The Hunt

Summary: Ino – the broken interrogator who just came back from her two-year mission in Suna. Sasuke – the former traitor who surrendered himself to Konoha a year ago. Both aren't looking for love, but love is on the hunt for them. SasuInoGaa

"Yamanaka Ino has arrived."

I heard the ANBU told the Hokage. Sure, I was kind of nervous coming back to my homeland but what the hell – I might as well deal with this shit. And honestly, bitch really had no choice.

"Yo," I said soon after I entered the Hokage's office. As expected, I saw two familiar faces that I hadn't seen in more than two years. "Long time no see."

Sakura didn't waste no time. She ran towards me and hugged me as tight as she could that I thought she'd actually break every bone in my body. I returned the hug and told her, "Stop acting like I died or something."

When she freed me from her intoxicating hug, she looked at me in the eyes with concern. She obviously found out from Shikamaru what happened to me in Suna."Ino, are you okay – are you hurt – do you want anything –"

I cut off Sakura before she actually went nuts, "I'm fine, forehead girl!"

"Welcome back, Ino!" Naruto grinned at me full of cheerfulness – unlike Sakura, he probably didn't know what happened to me or else, he wouldn't be grinning like this. "You can call me Hokage-sama from now on."

"Congrats on becoming the Hokage." I was genuinely happy for Naruto because he actually had achieved his dream. He was where he wanted himself to be – I envied him. "I'll send you the written report of my two-year long stay in the Wind Country by tonight. I need to rewrite everything since the full report currently looks shit and unorganized."

"You don't have to!" Sakura retorted instead of Naruto. If I knew Sakura would be this concerned, I wouldn't have let Shikamaru told her what happened in Suna. "Rest is what you need to do, not rewrite a damn novel!"

"Sakura-chan is right – I'll understand it either way."

Truth was, I didn't want to rewrite it over again not because I was lazy as fuck – I didn't want to do it because rewriting the whole two scrolls on my mission in Suna would just give me horrible flashbacks of what happened when I was in that place.

"Thank you, Naruto." I appreciated him not wanting me to do any work after a three-day travel just to get here. I turned my head to Sakura and reminded her, "You don't have to worry about me."

Sakura lowered her face and Naruto looked clueless as hell. There was an awkward silence until we heard someone knocking on the door.

"Come in," said the Hokage. And voila, Sasuke appeared next to me. I hadn't seen him a long time – ever since he went to Orochimaru, never did I see him once. Sure, he was here three years ago when he wanted to kill everyone in Konoha but unlike the most, I never saw him. When I was in Suna, I found out from Shikamaru that he willingly surrendered himself a year ago and my dad was one of the people who had interrogated him.

"Hello, Sasuke." I tried my hardest to give him my best smile but after what went through in Suna, smiling had become one of the hardest things for me now.

He nodded at me and then turned his attention to Naruto. "Why did you call me here?"

"I told you that we are having lunch together at Ichiraku's and since Ino's here, she should come join us."

"I would love to but..." I wanted to, really – but I had more important things to attend to. "I have to check the apartment Shikamaru leased for me."

"You can do that later!" Sakura argued stubbornly. "Look at you, you've lost so much weight. Are you even ninety-pounds?"

I could feel Naruto checking me out from head to toe when forehead said that. "Sakura-chan's right, you are unbelievably skinny – you're like, skinnier now than you were two years ago."

Sakura was dumb sometimes, I swore – and I was the blonde here. She knew what I went through and it was obvious that this was one of the post-effects of...that horrible nightmare.

"It's what I always want anyway," I lied and Sakura knew that. I could feel Sasuke staring at my trembling hand. After losing more than fifteen pounds in ten days, my hands would just start shaking uncontrollably. "I'm really fine."

"If you're hurt, then cry!" Naruto suddenly yelled at me – I was honestly shocked. He then continued, "I don't know what's hurting you but you're not fine. You're not in a great condition – what's the problem? Don't just keep it to yourself, we're your friends you know."

"It's..." I was not ready to open up to everyone yet. "It's just really tired from traveling."

Naruto was about to speak but Sasuke interrupted him calmly, "She doesn't want to say it, let her be."

"That's bullshit!" Naruto gritted his teeth before persisting, "If you're not gonna say it, we won't be able to help –"

"Gaara knocked me up and I lost the baby." There, I said it. The words just came out of my mouth. People said that saying what bothered you would make you feel better, but this didn't. In fact, I felt worse – much worse. "Naruto, they killed my baby...and I couldn't do anything about it."

Naruto and Sasuke's eyes widened. Naruto felt guilty, I could tell by just looking at him. And Sasuke couldn't hide the shock in his face. I focused my eyes at the ceiling to prevent my eyes from watering.

"I'll walk Ino to her apartment," Sakura broke the silence and tension by speaking to Naruto. "You and Sasuke can grab something to eat."

