I missed this story so much. SO MUCH. Please review.

Chapter 4: Caveat


And the tension leaps and bounds.

For the blame is simultaneous

So the redolent atmosphere billows like

Those implicating curtains that lie.



He scrambles ungracefully in pursuit of the open window. Clutching it with his shaking hands and white knuckles and hoping, praying to some unknown deity that she was not far.

Of course, she is nowhere in his sight and of course, his companion is struggling for some serenity.

Uchiha Sasuke's fist hits the door frame without pretense, crushing the blood vessels of his pretty, pale skin against the wood. Hurt. It feels great. Relieves no burden, and tauntingly feeds his anger.


"I'm the idiot? You're the one who started throwing things!"

"You shouldn't have opened your mouth," the dark-haired shinobi hisses, some muscle in his lip curling out of spite. Displaying, in a manner so dangerously quaint, a tolerant calm that normally is the arrogant masquerade for his sensitivity.

A situational irony: It is intriguing that men, so paradoxical in demeanor, hold a common fear; so this plays like an almost sickeningly overemotional drama.

"Sasuke." His mutter is serious in intent. "… What do we do?"

Fist driving deeper cracks into the wood as the Uchiha's body contemplates calmly, and his mind writhes in hurried thought. Occurring again, this surreal deviation from everything normal and routine, the get up, eat breakfast, train, mission, train, spar, dinner that governs his days. He quells some unintelligible pain in his stomach as he remembers just how involved she is in their routines, making breakfast because neither of us cook, getting us up for missions when we're exhausted from the night before, and her voice is irritatingly loud. He remembers all the familiarities, doing the idiot's paperwork, since he whines about it, not to mention his laundry, and damn!, it hits him again, making sure I don't step two feet into the house without taking off my boots, strange woman, not letting one scratch or wound get past her, and I've tried-

He cannot ignore the fact that she is simply gone. His life is usually simple, despite his detailed, traitorous history because she is always right there, picking up the pieces he does not remember to take on his way out. That he feels he should not pick up, and he is too guilty to convince himself.

Little things, little undeserved luxuries.

Sasuke's glittering, coal eyes rise to observe Naruto clutching the frame of the window, head still extended, as if she will reappear.

"Stop hanging out the window, idiot," Sasuke bites out, tone clipped and shaking, barely containing. Let's go."

He pulls his blonde head into the room, surveying Sasuke with glaringly sharp, cerulean eyes.

Like brittle frostbite.

Whirls around. Demands. "Go where?"

Sasuke turns his back coldly upon his companion and stalks down the hallway with heavy, threatening, absolutely menacing footsteps. Like a child's parade of contentious stomping in which the more damage done, the more powerful the noxious frustration conveyed from the emotionally retarded. Perhaps at this point the frequent disruptions in his life were taking a painful toll, what with having his goal promptly ripped from his fingertips, so eager for blood, then being dragged home unceremoniously, and without pretense.

In the shadowed hallway, he contemplates.

Everything is ripped away, and he can almost hear them saying, wagging their presumptuous finger, "Ah-ah-ah!"

"Naruto? Sasuke?"

A loud crack resonates throughout the house as the blonde's thick skull collides with the picket-white window frame, and Sasuke half-turns to better hear the authoritative addressing in his regard. As his companion's footsteps sound closer, increasingly panicked, the dark-haired man lets his back rest against the wall while he struggles to gather some sort of justifiable and cogent reasoning to use in his defense. There is none. He will present his superior with empty palms, decorated in bruises that procure no sympathy.


The aging jounin comes around the corner. In a manner ridiculously asinine, the blonde joins the Uchiha and only sets in stone, the truth; painted, skewed pell-mell upon their faces.

Sensei halts. Minutes' of hours' of days' of years' experience forebodes him prudently. He sees not two shinobi, nearly men, standing before him; they are but two young boys with scattered priorities while mending broken hearts and of course, possess the toiling hatred that knows not one bound. Do they comprehend severity? Likely not. They do know that something is missing.

Yes: Men of old pain, too.

"Where is she?"

They do not dare to lie to him, lest they incur his wrath. They receive it anyway.

Fingers curl under collars, so tight.


"Didn't I say to watch her?" he demands, one eye surveying them angrily, intently. No answer. Tightening his grip, he presses them by the necks, against the wall.

