This story takes place right after sasuke has just defeated his brother itachi. Naruto, sai, sakura and yamato have just caught up to sasuke after tracking him for a while.

I do not own "naruto"

Itachi lay on the ground face down, not moving. His blood staining the hard ground around him. Sasuke stood over his brother, his body limp and battered from the battle. He had no more chakra and strength left within him. His face bloodied and beaten, swealing causing one of his eyes to close shut.

Naruto, Sakura, Sai and yamato had just arrived to see Sasukes final victorious blow to his brother. Naruto and Sakuras face stunned by what they had just witnessed. Sai and Yamato cool and collected as usual. Expecting nothing less of someone chosen by Orochimaru to be his next vessel.

Sasuke, breathing in heavily took in a final breath in and collapsed on the ground. "SASUKE!!!" a voice called. His eyes slowly closing shut, feeling as though he recognised that voice. Then darkness.

Naruto was the first one to arrive beside Sasuke, then sakura and yamato and sai. Naruto called out again to his former teammate but heard no response. He held sasuke in his arms and called out to him over and over with tears streaming down his face. "NARUTO!" Yamato called out. Naruto looked up. "The best thing you can do for sasuke now is step aside and let sakura do what needs to be done." Yamato turned to Sakura, her face stunned, eyes wide open. Sakura couldn't believe that she was finally seeing sasuke again. She was close enough to him to see the beads of sweat on his face after being separated for so many years. Lonely years. "SAKURA!!" yamato yelled. Her head quickly turning to face yamato, her expression the same. "There's no time for reminiscing, if you don't heal sasuke right now he is going to die and all this would have been for nothing!!!... Sakura…" he said calmly. "You can save him" Her gaze turned to sasuke, lying limp in the arms of naruto. Naruto wiping his eyes, tears welling up in sakuras. She bent down and naruto let go of sasuke to give her room. Green energy surrounded her hands and she placed them over sasukes body. They all waited in silence as she healed sasukes major wounds. Still he lay unconscious. "He'll be alright now, but he won't be conscious for another few hours." Sakura said. Never taking her gaze of the man who had been her first love." "Alright!" yamato said sharply. "Lets take him to the hospital back at Konoha. It's time he came back home." Yamato bent down and picked up sasuke in his arms. "Naruto, sakura, sai!" yamato called. There attention on their captain with serious expressions on their faces. "Let's head back. Mission accomplished!"

"HAI!" they all called in unison.

"CLONK!" a loud noise came from the sound of feet on the wood of trees as the new team 7 headed back home, rocketing through the forest. Sakura stared at sasuke continuously. Naruto looked serious, keeping his eye on the goal to get sasuke back to konoha at all costs. They weren't home yet. As sakura gazed upon sasuke emotions flooded her body. Memories of their past, memories of her love for him which she thought had faded away long before. Her heart pounding knowing that she would be able to talk to him once again. Seeing sasuke in such a vulnerable state was not something she had witnessed often. Sakura worried about sasukes reaction once he regained consciousness. Would he just leave as he had done 3 years ago without a word? No! She thought. There was no way she would allow him to get away again. Never again. Sakura didn't understand all her emotions, what she was feeling, but none of that mattered. One feeling she did understand was that she was so happy to have him back. And for now that was enough.

Naruto gritted his teeth. 3 years, 3 long years of intensive sweat pouring, blood dripping training for this moment and he had succeeded. The sense of victory was overwhelming. Naruto felt a fire in his heart and suddenly regained his fast speed. The thought of sasuke coming back home was all the motivation naruto needed. Naruto shot forward and the rest of the team had to push themselves harder to keep up. Seeing narutos motivation gave sakura the same burn, she rocketed forward, excited and feeling a sense of accomplishment. Sai looked at naruto and sakura and thought about how determined they were to save sasuke. How much they had gone through to save someone who didn't want to be saved. Someone who had left the village of his own free will and showed no signs of compassion for his formal teammates. Though he still couldn't quite understand why they would do that, sai wished he could have friends who would care for him that much.

Friends, he thought. An unfamiliar notion but one he was determined to explore and conquer.

Team 7 arrived at konoha hospital 3 hours later. Sasuke was taken into a room to rest until he awoke. Yamato placed sasuke onto the bed and a nurse entered the room. "His clothes will need to be changed. So if you all wouldn't mind leaving the room for a moment…" She was cut off mid sentence. "It… It's alright!" Sakura exclaimed. "I'm a medical ninja and a close friend to sasuke. I would like to be the one to do all his treating, including changing him into the patient's gown." The nurse agreed and everyone left the room leaving sakura alone with sasuke. Sakura stared at sasuke for a moment before slowly lifting up his shirt and pulling it off, blushing at his perfectly sculpted body. She gently placed her hand on his cheek, feeling the warmth of his skin. Her hand slide down to his neck where the curse mark was and sadness fell upon her. This curse mark, she thought. This curse mark took you away from me and drove you into the arms of orochimaru. I hate it.

