Little Piece of Heaven
Leanne Ashley

Chapter 16

"You bastard…" Sakura breathed. "You sick, bastard!"

Unfazed, the legendary ninja held the amused smile on his lips. The long black hair, and the Sound Village attire, the jagged purple marking around his eyes… Orochimaru was not a hard man to identify.

"Watch your language, Sakura-san," spoke another voice. She whirled around to see Kabuto leaning casually against the side of the house. Standing immediately, Sakura took several steps back to distance herself from both the snake shinobi and his silver-haired lackey.

"What's going on?" she demanded steadily. As she took another step back, her leg almost refused to cooperate. It was evident that fear had stricken her senses, but she would not let it project through her voice. "Answer me, damnit!"

Adjusting his glasses against his nose, Kabuto remained stationary as he glanced at his accomplice. Orochimaru smirked in response. "We need you to send a message for us, Sakura-chan."

Gripping the handle of a kunai she had instinctively brought out, Sakura narrowed her eyes skeptically. "A message…?" she repeated. "You murdered a family for that?"

"We requested you," Kabuto finally spoke up. "The family, well…" Again, he glanced in Orochimaru's direction.

"I wanted to see how you'd react," the snake said simply. "It was very amusing."

Sakura closed her eyes and tried to steady her increasing grip on the weapon she held. Inwardly, she cursed her hands for shaking.

"Why me?" she whispered. "Why do you need me to send your message?"

Grinning, Kabuto pushed himself from the wall. "Sakura-san," he said calmly "you are the message."

"Hey!" Tsunade called loudly.

Both Naruto and Sasuke, who had fallen asleep in their chairs, jerked quickly out of their sleep.

"You can see her now."

Looking at the waiting room clock, Sasuke noticed it was already morning. He mentally berated himself for falling asleep after he had spent the entire night completely focused on staying awake. He sat and he paced, occasionally swatting away whatever reading material Naruto shoved in his face.

"Try keeping your mind on something else," was the blonde's argument.

"I don't want to!" Sasuke had spat defiantly. His own response had startled him, and judging from the cryptic look on Naruto's face, it had startled him as well. After that, he hadn't said anything further to the dark-haired boy for the rest of the night.

Blinking the last remains of fatigue from his eyes, Naruto stood quickly and ran up to the rather exhausted looking Hokage. "How is she? Is she okay?"

Tsunade nodded. "Sakura's condition is stable, but she hasn't woken up just yet. Give it time."

"What happened to her?" Sasuke demanded.

"Aside from the damage she sustained mentally, all her ribs were either cracked or broken, and there were several stab wounds." She paused to rub her temple. Personally, she felt uneasy about giving them further details. There was doubt in her mind that they were even handling what she had just told them. "Right wrist was broken, arm was dislocated… You really want to hear more?"

A low growl escaped Sasuke's throat as he brushed past her, Naruto following closely at his heels. "Thank you, baachan…" the dobe murmured quietly.

Entering the sterilized room, the harsh bleach-like odor invaded their senses as they quickly spotted Sakura's bed. Several medics were still surrounding her; wrapping up the job by collecting loose bandages and medical supplies. Naruto and Sasuke waited for the room to clear before approaching the bed.

They stood in silence, letting the steady beep from the heart-rate monitor fill the void.

"Tell me," Naruto said finally. "Who do you think did this?"

Sakura jumped quickly and rolled out of the way as Kabuto's leg made contact with the tree behind her. She didn't have to look to know that it had fallen over from the sheer force of his strength.

Jeez… she thought as he came at her once again. From the corner of her eye, she noticed the faintest glow of chakra being emitted from his fist. Tsunade had told her that medics at Kabuto's level had the power to disable the flow of chakra from any given contact point. Narrowing her eyes as he swung his fist at her, she dodged it quickly and grabbed him by the wrist. With a smirk, she summoned chakra to her own fist and smashed it into his gut. The one thing Sakura hoped she had an advantage with was the inhuman strength Tsunade had passed down to her.

Kabuto was sent flying into a tree from the force of the hit, a look of a surprise overtook his features when he soon realized he had underestimated the other medic.

