Indifference is the strongest force in the universe.

It makes everything it touches meaningless.

Love and hate don't stand a chance against it.

- The Snow Queen

Chapter four - Hidden fear

Sakura slowly forced her eyes to open, noticing that her lids felt unnaturally heavy. She groaned tiredly as she was met by blurriness that she desperately tried to blink away in an attempt to gain more control. An odd sort of atmosphere swept over her.

Emerald eyes automatically tried to scan her surroundings for a hint about her whereabouts. It was no use. Everything was fuzzy, unclear. Where was she again?

It was quiet. Sakura swallowed. Too quiet. Her ears couldn't register even the tiniest hint of an audio wave. As her vision finally started to clear the pink-haired found herself staring directly at a white, empty ceiling. Her ceiling? Indeed, it was her ceiling… Her bedroom ceiling. Sakura recognized the crack she'd sworn to fix ever since she'd moved in. But, she didn't get it.

Something was off. She couldn't seem to remember falling asleep, or going to bed for that matter. She was lying in her bed right? Sure felt like it. Judging from the dim lightning in her bedroom she could tell it was still night. Had she been dreaming? What kind of dream would make her wake up feeling like she currently suffered the aftermath of being drugged to sleep.

Sakura suddenly hissed as her brain finally registered a stinging pain she was surprised she hadn't felt sooner. Why did her wrists hurt so badly? Moving her head was easier said than done as her head felt even heavier than her lids had, but as she finally managed to tilt her head to the side she realized that if everything had been a dream… she'd awoken in a nightmare. She couldn't move.

Her hands were tied to the posts of her own bed. Whoever had done this had not given her the pleasure of using regular ropes. Of course not. Her wrists were bound with an extremely thin wire, similar to what she would use in combat. The binding were way too tight, she could see small lines of red running down her lower arm, staining her sheets. Her feet felt impossibly heavy to move and she had to put some serious effort into resisting the urge to panic.

"W-what is this?"

Sakura's eyed widened in horror. "No… W-wait... N-no..."

The dark chuckle that followed confirmed her suspicion. "What's the matter, Sakura?"

The pink-haired suddenly felt wide awake as her body was about to reflexively jerk up into a sitting position, but the motion was prevented as the wires held her back, causing the tortured girl to let out an agonizing scream.

The medic could hear firm steps making their way towards her bedside; stopping as they reached said location. She kept her eyes shut tightly as she felt her entire body go stiff. No. She didn't want to see. This wasn't happening. With a sudden movement her head was jerked to one side, making the wire on her left tighten even more. She was afraid he'd be able to tear her arms of if he pulled any harder.

He still had quite a good grip on her hair as he closed the gap between them. She could feel his breath all over her skin and she knew that he was silently laughing at her. How could he find pleasure in this?

She didn't scream for once. She couldn't as there was another short silence before he spoke again.

"So you claim I don't want to hurt you? That I suddenly care?" There was a hint of disgust in his calm voice, making Sakura shiver with a fear she was currently trying to overcome. He sounded so indifferent. As if hurting her was about as emotional to him as hurting a fly. It didn't matter anymore. Nothing did. If she was going to die it would not be on his terms.

Sakura's eyes shot open as she spit in the traitors face, taking Sasuke by surprise, making him loosen the grip on her hair. For a moment he almost looked… impressed?

"What're you going to do then? Kill me?" Sakura spat, knowing she was as helpless as she could get.

Sasuke slowly wiped the liquid off with his sleeve.

"Why kill you when I can do so much better than that?" The raven grinned.

"Okay, I'm getting used to that lazy ass showing up late for every single mission he's ever been assigned to, but when his students start picking up on his habits you know that something has to be done." Genma groaned as he silently cursed the hokage for picking the worst possible matchup for this mission. He was so not looking forward to this trip of joy.

"It's only been a few minutes, have a little patience." The wood-user mumbled annoyingly. He wasn't exactly excited about his new teammate either. Who would be when their future roommate was a complaining senbone-sucker. Quite literally speaking.

