A/N: Annnnnd, here's the other plot bunny. SakuSasu, come to me during a thunderstorm, hence the title and weather pattern seen here. I'm off to work on the unposted story Obito-sensei before I lose my mind and start writing the SasuNaru story invading my brain.
Sasuke sauntered through the splintered trees, curious as to what would have destroyed the landscape so thoroughly. Signs of doton, raiton and suiton jutsu abounded and dead trees were felled almost everywhere. The Uchiha felt a certain curiosity, a longing to test his own skills against the people who had fought here. Trained ears picked up a wet cough to the east of his position. He changed his course and stopped suddenly as he found the shinobi who had coughed. He would've never expected the site he was greeted with, indelibly burned into his mind with the Sharingan.
Short pink hair was matted with blood, with more of the red life carrying fluid seeping out from various wounds visible in the torn and shredded clothing. One pale hand seemed to be dipped in a vermillion dye as it was pressed against one particularly wide wound that wrapped around her side and stomach. The other arm lay limply by the kunoichi's side, several breaks visible. Her legs were not much better, sprawled as if she had just hit the tree that was her pillow. Her eyelids were shut and her face pale underneath all the blood present. He would've thought her dead if not for the weak rapid motions of her chest moving up and down.
He was about to say something when an eye slowly cracked open revealing a dull green orb. It regarded him for a moment before sliding closed and Haruno Sakura gave a scratchy huff.
"Great." Her voice was roughened and weak as a small amount of blood trailed from the corner of her mouth. "Now I know 'm delusional, if 'm seein' you 'f all people."
Sasuke felt his eyebrow twitch slightly in annoyance. He was used to having Sakura chase after him, both for love and to bring him back to the village. He took a step closer to her before speaking. "I'm not a delusion Sakura. Where are Kakashi and the dobe?"
Sakura gave a minute shrug, shifting as much as her position allowed. "Pr'bably safe 'n village...t'k a solo miss'n." Her words were slurring together as she faded in and out of consciousness.
Sasuke frowned, he couldn't have her pass out from mere blood loss before getting the information he wanted. Sakura cracked both eyes and growled slightly at the frown on his face. "What, y' still think 'm a weak little girl?!" Her voice had strengthened in tone at least and she briefly removed her uninjured hand from her side to pick up a nearby kunai and fling at the Uchiha who merely raised his armored forearm and block the projectile. He blinked, faintly surprised at the force the injured Sakura had managed to use.
Another blink and his eyes were shuttered once more. "Tch, stop moving before you-" A harsh, bitter laugh interrupted him.
"Wha'? Die?! Got some news for you, y' goddamn prickly bastard. A'ready on th' way…." Sakura's voice trailed away as a wet hacking cough caused her torso to convulse, cumulating in a small wad of lung tissue, blood and saliva flying free to land near Sasuke's sandal. The Uchiha frowned, staring at the combination of tissue and body fluid.
"Last I heard you were the second greatest healer in the Shinobi Continent," Sasuke drawled, hoping that her annoyance would keep her conscious. His suspicions were rewarded with an icy glare that would've rivaled his if one of the eyes wasn't sporting a spectacular bruise.
"Can't heal w'thout chakra….Didn' that silver haired bastard teach y' anything b'fore Shisou took him out?" Bloodstained lips quirked into a brief smile as Sakura let her head fall to one side. "Or were y' too busy keepin' th' snake's bed warm?"
Sasuke's jaw muscles clenched and he felt his eyebrow twitch again. He would've gaped at her implied suggestion if not for the fact that Uchihas did not gape. Deciding to ignore her remark, he merely crouched before her; Sharingan spinning slightly as he rested a hand on his chokuto. "What happened here," he questioned, hoping to hypnotize her with his bloodline.
"N'thin' much…Kumo decided t' hold to their age-old tr'dition 'f being backstabbing bastards. Sent a pair 'f ANBU after me." Again, her lips twitched into a humorless smile. "Wha' is it 'bout men that makes 'em decide that I'mma weak 'ponent 'cause my hair 's pink? Should kn'w 's all genetics an' y' can't control that…" She stopped, interrupted by another coughing fit, thankfully not hacking up another bit of her lung.
Sasuke wisely decided to keep his incredulous look internal. He was rewarded for his silence as Sakura continued to tell him how she had finally gotten one ANBU with a trap that involved numerous explosive tags, a few wires and some Katon jutsu as well as getting injured before she'd entered a losing battle with the second ANBU. He had beaten her fairly easily at that point and left her for dead; heading back to report to his superiors. Despite his reservations, Sasuke could feel a small part of him start to admire his former teammate.
