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redeyedavenger in narukorp

Mindwalking 2 - Sachiko's mind [Sachiko, Kureno, Itae]

Sachiko wasn't looking forward to this mindwalking and it showed in how she was semi-trudging to Kureno's house. She knew this was part of the training, knew that this was another step not just to helping Naruko but also to get her own mind into some semblance of order. But the trepidation, and the fear, were not exactly something she could ignore. She was scared no matter how much she tried to pretend she wasn't. The last person, really the only person, to invade her mind was her sister, and she lived with the results of that all the time. (It wasn't so bad now; being outside the compound and having actually (finally) talked to someone had helped too.) And she did trust Kureno - she wouldn't work with him otherwise.

Still did nothing about the fear.

At least Kureno had given her warning that their next training session would involve him going into her mind. It was time, he'd said, she began learning some of the finer points of creating mental defenses. She hoped it would require only a quick look and then he would need time to decide how to accomplish the goal. Ordinarily she believed in getting as much done at a time as possible, but perhaps for this it wouldn't be such a bad thing to go as slow as possible. Yes, it would end up prolonging it, but she needed to get comfortable with him going into his mind. Which he probably already knew or guessed.

She nervously licked her lips as she mounted the steps of his porch. Outside his door she hesitated, gathering her own courage, and knocked.

Comments

Kureno was preparing himself for this as well, although in a different way, and not so nervously. When Sachiko knocked, he was ready to begin and didn't take long to answer the door. "Come on in, Sachiko. Leave your shoes at the front, please, and follow me."

He walked her the very short distance to the living room, which had been rearranged just for this meeting. Nothing drastic or containing anything so frightening as seals scrawled across the walls; this was a willing exercise after all and with the difference in levels still between them, Kureno felt there was little that could go wrong that he couldn't handle (or escape). Even if Orochimayu had something extra lurking in there, between his ability and even Sachiko's, nothing should really get too out of hand. So the living room was left simple, his major furniture like the couch and coffee table moved to the walls so that there was an open space in the middle except for two rather comfortable-looking pillows for sitting. The sliding door leading out to the veranda overlooking his yard and koi pond was left open, the curtains pulled back, so the scents and sounds of nature could easily run in. It was felt even more so without all of his furniture in the way, creating a rather open feeling for a room.

"Sit where you like. If you want to move anywhere, feel free."
She felt absurdly grateful for how open the space they would be using was. This was going to be stressful enough without feeling even more trapped by her environment. She stopped about halfway to the pillows and stared out at the view the sliding door allowed. Daylight was good; in the event something went...wrong...the difference in time-of-day would help to snap her out of it. The fresh, cold, clean air circulating would also help. (It had been summertime back then.)

A few calming breaths helped her to take in the room and everything else, to kind of 'store' it in her senses other than simply sight. Touch and smell and hearing were more important than sight right now. She mistrusted herself as about every time she had had to face even the concept of the Mangekyou she had reacted badly. She would do her best to keep Kureno away from those memories, but just in case...

Just in case, she had come to this training session without any weapons or anything that could be used as a weapon whatsoever. That included Leigh's weights. Perhaps the sole exception was the key she needed to get in and out of her apartment, though to be safe, she should probably divest herself of that, too. Reaching into her pocket, she walked over to the coffee table to place the keyring on the wood before stepping back. That would have to do.

A quick, nervous glance to Kureno before she moved one of the cushions so when she knelt, the other cushion would still be in front of her but the patio door would be immediately next to it. She also wanted to be able to feel the soft movements of air on her skin. Tactile placeholders. She hadn't forgotten how caught up she'd gotten in the massacre memory at Kakami's, and how her old sensei's presence as a physical anchor had been what helped her the most in clawing her way back out.

She settled herself to sit crosslegged on the cushion instead of kneeling. Kneeling was more formal and therefore more stressful, and she wanted to relax. More breathing exercises, this time in the spirit of learning how to properly use katon as it actually took more singular focus than typical meditation. She needed calm immensely for this, and she needed a decent amount of time before she decided she was as calm as she was going to get. Which was, actually, fairly calmer than she had been upon entering Kureno's house.

