Author's Note: Thank you to all my readers for taking the time to enjoy my story. If you review or not, I really do hope that it brings as much joy to you that it did for me to write it. Oh, and just a note on the story details, it may or may not be a bit on the AU side, but either way might be irrelevant. That and I'm not overly familiar with the chemistry of certain chemicals, so if some things might be inaccurate, I apologize.

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or any of it's characters, only my beloved Sasuke plushie.

There were days when Sakura seriously hated being a nurse; today was one of them. After working a double-shift dealing with the most idiotic of problems -such as the overly worried mother who's son was only inflicted with a mosquito bite, or the elderly man who had sneezed and threw his back out- she dubbed it Heaven to finally step through the automatic doors into the night air that was refreshingly unsterilized. There was only oh-so-much that a person could stand when it came to bleach and antiseptics.

The atmosphere was cool, but with the medic in scrubs, Sakura remained comfortable. With a deep breath, she took a moment to simply unwind and take in her brief sense of freedom. It had to be almost one in the morning, so it was not unusual to see that the streets of her town were baron. Any lights beyond a street lamp were omitted from televisions that were left on while the occupants of the households had crashed on the couch.

Smiling softly to herself, the pink-haired woman took a few steps toward her home, the destination so easily routed by sidewalks. But some unnamable force halted her mid-stride, instead guiding her down a road that was uncharted in her usual routine. Sure, Sakura was adventurous enough, but ever since she found a stable job working at the clinic, she had sunk into a personal, mundane rut. Not tonight!

It might have been the fatigue, but things seemed different on this new path, sweeter, more indulgent. The delicate din that had once originated from electronic waves was replaces by crickets' easy melody. The road was still framed by buildings on one side, but the other melted away into foliage, the trees creating a gentle canopy above her. With a sigh of content, Sakura walked on, mentally declaring that she would travel this way more often.

Little did the young woman know that while she strolled the darkening trail, a set of glittering eyes followed each light step she took. The stranger's upper lip curled slowly with a predatory sneer, masking foot falls well as they crept through the shadows. The buildings would dissipate soon, and then he would make his move. Poor, ignorant girl.

Yawning, Sakura let her eyes droop and grow foggy. She really was tired, and the alluring ease that she found in this place was not helping her condition. Smiling as she rubbed the sleep from her eyes, she thought optimistically about the pillow-top bed calling her name at home. With that promise in mind, her step quickened. She was still going in the correct direction, right? Then where did the road turn off to up there..?

Blinking, Sakura's smile soon faded. It was quiet out here. That was one of the main attractive aspects in the first place, but now it grew eerie.

"The crickets are gone," she whispered to herself, senses becoming more alert.

Her heart nearly leapt from her chest when rustling was heard in an upcoming shrubbery. Eyes wide, her attention was again drawn to a tree, getting closer.

Swallowing hard, Sakura fought to keep the panic from her quivering voice as she took a defensive stance, "Come out! I-I know you're there!" I'll karate-chop their ass!

The scream that came tumbling out of the medic's mouth reverberated over the horizon as a little furry creature ran past, tail brushing her leg. Squashing a hand around her own mouth, the terrified girl muffled herself as she took note of the feline dashing away.

With a thick gasp, she released herself, eyes closing in relief, "Friggin' cat… scared the life outta me…"

The next thing the petite woman knew, a tight cloth had been secured around her eyes, a large, hot hand clamping the screech in her throat from behind a damp cloth. The last thing Sakura could recall before nothingness overcame her was a low, gravelly voice practically purring in her ear, "Meow."

Why won't the world stop spinning..? Sakura groaned and attempted to move her perplexed limbs. She had no idea how long she had been out and the headache creeping up on her did not soothe the nausea she barely held at bay. Not having any inclination as to the time past or her location, the pink-haired girl went to grasp her head in hopes to improve the vertigo, only to find her hands bound. Damn, what else could possibly put me more at a disadvantage?

Starting to struggle against the binds, Sakura ignored the increase of wooziness and the small abrasions left around her fragile wrists. She could have sworn that the rope was loosening, but before any conclusions could be made, the ground rose to kiss her.

Letting off a shriek of surprise and aggravation, the realization struck her pretty little head that all movement ceased, meaning that it wasn't a side effect to being drugged. But on the other side of that coin was the fact that she must not be alone.

Blinking against the cloth over her eyes, the small woman attempted to peer past the fibers, but to no avail. It was much too dark, and if her speculations were correct and the gentle bristles against her hands were grass, then she was most likely still outside.

Outside, in the grass, at night. With a man…who had kidnapped her.

Oh my god, I'm going to be raped! Dread ran through Sakura at a rapid rate, her usually rational mindset left in the fog of a nervous breakdown.

Starting to struggle even harder than before, the medic began to scream at the top of her lungs, hoping someone in the distance might hear.

"HELP ME! ANYONE, I'VE BEEN OBDUCTED!!" and it went on until a strong, rough hand slammed her jaw fiercely shut, hissing in her ear from behind.

This didn't even make Sakura's cries pause, instead increasing them with renewed vigor and urgency. Fighting like mad, she kicked and hit as hard as she could muster, managing to make contact with a firm body every so often, the male's grunts of pain compelled her and instilled a feeling of slight satisfaction. Unfortunately, Sakura's minor triumph didn't last long when the stranger had caught her arms in a secure grip, pinning her legs down by the calves, keeping her upright on her knees.

Whimpering softly, the frightened girl attempted to withhold her fear from the man. Beasts like this fed off the terror of their prey, and if this was going to be the peak of a steep slope downward, she would not grant him pleasure.

