Chapter Six

Fate

CHIASA

I stood still, holding my hand to my heart as the spine tingling sound of the knife against metal filled my head. The world was dark again, though Akari was still next to me, and the ear splitting bang echoed around the room with my thoughts.

There was a glint of red in his eye; I'd seen it before a thousand times. Drunk villagers had that look, the blue man did, and she did as I walked up to her, all those years ago…

It wanted murder, it wanted blood, and it wanted death.

You… I watched as his careful hands slowly carved into the metal brick he held. Why do I feel so attached to you? I hate you… I hated you before, and now I just hate you more…

But I could feel for him.

It was like being with Akari, where her emotions actually seeped into me; I knew exactly what was boiling up inside of him, and it was killing me. It was written on his face for the world to see, but nobody cared enough to read it. No one minded the man who was suffering inside, the man who watched the people he saved live happily.

No one except me.

I could see their light laughter in his eyes, cheering up the whole hillside every day, while he lived with his hardship, alone.

Chance had killed the love of his life, and I would probably never understand that. Even worse than that, he had to watch the three of them- Yang's family- live out the privilege that he'd kill for; a privilege that he gave to them.

He was stuck with Yin, who sulked in his own diversity.

Just metaphorically being in the same room with him made me sick, so why… why did I understand him so well? His hatred… his anger… his murderous intent… I got it all; I'd had it all before. It was like that annoying ring on your alarm clock- unsettling, yet constantly counted on every single day.

The metal in his hand started to take shape, and I slowly started to recognize what he was holding.

"A year had passed since my birthday, but my life hadn't even started yet." What is this… feeling? The air dropped to subzero in a second, and my heart sped up. There was something else inside of him now, not just the idle threat from before… it made the soles of my feet tingle and sent chills all the way up to my brain, penetrating whatever stability I had to begin with. My eyes bulged, and I just stared at him… it was so silent that I could count our breaths, all three of us.

You're not just an angry doctor… The ends of his lips barely curled up, but they did… and for a second, I saw it.

There's always that one point between human and psychopath; that one dividing line that separates the sane from the bad-shit crazy.

He was there.

I could feel the darkness inside of him as though we were actually this close- like I could go over there and touch him, feel it course through my veins… and let it suffocate me. I knew what he was going to do, and I wished I could say that I couldn't believe what he was thinking.

I was right about you… Even though it was futile, I tried looking away. You must have really loved her. The crazy things people did for love… It was the most pointless emotion. I swore to myself right there that I'd never be so weak as to love a person… especially not when I saw him lift up his masterpiece.

He stood up out of his chair, sliding his fingers across the blades of the knife in his hand. A chuckle exploded out of his throat and shot through me, letting me take in the sound until I couldn't see him anymore.

I don't… a sharp warmth stabbed at me, but all I could think of was the hypnotized gleam in his eyes. I don't want to turn into this. The sheer realization enveloped me, and I felt almost… close to being… thawed.

Blackness radiated on through the mountains; it must've been a new moon. I had always felt so powerless under a black sky, in the darkness… but something told me that, for Yin, that wasn't the case.

The only way that I could see him was by squinting through the starlight to his slim, concealed figure leaning against the wall of his house. The wind whistled through his shaggy hair, and he looked up at the sky, counting the visible stars.

My lips quivered. I used to sit in the exact same position, and I remembered the hopelessness burning in my own face as I squinted to see the moon through the trees, crying when it wasn't there…

Yin didn't shed a tear.

He rested his arms on his knees and sighed, looking seventeen through his four-year-old body. Why is this happening? That heat was still inside of me, and I clutched my chest, squeezing the fabric on my bloody shirt. Why do I feel… like I could wrap my arms around this child? He had nothing to do with me, so why should I care about him? Wasn't his pain his pain? I had no reason to feel so… so… it was so alien that I couldn't even put a name to it.

He had a dad. He should be allowed to be happy… I was on my own from the start, inevitably. But he… he had a chance. Why wasn't his own father giving him his chance?

"Akari…" I whispered, looking down at the grass. "Are you… doing something to me…?" There was no way I could feel this on my own. I was the cold one- Chiasa Uzumaki, the one who kept to herself, who shut everyone out… the heartless one.

"Keep watching." As soon as she said it, Yin gasped and looked up, beaming straight through us. Shivers erupted in every part of his body, and he sat there, paralyzed.

"What's-" The door to his house creaked open, and a dark, ominous figure stepped out. He slowly treaded through the grass and over towards the rest of the village with the shadow of his Kunai sticking out. Yin, with sweat pouring down his forehead, started sliding up the wall to a silent stand.

Yoku walked like he was half alive, trudging through the grass with his mind just a few steps ahead of him, already set for the kill.

"Oh… shit…" It was the first time I had ever heard Yin talk… I was cursing at that age, too. I've found that, interestingly enough, one tends to use profanity when life hates them.

His voice was light, but it was smooth and cool at the same time. When I heard it, it made me feel almost… warm, on the inside, but it made me shudder like I was freezing. I would've envied him, if I was some shallow bitch. My voice was shaky, soft, and way too high… it was the type of voice that people could mistake for a mouse's.

In that one second, everything inside of Yoku coursed through the air and flew through me, taking my breath away. My blood started boiling, sorrow started flowing up my throat, and I just wanted to find someone and… and just… cry.

What's… happening to me? This was insane. I had seen this all before, felt it all a thousand times in a hundred different dreams, but it was completely new to me. It was like that exhilarating rush of adrenaline that you got when you opened a new book, getting thrown into a new world that would take you along with the current of its own story. I was on the edge of my seat, waiting to hear what happened next… but I already knew the answer, and I had read this book in every one of those nightmares.

I just kept forgetting.

This… murderous… feeling… why did it have to radiate off of so many people? It flew off of Mizuki and Hibachi… the Blue Man's and the Yellow Eyed Man's strangled me with it. Strangely enough, though… I didn't feel it at all in... in…

I couldn't force myself to think his name.

A whimper made its way out of my teeth, and, like always, I stood there like some pathetic little girl, watching. That's me… I thought, chuckling darkly to myself. Konoha's Guilty Bystander.

"Fear is what rules our lives." Akari sighed. I stared at her with my own rapidly beating heart, wiping the moisture off of my cheeks. "It comes from our diversity; our Nindo, our bonds, our dreams. It takes us over and eats away at us… until we end up looking like you."

Her face was hard like stone, and there was this intense pain deep inside of the cores of her eyes, begging me- pleading with me to just listen, because they needed to be heard.

For whatever reason, this uncomfortable new heat pushed me forward. I nodded slightly, telling her to keep talking, and she looked grateful as she prepared herself.

"I learned that here, from the people around me, and from myself. Yin was horrified that night- he could see right through his father's plan, and he knew he needed to do something about it." A door in the distance closed, and the sound of its slam bounced around the mountaintops.

With a pale face and teary eyes, Yin pushed off of his own feet and sprinted into the center of the town. By the time the scenery dissipated, he was just a dark figure running out of breath, trying to scream something out, his voice shaking as he turned his back to us.

The next room was small and quaint; it was basically empty except for a long, warm little crib and a changing table on the other wall near the door.

The only sound in the room was her soft breathing- even when she was little, it was so perfect. Calm washed over me, and I paced my heartbeat with hers. How could anyone ever want to hurt something like this? Even me… I hated almost everything, yet I still…

How the hell did this turn into Akari?

The expression on her face was priceless: she was peacefully sleeping, not having a good dream, not having a bad dream- just… trusting the world to take care of her as she stared into a constant blackness, waiting for the sun to come up.

I had already made that mistake before.

You're ruining yourself. If I tried running my fingers across her face, what would happen? Would I go right through her skin, like even in this world, I didn't exist? Or would I be able to feel the electricity run through us again? Would it be stronger, or weaker?

"Akari…" My lips tingled, my throat hurt, and my brain pounded against my skull. Everything that I was about to say, every sound that my lips were about to force themselves around went against every one of my principles and every sense of my being. "You… were so…" As I was building up my own willpower, an unpleasant creek slid across the room, and my heart skipped a beat. A sliver of light opened on Yang, slowly and steadily growing bigger and bigger until it filled the room. "Beautiful." Two dark feet skimmed across the floor, taking stealthy steps as they brought their body with them, towards the sleeping child.

It wasn't her parents.

My heart rate sped up as I saw what he was doing; he walked towards her with a smile on his face and a malevolent gleam in his eyes, craving blood like it would ease his pain. His smile lines etched his permanently false happiness- I shivered when I realized what it really meant, behind the expression.

Even in the darkness, he was still hurting.

I didn't trust him when I first saw him, but… did he really deserve this? Did anyone, really? Yang didn't, either… But still, neither of them had anything to do with me.

I watched him as he made his way dramatically over to the crib, not making a sound.

Taking other's happiness… to feed your own. And again, I was so helpless. He raised the shiny, silvery kunai in his left hand, and reached down to grab her with his right. How could you do this? Pressure blossomed across my face, pressing on my eyes until I had to swallow to shut myself up.

Yoku.

He started laughing- a low giggle that pierced my ears and tried pushing me over. It was that kind of empty relief that left me waiting for someone to hear me, even if I was completely alone and lost and there wasn't a soul that would save me.

They wouldn't if they could.

"What a pretty baby…" He held her up against him by the small of her back, and she looked at him with wide, fearful eyes. I couldn't make it out by standing over here, but something about the flawless, wide balls looked different than Akari's. Were they happier? It probably wasn't hard to do.

Every inch of my body was twisting together and winding itself up, waiting to explode. I couldn't just sit here and watch this… how was Akari so calm? How could she watch herself in the arms of a killer with a straight face? Mine was burning up- my throat gained ten pounds, and I had to swallow to force the hysteria down.

I don't care about this. It was just so… so wrong.

"I have a pretty baby too, you know… he had a very beautiful mother. You killed her, though, did you know that? If you were born first, she'd still be quite alive." He spoke matter-of-factly, like it was no big deal. Dammit. "It's okay, though. You'll be with her, in a minute… I'll make sure to let you be with your parents, too."

How could anyone be this awful? What kind of a person would hold a child in his hands, an innocent little child… and be willing to throw its life away? Why did I feel like there was a giant hole in me when I looked at it, like it was me in his arms, and my life in jeopardy? This was insane... insane.

