Took me more than a year for another update. Sorry, I got lost on the road of life.

Anyway when I started this I was still a student. Now I have graduated from university (five months ago, March 2012).

Please check out Subliminal, yet another FEM Sasuke fic which was recently updated since I've rediscovered the joy of writing. It is a Konohamaru X Sasuke pairing which is unpopular but hopefully you'll give it a chance. And don't forget to leave a review!

There were good moments. Moments where she had been content with sitting down, pretending not to notice Sakurai's amorous glances or Naruto's partly envious, partly admiring glares. Moments when her tragic past seemed far away, when she felt like she was like any other ninja girl living for her village and willing to die for it. There were beautiful moments, and for a while she even believed she could forget about revenge.

But those moments were always too brief. By the end of the day, passing by empty streets, with nothing but dark rooms and hallways to greet her at home, and seeing the same nightmare every time she went to sleep and waking up to find it very real, she would understand that no peace could touch her while Itachi breathed.

"What are you thinking about?"

Sasuke looked up at Shinji whose blonde hair became golden in the sunlight, his eyes a deep blue color like the ocean. For a split second she saw another face, one with whiskered cheeks, a rounder face, and a wider grin.

In her head she laughed derisively at herself for suddenly thinking about a part of her past she had decided to put behind, but of course she couldn't stop her thoughts. Team 7 had barely a year together before it broke apart, and admittedly it was her fault, but she wasn't regretful of her choice at all. She supposed she had once mourned for the brevity of her time with them, but she had known how useless it was for her to cry over something that cannot be undone. She had known at that time she walked away that things had already changed between them all.

Now she still wouldn't come back willingly and if Naruto and Sakura was still looking for and trying to chase after her, they were wasting time. Even if they brought her back they wouldn't be able to save her body or her soul. Did they naively think she could be pardoned? Did they think she would be able to walk freely with them in the streets of Konoha or do missions together?

If they think like that then they were delusional. It wouldn't happen like that at all. She'd probably be sentenced to death penalty, or possibly lifetime imprisonment which in her opinion would be a light judgment. Although she doubted that Tsunade would make the decision to kill her she knew her decision can be vetoed by the council and the Hokage would be helpless to stop them. Those old folks were probably no different from the ones here in Kirigakure's council who were stubborn, old-fashioned, and, whenever they weren't fighting amongst each other, had the tendency to disagree with their kage in almost every matter.

The probable judgment on her would be death as an imposed penance. Even Naruto won't be able to save her even if he poured out every ounce of his passion and conviction. There was absolutely no chance for them to grant her pardon so going back would only lead to her demise of or the end of her freedom. She definitely won't go back until she accomplishes her goal.

Finally released from her thoughts, she realized she'd been staring at Shinji throughout her mental expedition and they had stopped walking in the middle of the pathway that led to the meeting hall. They were heading there with the rest of the Kazekage's entourage to accompany Gaara for an interview with the press to publicize the efforts of both villages for better diplomatic relations between them.

In Sasuke's opinion anyone could see the Mist and Sand kages get along well with each other, but the people still carried mistrust and fear in their hearts lingering from the past wars. Hostility of those who'd live through those days of conflict was passed down to their children so antagonism was still being bred in all villages, even Konoha. She was doubtful of Gaara and Haku's campaign to completely pacify their people and subdue activists that believed peace between villages is unrealistic.

The Mizukage was a former missing-nin, and the Kazekage had been an unrestrained and remorseless killer. Sasuke couldn't conceive how they, once so feared and hated, were able to ascend to the highest and most coveted shinobi title, and she could see how many still show signs of unfavourable regard toward them. Their influence was still lacking and their position as leader was delicate which made her wonder question their reason for keeping her existence absolutely undisclosed to anyone.

What were they hiding? Why were they keeping her from Konoha? They had their duty as a shinobi and leader not to let a fugitive roam around and probably had some sort of agreement with the other shinobi nations concerning international criminals. If they were found out it could lead to the demise of their career and they would revert back into an object of contempt. They made a dangerous choice and they seem to bear a strong resolve in maintaining it.

