Author Notes: It's been a difficult few months, so bare with me for a little bit on the updates, there not going to be as fast as I'd like them to be. I appreciate all of you for your patience and support it's what keeps this story going.
Envy My Pain
By: A Sinners Curse
A dark silhouette of a forebodingly disturbed man sat motionless upon a small tattered and disheveled futon. The room was dark and dank much like the man who now currently occupied it. It was a refuge for the wicked now.
The small townhome had been abandoned after Orochimaru's attack a few years ago; it would seem that this particular section of Konoha got overlooked during the rebuilding and the revival of Konoha. 2X4 wooden boards covered up most of the windows capturing most of the daylight, trying to steal its way into the darkness. I looked as if a heavens arms where reaching out towards the unknowable and unnamable darkness trying desperately to capture it in its magnificent grace of warmth and security.
He sat there waiting to see if the kunoichi would turn in the scrolls and disclose the information of his whereabouts. He was interested in testing her trust level, even though she didn't have any reason to trust him. She should turn him in, but he had a funny feeling that Sakura cared too much to do the worse. She'd follow his plans even if she didn't know she'd be manipulated in doing so. She was easily read, and when the door to his room creaked open, he couldn't help but hold back the smirk that hid under his raven locks that cascaded down his broad shoulders.
"What took you so long…?"
At the Hokage's Tower:
Sakura stiffened as she stood in front of the Hokage's office. The large heavy oak carved doors stood in her way and the scrolls held tightly within her grasp. She could feel her heart racing; already she felt the pulse thumping rapidly at her aching temples. She felt sick to her stomach as nervous butterflies danced inside her stomach. She'd been in this office a million times, she knew the person behind that door better then most, yet she couldn't figure out why she had the a panicked feeling that seemed to be hindering her from knocking on the door. With a sweaty palm she raked hesitantly on the heavy door. It was soft, and so unlike the pink haired kunoichi who was always so brash.
Sakura had always been a very vociferous woman if not a bit to strait forward at times. Sakura was much like the Godaime herself both of them equally blessed with extreme power. She wasn't someone you'd ever define as normal; with her pink colored hair and her jade hues. She was very gifted and very unique, with that she was held with high merits and standards by her superiors and peers alike.
Sakura heard a deep voice from behind the door; it seemed strung with irritation, "Enter!"
She took a deep breath as she pushed through one of the double doors. As she entered she turned slightly to close it behind her.
"Oh, sorry Sakura I didn't know it was you." Brown hues met with green.
"It's okay," Sakura offered a mediocre smile, "I'm use to you by now."
Tsunade gave her a warm smile as the Godaime's eyes diverted from the stacks of paperwork in front of her something rare for Tsunade to do. Sakura had her undivided attention, and it seemed to add to the burden of the young Kunoichi's heart as her green eyes averted to the floor. Suddenly her sandaled feet seemed more interesting.
"Tell me Sakura, how have you been managing these last few weeks?" Worry was etched upon the Godaime's face.
"I-Itachi came last night…"
"He left me two scrolls," should she tell that he'd left a secret note for her to come and see him? Should she tell the Godaime where Itachi was hiding?
Sakura moved forward placing the two scrolls upon her desk, her green eyes finally meeting with the woman's before her.
"Where is he Sakura?"
"I-I don't know H-he…" She was lying to her mentor and she hated herself for it. "He'd delivered them to me while I was sleeping. That's all he left for me, and that makes me believe that the ANBU platoons integrity has been compromised."
"So you think that he's impersonating an ANBU member?" Tsunade lifted her brows. The Godaime had much faith her ANBU squads, and the possibility of security breech made her a little uneasy. Sakura new that Konoha underestimated the S Class villain.
"I don't think Hokage-sama I know." Sakura took her eyes from the floor to meet with Tsunade's fierce gaze.
"Itachi was a prior ANBU captain as I'm sure you've already either figured that out on your own or have already made the assumption. It would be easy for him to slip on the disguise of an ANBU member with ease. He has knowledge to some of Konoha's darker deeper secrets, things that even I am unaware of. So he's already changed his disguise. In spite of this I'll issue out a warning to the squads I've got deployed out, and send some to the ANBU headquarters." Tsunade gave a glance towards her pupil. She noticed Sakura's personality change towards this.
"Sakura, I've known you for a long time now…what's really going on Sakura?"
Sakura looked away, she couldn't face her mentor. She knew that her eyes would betray her. Her greatest weakness of all was that she wore her emotions on her sleeve. She knew that she doubted her current moral standards, for a criminal who'd slaughtered his entire family. She was protecting an S Class Villain and she hated herself for that. She knew that she couldn't deny the truth for to long. Tsunade knew her too well for her to keep this game of manipulation going.
"He's here," She said softly as she lifted the stray note that was stuffed into the confinements of her pocket, "I'm sorry Hokage-sama."
"Sakura, do not apologize. Never apologize!" The Hokage's voice was loud, and demanding. Sakura eyes shot up to clash into the honey brown hues of the Godaime.
"There are things that are occurring around us that are out of all of are hands. Be honest! I've helped sculpt and mold you for years now, Sakura. I have nothing but confidence and high beliefs in you. I'd never have chosen you as my apprentice if I didn't have complete and utter confidence in the person you are."
Sakura felt a burning at her eye lids; she tried her best to blink it away. For once in her life she wanted to be strong, but like always the tears of her hearts confliction bled out in crystal white tears as they caressed there down along her cheeks. "I love him Tsunade-Sama."