"I told you not to worry about me," I repeated what I said not even ten minutes ago to Sakura. This month had been tough for me – but I promised myself that I would get better. "I'm just a little depressed but I'll be back to my old self again in no time."

"Liar," Sakura uttered darkly. With no more words being said, she left the room alone. I felt bad for shrugging her off because I knew she was just concerned about my well-being but I really didn't want to talk about it. I wouldn't get over this if I kept on telling them what happened – it would just remind me over and over how I lost the life inside me because I wasn't able to protect it.

"Sasuke, walk Ino home instead," Naruto demanded to Sasuke. In response to his command, Sasuke just agreed quietly by nodding his head. Before I could object, Naruto had to continue, "It's an order, Ino."

We turned around and started walking away from the Hokage.

Konoha didn't look too different from two years ago. Leafy, happy, and nothing like that shithole Suna. I cocked my head a little to glance at Sasuke's face. Just like Konoha, he didn't look too different from the last time I saw him – he just got taller.

"You look the same," I commented carelessly. I didn't mean to say it but my habit of saying what I thought would pop up once in a while.

"You don't."

I must have underestimated him because I didn't think he would say something after that. "And what's so different about me?"

"Your eyes, your hair, and your complexion." When he said that, I raised my eyebrow. I didn't seem to look different the last time I checked. I waited for him to explain what he meant. "The glow in your eyes isn't there anymore, your hair is a little darker than it used to be, and you're two shades tanner."

"Many things can change in eight years, you know." That's right, it had been eight years since the last time I saw him. And four years ago, I was crying like a little bitch when he was proclaimed an S-class criminal. " have you been?"


I smiled a little. He was just like the classical Sasuke – a one-word dude. "What made you come back?"

"Same reason why you did," he directly told me with his normal, emotionless pretty face. "I wanted to start all over again in a clean slate."

"Did you feel better when you killed Danzo?"

"Why are you asking?"

"The ones who killed the baby inside me are the elders from Suna." I wasn't sure if I would tell him that but what the hell, I was sure he would understand me since he was like this too.

"It's not worth it." As expected, he would say that because after all, he went through this phase for years. "Revenge, I mean."

I wanted revenge but chose not to get it. Because I'd only hurt the people I cared about in the process of getting it. Just like Sasuke did.

After walking another block, I stopped in front of a newly renovated building. "This is the apartment Shikamaru leased for me – thank you for walking me here."

He stared at me for a few seconds and walked inside the building without saying anything that's why I had to ask,"What do you think you're doing?"

"I'm going back to my apartment," he said as he continued walking in. His apartment he said? Did this mean we would be living in the same building? Unwillingly, I followed him just to find out that my apartment was just two doors away from his.

"But I thought you lived in the Uchiha's estate?"

"Too much memories."

I refrained from talking after that because I was the same way. I left Suna because it always reminded me that fucking incident. Truth to be told, my contract in Suna wasn't expired when I left – it wouldn't expire until early next year. It was a thirty-five month contract.

"Sasuke-kun!" My thoughts were interrupted when I heard a high-pitched voice by his door. I eyed over my shoulder to see a girl – no, a woman– with a raspberry colored hair and eyeglasses. Karin, wasn't it? I remembered Ibiki-shishou interrogating this girl four years ago.

She seemed to notice my presence. "And who are you – moreover, what the hell are you doing in Sasuke-kun's apartment?"

"I was the apprentice of Morino Ibiki," I filled her in a neutral voice even though I didn't like her tone when she was asking me. "I was there when he was interrogating you about Sasuke-kun and Kabuto."

"And you're here because?"

"It doesn't concern you." Sasuke saved me by answering because really, I had no idea why I was in his apartment. "What are you doing here, Karin?"

I found myself staring at her forehead-protector – since when did she promise her loyalty to Konoha? When I left more than two years ago, she was still imprisoned. Did Tsunade-sama give her a second chance?

When Karin didn't answer Sasuke, I answered for her, "She's here to ask you if you already had lunch."

I swore to God, I was holding back but Karin was too easy to read. She wasn't only an open book, she also had huge font. Karin intensely glared at me and in reply, I gave her the sweetest smile. "You don't have to thank me, Karin."

Knock, knock.

Since Karin was the closest to it, she opened the door – revealing an anxious Shikamaru. "I've been looking for you, Ino."

I got confused. "Aren't we supposed to meet up tonight?"

"I know but..." Shikamaru was obviously bothered by something. Sasuke and Karin were merely watching, waiting for him to continue.

"But what?"

"Someone informed me that Gaara has entered Konoha's main gate."

Suddenly, I felt weak but tried my best to hide it, "So?"

A/N: New multi-shot. I know, I'm disgusting. But I promise to update this one real fast. I have the plot laid out. The farthest this can go is up to six chapters. That's right, I want it short.

Um, reviews?