WELCOME ONE AND ALL TO THE EXTRAVAGANZA YOU"VE BEEN WAITING FOR. YES IT IS

Sakura No Yousei! The first fanfic written by: black kunoichi

hehe just kidding, to all i've just officially scared off, i'm terribly sorry for the fright, but i'm just a tad excited is all. I just would like to say for the first 11 chapters, the rating is T, but from that point on, the rating will be changed to M due to sexual activity involving charecters WOOT WOOT! yeah but thats just the way the cookie crumbles.

For those who wish it to stay within their innocent limits, i will be updatingchapter 12with an edited version to please those who don't want to taint their little minds, but for those who are all for the grrrroar, i will be informing you at the beggining of chapter 12 ( i know its like way late to post this, but i figured its fare warning) i like to respect the wishes of all my readers so this is for you guys. If you clearly have a problem, please contact me through email or a message! anyways, arigato and please enjoy..

SAKURA NO YOUSEI CHAPTER ONE!...


Sakura No Yousei: Chapter 1- The Sharingan in the Mist

The sunrise appeared on the horizon. A sandy, unpaved path lined by forest opened before the waiting figures in the cool morning light. The sun slowly rose over the grassy hills of Konoha village, basking it in a warm red-orange glow, a group of eager teenagers waiting by the town's entrance. A pink-haired girl looked anxiously around, moving side to side to maintain warmth in her bare legs. A raven-haired boy stood silently, hands in his pockets, his face expressionless. Lastly, an energetic blonde-haired boy paced impatiently in front of the intricately carved pillars guarding the village's entrance.

The warm glow from the sun stretched forward, creeping gradually up the dirt path, illuminating the three standing, warming their skin with its soothing rays. The village soaked up the heat, its inhabitants waking as the sun shone through their open windows. A light, balmy breeze swept through the forest as the approach of summer made itself known.

An enormous mountain came to life as the sun swept its light up the steep slopes, revealing the faces of the ancient hokage carved in the stone's vast cliff wall. The four olden visages watched over the village, their gaze protecting. The eyes of the powerful leaders seemed to cast down upon the trio still standing, waiting, for something. Finally the blonde boy had had enough.

" Where is he!" yelled Naruto loudly, fuming as he paced, slowly wearing a shallow trench in the dirt. The other two turned to face him. Sakura glared at him behind her emerald eyes, frustrated herself that their sensai was constantly late when it came to important dealings. Sasuke simply returned his onyx eyes to the path they would soon travel down, leaving the village behind them as they made their long journey to The Land Hidden In The Mist.

His eyes turned to the girl across from him. He watched her intently as she tied her headband at the base of her neck, its smooth metal slate crowning her, soft pink hair. The symbol of their village reflected the light as she brushed her hair carelessly away from her face, neatly tucking the rosy strands behind her ear, only to have the locks fall stubbornly back to the side of her face. Annoyed, she left her hair alone, realizing it would remain difficult. He laughed inwardly at her innocence, her face in a slight frown as she stared down at her hands.

She seemed to notice him watching her when she looked up to meet his eyes upon her, a smile lighting her face. He looked away suddenly, scowling as he returned his eyes to the path. Her smile faded, her heart sinking sadly as she watched him.

She had always wished Sasuke would pay attention to her, its what she wanted most of all. She tried everything she knew to get closer to him. Even being his friend would satisfy her, but he only thought of her as a pestering nuisance, constantly getting in his way and annoying him with her happy disposition. She had asked him out many times, only meeting his cold gaze as he brushed her off, telling her hurtful things that made her cringe.

Her heart had been broken many times by this same boy and yet she stood by him faithfully, always there to help him, even if he never accepted it. Sasuke thought of Sakura as pathetic, always holding her heart out to him, only to have him push it back into her face, rejecting her every effort to aid him or become nearer to him.

This is the way it had been ever they had become Squad 7. Naruto in turn had a huge crush on Sakura, baffled at why she even cared about Sasuke. He was callous and cold hearted, only one goal in his mind. 'He will never care, Sakura,' Naruto had said so many times before, but not wanting to believe him, she continued to devote every waking minute to him.

So she stood watching him, his cold stare cast down the lonely road to unknown dangers, but she didn't care what risks they were taking. They were Genin. Although it was somewhat of a low rank in the ninja totem pole, they were a strong three-some. Sakura being the only one who ever paid attention in ninja class, was wise, her intense intelligence necessary to survival as a group. She knew every jutsu by heart, even if she was incapable of performing them all.

That was where Sasuke and Naruto came in. As rivals, they were constantly pushing themselves to top one another in every fighting style. They needed each other though. Without their stubborn competition, neither would be as strong as they were now. With the guidance of Sakura, they learned complicated and intricate jutsus, surpassing all their former classmates. Naruto was the goof ball, the outcast, the always determined.

He pushed himself hard to accomplish everything to become the fifth Hokage. His simple task was to earn the respect of the villagers and his peers, doing whatever it took to do so. When he was born, he had been instantly rejected. The reason, he was told, was that he contained the legendary nine tailed fox that ravaged the lands long before his birth. In order to stop the immortal beast, the forth Hokage was to trap it in a living vessel.

At that time Naruto was the chosen newborn to house the fox's spirit. It gave him his own incredible power, but he was foolish and did nothing to learn how to harness the power the fox gave him. And Sasuke, the lone Uchiha. He struggled with life, left solitary as his parents were murdered when he was younger by his only brother, Itachi. His purpose was to avenge his family's death by eliminating his brother.

