Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or any of its characters.

Chapter 28

Many people in Suna knew that T&I had holding cells for foreign ninja that were captured. It was a well-known area that most outside of that division stayed away from. What many didn't know about were the separate holding cells for Suna's citizens.

There were five sectors in the shape of a star. Each sector looked like a simple one story building, but the holding cells were all underground. Each sector held prisoners for different types of crimes. Sector A held prisoners that did petty crimes with no violence. Sector B held prisoners that committed petty crimes with minor violence. Sector C held those that committed crimes with a moderate level of violence. Sector D held those that were considered dangerous and needed to be watched closely. Sector E was reserved for people that were a danger to others and themselves. Sector E prisoners each had their own separate cells to stop them from indiscriminately killing other prisoners.

Each Sector was divided into ten levels, or floors. Levels 1-5 were for shinobi that needed to be watched and had chakra cuffs. Levels 6-10 held civilians. Each level, barring Sector E, had about ten large cells with multiple prisoners per cell.

Most people in Suna didn't know about this prison, but those that did knew that people that go in almost never get out again. The ones that do are usually considered lucky. Usually.

Minoko woke up disoriented. She felt almost sick. Not the type where you'd throw up, but more muscle weakness and general lethargy.

She slowly pushed herself into an upright position, the thin material that served as a blanket falling around her lap. She looked around and blinked a few times to register what she was seeing.

She was in a room on the floor. Well, calling it a room would be generous. She was surrounded on three sides by stone bricks with the front wall being made up of metal bars. There was a small wooden partition at the back of the cell that she couldn't see around, so she had no idea what was back there. She also absently noted people around her.

She blinked again. Quite a few people actually. Inside her room she counted seven others. Three men and four women of varying ages. They seemed to range be between 20 and 40, though it was kind of hard to tell with how dirty and tired they looked. Beyond her room, she could see that the few other cells in her vision were filled with five to ten people each, men and women thrown in seemingly at random. Her cell was on the end closest to the stairwell. A guard was lazing about in a chair near the entrance, flipping through a book instead of paying attention to what was going on around him. Which, to be fair, wasn't a lot. There was a low murmuring of quiet conversations and the occasional snoring coming from sleeping prisoners. She could hear a light, consistent clacking noise coming from further down the hallway, but couldn't make out what it was from her position.

Slowly, she regained her equilibrium and recalled just why she was where she was. She could feel tears gather in her eyes and tried to contain any noise from disturbing the others nearby.

She was in prison. She was going to be here for life. She would never see Gaara again.

Gaara.

Yashamaru was going to accept the mission she turned down. Her dream bubble told her that much. What she didn't know was if it succeeded or not. It didn't seem like it did, but it cut off too quickly to tell. One of them was probably dead now though.

A sob escaped her despite her best efforts to contain it. One of the women in her cell perked up at the sound and came over. She scooped Minoko up from her place on the floor and hugged her to her chest, "Shhhhh, it'll be ok. Nothing will happen to you here. You're fine. Shhhhhh." Minoko clutched the woman's shirt and stifled another sob.

It wouldn't be fine. Gaara didn't even know where she was. He probably thought she was dead. That is, if he wasn't dead himself.

After a while, her sobs turned to sniffles as she ran out of energy to cry. The woman continued to make comforting sounds and stroke her back. Minoko relaxed into the hug and allowed herself to feel the comfort for a moment before pushing back and wiping her face.

As she did, she felt a weight on her wrists that she hadn't noticed before. Looking down she turned her arm in different directions to see what looked like a bracelet on each wrist. They were silver and about 2 cm thick. She pulled on it experimentally and realized that she couldn't take them off.

"They're chakra cuffs," came the soothing voice of the woman. Minoko looked up and found warm brown eyes staring at her, "Though why they would put those on a child and throw them in here is a mystery to me. To all of us, really." She gestured to the cell and Minoko turned pink when she realized that everyone's attention was on her. She really made a scene with her crying didn't she?

"Well? Care to tell us how you got yourself in here?"

"I, uh," Minoko cleared her throat and glanced around at the curious gazes around her. She shrunk back slightly as she mumbled, "I refused an order from the Kazekage."

She saw a couple guys nod and turn back to talk to each other instead of looking at her, seemingly satisfied with her answer.

The woman furrowed her brows in confusion and huffed, "Why would the Kazekage give orders to a child? You're, what, five?"

"Almost six."

The woman raised an eyebrow at her and said in a deadpan voice, "So five."

Minoko nodded slowly, "I'm a chunin, so I guess he thought I would do whatever he wanted. He was wrong," she said with a shrug.

The woman's eyes widened, "Chunin!? That's the same as me. How the hell did you get promoted that quickly?"

Minoko shrugged and looked away, feeling uncomfortable with the topic of conversation. She really didn't want to talk about this.

The woman sighed and ran a hand down her face, "Never mind that. What's your name hun? I'm Aisare Shisha."

"Kai Minoko."

The woman sighed lightly and looked down at her, "Well Minoko-chan, I'll make sure you're safe while you're here. The people here aren't that bad either. You'll have plenty of time to get to know everyone," Shisha smirked wryly and stood, offering a hand to Minoko.

She looked at it and slowly took it. As she was pulled to her feet and looked around, she finally admitted to herself that she was afraid. But at least there was someone here that seemed nice. Hopefully the others were as well. As Shisha said, she had plenty of time to get to know them.

A/N: I hope you liked this shorter segue chapter :D Please review!