A\N: Thought I was dead, ne? Well, I'm not, just a "little" busy. Sorry for the lack of update on my other fic, I've kind of put it on hold for the time being. I'm really sorry.
So, why writing a One Shot all of a sudden? I have very good reason for doing so. I'm currently writing on a really big fic(don't know if I dare to post it here) but there are certain things I want to have in that fic that I simply can't put in there because it would crash with the plot completely. So I'm writing a little side story. I think I might've been slightly depressed while writing this thing. Just an idea that crossed my mind though, so don't expect too much. I won't continue it.
So... I hope you'll enjoy this little OneShot. I love all my readers, you're such a good motivation and I hope you keep on reviewing and please continue to share your opinions. I LOVE to hear them.
Rated M for: violence and language.
PS: sorry for any grammar\spelling mistakes. Once gain, English is not my first language.
The rain was pouring down over the village known as Konohagakure. The dark clouds had been dominating the sky for the past few days now. It was rather depressing, like the sky had been crying for some sort of reason. At least, for the villagers, it was yet another subject to talk about.
The mud splashed against their feet as four leaf shinobis slowly made their way against the well known Konoha gates. The mission had failed. Their attempt to bring back their long lost teammate from Orochimaru's grasp had failed. Of course, the ones most affected by this tragedy were a certain blonde boy and his pink-haired teammate. Yamato had only been assigned this mission for one particular reason, a reason the blonde rarely liked to talk about. And Sai… Well, Sai had been sent to kill the very person they were going to save. Some team… Naruto was walking a little way behind the others. His hands seeking warmth in his soaked pockets and his face turned against the very road he was walking on. Watching the mud puddles plash for every step the boy took wasn't exactly what one could call entertaining or amusing, but better than thinking. Not that it actually helped. The blonde had been filling his head with unwanted thoughts and questions ever since they left the snake sannin's hideout. The young teen was tearing up inside and he hated the feeling. His heart aching with a pain he couldn't explain, and for once, his reason for hurting like this wasn't the raven haired traitor's fault. Well, partly his fault, but he'd deal with those thoughts later. He tilted his head up just to find himself staring right at his female teammate's left upper arm. He couldn't see her expression, but knew she was suffering even though she'd stayed silent for the last few hours. He wondered what she was thinking about, but at the same time he didn't want to know. He feared the answer. Even in the heavy rain he could clearly see the wound on Sakura's soft, but pale skin. The wound, the pain he himself had caused her. He wanted to look away, to tear his eyes off of her, but in the end, he just couldn't bring himself to do it. The guilt was unbearable. It wasn't even pure guilt. Regret maybe… disgust? Hell yes. He wanted to talk to her, to apologize, to tell her how sorry he was for hurting the very person he cared about above everyone else. But… what should he say? What could he say? What could possible make the situation any better? She just failed at bringing back her raven-haired love… again. Well, he had failed her, but knowing the pink-haired she probably blamed herself for not being strong enough. What good could it possibly make to remind her that she'd nearly been killed by the monster of a teammate Naruto saw himself as.
'I…I could've killed her…' Naruto clenched his fist. 'Damn it…' He couldn't remember it, but the way she was hiding her pain from him when he finally gained consciousness, the way she lied to him, telling him that Orochimaru was the one that hurt her, were proof enough. He didn't need to know the details. She had been in pain when he woke up and it was his fault and his fault alone. He almost wished that Yamato hadn't told him the truth. That he never got to know that he'd attacked the girl he… loved. Hell, he didn't deserve to love her. Regardless of her returning it or not, something he knew she didn't. He'd lost all hope of that a long time ago. The fact that she hadn't talked to him as much as she used to, scared him. Was she afraid of him? Maybe she feared he'd hurt her again. Maybe that was the very reason she lied, or maybe he put to much thought into this. He had no answers to his questions, but he sure as hell wasn't planning on asking her anytime soon.
The four ninjas stopped in front of the green gates. Yamato made a quick bow and headed for Tsunade's office to fill her in on the failed mission. Sai made a half genuine smile, at least it looked like it was a some what genuine one, towards his new teammates and went to report to his master, Danzo. Sakura was standing in a half daze, her head faced towards the crying sky. She felt the rain dripping on her face. One drop after another, making her face more soaked than it already was. God, she looked beautiful in the rain. The blonde could only guess what she was thinking about, and had he asked, he would've figured out he was wrong. Naruto swallowed and took a few step towards Sakura. She either didn't notice or didn't care. He didn't know. Everything was so confusing. The way she acted, the way he acted. It just wasn't the same. He'd really screwed it up this time.
"Uhm, Sakura-Chan…?" His voice seemed rather nervous and the eyes currently hidden behind the blonde locks were filled with sadness and regret. He didn't know what to expect from her, but he really needed a respond, at least some sort of confirmation of what she was hiding… feeling.
Sakura was knocked out of her daze as soon as the blonde spoke her name. She turned to look into those ocean-blue eyes of his. She gave him a small smile. He couldn't tell if it was a real one or not. It didn't quite reach her eyes, that's for sure. He always used to know these things, but not now. Not today. Not after what happened, and he cursed himself for not being able to tell.
Naruto's eyes were once again staring at her left arm. Sakura noticed. She'd noticed ever since they started on the journey back to Konoha. The way he kept looking at her like he'd just ruined her life or something, which wasn't the case at all. He opened his mouth for the second time.
"I… You know I never… I never meant to…-" He had to concentrate or his voice would break. He was having a hard time saying this, not knowing how she'd react. If she'd beat the hell out of him he wouldn't stop her, or blame her for that matter.
