The Father.

He casts a giant shadow over his daughter, keeping her in thrall long after he is gone by tying her to the past, killing her youthful spirit, and forcing her down the same dark paths he was walked, all in the name of betterment. His tricks are powerful, and many.

The only way to step out of his shadow is to slay.


By the time that Team 7's next mission is over and done with, I'm not feeling very well. I take a cup of warm tea up to my room (my mother would never allow a drink near my mattress, but she and my dad are both visiting friends for the weekend) and I collapse on my bed, my body so completely tired and worn. My heart feels sick, and sad.

I close my eyes and think about the state of my life. I try to convince myself that you have to take responsibility for your actions, and that I chose adventure, passion, daring.

But it hurts.

It hurts so badly.

I cry. I don't know if it's my own sadness, or the atmosphere of being deprived for so long, but I no longer feel adventurous, or passionate, or daring. The excitement has subsided. All that is left is slavery.

I think of Naruto. He is so ignorant, so blind that he cannot truly see what Sasuke does to me. He is annoying, and a pest. And right now I wish that I could tell him everything. I know that the idiot would "fight for my honor," or some stupid foolish thing, because I know that he cares for me. It may be some stupid crush, but at least I know that he cares.

With Sasuke, that used to be a mystery. But I don't think that it's very hard to see the answer.

I feel alone.

And then I feel him.

I lift my tear-streaked face and see him standing there, by my window.

"Stand up."

I stop my crying, wipe my face with one hand, and rise. I haven't even taken a shower yet. I must look like hell.

"Take off your clothes. Then sleep with me." He begins undressing without another word.

I do as he commands, and start removing my shoes. There is great fear in me, and apprehension, and even a faint glimmer of hope. Could this be the time? Haven't I earned it yet? I'm very intimidated by the thought of sleeping by his side. It's the first time that we're going to be in a bed together, and I'm more scared of this intimacy than of anything he's ever asked me.

He gets into bed first, naked. I join him. He takes me in his arms. When I'm lying on my back, he raises himself up on one elbow and kisses me. When I open my lips to receive his tongue, he takes his mouth away and puts it back again with infinite gentleness. I surrender to the kiss and my senses explode. I detect a tenderness he's never shown me before, and that I've never have suspected.

He spends a long time like this, kissing me. He's on top of me. I feel the weight of his body. The sweetness and warmth of his mouth are intoxicating. With one hand he strokes my breasts and my stomach and then moves it inside me. With dexterity that is unbelievable, he increases the pressure of his fingers. I feel as if I'm about to come. I take his hand in mine, and draw it out of me.

I beg him to fuck me.

He kisses me again on the lips.

I beg him to fuck me.

He kisses my cunt.

I beg him to fuck me.

He makes me cry out.

And then nothing.

It takes me a long time to fall asleep. My eyes never stop misting.

The daylight is streaming in through the blinds.

He opens his eyes, stretches and yawns and blinks. He seems completely unaware of my presence. He hasn't touched me all night. I don't want him to see my face first thing in the morning, so I bury my head in the pillow and turn my back to him.

If he wanted, he could seize my skin in his teeth, like a wild beast hungry for soft flesh.

But he doesn't.

It's weird how cold and empty I feel, as if I've been anesthetized.

In the bathroom, after I step out of the shower, he puts his arm around my shoulders and embraces me. I let him do it but my obvious lack of enthusiasm stops him for a second. "I'm not feeling too inspired this morning," I say simply. My emptiness rings in my voice.

Smiling, he tries to put his hand between my legs. I let him do it. I'm numb. Unconcerned. But when I feel his stomach press against my lower back, almost in a position to penetrate me, I turn quickly and tell him I had a bad night and feel really tired, and I slip away without even reaching for a towel.

I take the stairs three at a time, close the bedroom door, and dive into my bed.

I don't know what I'm doing anymore.

Sometime later, I'm not sure how long, as I lie huddled beneath the sheets, I hear the door being flung open.

His voice is harsher than I've ever known it.

"What is your problem, anyway?"

I can't answer. I wish I could feel angry, but all I feel is sadness.

"I don't like it when little girls throw tantrums, it makes me sick."

"…" My eyes are filling with tears.

"Answer me, Sakura! I can't stand it when you girls act this way! Do you want me to lose my temper?"

He pulls me from the bed, grips my shoulder violently and shakes it. Then raises his hand and brings it down as hard as he can on my face. I weep silently and stare at his hands as they rise into the air and come crashing down like waves onto my face.

Forgotten images flash into my mind: when I was a little girl I dreamed I was in a fairy tale, and I had a wicked stepmother who beat me to keep me in line, but I withstood the whipping, defied her with my whole being, each time it happened was another opportunity to prove how strong I was, how superior I was, even though I was so little.

I take a breath. "I don't want to do this anymore."

He slaps me again. And again. He showers me with blows.

I block one of them, and that tiny measure of defiance shocks the both of us.

I look him in the eye. More defiance.

I say two words: "That's enough."

He snarls, and raises his hand again.

"That's enough!" I say, and then stand up. The sheet falls to the floor and I face him, naked. "I don't want to play your games anymore! I can't! I'm not throwing a tantrum, I'm not making a scene! It's just that I can't go on with this! It's too much!"

My face hurts, especially my upper lip, which feels swollen and particularly painful. Blood mingles in my saliva. I still look him in the eyes. "For the past months, I've worshipped you like a god. But I can't play this game anymore. It's too hard for me. It's over. I can't go on with it."

In all these long days and nights, I've never once imagined that I wouldn't obey him. But now I'm telling the truth.

I just can't go on with it.

Sasuke catches his breath. And for the first time in my life I see surprise and disbelief flash across his face. He seems thrown off balance. Then he clenches his jaw and nods.

"Very well. Point taken. But listen to me. What you've experienced with me, you will never experience again. Nobody will ever treat you as I've treated you. You'll never again be able to have an orgasm without thinking of me."

His vanity suddenly seems ridiculous.

"After this," he goes on, emphasizing his words, "you'll go back to your everyday life, your little routine, your safety nets and ignorant friends. And I will be gone. You will never see me again."

I feel drunk and tired. Broken. Betrayed.

And as I hear his final sentence, I hope he keeps his word.

"I'm leaving."

It's been over two years.

His number has never again flashed up on my cell phone. He's never appeared by my bedside. I've never felt his cock inside me. I've never discovered what he truly thought of me. I've lost so much.

For a long time I was nothing but a cunt and a mouth and a set of hands, available, trained. So well trained. Perfect for pleasuring. Unworthy of recognition. I was only a plaything for a demon beneath the skin of a team mate.

I loved a man who did not love me.

I did everything and received NOTHING.

Naruto left the village as well, soon afterward, training with Jiraiya-sensei. He still doesn't know. I've directed my studies and training toward medical ninjutsu and am currently under the tutelage of the Hokage herself. There are days when I feel like I can actually feel myself begin to heal.

Yes, time will eventually heal wounds. But this one won't be fully healed until I die.

I'm recovering now. Recovering from dependence. I'll admit, I'm a little reluctant.

Time passes.

It always does.

One afternoon, I receive a letter in the mail. It's very short. There is no return address. But the handwriting is familiar.


Jiraiya has been teaching me a lot of special things that I'm pretty sure Kakashi-sensei never would have. I can't wait to show you some of them.


The letter falls from my hand. It's been over two years.

My lips twitch upward.

Maybe he's changed?