Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
Chapter One: Contradiction
This was just plain ridiculous. She had been travelling for days, finding only forest after forest. She certainly wasn't lost, that she knew of. But she was desperate, after 2 days in the forest, to at least be able to find an inn, a hot spring, or even a lake or river to refresh herself. Right now she should be in the Land of Rivers for crying out loud! Nothing. She saw trees, trees, and more trees.
Our favourite pink-haired medic-nin was on her way home, back to Konoha after an exhausting two-week research mission. With permission granted by the Kazekage himself, the nineteen-year-old medic-nin was allowed to visit the botanic reserve in the far western region of the Land of Wind to complete her medical research on Desert plants. Of course, she didn't head home empty handed—she had tons of newly acquired information about human nutrition and medical materials to prove it. After completing her task, she returned to Sunagakure to report to the Kazekage, thanked him, had a small get-together with Temari, gathered the supplies she needed, and made her way home.
Overall, it was a nice and easy mission. Slightly stressful because she was time pressured, but nonetheless, very rewarding. Tsunade-shishou would definitely be impressed with her findings. Now, if only she could find a water source… ah-ha! She heard the sound of water. As she followed the row of trees, the sound became more pronounced and finally, leading her to a plunge waterfall.
Perfect! She knew there had to at least be a waterfall or river of some sort in the Land of Rivers.
Quickly checking the time, she decided that it would be minimum another day before she would reach the Gates of Konoha. Since she wasn't guaranteed to find another opportunity like this, she figured it wouldn't hurt to take a quick dip. It was too tempting. Her cautious ninja senses kicked in, forcing her to scan the surrounding area for chakra signatures before she removed her clothes, her weapon pouches, and stepped into the refreshingly cold water.
She dipped in completely, letting the water soak her naked body and long pink hair. Resurfacing after several seconds, Sakura brushed the wet locks out of her face and enjoyed the cold water for a bit longer.
"There should be a waterfall at the other end of the forest. We'll take a quick break there." A young man said quietly to his companions.
That young man was none other than Uchiha Sasuke. The lack of progress in the destruction of Konoha had him rather ill tempered. Madara had then assigned his team, Team Hawk a special mission to distract his frustration and perhaps end the boredom. After learning the truth behind Itachi's actions, his only remaining goal was to bring the Village to its knees; and these pathetic distractions irritated him to no end.
This time Team Hawk's mission is to retrieve a collection of scrolls needed to unlock a secret jutsu. The task sounded simple—almost too simple. Of course, there was a catch. The collection had been separated, each one of the twelve being located in different areas of the lands; each scroll heavily guarded, and sealed. And to make this worthless mission even more of a hassle, he had to collect, unseal each one in order. The seal from the first will guide him to the second, the first and the second together would lead him to the third, and so on. It was clearly a time-killing game.
Leaping from branch to branch with their dark Akatsuki coats blowing behind them, the group moved closer and closer to their temporary stop.
"Sasuke-kun, I sense a chakra there." Karin, the chakra tracker of the group spoke, alarming the rest of the group.
"Do you recognize it?"
"No." She shrugged.
"Speed up." He quietly ordered. "And be on your guards."
Hawk travelled faster, obviously the logical tactic to follow. Speeding up, shortening the amount of time allowed for the owner of the chakra signature up ahead. Doing so allows them to kill said person, if necessary, faster than the blink of an eye. As they drew closer to the waterfall, hearing the loud noises of water hitting the rocks, Sasuke found the signature becoming more recognizable—almost familiar.
Shit, approaching nin! Sensing the speedy presences of 3…no, 4 others approaching her position, she jerked out of her relaxed position and swam towards her belongings. Luckily, she knew better than to move too far out. Jumping out of the cold water, she didn't have time to dry herself up. Sakura quickly pulled on her black underwear, hooked her bra secure and reached for her boots—if she were to fight, at least she had the essentials. Just as she finished tugging her boots on and grabbed her gloves, she turned around to face four ninja—four nuke-nin to be precise.
There she stood, Haruno Sakura, proud Jounin of the Leaf in her underwear facing four rogue ninja eyeing her like a piece of meat. First, she observed. From the looks on their faces, they definitely weren't planning to let her finish dressing and walk away peacefully. The four carried heavy weaponry and mostly Chuunin skill-level, perhaps one Jounin?
Regardless, the four against one situation certainly wasn't in her favour.
