Looking upon the leather bound book, Sakura hesitated as she touched the book. So much work just to unlock it, it showed that it wasn't meant to be opened. To put a chakra lock on something meant that nobody was supposed to read what was inside.
Kabuto and Orochimaru had a twisted agreement, it was a known fact.
The swallowed journals, the chakra locked book; Orochimaru trusted Kabuto with his health, his life, he obviously didn't trust him with his secrets though. He obviously didn't trust anyone with his secrets.
Therein lies the question though, if Orochimaru didn't trust anyone with his secrets, then why write them down at all? The answer was simple; he wanted someone to know them, someone who obviously had an extreme control over their chakra, and someone who could override his chakra without being taken over.
A gulping sound was made and she blinked back to reality founding that it was herself who'd made the sound.
Should she really open the book and see what was inside?
'No of course not, if someone ever happened to found out about the past affairs of Orochimaru and Tsunade they would see this as evidence tampering, everything could be lost.'
There was that voice again, that annoying little voice she saw as her conscious, and she knew it was right, everything was telling her not to open the book; to report to her commanding officer and let them know that she'd found it, to exclude the information that it had at once bared a chakra lock on it.
'Then again, who really has to know? Nobody's out there watching, nobody knows we have it. The information could further our career, it could strengthen our abilities, it could help us find our enemies weaknesses.' Inner Sakura cooed in her head.
She'd been wondering where she'd run off to. Her own inner demon she would like to call the mental manifestation. Sometimes she wondered if that was what she was, she'd studied many people that had come to them about the odd vocal appearance in the their heads but for some reason hers seemed a little different. When she'd gone to Suna she'd heard rumors about Gaara's mental state, about the way creepy way he talked to himself and the times he was just standing around looking at nothing, seemingly lost. Upon further exploitation to the red head, she found that he was talking to Shukaku, the raccoon demon that she'd had the pleasantries of meeting during their first chunnin exams. The lost looks weren't so lost anymore; they were glazed looks of someone having a mental conversation with that other voice no one was to know about. During her time with Gaara she often had found herself thinking of Naruto and wondering if he went through the same things.
While she liked to think of her inner voice as something other than the early signs of a slight split personality disorder she'd only like to think this just to make herself feel better, because she knew for a fact that 'Inner Sakura' was anything but a demon in disguise, and she wasn't going bonkers.
Looking back at the journals she sighed softly. She was already going crazy what more could the world bring upon her for reading a dead man's journal?
Opening the book her eyes widened at the first sentence scrawled in elegant black script.
'Mesmerizing little bud that was first seen sitting alongside a twin mother; if you're reading this you are no longer a little bud and have flourished into a lustrous blossom. I write this to you now finally knowing the truth of our world, and finally finding the missing puzzle pieces to your world.'
The Weight that Angels and Demons Put on Your Shoulders
Staring at the leather clad book that sat at the opposite corner of the tower Sakura eyed it carefully from her position. Her knees had been pulled up to her chest, her head hiding beneath her crossed arms, resting on her knees, hidden by her cloaks hood. Her doe gem eyes looked up from underneath her pink lashes.
The book needed to be destroyed, shredded into tiny pieces, burned, then whatever else she could do to destroy any evidence of the ashes, she would do it, she had to do it.
She couldn't though, it was too good to be destroyed, while it scared her to know that Orochimaru had figured out the omitted connection she couldn't deny that he was a genius. He figured out every mystery the world had to offer them, every fairy tale was brought to life, every secret unfolded, every myth and urban legend destroyed with truth. The journal was a masterpiece, he'd figured out everything there was to figure out, and now she knew everything. … At least almost everything.
Though she had to get rid of it, writings from a mad man be damned, there was too much information in there, if ever an enemy got their hands on that she would become their own personal servant. She couldn't allow anyone to get their hands on the book. She needed to keep it though, she hadn't even gotten through half of the book yet, there was so much more to read and find out. She was at a crossroad, each path had a particularly ugly consequence and she really hated consequences.
Either way she couldn't sit there all day and just stare at the book, she needed to put it back in her scroll and hide it away until she could officially figure it out. Obviously if someone found the journal they'd get suspicious as to why she's staring at it as if it's her own personal nightmare come alive, and then they'd want to investigate into it; which she couldn't allow to happen.
Lifting her arms off her head she sighed as they dropped to her side, her hood still hiding most of her face from the outside world.
There's a moment in one's life when you realize that you've been given the short stick in life and you're left to limp you way through with uneven direction and tiresome pain. This was that moment, right now she realized that there was only one thing she could do and until she'd completed the book would she then take the dive and destroy it.
It was the only solution she could think of and the only bright one too.
Read everything, learn everything, memorize everything and burn everything. It was the logical choice.
Lifting her head off her knees she stood from her spot and reached for the journal.
She wondered if she should feel flattered or disgusted that Orochimaru had left the book to her specifically. Actually she shouldn't wonder on that, the answer to that was a definite; she should feel disgusted, appalled really.
…. Although there was the fact that one of the most infamous rogue shinobi, Konoha's most wanted at one time believed in her strength when even she herself couldn't. It was flattering really.
She needed to stop circling this thought; it would drive her to the brink of insanity if she continued to let it go on. Grabbing the book from the floor she reached for her scroll and slid it open once more, dropping the book into the proper placement.
Quickly she rolled it back up and placed it back in its proper place in the layers of her hair.
Now as to why she was still up in the watch tower; a part of her wanted to kiss the idiot lackey while another part wanted to tear him in half for wasting her time seeing as this whole entire time, she hadn't felt a chakra spike at all, nothing, zip, zero, nada.
She was going to give herself a headache if she continued on like this. Sighing she rubbed her head as she felt the beginning of one coming upon her.
He wasn't an idiot, yes he may have not been the most book smart person, and actually he wasn't anything close to book smart. That didn't make him an idiot though, you couldn't be an orphan in Konoha and be an idiot and you certainly couldn't be a jinchurriki and be an idiot; you wouldn't survive if you were. So if you were to ask him what exactly the oath he took was on the day he became an official shinobi of Konoha word for word, he couldn't tell you, not even if his life depended on it.
Although if you were to ask him what his oath as a shinobi to Konoha is, then he could tell you exactly what his is, what he knew it meant.
So he wasn't an idiot, and he definitely was not a fool, he'd very much like it if people would stop treating him as such.
Sighing Naruto took rubbed his eye as he felt the beginning of another boring and sleepy day ahead of him. More watching and more of nothing to do but be surrounded by true fools.
They shouldn't have come here, while there was obvious information on quite a bit of stuff, there wasn't any clues as to where Kabuto was or could possibly be. Still though there was a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach. It left an awful taste in his mouth and his body was tense, ready for whatever bad was coming to them.
He really wanted to say that it was the cause of the messy triangle between Sasuke, Sakura and Itachi, that was a literal mess and while he knew he really should do something about it, he couldn't. Sakura was a grown woman, albeit in the civilian world she was still seen as a child, they didn't live in a civilian world; those laws didn't apply to the shinobi world. As a grown women he should trust her instincts when it comes to her relationships, he'd sworn to her that he'd only step in when he felt it was absolutely necessary.
Like life or death necessary.
So if she wanted to date a formerly convicted felon that was part of a pro-monarch shinobi clan then that was fine, fine as long as she knew the consequence and limitations to such a relationship.
Another relationship and subject that was restricted to him was their formerly ex-convicted felon teammate that was also from the same pro-monarch shinobi clan and kid brother to the formerly convicted felon that Sakura happened to be getting intimately acquainted with. Yeah that was a subject he wasn't allowed to touch with Sakura, it was a touchy situation with her and Sasuke, and while he really wanted to see them together, he wasn't blind or stupid that wasn't going to ever happen now, not since Sasuke went and screwed it all up. So if Sakura wanted to be a jerk to him then that was fine, really he understood, he wished he had the heart to just give Sasuke the cold shoulder like he had all those years ago. He couldn't though it wasn't how he did things, which is why he understood why he couldn't stop Sakura from feeling or acting the way she was, she was entitled to her anger, her feelings of betrayal, she was allowed to be mad and heartbroken.
… And he really didn't want to be the person to take away that right, especially from her.
What he wished he could do is make the mess go away, make that god awful feeling and that god awful taste in his mouth just disappear. He knew deep in his gut that it had nothing to do with Sakuras mess, but he couldn't help but wonder why he thought of Sakura every time this feeling arose in him.
It made him sick to his stomach that he was feeling like this, and he really wished that he could just make it all disappear.
The air was still, the forest was still, it was quiet, nothing was making a noise and she knew that she really didn't like the feeling. She knew that this was all just an illusion, a good genjutsu, halfway good at least, she could see it though, and she could feel it. Meaning either this person's strong suite wasn't genjutsu or they didn't know that her strong suite was genjutsu.
A flicker, a chakra flicker to be exact in the north of the woods and she knew that it had been no coincidence. They were purposefully trying to snuff someone from the retrieval team out.
The only question was which person and had it worked?
Carefully she hid her chakra as she moved about towards the direction of the chakra flicker.
While she wished she could point the finger to Sasuke's lapdogs she knew deep down and logically it wasn't possible. The mist shinobi was too much of a liability to hire, especially with that big mouth of his and his known temper and love for fighting. And Jugo was a definite no, anyone dumb would be capable of realizing that he was ill, even in his right state of mind he still wasn't capable of being normal in either a civilian sense or a shinobi sense.
