Chapter 5. This one's mostly Hidan. Oh, and since it's really hard to tell just by looking at the change in font, I added *** before and after every flashback (Oh noes! There be flashbacks in this chapter O.O)
Two more chapters to go XD
Chapter 5 – Familiar Situations
Teacups clanged nearby. He looked up over his cup of green tea: the waitress was scrambling through the tight maze of crowded tables to get to table number three on the right hand corner of the shop.
Three men sat hunched over a piece of paper at table three. Three old men, he noted. One of them was very, very old. The bald man who sat by the window jabbed a finger at the document on the table and said something in hushed tones. The other man sitting next to the bald one only leaned back with his arms crossed, eyes half lidded. The old man sitting across the table from the pair leaned forward, frowning, glaring accusingly at the bald one who was talking to him.
He couldn't hear a word of it of course; not that it interested him either. It was probably just another argument over money. He raised his cup again and took a sip of his tea.
Teacups clanged again. The waitress had finally reached table three and was putting down cups of steaming beverage in front of the three men. She tucked her tray under her arm as she went about setting the saucers of dango around the table. The old ninja brushed his saucer aside and pushed the piece of paper towards the men in front of him. The girl leaned forward and spoke to them, probably to ask if there was anything else they required. She merely received a dismissive glance from the bald man.
Hidan set down his cup on the table and pushed his chair back. It grated against the dirty floor, leaving white streaks. That idiot's going to take forever. He rose from his seat and reached out to the edge of his table to pick up his scythe.
The same waitress who had waited on table three presently rushed to his table to pick up his empty cup and saucer. She smiled at him and made a slight bow. He nodded vaguely.
Slinging his massive weapon over his shoulder, he made his way toward the exit. The café grew quiet, hushed voices dominating the low buzzing that hovered in the air. Eyes cast wary stares at the red blades. People averted their eyes when he casually glanced their way. He grinned derisively, angling his scythe a notch higher so that the blades stood more visibly to the crowd gathered. He could feel them tense in fear behind him.
He glanced at table number three from outside the shop window as he passed into the nearby street. Kakuzu shot him a glare from where he sat. He knew what it meant: "Stay out of trouble." Hidan shrugged, sending him a wink along the way. I'll try.
Kakuzu sighed inaudibly and quickly turned his attention back to the two men he was conducting his meeting with.
Outside, Hidan ventured out into the mass of busy people. The street seemed pretty crowded, he noted. And it was only five in the morning. Work started way too early for this village. Even so, he had no trouble sailing past the crowd at whatever pace he chose to walk, because the crowd seemed to part when he stepped forward. He grinned. Are my scythe and good looks that scary?
He flashed a casual wink at a young lady who was standing by a vegetable stall. She blushed and looked away, a shy smile playing on her features. The man next to her shot Hidan a glare.
Hidan cocked his eyebrow, playfully challenging him. He brought down his scythe with a single powerful swing. It hit the ground with a dull thud, disturbing a puff of dust. The man's eyes widened in fear and he instinctively placed a hand in front of the woman, shielding her from the impending attack. The crowd gasped, widening the radius of empty space between themselves and Hidan by another few meters.
Seriously, he thought, and started to walk again, dragging his weapon behind him. Clouds of dust followed him.
The town they had been staying in was a poor one. Shabby houses and small unimpressive shops lined the streets.
Hidan occasionally came across a few severely destroyed structures along the way. Nobody seemed to have bothered with renovation. Rusty kunai lay undisturbed within the overgrown grass and faded bloodstains smeared the crumbling walls.
As he left the town behind and entered the countryside, the scenery began to change notably. One or two people scurried to and fro, carrying heavy bundles of something. Probably something to sell, he figured. Now and then scorched tree trunks stood with their arms raised toward heaven, as if begging for salvation from the flames. Clusters of unmarked graves dotted the scenery every half mile or so. They were vestiges of war.
He looked away, the bitterness tugging at him once again. Bastards! Fighting over nothing but selfish ideals. It was the same everywhere he went. They fucking deserved to die.
The smell of wet earth met his nostrils. Small puddles dotted the entrance of an abandoned playground. It had rained yesterday.
