Sorry it has been taking so long, but it's been busy, thank you for your reviews and please forgive the slow updates! So many distractions!! Lol

This is the final chapter! :( it has been great writing this fanfic but all the lyrics for the song have been used up and it's time to end it! Thank you so much for all your support and I hope to see your reviews...

...in my NEXT upcoming fanfic (details will be at the end of this chapter, with a full summary as well :D)

Please excuse the slow updates, My fast updates will return to normal within the month or so.

15: I will sacrifice

(The final chapter with a shocking conclusion!)

Wretched. No other words. Time was slipping from his fingers, whilst evil was forcing through them...

"Stop it!" Sakura screamed in desperation, shoving Kakashi's hand away before charging right towards Madara.

Madara shot up the side of his palm and swung it to the side of Sakura's neck. Her pulse stammered a beat. She felt her whole body shiver at the blow before she fell to her knees.

"Sasuke..."

Sasuke looked up into Madara's eyes, before struggling to stand. "I...I won't let you..." He was about to charge when he felt a pull. It felt as if hands were holding tightly round his chest, stopping him from moving. He looked down and his oynx eyes darkned in shock. It was his right hand...pressed against his own chest.

"We're half of each other now," Madara said with a sneer. "I did say it wouldn't take long, did I not?" He chuckled cruelly.

Sasuke screamed in pain.

Sakura winced. She couldn't bare to witness this and do nothing. Even the rest of the team looked on, unable to stop what was happening. Sakura instantly ran once again towards Sasuke, in a desperate hope to save him from the seeper's jutsu, but the moment her fingetips brushed against his arm, she felt a tingle ringing in her spine. His arm was cold and it felt like she was touching a stranger rather than the man she had loved for so long.

And without warning, his arm shot into her chest and sent her flying back into a wall and knocking her unconscious. Sasuke stood and clenched his fists. A smirk plagued across his face. One of his eye's held the mangekyou of Madara...like a sizzling jewel in Sasuke's eye socket.

Naruto charged instantly, attempting to activate his rasengan but Sasuke immediately engaged brutal combat. While the two fought, Ino immediately went to Sakura's side attempting to wake Sakura up.

"Ugh! It's no use, she's out cold!" Ino exclaimed.

Shikamaru instantly began analysing the situation. "Ino, the only person Sasuke will listen to is Sakura. Use the mind transfer jutsu!"

"The mind transfer jutsu? But why?" Ino asked him, still unsure of his plan.

"Her voice alone might be enough to get Sasuke in control of Madara, but we need to do it now! Hurry!" Shikamaru urged her, while Team Gai, Choji and team Hebi looked on with anticipation.

Ino gave a sharp nod before performing the jutsu. Shikamaru caught her body as she collapsed and awoke in Sakura's body. Sakura/Ino opened her eyes and quickly stood up.

"Sasuke!" Ino called out in Sakura's voice. "Don't let him take over you! You've been fighting for all these years don't give up now!"

'She's right...I have to...get through this...' Sasuke's cursemark began to paint itself across his skin.

Madara widened his eyes in concern as the curse mark began to glide over Sasuke's possessed half.

'Don't you want power Sasuke?' The dark half of his mind asked mockingly.

'I want nothing!' Sasuke activated his brother's mangekyou and placed him and Madara in a gen-jutsu so that he could destroy his "other half."

"What just happened?" Ino asked, still in Sakura's body.

"They're fighting with gen-jutsu for now..." Kakashi told them.

Naruto wiped the blood from his lip, gritting his teeth. "Come on Sasuke! Get it together, don't let this clown take over your body!"

"Ino! Return to your own body now!" Shikamaru ordered.

Ino nodded. "Release!"

Sakura's body fell from where it stood and Naruto quickly caught her before she hit the ground. Ino woke up as Shikamaru sat her up.

"Good going," Shikamaru told her.

"Heh, thanks," Ino answered.

Sakura's eye's fluttered open, immediately peering into Naruto's deep blue eyes. "Naruto..."

"It's ok Sakura, Sasuke and Madara are in a gen-jutsu now, there's nothing we can do but wait..." Naruto explained.

Sakura sat up instantly. "What? But if Sasuke loses against Madara then we'll never get him back! We can't enter that gen-jutsu so we need to get him out of it!"