It was a shame really when she thought about it, if the mist shinobi was truly a spy then she'd have a good reason to dispose of him and live her life happily without him annoying her.
She didn't have anything on Jugo though, while he was sweet when he was sane, he just … well she wasn't really sure if she would feel bad or happy about killing him. On one hand she had this very, very sick person and by disposing of him she'd be saving a lot of lives out there from any future incidents, on the other hand though he was just a simple victim on his own, it truly wasn't his fault that genetically he was given some really shitty genes.
This was why she stayed away from Jugo, he was just too harsh for her mind and emotions, too much work and she really didn't like having to work much on her emotions or her mentality.
The chakra stopped flickering and it became steady as she got closer to it and further into the woods and further away from the team.
As she made her way closer she found herself closing in on a small abandoned temple. Looking around she found that there wasn't any other sounds coming from the forest minus the usual sounds. Signifying that she was indeed correct, the person had been trying to snuff someone out of the team and it just happened to be her.
Walking up to the temple she took a moment to remember that right now she needed to put her religious side down and place her shinobi side forward. Whatever happened inside she need not worry about the problems of the shrine, not now not then, she'd allow herself time to worry about it later.
Taking a deep breath she walked into the temple slowly and looked around. There was nothing in there, the pillars were dusty and were slowly starting to crumble away, and the floor looked as if a bomb had been dropped onto it, the shrine seemed to have been burnt down and the seats that had once been lined up nicely and neatly on the floor had been torn apart.
It was a complete mess and she knew that if she looked hard enough she would find blood and eventually bodies of the monks somewhere.
There was a single candle lit though on the floor, letting her see the damaged room. Telling her that someone had been here not to long ago.
That chakra appeared now that it was closer she got a better feel of it, and immediately her eyes snapped open and she realized she knew that chakra. She'd spent three days alongside that chakra, spinning around quickly she found nothing around or about her.
The hairs on the back of her neck began to stand up and she knew instantly that he was there in the room with her.
The sound of a swishing cloak from behind her and she spun to look, being meet with the sight if nothing but her shadow on the wall.
Before she could get a breath in her body was pushed and she found her face hitting the wall.
A voice rasped out of a male's body, it sounded different from what she was used to but she didn't push. "Hello Sakura-san"
"Good evening to you as well Kabuto-san" She greeted back.
"Glad to see your time in that warzone didn't take away your manners." He said with a smooth chuckle.
"Glad to see that your time without Orochimaru hasn't taken away your manners." She bit back.
He inhaled at her neck and she stiffened, if she wasn't so positive about the chakra signature then she would have wondered it was really Kabuto she was with right now and not Orochimaru.
"You smell absolutely delectable, like an Uchiha."
A shiver ran through her and she responded with a witty come back "And you sound absolutely insane, like that old snake."
"Oh Sakura, let's not waste necessary words, do you know why I'm here?" He asked suddenly.
"Could you be here to respectively hand yourself over to us so we can send you your death sentence without any problems?"
"Hmm … Cute, but no, I'm here for you Sakura, you and your spectacular abilities." Kabuto said with menacing charm oozing from his lips. "Flattery won't get you anywhere Kabuto; you of all people should know that."
She could feel his smirk against her neck as his lips moved up and down about it. "I know, I just wanted to hear myself try at the least." He took a minute from her neck before coming back to it again and continued his unnervingly soft and gently caress. "But I do know that you grandmother's health will get me somewhere … like a partnership with you even perhaps."
She stiffened against him, it was impossible for him to know about her Obaa-san's condition, nobody knew what she was going into the hospital for. Well, at least nobody that didn't work in that particular section of the hospital, the clerks didn't even know that sort of information; prestigious clans whether shinobi or civilian was always lip locked and sealed.
"You know I'm surprised you of all people are even here when dearest Obaa-san is lying in her bed, lying in excruciating pain, being eating and torn apart from the inside out. … While you're here, lying with the Uchiha heir, lying in complete pleasure, being ravished every which way. ... To be honest I never thought of you as the kind of person that would put herself before her loved ones."
Her breathing by now had become harsh, she was literally heaving in anger and in self loathing. She could feel the tears that were about ready to fall from her eyes and she couldn't help it, she had nothing more on him and she felt like a fool as she lashed at him.
"Shut up." He tisked at her, replying in a playful and sadistic tone as he spoke. "Manners, manners Sakura, I know coming from a wealthy and old styled clan such as the Haruno clan that your grandmother would have taught you some manners while she was still capable." His next words hit a particular sore spot inside her. "I'm sure dearest Obaa-san would be very ashamed of how you've been acting lately."
There was a snap in her mind and it seemed as though her anger had taken control of her body as her body twisted and landed a successful kick to Kabuto's torso, she watched as his body tumbled across the small floor of the temple. Kabuto picked himself up messily, his back to her, she watched as his back began to shake and he emitted a dark and rough laughter, its wickedness bouncing off the walls and echoing in her ear. Standing and watching defensively she watched as he shuffled a bit, perhaps shaking off the dust from his cloak.
He spoke again, not facing, making it a fact to not face her, she placed the tidbit of information in the back of her mind. "Oh Sakura-san, looks as though while your strength and taijutsu have improved your anger problems certainly have not, in fact, I would say it's even worsened over the years."
She replied in a choked voice, keeping her true anger in place with double doors and a crowbar as a lock. "Oh Kabuto-san." She began as she spoke to him in a mocking tone. "Let's not get started on talking about my anger problems … Unless of course you'd like to face them head on."
She could practically feel the smirk that was undoubtedly smeared across his face right now. While he spoke with arrogance he also spoke with acceptance. "I think I'll pass the invitation, I know when I'm in no way capable of defeating an unstable shinobi."
This time it was her that she felt smirking as she spoke once more. "Says the unstable shinobi."
"I'm not here to fight Sakura-san." Kabuto said in all seriousness, there was no more arrogance, no more mocking, no amusement, just pure seriousness in his tone as he continued on. "I know of your grandmother's illness, breast cancer correct?"
Her defensive stance tightened as she stiffened, she asked in an edge filled tone. "How do you know of that? There's no possible way that anyone outside the immediate head family of a clan could know about such things, all medics and nurses have sworn blood oaths that they will never speak of the clan illnesses outside or to any other unauthorized clan members."
"Yes Sakura I know of the medic oath to the council families, and you should know that I have my way around these sort of loop holes, but this is not what I've come to speak to your about."
"Tread carefully then Kabuto-san, as you know I'm not known for my patience." She spoke as she lifted a brow at him.
"What if I told you that there was a cure, a way for your grandmother to regain her previous stature." He said.
A part of her wanted to believe, but the logical part of her knew that what he said had to be a lie. If there was a cure, Tsunade would have found it by now, she wouldn't have been searching and researching if there had been a cure. So with all her researching she knew deep down that what he said wasn't true. She told him just what she believed as she spoke. "You're lying."
Kabuto spoke his next words unfazed by her accusation. "I would never lie, allow one to assume yes, but I wouldn't lie, especially when I need something."
She hated him, really she did, she hated herself as well because now that same piece that was telling her there was no cure, was also telling her that what he was saying was true. Kabuto wasn't known for lying, if anything he loved telling the truth, he loved playing with other people's minds with the truth. He was evil, it was as if he was taking an innocent piece of chocolate and dangling it before her, teasing her, torturing her with pureness, with heaven, really she hated how his twisted mind ruined good things.
Still though, it changed nothing, if anything it made her that much more curious. He was telling her he needed her for something, and while this should worry her; actually it did worry her, she couldn't help but wonder what he needed that he had to go so low as to use her grandmother's illness to lure her in.
… Yes of course she did realize that using her grandmother should have been expected, but to go to the trouble to get information in enemy territory, to willingly walk into the gallows. Most would actually pass on asking her if it meant having to go through such intense obstacles, deciding on going to a mediocre medic nin outside the walls of Konoha than having to risk their lives to get a good one.
With this knowledge her medic and shinobi skills molded together and she analyzed Kabuto as he stood before her, his back facing her; that right there was the most obvious thing. Although there was also that slip in character, and as she took in her surroundings and looked over what she could of the cloaked and shadowed nin.
…. 'Is he, no. … He is.' Sakura thought to herself as she unfolded herself from her tight defensive position. Kabuto was slouching, something he would never do, respect for others and himself was something he upheld above most things, appearance was everything to him. So Kabuto slouching was a bad sign, and he was standing weirdly as well, kind of keeling over almost, his head over his stomach, his back bones nearly visible underneath the cloak as they were forced into a curved position as he arched backwards into himself. His standing position wasn't defensive nor was it offensive, something all shinobi did was be prepared for something to happen and Kabuto looked as if he was giving his all to hold himself up.
His cockiness was merely a smoke screen; now she was really beginning to hate him, she couldn't kill an animal when it was already wounded … It made her look like a cruel person.
"Even if there is a cure, what would you need me for?" She asked carefully, trying to coax an answer out of him.
Unfortunately for her, this was Kabuto and she should expect only silence out of him. He would never give her answers to her questions, not until he knew whether or not she was willing to help him. As of right now, she was still his enemy of sorts, and as an enemy he didn't need her knowing his weak points.
