Metamorphosis – An Itachi & Sakura story.
Disclaimer: Naruto and all its characters belong to Masashi Kishimoto.
A/n: I sincerely apologize for this belated installment. Trust me, I wanted to update as soon as I got back from Disney, but then this HUGE writer's block appeared, and I didn't have any inspiration to continue for a while. I'm still not satisfied with this chapter though… I hope you won't hate it.
Chapter Thirteen – Go If You Must
"I'm getting sick of this, yeah," Deidara grumbled. "First he sends us out to get that damn sanbi, and now we have to report at headquarters. Leader's a genius, but he's a bit indecisive if you ask me… yeah."
After a tense pause, Deidara glanced at Sasori to find his partner staring in another direction, completely focused as he blocked out all other sounds. He sighed; Sasori was obviously using his technique to find chakra's again. The man never gave up, even if the Leader himself tried to stop him.
"That kunoichi you were talking about," Sasori whispered quietly. "She left Itachi."
"Say what?" Deidara asked; his eyes widened slightly as he tried to regain his composure.
"She's nearing Waterfall quickly," Sasori replied easily. "Itachi is still in Grass though."
"Damn it," Deidara swore. "Why the hell did he let her go by herself. Sakura's strong, but she's no match for Orochimaru… yeah."
Carelessly brushing his long, red bangs out of his eyes, Sasori tried to find Itachi's chakra again; noting quickly that Itachi's chakra almost seemed sedated.
"Itachi's asleep," he answered simply. "It seems the kunoichi sedated him… Do you still think she's trustworthy?"
"She is," Deidara quickly replied. "She just wants to see the person she loves most again… I'm still surprised that she managed to sedate Itachi though. It's not like him to drop his guard like that."
"I am sure that he'll be more on his guard then ever after this," Sasori smiled. "But have you ever thought about it that Itachi might still be awake?"
Deidara stared at Sasori before answering. "What are you saying? You just told me that it seemed that Itachi was drugged… yeah."
"Itachi isn't one to fall for such an easy trick like that," Sasori stated; the smile still plastered on his face. "Either he's really slacking off or he's just playing along and he'll kill her later on."
He watched in mild amusement as his partner gritted his teeth. He had known Deidara for many years and it wasn't too hard to see that his blond partner had an interest in the kunoichi. He was looking forward to meet this mysterious kunoichi; she seemed interesting enough.
He grinned slightly as he mimicked Deidara's movement and dashed towards the country of River in double speed. If Orochimaru was murdered before this Sakura could get to him, Deidara would have nothing to worry about. If she arrived earlier than the Akatsuki members at Sound – which would undoubtedly happen – she would be murdered by Orochimaru.
Sasori had known Orochimaru for a few years; it wasn't hard to learn about Orochimaru's sick mind as he didn't mind people knowing his secrets. He wasn't like Itachi, who hid his emotions all the time. He grinned slightly with the prospect of seeing his old team member again.
Ah…Soon my friend, we will meet each other again.
The moonlight illuminated the way in front of Sakura as she dashed through the Hidden Village of Waterfall, determined to get to Sound before dawn; before Itachi would wake up.
The only sounds that she could hear were the waterfalls in the distance and she could occasionally hear a few birds chirping. She shook the stray pink strands of hair from her eyes before halting slightly. Her chakra was drained after she had used it for hours to run and she was starting to get hungry.
She stopped running after she had left the village; unnoticed, thankfully. Grabbing her backpack, she quickly opened it up and took one of her apples out. She had found a bowl of fruit lying in the reception and she just couldn't resist.
Itachi should be waking up around this time… I wonder how angry he'll be…
Deciding that she didn't want to face an angered Itachi head on, she quickly finished her apple before drinking some water. Her throat was parched and it welcomed the water as it flowed down her throat. She splashed some of the water over her face before drying her face with her sleeve.
That's when she felt it.
She had never felt chakra this strong, not even when Gaara or Naruto fought. She instantly realized that this was a person of an entire different caliber and it would be wise to run as far as possible. Especially because it seemed to run towards her.
She molded her chakra as fast as she could and started to sprint through the country.
Who could it be? Kisame is an option, and then again, so is Deidara… But neither of their chakras are this strong. Itachi is sedated, there's no way that he can be this close to me already. Even if he started to chase me, he couldn't be any farther than the border of Grass and Waterfall.
She bit her lip out of pure frustration. How many obstacles were going to stand in her way before she would be allowed to reach Sasuke? She cursed as she felt the chakra nearing her quickly and doubled her speed. She had to reach Sound, no matter what.
Sakura's eyes squinted slightly as she scanned the horizon. It was tinged red and the moon was slowly fading. Almost sunset and she was nowhere near Sound.
