Story Title: Unfortunate Circumstances
Chapter Title: 11. Star Reputation
Chapter 11 of 11
Arc 1 of 3
Rating: M (Swearing, Later chapters)
Author: Backlash Symphony
Summary: Sakura is sent to a tiny village in need of medical help after the death of her husband, Kakashi. The Akatsuki attack, taking control of everything. Due to her reputation, she is forced to help the Akatsuki. More specifically, Kisame.ItaSakuKis
Disclaimer: Nope. Don't own it.
Extra: This is the last chapter of this arc. The URL of the first chapter of the second arc will be posted at a later time.
Sakura, Naruto, Sasuke: 20
Itachi, Kabuto: 26
Orochimaru, Jiraiya, Tsunade: 58
Text means normal writing.
'Text' means thoughts.
'Text' means Inner Sakura's thoughts.
Text means flashback.
-Text- means something written.
The way she was moving she may as well have been the victim of the nervous system attack that Tsunade had taught her how to use back when she first became her student. Her brain was telling her trembling hands to reach down and pick up the book she had dropped but her legs were extending and bringing her to her full height. She tried to sit back down but her fingers reached up and pushed her hair away from her forehead. When she told her hands to fold together, she found her legs kneeling back down in front of the notebook.
"Oh-my-God!" she whispered frantically, breathing becoming more and more labored with each passing moment.
Her fingertips brushed the edges of the page that was in her line of sight. The title was blaring, popping out from the paper, the instructions and images seemingly swimming across her vision. Sakura couldn't believe what she was witnessing, but her body was on auto-pilot, having had enough of her conscious misdirection and decided to become mutinous and get what needed to be done completed.
She traced the lines of characters with her fingertips and wasn't aware of the tears that traveled down her pale cheeks until the little droplets of moisture landed on the pages at her hands. She was crying for fear of what she was seeing, for the pain she felt, for the fury that was building within her, for all the time she had spent in this complex, for Kakashi, who had words she should have listened to more closely.
Her senses told her that if she was caught, she would simply make it a point to explain that she was done here anyways. If Tobi tried to stop her, then she would go against her own wishes and just land him a really painful hit to the face for lying to her. She swallowed a lump that was forming in the back of her throat and turned the page.
Of all the things she would be able to see, she never thought she'd feel so emotional over something as simple as this notebook. She knew, somewhere in the back of her head, that this moment had been coming for quite some time. She had known for the month that she had been in this cursed place that she would figure out the big secret behind Itachi Uchiha, but she had never expected something as disgusting and pathetic as this.
The back of the page that she had found to have only fragments of letters was taped onto a blank section of the notebook. She had believed the page would eventually show something, but she never would have guessed that someone would have literally removed the passage by means of taping over the written sections and removing them with the clear adhesive.
She tried to calm herself and force her breathing into a controlled state, but to no avail. She was quivering worse than before and the tears were making her vision incredibly blurry. Her heart was racing against her chest, as if it were trying to escape its calcium prison. She brought her fingers to her eyes to wipe away the moisture and that helped her some. Readying herself, she began to read the missing passage.
- on land. He had to learn how to coexist with the very humans he tormented who approached his territory at sea.
The concept of a Water God living among mere mortals was unheard of, and people managed to locate Isonade's new location with each move he made. Those who were afraid would warn their children not to travel nearby, especially at night, or else they would be eaten by Isonade. Those with a little more courage threatened the now less-powerful and much less monstrous-looking ex-God.
He could no longer control all the water, only a fraction of what he once had, but he strived to live and those villagers were only interferences. He was used to terrified looks and fleeing women and men when he let his true form be shown. He grew angry and often sent waves of destructive water to ruin villages.
On the coast one night, as Isonade prepared himself for that evening's slumber, he heard, not far into the distance, the scream of a woman. While he was angry with mankind for their unfair treatment of him, he knew that in his heart, he couldn't just let an innocent woman die or be raped.
He located her quickly and the sheer sight of him sent the man, who was trying to rape her, running. He caught him effortlessly and right before he murdered him, the man managed to land a superficial cut to Isonade's chest. He knew he shouldn't let the woman see him and tried to find a different exit.