The kunoichi stared at him in confusion for a moment. She knew what he was getting at. What he was trying to say. She knew him too well for his own good. The pink-haired medic was about to give a reply that could've removed at least some of his worries, but were interrupted as the copy ninja called their names. Apparently he was out of the hospital, but shared a compassionately look with his teammates. It looked like the jounin had been out in the rain for quite some time as well. He was just as soaked as the teens. He took a few steps forward until he stood only a few feet away from his former students.
"I'm sorry it ended this way… don't give up just yet…" He said without really sounding convincing at all. Neither of them responded and kept looking at either the ground or the sky. The silver-haired sighed.
"We still have time. Cheer up. Sakura, the hokage wants to speak with you." Kakashi spoke again with his usually laid back voice. Sakura nodded her head in understandment.
"Hai, sensei." Her voice sounding almost sad as she turned to take a last glance at the blonde teen who had turned his face against the mudded ground yet again. He'd lost his courage to apologize. She needed to have a talk with him pretty soon. She wasn't blind, she could see that he was hurting, maybe even more than herself. She just didn't know where to start. Sakura could only imagine the pain he went through, she had to tell him that everything would be alright. That she was fine. That it wasn't his fault. They would get Sasuke back, together. And with those thoughts locked in her head she headed to her master's office.
Kakashi looked at his student who had yet to face his sensei. He was so out of character this evening. It was frightening. Not that the jounin blamed him for acting like that. He'd gotten the short version of what happened when he'd bumped in to Yamato. And what Naruto did. He guessed it would take a little while for the jinchuuriki to get over the incident and then he'd be the good old knucklehead he had grown to love as a student. If he only knew… Kakashi had never been that good at telling the blonde how proud he was of the young man. Kakashi hoped he could change that part, but on the other hand, it wasn't really like him to say something like that either. The grey-haired jounin sighed once again.
Naruto lifted his head a little higher, not enough to let Kakashi see his eyes, but enough to let him know that he had the blonde's attention.
"You're not going to just give up, are you?" The copy nin wanted to sound more encouraging, but failed hard at that.
Naruto didn't change position nor expression. "Why not? I messed it up… I always do. That part is not going to change the next time no matter what I do. I failed at bringing the bastard back, he even tried to kill me… again."
"That doesn't sound like the Naruto I know… He never gives up. He sticks to his dreams, his promises… He protect his precious people no matter what the cost, am I right?" The look in the jounin's one exposed eye was as emotionless as ever, but he was worried and cared for his now depressed student. He really did.
"How do you know that person even exists? Hell, I don't even know if that person exists. If he ever did. Maybe I was just lying to myself… Trying to act like someone I was certainly not. I… I just don't know anymore, sensei. It's confusing… One thing I do know tough… That person you just spoke of… he would never have hurt his friends, no matter what…" The blonde's voice sounded angry yet disappointed.
The jounin sighed, knowing that this conversation wasn't going anywhere. Maybe it would be better to talk to him when everything had calmed down a little. He knew the rest of this evening was only going to get worse for the teenager, considering he had to meet with the damn council. Better get this whole thing over with so things could return to normal as fast as possible.
"You better come with me. The elders and Tsunade-sama have something to discuss with you." There was a silence before Naruto nodded his head and both student and teacher had disappeared within the second.
Naruto was currently sitting in a not too comfortable chair, staring at the white wall in front of him. The waiting room was plain and simple. Didn't help on his mood at all. He had been located in this chair for about the last two hours and his back was starting to hurt. The council and Tsunade were having a meeting in the room next door. He knew the elders were having a hard time to get along with the hokage so this could take a while. Sakura had headed home a long time ago. He could hear the blonde sannin raise her voice once in a while in the other room. He didn't bother to try eavesdropping, he knew what they were discussing anyway. Besides, the blonde didn't really mind sitting here. There was no point in going home. It was too empty there, to silent, to much time to think. Thoughts scared him in general. The teen rested his elbows on his thighs and his head leaning carefully against his palms. A sigh escaped him. His attention was quickly caught as the door slid up and the female hokage, as well as the elders, walked out of the room and headed towards the young boy. He didn't know what to make of Tsunade's expression. She looked a bit lost, confused, even irritated.
"Naruto… the council and I have come to a solution to this… 'problem'" Tsunade spoke, not quite looking at the boy. Problem? Maybe he was the freaking problem.Naruto braced himself… prepared for anything. Even for a punishment, heck he deserved one. According to him self that is.
Tsunade continued. "I'll just get right to the point. We will be putting up a second seal, preventing you from using any of the fox' chakra. This is just a temporary solution. The seal will only last for about two days, that's all we can do for now until we find a better way." The blonde sannin's voice sounded soft in a very strict kind of way. She was giving the boy she loved as her own grandson a cheerful yet caring look. No one could say that she wasn't protective towards the sixteen year old. Too bad the blonde missed it as he was more interested in gazing at his feet. He suddenly looked at her, eyes blank and empty.
"Baah-Chan, I…. I didn't…-"
"I know, Naruto. You didn't mean Sakura any harm. We are doing this for your sake, brat. In that way you can feel at least a little bit safer, right? We'll work this out. We always do." The legendary sucker grinned.
"Yes, and to prevent you from doing any more harm to the villagers. We certainly can't afford that either." Koharu, the female elder said coldly.
The smile that was forming on Naruto's lips disappeared just as fast as the words were thrown at him and burned into his mind. She was right, wasn't she?
