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Sunday, January 20, 2013

One Day at a Time

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or any of its characters and make no money from this.

Day Sixteen: Pulling the Devil's Tongue

The sound of a key being pushed in a lock stirred the couple who lay entagled together on the cold floor, their reaction being to breathe out loudly in annoyance at being awakened so suddenly before they stretched to rid their stiff bodies of the several numb spots that stung with pins and needles. With a groan, Sakura pulled away from Kakashi to lay on her back a little distance away from him, immediately missing his warmth when the cool air hit her front, reminding her of what had happened to her precious shirt. From the corner of her eye, she could see he was turning around to lean up on his elbows as he rubbed the sleep from his face.

Hearing the padlock snap open on the other side, they knew it wouldn't be long before someone entered their little prison. Most likely Koroku, but it was hard to tell. The jonin moved closer to his companion, dragging one hand slowly up her arm until he reached a cheek which he cupped tenderly.

It was hard to dislike being touched by this man, he was all warmth and softness. So careful yet precise. It fit him perfectly. She leaned into his hand, exhaling quietly as she enjoyed this little moment while she could, while they were alone and she could pretend that it was all that there was to the world. Even through her closed eyelids, she could feel black and red eyes observing her attentively, most likely searching for fear or anxiety.

"Every day, it's just one more day." She whispered into his palm, brushing her lips against his skin and smiling at the small tingle it brought her.

"Kiss me." She let out as she moved to face him again, trying to ignore the sound of the heavy metal of the padlock hitting the floor. Her eyes fluttered open so she could watch him, giving her the opportunity to witness the slight confusion settling in his handsome features. He was quick to comply nonetheless, as he lowered his lips to hers a second later, pressing them together in a soft kiss while she pulled him into her loose embrace.

It was hard to describe the feelings bubbling up in her chest, the odd mix of affection, warmth and closeness that brewed in her heart for him. She clung to them tightly, holding onto this comfortable concotion of emotions to clear her mind from everything else. From the fear she felt of what would happen when the door opened, from the way her insides twisted at the thought of another day of pain... From the knowledge that they might not make it out alive. Or worse, the possibility that only one of them would survive this. How was she supposed to deal with this kind of loss?

A creaking sound filled her ears, signaling that there were only a few seconds of peace left for her.

Panic rose in her chest when she felt her partner start to pull away, prompting her to latch onto him tighter and keep him close to her as she pressed her lips harder to his. She shut her eyes tightly as she blocked out her surroundings, a small whimper coming out of her throat due to the strong trepidation that captured her right then. His arms returned her embrace at the sound of her nervosity, trying to calm her down and reassure her. Pulling her flush against him, he cradled her head with one hand while the other limb snaked around her waist before his fingers gripped her hip.

"I gotta go." She murmured against his lips when the sounds of footsteps entered the room, though they were still out of sight for the moment. When she detached herself from him, he tried to resist and keep her close, but gave up immediately, knowing that it was better that way. Just as their captor appeared to them, Sakura was sitting down on her ankles, arms wrapping around her chest to hide her nudity.

"Hey there, cutie. Slept well?" Koroku greeted as he stood in front of them, fists on his hips as he watched Sakura closely. If he thought he could intimidate her just by looking, he had another thing coming...

"The floor is cold and hard. Is that how you treat all your guests?" She sneered, her fingers gripping her forearms as she lifted her chin to look at her enemy straight in the eyes.

"Ooh, such a tongue." He chuckled, his eyes moving to her side to gauge his other guest's mood.

From the corner of her eye, she could see he was sitting up against the wall, his face as impassive as ever.

"Well, how about you and me have a litte chat, girlie?" Koroku finally asked, offering her his hand to help her stand up. Her own quickly swatted it away as she stood up, glaring with all her might at him. It might not do much, but it sure made her feel a bit better.

As Koroku led her out of their small prison, the chuunin did her best to keep her back straight, expression firm and to avoid meeting Kakashi's gaze. Seeing the worry surely present in his eyes would only make it harder than it already was to do this. It was already taking all that she had to keep it together and act as if it didn't matter, acknowledging just how much Kakashi was suffering as well would destroy this armor she had created for herself.

This time, she was brought to what she assumed was his living quarters. A bed, a dresser, a desk with several sheets of paper strewn over it... It must've been where he worked as well when it didn't involve kidnapping. There were still no windows. She hadn't seen a single one yet, making her believe that they must be hiding underground. The chances were pretty good, a building that you couldn't see wasn't as easy to find.