The woman, however, called after him. Her voice was like creek water over mossy rocks, smooth and gentle and beautiful. He gave in to the innocence it held and allowed her to see him. He expected her to run when she saw him, but she didn't. She gasped, not in fear of his hideous appearance, but of the wound he had –
Sakura's eyes traveled to the page beside the taped passage and continued to read.
The woman begged him to let her tend to it and Isonade was thoroughly confused. He allowed her to and while she did, he noticed how stunning the woman was. With hair the color of the night sky and eyes the deepest of blues, Isonade felt his heart flutter with love.
Having finished her work, the woman noticed Isonade's intense stare at her. She offered herself to him but he declined, telling her that he could never devour such a beautiful woman who had done nothing wrong. She explained that she had, and when he asked how, she told him that she had walked away from her wedding because the man she was to marry beat her.
The woman cried on the massive shoulders of Isonade and he knew that he loved this woman and wanted no harm to come to her. That night, he made her his own, and one year later, she had four children, each a varying shade of blue with different kinds of hair. They all had massive amounts of chakra coursing through their systems.
When they were old enough to wed, Isonade explained to the woman that whoever married first would be the only child of the four to live. He told her that in order to preserve the power and prevent their children from using their powers for wrong, it had to be done.
The others would have to be killed. Their only daughter, who had the creamy pale skin of her mother, the silky cerulean hair and two black lines below her eyes like her father, was the first to marry. The conditions were explained to her and she was bound by oath to follow them.
One week after Isonade killed his other three children, the woman he married committed suicide.
Their daughter continued to extend the line of Isonade, having three children of her own. She followed through with her father's wishes, explained the tradition to her own children when they were old enough to marry, and thus was born the first hybrid breed of human and God. -
The floor was quick to meet Sakura's side as she collapsed, sobbing, onto it. Her whole body shook violently, tears sliding down her cheeks. Her knees curled into her chest, arms wrapped protectively around herself. She couldn't feel the throbbing in her heart as it had been replaced by a freezing numbness. Her tears slid down her throat and pooled around her ear, dampening her hair and making it sticky.
Sakura had never had such a violent, emotional reaction to something she'd read. But now she could understand why Kisame chose to become one of the Akatsuki. He had probably had the worst traits passed down to him, leaving him unable to find someone to marry him before one of his siblings did.
He had fled when he found out what his fate was to be, terrified, probably, and unsure of what he would do. Someone must have found him and felt the extraordinary power he held, the potential he had, and had taken him to develop it. He had probably been labeled as a missing-nin and had to kill to save himself.
The poor guy had to have been 17 years old and he was to be murdered for doing nothing wrong. No wonder his views of love and friendship were so warped! He didn't know how to trust people he didn't know when his own family wanted him dead.
Sakura bit down on her tongue to try and quell her sobs, suddenly realizing that she was in a room she wasn't supposed to be in with a book that explained all of the things she needed to get out of this complex. Her crying had to have been exceptionally loud and Tobi would most likely be on his way up.
Sakura stumbled to her knees, pulling the folder from her pants and slipping the notebook into it. Pressing it to her chest, she clumsily got to her feet and turned the light off. Her fingers fumbled through the hand signs to transport her to her room, only smoke left in her wake.
She arrived right in front of her bed and nearly collapsed onto it. She kept herself steady, though. It was time for her to think. She had to stop it with the theatrics and the hysterics and focus, because this was what she had been waiting for. This was the key to her freedom, to going home and being where she belonged. She needed absolute concentration and focus to pull this off.
She tucked her hair back into a messy ponytail and roughly wiped away the tear stains lining her cheeks. She pulled in deep, even breaths, watching her chest expand and contract in a rhythmic, calming way. She could have been in her room for a few minutes or a few hours for all she knew, because enthusiastic knocking on her door brought her from her breathing.
With a start, she called, "Who is it?"
"Tobi wanted to make sure the pretty lady was okay! She had been gone for nearly a half hour! Is the pretty lady okay?"