"Nicely done," the other man commented.

Sakura turned to glare daggers at Orochimaru. "What do you want from me?"

He stood with his arms calmly at his sides, declaring no intention to attack her just yet. "Sakura-chan," he began simply. "I'm sure you're aware of the little deal Sasuke-kun and I had.

"You see, he owes me. He needed to kill his brother, and I taught him how. In return, I requested only a simple favor."

"You wanted Sasuke to be your next vessel." Sakura finished.

"Correct. But, unfortunately, Sakura-chan… there's something standing in the way."

Before she could question him further, a snake protruded from Orochimaru's mouth and shot at her with amazing speed. Her hand instinctively caught the deadly serpent in midair, and as her grip tightened, she gasped when blood began to seep from her closed palm. The transformation had been so sudden, she hadn't noticed that the snake was now a razor sharp sword that dug painfully into her flesh as she held it. Sakura's pain reflex forced her to release the weapon, which in turn, continued to plunge forward into her shoulder.

She hit the ground hard, gritting her teeth as the sword slowly dug its way through her flesh.

"You see, Sasuke-kun seems to have lost his priorities." Orochimaru continued. "I had Kabuto spy on him during several occasions and it looks like he wants to remain in Konoha."

This time she wouldn't let the searing pain get to her. Taking a deep breath, Sakura wrapped a hand around the blade in her shoulder and gripped it tightly. Ignoring the pain, she forced the blade out and pushed it away, standing quickly to her feet.

Blood poured from her wounds as she clutched her shoulder. "So what?" she hissed. "Let him live his own life…"

"His life belongs to me. You'll do well to remember that, Sakura-chan."

Her eyes narrowed in puzzlement. "Why do you keep mentioning me? Why am I involved in this?"

The serpent nin chuckled. "Don't play naïve with me."


"...Sasuke-kun's new objective in life... is you."

A look of pure obliviousness took hold of her features. "WHAT?"

"You've bewitched him, poisoned him, crawled under his skin like an insect—he's forgotten what's really important."

"You're… wrong…" she whispered. "He… I… Sasuke doesn't…"

"Hm," he scoffed. He was disgusted by her denial; he had no patience for such childish games. "Sasuke-kun and I had a deal, Sakura-chan… and right now, you're the one stopping him.

"Tell Sasuke-kun… this is his first warning. He will return to me."

Sakura opened her mouth to protest but quickly found herself dodging a barrage of shuriken. Kabuto had recovered quickly, flying at her once more with kunais held in the grips of his fingers.

This is bad… Sakura thought hurriedly. The both of them are coming at me…!

A kunai was flung quickly at her head. Focusing chakra to her hand, she passed it along side the weapon's handle mere inches from her face and pushed it in Orochimaru's direction.

Unimpressed by the kunoichi's efforts, Orochimaru lazily turned his head to get out of the kunai's way. Just as it approached however, he was surprised to find an explosion tag wrapped around its handle. Sakura smirked when he jumped out of the way just in the nick of time. Evidently, he hadn't seen her attach it.

She watched Orochimaru carefully from the corner of her eye. He had landed a safe distance away, but made no attempt to counter-attack. It seemed he merely wanted to watch the battle between her and his loyal henchman.

Fine. She wasn't complaining.

Turning her attention back to Kabuto, Sakura jumped backwards to evade his chakra-infused hand. Just as he had done during his fight with Tsunade, he was attempting to disable her chakra release, or worse…

Without warning, he disappeared from view. She gasped and whipped around quickly only to have Kabuto's fist smash against her chest. He had moved with amazing speed behind Sakura. She flew backwards, the impact alone causing her body to drag against the gravel beneath her when she landed. Her hand went immediately to her chest where the other medic had hit her; breathing was rapidly becoming an issue.

Kneeling over, Kabuto took hold of the hand she clutched to her chest. "Hurts, doesn't it?" he asked simply "—when your own lungs just don't cooperate." Even though Sakura was gasping for air, her shoulder wound torn from the impact, she still struggled to pull her hand back.