Gruesome was his task, yet he knew it was the only way to release him from his nightmares. He also had one thing neither Naruto nor Sakura had. He had the Kekai Genki, the Sharingan. It was in his bloodline, an immense power that ran through his veins. Although he had never found it necessary to use it, it lied in his eyes, dormant till the day when its purposes would be needed. He had once produced it when Naruto had angered him terribly, but he found it had drained him of almost all his chakra, so he refrained from any emotion that would unleash it. Instead he focused on increasing his chakra levels so that when the time came, he could use it regularly to defeat his foes.

Perhaps that was why he was such a brooding curiosity. He barely spoke if he could help it, and when he did, it was to say very little. But since his time with his two teammates, he had opened up a little, become slowly more sociable. He still got aggravated when asked too many questions, as conversation was never his strong point.

This happened to be when Sakura asked about things she had no business knowing about. He was short tempered with her inquisitive nature. He found her to talk too much, but lately he found her chatter to be comforting especially when directed at him.

He had no idea why he suddenly felt kinder to Sakura. He even began to care when other boys from the village talked to her, especially Naruto, who constantly asked her out and hit on her. He noticed the small changes in her dress, like a different colored kimono, but he didn't find the current ones small at all.

She recently traded her long skirted kimono for a tight fitting, long, sleeve-less shirt, still embroidered with the Haruno emblem, being the usual shade of red she was fond of. As for the shorts, they were swapped for black bikini-like bottoms. She wore a many-pouched satchel around her hips as not to reveal too much of herself, but it did expose her amazing slender legs. She replaced her sandals for tall, strapped, black boots.

Her whole attire gave her an immediate matured look, her appearance radiating the serious ninja she was becoming. Her usual kunai satchel was still wrapped around her upper thigh as it covered some skin, but not enough to refrain Sasuke from staring at her perfect legs. She simply noted it as summer clothes and since they were going to travel, she thought it more appropriate to have less to carry in her pack, although she did bring her old kimono in case of colder weather.

As always, Naruto was the first to compliment on her somewhat drastic, yet pleasing change, drool pouring from his more than slightly agape mouth. She had simply smiled at him but warned him to keep his distance as they trained, not wanting him to get his saliva on her.

She laughed joyously when they fought one another and Naruto couldn't focus long enough to even block Sakura's attacks. The sound of her laughter had filled Sasuke's ears and he smiled at her bubbly nature. He started to find himself entranced at her behavior; he even started thinking about her when they were apart. He was confused at why he started feeling this way for his bubblegum haired teammate.

He carefully thought over this as a shadow moved in the trees behind him. Sakura was the first to notice. Casually, she strolled over to Sasuke and stopped in front of the tree behind him. He watched her calmly, sensing the presence of a forth person hidden in the tree foliage above, neither of them realizing Naruto's shuffling foot falls had ceased.

" Sensai, we know its you, you're 10 minutes late, we should have left by now," Sakura said sternly, her eyes pinpointed on the figure hiding in the green leaves.

" What are you looking at Sakura," said Kakashi-Sensai, strolling out of the village entrance, his usual book " Icha Icha Paradise" held open in his hand. Sakura turned on her heels at the sound of his voice. Clearly startled, she looked from Kakashi to the tree, a frown on her face, her eyes quizzical.

" Then who's in the tr…GET OFF ME NARUTO!"

Naruto had jumped out of the tree, tackling Sakura to the ground, pinning her hands to her sides, a look of glory adorning his face.

" WHAT ARE YOU DOING YOU IDIOT, GET OFF!" she said, breaking his grasps on her hands and shoving him off her. He fell backward to the ground roughly, emitting a small " oof " as he landed. Sitting up, Sakura rubbed her head, her eyes closed as a sharp pain throbbed through her head. She opened her eyes to find Sasuke's hand outstretched in front of her. Looking up at him, she studied his face, wondering if she got hit harder than usual and she was seeing things.

" Are you going to take my hand or not," he said evenly. She reached up, setting her hand in his. He slowly hoisted her up to his level, surprised at how light she was. He stood with her hand in his for a few seconds, looking into her clear emerald eyes. Sakura felt herself blush as her gazed at her, an unfamiliar look gleaming in his eyes. 'Its almost like he's looking into my eyes…longingly,' she thought before breaking eye contact with him.

" Um… Thanks Sasuke-kun," she said, releasing his hand and brushing herself off. Sasuke simply muttered " your welcome" while shrugging and turned to Naruto who remained motionless on the ground. He looked at Naruto who was watching Sakura brush the dirt from the satchel around her hips and back.

He seemed too focused on her careful grooming to care he was still lying in the cold sand. She tossed her hair lightly over her shoulder, its pink color capturing the light, making it shimmer as it fell behind her. Her green eyes fell upon Naruto who looked away quickly. He picked himself off the ground and advanced toward Sakura, his eyes cast at the ground. He stopped before her and he slowly lifted his head.

" I'm real sorry, Sakura, I hope I didn't hurt you."

" Its okay Naruto," Sakura said, seeing the guilty look on his face. She smiled at him, her eyes sparkling sincerely. He instantly returned her smile, his wide toothy grin taking up his face. He raised his arms and placed the behind his head as he did usually. Turning to Kakashi-Sensai, he simply stood there, his smile still plastered to his face.

" So, can we go?" Naruto asked hopefully. Sakura instantly turned and waited for his answer, as did Sasuke. Kakashi simply looked at all three of his pupils before closing his book and stuffing into his satchel.

" Well we can leave…. as soon as our assignment gets here." He said, beaming at them, although his smile went unseen because of his mask that hid his lower face. They all groaned at the prospect of waiting even longer. The cool morning air had now diminished completely and Konoha village came to life. People left their houses to go about their business, greeting each other as they went.

