Author's Note: Chapter one to the sequel of Journey With Me. I hope that you guys like this one as much as you liked the previous story. Please R&R!
Disclaimer:I do not own Naruto.
"Shit," Naruto cursed as he ran through the halls. "Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit!"
He searched each room, opening the doors in a complete rush. At the last room on the second level, the blonde practically jumped down the grand staircase. He came to a door that was large and engraved with the royal insignia, bursting through without consideration. Kakashi, who was talking to Iruka, stopped his conversation to face the interruption. Naruto came up to him with sweat seeping down his forehead.
"W-we've got a p-problem," he panted, leaning over to catch his breath.
"Well out with it Naruto. Iruka and I have important business to discuss," Kakashi stated, his brow furrowed.
"He's not here."
Iruka and Kakashi looked puzzled. What on earth was he talking about?
"Who's not here?" Iruka interrogated.
"You know who I mean," the knight stressed. "HE is gone and SHE is on her way here."
The silver-haired man sighed. "Are you sure he's not going to meet her at the city gates? It's nothing to worry about Naruto, he'll be back."
Naruto shook his head and presented Kakashi with a piece of parchment tied with a scarlet ribbon. The seneschal unrolled the paper and read it silently. He sighed and handed it to Iruka who also read it in silence. Iruka acted more shocked than Kakashi had.
"Naruto, where did you get this?" his old tutor asked, handing it back to him.
"I went to his room to remind him what day it is and saw that he wasn't there," the blonde explained. "Then I noticed this note on his desk and read it. I just can't believe he would do something like that and on today of all days!"
"She's going to be pissed," Iruka informed the other two. "What should we do?"
The brunette and blonde looked towards Kakashi for guidance and he groaned. He had no idea what to do at the moment. The city could not know about this. It would cause a sort of panic throughout the streets and if it became worldwide, then they were sitting ducks for a while. Then it came down on what to tell the girl. How would he explain that the person she travelled to see was missing? He just didn't know how to handle it.
"When she comes through those gates, do not tell her anything until she gets to the castle," he finally came to a conclusion. "Let her visit everyone else and I will explain everything to her when I see her here."
"Yes sir," the other two agreed in union, leaving the room.
Kakashi was left alone in the room and looked out the stained glass window. He saw a single horse approaching the gate at a slow speed and brought his hand to his face in disappointment.
He began to think to himself. What the hell are you thinking Sasuke?
It had been a year since she had last been in Konoha. Sakura was pleased how pleasant and busy the streets in this city had become and smiled. Before she left Tsunade's, she made sure that she could ride a horse. She didn't want to have the same feeling of dread of riding one like she had a year ago. A small packet bounced against the horse's rump and she pressed a hand against it so that nothing inside would break. As she steered the horse through the gates, she flashed back to what her last encounter with Lady Tsunade and the others.
Ino hugged her childhood friend with tears running down her pale face. Sakura herself felt tears enter her own eyes as well. As they embraced, the blonde spoke, "You just came back Forehead, why are you leaving us now?"
"Because she is wanted somewhere else Ino," Lady Tsunade explained, interrupting the two as she walked into the room with a bag. "She wants to go anyway, why not let her?"
Ino wiped her eyes, sniffing her sobs away. She looked at Sakura again with a grieving stare. "I'm going to miss you so much!"
Sakura gave her a hopeful smile and told her that she would write to her when she could and promised to send lots of fancy gifts from Konoha. Ino laughed and briefly hugged her friend again. Shizune, who had entered with Tsunade, gave the rosette a small hug and wished her well. Lady Tsunade presented Sakura with her gift and watched her open it. The girl's eyes grew wide as she lifted a green and silver pendant. She put it on immediately, Tsunade helping her do so.
"It was mine as a little girl," the older woman explained tightening the chain. "A friend of mine gave it to me when we last met. He gave it to me out of love and I'm giving it to you for the same reason."
"But Lady Tsunade," Sakura protested. "Isn't it too sentimental for you to give away?"
"No, it hurts me to much to keep it around my own neck," she said touching the stone. "Keep it with you. Who knows, it might give you good luck."
Sakura wiped her tears and hugged her mentor before she got onto the white horse waiting outside.
The medic delicately touched the stone and felt her eyes water. She missed them so much already. It was so hard to say goodbye before, it was even harder to realize how far away from home she really home. Through the gates she followed the cobble road into the residential district. The houses grew bigger with importance as the horse walked the streets. She pulled back on the reins as she came in front of a large house with a fenced front yard.