"Look at you… the light in your eyes. You're so beautiful, Yang. Don't worry, I can fix that…" The kur-chunk of a door flying open and slaming into the opposite wall cut him off, and my ache pulled over to the sound as I whirled around to face it

"Put her down, Yoku." I gasped, feeling the heat of the moment in my veins. Especially when I saw him, that's when I knew, from deep inside my heart, that this wasn't just a typical déjà vu.

Put her down. A cold voice, sturdy eyes…

A father's love. But how did I know that?

I actually took a step back when I saw his expression- he looked like he could murder someone by looking at them, like Akari could. You could melt under that man's gaze, and waste away if he wanted you to. Something about him just made my heart pound cracks in my ribs.

Fearful eyes… they were big, bold, but faded, as though they were older than they should've been; not like Yoku's, no… these weren't pained, aged with days of agonizing nothingness… they were filled with a different kind of pain.

A raw, apprehensive one.

He walked forward, and my mind pulsed. Yoku dropped Yang back in her crib carelessly and went to meet him head on, wearing the same, lost smile on his face. As he rose his hand up, the tip of the kunai shined in the dim lighting it was given, and my intestines twisted together.

I clutched my stomach as the heat rushed up my face, and tried to hold my bile down as I fell to my knees. Is this going to happen every time I see one? Sweat poured down my body as I sucked in air, trying to look away.

I was glued.

"Damn it!" I gasped, and one of my hands flew up to my mouth and clamped it shut. How did I want this to end? Did I want Yoku to kill him, an innocent man, right in front of Yang? Or did I want that so-called innocent man to kill Yoku, and be forced to watch him crumble to the floor as the Kunai flung out of his hand?

Would my past ever stop haunting me? Would this place ever stop being so torturous? I wanted to know what happened next. I needed to know. But at the same time, as the story went farther and farther along, all I really wanted to do was leave. All this, while that scorching blaze intensified my heart and urged me forward, to step in, to protect them.

All of them.

But what could I do?

Look up. Akari's voice whispered in my mind, like it had so long ago, in a different time… one where I had forgotten that this type of thing existed. I'd love to have amnesia; just see something and forget it, let it fade away like it never happened…

But everything I saw was like a stain on a shirt; I could pretend that I didn't notice it, but no matter how much I ignored it, it would always be there. Nobody, no matter who they seemed to be, was innocent.

Blood landed on the floor right in front of my spread apart, bony feet, and I yelped and threw myself back. As I flew through the air, I saw it- even I had only seen it once before, and it was so horrible that I never wanted to see it again, but there it was- two shadowy figures were pushed together, one hunched over with blood dripping from his pale lips, and one with cool, stoned eyes and a malevolent smile, licking his lips in blood-thirst.

I descended in slow motion as I watched them, horror-stricken. Where did it all go wrong? Tears swelled up in my eyes, turning the whole bloodbath into a colorless blur. My head pounded like my brain was surging into my skull, and I balled my hands into fists. There was a perfect world… when did it turn into this…? Why?

Someone was screaming again- at first, I thought it might've been the ghost of Yin's mom, crying out at what she'd let her husband become. My body went rigid as I listened to her, and I gaped at everything locked up inside of it- it sounded like someone was taking an angel into their hands, holding it up, and suffocating it, letting it cry and shriek until it's life ran out and it dropped to the floor, dead.

Loss rang through it, drenching its blood curdling insanity in this tragic, pressing depression that I'd never be able to shake until the day I died. Who…? I was barely alive enough to form the thought before I hit the floor and recoiled, arching my spine and coughing until I couldn't breathe. It wasn't Yin's mother- that would be foolish. No… no… it was…

Me.

This… this is… I couldn't keep my breath steady now. I couldn't even think about it. I didn't want to go back to Konoha anymore- no, I just wanted to die. All this time… I thought I knew what it meant to really feel pain. What the hell was I doing, moping around all day and feeling sorry for myself? That was nothing.

There were no words to describe this.

I hit the floor with a sharp thud, and watched the blood fly out of my mouth, into the air, and away from me. That's right… you can fly, too. Even my blood… Even my blood was freer than I was. All the while, I just kept shrieking. I scared myself, and I kept going as I stared across the floor at his body, limp and cold and dead.

Hear me, dammit! Hear me! The inside of my brain burned and I gasped for air, yet I lay trying to comprehend why I didn't need to breathe. Akari stood with her back facing me, as though I was unimportant, a tool… just a toy for her to play with.

And, just like everyone else, she would never, not in a million years, see me.

"Yang!" It was like getting overloaded with information, like being a computer, downloading terabytes of files in a matter of seconds. I couldn't hold all of this- I was going to explode. You're not Akari, I flailed my legs and thrashed my arms, never taking my eyes off of her. Akari was trying to be nice to me- Akari was almost my equal. Could she hear me, even though she was a different person now? But you… you're Yang. You're not even… human. On some impulse, I knew it. This was going to kill the little girl wailing in her crib… She'd be just like me in a matter of hours.

That's what you get for trusting. Why was the world full of idiotic masochists? As much as I craved an escape, I couldn't sop that burn from rushing through me as Yang stayed, staring at me with those magnificent eyes in my mind.

I am not going to let you do this to me. I narrowed my eyes, trying to force my mouth shut. You can try and imprison anyone else in your stupid game, but I'm not going to play with you... She couldn't do this. I wouldn't let her. I had come too fucking far to lose here… I had died on the inside way too many times to just give up.

But… was giving up the right thing to do now? Somehow, through all of my fresh emotion, I felt more alive than I had in my entire life.

I felt the vibrations on the floor as he landed, his stony face staring open-eyed and shocked into mine. Blood dripped from his lip, onto the floor, and a single, glowing tear dripped from his eye.

No.

In a second, my voice was gone. It wasn't because I had somehow come up with the will to stop it- no, that would be too honorable. Instead, my mouth was on fire. I gagged and thrashed around under her as the sensation of every single one of my teeth getting yanked out of their sockets flooded through me, and I couldn't make a sound.

Wh-what is this? I tried to focus on the smooth pole that was shoved down my mouth, but when I looked closely enough, I saw it. This was…

Akari's leg.

I could only stare across the room, into those too-familiar golden eyes. They were smiling, once. Now they were pale, frozen in time, and resigned… while a killer stood over their heads.

Oh, how they took me back.

"Sensei!" Just the one word was all it took to shake me. I lay on the floor with Yang's foot still shoved down my throat, and I watched as her old bedroom dissipated from under me. What's going on…? There was no way in hell that she was letting me go. She loved listening to me scream. It was like music to her. There had to be some catch, there had to be something… "SENSEI!"

And I knew.

Have you ever heard a little girl cry? Did you ever let it get to you? That sound beat down on me my entire life- whenever I heard it, every memory that it lived in pounded back into my head, and it haunted me. If I was asleep, it would sing in my dreams. If I was awake, she'd sit in a corner of my mind and wail. All those memories…

Just like this one.

"STOP IT! SENSEI, STOP!" She was breaking down, hugging a tree branch as she watched him, too low for her to reach, but always too high for her to see... He was young, in his late twenties, and good-looking.

N-No way… This couldn't be happening. Everything around me had turned to mist again, and it started taking a new form, one of an entirely different story.

I didn't want to relive it.

Yang's poker face was unbreakable; I couldn't tell a single thought going through her head, not even by looking at her. For me, not knowing drove me insane. She watched the scene analytically, like it was new to her, and turned her shoulder to the puffy-faced, bruised, blood-shut eyed girl in the tree.

"Don't die…" She whispered, and I could feel her heart ache by looking at her. She, a five year old, a fifteen pound, two-foot eleven, five year old… was dying inside. This was the only person in the world who had ever loved her, slipping away from her right in front of her eyes. Even on his death bed, there was a wide smile across his roundish face, and his shaggy blonde hair swayed in the wind. "Don't… leave me… alone…"

This was my memory. Somehow… I had taken control, manipulated the situation… even though I was still throbbing from Yang's foot, and the pain from that mixed in with this weird, other-worldly connection between us, I was the one showing her. What was letting me do this, when I had so little Chakra left?

My heart sank as I realized what it was- it struck against my chest, and I started to breathe out in an attempt to calm myself.

His eyes. Yang's Dad's eyes… and Hiroki Sensei's… were exactly, undoubtedly the same.

Hiroki Sensei… I knew the position of every blade of grass in the meadow that day. I had counted his final heart beats, and mine… there were fifteen cumulous clouds in the sky. You left me. He closed his eyes as his smile broadened, and he reached his hand out to the horrified girl before him.

Why the hell did you save me? He had so much more to live for! He was respected! He was acknowledged! He was kind! What was I? I was some stupid, cowardly, insignificant toddler who couldn't do anything besides run. I had no one, nothing, and I'd almost killed myself before this. He was throwing his life away for someone who wouldn't be diplomatic enough to keep it.

God, I should've gone through with it.

That's right, Hiroki Sensei… The little girl wailed on, and I watched her from the ground. Was I less than her, now? Would I be able to stand just sitting here, doing nothing while I slowly wasted away and grew worse than myself? I didn't really have the choice. Your arms were always open to me. You must've really cared about me, huh? Look where it got you, Hiroki Sensei. Just look around, turn over in your grave. Such a diplomat… such a self-inflicting, beautiful diplomat…

Look at how much I haven't changed.

"Hiroki… Sensei." She grabbed hold of him, and he stayed with her. At that point, he still could've saved himself. He could've left me there to die, like he should've. No, though… he would always be there for me, no matter what the circumstances.

You're an idiot, Sensei.

They all were.

I couldn't take this anymore. I knew exactly what was coming next, and I didn't want to watch it. I ignored the pain in my arms, and I pulled them up to Yang's ankles. Ripping her foot off of me, I squirmed on the floor, fighting to look away.

No, no, no.

The little girl's eyes bulged out of her head, and a soundless scream bounced around the forest.

There was no one else to hear it.

She squeezed her eyes and screeched, watching as the laughing, carefree blue man brought his sword around, ready to kill him and double back for her. Hiroki turned around just in time, Kunai ready in hand, but as he did, I… I must've squeezed his hand too tight, because he looked back at me with that classic, too-kind-natured worry in his eyes. I shook my head as hard as I could, but by then, I was too late.

No, no, no, no, no.

The sword tore through his bones, ripping his flesh to shreds. It was the most horrible thing you could imagine- the only person you loved, starting to gush out blood and lose emotion right in front of your face- and all you could do was sit there, crying. Everything he felt came over on me tenfold as I struggled to grasp him.

The Kunai that had promised to protect me was gone- it flew out of his hand, and shook the tree beneath me. The smile on his face fell, and so did his lower body. The upper weighed me down and almost pulled me to the floor before I gasped, shaking, and… and…

I let go.

