The rest of the week before the start of the exams was much like the first few days had been. Nik and I trained and sparred a little every day, got lunch and then went of to do our own thing. Our sensei stopped in every once in awhile but stayed mostly to herself, something I had no problem with. I still wasn’t sleeping, so I spent the nights on the roof. I saw Gaara a few times, but we never really spoke. At one point we sat on the same roof, but even then the night had been silent. Every time I saw him, I noticed something different. At first it had been the obvious, his hair, his eyes, the tattoo on his forehead, the gourd, and then his sand. Two nights ago another assassin attacked him. I was a few rooftops away and watched the battle, if you can call it that. Gaara had used sand from his gourd and controlled it, crushing the man in seconds. But after that, I saw how he moved almost apart from everything around him, like the world had nothing to do with him. I noticed his eyes, at first glance holding nothing at all, were really just filled with a pain and sadness so deep it gave no hint of warmth, oh and a little bit of insanity. Tonight was the night before the exams and I was sitting on my favorite roof. Around midnight, a familiar presence landed near me and I looked up to see Gaara looking back. I cocked my head at the change in attitude around him. Instead of moving to the other side of the roof like normal, he walked closer and sat down only a few feet away. We sat in silence for a moment before his low, monotone voice broke it.
“You never sleep.” It somehow didn’t come out as a question though I think he meant it as one. I looked away and up at the moon. So it’s one of these conversations.
“Not really, only once every few months do I ever sleep.”
I paused, trying to think of how to explain it. I felt no need to lie to him because I knew he wasn’t in this for gain. He wanted to know.
“It’s because of...this thing that I am. I have strange abilities that for some reason prevent me from sleeping. That, and if I do fall asleep, there is a chance I could loose control over them and destroy everything.”
He stared at me, his eyes swirling with confusion that was in no way shown on his face.
“Why don’t you sleep, Gaara?” Of course I already knew, but he didn’t know that. He seemed hesitant to tell me, but eventually made a decision.
“I have a.... demon...inside of me. The one-tailed Shikaku. If I sleep he could take over my body and kill everyone. And he would eat away at my personality.” After he said it, he looked away from me. His gaze darted back when I made no move to run or scream. Instead, I push one of my bangs behind my ear and looked at the stars, trying to count them.
“Oh. That sucks.”
“Y-you’re not running?”
“Why?” Now even his voice sounded confused and suspicious. I rolled my eyes.
“Because I have seen worse things, things you can’t even begin to describe. You think you’re a monster Gaara and I’ll tell you that compared to some of the things that my eyes have seen, you’re as cuddly as a house kitten.” He just stared at me. I looked at him and shrugged. If you only knew the things my visions show me, the acts I have been witness to, you would never call yourself a monster.
“What do you mean ‘seen’?” he asked.
“That is none of your concern,” I countered in a voice that said the matter was closed. Suddenly, a mass of sand slammed into me, holding me against the roof. Gaara stood over me with anger and pain in his eyes.
“Lies! There is nothing in this world worse than me! I am a monster, now let me FEEL ALIVE!” he cried in a psychotic way. I raised an eyebrow at him, completely unfazed. The sand contracted, but squeezed only thin air. Gaara looked around wildly, astonished I had gotten away.
“S-she left. Like all the others,” he whispered as his sand returned to his gourd.
“I did no such thing,” I said, fully annoyed now. He whipped around to see me standing behind him with my hands on my hips. I glared at him and he backed up a few steps, clutching his head.
“Y-you didn’t leave? Why? WHY WOULD YOU STAY AFTER THAT?” He screamed. I rolled my eyes again and crossed my arms.
“Gaara, you are an idiot. I was never afraid of you in the first place, knowing full well what you are capable of doing. Trust me when I say, that you are no monster.”
“Oh yeah? And what is this thing you have seen that is so much worse than me!” he yelled, almost beside himself in confusion and anger. I held his eyes and his grew wide.
“...me” I whispered before the darkness of night swirled around me and I was gone.
I appeared on the balcony of the hotel. My insides churned with the knowledge that there was nothing in this world worse than me. I was an abomination and should have died that night so long ago. But I didn’t, so I felt no need to finish the task. I owed Nik at least getting through this mission before I left this earth for the corner of hell that surely had my name on it. My grip on the railing tightened as the image of Gaara’s shocked face played in front of my eyes. Like everyone else who has seen what I am, he will hate me. Hate the very idea of me, like my own mother did. Like my...brother. I growled to myself, pushing back the useless emotions of pain and sorrow that threatened to break through. Stupid emotions. They were so unnecessary. My eyes found the horizon as the sun began to rise, and with it my bloodlust. I hadn’t killed since we had arrived here and it was taking its toll on me. But today was the exams and soon I would have a chance to kill...a lot.
Nik and I walked into the building where the first test would be held. As we walked through the halls, we noticed many ninja gathered around a door that had a genjutsu over it to make it look like the exam door. I saw many of the gennin trying to get in, only to be kicked back by two disguised Leaf chunnin. Nik snorted and I smirked. Nik walked up to one of the chunnin and he glared at her.
“What do you want you pathetic little girl?” Oh no he didn’t. Nik gave him a big smile that was so sincere it was creepy. He backed up a little but not before Nik was behind him with both his hands tied and a kunai to his throat.
“Oh, I am ever so sorry. Is my knife near your throat? Now how did it get there?” she said in a mocking voice and I walked up, the other gennin parting as they saw my cold look and deadly air. I glared at Nik and she smiled at me.
