Tadaaahh! FINALLY! This, my dear readers (:3) is the LAST and FINAL chapter of stick with me! Finished it a while ago, sorry for forgetting to post it hope you not mad at me!

But, enough talked, enough said, here is the last chapter of stick with me, and I really hope you like it :)

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto

Chapter twenty-one: Closing in the gaps

"Is this…" Tsunade panted, while hanging over the scroll, "really the only solution? Mizura-san? What is this?"

The Mizukage shook her head, her eyes wide open, staring at the wall on the opposite direction. "I really don't know, Tsssunade-ssan," she whispered, massaging her temples, a sad expression plastered on her face, making her at least ten years older. "I thought there would be a common solution… but…"

Tsunade angrily smacked her fist on the desk – her fourth desk, to be exact – and panted with anger. This was… just too bad to deal with. That they waited the entire end, just to hear that...

Suddenly Dotongu cleared his throat. Tsunade looked behind her, irritated by the bad news, but as soon as she saw his troubled face she calmed down and she gave him a worried look. "Dotongu-san?" she asked, and Mizura and Gaara both got up slightly, interested why the Tsuchikage looked so troubled.

"Well, er," he rubbed his forehead. "I, eh, do not know what it said, un. I… couldn't read it properly, I'm afraid," and he laughed apologetically, blushing extremely deep. Somehow this lightened the mood a bit and Tsunade shook her head, but with a faint smile on her lips.

"Really," she said towards Mizura. "That a guy like that can become a Tsuchikage…" and Mizura giggled, placing her hand in front of her mouth to remain calm and silent, but she failed miserably. But then Tsunade got serious again. "The fact is, Dotongu-san, that this scroll only contains information on releasing two humans of the same sex. So that means, we only know how to release two women or two men." She sighed. "For some weird reason, up until now, no one ever tried or accidentally chained a man and a woman to each other. What means that we're still in the dark."

Dotongu nodded, eyes a bit dull, staring in front of him. "That is indeed," he muttered, "a problem." He looked at Tsunade. "Then how are we going to do this?"

Tsunade shrugged. She felt powerless, helpless but above all very desperate. She already had an idea how Naruto would react if she told him they still had no solution. She shook her head, burying it in her hands. "I really don't know, Dotongu, Mizura, Gaara… The only thing I can think of, is that we do this the old fashioned way."

Mizura and Dotongu shared looks while Gaara looked away, bored again. "And that means…?" Dotongu asked, wanting to know exactly what Tsunade was thinking. The blonde woman looked up, stared at the wall and then spoke.

"That means that we simply have to cut them loose." She looked behind her. "And that may cause the death of both ninja, we don't know." Her voice shook a bit at the end of the sentence, but she didn't want to break anymore. She had to keep her grip on the situation. She couldn't space out anymore, like when she ran over the street merely wearing her pajamas. That was out of the question. "But for as far as I can see, there's nothing more we can do."

the woods –

There was a movement, behind the trees. Kisame's head, which had been hanging dangerously low, suddenly snapped up as he noticed the movement in the corner of his eye, and his jaw dropped to the floor. The bushes rustled and then a very familiar blonde head, followed by an also familiar pink one, came into sight. The pink haired girl followed the blonde in inches, and again the light fell on the chains, making the glassy surface sparkle in the hot sunlight. Kisame rubbed his eyes and then opened them again, just to make sure that he wasn't dreaming and that it was no illusion – but pure reality.

He looked left and right, but Tobi had still not returned from getting the water, and when he looked back, he saw that the two people he'd been waiting for were now actually moving towards the same direction Tobi had left off to. He smacked his head, clenching his jaws on each other. He could already image what Tobi would do as his sempai came walking up to him… he'd probably shout something like: "SEMPAI!", dash towards him, embrace him – even though Kisame didn't want to think about that for too long – and then he would probably get kicked by the pink girl for getting too close, blowing the surprise attack.

He sighed. Another problem was already forming in his head. They had found them, that was true, but now what? They were still chained together, and he wasn't clever enough to come up with a solution on his own, so in fact they were not very much further than he'd been three days ago. He got up from the floor and followed Deidara and Sakura on a short distance, keeping silent with every movement, looking out for Tobi and hoping that he would notice the boy earlier than the couple in front of him.

