A/N: This is my first fanfic on Naruto. Hope you enjoy it.

Started: Saturday, June 18, 2005

Finished: Monday, June 20, 2005

Fiction: Rated-PG-13 'One-Shot'

Disclaimer: The characters and names of Naruto are own by Kishimoto Masashi-Sensei. The plot belongs to me.

Anime: Naruto

Paring: SasuSaku, Slight NaruHina

Genre: Angst/ Slight Humor

Summary: Shinobis are used as tools. They have their own nindo, their own way of life. Destinies chosen and paths separated, their fate draw them back together. Once team mates, now enemies, the shinobi and the kunoichi continue to struggle through the war with their lives on the line, waiting in time until they will meet again. Along the way, blood may spill and wounds may heal, but their hearts will remain . . .

Forever Longing

"Sir, the teams are in place. Operation 'Alpha' is set and is waiting for the signal. I repeat: Operation 'Alpha' is a go. Over," whispered a young man into the wireless transmitter. Strong winds pick up, as the snowy flakes covered the forest ground in a sheet of white powder. This is not the time or place any ninja of Konoha would want to be in. Outnumbered and outside the border line of the Fire Country, the teams of Chuunins await the plan to ambush the Sound Nins. Not an easy task to do as the enemies draw nearer toward their direction. "Hello? Are you there, sir?" He tried again. Instead of the response of action to be confirmed, the Chuunin heard a loud pitch scream. "I-IT'S H-H-HIMMM!. . . ." And the connection was dead.

"Twenty-eight men had been killed in the line of duty, Tsunade-shishou! Why didn't you let me accompanied them?" yelled a voice of a female. Her emerald eyes burn with anger, standing there before her master. At age eighteen, Haruno Sakura is one of the best medic Nins of Konoha of her time. She has blossomed into a respectful young woman and has trained immensely under the Legendary Medic nin, Tsunade. "Why?" she repeated again, with less anger this time.

"Because it was a direct order! Konoha is now at war with the Sound. Orochimaru plans to destroy this village by all means. If you have gone out there when Konoha was in need of your help, there would be more corpses lying in the hospital right now!" the blond woman raged, trying to keep her frustration intact. Looking up, she stared in the eyes of her apprentice. Jade and hard as stone, the girl stared back as she thought about what her master has said. Many people die during wars and it was up to medic Nins to help the wounded. Knowing she would not get her way at a time like this, she broke the eye contact, and headed near the door. "Sakura." The girl stopped in her tracks. "After your shift at the hospital is over, report back to me. Do you understand?" "Hai, Tsunade-shishou," she ended and closed the door with a soft click.

Sighing as the door closed, Sakura walked fquickly toward the exit. "BAM!" "ITAI! Eh? Sakura-chan!" Looking up, the rosette hair girl met two sapphire spheres. "N-Naurto!" she managed to stammer as she dusted off herself. "Daijoubu desu ka, Sakura-chan? Did that 'Baa-san say something mean to you" The 18-year-old blond haired ninja was still loud and childish. Though he has some childish ways, his appearance matured. The people of the village had often said that Naruto resembled the late Yondaime. But looks are deceiving. During the pass years, he had trained with the Jiraya and has earned the rank of a Jounin and a member of the ANBU. He has accomplished a lot for Konoha and has earned the respect of the village. Forcing a weak smile, she shook her head, and she proceeded past him to the exit. "Oi! Chotto Matte!" He yelled. "What is it now, Naruto! I have to get back to the hospital!" Sakura asked, trying not to be paranoid.

"Yeah, I know, but can I ask you something?" She nodded. "Hinata is going to be at the hospital and . . . eh, well . . . " He muttered. "WHAT!" Naruto jumped as he saw the harsh look in her eyes. Sighing again within five minutes, she waited for his answer. "Could you give this to her?" He finally got out the words as he handed her the small wrapped package. Sakura stared downed at it curiously, and accepted the errand of his. Why in the world would THE Uzumaki Naruto act like this? Usually, fhe was bold and would take chances, but now he was acting like the Hyuuga Heiress. A little blush appeared above the 'whiskers' of his while eyeing the package. Sakura had seen them together, always happily eating ramen. Sometimes she wondered when Naruto would realize the affection Hinata has for him, but this was NARUTO we're talking about. Hinata is currently a Chuunin and has worked hard in the medical division. During these times, Konoha needs all the help they can get. Though Naruto was aware of Hinata's fondness of him, they remain a close friendship for the last couple of years. Her features soften as she held her hand out to receive the delivery."Thanks Sakura-chan, you're the BEST!" He gave a her a cheeky grin and a friendly hug. "Bye. Naruto." With a wave, she left the Hokage Tower and headed toward her original destfination. This was going to be a long day.

Naruto barged into Tsunade's office, nearly ripping the door off the hinges. "Obaa-san! Mission complete! You should have--" The Godaime gave him a death glare, daring him to open his mouth. "Eh . . . hehe" There was an awkward silence between them until the door burst opened again, revealing the Hokage's assistant, Shizune. "Hokage-Sama! We have reports that the Sound had been spotted in Konoha territory and more are on their way. The order--" Shizune halted and looked at the tired Tsunade. She knew the Hokage has gone through enough from the pass couple of days. Meetings were called frequently by the Elders to discuss the threat that has come to Konoha. Missions were given out daily by the thousands and any ninja that was available was to carry out the task, no matter what rank they are in. The ANBU teams have worked endlessly for the safety of the village preparing for the war. As each day passes, the thought of destruction of the Leaf Village is far from the minds of the people. Everybody does their share to help out at the amidst of war. Big or small, every bit of teamwork counts.

"--has been sent," she continued. "Chuunin teams and Jounin teams are ready under your command. We have sent our last batch of Jounins to the outskirts of Konoha in position to defend the village. Reports have been sent back, stating numerous injuries, minor and critical. We must send more medic Nins out there. All medic Nins that were sent have been seriously injured by a single Sound nin. He was too fast to be attacked and the victims refused to say anything about the attacker, except two words: 'It's him', The teams are now waiting for enforcement. There isn't enough time to waste, Tsunade-Sama." Rubbing her temples, Tsunade stood up. "All right, send teams of three Chuunins and include a two medical Nins on each team. Dispatch them to the borderline and bring back anyone who is in critical condition. We must save anyone we can. I'll make a list of medic Nins to be sent. Come back in few minutes and wait for my command." Shizune walked to the Hokage and handed her the rest of the reports. "Hai, Tsunade-Sama!" With that note, she left the room with Tsunade alone once again with Naruto.