She spoke again, this time in a more calm and collected way, allowing him to know that she was open to his proposition, right now she was in neutral territory, a temporary peace treaty was being made, with her tone of voice. "Kabuto… This something that you need me for… It wouldn't have anything to do with why you won't let me look at you would it?"
This time he gave her something, but he was trying to turn the subject to his favor, not hers, she wouldn't have it though as she cut him off. "Ah … Sakura-san I always did say you were a quick leaner-" "Kabuto what's wrong with your face?"
There was another moment of silence and she knew that those wicked metals of steel beams and wheels were turning and spinning in that demented mind of his as he decided whether or not to show her what was wrong.
She wondered, had any of the others realized that she'd been gone longer than she should have been? Surely someone would have come and checked up on her, they would have to come check up on her, it was protocol to check in every so often with the team captain. Seeing as she had never gotten around to checking in with any of them, she would hope that they were going by protocol right now.
She also had to wonder about why the hell she hadn't killed Kabuto … or at the least apprehended him by now. Right now anytime since she'd gotten out of his grasp she'd come into many opportunities to take him, and she hadn't for one split second thought about it once.
That should worry her.
Kabuto finally spoke as he finally moved, before she knew anything, she had been pinned to the wall, wrist held down by Kabuto's now noticed gloved hands. "Understand Sakura, that I only wanted his power, I didn't want him, I never wanted him, I don't want him." He whispered in her ear.
A hand left her wrist, and she felt soft tickling tips on her face, as she adjusted once more to her position she realized his hair had fallen out of place, meaning his hood had been taken down.
Looking up she lost all breath as she locked eyes with slitted amber colored ones surrounded by grey, dry scaled skin.
She could feel her lips moving but the buzzing and warning sirens kept her from hearing what she was saying.
"What have you done?"
The world was blurry and heavy, dark, cold. Sakura lifted one eyelid open and looked about to find figure's hovering above her once more, she closed her lids. Their anxious chakras buzzing all around her only made her feel a tiny bit suffocated; she didn't necessarily like people so up in her face like they seemed to be. A warm chakra entered her system and she twitched, her chakra automatically running towards the foreign chakra and clashing head on with it in a collision to stop it from going further.
'She's okay.' A voice said, it was familiar, but she couldn't exactly say who.
'Sakura-san?' Another voice called out, again familiar.
She peeked an eye open once more, closing it as soon as the brightness of the sun hit her, she groaned out.
'Yeah she's fine.' Another voice said.
Of course she was fine, but she was sure that if they did a full body check they'd come across a nasty bruise on the back of her neck, right on her pulse point where Kabuto knocked her out.
'Alrighty then up you go.' And her body was picked up from the ground and cradled like a child, her face squished against a strong chest. Hair tickled her skin and she counted three people that had long hair in their platoon. Long skinny fingers, smooth and callused palms, this took out the blonde bomber with the mouths on his hands. Leaving only two others, it was hard to make an accurate guess without peeking at the person carrying her; the two Uchiha's were nearly the same in so many ways.
Open her eyes; they had no reason to suspect her of anything, it was impossible for them to know that she had been talking with Kabuto.
'Wait.' She stopped in her mind. Was she really not going to tell them that Kabuto was lurking around somewhere waiting for her to respond to his request, his offer? Yes it was tempting, but this was Kabuto. He worked willingly alongside Akatsuki, alongside Sasori and Orochimaru, was she truly thinking of helping him in return for his so called 'cure'?
'It's Obaa-san though, shouldn't we at least think over the deal?' Her inner asked. Sakura mumbled incoherently under her breath.
Seriously what was there to think over? Kabuto was evil, a bad guy, an anti-hero, an antagonist, he was crazy and over the top bonkers and beyond insane.
'Then again, he did help us out during the chunnin exams, and there was no need to help us he was after Naruto and Sasuke, we were only an obstacle that would have easily been taken out back then.' Sakura pointed out to herself and her inner.
True, still though what was the chance that he could really have a cure to something that not even Tsunade, Shizune and herself couldn't cure?
'He was a medical protégé that hid his talents away from the rest of the world by allowing his father to look like the medical genius, while he hid in the shadows, or more so the lower levels of the medical facility of the hospital.' Inner Sakura pointed out.
Point taken, still though what proof did she have that he would stick by his word? He was renowned for turning on people rather easily, there was no reason for him to not give her the cure until it was too late, or not give her the cure at all and still somehow find a way to get his side of the bargain.
If she was going to be quiet frank Kabuto was a nasty little thing, but she was sure this was brought up earlier in their brief discussion.
A force on her eyelid and she snapped out of her thoughts and snapped open her eyes, momentarily stunned at the bright light in her face.
"She's awake." A voice from behind the light, soft with nothing in it. Sai.
The light was shut off and she blinked her vision back, finally resting on the face of Sai
"What are you doing?" She asked, though she already knew the answer, Sai responded exactly how she expected him to. "Checking to see if there was any signs of concussions like you taught me." As she had thought she had already expected this response.
Looking around herself she found herself lying on the hard pavement of the throne room of Orochimaru's lair. Sitting up she grabbed at her head and groaned as she felt the dizziness and nausea hit her harder than any hangovers from her training with Tsunade had ever hit her. Perhaps she should not move so fast for a little while, carefully she accessed her body making sure that Kabuto hadn't done anything weird to her. What she did find was a groggy body and an extremely dry mouth, a sign that he'd slipped her some form of a sedative.
"Sakura do you remember anything that happened from before we found you, do you remember how you came to be unconscious on the forest grounds?" The concerned voice of Kakashi asked.
The scenes from the temple replayed in her mind and she for some reason again decided against telling them about Kabuto, though she would take a page out of his book and let them assume rather than have her actually say anything.
She spoke hesitantly as she found the words to work for her that were true in every way. " … I found a temple some miles out … It was abandoned … Looked as if there had been some sort of massacre there … The shrine had been destroyed and there had been shadows on the walls … I hadn't expected it though."
Completely true on every level and she stared down at her lap, she truly didn't like leading people on like this, especially when it was someone she considered family. "I see." Kakashi said he let the words run through his mind.
"What is it?" Sasuke asked and she knew that he was looking back and forth between her and Kakashi, trying to understand what was going on. Shisui was the one to break it though as he let the youngest Uchiha in on her abilities.
"Before the Haruno's lost their gifts, one of the families were capable of interacting with the spiritual plane. Sakura here has this ability, and when she's around some particularly spiritual area's her kekki genkai gets a little overloaded for her, and sometimes the situation can become a bit nasty." He explained.
There was no need to correct him, it was all true, and some spirits were very malevolent, those ones she liked to pretend that she really couldn't see them though.
"I see, still though that doesn't explain why she was found in such a position." Sasuke said as he repositioned his attention back to her, she could feel his intense stare and she decided it would be wiser to not look up, and she focused hard on her hands in her lap.
"Most likely she ran and the spirit followed her, at some point she probably blacked out, it wouldn't be the first time she was found in a precarious position after a run in with a spirit." Naruto spoke up finally.
This was also too true, she couldn't even fit all the times she had a bad run in with a spirit and blacked out only to be found somewhere completely unexpected.
"Right." He seemed skeptical, but unlike Naruto, Kakashi, Yamato Sai and even Shisui, Sasuke had never had the pleasure of finding her in such predicaments, never had to see any of the bruises, never had to help heal her, he'd never had to run through the village at a life or death pace with a body closer to a corpse.
He'd gotten lucky leaving at the time he did, sometimes she wished Naruto would have just left her there, she didn't like nor had she ever wanted to burden him with these things.
That's another reason why she didn't complain at all when she had been transferred to the Kemuri settlement, unlike the shinobi villages, civilian ones barely had any sort of spiritual residues on their grounds. Life was much easier with that out of the way.
She wondered, if this was going to be put in the report, if it went in this would surely make her look like a reckless and incompetent medic, something she truly was not. Although it would make sure that nobody ever assigned her to medic duty.
Thankfully the subject turned away from her and to another topic as Shisui spoke. "We need to pack up and move. We've gone through all of Orochimaru's journals from when he met Kabuto till the very end, and there isn't anything helpful in them."
"Sakura did say we wouldn't find anything." Sai said.
The attention focused back at her and she glared at her hands still folded in her lap. "Sakura-chan?" Naruto asked, she looked up at him through her bangs. He was gentle in his coaxing. "You said you had memorized Kabuto's profile, do you know where he could be?"
Honestly, while she had ready the profile on him, she could now say that with his illness it was nearly impossible which direction to take. Ignoring her dry mouth she spoke. "I don't, Kabuto's tricky and out of character, he could be anywhere."
This was once again true, Kabuto was tricky, he was smart and he knew what he was doing, and with his problem he's doing things that were completely not him. This was also bad for him, if he continued on this path; the bodies would become his fallen breadcrumbs.
"Shisui's right we need to get packed up, we'll have to hit the underground and keep an ear out for him." Kakashi replied.
Now he was thinking like his old self, why hadn't he just said that from the beginning, they wouldn't be wasting their time had he just said those words when they decided on what they were going to do in the first place?
"Alight then who's gonna watch Sakura-san while we clean up?" Yamato asked.
Oh no, she was now about to allow them to treat her like a piece of glass, no, no, no that would not due. Pushing the thin blanket from her body she replied in a soft voice. "It's fine, I need to organize the journals and some herbs … and other things." She said as she stood up.
