I ducked and apologised awkwardly as I avoided another flailing arm. The two men I was squeezing between paid me no attention as they continued to argue about whose skills as a squire were better than the others, and I breathed a sigh of relief that I had not disturbed them after all.
I managed to find a small space that was mostly free of people on same side of the tent as where we had entered, and I sighed in irritation at my lack of luck in finding my sister. Where was she?
A pair of blue-eyed blonde-haired girls, who I identified as twins, were standing a little way away from me, giggling and glancing at me strangely. I watched them approached out of the corner of my eye, curiosity spiking.
My gaze flickered to meet them. They were equally pretty, their big round eyes sparkling in the brightly lit tent as they smiled their greeting.
'You don't know us, we're not in the team, we're actually from this village. We were just wondering…' They exchanged giddy glances, their blonde locks dancing as they giggled again. 'The guy you were sitting with before…'
My eyes snapped to the far side of the tent where Sasori was leaning on his elbows, looking thoroughly bored.
'Do you know him?' They chimed in unison.
'Sort of.' I smiled at them, not wanting to be rude and shrug them off even though I had way more important things to do than hook my stubborn patient up with twins.
'Could you introduce us?' They threw out there suddenly, though it was hardly unexpected.
I sighed lightly and agreed, reluctantly leading the excited pair around the outside of the tent to where he was sat, unsuspecting.
As I drew closer he noticed my company and gave me a look that I could only identify as 'please tell me this isn't what I think it is…'
I gave him an apologetic grin and skipped off before he could formulate a suitable insult to hurl at me, and I chuckled as I heard the twins laughing simultaneously as they sat down.
A couple of hours passed of my wandering aimlessly in and out of the crowd, but Mina was nowhere to be seen.
I glanced around to see that the red-haired warrior had managed to free himself from the fan-girling villagers, and was now busying himself with a half-hearted conversation with the squad leader by the punch fountain.
The only saving grace of this dull and pointless evening had been that Sasuke had failed to show, which I was unbelievably relieved to find. Sighing in defeat, I figured I may as well take my leave. I opted to take a longer route through the village, ambling along casually as I idly admired the small village buildings. I kicked a pebble with me gently and paused to gaze up at the night sky, alight with millions of tiny shimmering dots, scattered around one giant glowing orb. I hadn't realised it was a full moon tonight, I thought, smiling to myself.
It was only then that I noticed I was being followed.
I risked a casual glance over my shoulder and, recognising my pursuers as two of the newer members of the squad who had approached our table earlier, I was unsure whether or not they posed a threat. Yes, they were strangers to me, admittedly very drunk strangers, but we were on the same side, the same team, so surely I had nothing to worry about… But as I experimented with my steps, quickening and slowing them, I soon realised that they may in fact be intending something… dishonest, for lack of a better word.
My sole focus being on losing the unwanted company, I managed to accidentally turn into what seemed like a never-ending maze of narrow alleyways, which was ridiculous for such a small town. The drunken pair still hot of my tail, I made several sharp turns in a futile attempt at throwing them off, but despite their intoxicated state, they kept up easily. I rounded another corner, nervously picking up my pace as I heard them laugh drunkenly. I was so busy concentrating on the dynamic duo behind me that I failed to notice the figure standing squarely in the narrow passageway, blocking my escape.
My head collided clumsily with his chest, and I stumbled backwards in surprise and slight panic at not having noticed him. My startled orchid eyes shot up to meet familiar half-lidded hazel as I regained balance.
'S-Sasori, what're you doing here?' I tried to look calm and collected, but my wobbling voice betrayed me.
My eyebrows pulled inward slightly when he didn't reply, but when I looked closer I realised he was actually looking past me. I glanced over my shoulder, following his gaze. Upon sighting the redhead, the two men behind me moved to lean awkwardly and unstably on a wall deeper in the alley, but their eyes stayed on me.
