Oftetimes, we reflect upon the importance of someone dear to us after we've parted ways. Sometimes, someone who shares your pain may be the onely person who can be around you. ((NarutoxOC, implied ...
Let me rid you of your burden
The wind outside blew strong, like it would always, at this time of year. Half of October had already gone by, and yet, despite so much time having passed, she just couldn't part from those mundane routines that she would always go through. Every sunrise, every sunset, every rain shower, every thunderstorm... Everything was so nostalgic now, everything was so boring and normal, just like it had been before. It lead her to hoping for something new and unexpected, though now, she knew to be careful what she wished for.
Days passed so agonizingly slowly, and every detail, as beautiful as it was, or should have been, was just passing unnoticed. Or perhpas she noticed them too much. Whatever the case may have been, the hours weren't getting any shorter, nor passing by any faster. The seconds ticked by, seconds she would never see again, and seconds that, sometimes, she thought over. What if she had done something in those few, wasted seconds of lethargy? What if he had been there, in those seconds? What would they have said, what would they have done together? What words would've marked each others' lives forever? How would that have happened?
She exhaled, let out a deep, long sigh and pushed herself off the windowsill. Ever since she had taken upon herself to add a bench to her obnoxiously short sill, she would often sit there and read. Sometimes just stare out the window onto the barely busy street below. She'd draw or write in her notebook a few other times, too. But one thing was always the same; her eyes would always be half lidded, she'd be lost in her own little world, trying to escape the dull reality that was, once again, trying to take her in its clutches. And maybe, this time, she would give into it, instead of trying to run away from it in fake heavens like before.
She scoffed; before. She was such a wreck before. She was so addicted to anime that it let her to wonder about life, what it was and what she wanted it to be. She questionned her presence on that earth, in that world, and how she could escape. There are only so few options available to those, over there who want to escape. Many chose literature, or any other form of liberating art. Oh, how she had strayed from those methods, so dramatically too.
It had started as such an innocent thing. Being unable to bear so many burdens on her shoulders, she went to a psychiatrist. Prescribed anti-depressants and boom. Everything exploded and started going downhill from thereon. Presciption drugs for illegal drugs, and illegal drugs to money problems and parental issues and god, everything was horrible.
But the anime was always there somehow.
And she couldn't count how many times she thought this was just a blissful coma. That maybe she was in a hospital somewhere because she was found in the middle of a street in New-York. That would be so amazingly typcal.
But various things and issues and painful events lead her to believe, as time went by, that this was far from any dream or comatic hallucination. This was all very real, even though everyone was lead to think the opposite. And she wondered why that was. Why did everyone convince themselves, and others, that these things were impossible? Switching worlds and the like.
« Eri-san. »
The voice was quiet and gentle, and oh, how she missed having someone's company. And she really did enjoy it when someone was nice enough to come by. But her generally depressed allure just pushed everyone away, and it just forced her into a darker pit of melancholy than ever before.
« You didn't knock... » she answered quietly, slowly stirring her coffee, having already added cream and sugar in it. She honestly couldn't recall doing all ofthat. Then again, everything had become so utterly normal and just usual, that she didn't take care of noticing such little things like pouring cream into coffee, or adding too little or too many sugar cubes(because she certainly did one or the other during her lack of attention).
« Since when do I ever knock when I know you're just sitting at your window? » the shinobi chuckled, and Erinne closed her eyes upon hearing the door close with that eternally monotone click.
« There's some coffee left in the pot if you want. » she stated, walking to the small living room and taking the same place on the same couch like she did every day she had no need to go out. She shivered; she'd left the windows wide open again, to let the scent of burning wood waft through the appartment. « What brings you over here all of a sudden? » she asked in a low tone, aware that the boy's--or should she call him a man now?--hearing was more than good enough to hear her.
« I just came back from a mission. It's been a while so... I figured I'd check up on you. » he said lightly, as though the implications of those few words were nothing at all, or, even better, that there were none to begin with.
« You say that like I could kill myself at any given moment. » Erinne laughed quietly, and barely for a few seconds. Because she knew that people close to her, especially Naruto, would tend to think that. She would always put a happy face when she'd go to the Lost Girls' meetings, but she would take off that mask the minute she stepped inside her dreary, normal, boring, and overall empty appartment.
Naruto stood in the small doorway that opened from the dining room into the living room and threw his orange and black jacket on the chair before sipping at his coffee. He had become somewhat of a regularity too. However unpredictable he was, still remained that he'd pop up on Erinne at the most unexpected times, and, oddly, at the times she needed someone most.