"I'm ready," she said quietly. At least, she hoped she was.
Kureno honestly considered saying, 'That's what you think,' in reply but...today he would be nice. This was a nice mindwalking session. The bad ones would come soon enough.

Purposely waiting for her to be ready before sitting down (in case she did move anything like she had), Kureno sat across from her, poise relaxed and eyes deadly serious. "Then let's begin." His voice began sounding deep and close, but then the more he spoke and the more she obeyed, the farther it seemed to drift, until it was hardly more than ripples in her mind. "Close your eyes and relax, like you're going to dream. Don't fight. Just think of it all as a dream. A dream can't hurt you. It may unsettle and alarm, but it is only a dream. You'll wake up in the morning but for now it's time to relax...to invite...to dream..."


flash.

The first thing Kureno did after the memories ended was reach up and rub his eyes. It would do absolutely nothing to the memory he now shared with Sachiko, but sometimes going through the motions alone offered some stability. The world seen through sharingan eyes... Incredible. To think the Uchiha had such an ability available to them upon a whim once mastered. If things had turned out differently, Konoha could have one unbelievably powerful asset on their side.

The second thing Kureno did was to look down at the spinning ball in his hands, and realize it was in fact a replica of the jutsu Sachiko had created fusing the Chidori and Rasengan together. It felt...a little surreal to be holding a jutsu he hadn't put any effort or chakra into creating or containing, but mindwalking often created very surreal circumstances. This was rather tame in comparison to some things. Still. Weird. (And that wasn't a word he used often.) But Sachiko had actually created such a thing? And more or less on her own for that matter. Kureno wondered if she was aware just how many volumes that spoke about her natural talent. He'd always recognized Kakami for being a genius and knew Sachiko would doubtless follow those footsteps but...seeing this... It was possible Sachiko had already surpassed Kakami long ago. It was bound to happen, but Kureno hadn't suspected it already had. It was...a little unsettling.

And at the same time Kureno finally began to think he'd been going far too easy on her.

Still holding the...hybrid of a jutsu in his hand (it seemed she hadn't named it yet), the jounin turned his eyes back up to Sachiko. "It's a powerful feeling, this ambition. How strong would you say it still is in you?"

Fear memory 1a

flash.

[The 'Team 7 bridge', a bridge of descent width crossing one of the larger rivers in Konoha. Red columns stood sentinel at evenly-spaced intervals that allowed for the bridge to be supported in the face of the current. The three of them--Sachiko, Naruko, Sakurai--faced each other.]


Naruko was crying now, the whisker marks on her face flaring to deep scar-like ridges.

"I hate you Sachiko! I hate you! I wish you actually had killed me, 'cause then at least everyone would be right! At least they'd have a reason to treat you like crap! All you ever do is care about yourself, your own problems, you never even bother to think anyone else may have something to be upset about, and I hate it! Maybe you should have gone to Orochimayu! You selfish bitch!"

It had only taken almost four years, but finally Sachiko had managed to do what she'd tried to back at the Valley - break that bond with Naruko.

Only she didn't expect it to cause her stomach to twist into tight, painful knots, or for Naruko's words to feel like physical blows, or for it to leave the taste of ash in her mouth. It was a hollow victory in more ways than one. She knew Naruko meant what she said. Those eyes... They weren't the same eyes Sachiko would see in the mirror occasionally, but she knew what hate looked like.

And yet... Part of her was calm. Relieved, almost. If Naruko hated her and their bond was broken, that meant the weren't closest friends anymore. Which meant there was no chance of getting the Mangekyou from her death. Which meant Naruko was safe.

She closed her eyes, her shoulders falling a fraction of an inch.

But the hatred wasn't complete. Not yet.

So Sachiko would make it complete. Because it would protect the blonde.

