Another name for Hero

He was no ones hero. He had never been the knight in shining armor type, though he was told a thousand and one times that he looked the part. If only he could get a handle on his attitude. Right. But as he said, he was no ones hero. Traitor. Deserter. Criminal...Teme. But NEVER a hero. At least that's what he had always thought. How the mighty had fallen. Reduced to shreds by a bloody slip of a female currently cradled rather inelegantly in his arms. Over the past few days she had lost weight that could ill afford to be lost. He could remember the chit had always been a small slip of a thing, dainty for a civilian let alone a Shinobi. Even dead weight as she was now she seemed weightless. He could attribute that to the hard earned muscles he'd spent years cultivating he supposed, but he rather doubted it. She was just small. Always had been and apparently always would be.

Keeping his stride steady he drops dark eyes to his unconscious companion, looking past the smears of blood and dark bruising to the body beneath. Despite her short stature long lithe legs dangle over one of his arms, swaying with each movement he made. Impossibly small feet dangle lifelessly from their ends, barefoot and dirtied to a disgusting black color. His other arm was curled around her back to hold her against his chest, cradling her like something precious which he supposed she was. He'd curled the arm closest to him against her own stomach to keep from putting pressure on the brake in the bone he knew was there. The other dangled limply in a mirror of her legs, the ridiculously dainty hand at its end caked in dried blood. Her torso and face were hidden from view by a veil of grimy blue/black, though he already knew what he would see there. Bruises, scrapes, burns, poorly sewn stitches and a busted lip. A testament to both her torture and the absolute ferocity with which she fought against it.

He'd never expected to come back from a mission to chaos. Screams echoed throughout the underground cavern that operated as the base Orochimaru called home, at least for now. But looking back he could clearly remember none of those screams had been hers. Flashing from hall to hall he'd finally pinpointed the noises to the medical wing. The smell of decay and simple wrongness of the place had him usually keeping his distance but today something was clearly wrong. One door midway down the hall was busted into pieces, littering the hall like shrapnel and bodies thrown about. At least four men lay sprawled unmoving among the debris and he could hear more within obviously fighting against...something.

He was at the door a millisecond later, Sharingan whirling and fully prepared to bring this chaotic nonsense to an abrupt end NOW so he could go and get some gods damned rest before freezing. She danced with lethal grace, lavender tinted eyes dulled by what he could only assume was some drug or another, though from the bulging veins he deduced that her Byakugan was fully functional. A kunai dripping blood was clutched tightly in one small fist while the other she used to Junken strike with deadly efficiency. Her body was a mass of bruising and various other wounds, both old and new and the strange blue bob he remembered from years ago was now a cascading mass of blue/black silk that twirled around her body to caress her lower back with each movement. By how tangled and dirty it and the rest of her looked he assumed it had been some time since she bathed. Though everything about her seemed to scream frail and unhealthy those otherworldly eyes were hard and deadly. Sasuke realized with a start that Hinata would either kill them all or fight to the death trying.

Oddly enough, the idea did not sit well in his mind. As he stood there, contemplating both her and his own reaction to her, Kubuto waded his way across the destroyed room to stand at his side. They stood watching the slip of a female fend off the remaining five guards, one lacking any emotion to be seen and the other with a sadistically amused grin on his face.

"Magnificent isn't she." Kubutos voice never failed to make his skin crawl, though he was far passed the time of flinching or showing any reaction at all to the disgust he felt in the mans presence.

"Tch."

"Orochimaru had her captured three weeks ago. We want to test the limits of the Byakugan and her own body before extracting them. As you can see, she has been rather difficult."

"Hm." Difficult? The little woman was like a damned wildcat.

"This is the third time she has broken the restraints. It is getting rather aggravating. Orochimaru has already decided we've studied enough and she is not worth the trouble anymore." Sasuke could see the beady eyes behind his glasses watching him now, waiting for some kind of reaction. Bastard.

"So you will take her eyes then?"

"Yes. Unfortunately she will not survive the procedure." Unfortunately. As if this madman gave a rats ass about her survival.

"Why."

"Talkative today arnt we? To extract her eyes I will have to rip some of the chakra channels from her skull. They are too ingrained with the Byakugan. For the eyes to work we need them fully intact."

"I see."

"Something wrong Sasuke?"

"No."

He'd walked away nauseous, though unsure as to why. In his time with Orochimaru he'd done a great many things far more stomach turning than this. It'd taken days to work it out in his admittedly fucked up mind that for some reason, Hinata couldn't die. He still wasn't fully sure as to why that was, but he sure as fuck couldn't afford to waste anymore time trying to figure it out now. So...he'd done the unthinkable. Five years after his desertion from Konaha to join with the twisted snake Sanin, he'd killed him. Killed them all. A slaughter they called it, fitting considering what was done to the Uchiha's all those years ago. Orochimaru, Kabuto, the guards...everyone. I threw away years of my life for a woman I don't know. For the memory of a girl I never noticed, at least not the way I should have. But he would and could not allow the Hyuga to die and that was the end of it.

So here they were. Crossing the threshold of The Village Hidden in the Leaves, surrounded by Anbu but not stopped until they met with a dour faced 'greeting party'. He could see a scowling Naruto among them, a tearful Sakura by his side, an enraged Neji further back being restrained by a rather uninterested looking TenTen and others, but he kept his eyes focused on the blonde in the center of them all. The one wearing the Hokage robes.

"Sasuke Uchiha I assume."

"Yes."

"Is she still alive?"

He looked down at the precious bloody bundle in his arms and held her just a bit tighter before raising his gaze and responding.

"Yes."