WARNING: This fic is rated "M" for: Mature content, strong language, angst, possible character death and the sin that is KakaSaku. Consider yourself warned.
- "It's only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth,
and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up,
that we will begin to live each day to the fullest,
as if it was the only one we had."
- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Chapter one - Her silent pleas
Peace is nothing but a fickle word.
In a world dominated by shinobi, where violence is the solution to every hardship, was there even a reason to believe in such a thing as peace anymore?
After all, humans were fragile, vicious beings and very much proud of it.
Give a man a weapon, an excuse to kill, and you'd be surprised at just how okay that makes it to take a life.
Choosing a life surrounded by constant death is one thing.
Finding love in such a world, now that, is a whole other matter.
Some might even take it as far, as calling it an impossible task.
On the other hand, why not take on the challenge and prove the world wrong?
It was nearing midday as a few shy clouds finally decided to make their long awaited appearance, blocking the intense sunlight that had been dominating the sky for days.
Shifting slightly, a tired jounin with a very misleading hair color turned an empty gaze towards the autumn sky, humming softly as darker clouds started to gather. There was a faint sound of thunder and he knew that rain would soon follow, once again falling across Konoha's land, covering everything outside in heavy liquid… including them if the group stayed here for much longer.
The third training ground had many things, but a decent shelter was not one of them.
Kakashi forced back a tired sigh. There was no reason for them to stick around anymore.
The jounin's slightly scarred fingers caressed the cover of the well used, orange book located in his lap. He'd memorized every page, every sentence, down to the very last kanji. Why he'd still insisted on bringing it with him today was beyond him. Out of habit maybe? He hadn't touched the book in over six months. Until today that was.
Kakashi inhaled a deep breath as he realized the foolishness behind all of this.
Yes, he guessed that he too, like most of the other member belonging to this team, carried at least someevidence of the existence of a less broken past. Once a month, if they were lucky, they gathered for the pure purpose of pretending. Pretending to be a team again. No one ever commented on the stupidity of it all. Not even him.
"Looks like our training session has come to an end."
Naruto stretched his arms behind his head, yawning as he straightened his position. Clear, blue eyes shifted down towards the man who'd decided to end their 'training session', noticing that the older man still gazed at the same page as the last time he'd peeked, which over an hour ago.
"You're not even reading, are you?" the blonde frowned, admiring his mentor's ability to do absolutely nothing for several hours.
"Can't we just stay a little longer?" Kakashi gazed down at his former pink-haired student and sighed, as if he was thinking over Sakura's request. The older jounin then closed his book with his left hand, making a way too familiar handsign with the other.
"My apologize guys, it just happens that I have a few more important matters to handle, but good job everyone. Intense session indeed." The silver-haired's one exposed eye creased happily followed by a puff of smoke. Their sensei was no longer present as the remaining members groaned annoyingly at the predictable exit.
"And by 'important matters' you mean finding another place to do the exact same thing you've been doing for the past three hours," Naruto mumbled miserably, having wanted to spend the day doing some actual training now that the sun had decided to finally subside.
It was becoming a rare thing, the three of them training together. Not to mention the inc-obsessed fourth member, he was rarely seen interacting with any of his previous teammates. Ever. Well, sure, he was still a beloved member of team Kakashi, but had been on a 'temporary leave', as the Godaime had so nicely put it, for a few months now. Maybe everything would get better once this war issue was over. When they had finally gained each nation's trust again.
"Naruto?" The blonde snapped out of his train of thoughts and gazed down at the kunoichi standing a few feet below, grinning as his eyes met hers.
Naruto then proceeded to jump down from the branch he was currently sitting on and gracefully landed next to Sakura, stretching his sore muscles as if he'd actually been using them. The medic smiled as the blonde joined her. He'd missed this.
"So, ya' wanna meet up at ichiraku in a few hours?" The blonde asked, making his most convincing puppy face.
