Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or its characters. The only characters I have made that are my own are Kirita, Ruyi, Kija, Hajime, and a few others who are obviously not apart of the Naruto universe.

Notes: Uwahh, thanks for the reviews. Sorry this chapter is so short! This was all I can manage to cough out because I've been busy the past week. Next chapter should be longer, and more NS to satiate our needs.

As always, thank you for all the follows, favorites, and reviews ( again ). They honestly make my day. Also, questions will be answered at the bottom of the page.

There's a poll on my profile. I have brainstormed a lot for a second NS fic, and so I'll let you guys choose on which one is best.


Chapter Five

Lost and Found


In the middle of Mino province, at safe distance from the watchtower of the Oshino fiefdom, Naruto as well as the other reinforcement had rested at the camp. Both sides had retreated when the sun had fallen, finding no use in battling in the night where sight wasn't in their favor. Naruto paced in his tent, Sasuke, Ino, Choji, and Shikamaru resided in the tent as the wounded brunet known as Kiba had just finished having his wound cleaned and dressed.

"Just what the hell was that pink light?" Ino questioned, "It was so weird."

"It felt oddly warm too." Choji commented, "What… What kind of power is that?"

Shikamaru, standing with his arms akimbo, shook his head. "I don't know what the hell that was, but it's dangerous that Orochimaru has something like that on his side. I know that for sure."

"The guy that made that happen was weird too." Naruto furrowed his brows, hand rubbing his chin.

"Didn't that guy kick your ass?" Sasuke spoke up, a teasing smirk on his face as he watched the blond whip his head around to give him a scowl.

"He caught me off guard!" Naruto yelled defensively, "Not just that, he was pretty strong," Rubbing his chest, he could remember the doctor telling him that his ribs were fractured and he should take it easy. "Even so, he just wanted to stop fighting so suddenly…"

All of them looked towards Naruto, wondering the same question. Why did he not want to fight? "Do you think that maybe they are a ninja pretending to side Orochimaru?" Choji asked.

"I don't care what kind of power or who that asshole was and what he wants! This hurts like a bitch!" Kiba said, pointing to where the arrow pierced him. "It felt like it was going to sear a hole through me!"

"To be honest, didn't you attack him first? You brought that on yourself." Shikamaru shrugged, "I can't say I honestly feel sorry for ya."

"Thanks Shikamaru. Thanks for that, when we were in the middle of the battlefield fighting Yamata samurai. Thank you so much for saying that." The sarcasm was dripping to the extreme as his slit, canine-like eyes remained storming with anger.

"Anyway, where is TenTen?!" Slamming both his hands on the desk, Naruto was growing anxious. "TenTen said she found Sakura-hime."

"What?!" Ino and Choji said in a unison.

"How is that possible?" Ino asked, "We searched for her for a whole year and had no leads."

"I don't know either, that's why I wish she would hurry up." It was clear that Naruto's anxiety was coming from the fact that he was happy that Sakura was deemed alive.

Sasuke remained unsure though, "I wouldn't get too happy." He said, resting his arm lazily against Kusanagi. "Who knows, it might be a fake."

"A fake?" Naruto rose a brow, "Who would be brave enough to fake being her? Why would they want to be targeted by Orochimaru?!"

"Although Naruto has a point, I'll have to agree with Sasuke." Shikamaru sighed, "TenTen might of found her discreetly, and if it really is Sakura-hime then we shouldn't draw too much attention to her."

Everyone stilled upon hearing the tent's flap being open, walking through was Kakashi with a rather surprised expression. "Did I interrupt something?" He innocently asked.

Ino smiled and shook her head, "No way. You came just in time, Kakashi."

His one, visible eye had given them an eye-smile before closing the distance. "I was wondering if any of you saw of the face of the one who created that light earlier."

"No, we didn't." Sasuke sighed, "All we know is that he kicked Naruto's ass and nearly killed Kiba."

Both boys turned to glare at the Uchiha, "Shut the hell up, Sasuke!" They both said in a unison, leaving the dark-haired male to appear unfazed as he shifted his gaze away from them in mocking innocence.

"I see." Kakashi's smile didn't falter. "Well, I'm sure we have Priestess Chakra upon our hands, if you were curious as to what that was."

"Priestess chakra?" Ino questioned, her eyes ablaze with curiosity. "How is that?"

The Namikaze clan general had folded his arms, humming slightly as he absently looked down to the floor. "It has been a long time since I saw something like that." He then closed his eye, recalling the memory. "There was a Priestess named Shion who had that type of chakra. Supposedly the last of her kind, she died several years ago and it was to be expected that chakra like that died with her."

