Disclaimer: Naruto does not belong to me but to Masashi Kishimoto.


JUUSAN

(Thirteen)


Sakura was on the bed, sitting closely to Sasuke who was on the floor and on his knees in an awkward stance where he was deciding whether to sit or stand.

Akito was frozen on the middle of the room; arms held out, wrists poking up in the process of a dance. Dark eyes widened at the presence of the new comers. Specially her. He didn't breath, he didn't say anything.

Juugo stood by the door, behind Karin and Suigetsu, appearing shocked as ever. Carroty eyes vivid with surprise.

Suigetsu didn't know if to laugh or yell at Sasuke. Nothing smart ever ran through his head, but after looking at Sakura and briefly eyeing the redhead next to him, he could only question why Kami-sama hated him so much.

Now dear Karin was the only one having trouble expressing what she actually felt. Shock, well that's evident. But anger, much like the rest expected that in the beginning for an angry red head to be shouting profanities. Or question a certain green eyed and pink haired girl who sat closely to her obsession. None came and for that everyone in the room turned to her in expectation. She had to blink a couple of times to focus back on the scene.

"Well," Suigetsu drawled, glancing at Karin in case she decided to speak out, "This is quite a shock"

"What are you doing here?" Sasuke inquired, finally on his feet. Beside him, both Sakura and Akito stood quietly, yet uncomfortably close to one another. She tried not flinch when ever Suigetsu's eyes scanned her from top to bottom with an scrutinizing look.

"Hold on a second," the slim man walked closer to Sakura, squinting his eyes into slits as he tried to remember. It should have been obvious though; she has the pink hair like the child. "this is the chibi"

Karin's stare turned to her abruptly, crimson eyes widened in horror. Brows suddenly narrowed, nudging at the bridge of her glasses to pull them up further, the red head inspected her closely as well.

The kid Sakura didn't have any traces of chakra like this woman did, nor could she detect any jutsu involved. To Karin this was impossible, or she simple refused to believe that was the little girl she earnestly took care of (as of lately)

"Where is Sakura and the other twerp?"

Akito's mouth twisted unpleasantly, cocking his head away from her sight.

"I am Sakura"

"No, Sakura is a kid. An annoyingly cute kid"

"I am Sakura, you just met me under other circumstances," she smiled lightly, not finding it within herself to be angry since she knew how Karin was attached to the child. It was pretty obvious.

"But,"

"We were given something that didn't work to the enemies advantage," the Suna nin piped in. The moment he spoke, Karin poked out her hand to point angrily at him. He decided to ignore her for the mean time. "that drug was still being tested and it turned us into children without reverse. Only being able to turn to our original bodies once in a while"

"So you two have always been…" the red head paled, turning away slowly she cupped her face in her hands, "OH NO!"

Oh the horror indeed.

A certain Suna boy wasn't happy with her realization either.

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No one could just barge into the Akatsuki's lair like a bunch of crazy people.

No, no, no.

Even amateur ninjas realized that having a plan and a back-up plan was a smart way to go.

So why was it that with three intelligent Shinobi on the same team, neither could come up with a plan to infiltrate a secret hideout?

Well, there is a simple explanation to that question really. It starts off with one extremely confused Kunoichi whose proximity to a certain Uchiha baffled her, her emotions were in the way every time she tried to think of something else than the man next to her. And that man; that man whose pride is as big as the universe, couldn't really find a way to say 'sorry'

One simple sorry!

I apologize Sakura for my rude behavior.

I'm sorry Sakura if I said the wrong things at the wrong time.

I'm sorry.

A simple I am sorry.

He couldn't give that because he was prideful, rationalizing that whatever came out of his mouth was correct at all times.

And the last one? Well, when the other two didn't work, Akito didn't work either. Much like saying; If Mama and Papa are not happy, then the son resents their behavior and can't function properly.

Akito was smart. As smart as the other two, but stress gets to anyone, and conflict between them is not helpful.

Their plans didn't coincide. Not at all.

If they can even call that a plan, which was their main problem.

One wanted to barge in, secretly he says, but barging in unannounced and probably defenseless as well. Sakura had said it was typical of Sasuke-kun to do so. Think of ways to get there by yourself and not include others in the minimum.

The other thought of decoys, or attacking one and posing as them. Only one refused, and that was the one that wanted to go in carelessly.

The last couldn't give an opinion, because in the presence of two geniuses of Konoha, the ideas of a Suna ninja didn't matter.

Life sucked at the moment for Akito, that's for sure.

As for the remaining characters of team Taka. They waited for the plan to be formulated like good little henchmen. Not so happily of course, seeing as how the idea of entering the wolf's den was as crazy as insulting a pissed of Sasuke Uchiha, simply suicidal.

The group came to an abrupt stop a couple of miles before reaching what they believed be the Akatsuki's hideout. The hussy pink haired kunoichi kept her distance as best as possible, too angry to speak directly to the Uchiha.

"Are you guys even sure that's their current hideout?"