"Are you sure? By the looks of it you took a nasty fall, you feeling up for it?" Shisui asked.
Really, after all this time, she'd think by now he'd learn that she wasn't going to back down, even if she was in a losing fight. "Really I'm fine, I just need some water and I'll be good to go." She replied frustrated.
He held his hands up in defense as she walked passed him.
"Alright then, everyone start cleaning, I'm going to send a message to Hokage-sama to alert her that will be moving and to have another cleaning crew come this way." Kakashi said in the background.
As she walked down the hall, she allowed her chakra to roam about, she was curious as to how Kabuto was capable of knowing what was going on inside the base.
She was turning up nothing though, meaning that there was a good chance that there were secret tunnels hidden from view and possibly easily accessible from both inside and out.
She'd have to look out for those just in case, unfortunately though there wasn't much time. Given how many of them there was and the speed of each person she'd say she barely had two hours at the most left in the base.
That wasn't exactly the greatest time to go exploring some more. Really it was a pity, how she really wanted to be like one of those civilian detectives that found hidden passageways that were built who knows how long ago.
She needed to stop thinking she had a job to do and right now, that was going to Orochimaru's bedroom and organizing the journal collection and sealing them, she also needed to preserve Orochimaru's body so that the cleanup team that came by didn't disturb any of the findings.
And she still wasn't thinking about what she was going to have to do in Kabuto's room.
Turning the last corner, she reached Orochimaru's room, while she knew that Kabuto's room was closer, right now she was guessing with what they did find was of utmost importance. Meaning Orochimaru for the small moment came first.
"You know you really shouldn't be using your chakra like that." Itachi's calm and soft voice floated into the air.
She smiled softly as she entered Orochimaru's room, finding Itachi already beginning the organization of the journals. "You know I'm the one who's supposed to be doing that." She said.
"Actually you assumed it was you who was supposed to do this." He retaliated.
She lifted a brow, he was right she did assume it was her responsibility, but he should've assumed that she would not have wanted anybody else to do it. "Don't you have your own things to do?" She asked.
"I daily organize and clean up after myself; I might as well help in some way or another instead of waiting around for everyone else to be finished." He answered smoothly, never once looking away from his skimming of the journal in his possessions.
"How thoughtful." She replied.
"Are you already done with your own things?" He asked suddenly. Of course she was, she didn't bring anything with her minus her scroll and cloak, and she always resealed her things after using them. "Yes, I'm already all set to go as well." She replied easily.
Moving further into the room she made her way towards the desk that Yamato had made and pulled at her scroll, as she unrolled it, she stopped at another kanji and bit her thumb into it, pressing it to the parchment paper she quickly forced her chakra into it and turned away looking about at the journals.
"Have you separated and tagged each one?" She asked.
"Doing that now." Itachi replied as he skimmed the pages of a journal. He stopped and looked towards her and she had to repress a gulp as she looked up at him. His eyes were the most hypnotizing eyes she'd ever seen, and it wasn't even the sharingan that was pulling her in.
"Have you already opened the locked journal?" He asked out of nowhere and she had to pull herself out of the trance she'd been in as she answered honestly. "Yes." There wasn't any loop holes for her to jump through, and lying to him wasn't a possibility; Uchihas were trained from early ages in order to user their sharingan to detect lies, so honesty was the best course to take when one thought about it.
"What was in it?" He asked.
Now here, this she could once again take her looking to be favorite page out of Kabuto's book; assumption. Inhaling softly, she answered with the only words she knew how to use. "It's confidential." In a way it truly was, the book had been written to her specifically, what was said is under a need to know basis, Itachi didn't need to know, it was not necessary for him to know so it was in every way confidential. How he looked at it was not on her.
"Alright. .. Go ahead and preserve the body, I'll take care of journals." Itachi said.
Well someone was being considerably nice to her, even if they were sleeping together; he should have known that she didn't expect any special treatment. She truly didn't like special treatment. Opening her mouth Itachi beat her as he once again spoke up. "It'll make things go a lot more quickly if we do it this way."
Of course, there was always a catch, he was already dead set on leaving as quick and soon as possible. She really needed a breath to catch, and he wanted to hurry things along. Did anyone on their team see that she really was at a dilemma here?
Of course not for some idiot reason she wasn't allowing them to see what was going on with her. Really, truly an idiot move and she knew undoubtedly that this would all backfire on her eventually though.
Nodding her head in understanding she turned back to her scroll and gathered up the scrolls that she'd unsealed and placed them next to the Uchiha heir. He looked at her with a lifted brow and she replied in a quiet voice. "To seal the journals."
Turning away from him she averted her attention to the corpse in the room. The smell of it had become worse, and she couldn't for the life of her understand how she hadn't noticed this, how she was capable of not noticing this was a wonder to her.
The blood would indefinitely need to be cleaned up, the smell would only attract insects that would disturb and ruin the body, something they didn't want or need right now. That would have to be dealt with later though, right now her main priority would be preserving the body and making sure that it wouldn't further rot away.
She'd have to use an astringent to decrease the smell and fight the bacteria, then she'd have to smooth it down with a jelly to keep the softened skin from crumbling away from the harsh chemicals of the astringent and to slow down the decomposition. Sighing deeply she turned back to her scroll and unsealed her death kit quickly; she didn't know why but every time she thought or said it, it always made her want to laugh.
Death kit, a mental chuckle and a small amused smirk appeared on her face.
… She really shouldn't be amused by that at all. … It was a sign that she needed to switch careers soon.
Opening her kit she grabbed a pair of gloves along with her two bags of spider silk strips and the putrefaction astringent, using the medium sized bowl in her kit she emptied the entire bottle into the bowl and placed all the strips into the bowl as well. While those soaked she turned back to her kit and pulled out the jelly she'd need and opened it then grabbed all five rolls of her wrapping material; While fascinating to see and study, Orochimaru sure didn't make preserving his body easy at all, the next stop she had she'd have to stock up on all of her preservation materials seeing as she was using it all on him.
Turning back to the soaking strips she grabbed the bowl and pulled out a strip gently going over the carcass that was Orochimaru. She watched as one of the scales began to disintegrate. Cursing under her breath she created a clone and quickly handed the bowl to it and hurriedly grabbed the jelly and sloshed it onto the remaining area that hadn't yet began to fall apart. Stepping back for a moment she looked over the body.
She hadn't wanted to but it seemed she'd need to use a clone for this, Orochimaru's corpse was too old already and to soft for the astringent and while she knew it was a necessity to use, she preferred that everything was there when the cleaning crew got there. When Tsunade got the body there shouldn't be any bacteria that had grown onto it and there should never be any bitten or picked at parts, she hated when other medics left the corpse as is, and she wasn't about to allow herself become a hypocrite, not when it came to her work.
Grabbing a good handful of the salve she watched as her clone picked up another soaked strip and went over another area of the body, as soon as she moved away she began moving covering the entire area in the ointment. Now she was really beginning to dislike Orochimaru even more, he really made her work harder than necessary, preservation jobs were usually simple and easy, his body, his warped and twisted snake carcass made everything more complicated.
She didn't even know if these precautions would hold up; seems like she'd find out though.
Using the back of her forearm she wiped the sweat off her forehead, all this stress was beginning to hit her and not in a pretty way. Taking off her gloves she grabbed another pair out of her kit and slipped them on before grabbing the wrapping material. Taking the salve again she sloshed the material with the ointment before moving over towards the body again. Her clone carefully grabbed the body and lifted it. She hesitated for a moment; did she really want to go under Orochimaru's dead and mutilated body?
Looking underneath the rotting carcass she watched in horror as the scales fell off and the blood was like a piece of gum caught in hair, it looked gooey and warm and not at all appetizing.
Turning back to her kit she grabbed a scraper, goggles and a face mask. This was going to be ugly.
"Pein one of my associates has alerted me that they'd heard rumors of Kabuto lingering about the border of Otogakure." Sasori said as he walked into the tower.
He could see Peins cloak as it swayed about outside and he wondered what the boy was looking at as he stood out in the rain.
"Otogakure? What would he be doing over there?" Konan asked as she moved out of the shadows and pondered over her own questions.
"I bet this has something to do with that ha-shinobi team." Madara's voice said as he appeared in the room. Sasori blinked wondering how long he'd been standing there in the room, and how much longer he knew about Kabuto and the Konoha shinobi.
"What does Konoha want that's in Otogakure?" Konan asked as she turned her attention fully onto Madara.
He had a feeling he knew, it wasn't exactly a secret that Orochimaru's body was there, the question was why hadn't they gone to get it when they'd heard the news of his demise? Why go now after all this time? Mentally he rolled his eyes; this was not part of his job.
"Kabuto has been acting stranger than usual." Peins voice came into the room as he finally stepped off the ledge and walked into the room. "I received word not too long ago that after his little stunt in Konohagakure he went and taken a child, only the child was found at the border of Nami. Now he's turned up into Otogakure? Something doesn't seem right."
No something didn't seem right; Kabuto wasn't one to be interested in living people specifically children. Something he'd learned early on was that the medic shinobi while completely polite and semi more sane than Orochimaru was that he didn't have the tolerance for children and even lesser for children with no manners; and a kidnapped child would indefinitely be manner-less.