Sakura chuckled mildly, happy over the fact that certain things would never change no matter how much they aged. "I can't, I have hospital shifts. How about now? I'm free for another half hour or so."
Naruto gave an insecure smile, looking into the emerald eyes of the girl he'd always admired. She had no idea how proud he was of her.
"Well, I thought I'd go and visit Sasuke…,"
Sakura felt her blood go cold as she noticed that she was no longer able to smile, "Oh…"
"B-but you can come too! You know, it's a big house and the bastard probably needs some female company as well. I can walk you back to the hospital and-"
"Stop it." Sakura said, a little loader than intended.
The faint sound of thunder had progressed to a very intense growl which seemed a little too close for Sakura's liking. The change between a hot summer day and heavy rain could happen in minutes during this season of the year. She didn't like it. But then again, there were a lot of things she disliked these days.
Naruto swallowed, his expression turning more serious. "Sakura-chan, it's been two weeks. He'll be back to his old self in no time, don't worry… You haven't talked to him once since he got back,"
That's not true.
Sakura's pulse rose as she tried to come up with yet another excuse as to why she couldn't see the raven. She hated lying to people she cared about, especially Naruto, but the past two weeks had changed everything.
A forced smile formed on the pink-haired's lips as she laughed. "You know he doesn't want me there. That much hasn't changed."
"You don't know that. It's not like he goes head over heels to see me either ya' know. Deep down he's still the same old Sasuke, just give him a chance to get used to this life again."
The blonde eyed his teammate suspiciously. She had changed, how he had yet to find out, but she had definitely changed. He doubted she was that scared of being rejected by the Uchiha again. It wasn't like it was anything new that the asshole shared the same sexual preferences as a rock.
The kunoichi wrapped pale fingers around her arms to stop them from shivering. It was getting a bit chilly and all she wanted was to reach the hospital as fast as possible.
"It's not like that. I just need some time to get used to all this. I'll be fine," A half-hearted smile painted her face as she whished those words were true.
Sakura eventually rolled her eyes as the blonde looked more than a little concerned. "Look, just go. I'll ask Shizune if I can get the last couple of hours off. I'll meet you at your place, okay?"
Naruto sighed in defeat. "If you say so, Sakura-chan." He knew better than to dig around any further, but it bothered him to just leave her like this. They didn't see that much of each other in the first place.
"I'll see you in a few then." The jinchuuriki smiled as he gave a short wave of his hand and turned around, heading for the Uchiha residence."
Sakura remained still until her teammate was out of her sight, almost immediately regretting not asking him to walk her to the hospital. She didn't want to admit it, but the thought of being alone right now frightened her.
The medic's lips formed a sad smile. She would never go as far as pitying herself, but she truly hated the fact that she hadn't told anyone. She didn't know if the reason for it was fear or a hopeless love she'd once believed in.
Sakura turned around, walking in the opposite direction of her blonde teammate. There was no way she went near that house again. But on the other hand, as long as she was with others, she was safe. Maybe she should've gone with him after all?
Sakura cursed her dumb decision as the first drop of rain hit her forehead. The medic reached out her hand as more drops fell from the sky, landing gently in the palm of her hand.
The sooner she got to the hospital the better.
Naruto was still deep in thought as he walked through the gates of the Uchiha residence. There was nothing pleasant about this area, nor would he ever consider living in a place like this, where a slaughter had occurred. This was also probably the reason why no one lived here, except for the antisocial remaining teenager of the famous clan. Naruto would usually prefer meeting his previous teammate somewhere more comfortable, lively if you will, but since the Uchiha rarely stepped outside for social visits he could pretty much abandon that idea. Naruto frowned at the thought.
Maybe he could try and talk to Sasuke about this? To him, the raven seemed almost normal, like the person he'd met when he first started at the academy. Now this in itself should've been alarming to the blonde, but Naruto figured Sasuke was as tired of playing this chasing game as he was. All everyone wanted was for things to get back to normal.
