A/N: Warnings: Yuri, Shoji-ai, possible self-harm, swearing, possible lemon later, possibly disturbing to some readers. Do not read if you are not ready to read something that may disturb you. Some of these things may strike you as true, they may strike you down to your very core. They may reveal truth about yourself. I am warning you. This will be a more serious story. If you don't read it, I understand. This is not for the weak hearted or minded. These are serious issues. You have been warned.
She was laying curled on her bedroom floor, again. She was curled up tightly into a ball. Shaking. Her whole body shook. She couldn't stop shaking. She couldn't uncurl herself. She couldn't stop the images from replaying themselves over and over. On an endless loop. They never ended. They always continued, more came as the current ones triggered others. More images, more words, more memories.
They would eventually cease. But it could be hours before they did. Or it could be mere minutes. Regardless of the time elapsed, to her, it always felt as an eternity.
Most times, she would end up as she is now. Curled upon the ground or floor. Shaking, trembling, unable to stop. Sometimes, tears would fall, sometimes they would not. Sometimes she would fall into a deep, dreamless sleep. Sometimes she would have violent nightmares that left her scared, empty, and in a cold sweat.
The memories would come, unbidden. Unwanted. To torment her. To scare her. To make her feel alone. To make her long. To make her see.
She hated her memories. She hated remembering. She hated being forced to remember. Night after night. Day after day.
Sometimes, it made her long for release. For death. But she knows she cannot. It is not right. It goes against all that she has fought for. But what is her life? What is her life but an existence of torture and fear? How much longer will she be forced to endure? Will they break her? Or will she survive it?
Even if she were to survive, would it be worth it? Could she live? Or would she be broken? Is there even anything left?
Slowly, Anko uncurled from the ball. Slowly, she walked to the side of her bed and laid down. Her eyes open, but seeing nothing. Slowly, her eyes fell closed, and she fell to sleep. A deep, dreamless sleep.
When she woke, it was already bright outside. At least 9am. She showered and dressed as usual. Her trenchcoat on, hair styled, and shoes on, she was ready for her newest mission with the chunin, Ino Yamanaka.
She was actually late. Two hours late. Normally..., it used to be, that she was always early.
- Tsunade -
Ino was leaning against one of the windows, staring down out at the village. As she had been since she arrived, over two hours ago.
She was there, waiting for her next mission. Her partner for the mission was supposed to be Anko Mitarashi. Tsunade wondered if it was really a good idea to have paired her and Ino. She knew Anko had been... Different lately. Not even her best friend, Kurenai, knew what was happening.
- Anko -
Her eyes were only half open as she stood in Tsunade's office. Listening to the details of their new mission. It was a B-rank.
They were to capture the leader of a small A and B-ranked criminal band. It should take about two weeks at the most.
- Ino -
At last, Anko-sensei arrived and they were told the details of their mission.
When they set out, a few miles after leaving the village, Ino studied the taller kunochi as they walked.
Something seemed different about her compared to the last time she had seen her. She was..., quieter for one. More introverted, her eyes were only half open, her head was down, but Ino didn't doubt that the kunochi was aware of everything, possibly even Ino's scrutinity.
When they stopped for the night, Anko didn't even say a word. She simply started a small fire and rolled out her bedroll. She ate some bread from her pack and laid down, her back to Ino.
Ino stared. Anko-sensei was never this quiet.
Something must be wrong. But what? Ino thought, staring across at the purple haired woman.
What could have changed her so much? She had only become a chunin alittle over a year ago. Of course, people changed a lot over the course of a year, but for her to have changed completely in only a year... That seemed more than a little strange, if not altogether impossible.
Ino decided she would talk to her tomorrow morning. She was slightly anxious about getting answers from the older woman. Such a dramatic change...