Shino leaned against the crumbling trench wall; his eyes covered with dark round glasses that he claimed to use for reading. This left Sasuke wondering how and why you would read in the pitch black of the trenches in sunglasses.
"Captain," Sasuke paused his brooding to glance at the quiet man and grunted in acknowledgement.
"I believe something is "up" as you would say," continued Shino. He was greeted by silence as Sasuke thought this statement over in his head. It was unusual for Shino to voice an opinion on anything, but at the same time what he had said was so vague.
"How so?" Sasuke queried thoughtfully.
"The shells," was all the brown haired soldier said. Sasuke took a moment to consider these words; Shino was obviously in a cryptic mood tonight. Sighing he traced a finger along the dark grain of the wooden plank below him, ignoring the splinters that stuck in his calloused fingers. A disgusting mixture of mud, blood and vomit already formed a layer of grime on his hand-the woes of the trenches and something you learned to ignore.
His index finger circled around a particularly large knot and he began to let himself relax, a rare pleasure that he only ever allowed himself when he needed to think deeply. Shino lowered his glasses slightly; allowing his eyes to adjust to the lighter scene-he knew that he could not let anything happen to Sasuke while he was in this meditative state.
In… out…in… thought Sasuke as he slowed his breathing, controlling it along with controlling his every movement-his every function. Slowly he began to shift his mind, thinking his way through his body almost as if he was checking his limbs were still there by concentrating on the area. Sasuke started on his feet and made his way up his legs, into his abdomen, torso, arms and then finally to the tips of his ears. Only now was his head clear and his senses in full connection.
He concentrated his mind on his ears and nose. The air smelt the same as usual-of mould, death and smoke. The cool night breeze carried the sharp metallic smell of blood and guns and the sulphuric stench of shells and matches. But the sound, oh that was unusual. He could hear the gunshots exchanged between sides, the dull thumps as shells pounded against the bog that was No Man's Land. Shells that were fired all too regularly by the other side- in immediate response to the Brit's. It could only mean…
"They've left rookies in the trenches!" exclaimed Sasuke suddenly. Shino nodded warily.
"They're getting smarter, leaving someone firing the shells off-pretending there's someone on the other side, that there's no one coming at us…" he growled
"Shino, warn the others, no games now. The Sap (1) must have been taken out, otherwise we would have heard something by now," Sasuke barked out.
He himself swiftly pulled himself up and jogged to the areas where soldiers slept. If something was to happen he didn't want them caved in.
"Get up! Get out, to guns you fools!" he bellowed. Immediately the men shot up. There was only one kind of deep sleeping in the trenches and thankfully these men were still sleeping lightly.
"What's up," panted a grunt as he skidded to a halt beside Sasuke.
"Gerries are making a move, now get your guns ready boy."
"Yes Sir!" he saluted causing Sasuke rolled his eyes. This was no time for formalities, not when they had to arm for the attack. All too soon he heard shouting from the other end of his trench. 'Feck,' (Father Ted moment took me, oh by the way should I up the rating or what?) he cursed and sprinted down the trench, pausing at the corner to glance around the wall of mud. He was thrown back as his comrades escaped from the blood bath, Shino racing out with the mob.
"Cap- too many, they've opened fire on us, rain of bul-" started Shino. Sasuke cut him off by swiftly sweeping his bayonet up and maiming the face of the soldier who was aiming at Shino's back. The man staggered back, clutching at his bleeding face and his now blind eye, his pained cries hurting Sasuke in ways he could not understand.
"Let's get out of here!" shouted Sasuke desperately.
Shino grabbed his elbow to pull him up and soon they were both backing down the narrow trench, guns ready. Several Germans fell around the corner and the two fired into their mass, some fell but others clambered over their still warm corpses.
"I've got a plan, get your Pineapple (2) ready!" screamed Shino. Sasuke dashed backwards, knowing Shino had his back no matter what. He skidded to a halt at the nearest nook and grabbed the grenade from his belt. Shino had jammed his bayonet across the trench so that either side of his rifle was imbedded in the mud of the trenches. It would take the Germans at least 3 seconds to clamber over the obstacle but it was all Sasuke needed.
He tossed the grenade and dived into the mud as Shino's body simultaneously hit the duck plank next to him. The Germans, confused as to what was happening, ran straight into the weapon and met their early demise.