" 'Baa-san, you should send Sakura-chan out there! You know she's strong enough to defeat the Sound Nins and heal the teams. We shouldn't waste any medic Nins in the hospital when the ones who are really in pain are the ones out there! She could be on my team. You heard what Shizune-nee-san said. We need to get out there ASAP!" Naruto said with confidence. He ought to be where the action is. A large team of medic Nins defeated by one person is worth a challenge. He would personally defeat that Sound nin's ass if he was near Sakura-chan. "SO, what do ya say! HUH?" The Hokage studied him for a minute and opened the reports that Shizune handed to them. Skimming through them, the only thing she could conclude was there were many Chuunins needed an aid of a healer. Sending an ANBU team wasn't a bad an idea to see what was going on. She knew Naruto has gotten strong and the Sound Nins would not stand a chance with Sakura there to help along.

Tsunade turned to the blond nin before, rubbing her eyes from the reading. "All right. I'm sending your team to the Chuunins, along with Sakura as the medic nin. Go to the hospital and get her." She returned to her report and took out a scroll from her desk. Without a glance, she threw it at him. "Be sure to give Sakura this. It's an important scroll, so don't forget. Now LEAVE!" The blond looked at the roll of parchment held in his hand. "This is not a tracker is it?" He inquired. Naruto's face turned into a scowl as he went over to the Hokage. "You're tracking Sakura-chan? Why? Is it because you don't trust her?" yelled the now-serious-prankster. "OF Course, I trust her! She's my prodigy!" Tsunade's voice boomed in the Jounin's face. "I just need you to give it to her in case she gets captured! I'm not taking any chances! This is a war and anything can happen and go wrong for that matter. You WILL do what I've ordered and give it to Sakura or I WILL handle you PERSONALLY!" said the Hokage. Touched by the affection the Hokage had for her student, Naruto felt at ease knowing that this mission would not disappoint his friend. "See ya, 'baa-san," Naruto grinned broadly after Tsunade's respond. Doing the necessary seals, he was gone in a poof of smoke.

Pearl orbs scanned the sheet clipped to the board in front of her. The patient had severe cuts and bruises, but he was fine. Smiling at the great relief that she didn't need to perform any operation, the Hyuuga moved onto the next bed. When Hinata finished, she left the room and proceeded to the next, according to the level of attention. "Hinata-san!" a voice called out. The violet hair Chuunin turned to the direction of the sound and founded Sakura running toward her. "Hello, Sakura-san." Said Hinata. Panting from the lack of oxygen in her lungs, Sakura pulled out the package Naruto had given her earlier. "Here, Hinata. Naruto told me to give you this," the medic nin said giving her a wink. Blushing Hinata receive the package, murmuring a 'thanks' softly. Even though, she and Naruto had gotten close through the years, Hinata is still pretty shy about their relationship. Slowly, the Hyuuga Heiress opened the package revealing another box. Puzzled, she looked at Sakura and then back at the box that laid inside of the box. Sakura smiled at her and told Hinata to continue to open her present. She tried again, only this time, the box was smaller than the last. Again and again, Hinata lifted the rectangular lids and finally gasped as she found a little black velvet box. Her eyes widen, hoping the object inside isn't what she thinks it might be. Sakura, as clueless as her friend besides her urged Hinata to open it. When the lid unfolded, a sparkling diamond ring displayed before her ivory eyes.

"Oh my gosh, Hinata! It's a ring! Naruto gave you a ring! I'm so happy for you!" said Sakura hugging her friend. Hinata was speechless and was surprised even more when the blond ninja appeared right in front of her kneeling down on one knee. "Hi, Hinata-chan!" Naruto said with a huge grin. "I wanted to ask you this for a long time . . . and . . . a-an-n-d-d," he stammered on. No wonder he was nervous when he first asked Sakura to do 'this' task. The Uzumaki Naruto has never done ANYTHING like this before! Sure, he did bold things like fighting huge snakes and pissing everyone off with one comment, but this is something new. Gathering all the courage he had without the stares of the other nurses and his pink haired friend getting madder by the second because of his slowness, he finally yelled "HINATA CHAN, WILL YOU MARRY ME?" Applauds and cheers of 'Congratulations' broke out as the Hyuuga replied "Yes, Naruto, I do." The blonde nin got up, took the circular band from the silky cushion and placed on Hinata's rightful finger. With a swoop, he bended down and gave her a peck on her lips, making Hinata face redden ten folds. Sakura wiped a little tear out of her eye, witnessing the wonderful proposal in front of her. It was every girl's dream to get married and Hinata was now the fiancee of the Uzumaki Naruto. Letting her friends have a moment to themselves, Sakura went ahead to do what she was suppose to do in the first place.

"SAKURA-CHAN" yelled Naruto. "Where the heck is she?" He continued to walk, bumping into a few people on the way. Death glares were given as the nurses quickly rushed to the emergency rooms to deliver a patient. After the 'hardest question had been popped to his girlfriend (now fiancee), Naruto went in search to find Sakura so they can start on the mission of theirs. He promised he would return early to talk to Hinata's father and plan the date of the wedding. The idea of talking to the head of the Hyuuga skipped his mind. Then again, how hard would it be to ask Konoha's most respected bloodline to have their heiress, be his wife? Naruto gulped at the thought of it, but he was determined to do whatever it takes. He was in love with Hinata and cared for her. That's all that mattered. Naruto wanted too finished the task more than ever as he clumsily ran through the hospital.

The people here are all grumpy with the lack of sleep, thanks to the war. Everyone is working hard and you could tell with the bags under their eyes. Walking a little farther, Naruto spotted a glimpse of pink and ran passes to get to her. "SAKURA-CHAN!" He yelled again. The girl turned toward the direction of the yell to find the hyper eccentric nin coming her direction. "What is it now, Naruto?" she asked. Stopping in front of her, he could see the tiredness in her eyes. Although her body was up and working, the frame of hers signals 'lack of sleep' as he can see. Sending her out in the open would do her some good, instead of being in a stuffy hospital with all the grumpy and demanding patients. The hospital was sucking out all the cheerfulness out of life. Grinning cheekily, quickly pulled her out towards the exit. "Naruto, what are you doing? There are people here who need my help." She managed to get out, trying not to trip over her own feet while she was being dragged by Naruto.