Suigetsu huffed, it hurt she even doubted. "need I remind you I turn into water? A puddle is my best hiding spot, and believe me here in water world there are many. I followed one of the Akatsuki to their hideout. We just need to figure a way to get inside"

Karin rolled her eyes but opted to say nothing. She knew well that a plan wasn't about to be made any time soon until those two stopped fighting. Or at least stop ignoring each other.

"I don't know but, I have to agree that Sakura-chan's plan is better" Akito voiced carefully, doing his best to ignore the icy glare Sasuke was shooting him. "if those rogue that attacked both Sakura-chan and I are still around with the Akatsuki, we will not be able to handle them all. Suigetsu-san said that when he followed the Akatsuki member he saw a few other men he hadn't seen before with Akatsuki. You may not believe it, but they are actually strong, if any, strong like Akatsuki even"

A tired sigh was heard from behind, knowing well it was Sakura, the young Uchiha steered the opposite way to avoid her.

"That is why I suggested using a few of us as decoys. If Akatsuki sensed us near their hideout they would send a group of them after us, as expected. With less of them in the hideout, we'd be able to get to Naruto faster without the need of getting into unnecessary battles"

"You can do whatever you want Uchiha, I don't care if you follow after your brother. But I'm going to save Naruto whether is the last thing I do!" the Konoha kunoichi added finally before he could speak against her plan.

He'd made it crystal clear to her before that he priority should be Naruto and not him. After thinking thoroughly, Sakura decided that he was right and that would be what she would do. Those confusing feelings she had for the Uchiha be damned, if he didn't care neither will she.

With a stiff nod as a signal to Akito, she turned to Sasuke's teammates.

"One of you can come with us, Karin is would be best if you stay with Sasuke"

"I'll go I guess" said Suigetsu.

Just as about they were turning to leave on their separate ways the Suna medic began coughing frantically. He grasped his chest harshly as if trying to rip something out from the insides of his chest cavity.

"Akito-san!" Sakura shouted, rushing to his aid. No long after the same began to occur with Sakura. The rosette immediately fell to her knees as the pain was greater than anything she'd encountered, feeling as if she'd swallowed molten magma and it had all bundled up in her chest. They both tried to gasp for cool air to ease the pain, but nothing could help the scrutinizing heat. Sasuke didn't know what to do, seeing them struggle made him feel helpless and he really didn't like that feeling.

He reached for Sakura and helped her to her feet, even though her coughing and wheezing continued.

"We can't carry out the plan today"

His current teammates were partially shocked at his answer, they thought he would suggest leaving them behind to go after his brother by himself. But nothing like that was voiced. Never the less, they nodded as Juugo and Suigetsu reached to help Akito to his feet, if needed they would carry him.

"N-No…we h-have to go" Sakura gasped in pain when a wave of pain rushed through her body, she gritted her teeth together in refusal to give in. In contradiction the Uchiha picked her up, cradling her in his arms and with a signal they began to make their way back.

"No, we h-have to save N-Naruto!" the girl insisted, but seeing the way she and Akito were shivering in pain made him rethink twice. Sure his blonde ex-teammate needed help, but so did Sakura. He couldn't rush them into danger in their condition.

"It's obvious you can't go like this"

Her tiny hand ghosted over her mouth when she felt the pooling heat in her chest rise to her throat. She couldn't contain the sudden cough and blood that spluttered on her palm, nor could Akito.

They stopped abruptly, but they couldn't do much to help as both ninjas began to wheeze harder.

"It's the antidote isn't it?"

"Y-Yes" Akito gasped. His breathing calmer now, even though he now looked rather paler than usual. He'd broken out in sweat, appearing almost like a corpse than a living human. "s-side effects or our b-bodies are rejecting the a-antidote"

"I'd say the latter"

Akito grinned weakly in return.

"We g-got to finish this m-mission"

Sasuke then turned to the girl in his arms with a glare. It seemed illogical she even suggested that. "You'll only be a burden if we take you both like this. You can barely stand on your own"

"N-Naruto might not have m-much time left either"

"And if you die while trying?" Sasuke seethed, his hold on her getting tighter, "I know for a fact that the dobe will feel bad if something happened to you. And he will think he was responsible"

Akito laughed, wheezing shortly as he tried his best to gather cool air for his lungs. He knew that Sasuke was right; they will be more of a burden if they try to infiltrate now. But the fact that Sakura refused to listen was also understandable.

"S-Sakura-chan" his voice breaking, "he's right. We'll try again later, I'm sure Naruto-san is a strong Shinobi and will hold himself up well"

"Yeah…"

It took her a moment to realize that Akito was right.

Without knowing Naruto, the Sunan nin had reminded her that the jinchuuriki was a rather stubborn character and it was highly unlikely that he would go down without a fight. She'll have to trust in his fighting spirit and that he's strong enough to wait for her.

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To Be Continued…

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A/N: I lost my files e_e; had to write what I could remember Hohohoho~

Ja-ne!