The Isolation of Inner Sakura

Chapter 1

The Encounter

"Just watch the feet and hands." I thought to myself, gathering chakra to my fists after my first volley of shuriken. Dodge, twist, I punched at where his side had been, only to be thrown back by the force of the clone's explosion. I wasn't hurt too badly, but my face felt slightly warm and I had some nasty burns on my arms and legs where the explosion had caught me before blowing me back. I looked around the clearing where the fight was taking place; I didn't see any of my fellow teammates. But I could hear Naruto in the trees as he fought. I could hear the shouting from Naruto as he used his Kage Bunshin and the falling trees as Kisame used his large sword to fell trees and carve out a path in their fighting area.

I hadn't seen Kakashi senpai since the beginning of the battle, when he had just suddenly fallen to the ground after a few moments of fighting with Uchiha Itachi. He must have fallen under the Tsukiyomi. Both Naruto and I had been warned of it after Naruto's first encounter with the S-Class criminal, when Kisame and Itachi had come for him. It had been the first time Sasuke-kun had tried to take his revenge, only to be brutally defeated physically and mentally. Only the legendary Sannen's presence had saved Naruto from capture and probable death. But now they were back, and with no legendary sannen to back us up. Even the copy ninja Hatake Kakashi had fallen beneath that poison-like stare.

I glanced around turning in all directions, trying to sense the enemy. There! He was hidden in the tree just behind me. I knew that he would see through any attempt at making a clone, but if I used an earth technique...

I threw a smoke bomb down on the ground to conceal my movements and used the earth technique, darting snake, where you wait under the ground to discover the enemy and can formulate a plan of attack. I could feel him above the ground every where he stepped and used the next jutsu in my plan. Forming the seals I whispered the name, hidden mist no jutsu. I had recently learned the technique from Kakashi during our frequent missions. When in the wave country on our first accidental A-rank mission, Zabuza had used it on us to reduce the effectiveness of Kakashi's transplanted Sharingan. But here it would be a help rather than a hindrance.

But it wouldn't be enough, not with the infamous Uchiha that even Sasuke-kun couldn't beat. So I formed Shadow Clones, one of the benefits of traveling with a show off was that, he was always willing to show off his techniques and teach them to me. While I could only sustain five at a time, they would still be a great help.

I gave the orders to surround him and went up and hid myself in the mist just outside of the area I'd sent the clones into, then had them one at a time dodge in and out of the mist that I had surrounded him in trying to catch him off guard with even a single hit. The ground was becoming marred with large pot holes as my hits all missed. It was as if he were just playing with my clones waiting for the real one to appear.

Then with a few simple movements he dispelled all of my clones, and I felt him coming. Even in the mist with my chakra dispersed and my own signature dampened to evade detection he knew exactly where I was. But I would surprise him. I thought to myself, I raised my arm gathering a massive amount my chakra into my hand and slammed my fist into the ground larger than life. The Earth shattered like a porcelain doll hit with a baseball bat. I dove in and out of the earth evading and searching using the mist as cover and the broken ground to my advantage.

Using a modified version of the tree climbing exercises I ran and jumped along the broken up ground using what Kakashi liked to call prairie dog no jutsu. I had developed it to work with my fighting style since I wasn't that strong in hand to hand combat. The jutsu sped up my movements and allowed me to have tunnel vision or a 'second sight' to move at the speed of light, allowing me to traverse the underground passages and pop up exactly where I wanted with the speed only Naruto and the Uchiha's seemed capable of. It made it seem as if there were a hundred Sakura's popping out of the ground like prairie dogs in a field.

I didn't have enough chakra left for something large like this again but I continued to fight, hoping that I was wearing him down or at least taking up enough time for Naruto to finish off Kisame. If I lost, and Kisame was still able to fight, then Naruto wouldn't stand a chance, the Uchiha was just too strong.

I dove out of the hole I was in and flung myself bodily into the man covered from head to toe in black and red, body checking him and then darting away back to the safety of the fissures of earth. I panted as I raced along the next crevice feeling the strain from chakra overuse and fatigue catching up to me. I once again threw myself feet first at his chest only to be side stepped and thrown back against the ground. I scrambled back into the tunnel, trying to recover my breath that had been forced out as my back hit the ground with such force. I could feel several broken ribs and blood ran down my right leg from a gash I had gotten sometime during the fight. I had landed a hit the last time, maybe that was a sign that he was getting tired. I darted back up to the surface from the other side of an especially large earth break and pulled my last two kunai from my pouch. I dropped down behind him planning to slash his Achilles tendons only to have his clone once more blow up in my face before I could touch it; the force of the explosion threw me back against the hard rock I had just come from behind.