Naruto shook his head. "Sasuke needs to do this on his own, right? Hasn't he always been this way?"

Sakura lowered her head. "Hai...you're right..."

--

"Haven't you had enough?" Madara teased him.

"I told you! I'm not letting you live in my body!" Sasuke spat.

Madara widened his eyes. "Your...brother's technique?"

Sasuke smirked. "No...our technique...it's gonna send a bastard like you straight into hell!"

'Amazing...to combine two different eye techniques after only learning of his mangekyou powers...'

"It isn't just an eye technique!" Sasuke interrupted, as if reading his mind. "It's my brother's mangekyou and my chidori combined!"

"Any damage you do to me will damage that half of your body Sasuke so don't even think you can kill me," Madara said with a taunting chuckle.

"It isn't for you...the chidori current can numb nerves or even block out chakra! Using the mangekyou, I'll be able to see exactly where the seeper jutsu is and block it from the rest of me from the inside..." Sasuke plunged the chidori in his arm and groaned in pain. Blood spilled from the deep open wound.

Madara could do nothing. The seeper's jutsu meant that he could not move. He had to remain level with Sasuke's body.

Sasuke could see the jutsu, spreading like venom within him. Numbing his chakra and Madara's with chidori and pinpointing every point with mangekyou, he could feel himself slowly returning.

Madara struggled to regain power as the seeper's jutsu grew weaker.

A pool of blood clung to the floor as Sasuke stood there, his body wobbling slightly. He could barely stand now. His body was going numb and he was losing a lot of blood. Sasuke gave a small triumphant smile before collapsing to the ground.

--

The gen-jutsu suddenly disappeared and Sakura and Naruto were the first to see Sasuke fall to the ground, a deep wound on his arm and blood leaking from it. The chidori within his right hand flickered and died like a withering candle.

"Sasuke!" Sakura cried, crawling next to his unconscious body. "That wound is deep...and he has serious internal injuries!"

"We need to get him out of here," Kakashi declared.

"Where is that bastard?" Naruto screamed in anger, his eyes frantically searching for Madara...but no one was there. "W..where did he go?"

"He's not dead," Karin announced, checking the surrounding chakra signatures. "But he's long gone."

Naruto punched the floor furioulsy. "Damnit! How did he get away?"

"Madara is powerful Naruto. Even without Sasuke's body, he'll be able to live for at least another 30 years," Sakura told him. "Tobi or Obito as you call him Kakashi, hasn't given in yet. One day he might come back...but until then..." Sakura stroked Sasuke's cheek. "Sasuke was able to overcome it..."

Naruto smiled. "Does that mean we've finally caught him at last?"

Sakura didn't answer that. "We need to get him back right now. We can't afford to lose him."

Kakashi gave a nod. "Alright, it's time to move out! Let's get back to Konoha!"

Rock Lee's jaw dropped to the floor. His eyes began to fill with tears of disappointment. "We just stood here! It was a waste if time even coming here!" His lip began to tremble.

"We were at risk of a possible encounter with Akatsuki, we had to go," Neji told him sternly, before walking off with Gai and Tenten.

Sakura stopped in her tracks then, realising something.

Naruto turned round, Sasuke's arm over his shoulder and his other arm round Kakashi's. "What is it Sakura?"

Sakura jerked her head towards Sai, who was facing team Hebi in complete silence.

"Sorry Bro, but my place is here with these guys. Someone's gotta control this big guy if he gets out of hand," Suigetsu said with a toothy grin.

Karin frowned but approved of the thought of having to stick around with the irritating two a little longer.

"I understand," Sai answered. "My only goal in life was to give you this." Sai handed him a book and Suigetsu hesitantly took it.

"Arigatou...Sai..."

Sai had finally understood the true meaning of bonds.

One week had passed. Sasuke's trial would be due tomorrow and visitors had not been allowed since he got back. Only Sakura, who was the most aware of his condition was permitted to see him. Tsunade had high trust in her skilled apprentice.

Sakura, who had been healed of any possible wounds was currently on her way to Sasuke's room. Since arriving, he had only woken up once and she had not been there to greet him. She was already nervous. The last time they were alone they had nearly kissed. She couldn't help but smile. Her heeled sandals clapped against the tiled floor. She was getting closer to his door now, making her all the more nervous.