The hokage looked at the female elder with disgust and gritted her teeth. They were heartless, cynical bastards, that's for sure. She hated to see the teen hurt like this, but right now she couldn't really do anything other than placing the seal on top of the one he already had. At least it would help him, if just a little, but help him nonetheless. Or so she thought… She had no idea how wrong she was.
The blonde woman let out another sigh and turned again to face Naruto, biting her lower lip.
"This might hurt a bit, kid…"
Naruto woke up in a hospital bed all alone after the sealing process had been completed. Had he passed out? Apparently. Either way, he had one hell of a headache. The process had obviously been pretty hard on his body as well as his mind. It really hurt to move. Tsunade wanted to be there when he woke up, but she had to get some important paperwork done before the elders found out that laziness had been striking her the last few days. It was small things like this that did it… Things that normally wouldn't bother a normal person, but things that really bothered the blonde. Waking up alone was the worst feeling ever. Even though he was used to it, since he'd been living by himself since he was five years old, he could never feel comfortable being alone. If the hokage only had explained to him why he was alone when he woke up he would've felt the slightest better. It would make a difference. At least to him it would. He just assumed that everyone had gone home for the night. After all, it was 2 AM according to the clock on the wall. His stomach ached as he tried to get out of the bed. After a little struggle and light groans he managed to stand and walk without feeling too much pain. He couldn't stay here. Naruto guessed that he was supposed to stay in the hospital until tomorrow morning or longer, but he couldn't stand the white and empty walls. Even his own apartment was better than this.
The rain was still pouring as he walked down the streets of Konoha after stumbling through the hospital's area, making his way to the apartment he had been living in for the past16 years. There wasn't a soul outside. Not that he actually expected it to be. Normally it would take him five minutes to get home, but that required him using the rooftops and a fair amount of speed and chakra… Something he wasn't capable of doing right now. His body was still quite numb and he was having a hard time seeing anything as the lights in this particular street were currently out. Just his luck. He wondered if Sakura was asleep yet. Was he even allowed to think about her after what he'd done? Completely lost in his own thoughts the young teen failed to see the large puddle in front of him and tripped, falling face forward down in the mud. 'Just great…' He managed to stand after a while of fighting with his legs who clearly weren't up to walking.He was only a few blocks away from home when he heard some faint whispering. It was one… no… two persons? Nope, it was definitely more than two… Who the hell could be out at this hour? Except for himself of course. Not that he actually cared. Just to get his mind to focus on something else. It was not until he sensed a kunai flying towards his head that he started to pay attention to his surroundings. He dodged it at the last second, still pretty immobile yet able to move a little. 'Well that was close…' Definitely not his lucky day at all… The teen gazed around the area, spotting nobody. Was it just a warning? He was used to people throwing things at him. Not exactly kunais, but other hard equipments. It'd been a long time since anyone had done something like this though. It happened to him a lot when he was a kid since he was pretty defenseless at that time. He still got hurtful words thrown at him though, but this was taking it a little far, wasn't it?
"What the-?" a man suddenly appeared behind the blonde and he felt a firm grip locking around his neck, making it difficult to breathe and forced the teen to his knees. Why the hell hadn't he noticed? Were his senses wakened as well? It wasn't exactly a comfortable position he had gotten himself in either. Every time he tried to break free from the unknown man's grip the man would only tighten the grip around Naruto's neck, making it impossible to struggle, but the blonde still didn't give in. The man was definitely a shinobi, maybe chuunin level. Unfortunately, Naruto was in no position to fight so he was no match for the chuunin anyway. More people gathered in the shadows. The jinchuuriki was surrounded. He gave up his struggle knowing that if he got out of this man's grip another would come at him. Just what the heck was going on?
"Just who the hell are you?!" The blonde said with a hoarse voice. Coughing.
"Just shut up!" The man behind him snapped back.
"Wha-" Naruto was cut of before he could ask any more questions.
"How could you, you damn monster!" It was a female voice. He couldn't recognize her as he only saw her outline in the shadow. His vision was blurry from the lack of oxygen. He knew that voice from somewhere. Just hadn't heard it in a while. Who did it belong to? The grip around his neck tightened once again and he was forced to let out a gasp.
The female started to take steps towards the teen. He couldn't see it, but he could hear the water splash beneath her feet. For each step the female took Naruto's heart started to beat faster and faster as he slowly started to recognize the female. He begged it not to be true. It couldn't be… It was. A pink-haired woman stood almost face to face with the blonde boy, except for the fact that Naruto was on his knees.
"Mrs. Haruno…" He whispered. His voice sounding ashamed and low. He wasn't sure what to think. He hoped it was just a nightmare. A mere dream. He would wake up any second now, right? Or maybe not… Maybe this was the cruel reality he had to face. This was his payment for all the mistakes he had made.
"Shut up, scum! How dare you hurt my daughter?!" The mid aged woman had tears running down her face. And those eyes… eyes filth with disgust, anger, rage… Eyes he knew far too well. Eyes reserved for him and him only. At least it felt like it. Her eyes were bloodshot, apparently this wasn't the first time she had been crying today. His own blue eyes started to water up as well, tears not too far from falling… She was just a mother trying to protect her baby, right? He couldn't blame her… And the fact that she was the mother of the very kunoichi he… loved, he could never hurt her. Sakura wouldn't forgive him if he ever did. It only made things more difficult.
"I never meant to hurt Sakura-Chan… I swear…I-" He went silent as a hand slapped hard against his cheek, leaving a red hand mark. It hurt, but he could endure it. Besides, it didn't actually hurt physically anyway. It was a deeper pain.