She tied the horse to a pole outside that was reserved for visitors and allowed the horse to drink from the trough. Sakura pushed through the small iron gate, stepping onto the grey-stone brick path to the door. Lifting her fist, she knocked on the door and waited patiently. A few seconds later, the door opened and Sakura was immediately pulled into a hug.
"Sakura!" the person hugging her shouted in excitement.
"Hello to you too, Tenten," Sakura laughed embracing her friend.
Tenten released her and led her inside. The house was beautiful on the inside. The wooden flooring creaked under her steps as Sakura looked around. The walls were simply painted white with a few paintings on the wall. As they walked into the living room. Sakura noticed a somewhat large painting of Neji and Tenten above the fireplace. They were sitting next to one another holding each others hands. Sakura thought that the picture looked cute. Tenten asked her to sit on the couch for a moment as she went to get something.
Sakura waited there until she saw someone in the next room who looked rather familiar. She stood up and went into what she figured was the kitchen. The mysterious person was in the pantry with her back to Sakura, however Sakura knew who it was by the color of her hair.
"Hinata?" she asked, walking up slowly towards the girl.
The person turned around to reveal that it was in fact Hinata. The Hyuuga slightly grinned and looked down at her hands.
"H-hello Sakura," she muttered. "S-suprised to s-see me here?"
The rosette nodded. "I thought that you went back home to your family."
Hinata's face became distressed. She explained how she was too afraid to return home to her father after she failed to participate in the arranged marriage. Tenten had begged Neji to allow her to stay with them. Neji reluctantly agreed, only if she acted as their nanny and maid.
"But I'm sure that your father would have understood why the marriage didn't carry out," Sakura assured her. "There was no way of knowing that one of the Seven Swordsman was going to be there."
"I-it wouldn't have m-mattered to him. That's h-how strict he is," the Hyuuga stated sadly. "H-however I'm h-happy here."
"Only cause Naruto comes to dinner a lot," Tenten's voice interjected as she entered the room, making Hinata blush. She had something bundled in her arms and was slightly bouncing it up and down.
"Is that who I think it is?" Sakura asked excitedly, pointing to the bundle. Tenten smiled as she nodded and unwrapped the top of the blanket to reveal a baby's face. It's eyes opened when it realized that it was introduced to the light and blinked its pale violet eyes. Tenten handed the baby to Sakura gently and watched the girl interact with it.
Sakura gently swayed the baby in her arms and softly patted the baby's dark brown small patch of hair. The infant yawned, closing its eyes and breathed heavily.
"Her name is Mayumi," the Weapon Mistress retorted softly. "It was Neji's idea to name her that."
"I can't believe I missed her birth," Sakura said. She handed the baby back to her mother. "She's beautiful Tenten."
Tenten grinned at the compliment as she rocked her daughter. The three women stood in silence as they watched the baby fall asleep in her mother's arms.
"Shouldn't you be on your way to see Sasuke, Sakura?" Tenten questioned the medic. "I bet he's dying to see you."
Sakura looked at the floor and blushed. Tenten laughed slightly on how uncomfortable she made her friend. After a while, Sakura said goodbye to her friends and left for the castle. Thoughts of her and Sasuke's last meeting made her blush even more. She touched her lips and swore that she still felt his against her own. Her heart fluttered and her stomach filled itself with butterflies. She couldn't understand why she was so nervous seeing him again. When she got to the castle gates, a servant asked for her horse when she flung herself off the horse's back. She gave him the reins, taking the bag from the horse's saddle. Another servant opened the door for her when she finished climbing the palace's front steps. Waiting for her on the other side was someone she did not expect to see.
"Kakashi?" she asked, walking towards his still figure.
"Hello Sakura," he greeted her. "Let's go talk somewhere private."
"Where's Sasuke?" he heard her ask behind him as he took her hand and led her into a room.
He shut the door and Sakura figured that they were in his office. Kakashi walked over to a desk and sat down behind it. He motioned for her to sit and she situated herself in a chair in front of him.
"Where's Sasuke?" she asked once again, slightly aggravated.
The man sighed and gave the girl a apologetic look. "He's not here Sakura."
"What do you mean that he's not here?"she practically shouted. "Where did he go?"
"We're not really sure."
Kakashi opened a drawer in his desk and produced a piece of parchment. He handed it to Sakura and let her read it.
"Naruto found that note this morning in his room," he explained. "All it says is that he left and we shouldn't follow him."
