If Naruto was the sun and Sasuke the moon, then Sakura was their Star. Sasuke and Sakura will go on a strange journey together in search of answers! Blank period. Canon as much as possible.
Sasuke woke with a start. "Shit" he thought. Beads of sweat rolled down his body as he recounted the dream he just had. He was back in Orochimarus hideout, except he wasn't alone. She was there.
"Sasuke-kun!", he heard her voice ringing in his ears and the warm wet feeling of blood began dripping from his hands. He saw her strapped to an operation table, stripped naked. Orochimaru stood over her and said "What a pretty child. It's such a shame the earth has to lose a flower before it blooms."
Sasuke stared at his former master, completely frozen. The snake hissed in his ear "Kill her".
"No!" Sakura screamed. Sasuke's hands began to shake, he looked down and saw blood covering them. Her blood? No. It was his own. He was gripping a Kunai by the blade and it had begun to slice into his own skin as fear took over him.
"Do it Sasuke. This is the only way. This is the only way you can achieve the power you want."
It was as if something possessed him, he felt his arms move without him asking and the kunai was raised above his head. He looked down at the pink haired girl before him, only to realize she had gone and was replaced with an image of himself. Suddenly his arms moved through the air and he felt himself puncture flesh, and a searing pain in his heart.
The pain jolted him upright and now he was suddenly aware of not only the grass underneath him, but that the pain in his heart was still there. Yet it wasn't pain from a kunai.
Sakura was making her morning tea when a knock came to her door. "Who is it?" She shouted from her small apartment kitchen.
Sakura sighed "Come in Naruto". Sakura usually liked to spend her Sunday mornings alone, considering it was usually her day off, but when your best friend is Naruto, you sometimes have to make exceptions. She heard the door click shut and she turned around to face her yellow haired friend. At one point she was inches taller than him and now at 20 years old he surpassed her by a whole foot. She studied his expression which looked unusually ecstatic. "Well Naruto, to what do I owe the pleasure on my Sunday morning off?"
"Gee Sakura-Chan, I came with some good news but if you're going to treat me so coldly I will take my company elsewhere", Naruto teased.
"Well what is your news?"
"Sasukes coming home in two-weeks!"
"Yeah! His letter arrived this morning! He said by the time we received it he would be on the outskirts of Suna"
Sakura felt her heart swell. It had been over a year since she had last seen Sasuke. It seemed like every time she had seen him since the war had ended was fleeting. Sometimes she didn't even know if those moments were real, or just her imagination trying to comfort her. Of course they wrote to each other, but with Sasukes travels, the letters were few and far in between. The last time he had left Konoha he didn't even tell her goodbye in person. Instead she found a note slipped under her door.
I'm sorry I am leaving you this way again. There is still so much I have to do before you can join me on my journey.
Every word pierced her heart. It's not like she wasn't used to his rejection. In fact she had grown to accept that he would never love her the way she loved him. Yet it still hurt the same.
"You alright Sakura?" Narutos words pulled her from her thoughts. "Are you not happy Sasuke is coming home?"
"What?!?! Of course I am!"
"Then why are you crying?"
Suddenly Sakura realized her face was wet with tears and she felt her cheeks redden. "I'm just emotional okay!" She punched Naruto's shoulder with less force than usual. "I am happy he's coming back. It's been too long! Besides, he wasn't even there for your wedding so he owes us some of his time."
Naruto smiled at the mention of the special day with his wife. Unfortunately Sasuke wasn't there to share that moment with his best friend. "Well I know it's your day off so I will leave you to it." And with that Naruto was out the door quicker than he came in.
Once alone with her thoughts Sakura finished making her tea and sat down at her dining room table. Most sundays she would just read up on medicinal herbs or medical ninjitsu techniques, but Narutos visit had her feeling sentimental. She got up from the table and went into her bedroom, she pulled out a small shoe box from under her bed. Once back at her table she began sifting through the contents of the box. Her eyes landed on the very first picture of team seven. Kakashi Sensei stood behind her and her teammates with a smile you could see even through his mask. It's been a while since she had seen her old master and she was considering giving him a visit to discuss Sasukes arrangements for when he returned to the village. As she looked back to the photo her eyes landed on him. Where was he now? She wondered to herself. Would he be willing to take her next time he left? Or would he just disappear without a trace once more?
Feeling tears return to her eyes, she set the photo down and took a sip of her tea instead.
This was going to be a long two weeks.
Sand. Wind. Sun.