One of the men walked towards her. She eyed his face, which sported a deep scar running from his chin along his cheek and thinning out at his forehead. "Aniki, look. We found a pretty catch. Looks like she's been waiting for us." He in turn, checked out her barely covered body.
"Yeah," the addressed man replied, licking his lips.
Sakura's eyes narrowed sharply. She looked disgusted. If she ran, she probably would end up leaving the remainder of her clothes and her two-weeks-worth of hard work behind. She'd also be risking the chances of the men catching her. She looked down at the dry rocky ground below her, and then the men in front of her. Maybe her situation wasn't so bad after all.
"I'm the oldest one, you two should respect your elders. I get a piece of her pretty ass first." A man in a short ponytail argued while pushing the scar-faced man.
"Oldest, yet with the least talents in bed." The one with an eye-patch snickered.
As the remaining 3 men were deciding the order of how they would "take turns" with her after their leader, Sakura took two leaps back and landed her chakra charged fist into the solid ground. Thankfully, the ground was nice and dry, resulting in considerable impact.
Jumping up, she launched her foot into the chest of the distracted leader, who was busy tugging his huge sword out between the cracks. Landing her attack swiftly and sending the man through several trees, she grabbed the end of the large sword that reminded her of Kisame's, and swung herself two-hundred-and-seventy-degrees, kicking the scarred man in the chin and into the rocks by the spilling water.
Sakura landed gracefully, observing her satisfying handiwork. Taking one last glance at the four pathetic excuses for men, she strolled towards her belongings, only to detect more chakra presences. Damn. Why hadn't she noticed before? The new incoming presences felt much stronger. Four again. Better yet, they moved faster than the previous group that was lying in the area with severe injuries.
You have got to be kidding.
"I sense more chakra signatures up there. Five now." Karin spoke again.
"Hn." Sasuke replied indifferently, landing and pushing himself forward again.
Several rumbling sounds were heard through the forest. Hawk halted their pace as they looked in the direction they were heading—also where the sounds were being produced. The Uchiha leapt from the branch he was standing on, bringing himself to higher altitude above all the trees for a better view of the situation. He scanned the area in front of them seeing several trees falling forward towards the direction of their next stop. Before the trees fully fell, another crashing sound was heard.
"Sounds like a fight." Suigetsu pointed out lazily, waiting for Sasuke to join them again. Almost instantly, said man landed on the same branch he had stood on earlier.
"Keep going. Stay on your guards."
Something was familiar about that chakra. Sasuke made a mental run-through of the opponents he fought, most of which he had killed. Clearly this one was one of the luckier ones he didn't bother killing. But….who?
They were almost out of the forest and the water came into vision. Then he saw a flash of pink.
The other group was closing in. With seconds left, Sakura quickly snatched her red fighting kimono and pulled it on her in a swift movement. Shit. They would be here before…
Sakura lifted her head up to search her surroundings. She was pinned against a tree and now looking into a pair of dangerous red eyes. "Sasuke…" she breathed, stunned. Damn he was fast. Four years ago when they tried to retrieve him from Orochimaru's grasps he was fast. Now he was simply terrifying.
Undoubtedly, this was one of the worst situations to land yourself in—barely dressed and pinned against a tree by your long lost teammate who you've spent years trying to hunt down. Brilliant. She didn't know whether to be more frightened or embarrassed—fear of him killing her, or fear of him refusing to go home with her; embarrassed because she was in her underwear, or embarrassed because he found her when she was supposed to be on the hunt for him.
Sasuke's body pressed against hers, crushing her tiny frame while his eyes surveyed every visible detail on her: her now waist-length pink hair, her innocent sparkling green eyes, her red short kimono decorated with cherry blossom petals as it reached the hem, as well as everything revealed underneath it. His gaze followed her black lacy bra, matching underwear, her curvy legs and finished at her knee-high boots. She's changed. Every part of her is different now—from the girlish 12-year-old to a very tempting woman. She felt his face lower, until his lips were touching her ear. "What a surprise." He whispered, his hot breath tingling against her skin, his scent invading her senses.
Several soft thuds were heard behind him indicating the rest of his team had caught up with him.
"Whoa, Sasuke. Who's the girl?" Suigetsu asked curiously. Surprised, for that matter. Never, in the four years of teaming with Sasuke, has he seen the man in such close contact with a female voluntarily. Karin never successfully made it that far. The thought brought a small tug on his lips. However, the girl looked familiar…as if he'd seen her somewhere.