"Sakura-chan, you don't need to worry about that. 'Baa-san has told me to come and get you so you can heal the 'real' injured people out there! You're going to be on MY team!" Shocked that the Tsunade would send her on that kind of mission for a Chuunin medic nin, she asked "Really?" Naruto finally came to a halt and took out the scroll Tsunade had handed to him. "Yep, you're going to be on my team, isn't that great? There is this situation that medic Nins are getting their ass beat by a single Sound nin, but you don't have worry. I'll kick their sorry ass before they get close to you." He gave Sakura the scroll. "Here, she told me to give you this. She said it was important." The Chuunin accepted the scroll and put it in her pouch. "Hurry up and get home to get ready. We're going to leave for the mission." He said happily as walked ahead of her. "Meet me at the gate when you're done!" She could hear his stomach growling from the place where she was standing. "Actually, take your time. I'm going to get some ramen." In a poof he was gone. 'Typical Naruto' she thought as she followed the same suit.

An hour later, Sakura founded herself at the place where Naruto said he would be. She wore her hair up in a loose bun letting the strands of her bangs blow in the cold wind. Her attire included black pants and a black long sleeve mesh shirt underneath her Chuunin vest. Weapons, medical supplies, and necessary items for the mission were kept in her big backpack. Her kunai holster was on her waist, sharpen, along with some Shirukens. Sakura waited a little longer until she heard footsteps running in her direction. "Sorry, Sakura-chan," Naruto panted. "I had to say good-bye to Hinata-chan." Offering a weak smile from her tired face, Sakura waits patiently as he catches his breath. "It's okay, Naruto. I'm ready to go. Where's your team?" He smiled as he did some familiar seals. "Kage-bunshin no jutsu!" He yelled. As the smoke cleared, three 'Naruto' clones stood behind him. "Team Uzumaki is ready to go!" Sakura let out a small laugh as she looked at his 'team.' "All right, Naruto, Naruto, Naruto, and Naruto," she managed to say, holding in her laughter. "LET'S GET GOING!" Sakura yelled with confidence. Naruto smiled and the two headed towards the gate out to the battlefield.

The journey only lasted a couple of hours. On their way, they didn't waste time to get to the outskirts of Konoha. Teams were in position to defend the country and no one was going to goof off and play around. Occasionally, Naruto and Sakura would stop to rest, but they reached to their destination on time. When they arrived, they could see the Chuunins and some Jounins barking orders and resting. The injured were all compiled far away from the action and were covered with blood. "Have no fear! Uzumaki Naruto is here!" the Jounin shouted to get everyone's attention. "Look who I got with me! Sakura-chan! She'll heal all your injured Nins in no time!" he finished, pointing at the medic nin besides him. The faces of the Nins surrounding the area glared at the ruckus Naruto was making. Sakura looked around and started the task she was given to heal the injured. Sakura hasn't gotten to through the second person she was healing, when suddenly she heard screams of pain echoing in the evening sky. The Nins quickly responded and hurried to the scene of their team mates with Naruto beating them to it. 'I am SO going to kill the HELL out of that BASTARD when I get my hands on him,' he thought as he exerted chakra in his legs to raise his speed.

Some Nins were left to guard the injured as Sakura continued her work on the Chuunin. Large cuts and burns were diagnosed on many of them judging on their condition. They needed to rest and would render useless at a time like this. "You," she shouted to the Jounin who seemed to be a captain. "Have a team escort the injured back to Konoha. They are in no condition to fight. Once they are back, you can send more medic Nins who are able to help out in this situation." The Jounin stared. With a nod, he walked over to some of his team mates and conducted a mission to accompany the injured out of here. Things started to sound quiet and the responses on the transmitters were still silent. Naruto had been gone awhile and the Chuunins awaited for the cause of the attack. Minutes pass by and Sakura busied herself, helping the team of Jounin carry the wounded on their backs. When they left, she walked towards the Chuunins hoping for an answer. There was something going on and she must find out what.

Suddenly, she heard more screams. This time, they were nearby. Chuunins abandoned their position to defend their teammate, leaving Sakura to tend to the yells on the transmitters. "I-I-IT"S. . . . NOOOOO!" were the words that came through. A second later, the connection ended with a high pitch screech followed by a loud crunch. Sakura knew the result of it. The walkie-talkie was destroyed. Looking around she saw no one. They were all hidden amongst the trees of the forest and off to find their team mates. Shivering slightly, Sakura felt a presence of chakra near her. It was distant, but she could feel it. Closing her eyes, she tried to focus the target. Chakra control was her best advantage. She could do any ninjutsu and genjutsu if she knew the hand seals. The only thing she would need to do was to transfer her own chakra to make it work. Whipping out a kunai, she held it before her, ready to come face to face with the intruder. Winds picked up and it began to snow slightly. Flakes of ice crystals lightly dust the end of her blade and the ground she stood on. Sensing an attack from the target, she quickly avoided it by jumping aside. Shirukens were thrown in her direction, nearly missing her as she ran to a safer position. The shadow of the person could be seen as he moved quickly on the branches and stopped right in front of her. The outline of the figure can be seen in front of her as the sunset. She backed up and ended at the trunk of a tree as he advanced his steps slowly towards her. Sakura's eyes widen as she founded herself staring into those familiar red eyes. "Sasuke . . . " she whispered and her vision blurred.

Darkness. Opening her eyes, she stared into the darkness. Not a spark of light was lit in the room. She groaned. 'My head hurts.' Her hands were in shackles and chained above her head. Sitting in a cell was a pain in the ass. The rattles of the chains echoed as she tried to free herself. Sakura tried to summon some chakra, but it didn't work. She was exhausted from the activities of the mission. The weapon holster that was strapped on her waist was gone. So much for that. Sitting on the cold stone floor, she felt weak, unable to do anything. Upon hearing foot steps, she lifted her head towards the door. Two men stepped into her cell, both reek with the smell of blood. "Look what we have here. A Konoha Kunoichi. What's the matter? Couldn't handle the conditions of war?" he mocked. If there was light in the room, you would have seen the glare Sakura shot at the pompist bastard. Pretending she hadn't heard him, she kept silent. "Easy," the partner warned. "You know that we have orders. If he finds out you were taunting her, you would be sorry." Even in darkness Sakura could see the man stiffen at the thought what his partner said. Unlocking the shackles that held her captive, the men left leaving her free from the wall. The door of the cell banged against the metal, shutting it and was latched. Sakura rubbed her sore wrists and cracked her knuckles. Satisfied that they were not in much pain, she rubbed the back of her head. 'So I was knocked out,' she concluded. 'Not just by anyone, too.' Closing her eyes and not even bothering moving, she decided to take a little nap. 'I hope Naruto is okay,' she thought and she drifted off to a slumber.

