Hey! Welcome to this new story! It's a bit more mature than my other stuff, but I think this it is going to be pretty good. Just to get this straight, off the bat-this story IS influenced by others. Most prominently, the Queen's Thief series (by Meghan Whalen Turner), but also by things like Assassin's Creed and others. So, don't come to me saying "This is just a rewrite of such and such!" It has elements from a lot of stories, but this story is original. I'm not too worried about it being completely original and unrelated to anything else...this is a fanfiction, after all. On that subject, yes, my characters are going to be out of character (OOC). Deal with it. It's an alternate universe (AU) fanfiction, so that's not going to happen.

I think that's it...so, enjoy, read, review, and share! Have fun. Oh yeah, I don't own these characters.

Temari stood on the block, shivering in the cold air. She was wearing little: a ragged shift which barely covered her body, a set of cold iron manacles, and a head-scarf. As she stood, waiting for the bidding to begin, she grimaced. The men who'd put her here had made sure to arranged the shift so that it left little to the imagination. Even though they weren't selling her to the brothels anymore, they weren't going to pass up a chance at catching the eye of some young lordling who wanted a toy maid.

Thinking about the brothels, Temari put her hand to her face. Or, at least, that's what she tried to do. The chains on her hands were linked to those on her feet, making such a motion impossible. The cuts on her face, still fresh from that rusty iron nail, had been dressed, then hidden by some creative makeup, daubed on her by the "shiners", the women who mad the slaves look better than they really did, with tricks of pain and powder. Nonetheless, she could feel the burning wounds, hot against the cold air. She didn't regret it. It was that or spend every night in the arms of whatever fat,lecherous noble had bought her for that night. Between the brothels and self-mutilation, Temari had chosen the latter. She could still feel the bruises on her stomach where the pit-master had hit her when he found her bleeding on the floor. He'd been none to happy, but held back because she was up for sale. She'd already ruined herself for the brothels, he wouldn't help finish the job.

"Next, we have a specimen from the Land of Sands! She's a pretty one, isn't she? Turn her around, lads!" the auctioneer boomed. The two men on the platform grabbed Temari, roughly turning her around several times, grabbing her breasts and hips to show their size. She struggled violently, her face red and flushed from the humiliation.

"You see, she is a feisty one. Possibly a minus, but...I can see that being enjoyable," the auctioneer laughed. "Bend her over, lads, how about that?" The two men bent her roughly over. Temari's face went livid as the shift rode up, exposing her to whole crowd. She was about to scream bloody murder when one of the men stuffed his fingers in her mouth, shutting her up. At a sign from the short, extravagantly fat man who was running the auction, the two burly youths let her up and moved back to their positions. Temari straightened up, her jaw stiff, her face full of rage. She would not try to escape or cry, she wouldn't give them that pleasure. She looked out at the jeering men standing in the crowd and, one by one, she killed them all violently in her head, over and over again. It was a trick that Gaara had taught her, a way of dealing with rage. Of course, Gaara had always actually killed those who annoyed him, dismembering and mutilating them without mercy. She shuddered slightly at the memory, but was jolted back to the present as the first bids began to come in.

"One hundred lire!"


"I'll give you three hundred for that piece of meat." As she closed her eyes, the bidding continued like this, the men competing to see who could out-do each other, both in money and in vulgarity. It went on for about five minutes, the price finally driving up to the price of good horse. That bid came from a grotesque man, who made some comment about buying her ass alone. Temari opened her eyes to look at the bidder, then closed them again, shuddering at the man's looks and mannerism. As the auctioneer counted down, she prayed with all her heart to Shukaku, the brutal god of sand, begging him for someone else, anyone else.

"Do I hear any more than one thousand for this...lucious piece of womanhood?" the auctioneer laughed. "Going once...going twice..Gone!" However, before he could get the last syllable out, he was interrupted by a lazy drawl.

"One thousand and one." Temari opened her eyes, staring at the man who'd said it. He was standing at the front of the crowd, a circle of emptiness around him. His long black hair was pulled up into a ridiculous topknot, and a cigarette was hanging out of the corner of his mouth. Pulling it out, he blew smoke at the other bidder lazily. "Care to top that, love?" The man, who'd been celebrating his win, snarled.

"One thousand and two." Before the words were even out of his mouth, the other cut him off.

"Three." A hiss came out the back of the crowd. This man was playing with them, driving up the bidding for his own fun. The auctioneer coughed.

"I'm sorry, Minister. Would that be one thousand and three, or three thousand?" At this, a hush went through the crowd. Minister? As in one of the Hokage's personal advisers? Maybe he wasn't playing around. A Minister probably had the money to drive the bidding up ridiculously high. The grotesque man, who just moments before had been fantasizing about what he was going to to do Temari glowered as the black-haired smoker turned back to the stage. He looked Temari up and down, his eyes resting for a while on her cheeks. Grinning, he nodded.