Ignoring his loud companion, Sasuke glared down at the short girl in front of him.
Sakura on the other hand, after forcing herself to swallow all the emotions upon seeing the man—fear, anger, joy, embarrassment, frustration—she returned his glare. "Uchiha." She growled out, fighting against his strong grip on her.
"What are you doing here, Sakura?"
She looked away from him. How could he talk to her in such a calm manner when he was so close to her? Their noses less than a centimetre away, their bodies pressed up against each other, and…
"Answer me." He said calmly again, a smirk growing on his handsome features. Sakura knew that her reactions were rather immature. She refused to answer or look at him. Yet, her pulse was unquestionably increasing.
"You are in no position to interrogate me or involve yourself in my affairs, Uchiha." She still refused to look at him. What was with 'Uchiha'? He almost found it offensive for her to address him that way.
The show just got better and better. Suigetsu stood several feet away from the pair, getting a perfect view of their closeness. Clearly the two were previously acquainted. Now, where had he seen that girl before?
"Actually, quite the contrary." He chuckled lightly, amused. "I'm not the one immobilized."
While the pair continued in their little world, Suigetsu moved towards Juugo and Karin. "Hey, have you guys seen this girl before?"
"Maybe in a bingo book?" Juugo shrugged.
Pulling it out, Suigetsu began to flip to the Leaf Ninja section. Uzumaki Naruto, Jichuriki of the Kyuubi. Next. Tsunade, Godaime Hokage. Next. Hatake Kakashi, Copy Ninja. Ne—
A rattling sound came from the forest they emerged from moments ago. A figure walked out arrogantly facing the group. Sakura's eyes widened as she realized that the 'leader' of the previous group managed to recover from her attack. Sure, she did hold back. But his recovery speed was shocking.
"Hey, back off amateur. She's my catch."
Alright, maybe shockingly stupid as well.
Sasuke paid no heed to the clueless man and pushed his body tighter against hers, fully covering her near naked body from his hungry eyes. Him, on the other hand, angered by the Uchiha who ignored him and brushed his threats off so easily, jumped towards his large sword, grabbed it, and launched himself towards his target. Pushing the Uchiha away from his 'catch' was almost too easy—too easy to be true. As soon as he pushed the raven-haired boy away from her, he grabbed her wrist ready to leave.
Unfortunately, the best things in life didn't come that easy—or that painless for that matter. Before he could fully turn his body towards the direction headed, several radiating and chirping senbon shot through his body causing him to go limp and eventually fall to the ground. Four pairs of eyes turned to look at the Uchiha who looked relaxed and seemed hardly affected by the instant death that had just occurred. Almost as if he hadn't launched chidori-current senbons at the now dead man.
"Shit! He's pissed." Suigetsu muttered, knowing how the man had a nasty temper. Definitely do NOT mess with a pissed Uchiha.
"Hn, pathetic." Turning back to the terrified rosette only a couple feet away from him, he got a better, unblocked view of how much she had changed. Conscious of his gaze and their small audience, Sakura quickly pulled her short kimono closer together, looking down on the cracked earth under her feet.
"Now, tell me," he walked back to her, moving his index finger under her chin, forcing her to look up at him. "Are you on a mission? How did you get involved that him?" his gaze quickly shifting to his most recent kill, and then back at her.
"Let go of me, Uchiha." The girl growled lowly, "It's none of your business." She spat, unaware that her uncooperative behaviour was quite entertaining for him.
Moving closer, and smoothly backing her into the tree again, he whispered teasingly into her ear. "Must you be so disobedient, Sakura-chan?"
Karin was evidently furious by the close contact Sasuke was willingly performing and by the amount of affectionate attention this complete stranger was receiving from her adored teammate. She held back a high-pitched shriek of frustration and forced herself not to run up to the two and forcefully pull her beloved Sasuke away. Anger and jealousy was building up within her. Sasuke, after four years of inviting her to team with him, had never treated her in such a manner. After four years of teaming with him, she had never seen him kill another over a woman. Never, in her four years of teaming with him, has she seen him hold a woman—anyone for that matter—in his arms. Yet here she stood only feet away from the object of her affections, seeing him holding another woman in his pair of strong arms that she longed to be in.
"Did you find her in the bingo book?" Juugo curiously.
"Ohh yeah! I forgot. I didn't get to finish."
"We've wasted enough time here." Karin hissed, her rage caused by the display in front of them never fading.
