Only In Darkness

Sakura forced herself to keep her breathing even as she crept ever so silently down a hallway in the Akatsuki base. She realized what she was doing was stupid - suicidal even. Going to a place like this all alone with no backup - not one of her more brilliant ideas. Coming here might've been the very last thing she would ever do, and she was fully aware of that. But she had to trust in herself that she wouldn't get caught. If she could manage this, she was going to be alright.

Her goal? Find Akasuna no Sasori.

Curiosity had gotten the better of her this time. She had fought with the puppet master himself, alongside his Grandmother, Chiyo, and had defeated him in combat. Or at least, that's what she thought.

Rumors were going around that Sasori was actually alive. At first she didn't believe it, no, refused to believe it. But as the rumors were becoming more frequent, she began to grow skeptical of the whole situation. And even now, she still was. But she figured that this would be the only way of knowing whether or not he was really and truly alive. She had to search for him herself.

If she told anybody about what she was attempting, she would surely be punished - even be put under house arrest. But that was why she kept her lips sealed and told no one - not even Naruto. For her to get closure, she needed to do this, otherwise she'd drive herself insane with doubt. This was the only way.

She then snuck out at midnight, creeping out the front gates of her beloved Konoha. Luck was on her side that night - the guards were chatting casually amongst themselves, not even taking much notice to the gates. She knew that nobody would notice her - she had gotten a small break from hospital duty, meaning most would assume she'd be at home resting. In this way, she planned everything perfectly.

Finding the Akatsuki base was difficult, but it's not like she expected much less. There were times when she doubted herself, figuring that if nobody else could find them, how could she? But again, how many people could defeat Akasuna no Sasori in combat? Certainly not many. Yet she did.

Relying on some rumors and a bit of luck (alright, mostly luck) she managed to find the base. It was located behind a waterfall, hidden away behind clumps of rock and minerals. She found herself a bit disappointed when she found a seal on the opening of the base.

Sakura groaned, tussling a lock of her fuchsia-colored hair. 'I should've figured as much. Last time they used a seal, too. I guess I could punch it through, but…' Green eyes darted around the small opening, analyzing every inch of it. 'that would not be stealthy. I'd surely be attacked by every single member of Akatsuki! Then I'd die…' She bit her lip at that thought. 'Well, the only other logical thing would be to wait - which might take awhile. Who knows when somebody will walk in or out of the base. But…do I really have a choice?'

She hid behind a large boulder near the opening, sitting down on the moist rock. She made sure her chakra was masked and she began waiting.

Sakura wasn't entirely sure how long she had been waiting, but it felt like it'd been a few hours at least. She was getting stiff and extremely uncomfortable from sitting so long.

'C'mon you stupid Akatsuki!' She thought agitatedly. 'Hurry up! I'm tired of waiting here!'

And as if by magic, she heard the rustic sound of rock scraping on rock and turned excitedly towards the entrance. Sure enough the way was open.

Two tall figures were slowly making their way towards the cave - one of whom she recognized immediately as Deidara. His long tuff of hair emerging from his ponytail was hard to forget. But the other character she could not see - he was wearing a hat on top of his head.

"You're an idiot, yeah!" Deidara cried out, his voice bouncing off the rocks. "Your whole outlook on art is wrong! Art should be fleeting - one grand moment of gorgeousness. Not everlasting art! I mean," He stuck all three tongues out at the man. "come on!" Taking one of his hands, he lifted the hat off the other man's head - Sakura almost gasped. That mess of red hair was unmistakable - and that glare…

'Sasori…'

Sasori's russet eyes lazily went between Deidara and his hat. He sighed, "No, Deidara. You're very clearly mistaken. The greatest art is something beautiful that lasts and lasts forever. You claim your bombs and explosives to be art, but how can they possibly be? You barely have time to look at them before they're destroyed." He snatched his hat from Deidara's hand and placed in nimbly back atop his head.

"Better explosives than puppets made out of cadavers, yeah!" Deidara hissed.

Sasori rolled his eyes. "Let's go. I hate waiting."

Then he began walking into the cave, Deidara following him, continuing to argue. Within a few seconds, their voices became quieter than before and soon faded.

'Okay, Sasori is alive. Now I can go!' She said to herself. But somehow, she didn't want to leave with just that. She had traveled all this way…just to find Sasori. If she stuck around a bit longer, she might be able to find out more information about him. About how he managed to survive. She had to now. Besides, what was there left to lose?

The sound of the doors closing broke her chain of thought, and she made her decision.

'Here's my chance!' Sakura thought, darting between the closing doors. And just as soon as she had stepped inside the fortress, the doors had shut behind her.

It was dark inside the cave. However it wasn't just your average darkness - this was extreme darkness. Sakura couldn't even make out her hand when she waved it in front of her face. This thought frightened her. She hadn't counted on it to be so dark - now her job would be that much more difficult!

'This isn't time for whining!' Sakura scolded herself mentally. 'I'm a ninja! I've got to do this the right way. The stealthy way.'

After locating a wall to lay a hand on to guide her, she quickly but carefully began sprinting down the hall. She kept her footsteps quiet and her chakra masked - there was no way she was going to go down now.

She continued on like this until she heard Deidara and Sasori's voices again. They were faint, but she could still hear them clearly.

"…well clay is a very suitable material, Sasori. I couldn't use play dough to make my art, now could I, yeah?"

Sasori's shrill laugh caught her off guard. But still, it was a charming laugh.