"Don't address her so familiar you piece of trash, and stop with the fake tears, fox! We can see right through them. I don't know why the fourth didn't kill you when he had the chance. I… I swear… We will finish the job." She said with a determinate, harsh voice. A voice that actually made him shiver.
His tears were falling, voice half broken and they still thought he was faking the whole thing? As much as Naruto wanted to scream his lungs out that he wasn't the kyuubi itself. That they were two different beings, that he hated the damn thing more than anything else in the world, he chose not to. He knew better than that. They wouldn't listen even if he did try. The fox had killed their loved ones, and they blamed him for it. He was used to it by now. To the verbal, sometimes physical abuse. The only thing he could do was lower his head and feel the pain in his stomach strike once again, ignored by the people surrounding him. He felt weak. More than ever. His heart skipped a beat as he heard Mr. Haruno's voice coming from behind his wife. Now he knew this wasn't going to be pleasant. That man used to work with the convicts in Konoha. He had quite the reputation when it came to the torture part. Something Sakura had mentioned that she was not too proud of. He figured that the people in the shadows were mere backups if something should go wrong. They just stood there, enjoying the show. Naruto was the entertainment. He should've been mad, he really should. At least try to fight back, but for some reason he felt guilty if he tried. They had every right to get even with him, right?
The tall man grabbed Naruto by his hair forcing him up in a standing position as the other man loosened his grip, but he didn't quite let go. The boy groaned at the unpleasant pain.
"I'll make sure you never get to touch her with your filthy hands ever again." His voice was raw and threatening. The killer intent reflected in his eyes as he eyed the blonde. Were they really going to kill him? Maybe it would be better that way? Maybe he deserved it…or… Thoughts like that was the thing that scared the blonde teenager the most. As he found himself thinking like that more than his liking the past few days. That people was better off without him. Kakashi was right, this wasn't like him. But on the other hand. How could things ever be the same again?
The male Haruno grabbed a kunai out of his back pocket and placed it against Naruto's throat. He could feel the hard surface of the blade pressed hard against his pale skin, drawing blood which started to run down his neck. Naruto stayed silent, bit his lip hard, tried his best not to scream. But on the inside, he was.
"Feel no pain, eh?" A smirk formed against the dark-haired man's face. It made Naruto shiver and eyes widen as he knew exactly what the other man was going to do. He raised the kunai and with a quick gesture impaled it into Naruto's left shoulder. Cutting through his now pale skin. He didn't removed it.
"Aaah!" Naruto screamed, but a hand covered his mouth, making the scream soundless, but just as real. The pain was unbearable. The kunai was pushed deeper into the flesh and slowly pulled out, blood pouring out from the fresh wound. Naruto's eyes shot wide open and stared at the man with fear. Tears ran down the blonde's face and mixed with the blood on his neck. He was panting, trying to get out of the man's grip once again. It was pointless. He didn't stand a chance at this state.
"What's with these marks anyway. What are they?" Mrs. Haruno stared at the whisker marks on Naruto's face. They disgusted her. Some people might view them as cute, but in the pink-haired woman's eyes they were only marks of the monster who hurt her daughter. She was blinded by that thought. Everyone seemed to be. The boy, helpless as he was, only looked in a different direction. He didn't dare look in to either of their eyes. Sakura's father raised the kunai up to the teens face, the familiar metal pressed against tear-wet skin. Naruto felt completely helpless. He was terrified of what the other man might do to him. Maybe he felt like he deserved the punishment, but the boy was only human, at least his emotions were, and feared the thought of torture.
"Ready to pay for your crimes, demon?" Mr. Haruno smirked, his wife having a pretty amused look on her face as well as she enjoyed seeing the kyuubi, or what she viewed as the kyuubi, suffer like the villagers did 16 years ago.
"No… pl-please don't!" Naruto mumbled into the hand that covered his mouth. Only to meet deaf ears. The kunai was impaled half an inch into the flesh of his cheek and dragged across the whiskered marks until it looked like they were drawn in blood. The jinchuuriki twisted in pain for every cut and movement of the kunai. He could feel the hot blood streaming down his face. It was really a wonder that he didn't pass out from the pain itself. The feeling of a knife cutting through ones skin with slow movements was so much more painful than he'd ever imagined. Why couldn't they just finish him off with a quick gesture like any other decent person would do? Oh, that's right, he remembered. He hurt their daughter. He kept on telling himself that it wasn't their fault. He had seen what vengeance did to people, what it had done to the person he once saw as a brother. He too had tried to kill him. Deep down, in his subconsciousness, he knew that he didn't deserve this kind of treatment. But this was so much more complicated than just general abuse. This was the furthest anyone had ever taken the physical abuse towards the young blonde, and he knew, if they were to get caught… Even if they killed him or just injured him, they would be imprisoned. Maybe even executed. Sakura would loose her parents. She would loose them because of him. He knew how painful that was and he couldn't cause her more pain than he already had. He cared for the pink-haired more than his own life, which was why he was willing to throw it away for her. He tried to figure out an excuse for his wounds if he were to survive this. Not that he actually expected to. Had he given up?
He was thrown back in reality when a second kunai pierced though the right side of his stomach. Like the pain wasn't too much already. This time he was unable to scream regardless of the hand covering his mouth or not. Out of breath. He only gritted his teeth, trying to endure the pain as blood ran down from his mouth. He could taste it. The taste of fear and blood mixing together. It was disgusting. He wanted to spit it out, but were forced to swallow it. Naruto's vision was getting rather blurry. He'd already lost a large amount of blood. The wounds weren't healing like they always did. He knew why. The seal. They had blocked the fox' chakra. Including it's ability to heal the host's injuries. 'Just fuckin' great…'
A kick to his ribs sent the poor boy flying and crashing into a nearby wall, knocking the breath right out of him. He groaned at the pain that shot through his body as he it the hard wall. He saw a figure moving towards him, thinking this was the end, but not before one of the villagers, probably a look-out, opened his mouth.