Maybe if he could make Sasuke talk to Sakura? To show her that he was pretty much the same guy she'd been crazy about six years ago. Not that he wanted to bring them together or anything, that would be horrible. He didn't know what would be worse, the fact that the girl he was attracted to would be dating another, or the thought of Sasuke actually giving a shit about a girl. Naruto slowly shook his head as he smiled. He truly believed that things would get better with time, he just wasn't sure how long he was willing to wait.
Pausing as he finally stood outside of Sasuke's home, he found the place to be oddly deserted. There was no sign of the raven's chakra, and as he had no reason to hide it Naruto figured that the Uchiha wasn't home. Not that he could think of anywhere else for the asshole to be, unless he'd been given a mission within the village gates.
Shrugging as a sigh escaped his lungs Naruto decided that he would try again tomorrow.
Sakura's pace had gone from walking to somewhat running in terms of minutes. Her heart was beating ridiculously fast. This was stupid, she was being paranoid again.
There were few people outside due to the rain which had only gotten worse on her way to the hospital. As the medic rounded a corner to take a shortcut through the Baker's alley she stopped dead in her tracks, water splashing up to her knees due to the immediate halt of her feet. She swore she stopped breathing for a moment.
Praying that she hadn't been noticed yet the medic was about to run for it, but that the familiar voice that always served to make her shiver held her back as he spoke. Fuck.
"Are you avoiding me, Sakura?" The voice held no form of amusement or even interest, but unlike her sensei that had the habit of sounding bored this voice held a coldness unlike no other and she knew better than to run.
Sakura knew turning around would do her little good because the raven was already behind her, breathing down her neck, causing her to shiver yet again. She wished he'd stop.
"Naruto's looking for you. Shouldn't you be at home to greet your best friend or something?" Sakura asked firmly, keeping her voice from giving away any sign of fear. Not that it would do any her good; she knew she was right where he wanted her to be.
The upper hand was something she could never have as long as she remained the way she was. Stupid, ignorant and scared.
"Have you completed the little favour I asked of you?" The Uchiha asked coldly, ignoring his former teammate's question.
The pink haired remained silent, refusing to give the man behind her an answer. Sakura was about to walk away, but froze as soon as she felt the chilling metal from Sasuke's katana being raised to her throat. Going against him was stupid, but necessary.
She gave a muffled scream as her body was slammed against the concrete wall behind her. Sakura swore she heard something located in her spine crack in a very unnatural manner.
When the medic opened her eyes she found herself staring right into his black orbs. She felt small jolts of pain coming from her spine as her legs started shaking. Sakura knew he noticed. He always did. Even so, she was certain that he wouldn't severely injure her here, nothing she couldn't heal without anyone noticing, but somehow it did little to easy the fear that was making her tremble.
She knew it thrilled him to know all of her weaknesses. That he could hurt her as easily as he could. After all, he'd gone after the weakest member. Her. It had always been her.
"Y-you know I can't ask her. Tsunade-sama would never agree to reduce your punishment." Sakura stuttered, her breathing getting faster as a hand found its way to her throat and squeezed. Sasuke leaned closer to the pink-haired's ear, his other hand supporting his weight against the wall so he wouldn't crush her completely. He was way too close; there was no way Sakura would ever have a chance to escape even if she tried.
"That's a lie and you know it. Do you think I want to be stuck inside these fucking walls for another year? Don't you think I know that you're the Godaime's favourite? Don't play with me Sakura, you won't like the outcome."
"I-I can turn you in any moment, you know that? Stop a-asking me. Get your fucking hands off of me or I'll scream!" Sakura shouted, her hoarse voice hurting from the attempt at raising her voice, causing the kunoichi to cough.
She should've learned her lesson. Threatening with a scream usually did her little good.
The moment she spotted the angered look in the raven's eyes she regretted ever opening her mouth.
Her head hit the wall hard enough for her to feel warm streams of blood running down the back of her head as her vision remained blurry for a few more seconds. A harsh pull of her hair caused her head to jerk backwards as she gaped her mouth open in pain, a silent cry for help.