'Charming?!' Sakura thought. 'Did I just think that his laugh was charming?' She mentally slapped herself.

"Technically you could, Deidara. You could use all sorts of different colored play dough - blue, pink, green…it's better than that plain sandy colored clay you use."

Sakura could just feel the tension in between them, even though she was far away. She started to slow down her pace as she got closer to the two Akatsuki members - Deidara was holding a torch, making at least 10 feet in front and behind of them aglow.

'Gotta be careful.' Sakura thought, following the two suspiciously.

"Hey Danna ," Deidara mused, looking over at his teammate. "Do you remember that one pink-haired girl, yeah? What was her name?"

A shock went through Sakura's body, causing her to almost loose her balance. Did they suspect her? Did they know she was following them?

"Sakura." Sasori said, his tone still no different from the moment before.

Sakura silently let out the breath that she had been holding.

"Yeah, that's the one. Sakura…" Deidara stated, trying out the name. "What happened to her?"

Sasori shrugged. "I'm not for sure. After she brutally did away with me, I was left unconscious - you know that. So I know nothing of her nor her whereabouts. Although," He suddenly stopped walking, turning his head to look behind him. "I've heard rumors that a girl with an unusual hair color was headed somewhere near here. I wonder…"

Concealed in the murky shadows, Sakura's quiet yet labored breathing started back up again. Right hand gripping her chest, she closed her eyes, forcing herself to act calm.

'He knows…' She thought in a panic, leaning ever closer into the wall beside her.

Emerald eyes open wide looked at the twosome, waiting for Sasori to unveil her cover.

However, what he did next surprised her - he gazed into the darkness and sighed.

Deidara looked at him, obviously confused.

"…Sasori-Danna?"

Sasori turned towards his partner. "I…I think I dropped something back there somewhere. You go on ahead - I'll follow you later."

Deidara cocked his head to the side, but nodded. Then he continued walking down the hall, the light of his torch ever fading. What she saw became imprinted in her mind - a demented Sasori, a dark smile staining his lips. Seconds later, it was completely dark, disabling her ability to see.

She stood by the wall petrified with fear as she heard the small echo of a footstep. Then two. Then three.

'Oh crap.'

Sakura spun around and ran full throttle down the opposite end of the hallway - Sasori's footsteps mimicked her own, but they were faster. This terrified her - but she kept pushing her legs - she wouldn't let him catch her!

It was mere seconds before Sakura ran into the cave entrance - hard and cold. Freedom was on the other side - barely twenty feet away.

'I gotta break it!'

Swiftly reaching her arm back, she made way to punch the wall, but a strong grip caught hold of her arm instead. Heart beating frantically, Sakura felt cold breath on her neck. Sasori.

She could just see his expression in her mind - that taunting smile, those piercing russet eyes.

He snickered, seemingly mocking her current situation. She tried to struggle against him, but he held on tight - too tight.

"So," He sneered, frosty breath by her ear. "the little bird has decided to return to me?" He chuckled. "I didn't know that you missed me so much."

"Miss you?" Sakura said through clenched teeth. "I have never missed you. Not once!"

Sasori pressed his lips against her neck teasingly - she could feel his smile against her skin.

"Hmm…pity. Because," He breathed. "I sure have missed you. Those eyes, that skin - that perfect, porcelain skin…" he brushed a hand across her cheek. "And of course," He ran his hand through her hair. "You're unique, fuchsia-colored locks."

Sakura slapped his hand away. "Please! All you care about is yourself!"

Sasori released her arm from his grasp, but instead wheeled her around to face him. She could barely make out his eyes - his sad, lonely eyes.

"Yes…before my rebirth, that was how I was. It's what I still am. But I haven't ever lived any other way, Sakura." He rolled her name off his tongue.

"What do you mean?"

Sasori looked away from her, somewhat embarrassed. Why should he let her order him around? Nevertheless…

"My parents died when I was at a young age. I was left alone for the most part, so I made their carcasses into puppets. I tried to fill the void, but it did not work. Nobody ever cared for me, so why should I care for anyone else? People are heartless!" He explained this passionately, painfully, his voice echoing off the walls around them. "So I denied myself of all my emotions so I couldn't feel, then turned myself into a puppet!"

His grip on her shoulders tightened, Sakura wincing in pain.

"I bet you had people who loved you! People around you who cared about your well-being. But who did I have? Nobody! Nobody…" His voice came out in desperate sob - certainly that was unexpected. "How I HATE you! You don't deserve kindness! You don't deserve anything!" He trembled violently.

Sasori didn't know why he was feeling like this… perhaps it had been because when the Akatsuki brought him back to life, he was returned human. Now all these emotions were boiling over. When Sakura did next, he didn't expect.

She wrapped her arms around his torso and hugged him tightly. She buried her face into his chest. "Sasori…I'm sorry."

To say that Sasori was shocked by her actions was an understatement.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry." She looked up at him.

"You're…apologizing?"

Sakura smiled, saying nothing.

Sasori, somewhat hesitantly, raised his arms and wound them around Sakura - completing the embrace.

'Well…' Sakura thought. 'This is one thing I never though would happen - especially with him. Of all people…'

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Well... this is a first - LITERALLY! I've never really written an actual Sasosaku before, and i though to myself, 'How outrageous is this!? I must write one!' And so i did. It's not my best work...but i never really meant it to be. It was more of a practice - though i'd really like to do another Sasosaku again. This was too much FUN afterall XD. Please comment/review. I'd love to hear what all of you think!!

Thank you so much!

- Getsuei-Hime