The explosion tore a small hole in the wall of the trench and it collapsed on the smouldering bodies beneath. Sasuke lifted his mud-plastered face to look for life in the mixture of body and dirt. He gagged when he saw the charcoaled and blistered hand lying mere feet away from himself and Shino. However, there was no time for pity, for mercy, nor any emotion at all.
"Shino get up," he ordered sharply. Shino groaned and propped himself on an elbow.
"We got to get back to the others. Captain, I can't stay here."
"We stay as long as there's threat to the trench, we can't leave. You know orders." growled Sasuke determinedly.
"God damn it Sasuke, I've already broken orders. What do you think they're going to do to me? Let me go because I stayed a few extra seconds to get shot in the leg?" shouted Shino angrily. It was more passionate than anything Sasuke had ever heard from the man before.
"What are you talking abo-" he was cut off as a German slipped around the corner, stumbling over the duck plank and slamming into the crumbling trench wall. Sasuke pulled the gun from beneath his stomach- uncaring that the sharp knife at the end tore his stomach. He took aim automatically and squeezed the trigger, killing the man within the second. Without drawing a breath he killed every soldier that came round the corner. Shot them dead, stone cold dead.
"Shino can you give me a light…"
"You bastard- this is no time…"
"Shino, give me a light!" Sasuke hissed angrily. Shino still didn't move so Sasuke stooped and pulled the small box from his jacket pocket where he knew it would be and strode forward cautiously, striking the match from within he pushed it between a dead soldier's fingers and repeated with several of the bodies, all the while carefully shielding the matches with his hand.
"Shino grab me some blankets from the bunk," he snapped impatiently. This time, the still spectacle adorned Shino pushed himself up and sprinted for the bunks. Sasuke carefully retreated back, never taking his eyes off the corner, never letting his guard down for a second.
Just as he expected a volley of shots soon tore into the gruesome pile. 'At least they're wasting their ammo. Typical… see a light kill the enemy.' The firing continued until a gust of rank smelling wind extinguished the dull orange flames and the faint smell of sulphur plagued his nostrils. A few more rounds were fired for good measure and Sasuke carefully watched as the bodies flinched against the small metal pellets 'There must be Germans on the East Bank…'he concluded. 'I hope Shino has the sense to bring back something good.'
As quietly as humanly possible, while Sasuke crouched by the trench wall, he rubbed his hand into the wall and pulled a clump of mud from it. He set to work, making his skin a filthy scummy green-brown colour, to camouflage himself as much as he could. If he had to wait he wanted to survive doing so and if smearing the stinking mud across his face would help, he would do it.
The bitter wind again picked up and murmured dark nothings in his ear, chilling him all the way to his insides, save for a warm ooze that secreted slowly from his stomach. With sudden realisation, he wiped a muddy hand across his equally muddy jacket and touched his belly gingerly. When he lifted his shaking fingers away they were wet with an unknown warm, sticky liquid.
Sasuke raised his hand and licked a finger thoughtfully-definitely blood. The adrenaline and cold must have been numbing the pain, at least for now. The blood flow was not great, more like a constant but lethargic trickle; meaning the wound was large but not deep. Not life threatening.
A hushed harsh command was whispered in German and squelch was heard from round the corner. Sasuke ceased breathing as a Gerry rounded the corner cautiously. He must have been the bravest, going into unknown territory alone. The man stooped over the pile of his dead comrades and gasped.
A string of foreign words spilled from his mouth-though the language was unfamiliar; Sasuke could hear the man's distress. Sasuke realised he was still holding his breath and gulped in a lungful of air into his burning chest.
The Gerry whipped round and Sasuke forced his eyes closed, although this made him blind to any attack. He hoped that the whites of his eyes could not be spotted and he would look like any other corpse. He breathed in and out shallowly through his nose; the hiss that it created seemed disturbingly loud in the dead silent trench.
A slow sucking noise came from the direction the Gerry had been in. It was repeated as the Gerry neared him. Sasuke's body tensed, coiled and ready to attack as soon as the Gerry was in range. His enemy was mere feet from him now, mere inches. He dared not breathe as he felt the heat radiating from the soldier beside him. Was he too giving off the tell tale heat?