I saw him moving out of the mist towards me, and I tried to make for a tunnel once more but the shooting pain in my right arm and leg left me gasping in pain. I looked down to find my arm hanging at an odd angle and my leg while it wasn't broken had been badly burned so that I could see muscles and in one place the bone protruding from the skin. I tried in vain to use my left side to move myself out of the way but I knew it wasn't any use. I was about to die and I couldn't do a thing about it. The kunai came and I closed my eyes waiting for death. But it didn't come; instead there was a sharp pain in my left arm as the blade sliced into the tricep by my elbow severing the ligaments that connected the muscle to the bone effectively nullifying the use of my arm and any chakra that I might still have been able to gather into that arm for a strike.

He approached slowly, walking out of the mist until he stood at my sprawled feet looking down at me with that smirk, the same smirk Sasuke used to use when he was particularly pleased with himself. It pissed me off. I shoved chakra into my left leg and kicked out at his knee, feeling a great satisfaction when he grunted in pain. He had dodged most of the attack, and I didn't have enough chakra left to even dislocate his knee, but it still felt good as I connected with his thigh. His hand instantly gripped my ankle and pulled it aside.

He knelt between my legs and I looked up at him in confusion for a moment before I was pulled into those blood red eyes. I had a last moment to hear Inner Sakura consciously thinking the inane thoughts "pretty, pretty." and then I was pulled into the world of Tsukiyomi.

When I opened my eyes I was surrounded by red, I looked around confused. The sky was red, the ground at my feet was black and there were only the faintest flickerings of white where they came together. "This must be that alternate dimension Kakashi told me about, from when he had been trapped within the Uchiha's Tsukiyomi." I thought, as I noticed that I was strapped to a T shaped cross and found the man standing at my feet.

He seemed to glare up at me with the katana in his hands before speaking. "This is my world, I control the time and space here. For three straight days I will stab you with my katana, and we will see how long your mind can take the pain." I just stared over his shoulder as my inner self ran at him silently, and tried to not scream out as the sword pierced my flesh. But I couldn't prevent the scream from tearing its way out of my throat as the agony ripped through me. I gasped for breath, but the sword wasn't with drawn and I looked down at him, only to find the sword hanging from my gut and Inner Sakura trying to beat his head in.

She had jumped on his back and had gotten his one arm trapped at his side with her legs and was wailing on the back of his head with her fist while the other held onto him trying to choke the life from him. He made swipes at her arm as he almost clumsily tried to stop the beating as she consistently rammed her fist into the exact same spot over and over. Finally he just grabbed a fistful of her hair and managed to throw her. I started looking at my bindings then to see if I could perhaps get free and help my inner being. But there was no way down from the cross, the bands appeared to be iron and he had said that he controlled this place, so I guessed that I couldn't get free. I could only watch as my Inner self and the Uchiha rolled about on the floor like little children punching and clawing.

It was strange to watch the Uchiha rolling around on a floor with anyone let alone a duplicate of myself. Who was doing a good job of landing all those hits I had missed in our fight outside in the real world, I noticed in admiration. But he had said that this was a world that he controlled, perhaps he had to use a lot of concentration just to hold the world in place. Inner Sakura threw him a few feet in the air and was instantly there to smash a knee into his gut and as she pulled her arm back to smash it into his face, the red and black world flickered with white and then faded. I opened my eyes to see the man in front of me collapsed atop my painful injuries.

We were back in the real world; I could hear Inner Sakura screaming in rage inside my head. "I almost had him!" She shrieked shrilly. "Come back and fight me!" I just stared down at the man lying slumped against my body, what I wouldn't have given for one good arm and a kunai right then. He stirred and struggled to push himself upright. When he finally raised his eyes to mine, there was no expression on his face as he panted. It was clear that he was exhausted. But there was a glimmer of something behind his eyes, was it fear? Or something else?

I just glared at him, but I couldn't help the taunt that came out of my mouth, foolish as it was. "Wanna go again?" I met his eyes with the anger fed me from inner Sakura, ignoring the fear and doubt that I would even able to do it twice. But he ignored the jibe and pushed himself to his feet a kunai slipping into his hand from the large sleeve of his black and red coat.

I knew death was coming, he couldn't break me mentally, so he would have to physically kill me and then he would go and do the same to Naruto if he possibly could.

I just watched him; I wouldn't give him the satisfaction of looking away or closing my eyes as he killed me. I wouldn't be fearful and weak as my death loomed before me at the hands of Uchiha Itachi.

Instead I thought of Sasuke, picturing his face. And I smiled. At least I could pretend that my last sight on this earth was of Sasuke. He looked so much like him it was easy. I looked the personification of death in the face and grinned as he lifted the kunai.