She had stopped speaking, closing her eyes to focus on breathing. Both eyes flew open in surprise as she felt someone remove her hand from the sword wound that the second ANBU had given as she had paused, trying to make sure that his partner was dead. Sasuke glanced at her shocked expression as he pressed several gauze pads where the bleeding seemed worst and wrapped fresh clean bandages around her torso.
"Wha' y' doing?" She asked, eyes flickering to stare up at the clouded sky; clouds dark and heavy with the promise of rain. Thunder rumbled dangerously in the distance and lightning flashed along the horizon. Sasuke shrugged out of the corner of her vision as he roughly trimmed the trailing edges of the bandages with a kunai.
"If Naruto found out that you died and that I had been in the area he would leave that damn village, hunt me down and then murder me." Sasuke grunted as he stood up and wrenched a sturdy stick of off its branch and pulled another length of bandages from the inside of his kimono top. He paused in his movements when he heard a rasping chuckle.
"Keheheheheheheh! Y' sound 's 'm gonna make it back t' Konoha 'live!" Sakura continued chuckling until yet another coughing fit forced her to stop. Sasuke knelt next to her and started lashing her broken arm to his makeshift splint. Sakura hissed between suddenly clenched teeth as he tried to set the bone, tears of pain appearing in the corner of her eyes. A strange sound, a mix between a whimper and a whine slipped from her throat as her former teammate tightened the bindings before trimming the edges again.
Sakura watched through half-closed eyes as Sasuke ran his hands down her legs, checking for injuries there. Cha…Here's the proof that he's hasn't lost himself in the darkness. Naruto would be so glad….Inner Sakura murmured. Aye, Sakura agreed with her other self. Better break him free of his delusion before we leave…The personality fragment whispered. Sakura nodded mentally before reaching out her working arm and latching onto the sleeve of Sasuke's top. "Le've it Sa'uke," she said weakly. "Th' ANBU bastard hit me w' a raiton 'n my lumbar r'gion. Ev'n 'f I made it h'me, my career 's over."
Sasuke stopped moving and slowly lifted his gaze to meet her eyes. She realized, with a start, that he'd deactivated his Sharingan and two coal black irises looked at her now with emotion flickering in their depths. He knew what she meant- a ninja in a wheelchair was almost as useless as an Academy student. Sakura smiled softly at him before raising her eyes to the dull grey sky. "'S startin' t' rain…." She whispered, even as the first droplets splattered on the pair. She opened her mouth to say more but instead slumped; fingers going slack as the rain started to downpour.
Sasuke's eyes widened and he moved as if to touch her cheek when her hand latched onto the collar of his shirt and dragged him closer to him so that his nose was almost touching her hair with an amazing amount of strength. This time his mouth did fall open a little as Sakura raised her head to look at him; the kanji spelling Inner blazoned across her forehead. "Listen Uchiha, we haven't got much time left. And by we, I mean Sakura and I. Long story short I'm a personality fragment on steroids. The real Sakura's unconscious and watching this silently."
Sasuke was silently stunned and before he could say anything, the "personality fragment on steroids" continued. "Now Sakura and I both know we're not going to make it. Even if you knew any healing techniques, we wouldn't make it to the Konoha-Kumo border." The Inner Sakura paused for a moment, eyes glazing over slightly before smirking bloodily at Sasuke.
"Sakura's screeching at me to get on with it. Since you're here, you get to hear our last requests. One, get our body back to the village." She emphasized the importance of the request by shaking him slightly. He nodded slightly in agreement.
"Two, after you finish your little weasel-hunt, get your scrawny ass back to the village. Naruto'll grease the wheels to make sure your head stays attached to your shoulders but he can't do that if you're not there." Sasuke refrained from speaking; figuring now wasn't the best time to tell Sakura he didn't expect to walk away from his battle with his brother alive.
"Two more things, but Sakura wants to take care of them personally." Sasuke watched as Sakura went limp again before letting out a slight gasp, fingers clenching around Sasuke's collar involuntarily. He was unsurprised to see the Inner kanji had faded from her forehead. Sakura gave him another unconvincing smile. "Sor'y 'bout Inner….she's th' forc'f'l one. Now, wh'n y' talk t' N'ruto, tell 'im t' tell ev'ry'ne 'm sorry 'n tha' I loved them….'Speci'lly 'm pa'ents….'N finally, I want y' t' find Ino….an' tell 'er I won th' bet."
