You're not a weapon, Shingen thought bitterly to himself, his brows furrowing when Rei described a group of people whose job was to eliminate the Darkness. The implication, of course, was that she included herself in that group. You're so much more than that, senpai. The chuunin could only wish that Rei didn't beat herself up so much. She was capable of so much good, but first, she needed to learn how to forgive herself. Shingen did not know the things that Rei had done, but whatever it was, it didn't matter. No crime was beyond redemption. Shingen could tell that his senpai carried a heavy burden, a weight that steeled her nerves and clutched at her heart. Like a drowning man with a weight on his legs, her dismay only dragged her further and further down. As more was made, the burden grew, and the further down she sank.
But change wasn't impossible. He knew that first hand. He, like, Rei, had sacrificed a part of himself for his village. He knew what it was like to kill simply because it was commanded, to snuff out the light inside an innocent man. Over time, he had grown accustomed to that feeling. With each kill, the task became easier. With each name added to the list of victims, they all muddled together, until you couldn't remember them all. At some point, it simply becomes easier for the drowning man to let himself drown. To accept what is happening to you, rather than to struggle and to fight. You just become so tired.
It weighed heavily on Shingen's heart. He, too, was a weapon once. And yet, Shingen now quested to find peace and absolution. Despite all that he had done, he was not above redemption. After his talk with his aunt, he stopped trying to kill his guilt. He stopped trying to smother it and hide it away. He accepted what was, perhaps, the most difficult thing to accept of all. He was guilty. What he had done was wrong, regardless of the reasons that he was told to do it. It took someone close to him, his aunt Yui, to ease the burden of his heart. Some things are too heavy to lift alone.
He let his gaze fall to Rei's back, his blue eyes resting on the girl's shoulders. They were slender, sloped downwards in the perfect display of femininity. They were, in a word, beautiful. They were held with perfect posture, not tense, nor rigid, but perfectl upright, as if she were a statue. Shingen wondered what kind of burden that his senpai carried, for regardless of how heavy it might be, she did not let it show. Perhaps that was merely a sign that she carried a burden heavier than most. Those with the greatest burdens tended to hide them the best. As they became accustomed to the weight, they learned better ways to hide it. Shingen had adopted his sense of humor in a similar way. For a moment, an image of the Fox flashed before his eyes. He wondered what kind of burden that the masked figure carried.
The young Mangetsu boy felt his heart skip a beat, as the two came to a stop in front of the entrance to the temple complex. The temple was lightly dusted in white snow, which only made Shingen's chest tighten more, reminding him of all of the days spent with Rei at the ruined temple in the Land of Lightning. For once, Shingen felt himself at a loss for words, as he remained stationary in front of the temple entrance, not yet willing to enter the temple. For he knew that, once the two had entered the temple, the tone would change entirely, and their present conversation would end, committed instead only to memory.
The chuunin didn't want the conversation to end here. He didn't feel like it could end just yet. His heart was beating like crazy, he felt slightly nauseous, and his head was pounding. There were so many things that he wanted to say, so many different words jumbled around in his head that he couldn't be sure which ones were the right ones. He knew that he wanted to help this girl. Part of it was out of obligation. It was only natural to want to help the senpai that had helped him. Rei had taught him and saved him, and so it was only natural that Shingen would want to help save her from herself. However, it was more than that. Perhaps, even, because of that, at least partially, there was another reason he wanted to help her.
"Iloveyou!" He blurted out, letting the words tumble from his mouth as he clenched his fists, his eyes squeezing shut. His breathing was heavy, and his heart was beating so fast it felt like it would explode as he awaited an answer.
However, the voice that answered was not the one that he had expected.
"Fufufufu, how quaint. An Uchiha and a jinchuuriki, what an apt pairing." The voice was haughty but smooth, seeming to echo from all around the temple, like a snake coiling around its prey. A soft chuckle caused the temple grounds to rumble, as Shingen's eyes darted open, and he unconsciously slid into a battle stance.
"It's a shame it will never work out, because the two of you will never leave this place alive."