The Godaime gave a sad look, a look that made Sakura feel even worse. It was a look that made her feel the sympathy behind the powerful almighty Godaime. She felt pity for Sakura, and Sakura could read the emotion better then any she'd ever seen through her mentor's eyes. They were windows to her very soul, which showed Sakura how much she was hurting for Sakura's misfortunes.
"Sakura, there is something that I must tell you. It's my time to be honest. You may not like the outcome of what is occurring or what is happening, but you must understand the truth and the reality of our lives as Shinobi. You are first and foremost a Shinobi of Konoha that is your primary occupation." Tsunade gave a sad look. It was a look that made every muscle in Sakura's body tense with tension.
"Sasuke has been under orders to follow you," The Godaime raised her hand, "Before you cut me off let me finish," She continued with a strict firmness, the kindness leaving her voice.
"We made a deal with the younger Uchiha. The deal was to allow him the opportunity to seek out his brother in return he'd surrender to Konoha authorities. That is the only reason why Sasuke has returned to this village." Tsunade watched as Sakura fidgeted around. She could tell that her pupil was deeply bewildered, and angered at the fact that she'd been deceived.
"Somehow unbeknown to all of us he'd known you'd been Uchiha Itachi's main target and Sasuke's been trailing you for a long time now, even before we knew that Uchiha was after you. It would seem that you were deployed out like bait and when you were returned home it made it more difficult for Sasuke to keep an eye on you. We don't deal with criminals and I wouldn't have agreed to the terms Sakura, but the counsel has outvoted me. It would seem that the Uchiha's bloodline is of high standards to some of the older families that still have political power over Konoha's government."
"So you knew that Itachi was…"
"Yes, we knew just about everything. Sasuke kept up with his daily reports, one of the requirements to this underhanded deal that the nobles made." Tsunade looked at her student she could tell the hurt in the young Kunoichi's eyes.
"Sakura don't take this as distrust on your part. I would never doubt your judgment. This was out of my hands and you must understand that and despite the counsel superseding me on this decision I'll still stand by there side and say that the decision did have your best interest at heart. You are very important to this village and its future Haruno Sakura. When I leave this world, you'd be my next successor as my medical counterpart."
"My best interest?" She was confused, hurt, and felt deceived by everyone she knew and loved.
"Tell me Hokage-sama what is my best interest anymore?"
"Sakura…" There was warning in the elder woman's tone, and Sakura knew that she was overstepping her bounds as a subordinate to her superior.
"No, no more misconstruing the truth between us. You laid down the rule that there would be nothing but the truth discussed now. Tell me where is Sasuke-kun is? I at least have the right to know that much!"
"The scrolls that were laid on your table where already looked at to include the note that you have hidden away in your pocket of the whereabouts of Uchiha Itachi." Tsunade saw Sakura shiver. It had the Godaime tense, something wasn't right.
"The scrolls you have were meaningless Sakura. They were old second hand scrolls that had been used as a ploy to hide an old curse seal in them, which was intended for Itachi's younger brother, not for you. The scroll states a set of complex tasks that leads an individual on nothing but a wild goose chase. It's like a mock treasure map, only meant to mislead the reader." The Godaime continued, as Sakura glanced at the scrolls.
"The Heaven and the Sin scrolls that Itachi entrusted to you, where used years ago as prank to treasure hunters, the scrolls supposable lead the seeker to immortality. It was a way to cheat the Gods a myth that got out of hand."
Tsunade glance towards the window averting her gaze from her students before she continued, "You were just a ploy Sakura, apart of a bigger game that you know nothing about. You have to stop this, despite your feelings for Itachi you have to let them go. Both of the Uchiha brothers are using you."
"I can't." The two hardest words the kunoichi had ever spoken in her life. She thought of the time when she'd spieled her heart and soul out to a selfish boy whose only porpoise in life was to seek revenge, and how much he'd meant to her despite his indifference towards her. She even told him how far she was willing to go to prove that undying love for the selfish boy. She'd thought that had been the hardest moment in her life, but this here and now was the hardest moment in her life. Sakura felt her stomach freefall like a pit fall to hell, as she faced the Godaime who was her mentor, her friend, and the village leader who was feared throughout the Shinobi world.
"Sakura do not do what I know you're thinking to do. I will stop you, do you understand?"
"I understand that you have duties and responsibilities to this village Hokage-Sama," Sakura paused as her eyes met head on with her mentors, "I expect you to stop me, but I know deep down inside my heart that you won't. I believe that there is more to this game then we all know. I don't believe Itachi is who he has betrayed himself to be. Sasuke will regret this if he does what he plans to do. Please, do not try to stop me Hokage-sama."
"I can only by you a little time Sakura and that is all that is all you're allotted. Get out of here! I want you to know that before you leave that Hatake Kakashi wanted me to tell you these passing words," Sakura saw the pain within the depths of those large almond colored hues. She knew that her mentor was deeply hurt. She saw the confliction of the Godaime, but she understood that she had to stop a blood shed.
"No matter the outcome in this conflict, he will love you."
"Tell him, I said thank you," She whispered softly. It came out weaker then she'd wanted to, but the gratitude behind it was there. Her eyes drifted to the window. The curtains swaying open behind the Godaime's desk. Wisped away like a summer's breeze. She knew that Tsunade would have to deploy some of Konoha's best in retrieving her. Time was clearly against her, and she had to get to the construction part of town.
When she arrived, she'd seen something she clearly didn't expect…
Footnotes: I know this isn't that long, but it's better then not being updated I suppose. The manga has moved on so much that it's hard to keep up with trying to keep things somewhat close to the Anime. Well I hope you all enjoyed this chapter. I hope to have more chapters up soon. Please Review! Let me know how you guys like this chapter.
-A Sinners Curse