Summary: introspection without plot, some fluff
Yugito knew that the nekomata was enraptured with the man, that it felt both hate and a twisted kind of desire for him. But maybe those were just the human sentiments most alike to the designs of the thing’s own maze-like mind.
The demon took her lust and fear to add them to the frantic restlessness Kakuzu invoked in it, the feeling making her pulse throb hard all the way to where her legs met and further down to the soles of her feet as if driven by more than one heart.
Sometimes she wondered if the cat abusing things that were her own meant that she was a splintered thing. Something that was half the demon and half a woman torn apart or if she and the nekomata were simply one in too many places to tell apart. If it meant that she was in a way estranged from herself, because what the cat poured laughingly into her thoughts when it spoke to her in its honeyed whisper were ultimately her own words.
She had incoherent memories of from before the cat had been sealed inside her. Things that must have been a thousand times recreated from what others told her, scenes with too bright highlights and people with faces like watercolor paintings run into each other.
She too recalled the time before she learned to control it, the demon a constant, fluent humming at the back of her consciousness and the neighbor’s tabby cat leaving dead mice and other small rodents at her doorstep. Once it had brought a large, grey-brownish rat. The animal’s body had been disgustingly soft underneath her hands, its fur already plastered to it by the fluids of beginning decomposition. She had stared at the small body there upon the concrete, its tail and limbs bent like they never would have been in life. All the strength and agility it must have possessed when alive gone from it. The whole time the neighbor’s cat had sat not far from its offering, meowing as if in heat or taken by something darker, starring at her or into her at the beast inside her.
The Two-Tails had its own recollections. Strange, twisted things in that she saw not only people she knew with its eyes, but it also laid bare the secrets of those long dead, all the little things Yugito would have liked to remain oblivious of suddenly becoming painfully clear.
So ultimately the demon was a soothsayer or maybe that had just been what it made its second host. Yugito had seen a picture of the woman once. A slim, withered person arranged on a throne-like cushion, her hunched pose giving her the feeling of something that had deliberately been placed there and then forgotten. The woman had spent her life like that Yugito knew. Never moving and seldomly talking, but if she did, speaking only the most terrible of truths in a voice that was not her own. So she had sat beside the Kage like a lifeless talisman, reeking of strong perfume and dried urine until the day they had no longer been able to feed her, the demon finally consuming her whole.
Its jinchūriki always had been women. Probably by coincidence or by something the cat had somehow installed in how the world was made. So it considered itself to be just that, acted like a female thing despite being androgynous not unlike it translated its cryptic thoughts into something Yugito could understand, gave its obsession with Kakuzu the form of a living woman’s emotions.
The beast was hungry for him, ready to take apart what had subdued it. It babbled and hissed when its mind’s wanderings let it to him, purred and rubbed itself against all those parts of Yugito’s consciousness that were sensitive and easy to unbalance, like the neighbor’s cat had stretched on the asphalt just before her old home’s doorstep, its spine bending and its paws trying to catch something unseen in the air.
The Two-Tails saw something raw, old and elemental in him, a shadow of the time when it had been free to roam the in-between places it had used to dwell in. Forests just before the light of dawn, the air grey and moist underneath rustling leaves and caverns just deep enough for the stone to be red-hot and viscous.
Probably it was strange that it thought that way about the man who had captured the being it was imprisoned in, dooming it to be caged in just one more way. But sometimes Yugito could not get rid of the thought that the cat was also amused by that installment, felt a certain sympathy for the man who had forced its vessel under his control. But that didn’t mean it wouldn’t engulf him in its blue-black chakra. That it wouldn’t burn him up in its life force as soon as it got the chance.
“I want him” the cat told her, the verse repeated over and over again in the back of Yugito’s head along with the picture it crawling inside Kakuzu not unlike he did when he took a heart. She felt the cat spread its being through him then, probing all those places of his mind it had not previously understood. And for a second she saw him how the demon saw him, everything terrible in him amplified a thousandfold and flinched away even as Kakuzu turned to look at her.
“What?” he asked probably noticing how her pace that she had kept since somewhere around dawn faltered. The cat sensed both annoyance in his tone and something it termed worry even though Yugito did not.
She dreamt and sometimes she woke with the image of the deranged jinchūriki right at the top of her consciousness only that this time when she looked up the woman had Kakuzu’s green irises and red sclera. And for half a second she felt sorrow and the fury of fulfilled revenge burn inside her and other entangled emotions that had more of the cat’s sentiments mixed in bubble up from somewhere deep within. The things equivalent for hate and some boundless terror that she much have once experienced on a mission, but then shoved it into some forgotten corner of her being. Then, surprisingly strong that sense of kinship she had last felt in Cloud.
So she wondered what Kakuzu considered himself to be. All the way a monster and thus something not unlike the nekomata or wholly a man or something in between? He had been much older than she was now when he had become what he was these days. The harsh lines of his face were etched too deep for it to be any other case. So he must have been a defined thing then, someone who knew who he was and had in a way settled for what he had found himself to be.
She turned then, forcing herself to look right into the center of the green pools of his eyes, training her gaze right on that spot where another man’s pupils would be.
“No” she said, this time making her voice sound stronger, more like a woman would sound who was certain of what she was saying. “Nothing is wrong.”
Then her hand came up, shielding her face from the world with its opened palm like she would do the next time when he was on top of her and the Two-Tails excitement burned her from the inside out.
He cupped her face as they lay skin to skin that evening, the stitches of his arms just barely scratching over the soft skin of her chest, the sensation oddly familiar.
“Just a man” she tried to think, blinking away all those things the demon had shown her earlier like something that had gotten caught in her eye.
Then she sighed, covering his hand with her own much smaller one, not fully believing what she was trying to convince herself of.