Sasuke thought these three things would be the death of him. It was the sand he hated the most though. It got in his hair and eyes, and by the time he was out of the desert it usually stayed with him for another week. He looked to the horizon and could see nothing but the gritty brown stuff ahead of him. Disgusting.
He was suddenly brought out of his thoughts by a bright light that flashed at him in the distance. More rouges, he thought. After traveling for almost three years alone, Sasuke realized how frequently rouge ninjas and thieves thought they could take advantage of him. While dealing with these nuisances were annoying and time consuming, it did help him keep his skills sharp. Sasuke readied himself for attack but kept walking in the direction of Konoha.
As he got closer to the blinding flash, he realized it wasn't ninja or thieves but a merchant who was laying atop of a metal handcart. That's interesting, thought Sasuke, why would a handcart be out here, there weren't any railroad tracks for miles.
The sun reflected off the metal cart and into Sasukes vision, almost blinding him for a moment. As soon as his eyes adjusted he looked at the man laying on the cart. There weren't any signs of attack so Sasuke bent down closer to observe the man. He was older, in his forties or fifties, his skin was like leather, most likely from being in the sun from working in the sun. The mans breath was shallow and ragged. It must be heat exhaustion, thought Sasuke. He pulled out his canteen and brought it to the mans lips, he tilted the mans head back so he could force the water down his throat. The man began to cough and sputter but he drank the water none the less.
"Who are you?" The man asked weakly.
"A friend" said Sasuke. He didn't like giving his name to strangers because he didn't know how they would react. It seemed a lot of the world had mixed emotions about him. Some people loved him, but many more hated him. So he prefered anonymity in his journey for atonement.
Sasuke looked around and spotted a large rock up ahead he picked up the man and went over to where the rock was. It was the typical dessert rock, rough and large but unfortunately there weren't any openings where he could shelter in. I guess I will have to make one, he thought.
He ignited his chidori, and sliced through the rock. He managed to carve out a rough piece of rock that would hopefully provide enough shade from the blazing heat and unforgiving sun. He set the man underneath. And took a sip of water himself.
This is going to set me back a few days for my return, I better write Kakashi and let him know.
Sasuke quickly summoned one of his small hawks and attached a quick message to it. "Please get this to Kakashi". And with that the bird took off.
Sasuke sat down next to the man and observed his breathing. It seemed to have evened out, and was less ragged than before. He decided he would let the man rest and leave when the man was feeling better.
He closed his eyes and leaned back against the cool stone. His mind began to wonder to Konaha and the people waiting there for him.
He was slightly remorseful for missing Narutos wedding, but he didnt feel ready to face the city again. In fact he was surprised he had been allowed back at all. Of course he had many friends and supporters in the village, but the elders hated him and they put up a fight against him coming back.
Then he began to think about her. Sakura. There had been a time when they were friends, and there was a time when they were enemies. He remembered the times he almost killed her and he felt his body go numb with shame. How could he had done that to someone who he had found so precious. His dreams were haunted by these things and he didn't think he would ever forgive himself for it. And yet she had forgiven him. It was one of the first things they had spoken about upon his first return to Konoha. She told him before he even could apologize that she had forgiven him. The woman was stubborn and once she had made up her mind about something there was no changing it. Sasuke smirked at the thought of that. A voice stirred him from his thoughts.
"How long was I out?", the older man croaked. Sasuke looked at the weathered man. He had tilted his head to face Sasuke but his eyelids were half open. He must still be dehydrated thought Sasuke.
"Here drink some more of this", Sasuke pushed the canteen to the mans lips and tilted it back. The man eyed it warily and looked back to Sasuke. "Trust me if I wanted to poison you I would've done it by now", and with that the man took a sip of the water. He sat back and looked at Sasuke with bemusement.
"So what is a young man like you doing wondering in these deserts?"
"I could ask you the same question" Sasuke retorted.
"You could, but I am not a young man", the man said with a laugh. Sasuke looked back at him unblinkingly. "Well I am working with the Five Nation Alliance Railroad Commision, and that hand cart out there is going to be the beginning of a new railway system connecting Suna and Konoha."
"But how can you push that through the desert without any rail?" Sasuke mused.
"It hasn't been easy but the wheels are treated with a special terrain resistance that allows me to push through any kind of terrain. Although snow has been the hardest one to get through. I have been mapping the fastest routes between cities for the future railway tracks."
That explained why the man was out here, but surely someone with a job like him would've prepared for desert travel with water and food.
"I stopped a moment only to rest my arms and I was robbed of my provisions. Fortunately they didn't hurt me or take the cart, but they took all of my food, water and money."
