• He was coming. I could feel his presence all around me, no matter what I did and where I tried to run. But there was no use running in the first place... no point in hiding... because I knew he would find me either way. I couldn't escape. But I had to try, even though I knew there was nothing I could do to stop him.

    I felt him drawing nearer, and I knew I had to speed up somehow. But how? I couldn’t bring myself to go any quicker. I was only nine… and I could only run so fast. I took in a short-lived breath and pushed myself further. Even though that speed wasn’t very fast, and I knew he would surely catch me… whoever he was.

    I struggled, but I managed to quicken my pace. I hastily rushed through the pitch black shadows in the forest, the rain sheeting down onto the trees and the earth deafeningly. It was already challenging enough to see because of the mist that always lingered in the air, but this was excruciatingly insufferable. I endeavored to speed up, although I couldn't hear footsteps behind me. How could I? The buckets of water that rained down on me were too thunderous to allow me to make out any other sounds. It couldn't be helped; all I knew is that I needed to get out of here. But I couldn’t get out of anywhere; I was trapped.

    I stumbled down the slightly narrow path, quickly catching myself repeatedly. This was one of those instants where I couldn’t stand to mess up, not now… And thinking of what Onii-sama and Onii-san would do if they even found out that I snuck away… I’ll be in so much trouble, I’m sure of it. Why wasn’t he here? He had clearly stated in the letter that he wanted to see me…

    Haku wouldn’t lie. He never would. He was the most amazing person I’ve ever met. Sweet, kind, considerate, and those were just a few of his incredible qualities. He was a beautiful person, inside and out. I wish I could be more like him…

    But this was not the time to be fantasizing about the brunette shinobi. I had to run; I had to get out of here! But I couldn’t get out of anywhere. This was Kirigakure, and I was trapped in it. Whoever was coming after me was determined, and they weren’t going to rest until they had their way… but what did this person want?

    I contemplated for a moment who it could be. It couldn’t be Haku. Haku would never, ever do that to anyone; he would never do that to me… because I loved him, and he loved me. That I knew was true. I knew that one person in my entire life loved me, and that was him. I could never doubt that; he’d made it all too clear.

    But who else could it be? Maybe my sisters finally got so sick of me, they finally set out to assassinate me. Possibly. That was definitely possible, very possible. I was a pest, a poor excuse for a ninja-in-training. I couldn’t do anything right… I couldn’t even talk to people.

    But they wouldn’t try and kill me themselves. It would be too much work for them, and they would probably think they were wasting their time on me. If anything, they probably hired a murderer, to come eliminate me and my worthlessness. I wouldn’t be surprised…

    And then it clicked. It had to be Zabuza. He loathed me, detested me with all his being. I knew that for a fact. But I didn’t know why, really… But I had a general idea of it. Who wouldn’t hate me? I was a disgrace to the Hidden Mist Village. I would never be called a kunoichi; it was just a far off dream of mine. And I was taking away Haku from him.

    Haku had told me many times before that Zabuza didn’t like me because he thought that I was spending too much time with his apprentice. But I couldn’t help it. I loved him so much, more than anything, more than my very life. But of course I would love him more than my life. I have nothing to live for, without him.

    But maybe not. Zabuza was a master at ‘silent killing’, and he wouldn’t go after me so evidently. That was not his style at all; if it was him, I’d be dead right now. I knew that very well, since because of him, I’d been on the brink of death several times. But it was my fault, for being so imprudent…

    But a low chuckle caused me to nearly trip over a sitting, almost rotten log as I pushed my legs to move faster. I felt the freezing cold rain splash my burning cheeks with no mercy, but I continued to press on. I just couldn’t afford to give up, I couldn’t let Haku down!

    My eyes were wide and I was panting hard from making myself sprint too quickly. And then I started to panic. I knew that if I went farther, I would eventually get to the cliff that was one of the borders of Kirigakure... and that would be the end of me. I wasn't being chased. I was being herded.

    I couldn't keep going for that reason, and because I was almost exhausted to a point where I couldn't move anymore. But I was training to be a ninja... and I might even become a Genin soon. Maybe if I tried to use the moves I learned at the academy... just maybe...

