Chapter TWENTY NINE
Was it quiet, or did it just seem quiet? Sakura knew that that happened at times, when something was too loud. Just like how very hot water felt cold.
Sakura tugged at her arm, only to find that the sand had come back together and had wrapped around her arm. She tugged at it again, and snarled. "Raiton: Bakurai!" Her stuck arm cackled with lightning and she yanked it out.
The silence seemed eternal, but that might have been just her.
Because it had only lasted for a moment.
Sakura was sure she heard a roar. The kind that sent shivers up people's spine just imagining it. Sakura's hands flew to her ears, an action which Sakura hadn't told her body to do.
'Hey! I exist too!' Inner cried. 'Besides, I saved our ears!'
Sakura jumped back as sand attacked the spot she had been. She landed and watched the hand slither back into the dome. She had been watching, trying to catch a hint of movement, when she saw it.
It was just for a second, but the eye that glared out at her made her both shiver and freeze. Fear...Excitement...Shock...Sakura didn't know. However, she knew that whatever it was, it was dangerous.
Sakura had always been attracted to danger. Danger, in a way, was interesting, wasn't it?
The sand dome came down slowly, revealing Gaara. He was clutching his chest, blood welling out of the wound she had infected on his with her sword. The sand had reformed and had grabbed her wrist before she could do any serious damage, but judging from the pressure on her blade as she yanked her arm out, she had managed to inflict a pretty heavy wound.
It helped that Gaara had never received a bleeding wound before.
The next few happenings seemed like a blur to Sakura. The noise from the crowd began to dim. It took her a few seconds to realize that something was wrong, and another few to put everything else together. By then, shinobi from Sound and Sand had begun rushing into the arena.
Sakura took a few instinctive steps backwards and raised her arms to her face. Through the gaps of her arms, she caught a sight of Temari and Kankuro disappearing with Gaara. Sakura's mind fit a few rough pieces into the gaps of her mind.
Without pausing to hesitate, she chased after them.
Sakura jumped off a branch, breaking it into splinters with just sheer strength. After a few moments, she felt Temari's chakra stop in its tracks. Kankuro and Gaara's moved on ahead.
She's going to try and hold me back and buy her siblings time.
Sakura landed neatly on a branch above Temari. "Do you think you can stop me, Temari-san?" Sakura asked.
Temari opened her fan and entered a stance. No, she wouldn't be able to, and both of them knew that.
'Temari uses wind type attacks. With our lightning type ones, we're at an disadvantage. Thrown kunai and shuriken will be blown away, and poison would also be ineffective as well.'
Sakura shrugged. This wasn't a matter on what she could do and what she couldn't. She had to, and that wasn't only because Konoha was in danger.
"I will stop Gaara-san." Sakura said. "Because I believe that we are more alike than I previously thought."
By the time Sakura had caught up to Gaara, Naruto and Sasuke were so close behind her that she could sense them even with most of her mind focusing on the threat in front of her.
The half transformed boy snarled at her.
"Once, I thought that you were alone." She said. "However, now, I am beginning to rethink." She glanced around and looked at Temari, who Gaara had shoved away earlier.
"People care for you, Gaara-san. People like Temari-san and Kankuro-san," she hesitated, "and me." She smiled softly. "I care for you too."
That was all she managed to get out before sand engulfed her.
She thought she heard Naruto and Sasuke's voices, but that may have jut been her imagination.
The third Hokage was dead.
That was all Sakura had been told before everything moved on in a blur.
She knew that changes that the death had brought on. She could see it in the eyes and the movements and the atmosphere as she walked around the village. People ran around, fixing the damage.
And it scared her that she didn't understand.
She went on with the missions and jobs and duties given to her. For a while, she even thought that it didn't really matter, and that even this kind of dullness was appreciated once in a while.
The only things she understood from Sasuke's slightly panicked explanation was that 'Akatsuki' was here to 'kidnap Naruto'. How he knew, Sakura didn't know, but she dropped her scroll and ran after her teammate.
Itachi had been sent out on a mission and wasn't due to be back for another few days.
That was why Sakura had found herself facing off against Hoshigaki Kisame, someone who she personally knew.
"Ringo's brat?" Kisame asked.
Sakura sneered. "I wonder why that's the title everyone has tagged onto me." She summoned Kiba and faced the man she knew she had no way of beating. The guy that had come with him, some dude named Deidara, was messing around with Naruto. Sakura wondered if all blondes were that annoying.
If Sakura had believed in fate, she would have thanked the gods above for Jiraiya's perfectly times rescue.
They had come out of the experience alive, but heavily injured. Sakura was seriously getting sick of waking up to a white ceiling.
Sasuke stiffened at the sudden appearance of a chakra signal. He wasn't surprised when he identified the person which it belonged to. No matter who looked at it, Haruno Sakura was a prodigy. He slowly turned around, knowing that if the pinkette had come to stop him, he wouldn't be able to do anything. However, he somehow knew that that wasn't what the girl was here for. They were alike in many ways.
Sasuke nodded "Sakura."
"Are you headed to Orochimaru's place?"
Sasuke nodded slowly, knowing very well that Orochimaru had killed both of Sakura's parents.
"You're not going to stop me, are you?"
Sakura shook her ad. "We are alike in a lot of ways." She smiled. " So I understand your need to be able to protect those around you. I also, to some extent, understand why you think Orochimaru may be the source of power you are looking for." Sakura jumped down from the branch she had been sitting on. "However, please remember that what you need is not always power, but strength."