Sakura wanted to smile at how childish this man was but refrained from it. She walked to the door and opened it up, looking up at the masked figure.
"Sorry it took so long. I forgot where I put it," she explained, waving the file in front of him.
She pushed past him and headed straight into her lab. She had a lot to think about.
"Our business is concluded here. You can all head back to the base. You have your instructions. You all know that we'll begin preparations for tomorrow."
The men nodded and disappeared with a blur. The blonde and the blue-haired men glanced at each other with worry before they, too, left with a blur.
Papers were spread around her desk and her operating table. The notebook she had discovered in Itachi's room was sitting, opened, in her lap, atop a blank book for her final theory to be composed in.
Already written in it was her explanation for why she wouldn't be able to heal Kisame. Under that paragraph she had her reasoning for being unable to heal Itachi's eyes. She had begun to write about Sound's involvement, but so far she was still unable to think of anything realistic enough to make sense. Since she was little, she had always known that Sasuke was out for his brother's blood. Nothing would stop him from achieving that.
She had imagined Sasuke and Itachi agreeing on killing Orochimaru to keep him out of the way when it came to their final battle. She could see Itachi getting Sasuke to murder Orochimaru in exchange for Itachi's explanation of the Uchiha Massacre. She could even picture Kabuto being dragged back to the Akatsuki and Sasuke joining up in order to learn Itachi's weaknesses. But Sasuke and Itachi on willing civil terms was out of the question.
And Sound still had a bigger involvement in all of this –whatever "this" really was because she didn't even really know to begin with.
'Sound wants the Leaf Village to be destroyed. Orochimaru wants Sasuke's body and eternal life. Akatsuki wants the biju…and I'm assuming that they each have their own personal vendettas…but what does any of that have in common?'
'Sasuke could technically give Orochimaru's head to Tsunade and be granted Konoha citizenship again, you know.'
Sakura smiled, grateful that she had her inner self back to work.
'I take it the barrier is gone now?'
'Yes, but that doesn't mean we won't suffer side effects from forcing it away.'
'I'll keep that in mind. But as for that idea, it would make sense but what doesn't is why he would come back without killing Itachi.'
'If Orochimaru is dead, then that only leaves Itachi in the Bingo Book for most wanted from Konoha. Tsunade will grant him citizenship and Sasuke will know where the Akatsuki base is and can come back under the intentions of becoming a member and then kill him. That will be enough to exonerate all his charges.'
'…but that still doesn't make total sense. Sasuke is desperate to kill Itachi, but he's also smart enough to know that the Akatsuki will be ten steps ahead of him. They'll move bases while Sasuke is out on a mission or before Sasuke even returns. They have no more Sound to worry about and they can continue their work without interference.'
'So why are Akatsuki and Sound working together, then?'
Sakura smacked a hand to her forehead.
'That's what I've been trying to figure out. What have you gotten from the information I had the last time you made it through the barrier?'
'I've come to the same conclusions as you. Kisame's story makes much more sense now and Kakashi's death is starting to be able to point fingers at Sasuke. Though really, if we go down that route, then the whole exoneration business seems like it would work. I just can't believe that Itachi would do something as stupid as making a deal with Orochimaru. I mean, he knows what the snake is capable of doing to him when he's-'
'Wait!That's it! That's why Sasuke is here! That's why…now it all makes much more sense!'
Sakura scribbled down her newest thoughts on the page at her knee.
'Oh, I see what you're getting at now. But that still doesn't explain how Sound got involved, and our guess that there's another reason seems pretty logical.'
'Since when did you become so helpful? You've never been this nice before. Maybe I should get barriers to separate us more often…It makes you easier to deal with.'
'That isn't funny. Besides, you can I both know that without me, you're a mental case. And don't try to deny it, either, because you know it's true.'
'That's a cheap shot and you-'
Sakura's senses flared as she felt a half a dozen familiar chakras heading into the complex. Her eyes scanned the single page she had filled and she felt her stomach churning in anxiety. She sucked in a breath between her teeth and placed a hand over her stomach, telling herself to calm down. Getting angry wouldn't help any, either.
