'This wasn't meant to happen' was all Sasuke could think as he led the retreat. He and four other sound ninjas had been sent to kill one of the feudal lords that had refused to help Orochimaru. A simple grudge killing and a lord shouldn't have too many defenders just lying around, should he?
But he did, and the result was disastrous. Taken by surprise, two of Sasuke's allies (he could never think of them as team-mates) had been instantly killed, and Sasuke had taken one of the two remaining ninjas and fled, leaving the other one to slow the followers down.
Once upon a time he would have stayed and fought to the bitter end rather than leave one of his own behind. But time had passed, and Sasuke no longer cared much for the other members of his new village, nor they for him. They were pawns, pieces to be used in a game none of them controlled, and thus were discarded easily and without regret. Once it had been different – but there Sasuke shut down his thinking, and concentrated on escaping. The other ninja was falling behind, and Sasuke stopped to wait for him to catch up, a silly habit he had picked up from waiting for Naruto and Sakura to catch up.
This was what saved his life.
A hail of kunai flew past him, reducing the other sound ninja to nothing more than a mound of bloodied flesh. Fatigue fighting with adrenaline, Sasuke leapt back, only to find himself ensnared in a net.
Sasuke froze, but not just because of the multitude of blades pointing at him. The voice, and the forms around him, belonged to someone he had long ago tried to leave behind, and erase from his life.
Within minutes he had been bound and gagged by multiple Narutos. Naruto, assured that his captive wasn't going to try and escape, picked him up and carried him towards what looked like solid rock. As he neared it, however, a part of it shimmered and revealed itself to be a cleverly crafted genjutsu.
'Since when did Naruto have the ability to do this?' Sasuke pondered, before he was thrown roughly into a cave. Naruto jumped in after him, and shouted out:
"It's okay, 'Chan, I caught us something."
"That's a ridiculous codename." One of the two figured said, as it slipped away the weapon it had drawn. "I wish you'd stop using it."
"But it suits you, 'Chan!"
"I also wish you'd give me more warning before you come barging in. I nearly killed your captive."
Through the flickering light of the fire, Sasuke saw Sakura and Kakashi crouched next to each other. For a moment he wondered why no one had reacted to him, but then realised he was still holding his disguise.
"He seemed to be being chased by a sound nin." Naruto said, shifting Sasuke with his foot and ignoring Sakura's glares. "So I figured I'd help him out."
"Naru! That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard! How do you know he wasn't working with the sound ninja! And you've lead them straight to our base! How are we meant to defend ourselves with Kaka-sensei in this condition? Honestly, sometimes I wonder if you think at all!" Sakura bopped Naruto over the head, which floored him instantly.
She turned to Sasuke, and he could see dried blood sprayed across her chest, the torn fabric indicating that she had just been healed.
"Drop the jutsu." She said in a totally different voice from the one she had used with Naruto. This one was cold, and professional. It was the same tone Sasuke himself used when dealing with his troops. He blinked in surprise – the Sakura he knew had been good at genjutsu, he knew, but his disguise was so carefully crafted that he had almost been able to completely infiltrate the enemy base, before one of the other sound ninjas had screwed everything up. "Oh, I can tell you're using one," She said, a trace of amusement in her tone "but I'm not good enough to break it in the state I'm in now."
"Come on Sa- I mean, 'Chan, at least you're not as bad as sensei here." Naruto said, as the flopped down to the ground.
Kakashi seemed to be asleep, but Sasuke could sense almost no chakra in him. It was as if he had been drained of it... there had been a ninja in the village he had just attacked that could drain chakra. If they had been there just before he had, then that would explain both the increased defence around the village, and the state these three were in.
"I was fleeing from ninjas. They had just attacked my village, to the north." Sasuke said, the justu modifying his voice. "For all I know, you could be working with them. My father is an important man - you could be after him. You will excuse me if I choose not to reveal my identity to you."
"To the north? You mean Tentaro?"
"You know it?"
Slightly guilty looks passed between Sakura and Naruto. His intuition had been right! If he knew them, they would probably feel bad about getting innocent people involved, and thus be willing to help him escape without further –
"It seems God favours us, Naru." Sakura said, and with a few sharp jabs, immobilised Sasuke. It wasn't the chakra-point poke of a Hyuuga, more as if his muscles had relaxed to the point of being incapable of movement.
"We have been waiting for you, Kenji." Sakura said, as she unbundled an assortment of objects.
