Sakura jumped out of bed and threw on her robe as soon as her eyes opened. It wasn't quite morning yet, but after her visit with Sasori, she knew her next move couldn't wait. These visits were starting to put her on edge, now she wondered every time she shut her eyes, would she be visited by the monster again.

She made her way to the adjoining bathroom and decided it was best to treat herself to a shower first. As the warm water pattered against the ground and walls, her mind wandered back to her patient Yoake. Her heart ached as she thought of the lonely child. He had no family to care about him, and she may be possibly the only person to mourns his death, were something to happen.

Every day she woke up with the fear that she would lose her battle with the unknown force that bound his soul. She suddenly felt the severity of his situation riding on her shoulders. The balance of his life was in her hands. Fear crept up her spine as the idea of failure ran through her mind.

She suddenly felt herself lose her breathe and her vision grow foggy. She reached out to grab the wall to steady herself but the slippery surface didn't provide any relief. It was as if she was falling in slow motion, and darkness began to cloud her vision. She heard the sound of her head striking the wall behind her and then fell into darkness.

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Sasuke roused early from his sleep that morning to the sound of running water from the bathroom adjacent to him. Sakura must be up already, he thought as he rubbed his eyes and listened to the sound of her soft hum from behind the bathroom door.

Sasuke sighed, he remembered the last conversation they had. He closed his eyes and leaned back into his pillows. He didn't know wether to be annoyed with the pink haired kunoichi, or annoyed with himself for being annoyed.

How troublesome, he thought.

His thoughts were interrupted by a sudden thud against the wall. He shot up and stared towards the source of the sound which was the bathroom Sakura currently occupied. He crept out of his bed and quickly made his way over to the door and paused a moment outside and listened for the sound of movement before calling out to her.

"Sakura?" He pressed his ear against the door and waited for a reply. The sound of water continued to hit the ground and walls but he didn't hear Sakura's voice come from behind the door.

"Sakura, are you okay?" He felt concern begin to take over him as he was met with silence once more. He put his hand on the door knob and turned the lock only to find it had been locked from the other side. "Sakura if you don't answer me I'm going to bust down this door," Sasuke finally said in exasperation. He knew Sakura wouldn't ignore him no matter how mad she was at him, so that's why he found himself pushing all of his weight against the door until he burst into the bathroom.

Sakura was lying in a pool of her own blood and water, as the shower continued to beat down on her pale body.

"Shit," Sasuke hissed at the sight. He turned the water off and grabbed the nearest towel to wrap around Sakura's wet body. He hoisted her up against him and felt warm water soak into his own clothes. The smell of soap mingled with the metallic scent of the blood that kept oozing out of her head. Sasuke carried her lifeless body back to her own room. Carrying Sakura with one arm was no easy task either.

Sasuke would never say this out loud, especially to Sakura, but she was much smaller than she appeared to be. She always stood so strong and confidently, but as she was pressed against his chest in this state, she seemed small and fragile. Sasuke gently laid her down on the bed and went back to the bathroom once more to get towels for her bleeding.

Since when was Sakura so clumsy, he thought to himself. He returned to the unconscious girl with another towel to try and stop the bleeding from her head. As he adjusted her head, Sakura finally began to rouse and her eyes opened up to meet his own. There was an evident glaze over her emerald green eyes and she warily observed the dark haired man looking over her.

"What happened?" She muttered. She tried to pull herself up but she was still dizzy from the fall.

"You tell me," Sasuke murmured. Sasuke put the white towel under the pink girls head and watched it turn red with her blood. Sakura looked at him confused for a moment until her eyes filled with realization. "I fainted," she said matter-of-factly. Sasuke nodded at her. He figured as much, she always had a tendency to faint when she became overwhelmed. But what was troubling her enough to cause such a reaction?

"Sasuke," he met the girls eyes once more, "I want you to heal the cut." Sasuke's mouth went dry. He wasn't very good at medical ninjutsu and was afraid that her cut may be too serious for him to handle. "I know you can do it," she reassured him. She moved her head to the side exposing the bloodied gash and matted hair that was stuck to her head.

If it looked bad, at least no one would see it. He moved his hand over the wound like he had done before, and focused his chakra to his hands. He watched as green chakra delicately flowed out of his hands and began lacing the torn skin on Sakura's head back together. He held his breath as he watched the blood slowly dissolve and the skin become sutured once more.

When he finished, he admired his handy work with a small smile. In between the strands of pink, all that was left was a small scar as a reminder of her accident. One she would probably never see.

"How does it feel?" He asked hesitantly. Sakura reached her head back and patted the back of her head then turned to face the dark ninja.