"As you say, sir. Three thousand lire for this one. Actually, make it five." The crowd hushed. Nobody at this dock had that kind of money. For five thousand lire, one could buy a house, perhaps five cheap slaves, and an old horse. The auctioneer cleared his throat again, his reedy voice seeming small over the hush of the crowd.

"In that case...Do I hear any higher bids?...No? Then, going, going...SOLD! to Nara Shikamaru, Minister of Kaladian affairs!" At this, the hush disappeared. Kaladian Affairs? Kaladian? The minister to Kaladian was a joke, they said he was rarely sober enough to attend meetings. The area he represented was so small that barely anyone lived there, his office was purely ceremonial. As Minister Nara mounted the stage, the crowd began to circulate rumors, laugh, and generally be at ease again. Unlocking the chains, the two men handed Temari to Shikamaru, putting the cord attached to the collar on her neck in his hand. As he began to lead her off the stage, the auctioneer spoke again.

"Excuse me, sire. Those clothes belong to the pits." Nara Shikamaru turned around, a half-grin on his face.

"Is that so? Well then, she'd better take them off, then." He looked at her. "What was your name, woman?" Temari glared at him, her face livid. When he'd called out that first bid, she'd thought her prayers had been answered. She thought that the cruel lord of the sands for once had not been so cruel. She'd though a good man had come for her. Now it was obvious that he was just a fool and a lecher like the rest. The auctioneer answered for her.

"Her name is Temari, sire." The black-haired idiot nodded.

"Well then, Temari. Don't take what isn't yours. Take them off." Temari couldn't believe it. It was a well-known dupe, she'd even seen at it auctions back home. You tell an inexperienced slave owner that his slave's clothes don't belong to them, winning a free pair of clothes for re-use, giving the crowd a show, and forcing the man to buy more clothes for his slave. Was he really so dense? However, looking into his eyes, she could see that yes, he was. All she saw reflected in those eyes was stupidity and lust. Sighing, sending a sarcastic prayer of thanks to Shakaku, she pulled the shift over her head, exposing herself to the entire crowd. As the catcalls and whistles stared to come, Temari tried to cover herself with her hands. As her new master led her off the stage, she turned red, embarrassed both because of her nakedness, and because of her idiocy in believing that she might find a good man as a master.

She had to walk naked through the entire city, passing through market places, parks, and courtyards. Her feet began to bleed, cut on the cruel pavement stones. Her blush disappeared and her hands became less clenched to her, but the shame did not leave her. She had been a the daughter of a rich man, protected and pampered, and now look at her: walking naked on a leash in the streets like a dog. The man who'd bought her never turned to look at her, not even once. He didn't offer help when she was tired, simply pulled her on. He didn't offer her his tunic or even buy her a cloth to cover herself with, he simply kept walking. So, as they walked, she imagined ways to kill him, one after the other, her mind growing rank with images of him, covered in his own blood, throat cut, dismembered, castrated, disemboweled...

She almost crashed into him, only barely missing him as he stopped instantly in front of a large, if somewhat dilapidated house. Slowly, he reached up, knocking on the red door, which was almost instantly opened by a burly guard. As he walked through the courtyard, he pulled her along, almost choking her with the leash several times. Upon entering the main house, Temari's pain was relieved by the coolness of the indoors, but her shame renewed as the maids and others slaves, dressed simply but completely, tittered at her, pointing, whispering, laughing. Finally, her new owner turned around, finally facing her. His eyes looked her up and down, taking in the bloody feet, the burned skin, the sweat, the redness of the face, the anger in her eyes. Smiling, he spoke.

"How are you...Temari, wasn't it?" At this seemingly innocent question, Temari snapped. She could handle everything, she'd stayed silent through all the humiliations, but she couldn't handle it anymore.

"How am I? How am I? How do you think I am, you son of a bitch? You fall for the oldest trick in the book, strip me, pull me through those god-forsaken streets into this place and then you have the gall to ask me how the fuck I am? I'll tell you how I am, SIR, I'm angry!" The slaves who had gathered around suddenly hushed, and moved back into the shadows. Temari looked at them, confused, then, just before it hit, she saw Shikamaru's hand flying for her. He slapped her twice, very hard, knocking her down onto the floor.

"First rule, woman. Never insult me." He clapped his hands together, as if washing her dirt off of his hands. "Deal with her. I'll see her in two hours. Make sure you're done by then." Silently, three of the older women swept in, grabbing Temari and pulling her away to a room off the main atrium. As she was dragged out, she heard Nara's voice again. "What are you all looking at? Go away, scrub some floors or something." She squeezed her eyes shut. She would not cry, no matter what they did to her. They could burn her, they could beat her, they could cut her, they could rape her. Those things they had already done. She could feel the burn of the 'S' on her ass, marking her for life as a slave, the slices on her cheek, the bruises on her stomach, and the ache between her thighs where the slavers, the pit-keepers, the auctioneer, and many others had their way with her over the month since her capture. She'd cried the first time, but never since then. No matter what, she wouldn't cry.

So, review, share, comment. Please let me know how you liked it, what you think is going to happen, and so on. Let's start a conversation. :)