Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.

One Breath

People would ask why she did it. They'd ask, "why risk your life for something so stupid?" She'd say that it was indescribable, that the feeling was almost addicting. Knowing that you can control your fate, being in complete control of your body. She was hooked on it and she'd tell them that they were free to judge her but only after they'd tried it themselves. They said she was crazy. She'd ended up in the hospital twice, although one didn't even really count because it only happened because of a bet with her brother. She won.

The second time was entirely her fault, she was mad and she held it in about thirty seconds longer than she was used to. When the doctor saw her he shook his head in disapproval but she could tell that he was interested from that gleam in his eyes. For someone relying on a job so logical and completely without danger, it was no surprise that he wanted in on it "just for a little while" he said, more like assured himself. In a way, it was ironic. The very person that dedicates his life to saving others' lives risking his for that high, that feeling of complete danger. She asked him if he really wanted to try it. From the look on his face, he was almost offended that she asked. She always charged a small fee for her services, after all if just anybody did this they'd end up either with a significant drop in brain cells or in some asphyxiated-induced coma. Once he'd gotten a taste of it he was hooked, just like she had been. He ended up going to her place every Saturday for his little fix. She'd joke with him and say that she felt like his dealer.

She was a master at it, turning it into a sort of twisted form of art. Sure, she'd heard of people dying from it but she knew that she wasn't as stupid as them. She first started it when she was fifteen. She was an amateur then, her longest being forty seconds. She'd never felt a high quite like it, knowing that she just did something that could've killed her...but didn't. It's not even the feeling when it happens, it's the feeling afterwards that really gets her. It's the knowledge that she just tempted death itself, that it could've gone one of two ways. It's the burning in her lungs and the way that it completely consumes her so that her only thought is to take one more breath.

Author's Note: Dark? Yes. Why? Possibly because of the eternally cloudy skies in California right now. Don't get me wrong, I love cloudy days. However, a week or so straight of them gets on your nerves.