'Wish me luck.'
'Good luck to us.'
Sakura ripped the page from her notebook, sensing that the familiar chakra signatures were moving into the kitchen. She grabbed her backpack, shouldered it, snatched the book she'd liberated from Itachi's room, and walked to the door. She tucked the book and the paper under the belt at her waist under the back of her shirt. Once her hand wrapped around the handle, she was overcome with a severe horror for her person.
What if the Akatsuki was upset with her finding the loophole and simply decided she would be less trouble if they just killed her? What if they tortured her –not that she'd never been tortured before- or fed her to Zetsu? Sakura narrowed her eyes and straightened her back.
"No, I will prevail. I will move on and show them I'm better than they thought I was. Most importantly, I'll prove that bastard wrong!" she whispered determinedly.
The door was opened before she could change her mind.
'Just breathe normally. You've done worse than this. You'll win and go home, drink some tea and watch the wedding tape. You'll beat them, you will!'
The whispered conversation in the kitchen died down when Sakura passed beneath the archway.
Tobi was busying himself with something in the fridge but he quickly removed himself from it holding a glass of orange juice. Sasori was leaning against the sink, watching Hidan as he slumped back in his chair and fingered the necklace he wore. Deidara sat across from Kisame, the two looking everywhere but at one another. Kakuzu was tucking some bills into his cloak, sitting across from the ill-appearing Itachi.
The moment she entered the kitchen, however, all eyes were on her. She could practically hear their thoughts as if they were saying them. Why did she have her bag with her? What did she want? Couldn't she see they were discussing something? What was she thinking about?
Sakura swallowed the lump that formed in the back of her throat and said, "I can go home now."
Itachi stood up from his chair, relying heavily on the table to get him up.
"I don't want to listen to your theories right now," he said pointedly, eyeing her suspiciously.
Sakura forced a smile onto her face.
'Now or never. Literally!'
She dropped her bag and paced forward, Itachi her target. He tried to maneuver around Sakura but she gripped his bicep tightly, forcing him to halt. Her gaze remained straight ahead, directed onto the wall, while Itachi's narrowed crimson eyes trained onto her falsely smiling face.
"I'm sure I have a few things to say that might be in your best interest to hear…" Sakura turned her head to meet gazes with Itachi. "…Orochimaru."
"Tsunade, I'm beginning to worry about her."
"I trust in Sakura's abilites, Shizune."
"But…I don't believe sending her on this mission was right!"
"It'll all work out in the end, Shizune. That was the agreement when I sent her on this mission."
"She isn't emotionally stable, though, Tsunade! That's the point I'm trying to make!"
"She'll pull through this. She always has and I know she will again."
"It's been a month, Tsunade. I know she's good but-"
"She'll be on her way home soon. I trust in her abilities."
The sound of shattering glass permeated the air but Sakura merely continued to stare down 'Itachi'. His crimson eyes morphed into furious slits as he wrenched his arm from Sakura's grasp. The smug expression she wore left the anger inside of him churning.
The tension in the room was tangible but Sakura's eyes never once left Itachi's face. It was so silent she was sure she would be able to hear a bug crawling across the wall. Sakura pointed to the chair Itachi had risen from.
"Take a seat and I'll explain what I know. I don't know, I might make a mistake. You're better off hearing me out," she explained. "Or you can always kill me, but I don't think that would work too well with your plans."
Itachi's head jerked towards Kisame but the blue-skinned man looked just as shocked as Itachi felt. Sakura calmed her breathing and continued.
"You asked me to reconnect Isonade with Kisame, but the truth on the matter is that Kisame has no demon inside of him. He is a descendant from Isonade. He has high levels of chakra and he looks the way he does because Isonade can be traced back to be his ancestor." Sakura observed Kisame from the corner of her eye. "His reason for being here is because he couldn't marry before one of his other siblings did and death was his fate after that point."
"How did you find that out?" 'Itachi' snarled. "He told you, didn't he?"
