Welcome to my newest story. This is a NaruSaku story in which I will try to incorporate many elements ranging from betrayal, romance, war, resistance movement, etc.
Main Villains: Danzo and Otogakure, Akatsuki won't surface until way later and will play more of a secondary role.
Locations: Konoha and Iwagakure
I found the name Fūrinkazan in Wikipedia while browsing Sun Tzu's Art of War. Great book by the way, I can only recommend it. Anyways, Fūrinkazan literally means, "Wind, Forest, Fire, and Mountain" (if Wikipedia is correct, which I assume it is) and I figured it's a fitting name for this story considering what I have planned. I hope you enjoy this story.
Disclaimer: The original content does not belong to me. Nuff said. Rated-M because I say so.
Summary: Sakura and Naruto are fleeing from Konoha forces as Danzo takes control of the village. Betrayed and left alone, Naruto and Sakura settle to live a life of peace amongst one of their nation's greatest enemies but their past will catch up to them eventually.
Prologue + Chapter 1
It is a dark cold night in Konoha and Sakura was twisting and turning uneasily in her bed as she tried to find much needed sleep. She sighed as her eyes snapped open again. She stared up into her dark ceiling and frowned at being unable to fall asleep. She turned her head to spy at her alarm clock next to her bed and growled seeing the time.
It was 4:23 in the morning and she had to get up for work in less than two hours. Grumbling, she slipped out of her bed and walked out of her bedroom to enter the bathroom. Muttering obscenities under her breath as she walked through the dark hallway, she failed to realize that she was being watched from the darkness of her apartment. The dark cloaked figure hid every feature except a pair of eyes emanating power underneath smooth silken black hair.
Sakura winced upon turning on the light inside the bathroom and she shielded her eyes waiting for them to adjust to the sudden brightness. Sighing, she stepped inside and closed the doors before lifting her nightgown and sitting down on the toilet. She stared off into space as she relieved herself when the sudden sound of paper rustling caught her attention. Pulling a kunai out of nowhere, her eyes instantly darted around the bathroom.
Her attention was drawn to the bathroom door as she saw a piece of folded paper get pushed through the tiny slit between the door and the floor. Sakura frowned and quickly finished, wiping herself dry and hesitantly approached the door. "Who's there?" She asked quietly with a hint of fear in her voice.
Not receiving an answer, Sakura placed her ear against the door trying to listen for whoever was outside in her dark hallway. She couldn't hear a single noise and Sakura's heart started pounding in her chest as she reached with a shaking hand for the piece of paper. Holding the paper in her hand, Sakura quickly stepped away from the door and prepared herself for someone possibly barging inside to attack her.
She breathed heavily as her adrenaline rushed through her system and she was beginning to think that moving out from her parents was not such a good idea at her young age of sixteen. Minutes passed with her body pressed against the wall and still nothing had happened. She tip toed back to the bathroom door and took a steadying breath before carefully and silently opening up the door after having switched off the light.
She peaked out and quickly slapped the light switch for the hallway. She saw nothing out of the ordinary and after carefully exploring her entire apartment, Sakura found herself alone. She checked her apartment door and still found it locked from the inside, deadbolt and everything still in place. She frowned and thought that she might have dreamed this when she remembered the piece of paper in her hand.
She quickly walked into her bedroom after making sure every door and window was still locked securely. She sat down in her bed and unfolded the piece of paper and started reading.
Darkness is ascending upon Konoha. Do not trust anyone! Protect the heir by following your heart.
Sakura was confused and yelped in a panicked surprise as the piece of paper started burning and crumbled to ash in her hands as it destroyed itself leaving no trace behind. Not understanding the message at all, Sakura grew worried and concerned. Someone had been in her apartment without her knowledge and without leaving a single trace.
Trying to shove the message into the back of her mind, Sakura took another glance at her alarm clock only to realize it was time for her to get dressed. Sighing, she walked back to the bathroom to take her shower. The message however, didn't leave her a peace of mind as she constantly repeated it. She had no idea who this 'heir' was and what was meant by following her heart. In the end, Sakura opted to forget everything about it and not mention this incident to anyone. She didn't want to worry her parents about a mysterious message that could be nothing more than a sick joke.
It was a dark room and he sat in his little chair behind his desk and his lone healthy yet aging eye fell upon the subordinate, one of his many drones as he liked to call them. "What is it? Did you complete your mission?"
"Yes Master," the subordinate replied kneeling not daring to look up into his Leader's face. His expression was devoid of any emotions and his eyes were firmly set onto the wood planks that made up the floor. "The final dosage was delivered today."
"Excellent," the man said and leaned back into the chair. With his healthy hand he massaged the stump of his other, a painful reminder that he had failed once before. "Were you able to eliminate the untainted sake from the room as well?"
"Good," the brooding man cooed and slowly pushed himself with the help of his cane out of the chair. "This is excellent work my child. By tonight, after she takes the final dosage, the Hokage will be compliant to my orders."
"Master," the young man spoke up stunned when he felt his Leader's hand come to rest on his head. It was something that rarely happened and was meant as a reward to the troops. It meant that their Master recognized them; their skills and their absolute obedience. To this day there had only been one before him that was honored with this recognition and that person had long passed away. The blessed drone had given his life for their Leader and he, who had always thrived to achieve such recognition, would do the same in a heart beat. That was how deep his devotion ran for his Master.
"Rise my child and walk with me," the dark voice ordered his subordinate. "Tell me Sai, how did you manage to rid the Hokage of her sake?"
Sai rose to his feet and followed obediently, "I told her apprentice Sakura Haruno that the Hokage was hiding more sake from her." A small smile formed on Sai's lips only to disappear again quickly. Feeling the eyes of his Leader upon him, Sai apologized. "I am sorry Danzo-sama, it will not happen again. It is difficult to stop these fake expressions from appearing after having trained and using them on a daily basis."
"Make sure you do not slip up again. I will not tolerate emotions within Root, do I make myself clear?" Danzo growled and let his anger roll into his voice. He suppressed a smile as he saw Sai flinch visibly, "I have a new mission for you Sai. Contact Orochimaru and inform him that we will strike in one week, he knows the rest."
