What can you see in their eyes?
In defeat, I can see their demise.
Even though, not a blow has been struck as they have to fight.
Like the wind, far too strong to resist.
There is nowhere to hide.
From the force that will tear them apart and banish their souls.
What can you see in their eyes.
It was dark in the garden. She could hear the low babbling of a stream and the sooting cascade of the rain, but otherwise, all was still. She crouched, bent double, pulling her knees deep into her chest, and wept, here, in her garden of ice. She curled herself into a ball and wished that the world would just go away. It would be better if everything, if everyone would just perish, and become buried under a perfect blanket of snow white ice.
But then she would be alone.
To be alone was to be wretched. To be be wretched was to be lonely. To be lonely was to despair. To despair was to thrust one's self into the deepest, darkest throes of their own misery and wallow in it forever. Misery loved company, this was true, but no one loved Shirayuki Mizore. No one understood Shirayuki Mizore. Of this, Shirayuki Mizore was absolutely, postively certain. Tsukune didn't understand her. He'd rejected her. Rejected. Her. Just like everyone else.
"I'm alone." She whispered softly to herself, repeating the words as though they were a mantra. "I'm wretched."
"So you know how it feels, then." A clear voice rang out just beyond her vision. "To be alone?"
She half-turned, her eyes growing wide and large as she realized she was not entirely as alone as she had initially surmised. There standing in the clearing, was a boy. He was a thin, gaunt looking thing, his platinum blond hair rough and disheveled in places, matted down in others. At first, she thought he might be human, and the thought filled her with absolute dread.
Then she saw his face.
Whisker marks tripled each cheek. His eyes were slanted, impossibly so, narrowed to little more than sapphiric slits. In place of human ears, which were nowhere to be found, furry ones poked through the curtain of blond that shaded his face, startlingly orange. She gasped. True, his clothes were little more than rags, but her attention was drawn to his backside, and what lurked within the shadows there.
One, two, three...nine.
Emerging from just below his battered jeans, nearly as large as he was tall, were nine tails of crimson fur, lashing at the air behind him. Clutched in one such tail was the body of Kotsubo Okuto. She stiffened, a pang of despair arching through her spine, into the very depths of her soul. That man! She loathed him! She abhored him! He was the one who'd made her so wretched! Mizore wanted to scream, to cast herself herself aside, away from him, away from the both of them, but then she saw something else.
The ruined state of his form.
One eye was completely swollen shut. The other looked to be well on its way. Beyond that, his entire face was a gigantic human pristine white sweat-suit he always wore was no longer even remotely clean. Streaked with blood in places and ravaged in others, deep slashes had been carved into his upper torso, ending with his right sleeve, torn away from the rest, along with most of his right arm.
What kind of strength that must have demanded of such a being! What kind of youkai could possibly command such power? What youkai, she wondered, looked so fierce and yet felt so sad, as one and the same? Momentarily forgetting her misery, she gawped up at he who had smote her former tormentor, and was stricken speechless. Of course! It was all so ridiculously obvious!
A kitsune, she realized. One of the most powerful demon classes to ever exist, rivaled only by that of the vampire and werewolf. She stared at him and he her, his eyes blank, those windows to his soul, hollow. It was almost as if someone had reached deep inside him and snuffed out the fire in his heart. Such a thing was completely unheard of, of course, but, judging by the emotionless mask that was his face, she guessed that her metaphor couldn't be all that far off the mark.
"I'm alone too." He whispered, shattering the silence between them. "I've always been."
"I'm alone, too." The boy muttered, whisking one hand through his hair. "I've always been alone." His ears twitched and he shuddered, not entirely from the cold. Of the nine tails that swayed behind him, three wrapped themselves around his frame; sheltering him from the cold. The fourth twitched suddenly, and Kotsubo was viciously cast back to the ground, groaning as his forehead became intimate with the frozen soil in a way that no self-respecting youkai wanted.