An old, gray haired man approached the foursome slowly, a large packed perched upon his back, a straw hat concealing his face. Kakashi-Sensai reached forward, grasping the hand of the old man and introduced him to the three Genin behind him.

" That's Sasuke, Sakura and..."

" Naruto Uzumaki, soon to be fifth Hokage," said Naruto beaming, stepping forward to greet the man. He extended his hand, waiting for the man to shake it. He remained standing as he was, not even paying attention to Naruto's outstretched hand.

" So they send a bunch of children to protect me, do they," the man retorted sarcastically, hoisting his pack higher upon his back before advancing down the travel beaten path. The three of them stood there slightly astonished at the man's rude comment.

Sasuke simply scowled at the thought of being called a child while Sakura stood expressionless at the man's lack of manners, her arms crossed irritably. Naruto, on the other hand, raced forward to block the man's path, an angry look on his face.

" What did you say, old man!" Naruto yelled, fists clenched, eyes glaring at the man in front of him. The man simply let out a haughty laugh, raising his head to meet Naruto's glare.

" So you think a weak little kid like you can become Hokage, do you? Well you probably barely graduated ninja school. Why, I bet you had to coax that girl to help you pass. I wouldn't waste your time dreaming." The man's words caused Naruto's anger to rise closely to boiling point, his hand itching at his satchel containing his kunai and shuriken.

Taking notice of the would be scene, Kakashi stepped forward and blocked Naruto from the man. Kakashi turned to face the man, his face stern.

" I assure you my pupils are the strongest out of our village, you are in good hands."

" Well I hope so, wouldn't want the little one getting hurt," he said sarcastically before passing Kakashi and Naruto and continued walking down the trail.

" What a nasty old man," Sakura whispered to Sasuke.

" Yeah," said Sasuke," I like him already."

Sakura raised her hand to suppress a giggle and walked forward to join Kakashi-Sensai and Naruto as they made their way deeper into the forest and farther away from home. Sasuke followed behind, hands in pockets, watching Sakura reprimand Naruto on his embarrassing behavior. " You should have just ignored him Naruto," she said quietly, leaning close to him to avoid being overheard. Sasuke tensed as he watched her whisper something in his ear, a smile spreading across her pink lips.

Naruto laughed heartily and wrapped his arm around her shoulders and pulling her closer to him. She laughed along, her hand reaching up to rest on his wrist. Sasuke frowned, watching them with disgust.

'Sakura usually never lets Naruto touch her, so why is she letting him hold her by his side?' thought Sasuke as his pace quickened to catch up. He watched infuriated as Naruto nuzzled Sakura's hair and whispered something to her, which caused her to turn her face to him, her cheeks a bright pink, her mouth wide in surprise. She glanced back at Sasuke and looked back in front of her quickly, but not before revealing a wide smile.

He wondered suspiciously what Naruto had said to her and why she had looked at him. Sakura laughed and pushed at Naruto with her free hand, but he maintained his hold on her. He just smiled, pulling her into his arms and sweeping her up with his other hand. She gasped and giggled, wrapping her arms tightly around his neck in case he were to drop her. Her eyes glistened with tears as she laughed loudly, Naruto spinning her around. Sakura's hair flowed behind her, her emerald eyes glowing, her mouth turned up in a joyous smile. Naruto stopped and set her down, slightly wobbly but laughing the whole time.

Sasuke felt anger rise along with another emotion. He couldn't tell what it was. He had felt it before and it seemed to only happen when Sakura was around. He tried not to let it show, but to no success. Sakura was stopped ahead of him, arms wrapped around her waist, her laughter dying.

She straightened up to find Sasuke had stopped beside her, facing ahead. She turned to face him but he continued to watch Naruto and the others slowly get farther away. Sakura's eyes studied him curiously before he turned his eyes upon her. Slightly surprised by his expression, she looked up at him, nervously smiling. He smiled back at her, a faint smile, but one nonetheless.

Reaching his hand to her face he brushed away a strand of hair that stuck to her ebony lashes. Sakura closed her eyes briefly at the touch of his hand against her face. Feeling the warm contact of his fingertips she opened her eyes to find him looking intently at her, the same way he had earlier. He shifted his body towards her, his eyes examining her features carefully. He stepped closer, mere inches from her when he spoke.

" What did Naruto say to you?" he said casually. Slightly disappointed, she met his onyx eyes.

" Nothing really, except he had caught you looking at me this morning," she said in a teasing tone, making him slightly uncomfortable. He felt a warmth sneak into his face as he turned from her and began walking. Confused, Sakura pursued him, her satchel swishing about her hips as she caught up to him.

" Sasuke…"

" Sakura, Sasuke, stop lagging behind," yelled Kakashi-Sensai over his shoulder. Sakura blushed and ran forward to catch up. Sasuke watched as her boots hit the ground, creating small clouds of dust. Her satchel moved side to side, the weapons clinking against each other melodiously. Her black bottoms became exposed as she slowed to a walk beside Kakashi, her satchel swinging around her hips.

She glanced back at him, still puzzled about his silent response to her words, the faint blush she had noticed. She would never expect Sasuke to take interest in her, he was simply curious at Naruto's comment. She knew he had no time for girls and yet there was something in the way he looked at her.

Dismissing her thoughts she listened to Naruto argue with the man they were assigned to protect. Sasuke remained distant from the group, walking along slowly, his eyes resting on the pink-haired konoichi. How could he be so careless to allow Naruto to notice him staring at Sakura? He scolded himself for being so foolish to admire Sakura when Naruto was around. He continued to ponder these thoughts when a thick mist slowly crept in. He shivered as the cold mist raised the hairs at the nape of his neck.

