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Ballad of the Snake and his Butterfly

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Mitsuki’s POV

For as long as he could remember – which frankly, isn’t exactly that long – Mitsuki has known that he is different from everyone else.

But he does wonder, sometimes, if he feels differently too.

He has felt happiness before, he mulls. Finding out about Boruto for the first time, meeting the people around Boruto – his family and friends – getting to know them, facing obstacles with them . . . it was all very interesting and enjoyable.

He has felt distress as well – one of the earliest emotions he had developed – from being subjugated to his parent’s ruse.

He feels confusion and curiosity whenever he finds something new to learn. And he is steadfast when it comes to his own opinions, few as they may be. So perhaps he has developed some amount of resolve and individuality during his stay in Konoha.

But emotions like annoyance, anger, sadness, affection, contentment . . . those are still unknown entities to him.

His friends seem to have no trouble expressing these emotions on a daily basis – something that proves difficult for him as of now.

He wonders when would he start learning to feel like other people.

“So when d’ya think they’re gonna start holding hands huh?”

Mitsuki blinks, following Chouchou’s gaze. Boruto and Sarada were bickering as they walk towards the direction of town to take a lunch break from their group training.

Ah. “Is hand-holding of any particular importance?”

“Ha? I wouldn’t call it important. But it’s what couples do. Most couples, anyway,” She shoots him an incredulous look filled with no small amount of exasperation. Akimichi Chouchou is one of the more expressive humans he has encountered thus far. “Don’t tell me that you don’t see them becoming a couple – I mean, don’t get me wrong – Sarada could so totally do better than Boruto, but it’s obvious they both have a thing for each other.”

“Their mutual attraction is rather apparent, so yes, I am aware.” He considers his next words. “I just didn’t know that hand-holding is one of the behavioural aspects humans display to show affection towards their love interests.”

Chouchou stares at him, in what he thinks is an expression of baffled amazement. “You have got to be kidding me. C’mon, couples hold hands all the time – while they’re taking a stroll or dating or just sitting down together – that sort of thing. Hugging and kissing are also part of the package, just so you know.”

“Package?”

“Being a couple.”

“Ah.”

“There’s also sharing an umbrella, sharing food, giving presents – flowers, especially. And surprises. Surprises are a must to keep things fresh between couples. Then there’s cooking together, messing around while cooking together, romantic dinners . . .” She fantasizes, clasping her hands together at her cheek while sighing dreamily.

“You have put a lot of thought into being in a romantic relationship,” he remarks.

“W-well, Yeah! What’s wrong with a girl dreaming about romance?”

“Nothing,” he says with his most genial smile. “I just find the fact quite interesting.” Which is true. As inane as some of Chouchou’s thoughts and actions may be, they are nothing if not honest and vibrant. It amazes him – how someone could express emotions so freely and easily like that.

“Look, I know that you kinda have this ‘Mr. Cool Guy’ persona going on, but don’t you think about romance, like, ever? Maybe feel butterflies in your stomach or have your heart beat faster for someone before? Like for some celebrity or pretty girl.” Mitsuki shakes his head. “Oh c’mon, never?”

“Never,” he confirms. “The only time I have ever felt immense happiness or desire to know more about someone was when my parent left me with the knowledge of Boruto.” He thinks back to that fateful night under the full moon; a new name on his lips and a new purpose in his hand. He feels his mouth curl into a gentle smile. “He is my sun, and I his moon. I will do anything to ensure that he stays safe and happy, for his light is the centre of my world. To protect his light – that’s my purpose in life.”

“Protecting his light huh . . .” Chouchou trails, eyes wandering until they finally settle on a butterfly fluttering about the field where she and his teammates had been training on. She soon loses sight of it however, as the tiny creature flits off into a distance. Letting out a soft hum of disappointment, she starts walking over to the edge of the field where the clearing ends and the forest begins. Mitsuki, curious as he always is, follows her.

She settles for one of the shadier trees and promptly slumps down, folding her arms behind her head and looking skywards. Above them, the clouds drift lazily across the sky. “How about your light then?” she finally asks and Mitsuki feels his eyes widen at the question.

It’s not something he has ever thought about.

“The moon’s important too, ya know,” Chouchou continues, undeterred by his lack of response. “Like, if electricity didn’t exist, it’d be the only thing shining in the darkness. Besides, it’s pretty – like clouds and flowers and . . .” she breaks off suddenly and squints a little, before pointing towards some fluttering movements among a cluster of flowers. “And butterflies. See? They make this field look nicer. It would look plain and boring otherwise; just like how you need more than just a sun in the world.”

Although Mitsuki knows Chouchou generally isn’t a person who thinks too deeply into something, he couldn’t help but think that she meant something more when she said those words. His parent often says that he is to be moon that guides the sun in times of darkness; where everyone else is shrouded by doubt or unfamiliarity of the unknown, he would be the light that illuminates knowledge and truth.

Even as the moon reflects the sun’s light, it is still its own entity. With its own purpose.

In that case, he thinks, I have to find my own purpose.

But still, the sun is irreplaceable. He decides to tell Chouchou as much. “There are many butterflies in the world. Countless, in fact,” he says, staring down at her peering gaze meaningfully. “Even when a butterfly dies, there are always more elsewhere, either being born or developing into one.”

“But there is only ever going to be one sun.”

Chouchou holds his gaze for a beat before focusing back to the sky again.

“Yeah . . . guess you’re right.”

They don’t talk after that. But he doesn’t feel like leaving just yet.

Mitsuki isn’t entirely sure why he lies down as well, but Chocho makes it seem very relaxing and he suppose it’s fine to keep her company since he has little else to do for the afternoon anyway.

As the clouds drift about the sky and the sun dips a little lower from where it was, even Mitsuki’s usually inquisitive mind seem to slow its cogs and gears. He finds himself thinking about nothing. Which is odd. Because he is always thinking; always asking himself questions, always looking for answers. There’s simply so much he doesn’t know but wants to know – normalcy, emotion, path, purpose.

Feeling.

He closes his eyes.

Rustling leaves, chirping birds and the steady breathing of a companion.

Him, a human girl and the nature surrounding them.

This. Maybe this is feeling. Mitsuki lets out a breath and thinks to himself, Just a little while longer.