Blood, Pain and Misery
The rest of the day went by uneventful, with Sasori nowhere to be seen and Mina and I never once leaving our room, it felt like a miracle that time was even passing. My sister seemed to sense that I was worrying about something, but I couldn't bring myself to tell her about the enemy's latest prisoner. In fact, I couldn't even bare to think about it for too long before the tears threatened to spill. Will he survive this? Heck, will we even survive this?!
It was evening before we got any more 'excitement'. And this time, there was no knock.
'Come on, girl. You have another job to do, and Pein-sama is waiting.'
I scowled at the blue male who had so rudely entered, carrying various assumptions and expectations that I, for one, did not feel like living up to.
'How terrible for him.' I muttered dryly, turning back to the ribbon I had been knotting in Mina's hair. I had just finished perfecting the bow when I was yanked backwards, almost pulling out all my hard work with the force, but managing to let go at the last second, sparing Mina the hair loss.
'Hey! What the hell?! '
'No time like the present…' Kisame chuckled, apparently finding humour in my anger and ignoring me as I quickly slunk into another sour mood.
I didn't even hear Mina call my name behind us this time, too enthralled in my own downward spiral of self-pity and enemy-loathing. He marched with me over his shoulder once again all the way to that damned prison cell.
The cell was as I remembered, except this time, the smell of blood, pain and misery had increased tenfold. I had to hold back a wince as my gaze landed on my tortured friend. A wave of guilt threatened to overpower and blind me, but I sucked in a breath as I crawled up to him, trying my best to keep a brave face.
His head was lolled to the side, one eye swollen shut and blackened, while his other was half lidded and glazed. His arms were tied roughly behind his back with a wire-like rope that had cut into his flesh and left ugly red gashes across his wrists. Other than that and his once again ragged breathing, he was alive, and that was the main thing.
After a moment of deliberation, I decided that he was conscious, though just barely, and my palms flickered to life without further ado. Green chakra flooded his bloodstream, forcing the numbness to flow towards his wounds before I got to work on releasing his hands. Once freed, I moved each one tenderly to rest by his sides and checked his pulse. It was weak, but at least it was still there.
'E-Emiko…' He rasped, but I shushed him instantly.
'No, don't speak, save your energy.' His gaze met mine briefly, but he was struggling to keep even his good eye open, so reluctantly settled back against the wall as I worked.
'I'm so sorry, Kichiro…' I whispered feebly, my voice breaking and barely being able to maintain eye contact with the injured boy as I allowed a single tear to crawl down my cheek. Despite all the pain and agony he was feeling, his lips still managed to stretch into a tiny, reassuring smile that almost broke my heart.
My palms moved to hover over his injured eye, mumbling words of apology whenever the pain broke through the numbing chakra making him wince and hiss. I finished on his eye sooner than I should have, but I was eager to search his ribcage again for any more fractures. Perhaps eager was the wrong word, but it was definitely a more pressing issue that I needed to check. My chakra probed through his system, but what I found was much worse than a few broken ribs.
I cursed out loud as I came across the problem. He was bleeding internally.
'What's is it?' The voice made me jump, cool and cruel but instantly recognisable. I hadn't even noticed the organisation leader standing at the back of the room until now.
I replied, albeit reluctantly. 'He's got an intra-abdominal bleed, it's hard to heal in these conditions without the proper equipment to–'
My nervous ramblings were cut off abruptly by Kichiro, as if on cue to prove my point, started to splutter wildly, lurching forward as he coughed up thick, scarlet blood.
I rubbed his back pathetically as I worried my lip, desperately wracking my brains for the quickest way to heal him, but Pein's next words interrupted my thoughts.
'Fine. He won't talk, so we have no further use for him.' My head shot up just in time to see the orange haired male nod to Kisame, who wasted no time in raising a giant bandaged weapon and preparing to bring it down upon their prisoner.
'No~!' I screamed, darting forward to protect Kichiro, but someone caught my wrist and pulled me backwards harshly at the last second.
It was over before I even knew what had happened. My hands reached out to nothing, shaking violently as I stared in disbelief at the spot where my friend had once sat.
'N-no…' My voice shook violently, and a heartbroken sob escaped from my lips before I could stop it, gasping for breath uncontrollably. My legs gave way, though before I could hit the ground, the same hands that had stopped me before caught my waist and held me up. But I was seeing red.
Adrenaline suddenly racing through my body and all thoughts of my sister obliterated, I spun around and with all the strength I could muster, shoved him back and away from me.
I was hardly surprised when my furious purple irises locked with honey, recognition barely registering as I turned again, eyes landing this time on the one who gave the order.
'You bastard!' I screeched, lunging for him and hissing with rage as Sasori caught me before I could reach my target, again. 'Get off me! Let me go, I'm gonna tear you apart you heartless, murdering bastard!'