" That's weird, I don't remember mist ever coming in early summer. We shouldn't expect rain at least for another couple of months," Sakura stated curiously.

" That's because this is no normal mist. Stay close and quiet," said Kakashi-Sensai, his eye cautiously exploring the forest to each side of them. They continued to walk silently, undisturbed for a few hours, but the mist never let up.

" Gah, what's with the mist!" Naruto blurted out as they carried on through the mist.

" Quiet Naruto, you want to get us killed," growled Sakura, slapping him on the back of the head. He glared over at her and rubbed his head gingerly, the spot where her hand made contact slightly stinging.

" Be quiet, both of you. We must proceed as silently as possible."

Kakashi-Sensai pushed up his headband to reveal his Shuringan. He gazed around, reading the chakra in the trees. There was no sign of anyone. Sighing he pulled his headband back over his eyes and maintained his steady pace. Sakura watch the sensai with interest and apprehension. 'If they were in any real danger, Kakashi would protect them.' She thought, although the reality of the situation made her anxious.

She dropped her hand to rest at her thigh, her fingers brushing the satchel's fabric reassuringly. She had a habit of seeking the feel of her satchel. Knowing her weapons were close at hand calmed her and gave her a sense of control if she were ever in any real danger.

Sasuke noticed Sakura nervously snap and unsnap the button on her satchel. This was one of the small things he had come to know and love about her. Her unconscious tendencies were innocent and laughable but he held back the chuckle bubbling up from his stomach. She was calm though, even as she fiddled with the satchel. She knew better than to let the situation get the best of her. Although she didn't show it, she was quite a skilled fighter, Sasuke had no doubt about that.

She was perfectly capable of protecting herself and the bridge-builder, if something were to happen to them. He smiled as he thought of how much she had changed from school. She used to be the lovesick girl who trailed at his feet and only desired to be a ninja just to get near him. It was sad at the time when he thought back on it. Sakura has great potential and she wasted so much time hoping he would care about her.

But as she learned more about him and the more he rejected and ignored her, the more distant she grew. There were subtle changes in her attitude toward him. She was always the cheerful one, but she had forgot about pursuing him, although he sometimes could see the same look on her face he had seen before when she adored him. She used to call him Sasuke-kun every time she addressed him, but now it was just plain old Sasuke.

Some part of him missed the way it used to be, when she still desired to be with him, when she had said his name with the small adoring suffix. But it was to be expected. He was hardly what you could say kind to Sakura. He was mean to her, telling her off for being weak, rejecting her when she tried to help him. He scowled at how things could be different if he had treated her better. Maybe he wouldn't be alone.

" Sasuke, are you okay, you seem distracted today," said Sakura, moving to walk next to him.

" I'm fine, mind your own business," he said coldly. He could feel the warmth from her body disappear as she moved away from him. Why did he do that? Why couldn't he just say it was nothing and smile at her like Naruto did?

If he was going to do something he had better do it now. He turned, locating Sakura standing next to Naruto, head bowed slightly, her smile replaced with a frown. He reached out to grab her arm, but his hand was suddenly pulled to his side.

" Shuriken! MOVE!" Kakashi-Sensai yelled as the small circular blades cut through the crisp, misty air. He moved forward, catching the shuriken on his fingers and quickly tossing them at the spot they emerged from. They scored through the tree and met its trunk with a dull "thunk". Realizing their opening before the next possible attack, Kakashi spoke.

" Protect the bridge-builder!" he yelled back at them. The trio of Genin circled the old man, preparing for the next assault. Sakura looked at Sasuke and their eyes met. He gazed at her apologetically and she understood, nodding at him with a smile on her lips. She turned to watch their sensai when a shadow appeared in the trees further on.

He stepped out onto a bare limb, exposing his bandaged face and enormous sword strapped to his back. Dropping from the tree lightly, he traipsed toward the group, his eyes gleaming menacingly. A muffled laugh emitted from his bandaged mask as he stopped feet in front of Kakashi.

" Do you think those children can actually protect him, Kakashi? Just give Tazuna to me and I won't have to kill you."

" So they send an assassin do they? I believe its Zabuza, correct."

Suddenly the man vanished and reappeared within the circle of the Genin and bridge-builder. Pulling his sword out of the sheath, he prepared to attack. But not a second later, the wise jouniin materialized beside Zabuza in a puff of smoke and attacked, sending Zabuza sailing through mist, his back making contact with the ground as he slid upon the smooth ground.

He quickly pushed his hands off from the ground and landed on his feet as Kakashi-Sensai rushed forward, his headband pushed up to reveal his Sharingan. Eyes blazing, he made contact, the mist increasing around them as they avoided punches being thrown at one another. Kakashi struck the man with a kunai, catching him off balance slightly.

" RUN, AND PROTECT THE BRIDGE-BUILDER!" he yelled as Zabuza swiped at him with the span of his enormous sword. He ducked, narrowly escaping the blade's razor sharp edge, countering the attack by kicking the legs out from Zabuza with a sweep of his extended leg.

Sasuke snapped out of watching his sensai attack at amazing speed and dexterity. Turning to the three behind him, he pointed to the woods.

" Lets go," he said, waiting for the others to take his cue. Sakura stood horrified as the two powerful ninja fought to the death. The intensity at which her sensai would guard them astounded her. ' He would give his life to protect us,' she thought. Her breath hitched in her throat at the consideration that he may die in combat.

She felt a strong hand grip her arm tightly, pulling her in the direction of the dark woods at the side of the trail. Her eyes tore away from the scene as she broke out in a run, her arm still grasped by Sasuke who led her deeper into the forest. Every thing blurred around her. She heard muffled speaking, but couldn't make out what was being said.