"As you wish Danzo-sama," Sai bowed and vanished in a splash of ink.
"And now, I just need to find a way to ensure that this troublesome apprentice of hers does not get in my way." Danzo muttered and snapped with his fingers. Another of his Root drones appeared in front of him. "You will take care of her, is that understood?"
"Yes Lord Danzo," the female bowed. "Do you wish her to be eliminated or simply subdued until later?"
"Keep her busy, keep her away from the Hokage, and keep her away from the demon child. I do not care how you do it but keep her alive. We will need her medic skills in the future and she also holds the summoning contract of the Slugs. Sakura Haruno is too valuable to kill off. Just like this pathetic village, she will come over to our side once she hears of what the demon child has done to their beloved Hokage." Danzo laughed and dismissed his drone with a wave of a hand as he continued walking through the ANBU Root headquarters. The ever present screams and cries for their mothers of the children his Root members abducted regularly played his triumphant victory march as he limped deeper into the corridors of the hidden base.
"Shishou let's go already," Sakura waited patiently in front of the Hokage's desk. "Tsunade-sama, everyone is waiting for us. We have to get going before they cast the genjutsu on the hot spring without us. You know as well as I do that it will prevent us from entering once its cast. Jiraiya-sama is due back in town today and therefore we can't enjoy the hot spring without Kurenai-sensei's help."
"Bah! That old pervert will realize the second he gets there that the hot springs are under a genjutsu. He is a Sannin for crying out loud, not some Genin. You go and have fun Sakura," Tsunade muttered as she leaned on her desk and looked at her apprentice with disinterest.
"Fine, I will stay here as well." Sakura replied coldly and flopped down into the chair that was standing in front of the desk. "What shall we do then? Maybe go over the shinobi detail that is to accompany you to Suna for the Chunin exams?"
Tsunade sighed, "Just go to the hot springs. You have been talking all week about wanting to go, so go already."
"I am not going if Jiraiya-sama is going to peep regardless. I don't want to show up in one of his perverted books or be used for any inspiration." Sakura said as she crossed her arms defiantly over her chest and stared at her teacher.
"Alright, I won't push you." Tsunade admitted defeat and unlocked the desk drawer. She pulled out a single red bottle and ripped the wax seal from the cork before opening it for the first time.
"Where the hell did you get that from?" Sakura almost screamed in anger ripping the bottle out of Tsunade's hands before her teacher had a chance to take a swig from it. "I thought I had destroyed every last one. Shizune even helped me find all of your secret locations. I tell you Shishou, someone that hides their liquor from others is an alcoholic that has lost control over their addiction. You're too old to keep behaving as if you were still in your twenties."
Tsunade's eye twitched, "YOU!" She angrily stated and pointed with the finger at Sakura as she tried to pry the bottle back. "You are in so much trouble Sakura. Hand me back that bottle right now before I bust you down to Genin rank and ensure you'll never get a single mission again… EVER! I'll have you teach in the Academy, I'll have you clean the public shit houses in all of Konoha… hand me back that sake bottle."
"No," Sakura answered and screwed the cork back onto the bottle. "And you can't threaten me as if I were Naruto. You need me in the hospital, you know it and I know it."
"Damn," Tsunade muttered in anger and leaned back into her chair. She crossed her arms and pouted. Her pout turned into a smirk. "Speaking of Naruto, have you confessed your true feelings to him yet?"
Sakura looked flustered, "I-I don't know what you're talking about Shishou."
"Oh is that so Sakura?" Tsunade placed her elbows onto the desk and leaned on the palms of her hands as they supported her head. She looked at her student, "You know Sakura… You should tell him soon. Your competition is slowly growing. Hinata is no longer the only one that has caught an interest in our favorite blond knucklehead. There are others and they aren't as shy as dear Hinata is."
Sakura blinked and silently cursed as she felt a blush forming and tried to hide it under a mask of anger and indifference. "I still don't know what you are talking about Hokage-sama."
"Hokage-sama?" Tsunade raised a puzzled brow before resounding laughter escaped her. "Sakura, Sakura, Sakura… you can't fool me. I know how you look at him. Did you really think I did not notice you hovering around him when he trained with Kakashi and Yamato several weeks ago? Did you really think I did not notice your silent tears that you spilled every time he lay on the operating table? Or how you stayed in his room never leaving his side, and only going home right before he would wake up so that he didn't know you were by his side all that time?"
Sakura blinked in shock and turned it to anger, "How dare you claim to know these ludicrous feelings I am supposed to have? Like I said," Sakura pouted as her short burst of anger vaporized into thin air. The pinkette looked away offended and closed her eyes as if she refused to continue to listen to this conversation. "You have no idea what you are talking about Sensei."
Tsunade laughed again, "Sakura the fact that you just got angry with me is only confirming what I have been telling you already. Regardless, don't you at least want to know who else has caught interest of your dear Naruto-kun?" Tsunade asked and waited for Sakura's curiosity to waver. She didn't have to wait long and saw one of Sakura's eyes open briefly and make eye contact.
Tsunade smiled and leaned back into her chair, "It will cost you though… that sake bottle you are holding hostage." Another quiet moment passed between the two and without acknowledging or turning to face Tsunade, Sakura's hand that was holding the sake bottle shot out and placed it onto Tsunade's desk.
"First you tell me everything. I don't want to listen to your slurring and try to decipher what the hell you are talking about."
"It's a deal," Tsunade clapped her hands and bobbed happily in her chair like a small child as the thought of sake running over her taste buds rushed through her mind. She coughed into her hand and collected herself, "Where was I? Oh yes, I remember. You were deciding to act coy with me and pretend I had not noticed your growing affection for Naruto-kun."
"I already told you that you were mistaken." Sakura interjected and seethed in anger, "You were going to tell me who else is falling for Naruto."
"Aha, I knew it." Tsunade burst out. "You just admitted that you are falling for Naruto." Tsunade giggled as if she had struck a vein of gold, "I can't wait to tell Shizune." Tsunade felt a sudden killer intent upon her and she cowered a little, "I'll keep it to myself. Not a word to anyone, I promise."