Sakura reached behind her and tugged the book from its hiding place. She flipped it open and skipped a few pages, ignoring the enraged look that was on Itachi's face. She got to the section she received her information from and tossed the book onto the table, displaying it for everyone to see.
"I found that book in your room, Orochimaru, and I never would have thought you'd take over Itachi's body. Then I found the directions to complete the Body-Transfer Technique. I combined those pages with the flash of yellow in your eyes. You and Sasuke being civil contributed to my discovery."
"I told you to stay out of that room," Itachi hissed, taking a sudden step forward.
Sakura leapt back a foot, fearful that Itachi might swing at her, but Sasori was already standing between her and Itachi, holding him back.
"That may be, but I told you to stay out of my lab, and you sent Kabuto to attack my lab. By the way, that only made more sense, especially since Kabuto wouldn't take orders from Sasori anymore and because you and Kabuto attempted to kill Sasori, but I'd already beaten you to it."
The image of Yamato's, Sai's, and the Naru-Kyuubi's faces flashed through Sakura's and Orochimaru's heads. She shook the vision away and continued with her theories. She was almost done. She wasn't going to screw any facts up.
"At first I didn't understand why Sound would be working with Akatsuki, and I still don't understand all the factors of it now. However, I do know that by having you take over Itachi's body, you could make it seem like a peaceful resolution to being a traitor of the Akatsuki. You would have your body and you would continue to train Sasuke for another three years until Itachi's body became worn out."
Sakura walked to the table and placed the written notebook paper down beside the book. Touching the pages of the journal she explained further.
"You didn't know that Itachi's eyes were already so bad that he was going to be nearly blind by the time you transferred into his body, but once it had happened, it was too late to find a separate body to move to. Realizing your mistake, you kept Sasuke close by. The Akatsuki wouldn't kill Itachi, but due to his failing abilities, he was beginning to have less and less use to them. You knew that they could get rid of two birds with one stone.
"You had Kakashi murdered for his Sharingan eye, knowing that he was able to use it, though it weakened him since he wasn't an Uchiha. You figured since you inhabited Itachi Uchiha's body, the removal of one eye and the replacement of Kakashi's Sharingan wouldn't leave you exhausted after each use. You would have one good eye, and one bad eye.
"Bringing me into the equation wasn't something you were too keen about. You knew I would work for Kakashi's revival, but just in case I actually healed your eyes, you needed me to stay. Once you switched to Sasuke's body, Itachi's eyes would need to be healed once more so that you could transfer back to Itachi once your three years inside Sasuke expired. You would have a healthy set of Uchiha's to possess. But a problem arose."
Sakura closed the book she was touching and tucked it back between her belt and her pants. She looked back at Itachi, watching his poorly controlled anger, relieved now that the man she had met wasn't the one she had heard so much about from Kakashi.
"Throughout your existence in Itachi's body, you realized that Sasuke would begin to get irritable and leave you because you hadn't provided him with sufficient training to kill his brother. He would be offended and fed up with your antics, believe you were teasing him by taking over his brother's body and being around him with it, taunting him because he wouldn't be able to kill Itachi while your soul was inside of it.
"You promised him that once Itachi's birthday came up, you would be able to move out of his body and while Itachi recovered, Sasuke could kill him. You would then take over Sasuke's body, bring Itachi's head to Konoha and pretend to be Sasuke so you could have all of his charges exonerated and be a reinstated citizen of Konoha. You would fake your real body's death and Sasuke would have wiped the two most wanted criminals in the Konoha Bingo book flat off the face of the Earth."
Sasori moved silently to stand beside Itachi's trembling body. The rage he was suppressing was going to come out at some point, but for now it was apparent that his fury wouldn't even allow him to talk.
"From then on, you would act as if you were carrying out Sasuke's wishes. You would continue the Uchiha bloodline and work on destroying Konoha from the inside. A well-thought out plan, but you never figured that I would break it to pieces."
Sakura was finished with everything. She had proved the entire agreement to be void and now she could leave. She could return home, finally! And she could stay there and not have to worry about possessed bodies or seriously old men hitting on her or making out with the enemy. She could forget all about what had happened here.
