Author's Notes: I decided to revise the chapters, and correct plus add a couple of things here and there. I'm not sure if the grammar is entirely in check, but it should be since I did use the Spell+Grammar check on Microsoft works. I'll keep revising/editing the chapters until I continue with the story. There isn't that much left to tell, which was something I noticed while re-reading the story. Either way, expect some updates on this fanfic plus my other ones. I might not finish a few and just abandon them, since I can't bring up anything to finish them or whatever. All, expect some new fanfics in the works very soon. I'm currently writing two InuYasha fanfics, so if you're a fan I hope you guys read e'm! Enjoy the revised work.
It took two members of the ANBU squad to hold him down. The two masked men, one wearing a fox mask, while the other wore a boar mask, held unto their objective tightly making sure that he could not escape from their grasp. The man looked tired with a couple of scratches and wounds on him. Judging by how the blood oozed from them, they seemed fresh. Some even left marks on the ground as the two ANBU members dragged him where he would stay for the next couple of days.
The ANBU squad weren't certain how long they would keep him there, or how long he had to live, but they were directly ordered by the Godaime Hokage, Tsunade-sama herself, to bring back Uchiha Itachi alive at any costs. Why the Godaime wanted him alive? Nobody could answer that question but herself. Not even the ANBU members knew. It was as if his means for survival was a giant secret, and the people of Konoha were outraged that the Godaime could allow Uchiha Itachi to stay alive.
'If it were sandaime, or Yondaime', others would say. Most of the time, the people kept their opinions to themselves and believed in their Hokage, hoping that this decision was for the best instead of something that she would regret later on.
After walking down all those long steps that led to an underground room in the Hokage building, the two ANBU members threw him into the darkness, with only a few rays of light that came from a barred window to keep him company. Then they grabbed some chains that they designed especially for S-rank criminals like him, and chained both of his hands to the wall. With the rays of the sun peering down on his figure, it was noticeable how bruised and battered he was. His akatsuki cloak was in tatters, and he had his konoha missing-nin marked headband clenched in his fist. A couple of bloodstains found in the metal at the center where the striked leaf was located…
His usually tidy black hair was now loose and wild. During the capture, it kept brushing past his shoulders. On his cheeks, there were scars, and on his arms, legs and upper torso were even greater wounds.
"Tch." the ANBU member with the boar mask said, destroying the silence that befell them. "The Godaime should have ordered us to kill you. Instead, we get to keep you here as if you were filth."
"It suits him." the ANBU member with the fox mask replied.
It still perplexed them how one squad of ANBU members defeated Uchiha Itachi, the so-called S-rank and highly dangerous criminal. It was almost suspicious, they believed.
"We should go report to Godaime-sama on the mission success" the ANBU masked boar said. With those words, the other ANBU turned the heel of his foot, and turned to walk out of the room closing the door behind them. Afterwards they placed seals and scrolls on the door, to make sure Uchiha Itachi could never escape if he tried to.
They left him there alone in the darkness, with only the rays of the sun to keep him company. His cell smelled of something foul, and already in his mind, the idea of whom or what must have been here previously bewildered him. He moved his fingers a bit, twitching here and there to see if he still had movement in them. Flicking his eyelids a bit, he opened them completely to scan the area. It did not make a difference if he had closed his eyes or not, his cell was completely dark except for a few spots of light here and there.
This punishment surprised him. He knew of Tsunade-sama, and he knew that she was not a fool. There was something amidst in his sudden arrest, and he was curious to find out exactly what it was.
"Godaime-sama, as you ordered Uchiha Itachi S-rank criminal and member of the organization Akatsuki was captured by my squad earlier this morning." The two ANBU members had reached the Hokage office, delivering their report before they can go off to another mission that needed their attention ASAP.
She nodded. Standing in front of her desk, she crossed her arms against underneath her chest. "Thank you. It seems your mission was a success. What is Uchiha Itachi's current condition?"
"He's wounded but his wounds aren't fatal," piped the other ANBU member.
"Here are the keys to the room, Godaime-sama" the boar-masked ANBU handed Tsunade the keys which she quickly placed inside her pockets.
"Thank you and good job you two. You are dismissed."
With those three words, the two men disappeared in clouds that circulated around their body. Sitting on her chair, her eyes gazed down at the pile of paperwork she still had to take care of. While looking through Sandaime's old library, she found a book that interested her in the matter. A book listed all the S-Ranked criminals throughout the ninja community. Flipping through a few random pages, she found Itachi's profile in the book and began to read it aloud.