The killer intent vanished but Tsunade could still feel it lingering in the background. She shuddered a little at the massive amount that Sakura had exuberated. Deciding to steer her student's attention towards her rivals, Tsunade cleared her throat once again. "As I was saying, dear Hinata is no longer the only one that has her eyes set on Naruto. I know of several senior kunoichi that aren't that much older, that have gotten interested in your beloved Naruto. Then there is also you dear friend Ino. She seems to be the most aggressive one of the lot, actively flirting with him and all."
Sakura let out a very unladylike snort, "As if those bimbos can catch his attention. His eyes are only looking at me."
"Resorting to name calling already, my, my Sakura have you grown jealous quickly," Tsunade thought amused. Her hand took hold of her sake bottle as the urge to drink it was threatening to overwhelm her. She didn't know where those delicate red bottles came from, but they were the best tasting sake she had ever had. She just hoped it wasn't Jiraiya's way of telling her that he had still feelings for her. Although she admitted, the job of Hokage can get quite lonely. "Perhaps I should give that old pervert one last chance."
Tsunade was pulled out of her thoughts as she slowly pried the cork out of the sake bottle. "Sensei, I have been wondering but where are those red bottles coming from? You have been receiving them for three weeks now and they always appear on your desk. Not even Shizune-san knows where they are coming from and more importantly from whom. Don't you think it's dangerous to just drink some random out-of-the-blue sake that mysteriously appeared on your desk? What if it's poisoned?"
Tsunade snorted as she took her first swig and instantly felt her urge to drink more of this delicious sweet tasting nectar lower a little. "Sakura, you know as well as I do that my body automatically fights poisons and other toxins. In fact, I have been exposed to so many toxins and poisons that I should practically be immune to them all. You're the same way, just like Shizune. Haven't you been wondering what all those injections were for during your first year of apprenticeship under me?"
"I admit, I was curious to know the purpose and Shizune-san explained it to me. I was furious that you didn't explain it to me yourself, especially the risks involved. But I learned to understand your reasoning behind it, yet don't you think it's still dangerous? What if it's a new poison that you haven't been exposed to yet?"
"Bah," Tsunade spat and took another strong swig. "You worry too much Sakura. If it were a strong poison, I would have detected it already and weak poisons, even if they are based on new compounds will be analyzed by my cells automatically and the proper immunities would be put in place. But you know that as well, so I suggest you leave me and protect your droll boyfriend from the claws of the female kunoichi population."
"For the last time, I do not like Naruto," Sakura screamed and turned a bright pink in her face. "In fact, I am going to look for him now and pound him into the ground."
"You do that Sakura, but remember to explain to him why he suddenly was subjugated to your wrath and why he shouldn't look at other women." Tsunade laughed as she watched her student stomp out of her office and slamming the door behind her. "I should tell Jiraiya of this development once he returns from his mission to find information on Akatsuki's leader."
Sakura had been looking for Naruto everywhere. She had checked the training grounds he liked to frequent. She also checked with Ichiraku's, but Ayame had said that they hadn't seen Naruto in a few days. Sakura had then decided to check his apartment, only to find it deserted of his presence. In fact it had looked like he hadn't been in his apartment for a while because it actually was still clean. Sakura frowned as she stepped into the road as she left Naruto's apartment building and looked up as she squinted her eyes against the sun. "Where the hell is that idiot," she muttered and trotted aimlessly down the road.
Sakura was deep in thought, thinking about the latest revelations concerning her idiot blond teammate and the fact that more and more competition was keeping a close eye on him. Apparently showing interest in him that even the Hokage had known about and she didn't. "Competition… yeah right," Sakura muttered in anger and shook her head as she weaved her way through the crowded road. "They can be best described as an annoyance and not competition."
Sakura sighed as she continued talking to herself, "Why do I even care if they like him. It's not like I do too."
"But we do love him! He is ours!" Inner Sakura suddenly yelled up and making herself heard after having been quite for years.
Sakura blinked in surprise, "What the hell? Where the fuck did you come from? And shut up! You don't know what you are talking about."
"Keep telling yourself that," Inner Sakura started saying when her voice turned frightened and panicky. "Hey what the hell are you doing… stop this. No, don't send me down there again," Inner Sakura pleaded. "It's dark and lonely down there. All I get to do is watch you be stupid. You can have him, if you just tell him how you feel. Don't let others take him…"
Sakura smiled and sighed as her mind fell quiet again. She had quickly dispatched off her inner persona by condemning her again to the depths of her mind. Sakura had thought she had succeeded for good back when she had first started her apprenticeship under Tsunade. "What does my blasted subconscious know anyways? She doesn't know how I truly feel." Sakura quietly growled as she passed a young couple on a date and instantly felt bangs of jealousy.
Confused at her reaction Sakura reached the local BBQ pit and looked inside as she continued walking by. She was already passed the windows, when something in her mind clicked. She stopped mid stride and frowned, "That couldn't have been Naruto in there. He doesn't like to eat BBQ that much."
"Nah, I must be seeing things," Sakura thought and shrugged as she shook her head dismissing the idea of having seen Naruto. She continued but only got as far as a couple steps when a nagging suspicion slowly grew in the pit of her stomach and forced her to stop again. "Perhaps I should go back and look again, just to be sure."
Sakura quickly turned around and pressed her face against the window, while blocking the sun from putting a glare on the window and keeping her from viewing inside. And low and behold, her eyes fell upon the back of a blond head. It looked like Naruto but Sakura wasn't sure. She watched and frowned as she saw the blond man raise his arms behind his head and Sakura guessed the person was smiling and suddenly saw Naruto do the same thing in her mind's eye. "Only Naruto does that," Sakura mentally screamed in her mind and was furious. Feelings of betrayal cursed through her that quickly turned to frustration and anger.
Breathing heavily, she pushed herself away from the window and headed towards the door. She pushed it open and was greeted by the hostess. Ignoring the friendly greeting, Sakura's eyes were trained on the booth in which the blond man sat. Her eyes widened at seeing the blond man being somebody else and she let out a calming breath that she hadn't known she was holding. "Thank goodness that wasn't Naruto," she said and turned around to look at a bewildered looking hostess.
