Life of Detriment
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
O O O
Where was Sasuke?
There was no Sasuke. No Sasuke, no living, breathing, walking, talking prison. No substitute Kimimaro, no defeater of Orochimaru, where was Sasuke?
And there it was. The tickle of the cursed seal that wasn't really a tickle at all; it was as though someone was rummaging around just under his skin, brushing over his bones and tightening his muscles and running light nails down his nerves, inciting everything and sensitizing him to every whisper, every touch, every breath until…
He threw himself against a tree trunk and splintered off some bark.
He wanted to kill. Oh, he wanted to kill so bad, and his fingers and hands were aching, and there was a stirring in his loins from the excitement of blood, and he was a sick, sick man, but he wanted this gratification—never wanted anything more in his life than this simple thing that was murder and rending and slaughtering, and he'd make it slow…
He didn't even know he'd said it, because his voice was cracking. His bones were breaking, his resolve was tearing, and this thing called self-control that was just so damn elusive to him was taunting him with those long-fingered hands, waving in front of him, luring him, and he wanted it…
Someone stumbled into his view: A blur, a smudge, something skirting the edge of his vision, and what the hell were they doing darting in and out of his line of sight? Get back in, he needed to see them, he wanted to see them, he felt so excited, this was a thrill—a rush—a climax inside a climax inside a wet dream that just dragged on forever.
That wasn't his voice. Wasn't him who said it. It was someone else; it was the blur. It was the smudge and the dot and the speck and the insignificant spot of debris against the outline of the horizon, running toward him, toward death. What a stupid, stupid blur, running toward him. Did they not know who he was? He was Juugo of Tenpin and he would kill them like he'd never killed before and then he'd revel in the bloodshed and the carnage and as his dull burn of impulse slowly ebbed he'd want to touch himself, or he'd want them to touch him, but they would be dead—they were always dead—and so he'd just sit down and bury his face in his hands, because what had he done?
And then the blur was right before him, light-colored cape and hey, he had a cape like that underneath his black poncho, did they maybe want to see it? Maybe they'd be so entranced with it that the prickle in his flesh would go away and he could sit down and calmly speak with them, could speak with them like he did with Kimimaro and didn't do with Sasuke and tried to do with Suigetsu but Suigetsu hated him, he thought, called him a big freak, and Karin was still afraid of him or maybe she thought less of him because he was a freak, and he didn't know, didn't know, didn't know…
Don't talk—somebody needed to tell them—her, it was a girl, and she was pretty—not to talk, because talking led nowhere when all he wanted to do was—
Dejected, rejected, hint of frustration, he knew that feeling all too well, even as the dark flecks of flesh overtook him and he screamed and she took a step back and he lunged because he wanted this, he really did—he swore he did; he wasn't making this up, and it was crazy.
She jumped and dodged, flipping over him, and she was good, and a small part in the back of his head whispered in a mad sort of cackle if perhaps she'd feel as good around him, if she'd feel as good if he was inside her, if her skin was as soft as her eyes, if her pink hair matched—
"Who are you?"
"Juugo!" he half laughed, half shouted, a sort of demonic mixture of the two, and that's what he was, wasn't it? A demon, a freak, the originator of the cursed seal but he was still human in that damn body somewhere, right?
He struck the ground and it shattered and splintered and there was pieces of mud and dirt flying everywhere, dotting her perfect face and it looked like blood, blood. He wanted this. He wanted this, he was sure of it. He wanted her, this, everything that was this little area of forest.
Maybe she sensed the danger, because a spark came over her eyes that was almost unnoticeable, but Juugo noticed, because he was so focused on her that it hurt, because she was so beautiful and maybe he didn't want to kill, but oh, he definitely wanted to—
"Fuck!" And she dodged him again, assessed the situation with her dainty little fists and her pretty green eyes and then punched him, and at first he smiled, but then it drained because it had hurt and he actually felt something break and…
And the red-brown haze fell away and the dark skin began to recede back to wherever it came from in the first place and his eyes were clear again and he could see her fully and she was even more beautiful when his mind wasn't clouded with fury and unrest and lust.
She drew back to strike him again, but he took off into the trees, holding his shattered arm to him tightly, hiding in the foliage. He wasn't scared of her, but she was so pretty and he would be so sad if he ended up killing her.
He didn't hear any voices or breathing for a few moments. Maybe she left. Maybe she went home. Maybe she was as smart as she looked and just left him alone. Maybe—
—maybe he'd never be so lucky.