He looked up: bodies of nimbostratus clouds were steadily making their way across the sky. Well how about that, he thought. We'll be having shitty weather tonight as well.
Hidan made his way to a rusty swing. His scythe cut through the soft earth as it tailed behind him.
Violet eyes scanned the small swing. Flecks of paint were already peeling away from the metal chains. For what reason they had been colored, he had no idea. One of the chains had snapped and the links twisted out of shape. A decaying wooden seat with cracked white paint hung from the only good chain that held it. The lower half of the broken one lay half buried in mud on the ground right below. And right next to it, quite inconspicuous, was the hint of a forked object.
He stooped to pick it up.
Hidan laughed at himself as he wiped the layers of mud away from the object. What was he doing picking up half buried things from the mud? Was he that bored? The mud came off easily, revealing something that made the young priest's eyes sparkle.
It was a slingshot.
Someone had carelessly left it there. They may have probably forgotten it while in a hurry to run away from something. Where was the owner?
He traced his finger over its smooth wooden surface. Using his other hand he tested the tension in the rubber bands. It was strong, well made. He smiled.
He closed his eyes, recalling the last time he had used one.
'Hey Satoru san! Sa-to-ru saaan!'
'Neh… what is it now?'
'Satoru san, what's this?' He held up a wooden toy to his friend's face. It was forked and had two bands attached to the ends.
The girl took the item and looked it over. 'It's a slingshot.'
Silver eyebrows furrowed in confusion. 'What the hell is that?'
'Watch,' she said, reaching out to a pebble nearby. She placed it the wide seat in the middle of the band and pulled. Taking careful aim at a nearby lizard scrambling up a tree trunk, she let go. The pebble whizzed out of her grasp and hit the unsuspecting animal. Hidan stared, enraptured at what unfolded in the moments that followed.
The pebble bounced back and fell, hitting the exposed roots of the tree with a dry crackle. For a tiny moment, the lizard clung to the tree trunk motionless, stunned. It had been too quick, too sudden, to even release its tail as a decoy.
Then it fell; it succumbed to gravity, now powerless to gather any more strength to keep holding on to anything – even life.
Hidan scrambled to look at the fallen animal. An unrecognizable mess replaced what used to be its head. He picked it up, amazed.
'You got him Satoru san!' He held it up for her to see. 'Look!'
Satoru smiled lackadaisically and held out the slingshot to him. He snatched it from her, grinning from ear to ear.
'You're gonna teach me how to shoot right, Satoru san?'
He grinned at the memory. Sure, she had taught him to 'shoot'. Soon he was breaking everything in sight: bottles, cans, windows, squirrels, cats, birds, paper doors, even fruit that was too high up to reach. He was good at it, she told him. It made him proud.
And then it happened.
Hidan woke up to the sound of muffled cries that night. He scrambled out of his futon to Satoru's to try and wake her up.
'Oi Satoru san,' he whispered, blindly reaching out in the darkness. He felt the hem of her blanket. Fumbling in the dark,he put his hands on her pillow. Violet eyes widened: her bed was empty; she was gone.
'Shut up.' Another orphan whispered fiercely.
'Where the hell is she?' he demanded.
'They called her out.'
His eyes widened even more. 'No way!'
Cautiously tip-toeing his way out of the room, he slid into the corridor, following the harsh, but low, voices and the muffled screams. A soft glow ensued from the space below one of the doors. The voices seemed to be coming from there.
He pressed his ear to the door and listened.
'You'll have to pardon her manners, sir.' He recognized that voice immediately: it was the lady who ran the orphanage.
'Lack of,' mumbled a man whose voice he didn't recognize.
He pressed his ear a little harder. There were three people. No, four. It could have been five. He heard another man struggle.
There was a rustling sound, like someone thumbing through a stack of papers. 'Well then, this is for all your trouble, Ms. Kuroshi.' It was the same man who had spoken earlier.
'Thank you,' the old lady replied.
'We'll take good care of her,' someone else said.
The woman laughed. 'Of course!'
More dull sounds of struggle ensued. Heart pounding in his chest, he pressed his ear a little more.