    No, I couldn’t. I was too afraid. I would shake and trip over my words and not be able to accomplish anything, if I tried to fight. I was still training at the academy, and I couldn’t do anything yet… correction- I would never be able to do anything. I didn’t even know what on earth ran through my head, when I decided to become a ninja. Or attempt to, at least.

    This was very risky, though. If I stopped now, he or she could come out from anywhere at any time. Truthfully, I didn’t have a clue where the person was, since the quiet laugh I had heard before seemed to echo throughout the whole forest. It was an odd sound, like something I’d never heard before. It sounded evil, in a friendly, charming way.

    I hesitated, but slowed to a stop and turned around, facing whoever was there. "I-I'm… a sh-shinobi," I said weakly, attempting to be as brave as possible and trying hard to make him afraid. It didn't work.

    "Oh, really, is that so..." he said slowly in a smooth voice. I suddenly saw a flash of lightening and someone appeared in front of me; a tall man with long, black hair that fell flat below his shoulders. His eyes bothered me... they were almost like a snake's. Forest green with small, black slits in them, it was difficult to identify what his motive was. "So I assume you know a handful of ninja information... and may I mention, it is absolutely adorable, the way you trip on your words so sweetly. Such innocence… it makes me want to ruin it all."

    I saw him take a step forward and I backed up a little. But then I heard something fall, and I glanced backward instinctively. My red eyes widened in horror as I watched a small rock tumble down the cliff, and heard a small splash at the bottom. I was only inches away from the edge of the cliff, and if I took another step back, I'd be gone, plunging into the darkness that was sharp and dangerous rocks. I was terrified, but I tried not to let it show.

    "Ano…" I mumbled, unsure of what to say next. What was he trying to do?

    He smirked slightly and kept his cold gaze locked on my face. "What's wrong, honey? Not very skilled in ninjuutsu, taijuutsu, or genjuutsu?" he asked calmly, not moving a muscle. It seemed as though he could read my thoughts, and I glanced down, not replying.

    He was correct. I wasn’t very good at any of the three shinobi technique styles, truthfully. But I did have a strange ability, that I kept to myself… but people seemed to know that I was different, and avoided me at all times. I was so sick of myself. I cursed myself for my blasted power; I would rather be dead than have to live with this. Having to live without anything…

    He was as still as a statue for about sixty seconds more or less, and I could see his eyes narrow out of my peripheral vision. "Well, don't you worry my dear, because what I'm about to teach you will change everything." his voice was unbreakable and deadly, but it had a hint of false friendliness lurking there.

    I had a look of fear in my eyes, not that he could tell, from my shaggy silver bangs. But I was sure he could sense it, from what I've witnessed so far. He seemed to know everything about me; who I was, what I was feeling, what I was thinking. And why was he after me? I was a useless little girl who couldn’t do anything right. I was worthless.

    But the question that haunted me was not understandable. What did he mean, 'teach'? I didn't understand... none of this made any sense to me... "W-what…" I mumbled cautiously, my eyes drifting back up to him. I couldn’t manage to get the rest of my unspoken words out, but he would be able to know what I was trying to say; I was positive.

    He took another step and, stupidly, I immediately stumbled backward, almost tripping. "Oh, careful," he warned warily. "Another step, and you'll be dead." It was a threat.

    My eyes widened noticeably (as if he was able to see) and I worked up enough courage to hesitantly reach my hand into my weapon bag, which was tied around my right leg where I could get to it for easy access. Of course, it was empty. Pre-shinobi like me weren't allowed to use weapons yet.

    And I was just trying to threaten him back a little bit, too. I would be too afraid, too cowardly, to actually do anything. I wouldn’t be able to win, not in a million years, anyway, so there was no point in fighting.

    I couldn't do anything. I wouldn’t do anything. It was impossible to win. I dropped my arms, and I stood there, frozen, staring straight ahead. If only he was here... He would know what to do… my broken stance was not a sign of surrender, it was a death wish.