Kotsubo groaned, still trapped somewhere between his human form, and that of his youkai, a kraken. He struggled to rise and the boy's boot struck the side of his head with a resounding thwack that spoke of utter finality. His head lolled to the side and stayed there, unbroken, but unconcious. The sight of her tormentor, brought low by such the boy who spoke in single-word-sentences, brought an astounding flood of relief to her eyes.
"You're...alone?" She blinked, the tears freezing over in her eyes for a moment. Then she blinked them away. He was like her. That same, distant look in his eyes. One of longing of loneliness, and perhaps even...despair? Mizore couldn't be sure, not without getting closer. So that was exactly what she did. Much to her charign-or elation-he didn't so much as flinch.
"Yes." He stated simply. She recognized the battered green jacket slung over his shoulders, the sole article of clothing that identified him as a student of Youkai Academy. She had never seen him before-surely Mizore would have remembered such a face-and she surmised that he must be a freshman, at the least. A thin reed remained locked within his teeth as he stared down at her, this little ice imp who invaded his personal space, this yuki-onna who professed to be in such trauma, such pain.
He chewed on the thin reed for a moment longer before speaking again.
"You're crying." He announced suddenly, as though the frozen tracks of moisture upon her cheeks were not proof enough of her sorrow. "Has someone upset you?" Mizore had to choke down her rising gorge, swallow a sob, and take a deep breath before she could find the strength to speak. Too late, she found herself trapped within that granite gaze of pure flint; caught between a rock and a hard place.
"If its pains you to answer, then I will not ask you again." He continued, lacking in any emotion whatsoever. "However," Here his gaze slipped to the withered form of Kotsubo, "I would suggest that you avoid this one. I caught him creeping upon you in the bushes." He let the statement hang, unadorned between them. Its meaning was all too clear; stay away from this man, Mizore, for he would do you harm.
For a moment, there was silence.
Here, the sun struggled to shine, coating the track and field in a grey, overcast tint. Birds no longer sang. The fountain no longer tinkled, and there was none of the hubbub of normal everyday school life. Stands were set out, but there were no students hurrying this way or that, talking excitedly, bartering for lunch. Just an eerie...nothingness. Cold, despite her native element, it occurred to Mizore that Kotsubo-sensei might need medical attention, but then that thought too was wisked away, as she stared into the glassy eyes of this strange kitsune.
'His eyes...are like mine.'
To know loneliness was to know pain. To know pain was to suffer. She'd known this all of her life. She'd suffered. But here was a being who had suffered a fate far worse than she. Although his heart still pumped life-blood through his veins, his eyes were dead. He'd been hollowed by something in this lifetime of his, and, though she couldn't claim to know the lifespan of a Kitsune, that expression of his evoked as strange emotion deep within her breast.
She pitied him.
Here was an individual who knew true loneliness. Mizore knew not what trauma had scared this boy so, as to take away his emotions, but whatever it was, it made the trauma that she had suffered through, feel like a summer breeze. She had only to look into his eyes-when had they become red-to know that he spoke the truth. Without speaking so much as a word, he simply stared down at her, and spoke volumes.
'Such a powerful aura...
It took all of her willpower not to flinch away. Showing fear to a kitsune would only make things worse. They were notoriously proud creatures, though this one didn't look as if he had even a scrap of such a sentiment. Regardless, she had no intention to irk such a powerful youkai. And still the sight of him plucked at her heartstrings. It stirred at her, prodding something, deep within her frozen heart.
What could be the harm in sharing her pain with him?
It wasn't as if her heart could become anymore broken than it already was. Tsukune had certainly made sure of that now, hadn't he? The thought sent a tide of self-loathing through her breast. She'd just worked up the courage to speak when the strange student spoke again, silencing Mizore before she could have a chance to voice her pent up emotions.
"Sumimasen." He sighed softly, all nines of his tails unfurling as one and drawing against his back. "I apologize for disturbing you, then." he bowed then, his forehead kissing hers for the briefest moment-intentional or otherwise remained to be seen-performed a sudden about face and began to walk away. He'd made it no more then three paces before he felt something slowing him, preventig him from advancing any further.