Sakura was tired and worn out; she had never used this much chakra. She panted as she forced her legs to keep moving. Even if her stamina increased tremendously after her training with Tsunade, she wasn't anywhere near the stamina level of the more experienced shinobi; like Kakashi or Naruto.
She focused on the chakra behind her, trying to figure out who it was. Whoever it was, he traveled alone, which would exclude Deidara; he was on a mission with Sasori. Kisame wasn't this strong, she was certain of it. He had a monstrous amount of chakra, but it didn't feel like this one. That only left Itachi and that mysterious shinobi from Mist. She was certain that Itachi was still asleep, or had just woken up and the Mist shinobi traveled along with another shinobi.
And then it stopped.
No matter how hard she tried to concentrate, the chakra she had felt so clearly just seconds before had disappeared into thin air; as if it wasn't there in the first place. She gasped with the realization who it might be. Ignoring the pain in her legs, she sprinted towards the border, determined not to meet her chaser. If by any chance she would meet him, she would be murdered. There would be no question about that.
"Kakashi-sempai," a voice called out. The man called Kakashi turned around slightly; showing his student that he was listening.
"How long until we get there?" Naruto asked quietly. He wasn't tired, not even worn out; he just trembled with excitement to see his friends again and to bring them back home. He knew it would work out in the end; he would bring both of them back.
His ANBU mask that represented a fox dangled around his neck as he tried to keep up with Genma and Kakashi. The stray bangs of hair that hung in front of his eyes was blown away as a breeze passed by. His sky blue eyes were focused on Kakashi; waiting for his answer.
"Two more days from now," Kakashi answered simply. His lone eye closed slightly as he smiled. Inwardly, he sighed. How many times had he been through this? A team member leaves; one is left devastated while the other one shuts his true emotions away. He glanced at Naruto before focusing back on the road in front of him.
In the years that Sasuke had left, Naruto and Sakura both changed tremendously. They started out as a fun-loving team; all with high hopes and dreams. Naruto wanted to become the Hokage, Sasuke wanted to revive his clan and have his revenge… And Sakura… He never knew what Sakura truly wanted. Whether she truly just wanted to marry Sasuke, or become the greatest medic of all times after she had seen Tsunade in action; he would always be there for her, supporting her.
Kakashi blamed himself for not watching over her like he watched over Sasuke and Naruto. He never knew what hit him when Tsunade came to him and told him that she was training Sakura. Jiraiya had come to him first, telling Kakashi that he was going to train Naruto. Then Tsunade, telling him that she was training Sakura. In one week, he had lost all of his students.
Then again, he was grateful that the legendary sannin would train them. Naruto had become even more powerful than Kakashi and Sakura was a top-classed medic who almost stood on the same level as Tsunade did. He couldn't be more proud of them.
"Kakashi," a smooth voice came from his side. He glanced at Genma as his train of thoughts left him.
"What is it Genma?" he asked simply. He watched as his friend bit down on the senbon that was perched between his lips. There were times that Kakashi questioned himself whether that senbon had been glued to Genma's lips.
"We're nearing something," Genma said as his chestnut brown eyes focused on the road in front of them. "Don't you feel that chakra?"
"Aa… It's one of Akatsuki," Kakashi replied. "I saw him before… Hoshigaki Kisame."
"Akatsuki?" Genma hissed, trying to keep his voice under control. "The Fifth never said that we had to battle the Akatsuki members as well."
"We don't," Kakashi replied calmly. "Our mission is to go to Sound, get Sakura and Sasuke and go back. If Orochimaru rebels, which he undoubtedly will, we will have to fight him while the backup team escapes with Sasuke and Sakura."
Genma looked at his friend; he trusted Kakashi with his life. If Kakashi said that there was nothing to worry about from Akatsuki, he'd trust that without a doubt. However, it was strange that they felt one of the strongest Akatsuki members near Sound.
"What if their headquarters are near?" Genma said; calmed down slightly.
"We'll report this to the Fifth later on," Kakashi said easily. "For now, we follow our instructions."
Genma nodded. He understood the importance of this mission; Uchiha Sasuke was an extraordinary ninja that Konoha couldn't afford losing to Orochimaru. Haruno Sakura was one of the best medics that Konoha ever had.
The only time he saw Sasuke was during the Chuunin exam, weeks before he left, and even in that fleeting moment that he and Gaara were battling, Genma could feel the inner strength of Sasuke resounding in his every movement. He always thought that Sasuke would be a genius, that's why he sent out Sasuke to get Gaara. After that, it went downhill. Genma never saw Sasuke again after that. He occasionally saw Sakura though, especially when she was training with the Fifth.
Never being able to learn medical jutsu himself, he admired her greatly for her strength. He sighed inwardly.
Both are admirable for sticking to their believes and goals…Even if their choices aren't always the good ones.
