I was listening to Bury Me by Alexandra Burke when I came up with this idea.


by Bullwinkle's Lady

"Sasuke, I made it back," Sakura hissed into the receiver. She briefly released the channel and drew a deep breath before forcing out three more words. "Hinata – she's dead."

She lowered the radio to her lap and took a few more draws of air. For a few moments there was no response, and she wondered if Sasuke had gotten her message. Maybe he simply couldn't speak.

Then the radio awoke, and he grunted, "Do not perform an autopsy." Though his voice was garbled, she heard no sign of grief.

Sakura lifted the radio, pressing the receiver to her lips. "Sasuke...I have to take her eyes."

Sasuke promptly answered this time. "Don't-" there was a pause as the connection briefly broke, "-touch her." His words were infused with finality. The matter was no longer up for discussion.

The line went dead, and she was left alone with the dull of static.

Sakura continued to breathe.

She looked across from her, only a few feet away. Hinata's recumbent figure on a dirty mat. Sakura had covered her face with a small hand towel.

She felt ravenous and nauseous simultaneously. She should have been used to death by then. Though she was cold and wet, sweat trickled down her brow and dripped from her chin. She shivered.

Their mission to infiltrate Kumo had gone drastically sour. Half their squadron was dead. The other half had been jailed or had gone into hiding. She blamed Kiba – his ANBU insignia. She regretted that they hadn't had the awareness to cut them off.

Sakura again lifted the radio, watching it tremble in her grasp. "Sasuke."

She waited, and received no answer.

Normally she would have taken the initiative – taken Hinata apart – gotten the hell out of there.

But Sasuke was her brother. She could defy him, but never hurt him.

The bunker was small and square, with walls and ceilings of cement. There was no furniture, only a few worn mats. In the corners, the ground had become wet from where the rain had seeped into the stone. Her only source of light was the lantern beside her. The only exit was the door across the room. It lead directly to the tunnel that would take her back above the earth.

The Lightening country was cold and had few days of sunlight. Their cover story of being civilian travelers had been flawed from the start. They had claimed they were fleeing the war in the Wind country.

No one had known how bad Kumo would be.

Sakura reached into her backpack, if only to distract herself. She pulled out a scroll. Written elegantly across it was the word "Tools." As her cell's medical ninja, she was also the coroner. She was charged with protecting Konoha's secrets.

She carefully unrolled the scroll and spread it flat on the ground in front of her. It had been divided into sections, a row of large rectangles. Scrawled within each was the name of one of her tools.

"Kuchitose no Jutsu," she whispered.

They each appeared, in small poofs of smoke. Her shining, impeccable, instruments. Arterial tubes for draining the blood, a sternal saw for breaking through the chest, a tongue tie, to keep it from slipping back, a hammer, a saw... She fingered the spoon-like instrument she would use to remove the eyes.

But she would wait for Sasuke.

Propped against the wall, Sakura drew her knees to her chest. She raised her eyes and idly focused them on Hinata. The two of them had become close over the past month. It was a shame. Hinata was a friend. Hinata made Sasuke happy.

It was hard to process it as a personal loss. Each member of the mission was, or had been, a friend of hers. Hinata had no particularity beyond her relationship with Sasuke.

Sakura crawled forward and removed the towel covering Hinata's face. She wondered what she would do if Naruto died. Would she awake from the coldness? Would it crush her heart?

Hinata – she's dead.

Would Sasuke be fazed? Or was he too numb by then?

I'm so sorry.

Her skin had taken on a gray hue. Her lips were blue, dry, and broken. She wasn't breathing. Her heart wasn't beating. Her fingers were curled as though she'd been in pain. Her soft features and dark hair made her somehow perfect in death in ways she'd always been flawed. It was beautiful. It was...horrifying.

Sakura swallowed. It looked as though she had been dead for hours. Of poisoning, she presumed. This meant their hiding place had been discovered.

She had already disposed of the remaining water supply. She had been surprised to find that Hinata's eyes were in tact, but this only meant someone was still due to collect them.

But she trusted Sasuke. She would wait for him.

Curling her legs, Sakura took one more gulp of air, and allowed her eyelids to lower. She sunk into darkness and it terrified her.