Her hand started to slowly move downwards again, sliding over his chiselled body across his muscles, stopping on his chest. Sakuras face turned a bright red at the feeling of caressing his bare skin. Something she had always dreamed of doing but never thought possible. Sakura leaned over sasuke, her face inches away from his staring at his lips. How I have wanted to feel those soft lips pressed against mine, she thought. How I have longed for that feeling. Oh sasuke… The sound of narutos loud voice from down the hallway quickly took her back to reality and she quickly stood up. Sakura then finished undressing sasuke and putting on his hospital gown, enjoying every second of it.

After she was done sakura called for the rest of her team to come in but only naruto was there. "They were called by the hokage for a report." Naruto said, looking at sasuke from the end of the bed. "Sakura chan… I told you it was a promise of a lifetime. Sasukes back home where he belongs." "Hai…" said sakura softly. "But for how long?"

"Hm?" naruto said, with a confused expression on his face. "S… Sakura chan? What do you mean?" Sakura looked at naruto. "I mean what's going to happen when he wakes up? How is sasuke going to react to just waking up and suddenly being back in konoha?

He doesn't know he was brought here."

"It doesn't matter." Replied naruto calmly, with a smile on his face. "Sasuke has already fulfilled his mission to kill Itachi. That was why he left in the first place. What has he got to do now that it's over? He should be back here. This is where he belongs. Everything turned out fine."

"I suppose" whispered sakura, turning her gaze back to sasuke. A long silence came. Naruto watched sakura stare nervously at sasuke and remembered just how much she cared for him. How much she still does care for him. Naruto knew Sakura couldn't handle losing sasuke again. Not after having him back. This only made naruto more determined to keep sasuke in the village. "Sakura chan" came narutos voice. "It's getting late, we're both exhausted. I think we should go home and get some rest. By tomorrow sasuke will be awake and we can visit him first thing in the morning." Another silence came. "No" Sakura replied "I want to stay here by sasukes side. It's ok, you go home and rest. I'll see you tomorrow" A part of sakura really did just want to stay with sasuke to look after him, but another part wanted to stay to make sure that if he awoke, she could stop him from trying to leave once again. She knew that it was a naïve thought, that she couldn't stop him last time so what would make this time so different? But she couldn't help it. Sakura still had hope that somehow she could make a difference. Somehow she wasn't useless. After all it was hope that helped her survive these past 3 years, so she was going to stay no matter what. Naruto stared at sakura and bowed his head understandably, then left he room. Sakura sat down on a chair and stayed up the whole night watchng over sasuke.

Morning came and the warmth of sunlight shining through the window on sakuras skin came with it. Sakura had dozed off a few times during the night but managed to keep an eye on sasuke for most of it. She squinted and rubber he eyes trying to adjust them to the light. She heard a brief moaning noise and quickly sat up and looked over at sasuke, eyes wide. "Sasuke-kun!" Silence…………..

………..

……….

……….

Sasuke clenched his eyes tight and gritted his teeth. "SASUKE-KUN!!!" sakura yelled, quickly bolting by his side. Sasuke slowly opened his eyes to see a blur of pink hair in front of him. He blinked a few times until her got a clear vision of the person standing over him. "S…Sakura" He managed to get out her name before feeling a shotting pain in his body. "GAHHH!!" Sasuke cried out. "Please don't strain yourself. You've taking a heavy beating, your body needs to rest. Its okay….. I'm here. "Where…… where am I?" a pause came as sasuke tried to figure out just where he was. "NO!" sasuke called out before sitting up straight. "What did you do!!" sasuke said angrily at sakura. "We had been tracking you for a while. We finally found you yesterday, you had……killed Itachi." Sasukes eyes grew wide; he couldn't quite remember the events that had taken place the day before. "What?" sasuke whispered. "I did it?... I DID IT!!" sasuke shouted looking down at his body.

"Sasuke-kun you…… you passed out soon after. So we took you back to konoha for treatment. You're back home. Sasuke quickly looked at sakura startling her a bit. He had anger in his eyes. "You!" he said. "What gives you the right to take me back here!? I didn't ask to come back; you had no place interfering in my life!!

"sasuke-kun….." sakura whimpered as she held her hands to her chest. "Don't speak to sakura chan like that ever again!! What gives YOU that right?" a voice came from the door. It was naruto, he looked mad. A smirk came across sasukes face. "Ah! Naruto! I have no doubt you were a part of this as well." "You're damn right I was. Sakura saved your life and this is how you repay her!?"