    "Chii, there is no way out." his once friendly voice turned cold, and his face turned hard. He stepped toward me, and I didn't bother to move. What could I do? Nothing. My eyes widened as he grabbed my shoulders, and leaned into my neck. “Good girl…”

    CRASH! went the thunder and Chii's eyes flew open as she quickly sat up almost robotically, breathing heavily with sweat trickling down her face. She heard herself yelp as she stared off into space, her eyes wide in fear. Without even thinking, her hand automatically clutched her left shoulder and dug her nails into it. She shut her eyes tightly, feeling her bare shoulder and hand burning up. She clenched her teeth and slammed her eyes shut as tight as they could possibly go, as if expecting a blow, but opened the two red orbs hesitantly after a few moments. It... was just a dream... she thought to herself in relief, but knew that it wasn't a dream; it was a nightmare. Even though that nightmare visited her almost every night. She was trembling helplessly, as she always was.

    It was all real, as real as real could be. Everything that had happened in her nightmare had happened before. Six years ago… when she was nine. It was just a flash back of a tiny slice of her past that appeared almost every night since then. It was nothing new, nothing big. But usually it was a little different; it wasn’t that long, and wasn’t so detailed. That was the one different aspect of the dream.

    But she knew why it had been that horrible that night. She was extra nervous, since she knew what she would be doing in less than a few minutes. She would be out of here, out of Kirigakure, out of this hell that was called her ‘home’.

    To her, Kirigakure was the worst possible place anyone could possibly live in. Well, maybe not anyone. The others didn’t seem very bothered by anything at all; they just continued their normal, happy, seemingly carefree lives, completely content. The children that were training to become 

    shinobi, just like she had been doing years before, went to the Academy daily, practiced their techniques, and came home to warm, loving parents that praised them and loved them.

    Chii was deprived of that experience. She had no parents, oh no. They had been long gone by now, ever since they died in the humongous fire fifteen years ago, a few days after she was born. She had been too young to remember them, much too young to recall any memories whatsoever that had the least bit pertaining to them. The only memory she had of them was an almost ruined, ancient photo of them, her, and her sisters, when they were alive. But it was found in the fire, and Chii had been burnt off.

    Instead of a mother and father that loved her, she came home to her two cruel older sisters, Hotaru and Yumi. Nothing was too good for them - dresses, shoes, delicious food, soft beds, and every home comfort that Chii wasn’t allowed to have. The two were also well-known Jonin of Kiri, and loved throughout the whole village. But they hated her, especially Hotaru. The eldest sister forced her to do things she didn’t want to do, making her take the position as one of the workers in their giant mansion. Well, her sister’s giant mansion.

    Chii lived in the small, dusty attic at the very top of the castle-like house, cramped and crowded with several books. She hadn’t been allowed to have her very own room, so she was eternally grateful that they let her live in the attic. It really wasn’t that bad; at first, it had been dirty and uninhabitable, but she had taken care of it over the years and cleaned it up, so she was perfectly fine with it. She actually loved her little space, even though she was trapped, in a literal sense.

    But, for the poor unhappy girl, there was nothing at all. No normal clothes, only her sisters’ hand-me-downs that were often ripped and dirty. No scrumptious food, nothing but scraps from Yumi’s mouthwatering meal. No rest and no comfort; she had to work hard all day, with no mercy. Only when late evening came was she allowed to sit for a while and read her stolen books in solitude, on her beaten-up bed in her attic. That was why everyone in the town called her ‘Bookworm’, since they didn’t even know her real name.

    Chii would always spend those long hours locked in her room, reading her huge books. It was her only escape, her only source of happiness. Some kind villagers (which were very rare in the Mist) had given her some, and she had found a couple in stores, which she bought with the small amount of money she managed to find on the ground occasionally. Sometimes, she could even sneak into the library and snatch a few when no one was looking, even though she knew it was wrong. But it wasn’t like anyone would notice her, anyway, with or without her invisibility juutsu.

    Her attic was the only place that she could somewhat call her own. Her sisters would never even think of coming into the dirty old attic; it would make them think they were like Chii, or something. And her sisters would never, ever resort to being as weak as Chii was. And after all, Chii was too weak for words. She couldn’t even fight… she was a terrible excuse for a kunoichi.

    Being afraid of violence, she was always forced to fight when it was a requirement. It had been torture for her to become a Genin, and she just barely passed the Chuunin Exams. Her opponents both times hated her, like everyone else, and nearly killed her purposely. But then when her curse mark started acting up, they stopped and surrendered. She had to be hospitalized, which went against Hotaru’s wishes, but she was on the brink of death. She would’ve died if she didn’t get into that hospital.