"Another odd thing is that Kabuto has been taken out of the bingo book." Madara added in as he moved about the room, watching them like a wolf does it prey.
Now that was more interesting than odd, someone paid big money to keep Kabuto out of the bingo books, and it was nearly impossible to get an insane s-class shinobi out of the bingo book, getting a jonin level shinobi out of a bingo book was complicated enough.
A thought occurred to him then, Kabuto had just killed the Fire Daimyo, slapping himself mentally breathed out harshly as he realized what was going on.
"That's not just an ordinary Konoha team out there in Otogakure, it's a killing squad." He said.
Konan clicked her tongue as it seemed to click together for her. "Of course Konoha would pay to get him out of the bingo book, they want to take care of their own instead of allowing other hanta-nins to cash in on such a great opportunity."
"But still why a such a big team? When I sent Zetsu out there he came back with news of twelve shinobi on the squad, it's a bit dramatic don't you think?" Madara questioned.
"A killing squad of twelve it is a bit too much, Konoha isn't exactly known for their stupidity." Pein replied.
Sasori narrowed his eyes at Madara, he knew more than he was willing to tell, he was even sure that he knew the names of each member on the team. Looking over him he watched carefully as the elder shinobi pranced about the room with his information. Of course Madara would find all of this amusing instead of annoying. He needed to deflate the Uchiha before he got too much control of the two younglings in the room.
"Madara, did Zetsu happen to see who was on the team?" He asked with a sure tone. He knew Madara wouldn't be happy with him crashing his parade.
Madara looked at him and he knew deep down in his now human body that he was being glared harshly at as he spoke in that fake voice he liked to use. "Of course he did the Kyubi-Jinchurriki's team, Sasuke-kun and his two babbling baboons, an Uchiha Shisui and our three favorite men."
Of course the Hokage would send out some of her strongest shinobi to take out Kabuto.
Wait. … Three Uchihas, Uzumaki Naruto, the Kopī shinobi Hatake Kakashi and. …"Haruno Sakura." Pein said suddenly with a troubling smirk on his face.
"This isn't exactly the best team to send out to capture Kabuto, there's would be too many problems arising with so many dominate figures." Sasori said taking the attention off Haruno Sakura; she was a thought for later.
"I concluded as much, I don't think the Hokage wants them to catch him. I think she's found her an opening for something she's planning though." Madara supplied.
Of course the blonde Hokage was planning something; all these Kage's always thought they had the best of plans didn't they. It was to be expected really.
"What would you like to do about this?" Sasori asked Pein. Another glare from Madara and he smirked inwardly, how good it felt to get under the hidden skin of such a powerful shinobi. Really taking away his fun was much too fun.
"Perhaps a visit would help enlighten us to what exactly is happening in Oto." Pein said with a smirk.
He was all too familiar with that smirk, Haruno Sakura was on his mind, of course Pein would want to see her. She'd gone and attracted his attention and now she just had to pay the piper. Really that girl should have thought through everything before she did anything, she could have avoided problems such as this.
"Very well then, I'll inform the others." Sasori said as he turned and left the room.
Perhaps though this was the perfect opportunity to see if his latest theory on Kabuto was correct, it would be an interesting discovery.
"Could that girl get any hotter?" Suigestu asked as he stared into Orochimaru's chambers. Sasuke stopped in the hall and looked over the white haired shinobi. He seemed to be in a complete trance and as he moved closer he could see signs of arousal beginning to arise.
He meant that in the literal sense as well.
"Suigetsu." He said as he walked over to the other shinobi, he jumped and seemed to come out of his trance, his arousal disappearing instantly as well. Turning to the site and cause of distraction he found four Sakuras in the room.
Two Sakura were holding the ends of what was left of Orochimaru's remains while another was standing before it and another underneath with her legs absentmindedly spread as she took the wrappings from the other Sakura and wrapped the bottom of the body.
Looking around the room, he found that all the books had disappeared, and the other half of the remains had already been wrapped and preserved.
Turning his attention back to Sakura he realized that she indeed look attractive, even though she was beneath a dead body, her clothes dirty from dirt, blood and sweat, while her face was covered with clear wide goggles, and a face mask. He watched as her chest heaved up and down and how her legs looked as the gleamed and shined with perspiration in the candlelit room.
Really such a look should gross a person out, really they should be grossed out, but not when it came to Sakura, she could make anything gross look like the perfect place to take advantage of her. Oh he really shouldn't be thinking such things, really it wasn't proper, he needed to shut those thoughts out.
Closing his eyes he turned around and faced Suigetsu, his own arousal dimming in his blood as he looked over the other man. "Are you all finished helping Naruto out with those traps?" He asked.
"Yup, just though I'd stop by and see how she was doing." Suigetsu replied as he continued to stare at Sakuras form in the background.
"And how long have you been working on that excuse?" Sasuke asked with a slight smirk.
Suigetsu turned his attention back to him and gave him a toothy grin. "Since I found her on her hands and knees, scrapping up Orochimaru's scales and meat deposits, now you should have seen that for a moment I actually thought about just stomping in there and pulling down her pants and-"
"Really I would like to see you tell her that to her face." Sasuke said stopping Suigestu from continuing on his thoughts.
"Don't worry; your brother stopped me before I could go through on those thoughts." He said casually with a slight shrug of the shoulders.
Sasuke froze; Itachi had been there, in the room with Sakura, alone. Suigetsu seemed to read his mind in that moment as he continued on. "Yeah he was finishing up sealing some of those books they had found when I had come by. You know I never really thought your brother was actually capable of feeling attraction until I saw him watch Sakura for a couple of minutes before he noticed me. I swear that man, is creepy."
Really, Itachi had been openly staring at Sakura. … It was worse than he had originally thought, especially if he was getting over protective of her. He should wonder if this was good or bad.
On one hand, Itachi, if he was without a doubt an all around sane and truth telling guy way a good man for Sakura. He was; unfortunately, strong, capable of protecting her, and smart, he was extremely smart. On the other hand, he was an Uchiha, the Uchiha heir to be exact. He was expected to marry someone, and while Sakura was raised in a proper and old world clan, and taught how to be a proper wife, the problem was that Itachi as an heir was expected to produce his own heir. … Something Sakura was incapable of doing.
…. Unless of course the cure really was real and did in fact work, then he was screwed, he didn't want Itachi to have Sakura, it would be weird, his brother and ex-teammate.
He shuddered at the though. Just the thought of her and Gaara was wrong, while on one hand he would admit that they would look good together, but their personalities were completely off from each other and Gaara was a Suna shinobi and Sakura was of the Prestige Konoha shinobi's they didn't mesh well at all.
"Sasuke what are you doing here?"
Jumping at the voice he turned to find Sakura standing before him, her skin dirty and matted with sweat, dust and smudges of blood; blood that he knew for a fact did not come from her own body. Her hair was down and he could see some tiny pieces of scale fragments in it. She looked tired and she smelt as if she were part of the walking dead.
"Sasuke?" She asked again and he focused back to her.
"Yes Sakura?" He asked.
She looked at him with a lifted brow as she spoke. "What are you doing here?" She asked as she stood stiff in the threshold. Looking around the hallway again he found that Suigetsu had disappeared and it was just him and Sakura there, alone.
Now what was the whole reason he'd come this way in the first place again? He knew for a fact that it had not been for Suigetsu, he never needed to look for him, the mist nin was always there when he needed to be there. He knew it had something to do with Sakura though.
"Okay then … Well I'm just gonna go and get myself washed up before we leave … how much time do we have left till we take off?" Came her voice again.
Time, that was it, now he remembered, Kakashi had sent him this way to see how far Sakura had gotten in her cleaning so that he could calculate exactly how much more time he needed to give them.
It was as if she'd known exactly what needed to be said in order to help him figure out what he'd come for.
She'd brushed against him as she walked past the barrier as she made her way down the hall; he stopped her with his voice. "How much more time do you need to finish?" He asked.
She turned to him as she replied softly. "I'm all finished, just gonna get a shower in and probably some rest so I can regain some chakra back."
"Did you already catalog Kabuto's room?" He asked. "Yes I sent a clone to do that while I was in here with Orochimarus preservation's." She answered.
Of course she'd sent a clone, it would be a logically move what with how long it would take to preserve a body like Orochimaru's and all, then to have to catalog Kabuto's room that would take longer than what they actually had.
Before he could say anything more he realized that she had already left the hall, shaking his head he began his journey back to the throne room.
As the memories of her clone came back to her Sakura sighed as she made her way further into the woods, she needed to think, and Orochimaru's remains made her realize that she needed to think about Kabuto's offer.
While it had been odd that Orochimaru was the one to bring her back to the deal, somewhere inside her mind she knew that it was logical. The next body preservation she was needed to do could be her grandmothers. It could be her grandmother's clothes and her books, and her journals and diaries that the clan came into clean up and destroy.
She for a moment there she couldn't breathe just thinking about how real all that could be given a few more months.
With the need to breathe and the stress to loose, she needed to get out of there, away from the stuffiness and testosterone. She couldn't concentrate.
A salvation right now was what she needed, somewhere where her mind and body could find peace, maybe, probably; she didn't really know what she needed right now, she just needed to turn to somewhere, someone, something. With all the complications arising in her life, everyday was getting worse, harder for her, more confusing on her heart than anything if she had to say.