She opened her red-and-black eyes, [And like with other sharingan memories, everything became so preternaturally clear and detailed.] showing nothing of the (pain, fear, love) swirling inside. Instead she called upon her anger, that well-worn shield and mask, sneered and crossed her arms. "Finally, you begin to understand what I tried to tell you from the very beginning." She spat, aiming for near her own foot. "Dobe."

"You don't mean that!" Sakurai yelled at Sachiko. He didn't wait for her to respond, turning back to Naruko quickly. "She doesn't mean that! Naruko, we're your friends, your teammates, we love you! Please, just calm down-!" He reached out to her again, and Sachiko saw the strong ghost of the intent to pull the blonde girl into an embrace--along with just how bright the red chakra burned inside Naruko's body.

Sakurai, don't! The thought became action as Sachiko grabbed the back of Sakurai's shirt and yanked him back. It was too late for hugs; Naruko was practically Kyuubi. All she needed was the fiery chakra to shroud her form and the eyes to lose any last traces of blue. Sachiko didn't know if the hug would actually work, and honestly? She didn't want to risk it. She already lost one best friend today.

She didn't want to lose another immediately after.

Muscles tensed and Naruko was moving, fist pulled back as the fiery chakra boiled up to engulf her arm, stretching and shifting as she launched herself at Sachiko. The snarl that tore out of the blonde's throat seemed to condense in the air, her chakra fist missing Sakurai as it extended to strike the girl behind him, the heat radiating off of her enough to make the air around her ripple.

Sachiko didn't even have the time to swear as the chakra fist caught her in the stomach, knocking the air from her lungs as she went flying. Stars exploded in her vision as she went through a tree trunk, pain wrapping around her body like a well-known lover. She didn't go through the second tree, but she did impact it good. She stayed there a few moments, slumped on the ground with her back against the tree, embracing the physical pain. That she much preferred to the emotional.

Fear memory 1b

She opened the seal, not fully, but enough that the black flame marks spread over half her body. The energies of the curse seal filled her, increasing the well of chakra at her disposal. Power, the seal reminded her rapturously without actually forming the 'words', this is power, this is strength; this power is yours, yours to use, to use however you see fit, yours yours yours, use it, it's free for the taking, all the power you need, and more if you only want it. The un-thoughts were only the usual feelings that always came with the seal's opening but were so inconsequential that while she felt them they were barely acknowledged. Her goal wasn't to destroy, or to gain power; rather without the seal she knew that with Naruko enveloped in the Kyuubi's chakra, she'd never be able to go toe-to-toe and survive, without it giving her that needed edge. She wouldn't go level two if she could help it, but with Naruto Kyuubified, Sachiko didn't want to take chances. Rising to her feet she forcibly shoved away the pain and, hands in pockets, walked out to where the others, especially Naruko, could see her.

She said nothing, but the cold disdain she called up and filled herself with spoke volumes. Is that all you've got, Uzumaki Naruko?

Crouching on all fours as the chakra enveloped her completely, Naruko's eyes slid to a molten red, snarling in anger. She dropped down, then rushed forward, her chakra tail whipping like a banner behind her, the fox ears lying flat against her skull as she lashed out again. The details of the fox were hideously clear--

--and Sachiko had the sudden thought (realization?) this had been an exceedingly and spectacularly STUPID idea.

Sakurai launched himself forward, Sachiko Seeing his intent to physically stop them. She knew he'd fail miserably and that she couldn't let it happen.

She sprinted forward, slamming into Naruko before Sakurai could get hit. She bowled Naruko over and rolled with her, and tried not to think about how the chakra burned, or how it stank, or how it made her stomach churn violently with nausea. She kept them rolling, throwing all of her considerable seal-strength into keeping from being pinned while Naruko thrashed and snarled and growled. Sounds that seriously should not be able to come from a human throat.

The hybrid, that dark voice whispered. Use the hybrid. Naruko broke the bond with you, but you’re still clinging to it like a pathetic weakling. Use the hybrid. Break the bond. Kill her and gain the eyes you need to destroy Itae.