Perhaps, he thought while staring at the chains, which seemed the only fragile point in the their connection, Perhaps I can just cut them loose… he frowned. He knew it was risky – he was at least clever enough for that – but what else could he do? He shook his head. There was no other option than to just risk it and see what happened.

at Konohagakure's gates –

the team that had gathered stared at each other with sleepy eyes. None had really slept well because of the heat, except for Naruto who looked as energetic as always, trying to cheer everyone up. When Tsunade told him they had no solution, his face had fell and he had nearly cried out loud, but as soon as she told him that they were now going after them and try to simply cut them loose – a much simpler plan and easier for Naruto to understand – all the energy he'd been saving for the last couple of days burst out and he'd jumped into the air, yelling of happiness.

They were finally going after Sakura!

Kiba and Neji had to search for the two, Naruto, Sasuke and Sai where the sheer power forces and also the team's trump card, and there was Shikamaru, the brain behind the team's movement. And of course there was a medical supporting team, but that would stay behind a bit so that, if Deidara gathered the Akatsuki, they could heal the wounded without being targeted themselves. Naruto looked left and right, then towards Shikamaru, and grinned widely.

"Anou sa, anou sa, Shikamaru, aren't we going yet? Everyone's here, right? Right?" he asked, jumping from one foot to another, unable to keep still. Shikamaru sighed.

"Temee. You're so troublesome. Look around you: Yamato-sensei isn't here yet. And Tsunade-sama told me explicitly to wait for him." He raised an eyebrow. "I don't know why, really. For as far as I can see, this team is complete." He sighed. "Well, I guess Tsunade-sama must've had her reasons for it, even though it is troublesome to have to wait for him."

Just when Naruto was about to start an argue about why they didn't just leave and ignored Tsunade's orders, a voice made him look behind, seeing Yamato jumping off the repaired gate, landing smoothly next to them. He got up and smiled at them, placing a hand next to his head to greet them. "Konnichi wa," he said. "Sorry I'm late; Life held me up, I had to help an old lady to cross the street so…."

Naruto's eyes narrowed. "Are you starting on those lame excuses as well, yamato-sensei? Just explain why you were late and kept us waiting!"

"Calm down dobe," Sasuke hissed, his eyes focused on the horizon. "Right now, you're the one actually slowing us down." Then he looked at Naruto, and even though the others couldn't see, Naruto saw that his eyes sparkled with a hidden smile, just to tell that he didn't really mean any harm.

Naruto sniffed before turning to Shikamaru again. "Then we can go now?"

The team was build up very well. In the front were Kiba and Neji, followed directly by Sasuke, then Shikamaru, and then Naruto and Sai to close the row. They moved fast and nearly soundless through the forests, while Akamaru leaded them on a faint trace of smell that was still left.

"Oy, Kiba!" Naruto yelled, trying to get the boy's attention. He turned around slightly, his slim pupils staring at the blonde. "Nani?"

"How is it possible that there is a scent of them here?"

Kiba raised an eyebrow. He hadn't suspected Naruto of all of them to ask the question they've probably all been thinking up to now: Deidara and Sakura traveled through air, so then there shouldn't be any trace of scent left on the ground, right…? But no one dared to ask, knowing that Kiba wouldn't lead them to the wrong direction, and Neji didn't complain, so…

"To be very honest, I don't know for sure," Kiba said, accepting his defeat. "But what I'm sure about is that this scent is not older than four days, and as it matches Deidara's scent nearly completely, I guess this is the best way to go." He looked next to him. "Neji, do you see them already?"

The boy with the Byakugan shook his head. "Not yet. But I'm focusing on the close around area, not very far in front of us, so they might be a bit further away, just out of my sight."

woods –

Deidara was walking rather fast, leaving Sakura stumbling behind him. She didn't dare to say anything. Back there, in the cabin, she'd probably said something wrong as she tried to hear him out about why he didn't bring her to the hideout immediately, because he'd pushed her off him and then started to walk straight outside, leaving no room for questions and no room for Sakura to even hesitate on following. As soon as they'd gotten outside she'd tried to escape, but he'd given her one very menacing look and she'd ceased her attempts and decided to follow him.

