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I think that I was predisposed to this.

My family, my mother’s mother, and so on, that they died because our prowess isn’t a power but a great weakening. Affinity is a curse. Affinity is why my body is only good at making goosebumps never when it’s chilled and only when it’s watching how good I am at reducing lives to nothing. My bloodline ability is a reduction agent. My family, on my mother’s side, has a hole in our body where the Hyōton lives. So did my father, for having to live around us.

The hole, please excuse my melancholia, is a spikey icy cavern, hard and dark, but immensely lightweight. We were supposed to have flesh and blood there, but it was replaced. We were supposed to have love there. Generation after generation of reduction of human life into an ice chasm.

Anyway, the lightness is our issue, too. When one is thin and threadbare they may be easily taken by the wind. It was so easy the first time I ever wielded “my power” offensively. I did not call on it, I did not “feel it in my veins,” I did not ask for anything but childishly for God and my mother, who was God. They answered, telling me tiredly– God’s eyelids drooping as if I should already know, and my mother’s because I think she’d despise that she had to explain this to me, –“you are very light, and your curse cannot come to you, you may only emanate it. You are the curse of wasting,” and so I laid waste.

It was readily done. Fractals of the frozen cave were spread effortlessly out from my body. The recession became borne of 3d axes, a plane bursting from the vicinity of my chest outwards. It was as easy as throwing rice over my shoulder, or simpler.

My body is an infrastructure hostile to the space I occupy and that is why I send these spikes outwards. Let the inside-mesh of my body birth a language that can communicate this wordlessly. Let the oil pin-prick misunderstandings that I hold true because they were given to me by God be lost on others, and let them converge into a sharp thing that will penetrate others and assimilate my intent into them. That is the order coded into me as I was told it.

When people wanted us dead for being so facile and waifish, formidable only because we had less of us to lose and therefore could brandish our jutsu with abandon, our bodies were decimated into flurries of snow, as if this airiness could not hold us together. That’s what I heard about the village genocides, anyway. The only reason I lived is because the give and take of our lives is equally effortless. But I suppose it was lucky, if I met Zabuza because of it.

Zabuza likes that I am easy. He berated me while I was first training and still sometimes now, but it’s just a show. I think he finds reasons to be upset at me, because I only ask for water, and sometimes food or shelter. I’ve never verbally asked him for anything that exceeds that, but sometimes I get it anyway. I don’t think he understands what affection is, only a rough idea, and often does not recognize it when he inflicts it on me. But I remember what it felt like, and it feels like I’m getting away with something devious every time. I don’t fool myself into thinking that when he pets my head or tells me I did a good job he’s doing it because he actually cares if I'm happy. He has told me as much. He’s doing it because he’s been trying to prove his hypothesis that praise can actually make better soldiers, using me as the subject.

When we lived in Kirigakure, people congratulated each other but they did not try to affirm one another on any other level, I noticed. Where I came from, we dealt with our own miserableness and the long barren winters by acknowledging a job well done at even very small things.

My mother would tell me I did a good job for fetching water, my neighbor would tell my father the same for the amount of firewood he had amassed that year, and I would crouch far away and whisper it to wild rabbits eating seeds in the field, because I knew it was terribly difficult just to sit still and eat.

In Kirigakure I would spend time with Suigetsu and all he would do is pester me. When we would train together, he did not like when I was gentle and did not like when I played dirty. I never quite understood why we were friends even though I hated how he treated me and he seemed to hate me for everything else. That I was Zabuza’s apprentice, no matter how many times I clarified I wouldn’t be inheriting the sword, and no I cannot convince Zabuza to train him instead, that I was small and yet still taller, that I didn’t want to fight with him but also that I knew how. I could not reveal my kekkei genkai to him so I am certain that in his eyes, I was weak, nearing worthless. I am, but I can do a few things. He must have been quite confused why Zabuza wanted me. He learned, eventually. Maybe when Zabuza was arranging plans for the coup, I’m sure Suigetsu was curious why I was going too, and Mangetsu could have told him.

I just have this feeling that he found out. Or rather, I like to pretend he did because though it may be selfish, I can imagine the look on his face when he might have discovered I actually have a value beyond being some kid to bother. I had a reason for existing. Still, he would not have given me any accolades, not that I deserve or want them. He’d say something derisive to me about it if he had ever seen me after that day. “So, you were going easy on me the whole time?”

Zabuza told me it was just how Suigetsu was. I learned that the academy children did not like me any better. They could sense my emptiness, and grew mad when pushing me around while I was walking home did not yield much of a reaction.

It feels nice when people hit me, ever since I came to understand that it was warranted. I am a disgusting creature and I want to be treated that way. Zabuza doesn’t lay his hand against me anymore, not that the petting that has remained is any less violent to me, but over time I grew fond of the sharpness. I wish he still would hit me, lately. Anyway, I wasn’t allowed to “play with the kids from the academy” anymore, whatever that entails since I was never permitted to play with them at all. I was not enrolled so it was easy enough to avoid them from then on. I just thought it was exciting when anyone my age came up to me, since I came from such a small insular place. I was still discovering the myriad of ways in which people find me putrid and eradicable.

Zabuza’s comrades were mean to him, too. They were strange enough to me but they consistently either feared him enough to be cagey, or belittled him as a show of ego. I suppose Kisame was… occasionally amiable, maybe. I started hoping that merely my pointed scowl would freeze the worst offenders over when I stood listening to their snarky conversations with him, but always thought better of it and stopped pulling faces before anything actually happened.

Zabuza and I grew up in rather different, similarly hostile worlds. Every individual human body is its own hostile environment, but I think mine is worse. I know I’m being dramatic but when I view the topology of my skin I know it to be a wasteland, and inside is all pits and spikes.

I can’t claim I don’t see the same of my master. The inside, anyway. I don’t know. I hate that his body is the same sort of devilish construction as mine and yet to me, he is immaculate. I just can not get over that someone who’s so alike to me could have that much conviction in anything beyond one’s own death wish. He gets up every day, and works for his goals. He has goals. He doesn’t let the cursed empty death pit inside his stomach stop him. It inspires me to do the same, even if it’s just for his sake, since that’s all that really matters to me anyway. I’ve melded his intent into mine even if I never would have done this before. I can’t help but believe in fate and take it as the reason why I’m like this, and the explanation why I could not curl up and die before I met him.

I like resting on his frequency. Our strings are the same, or connected, and I can feel the vibrations along it. I hope he doesn’t know what I’m feeling when I’m feeling it. These sort of thoughts. In battle he reads my thoughts near perfectly, because he is perfect, and he is the better version of myself. I will brave any parade of slaughter just to hang on to his sleeve and pray it may always keep me upright. Nothing could be wrong when I am with him. Nothing he does to me is wrong. Never. It doesn’t mean I don’t still get mad at him but I know that I can never separate myself from what I am and live a normal life. I feel infinitely and unfairly blessed to be at his side. Sometimes I don’t think I’m a human at all. I think I am just a blight on Zabuza’s soul, and on the Earth. The least I could do is not weigh him down. But I think it’s so evenly distributed between us, as I am told, that it is tolerable to him. Maybe I even him out. Maybe the jagged cliff faces of myself fit perfectly into his recessions. I may not reduce him at all.

That would be funny. I wish it were true.

I apologize for my behavior, I will try not to do this again.