Rakil Wanted Justice, But So Did I
I remembered one time when we trained on a particularly cloudy day. It started out gray, ominous. As the day progressed, the clouds became a darker and darker shade of grey, taking the sunlight with it.
"Kakashi-sensei!" Naruto whined. "Why are we out here!"
Sakura added, "Yeah, Sensei. We should call it a quits! A storm is coming."
Sasuke nodded in agreement.
Kakashi sighed. "Alright, alright. Let's call it a day."
"Wahoo!" Naruto yelled, jumping with a fist to the air. "Time for ramen! Come on everyone, let's go." He grabbed my wrist and dragged me, "Come on, Quorra."
Just like any other day with the Knucklehead, he pulled me along with, I swore, the fullest intent of ripping my arm out of its socket. And just like any other day, I gladly let him.
Team Seven and I arrived at Ichiraku Ramen. We ate our usual and chatted loudly among each other as well as with Teuchi and Ayame. Rumbles echoed in the distance, coming closer with each roar, but rain had yet to fall.
After we finished, Naruto and Sakura used their manipulating charm to convince Kakashi to kindly pay for everyone. We then said our goodbyes as the sky crashed and opened up in a downpour.
We quickly took our separate ways. Sakura and Naruto towards one direction, both bickering as they scurried away. Sasuke in another, running as well, avoiding the torrential monsoon. Kakashi and I left together, since we were neighbors.
Kakashi didn't mind the rain, so he walked casually. I didn't push him on the issue as I strolled besides him.
Ever since awaking under that damn tree, storms and I have had a love/hate relationship. If I closed my eyes, sometimes I thought I was back in those woods until reminding myself that that wasn't the case. It was all in the past. I didn't panic at this moment because Kakashi was beside me. There was always a wave of calmness radiating off him.
The cascade of water caused Kakashi's hair to fall in front of his face, covering his concealed face even more. Water dripped from his ends, but like always, he looked unfazed. I used my jacket as an umbrella, sheltering my face and hair.
Lightening cracked in the distance, causing me to jump. Even with Kakashi here, lightening made me skittish. Instinctively, I hooked my arm with Kakashi's, half-abandoning my umbrella jacket.
Lightening continued to strike in the distance. A scary force lightening was. How could something like that exist? Nature shouldn't have that much power. Lightening can destroy families and homes faster than a blink of an eye. Lightening was truly...
"Beautiful." Kakashi broke my trance.
I looked at him questioningly, wanting him to go on.
"It's beautiful," he repeated. "Yes they are destructible, uncontrollable forces of nature."
He stared up at the crying sky, rain dripping down his cheeks. "But as frightening and chaotic as lightening is, it manages to do it in a way that makes you crave for more. To desire to see the unpredictable paths it makes, each unique from the last."
I tried to look at lightening through Kakashi's eyes. Another strike touched down in the distance. The colors that lite up the sky, the purples that inked the sky were something that only nature could recreate. It was remarkable really.
"They're destructive, but beautiful just like women," Kakashi winked, teasing me.
I shoved him, pretending it insulted me as I walked ahead, leaving him drenched and alone.
This lightning, as dazzling as it was, was different. Chaotic and unpredictable but somehow more contained. Like the force of nature was trapped in glass. The color was off as well. Instead of the deep purples, color of bruises in the sky, this was a shocking blue. As blue and clear as a cloudless, sunny day. My ears rung with the sound of a high crackle. Like fire screaming as more wood was being fed.
I questioned my eyes until the haze started to lift. The blurred edges of my vision became crisper, clearer. I was oriented enough to pull myself upright.
There was actual lightning inside the closed room. It screamed violently as it ripped through Caesar's shoulder who knelt before me, motionless. His head leaning forward, slumped.
I could tell now that the force wasn't moving on its own. Someone was controlling it. Behind the blinding blue was a flash of silver. Silver hair.
It was Kakashi.
Kakashi dismissed his jutsu, hurried over, and helped me to my feet. I stood light-headed for both being clubbed and from what I just witnessed. I never knew Kakashi had power like this. To be able to control something that destructive and intimidating in the palm of his hands.
Kakashi held me where I stood, studying me. Concern and anger was written all over his usually expressionless face. It was the same look he gave me when we were on the hospital's rooftop. When he urged me to stay in the village. The same, strong look.