Playing with the strands of her hair, she hesitantly approached the door and gazed at it for a few seconds. She had been in this room often, but only now was she aware that he could be awake. It was Sakura's duty to give him regular checkups and it was also her duty (or more like she decided) to inform him of his trial. Immediately thoughts of worry began to go through her head. She was aware that a rogue ninja would suffer the harshest punnishments of Konoha's law. He had betrayed the village and had worked with Orochimaru, that was enough for him to be killed. Sakura shook the notion from her mind. Tsunade wouldn't be that heartless.

Finally giving in, she pressed down on the handle and entered the room, immediately noticing Sasuke's oynx eyes fully open. They were not staring at her, he was uncaring to whoever had entered his room. His head was turned the other way in fact, facing the window. But he was awake. Sakura could see he was blinking. Without a word, she approached the foot of his bed and retrieved the clipboard. Scribbling down some uneeded notes but pretending to look busy. The moment was awkward and she wasn't even sure if he had noticed her presence.

"Sakura."

That answered her question.

"Good to see you awake," she said cheerfully, attempting to brighten his husky voice. He certainly seemed miserable.

"Why are my wrists tied to the bed?" He asked casually.

Sakura had forgotten about that. "There's something we need to talk about."

He turned his gaze away from the window then and straight into her green eyes. "What about?" He clearly wasn't interested. "I'd rather you untied me."

"I'm not permitted to do so, you being tied up was under the hokage's instruction-not mine; despite the fact that I'm your doctor right now," Sakura told him. She stood there, shifting her feet as a way to keep herself focused. His eyes didn't remove themselves from her face and she instantly felt faint.

"Sit down..." Sasuke said finally.

"I'll stand," Sakura said without thinking, even though she wanted to sit.

"I can't sit up so sit down," Sasuke repeated, but not harshly. He was unusually calm for a person who was tied to a bed.

Sakura eventually gave in after several seconds of hesitation. She skipped the chair and immediately went to sit beside him on the bed, staring down at her lap.

"Did I say you could sit so close?" Sasuke asked, rather taken aback.

"I'm worried..." Sakura said, ignoring his last words. "And you can't stop this...so all these thoughts are running in my head..." She was drabbling and she knew it.

"What are you talking about?" Sasuke questioned her impatiently.

Without warning she wrapped her arms round his neck and lay beside him, leaning her chin on his shoulder and holding him tightly.

Sasuke's eyes widened at her sudden embrace and even more so when she didn't let go. "What're yo-"

"I don't want you to die!" Sakura said suddenly, tears stinging her eyes but she didn't let her voice show it was breaking.

Sasuke could feel her fingers tighten round his bare back. "What do you mean?"

"You're going on trial tomorrow...and you have enough on your record to be executed..." Sakura whispered. "But...Tsunade, she wouldn't do it but the Konoha's elders might...they assign the hokage, they know everything about law and justice...they'll be there too..."

Sasuke sighed. "Aren't you used to me being at risk of death by now?"

Sakura shook her head. "I had no idea what was happening to you the whole time you were away, and even if something did I couldn't have stopped it because I wasn't there! But this is different. I can stop this if I try-despite the risk of getting severely punnished and losing my job...but it's worth it...if you live..."

Sasuke felt his chest tighten at her words. "Sakura...if the trial ends that way, don't stop it from happening."

Sakura clung to him even tighter then. "Why?"

"Don't concern yourself with me anymore...it's already hurting you to even be around me..."

"That's not true!" Sakura protested. "I don't know if I'll see you after today..."

"Then stay here with me..." Sasuke answered. "And preferably loosen your grip..."

Sakura let out a small laugh as she released her hands from his neck and clasped her hands together, still lying beside him.

"I didn't say let go," he told her in annoyance.

Sakura froze as her face began to redden. Looking at the rope round his wrists, she quickly retrieved a kunai from her pocket and cut the binds. Grabbing his hands, she placed them round her waist, before placing her hands back round his neck. He kissed her then, completely taking her aback as she was left wide-eyed with his lips against hers. She soon relaxed and closed her eyes, kissing him back

She didn't quite understand what they were together...but whatever it was, it felt too perfect to be real and she didn't want it to end...