She couldn't figure out if they had a subterfuge. The only reason she could think of was that they plan to use her to secure their positions and it seemed logical. But it didn't fit in both their characters at all to manipulate situations for their own gain, not that she could say she knew them well, and supposing that the realm of politics had soiled them through the years then such things were probably necessary. But something was definitely suspicious.

They were already in the hall split into groups of two or three around the room, alert for any sudden attack. She was situated on the left side backstage with two other Sand-nin where they could easily reach and see Gaara's full form standing behind the podium in full Kazekage attire. The large gourd where he kept his sand was backstage with them in case he needed it to protect himself from attackers and no doubt to remind her that she would be powerless against his weapon especially in this close range where it could instantly surround and crush her.

But if he crushes her, wouldn't he have to answer why he did so? The dark haired female briefly considered to make an attempt. She could use her Sharingan to hypnotize her unwitting guards while they were distracted, yet she knew that with the distance between her and the Kazekage he could see her every move easily in the corner of his vision. Slipping away this close to him would be foolish.

Before she knew it Gaara was already walking toward them, already finished with the interview. Their eyes met in a clash of antagonistic will for only a short time with the red-head not wanting to display bad relations between him and his own subordinates, especially within visual and auditory range of possible spies from political enemies.

Back in the building that held their living quarters, Gaara dismissed everyone except for Sasuke. They'd been told that the whole seven-storey building was especially reserved for special diplomatic representatives and was located in close proximity to the Tower which was the Mizukage's official residence and main office.

On the top floor the Uchiha's obsidian eyes swept the Kazekage's apartment which took up half the floor. Upon entering one would come to face the living room with a royal blue sofa set consisting of a long couch that could seat five people, two single-seats, and a long center table. Further in, glass doors separated the room from the balcony. To the left was a door-less entrance leading to the kitchen and dining area while to the right was a short hallway where midway the bathroom was located and at its end was a door to his bedroom.

"Sit." He ordered as he removed his hat and robes and haphazardly threw them over the back of the long sofa where he also reclined comfortably. She eyed him as she sat; he released a long heavy sigh and kept his eyes shut. It was the first time she saw him this tired, maybe because it was the first chance they were completely alone together. He didn't have to act so efficient and guarded with no one else around as a result his stern face relaxed slightly. What seemed like five minutes later he still didn't open his eyes and anyone would think he was sleeping.

An idea bloomed in her head.

Green eyes opened moments later, meeting gleaming red eyes. Sasuke thought she had caught him yet not even a second passed before sand exploded into a wall between them, breaking their eye contact and tore down her only chance of escaping. The black wheels in her eyes just stopped spinning when a strong grip clamped around her throat and forced her down the carpeted floor. In a stunned moment she felt warm fingers on her forehead and then a great pain behind her eyes before she blacked out. When she woke up on the couch the next morning, Haku was looking down at her.

"How are you feeling?" he asked gently as he caressed her cheek with the back of his hand. Sasuke wasn't entirely awake and the soothing strokes made her want to fall back to sleep. Footsteps coming from the bedroom reminded her of Gaara's presence while a mild ache behind her eyes made her remember the night's incident and she immediately knew what was done to her.

Both men witnessed her face shift from serene to alarm as she realized she could no longer activate her sharingan. They watched her, one with cold disdain, and the other with sympathy, as her expression turned violent. She hadn't the time to brace herself for this loss. Anger surged through her much like a wild beast trying to break free from its cage. She attacked the nearest person.

Haku easily dodged the swift kick aimed at his left temple, his attempts to mollify ignored completely by the raging young woman who did not stop her assault even as he evaded them all with sheer speed. Sasuke probably felt a big part of her was taken away. First her family, now her connection with them, and that sense of loss was not any easier the second time and Haku believed he understood because he lost his family in a somewhat similar manner of death, and then his next most important person died too.