Hesitantly, as if made of glass that could shatter at any given moment, he gently caressed my face. It felt impossible for the same hands that caused so much catastrophe moments before be so gentle now.
With his thumb, he wiped blood that dripped at the corner of my mouth. Must have been there when I bit Caesar's atrocious tongue.
"You're bleeding,” he said matter-of-factly.
Even after all that has happened, a small smile reached my lips. I grabbed his arm, flattered for his concern.
"Don't worry," I reassured him. "It's not mine."
Under Kakashi's mask revealed a smirk, unfazed by my new ability to speak.
Curiosity got the best of me. "What was that? How did you do that?"
Kakashi's smirk deepened. "That was my chidori. A lightning technique that I developed on my own."
Before I could display my admiration, a deep growl, like a bear waking from its slumber, interrupted.
"You fucking prick," Cesar grumbled. Rising while grasping his bleeding shoulder, "You're going to fucking pay for that." A fresh dose of nausea up bubbled within me.
Kakashi, with a flick of a switch, was back to fighting mode. "I'll take care of things here. Go save the others."
In a heartbeat, I pushed all the horrible thoughts of Caesar out of my mind, going into flight mode as well. I nodded and ran out of the hellish room, grabbing Caesar's axe which laid undisturbed along the way.
Just like that, I was back in the amphitheater and quickly concealed myself, and the massive weapon, behind a pillar. Isiah and James hovered over Sasuke like he was some kind of science experiment. They held hands while their free hand rose palms up towards the sky. They loudly chanted in some other language, eyes closed.
"Equitans in pravos vermes dicamus in mundo. Nos benedicare et sapientia tua. Benedicite nobis cum munus tuum," they chanted monotonously. I couldn't understand what they were saying, but it couldn't be good.
Violet was crunched into a ball at the corner of the room. She looked frightened but unharmed.
I needed to move quickly and with a plan. The problem was, they were completely exposed. Good, yes, but there was no way to get closer without getting caught. It would be simple if I could suddenly reappear in front of them, get the upper hand, but nothing was ever simple with me.
Ultimately, I made the conscious decision to just take this problem, like all the others, head on. I stepped out of my hiding spot, dragging the axe behind me. It was show time.
The scraping of the metal on concrete took them out of their séance. "You!" Isiah growled. "I thought Caesar put an end to you."
I smiled, flashing my teeth. "Sorry to disappoint you, but you won't be seeing him anytime soon."
To emphasize, I rose his weapon towards them. "But then again, you might be seeing him sooner than you think."
That really drove Isiah off the deep end. "Why, you little wench!"
I thought James would stop him per usual but this time, he nodded to Isiah, "Do it."
The simple command. The only two words Isiah needed to hear and his gold enchanted weapon was drawn as he charged towards me. The axe welcomed his sword with a long clink. We sparred for minutes after, both dodging each other's attack.
Isiah swung again and I managed to block. It was getting more difficult to defend myself.
Come on, I thought dodging another attack. How could I use this to my advantage?
Caesar's weapon was exactly that, his weapon. It was made for a giant, not a small girl. The weapon was a foot taller and easily weighed fifty pounds.
Think... What if I didn't need to swing it? Why not thrust it?
I quickly changed my handling of the weapon, moving my hands further down, towards the end. The weapon was now used as if I was trying to knock down a barricaded door. Each time Isiah used his sword like a shield, avoiding the sharp end of the axe.
The gems dug into my palms as I repeated this multiple times waiting for an opening. Soon, my force pushed him to the point of stumbling.
I turned my body around a full circle, using momentum as my power.
"Don't try to act..." Isiah said, before I cut him off.
The axe sliced through the air like a boomerang. The weapon turned into how a ball and chain would function. With some difficulty, he managed to duck underneath the axe as it soared towards the end of the room.
Good, my hands are free.
Isiah laughed. "You just threw away your weapon, you stupid b-"
His words were quieted by my fist driving into his face, from opposite directions.
"What?" Isiah mumbled, staring at me and my clone. But before he could question the insanity of it, his nose gushed blood as his eyes rolled back. He crumbled, unconscious, on the ground.
"Bitch," I said, finishing his sentence. "You stupid little bitch."
My clone grinned at me as we did our signature high-five before she disappeared.
Without hesitation, I ran towards James and Sasuke, without bothering to pick up the axe. My heart hammered into my throat as I got the full view of the ritual. Each of Sasuke's extremities had neat surgically placed cuts. His limbs pooled with blood.