"It doesn't feel like anything," she said with a small smile. Sasuke felt slightly relieved Sakura had approved of his medic skills, though he would never admit that to her.

They both sat in each other's company in silence for a while, relishing in one another presence. Something they hadn't been able to do since they left Konoha. Finally Sakura broke the silence and said, "He came to me again last night."

Sasuke looked at her confused, then realization dawned on him once more. "Sasori," he sighed, what does the puppet master want with them, he worried. He would be lying if he said he wasn't disturbed by the fact that Sakura was being visited by this monster under the pretense of being able to "help" her. "Well what did he have to say?"

Sakura closed her eyes for a moment then opened them once more. "It would be better if you just saw for yourself," Sakura brought her face close to his own and leveled her green eyes to his own. Sasuke was actually surprised Sakura was so willing let him into her mind.

He activated his mangeyko and dove into the girls emerald eyes and he felt himself move into her mind. He landed immediately on the memory of her dream and could see the ex-Akatsuki standing over her bed smirking at her in a way that made Sasuke blood boil.

"The Uchiha boy has quite the temper," he heard the smooth words come out of the vile mans mouth. Sasuke had to remind himself this was only a memory and he couldn't actually beat the shit out of Sasori. So instead he did his best to listen.

"Where do I find 'The Chains of Life and Death?" He heard Sakura ask.

"Valuable information doesn't come cheap Sakura. What will I get in return?" God this man was insufferable. Wasn't Sakura's success just as important to him at this point?

"I will get you your freedom."

Silence fell between the two ninja. Sasuke looked on at the scene in confusion, how would she free herself from Sasori?

A wry smile smile grew across Sasori's face and he raised his eyebrows at the girl before him. "And how would you do that?" He sneered.

"I will make a deal with the Chains of Life and death to have you released."

Sasori rubbed his chin for a moment in silence. "Well that may actually work, but you would have to sacrifice something precious to yourself," he looked down his nose at her, knowing that would be the most difficult part for her.

"I just do whatever it takes to save Yoake and get rid of you," Sakura said firmly. She reached out her hand towards Sasori and watched him hesitantly clasp it with his own.

"We have a deal," Sasori nodded at her. "Now, the Chains of Life and Death, are only bestowed upon people by a sage that is far west from this city. An ancient puppet sage," he paused and gaged Sakura's face. "You will need to prove yourself worthy of the Sage."

Sakura nodded slowly as she absorbed the puppet masters directions. Sasuke listened as Sasori explained where she could find his scriptures and how to reach the sage. He watched Sakura the entire time as he listened and admired her bravery. Even with the cards stacked against her, she pushed on. She could stare her biggest enemy in the eye and net even bat an eyelash.

Finally the vision of Sasori disappeared and once more he watched Sakura lay back in her bed and cover her face with her hands. She muffled a groan and sighed loudly to herself. Sasuke felt himself begin to be pulled away from this memory and moments later he was staring back into Sakura's eyes.

He caught his breath and looked at her facial features closely. "Sakura.." he began, but she raised a hand up and shook her head.

"I have to do this. I can't live the rest of my life with my nemesis attached to me in such a way, Sasuke. He said he is always watching me.." The facade Sakura had put up in front of Sasori was beginning to crack, and her true terror began to shine through. Tears began to pool in the corner of her eyes as she looked deep into his own helplessly. "Please Sasuke, help me."

"Of course I'll help you," Sasuke stated, a little hurt that she felt like she needed to ask. He still wished she would've shared her first dream sooner, but they had more pressing matters to deal with now.

Sakura looked a little relief, but her emotions were still running high. The tears that she was holding at bay began to flow freely down her face and a small sob escaped her mouth. Sasuke had never been good at comforting people in these situations so he did the only thing he knew would help and wrapped his arm around her. Sakura stiffened in surprise at the gesture, but quickly accepted his embrace.

Finally, for the first time since embarking on their trip, Sasuke felt a small sense of peace. He and Sakura sat with each other until the kunoichi pulled away from him and placed a hand gently against his face.

"Thank you, Sasuke-kun," her eyes shined brightly up at his, still wet with her tears. She leaned her face in towards his own and caught his lips in between hers. Sasuke felt blood rush to his head as the sensation of Sakura's lips took over his mind.

At first, they nibbled at each other softly, savoring in the quiet moment of their kiss. But Sakura's hands suddenly wrapped around the back of his head, and she began deepening their kiss with her tongue.

