Chapter Twenty ~ Flinch

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Before we made it to the roof, where most people seem to be gathered, there was a bright light. Night turned to day. I reacted instinctively, dodging behind a building and hoping that if it fell down I wouldn't be buried in rubble. I glanced around, realizing that the genin had followed suit. Aisa, Michiko and Kento had their eyes squeezed shut and arms thrown over their head. I peeked around the corner, eyes squinting against the glare as I tried to figure out where it was coming from. The earth began to shake. A deafening roar fell upon us. A bomb? How would I survive if a bomb this large had been deployed? My mind suddenly stirs, instantly thinking of ways to survive the unsurvivable.

My eyes widened. Sand... All that sand hovering above us... I didn't need to figure out how to survive. Gaara was saving us all. All that sand...all that power... How, though? There's no way he had that sort of strength. Where did he find the power to do something like this, to save...

To save his entire village?

My eyes widen more than possible with shock, before they become narrowed in irritation. He cares. Not that I'm complaining, seeing as his caring saved me. But because of this, there was no way he would have any strength left to continue fighting, to save himself, to survive.

Idiot.

As soon as the attack seemed to end I pulled the genin out from behind the house, hurrying up to the roof. Another explosion soon rocked the sky and I glanced up. The sand remained steady despite Gaara's defense seeming to implode, then slowly began to move away. I sighed in relief when we were out of it's shadow; at least we weren't  going to be buried alive. When I arrived, everyone looked terribly shocked. The boy in the strange black suit--who I remember as Gaara's brother--was shell-shocked.

"What happened?" I asked his brother, glancing up to the ball of sand that was slowly breaking apart, which I assumed held the Kazekage.

"He broke Gaara's ultimate defense," he replied slowly, staring in horror.

My eyebrows shot up. "Fuck," I breathed. "You're kidding."

He shook  his head. "It's the Akatsuki. Gaara saved us, which gave the bomber the chance to attack Gaara."

Idiot.

"He reacted without even thinking," his brother--Kankuro--continued. Idiot. "He saved us all." Idiot. "Even though it opened him up to an attack." Idiot. "He used the last of his strength to move the sand away from the village so we wouldn't be crushed." Idiot. "And he's been captured." Idiot, idiot, idiot.

I looked up. Gaara and the bird are but a speck on the horizon. "What are you going to--"

"I need to save Gaara!"

They're all idiots!

***

They had sent a messenger hawk to Konoha. A team would be arriving soon. But other than that tidbit of information, I was shut out. The genin were exhausted. I was irritated.

"Sleep," I ordered the genin.

A roll of complaints and whining unraveled almost immediately.

"Shut up," I snapped. "Right now you three are completely useless and look exhausted. If anything were to happen, you would only drag me down. So sleep." I bite out.

They closed their mouths and stared at me wide-eyed before conceding.

When I felt all their chakras placing their location back inside their room, I relaxed slightly and rubbed my forehead. The Akatsuki. I was more than familiar with that name.

The Rising Phoenix had stayed out of their way. And for a reason. One of their members literally just took the Kazekage, the most powerful sand ninja, out. He had snuffed out his weakness, taken advantage of it, and captured him.

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