Sasuke refrains from speaking; Naruto immediately stammers, "K-Kakashi-sensei! We-"

"No. There's no excuse, Naruto, nor you, Sasuke."


"What did you two… do?"

"Well Sasuke-teme-"

The dark-haired man growls, hissing, "Don't blame this on me."

With surprising strength, the jounin that has watched them grow from children to Chuunin yanks them forward and slams them again, silencing their biting remarks.

"You can provide excuses later," Kakashi says coldly, disappointment heavy in his tone and narrowed gaze. Grip loosening slightly, he continues. "This is extremely dangerous. I'll alert Tsunade, and send out ANBU to find her."

"You can't send ANBU! You said it yourself, she might panic!" Naruto proclaims loudly, twisting incorrigibly beneath his superior's hold.

"We don't have a choice, Naruto. The officers and Tsunade may be the only people who can handle her. If she does panic and uses her strength without thought… there's no telling what she will do."

"And talking to her won't work?" Sasuke inquires quietly, eyes dark.

Kakashi glares at them, and they silence, once again.

"I can't trust you two with her."

The little pride left in them, stirring feebly, reels as if struck. His disappointment stings.

"If you two can't remember the most basic thing I pounded into your heads, and use it when it matters the most…"

A dramatic vocal finale is unneeded. His disapproval, and the mere thought of what could occur, is enough toiling punishment.

Roughly the jounin releases them, disappearing without any further words.

The blonde slides to the floor, eyes tearing from the strangling hold, while his companion swallows noticeably, carefully feeling his throat.

"Sakura-chan." His murmur is pained and the name is familiar. The entire concept, foreign.

She's gone.

Sakura-chan's gone.


We lost her.

Watery blue eyes glance to the right, watching him. Watching him remain thin-lipped and his eyes narrow at the floor, mere silts shrouded by his dark locks.

Pile on the guilt, now.

He lost her.

He never used to care.

He lost her.

She is out there, alone.

She'll get hurt.

She'll hurt someone.



Some indiscernible groan is heard from the Uchiha after he says her name.

His friend is sorry.

Though he still cannot deny the voice in his head, viciously hissing.

I hope it hurts, Sasuke.


Fingers pluck petals delicately.


Repetition. Boredom tears the life from a blossom bound for death, so the guilt is significantly less, to kill the dying. A prevention of further suffering, is it not?

"Go away," the young woman exhales, rolling her eyes and tossing the bare stem to the tiled floor. She groans and leans forward, face resting absurdly prostrate upon the cutting counter, whilst her companion contemplates the childhood rhyme.

"It isn't raining yet," says the impish brunette, chocolate eyes surveying the sky with dismay. "But it's gonna soon."

"As soon as I need to go outside, it'll start," the blonde groans. Clad in an off-white apron; long locks tied up, expression petulant.

Then, she appears.

Lost in a dream so enveloping and real: Wide eyes dart from building to creaking cart wheel to child to the leaden and somber sky; thin, sickly arms wrap around tightly. Her stance is cautious and her posture, bent. Lack of confidence, lack of comprehension, wholly fear.

She stands in the middle of a crowded street. Amid people heading home lest they be caught in the rain; so she is frozen, a clear, stricken face among the blurry mass.

"Ino?" The brunette's voice is a curious lilt and the addressed is taken aback.

"She's not supposed to be alone," the blonde mutters, walking around the spotless counter to stand at Tenten's side.

The pink-haired girl meticulously considers her surroundings, seeing everything and nothing. Parents and children. Her entity and mind is failing her at this crucial point, procuring forth not one friend to clasp her hand, which wavers in the smothered, respective darkness.

Stricken, lost.

"I thought--she was at the hospital?" speaks the weapons mistress--voice, a delicate hush.

"I thought so too…"

Even through the glass, created in such a way that the clearer view is from the inside, Ino can see that her childhood friend is not breathing. It pains but does not require a remedy for necessity, but out of love.


Tenten's arm reflexively grasps the handle lest the door shut again, opening it wide again to take after Ino, who is running into the street; her tall blonde ponytail bobs through the typical traffic of the market street, gracefully dodging the a helter-skelter movement of last-minute shoppers whom deserve an apology that she simply does not have the time to give.

