Title: Strangers
Date: January 12, 2010
Summary: When old desires fade, new ones can still take their places.
Pairing: Sasuke and Sakura
Rating: M
Themes: Angst/Romance


Uchiha Sasuke breathed in deeply through his nose, obsidian orbs narrowed in annoyance as he felt the lacerations across his body shift irritatingly with his movements causing even more blood to flow freely from his wounds. Although still weary from his battle with Danzou, the Avenger surged more chakra into his eyes, darkness bleeding red and spinning with anger as he calculated the last reserves he had and that using his Mangekyou would surely drain him into being easily captured.

He couldn't be captured, not when Danzou was still alive, the coward fleeing when he had his opening, taking advantage of the newcomers had that had arrived to misguidedly engage him.

The battle would have been all too easy for him if he had been at full strength and if his companion Karin wasn't useless in combat; though he would admit that his adversaries were worthy opponents.

His black cloak with its undeniable blood-red clouds had been torn in various places due to the gnawing and sharp teeth of the Inuzuka's giant mongrel, his right arm was bare and broken because of Gai's thick-browed protégé who had gotten in a lucky kick when an ink serpent had taken him off guard, most likely created by his pale-looking replacement.

Their teamwork was surprisingly flawless but what interested the Uchiha more was the strange combination of Ninjas that made the team, as well as their unspoken leader.

The shortest of the four, the most petite-looking, a female with bright viridian orbs and pastel-pink locks; his former teammate and unexpectedly without the aid of a certain hyperactive blonde and Copycat Ninja: Haruno Sakura.

She had not initiated an attack nor did she speak commands or strategies to her teammates but the sheer determination on her familiar features and the way everyone looked to her before they made a move was a clear indication that it was her word to follow, and her word alone.

While the Inuzuka and his dog, Gai's student, and his Team Seven replacement kept their sights on him Sasuke kept the only female of the group in his peripherals, watching as she engaged in a short battle with Karin – mostly Taijutsu – before fluently hitting chakra points with glowing, green hands that had the red-headed woman falling to the ground in a crumpled heat.

Not wanting to waste anymore time on four Leaf Shinobi when Danzou was still getting away Sasuke had immediately unsheathed Kusanagi and pushed his speed and agility to the max so he could deal near-fatal blows on the three males and nin-dog attacking him. The Inuzuka and his dog dropped, being the closest and easiest targets to hit, Gai's student groaned before holding his bleeding side and pushing on, throwing punches with his free arm only to be electrocuted with a well-aimed Chidori Nagashi. When the Taijutsu User fell paralyzed the dark-haired ink-user was quick to call up ink summons but they were removed without trouble with a large Katon Jutsu. Since the replacement was also bleeding from being struck with the Kusanagi, Sasuke immediately flickered towards him, weapon held high to deal his final blow when a pain in his side jolted him erratically and he was thrown twenty feet away, rolling against the dirt before recovering swiftly mid-roll into a crouch.

"…You will not hurt him. Your fight is now with me."

Sharingan eyes narrowed before the red faded to black, although unintentionally. He frowned, his chakra flaring uncontrollably within his body, making it difficult to control. His side, where the pastel-haired kunoichi had dealt her lucky hit, was throbbing and he judged a few broken ribs and the suspected reason for his chakra's irregular behavior. Zeroing his sights to her fisted hand he watched as her chakra pulsed around it, like a flame curling gently in the air changing between the colors blue and green.

"What the fuck did you do?" Sasuke growled lowly, wincing minutely as his broken arm shot with intense pain – Lee's kick had been harder than he had originally thought.

Sakura stood up straight, her features passive, surprising Sasuke once more because he had never once seen her so serious and intense. Her chakra-laden fist flickered to nothing and her fists relaxed before she began to walk towards his crouched form. She stared straight into his eyes, unafraid because of his dormant Sharingan but still wary as she minutely glanced at his discarded Kusanagi just feet away.