"Wait, what?" Sasuke said, and tried to struggle. But his limbs would not respond, thanks to whatever technique Sakura had used. He had seen Kabuto do something remarkably similar, once, just before – but no, Sakura wouldn't – she couldn't – this was Sakura.
But as she held up a lightly serrated blade and pushed the tip into the fire, Sasuke felt as if someone has just kneed him in the guts.
"I'm going outside." Naruto said hurriedly, and grabbed a roll. "He might attract other people if he starts screaming."
"Wait," Sasuke said, frustration at his helplessness building, "wait, you've made a mistake, my name's not Kenji –"
"It is a remarkable disguise Kenji, but you forgot to change your nose. Didn't anyone ever tell you the nose and the jaw line are two of the most important things to change?" Sakura looked Sasuke over in a manner that chilled Sasuke. This was not the Sakura he had left behind all those years ago. This was someone who had seen battle from the front, and who had learnt terrible things. And Kakashi; looking so frail without his usual apathetic attitude smothering everything and Naruto; looking rather sick as he made a hasty exit. Shouldn't Naruto be arguing for the good in people or something? Surely he should be standing there making some barely coherent but nevertheless inspiring speech about how the captive would talk if they just asked nicely? Shouldn't Sakura somehow magically sense that he was Sasuke and start throwing herself at him, making absurd promises about how they would be happy together? He had left his hair undisguised; shouldn't she be able to identify him from that?
"But it really is a good disguise." Sakura, unaware of Sasuke's thoughts turned towards him, the red-hot blade almost humming, "Except for that stupid hair."
"Sakura!" Sasuke protested, before he could stop himself. Sakura froze, the blade inches from his abdomen.
"What did you say?" She hissed, her eyes suddenly dangerous. Sasuke said nothing. How could he have been so stupid? How could he have responded to such a stupid comment? The truth was that for an instant, what with her bantering with Naruto and her teasing remark about his hair he had forgotten for one lethal second that they didn't know who he was. Sakura dropped the knife and grabbed him by his collar. "What did you just say? How did you know my name? Answer me!"
"'Chan!" Naruto crashed into the cave, "Ninjas about. From the village."
"Make a sound," Sakura promised Sasuke "and you'll be dead before they reach you."
"I'm not an enemy." Sasuke said quietly. Maybe it would be safer to drop the jutsu – at least then they would only beat him to death, rather than torture him.
"I don't know who you are." Sakura said, shadows flickering over her face, "But you know my name, and that makes you dangerous." Naruto jerked slightly in surprise at this information, and gave Sasuke a penetrating look. "Ah," Sakura said eventually, "I'm too tired to deal with this. Naruto, you keep watch for a while, will you?" And with that she sat down next to Kakashi, stealing half of his blanket for herself.
Naruto perched a bucket of water over the fire to boil and sat himself down next to Sasuke. Together they watched Kakashi wake up slightly from the loss of his blanket and wrap his arm around Sakura, pulling her closer for heat, before subsiding back into sleep.
"You're from the Sound village, aren't you?" Naruto asked Sasuke quietly. "You weren't running away from that ninja, were you?"
Sasuke shook his head, the only part of him he could move.
"I know a Sound ninja." Naruto said in the same soft tones, almost as if he were speaking to himself. "Three, actually. Though I wish I only knew two." Sasuke felt a part of him twist painfully, as if Sakura's knife had met its mark. 'I shouldn't be listening to this.' He thought, but knew from experience that nothing ever shut Naruto up.
"One of them...you might know him. Did you know a guy named Sasuke?" Sasuke didn't respond, didn't know how to respond. "You'd probably have heard of him. He's a stupid genius. He... he was a friend. My best friend, actually. I didn't have a lot of friends when I was younger, and we fought all the time, but... we were team-mates." Naruto looked over at Kakashi and Sakura, snuggled up together in their sleep. "He was an important person to me."
Sasuke had never seen Naruto like this. Quiet, contemplative, thinking of the past. He had never really stopped to think about how the others would feel after he left – he had always assumed that they would forget about him, move on. No, that wasn't right. He hadn't wanted them to forget about him and move on. But he hadn't wanted this either. He hadn't wanted them to grow up and become sad and wistful and speak about him to random strangers. He hadn't wanted upbeat, unbeatable Naruto to sit in a cave with his arms wrapped around his knees, hoping for some news of his lost comrade, he hadn't wanted to see his teacher looking old and worn, and he hadn't wanted to see the innocent little Sakura looking so comfortable with torture implements in her hands.
It seemed like nothing Sasuke did ever turned out happily.
