“Hidan, stop” Konan’s cold voice demanded as she stepped through the cell door. Hidan turned around, his maniac grin turned into a frown and then into an angry impression. “Why? I’m not done with the bitch yet!”
“Yes you are” Kakuzu who had followed Konan grumbled.
“Pain decided that the punishment is enough, so get out now!” Konan glared at him dangerously and the Jashinist hesitated for a moment but then he pulled his scythe out of his chest, snorted, and stomped out of the room, changing back to normal.
Quickly Konan hurried to the chained up girl. She was conscious, but just barely. She panted heavily, blood was running down her body and Konan had to be careful to not slip on the sticky substance on the ground.
Carefully the Origami user loosened the chains which caused Kazumi to fall down. She was too weak to stand on her own. Konan picked her up and laid the thin girl on a place that wasn’t covered with blood. Kakuzu pulled her red and torn clothes away so that he could try to heal her wounds and to stitch them up.
Groaning in pain the little hands of the girl turned into fists.
“That idiot always has to overdo it” Kakuzu growled, holding Kazumi’s aching body down.
“How bad is it?” Konan asked, trying to hide her fear. She couldn’t help but liking the girl. Kazumi had a strong spirit and she knew that she would fit into Akatsuki. She also had understood why Pain needed to punish her, but still… She just had been happy when Pain finally decided that it would be enough and she had sworn to herself that if Kazumi wouldn’t heal, Hidan would regret it.
“With Sasori’s help I might heal her, but she lost a lot of blood and it could be that we have to transfer it from one of us. But in that condition even my stitches won’t heal her.”
Konan nodded and stood up. “I’ll bring Sasori.”
“But he should come into the hospital section, I can’t treat her here.”
When I woke up I was surrounded by darkness. Pitch black darkness that remained even as I tried to open my eyes.
For a moment I knew nothing. Not my name, my age, my story; nothing. I only felt a little bit dizzy and every time I tried to concentrate, my thoughts were slipping away.
Where was I? I couldn’t move. I was lying on top of something. The underground was cold and hard and it made me shiver where it touched my bare skin. I tried to move my arms and feet, but couldn’t. It felt like I’ve been paralysed.
Fear was starting to rise inside me. What was going on? Where was I? What had happened? Who was-
Tora. My name was Tora. The memories came back, well only the memories since I had woken up in that forest. But how did I get here?
I closed my eyes, thought deeply, searched my brain for information and tried to hold them while fighting against that dizziness and my tired mind.
I had been on a mission with Kakuzu and Hidan because that drunken bastard had told information about them. I had been the bait. In the next morning I have had a headache, but Hidan had dragged me out to bring me some medicine. I’ve been on that bench, clutching my head…
What had happened next?! I had no clue.
Sighing I tried to move again, but it still didn’t work. I wasn’t bound or something, it was just that I couldn’t move.
I tried to yell. “Hello?” It sounded more like a croaky whisper. My mouth was dry, my lips a little bit busted because of the dryness. When did I drink the last time? How long have I been out cold?
I tried it again: “Hello?” and again. So long until my voice wasn’t raspy anymore but a very loud and angry shout.
“HELLO?! Is there anyone? Make me free, now! Damn you asshole!”
I cussed and screamed, hoping that someone would come, and that it covered the fear I’ve felt.
Did Pain find out that I wasn’t the host or that we lied to him?
What the hell happened?!
I stopped in my outburst when I suddenly heard something. It was hard to hear, but my ears picked up the sound.
A low hissing came from my right. Something moved underneath the table like object I was laying on. The hissing now came from my left and went to my feet. A material was rasping against the ground as the creature moved. It went upwards, still hissing. The sound was familiar to me and it sent icy cold shivers down my spine and let me tremble in fear. I didn’t know what it was, but I knew that I hated it. The creature was now on the table next to me. It crawled forward, and then suddenly moved on my body. I let out a squeal as it landed on my legs.
Trying to push it away I fought against the paralyses. Come on body, move!
Suddenly my leg did move indeed and the creature landed with a loud hissing and splashing sound on the ground. In a rush I rolled myself over the table and landed with a groan on the ground. I was still partly paralysed but I would leave this scary place, even if I had to crawl out!
I felt that I was somewhere underground. The place had a lot of tunnels, hallways and rooms but I knew which way to take instantly.