It was then that the door opened and he fell forward, falling on his knees, right below Ms. Kuroshi. He looked up, horrified, and saw her glaring accusingly at him. Behind her were two men, dragging Satoru with them out of a back door.
'Hey!' he shouted, but was immediately kicked in the side by Haki, Ms. Kuroshi's assistant. Reeling from the pain, he looked up at the man, and then at the old woman. She was holding a wad of cash.
The next morning, eight year old Hidan learnt the meaning of the word 'rape'.
He had never seen Satoru cry before. In fact, she was the one who used to chide him for crying when he was first brought to the orphanage after being abandoned by his father who didn't want anything to do with him after Hidan's mother died. His father had never acknowledged him as his own blood. Instead he accused his mother of bearing him another man's child. Hidan never understood why.
Satoru called him weak because he was feeling sorry for himself while he should have been thinking about finding a solution to his problems.
Satoru had taught him to fight and fend for himself. She was tough and claimed that she didn't take shit from no one. She was true to her word. And over the five years they spent together in that hell hole of an orphanage, most of Satoru's toughness had rubbed off onto Hidan.
Hidan, being an angry child himself, only needed that little push he received from his friend to ignite his fiery personality. Everything that was bottled up burst forth when he was provoked. And he wasn't going to take shit from anyone either. As a result, together they made an invincible team. They could take down the whole orphanage if they wanted to.
But whatever it was that was making Satoru cry that day must have been something really bad, he thought. It must have been nastier than Ms. Kuroshi, and meaner than Hideoki the bully. It must have been sadder than being abandoned, and lonelier than being told you were not wanted.
'Rape', he learnt, was unimaginably cruel.
That day he took good aim as he raised his slingshot and pulled the rubber.
It took him only thirty seconds to bring down both Ms. Kuroshi and Haki.
A small flock of birds landed on a patch of grass a few meters in front of him. They were prying out the earthworms from the soil.
He walked over to a charred tree standing nearby and flopped down on the ground in front of it. He leaned back on it, taking in the view of the village below. The clusters of unmarked graves showed up as tiny white specks within the fields of green.
'Hidan! That's enough!'
'Shut the hell up!'
'Hidan!' the ANBU captain yelled over the chorus of explosions in the distance. 'Hidan we need you at the Northern Gate! Now!'
'Oi! Can't you see I'm busy?' Hidan yelled in response, slashing his scythe through another one of their opponents.
'Just stop whatever the fuck you're doing and get to the Northern Gate idiot. We're falling behind on the plan because of you!' Satoru hollered, fending off an enemy shinobi herself.
'The backup team can take care of them so GO!' their captain ordered.
'My religion prohibits me from leaving a man half dead damn it, so you're going to have to fucking deal with it!' Hidan shouted back as he slashed the body of the last Kumo shinobi that had attacked their team.
Their Yugakure ANBU unit finally got to the Northern Gate a few minutes after that. It took a lot of frantic, colorful persuasion from his teammates to veer Hidan away from the tendency to finish off half dead enemies along the way.
At the Gate, their captain pulled out a scroll from his vest and handed it to Satoru. 'You know what to do from here.'
Hidan lifted his mask. 'Wait, what the hell, why's she going alone?'
'Are you doubting my abilities Hidan?' Satoru asked. He could imagine her poking her tongue out at him from behind that mask.
'No, I'm just saying. How come you get to go and beat the shit out of the big guys over there while I'm stuck with this loser here fighting off underlings?'
'It's because Satoru's better at reconnaissance than you are. And who the hell are you calling a loser, bastard?' his captain growled.
'Hey Hidan don't worry about me, you'll have plenty of fun out here. Besides, your big mouth and flashy scythe aren't suited for this job. Just make sure nobody makes it through the Gate while I'm in there, or I'll seriously have to whoop your ass when I get back.'
Her threat proved to be an empty one however, because it was the last time he saw her alive.
Three days later the war had been declared over and Hidan was sitting in the conference hall, confused and angry for answers. Every remaining Yugakure shinobi and kunoichi had been summoned for the important meeting.
