A/N-Surprise!! I'm not dead. I've just been busy with school. This story is slightly AUish, still has aspects of them being a ninja but they don't have the Genjutsu, or ninjutsu only taijutsu…They're still in Konoha but I've changed some things (ie-female ninja must have short hair….Kakashi doesn't have a mask ect.). Anyways read and review.
Disclaimer-I don't own Naruto or the song from which I derived this title, 'When I Said I Do' by Clint Black and Lisa Hartman Black.
The kendo stick whistled through the air, and a sharp crack sounded as it was deflected by another. Before her attacker could strike again, she raised her kendo stick again, this time for a downward swipe. He leapt up in the air to avoid her, but she had anticipated this. Abruptly changing the direction of her swing, she jerked it up and tapped his legs. This threw off his balance just enough that he landed, stumbled, and fell back. In an instant the dulled dagger sheathed at her side for training was out and at her assailant's throat.
"Okay, okay you win Sakura!" he crawled out from under blade and stood up. "I'm glad everyone's gone for the day," he added dryly as he brushed the dust off of his clothes. "The guys would never let me hear the end of it if I were beaten by a girl."
The girl laughed; a bubbly sound. Gone was the fierce fighter who had pinned her partner against the ground after a tough spar. Her misty green eyes sparkled and her tone, when she spoke was mischievous. "I've seen you fight Kurenai before, and she took you to town. Asuma was watching too-you didn't seem to mind losing in front of the guys then."
"That's because Asuma would've killed me if I hurt Kurenai."
"It doesn't matter. It's not losing against a girl that bothers you Kakashi," she smiled wickedly. "It's losing against your former student."
Hatake Kakashi grimaced at her remark. He raked a hand through his shaggy silver hair and narrowed his dark eyes. "I'm not going to answer that," he grouched as he turned around and walked off the outdoor sparring arena back into the Dojo.
She smiled as he left and turned back to her training. The beautiful pink haired girl moved with a disturbing grace as she flowed through her Kendo stances. Her skin was tanned and soft- she had dealt with acne when she was a teenager, and the results had paid off and she was now blemish free. Her hair was short, as required of female ninja, not going past her shoulders, although she rarely wore it down, and kept it pulled up in a spiky ponytail. Being in the top guard of her village, Konoha, required that she keep her body in top shape, and as such she was slender but toned. Her eyes were, as noted before, a pale emerald, but they could pinpoint a target and she could hit the bulls-eye on said target from 75 feet.
In her village training started when a person was young, around 5 or 6-gender didn't matter. At that age, of course, they were more just amusing the children than attempting to turn them into soldiers, but each activity the youngsters did played a distinct part in training. As the young children grew up, it was determined who would be cut out for the academy, and who would be sent to the normal school. Haruno Sakura had been astounded when she had been informed that she had been selected for Academy training at the age of 9. Of course she accepted it, it was her dream…but if the Hokage-the leader of the village- had paid any attention to her, he would've noticed that she tended to be too emotional which is something that was verboten for a ninja. You were not supposed to show emotion while on a mission. Ever. Period.
But she had gone in with an open mind that she could train her self to be entirely impassive. She had learned every single line of the ninja handbook and had committed it to memory. She knew the theory, and she trained with everyone else but her smarts got her through not her fighting capability. At 12 she graduated the academy and was put to more practical training. She was put in a three person group, which were traditionally constructed of a high ranked leader, two males and one female because the female ninjas were hard to come by.
She never got around to teaching herself emotionless.
Her instructor had been, of course, Hatake Kakashi. He had been 18, and had risen in the ranks faster than anyone ever had in Konoha. With his silver hair and black eyes he was one of the more attractive males of the village. Her two squad mates had been walking contrasts. Uchiha Sasuke, who was a member of the prestigious Uchiha clan, was a child prodigy. He had pale skin- she was sure she had never seen him tanned, for all the time they had to be outside-and black hair as well as eyes. He was cool and aloof, which is what had drawn nearly every girl of their year to him, although he never showed interest in a single one.
