It had started off as something so simple: a vow made in blood as he tore his own flesh with a kunai; his way of the ninja birthed to the world. At Sakura's admonishment and warning of death he quickly feigned panic while he was inwardly reveling in the curious delight of pain. He couldn't remember the bite of pain having ever felt so good, his body thrummed with self-induced adrenaline and he loved the thrill of it.

When he awoke the next morning and the cut had healed, he could have sworn he felt something inside him break. He had studied his hand for over an hour that morning, willing even the hint of a silvery-pink scar to appear and confirm what had transpired.


And that was what led him through the next few days: a hollowness he had not known had existed, apathy and sluggishness taking the place of his usual energy and cheer. He did every menial task that was tossed in front of him in hopes that he would find what he had lost, something which he could not even name. He tried anyway, words like completeness and serenity dancing like fire across his tongue.

One night as he sat down for his customary dinner at Ichiraku's ramen stand his stomach growled and something sparked and blossomed in his mind. His usual gusto returned as he cried, "Itadekimasu!" in his anticipation to confirm his suspicion. He slurped up the first of his noodles and moaned in satisfaction as they coiled hot in his stomach.


This was the word he had been searching for. Hunger and… and satisfaction! He had been starving for something, and the pain from the previous day touched upon that, and had satisfied him. It had erased everything else: pain, fear, longing, sadness… Nothing could stand in the way of his pain-induced high.

For as long as he could remember, he knew that he healed abnormally fast; small suspicions, born from a cut on a finger disappearing, had been confirmed when the drunk and disorderly took their past out on a little boy; who had miraculously healed overnight. He still remembered the pain, the almost instant blossoming of scarlet hues and purples across his pale white skin. All of that, the evidence, had vanished in the short span of unconsciousness. He had woken up and thought it all a dream, the only proof against this were his torn clothing and bloodstained body. From this instance he also learned that ALL people were capable of sadism, were capable of unspeakable acts that were denied even to the victim. He knew that all people had this capability, and he felt this was what made them human. The philosophical musings of an eight-year-old orphan could be thought of as limited, but with nothing better to do he had questioned, labeling everything as something.

His inquisitive mind sought out how things worked and went so far as to find how people worked. He had never discussed any of this with a single person, not even the teachers he had grown to trust, and because of this he was never known for the part of him that was intelligent. He had been dubbed 'the class failure', 'an idiot', and even 'dobe', and 'dead last'by the Uchiha genius Sasuke. He was severely ridiculed by his peers when he did a jutsu wrong, no one understood that he learned differently than the other kids his age. Give him a scroll and some time alone and he would perfect the jutsu in no time, and sometimes he just needed to know the mechanics and dynamics of a jutsu, rather than an explanation on how to do it.

With his unusual thoughts came unusual hobbies, obsessions even. He would watch people, not like a stalker or anything, but people at random. He would walk down the street and mentally categorize the behavior of all the people he saw. He would even go to the park and jot down mannerisms in a thick notebook; scribbles from cover to cover, on random pages, and even in the margins if he found connections that only he could distinguish upon. Every once in a while he would find someone or something so vexingly complex, or entirely too simple as the case may be, and he would take his time to dissect the person and thing completely. His recent dissections being that of his closest companions.

Sakura was someone who could instantly be perceived as complex. Once the exterior actions had been chipped away and you looked underneath the underneath, she was so terribly translucent. He was sure that he was one of the very few, if any, that had realized this. Her exterior was rough, a signature mix of stubborn, smart-ass, and a double shot of caffeine-laced intensity. In her younger years she had been the image of shy and timid, rivaling the personality of one Hyuuga Hinata. Her eyes and hair had made her a bit of an oddity in Konoha, where looks were entirely hereditary, from tip to toe. This could distinctly be seen in the Hyuuga family, the Inuzuka family, the Aburame family, and even the Uchiha family; cases of strict breeding and the hereditary characteristics of each family making them easily distinguishable. With this subconsciously embedded into the young minds of children in the closest comparison to that of racism that their narrow worlds could understand, Sakura was different. A judgment that was dealt harshly by her peers with the logic of, 'she doesn't have brothers or sisters like her' and 'her parents are the only ones like her'. A small family doomed to be shunned by the very genetics that had made public figures out of other families; if you didn't have the tradition or lineage, you were odd. Teasing and bullying was commonplace in her life before Ino came along. Ino brought Sakura a measure of confidence, and that confidence bloomed when she stepped up to Ino in a dismissal of their friendship in favor of Uchiha Sasuke. After that she held her reputation of strength, but inside she was anything but strong. He could see her loneliness and saw the telltale signs of a split personality. He could tell where these things had developed: she had shunned her only friend, her father worked for the Hokage as an accountant, and her mother was a fulltime nurse at the hospital; she had grown up almost as alone as him. Sakura used Sauske as her scapegoat, her legitimate reason for walking away from Ino. She still cared for Sasuke, but her love had simmered into something more tepid, a desire for friendship over her young fantasies of romance. Every day she hid under her mask, and used her other self as a safety blanket in her dire times of need.

Umino Iruka led a simple life, full of traditions and habits. Wednesdays were his shopping days, and on Thursday he would clean. Iruka had not made the jump from chuunin to jounin, instead he opted to teach, giving little ones the chance to become the bottom rung of the ninja ladder of society. He had found his passion and joy in his teaching. He was an outwardly cheery person, but his myriad of thoughts and ideas could give Shikamaru a run for his money! Iruka was an undeniable closet romantic, as much as Ebisu was a closet pervert. Iruka had never settled down, mainly because he was not attracted to the opposite sex, a fact undeniable to an inquisitive and observant young dobe. When confronted with the evidence and the simple question, "Why?" Iruka blushed crimson and muttered a "When you're older." before quickly walking away.

Hatake, Kakashi was the only man he knew that wore two masks; a literal one and a mental one.

His literal mask hid his face and the scars that only our chibi-ichi could deem beautiful. Kakashi's Hitaiate slid over his mismatched eye; a constantly spinning sharingan. The other eye, a steely grey one, was almost always upturned in a crinkling crescent, like the inverted half-turned smile hidden by his mask. Though this in itself was a mask, used to hide what he was really thinking and feeling. The closest to his true emotions was when Kakashi was describing a jutsu or a high rank mission. His face would find a median between happy and stern, an expression that bordered on placid.

Uchiha, Sasuke. There were many pages full of half finished sentences and sketches of Sasuke, even though the young author never thought of himself as an artist. This subject of interest had taken up nearly a fourth of what was written in the infamous notebook; pages and pages of sentences that were well thought over, chewed, digested, regurgitated, and revised over and over. Maybe this is what an ordinary person would call an obsession? So many things about this person, so many things to be discovered and dissected… yet for some reason he was just too beautiful of an enigma, too perfect being undefined and uncategorized…. The one eccentricity that was allowed in such a regimented life. Musings so simple as, 'How does his hair manage to stick like that?' and, ' How does his skin stay so soft and pale?' Had eventually evolved into, 'Is his hair going to be just as soft as it looks when it is between my fingers?' and 'How will his skin feel beneath mine?' Sweet sinful thoughts than were always "will" rather than "would", he was nothing if not optimistic.