Q: Seeing as Shades of Grey is finally at chapter 24, are you going to end it soon and add a sequal?

A: Yes actually. This is going to be the last chapter of Shades of Grey before the sequel, which is titled Monochrome.

Q: Now that the manga has been going down hill and Itachi's dead, are you just
going to write SasuSaku's? How do you feel now about the pairing ItaSaku? Are
you going to end Shisui without a sequel?

A: Shisui is going to be the end of my ItaSaku quartet, but not the end of my ItaSaku stories. I have a few more that I'm working on at the moment. Even though Itachi is dead, I still feel more inspired to write stories with him in it than with Sasuke, for some strange reason. Of course, it may have to do with Sasuke being a jerk in the manga right now. XD

Q: It was also interesting the way you added Suigetsu's personal thoughts on
Sasuke's behavior and facial expressions, are you going to have him tell Karin
about it (even if it is only to goad her into jealous actions or something)?

A: We'll just have to see. :D

Q: That kinda sucks that Sakura's team is solely responsible for the extinction
of that bloodlimit...but is she really dead or has she just passed out due to

A: I think that Shinju is really going to be dead. It is kind of sad that the kekkei genkai is lost now, but I suppose that's just like the Kaguya bloodlimit. Mist seems to lose their strong kekkei genkais rather quickly, ne?

(A\N: So…one thing to rant about before I get to the chapter. Ok so…I was reading a story and they put in there that Sakura became an interrogation shinobi under Ibiki so that she wouldn't have to kill someone because she didn't think she could handle it.


SERIOUSLY? If you are an interrogator you see more death than any other shinobi! You have to learn to TORTURE someone and heal them and be pretty much a sadistic bastard. Being an interrogation shinobi would take more mental willpower than being just an assassin in ANBU.

Anyway, enough ranting…enjoy the chapter! :D)

Chapter 25

Leave Out All the Rest

I dreamed I was missing
You were so scared
But no one would listen
Cause no one else cared

After my dreaming
I woke with this fear
What am I leaving
When I'm done here

So if you're asking me
I want you to know

When my time comes
Forget the wrong that I've done
Help me leave behind some
Reasons to be missed

And don't resent me
And when you're feeling empty
Keep me in your memory

Leave out all the rest
Leave out all the rest

Don't be afraid
I've taken my beating
I've shared what I made

I'm strong on the surface
Not all the way through
I've never been perfect
But neither have you

So if you're asking me
I want you to know

When my time comes
Forget the wrong that I've done
Help me leave behind some
Reasons to be missed

Don't resent me
And when you're feeling empty
Keep me in your memory

Leave out all the rest
Leave out all the rest

All the hurt inside
You've learned to hide so well

Someone else can come and save me from myself
I can't be who you are

When my time comes
Forget the wrong that I've done
Help me leave behind some
Reasons to be missed

Don't resent me
And when you're feeling empty
Keep me in your memory

Leave out all the rest
Leave out all the rest

All the hurt inside
You've learned to hide so well

Someone else can come and save me from myself
I can't be who you are
I can't be who you are

--Leave Out All the Rest by Linkin Park

"What are you saying, Shinju-san?" Sakura asked calmly, even as she felt her vision blurry and her head swam with dizziness. She needed to see a medic, and soon.

"…wants…Kyuubi…shark…three moons…"

And then she was silent, and her hand that had desperately clutched Sakura's vest fell limp to the ground.

Sakura stared down at Shinju's unmoving form. She reached out a hand and closed the older woman's eyes with a small, tired sigh. Then she stood, and stumbled backwards as she did so. She lost her footing, feeling blood loss finally taking its toll. But before she hit the ground, a pair of hands grabbed her. Strong arms, she noticed, but she couldn't really focus on them too much.

"You're so annoying. I'm getting tired of saving you."

"Go to hell, Sasuke." Sakura muttered instinctively, leaning against the Uchiha as he held her up. He shifted her in his hold, so that he was holding her bridal style against his chest.

"I don't want your help." She muttered thickly, but he ignored her.

She turned to Suigetsu, who was standing beside his dark-haired partner. "Suigetsu…at the cliff…Shinju left her sword for me. Since I don't use swords…you can have it, since you're collecting them…" She blinked again, before wincing as the shock of the battle wore off and the pain from all of her injuries began to come back.

"Go get the sword." Sasuke ordered. "I'll take her back to the arena."

"Shouldn't you take her to the hospital?" Suigetsu questioned, even as Sakura began to sag against Sasuke, her eyes fluttering closed. She was so pale and there was so much blood…he swallowed.

Sasuke shook his head. "Ino is a medic. Besides the Godaime she will be the best for the job at the moment. She's currently at the arena."

