Okay, so it's only been like . . . a year, and knowing you guys, you've probably already forgotten about this sad little ficcie of mine, bUt, I discovered a rough draft of chapter four while cleaning my room (fuck off, my room's a mess) and you know I can't resist, so read away! (the few of you who have stayed, oh wait! I don't think anyone's left )

Oh! ffn.net accepts italics now!! ::sakura style hell-yeah:: so thoughts will be in italics



Chapter Four – Diamond Pains

In a comfortable crouching position, Sakura stared emotionlessly at her reflection oscillating in the creek. She reached out to touch the water and quickly drew back her hand when she disrupted the fragile surface.

The young girl sighed and blinked sleepily as she watched the lazy current engulf the small ripple she had created.

Something's missing . . . She thought to herself as she looked at the bridge. As she expected, it was devoid of her sensei and her fellow teammates, but her curiosity was roused when her eyes fell upon a smiling Godaime.

Black bangs shadowed a sweaty forehead as Sasuke stared miserably at the base of his porcelain sink. His eyes unwillingly flickered dangerously between bloody red and empty black.

Why can't I remember anything that happened last night? Where was I?

Sasuke scowled at his reflection in the mirror. Orange flames were strewn across his face and they danced happily down his arms, like some flesh- eating slugs hungry for a meal.

The dark-haired shinobi closed his eyes and bit his lower lip, not reacting when he tasted blood running through his teeth.

Concentrate . . . hold back the flames, hold it back

A wave of pain gripped Sasuke's body and his concentration was shattered as the boy fell over and collapsed into a heap on the bathroom floor, his face greeting the cold tiles with a thud.

Why? I can't hold them back. . . He thought bitterly as tears welled slowly at the corner of his eyes.

Slipping in and out of consciousness, Sasuke swore he heard someone's voice, and the moment he felt that someone's touch, the pain subsided.

"Ohayo Sakura." Tsunade called as she waved happily at the pink-haired shinobi staring at her in disbelief

"O-Ohayo, Hokage-sama." Sakura called in response as she waved back with noticeably lesser fervor.

"Come up here Sakura! I need to talk to you." The older woman yelled, letting her arms come to rest on the wooden railing of the tiny bridge.

"H-Hai!" came a squeaky response as a pink and red blur rushed to the woman's side.

"Oi, Sakura, I was wondering if Kakashi had spoken with you recently . . . about some things . . ." The sandy-haired woman began and she turned to look at Sakura as her disposition became more serious.

Sakura felt the air around the bridge tense and she looked nervously at her feet, her pink bangs followed her cue and flopped over her eyes, eagerly covering any signs of wayward emotions.

"What do you mean Hokage-sama." Came her reply, quiet and bitter.

"Has Kakashi warned you to stay away from those two, more notably Sasuke?"

Sakura turned completely away from the woman whose eyes were drilling holes in her and the young ninja remained silent, her mind swimming in pain and confusion.

"Yes, sensei has told me to stay away from Sasuke, but he didn't tell me why and I want to know." Sakura managed to blurt out as she turned wildly towards Tsunade, her eyes filled with tears and determination.

The Godaime was taken-aback and her eyes widened momentarily as she stared at the angry young ninja.

Slowly, her lips curved into a small smile.

"If you'll join me for tea this afternoon, I'll tell you why"

Sakura opened her mouth to speak but closed it when she realized there was nobody on the bridge left to talk to.

::Naruto POV::

How in the world do I get myself into these situations?

All I did was come to ask Sasuke why the hell he was outside my house yesterday in the middle of the night acting like everything was hunky-dory

And I happen to find him all passed out on his bathroom floor with these weird orange things going off like fireworks on his body.

It was just a little unnerving that they looked exactly like those things that ate him up in my dream last night

Those are stupid dreams of course

Not being one to ignore someone who looks like he's on the verge of death, I ran over and picked him up, too bad he was completely out of it.

I grabbed some random towels and ran them under cool water and put them on his forehead.

Now here's the funny thing, when I went to touch the flames that were licking up the side of his face, they receded!

So here I am cradling Sasuke's head in my arms and I'm playing tag with demonic looking markings on his face.

Life is a peach

::End Naruto POV::

"N-Naruto?" Sasuke asked in disbelief as he strained to open his eyes, focusing them on the blond-haired boy staring at him with curious blue eyes.

"Oi! You woke up." Naruto responded cheerfully giving Sasuke a wide grin to cover up the confusion and worry he was feeling.

