He was sitting with one leg stretched out in front of him, the other bent so his elbow could rest casually on his raised knee.
'H-how can you… you w-were… I…' The words tumbled out of my mouth in a mess of jumbled letters. How was this possible? Why was he here? Maybe he was a prisoner too? They must be holding him here for interrogation and that's why he's here… Yes, that had to be it. The one they called the Red Scorpion…
He swung his legs off the windowsill and stood up, his expression thoughtful as he crossed the distance between us, standing mere inches away from me. My eyes scanned over his body in a quick, medical exam. His face had plenty of colour to it, so I doubted he'd been starved or dehydrated recently for any period of time. Then there was his clothes, not torn or dirtied at all, and he definitely hadn't limped as he'd walked. In fact, he didn't seem injured in any way whatsoever. My eyebrows knitted together as my gaze finally landed back on his honey irises. So if he isn't injured…
'Emiko.' My frown increased at his casual tone, despite its low volume, it sounded calm, as though we were back in my own village of Ookiimura, in the town hall, listening to the mayor ramble on about how proud he was to house the warriors of Kazekuni.
I stared at him a moment longer, scrutinising every tiny movement he made, every blink, every breath, before I finally managed to find my voice. 'S-Sasori… I don't understand why you're here…'
His mouth tilted upwards ever-so-slightly, and I scowled slightly in irritation that he was so amused by our situation, whatever it was.
He opened his mouth to speak, but was interrupted by a sudden loud rapping on the door. Brushing past me casually, Sasori moved to open it, revealing an out-of-breath looking boy, no more than 18 years old.
'Sir, we have a problem in the arena. One of the medics is refusing to cooperate.'
'Fine. Take them to room 101 and wait for further orders.'
He went to close the door but the boy spoke again quickly before it clicked shut. 'Oh and Sir, it's good to have you back!'
It was only then that I could no longer deny the truth, and it hit me like a runaway bullet train. My head dipped and I stared numbly at the floor, only vaguely registering his movement. So that's it then. He was… what? A spy? A traitor? Whatever he was, he'd been one of them all along. My mind reeled, almost unable to believe it. How could this have happened? I thought back to when I'd first encountered Sasuke in the town hall. He'd called him his teammate… But for how long? Surely they wouldn't just take any old warrior in off the street and march them off to war days later without any knowledge of their background? No. This must have been a long term, fully planned operation.
A hand cupped my chin to raise my head, startling me enough to break my trance. I smacked it away furiously, taking several steps back as I glowered at the stranger before me.
'Don't touch me. Don't you dare touch me…'
He had the nerve to roll his eyes, stepping forward and trying to close the gap between us again. 'Emiko, don't overrea–'
I cut him short as my hand flew to his cheek, a sickeningly loud 'slap' echoing through the room as I backed away again, leaving a vicious-looking red handprint across the side of his face. He looked stunned for a moment, before turning his head back to meet my blazing orchid eyes.
'Don't you DARE finish that sentence!' I snarled, still retreating until my back hit the wall, and even then I was nowhere near far enough away from that traitor. 'How could you?'
His eyes flashed with something close to anger, and before I knew it he was right in front of me, a hairs breadth away and staring in a more composed, bored fashion. More like the Sasori I used to know.
I tried to shrink away but his hands gripped my wrists, holding them tightly on either side of my head and preventing my escape. 'Calm down, I'm not going to hurt you.' He droned, honey eyes softening slightly as I tried to steady my breathing. As much as I hated to admit it, he was right, I needed to calm down in order to figure things out. I was getting nowhere working myself up like that.
'You should be grateful you're still alive. These people aren't usually all that friendly. As it happens, we're lower on medics than we'd have liked, so raiding the medical camp worked in our favour.'
It sickened me the way he referred to them as 'we', as though he was one of them and always had been. But then again, that was true, wasn't it? It always had been…
Biting my tongue to avoid giving him a well-deserved piece of my mind, I settled on glaring in response.
He sighed slowly, reminding me of how close he was standing when his breath blew across my face. I squirmed again slightly, but his grip on my wrists tightened as he moved his mouth to my neck, murmuring against my skin, 'I wouldn't do that if I were you.'
'What, are you trying to threaten me now?' I ground out through gritted teeth.
