You Belong To Me
Explaining that situation had definitely been interesting, though in all honesty I really didn't care whether or not Kichiro believed me.
What interested me more was wondering where that ridiculous, clumsy, infuriatingly confusing girl had disappeared off to. She had refrained from using her secondary jutsu yesterday in public that I had gotten so used to, and my abdomen was itching like crazy from where her chakra had healed my injuries.
I scanned the camp but then, figuring she was unlikely to have sought the comfort of one of the other warriors, wandered off into the forest.
Crouching down by a trickling stream, I wet one hand and ran it through my hair in frustration. That was when I felt it. It was faint, but there was no mistaking the familiar flicker of chakra in the distance. I cleared the stream easily and wandered towards her chakra signature, absently wondering why she had strayed so far from the camp. Foolish girl, knowing there's a war on and everything.
But it wasn't long before I realised she wasn't alone, there was one, no two other presences accompanying her, and as I concentrated harder, I could feel her chakra spiking uncontrollably.
I broke into a jog, suppressing my anger as it bubbled in the pit of my stomach uncomfortably. I could be jumping to conclusions, but I highly doubted it was enemy warriors or even mere civilians, it was too close to the camp for us not to have noticed them. Which meant it had to be someone from the squad.
Masking my chakra, I jumped up into some low hanging branches, moving from tree to tree as I approached, until finally the three came into view.
Unfortunately, it was as I suspected. Satoshi and Shige, the bastards. She was backed up against a tree, breathing heavily and clutching her wrist, though she didn't appear to be in pain. One of them took a step forward and she flinched as his hand outstretched to touch her cheek.
A low growl formed in the back of my throat and, using the element of surprise, I leapt down between them, forcing them to jolt backwards at my sudden appearance.
'S-Sasori!' I heard her gasp behind me, but my attention was elsewhere.
'You again.' Satoshi spat, taking a few threatening steps forward to close the distance again. 'I thought we already warned you, we take what we want in this squad.'
I lifted one eyebrow in mild amusement. 'And I thought I made it perfectly clear that I wasn't listening.'
'Let me handle him, Satoshi!' Shige barked, advancing and drawing his sword. 'You finish her off.'
I glowered as he jabbed one lanky finger at the cowering girl behind me, but something caught my eye. The wrist that had withdrawn the sword was missing a silver bangle. My eyes darted to the larger male, and found that his was the same case. The taller one I was now glaring at seemed to catch my drift, and gave one throaty laugh.
Emiko's head suddenly fell forward to lean against my back, her breathing ever more haggard. I made to turn around to prop her back against the tree, but as I was momentarily distracted, Shige dove at me and I just barely dodging his sweeping kick that would have left a rather large bruise on my thigh.
'I owe you a rematch, puppet boy!' He snarled, charging again to hurl a series of annoyingly impressive slashes with his katana my way. In the midst of his attack, my eyes flicked back to Emiko and landed on her wrist. Sure enough, poking out under the hand that was pressed against her other arm was a silvery coloured bangle.
I don't know how he managed to track me down, but I was damn glad he had. I had been sat with my legs dangling loosely in the running water of the stream I had found when the pair approached me from behind. One had tugged me up harshly by the wrist, quickly forcing something cold onto my skin over my hand, which I later realised was one of their bangles.
I had managed to pull myself from their grasp but the other one had already slid his own bangle off and was coming at me from my other side. I had backed away until Satoshi, the taller one, activated the bangle on my wrist with some sort of jutsu I had never seen before. It glimmered blue for a split-second, and before I could realise what was happening I felt my chakra being pulled from my arm.
Panic engulfed me as I ran from the scene, desperately trying to rid my arm of the chakra sucking monstrosity, but it hadn't budged an inch, as though welded in place.
They caught up with me easily and Shige pinned me against a tree trunk while Satoshi made a grab for my free arm. Somewhere in the flurry, the bangle was knocked from his hands and I made to scream as it rolled away under some nearby bushes. A hand was slammed over my mouth as my chakra continued to drain.
They stayed like that, watching as I struggled uselessly against their weight, and within minutes, I was knackered. I cursed myself for helping to wear my own chakra down, but either way I hadn't stood a chance against them.
Satoshi chuckled at my mortified expression. 'Finally figured it out, huh?'
'She's not the sharpest tool, is she?' Shige had laughed along with his partner in crime, leaning forward to breathe into my ear, 'since that's all you're going to be from now on, just a tool…'
The tears started to spill from my eyes as I squinted through the exhaustion, scanning my brain for any means of escape.
That's when there was a flash of red and a wonderfully familiar back appeared standing before me.
I glanced over to where Shige was now forcing him away with a string of chakra enforced blows, and I prayed silently that none of them would hit.
'You're almost finished.' Satoshi's voice startled me, and I sank to my knees leaning forward on my open palms as I panted.
Suddenly an arm wrapped hastily around my waist, yanking me upwards with them as they leapt into the sky, landing heavily on a branch overhead.
'Stay awake…' A familiar voice mumbled as I was shifted onto their back. My eyes had slid shut, their lids now far too heavy to stay open, despite my best efforts.
There was an angry shout from below as the person carrying me took off, and I forced my eyes open just long enough to see a slumped, unmoving figure on the ground below.
A blast of chakra suddenly surged through my wrist and I gasped at the impact as it hit my heart, almost electrifying me awake. Sasori glanced over his shoulder questioningly at my sudden burst of life, before he landed swiftly and silently on the ground.
'Can you walk?' He started to lower me off his back, though his arm remained wrapped firmly around my waist as I wobbled.