That day, his hand wasn't the only thing I dropped. I had completely forsaken the world, my best friend, and, ultimately, myself. I have to admit, it was just so great watching the light leave their eyes as hers fell to the floor with his body and overshadowed themselves.

It was like being in a cage. Like lying on the cold, hard metal floor, and staring at the ceiling trying to make it move. Every day, I tried getting out of myself… until I didn't exist anymore.

"No… god… what the fuck…" Her stubby little fingers wrapped around the branch as she whispered to herself, and she stared frantically at the floor where her fate waited. Could she live, by some miracle? She looked away, and I cringed automatically at the site of her.

"Aren't you cute?" His voice was softer now, not as hungry… it just watched her like a shark watched a bleeding fish. He took in her scent, watched her sit there helplessly, and waited for the kill. "Don't worry, though… I'm not allowed to kill you. Come on, kid. I'll take you away from this place." My mouth shot open, my eyes flew wide, and I sucked in air like I had never tasted it before.

I had forgotten about that part.

If he hadn't killed Hiroki Sensei right in front of me, would I have trusted him? Would I have walked out of that place, to god knows where? There he was, a blue-skinned, seven-and-a-half-foot tall man with slits on his cheeks… would I have just… left with him?

"Kisame…" This voice was different than the solid, sharky one. This one was even crueler… it made the little hairs on my arms stand up, and it scorched me in all my agony as its curliness and high pitch flowed into one.

Who the hell are you? I rethought it on the grass. When the little girl froze, perked up, and looked around actually fearing for her life, I wouldn't be surprised if her blood was already icy. Even now, looking back at it… I can see his sickly yellow eyes with their black-slit pupils, I can see his chalk white face and his twisted up lips…

Like nothing I had ever seen before.

He didn't want to kill me. He wanted to suck the life out of me and leave me breathing so he could watch me roll around and scream. He'd love it, too. It would sound like music to him, and I'd try not to give him the pleasure.

Just hearing the one, strange word told me that that wasn't going to work.

"Haven't you hurt the girl enough for today?" He wasn't sympathetic; he was sarcastic, twisted… he thought my limp body draped over a tree was funny. "Look, she's crying." For the first time in my entire life, I actually looked straight into my own eyes. I was too scared to really hear him at the time, and I didn't realize it, but… he was right. Little silvery tears were sliding out the base of my eyelids, and my eyes were dead. I wouldn't have been able to hurt the girl either, just out of pure pity.

Geez, you weakling. Get yourself together. I shook my head, gritting my teeth. She never would.

I could never hold onto myself.

For just half of a second- I couldn't completely tell, but I was pretty sure- I thought I saw something. I have no idea why it sent tremors throughout my body, or why I felt this wintry sensation spread throughout my chest when I noticed, but… there, in my own face, shone two golden eyes, as radiant as the sun.

My own horrified expression started to morph into someone else's; someone's far more beautiful, even as she was being brutally, internally murdered. The Yellow Eyed Man's laugh was drowned out by a louder, more obnoxious one… this one was insane, this one was like the Blue Man's… but it didn't have the power.

Again, pulling me back to what was almost reality was… Yoku.

"Stay… away… from Yang…" Her voice sounded like a thousand glass birds shattering, getting thrown against the floor one by one, until there were no pieces left to fly anymore. Somehow, by some sixth sense, I knew exactly who she was.

Even though I had never had one, I knew that only a mother could hunch over a baby like that. There was sweat all over her petite, fragile body, but her arms still made sure that Yang never touched the ground.

Did my mom do that for me? It brought tears to my eyes, and it was killing me. Would my mom die for me like that? Or didn't she care enough? For all I knew… this could've been what actually happened.

Then- right then- just as I thought the words, Akari's face stiffened, and she let it go in a second. Before I could even narrow my eyes at her, though…

It all happened just a little too fast.

First, she started thrashing. As soon as he put a hand on her, she let Yang fall on the floor, safe for the next few minutes, at least. Her eyes tried to avoid the body on the ground, but she couldn't look at Yoku's, either. She stared down at his shirt, barely trying to fight him.

He had her by the throat.

"Shh…" He cooed, "it's okay, Kitai… you don't have to scream anymore." That disgusting smile spread across his face, and I, just like all those years ago, looked a self-sacrificing dumbass in the eyes. At that point, struggling was purposeless. What could I do? I was just a useless, undersized little girl. For god's sake, I was just under a demon's foot. These things just didn't happen every day. Sure, I could try and scream and cry… but it would end up like everything else I did.

Useless.

This was fear in its truest form. This was the very beginning of the emotion. Was the reason for it as understandable as I thought it was, though? Did he deserve the corpses he was dying to create?

No, that wasn't the answer. Then what was it about him? Was I really so intuitive that I hated that innocent man, with different eyes from a different time? Did I know he was going to turn into this? This was the beginning of the curse that would rule my entire life. I'd probably get grey hair before I turned thirteen, but was that it? Was I really going through all of this, just to learn about fear?

No. The way she hunched over… the way she defenselessly conceded into Yoku's arms… it didn't happen with these people, but I had seen this scenario before.

More tears came, and the warmth flushed through me to remind me that it hadn't left. I was shaking, frozen and trapped in myself… I couldn't move, because it was futile. I couldn't look away, because I was too glued. I couldn't do anything besides lye there, scared and scarred out of my mind, watching him trace the outline of her lips with the tip of the kunai knife.

Yang didn't even make a sound as her mother's heart took off and echoed around the room. She cowered on the floor as though she couldn't hear it, and- for just a second, I might've been imagining it- her golden eyes darted to my face.

I kind of just lay there in shock. What could I do besides melt away under her stare? Nothing, really.

This isn't even… what the fuck… before I could really start to feel the impact, though, a bang killed my train of thought and her curiosity shifted to the other side of the room, where an ear-shattering bang had sounded.

It was a miracle she still had curiosity in the first place.

"You're going to die." He laughed in her face as the Kunai made its way up to her eyebrows. Hadn't he heard it? It could've shattered my ear drums. Plus, there was this sudden chill in the room… I got Goosebumps. Did he honestly think he was cool enough to do that just by being scary? "Then you'll really look like your mother… won't you?" Why was I breathing so quickly? Every extra second I stayed there, my stomach just swelled up more, pressing on my bones and bloating my skin. Believe me, if there was any way out of that, I would've found it. I was literally lying there, boiling. I had never seen this before… but it was still my life story, and I knew it. Can you imagine how frustrating that is? If you add that to the legitimate blood that wasbubbling in the back of my throat, you can start to imagine my position here.

Yoku started chuckling as he went on, not even bothering to keep his voice down. "I can still see the light leaving her eyes. You remember it, don't you? You were there when he killed her. Oh, my father…" I coughed, and blood splattered all over Akari's leg.

What the fuck? This… this wasn't even… there was murder before this. I started scrambling again, breathing so quickly that it made me dizzy. This man's… father… Why? What could her mother possibly have done to…

Suddenly, for some reason, I knew.

I can promise it, I could feel my eyes go black. I either died, or finally managed to surprise the vigor out of myself. Either way was fine. I could still see her, out in front of me… making me cry for whatever reason, so beautiful… so untouchable…

Oh.

He ran the Kunai through her hair, and leaned in close to her face. There was almost no space between them as he whispered to her, smiling with a blazingly bright set of teeth.

He was Hibachi's ancestor, I swear…

"What a nice recreation." Now he spoke with that thick, dazed, humored voice that usually reeked of alcohol. "All you need is her bloody red hair… you'd be the spitting image."

Yang's mom's face was contorted and scrunched up, but something was out of place. Her teeth weren't totally clenched together; there was the slightest gap in between the top and the bottom, telling me what, if Yoku was clever enough to read these things, would've told him something very, very important.

She wasn't scared anymore.

"Yoku!" In the open doorway, a tall silhouette stood with a smaller one by his side. His voice was scratchy and deep with age, but there was a fire in his beautiful, light blue eyes.

"Aka Uzumaki's death was the first public execution in the history of the human race." Akari's voice was robotic as she watched the scene in front of her; expressionless. And the first murder. I knew what I should've been thinking: Kitai's mother was killed right in front of her, and everyone she knew got to watch. How horrible was that, handing your life over to those same eyes? Especially when the idea of murder had never even been a thought before. She looked right into them with so much fight… I should've been dumb stricken by it. Truthfully, though, I was really only thinking about one thing.

Uzumaki.

This didn't tell me anything. Was I being naïve? Just because she's a distant relative… That meant that I was in Yang's bloodline. So what?

Yoku's smile faltered, and, though I was probably the only one who heard it, he was scared shitless. His heart was so steady before, but now… Who the hell was the man at the door?

"Put her down, before I kill you." What was this? It was driving me insane. My whole body was stiff and erect, but at the same time… I felt safe.

Did Naruto and I get our blonde hair from the same place that she did, then? Were all of them… were the Uzumaki all this beautiful? She didn't even look at me- her finger twitched, and my teeth clamped together so hard that that metallic, liquid taste shot through my mouth and trickled back down into my throat. I couldn't make a sound- the only thing I could do, in all of my torturous confusion and pain, was watch.

For once in my life, I knew that no one was going to kill me. Of course, the only way for me to actually die when I wanted to was to get this god-forsaken overwhelming feeling to suck the life out of me.

I could only be so lucky.

"Speaking of fathers…" Yoku looked back and forth between the man and the child, trying to hide the pain in his eyes. He chuckled, despite everything going on inside of him. "The two of us are miscreants. Do you know that?" As he dropped Kitai, he turned to face them fully.

God, don't hurt them. Please, just die so you can end this… I really didn't know how much more I could take- half of my vision was completely white, and the only thing I could hear was Kitai, curled up into a ball on the floor and gasping for air.

What a coward.

It was all just an act then? Her stoic face… was really a fake? Now, throughout all of that, she couldn't even comfort her own daughter. It was the most pitiful thing I had ever seen, and if I could've, I would've looked away.

I could see where I got it from.

"Yang," a light voice breathed, forced and pained and too young to be seeing this. Oh, how I wished it wasn't so recognizable. Yin ran over, past his father, tripping over his own feet as he went. He almost grazed Yoku's side, but neither of them even thought about acknowledging each other at first. Yin just slid across the floor and landed at next to the squirming child, scooping her up in his arms and hugging her like she was his own sister.