    And ever since then, she’d been terrified of blood, fighting, and anything that had to do with violence. She was weak, and she didn’t deserve to be called a kunoichi. She was worthless, and always would be. And she had been punished various times for the trueness of that stinging fact.

    She was the only one who had ever been up there, aside from a few small rodents that came and went in the blink of an eye. If her sisters ever saw her books, stacked up neatly all around the room, she’d be punished so much, she didn’t even want to think about it. She would most likely be kicked 

    out, or something… no, they wouldn’t do that. Then they’d just be letting her off the hook, and they wouldn’t dare let that thought enter their minds. They knew that she would be able to survive just fine on her own, and they didn’t want that one bit. Maybe just more beatings than usual?

    She stayed in her worn-out bed for a few more minutes, staring up at the slanted ceiling. The walls were wooden; old and stained from who knows what. The floor was also wooden, and it creaked whenever someone walked on it. She had to be careful with that, or else it could upset her sisters. There were at least two hundred books cramped inside the small room, but she didn’t care about how crowded it was. As long as her books were there, she could live. Books were the only things that she had. The only ones that wouldn’t judge her.

    But out of the blue, she suddenly remembered something important. She turned her head swiftly to look at the ancient clock, which read 3:28 PM. She had to get up. She dragged herself out of her bed and yawned silently. She quickly folded the bed sheets so it looked neat, and tiptoed over to her small pile of clothes. She stripped off her gray, torn up nightgown, left only in her under garments.

    Her pale skin showed several bruises and scars, all over her body. She was black and blue everywhere, along with bandages that she had around recent cuts or critical injuries that Hotaru had given her. She had had them her whole life, and she continued to damage her as much as possible. And that wasn’t saying that Chii didn’t hurt herself when they weren’t looking. She needed some way to take away the pain, just a little bit, and she had sharp kunai just waiting to be used in her weapon bag at the very moment.

    She picked up a fishnet shirt and pulled it over her head, and then stepped into black capries that had been lying on the floor just seconds ago. She picked up her headband, which was lying face down on top of a stack of books, and looked at it for a moment, studying the Kiri symbol that was engraved in the sparkling steel. After a few more seconds, she tied it around her neck into a tight knot, and let it rest on her shoulders. She tiptoed over to the side of her bed and grabbed a dark gray hoodie that appeared to be much too big for her, and put her arms through the long sleeves. There were black collars on the ends of the oversized sleeves, and she zipped the zipper up. She then slipped her feet into her black traditional shinobi shoes, showing her dark toenails.

    She reached under her bed and grabbed some bandages, and quickly wrapped them around her ankles. She pushed up her sleeves to wrap them around her arms as well, covering up several bruises and scars. Lifting up her sweatshirt, she wrapped the bandages around a deep cut in her stomach, from a few days ago. She hadn’t done something right, and Hotaru got angry. It was nothing, though…

    She tied her weapon bag around her right leg, and opened it up, checking to see if her proper weapons were in there. Sure enough, she found a few kunai, shuriken, senbon and a couple inactivated paper bombs resting inside the side of the small pouch. She grabbed her other pouch and clipped it to the back of her, and she could feel the shuriken bounce a little as she did. She was all set in the weapon department, she knew.

    Picking up an average sized, beat up bag, she unzipped it and reached for her clothes, placing them in one by one. She didn't have many, and they were all extremely worn out with holes in them, due to constant chores, and they were her's for quite a long time, and before that, they were her older sister's. But they were the best she could get, and she considered spending her limited money on books rather than new clothes an odd thing for a fifteen year old girl to do. But then again, she was an odd girl. And plus, she didn’t care about things like clothes and food. It wasn’t like she had to eat anyway.

    After she fit them all in, she browsed through her many books, knowing that she could only take a couple of her favorites. She decided on three that she considered the best and put them in gently, cherishing them dearly. She picked up her reading glasses that were resting on top of a novel she was currently finishing up and put them gingerly in the side pocket of the bag. She rarely wore them at 

    any time beside when she was reading, but still, she wanted to bring them with. After all, she would be reading even more than she did here…

    The reason she was waking up so early, the reason she was packing, was because she was leaving. Forever. She wasn’t going to be a slave to her sisters anymore; she wasn’t going to live in this attic anymore. She wasn’t going to live in the Mist anymore.