'Just a warning…' His lips twisted into a smirk as he replied, his voice silky smooth and barely more than a whisper, sending shivers down my spine. Curse my traitorous reactions.
'What do you want? Why am I here?' I spat, fighting the urge to take a feral chunk out of his neck as his mouth now hovered just below my ear.
'Would you rather be out there, healing strangers for an enemy war party?'
I shuddered again and clenched my fists. 'I'd rather be with my sister.'
'Ah, of course, how could I forget?' He chuckled humourlessly and I swear I could hear the eye roll in his tone. 'Well, if you behave then maybe I'll let you see her.'
'Why you– ah!' I yelped as he bit down hard on the side of my neck, though not quite enough to draw blood. I opened my mouth to throw him the best insult I could muster, however, taking advantage of my open mouth, his lips suddenly crashed down onto mine, his tongue twisting forcefully with my own before I could protest.
'S-Sasori…' I tried to sound annoyed, but his name came out as more of a moan, only serving to spur him on. He released my wrists to twist one hand in my hair while the other wrapped around my middle, securing my waist. I probably didn't struggle as much as I should have, but I didn't get the chance to feel guilty because all too soon he stopped, pulling back just enough to lock me in his gaze.
I stared back, his warm honey eyes seeming so much deeper when up so close, making it harder for him to mask his emotions. I tried to see him as heartless, as the murdering traitor that I should have seen him. But I couldn't. Something about the strange way he was looking at me now made every fibre of my being long to trust him.
His features suddenly broke into a small smirk, breaking the illusion and making me scowl. Jerk.
He pushed away, chuckling as I almost stumbled after him and I couldn't help but feel a slight sense of Déjà vu.
'I'll be right back. Don't go anywhere.' Like I could. He threw me one last amused glance over his shoulder before disappearing through the door abruptly. I blinked slowly, taking in what just happened.
Mixed emotions was not the phrase. I sunk to the floor on the spot and, leaning my head back to stare up at the bland ceiling, I sighed wearily. I was in way over my head and I did not have the faintest clue of how to get out of this mess. For one thing, I was trapped in an enemy camp, with someone I thought I knew but couldn't have been more wrong, and to top it all off there was a war raging at our heels. But for now it seemed, I had time. Time was important, I would need it order to straighten things out.
I would need it to figure things out in my head. And most of all, I would need it to keep myself and my sister alive in the process.
I marched down the corridor and up a small winding staircase to where one of the defiant medics was being held in room 101. It was a pain and a massive waste of time, but someone had to do it. If the medic refused to work with us, then there was really no point in convincing them.
Room 101 was what we called the one-way room, because most of the time, when prisoners went in, they never came out. At least not alive anyway.
It wasn't surprising we had been so unprepared in the way of healing. The leader of Chitani wasn't a brilliant battle planner, nor was he a great ruler, but he shared a common goal with almost the entirety of his people, and so when he had proposed his plan to attack the surrounding smaller villages in order to achieve greater domination, the warriors had followed him.
To say I was a traitor to Kazekuni wouldn't be a complete lie, but there was some elements to that statement that were false. Firstly, I was not of Kazekuni origin in the first place, so I never held any ties to the land to break. Then again, neither was I a member of Chitani. My official birthplace had long since been destroyed by an organisation known to man as the Akatsuki, a criminal gang of S-rank warriors that utterly levelled my homeland in mere seconds.
I was the only one that I knew of to survive the attack that day. I was fifteen.
Joining the Akatsuki may have been the worst thing I ever decided to do in my life. Then again, one could argue it was the best. I never really cared for my village either way, they were a weak and snivelling body of people, barely worth mentioning even now.
But my time with the S-rank organisation taught me a lot, it made me who I am now. Or who I thought I was. Before I met her…
When our leader, a man with an artificial, self-proclaimed name, Pein, had first come to me with the preposition to accept a contract with the land of Chitani, I had been suspicious.
'Why ask me?' I regarded the orange-haired man before me curiously, though I kept a deathly straight face.
'Because, Sasori, should I chose to accept this alliance, one of the members will be required to embark on a long-term quest that could stretch to several years. I'd like that member to be yourself.' His ringed purple eyes narrowed as he spoke, as though daring me to decline.
'I see. Tell me about this quest.'