"Right." Suigetsu nodded. "I'll go get the sword."

Sasuke merely disappeared, Sakura in his arms.

Suigetsu stayed put for a moment, looking over at Shinju's body. "…so you were one of the swordsman…" He sighed. "I guess there's a lot I still don't know about you damn mist-nin." And he gave a grin. "But don't worry, I'll definitely kill you all and get all your swords." But then he placed his sword against one of the few remaining trees in the area and picked up her limp form.

She was a worthy and powerful shinobi. She deserved a proper burial at the very least.

Her sword could wait.

Dark…so very dark. She groaned softly, because her entire body felt like it was on fire. She couldn't see, but she could still feel. The earth beneath her was cold and wet—mud was seeping into her clothing, sticking to her face and beneath her fingernails as she dug her hands into the ground to try and steady herself. Cold droplets of rain pelted her body, plastering her hair to her face.

She was lying on her side in the cold mud and she was shivering. It was so cold…god why did it have to be so cold? It was such a large contrast to the burning pain that racked her body, and the hot liquid that seeped from her stomach.

Why couldn't she see?

Open your eyes.

She slowly did so, and all she saw was mud. Wait, she was on her side wasn't she? She grunted, forcing her body to move until she was lying on her back, the rain pelting her face.

I shouldn't be alive.

Well it didn't matter much, since she would probably die in a few minutes anyway. The wound was too grievous to heal without chakra. Did she have any chakra left? She didn't think so, or she would have used it already right?

She pushed herself into a sitting position. The rain had stopped, but she was soaked and dirty, and the blood loss made her vision swim with dizziness, and she had to blink the darkness out of her eyes. Her sight began to clear—but the pain continued, a body-racking throb that began in her chest and shot through her body with each beat of her heart.

Where was she? The place seemed eerily familiar. Darkened, empty streets. The large protective walls surrounding the place were crumbling, the paint chipping off. She heard the clack of a shutter hitting the side of a house as a large gust of wind blew through the street.

She forced herself to stand, leaning against the wall behind her for support as she let out a ragged breath. She put her hand to her stomach to help stop the bleeding, and winced at the pain. She looked down to the body that lay sprawled beside her own and froze, hand falling to her side.

"N—no!" She lunged forward, dropping to her knees, ignoring the seering pain in her side as she rolled the body over. Soft blue eyes stared lifelessly up at her. Her fingers shook as she searched for a pulse. None.

"…Ino…" Something was wrong here, terribly wrong. The air seemed to become tense and heated. She could smell blood everywhere, and the scent of decaying bodies. Where was she? And then she looked to the cracked wall she had been leaning against, the bloody imprint of her back glaring back at her from atop the dulled image…of an Uchiha fan.

The Uchiha compound.

She was in the Uchiha compound. Ino was dead. And that was when she noticed the other bodies littering the silent street. Konoha vests…and she recognized them all. Kiba lay sprawled against the wall a few houses down, Akamaru curled up at his side, unmoving. Shikamaru was hanging from the corner of a rooftop; the pale ninja wire that had been used to secure him was stained bright crimson.

Neji's body was slumped over Hinata's—he'd tried to shield her from a large windmill shuriken that stuck out of his back. But Hinata was unmoving beneath him, and she could see the blood pool beneath her head. Most likely the killer had slit her throat after Neji's death.

She felt sick, but more than that, angry. Who would do this? She leapt to her feet, feeling a faint chakra fluctuation inside one of the houses. Someone was live. Was it the killer? Where were the others? She ran down the street, ignoring her own injuries. She brushed away angry, frustrated tears as she passed the bodies of others she knew. The rookie 9, team Gai…Asuma, Kurenai, Genma, Shizune. What was going on?

She bit back a sob as she threw open the door to the house. She had no weapon, but she didn't care. She wasn't afraid, she was furious. The door crashed into the wall, a flimsy thing that couldn't stand up to her desperate force of entry.

"Naruto? Kakashi-sensei? Sai?" She called out, trying to see anything in the pervading darkness. "Where are you?"

No answer.

"ANSWE ME!" She didn't think her voice could quite reach that pitch of hysteria any longer.


A branch, a twig—a bone? Something had broken, and Sakura crouched into a defense position at the sound, still wincing as blood continued to ooze from her wound, groping in the darkness for a weapon. Silence pervaded her senses once more, and she managed to calm herself enough to stand, and walk into the room across the blood splattered hall.

She stopped at the doorway, her hand slowly falling from the wood, leaving crimson stains from the blood that had covered her fingertips. At first, she only stood there, before she began to tremble softly.