Mr. Haruno looked back at his wife who looked pretty nervous. They couldn't afford to get caught. In their eyes they weren't even doing anything wrong, but knew the current hokage was quite fond of the kid.
"Honey?" They could hear someone getting closer. It was faint, but still there.
"It's alright. We'll finish this some other time. Let's go!" The Harunos and the rest of the villagers disappeared in the blink of an eye right after casting a threatening look at the blonde lying on the ground. In all honesty they didn't think they had to finish it some other time. It would be a miracle if the teen were to survive this anyway. Naruto was left alone on the cold ground with the pouring rain washing away some of the red liquid. His eyes were half closed. Once again, he was left alone.
The injured leaf shinobi actually waited for somebody to show up as he lied almost motionless on the ground. He figured out soon enough that it was I wishing thought. He couldn't lie here forever anyway and tried to force himself up again.
The task seemed to be much more difficult than he'd first imagined. His shoulder, his stomach, ribs, his bloody face… It hurt like hell at every movement, every motion. And he thought he was having a hard time walking a few minutes ago, this was ten times worse. The teen's legs were shaking, but he managed to force himself up in what one could consider a standing position. He stumbled into the wall he'd hit a few moments ago, supporting his weight against the hard surface. The boy was still panting and groaning at every step he took. He probably looked like a mess. Blood stained clothes and wounds across his face and neck. He wondered if he'd manage to reach his apartment before passing out from blood loss. He bit his tongue and decided to give it a shot, ignoring the pain and throbbing feeling all over his damaged body.
In another district of Konoha a young medic was having a hard time falling asleep. She didn't know how long she'd just been lying there, staring at the quite uninteresting ceiling. Her eyes closed several times, but sleep wouldn't come. She'd heard her parents leave the apartment a few hours ago after they returned from the hokage tower. God knows what they had been doing there in the first place. They hadn't actually said anything to her since she'd gotten home. Well, they'd hugged her, given her sorrowful looks and stuff, but something seemed a bit off. The couple had been out for a while now and the young woman was starting to worry. They normally told her where they went and it certainly weren't like them to just wonder off in the middle of the night. Sakura buried her head down in her soft pillow. Thinking really hurt her head. She suddenly heard the door downstairs pushed open and she could hear the sound of the rain pouring outside. It was oddly silent, but she could hear someone step inside the apartment and sense the familiar chakra signals. She guessed that her parents didn't want to wake her, but the kunoichi was already up and decided to join her parents downstairs. Sakura was wearing a pink, tight top and a couple of loose, grey pants she found very comfortable to sleep in. The medic yawned and started to walk down the stairs. The sight that met her eyes when she walked into the kitchen made the girl gasp.
"Oh my god, mom! Dad… a-are you hurt?!" Both her parents had their hands covered with blood. Mr. Haruno had also gotten some of the red liquid on his blue shirt. Sakura stared in fear at her parents. Had they been in a fight?
"It's OK, Sakura. We're not hurt." Her mother finally said after exchanging certain looks with her husband. Sakura was left more confused than ever.
"Not hurt? What are you talking about? What about the bloo-"
"It's not ours, sweetie. We've gotten rid of the problem now and everything is fine." The man of the house said calmly as he sat down in front of the kitchen table like everything was normal. Assuming that the demon would die sooner or later of blood loss during the night.
Sakura, somewhat relieved that her parents were OK, but still confused relaxed her voice a little. Their attitude bothered her a little, but as long as they both were fine…
"So… what problem? You're both retired shinobis. I didn't think you were given mission anymore…" If they had Tsunade certainly hadn't told her student about it.
"That's right, Sakura. This wasn't a mission…" The older woman said, washing the blood off of her hands, staring into the open.
"Why can't you just tell me what you did out in the middle of the night? I was worried… and when you come back covered in blood… no wonder I get scared. Just tell me the truth and I won't bother you for the rest of the night. Dad…?" Sakura sounded more annoyed than worried. Why wouldn't they tell her? It's not like they kept secrets from each other.
Her father turned to face his daughter with a saddened look and smiled. "Don't worry, Sakura. He won't be able to hurt you anymore."
Sakura felt the words pierce through her soul. Her whole body going stiff. Her heart stopped beating for a few seconds. No… they wouldn't… This was her parents. They would never do something like that? She feared the answer to her next question. The pink-haired took a few steps backwards and swallowed.
"Wh-who are you referring to? What have you done?! God, don't tell me…" The young kunoichi stared at the two shinobis in the kitchen. Tears finally running down her cheeks. She looked terrified. Oh how she hoped she was wrong. Her own parents… She had to be.
"Don't cry, honey. We've taken care of the demon." The older woman answered.
That confirmed it. What her parents had been doing in the middle of the night. She slowly realized the situation after a few minutes stuck in denial. Her body started shaking and she felt the air leave her lungs.
"No… How? You are not my parents. Y-you can't be…" Sakura was currently facing the floor. She wouldn't dare look into the eyes of her parents. She was disgusted by her own flesh and blood for the first time in her life. She wanted to feel angry, to scream at them, but there was hardly room for it. Her body and mind filled with other emotions. She took a deep breath, gathered her courage and gave her parents a look that even made them shiver.
"If I find out that you've hurt him in any possible way I-I swear… I will never forgive you!" Knowing that they already had done it made her heart sting.
