Florida Alicat: Thanks! I try to keep my plot interesting and somewhat original. :D

ToraHimeSama: Lol, I WASN'T dead! At least for a while… XD And… Believe it! Yesh, I feel bad for Neji, too. But cheer up! He still has Tenten. :D

Sakura Angel 4eva: Okay, I KNOW I disappointed this time. Sorry!

Kurai hi: Woah. A very logical explanation. I'm glad you shortened it again, too. :D Way easier to type. :)

La Bori Angel 16: Yesh, I am back! I'm sorry I disappeared AGAIN right after my last absence… D: And don't feel sorry for Ino; everybody has a happy ending; one way or another. Bwahaha! XD

Kaydreams: You're always welcome! Believe it! Haha, just had to do it. XD Actually, the seal would be a disadvantage to Sakura because her main goal is to escape from the Uchiha Kingdom as soon as possible so there's no chance of her falling in love with him and marrying him like in the prophecy. Was that sentence too long? Sorry, I just rushed for a second there… Oh, and this is a… I don't know, it can go either way for Temari and Ino at the moment… Thanks for your review!

J.a.M.i.16: Thanks so much for complimenting on the drama part and confession! I worked my hardest on those parts! :3 Sorry this chapter was so late. T.T Appreciate your review!

AngelOfDarkness1005: Thank you! And yeah, EVERYONE feels bad for Neji! But don't worry about him too much. :3 He's too hot to kill off. Lol, thanks for your review!

Green Apples Are Nice: Yesh, we all know that Sasuke's far from a gentleman, but that's what makes him smexy. ;3 And if we all use a little imagination… Well, let's just say that I'd DIE to be in Sakura's place when Sasuke makes her kneel. (wink, wink) And thank you for the compliment. (blush) You're just too much. XD

TigerLilyette: (Love your username btw. :D) Thank you for the compliment and review! Appreciate it! :3

chaosonyxangel: ROFL! Your little skits are so funny and kewt! :3 Thanks for always taking the time to submit such long reviews! I LOVE 'EM! I JUST HOPE I UPDATED BEFORE YOU RETURNED FROM THE MENTAL INSTITUTE! It would've been a nice return gift, huh? And shucks, your compliments are too much for a mediocre authoress such as myself. But yay! :D I have a number one fan! Lol, thank you always for your random crack and loyalty!

siny: Was I too harsh on Neji and Ino? Everybody's sorry for them. XD Don't worry, though! Their situations get better as time passes. :) Hope you didn't wait TOO long for this chapter! Thanks always for your review!

NorthernLights25: Lol, thank you for liking my last chapter! Let's just hope this chapter passes, too. X3 Thanks always for your review!

crystal-clear-Star: Lol, well I try my best on grammar because it bothers me, too, when there're lots of mistakes. :D You noticed all the things I put extra effort in! I thanketh thee! And you are too kind in your compliments! Tis I who can learn a lot more from authors on this site! And sorry I took so long updating… AGAIN… THANKS FOR YOUR REVIEW!

cherrilatina: Thanks for your review! Hope you weren't TOO disappointed. ;)

weiquan1: Haha, thank you for loving my humble story. :D Yes, Gaara is a Dragon Rider! I was hoping it was unexpected! Yes, NejiTen is cute! Yes, Naruto is going to help Sakura now! And YE-… no, Sasuke is not going to kill his father. :( Lol, and Shikamaru and Ino will DEFINITELY work things out! Thanks for your review!

Carol aka-neko: It's okay. I've been gone like, two YEARS without UPDATING. Waaah! T.T Thanks for your review though.