"Wake up," a deadly voice hissed at her. Opening her eyes a little, she blinked a couple of times. There was now light. Clanks of glass reached her ears as the sound of pouring liquid followed after. 'Where the heck am I?' She found herself in a soft bed. Blue sheets covered her body, filling her with warmth. Sakura got up into a sitting position and rubbed her eyes with her fingers, trying to adjust to the brightness. Her vision cleared and in front of her was the last person she would've wanted to see. She stared at the figure before her. Empty black orbs stared back at her and at the expression on her face. His long ebony hair covered most of his pale face due to the lack of sunlight. She was staring at the face of Uchiha Sasuke. A traitor who abandoned Konoha years ago in search of Orochimaru for power. Sitting there, he raised his glass to his mouth, his eyes narrowed at the medic nin. Sakura broke the eye contact and cast her sight to the window to her left. Outside, the frost was no where to be seen. Instead, the ground was covered with dirt. Dark clouds cover the sky threatening to rain any minute. Silence filled the room, but Sakura could still feel the intensive glare of the Uchiha.

She continued to stare out, enjoying the warmth around her body. Sighing, she turned towards him and shot him a glare. "You were the one attacking the medic Nins out there. So, why not kill me too?" She boldly asked. Her lids closed over her jade orbs, waiting for an answer. "The screams heard through the transmitted were just a diversion, weren't they? In order to get to the defense, you had to get rid of the offense. They rush in hope to capture the culprit, but will find nothing. Isn't that correct?" she said. Her analyzing and tactical abilities are the most recognized back in the days when they were starting out as Genins. Though she was book smart, she was the weakest member of the team. "Of course, it would buy you some time to kill the rest of the medic Nins that still lived. That is the oldest trick in the book," she stated. A smirk appeared on his lips. "You were always the one to see these things, Sakura."

A chilled ran up her spine as she heard him say her name. "There is a bath through that door. You have thirty minutes." He continued to drink contents of the glass, with no intention of leaving. Slowly, she got up from the bed and went in the bathroom. Surely, there was a way to escape, but that would be stupid. She knew she would just get caught again. Sakura glanced at the mirror and saw her reflection. Her pink tassels were all tangled and covered with leaves. Dirt covered her clothes and her hands had stains of blood from the Chuunins she was healing. She turned her direction to the tub in the corner and started to strip her clothes. The water hissed as she sank down into the tub. Her aching muscles relaxed a bit, washing away all the dirt and sweat that covered her body. Though she had a time of rest, Sakura wanted to rest her eyes again. Laying her arm on the edge of the tub, she leaned on it with her right cheek. 'It'll just be five minutes," she said to herself.

Sakura got up with and wrapped a towel around herself. New clothes lay on the stool near the door. Choosing to ignore them, she opened the door to see if he was still there. To her surprise the room was empty. Water dripped onto the floor from her long damp hair as she crossed the room to the window. It had begun to rain. The muddy ground was soaked and the hue of it turned darker. "Get dressed," he demanded with his cold tone. Tugging the towel closer to her body, Sakura chose to witness the surrounding area. Trees were all around, but she could see one tree she recognized. A bare cherry blossom tree that shared her name could be seen through the window. Come Spring, the tree would be in full bloom of pink petals, but they would only last a short time. Sakura could feel him close by, watching her every move. He is different now. Sasuke was not the same person she knew in the pass. He has changed. That she knew. There was no turning back now. She is a prisoner of the Sound thanks to him. They would probably want to torture her for information. She would rather die than become a traitor. Sasuke glared at the female wrapped in his towel that clung to her every curve. Her pink hair was wet and droplets of water slid down her silky skin ending on the ground. He turned to leave, but stopped as he heard her voice.

"You sold your soul to the devil, does that also mean you sold your body as well?" His onyx eyes narrowed as he heard these words turned around to look at her fully. Her slender body stood naked before him, eyes filled with anger as she stared boldly back at him. Closing her eyes, she continued, "Our minds can change, as long as the body exists, but our hearts cannot." Making her point through, she lifted up her right hand over her left breast. Locks of her pink hair covered her emerald eyes as she lowered her head, unable to continue. The next second, she found her back to the wall. His pale hand reached towards her chin, forcing her to come face to face, while the other trapped her with no escape. Their faces were centimeters away, noses almost touching. With disgust, she looked away, avoiding eye contact. The smell of alcohol reeked from him. Their bodies were so close, she could feel the material of his clothing pressed against her skin. His strong figure leaned closer towards her, near the nape of her neck. Unable to do anything, she stood there, awaiting the moment of silence, until she heard him whispered, "Have yours?"

She could feel the curve of his mouth as it turned to a smirk, slowly kissing up to her jaw line and nipping on her lope. With all the strength she could muster, she tried to push him away, but his grip on her shoulder tighten as he leaned his full weight on her small body. His kisses continued rapidly, swallowing her protests of stopping. His hands roamed every inch of her body, as his hunger of her lips was tasted by his, not wanting to stop. 'He's drunk.' She thought. Numb, Sakura couldn't even think straight. This is what she wanted, right? To have the Uchiha heir have affections for her. For years she tired to get his attention and all he did was pushed her away, but now her rosy lips were bruised from 'affections' he had given her. She gasped as his grip on her neck pushed her body towards him wanting the presence of her body to be on his. Cupping her face to move to his own, his kisses rapidly planted on her as his mouth hungrily desires, tasting every bit of her mouth that he had yearned. "Sasuke, you're drunk," said Sakura trying harder to push him away.