A bead of sweat ran down her face, catching at the tip of her nose. It fell, and she let out a choked cry before rushing forward. "NOO!"

She dropped to her knees in front of the bodies, hands still shaking. This shouldn't be possible. She shouldn't be so scared. It had to be an illusion. She must be trapped in a genjutsu. But even as she sobbed out the proper "kai" and did the hand signs, the scene in front of her didn't change.

She reached forward, grabbing the handle of the kunai that stuck crudely from the base of the corpse's neck. It came out with a soft squelching sound, and she let out a small, choked cry—before slamming the kunai into her leg.


This was no illusion.

She pulled the kunai out and let it land on the ground beside her, and she heard it hit the floor with the hollow clang of metal hitting wood. She collapsed atop the unmoving body. "N-no…why?" Her fingers tangled themselves in silver locks, while her other hand sought the midnight black tresses of her paler companion.


The chakra fluctuated again. She stilled for a moment, before she finally lifted herself off of her sensei's cold body, emerald eyes as cold as flint. She grabbed the kunai from the floor, breath shaky as she leapt to her feet, disappearing in a whirlwind of leaves.

"SHOW YOURSELF!" She screamed, appearing in the middle of the corpse-ridden street. She was further into the compound now. She gripped the handle of the kunai tightly, blinking the sweat and blood from her eyes. "FIGHT ME!"

A low chuckle issued behind her and she whirled around, slicing through the air with the kunai. She met no resistance, and let out a hiss—before freezing.

The kunai landed in the dust.

"Oh god…"

It looked like some cruel, dark cultish sacrifice. Surely it must have been Hidan of the Akatsuki. No one else would find perverse pleasure in crucifying a body against a telephone pole. She let out a startled cry, rushing forward.

He was still breathing.

"NARUTO! HOLD ON!" She skidded to a halt beside him, hands shaking as she grabbed his body, pushing him upwards. She had to allow him to breathe. With the way he was hanging, his body could not support itself. Crucifixion was a slow death of suffocation due to hyper-expansion of the chest muscles and lungs. His lungs were straining, and she felt blood fleck across the back of her Konoha vest as he coughed, his face pressed into the crook of her neck.

"Hold on Naruto. I'm going to get you down."

"S-Sakura-chan….g-get out…you h-have t-to…get out…"

Sakura paid him no heed. She pulled the kunai out of his wrists, and his full bodyweight fell on her. She stumbled, but kept her balance. She managed to half-carry, half-drag him to the side of one of the stone walls surrounding the compound.

"I can do this. Just hold on a little longer, Naruto."


"Don't talk. Keep your strength." Her voice shook, but she merely placed her hands to his chest. Her fingers ached as she tried to force chakra into them. She sobbed hopelessly. Why? Why couldn't she do anything? Why was she so FUCKING WEAK?


"Y-You have t-to get out…S…akura…chan…" He whispered, voice straining. He coughed again, and then his body stilled.

"Naruto? Naruto! NARUTO!"

She breathed in, before the chakra fluctuation from before flared to life, almost physically slamming into her. She trembled, before slowly looking back at the telephone pole where Naruto had been crudely placed.

A figure was crouched at the pole's top, staring down at her. A viscious smile curled upon his pale lips. She lowly met his gaze.

And Sakura found herself drowning in crimson.

Sakura gave a gasp, shooting out of the covers. Her entire body shook, eyes wide. She reached up and brushed the dampness from her cheek. Tears…she had been crying? She raked a hand through her hair, before staring down at her lap, trying to regulate her breathing.

What had happened? What on earth...was that?

The door opened.


She blinked, recognizing the voice instantly. "Shizune."

A dream. It had been a dream.

The older medic smiled, but she looked worried. "You've been unconscious for so long, we were all very concerned." Shizune herself looked haggard. There were slight rings under her eyes, and small crow's feet at the corners. It almost frightened Sakura, to see the woman she saw as an older sister aging so rapidly. But, a shinobi's life was hectic, and the horrors that shinobi experienced caused one to grow up fast.

Also, because of the invasion, there were no doubt many wounded that had been rushed to the hospital—herself included—and because Sakura herself wasn't there, Shizune had probably taken the brunt of the wounded herself.

"What…happened?" It would be best to push the dream aside. She couldn't think of it now. There were more pressing matters, and the inbred need to protect her village overrode her own feelings.

Shizune's face brightened, regaining some of its youth. "Mist and Cloud retreated. The Tsuchikage and his entourage left for Stone a day ago. We won."


"Less than we thought." While positive, it helped explain the reason for Shizune's appearance. 'Less than we thought' meant that the medics had been working in overdrive since the invasion to save lives.