I kicked out again when a new figure entirely appeared inches from my face. His eyes swirling a strange, hypnotising crimson, my screaming gradually subsided and my breathing calmed. It was odd, almost like having the life drained out of you and feeling nothing but a dull ache in the back of your head. Like someone was sucking your soul out your very being, but slowly and gently. My limbs became weak until I had no choice but to lean on the redhead behind me, all feeling of control over my own body slipping away, until eventually, even my vision blurred and dissipated, leaving me in darkness.
When she woke up, I was expecting her to be upset, yes, but I figured she'd be wanting me to leave her alone to her grief or to be sent back to her sister. But then, I should be used to being wrong when it comes to Emiko by now.
We were in one of the empty medic rooms, where I had brought her to recover quietly by herself before going back to Mina when she was ready. But the second her eyes had opened and the memories had come flooding back to her, she had rounded on me so fast I hadn't even been able to stop the harsh slap she had delivered to my cheek in a heartbeat.
And then her ranting had started. I hadn't actually been paying attention to what she was saying until a few minutes ago, since I had been preoccupied by shock and irritation at the stinging sensation that was proving difficult to ignore.
She suddenly paused to throw her hands up in the air in exasperation, spinning around so her back was to me in a failing attempt to hide her emotions. Her shoulders quivered as she tried to contain her sobs and her lungs heaved with her ragged breathing.
I was pretty shocked that she was angry at me. All I had done is stopped her from making the situation any worse! Would she rather me have let her die as well? What good would that do anyone?
She made no further move to speak, so I broke the silence that was beginning to linger. 'Emiko. His life wasn't important.'
'Who the hell are you to decide who's life is or isn't important?!' I almost winced as the pitch of her voice threatened to breach normal human hearing. 'Everyone in life is equal! Everyone!'
'Okay, well his life wasn't important to me.' Why didn't she just understand what I meant?
'That's completely irrelevant! You had no right to do choose one life over another!'
'Isn't that exactly what you did with Shige once upon a time…?' At the look she was giving me now, I realised I had just stepped on a landmine, quickly backpedalling and throwing out something else. 'So you'd rather me have let you die back there?'
'I'd rather you had just stayed out of it!'
Was I going to have to spell it out for her?
'So you'd both be dead.' I deadpanned, trying a different approach to make her see sense. 'That's quite selfish of you, you know. To leave Mina behind all alone, in an enemy camp.'
She faltered in her next comeback, but when it came it was just as ferocious, if not more so than her previous ones. 'Don't you dare bring Mina into this! This is about you letting Kichiro die when you could have done something about it!' She screeched the last few words so loudly that my ears were left ringing in their wake.
'I didn't care about him though, I care about–' My mouth snapped shut abruptly. I was letting my emotions run wild and I did not like where that sentence was going… This damn woman was always bringing the worst out in me. As if to prove that fact, she spun around fully and met my gaze with burning orchid eyes.
'What? What, exactly, do you care about?!'
I could feel my temper flare as my hands fisted by my sides. 'Drop it, Emiko.'
'No, I won't! Come on! What, if anything other than yourself, do you actually care about?' She spat, hatred blazing in those infuriatingly narrowed irises.
'I said that's enough. Now leave it alone.' I warned through gritted teeth. I rarely lost my temper, but she was really pushing her luck.
I held back a growl as she stubbornly continued to rant, beginning to pace back and forth as she yelled. 'You're always ordering me around, ordering everyone around and they all act as though they're afraid of you, but you don't scare me. You never will! I will never cower before such an arrogant, selfish ignorant jer–'
I finally snapped, shoving her backwards harshly until I had her pinned by the shoulders and suspended off the ground so her face was just above my eye level against the nearest wall. Her eyes bulged as she stared down at me, her mouth falling open slightly as she froze in my hold.
'I said, drop it!' I seethed, hissing in her ear and silencing her instantly, though I suspect it was more from the shock of the force than fear since, as she so bluntly put it herself, I don't scare her.
My heart pounded angrily against my ribcage as the desire to put my fist through the wall behind her throbbed in my mind. I let my eyes slide shut and forced myself to relax, my grip on her shoulders loosening as I lowered her to the ground. She seemed to sense I was calming down, as she boldly shrugged out from my hold and sidestepped before I could stop her.
The sound of her footsteps disappearing hurriedly down the hall echoed too loudly in my head, and a muffled whimpering told me that she had started crying again.
My eyes shot open angrily and, figuring what the hell, finally released the urge to destroy something by punching a single, clean hole through the plaster in the unsuspecting wall in front of me. Maybe this is why Deidara liked to blow things up so much? It was definitely sounding like a good stress reliever right now.
But seriously, damn it, what was wrong with me recently? It's like I had no control over myself anymore and even the thought of that unnerved me. I needed to get to the bottom of this and, as much as I hated to admit it, I was getting nowhere figuring it out on my own. I was going to need some help…