She jerked awake when she heard the door being forced open. She grasped for her kunai pouch and messily tried to stand.

But the intruder was already inside. Messy black hair hung in his face. He was dressed in slacks and a torn black turtleneck, his body slim and muscled. He moved heavily, as though fatigued.

"Sasuke." Her weapon dropped to the ground. She quickly closed their distance, grabbed his hand, and pulled him to Hinata.

He'd say goodbye, then they'd leave. They'd regroup with the others and flee Kumogakure. He'd have time to grieve later, but they needed to get out of there.

Sasuke pulled away from her when he reached Hinata's side. He kneeled down on that cold, grimy floor, his expression momentarily stunned. He reached down for Hinata's cool neck, running his fingers along her throat.

Sakura touched his shoulder. "Sasuke."

He ignored her, but briefly turned away from the Hyuuga, as though pained by the sight of her. His expression became disgusted when his eyes caught sight of the forensic tools. He again looked down at his wife, reaching now for her face. With his pointer finger and thumb, he opened one of her eyes.

Dull and unfocused. Ghost white had become sallow against the lamp light. For a startled moment, Sakura wondered if Sasuke would extract the eyes himself.

He activated the sharingan and she continued to stare.

"I couldn't tell you over the radio," he mentioned, not taking his eyes off his wife. "Because our lines aren't secure anymore."

Sakura raised her eyes from Hinata's empty gaze and narrowed them at Sasuke. "What is it?"

Sasuke still didn't turn from Hinata's face. "Today Uzumaki and I located the girl. They kept her under a constant blade. We had to act fast before we could lose her again. I suggested a trade. Hinata's life for Hanabi's."

Sakura's eyes widened. "You-?"


Sakura's blood ran cold. She took a step back. Had Sasuke just confessed to murdering his wife?

Still peering into Hinata's one open eye, he muttered two words.

"Wake up."

Sakura jumped when Hinata's eyes lifted. They immediately became wide, focused; panicked. The Hyuuga moved slightly, then weakened.

"Gods," whispered Sakura, her heart pounding in her throat. What the hell was going on?

Hinata's skin was still deathly pale. She wasn't breathing, and her heart wasn't beating. Her eyes rolled up and she began to lose consciousness.

Sakura remained frozen, incapacitated by disturbia. It didn't matter. Sasuke took the initiative. She watched electricity flicker in the palms of his hands.

"She lowered every barrier a person's consciousness contains. My technique made her mind convince her body it was dead. I've been working on it for years."

She couldn't fathom the extent of the sharingan's power.

"I needed her dead to show them I was utterly serious about the deal. I had to show them desperation – that there was no chance I'd betray them."

Sasuke's hands lowered to Hinata's chest. Her body heaved as he shocked her heart back to life.

"And then I betrayed them."

He pulled Hinata up, roughly catching her lips and breathing air into her lungs. The Hyuuga's pale fingers weakly gripped his shirt as she slowly awoke for the second time.

Sasuke broke away and observed her. Hinata's eyelids were heavy with fatigue. She repetitively inhaled, producing dry sobbing sounds as she struggled to catch her breath. She clung to Sasuke's clothes, and he held her close to better support her.

"They showed us Hanabi and insisted we hand over Hinata first," Sasuke continued. He took Hinata's chin and tipped it upward to have her look him in the eye. "We agreed, but typically, they tried to flee with both kunoichi. We had no problem getting them back. Naruto headed back to Konoha with Hanabi. Meanwhile, I followed the stragglers." He gave the information with brisk statements, distractedly, and with little attention to detail. His eyes never deviated from his wife's.

It looked like her vitals were keeping stable. Sakura watched color slowly return to Hinata's face.

"I was lead to the Raikage's stronghold, confirming his association, and his guilt of the past few kidnappings. I therefore delivered Tsunade's message. Konoha is officially at war with Kumo."

He leaned down and pressed his lips to Hinata's cheek, this time with no ulterior motive. He pulled away and allowed her to sink in his grasp, where she rested her face against his chest and allowed her eyelids to lower.

He carefully gathered her in his arms, and finally glanced up at Sakura. "Let's get out of here."