Someone needs her.


Breathing shallow, the pink-haired girl lets her wrist be taken, lets her body be guided –albeit with less grace—through the people; the scene swirls in front of jade eyes, wide with terror, a scene of unfamiliar faces of entities that do not know her, and she does not know them.

Emerging from the bustling mass, Ino lowers her friend to the ground with care, for the look upon the medic's face is that of something fragile, about to break. Only then does she relent, hands and knees upon the stone, and inhale gratefully. It does not last.

Sucking in again she gazes up fearfully at the lean blonde, eyes clouded.

"What are you doing out here, Sakura?" she demands, expression somber. The girl continues staring and is unresponsive to her name, which startles her companion.

"Sakura?" she repeats with an impatient snap in her voice. The brunette appears at her side and gives her a foreboding look, a silent instruction to tread carefully."She won't even respond to her name!" Ino chokes out, directing her gaze away. "She doesn't know her name!"

Tenten raises her head to the sky, settling into thought as the clouds continue to mull ominously; she bites her lip. Sakura's chest heaves as she dissolves into tears, reaching back with her arms, covering her exposed neck as she slumps onto the ground.

"I think we should take her back to Tsunade-sama," Tenten says firmly. "And quickly," she adds, glancing at the grey clouds making their unsubtle way into the heart of the city.


Both girls stare at the cowering figure upon the stone, and they are taken aback by her refusal.

"No—please—no--don't send me back there--they're fighting-- they're always fighting--" Sakura whimpers, breast heaving with sobs fit to burst.

They are silent, puzzled.

"Always fighting—both of them—so angry--"

An exchanged look, fleeting. Occurs and passes within the same frightened moment between the ostracized, the cruelly damned.

"Sakura," Ino begins, "Who is fighting?" The blonde falls to her knees, to her level.

The pinkette continues to shake her head, breath catching her throat over and over and over, ruthless spasms obstructing her throat. Which has no words to speak anyway, because her thoughts are unable to be formulated; thus, she struggles, and Ino's patience drains.

"Ugh, SAKURA!" she shrieks, wringing her hands. Malice contorts her pretty face, brightens her cerulean eyes, brings forth tears of anger and unrivalled frustration. "EXPLAIN!"

"Ino!" Tenten reprimands. "I really don't think she can help it!"

"She doesn't remember anything!" There is a faction of hysteria present. Oh, how painful. Focusing intently upon the medic's face, the blonde demands, in a hiss:

"What's my name?"


She will not be placated. "What's my name, Saku-Sakura, look at me!"

The pink-haired female jumps and shudders like an insular fawn, finally focusing on the angry face centimeters from hers. Pale face draws back and tenses as lips tighten over teeth, while her jade eyes narrow in responsive aggression.

The dangerous whistling of air between teeth, sounds in the silence.

Tenten's angry rebukes are lost on the blonde, who snatches her childhood friend by the front of her shirt and shakes her viciously, startling her. Provoking.

"What's my name, forehead? What's my name?" Ino's voice is a screech. She wants answers. She wants recognition of any sort.

She wants memories.


We are animals by nature but

You have no cage.


Blurs and swinging fists and screeches and cries and slams—

Instinct drives Tenten to throw her body forward; her arms are latched around the medic's waist, holding the brunt of the strength as she strains to reach Ino-

-And coursing with chakra, her arm slashes back to rid the petty obstruction; contacts, for only a second, the side of Tenten's skull.

Before her body is sent rolling across the stone.

(And over and over and over it goes.)

Comes to rest without ceremony, on its side, now an undefined entity.

Sakura seethes--

-She jerks, thrashes in the violent wake of the burst of emotion-

-Confusion finds an outlet, set free-

-One knee pins the blonde's lean frame to the stone without mercy, thin bone driving into her sternum, and her limbs and body curl inward around the point of impact; mockingly delayed, the back of her skull hits the stone; the amnesiac's face is conflicted, a porcelain mirror simultaneously reflecting anger and pain. She cannot differentiate, decipher, understand.

Her knee raises:


Greet the ground and take your punishment.

The receiver writhes…

"They're angry, you're angry!" Sakura says.

Ino's body vibrates violently under the graceful, delicate, but nevertheless agonizing hindrance that keeps her body shuddering in internal distress.