'I think so…' I nodded, making another grab for the bangle on my wrist, this time it slid off easily to my surprise.
I flung it down on the grass in disgust. 'What the hell…' The redhead didn't have time to answer, as the second it hit the floor, Satoshi dropped down beside it from a tree in front of us.
'Bastard!' He snarled, diving at us forward with what looked like a flaming battle axe. One hard shove to the shoulder was all it took to send me sprawling out of the way of his attack, and as I scrabbled back up to my feet I was relieved to see that he had missed Sasori too.
'Get back to camp, Emiko!' He snapped angrily, but my feet refused to budge, eyes glued to the fight unfolding before me.
Satoshi's axe really was flaming, and my eyes widened as Sasori only narrowly missed several particularly powerful swings that would have sent him flying had they connected with their target. His movements were fast despite his size, so Sasori barely had any chance to counter-attack. I bit my lip as he danced backwards again, just out of range of a foot that had been kicked forward furiously, but he winced as he landed awkwardly on the same leg I had healed after his match with Shige the day before.
I took a step forward uncertainly, my hand reached into the pack that I was incredibly thankful that I had brought out with me earlier that morning. My fingers curled around a small dagger I tried to keep with me at all times, though I wasn't really sure what I could do in this situation. My deliberation was cast aside when a particularly nasty punch connected with the redhead's stomach. Satoshi sneered and slammed the blunt wooden handle of his axe into Sasori's gut, reinforcing the previous blow and causing him to grunt in pain as he spat out blood.
Without thinking, I darted forward towards them, startling the opponent long enough for Sasori to get back to his feet. Now standing in between the pair, Satoshi flashed me a toothy grin as he made a grab for my neck, flinging me out of the way with ease. I crashed through several bushes violently, hissing as their branches tore at my skin and ripped my clothes. I could no longer see what was going on, but after several more grunts and snarls, the battlefield fell deathly silent.
Terrified of the outcome, I crawled cautiously on my hands and knees through the several me-shaped holes in the leaves. The first thing I saw was Satoshi, his dark eyes glassy and lifeless staring straight through me as I emerged from the bushes, a thin trickle of blood seeping from his mouth. I shuddered at his still form and averted my eyes to the second figure, standing a little way to the side.
He was panting softly and watching me carefully as I inched towards Satoshi's unmoving form. Keeping an arm's length away just in case, I stretched out to tough his neck lightly, recoiling hastily when I realised his pulse was non-existent. I stared at the man lying before me, only now spotting the nasty bone shaped lump at the side of his throat, and my breath hitched as I identified his neck as broken.
'He's dead…' I whispered, barely able to believe the words as I uttered them quietly. My mind reeled back to the clearing where Shige had been left unconscious, or so I thought. I struggled to my feet, head spinning as I slid back to the ground weakly. Sasori was beside me in a heartbeat, a vague flicker of concern littering his usually indifferent expression.
I gasped as he slumped to sit beside me, one hand clutching his stomach where Satoshi's fire powered axe handle had collided with him before I had interfered. I moved my hand over his, prying it away gently as he winced.
The scorch marks around the deep black bruise were my main concern, burns were harder to heal and if you didn't get there fast enough they could leave permanent damage.
Deciding to reverse my jutsu methods, I began to form the seals for my own bubble type technique, careful to avoid eye contact with my patient.
My bubble was filled with the subtlest compartments of chakra moulded with my water style, acting as almost a moisturiser for healed injuries. By my using it initially rather than last, I intended to sooth the burn until it was cooled and numbed enough to actually treat.
I could feel his hazel eyes on my skin as I worked, out of the corner of my eye I watched discretely as his gaze trailed up from my hands, up my scratched arms and over my tattered sleeves, until they landed gently on my face.
'You're hurt.' His stated plainly, not even the slightest trace of emotion lingering in his tone.
'Thank you, Captain Obvious…' I grumbled. I concentrated harder on my task and moved on to stage two, the actual healing process. We sat in silence for a while, as I healed and Sasori waited, unusually patiently. After a while, I spoke again. 'Shige's dead too, isn't he?'
It wasn't really a question, but he answered me anyway with a simple 'yes'.
'How are we going to explain that to the others?' I wondered absently. I hadn't really thought of what to do next, though I had my hopes pinned on Sasori to figure it out.
'That is a good question.' He mused quietly, seeming almost amused as my eyes snapped up to meet his. 'Punishment even for liability for a comrade's death is execution, no exceptions.'
'W-what?' My chakra flickered nervously at his words. Death? Surely not in all cases…After a moment, I lowered my voice to barely more than a whisper, unsure of how he might take my next question. 'Sasori?'
'…Why did you do it?'
He snorted, almost making me jump. 'Rather them than me.' It took me a moment to realise he was referring to the fact that he either had to kill them or be killed.
'No, I mean why did you erm, get involved in the first place?' I had finished healing his stomach, and moved my hands up slightly to heal a small cut on his collar bone, but his hand caught mine mid-air, giving it a quick yank and effectively pulling me forward so I was straddling his lap. I could feel my cheeks flush dreadfully as he held me in place, one hand curling around my waist firmly while the other reached up to trail a finger down my cheek.
His hazel eyes locked with mine, a smirk tugging on his mouth as he held me, trapped in his gaze. 'They needed to be taught a lesson for one thing.' He murmured, his mouth hovering millimetres from mine, a shiver running up my spine as his lips brushed against me as he spoke.
'But also because…' He trailed off as his lips skimmed my jawline as he moved to breathe softly against my ear, his voice soft and velvety, like melted dark chocolate. 'You belong to me.'