A high price to pay
The sun was rising in the pink colored sky. The breeze danced between the tall slim trees and bamboo carrying a scent of change. A young man was sitting near the waterfalls when something caught his attention: the sound of footsteps. Normal people wouldn't have heard it, especially when the sound of the waterfall was deafening.
A new and stronger breeze played with the dark young man's hair, exposing the smooth ivory skin of his neck. His eyes were shut slightly, in deep meditation, even though he could feel someone approaching. He was dressed in black, his legs crossed while sitting in a rock, just above the river stream. Raven's expression was impassive, occulting his dark thoughts from the world.
The lingering rustling of the bushes brought him back to reality. The sound of the footsteps was getting louder. In a swift, graceful move he rose to his feet and jumped, vanishing in thin air.
The bushes were rudely shaken as they were parted by a pink haired girl. Her green eyes searched her surroundings, sighing loudly. With an annoyed expression on her features and hands on her hips, she declared:
"Sasuke Uchiha! Get your ass over here! I know you're there."
There was a moment of silence.
The girl turned to face the raven behind her. As usually the raven was avoiding her eyes. Not that he did it only to her, but to everyone. And even if he did looked her in the eyes the only thing she would see was a pair of empty black orbs.
"You were supposed to help me today, and pick the medicinal herbs."
Without answering her the Uchiha was quick to disappear once again, in the blink of an eye, leaving Sakura astonished. Before the pink haired girl could even start to build the anger to scream out loud to the raven, Sasuke appeared before her. Startled the girl took a step back. The surprise was quickly replaced by anger and when she was about to scold the boy, this one showed her a basket full of herbs.
The green eyed girl blinked, first in confusion, then sighing frustrated. A half smile formed in her lips, taking the basket from Sasuke.
"You really are worth the name Uchiha, after all. Let's go, Ino is waiting for me. "
Sakura started to walk in the direction she came from, followed a couple of steps back by Sasuke. They were silent all the way to the village they lived in.
It was a far small town, in the middle of a forest in a mountain nobody dared to approach. At least humans stayed away. The mountain was filled with demons, therefore no mortal wished to adventure in the mountain. Of course Sasuke and the rest of the villagers were the exception to the rule. They were mostly people trained to protect others from demons, with special abilities controlling the elements to bind and kill demons. The most terrible of these demons were the tailed ones. In this mountain lived the most dangerous and stronger of them: the Kyuubi.
The village had been found a hundred years ago so they could keep the demon bound, protecting the country. The demons that entered the forest were attracted by the Kyuubi's powerful energy and it was the villager's job to kill them and keep the Kyuubi in place.
However sixteen years ago, the Kyuubi had been freed.
It destroyed the village and killed many people, until he was controlled by Madara Uchiha, who made it calm down.
This event had caused a big commotion in the village. The elders had come to the conclusion that they had to keep the Kyuubi alive and calm. So they decided to give presents to it: rare scrolls, some of them forbidden; techniques, to make him even more powerful if that was possible; rare books and texts; they had even built him a sanctuary, and a even more impressive castle in the top of the mountain; the year before this one, they had concede him the freedom to walk on the mountain, as long as he kept distance from the boundaries of both the village and the paths that led out of the mountain.
This year's gift was to be announced at noon of that same day.
Many people didn't understand why they kept the Kyuubi alive. Sasuke had a clear idea though; Power. In this world, power was everything; it brought fame, glory, money, leadership, everything one could wish for. The Kyuubi's power had gained the villagers their status of power and right to be control it.
The raven could understand that, but no matter how much power one could have, it simply couldn't make some things true, or not.
Sasuke was revered for being an Uchiha. He was a descendent from a distinct family, who had saved the village. And when they think he couldn't gain even more reverence and fame, the raven have proven everyone to be the strongest, the fastest, the brightest, and within the years the most beautiful, of all of the Uchiha, and the village. And to make it worse, he was the last of his kind.
