His back hit the icy concrete of the wall behind him with a wet slap. The cold raced down his spine and though normally it would have been uncomfortable, at this moment the intense feeling gave him focus. A contrast to the pain. The dull aches of bruises, the sharp stinging of cuts, the stabbing, hot pain of broken bones. Each pain was distinctive and yet, they all ran together; made his stomach turn. He curled protectively over his broken arm, hissing between tightly clenched teeth.
Pain lanced his lung. Broken ribs. Kakashi stood, straightened as much as was possible and drew in a breath through his nose. Paused as his vision swam and sucked in another. He closed his eyes and softly let his head rest on the cold surface behind. The incessant rain fell on his face, followed by the instinctive flinch and the small amount of clarity the cold offered. Kakashi’s pain induced fog began to fade. Or perhaps more accurately, he was able to push the pain away. Because, he was in need of a plan. Some plan. Any plan. Anything to get him out of here alive.
Taking another deep breath he reopened his eyes and focused on the other wall before him. He had dropped himself into an alley. He had hidden himself well enough to buy a few minutes of quiet. He didn’t have much time but possibly just long enough. Without preemptive thought his sharingan focused on the faded poster only half clinging to the wall, soaked through with rain and colors beginning to run.
As the face on the poster became visible to his enhanced vision, he recoiled. A shudder running through his already shivering frame.
He knew that face. He had seen it mere minutes before. His stomach roiled and he hunched again. Memories, far too fresh and unprecedented, flooded his mind. He retched. Covered his mouth and retched again.
Shinobi senses can keep you alive. But every once in a while you will curse being able to see well in almost darkness, being able to hear the smallest sounds, being able to smell scents that are normally indistinguishable, and being able to analyze every piece of information that entails.
For Kakashi this was one of those times.
He wished whole heartedly that he could un-see, un-hear, un-smell and unanalyzed the scene before him.
His, but someone else’s blood was here too.
Felt like non consensual sex, in other words, a horrific amount of rape.
Layer upon layer of the smell of sex. Old progressing to new, recent, now. The room was not truly dirty. It was clean. But it felt unclean. Unwashed. Kakashi wanted nothing more than to turn around and leave.
He could see very little within the gloom, he knew that one more step would take him beyond the indent in which the doorway was set, and into the light of the single candle. The candle light flickered somewhere to the right, far enough from the door to light only the small space near where it sat. The oppressive darkness of the room ate at the edges of the light; the shadows beyond the forgiving circle grew long.
He could sense the others in the room with him. The Mizukage, he was sure, and another. The other was not a threat; whoever it was probably wouldn’t leave this room alive even if the best medical ninja were here to help.
The blood was theirs. Whoever they were.
After lightly resting his hand on his hip, checking the scroll, he stepped forward, blade in hand.
Involuntarily, Kakashi curled forward, legs buckling. He gagged. After a moment he regained enough internal balance to lift his head. He gagged again, moving his hand to his mouth in an attempt to fight his body’s reaction. He wanted nothing more than to reach behind, grab what he knew was in his pocket and use it to leave.
Almost directly opposite Kakashi, on the wall, hung a woman. If he hadn’t known better he would have thought she was simply standing. She wasn’t suspended more than an inch above what would have been her normal standing height. And yet, it would be inaccurate to describe her in any other way; she was hung.
Her arms and legs were stretched to the sides, directly parallel with the floor, and each was secured by a metal and leather strap. As if in assurance, a stake had been driven through each of her wrists, each of her shoulders and each of her ankles. Though the straps held some of her weight, much of it was distributed to the spikes. The pressure and weight was obviously pulling and reopening the wounds every few minutes.
The girl had been there long enough that the blood had seeped around the spikes, down her naked body and to the floor.
But this wasn’t what turned Kakashi’s stomach. This in itself was gruesome enough but it wasn’t worse than what had almost been done to him minutes before. His sharingan whirred. He could read the order and the time of each wound on the girl.
Kakashi could tell that a few of the woman’s ribs were broken, probably a collapsed lung, and multiple bones in her hands and feet broken as well. But, still what struck Kakashi were the woman’s clearly broken and mutilated hips and her now irreversibly scared face.
