Chapter Fifty Five ~ Destruction

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I kneeled on the ground for a long moment after the puppet began retreating, trembling and trying to catch my breath. Finally, I staggered to my feet, turning and spotting the idiotic genin who I now recognized as the Third's grandson. He was wide-eyed and shaking nearly as badly as I was.

I took another moment to gather my feet beneath myself before turning to leave, heading in the direction I'd last seen Kakashi. Even though I'd made no move to invite him, Konohamaru stumbled over himself to follow me. At least he was silent.

I carefully picked my way through rubble and fallen buildings, making my way to the top of a crater and looking down in it. Kakashi was there, half buried beneath the rubble, and I picked up my pace, sliding down the sides of the slope. I heard crying, glanced over, and spotted Choji. I snapped my gaze back to Kakashi. Was he crying because...?

But then Kakashi moved and began to murmur something to Choji, who wiped at his cheeks, and I spotted movement out of the corner of my eye and reacted immediately to annihilate the threat of the torn apart puppet that seemed to be growing an arm with a projectile out of its back.

Choji turned to run, Kakashi's eye widened, and I cut off the appendage growing out of the destroyed puppet's back before it could launch the weapon, slamming my other blade into its neck.

Choji looked back and paused when he saw me standing over the destroyed puppet. "Go, Choji," Kakashi insisted. "Tell Tsunade."

I leaned over the body, yanking out the black rods as quickly as possible for good measure. "Tell Tsunade what?" I asked Kakashi, trying to ignore how he was half pinned under rubble and blood caked his face.

"Pain's abilities," he informed me.

"You mean the eyes that can see everywhere, apparently?" I muttered, pulling out one of the last main rods and going to Kakashi's side instead.

"Yeah," he sighed, wincing as my movement caused the rubble to shift. "Careful, there, would you?"

"How could you do that?!"

Kakashi turned his head the best he could to spot the new voice. "Shouldn't you be with the other genin helping evacuate citizens?" Kakashi asked lightly when spotting the genin, reprimand hidden in his tone.

Konohamaru ignored him, glaring at me instead. "How could you give up Naruto-nii to these monsters?"

It was my turn for Kakashi to snap his gaze over to me, incredulous. I began shifting rubble off of Kakashi carefully, running chakra down my arms to help with the heavier pieces. "It's what they were after," I panted, taking the biggest piece of rubble away. "Shit, sorry Kakashi, I have to take a break."

I sat down next to him, and he eyed my trembling limbs with worry. "What happened?" He asked.

"She betrayed Naruto-nii and the Will of Fire and the entire village!" Konohamaru shouted hysterically. His eyes were still wide, and if he wasn't already setting into shock he would be soon.

I patted my pockets, finally finding the water I stored there. Taking a swig, I offered Kakashi some, and he took several swallows. "I was fighting a Pain Puppet," I explained. "I observed it hold two chunin by the neck and ask where Naruto was. Both claimed not to know, but only one survived whatever jutsu he did. The one who told the truth."

"Ah," Kakashi nodded, wincing in pain as he did so.

"Konohamaru, make yourself useful and go get one of Tsunade's slugs that I saw helping people. Kakashi needs the help more than whoever else."

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