    She was going to Konohagakure.

    She wanted desperately to get out of Kirigakure. She hated it here so much. No one knew her name, no one knew her. She was locked in her attic all day, when she wasn’t serving her sisters. Ignored everywhere she went, she couldn’t take this village anymore. She had to get out of there, and fast.

    She lay down on the floor, pushing her arm under her bed, trying to find what she was looking for. She felt her hand on something and she pulled back, looking down into her palm, which was full of coins. She grimaced weakly to herself and at the money she had taken from her sisters. They were a rich clan; it wouldn't be very terrible for them. After all, she needed it to get by in Konoha, didn't she? But of course, being herself, she felt bad about it… she had an issue with guilt, even if they had done so much worse to her. She put the money in the other side pocket of the bag, and zipped everything up, tossing in over her shoulder like a mail bag.

    She just needed one more thing, and then she would be ready. It was not something she liked to look at, but it was the only memory she had of when her family was happy and united. Those three days she had as a baby, to spend with her parents. That was all she had with them, and she couldn’t leave her one happy memory behind, even if she didn’t remember any of it.

    She carefully walked over to another pile of books, stacked up next to a small, circular window, and looked down at them. There was the scorched photograph of her family. Chii’s image, of course, had been burnt out, and it was only her two sisters and her father and mother. Hotaru had been about eight at the time, and Yumi was around four. They looked so… happy, without Chii in her mother’s arms. If only she could’ve been part of the family…

    She stopped herself from thinking too hard about them. She was already anxious enough, going to the new village, and all. It wouldn’t turn out good, she knew it. She had a feeling deep down inside that her ‘teammates’ would begin to hate her just like the kids at Kiri, either that, or they would ignore her. She was betting on the latter. That would be most likely, because she wouldn’t give them a chance to hate her.

    She’d keep to herself. She wouldn’t talk to anyone. She would use her invisibility juutsu at all times, and not let anyone know who she was, or anything. She would have no reason to be shy or timid, because no one would be able to see her. That was her plan… and it would be so much better than being Hotaru’s prisoner. No one would get the chance to treat her like their own personal slave anymore, because she would hide out 24/7. She wouldn’t be noticed whatsoever, and that was what she wanted.

    But she knew that Konoha’s fifth Hokage- Tsunade, she thought her name was- knew about her stupid curse mark, and would keep an eye on her all the time, afraid that she’d do damage to the village, or something. She didn’t want that, and she wished she hadn’t told her about it at all. She was beginning to wish that she hadn’t even made the choice to leave…

    But again, she couldn't turn back. She scooted over a little, to look into the only thing moderately close to a mirror she had, her small, circular window. She had to reach up and wipe off dust and cobwebs from the corners, because it hadn’t been opened for so long.

    She remembered when she used to open that window daily. It was for the one thing she lived for, the reason she forced her eyes open each day- Haku. She loved him too much, way too much. The lone 

    person who noticed her, she could trust him with absolutely anything. She loved him, and she knew that he loved her.

    But they both had to sneak away to see each other for reasons Chii didn’t like- Zabuza, and Hotaru and Yumi. They were the reasons they weren’t allowed to see each other, and it was painful, to have to sneak out in order to do so.

    Zabuza didn’t like Chii at all, and she knew that he hated her. He thought that Chii was a complete distraction to Haku’s assignments and missions from him; he thought that Chii was a pest and was the reason Haku might get a bad mark on a mission, or something like that. But she didn’t mean to do any of that, and Haku always told her it wasn’t her fault, and Zabuza was just like that all the time. But still, she put the blame on herself, as usual.

    The same as how Haku put the blame on himself. Hotaru had a similar reason not to let Chii see Haku- because she thought that the boy was getting in the way of Chii’s work. Hotaru would lock Chii up in the attic, even cut her chores a little, just so that she was in no way able to get out. But Chii never told her older sisters about her curse mark, so how could they know her abilities? It was easy as one, two, and three, to just turn transparent, and slip through the wall without anyone noticing.

    Another reason Hotaru didn’t want her to be with Haku was because he was a rouge ninja, just like Zabuza, and the Ayanokoji Clan was rich and noble. In her clan, it was not acceptable to be falling in love with someone like Haku. But they didn’t know him. Only she did. He was not like other rouge ninja; he was kind, sweet, caring, and so much more.