"Shizune…why would they attack us? They must have known we were ready for an invasion." Sakura's monotone voice shook only slightly now. Her gaze was calm once again. "What were they trying to prove?" It was something that had been bugging her since the invasion began. It had been obvious Konoha would take precautions to stop an invasion after what happened at the last Chuunin Exams held in Konoha. Only a fool would attack during a time when security was so heightened.

"I don't know." Shizune whispered, before she sighed. "You're fully healed. We were just waiting for you to wake up. I'm sure you'd like to leave. I'll go sign the necessary paperwork." She dragged a hand through her already mussed hair, and twisted a few of the frayed split ends between her fingertips. Sakura knew what she was thinking; it was the same thing that went through Sakura's mind when she was in 'medic mode': how many more cases do I have to check up on before my shift is over? Were all medications administered properly? Were allergies looked into? How many casualty files would be needed to be drawn up? Were the nurses being overworked? Tired nurses meant grevious mistakes and possible casualties.

Sakura merely nodded at Shizune with a calm smile, and Shizune left the room quietly. Sakura reminded herself to sign up for the next hospital shift as soon as possible to alleviate some of the weight on her 'neechan's' shoulders. After all, with Tsunade no doubt hounded by political treaties, alliances, and meetings, Shizune was the head of the entire hospital and medical staff. She needed a break. And Sakura planned on giving it to her…once she found her teammates, regained her chakra, and sorted everything out.

She slipped out of the clean hospital bed with a grunt. Her stomach and shoulder were wrapped in bandages, and her body was sore. Other than that, she felt fine. Her chakra was on its way to getting back to normal.

Her eyes narrowed.

Sasuke! She rushed out of the room, running down the sterilized hallways barefoot and in nothing but her hospital shift.

"Sakura-san!" She ignored the calls of her colleagues and fellow medic-nin. Where the hell was he? Where they watching him? Of course not! All of Konoha fucking TRUSTED him! He could have escaped—could have killed someone and in all the chaos no one would have noticed.


She blinked, before turning an abrupt right and rushing down the hallway, not heeding the orders to return to her room until she was released properly. She merely narrowed her eyes even more and skidded to a halt in front of a door at the end of a vacant hallway.

She did a set of handsigns, before ripping off the seal and stepping inside.

The occupant inside blinked. "Sakura-san!"

"He's fine." Juugo smiled back good naturedly. "But Sasuke-sama doesn't like being kept under guard, so I am sure he is feeling uncomfortable."

"Mm." Sakura murmured, slipping on her vest and zipping it up completely. It had taken a few minutes before Sakura had been able to get the necessary information out of Juugo, but she was now sufficiently calmed down—and Shizune had already tracked her down, lectured her for frightening their coworkers, and handed her her clothing.

Sasuke was currently under ANBU guard. He had, apparently, taken her back to the arena where Ino had healed her as best she could, before she was transported to the hospital for the rest of her stay. Sasuke had then visited Juugo to explain what had happened—under guard—and had left for the Uchiha compound—under guard—and was currently waiting for Sakura to recover with the rest of her dysfunctional little team. Under guard.

"I was worried when you didn't come." Juugo murmured. "When I heard the sirens, I knew that something was wrong. I was afraid you or Sasuke-sama had been injured."

Sakura nodded. "We're fine now." She sat down on the edge of Juugo's bed. Just hearing about Sasuke made her think back to those last few moments before her final attack. She had been certain she was going to die, and then…and then he'd called her name.

Why did he have so much power to rouse her from certain death just by saying her name? It angered and confused her that he still had so much power over her. It shouldn't be possible. She had worked so hard to make sure she never had to rely on anyone ever again. To never be attached to someone who would only betray her in the end.

"Are you alright, Sakura-san?"

"Hm?" Sakura blinked, before she nodded with a sigh. "Yes. I'm fine. I have some good news, Juugo-san."

It was Juugo's turn to blink. "What is it?"

"In two days you're going to have an evaluation by a group of highly trained medical-nin. If they think you're ready, you'll be allowed to leave and become a citizen of Konohagakure."

There was a long moment of silence, and Sakura saw a myriad of emotions flit through Juugo's gaze. He settled finally on a slightly worried confusion. "Sakura-san…I have nowhere to stay."

"There is a small compound where Karin and Suigetsu are being housed. It would be the logical place for you." Now that Sakura thought about it, she needed to go and check on her team as soon as possible.

"I…" Juugo swallowed. "Suigetsu is very…abrasive…and Karin is quite emotional. When I am around them, it is more difficult to control myself."