'His name is Uchiha Itachi. He killed the entire Uchiha clan besides his younger and only brother, Uchiha Sasuke. Left Konoha and became a missing-nin, only to join the terrorist group, Akatsuki. Their plots are unknown now. Perhaps it was better to kill him during the mission. If this man were to escape, then Konoha would be in trouble.'
Closing the book, she sighed and leaned back against her chair. The mission to capture Itachi was successful, almost too successful. Nevertheless, it was a good opportunity to gain information about Akatsuki through him by any means possible. This was her true objective.
"Good afternoon!" she smiled, holding a bouquet of flowers.
It was like this everyday. Everyday Sakura brought flowers for Sasuke. She always wore the same smile on her face, her green eyes as bright as ever. Behind the façade though was the pain that she suffered knowing that Sasuke was in that kind of state once more.
"Oh, good afternoon Sakura-chan!" the nurse replied waving. "Going to visit Sasuke-kun again today?"
She smiled, and nodded. "Yup, I brought fresh flowers since the flowers that I brought three days ago were wilting yesterday when I last visited him."
The nurse smiled. "Ah, that's so cute Sakura-Chan! Sasuke-kun would be happy knowing that he gets a visitor everyday"
'Perhaps, but I do not know if Sasuke-kun would really be happy knowing that…' She nodded. "I'll see you when I leave, then." she waved to the nurse, and walked upstairs to Sasuke's room. It has been already two weeks since they sent Sasuke to the hospital. When she heard, she immediately ran from her house to see his condition. Her heart felt crushed, seeing his limp figure on the hospital bed. She was devastated and could not hold back tears. Naruto was there to comfort her, as he usually was.
She grasped the doorknob and opened the door. Every time she visited him, she often wished on that day he opened his eyes and awoke from his comatose state. Tsunade tried her best to help Sasuke, but without knowing exactly what attacked him, there was little hope for recovery. One possible thought, which Naruto brought up the day they brought Sasuke to the hospital, was that it was his entire older brother's fault. Even so, Tsunade believed it would be wise to wait until they knew the whole details before beginning the recovery process.
'He should stay in the hospital for a while, and I should be able to check up on him once every three days. Do not worry Sakura. He will wake up, I'm certain of it'
Her master's words could not help her. Those words could not fill up the emptiness that lay inside the pink haired kunoichi's heart.
'I'm willing to believe in you, Tsunade-shishou. Really, I do but...'
Walking towards the window, she replaced the water along with the wilted flowers with the new ones she bought today, in the vase. The chair was always there beside his bed, where she would sit for hours. Even though Sasuke was comatose, she still talked to him as if he were merely half-asleep. She sat down on that same chair which she claimed as her own haven, before gazing down at his figure. It was like this everyday and there was no hope in it changing for a while either.
They were both older, both adults now at the ripe age of eighteen. Sakura let her hair grow a bit more than the length she usually had. It now passed her shoulders; it almost covering the 'o' symbol itched on the back of her shirt. She no longer wore the Haruno dress she wore when she was a genin. Instead, she adopted a more mature look. She wore the same red shirt, only long-sleeved, and matching red pants with bandages wrapped around the ankle of her legs. Receiving the title of chuunin, she now wore the chuunin vest jack on top while her konoha hitai-ate was still positioned on top of her hair like a hair ornament. She decided that this outfit was better fit for missions.
Sasuke's face never changed throughout the years, and this was something she never noticed until now. His hair was longer, but she can still remember how deep and lonely his eyes looked. He returned to Konoha years ago, after leaving to seek power from Orochimaru only to come back empty handed. After Shikamaru's team failed to bring Sasuke back, most of Konoha ignored ever wanting to bring back the 'sole-survivor' of the Uchiha Massacre. It was a miracle when Sasuke returned to Konoha, asking Tsunade for forgiveness on his 'selfish-acts'. She granted him forgiveness, and they accepted him back as a member of Konoha's Team 7. On the day she received news that Sasuke had returned, she felt that day to be the happiest day of her life...
Everything seemed to fall back into place, and she smiled as she remembered the past. She could still remember the day her team received their chuunin jackets, and she chuckled silently to herself when she remembered the day Naruto went a whole day without eating ramen, as a bet made by Kakashi-sensei. Sakura mused to herself that going a day without ramen was most likely why on the next day Naruto went on a ramen binge at the Ichiraku Ramen place. She remembered the look on the owner's face, and was amused how Naruto could keep eating bowl after bowl of ramen without stopping.
