'til It's Gone
Prologue


"Good morning, Kazahana-dono," Ino greeted politely, standing in the doorway of the staterooms.

The tea cup is set down with a light 'clink' and the Empress stood. Ino bowed low to the ground. Her blue eyes fixed upon the hem of the Empress' kimono. Standing upright Ino frowned. Balthazar had come back this morning, looking slightly worse for wear. His normally well kept hair in strands clinging to his face and his jacket ripped.

"Uchiwa Inc has been trying to get in our way. Twice now, Balthazar has been intercepted relaying messages," there was a conviction in Ino's voice that had not been there a while ago.

Grasping Ino's hand in her own, Empress Koyuki spoke, "I shall speak to Itachi. Do not concern yourself further, Ino-chan."

Bowing low again, Ino murmured into the carpets, "hai, Kazahana-dono."

Leaving the room, she left and headed for her new boardroom. It was situated in its own wing with several rooms for intelligence gathering and private operations that concerned the Empress. Walking down the winding path Ino's feet brought her to the boardroom where the small, hand-picked group of operatives sat quietly.

In unison they all greeted her, "Ohayo, Yamanaka-taicho."

"Maa…it's Yamanaka-san to you lot," she grumbled and sat down at the head of the table. Once they were still and quiet Ino began. The circular table was to show that there was no formal hierarchy, even though Ino was unofficially the leader.

"My new addition to the team arrives," she paused for dramatic effect, "he arrives this morning. My understanding is that Ibiki is going to show him the ropes before he is paired off. I want you to treat him nicely. None of those tricks I know you're capable of."

A whine caught her attention, "but Yamanaka-san! What about the initiation tests that Reno-san made us take?" Kujaku was a weapons smith and was very skilled and of course had intimate knowledge of what each of her beauties could do. Ino sighed, Tenten would have loved this woman under different circumstances.

Ino sighed, "Reno is an idiot, Kujaku. Anything else?"

A smirk appeared on Nadare's face, "when is Reno coming back anyways?" Rouga Nadare was a nin who had been brainwashed by a powerful chakra armor from Kazahana Dotou. After being defeated he came to his senses and started over again as a soldier in the army. Ino saw his potential one day and picked him up.

"He still has things to clear with his former superiors. It is none of your concern either, Nadare," Ino growled out. Kujaku tapped her foot impatiently against the flooring.

Neji frowned, "what is this person's name?"

Ino threw her hands up, "I thought you'd never ask. His name," again she paused slightly, "is Kaguya Kimimaro."

A ripple effect surrounded Ino. She probably should have broken it to them softer. Kujaku's foot stopped tapping and Nadare's eyes nearly popped out of his head. Kaguya Kimimaro was a soft-spoken but deadly man. Wisely, they all kept their mouths shut at her choice in operative.

Light blue eyes looked around the table, "he's come out of a bad state and I want this transition to go easy for him. He's a powerful addition. Ibiki-sensei got him for me."

Kujaku's eyes light up and Ino rolls her eyes. The weapons smith had taken a liking to Ibiki. Ino thought it was strange but to each their own. Picking up the thin file folder in front of her Ino dismissed them.

"Go get settled in some more, you maggots. I need Nadare to hang back for a moment," Ino grinned lopsidedly.

He remains as Kujaku and Neji shuffle out. Her five man team lacked numbers but was very skilled. They remained nameless as a team because they did not need to draw attention to themselves. It was like they did not exist.

Rouga Nadare switched seats so he sat next to her. Handing him the four page mission she debriefed him first. "I need you to lay out a wild goose chase for me. Uchiwa will be looking for us and I need them to get lost while I cement more plans."

"Hai, Yamanaka-san, is that it?" his eyebrow raised at the slightly longer report.

Smirking, Ino pointed to the second bit, "If you could, on the way back there's an inn. Hidan is currently staying there. He and I need to talk. Drag him back if you have to."

Nadare stood and bowed politely to Ino. Dismissing him Ino added thoughtfully, "he might like it."

I get a little crazy with the razor blades
Go on, call your momma if you need a band-aid

Haruno Sakura examined the Uchiwa Inc. main offices in the central business district from Kakashi's car. The tall high rise reached heaven ward and she glared fiercely. She was going to prove both Uchiha's that she was not to be trifled with and humiliated so.