"Stehen Sie auf" ordered an unsure and quivering voice. Sasuke willed his heart to stop. He gave no reaction to the stooped German soldier in front of him. It felt like an eternity had passed before the Gerry sighed with relief and uttered quietly, "Gut"
He waited no more than a second to ensure the German was fully relaxed before releasing his powerfully coiled muscles. Sasuke jumped forward and knocked the Gerry over. His hands went to the soldier's scrawny neck but he froze as he felt cold metal on his own.
Sakura shifted uncomfortably on the hard wooden bar stool that she was perched upon. Naruto had taken her to an especially seedy looking inn, not that she was doubting his tastes but it didn't seem to be an appropriate place for a woman to be. Her green eyes scanned the damp dark walls, where spores of mould festered silently.
"What do you want sweetie-pie?" asked Naruto loudly, carelessly slopping his bitter ale over the bar's surface. It was clear to Sakura that this was no place to be messing around with alcohol. Her tolerance was low and frankly she couldn't stomach the bitter taste or the urine-like appearance. She could see Naruto's thick blond brows begin to lower, so it was evident that now was not the time to be frivolous with the words she chose.
"Naruto, I'm a bit short of money and would hate to be of inconvenience to you… would you like to share?" she asked sweetly and carefully. Tones of honeyed persuasion coated her melodic voice. It took a few moments for Naruto to decide, that by the tone of her voice, this was a good idea.
"Alright, Honey, what ever you want," he cooed drunkenly. 'Just how much has he drunk?'Sakura wondered.
Slowly she slid a little further away from him on her bar stool. Now all she had to do was wait, pretend to drink from his glass but let him down the vile stuff and then escape back to the hospital.
Why had she agreed to this? So she could wallow in her own self pity of course. However, maybe agreeing to Naruto's requests had not been her best move this evening. But she had felt so lonely at that second. Had she been seeing a connection between herself and the Captain that had simply not been there? It was humiliating for her to have felt so special and wonderful for no reason at all. The Captain was probably humouring her all along and had jumped at the chance to transfer away from her. As for tonight; Naruto had looked at her so imploringly, his beautiful blue eyes promising her another chance at happiness.
Yet, here she was sitting at a grimy bar staring into empty space, ignoring the alcohol fumes and cigarette smoke hanging heavily in the air and worse of all; thinking about Captain Sasuke Uchiha.
"Get a hold of yourself," she muttered bitterly.
"What was that?" slurred the blonde. She glanced at him with distain. She just didn't have time for this of all things. Naruto seemed nice enough but tonight, he had lost all charm and charisma.
"Nothing. Say didn't you take Hinata out the other night?" she asked as a poor distraction, tapping her fingers against the sticky wooden bar top. Naruto merely grunted and returned to drinking the rancid liquid. 'I wonder what happened the other night…' pondered Sakura. Hinata had always been a sweet kind little thing, Sakura was rather fond of her, she bustled about the hospital apologising to everyone and everything for no apparent reason. Usually she could be seen blushing a pretty red whenever speaking to a man.
When Sakura had spent the evening with the Captain a few months back she had seen Naruto escorting Hinata somewhere. 'Oh God I do hope he's not one of those men,'cursed Sakura. It had never occurred to her that Naruto was no more of a lecherous toad than any of the other men but if he expected to play with her like some toy, and neither respect her as a nurse nor a person then he had another thing coming.
"Oi darling," sneered the barkeeper. Sakura spared him a moment to glare snootily at him.
"Ain't ya gonna order a drink?" he asked nasally. Sakura did not have enough excuses to fend off the whole bar, and she was tiring of this pointless banter.
"No thank you, I am happy to share with my friend here."
"No drink, no seat," snarled the large man.
Sakura smiled carelessly and took her opportunity to escape that rat hole. She pushed the bar stool back and snatched up her long coat and scarf.
"Oh well, I shall be leaving then, sorry to have wasted your time." She paused and turned to the blonde who was hunched, nursing his drink quietly. "Goodbye Naruto, I'm sure I will see you around at the hospital."
Happily, Sakura sauntered from the bar, pulling the coat on and wrapping the scarf around her neck. The door swung open without much resistance and she was off into the cool crisp night.
"Heaven…" she breathed contentedly, letting the smooth smoke free air into her lungs. Sakura decided she would navigate back to the hospital via the new airstrip, where Neji Hyuga worked and no doubt Hinata would be helping.
Neji was a skilled Pilot but was grounded for now, while he repaired his plane; he had had his wing punctured while spying on enemy trenches. It was remarkable he had not lost control and perished-but that was Neji Hyuga for you.