Two more straps held the woman’s legs; these were set close to her hips. To make this as clear as possible, if Kakashi had walked up to the woman, his hips would have been aligned within an inch of hers. She was at the perfect height to fuck. Apparently though, for further convenience, someone by the order of the Mizukage had broken her hips. They faced unnaturally. Where they should have faced slightly out and down, they faced completely out and slightly up. Even through the gloom Kakashi could see the blood pooling inside the woman’s abdomen turning it a dark purple. Blood also ran down from between her hips to the wall and joined the pools already collecting on the floor.
However cruel this may seem, the Mizukage’s finishing touch, the final and most efficiently crushing blow, the man had taken to the girl’s skin. The marks covered her body. Some of her fingers and toes were melded together by fire. He had taken that same heat and melded her lower lips to the skin of her legs, burned her nipples and the woman’s breasts completely. What appeared to be fat and blood ran down her stomach.
Then he had gone for her face. The Mizukage had sown her lips shut and then almost as an afterthought burnt them. When this hadn’t kept her totally quiet he stabbed a needle through her larynx. Then he fixed her eyes open with metal clamps. He scalped half her head, what remained of her hair was matted, bloody. Had Kakashi chosen to look or had time to he would have found the hair from the many women before her, hung in the closet, a trophy wall.
The woman had once been beautiful. Her skin, even in the light, and covered as it was still held some essence of former vitality. Her eyes, though vacant and red rimmed, were a clear deep brown. She must have been beautiful. And if the bastard had left her externally unmarked, or even externally human, the poor girl may have had some measure of hope. If she could have survived, there would be no life for her to return to, no normal, no comfort. Now, she was little more than food for carrion, even while still alive.
This did cause Kakashi’s stomach to turn, this goddamn mission. He could feel it in his soul, the part of him he should have long ago lost. The room held so much devastation. This woman hadn’t been the first and he hoped she would be the last. The evil of the man who watched these acts of unspeakable atrocity with glee permeated the room, the sadness, the horror of the victims, all of it. He could feel it like it like it was a living breathing being. It weighed on him, threatened to crush him, to do to him what had been done to the girl. What he had done to the girl.
And he was so used to being rather unafraid. Unafraid of death, and of pain. Scared for others perhaps but never for himself. But now, he felt a coward. He was terrified, his skin was crawling and at that moment he knew he would do almost anything to not be the woman. To not be a victim like that.
And the threat was too real. And somehow that knowledge was the only thing that saved his life. He pulled his breaking psyche into focus and still it took him another minute to tear his eyes away from the woman.
He felt his hand twitch toward the scroll.
He turned instead toward the light.
The candle sat on the nightstand next to a large four-poster, dark wood bed. The Mizukage sat resting against the headboard, turning a knife in his hands, what appeared to be the rest of the woman’s hair draped across his lap.
The Mizukage inclined his head to Kakashi, an almost innocent smile gracing his lips. “Come to join me, have you?” His smile grew. His eyes sparkled.
Behind his mask of indifference, Kakashi cringed.
But, Kakashi had no intention of responding. Professionally, quickly, he strode forward.
The Mizukage held up one hand. “One more step and I’ll kill the girl.” The evil man raised the knife in one hand. He was a bastard. He knew how to manipulate others. Good shinobi were not afraid to die and yet could not stand by and watch anyone else die, especially because of them. Something that was very much like Kakashi.
The Mizukage smiled, even more angelically. “We wouldn’t want that to happen now would we?”
Luckily, Kakashi’s sharingan, again, gave him an advantage. Another shinobi may believe, would want to believe, he wanted to believe that the girl could live. Another shinobi would lose the chance to kill the evil man trying to protect the woman. Kakashi could see that the girl was beyond saving. He knew it was too late. So without more than a second’s hesitation he threw his own kunai and the Mizukage threw his.
The kunai pierced the woman directly through the heart. A mercy stroke. To be dead so fast. An end to the pain. Kakashi was thankful, almost grateful.
But he did not have time for more. Instead of the heart stroke Kakashi had aimed for, his kunai had gone through the man’s throat. If there was a skilled medical ninja, he may have even been saved. But Kakashi was not interested in saving the man sprawled on the bed.