Before Sasuke could think to ask what bet she was talking about, Sakura had slipped her hand up the nape of his neck and tangled her fingers in his wet hair and pulled him the inch or so required for their lips to meet. Sasuke's eyes widened as a large part of him wanted to pull away on instinct, but was overridden by a smaller part that prompted him to return the kiss. He did so gently, a hand reaching forward to cup her cheek even as Sakura pulled away. Her eyes were duller than ever and her chest seemed to move less and less. "L'ved you," she whispered. "L'ved Na'uto too…'Kashi even."
Sasuke's lips twitched faintly and Sakura smiled in response. Then, as thunder rumbled and lightning crashed nearby; Haruno Sakura, kunoichi, member of Team Seven, jounin and apprentice to the legendary Godaime Hokage breathed her last, her green eyes fading to the dullness of the deceased.
Sasuke bowed his head, allowing his hair to fall forward to hide his face as a warm liquid flowed from his eyes to join the rain on his face. Closing his eyes and tilting his head back, Sasuke vaguely noticed a small intense pain in his chest even as he moved forward to gently gather the limp body into his arms and stood.
Kotetsu stifled another yawn as he slumped against the sturdy oak gates, barely noticing that the back of his Chuunin vest pressed against his shirt, letting another layer of moisture seep through to his skin. He cast a pitiful pout up at the leaden sky as it dumped its liquid load over Konoha and reached to scratch his bandaged nose when a figure appeared on the road. Immediately he straightened and squinted, trying to make out details. The person was carrying a large burden, wrapped in red and white with pi- the chuunin froze as the details become horribly clear in an instant.
Eyes widened as he turned to his partner, yelling at him to get the Hokage and the rest of the Rookie Eleven. He received a short nod before the other gate guard disappeared in a poof of smoke that dissipated almost instantly in the rain. That left Kotetsu to stand and stare rigidly as infamous nuke nin, Uchiha Sasuke trudged up to the gates, carrying the limp form of one Haruno Sakura. The Uchiha stopped and a Sharingan gaze glared at him from between soaked strands of raven hair.
"Get me Uzumaki Naruto." Sasuke growled at the petrified guard. Kotetsu nervously swallowed before stammering out that he'd already been sent for and should be there momen- He stopped at the sound of large group appearing in the Gate Square. Both he and the Uchiha looked up to see a blonde dressed in black and a muted orange leading the pack.
Naruto skidded to a halt beside Kotetsu, blue eyes bleak with despair as he looked at Sakura's lifeless form. Sasuke took a few steps forward and gently laid his burden on the ground before the silent blonde who merely sank to the ground as the rest of the Rookie Eleven and their sensei approached at a more sedate pace. Sasuke ignored everyone's stunned and saddened stares as Naruto reached out a hand to cup Sakura's cheek before bowing his head. His shoulders shook with silent sobs before he lifted his head to let out a keening howl that echoed across the village.
Sasuke kept his eyes to the ground, not wanting to face his old teammate, teacher and comrades. The silence was broken only by the sounds of Naruto's weeping, joined by some of the other members of their graduating class. Sasuke's head jerked up as a hand fell loosely on his shoulder. "What happened," Kakashi asked simply, his visible eye deadened of all emotion.
Sasuke shook his head; not wishing to carry out Sakura's other requests. He was about to Shunshin away from the scene when a pair of finely manicured and painted nailed latched on his bloodied kimono top and hoisted him to stare into a pair of furiously crying golden eyes. "Gods damn you Uchiha," Tsunade half snarled, half whispered. "What happened to my apprentice?!"
Sasuke stared into Tsunade's enraged eyes blankly before his gaze slid to the side and down. "Why not ask your so-called allies in Cloud." He muttered, barely hearing Naruto's choked moan. Everyone in the group now directed their attention to the blonde as he leaned forward, his forehead meeting the pavement with a slight thud.
"She was on a mission, finalizing the treaty…" The blonde whispered into the ground. He stayed hunched forward until two hands gripped his shoulder and pulled his unresisting form up and turned him around, before pillowing his head on a sympathetic shoulder. Sasuke watched with an emotionless expression as Naruto wrapped his arms around the Hyuuga girl's form and buried his head in the crook of her neck.
