Chapter 1

How it all began...

'Let me hold on tight.'


A simple classified A-ranked mission to infiltrate another village. Lose was to be expected with shadows constantly monitoring their territory. The terrain obstructed the sun; then navigation became difficult with only threads of light pouring in sections. Several eyes met in the dark and the captain motioned his hands.

Stay away.

Avoiding the warm light became a necessity, an easy trap. A man, with the mask of a lion, adjusted his burdened load and a foot barely inched into the open light.

Dusts of clouds erupted in front of them, their vision blinded. Naruto keenly picked up the murmur of the Hyuuga activating their Byakugan. Disadvantaged, he abandoned his position, tapping his foot against the trunk of a tree, sharply twisting around to launch himself towards the explosion. Another testament of his will. He was acknowledged to be a professional, a true shinobi (-(pretty words, killer-killer-killer!-)). Ridiculed at a young age, the little blonde boy was their target instead of the nine-tailed demon that he housed. Now those villagers had turned to him for help, praising him for saving their village. Naruto had finally locked the demon tightly inside the sealed prison, occasionally using its destructive chakra. Others forgot that the demon still quietly fuelled his anger, influencing him to a blind rage. And there were more demons outside that would break the chains around the Nine-Tailed Fox.

Motions blurred and speed came naturally, flying through trees and landing on a branch for leverage. He wasn't a genius in strategic calculations like Nara Shikamaru, but he could hold his own.

His skin tore at the force of the weight against the hunter-nin. Bodies were rapidly moving in the air and weapons thrown. Friendly fire was thrown out the window. He focused on his problem, threw him, whipped out a sharpened kunai – thanks to Hyuuga's bitching – and stabbed through flesh.

Then more came.

(((It was a losing battle.)))

It reminded her of her years past

((-long odd hair, begging pleading, stay, I love you, dark, pathetic tears sliding down, desperate attempts...-))

and the same old, mechanical refusal of a young man.))))

Uchiha Itachi knew the moment that she would come to him.

The blonde child had exhibited monstrous strength, chakra flaming outwards. Perhaps he would demonstrate the full strength of the demon's soon. But now was not the time. So he watched as those blue eyes targeted another in the shadows of the forest.

Such a careless ambush but its messiness distracted the other nins, leaving an opening.

Leaves were intentionally crunched.

Irritation lined his eyes as they began to move.

There was a snap then cold metal rested against his neck. He looked at the corner of his eye, staring back at vicious green eyes.

It was done.

Sasuke regulated his chakra into the massive dragon covered in ((bloodline's)) flames that as it crashed against the opposing force. That man, he thought, is a monster. The older man had effortlessly kept his hands in the same sign yet his dragon back to the point of breaking. His mouth was set into a thin line. His eyes flickered on the barely conscious figure. It was futile continuing the battle when the victor had been already decided.

Sasuke wavered slightly when his opponent's inferno faded and lessened, yet blue flames rapidly took over, the air froze and it dispersed into a thick cloud of smoke. In that split second, Sasuke saw the clear moment when he was dismissed from the fight and those – cold, hard – eyes pinned him. He stiffened, knees bent to jump towards him when he was pushed back roughly, he slammed into the forest floor, skin bursting on impact as flames coated his arms. Fuck!

Coughing and shaking off of the remaining fire that had suddenly roared towards him, he eyed the last sighting of Sakura, finding it empty. His opponent had disappeared as well. Cursing loudly, he rushed to the suffocating, fluctuating chakra that engulfed the entire area. Damn their leader, Hyuuga, was nursing to his injured cousin, wearily eyeing the trees. There was a flicker of black and red, shouting, "Fuck you, bitches!" A grunt then Ino Yamanaka fell to the forest floor, agression playing her bruised features.

"That wasn't nice, jackass."

"Leave me the hell alone. She looked like you and I wanted to punch you."

Kiba Inuzuka jumped out of the clearing, aiming for the scythe wielding psycho with fangs until a puppet slammed into him. It wavered then broke under his strength yet he was pulled back sharply by Shikamaru Nara.

"I ain't saying thanks to that, Sasori."