In truth, Kakashi wished he had time to torture the man himself and inflict even part of the pain he had forced upon the poor girl. But he did not have time. He could feel the jutsu on the door behind his back weakening, as those on the other side fought to open it.
Kakashi withdrew a second kunai from his belt. Stalking forward he stood next to the bed. The panic on the other man’s face as if a harmless game had suddenly become deadly was at odds with his actions and yet fit with the innocence of his smile. Crazy, the man was clearly crazy. In an almost reflexive move, habitual most likely from his earlier life, the Mizukage raised a kunai. Kakashi’s dodged, his hand flashed and his kunai buried itself deep inside the man’s heart. A rather anti-climactic end for a man such as him.
Kakashi then allowed his sharingan to scan the room for exits.
The walls of the room echoed with the shouts from the men trying to enter.
Shoving aside dark curtains, he found some covered windows. He dispelled the traps and alarms with his dwindling chakra, climbed down to the roof outside the window, into the rain, and leapt to another, adjacent roof. Again and again. But the guards inside were still chasing him, the guards outside saw him.
Before he had gone more than two roofs, while he was still inside the compound, two more men attacked him. He was already so depleted, his chakra, his emotions, and his body. A wrong landing. The slick tiles, and the man attacking from behind, he fell and the combined weight snapped his arm. The sick, surreal feeling of looking at a broken arm, it no longer feels like yours.
Then he felt the blade in his shoulder and instinct carried him through the turn and the subsequent dispatching.
Two more down and the rest not far behind.
But he could still run. So he ran.
Drawn back from his memories by the stillness of a cold reaching too deep, his eyes again focused on the poster that held the likeness of the woman he had seen in the Mizukage’s chambers. A famous actress who had caught the attention of the wrong man. Terrible, unfortunate, didn’t even describe it.
Having seen so much, many times he had thought himself beyond this horror, but it never stopped, never disappeared completely. And if in time it did, he truly hoped he wasn’t around to witness the person he had become. He hoped that someone would kill him. Granted he didn’t die in the next few minutes.
He knew what was still in the pouch on his hip. His hand unconsciously brushed past it for the hundredth time in the last day. This mission, everything about it had had him on edge, and perhaps the edge had kept him alive, but instead he thought that it had hindered him, weakened him. And for that he could almost hate himself.
The Hokage had told him to use the scroll only if he had no other choice. He knew, he had seen the internal conflict she had felt. He had seen the reluctance. And he would honor her decision to give him the scroll anyway. For her sake, not for his own. He would only use it if he had no other choice, but he would use it.
Foreboding slipped through him. The rain ran down his back. This mission. And he did not know why.
The guards had rounded the corner of the alley. Turning to flee, he found himself facing a dead end. Of course.
He could try to scale one of the walls and continue by roof but, slick rain, a broken arm, and little to no chakra, did not allow him this luxury.
But more so even than the physical, he was tired. Tired of fighting. Every muscle and bone in his body was moving only half as fast as it ought to. His brain only a quarter of its normal speed, and his soul was in tatters. The guards seemed much faster, much stronger than the ones he had fought before, and yet he knew they were not. Five left.
Two of the ones who had entered the alley were out cold. Five more were here now. Even more were on their way. The rain created puddles, his feet splashed through the puddles as he moved into stance.
One of them grabbed his good arm. Another leapt and snapped it.
He could feel the multiple breaks. His arm fell to his side. Both arms were useless.
He spun and kicked, his left foot landing solidly.
Back up had arrived. More were coming. There would always be more. The rain fell into his eyes, obscured his vision.
He had no more chakra, no more will to fight. But they kept coming.
He forced his sharingan to stop counting.
He shook his head to clear his eyes.
He reached, with excruciating pain, into his pocket and withdrew the scroll.
He would die if he didn’t.
He was just half hoping Tsunade didn’t kill him for using it.
He used his sharingan, caught the briefest glimpse of the symbols as he flashed through the hand signs and used the blood already covering his fingers to complete the jutsu.
Kakashi collapsed on a hardwood floor. At least the rain had stopped.