'The infiltration was an unfortunate incident,' their leader announced halfway through his speech. 'And it is with the greatest regret that I have to announce the death of Kenichi Satoru, who lost her life while on this mission.' Murmurs passed through the crowd gathered in the hall. 'However, there is some good news. The war is finally over…'
Hidan only stared incredulously at their leader as the old man pronounced that a peace treaty had been signed between Yu, Taki, and Kusa, and that Yugakure would no longer be a hidden village. He had further stated that Yugakure would no longer have any need for shinobi and that they will have to disarm immediately. Now free from war, Yugakure would take a different path and prosper as a tourist spot.
'How the hell did it come to that?' he yelled at his captain that night. 'A fucking tourist village? After all this, the only thing they could come up with is a fucking tourist village? What the fuck is wrong with the world!'
'And Satoru. What about her? She died fighting for a tourist village. That's… that's fucking unforgivable! And Kusa. Since when were they involved?'
'Listen, Hidan.' The other man reached for something in his vest pocket. Slowly, he pulled out a rosary and held it out to him. 'She wanted you to have this.'
Hidan could only stare, dumbfounded, as the other man held out the silver item, the familiar symbol of Jashin dangling from its end. 'What…'
'Tamaki was there,' his captain said, voice low. 'The infiltration was a success.'
'But our motives were given away by somebody else on our side. It didn't take long for them to track her down with the evidence.'
'Yugakure has been acting as a double agent. While we sided with Taki in the war, we also had a pact with Iwa. Apparently Iwa's plan was to gather information on the new weapon of mass destruction Taki was building. Relations between Taki, Kusa, and Iwa have always been shaky, so both Kusa and Taki threatened Yugakure with 'complete annihilation' using that very same weapon if details of it got out to Iwa.'
'So that's why the 'peace treaty'…'
'Also the order for disarmament.'
'Well fuck all that! What the hell happened to Satoru?'
The man averted his gaze. 'She was sacrificed in order to protect the village.'
'They let them kill her because they were afraid she'd talk?'
Hidan snatched the rosary from his captain. She had been only days away from ordination.
That night, while the village celebrated the new treaty, the silver haired shinobi massacred every council member he could find. And then in the middle of the grand speech, he slew the leader of Yugakure in front of everybody gathered for the occasion.
He closed his fingers around the rosary around his neck. It was hers.
People were nothing more than selfish hypocrites. They'd throw away the life of their comrades as if it meant nothing just as long as they could realize their goals. Everybody was the same… and they all deserved die.
He peered into the cloudy sky. A brown bird flapped its wings rather lethargically before circling over a puddle of water.
He realized he still held the slingshot he had found by the broken swing. A grin broke out on his face.
He reached out for a stone lying in front of him and looked it over. This'll do, he thought, placing it in the seat of the rubber. Then he took aim and released it into the air.
An explosion of feathers ensued.
He got up lazily and made his way to the twitching body of the animal he had just shot down. Images of the past suddenly flashed in front of his eyes as he looked down on the dying animal. He picked it up and twisted its neck. The bird's legs kicked violently. He stopped when he heard the distinct 'crack'.
"Maybe we can finally have some actual food today," he laughed, holding up the bird by its neck. Its head lolled lifelessly to a side.
It was then that he noticed a tiny scroll attached to one of its legs.
His eyes widened at the discovery. This was no ordinary bird, it was a messenger.
He grinned playfully as he undid the scroll from its leg. The message read in bold, yet fine handwriting:
Please reply as soon as you get this. Something's come up. Are you alright?
At 4:00 pm Kakuzu strode into their room, briefcase in hand.
"Man, you took all day! I even had lunch without you."
The Falls nin didn't answer. Instead, he merely made his way to his bed and placed his briefcase on it. Here, however, he stopped, and raising his head slightly, sniffed.
"What is that smell?"
"It smells like bloody feathers," Kakuzu said, frowning.
"Aah, you're good, Kakuzu chan!" Hidan sang.
"What the hell did you bring into the room this time?" Green eyes glared at the younger man sprawled lazily on the opposite bed.
"Just this," Hidan said pointing to the dead bird he had stuffed under his bed.
