A/N: I'm almost worried about posting this. I know it has been a long time since I wrapped up Of Those With Wings, and I promised a sequel, so this is it. I don't have a great excuse for falling off the radar other then life. This story has never been far from my mind. I will make no promises about timely updates because realistically I can't fallow through. I'm just crossing my fingers that my readers are still out there, and are still interested.

Here we go...


Chapter 1: Short on time

Although the mood felt appropriate, there was not and would not be a storm. The dark blue sky was clear, specked with stars. Only moonlight lit the woods as a lone traveler raced past branches. He ran fast and steady, unsure of the destination but unable to stop. Pain burned through his legs tearing at the last bits of sanity. He could not remember when he had begun the search, but now it was clear. The efforts had been in vain. The tiresome year, or was it years, attacked what shreds of humanity still clung to him.

Finally exhaustion toppled him, bringing his knees to the rocky ground. Labored breaths pushed out from his tired lungs, and he wept. Alone in the woods, he wept for his love. Minako had been sick for years, before he even met her. The dramatic decrease in her health left his mind whirling for answers. How could this have happened? He spent so much time trying to find a cure for an unnamed illness to save his love. His efforts were in vain.

"Shenichi."

The wanderer looked around, terrified that his running had truly begun to deteriorate his mind.

"Poor soul, so lost without your love."

The wind was whispering to him.

"Shenichi, I can help you." A dark figure moved from under the shadows of the forest, coming closer and closer to the broken wanderer. "If it is a life you are so determined to save, then I can offer you immortality. Minako will be saved. Give yourself to me, and I will give you the power to save her."

"You would save her?" Shenichi asked, not at all alarmed at this stranger's knowledge of his life. "What do I have to do?"

The corner of the stranger's mouth turned up. "Relinquish your humanity. Toss away your identity."

"Who are you?"

"Yitsomina, and you are now my servant."

"Yitsomina, I owe you my life."

"Not your life, just your humanity. Oh, and your name," Yitsomina added.

"Then what will you call me?"

"Jaaku."


The ground was scorched by battle. Yitsomina smiled wickedly. "Such petty words ended like this. Humans are so easily manipulated." She basked in the field where her plan had come to fruition. The child with wings had been defeated in this very spot by her otherwise worthless pawn. "Shenichi may have been a fool, but at least he got the job done. 'Destroy humanity'" she mocked. "That cretin actually believed he was a part of the great plan, as though humanity is the bigger picture."

Yitsomina just laughed.


Rain drizzled down from the gray puffs of condensation pulled together high above. Darkness encased the sky, and amidst the colorless scenery a single vigilant sat, unprotected from the weather's gloom, a smile positioned upon their face. Sopping pink locks matted themselves against the porcelain white skin framing the care free face and neck of the lonely observer. Her lids slowly lifted in time with the arch of her neck toward the falling rain drops as they fell from the heavens upon the still sleeping world. Morning would rise soon although the clouds did their job in hiding the time. She closed her eyes again, the smile slipping down into a more serious expression.

"It's almost time," she whispered, although her lips had not made the slightest movement. "Wake up, or I never will."

The gray sky began to swallow up the remaining scenery, and the young woman began to fade away.

"Wake up, Sasuke."

"Sakura!"

Saskue's lungs burned as he sat up fast as lightning. Light assaulted his eyes with fiery vengeance, forcing him to clamp his lids shut against the sun's wrath. He palmed the bags beneath his eyes and shook as much sleep from his mind as possible. Sakura's fading image would haunt him all day, perhaps until his mission was complete.

His deadline was fast approaching, a fact he was now unable to escape even within the sanctuary of sleep. How long had he strayed from home in vain search of an item he knew nothing of? Neither shape nor origin of the desired item had revealed itself to his heedful quest. He was unable to say he was back at square one since, bluntly, he had never left.

"Sasuke-teme, you awake?" his partner, Naruto, inquired. The yawning blond poked his head through the flaps of the tent. Sasuke gave his common stoic nod. Naruto forced the knowing look from his features. He had heard the desperate yell for their fallen comrade in his own tent, but knew better then to mention it. "Breakfast?"

Saskue's silence was taken as a yes.


"They are mocking me, aren't they?"

Kakashi lift his visible eye from the pages of his less then wholesome book to watch kaori pace back and forth across his apartment. "Whatever do you mean?" he asked, fully aware of her insinuation. He did find an unnatural joy in frustrating the Tengoku native. Her piercing glare screamed the injustice she felt, and that his humor was lost on her.

"Those bastard students of yours. They think I can't put the pieces together. I can't follow the dots to draw the picture. Well they can have their laughs cause the next time I see them I will take great rapture in making sure it is the last one either of them have!"

Yes, Kakashi thought benevolently, violence did seem to be her favorite manner of meditation. However, he felt allowing kaori the pleasure of removing Sasuke and Naruto's larynxes was probably not the best solution, although the idea did seem pleasing occasionally in concerns with the blond.

"Like I don't know what's going on. They take off on some secret mission as soon as we get back, and the Hokage isn't opening her mouth about it. This has to do with Sakura, doesn't it?"

Kakashi flipped through another page. Kaori tapped her foot impatiently. "Why do you think I know anything?"

"Because, you are Kakashi, knower of things he shouldn't!" Kaori said, flailing her arms into the air to emphasize her frustration. "They have been gone for almost a year! What could they possibly be doing?"

This was not the first, nor would it be the last time this argument came up. Kakashi sighed. He placed his book down on the table and looked Kaori straight in the eye. "What would you like me to tell you? Do you think Naruto and Sasuke are on a mission to bring Sakura back from the dead? Is that what you wanted to hear? That they have been all but banished from the village until they bring her back because some how some way Sasuke got a lead on a possible way for this to happen? That the Hokage said the mission was specifically for them and no one else in this village?" Kaori arched a brow, but realization slowly dawned on her. "Well, I am sorry. I can't tell you that." Kakashi added as he picked his book back up.

"You're right, I should drop it," Kaori said, inching toward the door. "I um…uh…have some…Tengoku business to attend to….might be gone for a few days…I'll see you around." She bolted out the door.

Kakashi vaguely wondered how much trouble he was going to be in. He turned the next page and forgot all about it.


A/N: Just a little intro. A bit of background and placing the pawns. Tell me what you think.