She gasped as her shoulder was grabbed roughly from behind. Sakura whipped round to see Naruto standing unsteadily before her.
"What do you want Naruto? I've got to get back…" she snapped harshly. Naruto merely swayed a little and tightened his grip, Sakura bit her lip and raised a hand to her shoulder and attempted to pry his hand from it.
"Ow, you're hurting me Naruto! Get off now! I'll report you; I'm a valuable-" her commands were cut short as Naruto swung his free hand into her face. The slap rang loudly in the otherwise silent night.
"Silence yourself wench" he spat. Sakura tried to recoil from the man and nursed her stinging cheek.
"I don't think you should talk to me like that," she whispered defiantly. Taking an offensive stance she faced him as bravely as she could, ignoring the involuntary tremors that ran through her. Her shoulder was beginning to ache terribly and she wasn't sure what to do next- if she should run or try and sweet talk her way out of it.
"You're nothing but a girl, what makes you think your opinion matters to me?" he sneered nastily. Sakura bit back a retort and sweetened her tongue.
"Now Naruto, it's late, I want to go home and go to bed. How about we have lunch together tomorrow instead?"
"Do you think your sugar coated lies are going to fool me, bitch? Do you really doubt my intelligence that much?" he ground out menacingly. Sakura was beginning to panic. He was seeing through her façade and wasn't willing to buy it.
"No, no of course not Naruto, I respect you utterly. Please, just let me go home" she pleaded. His hand crashed onto her neck and began to constrict her breathing. Naruto's blue eyes flashed dangerously.
"Listen here, whore, no one doubts me. Don't turn out like those fools back home, those idiots who didn't understand me…who misjudged me. I'm a man; just a man and I get lonely. I just want company- is that too much to ask?" he paused and began to shout into her face. "Is it?! Is it?"
Sakura felt weak at the knees, and woozy from the lack of oxygen but she would not give him the satisfaction of submitting to his violent argument. She merely tried her best to turn her face from him and ignored the spittle that was stuck to her throbbing cheek.
"Answer me…" she was surprised to hear him choke it out, as if he were going to cry.
"Answer me… answer dammit," he sobbed quietly.
"You fucking bastard," he swore. Lazily he let his eyelids flicker open, to view his would-be killer, not wanting to die without seeing the face of his murderer. Then he would curse that murderer all the way to hell and back again.
Before him was a face, not the face of evil but the face of a boy no older than him, a boy whose eyes were wide with wild terror. Sasuke felt his grip loosen on the scrawny neck. A boy, just like he had been when he joined the war. The boy's eyes seemed so innocent, ignorant to the atrocities he had been committing. How could such a child bear to kill so coldly?
Fear, that's drove the child. The same fear that kept Sasuke awake at night, the very terror that enabled him to slaughter before thinking. As he watched the boy's face he noted the dark hair so very much like his own, the trembling of his lip- just like a small worried baby and a pair of green eyes. Green eyes that seemed so much like Sakura's. He couldn't hurt this boy; killing a person so like his loved ones.
And Sasuke wordlessly watched as those peridot eyes glazed over, as the life left the soldier's thin frame. The knife fell from the boy's hands and dropped harmlessly to the side. A small sigh escaped his mouth, accompanied by a small trickle of blood. Shino pulled the boy from Sasuke, who could only watch his sad body fold neatly against the wall.
"You froze," Shino monotonously told him.
"I froze…" Sasuke repeated dazedly. He slumped backwards, closing his dark eyes and breathing deeply.
"Did you bring the blankets, Shino?" he asked tiredly.
"Aa" came the short reply.
Sasuke pulled himself together. The tugging at his heart when those burning green eyes had been extinguished had been quite a shock to his system. It was imperative to act now; he had to stop the Gerries getting past his trench. Sasuke had to protect the woman with green eyes behind lines.
"Put them on the pile of bodies. Don't let them get wet"
"Sir," Shino acknowledged the orders and set to work. While he busied himself draping the blankets, Sasuke slowly got up. He crouched next to the body of the Gerry boy.
"Sorry," he whispered, and gently tilted the boy's head forward and pulled the spiked helmet off. He slipped it over his hair and snuck forward towards the newly covered pile of bodies.
Shino turned to face him and visibly jumped, his hand going to his gun. He soon relaxed seeing it was only his captain.
"Off you go, wait around the corner. Shoot when I get back."