Sakura glance over her shoulder to see the black eyed boy lost in his thoughts. She sighed. She could guess the boy's hesitance in coming back to the village. The pink haired girl knew the raven hated attention, the glares of lust from both female and male population, and even more he simply hated the world. Sakura was an exception. Yes, she had been madly in love with him when she was younger, but Sasuke had been clear. He didn't have need for a person who only wanted him for what his status told what he was. The green eyed girl knew him better than that. When she realized, Sasuke only wanted a friend. A true one, he could rely, she stopped pushing. Sakura felt proud only to be considered a friend by the raven. However the black eyed boy was hard, even if he trusted her, he was not entirely open and easy to understand.
As soon as they crossed the gates they were approach by an absurd number of people. Girls mostly tried to cling to Sasuke. There was screaming, giggling and lots of flirting in attempt to gain the Uchiha's attention. As an immediate response Sakura punched the ground hard enough to cause it to crack and divide in two, creating a space between the raven and the crowd. Everyone who feared for their live scrambled, others shot glances to the pink haired girl, who glanced back with murderous intent while punching her hand slightly. In a flash, Sasuke was again crowd free, completely untouched.
"Mataku! They're like a bunch of hungry wolfs fighting for the last piece of meat during winter."
"Un.", it was the only reply the raven gave her, before they start walking again.
"I can't believe I was one of them three years ago. No wonder you hated me.", stated the pink haired girl to herself.
"I didn't hated you. Never did."
Sakura stopped. This was one of those rare times Sasuke would be honest with her about this kind of what he considered worthless maters.
"I simply find it annoying.", the raven completed.
"You're too kind hearted. I mean it. If it was me I would have punched them to death."
"I'm sure they can't be that bad. You said it yourself, you were one of them."
Sakura soften her expression, presenting the Uchiha heir with a sincere smile.
"You're truly kind hearted."
"No, I'm not. They just need to grow like you did, and realize I'm not interested. I'm sure that within a few years their hormones will calm down and it will stop clouding their judgment."
"Yeah, I'm sure that will happen. When you start to grow white hair, that is. And even then, I'm not entirely sure.", Sakura stated with sarcasm."I bet celestials envy you for being a god on earth. I mean even dem…"
The green eyed girl closed her lips shut, cutting of what she was about to say. Sasuke looked far away from her reached.
"I'm sorry.", she whispered.
Like she had guess, the raven did not reply. He simply stood there in his place, unreachable. His eyes full of disgust, anger, and hatred. Sakura then, pull the sleeve of his black shirt, making him follow her.
Never did they know they were being watched by a curious gaze.
The rest of the morning went fast. Sakura had spent it separating the medicinal herbs Sasuke had picked, while he had spent it under a tree gazing the blue sky.
Ino appeared a bit before noon in the back of the flower shop, where they stayed. The blonde tried her best to be dashing and beautiful for her entrance, while putting her best smile and kimono.
"Ihuhuu! Sasuke-kun, do you want to have lunch with me? We can go to the plaza to hear the announcement together at noon."
"Ino!", Sakura roared, clenching her fist and teeth."If Sasuke was interested don't you think he would have given in by now?"
"How could he? For the past three years you've been terrifying everyone with your enormous forehead just to keep people away from him!", Ino screeched in an indemnifying way.
"Why you… stupid pig!"
Before they could start a fight, Sasuke passed by them interrupting immediately their conflict. It was simply not possible not to notice him when he clearly wanted it. The girls' eyes stopped, fixating in the black locks and impossible white skin of the boy. Without looking at them, he began to walk slowly, while saying:
The girls shut their mouths, their bodies responding unconsciously to the order. There was no human being alive that couldn't help being dazed by the Uchiha's presence.
In the plaza, Sasuke told the girls to sit while he was going to bring the food. Of course being an Uchiha brought lots of vantages, for once he didn't need to buy his food; people would give it to him, even if he didn't want to. After 'not' buying the food for lunch, he walked back to the plaza.