    And he was gone. Dead. Three years ago now, when she was twelve, and he was fifteen, he died. She was invisible, but she was there, and she was watching. She had to sneak out for about three days, and she was severely punished, but she had to. Haku had told her that she was going on a dangerous mission, and it involved a Sharingan user… that thought had scared her, and she followed. Right when he sacrificed himself for Zabuza, right in front of her, when that man with the mask killed him… she would never forget his name.

    Hatake Kakashi.

    She knew his attack was meant for Zabuza, but she couldn’t hold back the anger that came over her, whenever she thought of his name. She hated him, hated him with all her being. She would never, ever forgive him for what he’d done to Haku; to her, Kakashi was the most terrible person she’d ever met. She’d never felt such a strong hatred for anyone before, but this person, she was sure she hated. She didn’t believe in violence, but really… what she would do, to hear him scream in pain in death at her hands…

    Stop! She yelled at herself, shaking her head and squeezing her eyes shut for a moment. Don’t think things like that, Chii… she told herself, glancing down slightly. She had to stop that sudden surge of hatred that occasionally was sent through her body like an electric jolt. It was so wrong, to be thinking that about a person. He didn’t mean to kill him, he was just trying to protect his team… but still, the thought of his arm through Haku’s chest terrified Chii; that blank look on Haku’s face when he died… she shuddered.

    And now she was going to Konoha, the village where the Leaf Jonin was from. She prayed with all her heart that she wouldn’t have to see him, wouldn’t run into him. But, judging by her luck, she would. She would avoid him just like she avoided everyone else, and not pay him any mind. That was in the past, years ago, and she had to move on…

    But she just found it so damn hard. So hard to forget all those times Haku and she would spend together in secret, every placid kiss, every gentle touch, every soft whisper… she missed him terribly. She couldn’t get over him, and she never would be able to. She had found the one that she was meant to be with forever, and she lost him.


    She couldn’t linger on the past right now, she needed to get out of there. It was almost four in the morning, and that meant in an hour, Hotaru would be banging on the ceiling, screaming at her to get up. She stared at herself in disproval for a few more moments, and then shook her head. Come on, Chii, just leave already…

    “T-Toumei no j-juutsu…” she whispered to herself as she formed a simple hand sign with her right hand, and she vanished into thin air. But of course, she wasn’t gone, she was just invisible. She patted her already transparent bag, to make sure she had everything, and sure enough, she did. She took a deep breath and hesitantly leaped through the wall, appearing on the other side, without even opening the window. That was one of the few perks of having a curse mark; she was able to go unnoticed even in the most crowded places.

    Hoping off the huge roof, she landed on the lower part of the roof, and finally onto the ground. She landed in the classic ninja stance: squatting slightly, one hand on the ground and the other out for balance. She scoped out the familiar area with wary eyes, as if someone could see her. She was terribly self conscious about everything, even about things that she’d mastered, like Genjuutsu. Thinking that someone could see her was a far off thought; she knew that no one could see through her juutsu, except for a Byakugan user, but no Hyuuga lived anywhere around here. They were from Konoha, she had read about them before, and she would have to keep an eye out for that; she didn’t want anyone noticing her.

    She hesitantly stood up, and began dashing down the path, towards the immense, murky black gates. Disappearing through them, she continued sprinting down the Ayanokoji Clan’s vast estate. The broad conduit was lined with large and stunning mansions, not quite as massive as her sister’s, but still good-sized. Hotaru’s house was Japanese style, with lights contouring the walls, and the edge of the path. But the lights were shut off, for everyone was asleep at this hour, except for Chii, of course.

    She pondered what her sisters would deem, when they yelled at her to come down from the attic, and when they took in the fact that she was gone forever… and she entreated that they wouldn’t go after her and be able to find her.

    After some time, she irrevocably reached the main gateway, and floated through it easily. She had escaped her estate. That was the end of the first step, and she hadn’t gotten caught yet… she had no idea what she would do if she got caught. She would be dead for sure… that was a lie. She was already lifeless, anyways.