Kakuzu raised his eyebrows.
Hidan smiled sweetly. "It's a present."
"Not for you," Hidan said. He clasped his hands behind his head.
Kakuzu ignored the remark, but added, "How did you manage to capture a bird with that cumbersome weapon of yours?" A tenth of a degree of curiosity laced his voice.
Hidan chuckled. "I used this," he said, holding up the slingshot he had found earlier that day.
"A slingshot?" Kakuzu's eyebrows slackened, the curiosity wearing off. He resisted the tendency to roll his eyes.
"I borrowed it."
"Stole it, more likely."
"No seriously, I found it in the mud at a playground on the other side of town. It was abandoned."
"Indeed." Kakuzu decided it was better not to ask him what he had been doing at a playground at his age.
A short silence ensued between them before Kakuzu said, wincing: "Make sure you get rid of that thing as soon as possible."
The Falls nin opened his briefcase and sat down to inspect the documents in there.
"Hey Kakuzu," Hidan said, still inspecting the slingshot he held in his hand. Kakuzu merely continued with his work. "Do you remember the first person you killed?"
There was brief silence before Kakuzu answered: "There's been too many to count."
Hidan sat on the far end of his bed, back turned to Kakuzu. His fingers pressed a short strip of red cloth to his face as he inhaled its scent. It was hers, Temari's. He had pocketed it the last time they parted, after her weak attempt at blowing him up with an exploding note... along with herself.
The faint smell of rain still lingered in its meshwork of fibers.
Hidan glanced over his shoulder at Kakuzu. The Falls nin was sharpening his tools. A silver eyebrow rose questioningly.
"We're finally moving again?"
"Yes. Before dawn."
Hidan reached for the bird under the bed.
"What are you doing?"
"Sacrifice. And gotta give this to someone," the Jashinist said, holding out the bird for Kakuzu to see.
Kakuzu went back to preparing his tools. "Just don't get carried away and have too much fun," he said gruffly.
Hidan picked up his scythe and jauntily made his way out of the room. He had been cooped up in this village for too long. Seriously.
"Another one down."
Thunder rumbled in the distance.
"Talk about special effects." He laughed as he pulled out the spike from his chest. "Jashin sama, that you?"
He traced the horizon with his eyes. Hints of faraway lightning illuminated the thick clouds in the sky. "Storm's coming," he mumbled, stooping to pick up his pike and scythe that lay scattered within the circle of Jashin.
He grinned. "Guess I won't have to worry about angry villagers in the morning then." The rain was sure to wash away the large symbol he had drawn with his blood. Hidan never washed away the symbols of Jashin after his rituals. It would have been sacrilege if he did.
He kicked the body of his victim. It rolled down the slight slope and stopped when it hit a clump of bushes.
Another rumble echoed through the sky. Sure, there's going to be a storm tonight.
He took out the red cloth again and pressed it to his face. Rain. He closed his eyes. It smelt like rain.
"Is that what keeps you going?"
The red fabric brushed his lips. What keeps me going?
He pressed it closer, swallowing its scent once more. Is it you?
Silver eyebrows furrowed. What was it that had him going back for more?
Back then it was because he thought – no, he knew – that she was the perfect candidate to lift the burden off his chest. She hated him out of fear, not for herself, but for the sake of those she loved. She was out for his blood; it was revenge. She would wipe out Akatsuki if she had the chance: it was retribution.
She served to protect, he to destroy. He threatened her just by existing. She was looking for a reason to wipe him out.
He looked at the dead bird he brought along with him. This should be reason enough, he thought, smiling. Maybe she'd finally do it this time.
He took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. But lately… lately he didn't feel as if he wanted to die just yet, even if she'd kill him.
He wanted answers. He wanted to know what life was about, what living was about. He just wanted to know more about her. He wanted to know what made her laugh, what made her cry. He wanted to know all about this woman who waited for him every night: the woman who always told him to go away, but still kept coming back for him. She was the only one in the world right now that actually acknowledged his existence. It was personal.
To Pein, he was only a tool in some bigger plan which he had no interest in whatsoever. To Kakuzu, he was just a pain in the ass who stuck with him only because he couldn't kill him.