In his way over, he saw something out of common: a golden fox.
It was yipping to the man in the ramen stand. Its nose was up smelling the food. It was ignored.
Sasuke normally would have ignored it to, but he felt somewhat guilty. And the fox did look skinny. With a silent sigh, the raven boy turned to the stand. He didn't enjoy ramen, and it was certainly his first time buying it. This time he actually bought it. That, made him feel normal, good for not being treated like a rare prize. Before he put the bowl on the floor, he looked to the whining fox. It was surely begging, he even heard its stomach growling angrily. The raven smirked to the small fox, making it hiss, probably angry at him from getting the food it couldn't get. The Uchiha heir then put the big bowl on the floor next to the fox.
The golden furred vulpine looked suspiciously to the bowl, taking a few sniffs. Sasuke didn't stay long enough, turning his back as soon as he put the bowl down, leaving the fox with a puzzled look. After deciding the food was safe, it dig in, eating the ramen voraciously.
The raven left with a smirk.
When the raven got back the plaza, he knew he was being watched. Like a deer, or piece of meat, has Sakura had so affectionately stated. He knew the pink haired girl couldn't protect him now, seeing as he was under the observation of the elders. The three leaders of the village were also with their eyes locked on the Uchiha heir. Their last conversation with him had left a sour taste in his mouth, they wanted him to marry. He hated the idea, and he knew what they wanted: a bunch of little clones of him. He would never allow it. He barely stand being near people less more being touched! Sakura was the only one who was allowed to touch him when attending his wounds, and even then he had to repel his instinct to smack her hands. Even worth he couldn't imagine being with someone.
He walked with his chin up, ignoring the whispers that spread like venom in the air. The girls looked him with concern. At least Sakura did, Ino only faked to gain his interest.
The raven sited beside the pink haired girl, ignoring the looks of the crowd. He then passed the onigiri he had been given to them. In silence, they started to it, except for Ino. The blue eyed girls attempts wouldn't cease, grabbing every opportunity between bites to flirt with the Uchiha heir. This last had his eyes in the podium, observing the elders. He had no idea what the village could give to the Kyuubi that he didn't had, unless he felt lonely and in that case he would want someone to talk to.
He immediately discarded this thought, lonesome was a feeling… demons didn't had feelings. Sasuke knew this in first hand. He hated demons, there was no way they could feel, if they could… he wouldn't have a reason to hate them.
"Sasuke are you ok?"
"You look really scary. But I like it, you look hot!"
"Shut it Ino!"
"You're really ugly when you look scary, Sakura. You're never going to find a husband, with that ugly face."
"I already have a fiancé, Ino pig."
"Oh! That makes sense; I heard two wrongs make a right."
"As if you could get any better! Lee is sweet, and would die for me."
"Keep your green spandex knight. I have Sasuke."
"Good luck with that."
"Ino, I'm not interested. Grow up. Marry Chouji, he cares for you more than everyone else and especially me.", Sasuke snapped.
"You heard that Sakura! Sasuke cares specially for me."
Fortunately for Ino, Sakura was there to stop Sasuke from strangling her to death.
"Deep breaths, Sasuke. Deep breaths. You can't kill Ino."
The raven haired boy, glared at Ino, who was completely out, in la la land. If the eyes could kill the blonde girl would have dropped dead and preferably seizing in pain. Of course one was not to blame by nonsense morbid thoughts when someone his nagging the hell out of them.
In the time this conversation took place, the elders had already finished they're speech, and it was time to present the gift for the Kyuubi. Everyone in the plaza felt silent, after hearing the supposed gift.
It had been a shock. However nobody dared to protest, everyone knew that if the Kyuubi was not calmed it would destroy the village.
Sasuke went white with anger.
The gift this year was a human sacrifice, a demand from the Kyuubi itself. And it was no other than Haruno Sakura.