Getting into a fight is probably not the best thing to do now, she thought as she stared at the back of his head, wondering what he might be thinking. But I really need to get away from here… she looked left and right, but the trees and the open spots between them didn't look familiar in any single way, signing that she'd indeed never been here before.

She cleared her throat. Her tummy was aching badly, but even though that mostly signed the period was nearly over, she couldn't feel glad about it. The last couple of days had been one wild ride of hormones, strange and useless conversations and a complete new tension hanging between them. Yeah, he was her captor, and yea, she was his hostage – but strangely enough she didn't feel any different from being in Konoha. Just like she'd been captured there. So being captured here didn't make any difference.


He didn't stop walking. But she felt a slight change in his emotion pattern, and she hoped that it signed that he was willing to listen to her, perhaps even answer. She collected all her courage, fearing an outbreak, and then continued speaking.

"Where are we going, exactly…?"

He didn't turn his head around. "You don't know the place, hmm. It has no use telling you." And as his emotions became dark again, Sakura feared the worse;

If she'd angered him back there, chances were he was going to take her to the Akatsuki and then let their leader – or whatever they had, Sakura supposed they weren't just acting on their own – open the chains. She shivered. And after that, they'd probably kill her. And he would stand there and watch.

"You're not going to die."

His voice startled her. He still hadn't looked behind him. Then he suddenly stopped walking and she bumped against his back, quickly stepping a step back, afraid what he might do after the contact. But he remained as impassive as stone, staring at something in front of them which she couldn't see as he stood in her way of sight.

Then he turned his head to look at her, and against the light coming from behind him, his eyes stood out even bluer than they'd already been, giving Sakura the chills as she stared into them.

"I guess we're far away enough now," he muttered as he turned around completely, now facing her. Sakura took a nervous step back, uncertain of what he meant by that, sending her chakra to all directions to see if there were spectators – but there weren't any. They were all alone. In a dark spot of the forest, with only light coming from an undefined source coming from behind Deidara, probably a hole in the ceiling of leaves surrounding them.

He raised his chained wrist. "These chains," he spoke, and his voice made shivers run down her spine. "had more effects than I'd ever imagined. I thought they would kill me, kill you, or at least make my life more miserable than I'd ever imagined." He laughed sourly and Sakura shivered. She didn't know what to think of it. Why did he start about that again?

"even Tobi, I thought, that idiot," he continued, a pleased undertone in his voice, "would make better company. But I got proved wrong." He stepped closer. "And in the end, even though I sometimes feel the urge to cut off your throat…"

Sakura swallowed nervously.

"Those chains turned out to be…" and he placed a hand on her cheek. "…the best thing that ever happened to me, hmm."

Sakura stared bluntly at him. What he had just said could be taken as a declaration of what he felt towards her, but that was the entire point: hadn't he said that he didn't feel anything for her? Hadn't he abducted her and then held her hostage in a small cramped cabin? And what had caused this sudden change in behavior?

And as she stared in his eyes, another question rose up inside of her, and she felt her heart beat fast as he smiled weakly, probably ashamed of telling her this. She felt happy – happier than before, than ever before, but what would the reason to that be…?

He opened his mouth to say something, and Sakura's entire being got focused on it, feeling in some weird way that whatever he was going to say was the thing she'd been waiting on for the last three weeks – heck, perhaps her entire life – and he said:

"Sakura, I…"

An enormous explosion, not too far away from them, blew the words away and they spun on the spot, seeing a large dark cloud of smoke rising up behind the trees. Color swept out of Deidara's face and Sakura stared at the dark cloud, slowly realizing that it was coming from the direction they just left. What meant that the cottage had miraculously exploded.

She looked at Deidara, a pleading look on her face. She wanted to know what he was going to say so badly that she thought he might find it more important too, but as their eyes met she only saw anger burning in the blue, which had been so soft nearly minutes ago…

He grabbed her wrist and pulled it softly, starting to run towards the cloud and Sakura followed him. "What happened?" she yelled while they ran through the woods, jumping over fallen trees and sprinting through a field where the trunks stood so close to each other that there was nearly not enough space to let through the two chained people.