She could even remember the day they were finally able to see Kakashi-sensei's face. Sakura could never forget the expression on Naruto's face! Thinking back, those years went by so quickly and she enjoyed every single bit. If only they could return back, and Sasuke was still with them, instead of in a comatose state. Even though Tsunade denied it earlier, she knew who did this to him. It must have been Sasuke's older brother, Uchiha Itachi.
The S-ranked criminal who killed off the entire Uchiha clan and the man who tormented Sasuke's every thought. She was always curious why he even kept Sasuke alive. He never really did talk about his brother much. Seeing as that topic was taboo to him, but it still did not stop her from wondering.
Without even knowing, the afternoon soon turned to evening. Sakura did not notice until the room suddenly became dark. She sighed as she stood up from her current place.
She looked over at Sasuke's body, and smiled. "I'll be back tomorrow, goodnight Sasuke-kun". She walked out of the door, and walked downstairs. She left the hospital and walked towards her house. She no longer lived with her parents, but was available to afford her own place, which was not that far from the hospital. The closer she got to her place, the more she noticed a figure standing in front of her. She did not know who it was exactly, but the closer she approached her house she began to notice the distinct features of the figure. "Naruto?" she asked the figure, almost certain that it was him. After all, who else in Konoha bore his resemblance?
The blond-haired jounin noticed her coming closer, and walked to meet her half way. He was not as short as he was when he was younger. He was a bit taller than Sakura now and although his attire was much different than before, it was still was orange as ever. He had been waiting outside her door for about thirty minutes now, and was glad that she came before he decided to leave. After all, she had to hear the latest news. He was not sure if she had found out, but he highly doubted it.
"Sakura-chan, I have something to tell you."
"What is it?" 'Hopefully it isn't anything stupid, like that time when he woke me up extra early just because he wanted someone to come with him to the opening of the new Ramen restaurant...'
"That guy you know, Sasuke's older brother? He was captured earlier today, and that Old lady Tsunade has him locked up!"
"What? Are you serious?" As dangerous as it sounded, this was her perfect chance.
He nodded, and continued their conversation. "I heard from Neji and Shikamaru earlier when they were speaking with Old lady Tsunade. Supposedly, the other elders wanted to give him the capital punishment, but the old lady wants to keep him alive for some reason."
"I see. If Tsunade-shishou kept him alive it's probably important."
He nodded. "I heard that nobody could visit him, not even the doctors to check on his wounds and stuff."
Even better, she thought. "I see."
"You better go and sleep. Tomorrow I am going to go ask Old lady Tsunade about the whole ordeal. Want to come with me?"
"No thanks, I'm still too tired from today's mission." She wasn't lying and she actually was tired. After all, they did leave Konoha for a period of three days, and not only that but she was starving. She had not eaten anything since they returned this morning.
"I'll see you later then Sakura-Chan, goodnight." Before she could say goodbye Naruto disappeared. 'Even throughout the years he still hasn't changed….'
She made sure that no one was watching her, and she began to walk in the direction of the Hokage building. She jumped from roof to roof, as quietly as she could, until she was finally at her destination. Entering the building, she soon found Tsunade's office. She was surprised to see her shishou working on some papers that she had to file. Tsunade looked up, and saw her apprentice standing before her.
"Oh? Sakura, is it? Come in then."
She did just that, walking until she reached the desk. "Tsunade-shishou, I need a favor to ask you."
Tsunade looked up, and addressed her apprentice in a tone to give her a clue that she didn't really like the idea. "What favor do you speak of?"
Sakura clenched her left hand into a fist, while the other, tapped against Tsunade's desk. Her eyes no longer illuminated with happiness or sadness. Instead of happiness or sadness, the emotions that replaced those were determination, and a spic of anger. Tsunade could read her apprentice, and was ready to hear whatever she needed to ask for. "Tsunade-shishou…"
"Hmm?" the suspense was killing her. She had more papers to file, but hated the work so decided this could make a perfect excuse for not giving them in on time. "I don't have all day, or all night, Sakura. I still have to finish these by tomorrow. Unless you wouldn't mind filing all these for me since they are a ton of work. "She sighed, I'll most likely be up all night and day doing these." she remarked with a hint of tease in her voice, as if trying to bribe her apprentice someway to do the work for her.
She shook her head. "It's, not that. Tsunade-shishou I want ---." It was now or never. Summoning all of her courage, she looked at her master with determination in her eyes, and spoke. "Please, let me speak with Uchiha Itachi".