He could feel her fingers running through his hair as she kissed him with urgency. Sasuke gently pushed her back against the bed, as Sakura continued to kiss him with a deep need. Their tongues began a battle of dominance that Sasuke was sure he was going to lose the moment he felt Sakura's hand slip down the inside of his trousers.

Sasuke bit a moan back as the kunoichi underneath him expertly stroked his length as she hit onto his lower lip.

"Sasuke-kun," she whispered. Her eyes were hooded with desire and lust as she pulled away slightly to look at his face.

"I need you."

Hearing her say those words awakened something within him that had been dormant since they had left Konoha. Sasuke quickly moved the towel he had wrapped around her earlier and admired her body for a moment. He took in every dip and curve of her breast to her waist and then her hips. He ran his hand along the side of her body eliciting goosebumps and a slight moan from Sakura.

"Spread your legs," he ordered, Sakura hesitated for a moment but obliged. He could see the wetness that had already began growing between her legs and he inhaled deeply to try and exercise some self control over himself. Seeing her so vulnerable laid out in front of him ignited something primal inside of him.

She was his.

Sasuke traced his finger along the enterance of her small pink lips, causing Sakura to whimper.

"Sasuke," she gave him a slight pout. He tried not to smirk in reply, because he was beginning to enjoy this power play. Finally after some teasing, he slipped his index finger between the two lips painfully slow. Sakura let out a low groan in response to his touch. He slid his finger back out just as slowly, and then entered her again. He kept a slow painful rhythm so he could admire the way she looked as he pleasured her.

The way she rolled her head back and sighed encouraged him to take things further. He inserted another finger and Sakura gripped the sheets around her as she attempted to contain her pleasure.

"Sasuke.. please," she begged again. Her breathing was becoming more labored and he used his thumb to focus on the small mound above her slit sending Sakura into a frenzy.

"Sasuke-kun," she whimpered. Sasuke smirked down at the woman before him.

"Hmmmm?"

"I want you inside of me," she panted out.

Sasuke bent forward as he continued pumping his fingers in and out of her, and whispered coyly into her ear, "Sakura, you have to say please."

Sakura whimpered in exasperation, "Please Sasuke, I need you inside of me." Sasuke pulled away from her and took his fingers out. Sakura watched him as he stuck one in his mouth and tasted her.

He removed his shirt in one quick movement and let Sakura admire him for a moment before doing the same with his pants. His erection throbbed with the need of release as he pressed the tip against her wet folds.

Sakura moaned in anticipation and wrapped her legs around his hips to encourage him to move inside of her. The first moments were always filled with bliss and anticipation. Sasuke slid himself inside of her and relished in her warmth. Sakura grinder her hips on agitation against his own.

"Sasuke-kun, quit torturing me," she moaned. Sasuke tried not to laugh at the impatient girl underneath him. He bent down and placed a soft kiss against her lips once more. This was the first time in the last week he felt truly content. It was as if all of the negativity and tension surrounding their relationship had dissipated, and all that was left was each other. For once he felt like he was doing something right.

However, the moment of bliss didn't last long, he and Sakura were abruptly interrupted by someone entering her suite.

"Hey Sakura, I was just-" Temari had burst through the door of Sakura's room and was greeted with a sight she had never anticipated. Her eyes widened, her face reddened and she immediately turned around and slammed the door.

"Shit." Sakura began pushing Sasuke off of her to his dismay.

"We aren't gonna finish?" He gave her a puzzled look.

"I have to talk to Temari. I need to make sure she's okay after what happened last night" Sakura threw on her robe and tied it tightly around her waist as Sasuke stared on dumb-founded. Sakura came up to him once more and planted a small kiss on his cheek. "Later, okay?" But he didn't even have time to reply to her because she disappeared out of the door in a split second.

Sasuke threw himself onto the bed, groaning into the silken sheets with agitation. His erection throbbed against him, reminding him of his unfinished business. He rolled onto his back and decided, he will have to take care of this himself.

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Sakura raced after Temari, still sporting a huge red flush on her face. Temari had left their suites and was in the halls of the embassy trying to forget what she had just seen.

"Temari!" Sakura called after her friend. The blonde girl had already escaped quite a ways down the hallway and was not expecting Sakura to have chased after her. "Wait up!"

Temari turned around to greet her friend, a blush still visible on her face from their encounter only a few moments ago. "Sakura.." she stuttered, she reached behind her head and rubbed the back of the neck trying to think of something to say to the pink haired kunoichi. "I'm so sorry," she giggled nervously, "I should've knocked before barging in."