"I don't owe her or anyone else anything!!!" I never asked for any of this, I never needed saving! But you couldn't stop interfering in my affairs, regardless of the fact that it was my choice, my life!!!" " SASUKEEE!!!" naruto screamed. "You basted!!! Of course we were going to bring you back no matter what, we're your friends. Can't you see how much we care about you, how much sakura cares about you? There was no way that we were going to give up, never!!! A pause came. Finally sakura spoke up. "sasuke-kun, please." Tears started welling up in her eyes. "Please understand how we feel, don't leave us again. What else have you got to do, you have fulfilled what you set out for, itachis dead isn't he? This is where you should be. Don't you know how much I……" sakura paused mid sentence. "All of this is irrelevant." Sasuke said sternly. "I'll be gone very soon, all of your efforts to keep me here will be futile." 'What!" sakura cried out "No sasuke, please don't go."

"There's no way that's going to ever happen!!!!" Naruto Yelled at sasuke before going up to him and grabbing his gown in his fists. "I've said it before, even if I have to break every bone in your body, I'll do it to keep you here!!!"

"Hmm, hmm, hmm!" sasuke chuckled under his breath. Aggravating naruto. "NANI!" he shouted. Sasuke had a smirk on his face and the two were locked in a close face stare. "You couldn't do it last time could you naruto? You couldn't 'save' me could you? What makes this time so different? Empty threats. That's all they are."

"Naruto…." Sakura whispered. Naruto gritted his teeth hard "SASUKE!"

A serious expression came on sasukes face, he raised his hand and striked narutos arms, batting them away forcing naruto to release his hold on him. "You don't stand a chance against me. We're not on the same level. I don't consider you my rival anymore. You are beneath me." Naruto stood there furious, clutching his fists so hard, his knuckles started to crack. Sakura could see what this was doing to naruto and felt his pain. "Leave!" sasuke said coldly. Naruto and sakura stood there quietly for a moment and then left the room.

As they walked out they could see ino, shikamaru and chouji standing at the front desk. Ino turned to see sakura and ran towards her. "Is it true!?" ino said in aspiration. "Is what true?" Replied sakura sadly. "Don't play dumb with me forehead, I know sasukes back. Your just trying to keep me from seeing him aren't you?" Sakura shook her head. "Yes it is true, sasukes back. But no I'm not trying to keep him from you, you can see him if you wish. But I'm warning you that he's not in a mood for more visitors. "Huh!?" said ino looking shocked at sakuras mood. "What's wrong with you? Sasukes back this should be the happiest day of your life?" "Uh, ino" Said shikamaru, sensing that something was wrong. "I think that we should go. It would probably be a bad idea to see sasuke right now. Maybe when his feeling more up to seeing visitors"

"What? No! I want to see sasuke!" "Ino!" said shikamaru impatiently. "We've just been assigned a mission, we don't have time for this right now." "Yeah!" agreed chouji. "And you know how sensei gets when he's forced to wait for us. Last time he didn't treat us to barbeque as he normally did after we completed our mission because we were late."

Ino stared sakura down and then closed her eyes and sighed. "Fine!" she said harshly looking straight at sakura. "But don't think I wont be back to see sasuke. And when I do you better watch out!" ino turned around sharply and headed for the exit. Shikamaru and chouji followed after her.

Naruto and sakura left soon after them.

As the inoshikacho trio walked down the streets of konoha to meet up with their sensei, they saw 3 unfamiliar people walking through the village gates. They didn't know what it was but they all sensed a bad presence. As they walked closer them, the two teams stopped in front of each other. Out of the 3 mysterious people only one of them was a girl but she seemed to be acting like the leader and looked very arrogant. One of the guys behind her was skinny, had shark like teeth and was carrying a giant sword on his back. The last person was a big guy who had a very solid build. "What a drag." Shikamaru said immediately, knowing it wouldn't end well. The woman had red hair, one side of it long and one side short. "Step aside kiddies and let the real ninjas through." She said. Oh man, thought shikamaru, and ino's already in a bad mood. This is definitely not going to end well. "What did you say!?" Shouted Ino. "Just who do you think you are? Coming into our village and demanding we step aside, I know you're not from around here! Shikamaru could sense these people were not to be trifled with. They had an incredible amount of chakra. Dark chakra. "Ino, come on, lets just go." "What!?" replied ino. "Don't tell me you're scared of these people." Shikamaru gritted his teeth. "That's not what I said." "Yeah come on ino" whispered chouji. "I'm with shikamaru let's not mess with these guys. "You two are useless!" said ino slapping herself on the forehead.

The woman stepped in "Well, if you're not going to get out of our way maybe you can help us? We're looking for Uchiha Sasuke, where can we find him?" Ino, shikamaru and choujis eyes grew wide. Shikamarus expression quickly became serious. "What do YOU want with sasuke?" he said. "Hm." The woman grinned. We're here to take him back.