Sakura couldn't believe what she was reading. How could Sasuke leave so abruptly? Just only after he was named King? She lowered the parchment and looked at Kakashi with disbelief.
"There must be a reason for this," she pried, hoping to gain more information. "He must of left some sort of clue to where he is headed."
Kakashi shook his grey head. "Unfortunately not."
"We have to go look for him!"
"WE will Sakura, meanwhile you are to stay in the city," Kakashi stated. "If anything happened to you if you were to look for him, then Sasuke would never be able to forgive himself."
Sakura was outraged. How could he tell her to stay put and anxiously wait for Sasuke to return? She wanted to find him and be there when he was found. She felt like she deserved to be there. Before she could tell Kakashi that, he interrupted her.
"Do not leave this city Sakura," he ordered her. "I mean it."
The girl shook with anger and then took a deep breath to settle down. She knew that she wouldn't be able to win this battle. She nodded to his request and he grinned behind his mask.
"Good and like I said please stay here," he said cheerfully. "Leave your bags with me, I'll have someone take them to your room. You do remember where it is do you?"
The rosette nodded and left the room. As she closed the door she smirked. She was going to figure out why Sasuke left one way or another.
Sakura pressed the wooden door open and walked inside. It was Sasuke's room. She remember going in there once to re-wrap Sasuke's wounds from his battle with Itachi. The memory brought back a certain feeling that warmed her heart. The room was simple and surprisingly clean for a man. Then again, the castle was crawling with servants so there was no doubt that a maid could have cleaned the place up. She pulled a few books off of a dusty bookshelf and flipped through the pages. They didn't give her anything worth reading or information about Sasuke.
She came to his desk that she had seen him sitting at that one time she had been in there. She opened the drawers and paused closing the last one. She pulled a crumbled piece of paper from the back corner and read it.
Sasuke (It said.)
Believe it or not, but the murder of our parents was an order given to me by a man that our family had casted out of the family tree. When I had met him, he told me about this idea of his. An utopia of sorts. He wanted to create an empire based on the power of the Uchiha and wanted to spread our power to other countries. When our family heard about his methods, he was exiled. He came back in secrecy and made me believe in his utopia. This man told me to purify the Uchiha family by killing off the members. I thought he meant only a few, but he stated that he wanted them all gone. I spared you that night Sasuke and for a reason. You have to stop him Sasuke for he is close to attempting his goal. I did what I did for you. I made you hate me so that you would learn how to fight with such intensity that would would always come out the victor. I did this to make you strong so that you could defeat him. If I had tried to kill him myself then he would have known that I thought he was being unethically. He has other people working for him Sasuke, people who would kill you on a dime if you were not prepared. I was protecting you in some weird way, blinding this man from the fact that I was secertly plotting against him. You know who he his brother and take a look at my journals to understand it more. Please forgive me.
Sakura dropped the note. So Itachi was telling the truth when he told her that he was doing the things he did for his younger brother. She couldn't believe it. He had said that he had journals on the matter too. She then began to frantically search the same drawer for more information. Papers scattered around her kneeling body as she threw them to the floor after she looked at them. There were still no journals to be found and she began to think that Sasuke had taken them with him. A bundle of papers catch her attention and she lifted them to her face. Each one started with a Dear Sakura as if he was going to tell her that he was leaving. The last one actually had one paragraph written on it. Her eyes darted the from sentence to sentence. He explained how he was leaving, to find the person that ordered his family dead.
He was going to avenge them all over again and stated that he believed that the journey would become too dangerous to take her along. He wanted her to be safe when he returned and that he would see her again.
"Sasuke, you idiot," she muttered, dropping the papers. "I would have followed you into hell if I had to."
She ripped the note in frustration when she realized that she still knew nothing. Standing up and straighting the desk back into its proper state, the medic looked around the room once again. Not paying attention to where she was going, she knocked herself into something hard and made it fall. She quickly picked it up and noticed that it was a globe. Her hands slowly spun the orb around and stopped immediately. There was a faint line that lead from Konoha to an unreadable city. She looked closer and gasped. He had circled the name of the city with a soft grey line and she couldn't believe that he was going there. He was going to Otoga, a city in the Land of Sound.
Author's Note:Well, what do you think? Did you like it? This story is going to be much longer than Journey With Me, I can promise you that. It's sort of obvious who the "man" Itachi is talking about isn't it? I began to start naming my chapters now. Hopefully they will be interesting enough for you. Anyway, tell me what you think okay? I would love feedback.