So they stayed like that for several hours, as light turned to dark. For a long time they were awake, just holding each other. But after a while, Sasuke's breathing grew heavier and she knew he was asleep. He did need it after all. She pulled herself away from him, knowing that staying any longer would only get him into trouble. The trial would start early in the morning and Sakura was firm on attending.

'I'll need the sleep...' Sighing, she stood and made her way out of the room, taking one last glance at the back of his head.

Jonin and chuunin gathered in the hall and took their seats. All who appeared in this room today were those who knew Sasuke or had been on retrieval squads to find him, or Orochimaru. Sasuke, of course, had been woken up that same morning, forced to change and walk with ANBU surrounding him, ensuring he would not escape. Now he stood at the very front of the room, facing the two Konoha elders and Tsunade, who sat, drumming her fingers on the desk in boredom. The last, most important witnesses were yet to arrive. Sasuke's old team.

Tsunade had already predicted what they would do in order to save Sasuke from possible death or exile. Naruto, of course, would yell and argue with the Konoha elders, who, as usual planned to say absolutely nothing and let Tsunade speak for them, unless it was too important for her to say. Kakashi would remain docile as always, being accepting of the laws but also defending his old student whenever he had the chance. And of course, there was Sakura. It was quite ironic to say the least, that Tsunade found Sakura the most unpredictable and yet, she knew her the most. What would Sakura say? Too sensible to shout yet too bold to say nothing.

Eventually, after Tsunade had put her deep thinking aside, Team 7 strode in, along with Sai, who Tsunade had chosen not to analyse as he hadn't cared much for Sasuke and vice-versa.

Sasuke didn't look at them, but kept his eyes ahead. They were not permitted to stand beside him, but instead sit in the front row behind him, next to Captain Yamato.

Sakura instantly began fidgeting. She gazed over at Naruto, who was already clenching his fists and shaking slightly. It was definitely a time to be nervous.

"Sasuke Uchiha, you stand here today accused of multiple crimes against your village, Konoha. You became a missing-nin and worked under Orochimaru for two to three years and have also injured several shinobi from neighbouring countries as well as our own. This then gave you rank as an S class criminal," Tsunade announced over the silence.

Sasuke's face was blank as usual.

"However, you killed Orochimaru and set the prisioners free and recently you have also killed two Akatsuki members, one being your brother, Uchiha Itachi. We must now decide what punnishments suit your acts of crime," Tsunade told him. "Do you plead guilty to the crimes stated?"

"Yes," Sasuke answered, though he felt no guilt.

"And you you state the truth that you did in fact kill two members of Akatsuki?"

"Yes."

"Konoha elders, are you satisfied?" Tsunade asked them.

Both gave a nod.

"Then we will proceed with defence for and against Sasuke Uchiha. Hatake Kakashi, you trained Uchiha Sasuke. Do you think he is a potential threat to our village?" Tsunade asked.

Kakashi stood. "Sasuke always showed potential and was a gifted student. However, it is true that these skills were an influence to the incident that happened when he was seven Lady Tsunade. He left the village for revenge and has gained it. I believe he has the right to return to the village and retake the chuunin exams and remain on watch."

Tsunade gave a nod before gesturing him to take a seat. "Sasuyama Tabiki, you were squad leader of the group that set out to the sound village a few years back and encountered Orochimaru and Sasuke. What did you witness?"

Sakura stared over at Tabiki with curiosity. She had not heard his name and yet, he had seen Sasuke before the death of Orochimaru. His eyes were small and his face ageing. He was strict, his posture showed that all too clearly.

"Sasuke training under Orochimaru and destroying several innocent prisoners," Tabiki said.

Sasuke raised his head and glared at Tabiki. "I never killed any of them."

"You are not permitted to speak," Tsunade interrupted him.

"He is mentally unstable. The massacre he faced has cleary affected him, therefore he is a danger to us. Not only that but he now possesses the mangekyou sharingan, which Itachi himself put into him-"

"How do you know that?" Naruto yelled suddenly, as Sakura held him back.

"It's my job to know," Tabiki snapped.

"You say he has the mangekyou?" Tsunade pursed her lips together.