Sachiko snarled. At the voice, at Naruko, at everything and nothing. The voices in her head, she decided, really needed to shut the fuck up.

She had to de-Kyuubify Naruko. She’d been reading the archives and had seen a mention of something called mindwalking. She hadn’t found the scroll that had actually talked about the technique (its uses or implementations), but they way it was mentioned it required the fully-formed Sharingan and it didn’t seem like it was the same as the mangekyou. Instead of creating a pocket of reality, mindwalking allowed the walker to interact with the other person's psyche directly. She had to calm Naruko down, which meant talking to her, and talking to her while she was surging with Kyuubi's chakra wasn't going to happen.

Let this work, she pleaded silently to Whomever might be listening. Grabbing Naruko’s throat (the only way to guarantee the blonde wouldn’t bite her), she locked gazes with Naruko's slitted and hateful eyes, and pushed.

And wanted to scream as the red fire engulfed her completely.
Sachiko jerked the shield from Kureno's hands and backed up before falling to her knees and leaning heavily on the shield for support. She was sweating and shaking, breathing coming in quick gasps, and the snake was back around her shoulders, hissing too quietly for Kureno to be able to tell if it was only just a sibilant sound. Eyes scrunched closed, she reached and clenched a fist over the snake's snout to shut it up. The air pulsed with fear and pain.
Behind Kureno, a silent figure sheathed in a thin, red and black aura landed on the misty ground in a crouch. Originally, Itae's avatar had seen no reason to attack this new invader - the snake was on her list, but it would likely kill Sachiko, too - not until all of that anguish had filled the air. As the memories had progressed from Kyuubi to the snake-woman she had moved closer and observed them from twenty feet above, perched on what looked like a misty outline of a light pole. The particular feel to the air--only certain memories brought on that feel.

Years ago she had herself rifled through Sachiko's memory. She could then play back the images of Orochimayu touching Sachiko even as Kureno saw them for the first time. They upset the balance of Itae's mood and that, combined with the waves of Sachiko's emotions, had made it all too much for Itae to continue to stand by.

It was obvious that Sachiko did not want the memory of the massacre shared with anyone - the memory's first few seconds were familiar enough to the avatar. Cutting it off had not kept her from noticing.

Rising from the crouch while Sachiko was still distracted with the miniature snake, Itae turned her swirling pair of Sharingan to Kureno.

"You do not belong here."

The voice was soft and much younger than the one that the real woman currently bore. This avatar looked more like Sachiko's than a ghost's, and matched the image of Itae the night of the Uchiha massacre. Her body was fourteen and she wore the same clothing from the night, complete with flecks of fresh blood on her ANBU garb. A regulation katana was strapped to her back, though the mask was strangely missing. The blank expression on her face more than made up for it.

She did not draw her katana yet, nor did she make a move to do so. Her stance spoke of a readiness - one that declared his immediate death if he did not do as told.
Itae's movements were all about efficiency. Without a word, Itae stopped the shield with the sole of her foot and kicked back, putting in enough force to send the shield skittering from Sachiko's grip and cause her to stumble. At the same time, Itae twisted the sword in Kureno's throat and sliced the honed edge smoothly through half of his neck. The force necessary required her to take a half-step back, creating an opening to allow her free hand the chance to lash out and grab Sachiko's arm.

Knowing that her sister would not sit by without a fight, Itae spread her aura onto Sachiko.

"Neesan, no; Neesan, please--" Sachiko begged, horror flooding her features as she struggled to get away.

