The Weight of Chains

Leorio opens the door like he's been waiting for you, except that you didn't know you were coming until you were already here. He looks at you for a long moment before stepping aside without a word. Your shoulders slump as you walk past him, as if he takes away your staunch facade as he would a coat. You think you should leave; you cannot afford weakness. Leorio makes your choice with his understanding smile.

You sit on the sofa, drinking lukewarm tea, your thoughts heavy like the rain clouds outside the window. Leorio does not question you, nor try to make conversation. He gives you space, returning to his studies. You listen to the scratch of his pen on paper as you think of life and death and the power you hold over both. Your teacher was right: vengeance is a Pyrrhic victory. The ghosts of your judgment watch you with damning eyes that remind you of your fallen clansmen.

It is too late to change your path. It is your burden, wrought with blood and pierced by Nen-made steel. Your only choice is to continue forward until you reach the end. You fear you won't make it, that you will fail your people and yourself, and the deaths you cause will be for nothing. You pray for strength and the courage to face your conviction head on.

Leorio gifts you with both, as he curls around you in bed when night blankets the sky. He accepts your burdens with a kiss of benediction and a silent offer to shoulder them for a while. Love makes it unnecessary; the weight of the chains you carry lightens with his touch. Warm and sated, you slip into a peaceful sleep and dream of a future free from bondage, a future spent lying in his arms.