"Well, how can a guy possess 'priestess' chakra?"

Silence fell upon them. Kakashi remaining in thought, "Well, for one, I could be wrong. Like I said, its been so long since I've seen something like that but that's something you don't particularly forget. Second, something I doubt, that it could be—"

"A woman parading as a male samurai?" Shikamaru finished, "I doubt that would go unnoticed by Orochimaru."

"I figured the same.." Seemingly lost in thought, Kakashi then rubbed his chin through his half-mask. "We won't know for sure until we see them display that power again in until the next fight. I expect all of you to be on your guard through the night and be ready in case Yamata troops are ready again"

The young adults bowed towards the general and watched him leave, still unsure about what happened earlier on in the day. "Do you think we should've told Kakashi about Sakura-hime?" Choji asked, "Maybe he could've helped."

"No," Naruto hurriedly said, "we're not sure if this person is Sakura-chan in the first place. We have to be careful remember? We can't put her in danger if she's the real deal."

A quick, force of wind had breezed past them, making them shield themselves as near the tent opening, TenTen stood. "Everyone's here?" She looked around, "Looks like it."

"Alright, TenTen are you sure this is Sakura-chan?" Naruto asked, a bit too eager but overall scared of being disappointed.

The brunette nodded, "Pink hair and green eyes? Only Sakura-hime has those features, right?" TenTen rose a brow, Naruto looking torn between worry and relief. He wanted to believe it. He truly did but…

"Also it is uncommon, there might be a one in a million chance that this person just looks like her." Shikamaru closed his eyes in thought, "Did you speak with her?"

"Uh-huh. She told me she was, Sakura-hime." Naruto's eyes widened, lighting up at the possibly that this girl might actually be…

Shikamaru squinted his eyes skeptically, "Why would she just outright tell you?"

TenTen's face fell, the expression quite absent than it was minutes prior. "Well, she wanted me to save her because..." she murmured uneasily, "Sakura-hime is in a brothel."

Right then, the room was filled with gasps. Naruto's heart felt like it had shattered in pieces. A princess… in a brothel against her will. Naruto hated brothels, especially with the way women were forced there. And now Sakura, the girl he loves, was taken there against her will. "...But…" Biting down on his lip, he had to force the tears of frustration that were stinging his eyes to not fall.

"T-That's not possible! We were sure that Kirita would be there to protect her. Kirita would never allow Sakura to be in a brothel!" Ino's voice rose, angered at the situation as well.

Confused, the brunette kunoichi rose a brow. "Kirita? Who is that?"

"She's… She's not with Sakura?" The Yamanaka was more than surprise, in fact she was heartbroken. She didn't think for a second that Sakura was on her own, and now forced into a brothel.

TenTen shook her head rather solemnly, unsure of who Kirita was but obviously was someone of importance to Sakura. "She said that everyone was slaughtered."

Shaking with rage, the Uzumaki turned his head as his knuckles were turning white from how tightly he curled his hands into fists. Sasuke's expression was quite brooding as the blond looked like he was swimming with agony.

"I'm sorry for having to tell you the news like this…" TenTen apologized, "But the good thing is, is that we can get her out of there so she does not have to endure being in such a place."

Shikamaru's downcast face had glanced at TenTen, "It's not your fault. At least… we found her."

"Do you want me to watch her? To make sure she's okay until you're ready to retrieve her?" She inquired.

"Please." Ino spoke for Naruto seeing as he was still digesting all this information—this completely sour, heartbreaking information.

And like how she appeared, she left without a trace.

::

All Sakura could manage to stare at were the stars above them as Kirita cleaned and dressed her minor wound. Even though Sakura said it was unnecessary for the girl to fret over it, Kirita forced her to sit down and receive treatment. "You only got a scratch, huh?" Kenji's voice broke the silence within the area Sakura sat. Her eyes peered over towards him as his back was also getting cleaned and dressed. He suffered from a rather mean slash, but he acted as if it was but a slight graze. Kenji was a tough guy, which eased Sakura's little worries about him.

"Yeah, it wasn't a big deal as Ichirou is making it out to be." Kirita's eyes flickered towards her quickly, her brows furrowing upon Sakura's words. Out of spite, she pulled the bandages tightly, causing the girl to let out a high-pitched yelp. "O-Oi*!"

"What? Can't deal with a scratch?" The mocking tone was enough to make the pink-haired girl pout, which made Kenji laugh.