Sakura was silent for a moment. She could see how that would play into it. She looked over at Juugo's frightened gaze and frowned a bit. He was like a lost child, and she wondered how many cruelties he had suffered under Orochimaru's experimentations. She finally put a hand on his shoulder, her mind made up.

"I will make a suggestion to the medical board as well as the council that you be allowed to stay at my home."

"Ah! Kakashi-sensei! What do you mean Sakura-chan isn't at the hospital?" Naruto yelled out, waving his arms frantically.

Sasuke almost twitched, but instead took a sip of his tea. He leaned against the bar with a small sigh—before a figure collided with him and he grimaced, grabbing onto the bar's edge to keep from falling off his chair. His attacker let out a loud laugh—and slung an arm around his shoulders.

"Why are you so tense? God, you're as prude as a monk, I swear."

Sasuke did twitch this time, but merely grabbed his tea and took another swig. He grimaced, before looking up at the bartender. "Sake." He needed some alcohol.

After all, everyone else was already drunk as hell, including Suigetsu, who had yet to let go of him.

"Hey! That's my man!" Another arm, this one pulling him towards a noticeably more feminine body.

Suigetsu snickered at the flustered look on Sasuke's face.

"Hey bitch, didn't I tell you before that Sasuke doesn't like people like…you…?" Ino blinked drunkenly, stumbling over to the group and away from the mass of shinobi and civilians at the other end of the large bar.

"He's-hiccup-mine! Don't make me…kick yer ass!" Karin slurred. "I'll use tha' ju'su that…that Sak'ra taught me an' I'll make ya…" And she passed out, falling backwards. Suigetsu let out another snicker, grabbing her before she hit the ground and propping her back up in the stool. She ended up half lying on it, her face pressed against the counter top. He let go of Sasuke and went to sit on her other side, ordering himself another drink.

Ino continued to stare at the scene before turning to Naruto—who seemed rather sober, considering the situation. "Hey! Where's Forehead?"

"I don't know! Kakashi-sensei just called the hospital and they said she isn't there!" Naruto grumbled, folding his arms across his chest and sticking out his lip in a pout.

Said man merely sighed, before grabbing Naruto and turning to Ino. "Come on you two. Sakura will be here soon. She said she wanted to celebrate with her team alone, so let's go."

"Awwww but sensei!" Naruto whined, "We're Sakura-chan's team, aren't we?"

"I don't remember you just passing the Chuunin Exams, Naruto." Came a wry voice from behind them. Everyone turned—including a highly inebriated Karin, to see Sakura standing behind them. She was wearing her normal shinobi outfit, and she looked a bit tired, but that was all.

"Sakura-chan!" Naruto, Ino, and—surprisingly—a drunken Karin, sang out. Karin tried to jump out of her seat to hug her sensei, but was stopped by Suigetsu.

"Whoa girl. Don't want to face plant and break your glasses, do ya? You just got 'em fixed."

"It seems that Suigetsu and Karin have already begun making good of my promise to buy them all the sake they could drink in one night." Sakura murmured, eyeing the two, who both sported flushed faces and glazed eyes.

Karin nodded happily, reaching for another drink. Suigetsu merely gave her a mocking salute and downed another cupful.

There was a moment of silence as Sakura turned to Sasuke. Everyone waited, but Sasuke merely turned back to the bar and took a calm sip of his drink. Sakura shrugged, sitting down at the bar as well.

"Alright you two, we're done babysitting. Let's go." Kakashi pushed lightly on Ino and Naruto's backs, ushering them out of the bar. Both blondes protested loudly, but soon the three had disappeared into the crowd.

"Doesn't matter much." Sugietsu muttered. "It's not like we don't have a shitload of ANBU still watching our asses."

"Yeah." Karin pouted.

Sakura merely ordered herself a beer. "They've taken the night off." She said calmly.

There was a moment of silence, before all three members of Team 13 turned to her in shock. "WHAT?" Suigetsu and Karin sputtered out.

"You're Chuunin of Konohagakure now." Sakura shrugged. "The council has deemed you trustworthy enough to be allowed in certain areas of the village without supervision now."

"YES!" Suigetsu roared, and Karin's grin stretched widely.


"You're such a party pooper!" Suigetsu groaned, but then promptly ignored the stoic Uchiha. His attention was currently drawn to the fresh jug of sake placed in front of him.

Sakura really was regretting this. She sighed softly, taking a sip of her beer. She was still trying to remember just how she'd agreed to it in the first place. Oh, that's right, she'd tracked down Sasuke after talking with Juugo a day before, and had found all three of them at the Uchiha compound—under ANBU guard, naturally.

They'd all looked so proud in their new Chuunin vests—well, Sasuke had just looked cantankerous, as usual—and Sakura had decided that a celebration was in order. She'd told them she was proud, and that they'd have a night out at the bar, her treat.