When Shino was safely hidden around the corner Sasuke struck a match on his boot. With satisfaction he observed the dry blankets catch alight relatively swiftly. He grinned sadistically when he saw the fleas and lice trying to jump from the burning mass but most not making it. 'Serves the buggers right.'
The blaze was strong now; it was time. He tilted the helmet a little further forward over his face. Sasuke stood in front of the roaring flames and shouted loudly "GUT" all the while not knowing what it meant. But since the solider had said it to him it was obviously German. Whatever it meant he hoped to attract the other Gerries to him.
Standing before the fire, he should appear as a silhouette. A silhouette that would be assumed was German because of the helmet he wore-the distinct single spike on top was a dead give away when shooting Gerries. He waited a few moments straining to hear any change in the sound of the trenches. Soon he was rewarded when a few faces peered over the top of the trench chatting amongst themselves.
They shouted something at him, which he didn't even try to understand. He just repeated the one German word he knew and beckoned for them to come closer, continuously signalling it was ok. Confidently he turned and strode past the pyre of bodies, careful not to reveal his face. He kept beckoning over his shoulder for them to follow.
Many of the Germans hopped down into the trench all laughing and celebrating their apparent victory. Sasuke smiled maliciously to himself-such a devious trick, it was like leading lambs to the slaughterhouse. Suddenly he caught himself. 'What are these evil thoughts, what kind of monster am I becoming?'His shoulders stiffened determinedly. 'I have to keep her safe. If I have to kill to keep her safe then so be it.'He tried to console himself- but deep down he knew no reason could justify killing so cold-heartedly. After all, Sasuke knew the pain of seeing someone being ripped from the world right before your very eyes.
There was no time now, though. There was only time for action and he had already received his orders. No matter his opinion now, he had sold the men's fates long before they would know about it. Sasuke's footfalls took him to the corner, around it and past Shino who knelt ready with Sasuke's gun.
"Open fire Shino, get a good shot, make it quick" Sasuke murmured as he leaned against the wall, casually ignoring the screams of horror and pain as Shino shot down the unsuspecting men one by one.
"Get your filthy hands off of her scum-bag," snarled a voice. Suddenly Naruto's tanned hands were ripped from her shoulders and the man was hurled backwards. Sakura turned to her saviour gratefully.
"Sasuke…" she breathed.
He didn't even spare her a glance as he advanced towards Naruto's body on the floor. Sakura didn't know what to do or say she only stumbled forward a little, shaking hand outstretched towards the two men.
"Sasuke, Naruto…don't…" she began. Sasuke whipped his head around to glare darkly at her.
"Stay back" he ordered harshly. She withdrew her hand and let it rest above her heaving chest. Sasuke could feel her worried eyes on his back but carried on stalking menacingly towards Naruto despite the fact.
Roughly he grasped the blonde by the collar and hauled him up. He wrinkled his nose in disgust. Utter scum. What kind of low life was this Yank? Naruto's big blue eyes finally fluttered open and focused on Sasuke.
"Bastard! Let me go," snarled the tanned man suddenly sober and furious. Sasuke had no intention of doing anything of the sort.
"You make me sick," he stated coolly. Naruto glowered darkly at Sasuke before spitting crudely in his eye. In disgust Sasuke threw Naruto towards a nearby wall. His back met it with a sickening crack. The blonde grimaced but didn't cry out- he was better than that. Both of the men ignored the small gasp of horror that came from the nurse behind them.
"Don't go sticking you nose in business where it doesn't belong," Naruto wheezed. The jet haired man only scoffed darkly and aimed a kick at Naruto's side.
"Ha, what kind of bastard kicks a man when he's down?" Naruto laughed bitterly.
"A very angry one," retorted Sasuke sharply. Their glares met and the two lunged at each other in a tangle of thrashing limbs. Sasuke was thrown to the ground, with Naruto's heavier frame pinning him against the dusty floor. Sasuke ignored the new throb of pain in his abdomen. Naruto reared back, as Sasuke's dark head collided with the blonde's temple. Sasuke took the opportunity to swing his fist upwards, hitting Naruto below the chin.
Naruto retaliated with a volley of punches aimed at Sasuke's head. Sakura watched helplessly as some of them made their mark on Sasuke's pale face. Finally the dark man managed to shove Naruto off of his chest and firmly wrapped his hands around the blonde's neck.
