Chapter 9: A Promise Planned to Be Kept

Both teams that drove to the castle ruins approached with great velocity in the hopes of saving their beloved friend. The sun was now staring down on both vehicles which drew nearer to the castle in different routes. Even though they hadn't met up yet, both teams had the same determination to save Sakura. Either it be saving a love, helping a sisterly friend or getting her daughter, so to speak.

Although Sakura didn't know they were doing this for her, she suddenly had the erg to escape from her kidnappers, both whom which were staring at her with intensity, but it was in fear. Orochimaru and Gaara gazed upon the teenager in both dread and amazement. They were staring because ever since she healed cut, something about her became completely different. Her body features were still the same yes, but her strength was unfathomable. She immediately came at Orochimaru with great speed and attempted to punch him square in the face but missed, only hitting the ground making large cracks of earth appear.

"What? How did you get so strong?" Orochimaru was now standing on top of a small cliff in the earthy room. He was frightened but showing it was out of the question. Gaara then got into fighting stance. "There was nothing in the legend about a super human appearing." Gaara said out loud still glaring at his opponent.

Something was different about Sakura. She just stood, head hanging down with her bangs concealing her eyes. She wasn't glowing in any particular colour so as it looked and occurred to Orochimaru and Gaara, she was still a normal girl, no powers revealed. They were absolutely wrong.

----------

The room grew quieter and quieter as everyone just stood still. Both kidnappers waited for what would happen next. Gaara soon gave up on his wait and began to walk in Sakura's direction. His face was as hard as solid rock. No emotion whatsoever. "I don't know what you're up to but you're out numbered."

Then out of the blue, Sakura began to talk but it wasn't her voice. A wise elderly voice could be heard from her and neither of the two men knew what was going on. They froze on the spot as they listened to her intently. "You have aroused my attention and you will regret it greatly." Sakura looked up and her eyes were glowing white. Her body soon became like a puppet as she sped across the room to Orochimaru. "You do not know the consequences of opening that chamber."

Before she could reach Orochimaru, the door that they entered the area through opened with a loud bang. The door broke from the center out and fell causing a large cloud of dust appear. When everything cleared up, Sasuke and Naruto were seen running into the area, scanning anxiousy.

"Sakura? Where are you?" Naruto yelled in between coughs. He used his hands to swipe away the dust as Sasuke did the same. Naruto was about to say something else but before he could, a fist swung from the dust and smacked him hard in the face making him fall in agony. Sasuke spun around looking for Naruto who suddenly disappeared from his sight. From behind, he felt a sharp pain as he was flung off to the distance.

"What the hell is going on?" he coughed and spat out blood. "Damn it," he felt his tongue and tasted blood squirting out. Apparently, when he got hit, he bit his tongue incredibly hard. A cut was now visible on his tongue.

"Naruto! Are you okay?" there was still a big cloud of dust and sand so he couldn't quite see very well, let alone breath. Naruto just moaned. Sasuke followed the moan until he accidentally stepped on something. It was shining a bright white colour but he couldn't quite tell what it was. He was going to pick it up when he felt someone punch him right in the gut, winding him in the process.

"Oh, so you're back again birthday candle? I don't really know why you like losing so much." Gaara stepped close enough to Sasuke so he could be seen. "You think you can win in this arena? This is my turf buddy. Just look around you, sand everywhere." He grinned and looked at the Uchiha. Then Sasuke just ran into the dust cloud. 'At least I can hide for now.'

This was Gaara's territory but he had some weaknesses. He could control the sand but he had to use his own vision. So basically, the sand cloud had its pros and cons for him as well. To be on the safe side, Gaara crept silently, using his sand to feel around him. For many moments, he couldn't sense a thing. He then heard another moan that sounded like Naruto and it was very loud. It was so loud that it seemed to be right on the floor next to Gaara's feet. He began to bend down slowly.