When she was about ten feet away she stopped in her approach and stared at him – just stared, her head tilting to the side as she studied him, from his bloodied tears to his broken arm to the enemy cloak he wore, she silently studied him.

Annoyed, Sasuke glared at her, "Sak–"

"I broke three ribs on your left side and sent my chakra through your system," Sakura interrupted calmly, answering his question from before as her emerald eyes met his firmly, "Your chakra should be behaving unpredictably because of my chakra's intrusion which will leave you unable to control it efficiently. This will last for about an hour judging by the amount I had poured into you so until then you are powerless…I suggest that you do not resist and if you try to run I will hit chakra points that can paralyze you for the duration of your life."

Sasuke remained quiet, her words sinking into his mind though it took him a while to grasp exactly what was happening. Her tone of voice, so professional and cold, was too surreal and unbelievable to hear. Haruno Sakura? Standing above his bleeding form, staring at him condescendingly, was Haruno Sakura?

Suddenly angry, Sasuke allowed his emotion to show through his deep scowl – because this isn't supposed to happen, Danzou isn't supposed to get away and he isn't supposed to get captured by Sakura, "What are you going to do then? Take me back to Konoha? Kill me?"

Sakura didn't respond immediately, she only stared at him, her large green eyes stabbing through obsidian so deeply that Sasuke wanted to look away, but he didn't and if he had he probably would have missed the flicker of sadness that appeared with the slight downward curve of her lips and the crease of her pink brows. Turning her gaze away, Sakura walked towards Sasuke's Kusanagi, picked it up – furthering Sasuke's irritability – and examined it thoughtfully.


"I want to kill you Sasuke," She interrupted again – almost as if she never wanted to hear her name fall from his lips anymore – and she allowed her free hand not holding his katana to glow a deep green, "I want to kill you," She repeated as she looked at him, "For your own good…" She looked at her two hands, one holding his blade the other flickering with her power, "Should I kill you with your own weapon? Poetic Justice I suppose? How many people do you plan to kill with this sword; and those lives can be saved if it's now used on you," She stared at her green hand, Sasuke speechless because this was not a Sakura he knew, "Should I kill you from the inside with a medical jutsu…Another Poetic Justice, to destroy you with the abilities and techniques that I learned because of you, for you."

"Sak–" Sasuke tried to growl out, wincing in pain as his chakra flared unexpectedly.

"Genjutsu perhaps," Sakura continued, "I'm good at that, you said so yourself a long time ago…I can be merciful and have you die in any way you would like to die. Or," Her open palm, glowing green, suddenly fisted, green instantly snuffed out by a pulsing blue chakra, her demeanor changing into anger, "…Or I can crush you Sasuke. Break every bone in your body…It's quite tempting," She looked at him once more, her expression passive again, Sasuke staring incredulously, "…Which would you like Sasuke?"

He didn't know what to say. He could have answered, could have said something condescending towards her if only to hurt her, see a vulnerable emotion from her, but his mind was blank, trying to process and calculate but coming up with even more questions towards his current situation.


The masculine groan filled the silent clearing and Sasuke was able to witness the first flicker of emotion to cross over Sakura's features. It was as if she had been snapped out of her psychotic, sadistic trance as her head whipped around, fear and worry prominent on her expression as viridian orbs landed on Sai, the replacement who was struggling to sit up, even with the deep gash on his abdomen.

"Sai," The Medic whispered before running to him, Sasuke watching her every move, somewhere deep in his chest, something was clenching as he witnessed her crouch at his side to effortlessly heal his wounds, her emotions painted on her sleeve for him.

Sasuke could have moved then, could have at least tried to make an effort to get away, but something kept him still, something kept him trapped where he sat, and it wasn't mainly because of the Jutsu Sakura had used on him.

"…You know you can't kill him Sakura," Sai stated lowly as the green of her hands flickered away, his abdomen healed; her head was bowed, pastel tresses covering her face, but Sai's eyes were locked on Sasuke, bottomless and unsympathetic, "Naruto won't forgive you."