"Someone tried to enter my home, hmm," he grumbled, a furious expression on his face which slowly turned into a smirk and Sakura already felt a bad feeling in the pit of her stomach before he'd even spoken the words. "But whoever did is by now blown to pieces," and he looked over his shoulder. "let's hope it weren't your Konoha friends, shall we?"

Sakura frowned. She didn't know how to react to that as his voice didn't have a sarcastic undertone, but she couldn't imagine that he really meant what he had said, so she just gave him a puzzled look. He sighed and then looked in front of him again as they'd reached the open spot where his cottage stood. Sakura gasped as they left the close trees and they landed, gaping at the scene.

Where once the group of trees had been was now a large crater, with burnt pieces of wood and other debris scattered to far into the surrounding woods. The cottage was nowhere to be seen and as Sakura was about to say that she actually felt sorry for him, he let out a sigh of relief and said; "Well, at least the shield kept the blows from destroying the cottage, hmm. Heh. I chose exactly the right dose…"

Then he realized Sakura was staring at him and he blushed faintly before looking away. "Ahum. Now, let's see who tried to break in, hmm." And they started to walk forwards. Deidara didn't watch his surroundings at all, merely focused on the ground, probably searching for small pieces of human, while Sakura sent out her chakra, eager to see if there might have been someone who survived. But as she saw the destroyed landscape, she got rather skeptical about that.

Suddenly Deidara stopped walking and Sakura got pulled back by the chains. She stopped as well and then turned around, raising one eyebrow. He didn't look at her but took another step back, and then Sakura felt waves of fear and nerves coming from the blonde. As she looked up to his face she saw that his cheeks were nearly colorless and there were several drops of sweat visible on his forehead. She gulped.

"Oh no," she heard him mutter. "No, this wont happen to me again, hmm. You stinking little…" suddenly he looked up to her and she blinked. She had absolutely no idea what he was talking about and now stared with a rather dumb face at Deidara, who sweat dropped, not knowing that Sakura could look as stupid like that.

Then suddenly Sakura noticed too. There was a massive amount of chakra nearby, really enormous, and so big that she wondered how she could have missed it on her first scan of the area. But just as she had focused it on one spot, it suddenly disappeared, and then it seemed to come from everywhere! "What is that?" she yelled, turning her back to Deidara who did the same, both feeling their connection go up a level as adrenaline soared right through their veins.

"That fricking snaky boyfriend of yours, hmm!" Deidara shouted back, and Sakura could nearly feel the muscles in his back tense. She gasped. Could this possible be Sasuke? Was he strong enough to perform such a large genjutsu?

She didn't have time to think about that any longer. The ground in front of her feet burst open and an enormous snake shot in the air. Sakura screeched and stumbled back, only to be caught by Deidara in time. He jumped back to a safe distance while the snake landed on the ground again, and Sakura got the chance to see that its scales were a deep dark color, sparkling in the hot sunlight. She noticed sweating heavily when Deidara put her down and when she looked at him she saw that is entire face was one big mad emotion, with his eyebrows nearly touching each other.

Then the snake let out a hissing sound, so loud that Sakura clapped her hands over her ears and she stared at it, immobilized by it's size as it was HUGE. She guessed that it would be large enough to wrap itself at least two times around the Hokage building, and when it opened it's beak and showed a pair of very big, long, white and very sharp looking fangs, she stumbled back, feeling the sweat stand in her palms.

"Calm down, hmm, you're giving me the chills," Deidara said, not looking at her but focusing at the snake, following it's movements. "Think about this! It cannot be Orochimaru, that drag queen, since he is already…" he raised an eyebrow. "What are you laughing at?"

Sakura couldn't help it. She was so nervous that she couldn't stop the hysterical bursts of laughter coming out of her throat. But the way he had just said "drag queen" had seemingly unleashed the nerves in her stomach, causing her to laugh like this…

"Sumimasen… eheh, hahaha!"


she froze in the middle of a laugh as she heard the dark, smooth voice, and she stared at her feet, not realizing it to it's full content. She heard Deidara next to her sniff. "See. I was right, hmm." She glared sideways at Deidara, who scowled at the person he was talking about, not facing her. "Your boyfriend has arrived, hmm."