While she would say she was doing quiet good on keeping up appearances, her patience was beginning to wear thin and she could now see some of the cracks in her perfect mask she'd created. With each crack she herself was getting that much closer to just giving up, giving in and just loosing herself to whatever fate her god decided to hand out to her, resisting such things was harder than most people thought. To be perfectly honest it was exhausting, on the heart, mind, and soul.
It used to be when she was younger, her decisions were made for her, her grandfathers were always there to say what she wasn't allowed to, decided what path she was going to take. Once she broke free of that routine, she'd began doing her own thing and now that she looked back at her life she realized how much of a mess it had become since she became her own person. Now though, she could barely live her own life, with working on the field in the war, Sasuke coming back, Itachi and whatever she had with him, and her grandfathers supposed cure. She felt like she was fading away into the background and once again, while it was her life, she'd been once again pushed onto the side to become background noise, and she couldn't take it anymore, she could never handle not being a true working member of the group.
Now that she was thinking everything through she realized she needed seclusion from being there with everyone, she needed to let go and think and decided. How she wished she could have someone, anyone, to be there with her, by her side, holding her hand and telling her everything was going to be alright, that whatever she figured out it would lead to better things, that it was the right thought, the right action. There wasn't anybody there though, nobody could be there, all people did was hold her down from figuring things out, from deciding what needed to be done.
For all this she needed to go somewhere where no one else was, away from everything and everyone. An escape from her life, from reality, from the dream world, running to anywhere, far, far away where she couldn't be stopped, her mind and heart agreed right now that they needed to escape, to understand what was going on.
She knew where her body was taking her; she knew that her mind had already been made up. She just needed reassurance.
The realization that she was beginning to second guess herself was starting to settle in harshly.
As she tumbled about the forest she felt herself stop and finally give into the weariness that was hitting her hard and for a moment she felt like she was floating in the buzzing energy of the worlds. She could feel her cheeks were cold and damp. Comprehension was becoming clearer as she wiped at her face and realized she' was crying. Her awareness kicking in she found herself once again at the doorsteps of the abandoned temple. Her body fallen and lying in a heap on the floor.
The little strength in her and she used the last of it to lift herself up and slip inside, the short distance a gift to her lost body as she collapsed once again before the destroyed shrine. She didn't care if the others thought she was naive for believing in a higher power, believing in something pure, she was raised this way and her parents had been, it was the only thing that she actually knew that they had in common without a doubt.
There was a single candle left, the one that had been lit by Kabuto before hand and she found her lighter and lit it up.
"Please if you can hear me … Please I need help." She cried
Silence, just as she expected, it was always silence when she did try to find help, but unlike the time she demanded Tsunade to help her train, she couldn't track down and bribe the person that controlled all things, it just wasn't that simple.
"I feel as if the world has just stopped turning, and I can't help but wonder sometimes. … If it's at all possible for a person to just physically … fade away. And everything's just a mess, all these horrible situations are popping up and it's like they have a hold on my heart and my head just hurts so much. … And when I look into the future I can't see myself and I doubt I'll ever be able to escape all this pain if I could ever see myself." She spoke to the energy that buzzed into the room.
"You know sometimes I wish that people could see what I was feeling, like when I'm sad and crying the skies could become covered by grey clouds and everything gets completely flooded by heavy rains. It doesn't though and on the days it does, it doesn't mean anything to me and it makes me think my life's in vain. And on those days I'm not sure if I know if what I'm feeling is even real or what I believe its suppose to be. … My thoughts and my feelings make no sense to me sometimes and everything just feels out of place and strange to me." She stopped herself as she tried to catch her breath.
She knew there was a possibility that someone from the group could have followed her and Kabuto could have been lurking somewhere close by, but she just couldn't care anymore, she needed to let this out. "I can't find my way right now, and it's becoming worse and I'm crying so much, I don't understand what is going on."
Anger began to bubble in her as she found no response no signs of anything, there was only stillness in the buzzing energy and the temple was so silent. She screamed. "Why can't you see I need you! I need help!"
A sob escaped her and she continued to cry. "Are you even there? Are you even real? I need you … I need your help and I don't want to be alone with myself right now." She heaved another breath into her body. "Please I need you, I need you to save me from mistakes …. From myself … I can't take much more."
"My life is at a standstill right now and I need you to tell me what I should do, which road I should take. I can't figure this all out on my own. And it's controlling my every move that I can't make a move until I know. … Please tell me what I'm supposed to do. … I don't know what to do."
"I don't know if I should go and risk exposing my weakness or if I should stay another day and wait to see if everything gets better … I need you to tell me what I should do … which road is the right one. Dear Kami I need a miracle right now."
… .Did you really think I was going to leave you hanging that cruelly? …
The forest was empty, as expected, shinobi turned civilians usually did make sure to clean up any messes that had been made during their time in the service, just to make sure nothing came back during their time of retirement.
The head family home was quiet, the shoji screens that belonged to the master bedroom were opened, just on the other side of the house was a bustling of the clan and their shops. The Haruno clan was a good sized clan, nothing like that of the Uchihas but nearly as close.
The other Haruno's though were not as interesting as that of the head family. Perfectly breed, beautiful lineage, deep ancestral connections. They were blood purist through and through with a magnificent pedigree. One day he'd get a body from the head family, one day, someday.
Right now though, his mission, his task was to save himself, keep himself from being overtaken by his previous partner. In order to do that though he needed to save that of a head family member of the Haruno clan.
Kabuto smirked as he looked around himself once more before slipping soundlessly from the tree he's been hiding in. It was too easy slipping into the bedroom of the head family. There wasn't a need to worry though if he was caught he was sure they wouldn't stop him, not if they wanted their matriarch to live.
As he walked into the sunlit room, he found the gravely ill matriarch lying in her bed, sleeping peacefully. The cancer must have gotten worst they'd given her morphine, something only used to numb the pain, and by the looks of the bag it was taking a lot of morphine to lessen just some of it.
Undoing that i.v. carefully he took off all the other i.v.'s and wires the elderly woman was hooked up to.
He remembered her from his childhood, how could one not remember such a person. She had been the definition of beauty, the goddess of beauty really, her hair that was now lost had been long thick, curly and like a deep shinning and glistening cherry wood. Her skin had been perfectly tanned and glowing iridescently like an opal gemstone, her eyes were glowing embers with a sheen of green in them, her body lithe and lean yet she looked as if she had been a model for all the goddess sculptures in the world.
Really if Sakura got her looks from anyone it would have to be her grandmother.
Looking at her now though, in such a pitiful state it was worrying she was an immortal and yet here she was aged horribly decades lying on her deathbed just waiting.
There was no way he'd ever allow himself to fall into such a state.
Reaching into his pocket and pulling out the needle he uncapped it, placing it on the bedside table. He stopped where he was as he felt the energy spike in the room, staring back at the woman he sighed exasperated as he spoke. "I know you're there Haruno-san."
Turning around carefully he watched as the much older man appeared before him, he looked just as he remembered; his age still somewhere in his forties, his long black hair still hanging long and straight with more than a couple new white hairs than he used to have. His robes were that of the best materials there could be and he still wore that unattached and melancholy straight thin lipped look, His eyes, those bright green eyes, they were different, he'd only ever seen this on two people he'd ever meet in his entire life.
Sakura and Naruto; there in the older man's eyes was a fierce look to protect and determined look to destroy, to dismantle and shred apart until there was nothing left but dust at his feet. This was fascinating, at first he'd always thought that the Haruno patriarch had only ever married out of necessity, choosing that of the most beautiful from a clan from a village outside the shinobi world and far away from the five nations as possible. Here though in his eyes he saw that there was love for the woman that had been there far longer than he even he could perceive.
"Tell me what exactly any of my people did to make you come here and try to kill my wife?" He asked with suppressed raged in his voice.
Kabuto smiled softly knowing it wasn't capable of being seen, had he been that predictable when he was with Orochimaru? Feeling the dark chakra that was oozing out of the clan head he dismissed his thoughts as he reassured the older shinobi.
"I didn't come to hurt your wife; I came to save her actually."
The Haruno didn't take it as the truth one bit. "Don't take me as a fool Yakushi, I have the best medics in the world helping her and they have all said the same thing."
Of course he would say that, a man with money would believe that his money would get him all the answers. "The best medic the world knows of, I don't doubt this. You forget though, I'm one of the best medics the world forgot about, that this new world were coming into doesn't know of." He replied.
"There isn't a cure."
"Ah … but there is, and if you stopped talking I could give your wife her life back." Kabuto reassured.
The Haruno narrowed his eyes at him as he questioned. "Why would you help us?"
His answer was simple, he was sure that a man like this would be willing to give anything to get anything. "Sakura."
The man stiffened and the thoughts of his granddaughter controlling the strings of fate at the moment must have struck a nerve within him as he watched the man eyes brighten immensely with aggravation and anger as he spoke.
"Sakura, what does she have to do with this?"
Again why lie? "I need her and she won't give me what I want until she gets what she wants. … And to prove to her that I will be willing to do what it takes to get what I need, I thought I'd be nice and give her what she needed."
"And you think giving my wife this cure you have will get her to do as you say?" Haruno-san asked.
"I know it will, Sakura may be strong in her morals but her heart is stronger than her mind, and her blood, your blood that runs in her veins will choose her blood before anything else and will do anything in order to protect and keep it."