I shifted uncomfortably as I made to turn back to face the one they called, 'The Red Scorpion', but I was suddenly shoved backwards mid-action, my back slamming against the wall roughly. I gasped, both shocked and slightly winded as my eyes widened at my assailant. Expression blank and unreadable, Sasori's palms were flat against the wall either side of my shoulders, his face hovering mere inches from mine.
'W-what are y–'
My bewildered stuttering was silenced instantly as, without a single warning, his lips suddenly crashed down on mine. For a moment, I was too stunned to protest, and then when I did try to push him away, his hands slid firmly down my arms to secure my wrists by my sides. Forcing myself as far back into the bricks as my body would allow, I squeezed my eyes shut and threw my head to the side, momentarily breaking away and gasping for breath.
But the second I had filled my lungs, he was back, forcefully pressing his body against mine. I managed to free my right hand and desperately pushed against his chest, but he barely moved, his strength overpowering mine with ease. His free hand knotted in my loose hair tightly, holding my head still as his lips strayed from my mouth to wander down my jaw to my ear, leaving a trail of butterfly kisses as he went.
I yelped as he nipped at my lower neck, but then froze as he whispered something soft and barely audible against my ear. His breath tickled my skin as he continued to explore my neck, moving down to focus on the curve at the side of my throat.
The hand that had been restraining my left hand slowly crept up my side, brushing lightly against the material of my dress as it came up to rest on my cheek. He brought his face back up to mine and our lips moulded together again, softer this time.
My jaw ached as I struggled to keep my mouth clamped shut stubbornly while his tongue danced across my lower lip. The back of his throat rumbled as he growled quietly in frustration, and pressed against me harder, forcing his way into my mouth. My tongue recoiled at the strange intrusion, but his twisted around it skilfully, making my stomach flip in what I interpreted as disgust.
Finally his lips broke away to travel down the side of my neck again, but as he reached my ear, the little sucking sensation paused as he whispered those same words again.
Trust him? How the hell was I supposed to do that while he's forcing his tongue down my throat?!
Sasori's hand that had been wound in my hair began to smooth down to my leg, and in one swift movement, he wrenched my dress up my thigh and pulled my leg up to hitch it over his hip. My eyes bulged in embarrassment and horror as his thumb began to rub seductively under my knee.
A sudden noise further down the alley distracted me from my outrage, and my eyes flickered to the two men who I had completely forgotten about, understandably. They were stumbling unsteadily back the way they had come, knocking into several dustbins as they went.
Gradually, Sasori's kisses began to slow and soften, until our lips were simply brushing against each other in a somewhat affectionate motion. His hand gently lowered my leg back to the floor and his forehead bumped against mine as he stared at me and stopped moving altogether. For a second, I didn't react, unsure of what had just happened and what could still happen. The sound of my ragged breathing was loud and distracting, and somewhere in my logical mind I was kind of pissed that he was much more collected than I was at this moment.
His brown irises were dark, and it frightened me to think that the look he was giving me had something even closely related to lust. As though reading my mind, his eyelids slid closed for a brief moment, and when they opened again, his usual soft, lazy expression had spread across his face.
'Sorry.' He mumbled, backing away so quickly that I almost pulled him back, a natural reaction to the sudden lack of warmth, I guessed.
Then my temper sparked, bubbling from deep within my gut as he stood casually about two foot away from me in the dim light.
'What…' I ground out, clenching my jaw so hard that I swear my teeth almost shattered. '…did you say?'
He shrugged calmly, as though nothing had happened. 'I apologise.'
That was it. I snapped, clean in half. Seeing red, I dove at him, fists flailing as he struggled to restrain me.
'What the fuck were you thinking? What the hell?! You can't just… and then just think that… and sorry isn't… Urgh!' I all but screeched at him, feeling a quick flicker of smug victory as his expression faltered momentarily into shock and what I hoped was guilt.
He practically dragged me kicking and screaming back to our small accommodation, gaining a few strange looks from the villagers that he blatantly ignored. Luckily, Kichiro must still have been at the gathering because the room was empty.