All his life he had been angry. He was the unwanted one, cast aside and left to rot in whatever hell he'd stumble upon.
But this, her…
She hated him, and he was grateful for that, because nobody else could have hated him with such a passion. In the most twisted of ways, she made him feel wanted, needed. With her it felt different.
It almost felt normal.
'Hey Satoru san! Sa-to-ru saaan!'
'Neh… what is it now?'
He put his head back and laughed up at the sky. How long had it been since he'd felt that way?
Temari stared at the sky through her window. It'll rain again.
She cursed the weather. It had rained the night before, just after he left. A peculiar sandstorm that struck the desert the previous day had swept across the desert again yesterday. It lasted for most of the day, ceasing only in the late evening.
She wondered if the bird had even managed to get across Wind country's border.
A bolt of lightning ripped through the sky.
She looked at her watch. It was almost time for her appointment.
A clamor of rumbles and clashes erupted from the heavens. The wind picked up its pace.
Panting, Temari reached the border of Sunagakure and the desert that divided it from Tori. It was the only border that hadn't been fenced or had any barriers set up. It was also convenient for her purposes because border patrol took their positions a mile away from here, where outlooks had already been built.
About two miles behind her was the narrow street that had hosted the Autumn Festival. It was where he had shown his face once again after all those months. The moment she saw him that day, she knew where to go looking for him.
She kicked a scorpion down the mound of sand she stood on. It skittered down the slope, stinger poised, provoked. Another flash of lightning illuminated the bleak desert. The scorpion took the opportunity to vanish underground.
Temari gritted her teeth as she watched the venomous arthropod disappear down the mound. Bitter memories found their way back to her. The scorpion of the Red Sand: Sasori the Puppet Master. She shook her head, squeezing her eyes shut, trying to squeeze out the memory along with them. Sure he was dead, but still…
Bluish-green streaks of electricity coursed over the landscape. She squinted, trying to make out his outline in the darkness. The lightning made the ensuing moments of darkness appear pitch black, and for a while her eyes refused to see anything.
Frustrated, she strained them a little more, only to pick out the hint of red clouds in the flickering landscape. There he is.
More blue streaks ripped above the desert. She blinked reflexively.
He had moved closer. The sky growled.
"That's some storm you've got coming," he said over the rumbling.
She backed away slightly. The constant lightning made it hard to see, but she could definitely tell he was moving towards her. Every time a bolt of electricity screeched over the landscape his form was bigger, clearer, closer.
He stopped about three meters in front of her.
"Guess I'll be leaving you again tonight."
What? No… "Leaving?"
"Yep. Heading East" He grinned. "Are you okay? You sound upset." He was leaning forward, a mock expression of concern dancing all over his features.
"Don't have much time either. I'm supposed to be off before dawn." He brought down his scythe. "Damn, and I'm supposed to be kicking back and getting some rest right about now."
"Indeed." She rolled her eyes. He was one to talk, after coming out here on his own will.
She saw him toss something on the ground.
He kicked it with his toe. "A little parting gift I found this morning."
A gift? The last time he had given her something it was a severed head. She squinted; a little edgy at the sight of whatever it was that lay on the ground before her. It possibly wasn't anything live.
Another flash of lightning; another rumble.
No, it definitely wasn't anything live.
It was the messenger bird she had sent out to deliver Shikamaru her message.
It was. It used to be.
Her knees trembled. Her eyes grew wide. Her heart pounded in her chest.
This was it. This was her reason. He had made it clear enough. Kill him now, Temari! But her body refused to move.
"Didn't I tell you I was the only one allowed to take up all of your time?" There was something menacing about his expression that night.
Kill him! Move!
Nature echoed the turmoil in her head as it roared and flashed streaks of green and blue around her. It was too hard to see, too loud to hear. Besides, the sound of her heart pounding in her chest was growing louder and louder by the moment.
"Leave me alone!" she faltered.
"Leave you alone?"
It was too dark, and too loud.
She barely dodged the blades that came tearing at her.
Temari looked on in confusion, hand raised to her fan but still unable to move at will. Had he just… thrown his scythe at her?