God, at this rate she was going to have to pawn Shinju's sword—which Suigetsu had made her take back in the end. He'd said that Sakura had deserved it for beating Shinju 'fair and square' and that he'd just have to get it from her when he finally defeated her—to which Sasuke sent him a piercing glare.

In fact, now that Sakura thought about it…Sasuke had been watching her a lot since she'd gotten out of the hospital. And not just a calculating stare, as if he were trying to discover her strengths and weaknesses, like most shinobi. It was…a deep look. It unnerved her, because it made her think of the way he'd screamed her name and the way it had made her heart speed up and the way it made her want to live just to hear it again.

He was doing it even now, out of the corner of his eye. She swallowed, grabbing her beer and taking a large swig of it. Maybe if she got drunk enough…his stares wouldn't make her stomach flutter with butterflies any longer.

Sasuke took a sip of his tenth cup of sake and blinked almost sleepily. His mind felt…fuzzy, and all he could focus on for long periods of time was Sakura's annoyingly bright pink hair.

Karin was leaning against Suigetsu and they were talking to one another quietly—conspiring more likely. In fact, as he took another sip, he heard Karin give a devious giggle. His eye twitched.

"What do you think they're planning?"

He almost jumped, feeling her breath on his face. It made his bangs sway slightly. He smelled beer and sake and merely grunted, turning to see that she was—if he were sober—uncomfortably close. But since they were both drunk—apparently—he didn't find anything wrong with his proximity. In fact, it made him want to reach out and touch her face, and run his fingers over her annoyingly pink hair to see if it was as soft as it looked.

Sasuke had, strangely, been having thoughts similar to those for a while now. He didn't understand them—and he sure as hell didn't welcome them—but he had learned to deal with them…as long as Sakura wasn't in the immediate vicinity. And, unfortunately, she was.

VERY immediate vicinity.

And that was when Sasuke felt himself shoved to the side. It seemed to happen in slow motion. He toppled off his chair—heard Sakura's gasp and the delighted laughter of both Suigetsu and Karin—and then he acted on instinct. He grabbed, trying to find something to steady himself—and felt something warm and soft beneath his fingers, before they both slammed into the ground.

The clatter of their stools hitting the ground and rolling a few feet away echoed.

Silence reigned in the bar for a moment, before the normal lull drowned out Karin and Suigetsu's raucous laughter and Sakura and Sasuke's harsh breathing.

Sasuke found himself sitting over Sakura, straddling her waist. One of his hands was placed on the ground beside her head, to steady himself. And the other…

"Could you please move?" Sakura bit out, and he could see a deep blush creeping across her cheeks along with the flush of the alcohol.

He coughed, before sliding off of her and removing his hand from her shirt.

They both hurriedly stood, avoiding eye contact with one another—before turning to glare at Karin and Suigetsu. Sakura guessed that Karin was too drunk to realize she had just helped get Sasuke to grope her.

In fact, Karin was laughing so hard she almost fell off her own stool. Suigetsu grabbed her at the last second and they managed to stumble to their feet.

"I'm gonna get her home. She's wasted." Suigetsu smirked, "Enjoy yourselves." And then he wrapped an arm around Karin's waist as the redhead leaned against him fully, her head lulling against his shoulder.

"Where are we going?"

"To have sweaty hot sex!"

"Really? Ok!"

"Oi. You're such a ditz."

Sakura merely watched the two walk out of the bar—and watched Suigetsu's hand slide down Karin's back to grab her ass.


"I'm not that fucking drunk!"

Sakura sighed, before turning to Sasuke. He was staring at their two teammates with a mixture of disdain, humor, and disbelief. He opted for a grunt, before running a hand through his hair.

Sakura turned to the bartender. "Put all this on my tab. I'll bring the money by tomorrow."

The bartender nodded with a smirk. "Got it."

"Let's go." Sakura mumbled, feeling flushed and a little dizzy. She needed to sleep the alcohol off before her shift at the hospital tomorrow.

Sasuke nodded, swaying slightly as he made his way to the door as gracefully as she expected. Even drunk off his ass he managed to swagger confidently out of the bar. Sakura followed, and gave another sigh as she pushed back on the door and walked into the cool night air.

She really didn't want to go to work in the morning. Oh well, she'd just have to use her special medical jutsu she'd created to stop Tsunade-shishou's hangovers—

And that was when Sasuke grabbed her, pulling her into the darkened alleyway a few feet away.

He shoved her against the wall. The action was rough but not painfully so. His actions seemed fueled more by desperation than violence. Her breath was momentarily knocked out of her as she felt his body press against hers. He was scorching hot, his fingers like small brands that brushed against her arms.

