By: emeraldoni

Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Masashi Kishimot and not me. And be glad for that, because I would make a right mess of things.


:: There's a hero in every man, every woman, every child::


Juugo was man who knew no limit when it came to murder. His impulses coursed through his body and there was nothing he could do to stop it. Shame and guilt may have layered his skin, cracking his heart, but it was the bloodlust that fogged his mind and made his fingers twitch to just—kill.

And then he found her.

She took no notice of him, not really. He was her enemy, and she his, but there was something about her steady hands and passionate eyes that made the crimson haze leak away from his vision. He was caught in a web that led to her, though it was not of her making. It was Juugo's fault that he fell into such a trap, a trap of his own making. So confusing. So simple.

When with her—like when he was with Uchiha Sasuke—he felt no urge to kill.

And so he followed her, tracking her bright hair through wood and desert, keeping silent in the shadows as her blond friend—the Kyuubi boy—and a few others traveled in search of the revenge Sasuke lived for, in search of Itachi .

She saw him one night, when she was out collecting firewood. Her eyes widened and she dropped the faggots bundled in her arms, but before she could make a moved to hurt him, he raced forward and placed a calloused hand over her mouth.

"Shhhh," he said, "I don't mean any harm."

But her eyes were still suspicious, wary and narrowed as he felt her body tense and relax in front him, her chakre beginning to flow in flowery patterns.

He liked this girl, not because of her looks or fighting skill, be because of the effect she had on him.

Juugo did not tell Uchiha Sasuke where he went during those long periods of time. The new snake shinobi probably didn't even care. It wasn't until one night, when the younger Uchiha had picked a pastel hair off of Juugo's shoulder that he became curious.

"What is this, Juugo,?" he asked, holding the short hair between delicate fingertips. "Whose is this?"

Juugo was silent for a moment, watching the leader of their miniature platoon with a cautious eye, before turning away.

"A friend's," he muttered, fading into the darkness to go find her, because though she saw him as an enemy, and vice versa, she was still his savior, and he was still, somehow, her friend.

He hadn't killed in a month.

It was the longest he had gone without bathing his hands in warm blood. It was the longest he went without hearing a person's terrified screams.

And so, with that in mind, Juugo kept silent as Sasuke watched him with a wary eye, and, slowly, Sakura's smiled grew wider.

He would catch her when she left camp, and her heart no longer leapt when he solidified before her, a ghost in the shadows showing his face. She would sit down quietly, back against a tree, as he crouched a few feet away, face smooth, eyes riveted upon her.

They were friends.

And then Juugo learned of something, something he didn't wish to learn.

He had always known there was some sort of past between his leader and the girl who held his heart. He knew they had been some sort of thing in the past, that they had known one another, fought one another, and that her current mission was to get him back.

He didn't know she loved him.

He didn't want to know that.

One night Juugo was followed when he went to visit his savior. When Uchiha Sasuke melted into the light, Juugo felt such an intense wave of hatred, jealousy that threatened to overwhelm his precious, if weak, grip on humanity, but he withheld from attacking the silent man.

Sakura had gasped and stood, quivering fingers gripping the bark of the tree she had been leaning against mere moments before. Her other hand had tensed before her mouth. Juugo stayed on the ground, staring up at his leader, his controller, the man who was his living prison, and he thought, this man will take everything from me, everything.

"Sasuke…" she whispered, reaching a timid hand out, but pulling it back in as Sasuke remained unresponsive.

Finally, Juugo stood, taking a step away from Sasuke, a few inches towards Sakura. It didn't go unnoticed as the Uchiha boy turned his attention towards his subordinate.

"Juugo," he said, voice level, like his gaze, "step away from her. This is not your place."

Juugo remained solid still, his gaze turned away from Sasuke, and towards the girl he was so enraptured with. They said nothing, Sakura's clever, stunned eyes darting between him and Sasuke, then back again.

They left.

Juugo following behind the silent young man, broad shoulders hunched over as his mind kept flashing image and image again, all concerning one girl and the way her eyes like sunlit foliage had brightened with tears as Juugo and Sasuke disappeared.

They didn't see each other under friendly pretenses again, and Juugo learned something.

:: Absence makes the heat grow fonder::


A/N: Dunno. Mary be continued, may not. Have to work on the next chapter of A BDintheN. (I love reviews.)

Until next time.