"Wait." It was an incredibly small sound, her voice, and he took no notice of it.
Until her hand closed around his wrist.
He spun, his eyes widened, alarmed.
Mizore had just enough time to experience the briefest sensation of satisfaction. This kitsune wasn't quite as emotionless as he let on. Surprise, anger, confusion, grief, and sorrow, all these emotions and more flickered across his features for must've felt like an eternity. Then he scowled and it became all to clear which had won out amongst its bretheren and asserted its dominance.
"Your hand is cold." He mused softly, staring down at her fingers, clasped now within his own. "You are...a yuki-onna."
Mizore deflated like a punctured balloon.
'Its just like before. Just like...
She felt her hopes sinking like a stone. Rejection washed over her for the second time that day, sweeping her up in the current, dragging her beneath the surface. He may as well have reached inside her chest and crushed her heart, for all the damage he'd done. She willed her hand to release his but her arm not only refused the command, but her grip grew even more taut than before.
"Do you expect me to run?" the blond asked, perplexity worming its way through his expression. She froze, and not in the literal sense. He was actually serious. He didn't try to run; he didn't have the slightest glimmer of fear in those glassy orbs of sapphire and scarlet. How? How could he not fear her, how could he not reject her when all others had?
"Naruto." He spoke suddenly.
"M-Mizore," she mumbled, reflexively spouting her name in response.
She wasn't at all prepared for his answer.
"You can cry if you wish, Mizore-san." The boy known as Naruto gave her a sorrowed glance. "I know how it feels."
"W-What do you know?" She spluttered, wide-eyed at such a statement.
"More than you think." He answered. "I've spent my entire life amongst humans. What you're feeling now, the pain of rejection...well, lets just say that I've taken that one in spades, shall we?" Here his stony expression faltered, replaced by a sheepish smile, suggesting just how young he really was. Despite the menacing appearance, it was almost believable, almost...adorable.
"I swear I won't say a word."
"W-What?" The statement caught her flat-footed. She hadn't the foggiest as to how she should respond. He'd just given her his name! She couldn't take it anymore. Suddenly, she was sobbing. Suddenly, strong arms encircled her. Suddenly, she was being embraced. She was drawn into utter warmth. It was not painful. It was soft. Comforting, as if all of her fears and anxieties were being systematically obliterated; leaving her soul scoured clean.
Weightless, impossible, miraculous-no, there were no words for how she felt in that instant.
For want of anything but that, she suddenly found herself capable of breathing again. Strange. Here she was spouting gibberish to a stranger she scarcely even knew. And yet she had a broken rib not five minutes before? Really, hadn't he? He was holding her. She could smell him. Not him precisely; rather, the silky sweet scent of her perfume, as it seeped into her own nostrils, but there was something else, another scent. It was not an unpleasant aroma. When next her eyes did open, she could see him right there, so close to her, that he almost seemed a part of her, wrapped as she was within the warmth of his tails.
She had no way of knowing the amount of time that passed. Only that she cried until she could cry no more. He said nothing to her the entire time. He, a stranger-a stranger-simply held her until she'd cried her fill and emptied her sorrow into his shoulder. She was unable to believe the absurdity of it. She'd bawled her eyes out in front of an utter stranger and she felt no worse for the wear for it.
Dimly, she heard a voice.
He released her, and stepped away.
"It seems your friends are coming." He turned a glance aside, and, sure enough, Tsukune was indeed approaching. Mizore turned away from the briefest of instant, registering their approach as they neared her position. For an instant, just an instant, she turned away from he who had comforted her. A deep green glow illuminated the corners of her vision for that instant.
"See you in class."
And in a spool of foxfire, he was gone.
That was the day that she first met Uzumaki Naruto.
A/N: Mwahaha! Naruto in the Rosario Vampire universe! As you can tell, the pairing is predominately NarutoxMizore! ENJOY! And don't forget to review until my ears fall off! Although, being a skeleton, I have no ears...SKULL JOOOOKE! YOHOHOHO!