He noticed that most of the rookies had paired off similarly, seeking physical comfort. The Yamanaka was crying into both her teammate's shoulders while the weapons girl was being held by the other Hyuuga. Lee and his psychotic teacher hugged each other, with Lee burbling something about the blossom being struck down in her prime. The Inuzuka and his teammate stood near Naruto and the girl. Teams Eight and Ten's sensei simply stood near each other, watching their teams dealing with the loss. Kakashi and Tsunade and Sasuke almost made up their own group, if not for the same purpose. Judging from the grip Tsunade still had on his shirt, Sasuke realized that he was going anywhere and hung limply; waiting to be let down. Tsunade finally did release him and he stumbled slightly; steadied by Kakashi who watched as Tsunade gently murmured something to Naruto who nodded and made a valiant effort to wipe the tears from his face. Slowly, the Rookie Eleven wrenched their emotions back under control as Naruto kneeled and picked up Sakura's body as if it were made of spun glass.
"Back to the office…this needs privacy." Naruto muttered to the group before flickering away in a small poof of smoke. The others followed suit until it was just Sasuke and Kakashi standing in the rain. Sasuke finally glanced at his former teacher and moved as if to leave only for the jounin to crease his eye slightly and latch on Sasuke's arm before raising a single hand in the ram seal.
Sasuke growled a slight curse as the smoke cleared and realized that Kakashi had dragged him to the Hokage's office. The large desk had been cleared of all materials and Sakura had been placed there. Tsunade was standing over her student's body, running a small jutsu and murmuring various injuries to the group. Naruto sat, sprawled in the Hokage's chair, his eyes glazed over and distant.
"…Four broken ribs, two puncturing her left lung, severe internal bleeding. Several breaks to the right arm and what looks like a raiton jutsu that paralyzed her." The legendary medic murmured, removing her hand from Sakura's legs and letting the glow of green chakra fade from her hands with a heavy sigh before turning in Sasuke's direction. "Nice attempt to stem the blood flow and splinting Uchiha." She commented, raising an eyebrow as Sasuke seemed to recoil.
"She was already gone when I arrived," Sasuke grumbled only for Tsunade's harsh bark of laughter to cut off any more of his excuse.
"Bullshit Uchiha. Not even Sakura could've held three gauze pads in place and then bandage them with a broken arm. Couldn't have even had braced her arm. And that rat Kabuto had a unique weave to his bandages so the one who helped her was you." Sasuke once again found himself the center of attention and shifted uncomfortably as even Naruto raised his eyes to gaze in surprise at his former teammate.
"You…? But why wou-" Kiba spoke but then stopped himself as Sasuke turned to glare menacingly in his direction. Sasuke made as if to move towards the brash Inuzuka only to be stopped by Kakashi.
"We need more details Sasuke." The other Sharingan user stated plainly. "And I doubt Sakura just sat there silent as you tried to save her."
Somehow Sasuke found himself in chair, surrounded by former comrades and listlessly recounting most of his encounter with the dying kunoichi. A few smiles appeared at some parts but mostly everyone stayed quiet. A few more tears were shed when Sasuke spoke of Sakura's request for him to tell Naruto that she was sorry and that she loved everyone. Finally the room fell silent for a moment before Sasuke raised his gaze from the floor to look Ino in the eye. "…Yamanaka. She also wanted me to tell you something." '
Ino looked surprised but nodded, silently asking. The Uchiha resisted the urge to rub the back of his rapidly heating neck as he muttered something under his breath.
"What was that Uchiha?" The blonde kunoichi asked quietly, not quite believing she had read his lips right. Everyone else with lip reading ability raised their eyebrows as Sasuke's ears started to turn a slight red as he repeated the sentence.
"She wanted me to tell you that she won the bet." Sasuke grumbled, looking to the side. Ino's mouth dropped open as she whirled to stare at the limp form of her best friend, noticed the faint smile on Sakura's lips and then turned back to stare at Sasuke, or rather his lips.
"B-but that would mean s-she or y-you kiss-Gods dammit forehead girl!" Ino sputtered a nonsensical response before sending another glance at the body of Sakura, a small smile appearing on her own lips. As everyone else glanced at each other in confusion, Sasuke shoved himself to his feet. He looked quickly at Tsunade and Kakashi before catching Naruto's blank gaze. Dazed blue eyes focused briefly and the room seemed to melt away as the two stared at each other, words exchanged silently.
Tch. Dobe. Leaving now.
Right…come back sometime, bastard.
And with that silent exchange, Sasuke performed a Shunshin of his, reappearing a few miles outside of Konoha. As the rain poured down around him, Sasuke turned towards the direction of Kumogakure; reasoning that their ANBU might have some information Itachi's whereabouts.
A/N: Yeah...I'm sucker for romance. Love it when the characters get together or kiss and such...Next part skips ahead to her funeral.