A/N: Pretty sure I should be doing homework. This is the semester from hell. Eh, who cares? Anyway, there will end up being two versions of this—the safe one at and the adult one at This is gonna be multi-chaptered as well, not a one-shot. If you think I'm taking to long to update, then kick me into gear. Sometimes school makes me forget everything, and I want to update regularly.
Disclaimer: I now have a savings account! My first one ever! With real money! But that's all I have, other than some awesome FanArt files… Song's not mine either. Just inspiration.
Summary: SasuSaku, eventually. Part canon, part AU. They are adults, therefore it is allowed. If you don't like, don't read.
"Someday You Will Be Loved: Prologue"
I once knew a girl, in the years of my youth, with eyes like the summer, all beauty and truth, but in the morning I fled, left a note and it read, Someday You Will Be Loved.
He wasn't sure what to think when, after everything was said and done and he was free, but Sakura wasn't there. It seemed to be a sore topic for everyone; he couldn't even speak her name without getting a hard look. So what the hell had happened?
He was sure that the last time they had met, years ago right before he encountered his brother and learned the truth about his clan, that she was strong and still a capable ninja. Her name wasn't on the memorial stone, her house still in her name, and her office still held a plaque with her name on it. But she was like a wraith in Konoha—all shadow memory and no substance.
No one would speak of her; it apparently wasn't some stigma attached to himself. Her name was rarely uttered outside of drunken reverie, and only then to sigh about the loss of Konoha's springtime kunoichi.
Her teammates were quiet, Ino stared into the distance, Tsunade just looked sad, and Kakashi went rigid. It was as if the mere thought of her being around them was enough to evoke some unknown sentiment; he didn't know how they could seem to just want to forget someone that had once been so important to all of them.
Naruto was the worst. He would sometimes talk to Sasuke when they were alone about everything the two had been through together, but he would never say what had happened. No one ever seemed to want to give him the ending of the story since he wasn't allowed to know the plot.
Perhaps it was all his fault. He was slowly learning that all the pushing he had done only got him what he asked for: friends that were so far away the bridges were taking months to build. He had made it very clear that he couldn't be what she wanted, but now that he wanted to be her dream…
She wasn't around.
He soon pushed all the questions to the back of his mind, as ANBU missions rolled in after the jail time and probationary period. He was too busy showing that he just might not be the evil bastard they all made him out to be. He didn't need to worry about some pink-haired figment of his imagination—for that was what she had become to him. Especially since this newest mission promised to be one he was going to have trouble with; the stupid ink-user was going with him and they were going far from home on orders directly from someone very high up. It was so secret he didn't even know much other than the time to leave and what to pack.
If every pink blossom caught his eye, each girl with green eyes gave him a sense of déjà vu, or each visit to the hospital made him search for something unknown… he never realized it. She had slipped to the back, the way everyone in Konoha wanted it. But the feeling of forgetfulness nagged and picked.
Just a series of blurs, like I never occurred…
Three Years Earlier…
The gates of Konoha loomed large above her, beckoning her passage into a world that would be cold and unforgiving from this point on. She had her journey mapped out; a trip to Sand, followed by a trip to Moon should get her supplied and on her way. Gaara had been instructed b y Tsunade to let her stay there for up to a month before kicking her out, and she was eternally grateful that her shishou was taking her side. She didn't know what she would do if everyone here abandoned her because of her selfishness.
She just couldn't do it anymore. Somewhere in that wide world lay life, and she wanted to know what it was. Her parents were gone, Naruto married, and she was beginning to feel as if nothing fit her skin anymore.
"Eh, you sure about this Sakura-chan? You know, they want to…" Naruto flinched and scratched his head, shuffling his feet in the dirt. Sai stood near him, smiling his usual smile and supporting her in the only way he knew how. Kakashi was off on a mission, and she was thankful she didn't have to see the condemnation in his eyes. After all, those who leave their friends have to be trash in his eyes.
"I'm sure, Naruto. The council can do what they want, but truthfully, we both know they won't do anything. This isn't what they think it is."
"You're leaving the village, Hag. Voluntary resignation. ANBU will be after you." Sai's smile slipped a bit as he realized he might one day be sent to hunt her, but she still couldn't tell him the truth.
"I'll miss you both so much." It was so hard to keep them from seeing her tears, and Naruto's gruff bear-hug made her want to cry out in pain. She just wasn't sure she could do this anymore, even as much as she wanted it.
She quickly turned, and jumped off to a tree.
She was gone from their sight in seconds, and her journey began. She wasn't exactly sure what the outcome would be, but it had to be better than the limbo of the past. The suffocating air of stillness she lived in had become pervasive, and her soul was withering. She would enjoy every step she took, and she would hope for the best.
"Sakura, I have no one else who can do this. Your mother's connections assure that this will work if you take on the assignment."
"I know shishou, and I've told you often that I wanted to travel like you did, but I'm not sure I can do this."
"Sometimes we just have to push the uncertainty down. No matter what it may seem like, I will be one step behind them at all times. No one from this village will hurt you."
"So you say…"
"You doubt me now? Have I ever lied to you! You said you would do whatever was required of you. Well, this is what I require of you! This isn't something I can trust to anyone else, even if they are qualified."
"And who all will know the truth?"
"How few, Tsunade-sama!"
"Those in this room."
"I know that-"
"Well then, shishou, you'd better not die before I'm finished. Because if I come back successful and the council tries to kill me, I'll bug you in whatever afterlife we get."
