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Muma IX Draftiness of draft.

I know it's been a while, but it's almost done. Seriously. Essere calmo (mind you, I am half Italian and have no idea if that's correct). Here's a fragment to chew on for the wait.

"Of course she's still alive," Yakushi replied in an absent tone. ""Honestly, Haniwa-kun, I really wonder at you sometimes: did you really think I'd throw away such a precious resource so quickly? Dead, her eyes are set forever. I'd never learn all their secrets that way. Alive, her bloodline limit is ever-changing...in those changes is where the truth lies.

"No," he continued, "she's like that because I gave her some D-Cell 240 once her resistance was exhausted, to prevent, shall we say, another resurgence of feeling on Miss Hyuuga's part...heh. I never predicted that she would keep fighting me for so long. Her resilience was quite a surprise, to say the least."

He stared hard at Yakushi, but the boy continued to have eyes only for his sketching."You spout off about how obvious it is that she remain alive and then turn around and tell me that you gave her D-Cell 240? Yakushi-sensei, are you out of your overly busy mind? D-Cell 240? Torture and vivisection and D-cell 240, it's not surprising, it's absolutely bloody staggering that she's still clinging to life! At the very, very least, she'll be in a coma for weeks."

The younger man shrugged slightly, his fingers flying over the paper as he drew spirals and curves, both sprawling and tiny. "I see that you still don't trust me, Haniwa-kun; it was a very small, very calculated dose. She should be awake in a few days at most, and we can smooth over the rough patches then. Very soon, if things go well, this will all seem like nothing more than an unpleasant dream."

"Huh. And then what? She wakes and you don't think she'll try to escape again?" he pointed out, ignoring the younger man's jibe. "And then I suppose she'll be bothering me once more with her screams."

Yakushi laughed softly, one corner of his mouth hooking up into his trademark thin smile. "Oh, I think she's learned her lesson for now," he said, his hand tracing wide arcs on the paper. "She's really quite sweet and agreeable when she's given the right incentives to cooperate...and I have a feeling that she'll be very willing once I set my terms down."

Tomohiro grunted. "You have another Konoha nin here? A friend?"

"Unfortunately, no." Yakushi was shading something in heavy, dark lines, his face bent close to the paper. "But she's an intelligent little thing. I think she'll see the wisdom of my offer once it's made."

That's really not a good idea, a dry, heavy voice whispered from behind.

Hinata's hands contracted in shock and she almost crushed Kabuto's heart between her rigid fingers: he shuddered and moaned into the blankets as she squeezed him. W-Who said t-that, who's t-there?

A hot gust of wind rose suddenly and pushed at her: she let go of Kabuto and raised her arms to protect her face as the sharp air slapped at her, shoving her down.

S-Stop it! H-Help!

Darkness swaddled her as the ground disappeared from beneath her feet. Breath, light, touch gone and Hinata was away.

She fell for a long time, drifting aimless in the dark while things rumbled and hissed at her. Tiny lights sometimes appeared and then disappeared in an instant: things moved in those lights. She was so numb with terror that she couldn't be absolutely sure, but those things looked very much like...


Yes, the voice said from the darkness, surprising her.

I am falling into a pit lined with snakes.

It is my home. Such as it is!

Hinata touched bottom: snakes under her toes. Snakes wrapped themselves around her ankles and pulled her down to sit: she stumbled, tugged away and cried out, but they didn't bite.

Up, a chorus of tiny voices whispered in her ear, up, up up.

She looked and there were two enormous lights glowing golden in the darkness above her. Hinata could vaguely make out the curve and sweep of a head and a long body disappearing into infinity but all detail was lost in the darkness. As she watched, the lights dipped a little closer. Hello, Hinata Hyuuga. I am not going to eat you.

O-Oh....H-Hello. U-Um, h-how d-did y-you...

You are inside me now.

I-I s-see...U-Um, w-who--

Do you really want to die over him? the voice asked, steeping the pronoun in contempt. A waste of a life...because that's what will happen, you know. He dies, you die. Orochimaru will kill you slowly and you'll have accomplished nothing.

B-But...O-Orochimaru depends on him. The snakes brushed against her, soft on her bare skin. Killing Kabuto would hurt Orochimaru...

Not that much. It would hurt, but only for a while. Then he'll find someone else and the cycle will repeat. Head of the snake and all that...Do you think that Kabuto is his first genius medic?

...he's horrible and dangerous...

and you could take him for yourself.


The eyes glowed more brightly. Just what I said.

N-No, no I-I couldn't...Why, would h-he...

The snakes moved faster, sliding across her legs and under her arms, while the voice talked calmly on.

Everyone has a weakness, everyone, even him. And his failing is a particularly large and human one, though he hides it well.


Just think of what you could do with his power and cunning at your side. Isn't such a resource much better alive than dead? Bend him to your own ends. In the long run, it will be kinder to him.

But...he can't...be trusted...

I'm not saying you must make your move now. But, keep it in mind.

Though, I am not sure how much of this you will consciously retain...