    She drifted through the village, slowing her pace, not so rapid now. She didn’t have to be in such a hurry at the moment; she had escaped, and her sisters wouldn’t be truly conscious until around ten, and it wasn’t even four-thirty yet. She had plenty of time to take in the last of the gloomy village…

    The rain drizzled gently down, sprinkling on the floor, but descending right through her. It was nice, not to get soaking wet, and just the thought of getting out of this hell gave her a little hope. It gave her a small amount of prospect that maybe, just maybe, things would turn out okay. Maybe she would make a bundle of new friends, get over her weaknesses, and transform her shy self into a social butterfly. Yes, maybe.

    …But she highly doubted it.

    Floating through the light shower, she sort of wished that she could feel it. But she couldn’t laze around anymore; she did have to be at Konoha in just a few hours, at nine o’clock. It was around four-thirty, she figured, but the sun wasn’t up just yet. Still, some of the villagers rose early, and she should really get out of there as soon as possible.

    But there was one more thing she needed to do before she left Kiri. Turning her invisible body, she hopped on the roofs of several village houses silently, and entered a large forest, traveling on the thick branches of trees. She knew where she was headed, even though it was almost impossible for 

    anyone to see, considering the unbearable fog. But she was used to traveling in these parts of the forest, since she came to where she was going every day she was able to sneak out. She couldn't stand not being there, and sometimes she brought a book along to read. On rare days when she was allowed out of her attic, she'd spend the day there reading.

    The forest was like a blur to her, and all she could see out of her perepheral vision was the distorted jade green leaves that drifted in the background. She was leaping from tree to tree very rapidly, and her swiftness was one of her few advantages. But she was still about average in speed, but she considered that a semi-good point, since she wasn’t so respectable in ninjuutsu or taijuutsu, and she was too afraid to perform her genjuutsu.

    After a few moments of soaring through the haziness, she leaped down from a tree and disembarked in a sort of clearing, where one could catch a glimpse the spacious ocean. She stared at the ample sea of deep blue for a moment and averted her gaze, to two graves shaped like crosses; one with some kind of cloth wrapped around it and another with a huge sword behind it. Her expression was unreadable because of her bangs, but inside, she was torn.

    She hadn’t been able to spend very much time with the graves lately, because of working out secret plans to escape, and everything. It was killing her, wishing that she could’ve had more time with him. But she didn’t, and she would have to live with it now… there was nothing she could do; it wasn’t like she could bring him back. But that wasn’t the truth.

    She walked slowly, hesitantly, over to them, as if stalling, or taking her time. She reached them and stopped at one with an obi wrapped around it, and she kneeled down in front of it, staring at it uneasily. Engraved on the cross shaped stone was four letters, in all capitals:


    Her eyes lingered on the name and she glanced down at the grass, twirling it on her finger. She studied the green waves as they blew in a sudden gust of wind.

    It was a few minutes before she spoke. "Ano… H-hello… H-Haku-kun… Z-Zabuza-sama…" she stumbled on her words, but knew very well no one would answer. Not yet, at least.

    She formed her hand into another simple hand sign, and closed her eyes, focusing her chakra. She placed her left hand on the ground, and whispered, “D-Deddo D-Densou no Juutsu…” All was silent after that.


    A slightly feminine voice echoed through Chii’s mind, and her eyes remained closed, though she tensed slightly. “Haku…”

    Oh, Chii, I’m so glad to see you! It’s been so long since you’ve visited, and I missed you.

    “I-I m-miss you t-too…” she murmured in complete honesty.

    Is everything alright? You aren’t hurt, are you? You sound… a little different, I think… and you know you can tell me anything.

    She cringed, and was slightly nervous now, since she knew that Haku could see her, and she was unable to. “H-Haku, do you th-think, th-that… y-you could…”

    Oh! I’m sorry. I’m a little tired right now, so do you think you could help me a little bit? I’m sorry.

    Chii shook her head, and bit her lip. “D-don’t be s-sorry…” she muttered, as she focused even more. It took a moment to clear her thoughts that were swirling around in her head like a hurricane, which Kiri got often. Finally, she gathered up enough chakra to give Haku what he wanted.

    And then a figure appeared in front of her. If Chii was someone else (which she wanted desperately), she would not be able to confirm that it was a person. But Chii had done it so many times before, and she knew exactly who the hologram was.

