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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Listen to the Rain

Author’s Note: ... Sasuke and Kakashi might be OOC some. Just to say that up-front.

I was disappointed at the lack of fics regarding Sasuke and Kakashi as the main characters, so I wrote one myself. This isn’t yaoi, by the way; just two people getting to know each other. I can’t even really say they’re friends.

Damn muses wouldn’t work with me... I’ve never had so much trouble writing an ending. XX eyes it First Naruto fic; hope it’s semi-decent and all that crud—yadda yadda yadda. Now go on and read. pose

Quick thing: this ficcy was inspired by Evanescence’s song of the same title. Is beautiful. Now you may read!

"Listen to the Rain"

by: Rosalyn Angel

He stands there, a wretched boy, dark-haired and dark-eyed; and if you ask me, also rather dark-hearted. Not a cruel one, by any means, but I’ve never once seen him laugh or grin. A smirk or small smile here and there for sure, but if you look closely, you can tell it doesn’t really reach those eyes of his. They’re hard and cold, almost like coal, black depths unsuitable for a twelve-year-old. The moment I saw him I knew he was troubled—I didn’t need both of my eyes uncovered for that.

And now I look at him with my one exposed eye, the other hidden by my headband slipping over it. My nose and mouth are covered by a thin black mask as usual and I wear my jounin attire, ready for action if it should come but comfortable all the same. Said articles of clothing are slowly getting drenched, by the way. And it’s all because of this pale, skinny boy, Uchiha Sasuke.

He’s rather open in the middle of a glade in the forest (a small grassy area, no trees in it to shield him from the rain). I’m hiding at the glade’s edge, in the branches of a thick tree, well-hidden among its leaves. Poised like a cat I spy on him not moving, his frowning but handsome face pointing up to the dark sky. From the night the rain pours, a clear sheet of water; and though the canopy blocks some of it, it still manages to reach me and soak my clothes. My hair, often poking over to the left, hangs in clumps around my angular face.

I sigh. Why did he pick such a dreary day for a walk? I suppose the answer to that would be, "Because he’s Sasuke."

Now, normally I wouldn’t follow a student of mine, especially if there’s no training and I sense no immediate danger. But very few people are out of their homes on such a night, so when I saw the kid walking down the cobblestone street I felt inclined to follow in secret. It was drizzling then; when we reached the forest, it poured. So now we’re here, and I dare to admit that I followed him because I was worried, and still am.

His eyes are closed, dark blue shirt and white shorts clinging tightly. His headband, the metal piece over his forehead carrying the symbol of our village: a leaf, gleams by the star and moon light. Long black bangs dangle around his white neck, the back of his hair cut a little shorter. He’s completely unprotected against the rain, rivulets running down his small nose and around his now-parted mouth, dripping off his hair and chin to soak into his clothes. The ground isn’t pleasant either; it’s made his blue sandals muddy, not to mention my own.

I stay here for a moment, observing him and hoping to quell the faint concern in my chest. I grow attached to my students, yes, but this one in particular makes my silver hair turn grey. It’s not because he likes to be alone, I can understand that; rather because he’s alone even when his teammates are near. He tries hard to hide it behind that cold facade of his, but he certainly can’t fool me, Copy Ninja Kakashi.

"Whoever you are, you can come out of hiding now."

... eheh... and it seems as though I can’t fool him either.

At his low and calm words I drop to the ground silently, landing in a crouch to lessen the jar of the impact. Straightening, I stick my gloved hands into the pockets of my olive green jounin vest and casually stroll into the glade, now feeling the full force of the downpour. He hasn’t moved, hasn’t even opened his eyes. I wonder what the boy’s thinking about?

"Yo," I say, letting my voice indicate who I am.

A dark eyebrow knits. "Kakashi-sensei."

"Hm." I move to stand side-by-side with him, raising a hand to shield my face from the rain as I look up. After a slow blink, my damp mask feeling odd against my skin, I ask: "How did you know I was there?"

He takes a deep breath, filling his senses with wet grass, mud, and water. "The rain fell differently somewhere in the trees. It didn’t sound like it hit against leaf or bark, but rather against a person."