Sasuke studied the man. No doubt he was telling the truth as no one would be foolish enough to travel without food and water through the desert. Sasuke then said to the man "I am on a journey of atonement. I can travel the rest of the way to Konoha with you."
The man nodded and closed his eyes. "We will leave at nightfall, it will be much easier to travel through the night. We should be there within three days." Three days Sasuke thought? I guess the handcart will move us much faster than our feet. He looked back at the man but he was already sleeping.
Sasuke closed his eyes as well, better to rest now he thought.
Monday mornings for Sakura were usually the busiest. She would first go to Konoha hospital and check with her usual patients and go over paper work. She was surprised to find Ino sitting at her desk when she opened the door to her office. "What the hell Ino-Pig!" Sakura jumped at the surprise of her friends prescense.
"Good morning to you too" Ino smirked back at the very irritated pink haired kunoichi. "I just wanted to pay you a visit today and beg you to go to lunch with me because I never see you anymore"
Sakura tolled her eyes "Ino, I see you everyday. We work together."
"Yeah but that's work, I wanna have girl time. We never spend quality time outside of work together," Ino whined.
Sakura sighed, "Fine. My lunch break is at 2 and I have 30 minutes. You know how Tsunade-Sama is about being on time."
Ino squealed in delight. "I have so much to tell you!" She screamed. And with that she bounced out of the office and left Sakura to her devices.
She slouched in her chair and began looking through paper work. Who would've thought being a medical-non could be so mind numbing. As she went through each paper her mind wandered off to thoughts of a raven haired man. Unfortunately those thoughts were interrupted by Shizune paging her to the ICU.
Sakura sprinted down the hall with unbelievable speed. Someone needed her and she was going to be there to save them. She found Shizune standing over an ANBU Corps member, with a worried expression. "Sakura!" She exclaimed. "His comrades say they were returning from a mission when he just fell down and began have a seizure. I've test him for poison and looked through his files for existing conditions, and I haven't found anything. Please help me!"
Sakura walked over to the ANBU. He was young, maybe 12, still a child in Sakuras eyes. She thought of Sasuke's elder brother, Itachi being in the ANBU at a young age and her heart ached. Why do we still send childeren on these dangerous missions, she thought. She closed her eyes and placed a hand on the child's head. It was cold to the touch. She moved her fingers to the nape of his neck and checked his pulse. It was a faint beat that gave her hope for this child.
Sakura summoned her chakra to her hands and began analyzing his body. She checked every inch for any indication of a disturbance but found nothing. "Dammit." She mumbled. She stepped back from the child and closed her eyes. Think Sakura, think. The boy looked as if he was dead.
Shizune spoke " I haven't seen anything like this before. It's as if he's in a coma."
"Yes. This seems to be quite troublesome Shizune."
Suddenly it hit her. "Shizune! I have an idea. I need to go find someone and I will be right back."
Sakura ran out and returned moments later with Ino in tow. "Sakura you know I work in the psychiatric ward, not the ICU" she grumbled.
"I know Ino, but I think you could help us with this. You see this ANBU was traveling when he suddenly fell and began seizing. Now it's as if he's in a coma. Shizune and I have run every test on him and we haven't found any indication of poison or illness," Sakura said.
"So what does this have to do with me?" asked Ino.
"I need you to look inside his mind and tell me if there's anything out of the normal." Ino understood finally and nodded. She positioned herself in front of the child and chanted "Mind transfer jutsu." Her body suddenly went limp and Sakura caught her just before her knees touched the ground. Sakura and Shizune waited for what seemed like the longest minute of their life. Suddenly, Ino's body came back to life, but when she looked at Sakura her face paled and her expression was grim. "Well?" asked Sakura.
Ino stood there a moment and exhaled before taking a step towards Sakura. She looked into her eyes and said "No one was there."
"Kakashi I do not care what special skill this child possessed but he should not have been on a mission that has now cost him his own conscience!" Sakura was ranting at Kakashi-Sensei.
"Sakura please don't shout at Hokage-sama-", Shizune started to speak but was cut off by the Hokage voice. "It's fine Shizune. She has every right to be upset with me. And please just call me Kakashi."
Sakura continued, "There is no one in his head! No memories, or thoughts. Do you know what that means? We have a living body with no one inside! How can I cure someone who isn't even there?" Kakashi looked very troubled by this. He sat back in his desk and looked back to the report that the fallen ANBU's teammates completed. The mission was nothing out of the ordinary for his trained ANBU. They were scouting some rogue ninja that were supposedly "for hire" assassins. Once they had found the info they needed they were to return to the village and report what they found and nothing more. And yet he had a ninja in the ICU that was unconsience. He set the report down and exhaled. "Sakura" he began " I want you to have someone posted by his side 24/7. I am going to regroup and send some Special Ops after these Rogue ninja again. I will also have the ANBU on the ninjas team questioned. I am sorry there is not more that I can do right now."
