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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Standing Again

Author: nanirain

A/N: Mmmm, got inspiration to do this randomly. It was one of those "whoa, idea" moments and just like typetypetypetypetypetypetypetypetypetypetypetype thing. It only took a few minutes actually. Yay. My first Kurenai/Asuma ever. I really do hate what happened to them. I loved them as a couple. (crying)

Disclaimer: I don't ownnnn Narutoooo (singing). Shame.

Sometimes it hurt so much that she couldn’t bear it. Sometimes it felt like, after his death, she was always on her knees. Even though she had stood since Shikamaru had told her the news of his death, she had forced herself to stand. And sometimes, everything was still just too heavy. Somehow, she was still on her knees.

She wonders if it’s the weight in her stomach that’s pulling her down. She cries. Because this is all that she has left of him. She cries and cries at night when she knows that nobody is around her and she tries to dredge up enough emotion to feel full again.

She goes through a phase of wanting pressure to take her mind off it. But the baby stops her. She wants to ask for a more dangerous mission - an S rank, an anything, just anything to get her mind off of cool smiles, thoughtful brown eyes, and that stupid, stupid cloud of smoke that she wasted so much time trying to dispel.

She wants him back, or she wants him gone. It’s this in between that she can’t stand. She is dreamless for the first time in a long time, and she doesn’t know if it is a good thing or if it’s torture because she knows that she’s losing him, even when he’s all she can think about.

Even though he’s all she thinks about, she finds herself surprised when she finds a picture of him in Shikamaru’s house, and realizes that she had thought that the bits of green inside his brown eyes were a little bit darker, that his eyes were a little bit more forest colored and less hazel… And she had been wrong. For a moment she is relieved - she is starting to forget him. And then, she’s horrified.

What does she trust - the picture or her memory? Unlike her mind, the paper couldn’t be misled by phantom touches and hazy looks and love. But at the same time, how could she have been so wrong? And how will she ever know without the original to compare it to? She turns away from the photo and feels the tingling burning work its way around her nose and her eyes.

She wants him more than anything.

A kick to her stomach from the inside takes her by surprise. She gasps sharply, and the thickness of the sound reveals that she had been close to crying. Shikamaru turns to find her, startled at first, then worried, and then sympathetic. She appreciates it. Or at least, she tries to.

She puts her hands to her stomach and her teeth find her lip and bite until there’s pain. The baby. His baby. What if it looked just like him? What if it looked just like him, and she had to deal with knowing that she had lost him everyday when she found pieces of the man she had lost in their child? Could she bear that? Would she love the baby less? Or worse, what if the baby was all her and no him – then the last of him would be gone and she would truly be alone.

Shikamaru walks her back to her house and leaves her with another promise to take care of the child that’s growing in her uterus. Again, she thanks him, and she means it. But at the same time it’s breaking her to see Shikamaru standing there, looking so laid back, relaxed with the all too familiar cigarette hanging from his lips. The familiar, insufferable cloud of smoke halos around his head in just the same way.

She can’t bear it sometimes. But she wouldn’t ever tell him that.

That night, she feels so empty that she’s scared she will become brittle and break apart. She wanders into the forest, where she’s always found second homes and tries to push her body back into its shape. The tree limbs wrap around her own, and embed her up to her neck in wood. She demands it to contract. Crushed against her body, so tight until she starts to lose her breath, she wonders how she could be pushed so tight and still feel so empty inside.

As she slips into unconsciousness, she thinks that the leaves of the tree that presses so hard against her are just that exact shade of green that she now could remember perfectly being flecked inside his eyes. A cloud of that damn smoke, that god damned wonderful smoke, falls against her face and she smiles because she knows it’s his. With the smile she slips into the blackness.

When she wakes from her own jutsu, everything is white. People are masked and working fast, machines are beeping, plastic snapping, and she’s flat on her back, vulnerable. She’s also drugged, she notes, as she tries to move her arms and fails. Where is she?

She lays there for hours it seems, staring, and feeling the hate and the loss and loneliness and love well up her body, as if being crushed by trees had somehow freed a spring inside her.

Someone’s crying. She lifts her head and eventually people help her sit up. She realizes first that she’s inside a hospital and then she realizes why.

“Oh God.”

The baby. The baby. She hadn’t even thought about it when she’d crushed herself in her trees. What if she had hurt it? What if she had…

The doctor’s push the naked thing into her arms, and she stares. It’s a girl, and she’s beautiful with her little mouth, her little feet, and most of all her little hands, which only a finger could fit inside. She holds her baby, and it almost isn’t real. And then the baby opens its eyes, and she feels like a hand has fallen over the top of her head and run through her hair. Like lips have been pressed into her cheek and smiled against her skin. This time the tears spill freely. Finally everything is hot and filled to the brim inside her body and she can’t stop. A cloud of smoke, the same that had landed against her face in the forest, falls over her now, and she looks up.

Shikamaru stands there, smiling at her and she smiles back, grinning almost, as she cradles the little baby in her arms. She looks down and smiles at it, laughing through hot salty tears and she kisses its forehead, the skin so soft. It looks up at her, gurgling now, but more silently, with the same eyes she thought she’d never be able to look into again.

The cloud of smoke falls over them from Shikamaru’s cigarette and she doesn’t even think to yell at him about second hand smoke. She just holds her child, who is just as much a part of her as a part of him. Finally there’s a link. A baby who embodied herself, and her dead lover – the two of them existed together. It looks up at her intently with his eyes, and Shikamaru laughs and exhales another cloud into her breath.

And Kurenai is finally standing again, because Asuma is everywhere.


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