Naruto then abruptly shot up from his position and crashed his fist into Gaara's confused and shocked face. Gaara was pushed back as Naruto got up and got into fighting position. "You seriously need to get a new job," he referred to the way Gaara was acting like a dummy working for Orochimaru. "You know, one of those jobs at Starbucks. The coffee is great seriously and the pay isn't that bad." Naruto chuckled and darted towards Gaara.

Although Naruto thought of that as funny, Gaara didn't one bit. His eyes filled with rage as his battle raged on with the blond haired obnoxious boy.

----------

Sasuke had soon forgotten about Gaara as he saw Sakura battling it out with the snake he despised. He took a closer look and saw that Sakura was the one who had the advantage in the fight. "When did she learn how to fight?" Sasuke said to himself and he cocked an eyebrow at the thought of her suddenly turning into a fighter with a black belt. "If she fought this good, why was she taken so easily by Orochimaru?" he brushed all of the thoughts off and ran for her.

Orochimaru was now dodging Sakura's blows but every blow got more accurate every time. No matter how hard he tried to get away from her, he couldn't shake her off his tail. He also learned that she had immense strength and power after he saw he crack the ground open with just her fist. "Orochimaru, you have interfered with life as it was supposed to be for this girl. She was supposed to live a normal life but you had to go and search for her, making her life a living nightmare." The person talking inside Sakura was the guardian of the gate that was before them now and she wasn't supposed to be let out until two years later. Now that she was released before her time, the rightful master has not yet been born. Sakura was merely a shell to hide the guardian until one day, the guardian would be born into a human. Guess things didn't go as planned.

Orochimaru ran for the dust cloud trying to escape her wrath but before he could reach it, he was hit aside by a powerful force. "Can't go in there." Sasuke stood a few feet away from Orochimaru's stunned body. Sasuke had just swung a fierce punch at his stomach, winding him in the process. He then saw Sakura standing straight with her feet safely on the ground. Her eyes were still as white though.

Sasuke didn't know what happened and why her eyes were white so he panicked a little bit and ran to her. "S-Sakura, what happened to you?" he grabbed her shoulders and looked straight at her face. She was just looking straight ahead and it looked like he didn't hear him. "Sakura?" he shook her a little bit; still no answer. 'What the hell is going on?' Sasuke turned his head as he saw Orochimaru grown and try to get up. He turned his head back to Sakura. "Come on Sakura, we can still get out of here," before he could finish his statement, she began to talk. "If the gate is opened, the beat inside will reek havoc all over the world." She still didn't look at him.

Then Orochimaru was standing right up and grinned as he slouched over a little. "The serpent inside had the ability to make anyone immortal. I will be that person. I will also become it's master as I go with him to cause chaos. I said before that I'd only kill a few million." Orochimaru gave a course laugh. "But sometimes you have to sacrifice a few people don't you agree," Orochimaru looked up at the area around him and Gaara, out of nowhere, threw a kunai at the particular spot that Orochimaru was looking at. "Hatake Kakashi."

Two people suddenly jumped out of the large crack in the wall and landed in the side furthest from Sasuke and Sakura, making a semi-circle around Orochimaru. "Snake," there was hatred in Kakashi's voice which mad Sasuke wince. He knew he despised Orochimaru but he had never heard Kakashi like that before.

Then from the cloud of dust, Naruto ran out and stopped in the last open space to complete the circle coughing and wet with sweat. Everything was soon silent.

With one swift move, Gaara blew out all the candles with his sand and all that could be seen before total darkness took over was Orochimaru's two bright yellow eyes.

Now that everything was in pure blackness, the white glowing knife and Sakura could clearly be seen. They shone so brightly that they illuminated around three feet around themselves. Of course Sakura wasn't herself at the time but Sasuke thought she was an angle. 'Why the hell do you have to think like that at a time like this? Man,' Sasuke told himself. Everything was silent one more time before everyone charged for the knife.

Sasuke ran as fast as he could for the knife. Actually he was the first one to it. He was about to pick it up when he was knocked over by someone, most likely Orochimaru. "Ow, what the," Sasuke got up quickly and charged at his attacker. He approached at the speed of light and saw two big yellow eyes before he tripped after trying to grasp nothing but thin air.