The kunoichi willed herself to remain as calm and relaxed as possible, forcing her breathing to stay even even though her heart beat's pace picked up. It wasn't a surprise that as a shinobi of the Leaf she would have to endure pain, she had been trained for it. Tsunade-shishou herself had prepared her for this, strengthening her mind and body for such a situation. Still, actually living it when you didn't expect it to be coming was harsher than she could have ever realized. What she would have done if her favorite sensei wasn't with her to support her through all of this was a mystery that she didn't want to resolve.

"Sit down." The order was firm, yet still gentle. As disgusting as the man was, he still managed to have this soft aura of gentleness, often making her wonder what kind of a person he really was under the several fa├žades he showed. She sat on the bed, just for a second thankful for the comfort of a mattress under her, before she faced him and avoided his eyes. What would he do this time?

When he didn't move or talk for several seconds, just watching her, her eyes wandered around the room before they stopped on a small piece of paper glued to the wall. There was a date scribbled on it, about a month and a half from now. What was so important he had to have it on his wall in plain view?

"Your partner isn't going to tell me anything, is he?" He questioned, still rooted the spot and barely moving a finger.

"Not unless I ask him to." She answered honestly, tearing her eyes away from the note before he noticed where her attention was directed.

"Damn. Didn't expect you to be such a tough nut to crack as well. Should've expected as much from the Hokage's apprentice." He muttered before he started pacing around the room. The movement relieved Sakura of some of the anxiety she had been developping. There was something about speaking to a statue-like man that unnerved her.

"How you even thought a bunch of near genin level ninjas would be able to help you is beyond me." Her confident voice mocked, a smirk appearing on her lips as she leaned back on the bed, using her hands for support. A small scoff was her response.

"Your medic sucks." She added bluntly, observing every of his reactions from the corner of her eye. This made him stop altogether to throw her a curious glance. Was he really that clueless too?

"I see that you're sick. Any Konoha medic would be able to treat you, cirrhosis isn't such a big deal." Her explanation seemed to stun him for a few seconds until his expression turned into a scowl that screamed disbelief.

"I'm not even sick. I can't believe you're using such a basic tactic to try and manipulate me." His words didn't affect her in the least. It was obvious that he suffered of this disease to her trained eyes.

"Don't bullshit me. I can see the difformity in your nails, I smelled your musty breath, your skin and eyes have a slight tint of yellow and I can see your liver is very swollen. It's all easy to miss, when you're not the top medic in the country..." His face had contorted in an angry frown as he stalked around her, as if trying to figure out if she was telling the truth.

"I'm pretty sure the cause is a heavy alcohol consumption, since other than that you seem to be pretty healthy." She was entirely certain that she had hit the nail on the head, all that was left was to wait and hope he would confirm it. If he didn't have this treated within the next few months, he would be dead.

"How long do people live with this?" She bit down on the inside of her lip to keep her grin from being too evident. This hadn't been too hard.

"At most a year. Usually, at your stage, it's about seven months." Silence fell between them for a while as he apparently evaluated her words. Her best guess was that he was weighing his options, if making her heal him was more of a risk than it was worth.

"Treatment for cirrhosis is simple. A once a week session that lasts about thirty minutes to clear the liver of any toxins and repair damage that has been done. It takes about ten treatments to restore the liver to its normal state." The medic in her lied through her teeth. There was no cure for cirrhosis, only a treatment to keep the damage at bay and keep the patient alive with minimal discomfort. There was no doubt in her mind that anyone here was far from educated enough to know this. Either way, if she was wrong, her situation couldn't be any worse.

"Surely this won't come free." He mumbled as he walked in front of her, staring down at her with doubt clear in his mind.

"I want to know who you plan to sell to." Koroku was definitely a threat to Konoha, but puny kidnappers trying to sell forbidden jutsus weren't the biggest dangers. This buyer they had could surely do more damage. You didn't pay such a hefty price to just add a jutsu to your collection, this person had a plan well formulated and she had to put a stop it.

"How do I know you won't kill me once I take off your cuffs?" He sneered, obviously aware of her destructive strength. It would be a miracle if not every shinobi in the world knew she could create ravines with her incredible chakra control.

"My orders are to gather information and return it to the Leaf. Eliminating you is not in my interest."

It was true. She wouldn't kill him unless they had all the information they wanted. The only scenario where she would fulfill this fantasy of hers was if it didn't put her or Kakashi in further danger when came the time to escape. His abilities and strength were still unknown to her. Engaging in a fight with an enemy who could surprise you with every attack would be foolish.

"I see..." She could already taste victory on her tongue. He would give in soon enough.

Chapter Seventeen: Click Here

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