Sasuke didn't know what the girl was trying to say, but decided to keep that in mind. "Now, Sasuke-san, please tell me why you are leaving."
"You know already." Sasuke smirked.
Sakura smiled back. "I need to hear it from you. Consider it your pass out the gates."
Sasuke sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "I realized that I...am nowhere near being strong enough to...to..." Sasuke inwardly groaned. What was he doing, admitting something like this?
Sakura smiled. "I shall let you off for now." She said . "Have your answer ready for when we next meet."
She stepped up so that she was standing in front of him. "Remember what you are going for. Keep your goal in mind and never forget it. Do not give me a reason to hunt you down."
"As for the Hokage, I will not say anything, and neither will Itachi-san." Sasuke winced. After days of thinking, he had told Itachi the truth. His brother hadn't taken it well, but had smiled that faint, yet gentle smile and had told him to do what he wanted. That had been two days ago, and they hadn't talked since.
"Take care, Sasuke-san." Sakura pressed some thing into his hand and stepped back.
Sasuke looked down and realized that it was a scroll.
"It contains first aid medical supplies, as well as antidotes for several common poisons. I've also included a notebook on how to treat wounds using medical herbs."
Sasuke smiled. "Thank you."
Sakura shook her head. "I look forward to the day we see each other once again." She turned around and began to walk away.
"Sakura!" Sasuke called before he could stop himself. Sakura paused, but didn't look back. For some unknown reason, Sasuke was grateful. "Thank you."
A rescue team had headed out to look for Sasuke, but had come back unsuccessful. Sakura, as she had promised, had not gone with the team. Naruto's smile as he promised to bring back Sasuke nearly made Sakura want to tell the blonde everything. However, she held back. She had promised, after all.
The team had been hospitalized after their return, having been gravely injured during their fight against a sound team that had been sent out to pick up Sasuke.
From the parts of the report she had been allowed to hear, she knew that Sasuke had only taken part in the final part of that battle and had fought Naruto. Sakura faintly noted that the injuries that Naruto had received were most likely very painful, but weren't fatal.
During her training sessions with Naruto and Kakashi, Sasuke was never brought up. However, even Sakura could tell that they felt very empty.
She spent most of her time outside training with Itachi, Neji and Shikamaru. The four of them got along pretty well, much to Sakura's surprise. Well, none of them spoke much, and silence suited them just fine. Sometimes, Sakura wondered if that counted as 'getting along'.
She waited patiently as an assistant relayed her wish to see the Hokage. She entered the office and waited as Tsunade sorted though some more paper.
"Hokage-sama." Sakura spoke.
"Yes?" Tsunade asked.
"I would like to make a request." Sakura took a deep breath.
Tsunade looked up, indicating for her to go on.
"Please take me in as your apprentice!"
Sakura understood the theory of healing even before they started. She had spent the early years of her life reading and memorizing every scroll she could get her hand on. Tsunade taught her a wide range of things, like how dodging took less energy than blocking. This was something Sakura already knew, but she still liked the different techniques Tsunade used to literally beat it into her.
They soon moved on to the healing part, where Sakura's chakra control really became useful. She knew the basics of the basics, which still managed to impress Tsunade. They quickly went on to the practicals, where Tsunade told Sakura that experience was the best way to learn.
"No medic ninja shall ever stop medical treatment until the lives of their party members have come to an end. No medic ninja shall ever stand on the front lines. No medic ninja shall ever die until they are the last of their platoon. Only those medic ninja who have mastered the Strength of a Hundred Technique of the ninja art Creation Rebirth are permitted to discard the above-mentioned laws." Sakura opened her eyes to meet Tsunade's approving gaze.
It had been four months since Sasuke had gone rogue. Naruto, who didn't know the real reason behind Sasuke's sudden decision, had plastered on a fake smile for everyone and had made a promise to bring back the Uchiha.
Itachi, who knew the story behind Sasuke's leave, had been depressed as an Uchiha could outwardly show, feeling as though he had failed his brother. Tsunade had taken him off missions for a week and he hadn't complained. Not once. Just a few days ago, he had begun taking missions again.
Sakura had been spending a lot of time thinking. Everything around her seemed to be moving too quickly, and everything slowly seemed to be building up on her. After Shikamaru asked her what was wrong for the fifth time since he had noticed her slight change during a cloud watching session, she told him of the things that had been troubling her. The Nara had complained half-heatedly about it being troublesome but had listened to her until the end, and then had told her quite bluntly that it was good to let out once in a while.
It had been after one of her training sessions with her team when Naruto had approached her, looking usually nervous.
She then learned of her teammates future plans to leave the village with Jiraiya.
She made her decision then.
So, today, the 13th of March, is our birthday (Yes, both of us), and so, we decided to update!
Sorry it that seemed slightly (VERY) rushed. Updates may be slow, but that is because we would like to focus a bit more on 'Of Tales Now and Long Ago', our first ever story which we actually have a plan for.
If you haven't read it yet, please check it out.
Darque: I just love Gaara. He's just so adorable.
Raven: You have some sort of problem. All the characters you like are either criminals, mass murderers or just plain psychopaths.
Raven: So, Sabaku no Gaara (A previous mass murder), Sasori (S-class Criminal), Accelerator (Mass murdered of over 10,000) Jellal Fernandez (Criminal), Akashi Seijuro (Attacks people with scissors, Akabane Karma (Wants to kill a teacher?)...I could go on forever.
Darque: Well, it's not my fault that all the evil characters turn out to be the most hottest ones in the whole entire anime!
Read and Review!