This man had killed without a second thought before; there was no reason why he wouldn't do it again if she stopped obeying his every whim. If not this time then the next.
Sakura swallowed as she blinked back unshed tears. It hurt. She kept telling herself that this was no murderer pinning her to the wall. The men he'd killed had already been a threat to Konoha. What use would it do in killing her? Self satisfaction?
"Listen. I can leave this shitty village whenever I want to, I would just prefer to do it the legal way so I won't have every nation on my back. You're not stupid enough to turn me in, Sakura. Besides…."
Sasuke slowly closed the tiny gap between them, placing his lips near the medic's neck, breathing evenly as he noticed the goosebumps showing on her delicate, pale skin. The raven smirked as he pulled her hair harder while running his tongue down the side of her neck. It was amusing how easily he could manipulate this girl with the sheer use of fear.
Sakura gasped, uneven breaths escaping her lungs. Not only was she frightened for her own life, but being taken advantage of like this, she hated it. She was in no position to do any resistance.
Screw the fact that yes, it kind of felt good, she was still disgusted by the Uchiha. The pain would always overrule the pleasure, of that she was certain. But above everything else was scared. Scared of what he'd do next. Her mind just wanted to go somewhere else, disappear for a while. She didn't know how to handle this.
"S-stop it … "She whimpered, trying her best to twist out of his grasp, already knowing how futile her attempt was because the more she twisted the harder his hold on her got.
Sasuke pulled away, but only far enough for him to speak.
"What's wrong Sakura? This is what you're supposed to want. Me." The Uchiha chuckled darkly.
Sakura couldn't hold back the tears any longer and regretfully let them fall freely. No, this wasn't the boy she'd once loved. She didn't even know if he was still in there. This was definitely not what she wanted. Her whole body was shaking, her frightened eyes fixated on his, which seemed nothing more than amused over how powerless he had her feeling compared to him.
She wanted to beat him into a bloody pulp, she really did, more than anything. She couldn't. This power he had over her, it was something she couldn't control.
A leg then suddenly forced her thighs to separate in one hard, quick movement.. It was neither a gentle or loving gesture. Sakura's eyes widened in horror as she gave an agonizing scream with a tiny hint of pleasure. The tears kept falling. That he even dared touching her like this. She would admit that maybe, in a different scenario, this was something she had once wished for.
It was humiliating beyond anything she'd ever experienced and he enjoyed it. She wasn't supposed to react like this, so petrified and helpless. If anything she should be able to bash his head into the wall any minute now. So why couldn't she?
Maybe she was as weak as he claimed her to be, but it didn't chance the fact that she let him take advantage of her so easily.
Sasuke smirked again. "See, denying that you want me is like denying the fact that you're just as guilty of betraying your beloved village as I am. The only difference is that I went through with it."
"Y-you're wrong …." The kunoichi panted, not fully believing her own words. Because indeed, that was similar to what she'd offered out of desperation six years ago. She hadn't committed the crime, but if it hadn't been for him knocking her out cold, would she have gone with him?
Still, she did not deserve to be labelled in the same category as him. True, she'd loved him enough to betray her village, but at that time she had no grasp of what that boy would turn into. The crimes he had yet to commit.
Another attempt at putting more pressure between her legs threw her out of her thoughts. It hurt a lot more than it pleased, mostly her pride. Her eyes already starting to burn from fresh, hot tears. It wouldn't stop. He wouldn't stop. She hissed as he pressed herself even more against her, making it hard to breathe.
The raven laughed again. "You're quite amusing to watch you know. You must be the most pathetic girl I've ever seen. Pretending to dislike what I'm doing serves no point. Unless it's one of your sick little fantasies that is. And you call me disgusting?"
Go away... Sakura's insides were screaming, but she feared what would happen if she actually opened her mouth. She didn't know this Sasuke. There was no telling what he'd do. To her. To the village. To the people she loved.