As he looked up he could see the bright white glow move from side to side avoiding what seemed to be punches and kicks. Sasuke had had it with the whole Marco Polo thing. He got up and held his arm out before him. "Okay, so maybe this really isn't a good idea but I have no other choice." He closed his eyes tightly and snapped his fingers. He waited for a few moments before he opened his eyes in confusion.

There was nothing.

He snapped again out of pure panic. "Why isn't it working?" he looked around o see where everyone was. It was still as dark as ever and Sasuke didn't like it. He stared at his hands in disbelieve, although he couldn't see them. He tried his eyes. He blinked hard and hoped it would work. He had a feeling it wouldn't though because usually he felt them change. At that moment, he couldn't feel a thing. He opened his eyes and still saw the bright white glow of the room but the predicting effect wasn't there. He saw everything normally, like he used too. "What?"

From behind him, the wise guardian ran passed him and said a brief thing, "Evil cannot be beaten by cheating." With that she ran towards the same bright light. 'What did she mean by that? And what am I doing standing here!" he snapped out of his blank state and ran for it. Those words were still in his head though. "Evil cannot be beaten by cheating. Does she know something about this?"

----------

Back with Orochimaru, he was having the time of his life. He was laughing while everyone was going for him. "Ha, you guys are too slow." He was headed for the door along with the key, or knife per say. From left right and center, everyone was throwing punches at him but he knew it wasn't at full power because they were scared of hitting each other. That was the perfect plan, turning the lights off. Now no one could stop him from getting what he wanted.

He was nearing the door.

From behind Sasuke was running at top speed trying to catch up with Orochimaru. Someone blocked his way. "Where do you think you're going?" Sasuke just sighed angrily because he knew that voice. "Gaara."

Naruto came up behind Gaara and jumped him. Gaara struggled and pried Naruto off his back. "Not both of you," Gaara chuckled. "I don't want to make you two lose that badly. It would look bad on your record if both of you were beaten by me." Then sand surrounded him.

"Wait, how is he doing that?" Sasuke asked Naruto even though he knew Naruto had no clue what he was talking about. "What?" 'Just as I thought.' "Naruto, my powers don't work!" Naruto stopped and looked dumbfounded at Sasuke. "…What?" then Gaara hit him right on the side of his face.

Sasuke, in turn, struck Gaara back and continued his talk with Naruto while helping him up. "That's what I said. They don't work but Gaara's do!" they were both split apart when Gaara ran for them. They both went separate ways but stilled talked. "See, he can still control sand. I can't even light up my finger." Then they were all lost. For some reason the light suddenly went out. Sasuke heard Naruto and felt a sharp pain on his right shoulder, then on his stomach. "Naruto," Sasuke coughed from not being able to breathe. "Stop hitting me."

Sasuke closed his eyes from the pain. He heard Naruto apologize but then stopped. "You know you can continue with the apologizing Naruto." Sasuke then opened his eyes and found to his surprise that the whole place was lit up but by the same blinding white light that the knife emitted. He searched for the source of the light and found that Orochimaru has inserted the knife into its keyhole on the door. Now the door was giving off the same glow. "Oh shit." Was all Sasuke could say.

Orochimaru had just put used the only key that could open the door that lead to complete chaos. It was too late to stop the door from opening now. Orochimaru just stood there, hands above his head and large smirk on his face. He was victorious in opening the door and all that awaited him was immortality. This wasn't good at all.

The door slowly opened as everything was visible, now that the light dimmed down a little bit. When the door was fully open, there was pitch blackness inside. Everyone stared and waited for something to happen unexpectedly but nothing came after a few minutes. "What's going on?" Naruto was the first one to speak up. "Where's the big gush of magic?" Sasuke shook his head at Naruto's statement and smacked him in the head annoyingly. "Ow! What I was just asking," Naruto rubbed the back of his head.