"Oh sorry," Sakura chuckled uneasily. "I thought I had seen a friend but I was wrong."
The hostess looked at Sakura and smiled, "I understand. I actually can understand you, I had thought I had seen my boyfriend cheat on me once too in a restaurant. Luckily for you, you realized your mistake before you did something…" The hostess stopped and looked embarrassed before continuing, "Before you did something humiliating."
Sakura grew angry at the assumption of the hostess assuming Sakura was looking for her boyfriend. She yelled at the hostess, "Why the hell is everyone saying that I like Naruto. Damnit he is just a stupid teammate and nothing more. He is not my boyfriend."
"Sakura stop lying to yourself and admit your feelings for him. Jealousy doesn't suit you," Tsunade's voice entered her mind and she whirled around expecting to find the Hokage standing behind her but Sakura didn't see anyone.
"Oh I am terribly sorry. I just assumed you were looking for your boyfriend after you looked so angry just a minute ago," the hostess apologized. "Is everything alright Miss?" She asked at seeing Sakura's confused look after having whipped around unexpectedly.
Sakura turned to the hostess and shook her head. A slight frown on her brow, "I am sorry I thought I heard someone I knew." Sakura looked at the hostess and smiled, "I am terribly sorry for the inconvenience."
Sakura bowed and turned to walk outside but when her hand reached for the door, Naruto's loud laughter resounded through the restaurant, which prompted Sakura to whirl around. Her eyes angrily scanned every booth with a dangerous fire lit in them. Sakura's vision fell upon a dark booth at the very end of the restaurant and the fire in her eyes fanned out of control.
The hostess shrunk under the threatening view of seeing Sakura transform into a raging, hormone driven, and jealous being with eyes burning of anger. The hostess followed Sakura's line of sight and she saw a single blond sitting at the table and across from him sat a blonde female with long plated hair. The man, who must have been Naruto was sitting with his back towards the door and was currently laughing rather loudly as the girl across from him smiled as they must have been sharing a private joke.
The hostess grew wary and turned to look at Sakura, only to realize the raging pinkette, whose demeanor screamed out to inflict unimaginable pain upon said blond was stomping towards that vary exact booth. The hostess quickly rushed after Sakura and hastily and quietly tried to calm her down, "Miss please, don't do anything you might regret later. And for the love of all that is holy please do not destroy this establishment. My boss will have my head."
The hostess's only answer was the grinding of Sakura's teeth and the young woman swallowed in fear at imagining the outcome of this encounter. After all, finding their boyfriend in a restaurant with another woman can drive someone up the wall and into a fit of rage that can't be controlled.
Sakura reached the booth Naruto and Ino were sitting in and loomed over Naruto. His back was turned to her so he had no idea what was happening. Sakura stood silently behind him, waiting for him to say something, but all the idiot could do was laugh at something he and Ino had been talking about. Sakura had long since realized that Ino had fallen deathly quiet after having seen her storm towards their table. Sakura also recognized the slight fear in Ino's eyes at seeing the pinkette and Sakura grinned mischievously.
"H-Hi there Forehead," Ino stumbled over her words at seeing the raging fire in Sakura's eyes and her anger emanating off the kunoichi in dark brooding waves.
"Sakura-chan is here?" Naruto asked as he looked confusingly at Ino.
Sakura pulled out her black leather gloves and put them on. She flexed her hands and fingers as she fisted them and the sound of creaking leather echoed through the restaurant that had fallen very silent as every set of eyes were directed toward the table.
"Where?" Naruto asked next and began to turn around to look at the door. He started sweating as his eyes fell upon a pissed off Sakura standing behind him. Stuttering, Naruto hesitantly slipped out of the booth and stood before Sakura. "H-hi, w-w-what are you doing here Sakura? D-did I do something wrong? W-where we suppose to meet for training?"
Sakura's eyes traveled from Naruto to Ino's and saw her blonde friend flinch, "Ino-pig…" Sakura growled and raised her upper lip giving her a feral expression. Combined with Sakura's visible anger and rage, Ino shrunk further under the table.
At this point Ino's head was the only remaining visible part of her body that could be seen. "I-I am sorry Sakura. I didn't know, I thought," Ino stuttered some more.
"Thought what Pig?" Sakura growled while ignoring Naruto's attempts of talking to her.
"N-n-nothing," Ino quickly added as she understood the silent threat and meaning of Sakura's steely glance as Sakura staked out her claim and ensuring the blonde would understand the consequences of intruding upon it.
Sakura's eyes wondered away from one problem and stopped on the next. "Naruto," she growled in anger and her right hand snapped forward grabbing his ear.
"Sakura-chan, what's wrong?" Naruto asked before her hand got hold of his ear and he winced in pain as she felt her fingers squeeze. "Sakura-chan, that hurts."
"Naruto," she growled again only to tighten her grip on his ear and forcing him down to his knees.
"Sakura-chan, I am sorry," Naruto apologized as tears formed in his eyes as the pain on his ear intensified. "Whatever I did, I am sorry."
"You're coming with me now," Sakura growled and turned to walk outside the restaurant dragging Naruto behind her.
Naruto complained the entire way to the training ground at Sakura's vice like grip on his ear and only got free of her hold as they reached their sparring area. Sakura turned around and watched him rub is ear. She walked up to him and pulled his head down to her level and her fiery eyes locked with his sapphire blues that held utter confusion. "Now you listen very carefully Naruto," Sakura said coldly and made sure she spoke slow enough to ensure Naruto understood every single word. "From now on, you will ask me every single day if I want to go out on a date with you. You will train with me every single day; we will go and have lunch and dinner as a team with Sai and Kakashi. You will not talk to any kunoichi unless I am around and I forbid you to talk to Ino and Hinata. And perhaps when you behave like a good little boy, I might… I might decide that going on a date with you won't kill me. Do I make myself clear?"
Naruto had no idea what the hell had overcome Sakura but at this point he didn't care. He simply nodded quickly and didn't dare ask how he had gotten onto her bad side. "Good," Sakura said and let go of his collar. She flexed her right fist and slammed it into Naruto's face and watched him fly away, "Training is over."