"Huh?" said ino confused. "Take him back. What are you talking about? No ones taking sasuke anywhere." "I've had enough of this" said the skinny guy reaching for his sword. "I say we just get rid of these little punks." The big guy grabbed his hand to stop him. "No! He said. "You know how sasuke feels about that. We shouldn't do anything like that without him being here. Besides, the last thing we want to do is cause a scene." The skinny man cursed under his breath and let go of his sword. "Well, this had been fun but we really must be going." The woman disappeared in an instant and the two men followed her. "WOW!" said shikamaru. "Their fast. I didn't even see them leave." What could they want with sasuke?" ino said nervously. "I don't know" replied shikamaru. "But someone better warn naruto and sakura. I'll go. You two meet up with Asuma sensei and fill him in on what's going on." Ino and chouji agreed before setting off to meet up with their sensei.

Sasukes room door slid open and he saw the red haired woman. "Karin…" Sasuke said. She immediately ran to him and hugged him with no thought to hurting his wounds. "Oh sasuke!!!" she exclaimed. "I knew you could do it, I knew you could defeat itachi. You're just the coolest." Sasuke pushed her off him. "That's enough Karin. You three took longer then you should have." Karin pointed directly at the shark toothed man. "It was all because of Suigetsu and his damned sword. It's too heavy for him so we had to keep on stopping all the time to rest." Suigetsu and Karin then started arguing again as they usually did. The solid built man stepped in and stopped tried to stop the fight. "Ah, Jugo!" said Suigetsu. "Stay out of this." Jugo turned to sasuke. "We must go now, we have drawn attention to our presence." "What! Why?" replied sasuke angrily. Suigetsu had no problem answering this question. "This ones on Karin. She decided to act all tuff in front of some low level ninjas and told them that we were looking for you." Suigetsu chuckled. Sasuke immediately turned his angry gaze onto Karin who was looking at him nervously. "What's the matter with you?!!! Don't you have a brain in your head? No one is supposed to know about you three, there's no doubt that naruto and sakura are going to find out about this. If they haven't already. Now we are going to have less time to escape. You were someone chosen by orochimaru, supposedly an elite ninja and then you just go and blow your cover!!!!!! "I'm so sorry sasuke, please forgive me." Sasuke sighed. "We don't have time for this. We must leave now. Jugo helped lift sasuke out of the bed. Even though absorbing orochimarus powers helped speed up his healing ability, sasuke was still badly hurt. Sasuke got dressed back into his sound ninja clothes and they all set off, Jugo helping support sasuke with one arm around his shoulder.

Shikamaru had checked both narutos and sakuras homes but there was no sign of them. The last place he could think of was the hokages tower. He burst through the door to see tsunade sitting behind her desk with yamato, sai, sakura and naruto standing before her. There gaze now on shikamaru. "Shikamaru! What's the meaning of this?" Tsunade said sternly. Shikamaru filled them in on everything that had happened. How they had ran into 3 people from another village who said they were searching for sasuke to take him back. Sakura and narutos eyes grew wide. They knew exactly who they were. Naruto, sakura, sai and yamato immediately set off to sasukes room at the hospital. Naruto broke down the door to see no one in the room. Just a bed and the gown he had worn. Naruto became furious and his anger boiled over. Naruto screamed out. "DAMN YOU SASUKE!!!!!" Sakura was in a state of shock. She couldn't believe it. He was gone again. They had finally brought him back and he was able to get away so easily. She couldn't do anything to stop him again. She felt utterly useless and didn't think she could bare the pain of losing him another time. Sai spoke up. "So that's how he was planning it." "What do you mean?!!!" sakura exclaimed. "Hmm, yes, I understand now. Why couldn't I see it earlier?" said yamato.

"SEE WHAT EARLIER!!?" sakura cried. "I didn't think I needed to worry too much about sasuke escaping right now seeing as though he was in such bad shape from his previous battle with Uchiha Itachi. That was naive of me. Those 3 people shikamaru spoke of where his comrades from the new team sasuke formed in order to help him reach itachi sooner. Sasuke knew that he couldn't escape by himself considering the condition he is in. So he waited for him teammates to show up and help him. If shikamaru came to us as soon as he heard what they were planning then there's a good chance that sasuke hasn't gotten far. But a good chance he knows we're onto him as well" "RIGHT!!!" yelled naruto. Then what are we waiting for? I'm not giving up yet." "Alright." Yamato said. "I'll team up with sai and you and sakura pair up. Ready, break!" The two pairs split up. Naruto and sakura were rocketing through the forest at high speed. "Sakura chan. We'll definitely find sasuke." A brief smile came across sakuras face. "Hai! Definatley."