"You've been a rather…naughty little thing, haven't you?" the purr in the male's voice had returned.

"You son of a b-" she ground out between clenched teeth, only to be cut off by the ground meeting her again, though she wasn't shoved as roughly as expected.

"Know to whim you speak before handing out insults," a touch of amusement laced his tone this time as Sakura felt a slight pressure at the back of her head.

Blinking rapidly, surprise held the girl as her blindfold was removed with the light wisp of fabric. Craning her neck, she desperately looked back to stare at the face of her attacker. Her breath caught in her throat as shock shook her, only to be replaced almost instantly by blind rage and hatred.

"Sasuke, you bastard!" she shrieked bloody murder at the smirking man still pinning her to the ground, labeling him all the words in the book, not taking pause for those she made up.

But the cocky man just continued to restrain her, barely keeping the gratification to himself, unphased by her prolonged insults. Sure, she had the right to be upset. Heck, had this occurred by the hands of anyone else, he would have down right murdered them without batting a lash, but in this case, Sasuke had a point to be made.

"Sakura, calm down," the dark male stated blankly.

This in turn caused the girl to go into an uproar, kicking and screaming. It would be a good fifteen minutes of this until her voice was too hoarse and limbs too exhausted to continue. At this point, her sadistic acquaintance released her, untying the ropes. Sakura rose to sit slowly, appearing to be worn and pacified. Shortly after, the newly forming shiner under Sasuke's left eye displayed his miscalculations and bad timing.

Not feeling nearly satisfied but much too fatigued, Sakura left her retaliation at that, but silently plotted the man's rapidly approaching downfall. Until then, she resigned herself to lean against the large tree not but a few feet away. Sighing heavily, she slumped her full weight against the rough bark.

Unable to take the pink-haired girl's hostility as a hint, Sasuke sat himself beside her, knees up and leaning his elbows against them. He ignored the signs of her hackles rising at his mere presence, but with the given past happenings, no one could really blame her. Anger fueled the driving force behind her strong voice.

"What the hell got into you, to do this to me?!" she glared at him, furious.

He shrugged with an air of nonchalance, "You need protection."

"From you, apparently!" she was beginning to sound like a banshee. He was quiet, staring off into the void inhabiting their surroundings. The only indication that he was still coherent was the slight tightening of his arms about his knees. Sakura was still murdering him through glowers alone, but he didn't seem to notice. It would be a few minutes before he finally responded.

"What if it had been real?"

Blinking away her daggers, the medic scoffed.

"What do you mean, it was real, asshole. How else would you explain my not being home by now and nerves frazzled beyond repair?"

A frown greeted that response.

"What I did was nothing. I watered down the drug that knocked you out. You were only unconscious for twenty minutes. You're still within our town's boarders. Outside some 'frazzled nerves' and a little rope burn, you have been completely unharmed."

Rubbing her wrists absently, Sakura bit at the corner of her soft lip, not having considered that before. But he did forget her grass stains, they may never wash out.

"Sakura," he let her name fall from the end of a defeated groan, "you should know better than this. Going for walks down mysterious alleys? And in the middle of the night, no less. What were you thinking?"

Hanging her head, all she could say in her defense was, "It was peaceful…"

"Yeah? Well save it for daylight. Next time you decide to meander in a place where no one will hear you scream, let me know. And for that matter, when you overwork yourself until dawn, even the lit streets can be dangerous."

Nodding solemnly, Sakura felt about an inch tall.

The two were quiet for a long while prior to the realization that struck the woman. Sasuke, the man with a personality equivalent to a glacier, cared. A lot. Enough to kidnap her, the twisted little SOB.

"So…I can call you when I get off work and you'll walk me home?" she inquired tentatively.

"Yes," a blank statement.

"Even at three in the morning?"

"Yes," just as cold as the previous.

"Or if I want to take a different route home.?"

"…Yes," aggravation was beginning to become apparent.

"How about on a lunch break?"

"Sakura," he snapped, not quite able to keep the tick in his swelling eye at bay.

The girl giggled to herself. She would have pushed it further were she able to think of additional scenarios. Her mood started to lighten more when the male beside her huffed, slipping into his signature brood. But soon her amusement faded as she just glanced quietly at Sasuke. The creasing in his brow and at the corners of his mouth told her one very important detail. He was worried.

Exhaling softly, Sakura inched a little closer to her companion, hesitating only a moment before she rested a hand on his shoulder. He tensed upon contact, but when she gave a gentle squeeze, his muscles relaxed, if only a little.

"Thank you," she said just above a whisper.

"Hn," he didn't even look at her.

Biting her lip, unsure if her course of actions was wise, Sakura allowed her hand to travel lightly down his arm, resting at the elbow. When he remained unresponsive, she pushed her luck and gave the most insubstantial of tugs, to which he complied. Ever so cautiously, Sakura slipped her hand into Sasuke's, bracing herself for his jerk of repulsion. But it didn't come.

They sat against the tree in somewhat comfortable silence, listening as the nightlife sung around them. For the first time, Sakura observed her environment, which was awe-inspiring. The couple was perched upon a hill, one of many in the area. The town's buildings could be seen against the horizon, but no artificial light touched the plains. The only illumination shown from the clear sky and countless numbers of fireflies that danced through the night air, in sync with nature's melody.

Taking the girl's gasp of delight as a cue, Sasuke muttered in a low, gentle voice, "I thought you'd enjoy this place more than the alley."