"One final thing I have to get off my chest before someone shows me out," Sakura suddenly mentioned.
She sauntered over to stand in front of Itachi's body, hand reaching up to innocently cup his cheek. Without warning, her other hand collided with his uncovered cheek in the form of a fist, launching his form through the space of the kitchen and through the back wall.
"If you're so afraid to die then you're definitely in the wrong profession," Sakura bellowed, abruptly huffing indignantly and turning on her heel to retrieve her bag.
Sasori and Tobi eventually made it over to the unmoving body beneath the clumps of plaster and the boards of wood that covered Itachi.
Sakura smirked to herself triumphantly as she secured her pack around her frame.
"Is someone going to show me where the exit is or am I going to have to destroy walls until I find a way out?"
Deidara and Kisame were at her sides in an instant, guiding her through the hallways until they passed her lab and arrived at the door next to it. She tucked the book into her backpack as Deidara's hand glowed with chakra. A series of clicks were heard as the door unlocked itself. He opened the door and a rush of cold air blew right into Sakura's face.
She nearly melted right where she was. How long had it been since she had last been outside? Really outside? The training time didn't count since it was all a genjutsu, so it had to have been when she fought Kisame. God she missed it, the sun, the rain, the clouds.
"I was afraid you wouldn't get it, yeah," Deidara whispered.
"So was I, Deidara. So was I."
Sakura hesitantly stepped forward, gazing at the drops of rain as they pelted the grass and the trees, feeling the cold wind as it blew leaves from their branches and the roaring thunder that rumbled through the dark clouds.
'One more step to freedom. Don't think about them.'
"Thank you," she mumbled.
She knew that if she turned around, she would want to kiss Kisame again. She would want to hug Deidara until he turned blue. Kisame had been right when she'd talked to him that first time. Not everyone in the Akatsuki was as evil and criminal as she had first judged.
"And I'm sorry."
The rain fell around her, dampening her skin, seeping into her clothes, making her hair stringy as she dashed away from the two men at the door. Chakra laced her feet and pushed her harder and faster through the forests and the plains. She raced against time, halting life where it was.
She was a free woman now. She no longer had to worry about criminals or past loves or unfair rules. She didn't need to fear a man with split personalities or labs being destroyed or lackeys flirting with her. She was past sleepless nights and painful nightmares and unwanted tension. She would be over existing as a simple medic and a joke of an ANBU captain and a lie of a lover.
The rain came down just a bit harder and she laughed at herself and the soaked clothes she wore that stuck to her skin, cleansing her and forgiving her for what she had done, allowing her to move on and forget what she had suffered through.
She was Haruno, Sakura, and no man or god on earth or in Heaven could ever change that.
Arc 2: Unfortunate Coercions
Summary: Sakura's return to Konoha: a promise to move on; a vow to forget; a choice to put on the mask once more; a battle against her will & heart. What Akatsuki wants, it gets, & Sakura is nonnegotiable on the brink of war.ItaSak
So there's the end of Arc 1. Now I have to go back and change the other chapters to say "Arc 1 of 3" because that fourth arc I had planned wouldn't have made much sense. I think I said last chapter that I was going to post the URL for the first chapter of Arc 2 somewhere in this chapter.
I figured you all should get the chance to read this last chapter without having to wait a longer time for that second one to get put up. I know it'll take a while to get the first chapter out since it's going to be longer and will have a few fight scenes in it which means I'll have to write it so people don't get bored reading it. I got a lot of good responses to the fight between Sakura and Kisame for not being boring so I'll work just as hard to make these fights the same.
Thanks to my amazing reviewers Sara 'Devilchu', Shadeslayer390, Sailor Tiamat, yuki san1, Iskah, byakugan-master93, Sanity Overload, xXBlack.Friday.VampireXx, The-New-Akatsuki-Leader, TeenageCrisis, SpeedDemon315, Moonhuntress09, black55widow, mariahpink, Serenity Fey and freak a geek.
Thank you all for sticking with me this far and I hope to see you in the next arc!
Don't forget to review, please!