Sasuke blinked, his eyes remaining the same shade of black.

"What are you doing in my house dobe?"

Naruto stood up quickly, his head throbbing in annoyance and his eyes closed in order to hold back his anger.

Unfortunately, the fox-boy was never good at doing that.

"TOO BAD I HAVE THE SAME QUESTION FOR YOU! WHAT WERE YOU DOING OUTSIDE MY HOUSE LAST NIGHT!" Naruto yelled triumphantly as he pointed an accusing finger at the other boy, ignoring Sasuke's scowl at his volume level.

The two were silent for a few moments.

"I-I was outside your house last night?" Sasuke finally asked, his brows knitted together in sheer confusion.

Naruto scratched his head and stared wide-eyed at his teammate.

"You . . . don't remember?"

Sasuke shook his head in response and looked away from Naruto.

"I remember having this dream, and this morning, when I woke up, I . . . I was in the brush outside my house."

"Well that makes sense! You were just hanging out near my house and then this. . . this flash of light came out of nowhere and then you chased after it and . . "Naruto stopped to take a breath, realizing his arms were extended in midair as he had unconsciously been dramatizing the situation.

Sasuke turned away from Naruto and covered his mouth with his hand, his eyes narrowed as they looked intently at the floor.

"Well that explains where I was last night . . ."

Naruto continued to stare at his distraught teammate and he tilted his head in questioning as he continued on to ask Sasuke about the mentioned dream.

"So . . . you said you had a dream . . ."

Dark eyes widened but did not move as a wave of unreadable thoughts ran through Sasuke's head.

"You are my life."

You love me that much? Who are you?

"Don't ever leave me."

"I don't think that's important" Sasuke responded coldly, still refusing to level his eyes with Naruto's

"It must've been pretty important if it made you stumble out all the way to my house, or maybe you were just taking one of your 'walks'." Naruto continued to speak as he sighed and looked up at the ceiling.

"Well, why were you up at such an ungodly hour anyway? I have the right to walk around if I want to!"

Sasuke looked up as he was not met with an immediate response from Naruto.

"I-I've been having trouble sleeping lately . . . but I don't think anything's wrong with that." Naruto finally answered, his eyes still glued to the ceiling.

A moment of silence fell between the two boys.

"So . . . I guess I'll be leaving now . . ." Naruto managed to cut in as he slowly slid towards the door, not giving Sasuke time to react.

The blonde's hand was on the doorknob when he heard Sasuke's scream.

Running back to where he had left Sasuke, Naruto found him on his knees with his burning orange hands covering his face.

"Sasuke! Are you all right? What are those?" Naruto yelled as he ran to his teammate's side, gently lifting one of Sasuke's hands to reveal black marks quickly vanishing from his face.

"The seal . . . it won't stop . . ." Sasuke breathed as he closed his eyes in pain, unknowingly gripping Naruto's arm.

A light blush tinged Naruto's cheeks as the boy battled to will them away.

"Stay Naruto, it hurts less when you're here." Sasuke muttered unconciously, not opening his eyes to absorb Naruto's response.

Returning Sasuke's request with a light nod, Naruto gently lay him on the floor and ran to retrieve more towels.

This is so not right, I've got to talk to Obasan and Kakashi-sensei soon

"So the oracle has started." Tsunade spoke as she carefully set tea cups down on the old wooden table in her office.

"It has?" came the reply from a silver-haired jounin resting comfortably on a couch now too far away.

"I can feel it"

A soft knock resounded in the small room and both occupants immediately turned their attention towards the pink-haired girl peaking shyly through the door that remained slightly ajar.

"Come in, Sakura."
Mmk . . . I thought that would be a great place to stop, since this is already six pages and my ranting at the beginning of the story didn't take up too much space this time.

Yes, if you haven't noticed, I've been putting off the Tsunade tell Sakura scene for like, a bazillion chapters, procrastination no jutsu!

Wow! So my tri-phobia has officially ended! I must give most of my thanks to Japime-sama, who in my despair gave me a very nice piece of advice.

"Maybe you should consider finishing your stories for once"

So nice of her to put it sO bluntly

I'm posting this un-betad most likely because I hafta run and go catch a plane.

(insert a face here that ffn.net doesn't let me use due to the fact that we can't use under-hyphen things)

I thought I'd give you all this gift to munch on for the three weeks that I will be in San Francisco.

Knock yourselves out!



P.S. go look at my dev site if you have nothing else to do (actually, I'm trying out the insert-link in the quick-previews page, tehe)