After he thought they were a safe distance from the fight, Sasuke stopped. Sakura bent over, breathing heavily, not daring to look behind her. After a few moments of catching her breathe, she turned a full circle to find no one else was behind them. Confused, she turned, her eyes searching for Naruto and the bridge-builder.

" Where is Naruto and Tazuna?" she asked, her voice anxious. Her eyes met Sasuke's, but he looked away from her. " Where are they Sasuke?" she demanded in a cross tone, her voice rising as he didn't respond.

" They didn't come. Naruto said that he had to assist Kakashi-sensai, and if things got bad, he would get out of there with the bridge-builder." He said, not wanting to meet her eyes, as he knew they blazed with anger and disappointment. She turned around and began to walk back to the fight echoing through the trees, but Sasuke caught her arm.

" Sakura, they'll be fine, I know it. Naruto may be a dobe, but he can handle it," he said, a nervous smile on his face. His gaze was comforting, but she couldn't allow Naruto to be destroyed and their mission failed.

She weighed the consequences carefully in her mind. Sasuke could tell she was struggling to decide on what to do. She looked up at him apprehensively, and he could tell what she was going to say.

" Promise me Sasuke, promise me they'll be alright." Her eyes pleaded with him, tears forming at the corners. Sasuke reached up to wipe a stray tear that slid down her soft cheek.

" I promise." She smiled and grasped his hand in hers. To her surprise, he didn't pull away. Instead, he led her away from the noises of battle behind them, watching her look back anxiously before following him, her hand still in his. He didn't know why he was allowing himself to hold Sakura's hand, but it was nice. Her skin was soft and warm and he didn't mind as she moved closer to his side.

They walked silently for what seemed like ages. The sun was slowly making its way to the mountains in the east. Sakura had let go of his hand to collect the delicate flowers that bloomed in the grass. She kneeled and picked a vibrant pink flower, bringing it to her nose and inhaled the sweet aroma. Sasuke stopped and watched her take in the heavenly smell, her eyes closed, her lashes creating a shadow beneath her eyes.

Opening her eyes she found Sasuke smiling down at her, his head tilted to one side. He reached down and pulled her up from her knees. He began to reflect on earlier. ' Maybe I wouldn't be alone,' he thought glumly to himself, his smile fading from his face. Sakura notice Sauke's change in attitude as he frowned.

" What's wrong Sasuke," she asked, sidling up to him again and looking up into his onyx eyes, her emerald orbs piercing his soul. He wanted so much to tell her how he felt about her, that she made him nervous and excited, although it never showed.

He wanted to tell her she was all he thought about, that he wanted to hold her and be the one who comforted her when her tears fell, to protect her from everything she feared. He wanted to tell her everything in his soul…. but most of all he wanted to tell her that he lo…

" Sasuke, are you okay," Sakura asked, placing her hand on his face and turning him to her. He looked away when he saw the concern in her eyes.

" Its nothing," he said, turning to walk away. She watched him walk away from her, his face staring off into the distance. Angered by his stubborn nature, she ran to catch him, extending her arm to grab him, but at that instant he turned to face her. Caught off guard, she skidded to a stop in front of him. He looked down at her, his gaze intent but distant. She could feel he was trying to help her understand, but she wasn't convinced that what was going on with him was nothing.

" Please talk to me, Sasuke, I want to help," she said, moving closer to him. Some part of her knew he would tell her off, but she never turned down an offer to help anyone, especially him. She was willing to meet him half way, but the rest was up to him.

" I wish you could," he said.

" Fine," she said casually, although his distrust in her stung. They were a team, how were they supposed to be one if he couldn't just tell her what was bothering him. She strode away from him, leaving him with his thoughts. ' Maybe I wouldn't be alone.' His same thought came to his mind, but he ignored it. His feelings for Sakura would have to wait.

If he was to complete his goal in life, he could have no distractions, even if it hurt him to ignore what he felt for Sakura. And what about the battle. He knew that if he hadn't taken her, she would be in danger. He had to get stronger to protect her. She would be in danger if anyone knew he loved her. He couldn't allow that. His heart weighed heavily in his chest as he watched her walk away.

Suddenly Sakura screamed and disappeared from sight. Terror rushed through him as he sprinted to where he last saw her. ' Where did she go?' he thought frantically in his mind. He halted quickly, realizing he had reached the ledge of an immense cliff wall. Peering over the shelf, he spotted Sakura clinging to a projection of rock a few feet from his reach. He sank to his knees and lowered himself flat to the ground, extending his hand down to her.

" Grab my hand, Sakura," he yelled down to her. Her eyes were wide with fright, her finger white from clinging for her life. She reached up one hand carefully and felt his fingers wrap around her wrist securely. She released her hold on the rock and grasped his hand desperately with her other. Her eyes turned to the dark plummet below and tears formed in her eyes.

" Don't look down, Sakura, I'll get you out of there," he said as he slowly hoisted her up the ridge. He noticed his hands were starting to slip as the mist penetrated their hold on one another. He pulled her up faster, fearing his grip on her would fail at any second. Drawing her up to his body, he slung one arm around her waist and held her to him. He allowed himself to fall backward onto the secure ground with her in his arms.

Her face was buried in the folds of his shirt, her tepid tears soaking through the dark fabric and warming his skin. His hands stroked her as she cried endlessly into his shirt. Her sobs began to subside and she looked up from his chest into his worried eyes. He rested his hand on her face and caressed her tear-stained cheek. Her eyes welled with tears as she let them slip willingly from her emerald eyes. She attempted to crawl up to him, but winced as a searing pain ran through her leg.

