What The Future Holds
'What do you mean, 'there are no rooms'?' I demanded, hands fisting into tight, angry balls at my sides as I glared. When Sasori had returned with Mina, he had then had the nerve to break the news to me that there were no actual bedrooms left in the facility to honour my second condition.
Sasori blinked at me, unfazed by my anger and not bothering to repeat himself.
'I can't believe I believed you…' I scowled at the floor, feeling pretty stupid and downright used.
'Technically, I never actually agreed in the first place…'
'You implied it!'
'Koko?' I snapped my blazing eyes to my sister, who had been cowering behind me throughout the whole argument. 'Erm, there's not really much we can do if there are no rooms…'
'That's not the point!' My voice came out harsher than I intended and instantly felt guilty for it. 'Sorry…'
'At least one of you has some common sense.' Sasori commented, but spoke again gesturing to the door in the corner behind him before I could insult him further. 'There's a double bed back there though. You two can have it.'
I faltered, wondering absently where he was going to sleep if we were in there, but then again, he could sleep in the bathtub for all I cared right now. Maybe he'd do us all a favour and drown himself in the process.
'Guess that'll have to do…' I grumbled, not missing his smirk as I was forced to accept the offer.
I pulled Mina's hand in mine and stalked past him, throwing the door open and slamming it loudly behind me. I nodded once in satisfaction at the noise, before turning to check the room.
It was bigger than I expected, with a double bed covered by perfectly folded beige sheets and a small beside table to the side. The walls were a boring magnolia, with one small window at the back of the room to the right of the bedside table. I glanced out of it, but as I predicted, its view gave nothing away about our location.
Turning back to Mina, she was twisting her hands together nervously. I frowned. 'What's wrong, Mimi?'
Her deep purple eyes met mine, clouded with worry as she responded. 'You shouldn't shout so much… We might get into trouble.'
She was scared, I knew that. I had forgotten that she wasn't quite as used to being around such an obnoxious, impatient, annoyingly arrogant and stubborn jerk like I was. Then again, she had reason to worry now. He was our enemy. She seemed to have picked up on that fact quickly, and reacted far more subtly that I had. I was immensely proud of her bravery, but I was being selfish and had forgotten that she needed reassurance.
'Sorry, Mina. Don't be scared, I swear I won't let anything happen to you, ever.' I promised determinedly.
She perched uncomfortably on the edge of the bed as I settled myself beside her, pulling my legs up and crossing them on the duvet.
'…So he was one of them all along?' She asked in a quiet voice, so low that I barely heard her.
'Yes.' I clenched my jaw to keep from swearing momentarily before continuing. I had to keep my cool if I wanted to make her feel safe. 'But I don't think he'll hurt us.'
'How can you be sure?'
'I can't. But we're medics. They need us alive in order to stand a chance of winning this war.'
'And after the war? What happens to us?'
I glanced at her face, but she hid her eyes beneath her fringe, preventing me from reading her expression.
'We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. But I promise you, I will not let them touch you.'
She nodded slowly, seeming to understand that I really didn't have an answer to that. It hurt that I couldn't just kiss it all better and make her monsters disappear, like I had when she was younger. But some things didn't just go away, no matter how hard you wished.
A Few Hours Later
She was angry with me. That much was obvious, though I had pretty much expected that and would have been concerned if she wasn't.
It was still a pain though, and she was fiercely stubborn. It would be difficult to convince her to work willingly with me, without having to go through a similar sort of argument as before. Then again, she'd already healed my stomach now, so really I should have been sending her back into the arena with the other medics. I didn't need her anymore.
But for some reason, the idea made me scowl. Honestly, I'd grown rather fond of having my own personal medic, even if she did like to nag like a paranoid mother hen. I despised the thought of giving something up that once belonged to me. It was selfish, but I didn't care.
Emiko. I chuckled lightly at the unwavering scowl she'd had me pinned with earlier. What fun it was to break that expression. It really was too easy to make her blush and bend to my will, too easy to draw a reaction out of her.
What wasn't easy though, was understanding what ran through that confusing female brain of hers. Women have always been predictable, far too easy to read and always so pointless in their actions. But she was different somehow, and it annoyed me beyond belief why I didn't have her as figured out as I'd like. Perhaps that's why I kept her around, I've always liked a challenge, and Emiko was definitely a difficult one to break. But in the end, I'll win this game of love and war. I always do.
Love. Such a human word, such a futile emotion. I had long since shut off any and all forms of such a pathetic feeling, even before my homeland was obliterated. I had no time or patience for love, it made you needy and selfless, it made you do pointless things for no reason that could benefit yourself. What's the point of making someone else smile when you yourself are miserable?
Pathetic. I would never stoop so low.
I glanced at the clock, yawning subconsciously when I realised how late it was. My gaze travelled to the bedroom door that Emiko had given an unhealthy slam in her rage a few hours ago. It had been quiet in there for quite a while, and I wondered absently if they had gone to sleep.
My head dropped to stare blankly at the scroll I was currently working on, writing and sketching out plans for the next calculated attack. I reread my work so far and frowned, crumpling it up in frustration and pushing it over the edge of the desk into the bin beside it. I wasn't getting anywhere with planning tonight.
Sighing in resignation, I stood up and stretched my arms out in front of me, my eyes finding their way to the closed bedroom door again. My feet carried me silently to stand before it, hand hovering hesitantly over the door knob.
I pride myself in my ability to make fast decisions. For as long as I can remember I've always been a decisive person, so why was I hesitating now? The thought made me growl slightly, irritation spiking at my deliberation. I opened the door swiftly, not wanting to wait any longer.
