And So the Blossom Withers

Chapter 30: Lifeless Team

She disappeared right before his eyes and he did nothing to stop her, he remained motionless, paralyzed. To say he was mad at himself would be the understatement of the year. He couldn't help but replay the scene again and again in his mind.

There was no way to ignore the man lying dead on her feet, a man he just saw her kill and he couldn't help but wonder how much of the Sakura he remembered was still there. "Why did you do all of this Sakura?" He asked, desperate for an answer, his voice shook and for the first time in so long…he felt vulnerable.

"I did it all to save you Sasuke." It was those words that made him stop dead in his tracks once again paralyzing him.

Petals covered her and swirled around her, he made a move to stop her but then his eyes met hers and he was surprised to see red. He took a step forward but it was then that she disappeared in a swirl of petals leaving him reaching out to an empty space.

"Sakura..." The name once again escaped his lips and it felt wrong, she couldn't possibly be their Sakura.

For a moment he remained unmoving knowing that she was already long gone, that he had let her go without as much as a fight. He then took a few steps forward reaching the dead body of the man who had been their client.

The client had been scared, scared of their Sakura who wasn't supposed to hurt even a fly, yet she singlehandedly outsmarted them and killed him. Sasuke picked up the enveloped she had tossed before leaving but before he could open it someone stepped into the clearing.

"Apparently Sakura Haruno is not just a runaway, but a criminal." Sai said his voice sounding empty, it wasn't sarcasm just a statement. A few hours ago Sasuke had threatened him for badmouthing Sakura now he remained unmoving from his place and quiet; because to his dismay he had just witnessed the truth in Sai's words. "Are you not going to fight me over it?" He asked as Sasuke remained in place there was no energy left in him to fulfill his earlier threat.

It was then that Naruto along Yamato decided to make their appearance. "What happened?" Yamato asked both Sai and Sasuke and Sasuke tightened his grip on the envelope refusing to answer.

"Who killed the client?" Naruto asked his voice laced with confusion, 'there was just no way someone could've outsmarted us' Sasuke knew that something along those lines was going through the blonde's head at the very moment.

"A woman killed the client and we were too late to stop her from escaping." Sai answered and it was then that Sasuke turned to Sai, disbelief showing in his features. He knew for a fact that Sai had been there watching he whole time, maybe even before he had arrived at the scene.

There was no sign of him lying in his features, it was the perfect lie and as Yamato nodded Sasuke could see that he believed him. He couldn't help but wonder what the reason behind his lie was, what he was planning.

"Do you know who the woman was?" Naruto asked and Sasuke turned to him wishing he hadn't just asked that question.

"She wore no headband, but because of the hair color she was unmistakably Haruno Sakura." Sai spoke matter-of-factly. For a moment Naruto didn't react but soon enough he laughed loudly thinking it obviously a joke but as the tension around them thickened Naruto's laughter died and he turned to Sasuke seeking an answer.

"He's lying right?" Naruto asked, his voice pleading for Sasuke to tell him that Sai was indeed lying.

Sasuke just shook his head, not trusting himself enough to answer him, but mostly not wanting to voice it out loud.

Naruto had been quiet all the way back to the village, the tension around the group was thick enough to cut with a kunai, the only one who seemed to remain unfazed was Sai. As they got to the village Yamato didn't waste any time and they all made their way to the Hokage's office deeming the matter important enough to inform the Hokage right away.

As they made their way to her office Sasuke could see Naruto's fist shaking in anger and Sasuke couldn't help but be surprised at his lack of anger at the moment. Instead of anger and rage there were questions plaguing his mind, eating away at him.

Yamato knocked the door to the Hokage's office snapping Sasuke out from his thoughts and back into reality a reality he didn't have the energy to face. "Come in." She answered from inside her office and with his head lowered Yamato stepped inside followed by Sai, Naruto and finally Sasuke as he closed the door behind him.

"What happened?" Tsunade asked quickly her lips set in a thin line, probably guessing what was coming.

"The mission was a failure." Yamato declared before continuing. "The client was murdered by a kunoichi a few hours after leaving the leaf village."

"Do you have any idea who it was that murdered the client?" Tsunade asked as she processed what Yamato had just told her. She wasn't happy with the news, that much was obvious.

"Sasuke and Sai were the only ones to encounter her, Sai claims it was Haruno Sakura." Yamato answered and Sasuke felt as Tsunade's eyes turned to him.

"Was it her?" Her question left room for nothing but an answer and it was finally time to put into words what he'd been dreading since she disappeared.

"It was. Sakura killed the client." Sasuke hated how his voice sounded as he spoke, defeated. It was then that Naruto reacted punching the wall closest to him and capturing everyone's attention.

"How can you say that?!" His tone was accusing. "Sakura would never do something like that! It's one thing for the idiot over there" he pointed towards Sai "to mistake her, but you?! Are you listening to yourself? You're here claiming that Sakura, our Sakura, is a criminal!"

"I'm not even sure she was our Sakura." Sasuke said in a tone of bewilderment before turning to the Hokage. "We need Kakashi here; I won't talk until he's here." Sasuke declared and Tsunade simply nodded in response.

