Delayed Death

By: Midnight Forever

Disclaimer: Naruto = Not mine.

Notes: This is a very old fic that I wrote… Sheesh, in 9th grade? That's four years ago! Anyways, this is just a little thing that I whipped up. Itachi teasing Sasuke, SasuSaku implied and character death. Enjoy…

Delayed Death

Blood splashed, rain poured, and silence prevailed. All that could be heard was the pitter-patter of the rain and the rolling thunder. Two silhouettes were clearly standing opposite of one another. The smaller of the two suddenly fell to one knee and spat out a collection of blood. Blood-red eyes, the Sharingan, were fixed on his opponent. Watching his every move was a man with the exact same eyes, with one huge difference. The man had three blades whirling around his pupil when the boy only had two. Silence remained, before the older of the two decided to break it.

"You still don't have enough hatred for me, Otouto…" Itachi's soft voice rang out over the pounding of the rain.

Sasuke had a hard time answering from the pain, but managed out a 'Bastard' in response. He stood with hunched shoulders and with cold red eyes directed towards his brother.

"Why don't you get back to your team, Otouto? Sakura-san must be worried," Itachi's voice echoed within their tree walls.

Sasuke's eyes widened considerably before he yelled out, "You… Don't you touch her!"

"Hmm? What's this? Is little Sasuke worried about his kunoichi?" Bold red eyes looked down accusingly at the younger man.

In a flash Sasuke was gone and instead was right behind Itachi with a kunai to his neck, "You were saying something about Sakura…?" Light sounds came from the older male; laughter.

"Always so protective of everything in your grasp… You haven't changed one bit… Otouto," Itachi slowly opened his eyes and then seemed to melt into the shadows before reappearing behind Sasuke with two blades to his neck, "Hurry. I don't know if Sakura-san can hold on much longer…" With that, Sasuke's eyes snapped open as he turned an accusing glare on Itachi.

"What… did you do to her?" Amusement flickered behind those bloody-red eyes and in an instant, Itachi was gone, with nothing remaining but the soft noise of the rain.

His voice echoed throughout the treetops, "You should get back to your woman Sasuke, before its too late…" Sasuke seemed to snap then, as he began running back to his ANBU team, back to his Sakura.

"Sakura!!" Sasuke's voice rang out as he entered his ANBU camp, which looked totally annihilated.

A flash of pink and then a gentle voice whispered out, "Sasuke-kun? You're back! Are you okay?" the top Konoha medic came out from behind an oak tree looking worse for wear, her ANBU uniform dirty with blood and other fluids. Sasuke caught his breath when he saw Sakura, relief flooding him. Corpses lay strewn around the grounds of the camp, some from his team and some from the Akatsuki. So, Itachi was right. I wasted so much time fighting him when I should have been here helping. Damn it! Sasuke looked around the rest of the camp, trying to access all of the damage done.

"Sakura, where is everyone?"

Voices came into hearing range as Sasuke walked along side the pink-haired medic. "How come she hasn't come back yet? Maybe we should go look for--," a womanly voice said before being interrupted by a deeper voice.

"Sakura-chan is fine, she'll be back any moment," Naruto tried hard to believe his own words as he waited in worry for his friend to come back from gathering the remains from their destroyed camp.

"But what about Sasuke? He hasn't come back from earlier, either--," yet again she was interrupted, except this time by her lover.

"Naruto's right, Tenten. Both Uchiha and Haruno will be fine, now come sit down," a strong male voice spoke to the female, coming out as more of a command than a suggestion.

"But Neji…" Tenten wouldn't let go off her worry.

"I said, come sit down," Neji repeated, this time a little more forcefully. A twig breaking alerted the group that they were not alone, as most of them slipped out one of their last remaining kunai or shuriken in defense. Their worries disappeared as Sasuke and Sakura emerged from the underbrush. A chorus of 'Sasuke!' and 'Sakura!' rang out from the voice boxes of the surviving team members.

Sun leaked through the leaves as the light shinned down onto the pink-haired kunoichi, waking her from her slumber. After a few moments she realized where she was; on a mission. Memories flashed in her mind from the night before.

"Neji, look out!" Tenten yelled before pushing the Byakuugan user out of the way of a rain of senbon needles, taking the hit for herself. Dark chocolate eyes snapped open as she dodged another rain of senbon needles. After taking momentary cover in a tree, she started to pull out the needles just as Sakura had taught her, mainly so she wouldn't kill herself while pulling them out.

"Tenten, are you alright?" Sakura's light voice asked from another tree, obviously recovering from an attack herself.

"Yes, don't worry Sakura," she called out over the pounding rain. She soon jumped down from her tree branch, ready to join back in on the action. Sakura landed next to her.

"What should we do? We can't possibly defeat them, there's too many. And two of our men have already fallen," short heavy breaths came from the pink-haired kunoichi as she tried to regain her breath.

"We fight, Sakura. We fight until it's over."

The night went on until three Akatsuki members were slain and the others found it too dangerous and retreated. The remaining Konoha ANBU members all managed to gather in one spot and start the recovering process. Once Sakura had healed every one of their most vital wounds, she announced that she was going to go and try to scavenge things from their old camp, secretly hoping to find Sasuke also and ask him what had happened.

Sakura was still in her bloodied ANBU uniform as she proceeded to check all of her wounds from the night before. She hadn't enough chakra after healing everyone else to be able to heal herself, even when Sasuke had venemently refused to be checked, insisting he was fine. So, now that her chakra had recovered she went ahead and started healing her wounds. "Ow!" Sakura bit her lip as her hand brushed over a wound she hadn't noticed. A deep gash ran from the left side of her hip to the bottom of the right side of her ribs. She quickly healed it, lest it cause her anymore pain.

"Sakura, are you alright?" Sasuke's deep voice reached her ears as she looked up into obsidian eyes. Sasuke looked over where the wound once was and a small smile graced his lips; he was glad she was fine. Sakura kept debating in her head whether to ask Sasuke about what happened last night or not and when she was about to speak, he answered her unspoken question.

"I'm sorry about last night Sakura. It's my fault you got hurt. It's just... I had to try. I had to try and defeat him or else it wouldn't have stopped haunting me. 'I let him go. I could have killed him and I let him go.' So you see, it's my fault you and everyone got hurt. If I hadn't gone, you wouldn't--," soft lips stopped his constant flow of words as Sakura gently kissed him. She pulled back and hugged him as tears started to drip down her cheeks and land on his back armor.

"I'm so glad you're alright, Sasuke-kun. I'm so glad," she kept repeating as she felt his own arms encircle her and squeeze back.

"I'm happy too. I wouldn't want to die without seeing your face one last time," he whispered into her ear as he hugged her one last time, his wounds from the night before finally catching up with him. And as he slowly closed his eyes he whispered, "I love you Sakura, I love you so much…" And with one last breath, he closed his eyes and his life slipped through his lovers fingers as he collapsed onto the young woman, his life ended.

A/N: Yeah… So… Sorry that I killed Sasuke. I didn't want to. Sure, the guy is an asshole, but I believe that deep down inside his little torn-up and stabbed black heart that he truly cares. And how did he die, you might ask?

…-shrugs- I don't know, Itachi hit him with his own chidori? And Sakura didn't notice his major loss of blood (that would have resulted in Sasuke feeling lightheaded, nauseated, etc.) because… she was tired. Yeah.

Anyways, I hope you liked it. Please, please review!