" Sakura, you're hurt," Sasuke said, his voice tense. Her careful lifted her into his lap and examined her leg. A deep cut in her leg seeped blood, a white bone showing through the skin. Sakura looked at her leg and gasped. She knew when she fell her leg had hit the wall roughly, but she had been more worried about the empty cavity below her that threatened to swallow her, than about the pain that shot through her leg.

She cringed and buried her face in Sasuke's shoulder. The pain wasn't the problem now, it was getting her leg healed that was going to be a dilemma. Kakashi and Sakura were the only ones who knew how to revive wounds, and in Sakura's shocked stated, Sasuke doubted she had enough chakra to heal her broken leg.

If they could only get to the sensai, but he realized that wouldn't be an option. If the sensai had been defeated, he couldn't allow them to become easy prey. Finding a thick branch near-by, Sasuke broke it in two and ripped a long piece of clothe from his shorts. He placed his hands on Sakura's leg and she winced in pain.

" This is going to really hurt, okay," he said, wrapping his fingers around her leg, preparing to force the bone together. She nodded, squeezing her eyes shut as she readied for the pain. Sasuke quickly pulled his hands together, the bone fitting back in place. Sakura gasped at the intense pain that numbed her leg. Sasuke gently wrapped the thick branches around her leg with the cloth, making a temporary splint.

Sasuke carefully picked Sakura up, making sure to support her leg gently. Sakura wrapped her arms around his neck as he carried her back into the woods. His kind touch helped ease Sakura's pain as he held her, walking through the tall dark trees that surrounded them. Sakura looked up into the sky, a clearing in the foliage overhead exposing the dark sky.

Stars began to dance and twinkle as the last of the suns rays slipped over the horizon. The sliver of a moon rose brilliantly into the night sky. Sakura turned to gaze at her rescuer. He looked intently ahead, searching for a safe place to rest.

" Sasuke, I just wanted to say, um… well… thank you," she mumbled, slightly embarrassed, but never broke her gaze on him. He stopped and looked down at her, his onyx gaze warming her heart. She saw no coldness, no rejection in this gaze. She saw caring and concern, but there was something else, something she couldn't put her finger on. She had almost figured it out when Sasuke turned his gaze from her, sensing she had almost stumbled upon his secluded secret.

He continued to walk in silence, but he tightened his grip around her waist, holding her closer to him. He felt so comfortable with her that he could tell her the secrets of his heart and she would keep them safe in hers. ' Maybe I wouldn't be alone.' The words echoed in his mind and he knew he had to act on what he was feeling, but not yet, he had to wait for the right moment.

Noticing a sheltered tree at the edge of a clearing, he walked over to in, Sakura still secure in his arms. Once he stepped under the wide spread branches, he set Sakura down carefully on the grass and searched around the tree for fallen limbs and returned with ample firewood. He set up the branches carefully and lit them with a fire no jutsu. The warmth of the fire met his skin and caused a shiver to run down his spine.

Sakura inched closer to bask in the welcome heat. The firelight danced across her graceful features, her skin illuminated a delicate light pink in the fire's glow. The stars above them shimmered and gleamed like dazzling diamonds, beckoning for them to reach out their hand and touch them. Sasuke was entranced at Sakura's pure beauty.

' This is it,' he thought, taking in a breath of cool air and walked over to sit next to Sakura. She watched as he sat on the grass next to her and stretch his sore legs in front of him. He smiled over at her, thinking about how much she had changed as they spent time together. He regretted never spending more time with her. When he overlooked the clinging and talkative nature, he found Sakura more than tolerable, in fact, he was starting to feel like he wouldn't get enough of her.

She smiled back at him, the smile only he received. She made him complete in a way. He was darkness, she was light. She was a new reason for him to have hope. She watched him as he slid closer to her and shyly placed his hand over hers. Her face became pink as she realized things she had never noticed about Sasuke and herself. He had been quite strange over the last few weeks.

She would find him watching her when she trained in her favorite secluded spot by the waterfall, he sought her out so she would help him with special techniques, one thing he never did unless Naruto had done it first, and the occasional " bumping into her" and then walking with her where she went. It slowly began to sink in. The fact he stared at her, when he had helped her up and held her hand for those few brief seconds, when he had blushed when she told him what Naruto had said, and now, the moment they were caught up in. She looked into his eyes, knowing what the unfamiliar shimmer was. He leaned closer to her, finding it hard to speak, but somehow managing.

" Sakura, I've been meaning to tell you something," he said, his eyes staring into her emerald pools he had often found himself swimming in. He slid his fingers through hers, intertwining them as he looked at her.

" Yes Sasuke-kun," she said in a low voice, leaning closer to his face. And that's what did it for him. The suffix he longed so must to hear slip from her pink lips. The sound of it coming from her mouth made him vaguely forget what he was going to tell her.

" I… well umm over the last couple of weeks, I've been feeling something. It scares me and I can't ignore it. I tried and it only got worse. It causes me to get nervous and excited all at the same time. I never knew what it was before but I think I do now. Sakura, all I do is think about you. I can't stop, nor do I want to. I get jealous when other boys look at you or talk to you. I don't want to pretend that there's nothing between us. I want to be the one who saves you when you're in trouble, the one who wipes away your tears. I want to be the one who you want to be with. Sakura, I lo…

But that's all he had managed to let slip as Sakura's lips pushed against his in a passionate, fiery kiss. He pulled her closer, sliding his hand around her waist and letting his other hand play in her soft pink locks. Her hands wrapped around his neck as she drew him closer, deepening the kiss. Sakura and Sasuke parted, slightly out of breath, their foreheads leaning together as the gazed into each other's eyes. Sasuke felt his lips regain their feeling and smiled at Sakura. Her mind raced, still unsure about what just happened.