Uchiha-Kirara: Lol, I just hope you don't direct that anger towards me for MAKING Sasuke and Naruto treat Sakura and Hinata like that… ;3 And of course I'll explain it for you! I should probably explain it to everybody, so I'll list it at the bottom. :) And who knows about Kaoru? ANYTHING is possible! :D And Glurak? Seriously? I had to look it up online to find that it was CHARIZARD! Lol, sorry I'm Pokemon retarded. XD As for the types of dragons, I'm trying to find pictures…? I'll update you on that. :P And as for the plot and characters, I'm proud to say that I actually outlined everything before starting my first rough draft. :) I even drew pictures and everything! :D And since you're experiencing such a wide variety of emotions, does that mean I'm doing a good job with my story? :D As for your questions, I'll only answer the last one: Sakura is a bit hesitant on taking action against Kaoru because all she has against him is a little wariness. He was never military-robot-obedient anyway, so she's dismissing it as just a stage he's going through. Your other questions will be answered soon! (Hopefully… -.-;;) And thanks for encouraging me! Hope you weren't waiting TOO long for this chappie. :(

vampirekakurine: Lol. I think my absence was more than enough time for you to catch up, no? Thanks for your review!


SnowCharms: Lol. Thanks for your review! No, Fugaku isn't dying just yet… And I'm just curious: do you have something against Kaoru becoming Sasuke's dragon in particular? Hmm… Well, you'll just have to wait until the story progresses to find out, huh? Sorry for being gone for so long!

Mitsuki Sakura Uchiha: Thanks for your review!

hushhushyou: Where are you, oh favorite reviewer of mine? Fanfic just isn't the same without you encouraging me. T.T I'm sorry! Come back!

Appreciate your reviews! And sorry I was gone so long! ;3 Really have no excuse anymore. High school. Eww. AP classes… I can't promise regular updates from now on, so please be sure to check back every two weeks or so! Sorry… AGAIN. T.T

The room that Sakura was taken to was plain and a bit bare, in her opinion. She had been seated in a chair and had been told to wait patiently until Sasuke returned with some necessary preparations. The guards that escorted her left promptly and she had waited in silence ever since.

A few minutes had ticked by, and yet Sasuke still refused to show himself. Being a girl who always had to be doing something, Sakura quickly started to work on her escape plan.

She would have to escape before she… grew attached to Sasuke in any way, be it forcibly or not. Sakura racked her brain for any ideas on how to escape with a giant dragon handicapping any possibly discreet method. She decided that it was impossible after a few moments and proceeded to thinking up some surprise tactics.

It was after the twentieth idea that popped into her mind that her train of thought strayed off the topic at hand. Absentmindedly, she came to comparing Kaoru to the dragons of other riders, namely the ones belonging to Neji and Gaara.

Since Kaoru already had Genji under his control, the fight for the Dragon's Throne would be slightly easier in the long run. Sakura was just measuring up how hard it would be to actually win their future battles when another idea made itself known in her mind.

She would use Gaara and his dragon.

Before any of the guards made a move, Sasuke was already standing behind his father with a kunai held to his neck.

"Drop your weapons if you hold any loyalty for this man," he stated coldly, making sure his voice was as apathetic as possible. He immediately saw how it affected the shinobi in front of him, for they grew hesitant and stiffened visibly.

Slowly, ever so carefully, they loosened their hold on Shikamaru without a word. The supposed hostage sighed in irritation, however, as he hastily approached Sasuke.

"Don't do anything you'll regret, Sasuke," he admonished with his hands raised in a defensive position. He seemed irked for some reason, so Sasuke warily let go of his father and took a step back.

Shikamaru did not need to see the look on his face to know he wanted an explanation; saving him the trouble, he started to voice what was going on in the clearest way possible.

"You have to make the seal at all costs, Sasuke," he stated firmly. "You absolutely have to. It's the only reason I would play the role of a hostage just to change your mind."

Knowing that Sasuke would not be swayed by his pathetic words, he even got to explaining the prophecy to him. He was glad Sasuke did not interrupt his long drabble, although he held a look of confusion on his face.

"Your mission, as the prince of the Uchiha Kingdom, is to court Haruno Sakura."

Sasuke growled at the easier-said-than-done statement.