    It was Haku. Long, black locks fell smoothly over his perfect, rounded shoulders. He was wearing a slightly feminine cherry-colored kimono, but despite the color, it looked perfect to go along with his soft facial features. Already had a prepared smile for her, he floated before her and sat down in front of her. His deep brown eyes looked her over, most likely to verify if she was in good condition or not.

    “H-Haku… I-I’m f-fine…” she insisted, turning her head back and forth in protest.

    He shook his head, his shiny hair shimmering in the faint rain. “Something is wrong. Do you have something to tell me, perhaps?” his voice was much clearer now, though his image was but a faded blur.

    That boy could always read her mind, practically, couldn’t he? She bit down on her lip hard, and looked away. Haku reached out a discolored hand, and the coolness of his aura brought her head back up to look at him.

    “Please, tell me, Chii… I must know if something is wrong.” He said, his voice pleading. There was a deep sense of concern in his eyes…

    She knew that she would have to tell him sooner or later. But she would definitely bet her money on the first option. She didn’t want to, but she forced herself to look at him. “I-I’m l-leaving,” she choked out weakly.

    The silence that Chii’s words brought on was uncomfortable for her. Haku remained staring hard at the ground, his expression unreadable. Chii stole a couple glances at him, but she couldn’t tell what he was thinking. Although, she had a general idea. He might be pained, or hurt, either one. But never angry. Haku was never, ever angry.

    “Leaving?” he glanced up at her once more, and his expression was unidentifiable. He was just impossible to read, right now… but Chii didn’t miss the crack in his voice when he said the lone word that she once longed for, but now feared.

    She nodded sheepishly, and fidgeted with her zipper for a while. “I-I’m s-sorry, b-but…” her voice trailed off slightly, and she had to fight with herself to keep on going. “I-I n-need to get out of h-here… b-because…”

    “I understand, Chii. I’m not sad, I’m relieved.” His statement caused Chii to look up hesitantly. He was relieved? Why? The reason was unknown to her. It didn’t make any sense.

    “B-but… I-I w-won’t be able to s-see you, a-and…”

    Haku shook his head, which stopped Chii. “I know that. But you’ll be out of here. Out of this village, away from Hotaru-san and Yumi-san.” Chii cringed at the mention of her malicious sisters. “It is true, that we won’t be able to see each other anymore, but really… I am just an illusion. We’ll never get to be together in reality, because I will not last long; even now, I am fading…” his voice trailed off, and his appearance flickered once. “But, I want you to know that no matter what, I…” and he flashed again unsteadily, only it continued numerously.

    Chii gasped, reaching out her arm as if that could make him stay. But that broke her concentration, and her own juutsu, and Haku sputtered once more, and vanished into thin air. She stared at where he had been, right in front of her, and now he was gone. She had nothing now.

    The raindrops dropped down onto her face, and her eyes never left that spot. The rain starting drizzling a little more, and she felt her eyes welling up with tears.

    She was alone.

    But this wasn’t the time for self-pity. Haku was gone, and she would never see him again. With a sob, Chii bit down on her lip and tore herself away from the grave, speeding off into the opposite direction. She formed a hand sign and she disappeared into the now pouring rain, into the darkness. She couldn’t stand to stay here anymore; now that Haku was literally gone from all access, she couldn’t stay. Nothing was holding her here anymore. But all the same, she missed him. She would gladly give her life for him… not like she had anything to live for, anyways.

    She hurried through the village, which was still completely vacant, other than herself. Others were in their beds, sleeping soundly, with seemingly no cares in the world. They had friends, they had lovers, they had families… and Chii was left alone, unnoticed, by herself.

    She wanted to pause and think, but she couldn’t. She had to keep going, but… maybe she shouldn’t have left. Maybe she should’ve stayed, and lived her life that way… but then again, it couldn’t be called ‘life’. Her life had been over for six years. It would be called ‘exsistence’.

    Everyone else had something to call their own, and Chii didn’t even have life.

    She was almost out of the village now. Darting through the trees, her thoughts were blurred just like Haku’s image had been, and her emotions swirled together. “H-Haku…” she sobbed to herself, though she couldn’t hear anything over the pouring rain. But there was one thing she could hear very faintly in her mind…

    I love you…