Azure eyes narrow in challenging intent. Only a few gathered tears upon the eyelids reveal hurt.

"What… is my name, Sakura?"

And you used to call me names, chase after everything I wanted, and so many times you got it; you were always prettier than me, skinner than me, classier than me, boys liked you, boys wanted you, not me, and they always did-!

All she remembers is insecurities.

Face contorted, the addressed raises her frail hand, still managing to deliver, upon her captive, a humiliating-


Her voice is the crack of a well-used whip:


Godaime paces.

Sensei lingers.

Two young men cower accordingly whilst facing the pugnacity of the powerful woman whom now stands behind her desk. Their coincidental savior, a stark miracle; therein lies the necessity of the sturdy wooden furnishing that keeps their necks, cradled by the figurative but nevertheless poised guillotine, safe. Though if it were within her right to throttle them, or perhaps draw out a daunting punishment by channeling chakra through her fingers and slowly choke them, such would be her forte. And her perquisite.

"Honestly, did I stutter in my instruction, or did you simply assume I was inebriated when I gave those clear parameters?"

The blonde woman forestalls Naruto's opening mouth with a swivel of her head. Promptly, the hypothetical follow-up is forced into silence.

"I went against highly regarded medical opinions, including my own, to let her go home. Against my own better judgment, because I thought I had two very capable, mature shinobi to care for her," she says, lips moving in a jerky fashion. As though she had many more things to say than the contract of her imperial position would permit.

"There's no waving away the fact that both of you are very prominent, competent shinobi within the ranks."

Naruto leans forward almost pleadingly, as if she will bestow them a saving grace from humiliation; Sasuke generously focuses on her rather than the leg of the desk that he does not doubt might be thrown before the end of this exchange.

"But you both have a bad habit of ignoring your set orders!" she yells, and here comes her fist upon the desk-

Shatters a mug, spattering sake across the desktop, the floor, their semi-pallid faces.

Naruto pokes the poised, prey-hungry cougar. "Tsunade-baa-chan… -sama," he adds hastily, vainly attempting to rectify his mistake, that of which was daring to open his mouth. "Is Sakura-chan going to be okay?"

"I honestly don't know, Uzumaki." Curtly spoken surname. Ouch. "And why in all hell did she leave, anyway? I don't see her going off on her own, even in her state of mind, without reason."

Now Kakashi's gaze falls upon them, thrusting them in the scorching spotlight. Seconds pass, and then:

"She became frightened. Distraught. Naruto and I were angry. She could sense it. She ran into her room, and most likely heard us yelling. When I went to see her, tried to open the door, it was locked."

It is the most he has spoken in hours, nearly days. They watch him, hanging on his staccato narrative. The Uchiha has the floor, a heavy blame, and a wrenching guilt that he will never reveal.

Eyes narrowing, he continues.

"I broke the lock and walked in. Her window was open; she was gone."

Abruptly, as though pulled from his seat by twining, marionette-esque strings, he stands, circumnavigates his seat with his eyes to the floor, and, feet propelling him senselessly, seems to almost drift to the window.

Uchiha Sasuke does not drift to destinations. He walks with purpose, even if he is conflicted on whether he has one.

"I said not to disturb her emotionally," Kakashi says harshly; the disappointment makes Naruto wince, and he pulls his knees to his chest. Resting his chin upon them, he indulges in his childhood pose as Kakashi adds, "I thought I made it clear how sensitive she would be; how she would respond."

The Godaime intimidates them; their father-like mentor subsequently shames them.

"I did not think I was asking so much, considering how precious she is to the both of you. Your inattention cannot be helped, however. Just know that when she is brought back, she will be transported to the hospital immediately, and strict doctrines will be set."

"How long will she have to stay in the hospital, Kakashi-sensei?"

It shames them tenfold to see his expression so impassive as he regards the pained, cerulean eyes with something akin to faint antipathy. Sasuke closes his eyes behind his curtain of dark locks which provide an iron curtain for his emotions.

For his sins.

"I don't know."

A silence balloons: a cannonade of thunder tumbles through the sky; Sasuke watches as it spreads, an infectious and ironic, miniscule catastrophe. It brings forth cataracts of water flowing from the troika structure of the roof, obscuring his view.

