Based on what little Kishimoto Masashi gave us of Karin's history. Hardly romantic, mostly hormonal toward the end there.


She could feel their presence, a dull throb in the back of her mind growing as they approached.

Three males, two of them adults, the third fairly young.

But how did she know that? She shivered, though she wasn't sure if her fear stemmed from these strangers, or this unfamiliar-yet-still-sort-of-familiar thrumming in her brain. And the thrumming pounded harder.

They're closer.

She withdrew into her hiding place as much as she could. Hiding in a small crevice created by gigantic roots of a towering evergreen, with thick moss curtaining most of her, she was fairly confident she'd go unnoticed. The thrumming spiked, and she gripped her head.

Chakra. They are using chakra. They are shinobi.

Of course they were! She could feel how close the strangers were in relation to her hiding place. She just knew they couldn't have been more than a dozen yards away. And in the dead silence of her forest, her sanctuary, she should have heard their approach as well.

Dead silence. Dead. They were all dead. Her family, her friends, her entire village was decimated. She could smell the char of wood and flesh. It had been three days, and she was far too numb to be sickened by the stench anymore. Three days since rogue ninja stormed their tiny defenseless village of farmers and small vendors, raiding and destroying, murdering and raping, until the village was nothing more than a blackened, smoking hole in the middle of the forest. And she couldn't save any of them.

She was a coward. A pathetic coward. She had sensed them coming, she realized it now. Three days ago she was hanging the family laundry out to dry and she went dizzy, her mind humming in waves. Her mother tucked her into bed early that evening, thinking her daughter ill.

And through the night the humming grew to a thrumming, and the thrumming grew to a pounding, until she woke up in a cold sweat, afraid for her life but not knowing why. Fogged with an odd combination of sleep and terror, she barely got her sandals on before tearing out of the house. She vaguely remembered hearing her mother muttering as she ran past her parents' bedroom that "sick little girls don't make so much noise."

She ran through the village, through the grassy fields, and deep into the forest, the pounding of her feet matching the pounding in her hazy mind. And from her evergreen, moss-curtained crevice, she could smell the fires and hear the tearing and slick rending of slaughter. But above all that, she heard the screams.

SNAP.

The sound of a twig breaking not twenty feet from her yanked her from her horrific reverie. She was doomed. It was her fate, her punishment, for not saving her village. If only she had known what she feeling, she could have at least saved her parents.

The crunching of leaves signaled their approach from behind her tree. She prayed the wouldn't notice her but expected and accepted that they would. The footsteps halted just outside her mossy curtain, and she stopped breathing.

"Child, why do you hide?" A sickly sweet voice with poisonous undertones. She stepped out of her hiding place, finding it futile to even consider hiding from three shinobi. As she rose to her feet, she pulled her heavy black-rimmed glasses from her pocket and put them on, and pushed her fire red hair from her eyes. What she found in front of her was not what she was expecting.

The leader, though she was certain was male, looked exceptionally effeminate. He was all slithering grace and elegance, and far more beautiful than any woman she could remember seeing, with porcelain skin, bright yellow eyes, and black hair that gleamed in the sun. The elder of his companions was a young man with silver hair and glasses, a boyishly innocent face that clashed with eyes that flashed with danger. The youngest member of the group looked about her age, and was easily the hottest guy she'd ever laid eyes on. How distracting.

"I am the last of my village," she answered with feigned defiance. "Have you come to finish the job?" She locked her knees to keep them from quaking.

The bespectacled man smiled lightly. "Goodness no! We're travelers hoping to restock our supplies," his smile turned convincingly forlorn, "but it seems the village we were directed to is no longer."

She knew it was true but asked anyway, "There's nothing left?"

He shook his head and sighed. The leader walked up and knelt before her, a cool white hand wiping away tears she didn't know she had.

"Yet, you are here. How is it that you are still alive while your entire village has been blotted out of existence?"

Her shame broke her defiance. "I felt them coming," she whispered.

"You felt them?" The beautiful man's eyes were alight.

"Yes. I didn't know I was feeling it at the time. I couldn't save anyone."

From her peripheral, she could see the handsome boy narrow his eyes at her, and she burned with humiliation.

"Come with us, child."

What? She blinked her confusion at him.

"You were powerless. This happened through no fault of your own," the pale man smiled. "But I can give you power. Power enough to prevent this from happening again. Power enough to take back what was taken from you, and give to those who hurt you what they gave you."

She remained silent, though she knew there really was no reason to. The decision was obvious. She had nothing left, no one left. She looked over the leader's shoulder at the silver-haired man, who tilted his head childishly and smiled brightly. The boy, however, had barely moved from when she first saw him, and remained expressionless. He was gorgeous, and certainly mysterious, and with nothing behind her and this impressive specimen of the opposite sex before her, she found no reason to refuse.

"I'll join you."

The yellow-eyed man rose from his kneeling position, stepped back, and smiled in a way that warmed and nauseated her. "Excellent. And what is your name?"

"Karin. Just Karin." She would not shame her family and village by claiming her surname. She could at least honor their memory by disassociating herself.

The silver-haired man walked up to her and shook her hand. "I'm Kabuto." He bowed toward the leader, "This is Orochimaru-sama, Lord of the Sound" He pointed a thumb over his shoulder, "And that is Sasuke-kun. We are Sound-nin. Welcome to our traveling party." He handed her a water canteen which she eagerly received.

Karin gave Orochimaru-sama directions to the nearest village, and the four set off, Karin trailing behind with Sasuke. She dared not look directly at him. She could sense a hideous sort of power within him, a heavy insatiable blackness that suited his endlessly dark eyes and chaotic-yet-controlled hair.

"Why are you looking at me?" He didn't even turn to look at her.

"No reason." It was true. Eye candy was meant to be looked at.

"Hn."

She continued to watch him from the corner of her eye, since he didn't seem to mind. Or he was just used to it. His steps weren't careful, though they weren't sloppy or thoughtless. His eyes stared hard, regardless of where they fell, as if seeing through everything before him. The set of his mouth–oh lord, his mouth!– told of determination, and very few words spoken through it. Though he had the self-aware efficiency of a ninja and the calloused hands and weary eyes of a battle-hardened warrior, his fair skin and fine-boned features reflected aristocracy. Sasuke glanced at her for a split second, and her stomach exploded in anxious butterflies.

Maybe it was the sleep deprivation, three days without food, and the sudden rootless freedom, but she could not feel shame for her hormonal thoughts. No, there was no one to reprimand her, no name to keep up, no reputation to defend. And she would not defile her village by attempting a coward's vengeance and thereby claiming it home. Complete disassociation. As far as anyone knew, she magically came into existence in the hollow of a moss-covered tree. A lightness permeated her steps.

She continued to surreptitiously watch the boy walking with her. A boy simmering, near boiling over with barely controlled intensity and power far bigger than himself. Perhaps one day, with Orochimaru-sama's help, when she's strong and competent and useful, she can save him.

But it was a far too depressing and counter-productive to think of her current helplessness in the face of a new beginning, so she followed her admittedly libidinous heart to a better tomorrow.


Author's Note:

I'm tired of Kishimoto's fondness of fangirls. They're useless, annoying, and just plain unlikeable. This is my way of getting over that. Also, I was having a bit of writer's block with Subjective Humanity, and I once heard writing about something/someone you don't care much for helps get the mental cogs working. Ah well, back to Subjective Humanity...