"I absolutely detest my own seal. What makes you think that girl won't hate me for giving her a seal of her own? Besides, I don't want to have anything more to do with that giant snake than you do, so don't go around making these decisions by yourself."

A tense and awkward silence reigned after Sasuke's monotone declaration, leaving Shikamaru to ponder his next move and Fugaku to recompose himself after his almost-death experience. As he stood up and straightened out his clothes in the most dignified way possible, he sent a discreet look to Shikamaru that absolutely stated, Do whatever you can to change his mind.

"It might make her hate you temporarily," Shikamaru conceded slightly, "but I'm sure she can't resist your charms forever. Let's face it; you and your legion of fan girls all know that you're hot. It's just a matter of you opening up and accepting her."

No matter how much he was trained to conceal his emotions, Uchiha Sasuke could not, for the life of him, stop the absolutely disturbed look from contorting his face after hearing Shikamaru's… confession. He quirked an eyebrow questioningly and waited for Shikamaru to make even more of a fool of himself. Luckily, he was not disappointed in this time of need.

"If you know what's best for your kingdom, you would march right in there and start working on the blood writing immediately. Hell, I'll even take off her clothes myself if it's gonna get you to fucking cooperate!" The last interesting choice of words came out in a somewhat angry and rushed tone, which Sasuke found even more amusing. Shikamaru sighed before finally finishing his second rant of the day. "Look, the seal will give you full control over the girl, thus giving you control over her dragon, as well. I recently heard that she won a battle with Genji; that means that you'll be in charge of two dragons. It's like being a rider yourself."

Sasuke scowled at the obvious reminder of his lack of a dragon, but made no other comment. To tell the truth, he found Shikamaru's logic quite… logical. He had also hinted at something that Sasuke was always seeking: power. Of course, being the tactful genius he was, he did not utter this word at all, but Sasuke knew what he was getting at.

So, without another word, he grabbed Shikamaru's collar and marched outside, leaving his father forgotten in his own throne room.

It was while they made the transaction between rooms that Sasuke popped the question.

"Did Ino bitch at you again?"

Shikamaru sighed in agony. "Don't ask. I freaked out on her an hour ago and it's already killing me."

"Tch. Have some pride, man."

Things took a much more serious tone, however, when Sasuke finally entered the room alone. Shikamaru had gone to prepare a bed for Sakura to lie on, for she would have fainted by the end of the session.

Upon seeing the now somewhat familiar face, Sakura hurriedly got up from her seat on the floor and greeted him with a wary gaze. He was quick to lock the door and get down to business, meeting her stare with an icy stare.

"There's no turning back once the seal is in place," Sasuke commented casually as he took a seat in front of Sakura. They were both occupying a space on the floor in cross-legged positions, both facing each other with the intent of holding their grounds. "You can still turn back now."

Although she was currently concentrating on countering Sasuke's intent glare, Sakura could not help but wonder why he was saying this now. He had been absolutely silent when his father offered her the deal, and had not seemed like he was against it in any way until just a second ago. In a way, it seemed as if he wanted her to have second thoughts, but his cold, aloof expression made her unsure.

Once again racking her brain for any sort of logical explanation to his comment, she hesitatingly spoke. "Why?"

A frown appeared once again on Sasuke's face. "It's a very painful process," he explained in a monotone. He took a moment to examine Sakura up and down before he added as an afterthought, "I don't think you'll be able to handle it."

At this offhanded remark, Sakura puffed up and got ready to defend herself; after all, he had just insinuated that she was too weak to survive the seal. Plus, the fact that Sasuke was showing concern for her, no matter how nonexistent and blatantly rude it seemed, put Sakura on immediate defense mode. She vehemently rejected the idea of being weak and loudly announced it to him, her eyes shining with a fiery emotion that annoyed him to heck.

