Behind the Mask

Summary : Naruto has fallen into depression because of Itachi's Sharingan. Whats with that book Naruto keeps writing in? It's up to Sakura to get Naruto back on his feet in time for the Jounin exam's. Naruto/Sakura pairing

Chapter 1 : Sakura blossoms

"Owwww...Sakura-chan that hurts!"

"Baka stop moving around so much..."

Naruto and Sakura had just finished there mission in the sand and where on their way back to Konoha. During the trip, they were ambushed by A-class missing-nins from the mist and had to stop for the night. During the fight, Naruto got bruised up and for some reason and his healing powers were not working.

"Owwwww.. I said that hurts!"

"Well I have to clean out the wound if you ever want it to heal right!" Sakura yelled as she added more rubbing alcohol to his wound. Naruto winced and grabbed on to Sakura's arms. She blushed slightly and continued cleaning the wound on his forehead.

"So how come Kyuubi didn't just heal the wounds like usual?" Sakura asked

"He said something about him not always being around and that it would toughen me up a bit..Owwww!" Naruto yelled as Sakura slapped a bandage over the cut.

"Thanks Sakura-chan...by the way...how's your wound?" Sakura flinched and rubbed her stomach as she remembered the feeling cold steel plunge through her insides. She would have never made it if it wasn't for Naruto or that's what she was told. Kakashi-sensei told her that when Naruto saw her lying in a pool of blood, he completely flipped. She remembered seeing his face and drifting off into the darkness. Apparently, Chiyo-baasama's chakra wasn't enough to fully heal her and when Naruto found her, he used so of Kyuubi's chakra finish the job. So, here she is, making dinner for the both of them, while Naruto looked at her with concern.

"As good as new," Sakura said, "Thanks for saving me Naruto."

Naruto flashed her one of his grins. "Don't worry about it Sakura-chan! I'll always be here to protect you now that I'm back!" Sakura smiled at him and started serving rice into the bowls. She handed him a bowl, which he gladly accepted.

"Itadakimasu!" He exclaimed and began chowing down on his rice and fish. Once done eating and everything was packed away, they just sat down in front of the fire talking about what they've both learned over the couple years. An hour or two had pasted by then, then it was pitch black.

"Alright Sakura-chan, you can sleep first," Naruto said while getting up, "I'll take first watch."

"Ok thanks Naruto," Sakura pulled out a sleeping bad out of her back pack and set it up near the fire. Naruto turned around and looked out towards the blacking forest. As Sakura was getting into her sleeping bag, she noticed Naruto pull out a book from one of the pouches in his Jacket. Sakura laid down for a moment staring up at the sky and out of the corner of her eye, saw Naruto turn his head to check if Sakura was asleep. At first Sakura didn't mind but then every few seconds he would turn to look. Was he hoping she was asleep or was he waiting so that he can do perverted stuff? She squinted her eyes to make it look like she was sleeping and once Naruto looked at her again, he let out a sigh and began writing in the book.

"I wonder what hr'd writing about..." She thought before finally falling asleep...

"Sakura, wake up..." A voice said. She slowly opened her eyes to see the bright sun and a pair of eyes. She almost forgot that they were out in the forest and almost yelled at the person she was with. She tried to get up but her hands and legs were tied together.

"What the hell!" she yelled struggling to get free. She then remembered she was with Naruto and this person had dark eyes, not the shining blue ones she was used to seeing. "Where's Naruto!"

"Tch...you mean him..." The man with dark eyes moved to the side and revealed Naruto, on the ground in a puddle of blood. Sakura fought the urge to scream. She could see the many holes that were in his chest and his left arm that was severed, thrown 4 feet away from him. "That little bastard was hard to kill."

"W-Who..." Sakura stuttered, trying to hold back her tears, "W-Who are you?"

The man just laughed, "How can you forget me Sakura-chan?" He put his face just inches away from hers, while Sakura tried the best she could to move her head away. His eyes looked so cold as she stared into them. She readied herself to bite her tongue off incase he tried to do anything funny. His eyes started to change color, as three coma's appeared around each pupil.

"Sasuke-Kun!" Sakura yelled. The raven-haired boy laughed. "Not quite..." He reached up to his face and started tearing away the skin, revealing one of the legendary sanin, Orochimaru. Sakura yelled as Orochimaru advanced towards her neck with his fangs bared.

"NO!"

Sakura shot up from her sleeping bag, sweating profusely. She reached up to her neck to find the bite mark, but it was never there. She breathed a sigh of relief and stared out into the dark forest. "Why did I start dreaming of Sasuke-kun…" Memory's flooded her mind of the chuunin exam and the evil aura Sasuke was emitting. The fire started to burn out as a gust of wind flew across the air. She turned her head to look at the burnt embers and see if Naruto was still awake, but he was no where to be seen.

"AHHHHHHHH!"

Sakura got out from her sleeping bag as fast as lighting and began to run towards the sound. Her night vision wasn't that great as she ran blindly threw the forest, leafs smacking her face. She heard another scream and made a hard left into a clearing. A small shrine stood in the middle of a small lake, with a giant Sakura tree overlooking the secluded area. The moonlight hit the clearing so well, it made a perfect reflection of the moon in the water.

She cautiously walked above the surface of the water, searching for the person who screamed. The pink-haired girl looked up at the giant tree and admired how it looked. Cherry blossoms littered the floor as the wind picked them off the cherry tree.

"AHHHHHH!" She turned to the shrine and ran as fast as she could.

"That was definitely Naruto's voice!" She rammed her petite figure against the shrine door as stood in shock. Naruto was lying on the floor, his hands clutching onto his head. Sakura ran over to him and picked him up into his arms and shook him.

"Naruto! What's wrong! What happened!" She asked every time he shook him. Naruto just looked up at the ceiling crying.

"N-No! I didn't ki-kill him! It was an accident!" Naruto kept saying over and over again, as he made a fist with his hands.

"Naruto..whats wrong with you?"

"He's mentaly unstable at the moment…" Sakura turned her head and pulled a kunai out of her side pouch. A man at around six feet tell and raven hair stood in front of her. He wore a trench coat with red kumo's trailing around the back and a Konoha headband with a slash across it.

"Itachi! What did you do to him!" Sakura yelled

"I just used mangekyo on him…" Itachi said while walking away, "He won't be in top form for a while…" Itachi made his way for the shrine door, making hand seals on the way there.

"Come back here and fix him!" Sakura launched her kunai at him, which pierced Itachi in the back. Itachi fell with a poof as a cloud of smoke was released. "Kage bunshin…damnit…"

"Don't worry Naruto," Sakura said while picking him up, "I'm going to get you back to Konoha, Tsunada-sama will fix you up right away" She ran outside of the shrine and sped towards the leaf village. Naruto's clenched hand opened up and out fell a sakura blossom, floating away into the dark forest.