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Pirates and Ninja. [Asuma & Tsume][Jun. 15th, 2009|12:54 am]

[Follows directly after Darkness and Light]

Awareness came slowly.

Time had passed; the sun had lifted. A thin beam of light hit the back of Asuma's hand, shivering a drop of warmth into the world. Slowly, achingly, his fingers began to clench. Pain rippled up his arm.

Pain rippled everywhere. It was like a living thing, clawing through his body, ripping a chunk out whenever he breathed. His ribcage hitched. Something very like a whimper eased between cracked, bloody lips.

It stopped quickly. Even half dead, Asuma had pride.

The only part of him that didn't hurt was his right hip, which was numb. After several long minutes of not-quite-thought, he managed to conclude that was because he was lying on a sheet of cold iron and his skin had done the sensible thing. His right shoulder was just as numb, and his right arm. He decided not to move them. Numb was good.

His back wasn't numb.

His chest was almost warm. A whisper of heat curled against his sternum, like a warm breeze over shock-chilled skin. Every time he inhaled--slowly, carefully--something pressed against his torso. Coarse hair brushed his collarbone.

It took a while, and a half-dozen backslides into darkness, but he gathered himself enough to crack his eyes open. One managed it better than the other. Light splintered his vision, driving a pickaxe through a skull that already felt plenty cracked. The world was a haze, everything partnered by an exact mirror image of itself.

Double vision, he thought dazedly. S'not good.

He hung on, breathing shallowly, while the landscape wheeled like a carnival ride. There wasn't much to see; one wall and the glimpse of a second, both covered in black seals and coppery-looking smears. A floor dappled with blood. A few drifting beams of sunshine.

Wild brown hair, matted and filthy, tucked beneath his chin. He eased his head down to look, enduring the fireworks display that cracked off inside his skull, and discovered more hair. Something that looked like a fine-boned shoulder. Naked, bruised purple flesh.

Tsume, curled up impossibly small and huddled against his chest. His arm was draped over her, hand resting in a puddle of sunshine. Every time one of them breathed, she pressed a little closer. He couldn't tell if she was awake, or even conscious, but her skin was warm. Her ribcage lifted.

There were no missing pieces he could see.

He forced his hand to her face, brushing aside a stiff tangle of blood-darkened hair with shaking fingers. His thumb pressed against her mouth, confirming the trickle of breath.

You been in ANBU long enough to get bloody, yet?

"Told you--I'd taken my stripes," he rasped, words like sandpaper. His mouth was a desert. "You better be--alive, sweetheart."
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