And she is out in it, somewhere, probably alone.

"Sakura-chan…" Sasuke surveys Naruto from the junction of his vision without moving his pretty head; his normally bright blue eyes are dulled, and the downturn of the corners of his mouth are telltales.

Such decipherable telltales.

A knock startles all present. "Tsunade-sama, permission to enter!"

"Granted," she responds, a bit taken aback at the manner in which the ANBU operative swings open the door before the word had left her lips.

"Tsunade-sama," he repeats, panting, "Yokomae Tashigi, Leader of squad twenty-seven, is here to report that Haruno Sakura, age seventeen, has been located. Area is not yet secure, but she is being watched; we wait for further instructions."

"And I await details," the blonde Sannin replied impatiently.

The operative bows hastily. "Hai, Tsunade-sama. Kunoichi was spotted in Tekiya Prefecture, Kakigori-dori, in the square with another kunoichi of the same age, Yamanaka Ino. Report states that the young medic assistant was… 'profusely beating the blonde kunoichi , with harmful intent'. The altercation was mutual, however, as both females were yelling and intending harm upon the other."

"Did you stop Haruno Sakura? She has little to no conscious control of her chakra flow or execution, as well as a lack of mental comprehension of her own situation!" Tsunade's lips are pulled tight.

"As we were given orders not to interfere, cause a scene, or disrupt Haruno Sakura's mental state unnecessarily, we have not; we are poised to, though, at the dispense of the order."

The Godaime sinks into her chair, hand rubbing her temple. "She is my apprentice; she will –if she has not already—surpassed my strength, medical prowess, and tutelage. If she is forced to fight in a defensive mode, there is a chance we could lose operatives. Judging by the situation, it is nearly expected that we will, should it be triggered."

"I think it would be best to talk her down, Tsunade," Kakashi says firmly; as always, he never bothers with the frilly titles and permissions and she lets it pass. "There is no reason to lose operatives, and no reason to further provoke her sensitive mental state."

No hesitation. "I agree, Kakashi. You and I will go." Nodding to her inferior, she commands. "Send along the order to the rest of squad twenty-seven and the two other squads within the perimeters of Kakigori-dori that no interference is to be executed unless there is a strong possibility of a fatality of either kunoichi. Dismissed!"

The operative nods in assent and quickly disappears, and the grey-haired jounin is already in motion, bound for the door with the distressed Sannin in tow.


The kyuubi vessel, forgotten for tense seconds, is now upon his sandaled feet, newly-acquired robes tickling the floor, determined gaze set. "What about us, eh? You two just gonna leave us here? If Sakura needs to be talked to, shouldn't it be one of us who does it? Prob'ly both of us! We're her teammates, we know her!"

"Oh yes, leave her in your capable hands?" Tsunade retorts derisively, immediately turning her back. "I gave you two that chance, and now we're in a situation."

Naruto's voice is a snarl: "You can't-"

"Watch me," the Sannin hisses, and strides out the door, deaf to his pleads.

"Kakashi-sensei," Naruto says, sounding defeated, but the aged shinobi sighs and crosses the threshold without another word, taking care to shut the door behind him.


He stands stock-still. Ignores the winds of unreachable deities that rattle the eaves and the cascades that drown the glass of the windows. Seems overcome and lost for only a moment, until the scritch-scratch-shuffleof papers captures his attention; Sasuke is rummaging through the files on the desk.

Naruto stares.

The Uchiha's eyes narrow as he repeats the location aloud. "Tekiya Prefecture…the outdoor market. Kakigori-dori… the square is visible from the Yamanaka flower shop."

After half a moment of contemplation, he crosses to the window and reaches for the metal lock.


Adopting the expression reminiscent of one so very close to losing his temper, the Uchiha sets his jaw and lets his hand hover near the latch.

"What are you doing, Sasuke?"

Dear kami, is he so dense?

"I'll bet you anything that door is guarded by at least a squad of ANBU operatives. I doubt that in her hurried state of mind, however, she remembered to border the window. Step out that door, you'll never get out," Sasuke says, unlatching the clasp and pushing up the rain-streaked lower half of glass. "In fact, listen."

Murmurings are heard from just beyond the heavy wooden door.

"Case and point," the dark-haired shinobi mutters savagely, placing his hand upon the low window frame.