Hajime's sauntered towards him, revealing how slew-footed he was with the way he walked, Still, he had an air about him that was quite authoritative. He was the more serious out of the three, despite him and Suigetsu having such a mischievously playful personalities. They could tell when Suigetsu was joking, but Hajime? Not so much.

"I see we suffered a few casualties, but most of us are just a bit beat." His lone-eye observed them, the corner of her lips were raised in a slight smile, which they gathered was because he was pleased.

His eye then looked towards Sakura, "You surprised everyone with that light show earlier."

"Light show?" It was as if she had completely forgotten what took place earlier. With a brow arched, she then recalled the incident with the arrow and then nodded. "Ah, yeah. Trust me, I didn't know what the heck happened."

He believed her. She did seem genuinely surprised, but he was more intrigued as to what that kind of power that was. "You should know, shouldn't you? After all, you did it."

"I really have no idea." She stated, "If I knew, I tried to do it again but… it didn't happen."

Kirita, now finished, had looked towards Hajime in mild curiosity. Did he believe her? Did he think she was lying? "I see. I'm glad something like that is on our side. I heard that mutt howling straight to the heavens."

Kenji sneered, "That's what he gets. He thought Daichi was some weak thing, and look what he got? His ass handed to him. And I saw you fighting that other guy too."

"Huh? You mean that weird, loud idiot?" Sakura questioned, Kenji shaking his head. "Yeah, he was so annoying. Almost to the point that I didn't even want to fight him anymore." Of course, she lied but she couldn't tell them that she showed their enemy mercy. That was treasonous.

The Yamata General snickered, "Shouldn't that give you more incentive to kill him? I never met anyone that was annoying enough that I let them go."

"I felt like he would haunt me, and I would never get rid of him." With a scoff, she looked down at her bandaged shoulder before glancing back to Hajime.

"That doesn't sound promising." He mused as Kija ran towards him, breathing heavily from the long run. "What is it, Kija?"

"Orochimaru-sama sent us a letter saying that we could incite trouble within Mihashi village. If we can get the villagers on our side then the war is..." Kija said within huffs, his hands on his knees as he tried to regain his breath.

Hajime pondered about the idea, closing his eyes as he did so with his arms akimbo. "If we do that then that would lower Oshino rations. They'll have to rely on their reinforcements to send food, which could take days and leaving them hungered and tired. Orochimaru-sama does have a point."

Sakura's eyes lowered, looking away at a random patch of grass. "Daichi, Ichirou, Kenji, and Kija. I want you all to take this mission." Sakura's expression completely shifted to shock.

"Uh, Hajime, I trust your judgement but… I… I don't know how to incite people. If you want me to rally people for Yamata, I'm not even the slightest bit of sure how to do that."

With a smirk, he shrugged his shoulders. "How will you ever learn if you never try? Besides, this isn't a sure-plus mission. This mission was not an order by Orochimaru-sama, but a suggestion. Even if you fail to incite them, whether we win this war or not is not based on this tactic." He thoroughly explained, "And, you have a way with people. You haven't been here long, but you've made friends. I'm sure you can do it, Daichi."

Sakura looked to Kirita, who was mindlessly cleaning her sword. That only meant that the decision was up to her and Kirita was not going to help her.. With a sigh, she nodded. "I suppose. I can try."

"Good. All of you will dress up as civilians. I'm sure you can pull that look off. You'll start in the afternoon after the morning battle." With a sharp turn, Hajime had left them. His steps becoming distant, which eased Sakura somewhat. Still, she couldn't shake the feeling that something could go horribly wrong.

"You alright, Daichi?" Kija's voice broke her concentration, her eyes flickering towards him. With a small smile, she gave a not-so confident, quick nod. "I could convince Hajime that someone else can do it for you, if you—"

"No, I'm fine, Kija." Although unsure, Kija watched as she went to her feet and rolled her right shoulder to ease the sore muscles. "Like he said, how can I learn if I never try?"

Walking towards the tent, Sakura had looked to Kirita to signal for her to follow. She wanted some help for the mission because she was unsure how these operations work, but Kirita was too distracted by Suigetsu. Both of them seemed to be in an intense stare off, which worried her.

"What are they doing?" She mumbled, observing them with watching the ire rise in Kirita's big, round yet slant eyes were staring at him as if they could set him fire on sight.

"I'm tired of waiting, Ichirou." His grin revealed his sharp teeth, which made him all the more menacing in Sakura's eyes. However, Kirita stood her ground with a look of indifference.