My stomach heaved, and if you could see my face in the lighting, I swear it'd be green. I'd never really liked stuff like this- if this turned into a love story, Akari was going to end up with vomit all over the sole of her foot. Too cute, I thought to myself, trying to breathe and kill off the feeling. Yang's wide, beautiful eyes poured into his, and at that moment, all they fucking did was stare at each other. Way, way too cute.

I'd rather it go back to the gory murder scene.

I'm not kidding.

"Yoku, you're not a bad person." He was treading on thin ice, that man… What the hell was he saying? Was he blind? Did he see what the man had done, even a little bit? If there was any blood left in my body, the rest of it paraded up to my face. "You know you're not. Look around you. Take a deep breath, and then tell me; is this really what you want?" Yoku raised his eyebrows and pulled them together, letting the man's words in.

"Dad…" Kitai murmured. There was something about the man… It was obvious that he had married the little red-haired girl, Aka... that woman was Kitai's mother. I swore I had seen him before, though… it wasn't very long ago, either.

Ah…! That was the feeling… recognition.

I was really, honestly glad that I couldn't read his mind when he gave in and took in what he had done for the first time. His eyes were just a pair of giant circles as they darted around the room, pausing for a moment on everything- the dead man, Kitai, shivering and sweating on the floor, Yin and Yang- and finally, finally understanding.

He lowered his kunai, but the look in his eyes burned without faltering.

When a person loses themself to that extent, is it even worth it to try finding them? He couldn't look at the blue eyed man anymore- no, now he turned toward his own legacy, looking at him like the trash he had always thought he was.

They say that when you're really connected with someone, you can read their heart. Even if you hate them with everything you have, once that connection is there… the two of you are one, like fate. It's not something controllable- it's just that annoying little word that hangs over our heads until the day we die. It's set in stone, it's not fair, and it's permanent.

"Yoku!" Kitai's father roared. Recognizing him was heart warming- yes, this was the little boy, I could see it in his face now. He must've been a real friend, to love her after all of that… that little, smiling boy she had played tag with.

I suppose Yin was the first to know what his dad was planning on doing- I could tell it by looking at him, but no one else could see it. And, as Yoku raised his kunai once more, his child gaped. His mouth fell open, and his eyes screamed the thoughts I had cursed myself with a thousand times.

How could you leave me alone like this?

What kind of a father was that? He really tore at my newly found compassion- it hurt just looking at him. I had always thought that a dad would be stronger than this. They were supposed to be warm and protective, right? A dad was supposed to love their child unconditionally.

Or was I just fooling myself?

"No," Yin whispered, and he watched the kunai plummet through his father's chest. A single tear tumbled down Akari's face, and again, the world went white.

There was that feeling again.

My soul was shaking, my lips were dry, and I was nothing. I felt like my weight was re-distributing itself, and the world was doing laps above my nose. What the fuck… Every inch of my skin prickled, even though not a single thing had touched it. I could feel Akari's drafty aura hanging over me, and I knew that she had let me go.

I was my own person, until I pissed her off again.

My exhales came out in grunts as I tried setting my head straight, and I slowly pushed up to my feet. I had been thinking it all day, but…

If I wanted to live, I had to get the hell out of here.

My body burned as I caught myself at least five times, and I turned to face her. I knew I didn't stand a chance; I was drunk on pain, and she could kill me if I was sober. That look in her eye, though… She liked this. This was making her stronger….

And I couldn't have that.

I threw all thirty-five pounds of myself at her with an exasperated shout. I probably sounded like an idiot, but at this point, who really cared? If I was a Sensei back at the Academy, I would've been all over myself with corrections. I had no stance at all- she could've knocked me out from right under my own feet with one finger if she wanted to. Every time I brought my fist down on her head, I ended up hunching over and almost doing a summersault.

"You… bitch!" I screamed at her, shaking my head. How much would I lose if I closed my eyes? A finger? Two? "What… do you think… you're doing?! What?!" I couldn't run, I couldn't fight, I could hardly speak, and I couldn't shut up. What the hell did she want me to do? How did she get here? Was this as random as I thought it was?

"Chiasa," she spoke condescendingly, and my throat tightened when her smooth little voice whispered from behind my shoulder. "You need to calm down." If she was serious, I would've killed her.

"To hell with that!" I had completely disregarded any idea of a strategy. The fact that I wasn't ignored then was enough- I started flailing my arms in nonstop circles, and charged at her. "Do you realize how confusing you are?!" It was like we were fucking dancing. This was just a game to her, wasn't it? She just stepped around my fists as my heart raced, and I tried not to think about how scared I was when I actually tried to hit her. "You're standing here, showing me all of these irrelevant things that have absolutely nothing to do with me, and at the same time, they're my fucking life story! Who do you think you are- no, who are you?!" With every step I took, I tried shoving my foot into her stomach. "I've never seen anything like any of this! Why am I so nostalgic?!" I had never been in love; I wasn't even sure that I had ever loved a person as a friend. I had never killed a person, and I'd wished that I'd never seen anyone die. What was the point of any of this? Getting my past thrown back in my face?!

"Chiasa." I stopped in mid-air, freezing in my awkward position and letting my heart throb in her glower. The last time I can remember moving after that was when my mouth shot open and my muscles tensed up.

My blood was a fiery, endless stream of molten-hot magma. It crawled up to my head and through my brain and destroyed everything in its path, because it hated me. Everything did. I couldn't even think about trying to hold back my scream. I just let it split my eardrums and pop every vein in my body, because I was just that helpless here.

This wasn't a Jutsu. This… was just a magic trick.

"Stop! Stop! Please! I-I'm sorry, I….!" I wheezed, trying to cry to cool myself down. She walked over slowly and dramatically, placing a hand on my stomach as she leaned in close to my face, brows furrowed in hatred.

"Chiasa, I think you need to remember who's got the power here." Don't give in to her. Remember… remember Hibachi. You didn't give in there, and that's how you got free. I swallowed, remembering where that "freedom" ended up taking me after the fact."You're afraid of a lot of things, aren't you?" I coughed in her face, watching the blood spill out of my mouth with a shitload of satisfaction. I was afraid of everything, but if I was going to die, I had nothing to lose. "You're a smart girl, and clearly, you've got some instincts. I'll give you a little survival tip from here on out, okay?" As the watery red drops dripped off of her rock-smooth forehead, she acted like I was the only thing in the world and stared at me like I was her annoying little sister.

"Listen to them." And I fell.

When I came to, my body was aching and complaining all over. I couldn't move my arms, I couldn't feel my legs, and the only thing that was definite was the rough carpet sleeping beneath my skin.

Maybe this is a different place. I thought, feeling the hope surge in my chest. Maybe there's a nicer demon to tell me a happy story here. My eyes flitted open, but I had to squint against the blinding ceiling light before the world set in.

I was in a quaint house,- it looked like there were about three rooms in total- and it had warm wooden walls caressed with age and a nice, homey feeling. I took a deep breath, calming myself down, and spread myself out on the floor.

For some reason, I had always loved cute little houses like this. I was so blinded by my own contentment that I had forgotten to even consider the most important factor of what I was doing; who lives here? I tried pushing down on my palms, but my arms wouldn't have it.

"Ow!" I tried craning my neck to see the rest of my body. What the hell…? I swallowed with wide eyes and let my head fall back on the floor. I really shitfaced myself, didn't I? Most of my visible skin was blue, and everything else beside that was a bloody scrape. I groaned, squinting my eyes through the jolt of pain coming at me. If I hadn't looked, would I have even noticed it was there?

Only one person could be responsible for this. I sighed, and prepared myself to officially end my little minute of bliss.

"Akari," I moaned, trying to feel her in the room. "I know you're in here." The sooner we got this over with, the better. As I waited for her peaceful, earthy voice to start talking again, I tried ignoring the pounding in my head. Finally, though, I could see her foot beside my face in my peripheral vision.

"Time passed again, and Yin and Yang hadn't said a word to one another." Being near her still sent chills down my spine, but hearing her voice smoothed my pain over. Leave it to me to get dependent on a sadistic demon's voice. I sighed.

"Their lives were boring and lonely, and, even though neither of them realized it at the time, they both stole glances at each other when the other wasn't looking." My view changed again- she was going to make me stand up- and I was staring past a little blonde girl's shoulder, out a cute little window towards the center of town.

I stumbled at first, shaking, and with every step I took to catch myself, a shock rebounded through my body.

I'm going to be stuck here for the rest of my life. I would rather stare at a wall for an eternity than stay here. Not only that, but… why was I so homesick?

Also… that overwhelming heat from before… was gone. I felt as cold as the look in the young Yang's eyes.

"Kitai was practically inhuman, and Yang had to raise herself. She made dinner, cleaned, made it a point to be educated, and took care of her mother while she could..." As she spoke, the girl at the window grew taller. Slowly, she traveled from the tiny structure of a little girl to a petite and delicate frame, all curvy and fragile. When she was a little over my height, she stopped.

"She spent most of her time out by this window, though, watching the little boy that cried when he didn't think anyone was looking grow up into a man." God, that sounded corny. Am I blushing? I felt my cheek, and, to my surprise… ice. "A decade later, she started feeling close to him." From a side-view, I could see her big, non-blinking, beautiful golden eyes scrutinizing him. This is an obsession… is that a bad thing?

It was definitely a bad thing.

"Why did you care?" Something kept coming to my mind… I had a feeling that I knew what it was, but… my wellbeing forced it out, didn't want to let it in just yet.

"Something about him just drew me in. I couldn't explain it to you if I tried, but… eventually, explanations didn't matter anymore." Why don't I feel... mushy? What am I doing? What did she expect me to do? I honestly didn't feel… any sympathy, and I was practically watching myself grow up. Beaten down, spiritless, alone. So why didn't I feel better- no, why should I? Maybe I was back to normal.

I sighed again, folding my arms across my chest. I'd love to say that I'd choose frustration over death, but sometimes, I really wasn't sure.

"While Yang watched Yin, Kitai was constantly in her bedroom." The scene morphed from under my feet, and the room changed. As the walls began to reform and retract, someone's deep, steady breathing filled the air. Usually, something like that would've been calming to listen to, but… this was broken somehow. Something about it was just too pressing… too impossibly hopeless.

Her figure formed on a wide, heavily decorated bed that took up most of the room. She was awkwardly draped across it, but she let her head and feet hang limply off the sides, like a dead body.

"She wasted away year after year here, until finally…" With her head hanging down like that, I expected it to turn red with all the blood that must've been filling it. As Yang kept talking, though, she only got paler.