"Very well, Shizune will take care of getting him, he just returned from his mission about an hour ago." Sasuke could feel Naruto glaring at his back, but he couldn't bring himself to care.

Kakashi felt the tension the moment he entered the room, he could feel Naruto's anger and there was something about Sasuke's expression that worried him to no ends. Yamato had been outside the office with a grim expression as well alongside their extra teammate. "So what's this about?" He asked and saw as the Hokage's gaze turned to Sasuke.

"Talk." She spoke, an order and Sasuke sighed before turning to Kakashi. He bit his lip and tried avoiding his gaze something so unlike Sasuke and it was then that Kakashi started to dread what was coming.

"We ran into Sakura on the mission." Kakashi's visible eye widened in surprise, after all there had been no news about her since she left. "She killed the client we were escorting and left." Sasuke finished with a quick glance at Naruto.

After a moment Kakashi asked. "Did she tell you anything?" The questions made everyone else in the room turn their attention at Sasuke.

"She just told me it was her mission." Sasuke said as he shook his head, not wanting to believe the words himself. If he had not seen it with his own eyes he probably wouldn't believe it, wouldn't believe that Sakura would be capable of killing a man.

"Do you have any idea who she's working for?" Tsunade was the one to ask and Sasuke simply shook his head. "I see, anything else we should know about?"

He saw as Sasuke questioned himself, unsure if to speak any further about the subject. "Kakashi…how did you get your sharingan?" He turned to him, who was taken aback by the sudden change in subject.

"I don't see how that matters right now-" He was cut off by the Hokage.

"Just tell him!" Tsunade snapped, her patience just about gone.

"My team mate was an Uchiha." He first clarified before sighing and begun. "We were on a mission, I was leader and our female teammate got captured and we had a disagreement in whether rescuing her or not. He went after her, while I kept on with the mission, soon I caught up with him." It wasn't something he'd like to remember, how he was back then, how the mission had even for a moment mattered more than Rin's life.

"He was in a fight and I fought alongside him, but my eye got injured, it was then that he awoke his sharingan. We reached our teammate but when we were going to escape the cave collapsed, I would have died if it wasn't for him." Even he could hear the guilt in his own voice and it bothered him the fact that they could hear it too. "The cave collapsed upon him crushing half his body, this sharingan is a gift he left to me."

Confusion flashed in Sasuke's eyes as the story finished, Kakashi could see there was something bothering him. "The only Uchiha's left are you and Itachi Uchiha, and aside that only I have the sharingan."

"Are you sure about that, isn't there a chance of somebody else possessing the sharingan and being able to activate it at will?" Sasuke should have known the answer to that question better than anyone, the fact that he was asking him as if looking for a second opinion on the subject, it worried Kakashi.

"Not that I know of, I've never been able to deactivate the sharingan, nor do I possess the stamina needed to use it to its fullest potential." Kakashi was mostly cut off by Naruto who had a good point.

"Why are you asking about the sharingan when we're talking about Sakura?! Or did she just stop mattering?!" Naruto's voice was laced with anger, anger that seemed to be directed not only at Sasuke but at himself.

"Shut up, you idiot!" Sasuke snapped. "You don't know what you're talking about; it's easy for you to defend her, right? You didn't even see her." His voice was harsh.

"I know her!" Naruto yelled; his voice desperate. "I know that she would never return home a criminal."

"The facts scream for themselves Naruto; I saw her stab a man with her sword and then simply extract the sword letting the body fall on the ground. There was no hint of remorse on her face." Sasuke gaze wouldn't tear away from the ground, but Kakashi didn't have to see his expression to know that this hurt him as much as it hurt Naruto. He had seen Sasuke train day in and day out to bring her back; he had seen Sasuke throw aside his lifelong goal for her.

When he looked at Naruto he saw the disbelief on his face, he could see that it was something he didn't want to accept. Their Sakura, a criminal? It seemed something out of a nightmare. He knew the sense of failure Naruto must feel, because he felt it himself.

Kakashi knew he had failed as a teacher.

He had failed Sasuke, in who he had seen himself when younger. He had failed Naruto, the son of his former teacher. But most of all he had failed Sakura, who all by herself had won a place in his heart; she had been the life of the team.

It was then that Sasuke raised his gaze from the ground and met Kakashi's. If what Sasuke had said before hadn't left him speechless, this surely would. "Kakashi, she had the sharingan."


Here is chapter 30! Finally, I took long enough. Thanks to the 37 people who reviewed! :)

I know I have no damn excuse, Pokemon had taken over my life and well I just couldn't find the inspiration to work on this story. Fact is I've been working on some other ones, SasuSaku of course, that I plan on publishing someday.

But then I received an anon message on tumblr asking when I was going to update and I was like, "Ahh! People do care!" and so yeah I finished this as soon as I could and here it is.

I have no idea how long I'll take for the next chapter, but I am scared of how my readers will react to this one. If the story is ruined for you, if this is not what you were expecting then I'm sorry. But if you like it, then great, more weird twist are what await you.

Let me know what you think about this chapter in the box below.

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Have a great day! :)