you're but a doll being handled by a puppeteer, you won't be able to break like other people but you're hollow. Hollow.

She could not ignore the only truth within her life – all lies cast aside in a manner with which she deeply regretted; living a lie was much easier than going along with a truth you wished you never knew. She opened the door with a shaky hand, as though knowing that this new level with which she'd been granted; actually being so far from Sasori in such a long time was a frightening prospect. The door creaked open, moaning as though trying to hiss to her as it opened her to freezing air, don't go, stay, stay, stay, if you go you shall lose yourself and the master will mourn for his loss at the thought of you gain; stay here…Hinata's foot stepped out and the door shut behind her, slimly missing hitting her thigh while she walked to the black carriage. Everything about it was black; the singular hitched up horse and the blackened soot wheels matched. She looked, truly looked, at one of the horses and her eyes ached suddenly; everything going into a kaleidoscope that peeled away any vestiges of disguise from what was truly there – the abnormality hiding behind normalcy. In the pitch black steed's stead was a snorting creature with blood on its hooves, salivating as it stretched a bony neck, snorting out blood and showing fanged teeth. Ribs rippled and muscles, taut and thin, stretched hideously.

Hinata blinked the image away and all else melted into normalcy; the blessing of not seeing things for what they truly were on the inside. The black steed turned her way as though he had felt she knew what he was, stretched out his neck to her and tried to lip her skin – Hinata herself was beguiled by horses; finding them beautiful and free (but even as her eyes had locked away their true beholding power, all she could see was sharp fangs and a salivating frothing mouth) so she shied away from him gently, soft hand reaching up to pat him on the muzzle. He tossed his head proudly and his flanks shivered, black eyes centered on her in a way that looked so disturbing, narrowed and no light seemed able to shine it them; as though it was a black hole. The world shifted once more and it floored Hinata when she saw into those eyes as easily as wonderfully gross pictures in a book of myth. Half eaten things strayed to the sides of roads, children screamed in the night, empty horse stalls with bloodied hay and things in it that were supposed to be attached to bodies and be alive were left behind. Hinata gasped and flung her hand from the creature's muzzle at he watched her with now half lidded eyes. A voice, scratchy and deep throated snaked its way into her mind and left a trail of dark smog behind, "I will not eat you, mistress…however should anyone lay a hand on you…I will pick the flesh from their bones, if only you command it…"

The steed whickered and stretched his neck out once more, reaching around while he twisted himself to mouth at her gently. Velvet soft, smooth as a child's skin (perhaps if one ate enough softly skinned children, they too would gain the softness passed on from digesting them) the muzzle of the horse touched the shocked girl's neck. He breathed out and Hinata could smell blood on the steed's breath. Hinata steadied her hand on his cheek, wondering how twisted she was becoming if she believed that something not human talked to her. She listened to the steed breathe, she smelled the blood on his breath and once more normalcy tore away like cheap tissue paper; leaving her cold and alone in the sight of everything. A hollow cheek was being touched by a ghostly pale hand, ribs moved every time the steed breathed and a single black eye stared at her from its respective corner; edged in an eerie teal. Hinata held her breath and released it after a moment's contemplation. The Byakugan was neither a blessing nor a curse, it was the same as one having night vision in which it revealed and didn't gloss over anything with sure brushstrokes.

Slim fingers akin to that of ghost in the forest stroked over fine hairs on the cheek, "What do they call you?" she asked softly, ignoring the earlier visions of truth she'd witness about the animal…should he truly be categorized as such.

"I've no name," he responded, breath hissing over her cold skin that startled her enough to cause goose bumps. She shifted and the horse's head followed her movement, as though subtly forcing her to touch him in some manner.

"What shall I call you then?" she murmured, hand moving from his cheek to his thin, slim and bony neck that looked as though it would snap. Her nails raked gently over his mane, full and lustrous in look but coarse and thin in feel; it wove around her finger's like she figured the snakes on the infamous Medusa's head would have.

"What is it you wish to call me by?" he replied simply but in this she could give him no answer, and as though sensing her despondency, he moved back silently just as normalcy melted back into place. His ribs were covered by full lengths of muscle and flesh, hooves no longer looking as though they were rotting from within, his neck strong and leathery – eyes pitch black. Hinata stepped back from him and fingers touched where his breath had misted over her neck and left remnants of something. Her fingers brushed her neck and came back in front of her, clear and translucency defected only by a trail of red as thin as a spider's webbing line. (The sweetened blood of children lingered there, their half eaten corpses strewn somewhere in a distant place and there is a churning of her stomach where she recognizes that this is his nature and a moment where she hates that she cannot condemn those for doing nothing out of their nature.)

"Milady," a croak sounded out and Hinata turned quick, whiplash oddly not taking any effect on her. A small, hunched over toad of a man stayed crouched on the carriage, beady eyes observing her with perversity she was no accustomed to. "Should we part?" Hinata looked back at the horse that stood still and ramrod straight; mind begging her to say 'no, I'll part and run from here, this place which does not hold any power over me'. Alas, it was not of her nature to spit out lies because though she knew very deeply within this heart which she no longer owned, she wished to flee from this desolate place where Sasori had tucked them away into mansion within the dark forest; this place held more hold and power over her than which should have been natural. She turned, feeling the back of her neck prickle and saw looking out of the window of the top floor a face carved by an artist's true and steady hand with an eye for attractive detail; a painter with disgusting beauty in mind slavered on color of an unknown world where this person would wreck havoc on others. Rusted golden red eyes stared down at her and they were half hooded, as though he'd known what she was thinking and stood there merely as a reminder of what he could and would do to her should she turn tail and run from his grasp.

Did those who created him ever think of what he would do to the others surrounding him? Hinata knew the depressing answer to the equally depressing question. She clutched the fabric of her kimono and scurried while the coachmen held the door open for her. Her foot lifted onto the small platform and she was within the innards of the carriage which looked luxurious and oppressing enough for Death himself. Red velvet covered the cushions and the windows of the carriage were veiled by black silk. The carriage jolted forward and jarred Hinata a bit, but all the same she pulled the small curtain back to see reddened eyes watching her depart; without words saying blatantly, 'if you run, I will not kill you, I will haunt you and allow you to drown in your own madness that you will not be able to control'.

Her hand let the curtain fall down once more and she leaned back into the softness around her, his voice was thick and sweet; soft as syrup and his beauty was deadly to those with eyes. His eyes were half lidded like a lizard bathing in the sun, appearing sleepy but all the more on guard than a person who looked to be alert and attentive. He was deadly, ruthless and dangerous to all around him in the most brutal ways. Sasori…did not believe in mercy killings, she'd come to know over the several months of being in his constant company.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the cruelest of them all?

-

An update, not much of Sasori but there will be more of him in the next chapter. Review if you did or did not like it; flow, characterization, detail - everything.

-ahem- I feel like an unworthy bitch for forgetting to do this but Steely-Toast-chan made a lovely and appropriate fan art for HotL: Look at it or I'll eat your ass. XD (Remove spaces and remember to place in dots)

wwwdeviantartcom/deviation

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