"It's not permanent, Sasuke. Your sharingan is only sealed." He wanted her to know they hadn't taken anything away.

Gaara only watched as his friend grabbed the Uchiha in a restraining embrace and spoke words that tried to reduce her pain. He raised his non-existent eyebrow at the way the Mizukage looked down at her, an expression full of different kinds of feelings, including something suspiciously like affection, however subdued. He wondered what the brown-eyed male was thinking with that look on his face. Throughout the one-sided exchange Haku kept her in his arms until the female's wild expression shifted into an exhausted resignation and her body stopped struggling and yielded to him.

Drained of energy and emotion Sasuke clutched onto the older male's robes, listening to his wildly beating heart and thinking it was the cause of a lingering rush of adrenaline from their short battle, not even remotely considering that it could be something almost like love. In contrast Haku became very conscious of the possibility and didn't intend to deny it to himself that it was a passion he felt before whenever he thought about her.

Remembering they were not alone in the room his gaze reluctantly jumped towards Gaara who hadn't uttered a sound for the last fifteen minutes. His expression was uncomprehending while his eyes seemed to seek for answers to unasked questions.

Haku's face betrayed nothing of his feelings or thoughts and he smiled, amused at the Kazekage's genuine curiosity at probably seeing a momentary slip of his calm mask. He silently dared the Kazekage to figure out what came over him and hoped that one day he would experience it too, an intense emotion toward somebody that was the opposite of hatred or anger.

He looked down at Sasuke, still hanging on to him, at this time indifferent to everything and normally not much better. His heart had gone back to its regular rhythm but he imagined it was joyfully beating for this unlikely incident of being able to hold her close. A long-awaited private desire he thought he could only dream about. Now that it was happening his greedy arms didn't want to let her go even though there was no passion on her part.

He knew his moment had to end and it did when he had to go, because two years ago he made a pledge to this village and he would never forsake his responsibilities and those people who entrusted them to him. If he acted on his feelings for her who would one day go away, he didn't doubt that he would crumble along with his resolve to look after Kirigakure. He didn't want to lose another important person.

After Haku left Gaara still had a few hours before he had to meet his subordinates. Sasuke was on the couch again, wallowing in her loss and ignored him completely. He thought that it was good. She probably wouldn't try to leave again, at least for a while, which was part of their plan.

He observed her unmoving figure staring blankly ahead and thought she may even completely give up chasing after her elusive brother and that would make it easier for them to hand her over to Konoha once Naruto was secure. Her compliance might even save her a harsh punishment that was probably already waiting for her.

Time elapsed slowly and he decided to enjoy it by doing nothing except maybe continue to observe her, noticing for the first time how dark her eyebrows and lashes were as if it was drawn on her delicate face. He supposed she could be described as doll-like with the dark hair and white skin, especially now that she was acting so lifeless. And he actually found it boring and recalled how interesting he found her back when they were both twelve years old.

Her power was almost a physical entity to him and he wanted to devour her with his own and obliterate her into non-existence because he found pleasure in it. Now he wanted to kill her because it was she who became the monster that sought the darkness. Sealing her eyes may, indeed, have been a better decision than they first realized.

She looked so abandoned and it reminded her of how it was for him to be alone and how grateful he still was for meeting someone that brought him light and allowed him to accept others and himself. That's why he couldn't help but despise this female who was wasting it all.


The Godaime Kazekage couldn't take it. He crossed the distance between them in three long strides, leaned down close to her face and grabbed her chin, only managing to restrain himself at the last minute from squeezing her throat instead. Those completely black eyes glared at him, his controlled assault finally reviving her to some extent.

"Damn you." She whispered to him, as she gripped the hand that held her chin with the intention of wrestling it away.

"Damn you too," he answered, and surprised both of them by crashing his lips onto hers.

I went with the flow of my thoughts and this is what happened to the story which even surprised me. Ah, what will happen next?

Male Sakura equals Sakurai.

The reviews for last chapter made me laugh! Thank you!