"Sensei! I can't just sit still and wait for answers-"
"You can and you will. That is an order. We don't know what we are dealing with here. The best you c"can do now is monitor him and keep his body alive... hopefully for the return of his soul."
"Kakashi he was just a child-"
"I know Sakura. But there's nothing I can do now. Please go home and rest. It is very late and I know you've not taken a break from work all day." Sakura sighed. She felt helpless. She hated feeling helpless. She promised herself years ago when Sasuke left her for the first time that she would become strong and never be helpless again. She walked out of the Hokage tower feeling extremely dejected. Suddenly a mans voice interrupted her thoughts " Sakura, are you alright?", it was Kiba Inuzuka. She didn't realize she had been staring at the ground for so long and her neck cracked when she stood up to face the ninja.
"Long day at the office." She sighed. Kiba chuckled at her response. "Well Shino and I are about to grab a bite to eat, would you wanna join us?"
"I really should get home, I need to do research and-"
"Sakura you look exhausted. Just come relax for a minute. Everyone says you over work yourself." She knew he was right. With one day off a week and working twelve hour shifts, her life was getting pretty exhausting. "Alright but only for a little while." Kiba smiled at her and lead the way to the small Yakitori restaurant. She had never noticed it before. The outside was a door with a small sign above saying Yakitori, but when she stepped inside she was surprised to see how lovely it was. Paper lanterns hung from the ceiling and gave the wall as a beautiful, warm glow. There was a long bar and a few tables scattered about. Shino waved them over from the back of the restaurant. "Wow I never knew this place existed," Sakura mused.
She and Kiba sat down at the small table with Shino who was surprised to see Sakura had joined his friend. "Sakura, long time no see! To what do I owe the pleasure?" He asked her politely.
Kiba answered for her and said "I told her she needed a much needed break and the best way to relax was with her favorite members of Team 8!" Sakura laughed whole-heartedly at this. Kiba had always been someone you could count on to make you smile. He rivaled Naruto when it came to "class-clown" back in the academy.
"He is absolutely right!" Sakura replied. "Im very happy to see you Shino. How is working for the Academy?"
"It's definitely hard work. Who knew children could have such complicated dispositions?" Shino chuckled. Sakura smiled at him, knowing how much he really cared for the childeren of Konoha made her heart swell.
"Well I'm starving!" Kiba interrupted her thought. They each ordered chicken skewers with rice and different dipping sauces. And by the end of the night Kiba and Shino's jokes had her feeling light hearted and free again. It was very late by the time they left the restaurant. Most of the street lights had began to shut off. "Let me walk you home," Kiba suggested and she nodded at him. They chatted idly as they walked back to Sakura's apartment and every now and then she thought she noticed Kiba staring at her. When they got to her apartment he said "Sakura please take it easy or I might have to force you to come out with me again."
"I had a really wonderful time Kiba, thank you," she smiled at him. He waved and said goodbye and he was gone. The second Sakura stepped into her apartment, all of her responsibilities flooded back to her. The hospital. The child ANBU. Paperwork. How would she ever make it through these next few weeks.
The next day Sakura met Naruto and Hinata at Icharaku Ramen for lunch. "So I only have 30 minutes so I can't-"
"You can't stay long, we know Sakura-Chan. Work is more important than your best friends," Naruto rolled his eyes. Sakura punched him in the shoulder and turned to Hinata, "How do you even deal with him?" She asked. Hinata smiled shyly.
"Well unfortunately Sasuke's return is going to be delayed," Naruto said.
"What? Why? Is he hurt Naruto? When did he let you know?" Sakura began her questioning but Naruto silenced her by pulling out a small crinkled note.
I've run into something and I will be returning later than I thought.
"Of course even his letters are as aloof as him," Sakura moaned. She felt frustrated that she had no idea where he was and why he was going to be late. Sakura pouted and gave Naruto back the paper. "Sakura remember we need to support him and his decision." When she didn't say anything he continued to speak "So anyways, Hinata and I wanted you to meet us her for a reason, ya know." He looked nervously at Hinata, she smiled and nodded for him to continue. "Hinata and I are gonna have a baby!" He exclaimed.