Six years, she'd been in Konoha, now. Nearly two years that Sasuke'd been sent out again, after having barely set foot in the village as a legal shinobi once more. She had loved him, yes. Mre than Sakura would ever claimed to have loved him at all. His departure left her torn and empty. He was always what made the days filled with mystery and refutable theories. She was one of the few girls he would let approach him, and one of the even fewer with whom he'd entertain a decent conversation with. Their conversation, always very lengthy and in-depth no matter what the subject was, were never planned. She would show up in a park and he'd be there, and that's how it would start. How are you, what are you doing here, I'm thinking over my life too, what should I do? I don't think I have a meaning, or maybe I haven't fond it yet. Things that you wouldn't normally talk about with anyone else but someone who's really close to you.
In those few months, Erinne had grown so close to the Uchiha. And although he acted cold with her, she couldn't help but notice the small things he did that hinted towards the fact that he may pay more attention to her than anyone else near him.
But then he was sent out on a long-term mission. She'd asked Tsunade nurmerous times when he'd come home. Every time, the answer was more vague than the last. It was frustrating, infuriating, heart-breaking. But, Erinne dealt with it. For a month and a half, she'd post herself at her window and look at the western gate--Tsunade was nice enough to tell her he and the rest of his team would come in through there—but moved out of that dingy appartment after two months. She grew tired of waiting at that window. Every day was made of 20 hours of painful waiting, and maybe 4 hours of decent sleep, if she was lucky.
Recently, Erinne had started to think about everyone else Sasuke's departure would've torn apart. Sakura was obviously on the top of the list, along with Naruto. Especially Naruto. If anyone was as close, if not closer, to the Uchiha than she was, it was the loud, knuckleheaded(though less of a moron these days actually) shinobi. Already, the first time Sasuke left for Orochimaru, Naruto left for over two years to get stronger and make him come back. And then trained in the Sage arts after that...
Even though Sasuke's prolonged leave had torn people apart, something good came out of it. And it was standing in her doorway right now, sipping at hot coffee. Erinne thought back on all those rainy days, sunny afternoon, snowy winter morning, where she'd be alone, crying, knife to her wrist or contemplating death. No, she hadn't been do dark and depressed just because of the Uchiha. A number of things had come bubbling to the surface because of him.
She stared at her wrists after ahaving taken another sip of coffee--it was still a little too hot for her--and vaguely remembered the last time she'd even thought about using a knife to inflict herself another meaningless wound.
« Just one more, just one more, just one, on, just one... » Erinne sobbed, over and over again, draggin the razorblade back and forth on her arm. Oh the cuts were far from deep. Blood barely beaded at the surface. But it was just enough to sting, just enough to hurt and most of all, just enough to bleed.
She was too absorbed if her thoughts and in her cying and herfiddling in the bathroom to get the toilet paper, to hear the knock at the front door(maybe that's when he stopped caring about knocking...). Naruto opened the door silently, and called out just as quietly. It wasn't like rinne not to open the door, especially not on a winter morning. She really didn't have anything else to do now did she?
Upon hearing her name, the young woman gasped and fidgetted, causing her to cut herself deeper than what she'd intended. She just and choked a sob, grabbing the nearest handtowel and pressing it against the open wound. Blood was seeping out rather rapidly; several drops had already fallen on the floor. She was about to stand up when a shadow loomed over her. She lost it, just then, and started crying uncontrollably. Oh god, how she knew she'd screwed up badly just then.
« Erinne, what did you do..?! »
Naruto was panicking, god, it was her fault. This didn't help at all, though, because all she wanted to do was cut away the guilt, but that would cause even more guilt now wouldn't it?
He choked on what Eri thought was a sob, before spinning her around on the cold tile flor and graping both her small, frail shoulders.
« Why? Tell me why, please. I can help if I don't... I don't know why... » Naruto said, searching within the girl's maroon eyes for answers he would never be able to find alone.
Erinne just exploded into tears again, before trying to regain control of herself to explain the Why of the How and the mechanics behind her recent mindset. Naruto could only sit there and watch as yet another person was rotting from the inside because of ONE person's departure. And he wasn't even dead..!
« Promise me. »
Erinne looked up for the first time, by her own accord--he'd forced her to look in his eyes the first time—and stared at him. Naruto frowned; he could practically see the question mark on her face.
« Promise me you'll never hurt yourself like that ever again. »
She didn't even think about it--nothing like 'I can't promise something I can't give', or anything like that. It just flew out of her mouth like it was the only thing she could say.
« I promise I'll never cut myself again, I promise, I swear I won't. »
« And I promise all that, and to take care of you too. »
Erinne strongly protested against that. Saying she would be too big of a burden for someone who already had too much to think about, but Naruto jsut wouldn't hear it. Instead, he just quieted her with a hug and whispered a few things.