My hazel eyes landed immediately on the bed. They were both there, unmoving. Mina was curled up in a ball on her side, breathing quietly and fast asleep. Emiko was beside her, burying her face into the back of her head with one arm draped over her sister's small waist. But she wasn't asleep, I could tell.
I watched them for a moment silently, wondering why she was just lying there when I hadn't exactly be stealthy upon entering. The room was dark, with only the vague light of the moon seeping in through the window.
Finally, she stirred, tilting her head up slightly to peer at me with one open eye. I stared back, strangely entranced. She wasn't glaring, and that was one thing I supposed. But something about the way she was looking unnerved me, her expression was dull and lifeless, as though she'd just given up completely. My eyebrows knitted together at the sight.
'What do you want, Sasori?' She murmured softly, her voice barely audible.
I didn't reply, instead simply continued to frown at her vacant expression.
She shifted slowly, careful not to wake the younger girl beneath her as she sat up. 'Is your stomach bothering you?' She asked, looking just past my ear rather than catching my gaze. It was only then that I noticed her cheeks glistening from dried tears as the soft moonlight illuminated her face, and I suddenly felt an overpowering urge to brush them away.
'…Then what do you want?'
Mina suddenly let out a small breath and shuffled onto her back and Emiko froze, waiting for her to settle again before gently unwrapping herself from the sleeping girl. She padded silently across the room, gesturing for me to follow her as she passed.
She waited for me to exit before shutting the door as gently as she could, then turn excruciatingly slowly to face me. She hid her eyes behind her hair, which hung free of its usual braid and twin buns as she fiddled with her hands, wringing them together.
'What do you want?' She whispered, more forcefully this time.
What did I want? I wasn't entirely sure myself. Why did I even bother to check on them? She was watching me expectantly from beneath her soft brown bangs, piercing orchid eyes glinting in the lamplight.
I lifted one hand to brush her fringe to the side, but froze when she flinched violently as my hand neared her face.
'What would be the point in hurting you now?' I murmured, my hand still lingering in the air as I kept my voice at the same volume as hers, not wanting to disturb the quiet atmosphere.
'There isn't one. But there's also no point in keeping us here either.'
My eyebrows twitched. She had a point I suppose, but I wasn't going to let her know that. 'Would you rather me send you back out there to be kicked around by a bunch of enemy warriors and be forced to heal them without question?'
She glowered at me, and for a moment I thought she was going to agree just to spite me, but her eyes suddenly flickered over her shoulder, remembering she wasn't the only one in this. 'No. I just don't understand.' Then in a small, mousy voice, she whispered. 'How could you be one of them?'
'I work for whoever hires us.' I don't know what possessed me to answer so honestly, but I'll never forget the incredulous look of betrayal and judgement Emiko shot me with as soon as the words left my mouth.
I blinked slowly in response to her stare as what I'd just admitted dawned on me.
After almost a lifetime, she sucked in a sharp breath and held it mercilessly as she finally found a response. 'Who's 'us'?'
I chewed on the inside of my cheek furiously as I internally scolded myself for such a careless slipup. She would, undoubtedly, have heard of the infamous organisation of blood-thirsty, ruthless murderers known as the Akatsuki, so how do I respond to that?
'I'm part of a group that works for the highest bidder. Like mercenaries.' I settled with a vague response, hoping she would drop it and move on to another question. Unfortunately, she was intrigued.
'How many are there? Where are the others?'
I knew if I refused to answer she would get suspicious and, if I knew Emiko, she wouldn't stop until she found out everything there was to know through any means possible. 'There's ten including myself… Were split between bases, you've already met one of them…' I mumbled the last part, unsure of whether or not it was a good idea to admit that.
'Deidara?' She guessed, her expression unreadable.
I nodded once and she continued. 'So, I guess it's nothing personal whose side you're on…' She laughed bitterly, though she far from amused. She lifted her head to glance at the ceiling in a half-hearted eye roll, pushing past me gently as she headed one of the couches, where she curled her legs beneath her as she stared unseeingly at the table.
I debated whether or not to follow her, my irritation growing at my level of uncertainty that only seemed to increase. My feet moved of their own accord, stopping a little way away from her seat.
'What happens after the w-war then?' Her voice broke midsentence, and I visibly winced at the question.
What would happen then? I was always one for forward thinking, planning ahead rather than some sort of reckless, spur-of-the-moment fool like Deidara was. But this question had me stumped, I had not thought this far ahead and for the first time in my life, I found myself at a dead end. This was not me, and I did not like it.
Her tired eyes landed on mine, a moment of brief, heart-wrenching emotion leaking out of them before she dropped her gaze to the table again. I scowled at the way every instinct inside of me screamed to move closer, to tell her it'd be alright and to promise I'd never let anything hurt her or her sister. But I stubbornly refused to give in to such futile actions. There was no point in lying, and there was no point in empty promises when I didn't even know what I, myself, was doing anymore.
'I don't know…' I answered, honestly. There was nothing else I could tell her at this moment, I really had no idea what the higher-ups intended to do with the enemy medics once they were done with them, supposing the war ended in their favour.
'Okay.' She murmured, eyes sliding shut in resignation. I stayed standing there for too long after that. I stayed as she slowly fell into an uncomfortable-looking broken slumber, and the whole time I just stood there, watching.
A small voice inside me tried to protest that it was more like guarding, but I squashed the voice as soon as it rose.
I was at a loss for what to do, and I did not like that.
Not. One. Bit.