He was about to hit Sasuke back when he heard a dangerously low hiss and the floor began to rumble slowly. Everyone jumped at the feeling of the ground except for Sakura who just stood there as if nothing was happening. "Orochimaru will regret this ever happening." She said.

From what seemed to be the pits of hell, a humongous snake came slithering out. Its black and blue scales glimmered in the light and its blood red eyes stared down at the group as if it were going to strike at that very moment. Everything about it was deadly; the looks and the feeling of it just being there.

Then to everyone's surprise, it began to speak. "Who has dared to open my chambers?" there was a slight hint of sliminess in its voice. It eyed everyone in the room and its eyes fell upon Orochimaru who suddenly spoke up. The grin of his face began to scare everyone. He looked even more like a mad man when he showed his teeth.

The snake just stared down at Orochimaru, studying him. No one spoke in fear of being eaten by the creature. "You are not the one," the snake abruptly spoke up. Orochimaru stared in disbelief. "What are you talking about? I was the one who inserted the key. I was the one who went through all of the trouble trying to get it to activate. It was me!" Orochimaru was now angry at the beast for not accepting him as its master. "What about the promise of immortality? What about the chaos in the world?"

The snake was growing impatient with Orochimaru. After resisting Orochimaru's rambling, the snake struck at Orochimaru, fangs bared. The snake's head went down on Orochimaru so quickly that Orochimaru didn't even have the time to scream out. All that could be heard was Orochimaru's body sliding down into the pit of the snake's stomach. Everyone at this point wanted to just run out. Gaara on the other hand just looked up at the monster without flinching, even if his so called 'master' was eaten.

When Orochimaru was finally gone, the snake brought its head up once again and stared down at everyone. "Now who was the one who activated the key that caused my awakening?" everyone else except for Naruto and Sasuke knew of the legend and knew it was Sakura who activated the knife.

"I did." Everyone looked at Sakura who was standing still glowing in a bright white colour. "I am the guardian of your chamber and this girl is the last known Haruno." The snake looked at her with its crimson eyes. It brought its head down so that his eyes were able to see the girl closely. In fact, its eye was the same size as Sakura herself. "Ah, yes. It's you, Seraph. Long time no see." The snake had suddenly become as deadly as acid. "Why would you of all people set me free? Hmm? I thought when you sealed me, you wanted it to stay that way." There was a hint of a grin on the snake's large face. "As you can see, I easily disposed of one of you and I can do so again." Everyone just gawked, too bewildered to speak.

"What's going on?" Naruto of course was the one to blurt that out.

The snake's eyes instantly shot towards Naruto. He jumped, whimpered then hid behind Sasuke. "Oh so there's a loud mouth huh? Well I can deal with you." He snake was about to strike once again when a large sand pile hit the side of the snakes face. It was Gaara but there was something different. His tattoo wasn't glowing red anymore and neither were his eyes. He was indeed the Gaara everyone knew but this time, he actually knew he had powers. "Don't you dare hurt them."

The snake turned all the way around to face Gaara. "Oh do you think you can stop me? You're just like the others only with a little bit of a cheat sheet." Gaara gathered as much sand as he could and launched it at the snake. "You can't beat me even if you tried big guy. No one can get through a solid wall like me." Gaara said sincerely and took a glance at Sakura. During this incident, Sakura's will broke free from the Seraph for only a few moments. "I know everything now. About me murdering those innocent people, me having destructive powers and such. I just want to let you know Sakura that I did and always will love you." Tears streamed down Gaara's face and he looked at everyone and stopped at Sasuke. While he talked to Sasuke, he held off the raging snake with his sand wall. "Sasuke please," Gaara was crying but he kept an honest smile on his face. "Please take care of Sakura for me," the snake was slowly breaking free from the sand and waving its tail around madly causing the place to fall apart. "Protect her with your life."

With that, Gaara waved his free hand and carried everyone away with his sand. Everyone except for Sakura was screaming and crying. Sasuke was left dumbfounded though. He didn't know what to say or do. All he did was sit on the moving sand and stare at the back of Gaara's retreating form. Sakura didn't want to leave Gaara and Sasuke knew it.