"I'm not wasting my energy." She retorted haughtily, cocking her head towards an arrogant angle as her eyes held a storm of defiance.

The princess wasn't sure if that only made Suigetsu more excited or if it actually angered him that Kirita acted as if Suigetsu wasn't of authority. "For a recruit, you sure lack respect. I don't like that, and I like to cut things I don't like."

"You will not provoke me, I refuse it." And with that, she spun on her heels and walked away from him as if he were just anybody. And Sakura could tell that the glint in his eyes was definitely a hint of animosity.,

Marching after Kirita, Sakura made sure to bob and weave her way through the crowd of recruits until she finally was able to clutch onto Kirita's wrist. Her lilac eyes glowered at her as if requesting space, but Sakura would not. "You can't treat Suigetsu like that, Kirita."

"He's annoying." You would think that since the Azai was older than her that she would be more mature, but Sakura guessed that even Kirita could have her immature moments.

"Trust me, I know but the last thing we want is him on our tails. That's why I was going to ask if we could dress like regular women when we go on the "incite the villagers" mission, that way we can get more information about the Shogun and other clans and what they are going to do against Orochimaru. Kenji and Kija won't recognize us and so we won't have to worry about them bothering us."

A few minutes of silence had fell upon them, Kirita in thought while Sakura remained eager to hear an answer. She thought the plan was good enough, but maybe there was something she was forgetting.

"What should we do if Kija doesn't want to separate? We'll have to have a meet up point as well." It made her feel relieved to know the plan was a good one, but she was missing that one minor detail. "Okay, well, we'll tell them we want to split up to cover more ground but we should all meet at the Teahouse.. The… village has a teahouse, right?"

"Most do, so we should be fine." Kirita said, nodding her head while patting atop of the pink-haired girl's head. "Good job, Daichi."

Sakura had to admit that she did like being praised. The smug look on her face was enough to make her feel more pumped about the mission.

::

Kija and Ken agreed to the plan, feeling like they would cover more ground if they took North and West of Mihashi village while Kirita and Sakura took South and East. Sakura sighed out of relief, her hand over her chest as the two men walked away from them before becoming nothing more than mere dots in the distance. Kirita had scrounged up for their civilians clothes, giving Sakura her old traveler's outfit back.

The village was kind a bumbling place, booming with business and chatter. It was like the people were unaffected by the fact that war was near them. Sakura was amazed that these people were able to smile and carry on with business, knowing that miles ahead that another clan's arms could come raging through. "What's wrong, Sakura?" Kirita asked, "Remember, you're Mio and I'm Yui now."

"Ah, I know. I haven't forgotten the names." Sakura replied, adjusting her traveling pack as they walked alongside each other. "Alright, so, what kind of questions should I ask? Like, I don't want to see too suspicious."

"Well, first, we should ask about the Shogun's army. He sent reinforcements to Shinobu, and so they have to explain how long they've been allies to agree for them to help. Second-"

"Hello young ladies! Are any of you interested in some fish?" Sakura and Kirita turned to look at the old man, who was giving them a rather toothless smile.

"Ah, fish? Uh, sure!" Sakura looked for her koban* and gave him one gold piece. The man seemed delighted by her purchase.

"I'll give you extra for your kindness! Have a nice day!" With a net of fish, Sakura lifted them up to inspect them as they continued forward.

Kirita's expression was completely… deadpanned. "Why did you buy some fish?"

"Uh… Well, extra food doesn't hurt-Okay, I just felt I would feel guilty if I said no." Kirita's expression hadn't changed while Sakura gave a rather nervous smile.

"Anyway, I'll take the fish. I can probably use this to bribe some people. You cover the east and I'll cover south."

"Wait, we're separating?!" Sakura questioned desperately, "I thought we were sticking together."

"You're old enough to do things on your own." Frowning upon her words, she heard the girl sigh as Sakura's eyes looked towards the ground. "I won't always be here. You have to learn how to be a leader, and learning from the people is a good way to start."

Kirita had turned to leave, making Sakura feel completely lonely now. Here she was in a foreign village, in a foreign fief by her complete self. Looking around, she sighed and scratched the back of her head. "Alright. Kirita is right, I have to learn to do things on my own… Who should I question first? Maybe I should ease drop for a little bit."

It always felt like her feet were hesitant to move forward now that she was by herself. Her air of confidence had slowly dimmed and she had taken on a much more demure position. With her hands behind her, she looked around in what looked like to be a serious conversation.