She found him, pushing aside low-hanging branches, stepping over small bushes, her cape fluttering around her shins and then stopping. She stared at him and he stared at his toes, arms around his head like a cage, and he wanted his prison cell back. He wanted to be back in Orochimaru's compound, destroyed or not. Why hadn't Sasuke let him go down with it? Why hadn't Sasuke just left him alone forever?
Stop saying his name. Please stop it. The anger and urge to kill was gone but the lust wasn't and he had no self-control whatsoever, so what if he did something to hurt her? What if he just laid her down on the ground and spread her and buried himself in her and she arched and cried and gasped and he didn't know if he was hurting her or if she was enjoying herself?
So she didn't.
"Please go away."
So she didn't.
She knelt beside him instead, hands placed on his arm, and he flinched.
He leaned into the tree at his back, as if that would be enough for it to swallow him whole and then maybe she would be safe and he wouldn't be able to hurt people anymore and he wouldn't have to see the bloody, ravaged things that used to be human but just weren't anymore, and he didn't want to hurt her but she just wouldn't leave and—and… He was near hysterics. He knew it. But he didn't fight it. Because hysterics were, in a way, oddly comforting to him.
Something cool and comforting fell form her fingertips to his arm, and he felt his bones being grafted back together, torn ligaments and everything being healed. He realized she was a medic-nin, but did she know what she was doing? She was healing the beast, revitalizing him, making her death more imminent, or maybe not her death but most definitely the worst day of her life.
"I'm sorry. I thought that you were out to get me."
He bit his lip. She sounded so beautiful. A different sort of beautiful than Karin. Karin was pretty, oh, yes, she was, and he thought about her quite often, especially at night and when he was alone with just himself and something would tell him to drag one hand down to the clasp of his pants, but Juugo would never do something like that to the thought of this girl. Because if he did, then that was the same as defiling her, and defiling her was just as bad as killing, and despite all appearances, Juugo really hated killing.
"Are you hurt anywhere else?" she asked, her eyes flicking up to his, light green meeting light brown, and he wanted to touch her hair very badly then, so he did, and she tensed.
"I don't want to hurt you," he said, quiet, so whisper-soft that it was barely audible, and his fingers slipped through strands of pink hair—so odd, but in a nice, different way, and it reminded him slightly of Karin's hair, but less extreme. She was a less extreme Karin, and he didn't love Karin because she was mean to him and sometimes scared of him and in love with Sasuke, but he could love this girl, and maybe that love would cancel out his drive to kill so that he could keep someone beside him for once.
"Are you hurt anywhere else?" she repeated, unfazed by the hand in her hair slowly pulling out.
Juugo contemplated lying, but he looked at her expression—open, worried, slightly apprehensive—and he couldn't. "No," he said, and he was honest in his answer, "but can you please pretend?"
She blinked. She was confused. "Pre…pretend?"
"Please pretend I'm hurt," he pleaded, "because I don't want to lie, but it feels nice when you…when you…" He tried to find a way to say what he wanted to say without sounding threatening or perverted or creepy. But he was, and he knew it, but even so…he could at least try to hide it. "When anyone touches me."
She blinked again. "I…if there's nothing to heal, Juugo, I can't pretend."
He ducked his head back into the cradle of his arms. "Okay."
Not seconds later, her hands were in his hair, thumbs brushing over the curve of his ear, and he sat up straight, towering over her seated form in his, eyes wide and mouth half open. "What are you doing?"
She smiled gently. "If you wanted me to touch you, Juugo, you should have just asked."
She was so innocent, but she didn't sound innocent, and if only she knew how much that excited Juugo, made him clenched his teeth and something in his gut tighten and coil in. "…Touch me."
So she did, smiling that soft, placating smile, combing through his hair, pulling out a few tangles that didn't even bother Juugo, brown-blond hair falling between small, gloved fingers. And then he couldn't take it anymore, and there was his self-control slipping, because he wanted more. More touching, more voices, more pleading, more of her hands on his body, her fingers smoothing over his hipbones, her hands, bare, brushing over his jaw, passing slowly over the dip of his navel and then moving further down until she was—
"Are you alright?"
—skirting around what he really wanted, teasing, never being forthright but dodging the subject, making him furrow his brow and sneer in a most non-threatening way and breathe hard until she finally closed her hand around him—
"Juugo, can I ask you something?"