The Seraph's spirit had left Sakura's body and disappeared.

The place began to tear down, sand and rock began to fall from the ceiling and walls. Everyone was now safely outside of the castle and watched it slowly crumble into dust. Sakura was crying endlessly and screaming out Gaara's name. Naruto restrained her for he knew she would kill herself by running into the ruins if he let her go. Naruto was crying as well as he struggled to keep her from escaping.

The last sound that was heard was the roar of a great and dangerous beast by the name Chaos. He was sealed away once again, never to be found.

Sasuke stepped up in front of everyone and the sobbing Sakura who was now on her knees. Sasuke stared into the sky and tears flowed through his eyes. "You said evil couldn't be defeated by cheating?" he yelled out to the sky. He didn't actually expect someone to answer him. "He did not cheat. Gaara fought from the heart. His powers were all his, he took over his evil form because he wanted all of you to be safe." The Seraph's image stood before them all right at that moment. "He was sincere when he said he loved you Sakura," Sakura looked up still slouched and crying. "He did this for you and please do move on. It would be for the best. He's here with me up in the heavens. Don't worry about him now, he's happy where he is." The Seraph smiled at all of them and disappeared, only to be replaced by the shining sun that never aged.

Everyone was left to stare at the spot in the sky where they last saw the Seraph. They knew seeing an angel was an impossible thing for ordinary people but they've gone through so much that they didn't think twice about it being weird. They thought it was very normal now but still, everyone sobbed at the thought of someone they felt very close too die for their sake.

It indeed was a very sad day for the group.

Sasuke thought back to what Gaara had said to him before they were carried away to freedom, away from being captive to an underground room. "Please take care of Sakura for me, protect her with your life." Sasuke didn't know if he could help Sakura now, her boyfriend had just died and for all he knew, she would spas at him. He knew he'd be hurt if she yelled at him, she was the only one who changed him. He didn't want to risk it. But his thoughts were changed when he looked up at the sky. A fluffy white cloud, out of coincidence he thought, made the shape of Gaara's face. No matter how many times Sasuke blinked or looked away, the cloud was still there.

His eyes fell from the clouds to Sakura. 'No, I promised Gaara and I will do whatever I can to keep things the way he wanted them too.' He thought of how sad Sakura must be feeling at the moment. 'Gaara, I'm doing this for you and for Sakura. I know she still loves you but I will never stop loving her. Don't worry, I will take care of her.' He smiled at the sky and closed his eyes, feeling the rays of the sun.

All that could be seen in the sun's light were people, just ordinary, normal people who lived in a world where fate took place. They walk away into the horizon, never ever forgetting what had happened to them.

"I will protect her until the sun refuses to shine

Until the rivers stop flowing into the sea

I vow that Sakura will be the happiest girl in the world

Thank you Gaara for everything."

---------------------

Epilogue

Months later…

I stuck to my promise. That's all I have to say. I finally got Sakura to let everything out and move on. She seemed really depressed for a while but no one said I left her side. I was there the whole time. I even moved into her apartment.

My old apartment was sold a few weeks ago to a couple that I didn't know of. I bet they would be happy in a nice apartment suit though. I was happy enough to stay with Sakura. She needed me anyway and I was more than happy to be with her.

Just about three days ago, I asked her to go out with me. You know the typical walk on the beach and dinner at a fancy restaurant. She told me before that she didn't care where we went but I just told her that she deserved the best and she just skipped along happily. I don't really know but seeing her like that brightens up my day. Everyone says I've changed. I didn't want to admit it at first but I couldn't deny it.

After the date, I asked her if she would be my girlfriend. I knew this was sudden and thought it would make her break down but at the moment, she just had a smile plastered on her face. She was grinning at me slyly. After waiting for like eternity, she finally said that she would answer me when the time was right.

Part of me was relieved and the other a bit on edge. I was relieved because at least the hard part was over but the part where I had to wait was suspenseful. I just brushed it off, it was Sakura. I knew she would pull through sooner or later.