' Did I really just kiss Sasuke, is he really smiling at me?' But she knew this was real. She felt her lips tingle after the contact they had shared. Inner Sakura jumped around, punching her fist into the air " Cha, I kissed Sasuke! Won't Ino be jealous!" she cheered. She was interrupted from her victory dance when a loud "crack" resounded across the clearing.

A dark figure appeared, slightly staggering, but continued to move towards them. Sasuke stood, straining against the darkness to make out the figure. ' I have a bad feeling about this.' His stomach did flip-flops as the figure stopped just outside the reach of illumination coming from the fire. Sakura gasped as a masked man moved into the light.

" You're most unfortunate I've found you. Killing you will be simple." His grotesque laughter rang through the forest. Sasuke gritted his teeth. He didn't like this. If Zabuza had gotten away from Kakashi, he must be powerful. ' You idiot, he's weak after his battle with Kakashi. Finish him,' said a small voice in the back of his head. Sasuke reached into his satchel, pulling out a kunai and prepared to attack. Zabuza laughed, looking down at the terrified Sakura.

" Hmmm, you're little girlfriend will make me a nice little prize when I'm finished with you," he said, his hungry eyes taking in her body. Sasuke stepped in front of her, cutting off Zabuza's stare. Sasuke's eyes began to glow an eerie red as Zabuza's words repeated in his mind. '…nice little prize' Sasuke was disgusted at his advances on Sakura. Sasuke's onyx eyes became a bright crimson, the Sharingan symbol blazing in his glare. Zabuza looked intrigued at Sasuke's power.

" Ah the Sharingan, the separation of mind and spirit. Even still, you have no chance. I have fought Kakashi before, there is no way you will last."

" Try me."

Sasuke charged at the man, swiping his kunai across his chest, a shimmer of scarlet staining the kunai blade. Zabuza clutched his side, looking down at his blood-covered hand.

" Lucky shot," he said, swinging his mighty sword over his head, catching the small amount of cloth on Sasuke's shirt that fluttered in the wind. Sasuke quickly dodged the swipe and ran at him, but he was suddenly hit at the chest and flung back, landing at Sakura's feet.

Sakura gasped and knelt beside him, hoisting him up to his feet. He turned to her, his gaze no longer friendly and passionate, but murderous and frightening, the Sharingan comas spinning as his chakra prepared for a jutsu.

" SAKURA, RUN!"

Sakura turned and limped out of sight into the forest, but turned around to see Zabuza strike at Sasuke who moved out of the way. Her eyes were wide in terror. She had to find Kakashi-Sensai. She knew he was still alive. He had to help, she couldn't allow Sasuke to die. Tears ran down her face as she stumbled through the forest, searching for signs of the trail.

She was lost, utterly lost she thought as she met the same forest again and again. Helpless tears poured from her eyes as she wrapped her arms around her cold body. She let him die, she failed him. She sank to her knees, her face wet with the cascade of tears that rolled constantly down her cheeks. The tears landed with soft splashes onto her bare legs.

A noise up ahead startled her. She could see figures moving in the distance. Hope rose in her as she stood and struggled ahead, her leg causing her to move slow and clumsily. She could just make out the figures ahead when she burst from the trees, rolling down a small hill and hitting a large rock below.

" Oh my god, SAKURA!"

Naruto ran to her side, kneeling over her body. She sat up weakly, tears still falling. She could feel no pain from the impact in her side nor from her broken leg. She only felt empty, realizing Sasuke was fighting to protect her. She felt pathetic, weak, useless. If only she had chakra. Naruto leaned down and picked her up. Kakashi-Sensai rushed to them, noticing Sakura's injured leg.

" What happened Sakura?"

Tears flowed harder from her eyes as she sought the words to say.

" Sasuke is fighting Zabuza in the clearing," she said, her quivering finger pointing in the direction of the battle. They could faintly make out the glow from the fire.

" Come on," Kakashi said. ' Please don't let me be too late,' Sakura thought as they rushed into the forest, the sounds of the fight filling their ears.

Meanwhile

" This is entertaining. Do you honestly think you can defeat me? I'll destroy you in a second," he mocked.

" Try your best," said Sasuke through clenched teeth. His hands moved quickly in a jutsu form. Chakra rushed to his hand. Holding his fist to his mouth, he blew an enormous ball of fire at Zabuza. The fireball raced over the earth, searing the plants and grass engulfing a shadowed form. As the fire died, he saw Zabuza jump into the nearest tree, clothes singed from the flames. Sasuke concentrated his chakra again, blowing fire at the assassin.

Zabuza leapt from tree to tree, a massive trail of fire in his wake, its flames illuminating the clearing. Sasuke lowered his hand, realizing his target had disappeared. A sudden distil in the air warned Sasuke of his presence. Without hesitation, he ducked, turning as he did so. Zabuza's sword missed Sasuke by a hair.

Sasuke rose, plunging his fist into Zabuza's jaw, sending him sailing upward, a stream of blood flowing from his open mouth. Zabuza landed in a heap, rising groggily, his hand feeling his jaw. Sasuke stood, a smirk on his face although his hand was pounding fiercely.

" Still think I can't defeat you," Sasuke said arrogantly.

" Yes…"

Sakura emerged from the forest to see Sasuke standing with Zabuza behind him, his massive sword sweeping through the air.

" Sasuke!"

Sasuke turned as the sword swept through him. His face froze as he fell. Sakura stood horrified. Tears plunged from her eyes; her heart suddenly broke in two. But...

" What!"