"It wasn't meant for you," the puppeteer muttered, "So those fangs are excellent material after all..."

But none of them were the source of the massive energy and he isolated each monstrous chakra until he found him again. He heard Naruto shout then being tackled away from a still figure by Kakashi Hatake.

The sight of him had its effect. Air was knocked from his chest and he struggled not to go on his knees. Like a mad painter, dirty crimson immersed in the spring colours, a destroyed vicinity, as if the demons hidden within the clearing made their marks. Power in the air flared with superiority. One of them greeted him with a set of bloody teeth.

"Itachi!"

In his arms was the unconscious form of their female friend. Deep, black eyes steadily regarded him.

A movement in the trees made him react. Naruto rumbled another protest, pushing off hands, "What the hell is Akatsuki doing here?"

The strange shark-faced man revealed sharp teeth, "Looking for meat."

"It's unusual for the Akatsuki to target a woman without necessity," Shikamaru guardedly started. "Or have any use of materials required in this mission."

Sasori of the Red Sand motioned his hands like a puppeteer, "What a pretty doll she would make…" His head was tilted and his ramblings made Deidara snicker behind his hand, grabbing the back of the man's plastic arm. "We're done."

"Wait!"

The tall figure of the elder Uchiha stood, impassive, in the clearing. He lifted his hand to the side. Movements immediately ceased and tension coiled around them making their bodies tight. "It's done." His hands calmly tugged her body to his as he made a move to leave.

"Sakura is going to come back to Konoha!"

"As expected."

Naruto faltered, failing to understand what the hell was going on. Even Nara Shikamaru struggled to make some connections.

Sakura faintly rolled her head to the side, head throbbing dully, and groaned, "…ah…" A warm body kept enticing her to sleep with large hands on her broken body. Her skin burned hot, ((-...sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep...-)) She could see figures – ((clothed in black and red)) - and blearily looked straight at the eyes of the Sharingan. The world turned black; her body fell, limp. For a moment, he observed the long lashes shadowing the bruises on her pale cheek. She was caught in the cross fire when the enemies had attacked them from above. Akatasuki had merely watched from afar, a few betting that she would be killed soon until he stepped in. Until her awareness triggered and cloaked herself from battle to stalk another revealed lurking.

He lifted his burden so that her face was pressed into his, moved his head slightly so that silky, pink strands spilled messily on his face. She never stirred. Like an obedient woman. "If she will be willing to leave him!" Deidara taunted, twisted laughter leaving his mouth until Sasori slapped a puppet's mouth into it. Naruto immediately reared into action but Kakashi slapped his hand flat on his chest. He looked at his mentor in betrayal. His mask had been pushed up to reveal the lone Sharingan eyeing the area beyond them.

Sasuke disregarded his orders and scorched a pathway lining up to the tress, burning bright, spring leaves to crisp black. Akatsuki members reacted instantly and he was thrown back, barks of wood digging deep into his back. He could see figures warp and plays of powers thrown until a huge explosion ringed his ears yet he roared, "Sakura!"

"You are impatient in our pursuit."

"Shut it, Sasori."

"I'm not the one that danced."

"I saw what you did with that guy after I beat both your asses to the ground."

"No. I was playing with hide and seek."

"With your dick?"

Hidan snickered.

Silence ensued as they made their way back to their current positioned base. The Akatsuki would have to travel once again. Resting in one area was risky enough. Kisame had stayed behind to cover their tracks. Itachi didn't even glance at the female in his arms, knowing the implications about to be commenced. It was such a simple, long-term mission. He adjusted his hold on her sleeping form; his brilliant mind already anticipating the events about to begin for the next months. Sakura mumbled something then sought to rest deeper in his neck. Onyx eyes lazily slid to the side to the man with red hair. They nodded.

Sasori's hands twitched; a fanatical glint in his eyes. But no, he would set the stage but he could not be the puppeteer for this show.

A pity.

What a pretty doll she would have made…


"Is our pet finally here?"

"Yes."

"Preparations?"

"The cage is ready."


Ongoing Revisions for following chapters 3/4. So for now bare with me with the original continuing chapters =) Until then, other recent chapters 5/6/7 are still good enough to read xD