It was well past sunset when Deidara and Sasori walked into the cave in the Country of River; their headquarters. Sasori raised his arm to greet Kisame, who was sitting on a huge rock near the entrance. Once their eyes had adjusted to the darkness of the cave, they could make out the form of Zetsu as well.
Their leader stood on the other side of the cave, his spiral red eyes watching Deidara, Sasori and Kisame as they walked inside.
"I'll get right to the point," Leader spoke up. His eyes scanned the eyes of the four Akatsuki members in front of him before he continued. "This is an assassination. The four of you are to go to Orochimaru's hideout in Sound. You'll murder him and this Yakushi Kabuto."
"Excuse me Leader," Kisame rasped. "Why isn't Itachi here? If we had Itachi on our team, the assassination of Orochimaru would be quickened."
"All four of you are not Akatsuki worthy if you're not able to defeat Orochimaru with ease," the leader replied coolly. "Remember, Kisame, he was one of the weakest among us. All four of you are dismissed."
They nodded before walking out of the cave again, squinting their eyes as they adjusted to the light. They said nothing as Kisame grabbed his Samehada and strapped it on his back.
"To Sound then?" Deidara said; his trademark grin back on his lips.
"To Sound," the others agreed, before vanishing into thin air.
Sakura collapsed on the ground as soon as she spotted the border of the Country of Field. She was tired, hungry, thirsty and worn out. The chakra that had been chasing her earlier seemed to have disappeared into thin air and it didn't return for the remains of her journey. She knew it didn't mean much though, if Itachi didn't want her to find him, she wouldn't stand a chance.
He had pulled off a similar stunt when she escaped from Kisame, and she wasn't able to track him until he removed the jutsu and showed her his chakra. This meant that he could either be far away, or very close.
She panted hard as she sneaked closer towards the border, cursing as she found a couple of Waterfall shinobi standing guard. She didn't have a pass that said that she could cross the borders, neither any kind of identification.
She was also listed in the bingo book of S-Class criminals; ANBU members wouldn't chase her otherwise. There was only one option left; she'd have to find a way to sneak past the guard. She crept closer towards the guards as she tried to count them.
"Sixteen, all ANBU," a voice spoke from behind her.
Shocked, she grabbed a kunai as she whirled around to face Itachi's poker face. Nothing on his features indicated anger or any other kind of emotion. He just faced her before looking at the guards.
"Waterfall is specialized in water element attacks," he continued, acting as if nothing had happened. "They also like to use attacks that summons mist."
"What are you doing here?" Sakura hissed, half angered, half afraid.
He paused in his speech, his blood-red Sharingan eyes focusing back on her. He scrutinized her before answering. "I do not like it when people try to poison me."
"That's… I…" she stammered, before regaining her composure. "It's your fault for kidnapping me. If you let me go before, I wouldn't have to sedate you to get away."
"You didn't need to," Itachi answered simply. His lips formed a small smirk as he leaned in towards her. "You were free to go since you healed my eyes."
Her sea foam eyes widened in response; she clenched her jaw as she stared at him with her most menacing glare. "Then why didn't you say so?" she managed to spat out.
"I thought it would be clear to you that I had no further use for you," Itachi replied smoothly. "If I still considered you my hostage, you would have never crossed the border of Grass without me."
"But I sedated you," she whispered hoarsely. "There's no way that you could have woken up and caught up with me this fast…"
He paused before answering. Perhaps he didn't want to answer her, knowing that he would tell her about one of his techniques. Perhaps he didn't want to share the knowledge. He leaned in somewhat and scanned her features. It was easy to see that she was scared but she was determined to cross the border. He admired her inner strength; a lot of shinobi would give up in a situation like hers, but she wouldn't waver from her path.
"I also know medical jutsu," Itachi replied after glancing at the guards. "I am able to counter anesthetics and certain kinds of poison with my chakra."
"How did you know that I used an anesthetic?" she asked, amazed at the man's skills. Whenever she thought she had figured him out, he did another amazing thing. He truly was full of surprises.
"You tasted different."
"I-I what?" Sakura stuttered; shocked at what he just said.
"Your lips, they tasted different after you had put the anesthetic on them," Itachi said coldly.
Clenching her jaw in pure frustration, Sakura glanced towards the guards. She wanted to ask him why he had come after her if he did not care about her; whether as a hostage or something more. Taking a deep breath, she faced Itachi.
"Why did you come after me?" she asked coolly. "You don't care for Sasuke or me, so why did you come?"
"I have business that needs to be handled," Itachi replied easily.
"Business," Sakura snorted. "And this business would take you to Sound?"
Itachi glared at her, before standing up. "I do not need to explain my every move to you Sakura," he retorted. "But it will take me close to Sound."
"What will?" Sakura asked, afraid of the answer.
"The Kyuubi," he responded as he placed the straw Akatsuki hat on his head. He watched as the angered expression on her face turned into fear. She knew what he was talking about; Naruto was trying to hunt her down and now was the perfect opportunity to capture him.