“Can I kill him please?” she asked, giving me a puppy-dog face. I considered it for a moment and then shrugged.
“Fine, just make it quick. We still have to get to the third floor for the exam.” She squealed and pressed the kunai harder against the guy’s throat, making a little blood trickle down. Suddenly they un-transformed in two puffs of smoke, but Nik kept her hold.
“Hey! I’m Leaf chunnin, you can’t kill me!” he yelled. His buddy took out a kunai and pointed it at Nik. I rolled my eyes.
“Nik, let him go. We don’t need a bigger scene. And I’m getting bored.” She groaned and whined about how I never let her have any fun. She stomped past me like a child and I smacked her on the head, taking the lead. I felt all the others staring after us, but neither of us turned around. We got to the room and were met with hundreds of pairs of eyes that followed our progress. I saw three other Rain village gennin and nodded to them. They did the same and Nik and I found seats in the corner. Several of the guys were looking us up and down, but one glare from me and they quickly looked away. One Rock Village guy walked over and leaned against the wall next to me. Nik looked at me, worried, by I shrugged and ignored him.
“Hey, I just noticed you from over there and just knew I had to get to know you,” he said in what could only be described as the cheesiest voice I had ever heard.
“Really, was that before or after you stared at my chest for 5 minutes?” I heard snickers come from behind him and he frowned. I gave him a glare that warned him to back away, but he didn’t seem to get the hint.
“Aww, come one baby, don’t be that way. I’m sure we could be real close if we tried,” he said in a perverted way. In the next second he was sent flying across the room and into the next wall, making it crack. I cracked my knuckles and glared at him. He got up and wasn’t very happy.
“You bitch!” He didn’t get any farther. He was suddenly pinned to the ceiling by six kunai, yet no one had seen me move.
“Next time, there will be a kunai through your throat as well,” I said in a dead voice that told everyone in the room I was serious. A few seconds after that the door opened again to reveal three leaf village gennin walk in. Naruto, Sasuke, and the girl who I found out was named Sakura. They met up with the other rookies and made some noise that took attention away from us, thankfully. But then a boy named Kabuto told them to shut up and pointed in the direction of Nik and I. The other Rain gennin had drifted over to us during my little scene and now blocked us from view. Nik and I knew these guys and had even trained with them, so they were a little protective of us. Nik thought it was cute, I couldn’t care less. Kabuto warned that we were a little on edge and were not to be messed with. That was an understatement. None of the gennin noticed the guy still pinned to the ceiling. After some time later, the instructor appeared and explained the rules. I got my number and sat down, only to realize I forgot something. I stood up, catching the instructor’s attention.
“Miss, you have to stay seated.”
“Forgot something.” With that I attached chakra strings to my kunai and pulled them from the ceiling, catching them and putting them in my bag. This also made the guy fall and hit the floor with a groan. Everybody looked at him, to me, to the ceiling, and back again. I just sat back down as he was helped up my some of the Leaf ninja. Nik was laughing, but trying to quiet it my stuffing her fist in her mouth. The Rain gennin all had smirks they were trying to suppress. After a pause, the instructor gathered himself and explained everything. I sighed. This is too easy. I found a disguised chunnin and focused my eyesight. He was sitting perfectly where I could see his paper without anyone noticing. I quickly copied down the answers and then sat back, putting a genjutsu on my paper so that no one could copy it. Nik had used a jutsu that allowed her to make an exact copy of one of the chunnin’s paper appear in front of her. She started drawing on her paper and I let my gaze wander around the room. I spotted a familiar head of crimson hair and felt my stomach twitch. Putting it down to hunger since I hadn’t eaten in a few days, I noticed a small swirl of sand and then an eyeball appeared in front of him. It then dissolved into sand again and floated across the room. I had one of the only completed papers and it drifted towards me. With a shrug, I took off my genjutsu and moved out of the way so he could see it.
Finally, a little while later they announced the 10th question. Neither Nik nor I had any thought of quitting so I tuned it all out. The Naruto kid yelled something stupid and we were all told we passed. My eyes unfocused for a moment and suddenly I was behind one on the instructors. I pulled him by the back of his shirt into the wall just as the window broke. A sheet flew open to reveal our next instructor. The man I had saved looked at me with confusion and thanks in his eyes. I ignored him and got up, dusting my self off. Nik got up and walked behind the sheet, much to the annoyance of the woman.
“Hey! What are you two maggots doing!?” she screamed. Nik poked her head out and rolled her eyes.
“Way to go, almost taking out or own with that little stunt you pulled. Next time check to make sure no one is in front of the damn window,” Nik answered in a bored voice. I walked out followed by the chunnin who promptly started yelling at the woman called Anko. Nik and I took our seats again to see everyone looking at us. Nik waved but I turned and glared at them all until they looked away.
“Yes, uh, anyway. Meet at training ground 44 at the time your sensei’s tell you for the second part of the chunnin exams.”
As we were walking out several of the gennin walked over to us, but we just ignored them. One actually tried to block the door but Nik just tossed him to the other side of the room. We had just walked out of the building when I heard my name.
I turned and so did a few of the gennin following behind me. Gaara walked up. I raised an eyebrow and he glared at me.
“Wow, you look happy today Gaara,” Nik said in a sarcastic voice. I sighed and smacked her on the head. Gaara stood in front of me and crossed his arms.
“Why?” was all he said.
He growled as I answered his unspoken question.
“Get over your tough guy act and live with it. Now get lost,” I snarled and walked away. He glared after me and then disappeared in a swirl of sand. I couldn’t answer you if I tried Gaara.