"Don't test me idiot, my patience wears thin," he warned. Blue eyes stared defiantly back at him. Sasuke doubled over as Naruto's knee connected with his stomach. Not wasting a moment Naruto began to aim his fists at Sasuke's cheeks. Taking advantage of the position Naruto had forced him into Sasuke jerked his elbow into the blonde's neck-temporarily choking him.
Sasuke pounced on him and knocked him to the floor. A few well-aimed punches rendered the blonde incapable of fighting. His senses were too disorientated and his body in too much pain. Now Sasuke lowered his face to Naruto's tanned one.
"Listen to me and it would do you well to listen carefully," he hissed slowly "If you dare touch, talk or even look at her again; I will kill you. Do you understand?"
Naruto groaned, refusing to accept Sasuke's little threat. His head throbbed as Sasuke shook his shoulders roughly.
"Do you?!" he bellowed. And then the shaking stopped. Naruto cracked open his left eye to see Sakura's small hand upon Sasuke's bloodied cheek. Sasuke looked up to her with dark confused eyes; she leant down and cupped his face in her hands. She worriedly noted the dark red patch spreading across his shirt.
"Enough," she ordered with gentle authority looking deeply into Sasuke's eyes.
"Enough…" agreed Sasuke. He backed away from Naruto's bruised form lying on the cobblestones. Sakura took his place and carefully glanced at Naruto's wounds- it was nothing serious only bruising and a few minor cuts.
"Hold still Naruto- let me check your nose, it may be broken."
Compliantly he kept still as her dainty fingers touched his nose applying a little pressure.
"Does it hurt?" she asked quietly. He shook his head and she smiled sadly.
"I don't think it's broken, only bleeding," she assured him. Slowly she stood and walked to Sasuke's side. She took his large hand in her own and stroked it soothingly. Naruto watched as Sasuke relaxed under her touch.
"Naruto…" she called, causing him to snap to attention "Please, go to Hinata. Make right whatever you've done."
Guilt rose in him like fire eating away at his torso. Hinata… he mused miserably. He had been undeniably cruel and foolish. He had known Sakura was the Uchiha's and despite this he had tried to pry her from him. Hinata, poor innocent Hinata, he had treated her worse of all and just because of jealousy. There was much he had to resolve before he went back to the front.
Naruto finally looked up at the couple again, only to see them embracing tenderly. Sasuke held the woman to him as if he would never let go. Her pink head was nestled in his chest and his face was buried in her hair. Naruto tore his eyes from the couple, feeling as though he was interfering with the intimacy of the moment.
Naruto struggled to his feet and made his way back to the tavern where he collapsed in front of the door. Silvery tears trickled down his face; he had been such a fool. Roughly he smeared them away with a grubby sleeve. His hand to fell to the floor clumsily as a figure approached.
"Say, boy, let me give you a hand" offered a kind voice. A kind brunette with an odd scar across his nose extended his hand towards the blonde.
"What's your name boy? I'm Iruka. You look like you've had a rough night," he said knowingly. Naruto chuckled.
"Naruto, sir," he answered politely. Iruka grinned widely and slapped his hand to his forehead.
"Say you're a Yank aren't you? Let me treat you to a drink- you Yanks have come a just the right time" Both men smiled brightly at each other as Naruto happily accepted the other.
Sakura glanced at Sasuke's clenched fists. She was helpless to do anything extreme further. Both of them had spoken on Shino's behalf but the committee wasn't accepting anything they said. Sakura determinedly decided to give it one last final shot.
"Sirs, I understand it was against regulations but Shino- he saved so many lives. We won back the trench and probably eliminated half the Gerry troops. Surely you can see that it is just to let him live," she pleaded evenly.
"Miss Haruno, you are but a woman. We do not expect you to understand such complex matters. To put it simply- it is illegal to abandon your gun in an area that the enemy can utilise it" a committee member explained patronisingly.
Sakura fumed silently but remained where she was, glaring defiantly at the bigoted committee.
"Sir, despite being a woman- I believe I understand the concepts of the military rules but I fail to see why this man should be executed for saving our lives!" she argued.
"Please Miss Haruno- you really fail to-"
"I do not fail to see anything. I think you fail to see the blatant truth presented to you. This man is a war hero and instead you promise him a cruel death. What kind of jury are you, this war is nothing like your wars of old! This war must be won at all costs. He made one procedural error but made a strategically brilliant move. He must not be punished for something so trivial" she spat angrily at the startled committee member.