As if her prayers had been heard by some higher power she suddenly heard faint voices coming from around the corner. A hand shot up to close around her shivering lips. Sasuke gave her a look with a promise of pain if she opened her mouth, a killer intent so strong it made Sakura want to reach for her throat.
"Don't disobey my orders again; you'll do well to remember that." As soon as the words left his lips he was nowhere to be seen. The "or else" hanging loosely in the air.
Sakura let out a gasp of relief as her body sunk to the ground.
The rain had pretty much soaked through her clothes so there was no need to stop herself from sinking down to a sitting position on the muddy surface.
Her eyes went blank, staring calmly at where the drops met the ground. A few pink strands hid her eyes from the academy students passing by. She doubted they even paid attention to her. Sakura slammed her hand against the wall behind her, leaving small cracks in the concrete.
"Damnit…" What was wrong with her? Why was her heart and mind so fucking weak? There's no way her Sasuke was still in there. If there'd ever been such a thing as her Sasuke. It couldn't be him. This was not the person she'd spent most of her childhood searching for. This monster, had it been living inside him all along?
Had everything they'd done been in vain? It couldn't be. She wouldn't let it.
If she told any of this to Tsunade she'd probably have him executed for breaking one of the many rules he'd agreed on following upon his return. Hurting a fellow Konoha shinobi was a grim crime in the first place. But they were even stricter with him.
It wasn't like Sakura believed he'd stick around for his own execution, but she didn't want to chase him down again, to be given the order to take his life. And even if she told the Godaime the truth, would that make him go after her life? Would she be killed by his hands for doing the right thing for once? No matter how much she thought about it the outcome made her sound just as selfish as everyone believed her to be. Was it really all that selfish to wish for her own life?
Sasuke was the reason why the other villages were starting to question Tsunade's judgment. Konoha's reliability. Sasuke was a former member of the Akutsuki, he'd taken orders under the Uchiha Madara. The man who threatened the whole shinobi world. He would without a doubt come back for Sasuke when he felt like it. Everyone knew it.
And who knew, maybe Sasuke still was on that mad man's side? The only reason Sasuke was still alive was because of team Kakashi's request. One could say that Tsunade had been begged into submission.
Instead his punishment had been reduced to a mere year inside the village gates before he was allowed more freedom. It was Naruto who had convinced the Godaime of Sasuke's innocence in all of this mess. That he too was a victim of Madara's cruelty.
Hell, she'd almost believed this herself. The Uchiha was a good actor. She doubted anyone else knew. The only thing stopping Sasuke from exiting the village was a tracking device imbedded inside neck. That being said, if he did take a step out of the village he would have every nation tracking him down. But this was a mild punishment compared to his crimes. And he wanted it reduced? It couldn't be done. And even if it could Sakura wouldn't let it happen.
What was she to do the next time she saw him? What would he do? A poof of smoke was heard a few feet away from the medic as a red-haired chuunin appeared, his nose buried in what looked like a very soaked scroll. The young man seemed unbothered by the rain.
"You're not an easy lady to find Miss Har-" The chuunin's eyes widened at the sight in front of him. "
Sakura-senpai, are you okay?"
"Just fine, Komuro." Sakura spat, a hint of anger in her voice. Such a stupid question deserved a stupid answer.
The red-haired continued to blink. "You're wanted at the hokage's office."
"Now?" Sakura sighed, not wanting to receive a lot of questions about the way she looked.
"Yes, apparently it was very urgent. It's about a mission. Must be important." The chuunin stated, offering his hand with a smile on his face, respecting the fact that she didn't want to talk about whatever she'd been through this evening.
But Sakura had already regained hope as she grabbed the offered hand and pulled herself up, straightening her skirt.
A mission? This could buy her some extra time. Her last chance to figure out a solution.
A/N: Feedback is, as always, highly appreciated. It's like better than cookies.
Chapter 2 and 3 are almost finished and on their way.