Here I am now, waiting in Sakura's apartment with a whole bunch of other people with the lights off. It was March 21st, her birthday. We set up a surprise party for her and decided it would be best if it were to take place at her house.

The door opened silently and her pink hair was visible in the hallway light that appeared behind her. She dropped her keys on the table and flicked the lights on. Everything lit up. Everyone jumped out of their hiding places and yelled "Happy Birthday Sakura!" her face was priceless. She was smiling again. The biggest smile I've seen yet.

The party went on and everyone began to chatter and sit in groups talking about their lives and such while I stood by the window staring out into the black night. 'The same night of that day,' I felt a small tap on my shoulders and turned around.

"Oh hey birthday girl. Enjoying the party so far?" I grinned. "Of course, why wouldn't I?" she looked down at her feet with a smile and then looked back up at me. "Do you want to step outside?" I nodded and followed her out onto the porch.

It was a beautiful night with the full moon shining down on Sakura's face, illuminating every feature causing me to fall in love with her even more. "Sasuke," she said staring out at the city lights. I just stood beside her and waited for her to continue as I too looked out into the city. It was breathtaking. All the lights seemed to cover a huge Christmas tree.

There was silence then she turned to me and looked me straight in the eye. What got me questioning in my mind was why she was smiling. "Yes." Was what she said to me. I looked at her for a moment, trying to figure out what she was saying. Then it hit me. I screamed at the top of my lungs with joy and happiness. She had said yes to becoming my girlfriend and I was thrilled. More than what words could ever describe.

I encircled my arms around her waist and spun her around and around. She clung to me and it felt so good knowing that she was going to be there, always. I put her down and kissed her gently on the lips. It was unreal. I finally got to kiss the girl I loved, and it was amazing. Indescribable.

We broke the kiss and my forehead stuck to hers. I closed my eyes and sighed. "This night can't get any better." I whispered. "I know."

I got out of the embrace and took her hand. "Wait, I still have one thing to show you." He ran back into the apartment suit and out into the hallway with Sakura in tow. The elevator took us down to the main floor and we ran and got onto my new motorcycle; a slick blue motorcycle that was given to me by none other than Hatake Kakashi.

Sakura got the other helmet and held on tight to me. I drove swiftly all the way to the school football field. We got off and snuck into the field through an open space in the fence. We ran a little longer until we got to the center of the field where a box waited for them.

"What's that Sasuke?" Sakura asked me with pure confusion. I bent down and opened the boxed slowly. Inside were fireworks of all different sizes. She gasped and smiled widely. I knew she loved fireworks. I took her hand and walked many meters away from the box. "Ready Sakura?" I asked. She nodded in response.

I lit my arm up on fire and threw a fire ball at the box. Immediately the box blew up and many different coloured rockets flew in every direction and exploded in the sky making large flower patterns. Turns out my powers came back a few weeks after the incident. There was something in the underground room, probably in the sand, that made my powers cease to exist. I didn't know what kind of mineral would cause something as powerful as my powers stop but it was sure powerful. I actually began to miss my powers after a while. I'm glad they're back.

"This night was perfect Sasuke, thank you so much." She kissed me again and I knew she was happy. I could feel it. We embraced each other under the beautiful designs that formed in the sky. Then I looked up and spoke, "Thank you Gaara." very softly.

After that, I had never mentioned the Orochimaru incident to just anyone. I kept it to myself and my friends but then again, they were my only family and I liked it that way. That was my life. I never thought it would end up like that. I expected it to be less perfect. God must've been nice to me. But that was only the beginning of a new journey.

--------------------------

That was the last chapter guys! XD I know I really didn't like my ending much but that's all I could do. Hope you enjoyed it and I will try and get a new Sasu/Saku story going. For now though please check out my new story "Life is One Big Book." The characters aren't Sasu/Saku but the story should be pretty good. Thanks again HikariStar77 and to all of my readers who reviewed. Good luck with your stories as well and this is goodbye for now.

- --writingzeaL