Grasping At Air
I remember it was cold. The desert night was silent, apart from the gentle hiss of the wind caressing the sand. My bare feet were numb, and I wrapped my arms around myself, wondering who I was.
Blinking, I recalled that I had been walking for a long time, alone, but I didn't remember from where I had started walking. My memory felt distant, something I couldn't grasp, and as I tried to remember I slumped to my knees, burying my hands momentarily in the sand. It wasn't fair. I was vulnerable, but no one was there to comfort me, nor did I think someone would come looking for me. In the back of my mind I knew that I was safer in the middle of nowhere than the place I had come from.
Turning my gaze upward, to the scatter of stars, I sighed. It was so cold.
For a long while I knelt there, vaguely aware that I was exhausted, when suddenly I heard something. It was almost inaudible, but I heard the quiet thud come from behind me. It was almost as if something had landed, softly. I didn't move: I was too tired. I was too tired to turn and look, and I didn't even care. It was pitiful.
The wind slithered over the sand again in another hiss, and then I felt a shadow fall over me. I hugged my sides, bowing my head. A hand landed on my shoulder, gentle, shaking me slightly as if I were asleep.
"Hey, you can't stay here. It's dangerous," a female voice told me firmly, although concerned.
Stirring from my stupor, I lifted my gaze. Frowning, I could just about make out the blonde bunches of hair gathered into four ponytails, and the steady teal eyes. Upon seeing my blank expression, she nudged me, lightly, before seeming to get impatient.
"Kankurō," she snapped.
A black form came behind her, Kankurō I realised, and he regarded me slowly. He seemed confused, studying me in a way that made me question my appearance. It was only then that I realised I must look a state. My hair was full of sand, my feet were bare, and I was wearing…a simple dirty white shirt that was slumped askew on my shoulder, and a mid-length brown skirt that had being torn up the side. The girl looked at me again.
"Well, she's not ninja…" she mused, reaching up slowly to brush my hair away from my face, "If anything I'd say she's lost or something."
Kankurō nodded, his black form topped off with cat ears. I blinked, confused, staring at the cat ear shapes. Then, someone else spoke. It wasn't the girl, or Kankurō, but someone else entirely.
"If we leave her she will die," said the voice, sounding deep and solemn, "Temari, help her stand."
The girl, Temari, lifted my left arm over her shoulder and then wrapped her right arm around my waist. She lifted me up with the order: "Stand". My legs felt weak, and as soon as I managed to stand I slumped heavily against her.
"Jeez, she's weak as. She must have been walking for days," came a voice that I suspected belonged to Kankurō.
Temari grunted, giving a dark smile , "Yeah…she practically weighs nothing."
My eyes drooped closed, and I let my head fall forward. My head was beginning to spin, and I felt sick. My breathing rattled in my chest, and I shivered, wondering just who these people were. I coughed once, trying to find my voice, but no sound would come out my mouth. My tongue felt too thick to move.
"Maybe she ran away or something? Or was attacked…she's all beat up so…?" Kankurō was standing in front of me, lifting my chin to look at me, "Hey, what's your name? Who are you?"
"Stop it Kankurō," the deep voice said, "She's obviously not fit to answer your questions."
Kankurō grunted, and turned towards the one who had spoken. I followed his gaze to the figure facing away from us. He had something on his back, something big and heavy looking and he was wearing a long-sleeved crimson coat and dark trousers. The thing I noticed with much fascination, though, was his shock of red hair.
"We will take her to Sunagakure, and have her see a medical-nin. We will question her when she's well enough."
I sighed, wanting to say something. I fought against my exhaustion, fighting to move my tongue. I didn't care how tired I was, I was going to say something. We were moving, but I drew back slightly and Temari frowned at me. I rasped my words out.
"T-thank you…" I whispered, and realised my throat hurt, "Thank you so much."
Kankurō sighed and silently began moving again, mumbling something, and Temari just nodded slightly. The other guy, the one with the red hair…he looked at me out the corner of his black-lined eyes, his pale green-blue iris studying me. When I looked back, he started walking again, and I had a silent sigh of relief that I had managed to thank them.
Within minutes, I fell asleep.