What the hell am I looking at? I blinked, trying to make sense of this. No matter what, I couldn't stop thinking about that bright, happy look in her eyes when she held her daughter for the first time, and a sweat broke out across my forehead. Is this… my heart started pounding against my ears, pumping blood into my cheeks, and I had absolutely no idea what was happening to me. Is this really the same woman? She just had so much gusto and life. Where did all that go? Was this really what loving a person could do to someone…?

What the hell would I end up like if anything happened to Naruto? Why couldn't I feel, now, after such an emotional outbreak inside of me, like I cared?

My hand flew to my mouth and slammed into my lips at the thought, trying to make my actions provoke my feelings. I watched her kill herself with a bitter, mock-horror. No… no. It's not… It can't… I knew all too well that this could happen to a person. It was just… life.

Her long, beautiful blonde hair was ratty and white, laying on the floor lazily. There were creases in her face, wrinkles all over her body… how old was she? Thirty-something? I didn't even think this was possible. She had wide, deep grey eyes that stared mindlessly into the wall, like there was something more interesting there, something to put her to shame.

"Mom," a strong voice broke the silence, and I turned over to it with a jump. A small-framed, shadowy figure stood at the doorway, and the only thing I could see was the glint in her eyes. "You've never really been a mother to me… but I understand." The fire that was there at first was drained out, and now she just sounded dejected. There was one slip- that was all, but it was there- where my heart stopped. I added everything up, seeing what she was clearly saying, the words behind her words.

No… that's not possible. She couldn't be…

I wished I could turn around to look at Kitai again, to see if she was really gone- but I had to see Yang, much older, much more evolved, step into the light.

"You even died with that same, blank expression on your face."

No! I had heard her breathing- she had to have been alive! I spun around frantically, trying to really see her- could she have died while I was looking away? How?

But the only thing I could see was this picture-perfect sixteen-year-old girl with her thick, heavy eyelashes and her heart-shaped face. Her hands were calm, fragile but sturdy, and resentful as she reached them out.

Could a person just… die like that? No body killed her. No one was even in the room… so how did she just… collapse? Were people really that weak? No… it was just her. Was I going to be this weak, when I got hurt like this? Was I already? How could love be a good thing, if this was what it did to a person?

"It isn't." It seemed like one of those moments when the wind would blow by, and I'd gasp and widen my eyes and stare at her like she'd just cursed out God. My hair would fly over my face, and I'd really, really question myself. Maybe I'd even make a new nindo for myself; it was impossible to say… but I'd already figured as much, and I'd already given up on Akari clarifying anything.

"Yeah," I nodded, not even turning to look at her.

Yang placed a hand on her mother's soundless heart and one over her eyes as she sighed, sliding them shut. Did she feel anything? I couldn't watch them- corpses were never really my thing, but this… this was her mother. She was dead. How could anyone… Didn't she… feel anything?

"You're crying," Akari's gaze shot a hole through my face as she spoke matter-of-factly. She wasn't saying it to be nice or comforting… She was just letting me know, because she knew I had no idea.

She wouldn't let me ignore it.

Of course I'm crying. There was a huge, pounding hole in my chest, born from that same lack of emotions. It had always fucking been there, and now the edges around it were burning through my skin and torturing me. I couldn't even watch them, because the only thing I could picture when I looked at her was me.

Sometimes, I thought there was no way to really be emotionless. The reason people had feelings in the first place were because we needed them to survive- without happiness, laughter… what became of a person? Without those, or even negative emotions, all that was really left was…

Pain.

"This was the day my mother died… and the day I finally started living." I clenched my fists- it was so sick. Yet she stood there, both the present and the past versions, stoic as a statue, forever neutral and uncaring.

As soon as a tear fell from my eye, it all went downhill.

I sucked in, staring open-mouthed into space, and my hands flew to my gut. There was a huge fist lodged inside of me, I swear- I couldn't stop coughing, and it seemed like the more I tried to think about the scene going on in front of me, the worse it got.

What's happening to me? It was excruciating and breathtaking- I couldn't stand it. The next thing I knew, I was dropping to my knees, staring wide-eyed at the floor.

Her Chakra was giving him light for his book- it was three in the morning, the day of her graduation. He knew she'd never make it in time if she died in this…

Just as he was wondering when it was going to start, her body jolted. Not even bothering to look up, he turned the page. After all, there was nothing he could do about it- all he was capable of was sitting there, enveloped in her Chakra, waiting. He was a strong Ninja- if it were someone else, they might've been dead already.

Chiasa screamed, and it barely sent a chill down his spine.

CHIASA

The wood under my hands turned to a grassy forest floor in an instant, and strangely enough, all of my pain was automatically gone. I was on all fours, but I still knew that there were three people around me- I could feel them.

Stay rational, Chiasa. That was the most important thing; in battle, it was physically impossible for me to calm myself down. The only thing I'd ever done in a fight is freeze up- the one with Sasuke was the first I had ever won.

So, keeping my breathing steady, I picked my head up and looked around me.

It was actually a familiar setting- it was kind of like yesterday, with me laying back breathlessly on a tree, unknowingly waiting for Sasuke to come attack me, but this was much more like a fairy tale.

Here was this beautiful girl with anguished eyes, standing dramatically in the middle of a forest. No one was perfect like this- I couldn't believe that she was better at being helpless than me, but I couldn't stop staring at her. There was this awful aching feeling in the pit of my chest, and I wanted to go help her… but I was never really good at feeling sorry for people. Half of me expected her to get swept off of her feet by some airheaded, girly-boy, unrealistic price charming, and half of me was a quarter right.

With every breath she took, she idly traced the thick bark of the tree behind her with her fingertip. Barely shaken at all, I could tell she was using the same strategy as me; stay rational. Just breathe. Her finger was leaving narrow, bright trails of white along the trunk, and my heart skipped a beat.

"I know you're here…" Her voice was calm and firm, as though she was untouchable. If you just saw her from the outside, looked at her body, then never thought about her again, you'd think you could break her in a second. But she was right- I could feel someone else around, just like I had the night before, and, unlike me, she didn't seem to be scared at all. He gave off this eerie, encroaching feeling… it gave me that impression of shooting out of bed in the middle of the night after a nightmare, then getting even more horrified because I was waking up into complete and total darkness.

That nightmare that you just couldn't seem to escape- was it only me?

But Yang… Yang looked into it like she could see through it. Her bright eyes must've been like flashlights, I couldn't imagine that she'd be very stealthy. My heart started going, and I took a step back, ready to scream again as soon as the pain overwhelmed me, but at first… it never came.

"How long could you feel me?" I jumped, let out a involuntary shriek, and spun around. No way… was that stealth… even possible? I could swear I had felt him in the trees across from us. How did he get behind her?

That wasn't even it- his voice… it was deep and rich and it made the hairs on the backs of my neck stand up just from hearing it. I knew I would regret looking, but I just gawked at the two of them. As Yin stepped out, I couldn't even move. When I saw Akari, I thought she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen… but this, this was beauty and a whole new level.

Grow up into a man, huh? No kidding.

Yin was tall, maybe about five foot ten, and his dark complexion made Yang shine. It was hard to even get passed him though, what with his swift, steady movements and his heavily-built, tightly muscular chest…

Alright, now I was blushing.

"Ever since the beginning." She knew… this whole time, she had known why she watched him, why she was so pointlessly interested in everything he did. The two actually complemented each other well, but I didn't like looking at things like this. It was just so… gooey…

I knew this was going to turn into a love story.

The nausea came parading up my stomach, and I actually had to cup my hand to my mouth to keep from throwing up.

"So you know… how different you are?" My heart throbbed through the intensity between them from all the way over here- this is idiotic. It really was, so why was it affecting me like this? This, of all things… And, do you know what? Yin's deep, beet black eyes were reminding me of that same person who I was trying (for whatever reason) so desperately to force out.

I shivered.

"Yin," her voice curled around his name, like she was saying a word in a different language- too new. "I'm a freak. I go outside, and people stare at me until I go back in. I can… see farther than them. I feel things that there aren't even words for. Obviously, I'm-" She stopped, and realized his knowing eyes. I gagged again, hating that feeling… like the two of us had something in common. Ugh.

The alien stares were popping into my head now, too.

I was a lot of horrible things, but a monster wasn't one of them. At least, I didn't think so.

"Yeah, obviously." Yin nodded and slowly raised his hands out in front of him, furrowing his brow. I recognized his expression immediately- he probably didn't realize it, but he was concentrating his Chakra to an astounding extent. I instantaneously felt that rush fly through me as though I was standing in his shoes, focusing my own breathing, pinpointing exactly what I wanted to happen, seeing exactly where I'd do it…

Yang's pride was blown away as this shapeless, translucent black fire dedicated itself to match the outlines of his palms exactly; the grin on his face was priceless. I know that feeling. The hairs on my arms stood up, and I leaned in, gasping his presence through me.

That was that tingly feeling that started in the pit of your stomach when you stood up in front of a whole cluster of people, stammering. Humans felt it all the time; I was sure of it. With Shinobi, though, once it gathers, it splits open and soars throughout our bodies like an icy cold shot of lightweight blood.

Exhilarating.

"Watch this." I hid under a rock when I felt that feeling. It scared me half to death; I couldn't stand it. Oh God, I would've given my soul to be a human- no one would expect anything of me. No one would hate me for whatever was inside of me, and I could finally, finally be something close to happy.

No, though, some "asshole in the sky" threw me in some bullshit story with some psychopathic, sadistic super model to rot, because I deserved it. The inside of my throat throbbed, and I clutched at the inside of my chest as his fire-filled, too-familiar eyes set on the rough bark patterns of a young, fruitful little oak tree.

It's branches started turning grey.

No. I glanced at Akari. Is she really okay with this? How could she watch this happen? How could she… how could she let him show her his awful power if it killed something so innocent and non-judgmental? That tree never did anything to anybody! She lived in that… that incredible place… and she could just watch it die?

"W-what…?" My voice cracked as it melted under his forceful aura. Trees were my whole life; they were the only ones that accepted me. As if some growth was harvesting on it, a thick, pitch black fungus started crawling it's way up the trunk.

I could hear its roots screaming.

"Please… please…" Akari couldn't hear me- she was too busy watching Yang stare at him in disbelief, trying to catch his gaze with this soft passion in her eyes.

To me then, love was a blindfold. It was no big deal if the one wearing it wasn't important, because nothing would get them if they couldn't see. I, though… I thought that darkness would be the death of me.