"Honey…" Ms. Haruno walked towards her daughter.
"Don't touch me! God… damn it!"
Sakura made a quick turn and ran out the door, not bothering to change into something more fittingly for a night walk. She hadn't the time to. She hadn't gotten any details. But… the blood. All that blood that didn't belong to the two members of her family…
"Sakura, come back here right this moment!" she could hear the faint yells from her parents. The rain mixed with her tears as she ran along the streets of Konoha as if her life depended in it. Panting.
"Naruto!" She screamed as if expecting to get a respond. 'Please… please hang on…'
Naruto had by some miracle managed to reach his apartment and was currently leaning against the door leading into his living room. He made traces of blood everywhere he touched. Now he was having a really hard time not collapsing. It didn't hurt as much anymore, which he figured was kind of a bad sign. It felt like his whole body was drugged. He dragged himself into the bathroom. The blonde looked into the mirror and almost gave out a small laugh at his reflection. 'God, I'm pathetic…' He really was a mess. He was about to take another step when he suddenly slipped in his own blood and stumbled into the shower, accidentally turning the water on. His legs failed to obey him and Naruto slid down the wall placing himself under the cold water as he sighed.
'So this is it, huh?' he felt the pain returning to him as the water woke him up a little. Apparently he wasn't completely paralyzed, much to his disappointment. He gave out a small scream when he felt the aching pain in his shoulder, but didn't do anything drastic. He closed his eyes, feeling the water against his lids and sore face. It felt kind of good, despite his every limb hurting. The boy had stopped crying a long time ago now. He gave out another bitter laugh when he realized what he was doing…
'I'm actually waiting for death to get me…' Now he really felt weak. He knew he wasn't able to stop the bleeding in time even if he tried. He'd already lost a large amount and the fox wasn't healing him. This was taking longer than he expected it to. All he did was suffer anyway. There was no point in dragging it out, maybe he could speed it up in stead? He moved his hand over to his pocket and took out a kunai. He placed his hand in his lap and stared at the weapon in front on him. With just a small, quick cut he could spare himself for at least some of the pain. That seemed like a reasonable thing to do, right? He placed the kunai to his wrist, but all of a sudden his hand started shaking. Why was he having such a hard time doing this? It was just a cut. A simple gesture, but at the same time it was so much more. It meant giving up on his dreams, his friends, his… promise. Well, he'd pass out eventually, but this was more like admitting defeat. The blonde sighed. He was going to die anyway, not thinking that anyone would come save him. He rarely had any visitors, he didn't expect it to come someone at the door in the middle of the night. The more he thought about it the less he actually wanted someone to stop him. This was the easy way out. The boy swallowed. He was getting rather cold due to him sitting under the freezing water. Maybe that was the reason for his shaking? No… It was something else.
'You can do this… come on. What the hell are you afraid of? It's better this way… For everyone. For you… and for Sakura.'
Sakura had started to panic even more when she'd seen the blood puddles near Naruto's apartment. The fact that it wasn't just one single puddle, but blood traces leading to his house made her throwth hurt and heart clench. But it also confirmed that they hadn't killed the blonde, just injured him badly judging from the amount of blood. She had no idea what she'd face.
The pink-haired reached Naruto's apartment after what seemed like an eternity of running and panting. She desperately flung the door open. 'More blood…'
"Naruto!" She yelled. No answer. She then heard a faint sound of water running.
"The bathroom…" Sakura panted and ran towards the sound begging that it wasn't too late.
The pink haired pulled the door open and forced herself to hold back a scream.
"N-Naruto drop that kunai right this moment!" She tried to make it sound like an order, but her voice sounded rather weak and at the point of breaking instead.
The blonde teen, who'd had his eyes closed when he'd heard the door being pushed open, dropped the weapon when he heard the voice he knew all too well. The kunai fell to the floor and Sakura was quick to kick the sharp object away from her teammate. The medic turned off the shower, but the blonde still kept his eyes closed, not uttering a single word. This wasn't something he wanted to face. Why did she have to come? Of all people… He just sat there. Sakura's legs collapsed and she fell on her knees right next to the silent boy. She'd never felt so scared and terrified in her entire life. Naruto had some deep cuts across his face, blood still running down his cheeks. His neck was injured… She locked her eyes at the wounds in his shoulder and stomach. The boy was soaked and he looked freezing. His lips had turned slight blue. Her whole body started shaking like crazy. The tears wouldn't stop falling from the pink-haired's eyes. She would've started heeling the boy a long time ago if it hadn't been for her shocked state which made her forget absolutely everything regarding her medic skills.
"Naruto…?" The girl sobbed. Staring at the blonde's closed eyelids. He wasn't moving, but he sure was conscious. Sakura felt her heart shatter with every second that passed without him saying anything. Her clothes were getting wet due to her sitting on the wet bathroom floor, but she didn't care.
"You shouldn't be here…" He finally whispered, eyes still closed.
"W-what?" Sakura said wide-eyed.
Naruto slowly opened his eyes. They looked dry and red. He looked at his teammate with sad eyes who started to water up again. Damnit, he couldn't even be strong in front of her. He hated it.
"Just go home and leave me here… please…" He couldn't look in to her eyes any longer and turned away. He was such a coward and he knew that so damn well that it pained him to look at his teammate. The strong and beautiful kunoichi.
"No! How can you even say that… Just… Just what the hell were you planning on doing with that kunai?!" Sakura wasn't even aware of her loud and threatening voice. She was heartbroken, she couldn't control her emotions at the moment.
The blonde opened his mouth, still not wanting to face the female.