"Hey, what am I talking about, being so unhappy?" Naruto jumped up suddenly, shaking his head to clear the cobwebs of the past. "You're our guest, and I haven't even offered you a drink yet." He reached over and grabbed the bag near Kakashi, and out of it produced a bottle. With well practiced ease he uncorked it, and tipped the contents down his throat. He looked at Sasuke and shrugged. "I suppose I'll have to help you drink this." And, putting the lip of the bottle to Sasuke's lips, poured.
It burnt. It roared down Sasuke's throat, ripping the sides of his mouth and tearing up his stomach. He started coughing, his nose dripping and his eyes watering. He though for one dizzy moment that Naruto had poisoned him, but then realised that the slightly medicinal smell meant that this was a more acceptable type of poison.
"Haha, are you a minor?" Naruto crowed loudly, banging Sasuke on the back, which only making him cough worse, "So am I, but Ero-Sennin said that never stopped him, so why should it stop me? Don't tell Sakura-chan though, she always says we shouldn't drink on missions. Still, a little bit wouldn't matter, right?"
"Don't tell Sakura-chan what?" A sleepy, but nevertheless deadly, voice sounded from the darkness.
"Oops." Naruto shoved the bottle into Sasuke's lifeless fingers. "Nothing, Sakura-chan!" He sing-songed, but it was no use.
"Naruto!" She roared, waking up Kakashi, "What have I told you about drinking during missions! I thought I searched you bag, how did you even get any?"
"Hey, hey, I was just giving some to our guest here..."
"He's our captive Naruto, you idiot! You're not meant to be nice to captives!"
"But he looked so sad!"
"He looks like he's going to be sick." Sakura pointed out. Indeed, Sasuke's stomach wasn't taking too well to its first taste of liquor, never mind the large amount Naruto had just given it.
"Hey, don't throw that up!" Naruto said, alarmed. "That's really good stuff!"
Sakura stormed across the cave (not that there was much space to do that) and plucked the bottle from Sasuke. "Unmarked." She huffed. "What did you give this poor kid, Naruto?"
Sasuke resented being called a kid by Sakura, but was still coughing too hard to inform her, in his most dignified tones, that he was more than capable of holding his alcohol thank you very much, if he just had enough practice at it.
"I'll show you." Naruto said cheekily and, pulling Sakura towards him, kissed her.
Sasuke winced, and waited for Sakura to start beating the living daylights out of Naruto. Even at his boldest, Naruto would never have dared –
But Sakura opened her mouth a little, and Naruto held her even closer. His arm wrapped around her waist tightened, and her hands started messing up his hair, touching his face as they seemed to almost melt into each other, and Sakura was practically sitting in Naruto's lap, whose other hand was now roaming. One of them moaned, and Sasuke saw Naruto shift slightly as if he had gotten an – no. No, this was some kind of trick. Some unknown enemy had studied his old team-mates and had changed into them and were doing this in some bid to break down Sasuke's spirit. He hadn't been able to see through their fraud because he hadn't activated his Sharingan and that's why he thought it was Sakura and Naruto practically dry-humping in front of him in the most disgusting way because there was no way those two would ever even think of touching each other like that and for god's sake when where they going to finish that kiss didn't they have to breathe or something!
Eventually Sakura pulled back and let in a deep breath. "That was very good sake." She said, as if she hadn't just been kissing the number one loud mouth hyperactive loser Naruto who should't even know what kissing was. "I thought I hid that from you and Kakashi."
Naruto's arm was still hooked around her, only now it had slid halfway down her skirt belt. "You did." He replied audaciously.
"Would you two please be quiet?" Kakashi's voice piped up. Yes! Kakashi was a voice of reason; no doubt he had been drained of his chakra and was also being duped by these two impostors! "And stop doing that in front of the captive. You're exciting him."
Naruto and Sakura both looked at Sasuke. Or, to be more precise, his crotch.
"Oops." Sakura blushed, and giggled exactly the same way she had whenever Sasuke had looked at her when she was younger. The same, stupid giggle which obviously didn't mean anything because here she was making out with Naruto like a dog on heat. Yes, he told himself, the reason he was feeling like this was because it showed that they had indeed forgotten about him. Naruto and his words about being his best friend (what best friend would make a move on his best friend's girl? Not that Sakura was his girl, but she said she was, so Naruto should have had to decency – not that he wanted Sakura to be his girl because that was a stupid phrase and love was such a weak emotion – but still), and Sakura saying she'd love him forever... those were just words. They seemed perfectly happy practically licking each other's faces!