Sluggishly, the leaves and fungus disintegrated into layers of tiny grey ashes and floated down to its roots. I felt something pressing on me, trying to make its way into my head, but I couldn't let it in. My heart showed exactly what it was trying to display, however, and before I knew it, I was off my feet, flying to the floor with the remnants of the oak tree.

"Can I… do that?" I hit the floor with a crash, and the world's edges flooded red. Why was I even fighting to sit up? To see Yang, staring at her hands with this petty, child-like excitement? After everything she's gone through, how the hell could she be so little like that? Yin took his big, dark hands and wrapped them around her wrists, holding her hands to his chest.

You two are a couple of sick bastards. I clutched my stomach and fell back on the grass, trying to hold yesterday's lunch down. Acid crawled up my throat, and I let a few drops of it spew out when another huge, potent blow pounded on my stomach. My breath flew out of my chest in a wheeze, and I staggered forward as the wind pushed me back on my feet to face Yin and Yang again.

"No… but you can undo it." His whisper made my heart punch blood at my face, and I wanted to hide myself under my palm. This is so… There weren't really any words to describe this. This was what? The first conversation they had ever had? And they were making goggling eyes at each other. My stomach lurched forward, and I had to pray that Akari didn't see me gag.

Without taking his eyes off of hers, Yin swung himself around her so quickly that I could barely even see it. She stood as the midpoint of his two outstretched arms, and he rested his chin on her shoulder as her back pressed firmly into his chest. With an open mouth, she stared forward in shock.

I can't even look at this… but I have to. Just… absolute… Fuck.

Trying to hold my food down, I watched as he pressed his lips right up against her ear lobe and breathe so his voice blended into the wind.

"Concentrate all of your energy… on those ashes." He angled her hands so that they were exactly as he had had them, and the ashes automatically twitched.

No way… there was no way that was possible. Nobody in the entire world had that power. Could they do that to a person? Not even one of the Hokage… could bring the dead back to life. Especially not without even touching them.

My Chakra formed on the surface of Yang's palms, and it glowed much more brightly in the middle of the day than mine ever could at night. Is it because Yin's helping her? It might've been my imagination, but a shiny black rim looked like it was glowing on her arm.

It was almost as though their Chakra was working against one another. Like being against a village, pushing away from it, and avoiding it with everything you had, but it was different; here, the teams were even. They weren't separated by person to village; monster to human. They were just… equal.

A vacant feeling crawled up my throat, and I had to swallow to keep myself focused. When she flashed him with her beautiful, blinding smile, though, I couldn't keep my vision from blurring and stifling a gasp at the two of them.

Maybe… The solitude in their eyes was still burning brighter than it ever had, mirroring me exactly, but there was some different light about them. Was this how they could be so freaking close? It made perfect sense, honestly, now that I thought about it. Taking on solitude is like getting permanent leeches stuck to your body- you just get drained until you're nothing.

Until you turn into me.

Now, though, they had someone to share it with. They must've been each other's super heroes, like Naruto was to me. They were still disgusting, ratchet idiots, but even still… I could understand where they were coming from. After all, how hard can half a leech really bite?

Gradually, the tree started to reconstruct itself. I felt like, as the dust piled on top of each other more and more, I was losing even more weight, letting my density just drop, because my volume stayed the same. I could fly, if I really wanted to. I couldn't feel my legs as I stumbled over my own sandals, conceding to the muscles of my cheeks as they forced a smile on me. Everything in the pit of my stomach that was even close to twisted unspun itself and latched on to the open air, pulling me up into the sky…

That skull-crushing, burning prickle shot through me before I could even think to wake up. In a sharp gasp, my eyes shot open, only to slam shut again when this agonizing, all-consuming rush of red clouded my vision and forced a struggling breath out of my throat.

"Ow!" I staggered back. What the hell… I tried squinting and feeling the center of my forehead to see if this was what I thought it was. Sure enough, when I wiped off my eyes with my wrists, there it was. Now it was all over my forearm, but because I so carelessly dozed off again and went into another daydream, I managed to slam my face into a reanimated tree. How typical, right?

Wrong. It wasn't me zoning out, I realized, but… What… How did she…? Slowly, still pressing on the gash in my skull to stop the bleeding, I turned to look at her. There she was, gawking at her own power, looking back and forth from the tree to her hands. No one should have power like that… Even from just a little bit of her Chakra being exposed to my senses, it was like an auto-Genjutsu. I still wobbled around trying to regain my balance; why couldn't I do that to someone? That must've been it… after all, there was no other real explanation.

I clenched my fists.

This wasn't fair. Why should she get to be beautiful? Why should she know who she was, and get to torture me? Why should she just be blessed with this unheard of power, having the power to beat everyone without even knowing she could fight?

The world didn't work like that… but I'd just have to find a different way to get there.

The two of them looked at each other again, and a million thoughts passed through them. They were like invisible string, each separate topic tying them together and together again. Yang furrowed her brow, her light eyes fogged with questions and confusion. For every thought she sent out to him, there were a thousand more in her head, waiting. Finally, the only thought she managed to get out of her throat was a simple, breathless, three letter word.

"How?" Yin was still idly holding onto her hands, smiling into her eyes with this cool, definite passion. The proximity between the two of them was nauseating, and I tried rolling my eyes away from them.

My bad.

"How did you know?" This was like a bad soap opera. Who threw this together? The writer of some flashy, overexposed pornography? We hadn't reached Make-out Paradise level yet, folks, but oh God was it getting there.

Yin froze at her question, stumped on what he should say. All of his pretty-boy confidence from earlier was gone- now he was concealing himself, nervous, trying to hide the pulsing of his heart under his skin… Yang wasn't an idiot, so she obviously saw too, and her eyes pressed forward still.

"I…" Yin wasn't the wise mentor anymore- he wasn't even the girly-boy boyfriend. Now, he was a little kid. His guiltily innocent eyes bulged around his face, and he struggled to force his focus away. At first, I wondered if Yang thought he was stalking her. Then, I shivered at the fact that she probably didn't care. "It's all my fault." He spun around and looked away from her, actually starting to rush back towards the trees. What was he? P.M.S.-ing? He wiped the sweat from his forehead with his wrist as he went to leave, but Yang, disgruntled as she was, wouldn't just give me a break.

Then, to put the cherry on the fucking top, Yin mumbled: "I shouldn't have come here… I… I thought… I'm sorry…"

"Stop!" Her eyebrows were pulled together, and her feet dug into the ground. She was a little breathless as she tugged him back, trying to yank on him with all of her strength. "What the hell are you talking about?!" The two of them stopped, shadowy with the overhang of the trees by the sun. He just looked so… constipated. The crinkles between his eyes screamed just how much he wanted to force this thing out, but he bit his lips back, and he couldn't say anything.

"We stood there for what might have been hours…" Akari murmured, watching the two of them stand stiffly with Yang's hand on his. Something was off about her that I couldn't quite put my finger on… She was just different somehow. Maybe her eyes seemed lighter, less deadly and calmer, or she was just… wistful. "There was the weirdest thing was going on between our hands, like this electric bond that just… kept us together. It was… amazing." At that, I actually stopped breathing.

What?! Shit. No, oh God no… She didn't mean… she couldn't mean… it had to have been something different. There was no way… because that would mean… My heart sank.

Last night, when… that boy and I had our legs crossed in mid-air, I was overflowing with it. I was pretty sure it was literally pouring out of my body. He just stared at it like it was a Jonin-level science question written in the Hidden Cloud Village's native tongue. Other than that, it didn't throw him off at all.

"W-what was it?" I had to decide which I was more afraid of- her, or not knowing the truth. My mind turned back, told me to run like it had been this whole time… but my heart pressed my eyes forward, and I listened. I had to know; this wasn't…

She smiled again, but I ignored her; for some reason, that wasn't as important as this- this could mean so many things.

"At first, I couldn't put a name to it. Neither of us had felt it since the night our fathers died, but this was the clearest reminder either of us could get. You've felt it before, Chiasa… three times, I think." I straightened. Three? What she said proved that this was the same feeling, but I could only remember it happening to me twice… "Do you know what it is?" I gulped- she really expected me to know this? The story had paused and everything, now I just had to tell her what she wanted to hear.

I had never been good at that.

"It's… um…" Is this what Naruto felt like when Iruka Sensei called on him? I had never really not known the answer to anything that didn't have to do with myself. But, as I stared into her intent, suspiciously patient eyes, something in the back of my mind just… told me.

Fuck.

"Fate." I sighed, "It's fate…" I looked back from her satisfied face to their connected hands. Something had to be there, something had to be glowing in the space between their skins that would tell me what was happening. I was sure there was something when I was feeling it. I tried squinting as narrowly as I could, but all there was was blackness.

And he broke through.

Sasuke… who the hell are you? The alley across from the Uchiha Village, the symbol on the back of his shirt, even his voice… they all just reminded me of something that didn't exist. There was more, too- I didn't even know what that something was. I had never talked to him in my life before last night… so how had fate tied us? Why the two of us, the most random people it could put together?

Why did looking at him make me blush? I blushed when I thought his name. It wasn't the oh, she likes him, sort of thing… really, he disgusted me. I wanted to forget about him, but every time I looked away, he just popped back into my head.

"It's my fault that your special." Yin finally whispered, his dark, maroon voice sending Goosebumps down my back. Why do you seem so like him? Were Sasuke and I just a recreation? Was that why Yin's eyes made my head spin, and I felt connected to him on some entirely alien level…?

No. I was overthinking this. I overthought everything. There was nothing special about Sasuke Uchiha, and if there was, I'd never hear about it. He couldn't control me, no matter how many girls swarmed him. I wouldn't give into him, I wouldn't let him make himself at home in the back of my mind, tormenting me whenever he felt like it.

Fate had nothing to do with us. Whatever that feeling was, it was me being scared, or in awe, or something easy, something reassuring. He attacked me because I looked like I was weak. He went easy on me because I was too pitiful to finish off.

That was all.

The world had been like this since the beginning of time, since about two millennia before the ground I was standing on and the impossibly familiar scene that played out in front of me. Predation- they go for the weak ones, and the weak ones die. Every single time.

But somehow, I managed to be a survivor.

"I was there, the day you were born. I gave my dad- your mom's doctor- this weird, white rose… and he put it in this medicine… and it's energy glowed around you when you came out. I didn't look hard enough for a red one because… because I…" It was the most I'd ever heard him say. His voice stung with raspy chords, and his posture was all disgruntled as he tried to shift his eyes away from hers.