« You're never a burden. »
« Remembering last December? » Naruto chuckled, lightly shoving himself away from the doorway. Erinne let her legs slip to the floorthen, seeing as she had pulled them up against her when she sat down. Naruto grinned and sat down at the other end, then let his hed drop on her lap. He'd do that a lot whenever he wanted to cheer her up. He knew she viewed most everyone like her son or daughter(somewhat like Hitaru, actuallly, and Naruto thought maybe she'd been hanging around the redhead too much). After letting her own coffee mug rest on the sidetable near the couch, Naruto all but shoved his own in her face, which she placed beside hers on the short table.
« Yeah, december... » Erinne whispered with a smile, distraughtly running her hand through Naruto's hair. She always loved doing that; it felt so soft, not unlike fur. Not really surprising, she figured, since he is the host for the kyuubi. It was so funny how many fox-like traits he'd inherit.
« You're not just coming here because you feel obliged... because of the promise, right? »
Naruto sat up faster than Erinne had ever seen him do ANYTHING before, and that honestly worried her. Had she said something wrong? Should she have shut up? Because she really couldn't afford what little support she had. She'd stop clinging to Naruto so much after February, when a case of her helping someone blew up in her face and she broke her end of the promise more times than she could count. She could remember what he said, word for word, even today.
« Tell me how many god fucking times you want me to cut myself! » Erinne shouted, slamming her fist to the wall, and leaving a very noticable dent in it, evn slightly shipping the immaculate white paint of the hospital wall.
« No! I won't! » Aerynn shouted in return, her face flushed in anger.
« What does it matter-- » Erinne gasped, she could only hear her heart drumming in her ears. « --how many times you do it? » She wasn't sure she wanted to hear the rest. « You're already dead to me anyways. »
Erinne sobbed, shriked in her motion of running away. The knife fell to the tile flooring of the hospital in a deft clatter of metal and wood. She ran as fast as her uncertain legs could carry her, through the still thick snow and cold, biting wind. She'd just lost everything, didn't sh? Everything she cared for, everythingthat cared for her, understood her pain. She leaned against a tree, no longer able to stay standing, and eventually let herself fall to her knees and lay there in the snow.
She woke up several hours later in her bed--thank god it wasn't the hospital, she really would've died then--and stared at the ceiling. It was dark out, and she could tell that the bright light coming from the window was the work of the moon alone.
« So you're finally awake... » Naruto whispered, and Erinne's heart stopped for a second. So, he was the one who's taken her back home. He went after her...?
« Am... Am I rally dead to you? » Erinne sAsked, feeling the tears coming on already. « Did I really lose the little bit I had left? Tell me. Please... » she added, trying to hold the tears back as long as she coudl
« Do you know how hard it was for me to hear you say those things, to know you broke our promise so many times? »
« Six times. » Erinne whispered, unable to keep the tears in check. Sitting up in her bed, she swallowed hard and dared look Naruto in the eye. Her face was hard, determined, and unforgiving, but tears still rolled down her cheeks relentlessly.
« So you really did... » naruto whispered to himself, turning his head away. « Saying that all those times, you broke our promise by saying that. »
She just broke down. Again. She sobbed, screamed in emotionnal agony, as harsh realisations came down upon her one after the other.
« I'll change. I swear, I'll change who I am. I'll become someone better, someone good. I'l stop this, I'll see someone, I'll get help, I swear to God, I'll never put myselfin this spot again...! »
« Erinne. This isn't anobligation. You're nuts if you think that. » Naruto said, and just then, she couldn't help but notice that something was different in him. Something had changed, something she hadn't noticed before. That look in his eyes, the way his hair looked without his hitai-ate(when did he even take it off? She wondered), but mostly... Just the way he looked at her. She was sure she'd never seen that look before.
« But being sane is just so... »
The appartment fell quiet.
Only the light patter of the rain that just started falling could be hear.
« I want to change who I am. »
« Why would you do that, Eri? »
« Well, Istart changing what I hate about myself, instead of suffocating in my self-hatred. I need to get away for a while, be alone. »
« You don't have to go though it all alone you know. »
« Well I can't have someone holding my hand for my entire fucking life! That's just insane! »
« They don't have to hold you hand. They can just... Touch it. »
« Boring is such an aweful word... » Naruto chuckled, letting Erinne's head rest on his shoulder. She chuckled herself, lbarely brushing her lips with her fingers.
« Thanks for touching my hand, Naruto... » she whispered, before letting herself fall into a full night of sleep she hadn't allowed herself to have in the past three years.