"Oh no! I'm sorry Tema, I should've locked the door," Sakura replied, reliving her embarrassment, "I was really worried about you, that's why I came after you." Sakura reached out her hand and placed it on Temari's shoulder and gave her a genuine smile, hopefully she could change the subject from their encounter earlier.

"Oh yes! I'm okay. I was going to ask you to check up on the baby, my mornings sickness has just been hell," Temari whined. Sakura put her arm around her friend and they walked back to the suites.

"Of course Temari," Sakura assured her friend. Once back inside their suite, Sakura sat Temari down and began her analysis. She focused her chakra to her hands and hovered them over her abdomen. She sensed the tiny chakra signature and a small heartbeat to go with it. Sakura smiler to herself as she felt the life that was forming inside of Temari.

"The baby is doing good," Sakura smiled at her friend, "for the morning sickness, I can give you an herbal tea." Sakura sighed, she felt terrible for her friend after what had happened the night before, "Did you work things out with your brother?" Sakura asked a little hesitantly. Temari sighed and leaned back against the couch.

"We put a bandaid over a kunai wound," she replied glumly. "I don't know how I will tell Shikamaru either," she buried her face in her hands and let out a sigh. Sakura rubbed her hand on her friends back to be in an attempt to comfort her.

"Maybe he can come to Suna and you could tell him," she suggested.

"Or you could return to Konoha," the two girls looked up to see Sasuke walk out of his own bedroom, fully clothed, and acting like nothing happened earlier. "Temari, I would prefer it if we discharged you from this mission in your currentstate."

"What?! No you guys will need me!" She rebutted, slightly enraged that Sasuke would suggest something so absurd.

Sakura sighed and looked over to her teammate, he had a point. "Temari, I may actually agree with Sasuke-kun. This is an S-class mission and I don't want you or your babies life to be in danger." Temari sighed at her looking defeated. "Besides, I can ask Kankuro to help us," Sakura added, pretending not to notice the look Sasuke gave her upon mentioning the other ninjas name.

"It's decided, I will write to Kakashi and let him know you will be returning to the city with Sai or Yamato," Temari sighed in defeat. She knew they were both right, but still, she hated feeling useless.

Sakura admired Sasuke's initiative and concern for his other teammate. She was also glad Sasuke was okay with playing the bad guy in these situations, because she didn't think she had the balls to tell Temari something like this.

"You have to promise to keep me updated," Temari said in a serious tone, looking over to Sakura. Sakura gave a her a strong nod and a half smile. She hated seeing the disappointment on her friends face. "Alright, I will go talk to Kankuro and maybe see if we can get another guide for you."

Sakura stood up and helped Temari to her feet, then pulled her into an embrace. "Thank you, Tema," she said affectionately.

Temari just shook it off and replied, "Don't mention it, I hate the sand anyways," she said with a wink. Typical Temari, pretending like nothing was wrong and putting on a brave face. The blonde girl showed herself out with a wave, leaving Sasuke and Sakura standing in the living space by themselves.

Sakura turned to face her partner, to find him looming over her with a wry look on his face. He brushed his hand over her face and brought his lips down to her own to plant a soft kiss in between them.

"Don't think you're getting away with this," he whispered coyly. "We have work to do now, but you're mine later." Sasuke pulled back from her and went to the door where his cloak was hanging, "I have a few things to take care of, tell Yamato and Sai that we will be meeting with Kazekage at noon," he said with a nod, then disappeared behind the door.

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Sasuke made his way down the corridor hastily, he was still agitated from the interruption with Sakura earlier. He even tried to finish the job himself, but he kept seeing Temari's disturbed face pop up in his mind. He sighed loudly as he made his way out the door and began his journey through the city of Suna.

He went down a few back streets until he found the place he was looking for, a little hole in the wall inn where he would be meeting his contact. Sasuke entered the inn, wrinkling his nose at the odd stench that wanted to him. Did they have to meet at such an unsavory place?

"May I help you?" Drawled the woman sitting at the front desk, barely looking up from her news paper to greet him.

Sasuke nodded to the woman and said, "Uchiha Sasuke, I'm meeting someone here," the woman stood up and motioned for him to follow her. She lead him to an entrance that was covered by dark, dusty curtains and led into a small pub area.

"Over there, in the corner," the woman motioned to a table where his contact was seated looking as mischievous as ever. Sasuke sighed, he was not looking forward to dealing with this person, but it needed to be done.

"Orochimaru," he approached the sly creature carefully, "good to see you."

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Alright y'all! Thank you once again for your patience. I have been getting back in the groove of writing from my little hiatus, so I hope you all enjoyed this chapter ;) a little sexy, a little fun, and a little mystery. I hope you won't be disappointed with what is to come!