James noticed that Isiah has been knocked out and started chanting even louder. "Credo in vobis. Vestigia usque in exitum seqquemur. Da nobis eorum. Da twis sunt!"
James was screaming and so was I, begging him to stop, to leave Sasuke alone, to stop this madness. Our voices became a tornado of sound, nothing was distinguishable. We sounded like the real thing, savages.
James screamed his chants, red faced, hair astray, eyes bloodshot. Completely and utterly losing control, going insane. He pulled a dagger from his hip and rose it over Sasuke, directly over his heart.
Seeing Sasuke helpless made my heart skip beats, working overtime to keep me on my feet. Sasuke was my close friend and along with the others, helped me in more ways than they will ever realize. I would not let them down, I couldn't. I didn't know what I would do with myself if something happened. I would never forgive myself.
"Stop!" I screamed. "Don't you dare lay a finger on him!"
James' eyes rose to meet mine. He looked like a rabid animal, sick. "I will not have you interfere."
His tone made my body stiff. "Don't."
"You will not interfere!" He looked at the ceiling, "Rakil! Give me your strength!" As he plunged the dagger into Sasuke's chest.
Time slowed down. I suddenly became hyper aware of my surroundings. The beads of sweat dripped from James' brow, the tension in his grip that made all his veins pop, the calmness on Sasuke's face. The innocence as he laid there peacefully, unaware of how upside-down the world was around him. It was not fair to him. It was not fair!
My body became electrified with pain. Every cell became active, alert. Pain shot through my body. My veins felt like they were bitten by thousands of fire ants. My blood was burning, bubbly, boiling. I was being cooked alive.
Losing focus, tunnel vision threatened to fill my world with darkness. No idea what was happening as I tried to fight consciousness. Tidal waves of pain took me under. I was drowning. I almost lost my humanity when an image flashed in my mind.
Sasuke laying motionlessly on that damned slab of stone. Flashbacks of Sasuke rushed in. My first impression of him when I first met the team. Such a dark, humorless aura. When I held his hand for his sake and mine in exchange for one-on-one training. When we pranked Naruto by pouring a bucket of water on his head when he was attempting and failing to flirt with Sakura. That was the closest I ever seen him smile. His stupid smirk.
Instead of drowning, I grasped for life, my confusing life, my unknown life and swam to the surface. The all-out pain began to dull and I took advantage of it. I took control of the pain, molding it. The tunnel vision started to diminish as I channeled the sizzling agony. The pain traveled to the pit of my stomach; bubbling brew needing a place to go, like an angry teapot. I performed hand signs that I didn't consciously know what they symbolized as heat traveled up my esophagus and out my mouth.
Everything happened in nanoseconds. James was millimeters away from Sasuke's beating heart as an inferno of heat and flame engulfed him.
I ran to Sasuke as James dropped his dagger and screamed in agony. The flames grew bigger, eating him like a fire demon. James was the fuel for this monster of heat and pain.
I removed Sasuke's restraints as James stopped, dropped, and rolled, desperate to extinguish the flames. The smell of burning flesh burned my nostrils, bringing me to the realization.
James was on fire! I set him on fire!
My hands shook as I finished freeing Sasuke. I tore strips from my t-shirt and wrapped them around his bleeding wounds.
I avoided looking at James. I knew he was dead. He stopped screaming minutes ago, burned alive. I burned him alive...
I was tending Sasuke's wounds when I finally noticed Kakashi standing in the room. He had a few scrapes and tattered clothing but he seemed to be intact. I could feel his eyes burn into mine.
"Is he gone?" I asked, referring to Caesar.
"He has been taken care of." The skeptical look was written all over his face as he stared between me and the burned victim, but didn't push on the issue. Good, because I didn't even know how to explain what just happened. I don't even know myself.
Kakashi handed me a kunai to free Naruto. He does the same with Sakura. The cutting motion of the restraints woke Naruto up.
He grumbled, confused, "Quorra? Wh-what happened?"
"Shh. It's okay. We're getting out of here," I reassured.
"Whoa. Quorra, you can talk. C-cool." His head lolled.
I gave the Knucklehead a small smile. "Yes, Naruto. The mute speaks."
"That's cool. I can-can talk too, see." He goes about sloshing his tongue and sticking it out. Ironically, not actually talking.