Sasuke could only glare as he watched that look in her eyes. Ever since their first encounter on the mountain she had saved him and Naruto from, he had been agitated by the very thought of her and all her dragon riding glory. Her shiny, emerald orbs were a couple of shades too bright for him, and he could not help but want to break the determination she always faced him with.

So, with anger welling up in his being, he scoffed outwardly and put on a show for her. "Just take off your top so I can start the seal," he commanded, managing to contain his anger.

It was just as she was taking off her top with as much indifference as she could when Shikamaru entered the room unannounced. "I'm back with the… stuff…"

It was understandable that he hastily turned around with just a hint of a blush appearing on his cheeks. Even with his recent argument with his fiancé, he was still loyal enough to act embarrassed in the presence of a half-naked girl.

He cleared his throat in distress and called for Sasuke; he could not locate Ino at the moment—she could've been outside their room now for all he knew—and he wanted out on this situation before it could lead to more misunderstandings between him and his bride-to-be. Sasuke just quirked an eyebrow in Shikamaru's direction and leisurely walked over to relieve him of the things in his hands.

The small bowl he held contained a box of bandages and a long brush, Sakura noted. She assumed the bandages were for her, since Sasuke promised excruciating pain, but she wondered why the ink was not present.

"Take your time, Sasuke. I'll be waiting outside." And Shikamaru quietly slipped out of the room, never once looking back.

The fierce tension between the two rivals settled in the room once again as Sakura forced herself to relax and lower the shirt she was holding against her binding-clad chest. She nervously watched as Sasuke fidgeted with the equipment, placing everything down on the floor to her side before resuming his seat.

Now that the inside of the bowl was visible to Sakura's eyes, she noticed something that she had not seen initially; two empty syringes. The sight of needles alarmed her slightly and put her on edge even more, but she refused to let it show on her face. Instead, she continued to watch him in curiosity out of the corners of her eyes.

"What are you-…?"

To Sakura's disbelief, Sasuke picked up the first syringe without hesitation and plunged it into a disinfected spot on his left arm, withdrawing a good amount of blood. He had cleared the little bowl of its contents, and Sakura watched in realization as he squirted the blood into it. He's going to use his own blood to draw the seal.

A sick feeling settled in Sakura's stomach as she fought viciously to keep a straight face. She finally looked away when she put two and two together, intent on blocking out the rest of the process.

To both her relief and terror, Sasuke was done in only a matter of seconds and was already dipping the paintbrush into the bowl, from what she could tell by the small glances of his arms. She absolutely froze and stiffened when she felt the brush sliding against the skin of her exposed back, but she kept mum.

If she turned around, she would have been face to face with Sasuke's impassive expression as he made light, precise strokes from her shoulder to her shoulder blade. He noticed, but chose not to comment on the deep shiver that ran down her back and almost messed up his writing.

"Hold still," he grunted as a warning when she flinched for the third time in a row. He was almost done with her chest and stomach when he made the gruff comment.

Sakura could not help but want to gag when he stared at her chest with utmost concentration and intensity. The man was writing on her in blood, for crying out loud!

After what seemed like forever, Sasuke moved onto the characters surrounding her on the stone floor. By then, the blood was dry and proving to be itchy on her bare skin, but Sakura was in no position to move; Sasuke had placed an immobilizing jutsu on her when he finally got fed up with her constant fidgeting. She was free to relax without moving a muscle, but the frozen position she was in was causing some cramps on her lower back.

"Like the marks?" Sasuke asked after he finished. The look he was sporting should have told her that he found some twisted satisfaction after writing on her in blood. He cleared his used equipment to the side, fully not expecting her to answer him; her lips were devoid of motion, too. Another part of Sakura that was frozen included her eyelids; they were closed, giving someone the impression that she was asleep.

"The seal is actually a two-step process if you want to get one like mine," he commented casually, although his mind was fully concentrating on the complicated hand seals he was making. "The first is when I bite you and cause you excruciating pain; it'll hurt so bad that you might even die from it. It's a cursed seal, and you'll go mad with power once it's in place."