—and her thumb would brush along the slit, pulling but careful, bringing her mouth to him, everything hot and heavy, and he was aware that just her voice was making him hard, and he was aware that maybe this meant something negative, and he was aware that he was dirtying her image by fantasizing about her tongue and he'd just met her, damn it, but—
"Do you know someone named Uchiha Sasuke?"
It was like a cold bucket of water fell over Juugo's back and his eyes snapped open, pulling quickly away from her. Sasuke. Sasuke. Where was Sasuke? He was gone; he needed Sasuke. Walking prison, where are you? He needed him, he needed him, needed, needed, needed…
"He's…a friend of mine. I've been looking for him for a long time."
And he recognized that look on her face, and suddenly he felt that fury come back twofold, consuming, overtaking, completely engulfing him, falling over him in breaking waves that knocked back his moral senses and brought out only those overwhelming emotions of anger and hurt and frustration and jealousy and she deserved to die.
"You love Sasuke," he breathed on something that wasn't quite a moan and wasn't quite a whimper, fighting with all he had against the spasms telling him to lurch forward and shove her head against the tree trunk behind her, mix pink with beautiful, glimmering crimson, flip a coin and figure out which eye he'd gouge out first.
She pulled back, away from him, and this was good—very good, little one, now please run away and be intelligent about this situation—to stare at him in annoyance. "Sasuke is a friend. I am worried about him."
His jaw set, he smiled, all teeth and malice and dangerous intent. "Really, now?"
"Yes." She stood, stared at him one more time, and then shook her head. "If you don't know where he is, I have no more business with you."
He attacked again, because she didn't want to be around him unless Sasuke was there too. Sasuke, Sasuke, dear, walking prison, where have you gone? Save him from the rage, save him from destroying something that God so graciously granted the Earth with. Save this little woman-child from his hands, his dirty, stained, strong, uncontrollable hands and—
She ran, and as he made a move to follow her, that sick, horrible grin plastered on his face, something came up and grabbed him, constricting, pressing at his ribs and squeezing his lungs and he couldn't breathe but this was wonderful as he almost cried, watching the girl disappear from his vision, over the horizon, and she was gone and safe.
He didn't even struggle this time, and the snake fell away, slinking back into the bowels of wherever it went, and Sasuke came out from the trees above, landing deftly before him. "Juugo."
"I'm sorry, Sasuke. I'm sorry," he said gently; he wasn't begging or groveling or trying to appease him, he was being honest. He was sorry, because although Karin was in love with Sasuke and now this pink-haired girl was also in love with him, Juugo couldn't blame him.
Sasuke watched the place where the girl had disappeared. "Did you hurt her?"
More silence ensued—terrible, horrible, constricting silence—and then Sasuke turned with a low-toned, "Hn," and led Juugo away from the meeting place.
And as they departed, Juugo memorized everything. The trees, the feel of the mud and dirt and leaves underneath his sandals, crunching and sliding, soft, like her eyes, like her skin would be, like he knew her hair was. And the air tasted hot in the dusk and it was heavy against his flesh, and everything was quiet and slow, even though Juugo's thoughts were not.
He held up his hands and looked at them, still walking alongside Sasuke—his prison and his savior and he couldn't figure out if that was good or bad—and watched the shadows fall over each finger, each bone, each tendon, each crease, and he wondered what it would feel like to touch her hands.
"She was looking for you," Juugo said, so calmly that he even surprised himself, because not moments ago, hadn't he been ready to murder ruthlessly?
"I know," Sasuke said, voice still low, face still impassioned, so stoic and…lonely.
"Are you going to find her?" Everybody was lonely. People did things because they were lonely. He did things because he was lonely. He touched that girl's hair because he wanted human companionship that didn't immediately walk away from him or scoff up at him or simply do nothing at him.
"No," he finally replied, and Juugo might not have noticed the slight shift in Sasuke's expression.
Sasuke was lonely, too, he realized. Karin was lonely. Suigetsu was lonely. That pink-haired girl had been lonely. And he was the loneliest of them all, and it drove them all to their own ends of madness, in a way. "Why not? She wants to find you. She misses you."
He wanted human company. He wanted more than just a battle partner. He wanted a friend. And Juugo knew for almost-certain that that was what all of Team Hebi wanted.
And then he knew why Sasuke didn't want to go back and look for the girl.
Because too much of anything, even if it was as good as the pink-haired medic-nin in the forest, was dangerous.
Juugo was dangerous enough on his own.