As soon as the door was closed I erupted again, ranting and cussing like there was no tomorrow. Sasori slumped onto his sleeping roll cross-legged and leaned his elbows on his knees while his head lopped into his hands.
I let one eye slide shut, idly watching her pace back and forth as she fumed. My eyebrow twitched at the irritating creaking of the floorboards as she stomped around. I let out a long breath. This could go on for a while.
I twiddled a loose strand of cotton from the bedding in my fingers, boredly debating what it would take to get her to drop it, but I knew better than to interrupt a girl mid-rage. I couldn't stop the small smirk that crossed my lips at the memory of her stunned expression when I had first kissed her. I hadn't thought it possible to shut her up so quickly, and the smirk broadened as I wondered if it would shut her up right now too, though I knew that was a bad idea. A very bad idea.
She suddenly rounded on me and my eyes snapped open as I realised I'd been caught.
'You think this is funny?!' She threw her arms up in the air and then let them slap down to her sides. 'You're unbelievable. Are you just gonna sit there smirking all night or am I actually going to get an explanation?!'
Inhaling, I pinched the bridge of my nose and tried to ignore the oncoming migraine. 'I said I'm sorry, didn't I?'
'Why the hell did you do it?!' She yelled, glaring daggers in a way that was probably supposed to look threatening, but it just made her look cute. Wow, that was a weird thought…
I debated on how to reply, but when she looked about to start shouting again I quickly threw her the first thing that came into my head. 'It was a warning, okay?'
She stared at me cluelessly, her purple eyes narrowing as she spoke, thankfully quieter this time. 'A warning? What are you talking about?'
I sighed impatiently. I hated having to explain everything, but she clearly wasn't going to get it unless I spelled it out. 'To the two men that were following you. You know they'd have done a lot worse if I hadn't interfered.'
Her jaw fell open, though I didn't raise my hopes at the thought that she finally understood. 'So you're saying… you did me a favour?'
My lips curled upwards in relief. She got it.
However, her next reaction was far from what I imagined. Her pacing resumed furiously as the screeching began again, this time laced with sarcasm.
'OH well I'm so sorry. How could I have been so selfish, having a go at you like that when I should have been on my knees thanking you, hell, maybe I should be on knees now, grovelling for forgiveness for OVERREACTING?!'
And so it went on. I switched off shortly after the grovelling comment. She clearly was overreacting. What I did was nothing compared to what those bastards would have done to her, and probably twice off since there was two of them. My eyebrows knitted together as I glanced back at her. Most women would have been grateful that I stepped in, but not this one. She was a strange one alright, and it infuriated me to no end that I was finding it so damn hard to figure her out.
After seemed like forever, she eventually managed to tire herself out and she flopped onto her bed roll carelessly, leaving only the sound of her deep, heavy breathing as she calmed down.
An hour or two passed and the room fell into almost complete silence. Emiko hadn't moved an inch since she had collapsed and, curiosity getting the better of me, I rose to my feet and edged towards her warily. I stopped to hover over her sleeping form, rolling my eyes as I noticed her hands still balled into angry little fists.
Crouching down, I tugged the sheet up from the bottom of her bed to drape it over her softly, my fingers lingering against her skin probably a second too long. Retreating quickly to my own sleeping place, I shuffled under the cotton covers and sighed. Staring at the ceiling numbly, I traced a finger over a small line of dried blood on my neck where Emiko had caught me in the midst of her flailing. She had thrashed and fought so hard, as though her life depended on it.
It hadn't occurred to me, nor did it bother me that her ego may have been hurt during the course of the night, but she would get over it. What did bother me was that two men from my own squad had dared to stray from the unspoken law that no one was to touch anything that I owned. Most of the men followed this law religiously, knowing how dangerous it could be to mess with me, but these new men needed to be shown how serious I was when it came to my belongings.
The 'warning' had indeed been for them, a warning that if they ever even thought about touching something that belonged to me again, and then to dare to warn me away from it, they would have a lot more than just a silly old war to worry about.