Sakura could not move her face to express her horror at his words.

"The second is when I actually use these blood markings to put up a restraint for the cursed seal. It'll hurt, too, but you'll be knocked out by the time it's done."

If Sakura's back regained its mobility, she would have shivered.

"However, yours is not like mine; you'll have a third step," he continued conversationally. It made Sakura wonder if his cruelty was just an alter ego of this twisted young man. "For you, I add a few extra hand signs to the end of the restraining seal, which allows me to be in control of everything you'll do in my kingdom from now on."

The cramps from being in one position for so long were already getting to Sakura, who was working up a sweat as she silently listened to Sasuke's one-sided conversation.

"You may have entered my kingdom willingly…" he commented, finishing the seals. His canine teeth grew longer and sharper, acquiring the characteristics of fangs, and he opened his mouth wide, sucking in an excited breath. "…but you can't leave here as you please."

In the rush of adrenaline that pumped through his veins, his Sharingan whirled with life as he sank his teeth into her neck. He had copied this jutsu from Orochimaru when he used it on him, so it was understandable that he needed his Kekkei Genkai to remember it.

In the midst of all the horror and pain, Sakura could do nothing to defend herself as an excruciating burning sensation exploded from her shoulder. Nothing was heard from outside the room; nobody knew what kind of forbidden acts were being carried out behind the closed doors.

As Sasuke left the room and summoned a servant to deposit her in her chambers, only one thought flew through his mind.

You stay as long as I feel like it, now.

"Is that what Fugaku-sama has been planning while we were gone?"

Shikamaru did not glance at the mirror held in Chouji's hands, the same mirror he used to keep tabs on Ino during her mission as a spy. A cringe escaped his friend's sight as he recalled the drastic lengths he took to obtain information on the Cursed Seal. The creator of such a twisted jutsu was sure to be just as sinister (if not more), and he was not disappointed by the 'guinea pigs' and other gruesome experiments left behind by the psychopath.

"I can't believe you actually agreed to such a thing," Chouji commented grimly.

Next to him, Shikamaru resisted the urge to choke on his own saliva. Chouji was not told of the mutilated freaks of nature Shikamaru found in the lab, nor was he aware of just how much pain Sakura must have been going through because of Sasuke's immobilizing jutsu. Where did he get the idea that what Shikamaru had done was a grim task? Was he reading his mind?

At his silence, Chouji shifted slightly and sighed. "Sometimes, I wish I can read minds," he muttered in dissatisfaction.

Shikamaru stiffened in wonder. Was it possible…?

Chouji snorted. "Then I wouldn't be having these one-sided conversations with you while you're cloud-gazing."

As quickly as the notion came, Shikamaru dismissed the ridiculous thought from his mind. He reverted to his original peace of mind as he lazily watched the clouds drift by. That is, until his friend decided to break the silence again.

"When are you going to apologize to Ino?"

That did it; Nara Shikamaru would never be able to watch the clouds in peace, ever again.

At least with Chouji, because his friend talked too much, knew too much, and had an impervious ability to always make him seem stupid in comparison.

It took every fiber of patience in Ino's being to keep herself from running away; life sure made it tempting enough. All she had to do was order her servants to pack her stuff before announcing that she was returning home, and she would have been back in her kingdom before she knew it.

But a frighteningly stubborn side of her forced the princess to stay in place after hours of pondering in the bath and more than twenty spots of pruning on her body. The headstrong blonde would stick it out till the end; if Shikamaru thought this would drive her away from him, he was way off the mark.

Her scheming mind analyzed the situation as she immersed herself in a bathtub full of hot, steamy water and more than a bucketful of lavender petals. Ino could think of a million things she did to annoy Shikamaru in the past; he probably snapped after one of those times and decided that he could stand her no longer.