Sasuke's body had been replaced with a shattered log, the real Sasuke stood behind Zabuza. Zabuza felt the cold metal meet his neck as he realized it was over.

" Goodbye"

Sasuke slid the kunai across his throat, the blood spilling onto the ground as Zabuza fell to the floor of the grassy clearing. Sakura watched in horror and joy as Sasuke walked over to join them, cuts and bruises all over his body.

Sakura jumped out of Naruto's arms and into Sasuke's, forgetting about her leg and not caring as the immense pain returned. Her eyes burned as the tears slid down her cheeks, falling onto Sasuke's shoulder. He embraced her closely before realizing she clung to him limply, her leg causing her to dangle in his arms.

" Sakura, I'm okay, really. You shouldn't be standing on your leg." Sasuke swept one arm under her legs and pulled her to his chest. She rested her head against him, the pain washing over her. He looked down at her, his eyes shining with his own unshed tears.

" I should tend to her leg immediately," said Kakashi, taking Sakura out of Sasuke's arms and walking over to Sasuke's already blazing fire. " Looks like we've found camp, too," he said grinning at Sasuke, pride for his student almost overwhelming him.

Laying Sakura on the soft ground, he removed her splint carefully. Discarding the cloth and branch pieces, he laid his hand gently over the break in her leg. His eyes closed as a blue, smoky snake emerged from his palms. The snake wrapped itself around her leg before sinking into her skin.

Sakura's eyes fluttered open as she sat up, feeling her leg with her hand. The cut was gone and her leg had stopped burning. She tried to hoist herself up, but fell back onto her bottom.

" You'll be able to stand and walk in the morning," said Kakashi, smiling through his mask. Until then, there's something important that we must discuss with our friend Tazuna, but for now I think we have some things to attend to."

Kakashi walked back to the body of Zabuza and hoisted him over his shoulder and returned to the campsite. Setting down his body, Kakashi ran his finger along Zabuza'a palm and outstretched arm.

" What are you doing, sensai?" asked Naruto, watching him curiously.

" Care to explain to him, Sakura, since you're probably the only one who paid attention in class."

Sakura sat up at the sound of her voice and looked at Naruto whose curios smiled beamed at her. " He's reading his chakra lines to determine his rank, his village and his name. Naruto, this is so basic," she sighed looking at Sasuke who had his arms wrapped around her, supporting her body gently.

" Oh… right." Naruto continued to watch the sensai as he emptied the pockets of the body. He turned over a card curiously in his hand before reading the inscription on the front. " What's it say?" asked Naruto, leaning closer to read. In big, bold letters it simply said, " Gato, what's that?" Naruto said loudly.

" Not what, who." It was the old man who spoke this time. " Who is this man you killed?" he asked grimly.

" He's a shinoibi from the village hidden in the mist. I believe he was sent to assassinate you."

" Why would he want to do that?" asked Sakura, suddenly becoming interested in the conversation.

The old man chuckled at her and spoke. " Well I assume Gato sent him. He's been telling me to stop building the bridge for weeks and I simply ignored him. I never thought his threats would lead to this."

" What bridge is this that you're building," asked Sasuke, also wondering what this man had to hide.

" Well, the bridge will link the Land Hidden In The Mist to The Land Hidden In The Leaves, creating a better transportation for trading and goods. It'll finally end the poverty in my village, but Gato fears that when the bridge is complete, his boats will discontinue service to the two lands, thus losing the immense profit he's making now."

" But what does he want with you," asked Naruto.

" Well, I came up with the idea and the design. I'm the one who leads construction. If Gato kills me, the bridge will be unfinished and he will continue making his greedy money."

" So you figured that if you told ANBU that you had a class B mission, you would get off cheap."

The man bowed his head in shame. " I'm sorry I deceived you, but my village has little money and for the seriousness of my mission, I had to report it a class B. I'll find a way to repay your village, I promise."

" Don't worry about repaying us, this has now become a serious matter we must deal with. We will continue to be your protection to your home, do not worry," said Kakashi. The man smiled. " Thank you very much. I must say I was wrong about your students, they are quite capable indeed."

" Yes well I suppose we should all get some sleep, we will leave early in the morning to avoid the hunter-nin that will come looking for Zabuza."

Sasuke pulled Sakura comfortably into his arms and carried her off to the tent. Naruto was already snoring loudly when they entered. Sakura laid her head on the blanket spread over the ground, the warm air soothing her skin. Sasuke rested his head next to hers, turning to look at her. He looked calm and happy, a look she hadn't seen in a long time.

She closed her eyes and nuzzled against his chest, letting his warmth wash over her. Sasuke bent his head down to kiss her lightly on the top of her head, his nose filling with the sweet smell of cherry blossoms. Holding her close to him, he drifted off to dreams that would wake him with cold sweats.

Figures moved behind his eyes, Sakura in pain, him helpless. Sasuke sat up gasping at what he had dreamt, sweat clinging to his forehead. Its horrific images burned in his mind. Looking beside him, he saw Sakura sleeping soundly, a smile upon her lips. Relief calmed him as he laid back down next her. She raised her arm and rested it on his chest, pressing her body to his. He wrapped his arm around her as she kissed him lightly on the neck. He could see the rays of morning sneaking up in the dark sky. He knew they would be waking soon, but he closed his eyes anyway and drifted off into restless dreams.


Author Notes:

so yeah, um Sasuke and Sakura are all into the relationship thingy right off the bat, perhaps I should write some chapters to go before this like when Sasuke is all " I Love Sakura!" angsty-ness... that could be good or bad i dunno, but yes onto the next chappy! btw sorry to those who find misspellings or incorrect context. Tell me if i make any mistakes please and i will most definantly fix them