"Can't we just leave without them?" The slightly older man suggested half-serious, a smirk clearly showing on his smug face. It was hard to believe that the up-tight guy in front of him was quite a bit younger than himself. It was something called 'acting your age' and unless Yamato was fifty years old and married he refused to tolerate his dullness.

"I'd rather leave without you."Yamato answered dully as he scanned the area for any sign of the missing members, quite confident that he could handle this mission without the assistance of Shiranui.

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Genma leaned against the main gate, crossing his arms as he mumbled another smug remark, which luckily went unheard by his fellow comrade.

Yamato pinched the bridge of his nose as he turned to face Genma, "Exactly what it sounds li…- Oh look who decided to show up almost on time."

"Yo." Kakashi had appeared on top of the gate only seconds before, scaring the shit out of Genma as he nearly stumbled face forward. Giving the silver-haired a grim look he leaned against the supporting pole again, ignoring the new arrival.

"She's not here yet?" Kakashi asked dryly as he jumped down next to Yamato who shook his head in return.

"Hard to imagine anyone being later than you."

Kakashi ignored the annoying figure behind him and decided to wait a little longer before thinking about tracking her down. "I'm sick of this mission already."

The senbone user suddenly made his way towards the copy-nin and put a heavy hand on his shoulder. "You and me both Hatake, you and me both."

Sakura gave a heartfelt cry of agony as a kunai quickly made it's way from her chest to her stomach with one swift motion, tearing clothing apart as well as drawing blood from the sliced skin.

"As I thought, you're not much to look at even at the age of eighteen." Sasuke hummed disapprovingly.

Sakura gazed down at her exposed chest in horror, her breath shallow and hoarse. Even if he hadn't gone deep, the wound seemed to hurt as badly as if he'd just slit her stomach open. Her eyes felt hazy, trying to focus on the other man as he looked her over.

The raven leaned over her, his hand supporting his weight on the mattress. Licking a strip of blood as his vicious eyes kept contact with her own he merely smirked at the sight. Sakura hissed, her face stained with dry tears as new ones made their way down her cheek. He wasn't going to… was he? Sakura swallowed. He couldn't.

"P-please… don't do this." She pleaded as her voice merely came out as a weak whisper in between her hitching. A second scream was heard as he pulled her downwards, separating her legs in the process and making the wire imbed itself even further into the flesh of her wrists. She tried to kick him off of her, but his hands kept her legs from moving.

"I swear to God, get the hell off me before I scream again!" There was a fury evident in her eyes he'd never seen from her before, and it pleased him to no end that it would continue to increase as he proceeded with his little lesson. He would show her what would happen if she disobeyed him.

"Scream all you want, no one's going to hear you." The raven grinned, digging his nails into her thighs, drawing yet another pained sound from her.

Sakura was about to go through with her threat, but stopped at the realization of something else. W-wait a second. Her neighbors… Why weren't they reacting? She'd been screaming for at least five minutes. Someone must've heard her by now …Unless…

"This isn't real… is it?" Sakura whispered in disbelief, almost a little releved, but that soon disappeared as a sharp object pierced through her leg as if to prove a point.

Sakura clenched her teeth as she refused to let him know just how much it hurt.

Sasuke chuckled darkly, glad to see that she was finally catching on. "You'll be surprised just how real it feels."

Sakura decided that she would do as little as possible to please the sick individual currently seated between her legs. This wasn't real. It shouldn't affect her. An illusion was all it was, all it ever would be. It would eventually end and she would wake up completely fine.

"Only twelve more hours and you're free to go." Sasuke whispered against her ear.

"If it's not going to affect me when I wake up, what's the use in wasting your time with meaningless torture?" The pink-haired spat aggressively.

"You've got it all wrong Sakura. This could very well kill you. Your brain still recognises pain. Too much pain can cause your heart to stop. But don't worry, I'm not here to take your life. This will only be a taste of how it'll really feel like if you ever think about disobeying me again." Sasuke whispered, clearly enjoying himself.