The Konoha elders merely exchanged glances.

"He is a criminal, and like all criminals should be treated with what they deserve. Our ways should not change simply because he has done some good. He never killed Orochimaru for our purpose, but merely to gain power for his own needs. Not only this but I doubt he ever intended to go back to Konoha after killing Itachi," Tabiki said, before taking a seat.

"Team 7, during your previous mission, how was it that you came to find Sasuke?" Tsunade questioned them.

Naruto gulped. The truth wouldn't help Sasuke in any way. "Gah! What does it matter?"

"Be quiet!" Tsunade ordered. "Sakura?"

Sakura raised her head, surprised that Tsunade would be asking her, of all people. "We...encountered several traps Lady Hokage..."

"What traps?"

"Sasuke and his ex-teammates had set them up for us...and we fought against each one, separated from each other...and Sasuke and Naruto were fighting," Sakura explained.

"Do you think that if you hadn't have brought him here, that he would have willingly returned on his own accord?" Tsunade questioned.

Sakura bit her lip. "No..."

"Sakura, what are you doing?" Naruto hissed.

"Lying our way through this isn't going to help anyone Naruto!" Sakura protested.

"I believe that's all the evidence we need," the female konoha elder announced, causing the audience to mutter. We will now decide on the punnishment for Uchiha Sasuke..."

Both elders turned to leave.

"HEY YOU OLD HAG! GET YOUR SAGGY ASS BACK HERE NOW!" Naruto screamed suddenly, causing everyone to gasp. His finger was directly pointed at the elders and his left eye was twitching with anger. "This trial has barely begun! You can't just make your decision when we've barely defended him!"

The elders merely glared at the hyperactive blonde.

"Kakashi..." Tsunade began, massaging her temples.

"Understood." Kakashi grabbed Naruto by the collar and began dragging him out of the hall.

"Hey, hey! What're you doing? Don't tell me you're taking sides with these hideous old farts! Come on Kakashi, don't act so old-gaaaaaaa!" The door slammed shut leaving an uncomfortable silence.

Sakura merely flopped onto her seat and gazed at the palm of her hands.

--

"OWOWOWOWOOW!" Naruto whined as Kakashi pushed him out onto the hokage rooftops. "Don't drag me here! We need to hear their verdict!"

"No we don't Naruto," Kakashi said sternly, crossing his arms. "It's a losing battle..."

"NANI?" Naruto exclaimed.

"There is too much against him and Sasuke isn't helping himself by standing there like he doesn't care. It'll take a miracle...but you yelling at the elders like that isn't going to help him, is it? So keep your cool and just look at the view..."

"How can you keep so calm at a time like this?" Naruto asked, leaning against the ledge.

"Because I've learnt to be..."

--

20 minutes had passed and Naruto and Kakashi had not returned. Sakura ran her fingers through her hair nervously. The tension was killing her! The worst was death. But he couldn't get off with a simple tap on the wrist. So what was in store for him? Sakura didn't think the trial was fair. It was short and the elders had made their judgement before hearing the full story.

Tsunade entered the hall then, and all eyes fell upon her. She did not look sad, nor happy, making Sakura all the more scared. Taking a seat she waited for the hall to be silent.

Sasuke was still standing there, eyes lowered to the ground.

"The elders have come to a decision..." Tsunade announced.

Sakura's heart was beating faster. It hurt to breathe, she could feel a lump in her throat. 'What is it? What is it? What is it?'

"Uchiha Sasuke. From this moment on...you are to be...exiled."

There was a loud gasp in the audience as Sakura froze in her seat. Her eyes wide.

"You will make your way out of Konoha and never return."

Sasuke's face was still emotionless.

"That's not fair!" Sakura shouted suddenly. "You can't exile him! What is he supposed to do? Have you all gone crazy? Is this justice?"

"Just be thankful he isn't being executed Sakura! This was the best I could do," Tsunade told her.

"The best you could do? Well then you're a pathetic hokage!" Sakura yelled over the loud whispers from the people behind her.

Tsunade slammed her fists on the desk. "Enough! Please escort Miss Haruno out of the hall immediately!"

Four ANBU immediately appeared around her, from every angle and slipped their hands through her arms. Sakura struggled against them.