The problem here though was that he needed to do this quickly, Sakura's and the rest of the retrieval team were going to be on the move sooner or later once they realized he'd never left anything to tell them where he would be.
"Alert your Hokage that your wife has been cured; make sure she lets word get to Sakura as soon as possible." Kabuto said as he turned his back to the patriarch.
Picking up the needle once more he stuck it into the i.v. and pushed down on the syringe, watching as the liquid made its way through the plastic tube and into the woman's body.
The room was quiet minus the shuffling of robes as the Haruno member made his way closer to the bed, standing beside him as they watched and waited. There was a tiny percentage that his calculations of the woman's biology were wrong and as he watched the heart monitor he watched the steady beats increase in tempo.
His own heart beat harshly in his own ears, this woman's life was the only thing that was keeping him from his own. The tempo of her heart fastened considerably and he watched as her body slowly began to twitch.
The twitching increased as it turned into a seizure and he forced himself to remember not to let his own emotions get to him, he would not let this woman control his own fate.
"What's happening?" The Haruno asked in a strained voice.
"A war obviously." Kabuto replied as he watched the liquid fight off the disease. The tempo of the heart increased once more and he had to move quickly as the older man ran to his wife.
Holding him back as the heart line went flat. He spoke in a convinced tone. "Wait." "You killed her." Haruno-san spoke with malice.
"Watch." He said as he waited with batted breath as the heart line continued to stay flat. The room was still waiting for the line to change.
It was possible that his calculation had been wrong somewhere and he'd just lost his chance, there was a possibility.
The problem was the emotion that came with losing his only chance. Before he could continue on his train of thoughts the heart monitor changed and the elderly woman heaved in a breathe of air, her beautiful fire colored eyes popping open and her skeletal, frail and wrinkled limbs reached out and beckoned her spouse.
Letting go of the patriarch he watched as the man fell into the arms of his beloved with relief shinning in his eyes.
Turning away he walked back to the opened shoji screens about to jump back into the forest, he was stopped before he could leave the room. "Wait." The Haruno head ordered.
Turning his neck he watched as the man looked him over once before asking. "How do I know she's really cured?"
"If you called Tsunade like I said I'm sure she'd be able to reassure you that your wife in undoubtedly healed … forever more." He said before he leaped into the trees.
"Sakura-chan where have you been?" The boisterous blonde asked he appeared in front of her as she made her way up the stairs leading to the solid ground earth. Sakura sighed as she continued her path. "I was resting you baka … Some of us need rest since we're all not like a certain bottle of unlimited energy." She replied smoothly.
"Oh but we checked Kabuto's lab and you weren't in there and-" She cut him off as she pulled his lips into her fingers and kept him from continuing his talking. "There are other rooms Naruto." She said as she let go of his lips she watched as he rubbed them till the feeling obviously went away.
"Okay Sakura-chan." Naruto responded as he turned away dejectedly.
She hadn't meant to be mean, it was just that she had a headache from all the crying and screaming and now she felt like nothing was right and everything seemed to be worsened by her admitting that things were all wrong.
"Shisui says it's good to move now, we're heading into River Country, and it's the closest and safest place to Amegakure where we will be going to the underground." Kakashi told them.
"Amegakure?" Sakura asked, that was dangerous, especially with Naruto and the Akatsuki, there was no way of telling if they had recruited once more and replaced the three that had been stolen from them.
Kakashi seemed to read her mind though and reassured her. "Don't worry too much Sakura, with all of us here; it's nearly impossible for the Akatsuki to get Naruto-kun."
That wasn't the most reassuring. "Let's hope your right on that." She replied softly before she slipped into her cloak and mask.
Naruto while strong still had his blind spots, they all did and that was reason enough to be wary about what he was suggesting they do, where they were going they would have to be alert and ready for anything to come their way.
A chakra spike and Sakura stiffened as she looked around them, her chakra leaking out of her and reaching out, looking for the foreign energy. More energy spikes and her eyes turned to Kakashi and Yamato, they had stiffened as well and she knew this time whatever was coming wasn't being shy about it.
"Shisui, Sasuke tell me what you see." Kakashi said as he pressed onto the button on his neck.
Silence was their only reply and then there was another chakra spike, this one all too familiar to her. "Kabuto's here." Sai said as he reached for his sword.
"We've located Kabuto and he's moving your way fast." Shisui's voice rang into their ears.
Her jitters were strong as she stood there, and she watched as the others seemed to appear in front of them, all of them. A pop of animal energy to her left and she watched as a small slug appeared before.
"Sakura-sama Tsunade-hime has a message for you." The small slug said as she moved over to the frozen Sakura.
"What is it?"
The slug's next words had unknowingly made Sakura's next move as clear as day. "You grandmother has awoken finally, and it seems the cancer is completely gone … She's been cured Sakura-sama."
She was cured, he wasn't lying, he cured her grandmother, just as he had promised he would. "Thank you Katsuyu you may be on your way now… things are about to get ugly."
"Sakura move into the tree's." Shisui's voice said.
Sakura snapped her head to his direction and blinked back into reality as his words sunk in. That was right, she wasn't allowed to fight, and she was acting medic now.
Nodding her head, she decided she'd do as they say for right now, until she could figure out how she was going to go about things, without getting killed.
Jumping into the tree, she sat down and pulled out the scroll from her hair and stared at it. What she was about to do would surely give Tsunade the clearest message ever. Unsealing the summoning scroll she unrolled it and stared at her signature and hand print.
Taking a deep breath she quickly pulled at the parchment and like a band-aid she ripped off her name. Watching as the material mended itself back showing off a clean piece of parchment before it disappeared from sight. No more summoning from there on.
The tree shook and she looked down and watched as the others engaged Kabuto in combat, as she expected he saw all of their attacks coming. Turning back to her scroll she unrolled it, her last reserve had been made when the fear of her, Naruto and Sai were about to be forced to flee Konoha in order to protect Naruto from the elders and Danzo.
By doing this, everything in her room, everything in her hidden trap would be moved to a safe location, and by doing this it would indefinitely move all the pieces of the puzzle together. She pressed her chakra into the seal as she held her breath.
Then it was done and she could feel her leaf tattoo move about and tingle as it changed and formed the kanji that represented veracity.
Before she could comprehend what she had just done she felt a chakra appear closer to them, no not just a chakra, a few, four to be exact and one of them clashed against her own and she shivered at the darkness of it.
It was back, whatever it was it was back.
Putting back her scroll and fixing her hair she waited for any reciprocation from the other much stronger chakra, there was nothing though and she sighed, they were still at a distance meaning that they weren't hurrying to them.
Dropping from the floor she watched and waited for an opening to take, her eyes focused on Kabuto's form and she could feel his eerie stare against her own, he as well was waiting for her to do something. The three Uchiha's jumped him then and she watched as the others seemed to come up with a new plan and as Kabuto was distracted they grabbed kunai's into their hands and flung them towards the busy nukenin.
Time seemed to slow down at that second as she watched the kunai's make their way towards her grandmother's savior. She gulped as she reached at her tattoo quickly pulling out a sai. She wasn't positive this would work, it should she'd been working on this for some time now that her calculations should by now be perfect.
Turning swiftly she threw her sai towards the kunai's direction and time caught up then as she hit the floor with enough force to cause the three Uchiha's to fall away from Kabuto. The forest became silent and she watched as the kunai's imbedded themselves into a nearby tree.
Using a henge she changed her cloak into a silver colored one and changed her mask into an iron colored samurai mask. She moved into the field then and watched as the attention was shifted to her. Kabuto's energy buzzed with joy and amusement as he watched the others pick themselves up from the floor and looked at her.
The small hair at the back of her nape and she flipped before she could get hit by one of Shisui's fire balls.
Again the fighting was happening and this time she and Kabuto fought alongside each other, and she dodged and deflected all weapons of metal, chakra and flesh.
It was killing her doing this; she really hoped that they realized one day that she had only done this out of love.
"Fuck this guys good!" Kisame voice came into her hearing.
"Kakashi!" Shisui screamed.
"Yeah I know they don't have a chakra signature." He replied.
"Dammit they know our moves yeah!"
"Kabuto must have told them everything he knows about us."
"Where the hell is Sakura?"
She listened and watched as they all backed off from her and Kabuto; they had split them up then, not allowing them to be near each other. As she was so caught up with them she had completely forgotten about Sai.
She flipped before he could get another hit in and he this time had a clone waiting for her, and she fell to the floor, tumbling about the ground and as she skidded to a stop she quickly stood up.
She realized too late as the forest again became still and quiet that her hood had come off. She felt her mask cracking and she reached up and slipped it off throwing it to ground and watching as the henge came undone.
"Sakura-chan." Naruto's voice called out.
She sighed as she placed her façade on, she couldn't do this with him knowing that she didn't want to, she had to though there was no other way, if she backed out now, Kabuto could completely undo everything he'd fixed and her grandmother just might not live through it this time.
Turning around she stared at him with glass eyes, no emotion nothing that would give away her thoughts and cries.
"Sakura-chan." Naruto said as he took a step towards her only to be stopped by Kakashi.
"The abandoned temple, you'd gone to meet him there hadn't you?" Sasuke asked carefully.
Well no actually she hadn't but she would let him be the judge of that this time. "You tell me." She finally spoke as she made sure her voice didn't give her away.