The pleas fell on uncaring ears. As the aura extended, the snake hissed and was pushed aside by an invisible hand, hovering as close to Sachiko as it could stand. The red and black spread incrementally faster to surround her completely, changing the actual avatar into the same seven-year-old girl that had seen Itae like this last. As Sachiko became a small child once more, Itae pulled her closer and picked her up in one arm as the other hand still held the sword, immediately straightening her own stance once she held the girl secure against her shoulder. Her gaze never left Kureno's throughout the process.
It's not that getting stabbed in the throat and then nearly getting his head sliced off didn't hurt--he'd be feeling a sort of grievance for the rest of the day--but mental pain was different from physical pain. That is, it was so long as you knew that's all it was. Genjutsu was most dangerous when the mind couldn't decipher illusion from reality, nor even tell when it shifted from one to the other. But under this circumstance, Kureno had been more than prepared for things to turn bad fast. Although, he hadn't quite expected it to be this kind of bad.

A hand was up at his neck the instant Itae's katana left it, keeping the wound sealed and his head on as best he could even as blood gushed from the wound. After Itae moved in toward Sachiko, he tried to shout the girl's name but only more blood came out. Putting an end to the image and effects of Itae's "killing stroke" was not as simple as he thought, which would have been impressive if it weren't such a problem. The possibility of a problem anyway. It just took a little extra concentration to make the bleeding stop and his "flesh" to mend back together. After all, it was still all just in his head--or Sachiko's rather, but the point remained the same. When his hand moved away, the wound was gone, the only evidence left being the red and brown that stained the front of his uniform.

Red eyes narrowed darkly at the change of situation. Itae's avatar was actually manipulating Sachiko's? Was it because she was just that powerful, or because Sachiko just didn't have the mental stability to fight back? He decided on the latter. If Itae herself had been physically present, he wouldn't have guessed the same.

"Let her go," he said glaring, voice full of warning but still open to reason. "If you don't, I definitely won't be leaving. There's no way I'm leaving now with her like that. You let her go, I'll leave. No more questions."
Sachiko lifted her head, blinking her surprise. She certainly wasn't expecting that question and actually had to think about it. Maybe she was, but she wasn't sure. "Not really," she finally admitted. "I'm more worn out than anything else.

"...I guess tea or coffee would be okay. Maybe coffee, to help wake me up, if you have any?"
"No, you shouldn't really stimulate your body to keep awake right now. If you need to rest, you should rest. If you want, you can stay here until you feel up to making your own way home. I'll lend you my couch, since my guestroom doesn't really have a bed in it yet." Asuka may not appreciate having this interruption to their night, but it could hardly be helped. Kureno really hadn't been expecting anything quite that taxing to be waiting inside Sachiko's head.
Sachiko turned her head away. "Like I said, she shoved one of her memories into my head. It's..." She kept her eyes closed. And fought to keep her tone level. Talking about it had gotten easier, but it was still hard. At least unlike the other two times, the memories weren't surging up to devour her reality again.

Odd. And she would almost swear she felt a faint, negligent tingling of being watched from the shadows...

"She used the mangekyou sharingan on me," she said, nearly inaudible. "After I'd already returned to the compound to see the bodies and the blood in the streets. I got home...

"I got home in time to see her murder our parents." Her attention was focused on the tea in the cup. "A-After, I ran. She caught up with me, used the mangekyou Sharingan to show me how everyone died--how she killed----everyone." Then she told me how to get those same Eyes. "I was seven, sensei. How could it--how could she--not have a strong influence?

"The seal," she continued in colder, brusquer tone, "since I got it, it's been nothing but a means to an end. Now it's not even that. It's an aggravation, a--" her lips twisted wryly, "--curse. I can't get rid of it, no matter how much I want to. It's too much a part of me now."
"...I wasn't trying to say I didn't think there was a good reason for her to be stronger, Sachiko," the jounin said quietly after a considering pause. "It was more an observation, and it is unusual, but I trusted there was good reason. ...Thank you for sharing it." Because she didn't have to. The fact she did showed a sign of trust he didn't want to take for granted.

"You do realize, part of this new training I'll be giving you will involve--no, require you facing these memories again, don't you? It's going to be harsh, intense, and unforgiving, and so will I. I'm going to put you face-to-face with every inner-demon I can summon out of you and make you fight them, and I won't stop doing so until I'm satisfied. You could come out of this training a lot less of the person you are now. Knowing that...are you ready for it?"