Sakura stomped away and ignored her confused teammate. Unbeknownst to her, Sakura was currently watched by a curious Kakashi, who had ironically decided to go read the latest Icha Icha book in their team's training ground. "Strange," Kakashi muttered as he closed his book and vanished in a swirl of leaves.
A week later Sakura was standing in Tsunade's office screaming at her teacher, "Why the hell can I not come with you? Sai and Naruto are going but why can't I?"
"I already told you that Naruto is going because he needs a distraction from the fact that Jiraiya has died and Sai is coming along because he is ANBU. I need you here in Konoha and make sure that the hospital is run properly and didn't you receive a new transfer into your staff? It was a new nurse if I can recall correctly," Tsunade replied while keeping calm. "You should show her the ropes and let her know how you do things. I don't need you Sakura, Naruto and Sai are plenty enough to guard me and the Genin as we travel to Suna."
Sakura was hurt at her teacher's words but her anger was at an intensity that she ignored it. "Shizune can take care of the hospital while I am traveling with you. Let me go, I want to come with you." Sakura yelled and paced back and forth. She suddenly stopped remembering the incident at her apartment and the strange warning. "I can't help it but I have a bad feeling about this. I don't know why but I need to come with you. What if Akatsuki attacks as they try to get Naruto… you need me."
"Nonsense," Tsunade muttered and shuffled through paperwork.
Sakura stopped in front of the desk and slammed her hands onto the wood, "Then what the hell was that note for?"
"What note?" Tsunade frowned and looked at her raging student.
"The one you slipped under my door at home, the one that said to trust no one, not even my closest friends?" Sakura looked pissed.
"I didn't leave you any note," Tsunade answered, her own anger slowly getting the better of her. "Do you still have it? Let me see it."
"Of course I don't," Sakura huffed and resumed her pacing. "It destroyed itself the moment I was done reading it. But I know it came from you. I am sure of it. It was your hand writing."
A loud crack was heard and Sakura flinched. She stopped and looked over at her teacher, "Sakura for the last time I did not leave you a note saying to not trust anyone. Someone's hand writing can be easily copied. I don't care what you think or feel or if you are PMS'ing but you are NOT coming along. You will stay here in Konoha and do as you are told. If I find out that you secretly followed us, I will have your shinobi license revoked so fast that you can't even say that you're sorry. Am I clear?"
Sakura grinded her teeth and replied. "Crystal clear Hokage-sama."
"Good," Tsunade started and was interrupted by a knock at the door. "Enter," she bellowed still angry at Sakura. She and Sakura watched a petite woman walk into the office.
The woman bowed to both, "Hokage-sama, Haruno-sama, I am the new nurse that was transferred from the ANBU medical wing to study under Sakura-sempai. I look forward to working with both of you."
Sakura snorted in annoyance and ignored the woman, "Whatever. This isn't over Tsunade-sensei. You have to take me with you…"
"It's over Sakura and you will do as you are told. Don't force me to ask Kakashi to keep an eye on you," Tsunade threatened again.
"Do it, what do I care." Sakura turned to the other woman, "Let's go to the hospital. I will show you what you need to do and how to not get in my way."
"As you wish Sakura-sempai," the woman bowed again. "Hokage-sama, thank you for giving me this opportunity, I will make sure I will learn all I can and use it when I return to the ANBU medical wing, once my apprenticeship is done."
"My pleasure," Tsunade replied and winced at hearing Sakura yell for the 'blasted and annoying' woman to follow. "And please don't mind my apprentice. She will be back to normal tomorrow. She is a really sweet and nice person and an excellent medical ninja. I am sure you will learn a lot from her. Now I suggest you quickly catch up with her, she does have an evil and sadistic streak in her personality that tends to influence her sometimes, especially when she is mad. I wouldn't want you to fall over from exhaustion because my apprentice let out her anger on you." Tsunade laughed at seeing the woman in front of her slightly pale.
Tsunade waited until she was alone and turned to the window, "What do you think Kakashi?"
"I am sorry Hokage-sama," Kakashi started. "I don't quite understand what you want from me."
Tsunade rolled with her eyes, "Kakashi please. I know that you have been spending time with your students this passed week, lunch and dinner with Sakura and Naruto? What brought that about?"
Kakashi shrugged with his shoulders as he sat in the window. "I honestly have no idea. The other day I was in our training ground reading one of my beloved books when those two appeared. Sakura was furious and scolded Naruto. I have no idea what it was about though."
Tsunade smiled and chuckled, "Oh I think I know. Apparently, Sakura can be quite jealous."
"Jealous? What are you talking about, jealous about whom?"
"Who? Well Naruto of course," Tsunade answered and watched Kakashi's disinterest turn to a surprised frown.
"Those two? No way in hell, I am sorry Hokage-sama but Sakura liking Naruto? That simply is not possible, she still loves Sasuke," Kakashi expressed. "At least I think she still does."
Tsunade shook her head, "I am sure Kakashi. Sakura has been slowly and steadily falling for our knucklehead and she finally realized that she has some competition. She is refusing to let Naruto out of her sight, in fact just the other day she forced him to stay in the hospital all day while she had to take care of her shift. This entire argument just now I think was another attempt of her to exert her control over him. And this nonsense about a self-destroying note… please as if I would fall for that."
Kakashi was thinking out loud, "I guess that might explain that odd behavior at the training grounds. And come to think of it, Sakura hasn't mentioned Sasuke at all in a long time either."
"Trust me Kakashi," Tsunade smiled happily. "It is only a matter of time until that girl opens up to him."
"If you say so Hokage-sama," Kakashi nodded and gave her a small wave. "I will be off to get more reading done."
"Reading… right," Tsunade muttered as she watched Kakashi vanish from her window. "You're way too curious for your own good Kakashi. Stalking your own students… Kakashi that is pathetic."
Tsunade's hell began last evening when she was unexpectedly visited by Danzo. The old war-hawk was stalking the fields again and she had played into his hands. He had come to her and she was about to throw him out of her office when she suddenly couldn't speak anymore. Her mouth wouldn't budge even though she tried desperately to speak. She had panicked and was suddenly greeted with a sneering Danzo. As if he had known what she was thinking, he had told her everything, told her how she had unwillingly consumed a poison that would make her obedient to his every command.