Then Sakura turned her head slowly towards the snake again, her eyes growing wide as she saw him standing in the wide opened beak of the snake: dark hair, waving on the gentle breeze, a pale but completely smooth skin, and blood red eyes with the oh so familiar black dots circling around the center pupil. Sasuke Uchiha stood there, no harm done, looking cocky but handsome as always, and Sakura couldn't help but flinch. That there was the boy she had seen as her boyfriend for nearly a year time. Seeing him, especially while having to stick so close to Deidara, made her sweat lightly with nerves.

Then, and her eyes grew even wider, another person came crawling out of the snake's throat, covered with slime, wiping it off as he stood, and opening his eyes immediately after that, showing the nearly white irises with no visible pupils, but with veins pulsating around the eyes threateningly and showing another gekkai genkai.

Sharingan and Byakugan stared at green and blue. Both parties didn't move an inch, until Sasuke repeated what he had said earlier. "Sakura." He locked his eyes to hers and Sakura felt cold sweat run down her back. "Sakura. Come." And he put out his hand, asking her wordlessly to come to him and to go back to Konoha. She started to shiver and tremble, her heartbeat increased and her breathing slowly went out of control. Next to her, Deidara noticed.

"Don't look in his eyes you stupid, hmm," he hissed. "He'll hypnotize you! Stop looking!"

But the harm was already done. Sakura couldn't possible look another way. The red was so… so intimidating, yet so trustful. She had to keep staring into those eyes, feeling that she was slowly loosing the control she had over her body, feeling that he slowly took over what was left of her fragile self. She took a step and Deidara grabbed her shoulder, pulling her back, turning her towards him and thus breaking the contact.

"I said: do not look in his eyes! What do you think you are, stupid or something, hmm?"

Sakura stared dully at him, her body feeling numb. "He's my friend," she said with a monotone voice, still acting on the effects of the sharingan's genjutsu even though she didn't have direct contact anymore. "I trust him. You are an enemy. I do not trust you. I should go to my friend."

And she freed herself from his grip and took another step towards Sasuke, who started to smile as she got closer. Next to him, Neji's eyes were dazzling all over the area, scanning every square inch, not even missing a single bug buzzing over a bush. "Neji," Sasuke whispered, his lips merely moving, hoping he would be able to get Sakura far enough forwards. "Is Naruto nearly ready?"

Neji nodded, also nearly invisible. "Sakura needs to take…" his eyes flew to the area in front of Sakura's feet. "…four more steps for Naruto to be precise. Shikamaru is in the bushes behind them to immobilize them as soon as they reach the best spot. Sai and Yamato reside on the left and right to catch them if they try to flee." He didn't remove his eyes from the spot, as he slowly added. "…three more steps."

Sasuke smiled even more. This was way easier than he had thought. They had followed the track until it ended somewhere around here, and then it spread all out to several directions. But thanks to Neji, they were able to find the genjutsu shield and the cottage inside of it, quickly coming to the conclusion that this must've been the spot they ran off to. But they weren't there, and to get their attention, they decided to detonate the bombs that secured the area – which had been another hint that it was indeed a cottage of the Akatsuki member – and their plan had worked out pretty nicely.

Sakura took another step. Deidara ran next to her and then in front of her, grabbing both her shoulders, shaking her thoroughly to break through the jutsu, but it was useless. "Let go of me," Sakura muttered. "I need to go to my friend."

Deidara panicked. Inside, he knew he should've gone to seek contact with the Akatsuki way sooner, just to let them know he was still alive. He didn't know what had held him back, and he didn't want to know too. There was just no way he would get captured this easily again. No fricking way. His eyebrows nearly touched each other as he pushed Sakura back, getting a completely emotionless look from her but ignoring that. He turned around and then put his free hand in the clay bag attached to his belt, scowling at Sasuke and Neji.