"You woke me up." Kakashi grumbled. Yes, now he was going to uncover this fraud, and reveal these two fake team-mates for what they were!
"Aww, you know we love you Kakashi-sensei." Naruto said, and Sakura reached over and dragged Kakashi closer. "Sakura was just telling me off, that's all."
God no. No. Not Kakashi too.
Kakashi sighed and slipped an arm around both Sakura and Naruto, hanging his head as if too tired to lift it on his own. Sakura kissed his masked cheek, and lightly slapped at his hand, which was fiddling with her bra strap.
"Like you said Kakashi-sensei, we're being watched."
And then all three turned and looked at Sasuke, and his lap. Sasuke looked down too, and felt he would have preferred to have been tortured by Sakura than what he felt now. So caught up had he been in outrage, that he had completely ignored the fact that his body didn't seem to care whether they were the real thing or not, it liked watching his old team-mates and the way that Naruto's breath was hitching slightly and how he could just see the peaks of Sakura's nipples rubbing against the fabric. And how it secretly wondered what it would be like, to watch the three of them: Kakashi, Sakura and Naruto, that entanglement of limbs, what their faces would be like, the sweat, the panting, the screaming.
"Oh God." Sasuke whispered. "Oh God. Kill me."
"I think he's a virgin." Naruto whispered. Sakura blushed bright pink, and poked Naruto.
"Naruto!" She scolded, "You shouldn't make fun of the poor kid!"
"I'm not a kid!" Sasuke blurted out. 'Yes' He told himself sarcastically. 'That will make them believe you. Very mature, moron.'
"Then how old are you?" Kakashi asked, his hands dropping from Sakura and Naruto, and he was the old Kakashi that Sasuke knew, giving an aura of apathy whilst his one visible eye bore into you, almost as effective as the Sharingan for reading your mind.
"We... don't know. We thought he was Kenji, but he says he's not." Sakura admitted.
"We got a bit distracted..." Naruto tried to explain, but trailed off under the look Kakashi gave him.
"Sakura, Naruto!" With those two words it was as if the cuddling from early had never occurred. He was their commander, and his two troops had acted incompetently. "You mean to tell me you brought an enemy into our base, revealed your identities to him, and failed to get his own out of him? Besides, we know that Kenji has only had basic jutsu training, he would be unable to perform something as intricate and subtle as the disguise this man has. Use your heads!"
"He already knew my identity." Sakura said, and winced slightly as Kakashi focused on her.
"All the more reason to be careful. You have been compromised, and thus should not have let your guard down for an instant. And Naruto!" This time it was Naruto's turn to wince. "You should have immobilised him immediately, rather than waiting for Sakura to do it."
"I can't do it as well as Sakura she-"
"Then do more chakra training. In fact, Sakura, take him outside and put him through some exercises immediately. Scout for enemies whilst you're out there as well, and strengthen to jutsu on this cave, it's started to fade."
"Yes Kakashi-sensei." Naruto and Sakura responded miserably and filed out. Sasuke blanched when Kakashi turned to him. The chewing-out he had just given the two had brought back unpleasant memories of being berated along with Naruto and Sakura, but at least now his body was back in control. For the most part.
There was a muffled 'hup!' and the wall that Sakura and Naruto had just walked through shimmered for a second before becoming even more solid looking and the faint sounds of Sakura and Naruto walking away, already arguing over what training exercise Sakura should put Naruto through, faded.
Kakashi relaxed his position, and leant against the wall opposite Sasuke. There was an excruciating pause while they just looked at each other.
"It really is weird looking hair." Kakashi commented eventually.
Sasuke felt a dull flush spread across his face. So all his team-mates had thought his hair stupid, and just not told him? But now they didn't know it was him, felt free to insult it?
"You're one to talk." He shot back. Kakashi's mouth curved slightly under his mask.
"I had a student who had hair like that once. He was advanced, but still a brat like the others. A genius, although a very stupid one." Another torturous pause. "I'm surprised Sakura didn't notice the similarity. She's usually very perceptive regarding anything to do with my old student." Sasuke clenched his jaw, the image of Sakura on top of Naruto, the two of them totally lost in one another, heedless of their old team-mate who sat right beside them, rising unbidden to his mind.
"So tell me, why didn't you change your hair, Sasuke?"
'Shit, shit.' Sasuke thought, panic flaring. Kakashi was not like Naruto and Sakura, he would not go easy on Sasuke, and chances are he would kill him without regret.
"I don't know what you're tal-"
"That's a pathetic lie, Sasuke. You should have tried to brazen it out, something like "Just because we have similar hair doesn't mean we're the same person". Never just claim complete ignorance, didn't I teach you better?"