Without blinking an eye, Kabuto broke her wrist in one fluid motion, inciting a gasp of pain from Sakura's lips, now crimson from the blood that spurted from her mouth.

The medic leaned closer. "The next warning will be your corpse, so make sure he knows—"

Sakura's other hand shot up quickly and clutched the man's neck. Kabuto could only yell in pain as burning chakra enveloped his throat.

"Hurts, doesn't it?" she hissed.

Kabuto choked, clawing his hands desperately against the intensity of her grip.

"That's enough for you today," Orochimaru announced. Grabbing Sakura's arm, he released Kabuto by jerking violently at her limb, dislocating it painfully from its socket.

"Sakura-chan…" the snake said coolly. "It appears I've underestimated you. You've improved quite a bit." He paused to smile cruelly at her. "But… do you remember what happened the first time we met? I believe I met you and Sasuke-kun at the same time during the chuunin exam."

She froze, instantly recalling what had happened. Orochimaru had almost killed them with one fatal look from his eye. They had both been frozen in fear; if Sasuke hadn't awakened his senses by stabbing himself, they would've met their ends.

Wrapping long fingers around Sakura's neck, he forced her to look up at him. "Let's see how well you handle it now."

With his free hand, Orochimaru brought a finger to his eye and pulled at the gray-colored skin, revealing the same nightmarish eye that had tortured her soul so many years before.

"I think you'll find that I've improved as well."

She awoke with a startled cry and winced when she immediately felt pressure against her shoulder. A hand was attempting to hold her down as she struggled to sit up. Instinctively, she shoved the offending pressure away and tried to break free of anything else that felt restraining.

"Sakura!" a familiar voice shouted.

She blinked rapidly and instantly calmed herself when she turned to see Sasuke standing by her. Worry creasing his forehead, he seemed to be anticipating her response with dread.

"S-Sasuke…?" she asked in surprise. Looking around, she soon realized she was in a hospital room. Her room was dark with the faintest hint of purple; a shade that slowly escaped with the retreating sun. It was evening… how long had she been out?

"Don't move," Sasuke said sternly. "Naruto went to get a nurse."

"When did… why…?"

"Before you woke up, your heart rate started doing some crazy things…He'll be back any minute."

Sakura's body instantly coiled when the pain from her injuries sunk in. She whimpered from the discomfort, clutching pitifully at her shoulder.

"Stop that," the Uchiha scolded as he forced her arm down against the bed. "I said don't move—you'll strain something."

"I know…" she whispered harshly. "How long was I out?"

"About a day."

"Was I in surgery long?"

"Sort of…" he scowled, impatience clearly evident in his tone. She was avoiding the most obvious subject. He wanted her to tell him what happened, to tell him who had done this to her so he could rip them to pieces.



"Tell me who did this."

Her green eyes strayed. "What? What do you mean?"

"What do you mean 'what do I mean'?" he snapped. "Tell me who hurt you!"

"I-I…" Sakura bit her lip as she looked up timidly into Sasuke's intense stare. His knuckles were white against the bed frame, the material looking ready to snap from the pressure.

"His life belongs to me."

"Sasuke…" she said quietly. "I… they…."

"He will return."

She closed her eyes, but opened them quickly when she felt Sasuke's hand resting against the top of her wrist.

"Just tell me, Sakura…"

Her green eyes stared at him blankly before she looked away to stare idly at one of her bandages.

"Someone attacked me and left… I don't know who it was."

Author's note:

SasuSaku action's gonna start heating up from now on! Anyway, not much to say about this chapter… a big chunk of the fight scene has yet to be told, so sometime in the next two chapters it'll come up. By the way, does this whole Orochimaru Sasuke thing make sense? It did to me at first… but now I'm thinking, isn't it obvious that pissing Sasuke off will only result in him coming to kill you? Oh oh wait! I just got an idea as I was writing that sentence… oh-hoho! Okay, Orochimaru's plan will make more sense later. It's been decided.

Naruto news: so... fillers, huh? Good thing chapter 305 of the manga kicks ass. OMG it's Sasuke's backside this time! Rar..

Next chapter: one week.