"I don't mind. I get a longer break." Suigetsu replied happily, flipping to the Leaf Ninja section of his bingo book again.
"Lazy ass." The angry female muttered under her breath.
Uzumaki Naruto, Jichuriki of the Kyuubi. Next.
Tsunade, Godaime Hokage. Next.
Hatake Kakashi, Copy Ninja. Next.
Sai, ANBU: Root Division. Next.
Yamato: ANBU Captain. Next.
Haruno Sakura: ANBU; Medical Ninja, apprentice of the Godaime Hokage.
An unofficial staring contest could only last so long.
"You've changed." Sasuke whispered quietly. "As expected."
Truthfully, not expected at all. He never imagined the twelve-year-old girl whose world once revolved around him would grow to be so unaffected by his presence. It almost annoyed him.
"Again, none of your business."
Slightly annoyed with the lack of response, he took her by the elbow and pulled her away from her current position and turned around facing the rest of his long ignored team. Her arms still tightly wrapped around her body keeping her kimono closed. Wrapping a hand around her waist, Sasuke drew her closer to him until her back was pressing against his chest.
"No matter. I'm sure you have a mission scroll of some sort in your bag." His response was louder, enough for the rest of Hawk to hear.
Seeing Suigetsu fascinated with something in the bingo book, he chose Juugo for the task. "Juugo, check her bag for mission scrolls." Sakura could feel the smirk on his gorgeous face spread.
The tall warrior walked towards her things.
"FOUND HER!" Suigetsu yelled. There, above the description, was a photo of a girl with pink hair and green eyes. "Haruno Sakura, Medical Ninja." He read out loud. "Apprentice of the Godaime Hokage."
Juugo was merely steps away from her bag. With Sasuke holding her back, she was partially disabled from making any attacks. Except maybe…
"Skills: various types of advanced healing techniques, advanced taijutsu combat, super-human strength…wait, what does that mea—"
There! Close enough. Just as Juugo was close enough to lead down from his towering height to grab her bag, she raised her heel high in the air, and landed it with thundering crashing noises following a wide crack that ran towards the tall man.
Suigetsu's eyes widened and jaw dropped in a comical manner as he watched the heel of her foot break the earth. "Ahh, point taken." He said weakly.
Seconds later, he began to react to what he had just witnessed. "Whoa, she's the biggest living contradiction I've seen! First, she's a Medic Nin, who saves countless lives but she's also ANBU who runs around assassinating people in alphabetical order from the bingo book! And then for a tiny, short person, she punches craters into the ground!" Taking a deep breath, "Did I miss anything?"
"Explains what happened to the ground before we got here." Juugo replied.
Silently agreeing with Suigetsu, Sasuke looked down at the tiny girl in his arms both impressed and amused. At his skill level, he was rarely, if at all, amused or impressed. She had unknowingly accomplished both.
And then, faster than they all could react, he knocked her out. Just as he had done seven years ago the night he had left Konoha. However, this time, he took off his Akatsuki cloak, wrapped it around her petite frame and picked her up carefully. He rested her head lightly against his left shoulder and hooked her knees over his right arm, gracefully holding her bridal style.
"Grab her bags. We're leaving."
End of Chapter One
Author's Note: PLEASE ALWAYS READ THESE NOTES! THEY MAY INVOLVE UPDATE NOTICES.
Firstly, I would like to thank you for reading the first chapter. I understand that the first chapter, because it's only setting things up, may seem a bit boring. But I guarantee that the next chapter will be more exciting. (Warning, the next chapter involves lemons. One so far.) The second chapter is about 30% done. Since I am on my break, I'm hoping to update in the next week or two.
Second, I would like to remind you to review, for feedback that I could improve on. It will make my day and provide you with a better final product the next time.
Third, I have not given up on my other story. I didn't manage to update the minimum 3 chapters as promised because my hard drive crashed. I haven't come around to retyping the chapters because as I started, I felt that my initial products were more satisfying than the 'remakes'. As a result, I have halted the processing of that story for almost 2 years!! Depending on how this story turns out, I might continue that one if readers are interested. Don't worry, I've backed up the files for this one, so the same problem won't occur.
And finally, I am considering the help of a beta reader. If you have decent English proficiency and are interested with helping me out a bit, leave a signed review. If there are several volunteers, I may only pick one to help me with this project. Once I have decided on who to work with, I will contact the person and start feeding them my rough drafts. =D
Again, thanks for your time! Hope you enjoyed it.