Sasuke said nothing. What was there to say really? He was a missing nin, and he was being confronted by someone famed for his ruthlessness in dealing with enemies. His two old team-mates where just outside, oblivious to the situation unfolding within. And even so, he had betrayed them both in his escape; they would not help him. He was still unable to move his limbs because of Sakura, the girl who had once poured her heart out to him. And now his old teacher had just taken a kunai out of one of his pockets.
This wouldn't be a fight.
This would be an execution.
Thoughts fled through his mind. The idea of pleading for his life, relying on his relationship with Kakashi, was instantly burnt. Plans of attacking with just his mouth as Naruto had reported Zabuza to have done were dismissed. He did not have the use of his legs to propel himself with. Shouting out would bring no one liable to help him, crying would be undignified.
It seemed he had no choice but to just die, with as much dignity as he could muster, his two ambitions unfulfilled. And one day his elder brother would also die, without children if Sasuke knew Itachi, and thus would end the noble line of the Uchihas.
"I'm going to give you a choice, Sasuke." Kakashi said, the kunai still dangling between his fingertips. Sasuke's head snapped up, his mind grasping for hope. "You can return to the village with Naruto, Sakura and me."
"Or?" Sasuke licked his lips, wishing that for once the man would drop the slow, lazy attitude.
"Or I can kill you here."
"Would you prefer no choice at all?" Kakashi's body seem to harden, his presence almost overpowering. "You seem to forget the position you are in, Sasuke. You are a traitor. If you return to our village, there will be a trial, and you may or may not be executed for your crimes against the country. However," Kakashi looked away, almost as if embarrassed. "there is a chance you won't be. A ninja needs to be prepared to take chances. And there is another chance that you will be reinstated with the only people who have ever seen to have any control over you. Your old team."
Once again the image of Naruto and Sakura appeared. But this time Kakashi was with them, his arm dangling around Naruto's shoulders so casually, his hand fiddling with Sakura's bra strap. The air of intimacy between them, the taste of sex suffocating everything. And above all, the fact that they were so casual about it! As if nothing were missing, as if everything the way it should be! As if there wasn't a Sasuke-shaped hole in there, as if they were perfectly content to just be with each other! Could he stand that, sitting by the sidelines, knowing that he was more powerful than all of them and yet was unable to break that barrier the three of them had created whilst he was gone?
Could he stand knowing that to his precious people, he no longer mattered?
"Why would I bother joining my old cell again?" Sasuke spat. "Going back to you lot, what charm would that hold for me? Some stupid little girl who hasn't the power to hold herself up, a loud-mouth moron who turns into some kind of freak in a fight, and a worn-out loser who is far past his prime but still thinks he can fuck teenagers?"
"Oh, jealous are we?" Kakashi intermittent mildly, the amusement plain in his voice. "Don't tell me you'd think they'd wait for you, did you?"
"Did you wait for them Kakashi? Tell me, how old were they when you took them? Did you take them one by one or together? Did you get off watching two kids" Naruto and Sakura, which one of them came first? "fucking? Did it make you hard, old man, to watching her ride him?" Sakura on top of Naruto, his hands on her breasts, eyes squeezed shut, panting.
"Oh, I didn't watch." Kakashi practically smirked, and Sasuke felt his face twist in inhuman rage, and he felt blinding pain sear through his body as he tried to force his muscles to move, to launch themselves at the man before him, to claw out his damned eyes, eyes that had seen, hands that had touched, touched his team-mates, touched his – touched his.
"Don't think you were the first, Kakashi." He didn't know what he say saying, but he knew the words would feel good. "Oh yes, give me that surprised look, but do you honestly think that I couldn't resist having some fun with them? I was going to be leaving forever anyway, my team-mates might as well have made themselves useful for once. Naruto, well after I'd beaten him to a bloody pulp it was easy, wasn't it, clothes half torn anyway. No trouble at all, taking him. He was good too, nice and tight. And the stupid bastard was already in so much pain the next day from all the chunks I'd torn out of him, I'm willing to bet he never even wondered why his arse hurt too. Am I right?
"And Sakura, she was easy, so easy, one tap to the back of the neck and she was putty. Still, shouldn't have bothered with that anyway, should I? Knowing her she probably would have screamed for joy that I was taking her, stupid little girls like her are so easy to trick, pretend you'll return or love them or something and they'll be ripping their clothes off. But it was nice to not have to listen to her screeching for once, much easier to take her when she was just lying there like some rag doll, eyes lolling back whilst I fu-"
Casually, with the fluidness of years of training, Kakashi backhanded Sasuke across the face.