I cut the last restraint. He stood with my arm around him, supporting him. "Is it time for ramen? I'm hungry."
I was so exhausted for words but I managed to say, "Ramen sounds fabulous."
The day was bright and warm as Team Seven and I stood at the entrance of the village. After defeating James and Caesar and saved the lives of thousands to come, we released Yukinaga and the rest of the men from prison. I never saw individuals look so shocked with disbelief. They said they were forever in our debt. Even Yukinaga mumbled something in a form of a thank you. Even now, as we're about to return to Konoha, they thanked us as they stood next with their reunited families.
Standing with the mothers and children was Violet. She was alright, just a bit shaken from the event. Even with what had happened, she decided to stay in the village. To start over her life and help re-establish the village. I couldn't blame her, I would want a clean slate. I knew she would do good things here, she was a tough girl.
"Thank you for saving my husband," Yukinaga's wife said. "You are all heroes and we will never forget it."
"Awe, shucks," Naruto said, scratching the back of his head. "It was nothing. Believe it!"
Sakura got annoyed by the remark and laid a knuckle on his head. "You idiot! You didn't do anything. It was all Quorra."
I felt my cheeks heat up. I was touched by the compliment, but didn't feel so heroic. That slime ball Isiah slipped from our fingertips and managed to escape. No one has seen him since. Also, Team Seven didn't know about my newest discovery. Who knows what they would think of me. I didn't even know what to make of it.
I burned someone to death. My first murder, a common thing for shinobis but not for me. I became a murderer. Granted, he was an evil man that needed to be stopped, but that didn't mean he deserved to die. Kakashi hasn't brought it up and I was thankful for it.
Taking the attention off of me, I laughed and dismissed her with a wave. "Nah, I didn't do much. It was all Kakashi. He was the muscle."
Everyone looked at Kakashi as he stared at me. Whatever he was thinking about behind that eye, he didn't say. He just smirked and said he was honored to help.
The villagers smiled in return and supplied us with goods for our return home. Food, water, and a few trinkets. We were about to depart when Violet stopped me. "Hey, Quorra! Wait!" Someone kindly guided her to me.
I gave her a questioning look. "Huh, what is it Violet?"
She uncomfortably stared at the ground while playing with her hair. I hooked my arm and guided her to the side for privacy.
"Violet?" I asked, concerned. Milky eyes rose to meet mine.
"It's just that," she began. "When we- we were in that cell and you touched me," she fumbled with her words. "I mean when you woke me up, you touched me and I felt something."
A bad feeling set in the bottom of my gut. I asked anyway, "What did you feel?"
"Fear. Confusion, but mainly fear. Feelings of being completely lost and alone." She finished with a remorseful tone.
Great. More mystery in my life. I had no idea if those emotions were coming from my past or future. Which was worse?
"Oh," I said, trying to keep the tremble out of my voice. "Well, thanks for the heads up."
"But wa-wait!" She stammered. "There was something else." I waited for her to continue. What else could there be?
"I saw something too. A pair of eyes."
A bomb was ticking in my stomach. "Eyes?"
"Yes, green pupil-less eyes, but nothing else. No face, just eyes and the color red."
The bomb set off. My insides became mush. A soup of organs, tissues, and cells. The same eyes from my dreams. Were my dreams not horrible, gut twisting nightmares but remnants of my past?
I thanked Violet as collectively as I could. She nodded, understanding. She knew I was being haunted.
This time, we were ready to leave. Our bags fully packed and we set out not before Kenshin, the nicer man from the resistance, gave me a gift. It was Caesar's double bladed axe.
"Take it as a token of our gratitude," he said with shining black eyes. "Even if you don't use it, it’s a souvenir of the lives you saved."
Yukinaga let out a cough behind us, like it was still hard for him to believe someone like me had a part in his freedom.
Naruto and the other villagers ogled over the massive golden spectacle.
"Thank you," I said as I took the weapon. Immediately my hands rushed with pain and I yelped, dropping the axe.
"Quorra!" Naruto yelled. "Are you alright?"
Everyone crowded closer as I stare, dumbfounded, at my hands. They were an angry red. The especially painful areas had formed blisters. They were burned.
"What the?" Sakura said.
“I don't understand,” Sasuke said, just as shocked.
Kakashi looked at me critically. I opened my mouth but no words left my lips. I don't know what to say. Before I held the enchanted axe no problem and now I can't.
What the hell is happening to me?!