Yang stared at him like he was walking away from her. She didn't expect him to look at her again, but she just couldn't stop watching. Even after everything she'd been through, after not even shedding a tear over her mother's death, she still had the strength not to be angry. She let her hand fall, and Yin took it like a slap in the face. She saw that. But, as Yin returned to her understanding, compassionate eyes, he still looked up at her. She tried to see equally with him, but he wouldn't give himself the pleasure.

He's a masochist. It wasn't because he was like Sasuke. I actually heaved a sigh of relief as the pain flooded his face. I felt this connection with Yin because he was like me. His deep, complicated black eyes were just the same as mine… that was all. We both knew hatred, and there was our connection. I'd probably never have to deal with Sasuke again.

"Yang…" Was it the first time he'd said her name? If it wasn't, it was definitely the first time he'd said it like this. I know, because that classic twinge of nausea punched my stomach. They were in love, and I couldn't look…"I'm so… so sorry…" And she put her hands around his face, and kissed him.

That's when the second blow came.

Again, he found himself leaning into this book too much. When characters got too close, his lips parted and he just couldn't stop going. He finally realized what he was doing when he had to turn the page each time, but he went back into his daze quickly enough.

Ah, the power of the writer- it was greater than that of any Shinobi, even himself. How could one person manipulate senses so well, with only words? He could see the people in the novel as though they were right in front of him, right in front of the sleeping girl who's legs weren't long enough to stretch down and lay against his back.

She was very troubled looking- she had winkles between her eyes, and she wasn't even peaceful while she was sleeping. Every now and then she would gasp, shift her weight, and start groaning again.

No, she wasn't much like the other two.

He had seen her before, walking around the Village with Naruto Uzumaki like a lost dog. She had murmured his names a few times in her sleep, and he couldn't help but picture the way she looked next to him. The only way to really explain her was just… hollow. She had hollow cheekbones, hollow eyes, even a hollow frame. All skin and bones, literally. Most people that didn't know better thought she was five years old. She had looked like an infant until she was seven.

He sighed, turning back over to see if she was done yet. He was almost convinced that she was going to die, what with how pale she was turning and the constantly darkening bags under her eyes.

"Sasuke…" He piped up, raising his eyebrows and looking at her to make sure he heard her right.

No way… It wasn't weird, he just hadn't seen it coming. With everything he knew, it was just interesting to think that something like this could bring him up in her head… especially given their circumstances. The curiosity started getting at him, but he didn't mind it. He knew for a fact that she'd be dead the second he decided to wake her up.

So he waited.

Finally, as she hacked a hot, burning liquid up her throat and out into the open air, he knew it was almost time.

What Kakashi Hatake didn't notice, however, was that Chiasa Uzumaki's blood, even though it was just a drop, had stained the upper corner of the page of his novel, and that would eventually give him, one of the stealthiest Jonin in the Village, away.

CHIASA

So, this was what internally throwing up was like.

The air around my heaved over, shivering body was an electric field- the fate between

their lips was scorching. From my perspective, it looked gross and wet and close and just so… disgustingly meaningful… I gagged again. I was absolutely sure there was nothing romantic about this. They stood there looking like total idiots, brushing their hands around each other's faces, but I was the real sucker for being the one who had to watch it.

I mean, come on. This, in no way, shape, or form, could contribute to any story, anywhere, no matter how fucking messed up it was. What the hell? Who could even do something like this? Why weren't they puking their guts up their throats? I felt like ripping my stomach out of my foot.

Don't say anything, because you know she'll just make you watch longer. Oh God, what the fuck… I heard that soft, pop sound, and looked up through my dropping eye lids. My heart muscles smoothed themselves out in an instant as I saw them broken apart, still breathing on each other from an inch away.

"Why?" Yin breathed, trying to hold his smile down. Yang traced her nose along his jawline until her lips were right up next to his ear, sending more god damn electric pulses through my blood.

I could feel it as soon as the air thickened, dropping subzero instantaneously. Her eyes were cold, but avid- she knew something, and she looked down at him still.

"Because…" she sighed, and, as people so often spoke, there were words behind her words.

Can't you hear what I'm trying to say?

"I know what being alone is like."

I understand you.

She didn't think it was possible- no, she knew so. In all of her years, not once had such a gutsy, defiant child lived through her. Such a burdensome, unappreciative little girl, fragile as she so obviously was, was still standing, when thousands had fallen before her.

She had passed.

Despite her thoughts being so conveniently illustrated in her head, she didn't know what to expect of the girl until just before she did something. She was quick; intelligent. Yang couldn't help but wonder, as she always got too caught up in her own past to pay attention, if the girl's sad excuse of a stamina stat had gotten her through this, or if she had persuaded herself into taking it lightly. Whatever the case might've been, now the girl was silent. She wasn't complaining, she wasn't swinging her fists- she didn't even look traumatized, let alone sick to her stomach. In fact, she looked shaken somehow. Was it sympathy? Empathy? Yang hadn't felt the displeasures since she died.

As the girl abruptly looked up at her, Yang kept her facial expression clean of the realization she was being forced to undergo. Of course, it was a slight pressure, nothing uncomfortable, but it seemed obvious, as though inscribed on the little girl's forehead, what she had to do to leave her final impression.

"You're… a demon. Aren't you?" Her voice was high, childish, underdeveloped along with the rest of her body. Yang raised her eyebrows questioningly, wondering where such a question had come from. A slimy, wriggling warmth crawled up her throat, but she silenced it as soon as it had started. What was that feeling again?

Right, amusement.

The girl's face shifted downward just slightly into the smallest little pout- it looked as though she didn't even notice it. Was it because Yang had laughed at the idea? She couldn't understand why, but her heart gave a little clench when she played with the thought. Her? Hurt this girl? She didn't want to. Sometimes, to instill fear, or to free herself, she had to. It's what killed the original vessel in the first place.

"My demon," the girl corrected herself, "you're inside of me." At this, Yang smiled, masking her horror and astonishment with another valid appreciation. She looked into her eyes, and watched the golden-brown color squeeze their pupils to a pulp. It was amazing, that permanent glare tattooed on her face. Like she didn't trust a single person in the entire world, just because she had been betrayed before. It showed.

It all showed.

"How did you know?" Yang's voice cracked against her like a whip, sending a wave of energy through her skin. The girl cringed away from her, but her stare didn't back down.

At least she managed to get the fear in. She didn't feel as though the girl knew about her little quirks; her curled up finger-tips when she was angry, her ever so slightly pursed lips when she was afraid. Now, dubious as she was, her mouth was a fine line on her face as she thought about how to answer.

Why the sudden change of heart? She was hard to follow, Yang noted again. Childishly irritable and cowardly before, but calm and thoughtful now.

"I heard from someone… he was yelling at Naruto- my brother, telling him-" Yang sighed, cutting her off. Of course, Yang knew what had happened. She knew about the girl's connection with the Uchiha boy, and the truth about her Uzumaki twin as well. How the past events could relate to her conclusion, though… she had no idea. The words weren't fresh in the child's mind, so she had no way of knowing what she was really talking about for sure…

'…your demon little sister.' The thoughts became a highlight, and transformed into a realization. Of course, Yang thought, ignoring the throat licking heat that piled on top of the white-haired man in her mind. She could find a way to kill him, but she hadn't the time or energy.

Yet.

Yang nodded in understanding, but, still puzzled, raised her eyebrow again.

"How did you know it was me, though?" Her eyes grew more intense the more Yang talked. A heavy, guiltily pleasurable feeling gathered in the back of her mind. She recognized this one immediately, as she had felt it so many times before.

Smugness.

"Well… at that one point, where I took control of the scene and turned it into my own memory… I knew this must've been inside my head, but that you were undoubtedly real, since you could hurt me so badly. So, you were someone who wanted to hurt me… inside my head." She stared at the ground warily, in disbelief of what she had just said. The girl glanced up at her pleadingly, wanting her to guide her, to lead her on her explanation, even if only just.

For the first and last time in that little girl's life, Yang conceded to her.

"How did you know I was that demon?" She couldn't decide if she liked the girl yet. On the one had, the girl was quick. She would save Yang a lot of trouble, but she was more cowardly than the first. Weaker. Scrawnier. If one only briefly looked at them, the decision would be quick; easy. The first vessel, the taller one, was more suited. She had more meat on her bones, more light in her eyes, a loving family… but her mind, apparently, was not as strong as this second's.

The second swallowed, moistening the dry, uncomfortable walls of her throat before she spoke.

"You told me things about me that I didn't even know… You told me that I'd felt fate three times, but I had forgotten the first. It must've been years ago, and people've wanted to stab me since I was little..." She said it like anyone could've figured it out; like most people could've seen it as easily as she could.

Yes, on the one hand, Yang almost liked the poor thing. She was quiet, concealed- observant. But on the other, she made Yang sympathetic and understanding. She bore a past on her shoulders they could connect with, and relate to each other through.

Yang hated that.

She could tell what the girl was really like, around others. Disrespectful, from the way she screamed out whenever she didn't like something, from her low groaning and high pitched squeaks. Supposedly nonchalant, with her angry mask and a defaulted cool disposition.

However, nothing could get passed her. She was the Goddess of light, the most beautiful demon you'd ever see. Her eyes were all seeing; everything. What that girl's mind hadn't understood was the clearing- the beautiful place where they had met. She didn't understand that every beautiful spec of land there illustrated what she was on the inside, what she had the capability of becoming externally. Yang lived in the little one's soul.

Chiasa Uzumaki. Yang tested the name out in her head. It was the first time she'd thought it for herself, so no one else could hear, but it didn't feel alien. How ironic, she thought, feeling the smugness bubble up inside of her again. "One thousand mornings." Such a light, happy name. How ironic, though, that Chiasa's dark days had barely even started yet. It was funny to remind herself that this was the marking of the darkness that would lead to Chiasa's end, to destroying her in every way Yang could force it to.

Because it was her job to take that light away from her.

CHIASA

Her voice rang with finality, and the intervals between questions got longer. As the seconds passed, I felt her grow more and more resigned. The creases in her forehead eased, and she even let a warmhearted smile drift across her face, like she had just before the story started.

It didn't add up.

I knew she noticed my furrowed brow- she wasn't stupid, and neither was I. Both of us knew it, so what was she doing?

"… glad you finally got the truth out of what I told you." She finished saying with a sigh. No! I wasn't done yet. I had finally started to learn something- anything about me. Was she really going to take that relief away from me, and make me even more agonizingly curious?

That bitch knew exactly how to torture me.