"Hey! You there! Yeah, you there, with your ugly red eyes and your damned cocky attitude about that clan of yours, hmm!" he smirked at the menacing look he received. "Did you really think you could get me so easily, huh? And you too," and this time he looked at Neji, who remained impassive. "I wont give up this easily… !" he pulled his hand out of the clay bag and molded the clay in the fraction of a second to birds only to throw them in the air and form a seal. The birds poofed to real size and then flew with an incredible speed towards Sasuke and Neji, who saw them coming but were not fast enough to dodge them.

Sasuke formed seals for his chidori and then yelled: "CHIDORI DETONATION!" and electric shockwaves went through the air, missing Neji in inches but hitting the birds full. They exploded at least ten yards away from the snake's head, and Sasuke smirked, clenching his fists. "You used that last time too, temee," he said, his voice not even showing any emotion. Then he got more serious. "It won't work on me."

Deidara smirked. He kept Sakura on her spot as she still tried to walk towards Sasuke with one arm while his other had already formed a seal. "Then you should take a look beneath you, hmm, you idiot!" he shouted and his pupil shrank momentarily. "Katsu!"

Sasuke realized too late what was happening and then an enormous explosion tore the air apart. A large flower of fire bloomed in the centre of the already formed crater and Deidara laughed maniacally, letting go of Sakura, determined to enjoy the show. "Hahaha! You see? My art always wins, hmm!"

Then Sakura snapped out of it and she stumbled forwards, bumping against a still laughing Deidara, who was forced to take a step forwards too and turned around, glaring at her. "And you?" he shouted, eyes still wide open, kind of hysterical. "now you cant go to that friend of yours anymore, hmm!"

Sakura stared at him and when she saw the smoke, already clearing away, her mind made the connection. An anger redder than blood filled her veins and she started to shake as her eyes slowly grew wider and wider. "You killed him," she whispered, nearly breathless, and he smirked. She repeated it. "You killed him." She took a step back, and she tugged the chains as she reached the limit of how far she could go. "You actually…"

A loud cracking noise made her last words get lost and within the blink of an eye, Naruto launched himself from out of the ground, a kunai held in front of him, aiming for their chains which hung tensed between them, shouting: "Ikusou, tebayo!"

Time froze. Sakura had no time to react nor did Deidara, all they could do was watch their inevitable fate coming closer with every inch Naruto flew more in the air. Sakura and Deidara's eyes met as they thought exactly the same, on the exact same moment, with exactly the same emotion behind it.

This was going to be the end. This was going to be it, there was no doubt about it. Strangely enough they both simply felt that the chains would break if Naruto hit them with the kunai like that. Then, moments before the blade of the kunai, sharpened with Naruto's wind chakra, hit the chains, Sakura saw the events of the past weeks fly in front of her eyes. She remembered laughing with him, quarreling with him, being close to him and kissing him – and when the blade hit the chains and nearly cut them, she closed her eyes and felt a teardrop run down her cheek. Now it would be over.

A white flash illuminated the scene so much that Deidara was forced to close his eyes, while Naruto kept staring at the point where hit kunai hit the blade. He could clearly see that he was indeed making an incision, and that the blade was also slowly sinking through the glass like it was fluid. Wind started to blow around them as Naruto'd nearly cut them and Sakura opened her eyes as a shot of pain went right up through her left arm to her torso and then to her entire body, and she gasped as she looked into Deidara's eyes one more time before Naruto went right through the glass and the chains snapped.

For a moment, they all hung still in the air, staring at the two loose edges, and then another explosion blew them all away to other directions. Sakura screamed of fear and pain and she could vaguely hear Deidara yell as well, but she didn't have time to anticipate to that as she hit a tree hard and she coughed up blood. The next thing she knew was that a wall of wind hit her so full that her head nearly got glued to the tree trunk and she lost the ability to breathe, and then she fell on the floor, her entire body trembling so badly that she couldn't move, panting so heavily that she could feel every inhalation as if her entire body did it.

Things had went so fast that her mind, dizzy because of the blow her head had received minutes ago, couldn't make up what to do. She felt extremely empty, like something was missing, something she had gotten used to in the last couple of weeks, and as she felt another tear drip down her nose towards the ground, the name of the person that was no longer there appeared in front of her still closed eyes.

