Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.


Deep within one of the many forests of the Fire Country...

Every now and then, Karin would take a quick two-second glance at the gigantic, orange-haired young man walking alongside her, as if afraid that he was going to jump her at any moment. She still didn't understand what Sasuke was thinking, pairing her up with this nut-job on a search mission when the Uchiha boy himself was the only one with the power to actually keep him under control. Her feelings of uneasiness were practically radiating off of her, making it all that much easier for Juugo to sense it.

"...Are you feeling uncomfortable around me, Karin?" Juugo asked softly, acting like a gentleman as always when he wasn't busy going around tearing people clean in half. The sound of fallen leaves crackling underneath his large feet sent shivers up and down Karin's spine. The blank, lifeless look in those ink-blot-like eyes of his didn't help, either.

"Of course...of course I'm uncomfortable!! You could go crazy and kill me at any moment, y'know!!" Karin snapped, trying to appear alot less frightened than she actually was. She definitely didn't want to show even a moment of weakness in front of a man as dangerous as Juugo.

Juugo's lips curved upwards slightly. "Heh...that's true...it's almost like Sasuke is TRYING to get rid of you..."

"Y-You...!!" Karin had to hold back from punching this bastard in the face for claiming such a terrible accusation against her Sasuke-kun, "Sasuke thinks of us as his TEAMMATES!!! He wouldn't DARE try to have me killed on purpose...!!"

"...How can you be so sure?" Juugo responded, and for a moment Karin was speechless.

"H-How can YOU be so sure...?!" Karin snapped, throwing the previous question right back in Juugo's face.

Juugo sighed. "Heh. You got me again...two to zero..."

Karin put her hands on her hips, obviously unamused. "I just don't understand you, Juugo...I really don't...if you really are as devoted to Sasuke as you say you are, you would be showing alot more emotion, alot more passion to ensure that his dreams are realized...correct? I mean...you owe him a pretty large debt I figure!!"

"...Yeah, I do owe Sasuke alot," Juugo said, looking up at the wide blue sky overhead, "But if I did that, I'd probably lose control and start killing people again...that's why I need to try and keep my emotions as calm as possible, and that's sometimes really hard to do, and when I start having trouble keeping myself under control, I start to become afraid, and then I begin to feel fear, and that fear soon turns into anger at both myself and the world around me, and that anger then blows up into complete and utter rage...and I start killing anyone I come across..."

"Ah...that...that must suck, having to live like that..." Karin noted, cringing. She already knew all of this but it still made her feel bad. If she had Juugo's curse, she'd never be able to keep herself from going on a violent rampage, what with her feelings for Sasuke and her immense hatred towards Suigetsu and all. She was actually beginning to feel a bit sympathetic for the poor man and everything he's had to go through. Karin brought her gaze down towards her feet, feeling a bit ashamed for having brought up this subject in the first place.

"You don't need to feel sorry for me or anything," Juugo continued as if he had just read Karin's mind, "I've had to carry this burden by myself all my life, and no amount of unnecessary apologies or overbearing sympathy will make it go away...I'm stuck like this, and if I'm no longer going to be living in a cramped little cell and try to have a life as a real human being, I'd rather people look at me for who I am now in the present and not who I was in the past...of course, no one but Sasuke, Suigetsu and you know about my past, but still...when everything's over, I might try to start a new life..."

"I...I see...good luck with that..."

"...I'm glad that you do...and thanks..."

Karin reached up and straightened her glasses just before they were about to slip off of her nose. A faint blush crept up on her cheeks at the same moment as a rather awkward question suddenly formed on the tip of her tongue. It seemed like the moment was fitting, and she really wanted to say it, but then quickly pulled back out of embarrassment. However, after about three minutes of silent walking along the dense forest floor, Karin decided to just come out and say it for the sake of conversation. She was also curious on how he would react to it, too.

"Hey, Juugo...do you ever plan on getting married later on in your life...?!"

Juugo froze in his tracks, and for the first time since they had met, Karin saw his face turn bright-red all over. "Uh...that's...that's a rather personal question...don't ya think?" Juugo replied nervously, the 'cool and calm' facicade he had possessed earlier already shattering to pieces. Karin couldn't help but grin; he was actually kind of cute when he was blushing. Cuter than Sasuke-kun? Definitely not, but pretty close. If anything, he seemed alot easier to win over than Sasuke.

"I...uh...I...I dunno...maybe? If I can cure myself of this curse...I might...k-kids are cute..." He cursed underneath his breath; he was acting so suave just a moment ago, and now Karin had to go and ruin it.

"Oh...I was just curious...! Sorry if I made ya feel uncomfortable! Now let's get a move on, Juugo!" The redhead replied with a self-satisfied smirk before running off ahead of him with a noticeable bounce in her step. She had completely turned the tone of the conversation from serious to light-hearted with a single question.

Juugo was completely lost. '...Why the heck would she ask me that of all things...?'