"Don't…" she pleaded as she gripped his robes. "Please don't kill Naruto."
"I want to become stronger," Itachi replied as he looked down at her, his eyes devoid of any emotion. "Naruto-kun is my ticket to power, therefore I need him."
"But you're the strongest person I've ever met," Sakura kept begging. "Surely you don't need Naruto to become stronger?"
Itachi remained quiet as he stared at Sakura. She had kissed him, sedated him and finally, she ran away from him. If anyone else would try to do such a thing, he would be long gone by now; yet he didn't wish for Sakura's death. He wished to get to know her better. She kissed him when she thought he was asleep. Even if the kisses before that one were fake and just insinuated to sedate him, the last one was genuine. She had feelings for him; whether lust, desire or love, they were there.
"I am Akatsuki, Sakura," he replied smoothly as he put their scene in the bed out of his mind. "If I didn't wish for more power to become the strongest shinobi that this world has ever seen, I would not have murdered my family and joined Akatsuki."
Her eyes widened as her grip on his robes slightly lessened. He stood there for a few more seconds, scrutinizing her. She was trembling slightly at the prospect of losing her friend. If he were anymore compassionate like Deidara, he would kiss her and tell her everything was going to be alright.
Unfortunately for Sakura; he wasn't that kind of man. He would never be gentle; he would never know how to love somebody, because all of that were withheld from his childhood. He never learned to love, and he never will.
"I don't care for anybody Sakura," Itachi continued ruthlessly. If she wanted to leave him, she could, but he needed something to sting her with; to tell her how Uchiha men worked. Sasuke would never love her; he refrained himself from loving anyone since the massacre. Itachi would never love someone; these feelings would weaken him in battle. To be the ultimate shinobi means to make ultimate sacrifices.
"I'll kill everybody who stands in my way. Know this; if you ever see me again, do not try to sedate me once more. It might be the last time you do so."
She gasped as he turned around, getting ready to leave. There was so much she wanted to ask him, even though her insides were burning slightly. He just told her that he didn't love anyone… Did he just use her for his own good? Did he wish for a bed partner, rather than somebody to love?
"Wait, Itachi," she stopped him in his tracks. Sakura watched him as he turned around slightly, signaling that she had his attention. She paused, thinking over her words carefully. She didn't want to know that his words had stung her, but most of all, she didn't want him to think of her as weak. She swallowed hard as she opened her mouth to speak up.
"Thank you," she spoke up, ironically using the last words that Sasuke had spoken to her.
He said nothing in return as he glared at her. Itachi curtly nodded before disappearing into the forest, leaving no sign that he had just stood there moments ago.
Sakura fought back the tears that welled up in the corners of her eyes. She wouldn't see him again, nor Deidara and Kisame… Not even her friends and family back in Konoha.
This was her goal; the end of her journey. She had left Konoha six weeks ago, and even though she made it to Sound, she had an experience that she wouldn't ever forget. She had lost friends, family; yet gained friends, and now, she would find her loved one again.
A sad smile found its way to Sakura's lips as she stood up, full of confidence. She was worn out, tired and sad. But her heart filled with joy with the prospect of seeing Sasuke again. Finally, after six years of patient waiting; they would be reunited.
Encouraged by that thought, she walked into the dark forest that would lead her to Sound.
A/N: That's it! It's over and done with; the first arc of Metamorphosis is finally done!
Edit (18th of January): Evolution (sequel to Metamorphosis) is up! You can find the link in my profile!
I really want to apologize for this chapter, it's really bad compared to the other chapters, and I'm so sorry that this has been a boring chapter for all of you. Again, I really apologize. A writer's block got a hold of me, and I was about two weeks late from my weekly update.
But, as you might have noticed, there are three parties on their way to Orochimaru, so this would be fun! Sakura is closest to them but we can't rule out the Akatsuki assassination mission and the Konoha team either! So, what's going to happen in arc 2? Who knows? … Okay I do.
A few more things that I wanted to say;
I've received countless reviews over this one, and I'll say it once and only once; Deidara, my ladies and gents, is MALE. When watching episode 135, a man is talking, and says; "Don't be hasty, yeah, we'll kill Orochimaru eventually, hmm." This is Deidara, and you can clearly hear that he's a male (he's got an even deeper voice then Itachi has).
Thank you all so much for holding out with me during this story. There have been times where it was hard to focus on this story, writer blocks and all, but the nice PM's you've send me, together with the sweetest reviews ever and the enormous amount of response I've gotten on Metamorphosis helped me through all of this. You rock!
See you in Evolution!
(P.S; For the ones who were asking, I am female, haha!)
(P.P.S; If you want to contact me, I've got a livejournal; www(dot)mitsukishiroi(dot)livejournal(dot)com.