Chapter 1: Fairy tales
3 – 10 months
I awake from the dream of you and me, of us, once again. It doesn't change, regardless of how I wish it to.
I walk beside your little brother, take his hand in my own; and he tugs away, embarrassed and disappointed in my behavior. I, of course like always in my dream, pay no heed to anything but my own emotions and girlish whims. I was holding an animal, suffocating it with my grip unknowingly, not realizing that at some point in time I had to let go or someone was bound to get hurt. But the animal was not your brother; it was my imagination, my fake love. In the end I was bitten. And such a bitter wound it left, still festering inside of my soul. I was such an ignorant child.
But my dream does not always stop with that simple gesture, sometimes my team and I carry on down the road a little more. Then I awake, drenched in overwhelming fear prior to their arrival. Knowing the monster is there, yet not seeing it is what scares me the most. It probably doesn't scare you though, does it? For how can someone as strong as you be scared of anything? You are the greatest in the village; anything you are scared of must be truly terrifying.
Yet, even if I survive in my subconscious long enough, I am able to do nothing except relive the events. It as if there is a script, and I am not able to do anything except recite the lines. I move just as slow, even though I know the eyes that watch us in the woods. Upon the upcoming crossroads my team and I will be ambushed. The events continue no matter how I beg to be released before it happens. But there is only me. No can listen but me. So the blue skinned man's sword tears across my body and I feel pain as though burned and cut at the same time. I should expect the pain and be able to brace myself. But it comes anew each time. It as if I have forgotten what pain is. It catches my breath, and in my own head I can hear myself screaming. A high-pitched screech of agony.
If I last long enough to see you, you are already basked in red of the enemy, eyes swirling in the same color. You seem like a distant creature and, in a way, you will always be. Your actions and moves are so smooth and graceful and accurate, too much to be normal. It was too late to save me by then, contrary to the opinions of those that were not there, and some that were. My body was already crushed, the last blow to my side I didn't even feel.
After I see you, looking down upon me, the dream fades into blurs. Green and brown of trees are smeared together like a brush stroke of colors. I can remember the sound, tap—tap-tap, as you leapt through the trees with a speed inhuman. I can also place a sound, low and soft, no doubt your voice. The words you say are unclear though, I cannot recall them. My loss of blood becomes too great to retain a focused consciousness, and not even my dreams try to insert more to the small amount of memory I have of the event. Strangely enough, there is calmness that overlaps me, although my heart beats rapidly. But the shock of the event finally settles upon my body, and by then, when my eyes open to white, people are all around me; and you, gone. It is then my body begins moving without my consent. The dream always ends there. For I have no other memories to go to. I awake in darkness, in a place where my body is not here at all.
If I concentrate here, I can hear beeping. I can hear voices. But concentrating takes effort, and when it slips, again I am lost to the dream. But from all that I hear, the only thing that is consistent is your voice. You come often. For it seems almost every time I concentrate, I hear different parts of different stories you are reading. Guilt, that can be the only reason you come. But what happened was not your fault.
In the end, I had failed; not only my duty, but my team. The three of us were still just children who'd never experienced a situation like it before. We caught a lucky break though, the S-class nins, who's cloaks of black and red clouds fluttered with their movements, had wanted your brother and his best-friend alive. It could have been that none were to be taken. There was also you and the team of ANBU returning from a mission. The fact that you, as team lead, stopped at the commotion of screams, chirping birds and red chakra is in itself a reason for thanks. You saved them from being harmed, from being taken away. I can never be more grateful. Our enemies had been quick; the nins easily had defeated several failed genin and one chunin, who had just been returning from a vacation to relax from the exam they had taken.
"Not everyone can be saved." I hear the words from different nurses as they speak to my parents. "Not everyone wakes up," they continue, "most do not." But I am awake. Am I not? The darkness has claim on my sight. My body doesn't feel as if it is there. But I am still here. I am still experiencing, thus I must be awake because else I'd be asleep. I hear crying, soft gentle callings of my name. I hear stories, from your voice not used to fairy tales or the like. I even hear the boisterous, loud, obnoxious knucklehead and I would have to be in a deep sleep not to hear that. I miss it all so terribly. I wish to speak, I do. But I cannot move my lips. I try so hard to concentrate, yet the words slur together and just become a long string of sounds that have no reference in my mind. I don't even know if there is a sound emerging from me or if it is what I have made up in my head.
Will I die?
Sometimes I wish it so. The dream makes me so afraid. I know what will become of me if I arise and I fret even more. Perhaps I am already dead and my spirit is what hears this. But when one is dead, how can they still feel pain?
I am slowly losing myself. Piece by piece I am slowly becoming less me and more of someone or something else. What really makes me? What exactly am I? What will happen when I no longer dream and no longer hear? Will I be dead then? Is there something after life? Will there only be darkness? Will I be able to conceive the concept of darkness? The last two thoughts keep me struggling to concentrate on the world around me. It makes me scared enough to face the dream-at least I was seeing something, at least I was still comprehending.
I have not lost everything. And I listen with more intensity as you have stopped reading stories. I hear your voice, far more clearly, speak of water jutsus, the flow of chakra and the fluctuation of rivers and sea. Perhaps I feel kindred toward it. Perhaps it is what I am now, flowing chakra attached with a spirit. Perhaps I come and go, to this place and my dream. Perhaps I will awake. Perhaps I will die.
But, when you stand to leave and upon my lips is the press of gentle flesh, I feel as if I will awaken. As if I am part of a story you read to me, once upon a time.