"Wait… Yang, stop." Keep your voice even, I told myself, trying to breathe my swirling anger down. She raised her eyebrows at me, still smiling.

Oh, I was so done.

Stop.

"You said you were going to 'show me my past!'" I yelled out at her, fighting to keep myself rooted in the same spot. So much for keeping calm... No, fuck that. I was going to have this meltdown. I deserved this. "All you gave me was an incomplete story of how you ended up making out with your boyfriend. So what? Two flowers came out of the sky and gave you magic powers? What the hell? What aren't you telling me? How did all of this just happen to you?! To me?!" I knew why my Chakra was white now, and that was about it. If you add the fact that I had no idea what the hell she was doing in here, making my Chakra so blinding, my life and understanding were just as hopelessly pathetic as they were before. Even when I was this angry, though, I wasn't dumb enough to jump at her. Not again.

Suddenly, her eyes went cold. I froze mid-rant as her expression dropped, and she stared at me blankly. This impulse crawled across my skin, and ultimately, she stared through me. I wasn't there. At least, if I was, she wasn't looking at me. She was focused on something much bigger, something too big that I felt anyone could really understand.

"Juubi." She murmured, and the world went black.

I lost my balance as soon as she said it, and fell to the floor with a broken down gasp. What is this? I felt my eyelids get heavy as the floor beneath my hands started glowing. Why… do I feel so… distant, all of a sudden? I had to fight subconsciously to keep my head on my shoulders. What the hell is going on?

The floor turned a deep, inviting maroon, enticing me to lean into its body and close my eyes... and I didn't feel like I'd ever wake up.

Genjutsu. That's what Genjutsu feels like…

What did shock me to my senses, though, was the large, deep black dot that materialized under my hand. Eyes widening, I looked around my body, across the rest of the ground, and saw maybe ten black, comma-shaped icons hanging from the black circles surrounding the pupil.

An eye… but what…? This wasn't like anything I'd ever seen before. The blue man… the man with the yellow eyes… not even the old man Hokage added up to this. Sasuke and Hibachi would crumble at this thing's feet, and I was already a pile of ashes. It wasn't even the normal freeze up, get Goosebumps, and start shaking type of fear, either. I was just an empty shell of whatever remains of myself I was before. A summary of a summary.

Nothing.

"That's right: you're nothing." Yang's voice was eerily monotonous now, lifeless under the eye, as I was. If I could remember how to, I would've gulped. Even she… even Yang was powerless under this thing. "I'm nothing; no one is anything but the Juubi's puppet, because the Juubi is fate. The Juubi decides our lives, knows how we'll carry them out, knows when we'll die. If it doesn't like something, it changes it. We do everything we do because the Juubi wants us to." Fate… I was starting to hate the sound of the word. What was it? A dictation, a guideline that we all had no choice but to follow?

"Yes. The Juubi damned me to this fate so that it could damn you to it. My past and your future, Chiasa, are now one and the same." Sweat slid it's way across my face, down my nose and along my jawline, until it dripped down onto the eye. What's…. happening to me? The skin on my arms stung and burned as though the eye was melting it. I winced and looked away, trying not to scream, not wanting to see the red gashes that must've been there.

"You were right; there was a second part to my story. I'm not going to spoon-feed it to you now, though, because you're going to have to earn it. That will explain everything." Why? I knew she could hear me, but the blood up my throat clogged my ability to try talking. I had to barely squint to see her, the flashing, angelic white light in the blackness of the Juubi's presence. Why did you start if you weren't going to finish? She sighed condescendingly, as though I didn't understand something.

She was right.

As her silent, steady foot steps planted vibrations in the ground, it felt like senbon to my hands and feet. I flopped onto my stomach just in time for her to reach me and bend over, for me to futilely try and pull myself up, to search for that last bit of fight that I just didn't have anymore.

"Honestly?" She smiled, though she spoke in the same, empty voice. "Because you were supposed to die after Yin and Yang combined. The energy was supposed to be too much for you to handle, but it wasn't, so your fate is set now." The skin-splitting, teeth gnashing holes started punching themselves up my back, knocking the wind out of me over and over again.

I'm definitely dying. You're wrong. I am definitely going to die.

As soon as her head snapped up, the red eye flickered off. I expected to feel the relief wash through me, but the pain only got stronger, only ate away at me quicker now.

My heart sank; that could only mean… that Yang was the one doing this to me.

I was never going to get away from this, would I? I hadn't known a single thing about this for twelve years, yet it already felt like it had been carved in my skull for my entire freaking life.

Six silhouettes appeared, white lights outlining them against the black, but I could only make out three of their figures.

The first was tall and bold, intimidating yet welcoming. He had a couple of long, narrow spikes sticking out the top of his head, almost looking like ears… but his eyes were the really impressionable parts. Don't ask me to describe them to their full extent, because I wouldn't be able to. Even through the searing pain that was making it's way to my neck, though, I could distinctly make them out over everything else. They were bright; highlighted, even… a vibrant lavender color. It had a strangely elegant pattern, ripple like, with black rings circling each other around the pupil.

"Within months," Yang started, watching as the overall focus shifted to the one next to him, "you're going to see signs of me around you. You'll understand, but not enough to satisfy you. Not even close." My chest was peeling off, and my eyes watered as I examined this one.

She was just a short girl with straight hair, from what I could see. Again, though, it was the eyes that I couldn't stop staring at. These weren't patterned in any specific way, they were just a brilliant, striking, hot pink. Not a subtle pink, like Sakura Haruno's hair, but a big, look at me! Fucking… pink. They were warm, too… even in my state, heat shot through me and liquefied my pain for a second, providing me with a millisecond of relief.

The final figure was a fully colored image of what was arguably the most beautiful girl I'd ever seen- even more so than Yang. She was tan, with thick eye lashes and pitch black hair, but she had a pair of brilliant grey eyes and Yang's heart-shaped face. I actually had to blink to make sure I was seeing everything right, but by the time I opened my eyes again, she was gone.

In her stead were yet another pair of eyes, these ones by far the most breath taking.

They were almost a combination of the Juubi's eye and the first figure's eye… but they were golden, like Yang's from the story. They had the same ripple pattern, and three commas lay on the circle closest to the center of the eye… but there was no pupil.

I wasn't awed when I saw it though, no… actually, I felt more power than I had in my entire life, and I wanted them… they were so… entirely… knowing. I felt like they could see absolutely everything, from minds to a detailed version of another planet. I wouldn't be so weak if I had those, no…

"Do you like the Subetegan?" Yang's voice echoed around me, and a shock pierced through my veins like a kunai to the chest. Subetegan… "everything eye." I liked that.

"You can have that power, Chiasa… but you need me to get it." The pain came at me tenfold then, and my eyes slammed shut.

Damn her! Was she going to say goodbye to me like that- leave me with a burden, that classic cliché? Was she really? Even as I felt myself actually disintegrate, as though acid was spilling on top of me, I could curse her with my last breath.

"When you feel like you need me," my blood covered the floor of the now-white room like a waterfall had spilled it out, and a scream got caught up in the flood in my mouth. The thick, iron liquid spurted out like a geyser, and she kept talking. "… call on me. I'll lend you my power… but as soon as you do that… you'll be mine."

And finally, for the last time, the world went completely and entirely black.

I shot up, thrusting my hands down onto the soft, high quality cotton that I'd felt maybe once in my life. Sweat spilled off my forehead and into my eyes, and my heart sounded for the whole Leaf Village to hear.

There wasn't a scratch on me.

"Oh, you're finally up." An obnoxiously nonchalant voice penetrated my horror, and my hand flew to my mouth as I stared at the figure sitting at the edge of my bed.

What the hell was going on? What bastard… what asshole put me in a hospital? There was no way that was just a dream. That idea never entered my mind, not once. I'm not that creative

"Did you sleep well? It's four thirty in the morning- you're supposed to graduate today." I heard a page in a book turning, and somehow- though I might have been imagining it- smelt my own blood.

"Hokage-sama!" The calling of his title was followed by three loud, consecutive knocks, announcing the leaf code for an emergency. Sitting up and taking a tired breath of smoke, Hiruzen Sarutobi cleared his throat.

This could only mean one thing.

"Come in!" He ordered in his scratchy, aged voice. He hadn't slept all night because of this- he knew that the fate of the world depended on that night, and he wouldn't have slept if he could have.

Mitate entered the Hokage's office, still in his medical-nin, standard white uniform, and sighed to introduce his troubles. Not quite able to decipher what that meant, Hiruzen motioned for his underling to sit down. Mitate, passed the awkwardness he would normally get caught up in, conceded to his offer without a second thought.

A moment of silence passed between the two, but there wasn't any room for hesitation here. Having the Hokage's nod of approval, Mitate commenced.

"Hokage-sama, I'm not sure if it's good news or not." Normally, Sarutobi wouldn't have a problem trying to dig for what he wanted- he did it all the time. Patience and playing therapist were part of his job- but so was keeping his village safe.

"Out with it, Mitate." The doctor loosened his color, taking a deep breath.

"The vessel-"

"Call her Chiasa, please." He always insisted that Chiasa and Naruto both be referred to by their names- Mitate didn't see the purpose, but there was no point in arguing with the him now.

"Alright… Chiasa Uzumaki survived, sir. Kakashi's carrying her back to her house now, because she refused to spend the night at the hospital." He expected disbelief to strike the Hokage's face. He expected him to be angry that she had left their watch, or horrified because there was no telling what Yang would do now, but he just remained silent, and solemnly approved.

"That's good. Being with her brother will be good for her." He was missing the point, clearly.

"But, sir… what should we do now? With all do respect, if we were to banish the girl, the village might be-" The Hokage raised his hand to cut the man off. He would never get rid of the Uzumaki children- not in a million years. Everyone knew that. After all, he had promised Minato that he'd keep them safe…

As for what he should do, though… he thought this should've been a given, so he lifted his eyebrow in what was almost amusement.

"We don't really have a choice." Mitate grew pale. Of course, he realized… that would be what the Hokage was thinking. He couldn't blame him- that woman was trusted and mature, unlike the other two that stayed loyal, but someone like that… for such a tiny, horrible little girl?

"Are you sure, Hokage-sama?" His voice was no lower than a squeak, but Hiruzen gave him a final, dismissive nod.

"Positive. Mitate, I want you to go now, and get Avaron." And, just in time, her rhythmic nocking came, assertively tapping its way to their attention at his window.

Sorry it took so long everyone! Finals are coming up soon, and this one happened to be really long... Happy New Year! Please tell me what you think ^.^