His face was flushed, glowing in the soft neon light of the bar sign. His breath rustled her bangs as he peered into her eyes. His own were slightly glazed. Oh god, he was more than just drunk. He was completely smashed.

"…Sakura…" He purred, like a sated cat.

Sakura swallowed, and as she did so Sasuke's eyes became riveted to her throat, locked there in lust-filled fascination.

"What is it Sasuke?" She kept her voice emotionless, but it trembled slightly. Heat began to boil in the pit of her stomach as his musky scent wafted around her, wreaking havoc on her senses. She couldn't be this drunk. This was a bad idea. Why did he have to look so painfully beautiful?

"Come to bed with me." He murmured seductively in her ear, nipping it. A jolt of electricity shot through her body. Oh god…

"Sasuke…" She began, a hint of breathlessness apparent in her usual monotone. "That isn't a good idea."

"Why not?" He gave as much of a pout as was possible for a drunken Uchiha. "You know you want to…"

"Sasuke…" Her tone was one of warning this time, as his hands moved up and down her arms deftly, stroking and caressing her now sensitized flesh.

A part of her was berating herself for even suggesting that she take her team out drinking to celebrate, she should have known this would happen. Sasuke may have been an ass sometimes, but he was still a male with a body full of raging hormones. The other part of Sakura however, mostly incapable of thought at the moment, was melting into a puddle of goo at Sasuke's nearness, thanking anyone listening that she'd decided to get them all drunk.

"I want to hear you moan my name Sakura," Sasuke whispered hotly, his nose brushing her jaw line, "I want you to show my all those wonderful things you can do with your tongue." His voice was rough and husky. Ever since the day she'd battled Shinju… ever since he had claimed that she would be his medic and no one else's…he had wanted to hear her moan his name.

"You're drunk Sasuke." She answered back as she slipped out of his grasp with a frustrated sigh.

"Yes," Sasuke agreed with a drunken smirk as he leaned towards her. "But this way we can blame it on the drink, ne?"

"A nice drunken fuck." Sakura snorted. "So that we can continue hating each other in the morning. An accident." Her tone was bitter, but it softened as Sasuke's eyes flickered uncertainly and he stumbled forward. She caught him, letting him lean on her as she began walking in the direction of the Uchiha compound. It was slow work, as Sasuke continued his drunken advancements.

A part of her wondered if it was all an act to gain her trust…while another little voice in her mind was extremely pleased with the fact that he trusted her enough to let his guard down around her, to let her see his weakened state.

And then there was the part that was still screaming at her to jump him already.

God, she was never going to drink this much. Ever.

"Let's get you inside." She finally muttered—more to herself than anyone else—as they entered the Uchiha compound. It was dark and silent, an ominous sight. It unnerved her, and she had the strangest urge to begin filling the windows with potted plants—anything to give it a sense of life. And it made her sick, as she thought back to that dream that was all too real and vivid in her mind.

"Here we go." She smiled cheerfully as they stopped in front of his old home. "Let's get you up to your room, ne?"

"Not this one." He muttered, his tone weary.

"This is your house isn't it?" Sakura asked confusedly. He nodded, before burying his face in her shoulder once again.

"Then why—"

"Too much blood." He murmured softly into her neck. "Easier to sleep where I don't know the faces."

Sakura's dream surfaced in her mind. And she knew, or at least, she felt as if she understood the pain. The blood was too much. So she merely turned around, holding Sasuke up and beginning her walk back out of the compound.

"Alright. Let's go."

Sasuke opened his eyes wearily. The first thing he noticed was the incessant pounding in his ears. His head throbbed, and he felt nauseas. What had happened? His cheek was pressed against a wooden floor. As his vision focused he saw that he was lying on the ground next to a couch.

Next to a couch he seemed to becoming rather familiar with lately.

Sakura's apartment was recognizable once he managed to push himself into a sitting position. A bruise on the back of his head told him that he'd fallen off the couch and had spent the rest of the night on the floor. He gritted his teeth, running a hand through his hair.

He didn't remember much from the night before except…a lot of sake. Yes, lots of it. His eyes widened. What the hell…had HAPPENED?

"You're awake."

He turned to see Sakura standing in the doorway. She was wearing her hospital uniform, and walked straight past him to the kitchen. He could smell the strong scent of coffee brewing. He slowly stood, trying to ignore the dizziness and the way the room spun as he did so.

Before he could make it to the kitchen Sakura reappeared. She practically shoved the mug into his hands, and a droplet of the scalding liquid splashed onto his wrist. He barely felt it, merely gave her a questioning glance beneath his normal emotionless façade.