She had received his orders last night and she was furious but whenever she tried to speak about them or tell anyone what happened to her, her mouth would shut and wouldn't let her secret escape. Her only chance of thwarting Danzo's plan of assassinating Naruto with the help of Orochimaru and grasp power in Konoha was her own body or perhaps a disobedient apprentice. And for once Tsunade hoped Sakura would actually not listen to her orders and follow them. Her only hope lay with Tsunade's own body fighting this toxin that had slowly been build up in her system and rid her of this curse that kept her tongue under control.
Here she sat now in the dark carriage, trying not to talk or look at her favorite blond knucklehead but she was out of luck. Naruto was asking her questions non-stop and listening to him whine about how much he missed Sakura. Sakura, the one who somehow knew that something bad was going to happen even prior to Danzo's visit, had fought to come along again in the morning but Tsunade had steadily refused her again per Danzo's orders. At this point, Tsunade hated herself for ever having fallen prey to Danzo.
"Man, I miss Sakura-chan," Naruto whined again as he sat on top of the carriage that carried the Hokage. "We have been spending so much time together this past week it was almost as if we were dating. It was so much fun."
"Gaki shut the hell up," Tsunade stuck her head out of the window. "I am trying to sleep down here." In fact, Tsunade tried to drown out her misery and wished Shizune hadn't removed the sake from the carriage.
"I am sorry Baa-chan but I can't help it. I miss her so much," Naruto flopped onto his back and stared at the clouds. "I wonder what she is doing right now. This last week was amazing. I never spend this much time with her… it was almost as if we were dating."
"Probably making the hospital staff feel her wrath and anger at being refused to accompany us," Tsunade muttered and pulled her head out of the window and leaned back into the darkened carriage.
"Hey Baa-chan," Naruto asked as he stuck his head into the carriage. "How come none of the Jonin senseis are coming along? I am sure our Genin squads could use their senseis' moral support when they enter the Chunin exams in Suna."
"It's because after the Suna-Sound attack on Konoha, all Kage's agreed that Jonin teachers are no longer allowed to accompany their charges. It's to protect the host from similar backstabbing that we experienced, as well as this being another test for the Genin." This was nothing more than a lie that Danzo told her to tell in case the idiot demon child would ask.
"And what kind of test is that?" Naruto asked thinking it could only be a lame excuse.
"To see if the Genin teams can survive in the field without their senseis' advice. Not every village has a Forbidden Forest like we do Naruto and can test that theory properly when they host the Chunin exams." Tsunade looked at the blond hanging up side down from the roof of the carriage and shook her head as his head disappeared again. She sighed in pain at seeing him and had been in constant pain since the evening before, when she had received the visit from Danzo.
She looked outside the window and saw where she was and she knew it was only a matter of time until Orochimaru would attack and kill Naruto. And all she could do was silently watch him get slaughtered. She wiped away a lone tear that had escaped her and Tsunade cursed herself once again for drinking the sake from the mysterious red bottles that were laced by Danzo's poison.
A loud explosion suddenly rocked the carriage and flipped her over. Tsunade could hear the screams and cries of the Genin squads that had obediently followed the carriage and she knew that her Genin were hit the worst from this explosion. "That fucking bastard is sacrificing our new generation," Tsunade cursed as she picked herself up. "If I ever break this curse, I swear, I will kill you Danzo. I should have done that a long time ago."
"Baa-chan… Baa-chan," Naruto screamed frantically and tore off one of the doors of the carriage. "Are you alright?"
"Yes," Tsunade whispered in remorse knowing what would come next. She couldn't look him in the eyes, she just couldn't because it was hurting too much to know that she had betrayed him, but she did anyways. Her eyes widened at seeing blood run down his face from a superficial wound on his forehead. A shaking hand reached out for him, wanting to heal him but as she was about to touch him, he vanished in front of her very own eyes.
It happened so fast, but she knew what had happened. Orochimaru had arrived and had instantly attacked Naruto. Tsunade saw how hundreds of snakes wrapped around Naruto and pulled him away from the carriage. She quickly scrambled out through the door and her eyes fell upon utter carnage. Dead Genin were lying everywhere, appendages were torn off by the violent explosion and the few that were still alive, were screaming for their mothers. Those still alive were currently dispatched by Oto-nins. She wanted to help them and took a step forward, only to freeze up as she heard Danzo's voice reverberate deep in her mind telling her to obey Orochimaru and watch how her precious Naruto would be killed right in front of her eyes. Tsunade fell to her knees and watched because that was all she could do.
Naruto blinked in surprise as he felt something wrap around his waist. He felt a strong tug and he found himself flying through the air, away from Tsunade and the carriage. "What the hell is going on," he screamed in frustration and confusion. He landed with a loud thud several tens of meters away from the carriage and jumped to his feet.
Once on his feet, he heard an all too familiar high pitched tone and he quickly jumped into the air dodging what would have been a painful Chidori to his back. Naruto's eyes went wide yet again as he saw Sasuke walking out of the cloud of dust where the Chidori had impacted the ground, "S-Sasuke?"
"Hn," Sasuke grunted and charged another Chidori.
"What the hell are you doing here Sasuke?" Naruto shouted in disbelief at seeing his friend and brother again.
"What do you think dope?" Sasuke laughed. "I am here to finish what I should have done all those years ago and this time Orochimaru won't stop me either… Naruto, I am going to kill you."
Naruto looked at Sasuke and grew more and more confused as he saw Sasuke stand there, with a charged Chidori in his hands but not attacking. Naruto desperately looked around; expecting an attack from behind him and for the first time realized what was going on around him. The four Genin squads that had come along for their Chunin exams lay dead scattered around the landscape. Oto-nins walked from corpse to corpse beheading each Genin to ensure the children were really dead.
Naruto grew angry at the desecration and cowardice these Oto-nins portrayed and he readied himself to attack. He heard the demon fox within him eagerly offer his chakra to punish these murderers and Naruto responded willingly. He surrendered his body over to the fox and felt the demonic chakra course through him. The power made him transform, the cloak formed, and Naruto knew he had three chakra tails forming because the pain that plagued his body was almost unbearable.