"You can't do this!" Sakura screamed angrily. "The trial barely lasted! It wasn't even fair!"

The ANBU grabbed her more roughly and dragged her from the hall.

"Uchiha Sasuke. You no longer belong in this village."

Sasuke glared up at the hokage, before stuffing his hands in his pockets and making his way out of the hall.

Sakura could already hear the crowd leaving the hall as the ANBU dragged her in the opposite direction. Sasuke was leaving...

"Get off of me!" She swiped a kick from under them before running towards the hokage tower. Her blood was pumping. She had to see him! She sped up the stairs and ran through the forever winding corridors, eager to get to her destination. Eyes watering, she burst through the rooftop doors and came charging across the rooftops, the wind attacking her face. Running at Naruto's side, she peered over the edge.

"Sakura-chan!" Naruto exclaimed, watching his friend pant heavily.

Kakashi gave her one glance, before staring out at the view. "So...he's been exiled."

"NANI?" Naruto screamed. "We can't let him leave! We have to-"

Kakashi placed a firm hand on his shoulder. "The only thing we can do is watch him leave. If we try to stop him, we could be at risk of severe punnishment for helping a criminal. Even if he is important to us..."

Sakura's heart was racing. She placed her hand against her chest. 'Sasuke...'

"Why didn't you stop him then?" Naruto asked, his voice more calm.

Sakura shook her head. "I tried...ANBU escorted me out and I couldn't turn back or they would have stopped me. The only thing I can do, is watch him..."

A large crowd filled the Konoha streets now. Parting as Sasuke passed through, avoiding all eye contact. Team 7 watched with weary eyes as Sasuke walked on through. Feeling their gaze upon him, Sasuke paused and turned round, facing the three figure standings on the rooftops. The sun lifted behind them, as the wind blew gently. He gave a small smile. They looked so right up there. They belonged on that rooftop, the sun a halo to the outline of their bodies. It felt right for them...

Sasuke looked at Kakashi first. His sensei.

And Naruto. His best friend and enemy as well. Someone who, no matter what had always defended him.

And Sakura, the only light in his life, stood there, her eyes shimmering in the morning sun. There was something omnious about her, in that very moment. She seemed so serene as she gazed back at him. Of course, she was acting as a true shinobi and accepting the hardships. She would indeed become stronger that way and perhaps he could see her again. Why had she chosen not to fight so hard to keep him to stay? He knew the answer.

Bonds were a tricky thing to understand. But his team stood there still, watching him leave. The one who didn't belong in Konoha. But the one who belonged in Sakura's heart.

Now the rain was slowly painting across the ground, light and cold against a fresh warm morning. Sasuke, for the very last time, turned his head away and continued walking. The smile still on his face.

Sakura merely smiled also. For love she had made this sacrifice. He would have been happy with her. But would he be happy in a place he chose to leave? He still had many questions he wanted to find out and she couldn't help that.

"Does that mean we've finally caught him?" Those words Naruto spoke. She never answered him. Was it a premonition? Happy stories where the prince of your dreams stays with you forever don't always come true and she couldn't have it the way she wanted.

When giving up on a fairytale so that a loved one may go on to find the answers they seek and feel free was true love indeed. It's what Sakura would have to call...

A shinobi's sacrifice.

NOTE!! THERE IS A SEQUEL TO THIS STORY!! It is called "Crimson heart, a shinobi's fate,"

Theeeeee END! Wow hoped you enjoyed reading it, I loved writing it! Hope the ending wasn't too disappointing :( Please tell me what you thought of the ending!

If you're interested (hope you are :) here is the next fanfic i am putting up soon! Title: "You're the man! Kind of..." (sasusaku) Full summary: Sakura's mission is to go undercover as a man to an all male training facility in a new village that has sprung up out of nowhere. The new village is suspicious, what is its motives? And what is SASUKE doing here?? Things are about to get worse, not only has he been assigned this mission by MADARA but he is also in the same dorm as Sakura. Both are the enemies to this new village and to each other, but will Sasuke even figure out her secret or can she keep up her male appearence?? (will have chapters)

Tell me what you think! Please review!! ARIGATOU!!

(don't own Naruto, it belongs to Masashi and his staff!)