Her eyes are a candle's flickering flame, alight but withering, a dancing, deadly grace, and her left fingertips brush along the porcelain of her belly as chakra thrums to the loud beat of sacrifice; but it is not atonement which she seeks, or honor, or even power, and the gold of her chakra chains shine with valor as they draw this corrupted beast inside its confinement, sucking its tainted freedom dry to the bone.

Crimson eyes spot the brief hesitation in her wavering form, and Tobirama's feet rise surely, his lips part firmly.

"Its chakra has settled inside you," he declares, stepping closer, closer. "But the village is not yet safe. We must find somewhere secluded..."

The flame in Mito's gaze erupts into an uncontrollable rage, burning a red hotter than his own, like a volcano thought dormant for eons, and carefully, Tobirama stands ground.

But when the anger of the Kyuubi subsides, she crumbles like her weathered self; the fires of her soul reflect a dark, dark color scheme of shaking limbs and faltering stance, and a hand that clenches onto the skin of her stomach as if to rip it all away, flesh and bone and gushing blood.

Tobirama is there to pry her fingernails from the glowing seal.

"Now is not the time, Mito. Stand strong."

And there it is, those words which he murders from his tongue, that die on the bridge of his lips, that he casts into the air and up into the clouds where they remain unspoken.

I will be your strength.