Pushing forward, away from that hissing, I crawled to the door. I pulled myself up and gripped the door handle tightly.
But before I could open the door, the hissing crawling creature had closed the space between us. I barely felt the pain as something dug inside my skin. I just felt the spreading numbness reaching out from my right feet. My hand slipped from the handle, I stumbled back and landed on the ground breathing hardly. Again I couldn’t move and my mind started to turn black. The last think I heard was the triumphal hissing from the creature.
“Kazumi...” She knew that she knew the voice but she didn’t want to hear it.
“Kazumi!” Groaning she tried to block that irritable voice; she wanted to swim in the friendly darkness that surrounded her for a bit longer…
“Kazumi, open up your damn eyes, now is not the time to chill!”
Growling angrily she opened her eyes and shouted: “Be quiet!”
For a few seconds there was total silence and Kazumi blinked a few times to clear the picture of her surroundings. She winced as she met dark and red eyes. Kakuzu, she remembered.
But she thought that Masayoshi had called her?
Confused she tried to sit up to get a better view of the room she was in but a sharp pain in her chest made her hiss and forced her back down. As Kazumi lifted the blanket that was covering her she inhaled deeply. She looked like a mummy! Every inch of her skin was wrapped up in bandages!
“What… what happened?” Kazumi whispered out, swallowing deeply.
“Hidan punished and almost killed you” Kakuzu replied with his growling deeply voice.
Hidan… Yes, she remembered him. The pain, the agony, Masayoshi’s helpless growls, her screams, the blood…
Suddenly she started to shiver, her hands shook in fear and she hid them underneath the blanket quickly.
“Leader-sama wanted to speak to you as soon as you woke up” Kakuzu informed her and was about to leave.
“Wait” Kazumi’s weakened voice stopped him. She knew that she could never make it to Pain’s office without fainting on the way.
“Can you… can you please ask Leader-sama if he could come? I’m too weak to move.”
Kakuzu grunted in response and disappeared.
Tired she closed her eyes.
“You can rest later, but not now! There are important things to deal with!”
Not now, she protested, drifting off into sleep.
A loud growl inside her mind made her wake up instantly and he looked around frightened – only to stare into the ringed eyes of Pain who watched her emotionlessly.
Behind him Tobi was leaning against the wall, watching her through the hole in his mask.
Their little talk in the cell came to her mind. He found out her real name but luckily not that she was the host instead of Tora. Tora…
“Where’s Tora?” she asked bluntly, fear in her voice.
“That’s what we wanted to know from you” Pain replied calmly. “She disappeared on her mission.”
“I don’t know where she is, but I don’t think that she ran off” she said eyeing the masked man, remembering his words. “Maybe she was taken or had to hide from someone?”
“From who?” Pain asked, raising slightly an eyebrow.
Kazumi shrugged, regretting it instantly as pain shot through her shoulder.
“I don’t know” she whispered with weak voice. After a moment of thinking she asked: “What was the mission about?”
The two men looked at each other but then Pain again turned to her and answered: “They had to question and take care about someone who had told around information about Akatsuki.”
Kazumi just asked the next question that came into her mind: “Where did the man have the information from?”
“Someone told him, but he couldn’t tell who it was or what he looked like.”
“Who could know something about Akatsuki?”
The masked man suddenly chuckled. “She is indeed smart. We had thought about these questions too, and there is only one answer…”
Kazumi raised an eyebrow curiously; her pain or wounds were completely forgotten by now. She wanted to know what had happened to Tora and she knew that Masayoshi was listening carefully too.
“Orochimaru” Pain answered. “He was a former member, but left after he tried to take Itachi’s body and his Sharingan. We tried to get rid of him several times, but he’s hiding well.”
“Not until yesterday” Tobi continued.
“What did happen yesterday?” Kazumi wanted to know.
“Orochimaru and his followers attacked together with Suna and the Jinchuriki of the One-Tails Konoha” Pain said, watching her.
Kazumi’s eyes widened. Jinchuriki of the One-Tails… Gaara!
“Well he did say that he had to leave Suna”, Masayoshi mentioned and pictures of Gaara’s past and feelings again swept over her.
“Kazumi!” Pain’s sharp voice brought her back from the sad and painful memories, back to the little hospital in the Akatsuki hideout.