When he had been 9, just after going into the academy, his brother had gone insane and had wiped out their entire family, leaving only Sasuke alive. Rumor had it that the hardships of living as a ninja had gotten to his brother Itachi and so much killing had finally taken its toll on the young man. Itachi had run off after committing the crime and Sasuke had become hell bent on nothing less than finding his brother and taking his life. Sakura flinched even now as she remembered how Sasuke, after deciding that he couldn't get the strength he wanted by remaining in Konoha, had abandoned the village in search of someone to give him more strength when he was 13.
It had broken Sakura's heart, so convinced had she been that he had loved her back.
She had thrown herself headfirst into her training after he had left the village. Applying all the head knowledge she had acquired at the academy, she trained herself to be the best female ninja ever. When he had returned, three years ago, she had forgiven him, in her heart, for hurting her so badly, even though he hadn't apologized, and over time they had grown to be good friends. Some people thought that they were a couple, or commented that they'd be a good couple but Sakura knew better. He'd left once and broken her heart, she wasn't going to let him do it again.
The other guy in her group didn't have quite as long a story attached to him. Uzumaki Naruto had been orphaned at birth. While younger he preferred a bright orange jumpsuit which clashed horribly with his bright yellow hair, but not with his sky-blue eyes. He had also had an annoying crush on Sakura and she had often, and cruelly, rebuked him in favor of flirting with Sasuke who in turn had refused her. She realized, about a half a year after Sasuke had left exactly how petty she had been, and how unfair. She apologized to Naruto, and he had accepted, but by that point had moved on to a mutual friend named Hyuuga Hinata- who had been in love with the flamboyant boy since their academy days. They had recently, at the age of 20, announced their engagement although it was a surprise to none.
She also had a very close friend-her best friend-named Yamanaka Ino. They had been best friends ever since their first days in school, when Ino had helped the withdrawn Sakura come out of her shell and become the girl she could be. There was one point when they had become fierce rivals for the attentions and affection of Uchiha Sasuke but once he had left, both grew out of that phase, Ino quicker than Sakura. Once both had realized how insane they had been as children, they made up and became close friends once more. Ino, who had green eyes and brown hair, at the age of 18 had begun dating their friend Nara Shikamaru, and the two had gotten married just a month ago.
She cleaned up the training yard once she had gone through the rest of her Kendo techniques. She thought overall that she had gotten a good deal, out of all of them. While Naruto was in training for the role of village leader, and Sasuke, (after serving his probation for betraying the village), had become another top ranked ninja, she had wound up with their former teacher as her partner. Kakashi was a nice guy, and she had never begrudged the fact that he spent so much time training Sasuke, more so than he had the other two. That had only driven both Naruto and Sakura to train harder.
Much to her surprise Kakashi was waiting for her when she got back into the dojo to shower and go home for the evening. She had to do some shopping but judging by the grim look on his face that wasn't going to happen anytime soon. "We've been summoned before the Hokage Sakura. I sincerely doubt it's anything good based on the report that Asuma gave me. The major village a few days to the north, Kuno in Lightning Country has been making noise about being upset with Konoha for taking Sasuke back. Apparently one of their dignitaries was caught in the crossfire when Sasuke had been in the final battle with Itachi and I think they may want him put to death or at least punished. I'm going to hazard a guess and say that the Hokage would like us to go there and soothe the wounds." Absently be brushed a spike of silvery hair out of his eyes.
"Let me shower and then I'll be ready to go."
She returned from the locker room with her shoulder length hair pulled back into tight braids as opposed to her spiky pony tail. She had changed out of her training outfit, into her guard outfit which was quite similar. Her bottoms were skin-tight black leggings, with a carrying case attached to her right leg that held different types of blades, from small throwing knives to small ninja stars. She wore open toed sandals that went up to her ankle for extra support, and the part of her legs that was exposed was toned and tanned. She wore a tank top, blue to compliment her hair, and black fingerless gloves.