Naruto casts his eyes to the floor, whispering, "Sakura-chan…"

A slight, but nevertheless present, twitch of crimson eyes. Little sympathy or clever jest is present in the blonde companion's words. "Either quit having a one-track mind, idiot, or stop speaking altogether."

Another imperceptible twitch of the jaw. "I can't hear it anymore."

Cerulean eyes rise and head accompanies, perhaps unconsciously wishing for his presence still, however cruel.

He is gone, the unofficial adage pertaining to imperial Uchiha conduct so subtly illustrated, as Naruto observes the few liquid footprints left in his departure.

I blame you, and

You blame I,

If I have to watch her bleed once more-

I'll beat you 'til you die.

She straddles her still, rain beating upon her back.

Pink locks hang lank and sopping and plastered to a pale visage, so contorted and confused. Her lips are white.

Laid out beneath her is the symbol of her childhood insecurities, that girl with the pretty eyes and face and body that was the envy of prepubescent eyes. Those girls so eager to hurtle, with no reservation, into adulthood so quickly, only to wish for past innocence at every painful milestone. Frolicking in the leas and handing her the ribbon and promising her a goal for the uncertain future.

Knee raises-

Comes down again and seems to echo, the shatter of strong, ivory bone lost in a light rumble of thunder and the first petrified, painful scream. The blonde's chest shudders and spasms, eliciting gobs of crimson from her throat that decorate her captor's pale face.

"Pig, huh?" Ino rasps. In spite of her pain her eyes are open, azure piercing jade, a desperate search for Sakura within the body that held no self. "You don't know my real name?"

Sakura stares down at her, lips parted slightly.

"You don't, do you? You can't remember."


"Why can't you remember more than our childhood?" Ino asks, voice wavering. "Tell me we had more than that!"

The medic emits a strangled moan and trails her hands up the sides of her face, tangling in her sodden hair and clutching tight as her eyes seem to regress within their sockets.

"We fought, Sakura-" Ino's arm extends and roughly grabs the front of her shirt, "A lot. But we healed… and I know you can remember me."

With the utmost frantic haste the blonde's hand delves beneath her imbrued apron to seize her crimson savior; the object that she dangles exhaustingly in the pinkette's face. Mistakes are unviable.

The rain's overwhelming cadence is drowned in a stark exposé.

It oscillates and draws her pupils to follow, twin lambs to some undeniable, tantalizing slaughter. Ino watches her friend's face flicker and twitch and process and comprehend. Reality is the contrary.

"I-I-Ino," she whispers in an insular tone, "You have my r-ribbon."

Sakura rummages gauchely in her pockets for the remaining half, and as she presents it the torn edge is clearly thrown into relief for them both.

Shakes commence. Sakura's eyes rove the prey trapped beneath her, and with an unsteady hand she gingerly touches Ino's blood-flecked face. The former winces. "Blood."

Ino coughs and her body curls in response, an illustration of pain.

She touches her face again. "… Ino."


Both kunoichi start. Immediately the perimeter is reinforced by three squads of shinobi, clad in hallowed masks bedecked with varying painted swirls, familiar tattoo facets dulled in the overcast light. Every gaunt veil is inclined in their direction and every muscle is tense and delicately, habitually poised, the glints of a few purposely-flashed kunai visible only to remind them of more, of worse.

Four break their ranks and align themselves at even quad-angles to Tenten's unconscious form; Sakura's eyes jump to observe as they rule the incident non-fatal and depart without order through the trees, through the rain.


The pleading tone redirects her attention to her sensei, who is surprisingly soft in demeanor and tone. The operatives part for him yet lose no authority, loosen no muscle, bat not one eye.

"Let her go, Sakura."

They stare. Soft grey. Jade.

"I'm not holding her, Kakashi."

Still no suffix: His lips twitch.


"Kakashi, she's bleeding!" Sakura wails, tears flowing freely. "She's bleeding bad! Kakashi, Kakashi, oh please fix it!"

"We can fix it, Sakura, if you let her go," he repeats, taking slow steps and reaching them. Kneeling beside them, he sighs. "You have to let me take her."

"Fix it, Kakashi, please!"

The subtle shift of tone, to that tone of the most infinitesimal discontent. "Sakura!"