Sakura's shut her eyes tightly. She had no choice. For the next twelve hours she would have to endure. It didn't matter what he did, she just had to get through it.

"Don't think you'll ever be able to escape me. Once you come back I expect more from you. And just to show you that I'm not fucking around," Sasuke hands moved lower as he started toying with the hem of her skirt. "I'll make this experience as painful as possible."

Please, don't!

Ten more minutes. They couldn't afford to wait any longer.

"I guess I'll go fetch her then." Kakashi started as he took a step forward, but came to a hault as Genma protested.

"Hell no! We both know that if you leave now you won't be back until sunrise you lazy fuck, and I for once would like to leave within the next ten minutes. So which way? I'll get her."

Kakashi blinked and pointed a finger towards the direction he remembered would lead to Sakura's apartment complex. "Walk past Kurenai's appartment and it should be the second building to the right. Knock yourself out, Shiranui." Kakashi's eye creased happily as the dark-haired stomped off.

"Wouldn't it be nice if he never came back?" Yamato uttered dreamingly as he gave an uncharacteristic and highly dramatic sigh.

The silver-haired chuckled. "Indeed."

Genma was starting to believe that Kakashi had sent him off in the wrong direction as he continued to skim through the various buildings. He wouldn't put it past the asshole to pull something like that on him.

As unfortunate as it was, Genma realized that he had to find another reason for getting back at the silver-haired as he reached the right appartment complex. He hoped as hell she had a good reason for acting like her good-for-nothing sensei. He wasn't sure if he could tolerate a miniature Hatake.

Reaching the front door Genma knocked a little too hard on the wooden surface, patience being one of the few things he didn't possess much of at the moment.

However, he tried his best as ten seconds past. Twenty. Thirty. A minute. He knocked again, putting even more force into it. "Hey, Sakura! Are you in there?"

He could hear something move from inside the appartment. He wasn't sure if he should be concerned or not. Another minute past as the door finally opened. He could see trembling fingers struggle to push the door the remaining inches as her face remained hidden by pink strands.

The jounin eyed her suspiciously as she supported her weight against the doorframe. "Are you ready?"

"Sure." The medic answered, her voice lacking the energy she would normally have. If it actually concerned him he didn't know, but he was pretty sure that Sakura wasn't usually like this.

"For a moment there I thought something was wro…- Hey, are you,- Crap!" As soon as the word had left her lips the girl had stumbled forward, apparently not able to rely on her own feet to do the trick. The senbone user caught her only moments before she went face first into the concrete. She was panting now, trembling as she buried her face against his chest.

A bit shocked the older man tried to support her upper body as he patted her back in a comforting gesture. "Are you alright?" Genma asked carefully, realizing how stupid his question was. She didn't look okay. It didn't look like she was injured either, but then how come she was unable to stand on her own two feet?

"Just f-fine. My bag. It's on the counter." Sakura panted, removing herself from the other man.

"Wait, what-?"

"Just get it… Please." Her voice had turned a tone softer as she turned to look at him. Bloodshot eyes making him hesitate for a moment before he stepped inside to fetch the bag. Returning with said object he handed her the bag as she grabbed it and nearly tore it open with shaking hands. She continued to search through it as Genma was beginning to get concerned for real.

"Maybe we should get you to the hospi,- hey don't eat those, soldier pills won't fix injuries-

"I'm not hurt, just tired." The younger girl replied as she swallowed a handful of pills.

"It's okay. I'm sure Tsunade will be willing to pull you out of the missio-"

"No!" Sakura shot a desperate look at man standing above her. "You can't tell anyone. Please. I'm fine, just please don't mention it to anyone. I promise I won't be-"

"Fine." He answered.


"Yes," The jounin said calmly, offering her a hand. "I'll trust your judgement… for now."

I apologize for the shortness, I'll make it up to you.