Unable to take it anymore, Sakura clamped her mouth down, earning a jerk as Sasuke moved away. He wiped the blood that oozed out from his lips, and gazed at her as he closed the gap between them once again. He could see her lovely soft rosette hair all tangled when he roughly handed her. His imprints of hand on her blossomed body. Choking back a sob, Sakura stared at him, his presence so close, she could feel his breath down her neck. Lifting her chin to face him, he pressed his muscular body onto hers, and brushed the strand of hair covering her face. Slowly, he ascended near her ear, and whispered, "I have not."

Sakura was not going to play his little game. Pushing him aside, she went into the bathroom to put on the clothes provided for her. Picking up the shirt, she pulled it over her head and proceed to put on the black shorts. They fitted her loosely, but they were better than her dirty old clothes. Turning on the faucet, Sakura tried to wash the filthy taste of sake out of her mouth. Lukewarm liquid splashed on her skin as she bought her hands to her face. She was not going to be some kind of toy he can play around. Through the years Sakura knew better. An enemy is still an enemy no matter what happened in the pass. After checking herself and making sure the loose clothing is covering her body, she opened the door and headed to the room that held her captive. Of course, he was still there. On his face a smirk appeared as she entered. He could tell she wanted to get away from him. Sakura advanced towards the table and pulled out a seat. Sitting down, she plodded her arms on the surface, folding one over the other. When she came too, Sakura noticed that he was sitting across from her with his elbows on the tabletop. His chin rested on his entwined fingers as he studied her.

"What?" she asked. "Were you assigned to stare at me after capturing me?" She received no response. Talking to him was like talking to a wall. It was boring and useless. A chuckle escaped his lips as he closed his eyes. "I could just let you go, but you are not just an ordinary medic nin, you are trained under the Legendary sannin." This time it was Sakura turn to laugh. "At least mine is good. Unlike yours, who would want to destroy his own country. Oh, I forgot, it was yours too or have you forgotten also?" She said sarcastically. "Why don't you let Naruto join the party?" Sakura splattered out with a tone of disgust. "You don't get it, do you?" Sasuke started again. "The three of us are trained under the Legendary Three." Sakura knew what he was getting at. "I know. The same Legendary sannins that were trained under Sandaime," She continued for him. "They were on the most powerful Nins of Konoha and were legendary for their abilities each of them respected each other and worked together as team mates, until Orochimaru left Konoha to form a country of his own. Bring back memories doesn't it," Sakura finished acidly. "Now it's our turn to continue their legacy. Still, I don't know what's more ironic: the fact that we share the same fate as the Legendary sannins or that we were once team mates."

Cold onyx eyes opened upon hearing her say that. It is true that they share the same fate as the Legendary Three. Each had their special abilities. Naruto could do numerous ninjutsu and was a strong fighter, always goofing off, and the life of the party. Sakura possesses great chakra control and even surpasses the medic Nins of her time. Her brute strength was also a factor that she had learned under the training of Tsunade. As for himself, Sasuke could perform many forbidden ninjutsu just like the snake user, Orochimaru, and would stop at nothing to power. In truth, it was painful to cross the same faith as the Legendary sanninfs, but it was also their duty to uphold the legacy of their masters. At this current moment, there was no such thing as Team Seven. Memories of their Genin days are just fragments of images that render useless. But no matter what happens, they would still have those past memories in their minds.

"It's ironic either way," Sakura scoffed. She was getting rather impatient. If he wanted to kill her, he would have done it by now, but he decides to keep her alive. The right question to ask is why. "I need to keep you alive," said Sasuke. "Those were my orders." Without a chance to ask farther, the door of the room opened, revealing Orochimaru and his right-hand man, Kabuto. "Ah, I see you two are getting along," Orochimaru hissed as he eyed the pink hair nin. Green orbs filled with anger as he walks towards her. Lifting her chin up, he stared back with sharp goldenf eyes. "Look at what we have here, Tsunade's prized apprentice." Sakura jerked her face away from his grasp. "Now don't be like that. Is that the thanks I get for showing you my gratitude?" He said with a soft chuckle. "No," said Sakura. "You do not deserve any thanks at all. As for the gratitude, who knew you still have that humanity in you," she finished not dropping the hint sarcasm. Kabuto's eyes widen upon hearing those words. No one would dare speak to Orochimaru like that, much less a kunoichi. Orochimaru laughed openly as he sat down beside Sasuke. "You're lucky you're pretty, kunoichi," he said and reached out to touch her porcelain skin. Sakura slapped his hand away from her face. Kabuto remained where he stood, but didn't miss the look on Sasuke's face. Though he wore glasses, he could tell what express. They expressed possessiveness. 'So, Sasuke-kun has an eye out for his former team mate.' Kabuto observed. 'Interesting.'

"Gratitude or no gratitude, you will cooperate with us," stated Orochimaru. "I would rather die then help the likes of you!" Sakura yelled. The bottles of sake and cups that laid there, jumped up a few inches when she slammed her hand down. Orochimaru chuckled slightly. "You are in no position to do what you want, Girl. You want death? I would give it to you, but what good would that do? I wouldn't want to kill the apprentice of Tsunade. Like her, you are considered useful in medic skills." Sakura turned her glaze at Kabuto. "Then what's the use of keeping me alive if you have him?" Sasuke continued to stare at Sakura, but kept silent. Who knew Sakura had it in her to insult Orochimaru. Kabuto smiled at her, wanting to slit her throat at the moment. A strong kunoichi, trained even by Tsunade was no match for him. But he could not ignore his master's request. Whatever he had in stored for her skipped his mind. She was just a girl, no less, prized by the prodigy of Orochimaru.

"That's none of your business, kunoichi. What I do with my people has nothing to do with you. Despite that, what you and Sasuke-kun were doing in here has nothing to do with me also. Don't you think?" Sakura's eyes widen, turning her attention back at him. 'He was watching her.' She stole a glance at Sasuke when he said his name, but he remained emotionless. 'I don't give a damn of what you think, you bastard!' she thought. Letting them know that they have the upper hand is not a wise thing to do. The thought of what happened earlier sicken her. Sakura's face twisted with disgust and glared back at Orochimaru, deciding to play his game. "What business is it of yours to bring it up? Would you like an encore?" said Sakura mocked. Orochimaru stared at the medic nin. She has guts, he'll give her that. Of course, you would have to if you were the one being blackmailed by the enemy.