"…I know…" Sakura whispered, although Sasuke's keen hearing easily caught it, "…But I have to do this Sai…For all of us. I don't want him to keep hurting us and breaking us apart. You said so yourself, chasing after him isn't healthy."

Sai frowned, "I may have said that, but killing him isn't exactly healthy either."

"Well I have to," Sakura snapped tersely as she stood up and made her way determinedly towards Kiba, Lee, and Akamaru, intent on healing their unconscious forms also, "I need to. I want to."

"This isn't like you Sakura," Sai stated simply, brows furrowed in disappointment, "You're not thinking straight."

"Just shut up, Sai," Sakura scowled as she finished up Kiba and Akamaru and moved to Lee, "What would you know? You don't know me; you don't know what happened between any of us!"

Sasuke felt a tiny bit of smug satisfaction hearing his replacement being yelled at by Sakura but with more important things to deal, his mind returning to the reality of his desired goals, the Avenger began to look for ways to escape. His legs were in working condition and his agility was still more than capable without the extra use of chakra. However, Karin's body was still immobile and he couldn't leave without her; she was the key to finding Danzou again. He needed a signal, something that could call for Suigetsu or Juugo if they were nearby.

"Besides," Sakura growled as she marched towards Sai, emerald orbs blazing as she stopped a foot away from him and poked a bruising finger to his chest, "I bet you didn't even believe in me and my abilities…You all probably thought we were running off to a suicide mission; that I couldn't even stand a chance against Sasuke. Well, look at him!" Sai did and Sasuke glared back defiantly, Sakura however, took up his sword and began to walk towards him menacingly, "He underestimated me, you all did and I took that as my advantage. Poor, little Haruno Sakura caught the great Uchiha Sasuke off guard! So watch! Just watch with your own fucking eyes Sai; I will kill him, because I have to!"

Sasuke was unafraid, surprised yes, but he was unafraid as he watched Sakura stalk towards him with his Kusanagi held high, her eyes narrowed with pure hatred before she stopped a foot away from him. A part of Sasuke adamantly believed that she wouldn't go through with it, that Haruno Sakura didn't have the guts to kill her former teammate, whom she had chased for years. Yet another, more dominant part, was beginning to adjust to this new and angry Sakura.

She had changed.

"I'm doing this because it's for your own good Sasuke," Sakura whispered as she stared at him, but the Avenger could swear that she was blinking rapidly for a reason, that her eyes looked more wet than seconds earlier, "I'm doing this to stop you from going down a path that you will regret."

Never backing down from a challenge, Sasuke smirked defiantly, equally as menacing "Do it then, Sakura."

"And I'm doing this because I love Naruto!" Sakura cried out angrily as she finally brought the blade down with as much force as she could, Sasuke closing his eyes and awaiting the painful blow.

However, Sai's voice cut heavily through the air, "You're doing this because you love Sasuke too," and the blade sliced through nothing as it veered off course, cutting through cloth but not skin before thudding against the ground, un-bloodied and shaking.

Sasuke opened his eyes, controlling his facial expressions as he watched with concealed surprise as Sakura stood before him, holding his sword tightly, a weapon that failed to touch him; but she was shaking, her pastel locks covering her eyes but her lips turned downward in a deep frown. Sai watched from behind, impassive like always but his orbs were wary as he glanced at the Kusanagi in the kunoichi's tight knuckle-white grasp.

"…I can't kill you…" Sakura whispered, so low that it was clearly meant for only Sasuke to hear, "…Kami I want to…You probably can't even understand the reasons why or think them stupid if I told you, but the foremost reason I can't kill you is because your death will hurt Naruto. And I can't bear to betray him like you did to us."

Sakura finally looked up and while a part of Sasuke had been expecting tears, her face was completely dry and her eyes were hard and portraying the same intensity as before, when they had been battling. She stood up straight, dropping his sword at the same time which landed beside him, caked with dried blood from her companions but lacking his, which had been her initial intention.