Naruto heard Sasuke laugh and he narrowed his eyes at the Uchiha. "I will make you pay for this Sasuke," Naruto growled and charged a red Rasengan.
"Hn," Sasuke grunted again at seeing Naruto slowly but surely loosing control over the demon. "Dope, if you continue, I won't even have to kill you myself. You'll be doing that all by yourself quite well. Isn't that right Orochimaru?"
"Sasuke, my dear boy, you are correct."
Naruto's eyes snapped over towards the Snake Sannin and more power rushed through him as his anger grew exponentially. He saw Orochimaru standing next to a kneeling Tsunade, who wasn't moving or doing anything. She just knelt there, staring at him through teary and lifeless eyes, but he knew she was still alive. In fact she wasn't even hurt. Naruto's anger turned to confusion and the demonic chakra receded from him. His transformation canceled and Naruto was back to his old self, "Baa-chan what's wrong?"
"N-Naruto I am sorry," Tsunade screamed as she sobbed uncontrollably but was still unable to move.
"Not another word from you Hokage-sama," Sai appeared next to her. He held his sword to her throat, "Danzo-sama would like you to survive this but I do have permission to kill you if the need arises."
"Sai!" Naruto screamed at seeing his latest teammate raise his sword against Tsunade. "What are you doing? Attack Orochimaru, protect Tsunade."
Naruto suddenly felt a slight push that barely fazed him. He ignored it but when he saw Tsunade's expression turn to horror, he frowned. "Dope you are pathetic," Sasuke whispered into his ear.
Naruto's eyes grew wide in recognition and looked down at himself and saw Sasuke's arm stuck in his chest. He watched in horror as Sasuke slowly pulled out his blood covered arm. The sound of tearing flesh and tissue flowed into Naruto's ears and he knew it was quickly followed by a torrent of blood escaping from his gaping wound.
Another slight push from Sasuke and Naruto fell backwards to the ground. His life energy escaping rapidly and his eye lids were growing heavy. Naruto felt the Kyuubi using all his power to stem the flow of blood and heal him at the same time but Naruto knew it wouldn't be enough. Naruto knew that Sasuke wouldn't give him the time to pull on the Kyuubi's power completely and let him transform again just so he could rapidly heal his wound. "Why?" Naruto asked weakly as he watched Sasuke step over him, sword raised high.
Sasuke snorted and those cold lifeless black eyes stared into Naruto's blue, "Because you are in the way of Danzo's and Orochimaru's plans."
Naruto chuckled, which rewarded him by having to spit out his blood, "I always knew that Konoha would betray me. But I would have never thought that you Sasuke, you who I think of as a brother would kill me."
The corners of Sasuke's lips perked up, "Brother? I guess we could call ourselves brothers. We hated each other all along and yet were so alike, brothers' does sound better than simple teammates. In that spirit brother, farewell."
"Farewell Sasuke," Naruto whispered and closed his eyes, expecting the cold touch of Sasuke's blade to penetrate him and cut his heart. Naruto would be lying if he had said he didn't have any regrets, he had plenty but somehow at this very moment he could not think of anything. He was in total peace and even the raging Kyuubi within him couldn't disturb this momentary feeling of bliss he was experiencing.
Naruto wondered why the cold kiss of death wasn't coming, when he suddenly heard someone growl above him with venom. He opened his eyes and saw a single black gloved hand having stopped Sasuke's sword millimeters away from his chest and heart. Red blood slowly ran down the immaculate silver blade of Sasuke's sword as it escaped from the gloved hand and Naruto wanted to turn his head to see who it was but somehow he couldn't.
"Brothers' don't kill each other Sasuke-kun," Sakura growled and said Sasuke's name with an intensity of disgust that surprised both Naruto and Sasuke.
"Hn, what do you know weakling?" Sasuke muttered as he took his eyes off Naruto. "All you did was hold us back."
"Perhaps I did Sasuke but at least I didn't betray my friends and village just to seek power." Sakura retorted. "I found strength in Konoha and I guess I have to thank you for that because hadn't you left Konoha, I would have never had the strength to ask Tsunade-shishou to teach me."
"You're still pathetic," Sasuke snorted and tried to pull back his sword only to realize he couldn't.
"That's right Sasuke," Sakura smirked. "You haven't fought me yet. Let me show you how much stronger I have become." Sakura suddenly cocked back her right fist and slammed it into Sasuke's face and the sound of bone breaking echoed over the battlefield. At the same time she let go of the sword with her left hand and watched the Uchiha fly away from the power of her punch.
Naruto saw Sakura step into his line of sight and he was confused at seeing her spill tears. Her left palm was bleeding from catching Sasuke's blade in the nick of time and her blood fell to the ground. He fought his drowsiness from the lack of blood and tried to stand up because he felt the need to comfort her. But he couldn't and fell back into the dirt. He wheezed heavily as what was left of his right lung collapsed under the strain of him getting up and he muttered a quiet, "Sakura-chan I am sorry" thinking she was crying because of finally realizing how corrupted Sasuke had become. "I just couldn't tell you… I am sorry."
He watched Sakura kneel next to him and pull his head into her lap, "Baka don't speak. Concentrate on conserving your energy and tell that dumb Kyuubi to start healing you."
"Sakura-chan, you have to flee. You can't take on Sasuke and Orochimaru by yourself." Naruto wheezed as he pleaded with the pinkette, ignoring the fact that she was stroking his head.
"I know," she said through a teary vision. "But I can't leave you Naruto, please don't leave me."
"Sakura!" Tsunade suddenly screamed. "Take him and run, run for your lives and never come back to Konoha. That is an order…" Tsunade was cut off as she was hit over the head by Sai and the Hokage passed out.
Sakura looked confused from where the unconscious Hokage lay to Naruto, "What is going on?"
"Sakura-chan, leave… NOW!" Naruto urged her and tried to pry himself out of her arms. "I will buy you time to get away from them."