Laughing, he wiped a tear that escaped his eye. "Sure, why not? We need more entertainment than from killing people. It gets boring once in awhile." Sakura kept her cool, and remained silent. Sasuke on the other hand, glared at the snake user and the expression that appeared on his face. Never once had he seen Orochimaru laugh whole heartily during his training in the Sound. He turned back his attention at Sakura who sat there, unamused at the answer she received. "Then leave," she demanded. "It's getting late," said Orochimaru, getting up from his seat. Kabuto headed towards the door and waited for his master. "We'll have a talk tomorrow, kunoichi." With that he left as Kabuto followed closely behind. "Orochimaru-sama, you are not going to let her get away with those remarks, are you?" The snake user chuckled. "She's amusing, but it is not my interest to kill her. Let Sasuke-kun have his fun. When the time is right, we can kill her." Kabuto looked over at Orochimaru. 'When the time is right, it would be too late. Sasuke has become possessive over the cherry blossom.' He thought. He saw the look in Sasuke's eyes. 'No doubt, it is already too late.'

When the door closed, Sakura felt a rush of relief. That by far, was one the most sickening conversation she had. Of course, she had worst experience. There was no harm in drinking alcohol, yeah right. She remember the time when it was Naruto's sixteenth birthday. He had invited everyone for a drink and agreed to pay for it. Although she attended, Sakura only had ONE drink. Ino and the other girls, including Hinata decided to be polite and followed Sakura's suit. The rest of guys, got into it and drank one too many. Soon, the bar was filled with laughing maniacs wanting more sake and stripping because of the effects of the alcohol. Naruto, Kiba, and Lee were getting out of hand, dancing drunkenly on the tables until the owner kicked them out. Shikamaru, Shino, and Neji decided to accompany them, making sure they wouldn't do anything stupid on their way home. The girls wanted to say awhile and continue to chat. Moments after the guys have left, a group of sots came over from the tables to 'chat' to the girls. To make the long story short, the men wanted entertainment like what the guys had offered to do in public earlier, and started to talk dirty. Without a delay, the girls kicked their asses, and left the bar in a haste. A 'fun' night the girls would remember for the rest of their lives. If spending the night of your friend's birthday at a bar, seeing them strip in public, then getting kick out for it, is fun, you've got problems. But the kicking ass thing, that was fun. It isn't a party until someone gets their ass beat. Now, that is what you call fun.

Without the bother of glancing in Sasuke's direction, Sakura got up and headed towards the door as well. "Where do you think you're going?" He demanded. "Out to get some fresh air," she replied plainly. Sliding it open, she sat down on the wooden porch. The night's sky twinkled with white dwarfs with the half crescent moon overhead. Sakura inhaled deeply smelling the pine scent from the trees. 'So I'm a prisoner. Just great. I'm stuck here with a damn bastard who thinks he could handle me. My ass he will.' She thought. A chill traveled down her spine from the cool temperature of the night. Raising up, she retreated to her 'cell' and slid the door close. When she entered the room, she saw that candles are in use to dim the room. Again the Uchiha was nowhere to be seen. The room was now empty. No one was present at the moment. 'I have to find my weapons,' she thought and remember the important scroll the Hokage had given her. 'She said it was important and now I've lost it!' Darting across the room, Sakura frantically searched the room for her kunais and the scroll. She tried to check the underneath the bed, behind the bookcase, and in the closet. To her demise, she only found articles of clothing, but her weapons were no where to be found. 'So much for that idea.' Sakura sighed.

As she returned to the bookshelf that stood across from the bed, she skimmed through the titles, hoping to find a good book to read. 'I might as well, do some reading while I have the time.' The war has taken a lot out of everyone. Especially if you're a medic nin. Injured and wounded ninjas in critical conditions are sent into the hospital every day. Almost all of them need immediate help, stressing for more nurses. The hospital suddenly came to a lack of medical personals, and soon the Hokage was obligated to come to work at the hospital as well as managing the war. Things were getting more brutal now and then. Many Nins and nurses had to work double shifts and rarely went home. Hospitals were opened and in operational without a wink of rest. The joyfulness and smiles soon fated from the faces of the nurses and the grumpiness appeared more often. The citizens of Konoha have outworked themselves, stressing their muscles to the limit, but no one dare to complain. It was for the sake of Konoha and that is what makes them keep going. The future of the Hidden Leaf Village is their hope and they would protect it with their lives. This is the life of the ninja.

A beam of light escaped the bathroom door, revealing the avenger wrapped in a towel around his torso. His attention glazed at the pink haired nin, watching her plucking a volume of an enormous book. He looked at the title, 'The Guide to Herbs and Plants.' Where the hell did that book came from? He didn't even know that the book existed on that shelf. Sasuke watched at the kunoichi turned a few pages and began reading, ignoring his presence.

Walking to the girl, he looked at her closely. The features of her face were now more feminine and rid of the baby fat. Her body was fully developed with the curves he had seen moments before. She wasn't the same girl that always asking him to go on dates, and followed him around like a sick love puppy during their Genin years. No, she was not. She has changed over the years and so has he.

Sasuke remembered the night when he had left Konoha. He could still see the look in her eyes that pleaded him to stay with her. Sasuke could still hear the words echo in his mind when she poured out her heart to him and begging him not to go. And he also remembers the tears she had spilled for him. No, she was not the same girl. She has changed. This Sakura is not the same girl that had a crush on him when they were twelve. The crush in her heart was now replaced by an empty void, but it is still devoted to Konoha and it's people and hated him.

Her face turned to a serious scowl upon reading the words that she had studied but had not yet learned. Medical information was tough stuff. One must memorize many terms and the anatomy of the human body. From the corner of her eye, Sakura could see the toned figure heading in her direction. He stopped abruptly in front of her, then turned to open the closet to pull out something to wear. After selecting a pair of black shorts and a navy blue color shirt, he returned to the bathroom, leaving his captive bury herself in the book. She continued to read, not taking an eye off the book for a second, and walked over to the seat she previously sat in.