Deidara was gone.

Strong hands picked her up from the floor and then she got pulled against a warm body of someone she couldn't see. Her eyes still didn't work properly and they burnt whenever she opened them, as well as her left wrist which felt so hot that she thought it was on fire. The person who carried her turned around half and yelled something, but to her own surprise, her ears didn't receive the sound completely, like she was half deaf.

Strong arms wrapped around her waist and then the person who carried her jumped up in the trees, and she felt the air rush around them. When they landed on a nearby tree, something snapped inside of her, something clicked, she couldn't describe it. But immediately after that she felt sinking away in the softness of unconsciousness.

"…understand completely, you let Kisame take him away without even making an attempt on stopping him? Do you know how dangerous that is, Naruto? He might have all kind of important information about our city's defenses or about the ANBU here! And besides, I thought Yamato resided on that spot to catch them if they tried to escape!"

"Demou, Tsunade-baachan, I thought that getting Sakura-chan back was more important and I thought she was going to die if I let her lie there any longer, tebayo. And Yamato-sensei got blown away by the explosion so he wasn't there in time." She heard him sigh. "In fact, no one could've reached him in time. That blue Akatsuki guy appeared out of nothing, together with a smaller one with an orange mask, and they grabbed that blonde off the ground to take him with them…"

Sakura heard all, lying in a comfortable and warm bed, the blanket pulled up to her chin and her eyes still closed, breathing steadily and calm. She had woken up merely minutes ago, but she didn't feel like opening her eyes at all, knowing that she would start to cry if she did. She could merely move in her total wrapped up body and every small movement hurt very badly, but as a medic, she knew she was out of life danger and that she would get better pretty soon if she kept her rest.

She felt happy for being home again. For being away from the forest and close back to her friends, to Naruto and Tsunade. And boy, she had been extremely happy when she'd heard that Sasuke and Neji had indeed escaped the explosions in time by warping through time, thanks to Sasuke's Sharingan. And she was happy for getting all kind of new furniture for in her apartment and all the presents she received.

"Ah, Sakura-chan! You're awake!"

She smiled weakly even though it hurt and she opened her eyes more. Naruto always noticed whenever her eyes went open, even for the tiniest bit, and this was no exception. He sat next to her, on a wooden chair, with Tsunade standing behind him, a slightly apologetic smile on her tired looking face. "Do you need something to eat, Sakura? Or something to drink?" Naruto asked, grinning widely, rocking backwards and forwards slightly.

"..drink… nice…" Sakura muttered. Her voice still hadn't recovered from screaming so loud after the explosion, but Tsunade had assured her that it shouldn't take any longer.

"Yosh! I'll get it for you, you wait here!"

Sakura rolled her eyes towards Tsunade, who laughed softly before sitting down on the now empty chair, placing a hand on Sakura's forehead.

"Sakura," she whispered, cautious for when Naruto might come back. "…if there's something you want to tell me, tomorrow, today, or whenever you feel like it," she smiled assuring. "Just go ahead and spit it out, because I know how good you are in keeping it all in, but that is not what you should do now." She stroke the girl's forehead and hair and as Sakura stared at her tears ran down the sides of her head and she quickly closed her eyes.

"You really loved him, didn't you…?" Tsunade asked, pulling Sakura close to her, rubbing her back while Sakura slowly started to cry harder.

She did. She absolutely loved him. And even all the happiness in the world couldn't take away the awful pain in the pit of her stomach whenever her mind even touched memories of them being together. She opened her eyes to look outside the window while she clang onto Tsunade, her body shaking with silent tears.

Somewhere out there, she thought, her eyesight getting blurry with tears. Will he be like this too? Will he also feel this miserable, locked up inside, no sky to escape to…

She swallowed.

Will I ever… see him again…?

Phew. It's done. It's now officially done. My folks will probably be happy too, since I used night hours to write and I walked around the house like a zombie because of the lack of sleep :P But, anyways, please review, tell me what you think of it, what you didn't like, what you still wanna hear…!

Thanks ever so much to everyone who reviewed on the story, reading those always make my day! I thoroughly hope you enjoyed reading this.