She spied two people that seemed to be having an intense conversation. And, with stealth, she slowly inched her way towards him but stayed to the right of the walls. She kept her pace slow, her head tilted in their direction so that her ear could listen in. "I found a wart on my upper thigh. Is that serious?"

"Uh, yeah."

Her face scrunched up in disgust, a sigh escaping her. That was a serious conversation, more so personal to, and nothing that could help her. Walking faster so that the two men were out of her hearing range, her eyes scanned around for others.

"Do you think the Yamata forces will close in?" She heard one man say, which made her slow down her pace. "I'm scared. That Orochimaru guy is creepy."

"He's not leading the charge, his general is. I think if we just keep ourselves in our homes when they come, we'll be fine." Another man replied.

It wasn't valuable information, but at least it was on topic. And it also made her hope that others would speak on the Yamata and Oshino war as well as the Oshino reinforcements.

"What are you doing?"

Sakura's froze. The voice coming from behind her, she had slowly turned towards the owner of the voice and met a pair of onyx eyes. Her emerald eyes looked at him in curiosity and somewhat feeling intimidated by his hard stare. "Uh, just walking, sir. Why?"

"You've been walking awfully strange."

Was he… Was he watching her just then?

"Were you eavesdropping on the villagers?" He then asked, which made Sakura's throat feel dry.

"No, why would I? I live here." Sakura argued back, trying to look as genuine and less scared as possible.

He didn't seem too taken with her answer, but it looked like he didn't have enough argument to counter it. "Hn, go on about your business." And with that, he walked past her, leaving her to sigh of relief. She couldn't help but tilt her head slightly, wondering something to herself. 'He seems… familiar That hairstyle kind of reminds me of… Sasuke-kun..."

Before she put two and two together, he was already gone. She couldn't chase after him, It was far too late now…

Somewhat defeated and agitated, she walked towards the river bank of the village and stood under a blooming, cherry tree. "Just my luck. Not only did I hear about some nasty wart on some guy, I saw Sasuke-kun and he got away…" Combing her fingers through her hair, she had released another tired sigh. "I can't give up though."

"I can't believe…"

Her whole body went stiff upon the sound of her name. Her eyes growing big and wide as she slowly turned around. It was the boy she met on the battlefield. He was without his armor and helmet, but his voice was clearly recognizable.

For the most part, Sakura was confused.

That boy she had met in the battlefield, the one she so ruthlessly kicked out of survival instincts and mercifully let go was standing there, right in front of her; right in front of Mio and not Daichi. She was almost afraid that he found out who she was. QUite frankly, her heart felt like it was go from frenzy beating and into an explosion, but what happened next had startled her.

He embraced her.

Those arms of his had encircled her form, pulling her close and letting her face rest against his shoulder, her emerald eyes peering over his shoulder and to the blue sky with scattered, cottonball clouds. Sakura couldn't marvel at the beauty of the warm, spring day. All she could do was hope that he couldn't hear just how fast her heart was beating and now it felt like it was going to leap out of her chest.

His arms held her tightly, bringing her shocked and absent mind into a halt—Why was he embracing her? If he didn't know she was Daichi then why was he—

"Sakura-chan..."

His raspy voice had made her blood run cold. The overall surprise that he knew who she was, a past of her that she was trying to hide had made her feel as if her whole objective... Her future was burning towards the ground. Even though fear was moving in place of shock, she couldn't help but wonder why he called her -chan? Did he know her? Did he know Sakura?

"I looked everywhere for you. I tried so hard to find you, and I... I let you down. I wasn't sure how I was going to face you, I shouldn't face you. I failed you..."

The only person who would say that. Whose shoulder would shake and tears would escape the eyes of his that she can't believe she didn't remember was.

"Naruto?"

Naruto hadn't let her go go despite the female calling his name. Slowly, Sakura's eyes glanced towards the brunette, who seemed puzzled as to what was going on. "You really did find her, TenTen."

"Uh, Naruto, that's not Sakura-hime."


Dictionary:

Oi - Hey

Koban - a Japanese oval gold coin in Edo period feudal Japan

Notes:

I'm glad I can fill our NaruSaku needs, and I have been unfair not letting them see each other until the end of the fourth chapter. That's why I gave you a surprise though!

theIrishWriter - Tropes are good! Well, most of them are. I thinks its cute that they reunited in a unconventional, unromantic kind of way. I'll be explaining Kakashi's past soon since he's an important character to the story, especially for Kirita's arc. So, all of those answers will be answered soon.