"Oh. My. GOD!" All thoughts af Sasuke disappeared from
her head as her body filled with joy and her eyes began to well with tears. She jumped up and hugged her two friends and squealed. "When did you find out? How far along are you? Do you know the gender?" She began asking. She looked at her friends and felt pride for how far a long they have come. As they answered her questions she couldn't help but let time slip away from her. She was brought back to reality when she looked at her watch and realized she had been there for forty five minutes. "Dammit! I'm late!" She apologized to the soon-to-be parents and ran from the ramen shop back to the hospital.
Tsunade-Sama was standing in front of Sakuras office tapping her foot impatiently when she approached. "Sakura. You know how I feel about tardiness-"
"I'm so sorry Shisou! I just got caught up with Naruto and-"
"Don't let it happen again" she sighed. "Come on we have work to do." Sakura followed her master down the long corridor of the hallway to the lab rooms. They went through two metal doors and entered a sterile room with monitors and testing equipments scattered around the place. In the center of the room was the ANBU child who's name she learned was Yoake. He was hooked up to several monitors and had an IV drip insterted into his arm. Tsunade spoke "At first I was hoping maybe he was under a gen-jutsu. But we have been trying to measure his brainwaves and haven't picked up anything. He's practically brain dead. I even had Kurenai inspect him for an advanced gen-jutsu, but she couldn't find a damn thing." Sakura had never seen her teacher look so disturbed. She wanted to say something reassuring but she couldn't find the words. "We will have to wait until we get more information from the special ops team. Until then we have no leads." With that she turned around and left Sakura to perform her normal patient assessments.
She studied the boy closely as she moved her chakra covered hands over his body. His skin was light but specked with freckles across his face. His hair was dirty blonde and curled at the top. He looked very boyish Sakura thought. She wondered about his life and who his parents were. Did he have a happy childhood? Why was he an ANBU at such a young age? Her thoughts then turned to Sasuke. She thought about his childhood and how it had been taken from him at a young age. She suddenly felt sad at the thought that she didn't know when he was really returning. She missed him dearly.
She finished up with the ANBU and busied herself with other patients and paper work to keep her mind from wandering. By the time she had left work she was thoroughly exhausted.
The sky was dark and as she walked down the street, Sakura suddenly felt like she was being watched. There wasn't much light out on the street, but her senses were keen enough to sense danger even in the dark. She put her hand on her kunai pouch instinctively and readied herself for an attack. She turned the corner onto the next street and pulled her kunai to the throat of her attacker. Except it wasn't an attacker at all. It was Kiba! "Shit Sakura, I didn't meant to frighten you!" She lowered her kunai and took a step back from the man. He was standing against the wall with a look of absolute terror on his face. She began to giggle at his expression. "Well Sakura, I guess you don't need me to protect you on your walk home," he laughed.
"What are you even doing here?" she asked.
"Well I wanted to make sure you were still taking it easy," he winked. She smiled softly at him and said "well would you like to walk me to my apartment?" He nodded and they set off down the street.
Kiba was suprisingly good company Sakura thought. He actually knew a vast amount of Medical-ninjitsu through training dogs and having to heal them when they were injured. She also learned that he was opening a training academy to teach dogs and their trainers how to work together. "Wow Kiba! That's so fascinating that you can train dogs with such ease," Sakura exclaimed. "Trust me it isn't easy!" He replied. As they approached her apartment Kiba faced Sakura and said "I really enjoy talking to you Sakura, and well, maybe we could go grab some dinner tomorrow or something?" Sakuras face must have looked shocked because he quickly added "it doesn't have to be like a date or anything! I just want to get to know you better."
Sakura thought for a moment. She spent her whole life waiting on a certain man to say something like this to her. Something she figured would never come. And yet something still kept her from saying yes to Kiba. She smiled and said "I'll think about it Kiba, you know how hard it is with my schedule and-"
"Sakura it's totally okay if you don't want to, but if you change your mind let me know." He smiled at her and waved good bye, leaving her alone in front of her apartment musing over what could've been. She then turned to unlock her apartment door when she felt a hand on her shoulder. "Kiba what's wrong?" She said thinking the ninja came back to tell her something. But it wasn't Kiba she found when she turned around.
It was him.
"Sasuke-kun.." she whispered
"Sakura. I'm home."
So. This is my first fanfic that I've ever written. I've been wanting to write one forever but I've never felt confident enough in my skills to do so! So please let me know what you guys think. I'm trying to stay as close to the story line as possible! So if you guys have any suggestions or kind critiques pls don't be shy! Just don't say anything mean!!