'It will be an infiltration mission. You must build trust among their troops, make them believe you are who you say. It will not be easy and I cannot promise it won't be tedious at times, but it is necessary to avoid a war between lands at all cost. The reason I'm requesting you do it, is that you are the least likely candidate to fail in this situation.'
I pursed my lips slightly, just to indicate I was considering this task. I was never much of a people-person, but I supposed, I didn't have to be. I could be withdrawn and still fit into an unknown territory no problem, it would just be slightly more difficult. I doubted I had much say in the matter either way, our leader was not an easily-swayed man.
'Fine. Sign the contract. I accept.'
He inclined his head in thanks, and left. And so it began.
Infiltrating their land had been child's play, but the art of getting them to believe I was one of them had been tricky. Lucky for me, one of the members possessed a visual jutsu strong enough to convince people of things that were not true. He was an Uchiha, as it were. It was truly a terrifying jutsu, though I would never had admitted that to him.
I lived in Kazekuni for over 2 years, continuously and systematically reporting back to the Akatsuki headquarters on any relevant news about the village's politics through carrier pigeons. Finally the day came where war was declared, an arrogant, egotistical declaration that they failed to hide from anyone who dared to listen.
I received the orders three days later to continue my guise, only now to provide information on their battle plans and warrior numbers, rather than their thirst for war. I had done just that.
Until the battles began.
It was much simpler than I had thought, killing the entirety of my five-man team. I suppose it was due to the fact that I had the element of surprise on my side. After all, you don't always expect one of the most respected members of your squad to turn the tables and completely obliterate you.
The last warrior proved somewhat harder than the others though, I'll give him that. He managed to leave me with a vicious gaping wound in my gut before I finished him off, growling as I watched the light fade from furious emerald eyes.
Then I had returned to the post I had been ordered to find, and here I'd stayed. As one of the Akatsuki and strongest fighters linked with Chitani, I would not be involved in the actual physical battle until absolutely necessary. A last resort, you might say.
There were three main posts where the warriors would return to for weapon restocking or medical purposes, each with several Akatsuki supervisors located. My post had three members, including myself.
Naturally, when I had showed up, the Chitani warriors, not recognising me, had panicked and tried to attack me and block my path, a futile attempt, I might add. However, luckily for them, Zetsu had arrived on scene, shimmying his way upwards through the dirt before my feet in that creepy plant-like way, and saved them from their embarrassment.
A few weeks passed with not much happening while the war raged on in a fairly even manner. It was all going according to plan until a particularly nasty series of attacks were launched on the main gates of our post, taking out our medical ward with ease and leaving the warriors in a disarray.
'Zetsu. What's the situation?' I queried him calmly, matching his pace as I caught him up in the corridor he was marching down.
'The entire left wing has gone down. Approximately sixty to eighty enemy troops, all armed and all alive. For now.'
I supressed a shudder at the strange being's split personality and pressed him further. 'What of the defence lines?'
'They're struggling. Deidara is out there now attempting to lift their spirits but he just appears to be making things worse.' I rolled my eyes at this, typical brat being the opposite of helpful, but refrained from commenting when Zetsu's dark half added, 'The useless cowards are on the brink of retreat.'
'I see. I trust you can deal with them while I gather the offensive troops.' I didn't wait around for him to reply though, striding off in a different direction to where the recuperating warriors were waiting anxiously for orders.
I arrived swiftly, barking my commands. 'On your feet. I want two teams to branch out North West until you hit the mountains, head east from there for 6 miles and you will find one of the medical camps from enemy lines. They're mostly unguarded, so they should be easy enough to subdue. Bring them here, unharmed if possible. The rest of you are to defend this fortress.'
The men glanced around, unsure of what I was ordering, and I had to fight the urge to slap my face in frustration.
'Unharmed, Sir?' One man spoke, though I didn't bother to find his face.
'Correct. I have a feeling they're going to have a change of allegiance upon arrival.'
Finally catching my gist, the men departed and I smirked. Why I hadn't thought of this sooner, I'll never know. It would certainly be interesting, seeing her again. I almost itched to see her reaction when we met again. And also, it would be handy to have such a skilled medic on our side. That is, if I could convince her.
That girl was something else. The girl with fierce purple eyes that could burn holes through your head and melt the polar ice caps in the process. She was fierce alright, and skilled. And more stubborn than a sedated mule.