"Does it even matter? I couldn't bring myself to pull it off anyway…"
"Of course it matters, you damn idiot! I-"
"Sakura-Chan… Please leave. Your parents wouldn't want you to be here…" His voice suddenly sounded so sad and calm as if accepting something she couldn't.
"Screw them! They… they were the one who did this to you, right? They… They hurt you…" She reached out her shaking hand to touch his wounded face only to find the blonde pulling further away from her. Not that he succeeded at that, his body hurting every time he tried to move.
"I almost killed you… you can't blame them. I probably deserved everything I got…" He said regretfully. Clenching his fist.
The cherry blossom stared at him in disbelief. How could he say something like that and believe it? She had to knock some common sense into the boy's head. Then it hit her like a hard rock to her head. 'Gods, I forgot about his wounds! I'm so freakin' stupid!'
The medic's hand started glowing green and she reach out for the boy's shoulder when a hand suddenly grabbed her wrist.
"Wha-? Naruto let go. I have to-!" She tried to twist her hand out of the grip, but the grip only tightened.
"I don't want you to…" The blonde mumbled. Still holding her wrist. Sakura was truly frightened by his words. Did he want to die that badly? Leaving her all alone? Her hand went slack as he loosened the grip around her wrist and held her hand gently in his stead. His fingers caressing her palm. Her heart started beating faster as he brought her hand closer to his face, near his lips, as he gently kissed the upper side of her hand without looking in her eyes. His lips was cold as expected after sitting under the cold water for god-knows-how-long, but it still made her cheeks flush.
"Naruto…" She whispered… Tears in the corner of her eye as he whispered three little words she was sure she heard wrong before his body went completely numb and fell to the floor.
"Naruto!" The pink-haired moved quickly to his side and lifted up the motionless body until his head was in her lap. There was hardly any pulse and the kunoichi's breath quickened as well as she slowly started to panic. No, she couldn't panic. It could cost her teammate his very life if she didn't focus now. She started the healing process to repair any damage her parents had caused. He usually healed faster than this… Why didn't the wounds close faster?! If he lost any more blood now he'd… he would…
"Naruto don't you dare do this to me! You can't… I won't allow you… please." The young woman cried out as she continued her attempt at healing the blonde. She'd manage to stop most of the bleeding, but his pulse was still low and he barely breathed. There was no way she was letting him go.
Sakura sighed in relief as the blonde had gone into a somewhat stabile condition. He was nowhere near from fine, but his life wasn't in danger anymore. It had been a close call though. Too close. One day he was gonna pay for making her go through that. She had also by some miracle managed to move the unconscious boy into his own bedroom and placed him on the bed. She sat on the floor next to the bed, staring at her blonde friend. He looked so peaceful as he'd fallen into a soundless sleep with wet hair locks covering part of his eyes. Kind of cute actually. She smiled. Thank god it was all over. Oh well, it was far from over. It was barely the start really… She would have to deal with that later. All that was important now was Naruto and his well being.
Now… he couldn't really sleep with his clothes all soaked and blood-stained could he? Sakura gulped. She'd have to strip him… Her cheeks turned a shade of pink. Well this was going to be… interesting. The kunoichi reached out for the zipper on his jacket and pulled it down reveling the black shirt hugging his chest. As careful as she could, the girl took off his jacket completely and tossed it on the floor. Now… another problem. She had to remove his t-shirt without waking him up. Not that she thought anything could wake him at the moment, but just in case she had to move smoothly. She cut the shirt in half, figuring he couldn't really use it anymore since it already was torn in several places with blood on it anyway. Sakura stared at his now bare chest. It wasn't really a bad sight… He had a beautiful well-trained body… after all, the boy was a shinobi. Without really thinking it through she reached out to touch the muscled stomach, stroking it. His skin was soft, but the injuries had left a few scars. She felt the boy shiver at every stroke. It was probably because of the cold and not because of her touching him. 'oh my god, I'm touching him…' The pink-haired shook her head and reached for a blanket and tucked the blonde in. She didn't dare take of his pants. What would he think of her?
The kunoichi moved up to sit next to him on the bed. She supported her weight on one elbow as she leaned down towards the unconscious boy. Her fingers ran through the unruly blonde hair as she watched him sleep.
"How can you give up so easily?" She whispered.
"I thought you treasured your life… Your friends… How can you throw it away without a second thought?" Her fingers continued to play with his hair as some sort of comfort.
"I'm sorry…" Sakura's body shot up. Did he just…?
"Y-You awake?" She asked with concern in her voice.
"Yeah…" Naruto opened his eyes and stared at the kunoichi next to him.
Sakura then became deadly serious. "What the hell were you thinking?! Did you just expect me to let you… to let you…-"
"Die?" he finished the sentence for her. Sakura nodded slightly as her eyes filled up with tears once again.
"I don't know… I guess I kind of wanted you to. I know… I'm so damned pathetic… I couldn't even bring myself to… Oh well, it doesn't matter any more. Nothing does…" The blonde spoke. It seemed as if all his strength and willpower had vanished into thin air. Sakura looked down at him even though his eyes never met hers.
"What do you mean nothing matters? What about me? Do you even think about what you're doing to me?!" The girl yelled, wanting to kick the shit out of the blonde for saying something that stupid.
"Besides almost killing you? Heh… trust me Sakura, you're better of without me." The blonde answered bitterly.
Sakura stared at the blonde in shock for the god-knows-how-many-times this evening. Her tears never stopped falling. "Don't… don't you say that. That wasn't your fault. I knew you weren't conscious, but I still ran at you. My emotions got in the way and I put myself in danger. How can you possible blame yourself for that?"