I can’t keep a smile away. "You’ll become a great ninja, Sasuke."

He doesn’t give a reply.

We lapse into silence. There isn’t much to talk about. I know little of him and he knows almost nothing of me. I am his teacher; he is my student. We’re not really friends. Later we might be—as of yet we haven’t had the interaction friendship calls for. But still I worry for him, perhaps out of compassion, or maybe it’s simply because I don’t want his troubles jeopardizing teamwork on a mission.

I glance at him. His eyes are still closed and he appears to be lost in his own little world, concentrating on something. Then I realize:

"Are you listening?"

My voice is quiet, mingled with small splashes of raindrops. He hears it anyway, I know he does. I think my question confuses him at first because his eyebrow quirks again. But then it relaxes and he replies: "I am."

I lower my head, looking at him from the corner of my eye, studying him intensely for every movement, every breath, every bit of water running down him. I’m sure he’s done the same to me at some point; we perplex each other, a mystery to a mystery. We’re kind of akin that way.

"What do you hear?" I ask.

That’s when his eyes open a sliver and I see the ebony orbs, but something is different—something is... softer. Instead of seeming like a hard surface, they’re black voids, deep and thoughtful. The rain continues its course from the heavens—hundreds of drops echo around us, I looking at him and he at the sky, not even flinching.

"It’s sad," he says, voice not carrying the same determination and confidence it usually does. It sounds faraway, dare I say dreamy. "Just sad."

"Hm," I hum, raising a hand to stroke my chin and closing my eyes. "It is, isn’t it?"

More splatters and tiny splashes occur, interminable.

"Everything has energy, or chakra," he suddenly begins. I simply pay attention. "Even things we don’t think are alive. And energy experiences things."

A short pause. He’s still frowning, though only slightly, and his eyes waver underneath dark lashes.

"The water..." he trails off, so I wait for him to keep going. The boy eventually does: "The water is used over and over again. It raises from the lakes, rivers and ocean into the clouds as vapor, and then it falls back as rain. As rain, it’s probably experienced a lot of things."

He stops, so I observe him again. He struck me as the thinking, brooding type when we first met, and now I can tell he has at least one more thing to add on. Usually that one more thing is crucial to a person’s inner workings, so I don’t try to interrupt.

"A lot of sad things happen when it’s raining."

All I can say in response is: "Aa."

I know all of this, of course. It’s a practice few ninjas do—tuning their ears to the energy around them. Most rely on their sight, which can be their downfall. I never really cared before to listen to the rain. But now that I am, I think: yes, it does have a sort of sad ring to it.

I wonder exactly what this water has seen in all of its cycles. Probably a lot, both sad and happy things, but the former seems to be heavier. I suppose it means that someone, somewhere out there, experienced something painful while the rain was watching. It’s depressing to think about, which is why I didn’t think about it in the first place. Sasuke’s too deep for his own good.

It’s quiet again, so I sigh. I don’t believe I’ll ever understand him enough to be able to help in any way, besides teaching him chakra control and techniques. Glancing quickly at him, I guess he won’t be leaving here soon. I would feel awkward if I left him, so I opt to stick around. After deciding that, I study his eyes once more. Maybe they’ll show me something.

I blink, averting my gaze. He actually looks relaxed—you don’t get a relaxed Sasuke everyday. I purse my lips, pondering. He’s listening to the energy and being relaxed; I’ve gathered that much. Now the question is why...

"I understand now."

He looks startled for a moment by my words. Then he lowers his face and turns it to me, looking at me straight on. "What do you mean?"

I grin, almost proud. "I understand why you listen to the rain."

Somewhere out there, someone experienced something painful.

"Hm." He smirks, his usual self returning. "You do, do you?"

While the rain was watching.

"Yeah," I say lazily. "I do."

So he listens to it.

"I’m sure."

And he feels it.

"It comforts you that you’re not the only one."

His mouth becomes a straight line and his dark eyes bore into me, face becoming a shade paler than normal. Maybe he’s afraid of others getting to know him, afraid that he’ll let them in and then lose them—but it’s too late now. I understand.

No more words are spoken. The only sound is the rain. And for now, I’m content to listen.


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