Sasuke dimly registered the taste of blood in his mouth. He could no longer speak, and he saw a sliver of skin hanging off the metal bar across the back of Kakashi's right hand. An awful numbness spread across one side of his face, but it soon gave way to a biting pain.
"You shouldn't say things like that, Sasuke." Kakashi said calmly, as Sasuke wondered if he had broken his cheekbone. "Lying to your captor must be done well, or not at all."
Sasuke subsided, disbelief at the poison that had poured out of his mouth robbing him of anger.
"They've missed you, you know." Kakashi continued in the same infuriatingly calm voice.
"Tch." Sasuke non-responded. A petty little part of him wanted to add something like 'doesn't seem that way' or 'never would have guessed' but that would be admitting too much, even to himself.
Kakashi tilted his head slightly, and across Sasuke's mind their flashed images of untold violence, born from frustration, being inflicted upon his body. For a man with only one eye, Kakashi was capable of projecting a lot of emotion. Then, with what could have been an evil smirk concealed under his mask, Kakashi leant over to the entrance, and gave a bird's cry.
In an instant Sakura and Naruto were at the entrance, sweat and dirt and hopefully not saliva glistening in the firelight.
"What we have here," Kakashi said to them, and now Sasuke was sure there was a smirk under his mask, taunting and smug in its usual I-know-something-you-don't-know fashion, "is a Sound spy." The two younger ninjas stiffened at the village's name, "Who, incidentally, happens to know where Sasuke is. He just refuses to tell me where."
Even if he had had his Sharingan activated, Sasuke would not have been able to track the movements of his two former companions. Naruto's hands were at his throat and he was shaking him like a rag doll, his eyes blazing an unnatural red, shouting for information.
"Where is he?" He shouted above the roar in Sasuke's ears "Is he all right?"
"Naruto!" Sakura bellowed, grabbing his hands and loosening his grip, "Stop that, you'll kill him!"
'Thank God' Sasuke thought dazedly as Naruto released him. Sakura had always been the more sensible one, the one who kept the cool head, she would stop Naruto from –
"How am I meant to torture the information out of him if you kill him first?"
If Sasuke had had an ounce less dignity, he would have whimpered at the sight of Sakura and Naruto crouching before him, each ready to do their worst in order to... to...
To find him.
"Perhaps you would care to reconsider your options?" Kakashi casually asked, as if he wasn't watching two of his students unknowingly threaten his third. In response, Sasuke gritted his teeth. Bastard. Maybe it was because he was such a bastard that Sasuke had at first, hopefully, stupidly, thought that his one Sharingan eye meant he had some connection to the Uchiha clan. Most of the Uchiha males seemed to be bastards, one way or another. "After all, betraying one's village should not be something done lightly."
But bastard or not, he would stick to his word. If Sasuke did not agree to return, then he would be signing his own death warrant. And in the condition he was in now, there was minimal chance of him escaping. Especially as Sakura and Naruto didn't know who he was.
In fact, his analytical mind awakening, this could turn out well. With the date of becoming Orochimaru's vessel growing ever closer, plans to escape had already begun formulating in his brain. This was merely bringing it one step closer. And once he did reveal himself, it would be much easier to gain their trust, and thus escape. Another brilliant, flawless plan, he smirked.
"I'll need a minute to think about it." He said, licking suddenly dry lips to hide a sneer. Let Kakashi stew for a little while, surely the man had enough emotions to feel at least slightly worried.
"I can have it out of him in half a minute." Sakura snarled, her fingers reaching for the discarded blade.
"Ten seconds." Naruto growled, his fingers cracking in a disturbing fashion.
"No torturing the captive. No beating him to a pulp either." Kakashi said mildly. "At least, not yet."
Sakura and Naruto gave identical pouts at this information, and Sasuke felt a small thrill at the real dismay in their eyes. They were willing to torture and beat a person to death in order to find him – sure that person was, in fact, himself, but in some twisted way it warmed him.
"But Kakashi-sensei," Sakura said, her voice wobbling, her eyes suddenly sparkling with unshed tears, "I-I've waited so long..." she turned to Sasuke, her hands clasped at her chest, tears spilling unheeded down her cheeks. "Please, I've waited so long for my Sasuke-kun to return home, I've... I've..." Sasuke realised just how close she was to him, her body a hair's width away from him radiating warmth, the smell of her tears swamping him, the sight of her large, pain-filled eyes taking up all his vision sending red-hot guilt scrawling across his conscience until it was almost unbearably painful...