"Uchiha Sasuke," Sakura whispered as she stared at him calmly, grey clouds starting to drift overhead and beginning a light drizzle, "You are not the boy I once knew at 12 years old, and you never will be. We are strangers," The first smile he had seen in years from her graced her lips but it was sad and far-off, "I believe we always have been strangers actually…Never friends but now enemies," The smile was instantly gone, her features hard and serious, "If ever we cross paths again I will not hesitate to kill you. I want you to leave Naruto alone. I want you, Uchiha Sasuke…to disappear."

She turned her back to him and began to walk away towards Sai, "Do what you have to do Sasuke. I won't chase you anymore, but Naruto will," She turned her head over her shoulder to glance at him, "You're too far gone to return to Konoha now so if Naruto does find you, don't get caught…Because I don't want you coming back."

A clenching pain swallowed his heart at her words but Sasuke remained still, the rain starting to fall more heavily and causing his hair, clothes, and blood to stick uncomfortably to his skin.

"The dobe will keep trying to chase me," Sasuke stated, unsure why or if he wanted to argue with her or see her reaction, slightly disappointed when she turned her back to him again, "He'll never stop."

"It will fade," Sakura responded as she crouched beside Lee to help rouse him, "If I can forget about you, I'm sure he can too."

"And if I get caught?" Sasuke pressed as monotonously as possible while he watched her sling the unconscious man's arm effortlessly over her shoulder, "If I come back?"

Sai was beside her with a groggy Kiba and a limping Akamaru, but Sakura stared at him one last time with dull green eyes, her tone heavy, "If you do return…It won't be to the Konoha you remember."

And finally, she turned her back to him, walking away with her team beside her, the rain falling down around him leaving him alone and injured, watching as they disappeared in the darkness of the surrounding forests.

As Sasuke sat there, with thoughts of Danzou and the Council Elders and Uchiha Madara in the back of his mind, he couldn't help but wonder over Sakura's change, how she wasn't the girl he remembered, how her hatred for him and love for him had tipped at the scales, and how a part of him deliberated whether it was still possible to return to Konohagakure no Sato when everything was said and done.

She had been one of the reasons for wanting to come back. Contrary to what others might believe she was still a special person; an ex-teammate but a teammate nonetheless.

Now they were…Strangers.

Shaking his thoughts aside, Sasuke immediately pulled a scroll from his belt with his free, less-injured hand and rolled it open; wiping blood off his lacerated arm, Sasuke smeared it across the coarse surface summoning a single hawk, the bird bowing obediently under its master's stare.

"Bring Juugo and Suigetsu to me."

The hawk bobbed its head before flying away.

Pushing his torrent thoughts aside, Sasuke began to forget the events of the passed few days and focused solely on his unfinished goal. Danzou and the Hidden Leaf Elders would die after what they did to Itachi and the psychotic Uchiha Madara was going to go with them. His plan to destroy the Hidden Villages with his Beast was a plan that spat on Itachi's desire for peace and Sasuke wouldn't have it.

Sasuke would analyze his place in the world among Konoha Shinobi and Team Seven another time.

There were more important things to attend to.

A/N: Welcome to Keep or Scrap a series of unfinished Plot Bunnies that are still hopping around in my head BUT I don't know if it's worth writing out or reading. Help me out please? :)

So, penny for your thoughts? I guess I started this little Plot Bunny during the Arc where Sakura went after Sasuke but when Kishimoto ended up making her pretty useless I got a little fed up and wanted to do my own little twist.

Strangers would basically be a Multi Chapter Fiction (Romance/Drama/Action) and although it isn't exactly original when authors make Sakura angry with Sasuke I kind of wanted to give it a shot too, mostly for a particular scene in a later chapter that was pretty much dialogue between Sasuke and Sakura that concerned their past and future. So let me know what you think?

Scrap or Keep?

Disclaimer: Never have...never will...sad panda.

You guys are all the BEST! Please drop a review to let me know what you think? And please check out my other Fictions too! :)

a.k.a. Len83