His likely Plan A should have looked something like this:

1. Find a girl willing to fake a relationship.

2. Reveal said fake relationship to Ino with some brilliantly casual side plan.

3. Watch Ino run crying home to her parents.

Here, the plan could have split and gone into two directions:

1. Ino threatens her parents of committing suicide and her parents annul the arranged marriage.

2. Ino's parents do not annul the marriage and she actually commits suicide.

Either way, Shikamaru was free to marry and do whatever he pleased with that poor excuse of an imitation-…

The Yamanaka princess actually growled before immersing herself fully in the water. The warm liquid rushed into her ears, blocking out unwanted sounds and making her feel lightheaded. Minutes ticked by as she struggled to stay underwater, preferring the mellow feeling it produced over the heartbreaking reality that lay waiting just inches above her platinum blond hair.

Finally, with a large gulp of air, she resurfaced with her head thrown back. Lungs burning and head spinning, she clambered out of the steamy bathtub and dressed herself in light clothing, fully preparing on heading to the library; it was the last place he would look if he was searching for her.

Not that she expected him to seek her presence ever again.

Half-formed sentences bounced around in her head, causing her an unbearable migraine as she trudged up a deserted flight of stairs several moments later. Ino's servants had been dismissed for the day, so she expected absolutely nobody to look for her throughout what was left of her afternoon.

The library was empty, as it usually was in the Uchiha Castle. The only members left of the Royal Family were Sasuke and Fugaku, both of whom had memorized their collected literature by heart at an early age. They rarely had visitors who came just for the sake of visiting, and the servants were forbidden from entering the library (except those chosen to clean). The absolute silence in the large, spacious room was not the comfortable tranquility most scholars enjoyed; it was musty, empty, and seemed void of any human contact.

However, this did not stop Yamanaka Ino from closing the door silently behind her and surveying the room as if it was her own little kingdom. To her left, she spotted some chairs tucked neatly under wooden desks; to her right, she found some comfortable couches with cushions scattered about them. There was even a small comforter hanging on one arm of a couch.

A triumphant smile spread across her face; it looked like she and the library were going to get along better than she initially thought.

When Haruno Sakura awoke in the middle of the night that same day, it was from the unbearable heat coursing through her body. Her skin was slick with sweat, causing even her coarse clothing to stick to her body uncomfortably. Her hair was greasy and matted down from lack of a proper wash, her face oily with sweat and grime. There was not a single drop of liquid in her mouth; it was parched from her hoarse screams and lack of water. To sum it all up, she felt like absolute crap.

Yet, these dirty characteristics that pointed to poor hygiene did not cross her mind. Instead, her whole being was focused entirely on trying to fight the urge to grab her shoulder and rip her skin off. The heat was originating from somewhere on her upper shoulder blade, and she wanted it gone. Using her right arm to grip her left shoulder, she threw herself back onto the bed, trying to somehow suppress the absolute agony it wrought on her senses. A loud, shrieking noise was produced from her mouth as she grinded her teeth together; tears in her eyes disabled a clear vision of her surroundings and made her disoriented.

It seemed like forever before the pain gradually dimmed to a dull and uncomfortable throb. The girl's pants subsided, along with her tears and fingers clutching desperately at her shoulder.

Her mind was not with her for the remainder of the night. The strawberry blonde mindlessly paced her room, gliding over to the windowsill at some intervals and sitting on the bed at others. She circled the room at least seven times, trying to regain her sense of touch by laying a finger on various objects as she passed or bumping into furniture in her way. Sleep did not reclaim her, and the sun was rising when she made her final round to perch on the windowsill once again.

Her deep, green orbs vacantly reflected the warm scenery through her small window. The Haruno was currently trying to stare at the sun, but her squinted eyes did not allow such a thing. In her act of doing something utterly pointless and hazardous to her health, she almost missed the streak of gold that passed her line of sight for a fraction of a second. When she scrambled to get her knees on the windowsill for a better look, her eyes were already zooming in on her intended target: a dragon.

There, landing in a clearing just behind a large maze of bushes, was a dragon she had never seen before. For a moment, she stared at the creature in wonder, for it differed from Kaoru drastically.