Sinking down, she laid the large bind of paper on the tabletop with a loud thud, next to the dent that she had made with her fist earlier. For a few moments, silence filled the room once again. Sakura enjoyed the peace and quiet that is provided for her. No more screams of agony of death reached her ears that haunt her in her dreams. It was pure silence. The sound of death has always given her nightmares. As a medic nin, it was her duty to heal the ones that are in the brink of death. They say that you aren't a real doctor until you've killed someone. For years, she has saved many people and she was proud of her work. She was no longer the useless one, the one who pulled everyone behind back in the days where they were assigned in teams. Haruno Sakura is not the weakling that everyone would pick on because of her wide forehead. She was the apprentice of the Hokage, one of the Legendary Three, famed for her medical abilities, and she was damn proud of her accomplishments. Hell yeah, she is.

As time past, the familiar presence returned into the room, fully clothed and with his raven hair still damp. Sakura was still reading the book she had earlier, flipping the pages in search of something. When she found the page she was looking for, the kunoichi proceeded to read without acknowledging his being in the room. 'I'll sleep on the floor. Go to bed," said Sasuke. Pulling a spare blanket and pillow from the closet, he set it down near the window and eyed her with his onyx orbs. Pretending she hadn't heard him, she skimmed through more of the text without even blinking. The flame of the candle next to the table flickered as the melted wax slid down the cylinder stick and onto the metal plate. Stealing another glance at her, he turned his back away and pulled the blanket over himself. It seems it had been hours as he laid there awake hearing the sharp crackle of the pages of which Sakura has turned. Finally, the light emitted from the candle extinguished and darkness filled the room. He heard no movement and assumed that she would rather sleep head down on the table than on his bed. Closing his eyes, kept alert in case she would do anything stupid and decide to break out on her own. Knowing her well, she wouldn't do that on her account. Wanting to be dead was a different story. Did she really want to die that bad? He knew that she would die for the sake of Konoha. It is her village, her home, and she can never betray it, unlike him.

Morning came and outside, the sky was still dark. Gray clouds flow overhead slowly, hiding the daylight from the sun. When Sakura woke up, she found a blanket on her shoulders. The same blue blanket that had lay on his bed the night before. Glancing at the window, she saw gloomy day that has come for her. She turned her head towards the door as it slides open and then 'he' stepped in. Wrapping the blanket around herself tightly to protect her from the cold air, she founded the book she had was not in front of her. Sasuke sat down in front of her and placed a bowl of rice and plate of grilled fish before her. "Eat," he ordered. Sakura looked at the food and then looked at him. His cold hard eyes stared back at her as she did the same. Getting up, she headed to the bathroom, but was abruptly pulled back. The grip on her wrist was so rough, her skin almost turned red. Glaring back at him, Sakura tired to pull away. "Let go of me!" She yelled. "I told you to eat!" said Sasuke, this time his tone was more harsh. "You can't tell me what to do, Sasuke! I might be a prisoner, but I can do what I want. If I want to starve then let me!"

"You're annoying," was the only thing that came out of his mouth. The anger on her face turned into a shock when he said those words. Those two words bring back a fragment of their Genin years. Stubborn as she was, Sakura tired once again to rip her arm out of his grip, but he was too strong. Seeing he had the advantage in strength, Sasuke pulled her down to the chair and place the pair of chopsticks in front of her. 'Eat,' he repeated again. Still, she did touch the food before her. She just sat there and stared straight ahead into nothingness. The next second, she saw a plump of rice in her face. The chopsticks were held by Sasuke and he tried to pry it in her mouth.

How can she eat if when the people of Konoha are suffering of a famine? Although she didn't look like it, Sakura knew that she hadn't had a good meal in days. Shifts at the hospitals were the only thing on her mind besides sleep. Coffee was the only thing she drank to stay awake and food was out of the equation. The heat radiated from the grains burnt her and she slapped out of her way. The click of the chopsticks slid on the floor from the force she had exerted with. Having enough of her attitude, Sasuke slammed the bowl of rice down on the table and gripped the back of her neck, forcing her face near his. "Eat this or I'll be force to feed you personally," he hissed acidly. Unaffected by his threat, Sakura closed her eyes. He pulled her until their noses were almost touching, until Sakura suddenly went forward and bit his nose.

Releasing his hand from his from her neck, he rubbed the mark on his nose. Using the moment as an escape, Sakura quickly ran to the bathroom and locked the door. Water poured out of the faucet and onto her cupped hands. After washing her face, she stared long and hard at the reflection in the mirror. The bags under her eyes were almost gone thanks to the amount of rest she had. The brightness in her eyes also returned and blazed with anger. Occupying herself, she opened the drawers, took out a brush to straighten out her hair. She wished she could just stay in there until she was rescued, but the knock on her door told her to come out otherwise. Slowly opening the door, Sakura walked out into the room. The chopsticks were picked up from the floor and replaced by the bowl. Sasuke continued to wait for her, his eyes following her every movement. She saw the red mark that she have given him on his pale nose. Laughing inwardly to herself, Sakura went to the bookshelf and pulled out the book she had read. This time, she didn't bother returning to the table. Instead, Sakura sat on the bed cress-crossed and cracked open to the chapter she was on.

Sasuke's gaze was still on her. His brows knitted together at her display of rebellion and mutiny towards him. Standing up, he went over to her and got in front of her, pulling the book away from her grasp. "Just what do you think you're doing?" He asked. "What does it look like I'm doing, asshole," Sakura replied.

"I told you to eat."

"I told you 'NO!' "


"What are you planning to do with me, keeping me here? I am no use to you, so just let me go."

"I said I can't do that"

"Why? 'Cause your 'Master' told you not to? Are you going to listen to him forever?"

"That's what I thought."

"Well, you thought wrong."

"Of course I thought wrong!" She splattered sarcastically. "I thought wrong of you! How can you do this to me? You should have just killed me when you're suppose to," said Sakura without regret.

"Because I didn't want to kill you."

"Why? Tell me, because I don't understand."

"You don't understand anything, Sakura."

"How can I understand if you don't tell me, huh? I'm not some stupid toy you can keep turning on and off! I'm a human being! Just let me go! I don't want to be here! I don't want to see YOU!" She raged. "Sasuke, you are dead to me. I don't care what you have been doing for the last couple of years, but I can't. Training under Tsunade-shishou taught me a lot of things. Things that I would have never imagined. But I can't forget you, no matter how much I trained. Scrolls were always sent back reporting numerous accounts of murder and slaughter, and they always had one thing in common. They always contain the words: 'Red eyes.' At first, I didn't believe it, but who was I fooling. I would be stupid if I could fool myself into thinking that you weren't the murderer who killed all of those innocent people. I couldn't do it. Why? I'll tell you why, Sasuke, because I promised myself that I will bring you back to Konoha. The Uchiha Sasuke, the member of Team 7 no longer exists. The Uchiha Sasuke is a traitor of Konoha and a murderer!" Sakura finished.