Present Day, Aisen City
"Can you get me the information I need?"
He tapped his pencil on the desk, a rattling noise that made her nerves shake and teeth ache. "I think so."
"You think so? Is that a yes or a no, Hisadachi?"
"For you, girlie, I think I'll get it. You know we know everyone who comes on this island. And if your source said they're here for you, then he's probably right." He shuffled backward in his chair, mumbling. "Your info's always right on the dot."
She stepped away from the wall, watching as he pushed his hefty form out of the chair. He was a nasty old geezer, but he could get the job done for her.
"I don't want them dead. Or seriously hurt. Just get them off the island. Ninja show up sniffing after me, and all my connections will go high and dry before I can start passing around the money."
They stepped through the small doorway out into the sunset and the bustling back alley. Aisen's seedy areas weren't pretty, but they were packed full of real humanity. People were running around to get home or grab their kids, hoping to make it in before nightfall. The danger lurked at night, and if you couldn't fight, you didn't come out.
"Thought you said no one knew where you were, girlie. Doesn't seem that way if this is as important as you say it is." He lit a cigarette, the smoke rolling upwards into her face and hair. She would smell like tobacco factory when she went to meet with her source, but she was getting used to it by now.
"That's what I can't figure out. I fell off the map over a year ago. Went under. Nothing has gotten to me in over two years, so how did anyone know where to find me unless they were looking for me?"
"You said you had an insider's help? Maybe they were dirty."
"I don't think so." She stopped, looking up at the sky. "I hope not."
"Well, you can't trust people nowadays, girlie. Should have learned that from the beginning."
"Hn. You're too cynical. Need to even that out."
He smiled, showing teeth that were yellow from the tobacco and rotting from old age. "Well, I'm still alive, ain't I? Don't get this old by believing in people." He grinned before shoving his cigarette into a wall near his head, dropping it on the ground afterward.
"I'm sure you're right. But…"
"But what? Old Hisadachi is always right. You need to learn that."
"I thought I was always right."
"Well if you were Konoha hunter nins wouldn't be on your ass right now. You got good sources in the area, but your friends from your home seem to have sold you out. How much does a nukenin go for these days? Especially one of your caliber?"
"Thinking of turning me in for the money? Do I need to stop coming around for a while?"
"I'd sell my own kid if I had one, girlie. But you are useful. Still, money is money. And money makes Aisen go round. Hasn't that evil man of your explained that?"
"Maybe your right." Then she smacked him softly on the arm. "And he isn't my man. He's long gone, thankfully. Asshole."
"Men aren't worth anything honey unless they work for you. A woman in your position needs to learn that quick. I can't help you if you won't help yourself, Sakura."
"Don't throw my name around. It's Ame. Ame."
"You uh…" she wiped her hand across her forehead, hiding her eyes. "You believe in curses?"
"Nah. I believe in money. And information."
She turned to her left and began walking down the narrow alley to the market not to far off. She still had to meet with Ichimaru and night would fall soon. Not even she needed to be caught out at night alone. But hunters were a bigger problem than the lurkers in the district; hunters meant a leak and a leak meant she would have to move.
This had quickly become much more dangerous than it was supposed to be. This wasn't Tsunade's orders, she was sure of it. There was a reason they had never communicated locations beyond Moon. Aisen was almost a world away from the resort country, and whoever found her here was on a mission to kill her.
"See ya later, Ame! Heh, heh…"
And if they knew where she was, they knew she was still a Konoha ninja on a mission. This wasn't work, it was personal. She was pretty sure she knew where the order originated, and that meant she had less time than they had planned. She had to get the nin out of Aisen and off the island.
And then she had to run again.
The memories of me will seem more like bad dreams…
Sasuke stepped off the boat next to Sai, looking at the looming city before them. Their team's target was apparently here, but they didn't even know who they were looking for. Their captain had looked increasingly uncomfortable as the voyage wore on, and he continually said that they were support. He was going to handle the mission alone.
This whole situation had him on edge. Something here wasn't right, and Neji wouldn't say shit. He didn't know what was going on, but by the time they got back home he would know. He was tired of the shadow games. His life seemed to be all shadow lately.
"Anything wrong?" Sai gave him that retarded smile, and he felt the need to smack him but resisted.
"Yeah. Everything. Something's not right." Sai nodded, glancing at Neji and Sasami in front of them. No, it wasn't that. Everything was wrong, not just something. He had never been involved in anything this covert in Root, much less ANBU.
"Keep an eye on them." They shared a glance, and the feeling of changing wind swept over them.
Neji glanced back at them, making Sasami stare hard at the Byakugan wielder. Sasuke looked him in the eye and realized that they were in for a hell of a time.
They continued on through the procession of people unloading items from the boat's luggage carts, bumping into people as they went. Too many people made them nervous, and it was best to get out of the open as quickly as possible. If their target was as dangerous as this mission, they needed to be extremely careful.
They blended with the civilians, and disappeared from sight into the market areas of Aisen, the city known for its gambling dens and brothels. Their hotel was in a bad part of town, but so was the target.
It was time to learn the lay of the land.
None of the ANBU saw the pink hair flash between two buildings, entering the security office at the docks.
You may feel alone when you're falling asleep, and every time tears roll down your cheeks, but I know your heart belongs to someone you've yet to meet…
Well, then! Prologue finished. Like it?
Next chapter: Our ANBU get a glimpse of who they are chasing, but realize that they have become the prey. Sakura makes plans to leave Aisen, but information from Konoha gives her new realizations about her future…