Its body was flat and slim; it held the appearance of a large lizard more than anything. Standing on its sturdy, fringed legs and holding its head up high, it held the air of the most disciplined of generals. The eyes that were located on either side of its flat, shovel-shaped face were focused on someone Sakura did not take notice of; she was too entranced by the beautiful tan animal. She watched in awe as the magnificent beast flexed its long, bony wings before flattening them on the sides of his body, further instigating the image of an oversized lizard.

Seeing this new dragon caused Sakura to wonder just how much she did not know about the special species. Were they all this different in appearance? Did they have special elements, too, like Kaoru and Genji? Then, it occurred to her that she did not possess much knowledge about dragons, aside from those concerning the battles she had to go through as a Dragon Rider. As she entertained these thoughts, she began to realize that she was curious.

Her inner persona quietly agreed, watching as Sakura unconsciously veered away from the pain she experienced just a few hours before. When Sakura made to leave the room, she just as silently tucked herself in a dark corner of her mind to leave Sakura to her own devices—for the moment.

Without getting herself lost this time, Sakura made her way to the gardens in hopes of interacting with this new dragon.

"You bastard!" roared an enraged Naruto from the opposite wing of the castle. "What the hell did you do to Sakura-chan?"

A dark look crossed the Uchiha's face as he glared at Naruto's, just inches away from his own. With narrow eyes, he hissed, "Fraternizing with the enemy again, Naruto? Didn't you learn anything from your first mistake?"

The blonde suddenly turned murderous, the atmosphere about them becoming chokingly unbearable. One could sense the threats being nonverbally exchanged in the room by just standing near the door. Naruto's death grip on the front of Sasuke's shirt did not lighten the situation, and that was what he intended.

"Hinata-chan," he stated clearly, nearly grinding out the words, "was not a mistake."

"Then why are you so desperately going after Sakura? I expected you to be faithful, of all people," Sasuke positively leered.

The amused smirk on Sasuke's face only catalyzed the seething rage Naruto was trying to hold down. It was understandable that he finally snapped and sent a fist flying across Sasuke's left cheek.

"You fucking asshole," he ferociously growled, pulling his friend up again by grabbing onto his collar. "I don't even know you anymore."

With that one disbelieving sentence, Naruto dropped him back on the ground and watched him crumple into a disheveled heap before him. He swiftly turned around and started to leave, not a trace of remorse visible on his face.

"I knew she wasn't in mortal danger, Dead-last," Sasuke called after him. "She never had a chance… of dying in the first place… because I'm not giving her any power." His eyes started to drift closed. "I'm different… from Orochimaru." Wariness was evident in his voice as he slurred his last statement. "You were worrying for nothing."

Naruto did not indicate that he heard a single word Sasuke uttered as he angrily stomped away from his unconscious and chakra-drained friend.

One of my reviewers (Uchiha-Kirara) mentioned the list of dragons so far, so here is a breakdown:

Kaoru (Sakura): Obsidian; Crimson Eyes

Genji (NejiTen): Forest Green; White Eyes

Akiko, Genji's mother (Hyuuga Hizashi): Navy Blue; White Eyes

Saori, Kaoru's mother (Sakura): Obsidian; Crimson Eyes

Huyu (Orochimaru): Dark Violet; Yellow Eyes

Gaara's Dragon: Tan; Turquoise

And also, here's a poll for you guys: What should we name Gaara's awesome, tan dragon?

Jun- "obedient"

Ryuu- "dragon"

Takeo- "warrior"

Takeshi- "fierce warrior"

Tatsuya- "become dragon (and possess its wisdom and longevity)

I've narrowed it down to the names above, and there's a story behind each of them, so please help me choose! If you think you have a name that you think REALLY suits Gaara's tan dragon but is not on the list, feel free to point it out!

Appreciate your reviews! And sorry I was gone so long! ;3