Then the spell was broken by one tiny, hastily suppressed, snigger.
"Wha-?" Sasuke felt as if he was awakening from a long slumber, his brain clawing away the fog in an attempt to find reality.
"Damn it Naruto!" Sakura hissed angrily. "I nearly had him!"
"So that was how you made Lee clean your entire house." Naruto said, a large grin plastered across his face.
"Don't be so insulting!" Sakura huffed. "I'm better than that!" For a moment she was poised dignity, before she ruined it utterly by continuing "All I had to do was tell him it was a challenge. The trouble is stopping him from cleaning it every week. He's stripping the paint off the walls."
For a moment they were all lost in contemplation of this dilemma, before they suddenly recollected themselves, and their situation.
Sakura looked at Sasuke. "I wasn't kidding you know. I've waited so long for Sasuke-kun..." she leaned into him, eyes locked to his "and I would do anything to get him back." For a moment there were two people staring out of her eyes: one was the Sakura from earlier, cold and professional, longing to cut the information out of him; the other was the feminine Sakura who had been kissing Naruto, sleek and sexual, willing to nibble the information out.
"Anything." She repeated, and this time there was only the one Sakura, hands reaching towards his clothing, lips full and promising. Something in Sasuke short-circuited as Sakura's skirt hitched up, and he missed the fact that Kakashi was rolling his one visible eye, missed the fact that Sakura's smile was more smirk than seductive, because holy crap her hand was down his pants. "Come on..." she whispered in his ear, making sure to give the illusion of touching him everywhere whilst in reality touching him as little as possible. "I'll make it worth your while..."
Her hand was down his pants. Her hand was down his pants. Sakura's. Twelve year old Sakura had stuck her hand down his pants, and Naruto was looking over her shoulder and seemed to be whispering hints in her ear and hand down pants!
A confused expression flitted across her face. She cocked an eyebrow at him, and slowly took her hand out of his clothing. Air rushed back into Sasuke's lungs, and he realised that Sakura was no longer twelve, and that she was looking decidedly put out.
"Oh!" She said, her face clearing, "Okay, I get it, Naruto will make it worth your while."
"Huh?" Naruto blinked, then shrugged. "Okay. Sexy-no-jutsu!" A beautifully proportioned naked woman appeared in the cave.
"No, idiot!" Sakura shoved him, breaking the jutsu, "Stay male and seduce him! He's probably into guys!"
"You mean your super-seduction didn't work?" Naruto gasped, insulted on her behalf.
"Of course it didn't! Anyone can see that it didn't! So you try it now!"
"I'm not touching his penis!"
Sasuke listened to the two of them bicker, and gave an exasperated sigh. 'I miss these two idiots why?' He asked himself.
'...I miss these two idiots.'
Kakashi was leaning back against the cave wall, and as Sasuke caught his eye, he knew that he had lost. He opened his mouth, when two hands grabbed him.
"Please..." Sakura said, and this time it was not a trick or a ploy, but was her, Sakura, and Sakura alone. Naruto beside her, hands tangled in her hair, his face revealing next to nothing, but his eyes burning with unspoken emotion. "Please, we're begging you. Honestly, truly, all of us... we're begging you. Please, show us Sasuke-kun."
With a sigh, Sasuke released his jutsu. Finally, after so many years, his team-mates sat before him, and saw him with unfettered eyes.
Their reaction was not exactly what he had expected.
"You bastard! That's not what we meant!" Naruto shouted, boxing his ears.
"You think you can mock us?" Sakura snarled, her hands around his throat.
"W-wait-!" Sasuke gasped.
Kakashi placed his hands on his two enraged students' shoulders, pulling them gently back. "Look again." He said quietly, amused.
Sakura's hands loosened around his neck, and then slowly became a caress.
"It's real." She whispered, "The jutsu's gone. It's real. He's real. Sasuke-kun! Sasuke-kun!" She cried, and flung herself against him. Sasuke, still unable to move, had his head slammed against the wall, only to hit it again as Naruto launched himself at him.
'I have to endure this,' Sasuke told himself, 'I'm just biding my time to gain their trust until I can escape, I won't face any trials at Konoha and be trapped again, this is all just a show – when did Sakura's chest become so soft? – concentrate! Concentrate!'
"Sasuke-kun!" Sakura sobbed, then pulled back and punched him in the gut.
"Ow! Sakura, what was that for?" Sasuke groaned.