She walked past him again, heading to the couch. She grabbed her medical pack from the coffee table and swung it over her shoulder, before she stepped briskly to his side. "Well?"

"Well what?"

"Are you done?" Her voice was strained and stilted. His eyes narrowed suspiciously. Had he done something the night before to garner this treatment?

"What's wrong?"

"Absolutely nothing. I would just prefer to get you out of my house before I go to work."

Sasuke raised an eyebrow at her, and he saw her bristle in defence.

"I have important scrolls in my home. No doubt you'd look at the information while I was away."

Sasuke's tone was flat when he spoke again, "You don't trust me."

Sakura merely grabbed his shoulder and shoved him at the door. "Take the cup, I don't care. Just get out." She wrenched the front door open.

"Why are you so angry?"

"I don't want you in my house!" And then she pushed.

Sasuke blinked as sunlight blinded him for a moment. He regained his footing—it wasn't that difficult, even with a hangover. He turned to see her standing in the doorway, looking every bit like a desperate, frightened animal. Wounded, stuck in a trap with nowhere to run. She was fighting within herself over something.

"Then why did you let me stay in the first place?" He told himself it was the aftereffects of the alcohol that was making him so talkative. He didn't like to think that it was because he truly wanted to know the answer.

Sakura froze at the doorway for a moment, before she swallowed, and then spoke. "I hate you."


"Because you're a traitor." Sakura spat back at him, and he could tell that the alcohol from the night before had affected her as well. Her face was slightly flushed, and her emotions were dancing in her eyes.

"Is that it?"

"I don't need another reason to hate you." She closed the door behind her, locking it deftly.

"The world is full of betrayal, Sakura." Sasuke murmured.

"I don't care. I'm loyal, and you're not." She leaned against the apartment wall, as far away from him as was physically possible in the small area.

"It isn't that simple."

"Yes it is!" She hissed out, and he saw her emerald eyes glisten.


"Because there is only good and bad. Black and white." She snapped at him.

"There has to be something in-between." Sasuke whispered.

"THERE ARE NO SHADES OF GREY!" She yelled back frustratingly. "You can't be loyal to your village and yet still betray it. It doesn't work that way you damn idiot!" And then she made to walk past him, away from him and away from the painful truth.

He grabbed her arm as she passed. She whirled around to face him, hand glowing, ready to strike.

"You're wrong, Sakura. We kill, we have no bias towards innocent or guilty, we merely follow our Kage's orders." Sasuke spoke softly. "There is no such thing as black and white. There are only shades of grey."

"…I know." It was a broken whisper. "But if I tell myself that there is only good and bad, if I tell myself that my kage would only send me on missions where evil is killed, not good, then I won't feel guilty. I won't break. I won't die. I can continue on blindly, believing my kage is noble and just in everything."

"Cruelty is a way of the world."

"I hate it."

"I know."

"And I hate you."

"I know."

But they both knew she was lying.

Sasuke slowly let go of her, and for a moment she didn't move. Finally, she pulled away, and he felt the wind rush passed him as she turned.

Away from him.

He swallowed, and he saw her hand clench. Then she relaxed, and she turned to regard him, her face calm. But it was not emotionless, only…stoic. She bit her lip, before she shook her head with a sigh. Then she stuffed her hands into the pockets of her hospital coat and began walking down the stairs to the first floor of the apartment complex.

He watched her back, watched as she walked away and down the street. She stopped for a moment, turning to look at him again, before continuing on her way.

He didn't move for a moment. He leaned against the rusted iron of the apartment balcony railing and stared down at his feet.

He blinked.

He wiggled his toes experimentally, and watched as the flesh colored digits moved freely.

He wasn't wearing any shoes. They were still in Sakura's apartment.

He blinked again, before a small smirk spread across his face. He pushed off of the wall, stuffing his hands into his pockets in a way eerily similar to his pink-haired teammate and began walking barefoot back to the Uchiha compound.

He felt the presence of several ANBU following him at a distance, and for once, he wasn't annoyed.

After all, he'd have to come back and get his shoes from Sakura's later that night.

La Fin

(A\N: Well? I tried to add a little SasuSaku-ness in the ending there. :) Suigetsu's trying his hand at matchmaking it seems...:D And I know some of you are freaking out but…remember, there's a sequel, it isn't REALLY over! :D I haven't gotten to the Jonin Exams after all. :D Anyway…I hope you guys have enjoyed reading Shades of Grey as much as I have enjoyed writing it. It really has been a learning experience, and I can tell my skills have improved through writing this story, along with my other fanfics. I hope they continue to please.

Sincerely, Lady Hanaka)