Naruto frowned. "You ran at me?"
"Of course I did. What you were doing to your body… How far you went just to keep a promise not worth risking your life over. I couldn't let you do that to yourself and foolish as I was, I ran towards you without knowing what to do, thinking I could stop you in some sort of way… I just couldn't stand seeing you in that state…" The pink-haired looked down in the sheets.
A little weight was lifted away from the blonde's chest. He was somewhat relieved at her version of the story. But still…
"It still doesn't change the fact that I hurt you… Sakura-chan… I'd give my life for you in a heartbeat. You know that…"
"I do, and it scares me, Naruto… You're my best friend. If I ever were to loose you, like I nearly did today… I just… Just promise me that you never go that far for me again…"
"You don't hate me?" Naruto asked in confusion.
"Hate you?! Naruto I lo-" Wow, what did she almost say? Sakura shook her head. "I could never hate you, Naruto. You shouldn't even have to ask…"
Before he managed to respond the medic had thrown herself around his neck, pulling him in to a sobbing hug, completely forgetting about his injuries, even though they had closed didn't mean they didn't hurt. He gave out a small moan at the sudden pain, but hell, he didn't care. His female teammate was in his lap, hugging him. He didn't know what to feel or how to react and did what came naturally to him. He hugged her back. Her touch made everything seem so much easier. The fact that she didn't hate him lifted a huge burden off of his chest. She was someone worth living for. Someone worth protecting. He knew that, but how can he ever protect someone he keeps hurting?
"You know I'll always be there for you, Sakura-Chan." He said, caressing her back.
"Then why did you nearly leave me today?" She sobbed. Her head rested on his collarbone.
"I…" He started… "I honestly don't know. I mean… I thought I was going to die anyway. It never accord to me that you would come, and when you did, I just felt like taking the easy way out. I guess I chose the cowardly way… I let the elders words get to me. I'm… I'm sorry." He answered truthfully.
Sakura suddenly remembered something…
"Naruto?" She lifted her head so she was staring right into those beautiful blue eyes of her teammate.
"Y-yeah?" Naruto stuttered. She was dangerously close… Not that he really minded though.
"Before you… passed out. You said something to me?" She honestly thought her mind had deceived her, but just to be completely sure…
'shit!' He'd forgotten about that… and she remembered that now? "I-I… It wasn't something important… Or it was, but you probably don't want to hear it-"
"What?" Sakura asked calmly. Naruto felt his heartbeats fasten. Should he really tell her? What if she slapped him or something? He held his breath and turned away from her.
"I… I said that I loved you…" He almost whispered, but the pink-haired caught it without any problems. So she had heard right after all.
"I know I don't have any right to… I know your heart belongs to someone else… I never should have said it. Just… just forget it." The blonde said and lowered his head.
"Naruto…" There was something in her voice that made his heart warm in an instant. He'd expected a hit in his shoulder or at least some kind of rejection, but as far as he knew, she hadn't done anything…yet. The silence kind of scared him. The blonde took a chance and tilted his head up to face her. Wait a minute, was she… smiling? She sure was. His eyes widen when the girl leaned in closer until her nose touched his.
"Sakura-Chan, what are you doing?" The boy couldn't help the blush that spread across his face.
"I-I don't know… Do you want me to stop?" Her voice could barely be heard. Naruto could feel her warm breath against his skin. It felt kind of nice. Ok, it felt really nice, but why would she do something like this?
"Uhm… no. No not really." He answered, his voice sounding nervous.
Sakura stared down on the blonde's lips. Just what was she doing exactly? Oh hell, she didn't care, too late to retreat now. She felt the other teen moan softly as she pressed her lips against his. They truly were cold. Without thinking she reached out her tongue to lick Naruto's lower lip, acting on pure desire. The blonde seemed to be lost in her kiss. She gave it a short suck before pulling back, breaking the kiss. The blonde opened his eyes, but it still looked like he was in a daze which made Sakura chuckle.
"Did you just…?" He asked, looking at her like she'd just lost her mind.
"Guess I did…" The pink-haired smiled.
There was a long silence. Naruto kept staring at her which made Sakura blush more and more for every second.
"What?" She snapped.
The jinchuuriki smiled. "You really are a lifesaver, you know that?"
The cherry blossom grinned, grabbing the blonde's hand.
"For what?" Naruto blinked.
"Smiling again. You really scared me there, you know…" Sakura looked down.
The boy sighed and squeezed her hand softly.
"I know. For a moment there, I scared myself as well. Not like me being this screwed up, huh?"
"Just don't let it happen again…" The medic said before she laid down next to the shirtless boy, head resting on his naked shoulder. Naruto grinned for the first time in days and leaned in to kiss her cheek. Neither of them knew exactly why they were acting like this. Definitely weird. A good kind of weird though.
"Hey… does this mean I have to kiss you every time you do something stupid?" Sakura asked and raised an eyebrow.
The blonde looked his teammate in the eyes, dead serious.
"Yes, I am afraid so little lady." He said before receiving a hit to his shoulder.
"You're an idiot." The kunoichi giggled.
"You know… I think I just did something stupid." The blonde smirked, hoping she would get the hint.
"Oh really?" The pink-haired said, smirking as well.
All their worries seemed so far away this night as they laid in the soft bed, joking and teasing each other. As long as they were together everything seemed like heaven, but deep down, they knew that hell would catch up with them in the morning…
A\N: I know there's a very open ending, but I didn't feel like writing anymore. I hope you enjoyed it though : Like I said, hardly any chance for a sequel happening.