How…? She dared herself to steal a glance at the blades. They were connected to a long rope at the end… how could she forget? So, he was capable of throwing his weapon out at others too huh? She frowned. Might as well draw it out, she thought, tightening her fingers around her fan.
But somehow, that too refused to move.
She couldn't really see or hear well amidst the din of the upcoming storm, but she did retain her ability to smell. Yes, she could smell alright. She could smell it. She could smell him: blood, sweat, and rain.
The next flash of electricity illuminated everything: he was standing right in front of her, their noses almost touching.
The world stilled.
He was close. Too close.
He was so close that she could even hear him breathe in spite of the noise around them.
She tried once more to release her fan from her sash; it didn't budge.
Only then did she feel his fingers over hers, resting firmly, preventing her from pulling out her weapon.
He brought his face closer to the side of hers.
"Why the hell would I want to leave you alone?" he whispered, his voice sending violent tremors through her body as the words brushed the sensitive skin on her ears.
Summoning whatever will she had left, she brought a kunai up to his throat with her free hand, resting it against the thin flesh, grazing it slightly.
"Heh." He leaned forward, neck pressing further on the kunai, drawing out blood. "Sorry blondie but… I don't feel like dying tonight." He freed his right hand from the grip on his scythe and brought it up to her hair. Pale fingers lightly tousled blonde hair, gently tugging it closer to him. He inhaled sharply, drinking in her scent.
Rain... It smelt like rain. She smelt like rain.
"I won't be seeing you in a while but… that doesn't mean you won't wait for me like always, right?" He lightly traced her jaw with his thumb.
She remained silent, too stunned to think of an answer, or even a reproach. What the hell was he doing? Why the hell couldn't she move? Why couldn't she speak?
"Tell me," he whispered, thumb trailing lower, tracing the delicate skin on her neck. He shifted slightly, his lips almost brushing against hers now. "Why do you wait for me?"
It was too much.
"I… I…" she searched for her voice, desperately trying to distract herself from the situation she was in.
His eyelashes softly tickled her skin.
"I... hate you," she finally managed to say, voice quavering between a gasp and a sob.
"Hate me?" He chuckled. "That's good." His thumb slowly coursed its way back to her jaw. "You hate me so much that you can't stop thinking about me, right?"
He smirked, tilting his head slightly to the right again. She could feel his breath hot on her cheek. Her breathing came out in shallow gasps.
Thunder echoed around them.
"Tell me, Temari," he said. It burned; the skin on her cheek burned when he pronounced her name. "What would you do if you lost everything?"
Her eyes widened.
Was it fear, shock, disbelief? She didn't know. She didn't have time to figure it out… because the next moment she felt something smouldering, yet wet, press firmly and slide against her cheek: he licked her.
"Wait for me."
Pat... Pat... Pat… Pat…
He retracted his weapon and his hold on her hand. When she came to, she saw him walking away, scythe slung over his shoulder.
Pat... Pat... Pat… Pat…
Her gaze fell on the dead bird he had left her.
"What would you do if you lost everything?"
She fell to her knees.
It was already raining.
Hot chocolate in one hand, Kankuro knocked softly on the door. "Oi Temari. Open up, it's me."
He sighed at the silence that followed, annoyed. Turning the knob and yanking open the door, he stepped in, stomping rather noisily. "Oi—" he began, and then stopped mid-sentence. Her room was empty.
"You've got to be kidding me," he mumbled, slamming the door shut. Kankuro tossed the beverage into a nearby trash can and bounded up to the Kazekage's headquarters two blocks away.
Gaara was awake. The rain always kept him awake. He was sitting at his desk finishing up paperwork when his brother burst in.
He looked up.
Kankuro only stared at him from the doorway, panting from excitement.
His brother didn't need to say anything. He knew.
Gaara immediately got up and pressed a button on his office phone.
A series of beeps were heard and then: "Reinforcements for border patrol," Gaara spoke. "We have an intruder."
A vague static voice came back from the other end: "Hai, Kazekage sama!"
The Kazekage released his finger from the button and looked up at his older brother again. "So he has returned."
Kankuro nodded. "Let's go."