“There are only three possibilities regarding Tora” the masked man said: “One, she ran off. To find her again we sent Zetsu searching after her. Two, she somehow caught the eye of Orochimaru. He has a slightly sick interest in people with specialties like the dragon spirit or her earth controlling, which he could use for his experiments. In that case we have to find her as fast as possible before he gets any information from her. Three, someone else we hadn’t heard of appeared but in the moment we can’t check it.”
“The followers of Orochimaru who attacked Konoha came from Otogakure. That’s why I’ll send two teams to the Sound; and one near Konoha in the case that she’ll reappear there” Pain said.
Kazumi nodded, biting her lower lip. She was worried about Tora, what if she was kidnapped by that Orochimaru? What if – like Pain said – she would tell him information about Akatsuki? If they almost let Hidan kill her just because she deceived them, what would they do to Tora if she would tell anything?
Damn, they had to find her! Luckily Akatsuki had skill in tracking people down.
They would find her. They needed to find her!
“Kazumi” Pain again addressed her. “I want you to go searching after the host too.” Surprised she looked up at him, then to the masked man, and back to Pain.
“Because she trusts you and you know her probably the best from us” Pain replied. “We have to catch her fast, and I think that you also want to find her.”
“Good, Konan will come and take care about you.” With that he turned around and left. The masked man pushed himself off the wall, looked at her for a moment and disappeared too.
A couple of minutes later Konan came in with a tray of food and a bottle of water. Just then Kazumi noticed that she was damn hungry and thirsty. How long had she been out cold?
“Two days”, Masayoshi answered her. “Your wounds were very serious, you should be happy that you even survived.” She heard concern in her voice but also the unsaid promise that if Hidan would have killed her she would have ripped him apart.
“Thank you” Kazumi smiled at Konan who nodded, but her eyes weren’t as cold as in the beginning of her caption.
She forced herself to eat slowly so that she wouldn’t throw everything up right away. The whole time Konan stood beside her bed and watched her, but it wasn’t a cold stare like from Pain but a caring warm one. When she was finished Konan placed the tray away and helped her into the bathroom to wash her body carefully. Kazumi’s face went pale for a second as she saw her bare skin. Even though most of the blood was gone the skin was still red and the scars from the wounds would never leave. She looked like a walking zombie, her hair had more knots than she could count, she smelled sweat and blood, and she had dark shadows under her eyes. But at least she was alive.
After Konan gave her something to eat that would help her to regain her strength and chakra she left with a bow.
Half a day, that was the time she had to rest according to Konan, then she would fly with Deidara and Sasori to Sound where they would meet Itachi and Kisame.
Tora, she thought, laying back into the pillows and closing her eyes, hold on please, I’m coming.
When I woke up I didn’t feel that dizzy and confused like the last time, but my head still hurt. Also I could feel my arms and legs, they weren’t numb anymore, but it didn’t help because they were bound now. I was still lying on the cold table and I knew that someone else was in the room.
“I know that you are there, asshole! Who the hell are you and what do you want from me?!” I shouted, trying suppressing my fear.
I heard a slight chuckle and then a man said with a hissing voice: “But my dear Tora, after all the time we’ve spent together, you should know me very well.”
My blood froze, my heart sped up, and fear pressed my insides together and made me feel sick. I shook in fright and my eyes widened in horror as I recognized the voice. Memories came back up; memories which my mind wanted to forget and let me wince.
Endless pain and agony, my own frightened screams that echoed from the walls, sticky blood, a fire that burned slowly away my insides, and the rattling of chains.
I relived that horror nightmare again in my mind, all my confidence and bravery was gone within seconds. Everything that was left was blank fear.
“It was very impolite from you to run away, Tora, but imagine my surprise as Kabuto told me that he saw you in the Village Hidden in the Grass. Thereby he only wanted to take care about the Akatsuki we had baited with telling someone information I still had about my friends. But you, you’re more treasure than every one of them will ever be, don’t you think so? And now we can continue where we left in my experiments, to find a way how to solve the problem with your blindness.”
I didn’t listen to him. Instead I had crawled into the furthest corner in my mind and lay there in a foetus position. I knew what would come now.
But it didn’t make it easier as that monster made the first cut, connected me with his machines and pushed something through a syringe into my system. All my strength had left me and all I could to was whimpering and screaming my soul out as the pain became too much for me.