"You bastard!" Sakura cried, punching him again, this time hard enough for the wall behind him to crack.
"Sakura, remember you promised." Naruto stopped pressing himself up against Sasuke long enough to glance at Sakura. "We beat him up together." He stuck his face up against Sasuke's. "You're back now. And you're never leaving again. Understand?"
"We're team seven again." Sakura whispered. Kakashi wound his arm around her waist, and pulled her towards him. "We're complete again."
"It seems we've filled in our holes." Kakashi said in an utterly innocent manner. Naruto stopped eyeballing Sasuke and gave a feral grin. In an instant, the air was charged with electricity as relief overflowed into passion.
"Filling in holes?" He smirked. "If you insist." And with one short movement he had tipped Sakura out of Kakashi's lap, and was busy attempting to pull his clothing off with his teeth.
Sasuke, shocked at this sudden turn in affection, growled. And then tried to stare at his own mouth as he realised what he had just done.
"Naruto!" Sakura said indignantly, "Don't tear Kakashi-sensei's shirt again! I had to get Ino to fix it last time, and she told everyone! Plus," she pouted, "you're leaving me and Sasuke-kun out." She waited about three seconds to see if this would register in the middle of Naruto's ecstasy, before giving up. "Oh well." She grinned, and pounced on Sasuke.
"Ah, I'd better release your limbs, hadn't I?" She hummed, happily fixing the damage she had done to him, and attempting to take her clothes off as well.
"Huh?" Sasuke nearly squeaked. "Wait, what?"
"Hey, no fair!" Naruto protested, having torn Kakashi's top off. Kakashi lazily looked down at Sasuke and Sasuke felt his worries slowly slide away. Naruto's jacket had been flung across the cave and Sakura had managed to undo the top of her outfit.
"Now, now," Sakura said, "Sasuke-kun's nervous, so I get to put him at ease."
"Nervous? Hey Sasuke," Naruto jeered, his body mesmerising as Kakashi slowly divested him of clothing, "I bet you don't even know how to make Sakura-chan scream."
Sasuke blinked, then felt his old rivalry surge up, swamping everything else. "What are you talking about, dead last?" He sneered, before tearing off his top. "I've had to listen to that snake bastard talk about the things he and Jiraya used to get up to, and the stories Tsunade used to tell them."
"Ah," Naruto said, "but I've have Ero-sennin to teach me, i and /i Sakura-chan and Kakashi-sensei to practice with."
"Naruto," Kakashi said warningly. "This appears to be Sasuke's first time. Try not to tease him."
"Sasuke-kun, you're a virgin?" Sakura asked incredulously. His look was all the confirmation she needed. Sakura seemed to be torn between happiness that he had not 'found comfort in someone else's arms' as she had been afraid of and horror at the fact that he was, well, a virgin.
"Don't forget Sakura-chan," Naruto said, dragging Kakashi over to the other two, "we promised that we were going to make Sasuke suffer for leaving us."
"That's right!" Sakura brightened up as she leaned back against Naruto's chest. "We'll have lots of fun teaching him everything, won't we Kaka-sensei?" She gave an evil smile. She suddenly looked worried. "Um, you do know about... sex and stuff, don't you Sasuke-kun?"
"And you'd better know what I'm going to be doing to your ass." Naruto grinned. Keeping Sakura pressed up against him, he leant back against Kakashi. "But not Kaka-sensei," he said, butting his head affectionately against Kakashi's chin. "Sensei never tops."
"You don't get to very often either," Sakura reminded him, sugar-sweet.
"I've been living in the sound village with Kabuto and Orochimaru in it." Sasuke said disgusted, "how could I not know about it?"
Naruto shuddered in horror. "Reassure us, he never got to your ass, right?"
Sasuke, now with a new nightmare to haunt him, glared at Naruto, before grabbing Sakura and pulling her out of the way so he could kick Naruto to death.
"Congratulations," Sakura glared at Naruto, "you killed his erection." She patted his crotch, and vivid flashbacks of her hand inside his shorts made both her and Sasuke blush slightly.
"Oh no!" Naruto cried. He leant forward and grabbed both of Sasuke's knees, pleading with his penis, "Come back erection! Come back!"
"Oh I think we can find a way to make it come back." Sakura assured him with an evil grin. Kakashi gave a bark of laughter, and as the three of them converged on Sasuke he knew that no matter what, no matter if there was a trial and he was forced to spend the rest of the days in the village under guard, he would never be able to leave his precious people again.
The circle had been reconnected, and the four broken people could finally heal.