Sensing it, her anger ripples and her fist shoots out with a dire will to strike him and punish him for that discontent—

The glint of an operative's kunai let fly—

The SLAP as he catches her wrist—

She jerks, forcing his hand in the way of the kunai to take the hit; it skins his knuckles; she twists, maneuvering her free fist towards his face as she leaps off of Ino and hurls her light body weight upon her teacher, who simply holds her back as she angers and insults tumble off her tongue. As they wrestle operatives land swiftly to remove the blonde kunoichi from the scene, who weakly protests, "I can't leave her, she needs someone, you can't fight her like this--"

Sakura brings her knee to her chest and extends it, kicking Kakashi in the ribs and prying her wrist from his grip; he rolls backward in slow motion and lands carefully and crouched, cat-like, upon his feet. She kicks again: He catches her ankle and she reacts by twisting and flailing once again, too quickly for him to accommodate her movement, as she contorts her torso so to dig her nails into the stone and pull away, the painful manner in which her leg twists—

She lets out a strangled cry but he has already relinquished her limb, seething, and she pulls herself upon hands and knees. Collapsing on the sodden ground her breathing begins to slow as she shudders, and the sound she makes is akin to a cat's pathetic whimper.

"I think she's done," Tsunade says firmly from behind the squad formations. "Take her in now."


Down the street dances an orange flame amidst the lingering fog and mist; his companion, whom blends frighteningly into the shadows of the deluge, bobs alongside him.

As they come within a few feet of the scene, squads of operatives step in front of them to block their view and path. Their faces are pallid and wan, strained in a way that is always deniable. Breathing heavy.

"HEY! C'mon, you gotta move, I gotta see Sakura-chan!"

"Naruto, it's done," Tsunade says dismissively. "And you two…I ordered you not to leave!"

"But…" His voice trails off as he peers around the stately statues that block his vision, watching Kakashi carefully turn the pinkette's body onto its back. Checking meticulously for spinal injury and other perhaps-fatal afflictions, solemn.

Naruto shoves his way past the guards and drops to his knees as Kakashi protests; grasping her shoulders and staring at her pale face, too distraught to see what Sasuke notices—the slender hand that is coursing with chakra and begins to break apart the ground it rests upon, the fingers that curl into a dainty and powerful fist, the violent swing that occurs in one shocking quarter-of-a-second:

Naruto's nose shatters in a grotesque, brilliant explosion of red.

Kakashi is on his feet; she somersaults gracefully around his tall legs and is behind him in an instant, swinging a rigid hand across the back of his neck that he dodges easily but she hounds him furiously, eager to touch her burning hand to his body and let chakra atrophy his innards, which was the prize should she hit him in a soft spot full-on. With no limits or bounds on energy to waste or execute, she has no reservations or knowledge of just how much damage is being caused, to herself or to numerous others.

Chakra tears apart the stone as any substantial object would effortlessly cut a path through water. Sakura begins the mantra again:

"Fix it, Kakashi! Fix her!" she shrieks, a hysterical plead. "Where is she?"

She swings again, but the hand that halts her wrist is not her teacher's.

Before she can so much as blink Sasuke snatches her other one and squeezes, letting her twist and writhe in his grasp and she whimpers and she fights him; she pulls his arm to her and before he can react, sinks her teeth into his forearm and lets her weight bend his limb in a pose, unfamiliar. And her chakra is still out of her control as it intensifies, forming tendrils around their arms as he still holds her, and she thrashes; scalding the top layers of skin as it continues, this suffocating ability that her mind cannot tame—

And as he locks his eyes on hers the chakra binds them, like subservient serpents, like fates forever bound.

"FIX ME!" she shrieks, clutching him and drawing his body to hers. "WHERE AM I? DEAR KAMI, FIX ME!"

And she crumples.

He is swift as he catches her, slowly rests on his own knees to quell his own shakes and closes his eyes. Feels his skin tingle and burn as the rain seeps into his wounds. Her blood is warm against his freezing chest.

People try to pry her away. Out of his arms. He does not let go.

He holds her. Against him. Tightly.

Just voices, commands, names with no meaning.

"Please…" she whispers, eyes unseeing as they stare at the desolate sky. They cannot see his face. "Please… someone… fix me."