As they walked towards the Hokage's office his seriousness vanished and they started talking, an aimless banter natural between two old friends. When she had been younger, they hadn't been able to relate like this him being an 18 year old, as well as her mentor, and she being a 12 year old girl obsessed with Sasuke. About a year after she started training with Kakashi, after Sasuke had left, she went to the Hokage, Lady Tsunade, and requested to be her apprentice. She had been accepted and left Kakashi, although he hadn't minded and had, in fact, encouraged her to pursue anything that would make her stronger. Last year Tsunade had assigned them as mission partners and they had been close ever since.
"Must you constantly keep that knife at your waist?" Kakashi gestured at the sheath. The knife was dull enough to use for everyday things, but sharp enough for self defense. The hilt of the dagger was inlaid with a pattern of lapis lazuli, and jade pieces, in a way that showed the symbol of the leaf village, and the sheath had her name in the same semi precious stones.
"Yes," she replied promptly, and somewhat defensively. "My mother gave it to me, you knew that, when I graduated the academy, with the promise that I wouldn't use it until I was properly trained. I am…you just don't like it because it gives me an advantage over you. Besides, I'd rather use my dagger to end the battle then a sharp kunai. I really have to use force with this thing to make it break skin."
Kakashi gave a half smile under his mask. "If you say so." By this point they were at the tower where Tsunade did her daily business. The two guards at the door nodded at the two coming in, and after climbing a few sets of stairs, they found themselves at Tsunade's office.
"Enter." Sakura and Kakashi walked in and stood at attention, facing a desk. Behind said desk was a beautiful, albeit older woman, who looked haggard. "Good. I've been waiting for you." Her tired brown eyes were lined with bags underneath, and her blonde hair was pulled back into a loose braid.
"The missive said something about Lightning country, Lady Hokage."
"Yes, the Raikage sent me a message." She slid a glance at Sakura and looked back at Kakashi. "His request is that Uchiha Sasuke be put to death for causing the death of his nephew Tumaita Jima." Even if she didn't love him anymore the news took her by shock and despite her training she still couldn't keep in her anger.
"They have no right to request the death penalty on a citizen of Konoha, do they Lady Hokage?" her teeth were gritted in fury, but out of respect for Tsunade she kept her temper in check.
"They do when he did it as a missing ninja. What I want you two to do, because you both are very good at negotiation, is go to Kuno and appeal to the Raikage to revoke his claim on Sasuke's life. He's the last living member of the Uchiha clan and is needed to carry on his bloodlines. We can't let that clan die."
Kakashi nodded. "You're right Lady Tsunade. We'll leave tomorrow morning." Sakura still stood with her fists clenched in anger at the Raikage's arrogance in demanding her friend's life. Tsunade looked at the girl unhappily but said nothing knowing that Sakura would be more offended if the Hokage would suggest that she couldn't do this mission. Kakashi gently took Sakura's clenched hand and gave it a squeeze to calm her down.
In response Sakura inclined her head slightly in response to her hand being squeezed and said "Yes Lady Tsunade. We'll leave tomorrow; it's an honor to accept this mission."
Tsunade nodded. "Here Sakura." The village leader reached behind her desk and pulled out a large bag from behind her desk. "You'll need these in Kuno. Kakashi will explain to you. It's a full 3 day walk-you'll get there the fourth day- and we need this finished. Dismissed."
Once they were outside the Tower, Sakura lost the temper she'd been holding since given the mission. "How dare they. How dare they demand the life of a Konoha ninja? They have no right!! Why not just declare war on us??"
Kakashi pulled her into an alley. Grabbing her shoulders, he gave her a shake so that she would come back to her sense and listen to him. "They dare because of the position Jima was in. He was the nephew of the Raikage. They won't just declare outright war because they're a tiny country. Think! Don't let your emotions get the better of you; didn't I teach you that? Now what we're about to do will be better for Sasuke than any attack, or any battle plan. If we can rationalize out of this, we won't have to think about handing him over. And that's why Tsunade sent us; we're the best negotiators of the leaf village."