"How long?" Shisui asked with gritted teeth.
She tilted her head as she watched him carefully. "Not long, truth is I never exactly had a choice in the matter."
"Sakura-chan please." Naruto pleaded as he pushed past Kakashi and moved closer to her. "Tell me this is all just some joke, if you think this is funny, I have to tell you it's not really funny at all."
"Don't do this Sakura, you can't do this were family, we're team seven, I know you're mad at teme, I know your mad at Kakashi and Obaa-chan but you can't throw in the towel, I'm not going to allow you to give up just because you can't handle it anymore."
"Don't tell me Naruto, if I go will you come after me and if necessary will you cut off my legs and drag me back?" She asked as she ignored the truth behind his words.
"If I have to I will." Naruto said as his eyes turned red.
"I'm just a girl from a civilian family, I'm not anyone special Naruto, unlike Sasuke they won't allow you to come after me." She spoke softly.
Before Naruto could get another word in Shisui jumped in, and she refused to look him in the eye as he spoke, she couldn't look at him, he would see through everything, he out of all people knew her better than any. "And here I thought I knew you, you made me believe that you were different from all the others."
She could really feel her heart breaking at his words, she knew just how much problems he went through in the academy and in the clan because he was an Uchiha, because he was a child of an outsider. He and Naruto had more in common than either could actually believe.
She could barely handle doing this to them that if both of them kept it up she would break. She had to keep up the façade, she had to do this, there was no going back now. Taking a deep breath she forced her emotions into a box and locked them there for later times. She knew as she finally faced him that he could see absolutely nothing in her, just as she needed him too,
"I'm sorry but I'm not going to try anymore, and since there's nothing back there to make me stay I'm not going to." Her next words were probably the only thing that either knew how true they were. "I'm stronger than I used to be, and anything that was left of my heart for that village and those clans is gone …. There's no guilt in leaving when not needed."
Naruto's whiskers deepened and darkened then and she knew she was going to have to cut it short. "I'm tired Sakura and I'm done playing twenty questions with you, I don't care about why your acting weird and since this all seems so bat shit crazy that you've forced me to do something I swore I would never do."
She could see his lips tighten and darken and she knew that he was about to let the Kyubi take control and she knew that if he got free then her and Kabuto would be screwed. The hairs on her neck lifted again and she knew that the others had moved into position to stop her and Kabuto at any cost.
"Hey Naruto you know how you asked why the Sandaime Hokage placed me in team seven?" Sakura asked quickly catching him off guard. With the Kyubi sealed inside him this would probably only last just enough time and she still needed to get close enough to them to place the transportation jutsu on them to get them far away from the chakra signature's that was right on their tails now.
"It was this." She could feel her eyes began to glow and change and she watched as Naruto froze in his place. The others as well, the markings on her back began to rip and she could feel them burning and dripping out her blood.
Her voice came out different and she could tell that she'd had them hypnotized in their spots as she walked closer to them. "Now stay right there." She could feel the power in her words and the force that clashed her mind with theirs.
"Why can't I move?" Sasuke asked. She ignored him as she walked up to Naruto and whispered in his ear. "I'm not going to look back on this moment; I'm not going to allow myself to waste away in that village. Just know that I don't hate you, and don't blame yourself about any of this, you did all you could for me. I'm done though, with that village with team seven, it's done, and over you need to move on."
She turned to see Shisui's eye moving and she knew she couldn't leave him without at least saying something. All the things she could possibly say refused to come out and she was at a standstill as she walked over to him. She hesitated as she looked him over, if it had been possibly she would have wished she could have fallen in love with him. That their age gap hadn't been so disturbing for a relationship.
The words that left her lips instead were nothing she had wanted to say but knew were the only ones to say. " …. I'm sorry but I'm not coming back."
"Ah Sakura-san I think we should get moving, unless of course you'd like to have a meet and greet with the people heading our way." Kabuto said as he walked over to her.
Looking back to Naruto she pulled out the transportation tag, she had place some on a few trees' where ever he went would hopefully give him a head start; she didn't want to know what such a dark chakra would do to Naruto. She placed the tag in his palm and she turned away, watching as Kabuto looked down at them with amusement and arrogance. His hand reached out for her and she carefully grabbed at the scaled limb; it seemed it was getting worse.
Looking at him with pleading eyes she begged quietly. "Please don't mock them." He smiled down at her as he pulled her to his side. "Of course Sakura-san anything for you." He replied as he summoned Orochimaru's giant snake.
As they jumped onto the snake she closed her eyes as she heard Naruto scream at her in the Kyubis voice. "Sakura-chan!"
Naruto was out of her hold running after them and thankfully the snake was quick to realize the trouble it was about to get into and forced itself underground as Naruto ran after them. As they went under she watched as Naruto's form poofed away from her.
The snake was quick in its way as he moved them back up into the earth letting them down and she watched as Kabuto collapsed onto the floor, quickly she ran to him, her medic instincts kicking in and she could feel the large snake popping away from them as well.
Picking up Kabuto she looked around the area to find that she didn't know where they were. 'Which would mean that we're in civilian territory.' She thought to herself as she held Kabuto up against her and dragged the two of them towards the sun, keeping it on her left shoulder at all times.
The chakra was small and the energy was limited as she looked upon the trees as they walked through the forest she found that there were no scratches and that the only chakra remnants were that of the nature itself.
It didn't take her long to find civilization and as she pulled Kabuto closer to herself she reached over herself and used her chakra to tear apart her shinobi cloak and hid her hitai-ate in her back pocket, her clothes she couldn't change but she could always use the excuse that shinobi wear was popular amongst the younger crowds, considering that in the civilians eyes she was still considered a youngster, no it was minor if she was correct, or was it under aged? She could never really keep up with civilians laws when there was one too many to follow.
As she trudged herself up the steps of the hot springs she carefully reached out to knock. The door was quick to open and she looked at the older civilian woman and forced herself to speak as she was taught by her grandfather.
"My name is Sakura no Kimi of the Haruno clan and I request sanctuary." She watched as the older woman's eyes widened at the clan name and she really should use her title more often it made getting into places easier, especially civilian properties.
"Of course, of course come in, come in." The woman said to her before she turned to address her girls and they scattered about as they prepared everything.
"We have a very spacious room for you and your companion." The woman said as she led them into the housing part of the Onsen. As she walked she realized that she couldn't have anyone coming in and seeing what was going on with Kabuto, the possibilities of someone figuring out and telling their friends could lead them to big trouble.
"I would like to request that none of your people disturb me and my companion, he's weak right now and he needs his rest and it's very important that he isn't disturbed."
"Of course, that won't be a problem, the room has separate rooms, and if you need anything you just let us know." The woman said as she slid open the shoji screen and just as she said there were two separate rooms and in the middle was a table and the entrance to the hot springs no doubt.
"Again if you need anything just let us know."
"Thank you, and for this you shall be rewarded plentiful." She replied before the woman slid the screen shut.
Turning back to Kabuto she found herself staring straight into amber snake like orbs. "Hello Haruno-san." The snake like voice said and as her shinobi senses kicked in she pushed away the figure before pulling her thoughts together and placing a perfect punch to the pressure point on his clavicle.
Watching as he fell unconscious she wondered, was she doing the right thing? And who truly was the monster? Kabuto or Orochimari?
That was a long chapter now and I know this is an Itachi-Sakura fic and all but don't worry everything comes together eventually, but Sakura needs to figure things out with herself before she actually gets into any kind of relationship.
Now I hope that pleased some of you that have been waiting forever, seriously I know you have I've just been trying to make this chapter perfect and I kept undoing everthing I wrote and rewriting something else and finally I settled for this version.
So thank you all for waiting I hope it was worth the wait, actually I know it was worth the wait, I wrote it.
* Also like to note, i do not know of any cure for breast cancer, this is a fictional world, and with that anything is possible. (For the people that forget that this is a fictional world."
Thanks for all the reviews.
Akatsuki Sakura Uchiha = the clans do figure out that Sakura and Itachi were having an affair with one another in the next chap. So stay tuned for that.
angel897 = actually I really hate doing cliff hangers, but sometimes I kind of have too since I can't write everything out in one chap isn't so easy.
Minniemousemom = Yes he knew, he planned it all of course nothing but the best creepy amazingness from Orochimaru.
light-prevails-darkness = Yeah I think because of his age and the fact that he left sometime when Itachi had still been applying for the ANBU that he knew a lot about what was going on within some of the clans since he was the Sandaime's student and protégé. So he probably also saw Sakura, Naruto and Sasuke as children before he defected.
Craizypet = The last part was Orochimaru remembering her when he first saw her when she was a child, to him she was still a bud compared to her mother her was a blossomed flower and the two of them looked exactly like one another.
ummIDK = Sorry about not keeping up with writing this chap was really killing me though and I'm trying to put up those previously sections and all. But I hope this works for you and you haven't offended me at all.
Miyabi doll = thank you itry to do my own thing as much as possible, also Sasuke watching Sakura and Itachi, it was bound to happen in someone's story.
cat-tastic = thank you
Black Wolf Lady = thank you
XxBirdxOfxHermesxX = sorry it's taken so long I'm a bit of a perfectionist so nothing ever seems right to me.
MadGirl03 = Thank you and try my best to stay original and not do what other writers like to do, but its hard sometimes because you realize it's much more predictable.