"I also do not think it wise of you to question my intelligence sir," she continued brashly. "However, I do think it common sense for you to reconsider this case."
"Miss Haruno, take your seat," sharply ordered an old committee member. Begrudgingly she did.
"Captain Uchiha, what do you have to say for this case?" asked another, peering over his thick spectacles. Sasuke rose from his seat but refused to meet their gazes instead staring at his feet.
"It would be highly unadvisable to execute such a soldier of excellent quality. Even if regulations were broken, no harm came to the gun and it was not utilised by the enemy. In all his decision was for the benefit of the British military." He spoke calmly and logically- all the while masking his nerves. He could not let down his comrade.
The committee muttered to each other at his bold statement. It was unusual for a solider to deny the ideals of his superiors- he really must feel strongly about the situation.
"Thank you Captain, we will now deliberate," nodded a moustached member. Sasuke sat down slowly, shooting a glance at Sakura. He hoped they would see sense but he was pragmatic enough to not hope too much. He watched with disdainful eyes as the fat, ignorant council talked amongst themselves. Finally the spectacled one stood the others followed suit.
"Captain Uchiha, Miss Haruno, though your opinions were included in the argument for Aburame's defence, we have decided that the blatant disregard of regulations is cause enough for disciplinary action to be applied. Shino Aburame is to be executed. It will take place today at 3 o'clock. We do not have time to waste when dealing with war criminals," snarled a particularly pompous member.
Sasuke rose in disgust and exited the room. Sakura took a moment more to stare incredulously around the room before leaving; she simply could not believe their lack of compassion or empathy.
"Moronic conceited fools," she commented as she passed by their table.
"Miss Haruno, you would do well to respect your superiors," one threatened. Sakura spun around, her eyes blazing with fury.
"I apologize, I forgot that you are cruel enough to kill one of your own, an innocent one at that," she spat and exited without a backward glance, ignoring the dangerous position she could put herself in with such passionate words.
"Shino Aburame, you are accused of misconduct of regulations within the trenches. You abandoned your rifle before the enemy. You risked the enemy wielding the weapon for themselves. The penalty for this is execution," called out the resident crier.
"I understand," Shino said placidly, flicking the shades over his eyes again. He wore his shades as ever despite having been told to remove them numerous times. It was his death not theirs and he wanted to be able to see for it.
"Then will you please proceed to the wall, face the wall with your palms upon it," the man ordered, his voice visibly quaking when Sasuke shot him a warning look. Shino calmly ignored the way the man quavered. He himself stood with dignity and pride.
Slowly and deliberately, with his head held high, Shino made his way over to the end of the rifle range. Before he put his hands on the wall he turned around and scanned the crowd looking for someone. He spotted Sasuke and nodded towards his Captain-the man who he infinitely respected. Shino would abandon his gun again and face death a thousand times just to fight by his side once again.
Sakura grabbed Sasuke's hand as Shino faced the bricks, palms flat against the scarred wall. He stood so proudly before the crowd, so regal in this humiliating display.
"Tiddley iddley ighty," Shino sang in his gravely tones. Behind him the firing squad assembled, shuffling uncomfortably at the familiar words.
"Hurry me home to Blighty," his voice rose above the confused chattering of the civilian crowd. Those who knew the song watched remorsefully. No one dared disrespect him by averting their eyes.
"Take aim," a sergeant shouted.
"Blighty is the place for me!"
"Fire!" A volley of shots tore into Shino's body, tearing through his flesh and shattering his bones. Before Shino could feel the pain of his wounds he was dead. He slowly crumpled to the floor- his song silenced by the guns.
"Home is the place for me," whispered Sasuke. Sakura buried her head into his shoulder and sobbed quietly. Sasuke only stood with glazed eyes looking at the corpse of a hero.
Sap: Man on an outpost in No-man's land
If anyone was wondering this is set late World War 1 (since there are planes which may I note are made from canvas at this stage and do not carry heavy machine guns, more spy planes)
Sorry if the time skips confused anyone... So the war scenes are before the Naruto Sakura and Sasuke scenes which again are before the Shino trial scenes ) Well thank you I have had some really lovely reviews, they made my week. And sorry for taking so long This chapter is dedicated to both my patient beta Pappy-chan and Oily (lovely nicknames for ya!)