"You needn't glare at it so hard, it's not going to spontaneously combust," he smirked from the front seat.

"It makes me feel better," she responded moodily. Green eyes snapped back to the front of the car and she wondered why he was helping her. Sakura was grateful, but a tad suspicious. Hatake Kakashi was obviously keeping tabs on her for Tsunade. Or maybe she wanted to see the downfall of Uchiwa just as much as they did. Uchiwa was, after all, just an extension of Amegakure.

Kakashi's wind ruffled silver hair turned towards her again and he drove on. Sakura sighed. She was useless in this kind of combat and sabotage. Her close quarter's strength with her limited destruction arsenal of jutsu limited her severely. She was going to recruit someone else. They had to.

There was a facility on the edge of town that Kakashi was driving them to. Apparently he had a contact there that was willing to help them out because of Akatsuki. The briefing on him was short and barely had any information on him at all.

"Why is his name 'classified'?" Sakura asked, seeing that all his vitals were filled out nicely.

"Because, if you don't like what he displays its safer for you not to know his name," Kakashi responded.

Sakura nodded absently and watched as they reached the outskirts of town. The docks were empty at this time, all the fishermen done for the day. Surprisingly, most of the warehouses were bright with lights and did not look anything like what she expected.

"Here we are," Kakashi said. The grey metal garage door opened soundlessly and a tall man emerged. He greeted Kakashi with a smile and as Kakashi emerged clapped him on the back.

"Kakashi! It's good to see you," the voice was composed and if she had been pre-interrogation Sakura she would have swooned. Kakashi motioned for her to follow them into the warehouse. In the middle there was a coffee table and two sofas.

Stepping out of the car, Sakura waited for them to finish their business and looked around in wonder.

"Sakura!" Kakashi's curt voice called her over.

"Yes, Kakashi?" Sakura walked over to where they were standing. He gestured to the couch and she sat down opposite the other man. He smiled pleasantly at her.

"Sakura, this is Yamato. A former pupil of mine that I left with Yamato to train with is here. I want to recruit him to our cause," Kakashi said. Sakura and Yamato briefly shook hands across the glass coffee table and Kakashi excused himself to go find who he was looking for.

Green eyes examined his face. He looked younger than Kakashi, but had the same hardened look in his eyes. Sakura knew from Kakashi explained that the intelligence force was an over all small force and everyone usually came from military backgrounds.

"It's nice to meet you, Haruno-san," he started.

Sakura nodded, "likewise, Yamato-san." Her pink hair fell in wisps around her shoulders. It was cut short in a sort of harsh bob. The light pink colour had been darkened to a sort of dark pink. It didn't help her hide her obnoxious hair colour, but let her blend in easier.

"Sakura, this is –"

"My name is Uzumaki Naruto! I am the number one agent!" two blue eyes and shaggy blond hair stared back at her.

Kakashi rolled his eyes and cuffed the back of Naruto's head, "you aren't supposed to tell her your name. Dobe."

"It is nice to meet you, Uzumaki-san," Sakura stood and bowed. He seemed to be well built and tall. She wondered if he was any good at jutsu.

"Hey Sakura-chan, do you want to see my brand new jutsu?" his lips curved upwards into a smirk.

Deciding to humor the boy Sakura nodded. His fingers formed into what looked like a variation of the henge. Naruto poofed out of existence and was replaced by an innocent girl with huge boobs. Sakura let out a small, 'eep' and jumped backwards.

Startled, she formed one seal, "kai!" Her own chakra crackled under the force and Naruto's henge exploded like glass. Blinking, Naruto stared.

"Wow," he gaped.

Embarrassed by her uncharacteristic outburst Sakura blushed. Kakashi smirked at her and Yamato clapped. Turning to see the black haired man her blush deepened.

"It's not everyday that one has enough chakra to explode Naruto's genjutsu," he commented airily.

There was a moment where Kakashi and Sakura locked eyes. Her lips curved into a smirk and Kakashi caught her intentions. He nodded his assent and Sakura turned back to Naruto.

"I have an offer for you, Naruto…"


AN: Tadaa! Brand new sequel.