"Naruto, I won't leave you. If I go I will take you with me." Sakura cried and tightened her hold on him. She looked at her sensei again and saw Sai and Orochimaru standing next to Tsunade. Sakura felt Sasuke approach quickly as she could hear his charged up Chidori screaming for blood and nearing dangerously close.
Sakura frowned and slammed her fist into the ground where she sat and threw herself on top of Naruto to cover up his open wound that had already started healing with the help of the Kyuubi. A shower of dirt and dust rained down upon them and she felt the ground below her give out as she and Naruto fell into the crater she had created to buy more time from Sasuke.
She quickly stood up and carried Naruto in her arms, who was now drifting in and out of consciousness. She looked up at Sai. "I don't quite understand what is going on right now Sai, but I promise you that I will find out and when I do, you better hope there will be an entire army between you and me because I will kill you for this betrayal." Sakura flashed through quick hand seals and muttered, "Genjutsu: Hanachiri Nuko." Sakura and Naruto dissolved into flower pedals and were gone.
Sakura materialized with Naruto in her arms quite the distance away from where they had been. Without sparing a glance back into the direction from where she had come from, she hastily jumped from tree branch to tree branch and added more distance between her and Orochimaru. She looked down at the unconscious Naruto in her arms and frowned at finding the open wound in his chest having stopped healing. She could no longer feel the Kyuubi's chakra coursing through Naruto and she feared for the worst. She quickly dropped down from the tree branch she had landed on and sprawled out Naruto in front of her. A shaking hand reached for his pulse and she let out a sigh of relief at finding a weak and faint pulse. She summoned chakra into her hands and placed them over Naruto's chest wound.
Pumping her chakra into the wound and enticing cell regeneration, she waited patiently for Naruto's bleeding to stop. Luckily for her, the Kyuubi had already healed the major arteries and organs that were destroyed by Sasuke, so her job was a lot easier and she wouldn't be exhausted afterwards. She continued healing him until only soft pink flesh remained from where Naruto had sported a gaping wound. She checked his pulse again and found it returning to normal. She pushed a blood pill into Naruto's mouth and took a soldier pill herself and without giving it a second thought, she picked him up and jumped back up the trees. She quickly continued running away with Naruto in her arms.
It was slowly getting dark and Sakura had only paused once to catch her bearings. She had finally figured out where she wanted to go and had turned abruptly north putting even more distance between her and possible pursuit. She heard the distant thunder of a waterfall and quickly headed towards it. She stopped at the top of the waterfall and looked down. Terrified of the immense height of the waterfall, she looked down from the edge of it and into a dark valley where the last of the remaining sunlight could no longer reach the ground. She sighed and shook her head. "Sakura, this is a stupid and insane idea."
Sakura swallowed and pulled Naruto closer to her chest and ran back along the raging river. Once she was several hundreds of meters up river, where the water was less turbulent, she summoned chakra to the bottom of her feet and quickly crossed the river. On the other side, she put down Naruto and flashed through another set of hand seals and drew blood and summoned one of her loyal slugs. "Greeting Lady Sakura," the slug muttered it's greeting in their soft and gentle sing-song voice they all shared but Sakura knew that these slugs could be quite dangerous.
"Hello Pinky," Sakura bowed in respect at the giant slug standing before her. Sakura was puzzled and a bit annoyed at having her personal summon be a slug with pink highlights but had come to love it as if it were a little sister.
"Lady Sakura I have told you that my name is Akina and not Pinky as you so pleasantly continue to call me." The slug objected while peeved.
Sakura chuckled, "I am sorry Akina but both of us are cursed with this pink color that distinguishes us so well from others. It is only fair for me to call you Pinky when I am called the same."
The slug bowed its head, "As you wish Lady Pinky. How may I assist you?"
Sakura's eye twitched in annoyance and anger as the slug turned it around. "Ok, I deserved that." Sakura picked up the still unconscious Naruto in her arms again. "I'd like you to head east towards Kirigakure. Travel as fast as you can but avoid being seen. Once you reach the ocean return to your realm. Do not trust anyone, not even Tsunade-sama or anyone else from Konoha."
"What is wrong with Tsunade-hime?" Akina asked worryingly. "Is there something I need to tell my mother?"
Sakura shook her head, "I don't know Akina. I won't know until I can talk to Naruto and get some answers, please trust me. Once we are safe, I will contact you again and inform you and your mother Katsuyu. Now please go and hurry."
The slug bowed, "As you command Lady Sakura. I will pull the pursuit off your trail."
"Thank you Akina and stay safe," Sakura bowed in return and watched the giant slug tore through the landscape leaving behind a path of destruction that could be easily followed. She was amazed at how different these slugs were compared to their tiny brethren in this world. The Slug summoning contract that Sakura had received from Tsunade upon graduating from her rigid training schedule was unique. Not only are these slugs fast, but they are also very deadly when it comes to fighting. There is nothing that could withstand their acidic spit and their amazing ability to split into thousands of tiny copies to avoid damage and spread mass confusion. Tsunade had told her that the slugs could also link with their summoner's chakra signature and draw upon the chakra to heal injured people. That theory however, was at this point still just a theory. Sakura hadn't believed her teacher and never saw her use that technique either.
Sakura looked at the sleeping blond in her arms and hugged him closer to her as she sighed. "Naruto, I hope this works," she whispered and jumped into the air. She performed a back flip and landed on the water of the river. She turned to look down the river and towards the cliff where the river turned into the waterfall as it rushed over the cliff and fell into the valley below. Muttering a short prayer, she held on to Naruto as if her life depended on it and stopped the flow of chakra to her feet. Sakura, along with Naruto fell into the water and was quickly dragged down. Sakura kicked with her legs as she tried to keep herself and Naruto's heads above the water and the booming noise of the waterfall drifted closer announcing the impending freefall. "Oh kami, I think this was one giant bad mistake."
Sakura suddenly felt weightless and she knew she was thrown over the gap of the cliff. Still clutching to Naruto, she instantly felt the tug of gravity upon her and they both fell into the blackness of the valley below. As they were falling, Sakura was praying she would survive this crazy idea, "Kami let us survive this and I swear I am never going to hit Naruto again."