This is the second in what will hopefully become a series of drabbles about various events taking place in the Akatsuki members' pasts. It was written quite some time ago for a contest. I just hadn't gotten around to posting it until now.

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or any of its characters.


Shinobi don't cry.

Shinobi rule #25 states that no matter what happens true shinobi must never ever show their emotions. The mission is the only priority. Carry that in your heart and never, ever shed a tear. It was a rule that all shinobi followed, and only fools broke it. That was what his parents had told him, and so he had taken it to heart. His parents had never cried. They had always had control over their emotions, their bodies, even when not on a mission. They were shinobi, and they were strong, and he had always wanted to be just like them. He wanted to make them proud to say he was their son. So he would never break the rules.

That was why he'd been ashamed, when the man came to the doorway and told his grandmother the news, that he hadn't been able to stop the tears that flowed down his face. He had broken rule #25, just like that. His grandmother hadn't said anything when she saw, just looked at him with that distant, unreadable expression before turning away.

Shinobi don't cry.

His grandmother hadn't cried. She had stood there like she always did, as if the man had told her that there was going to be a large sandstorm that day, and when she thanked him and bid him good day her voice had been calm and level and completely under her control. She was a shinobi, and at the time he'd thought her the strongest one in the entire village. The one the Kazekage would ask in person for assistance in a battle, the one who held the title 'Puppet Master Chiyo'. She had taught him how to fight, and had echoed his parents' rules about shinobi.

That was how he discovered that he was weak. Because he could not stop the tears, even though he hated them and told himself they were useless. He was weak, because his body did not listen to him when he told it to stop crying. Because it refused to obey his will. Bitterly, he thought that his parents would never have lost control like that. A shinobi always had control over their body.

Shinobi don't cry.

It was what his teachers and his classmates had told him, in voices that were sometimes disdainful and sometimes mocking, when they saw his red eyes the next day. And he knew what they were thinking, as they looked at the evidence of his tears.

He was not fit to be a shinobi.

He trained, and he ruthlessly forced his body into obedience. He trained his face to look completely emotionless; he taught his eyes not to cry. He told himself that he was a shinobi, like his grandmother and his parents. But it was not enough. Despite his best efforts the tears still escaped, when he was caught off guard and his control slipped just a little. He told himself it would never happen again, throwing himself back into his training, but he knew he couldn't say that for certain.

Shinobi don't cry.

His puppets never cried. His puppets were beautiful and deadly and they never shed a single tear. They weren't capable of crying. Sometimes he thought his puppets were better shinobi than people were. Sometimes he thought they were much better off than people were. They couldn't cry and they couldn't feel pain and they were never lonely because they had each other and their master.

His puppets always obeyed him. They moved where he wanted them to move and did what he wanted them to do, and they never ever betrayed him. Puppets were a lot easier to control than humans. If his body was a puppet instead of human it would never do anything he didn't want it to do, and he wouldn't be weak anymore. He would never break the rules ever again.

Shinobi don't cry.

It had been painful, more painful than anything he'd ever experienced, but he endured it. And the tears had fallen against his will, but he didn't care about them anymore. Because soon he would never feel pain ever again, and soon the tears would be gone forever, and he would finally be a true shinobi. Because puppets made better shinobi than people anyway and because they were really better off than the humans.

And he had seen his face in the mirror, still flecked with blood from the transformation, and thought it the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. It was a puppet; as beautiful as his other puppets, and as deadly, and completely under his control. And he was no longer the weak child who could not stop crying because his parents wouldn't be coming home again. He was Akasuna no Sasori. He was a shinobi, and now he was a puppet. And he would never cry again.