"What's the matter? Cat got your tongue or you just realized the horrible things you did through the years? Unlike you Sasuke, I'm not blind. I know what is right from wrong, and you know what else? I DIDN'T sell my soul to the devil because I have already owed it to myself. The soul in this body ties to my heart and my heart belongs in Konoha. If you have a conscience, you would know what is right from wrong, but I guess it also died, along with your heart."

"That's ENOUGH!"

Sakura could see the anger arise from his dark orbs as she stared equally back. The words she had said to him affected him better than she would have thought. Sakura trembled slightly at the tone he roared at her. There was a killing intent in his eyes, but she knew he would not hurt her. Disappearing for a moment, Sasuke returned to the room with her weapon holster and the scroll she had before they got confiscated. Throwing in her direction, Sakura caught them both.

"Get up." He commanded. Sakura got up and followed him to the door. After putting on their sandals, Sasuke ahead of her as she reluctantly traveled behind. The walk was a long one as they headed towards the forest. Chirping of birds can be heard around them between the quiet air. Strapping on her kunai holster and placing the scroll right in front of her waist, Sakura bear on the long journey on foot. Sasuke kept distance from her and didn't bother to waste anytime bring her back to the Fire Nation border. The farther they were from one another, the better. Deep inside, Sasuke knew that she was his weakness. It was a mistake to bring her back with him. He can't let his emotions get in the way because of some girl. He was an avenger and will accomplish the task of killing his brother. That was his goal in life. That and the restoration of the Uchiha clan. Somehow, he doubts the outcome of his second goal. Training was all he did in life and love was not a factor for him. He knew that if he got close to Sakura, she would end up hurt. So much for that. The words she had said to him earlier replayed in his mind over and over again. He knew that it was too late to change it. He, the Uchiha Sasuke, had a spark for the pink haired nin, and it still continued to flicker through years he had left her.

As they arrived at their destination, Sasuke halted, waiting her to depart to her own life. He could still feel her behind him, still standing there and confuse. First he captured her, held her prison, and now he is letting her go. "Sasuke," said Sakura. "I know deep inside, you must feel you have a great burden on your shoulders, but what do I know? I could only imagine," she scoffed. "Despite that, I can't imagine the pain you have gone through and I am not going to try to understand you, but I want you to know one thing: 'If you are choosing the lesser of evils, you are still choosing evil.' No matter what, Sasuke, you would still be a traitor of Konoha. But if you want to change your mind . . . " She trailed on. "I told you before that I'm not like you or Naruto," Sasuke concluded for her. "You are not to judge me for who I am. I told you before that I am an avenger. Nothing can change that." Sakura remembers those words. She was so stupid back then, hoping that she can stop him. The affection in her heart seems like it was just a crush, but she isn't so sure anymore. Had she really started falling back for him?

"You said you don't want to kill me. Why?" Sakura pressed on. Slowly, he turned to face her and closed the gap between them. His onyx eyes bore hers as she stared back. The next thing she knew, Sakura was back at the position with her back against the trees. "Because I can't" He whispered and turned away from her. "You better get back before it's dark." Sakura proceeded to go, knowing she wouldn't get an answer. Then she felt her weight being pulled towards him. Her head collided on his hard chest as he pulled her closer to him, burying his face in her soft bubblegum hair. He held her for the longest time, and finally let go. Lifting up her chin, he captured her lips and gave her a soft kiss. Shocked, Sakura stood there frozen, letting him trail his lips down her face. He stopped at the nape of her neck and inhaled her sweet flowery scent before releasing his grip on her.

"Sakura, the next time we meet, I can't guarantee for your safety." Said Sasuke. "Things have changed. We are no longer team mates and far from friends." His knuckles turned white at the grip of his hands. The thought of her has always bothered his mind. She was always so 'annoying.' For as long as he could remember, Sasuke would always say those words to her. It was a phrase that he reserved only for her. It was something between them that will always remain just a fragment of their Genin years. That is what they would always remember. Those two words. Sasuke scoffed at the thought and continued on "You really are annoying." She could see the famous smirk of his form on his lips.

Immobile with her eyes looking back. 'You really are annoying.' Echoed her mind. That word, 'annoying' tugged a part of her heart. The memory of the way he'd always said it reminded Sakura the night when he left Konoha. That night, she poured out her heart to him. That night she begged him not to go. That night was a night she would never forget. The talk they had that night will never be forgotten. The amount of tears that poured down her eyes was the last sight he saw of her. Sakura could still remember the words 'Thank you, Sakura' before the world around her turned dark. 'Thank you, Sakura.' It was the last thing he said to her. She was the last person he saw that night in Konoha with hope in her heart that he would not leave, but then he just left. Now, he was leaving again, just like the night he left Konoha.

"Good bye, Sakura," escaped Sasuke's lips, pulling back her to reality. This time Sakura watched as he departed. She heard his footsteps getting fainter and fainter until she couldn't hear them anymore. She was alone again. 'The next time they meet,' Sakura thought. ' Until the next time we meet, Sasuke . . . things will be different.' Sakura knew she could not change his mind no matter what. He has his own path of life and she has hers. Closing her jade eyes, she continued to walk back to home. In the shadows, black orbs trailed her as her figure became smaller and smaller into the horizon. He knew in his heart what she had said to him was right. However, he still can't deny the fact that they were different. They were just too different. She is a kunoichi of Konoha, loving and innocent. As for him, he is a traitor and a cold-blooded murderer. Indeed, their lives pushed them to their limits, but there are no limits in emotion. The whole truth will be revealed some day. As for now, it is up to fate to know when they will meet again in this life time. The rest is . . . forever longing.

"If you are choosing the lesser of evils, you are still choosing evil"-Ralph Nader.

A/N: Okay, it was kind of angst-ish in my opinion. Well, there wasn't any romance in it, that's for sure. As for the humor part, I tried my best. Things are funnier in real life anyways, if you know what I mean. Please review if you want to. I don't mind.