He shifted his hands down to her wrists. "I know he's your friend, and I know you'd do anything to help him but this is what you can do to help him. The best thing to do. Now go home, sharpen your blade, and rest. Or go out with your friends, whatever you prefer. Rest tonight and tomorrow we go to Lightning." He hugged her and felt her relax in his arms.
"I know Kakashi. I'll be fine; I just had to get that anger out of my system. I'll be ready to go tomorrow morning." She pulled away and walked back towards her house.
She sat at the table with her friends in the local bar, swirling her coke and vodka around in its glass. She had told her friends about her mission she had been assigned to, without telling them why because she knew that Sasuke would feel responsible for anything that went wrong on this mission. A slow song flashed on prompting Naruto and Hinata to get up and dance. He threw back his whiskey and ice and stood, holding out his hand.
Sakura gave her friend a half smile, finished her drink, and took his hand. Once they were on the floor they started to chat quietly. Once Sasuke had returned and he knew Itachi was dead, he had lightened up considerably, not to a more sociable point but to the point where he could talk to someone as a friend. "You seem down tonight Sakura."
"I'm just considering some stuff about the mission tomorrow." She put her hand on his shoulder and kept her other one clasped in his hand. He slid his hand around her waist to her back and they swayed gently in time to the music. She tilted her head and looked at him as they swayed. "I don't really want to do this mission. I'm going to be out of Konoha for a month or so."
"Well I doubt that it's going to make much of a difference of what your friends such as myself and Naruto, think of you."
"It's a diplomatic mission. The Raikage is issuing the Hokage a challenge, and Kakashi and I are answering."
"Hmm." He could feel that her muscles were tense and he rubbed her back to relax her. "I'm no fool, Sakura; I know why you're going to Lightning. This is my fault, for killing that lightning dignitary." He signed and squeezed her hand. "I'd go even knowing that if I set foot into Lightning now, the Raikage would have me executed on the spot. I didn't know Tsunade would assign you and Kakashi to this, if you want I can go volunteer to take it."
He said that knowing that Sakura would refuse. She'd rather be the one going into hostile territory than a friend who would be killed for going there. "You know I can't do that Sasuke, it's my mission."
The dance was drawing to a close. Being this close to Sasuke reminded her of how bad of a thing she had had for him when younger. He was an attractive man to be sure, but he just held no appeal for her anymore. He was a friend.
"Sakura, I know you have a mission tomorrow and you won't be back for about a month but would you be willing to consider a date when you get back?"
She froze in his arms, her emerald eyes widening. "Sasuke you can't be serious."
Unfortunately, from the hurt look in his eyes –the most emotion she had ever really seen there besides hatred- he was serious. "I've always thought we'd make a good couple Sakura, lots of people have."
She drew her eyebrows together. "I know they thought we would Sasuke, and at one time I thought we would too. But then you left, and I must admit when you did that you broke my heart. And I've got over it, I mean it was 7 years ago, and I forgive you for hurting me- you're a good friend, but that's all I see you as."
He detached himself from her arms. "If you think I see you as just a good friend, then you're blind Sakura," were his quiet words before he left the bar.
She followed him, unwilling to let it rest. She had to find out when this had sprung up. "Wait, Sasuke! You need to understand. It's not just you. I haven't found anyone who I'm attracted too, at least since you left. I was hurt when you betrayed the village, and I didn't feel as though I could trust males again."
"When I left I did so under the assumption that you would be there waiting for me when I got back. You told me you loved me and yet I'm just a friend? Did it ever occur to you that I had fallen for you, that the reason I came back was to be with you? I was stoic when we were younger because I didn't want you dragged into my revenge." He reached for her hand.
She pulled back.
"Did it ever occur to you that I thought you didn't feel the same when you didn't stay when I begged you too!! That night….I pleaded with you, implored you to stay. If you had I probably would've loved you, we'd probably be together. But you left. You made your choice and this is how it turned out. It's going to have to stay like this regardless of how you may now feel because I don't love you anymore Sasuke."
A/N-Read and Review!!