A/N: This is the first chapter of a story that absolutely will not leave my head! It's forcing me to write it or it threatens to drive me insane!
It picks up from the manga, except for this beginning which is crucial to the plot line.
Please let me know what you think about it. I know there are many questions left unanswered in the first chapter but those will be answered soon.
She wasn't even sure whether it was day or night anymore. At first, she tried to keep up with the time, but that quickly changed into just trying to stay conscious. The best she could figure, she had been chained to the wall in her tiny cell for seven days.
At least that's what she thought. She couldn't tell whether time passed slowly or quickly when you travel in and out of consciousness.
She knew they poisoned her. Nothing so serious as to kill her; they had given her a rare mixture meant to restrain the persons ability to use chakra. It was much easier to use on multiple captives than to continue to use chakra restraining cuffs. The chains they had her in were simple metal rings. A definite blow to her ego and a deliberate one on their part she was sure. What little chakra she could manipulate she had to use to heal the more serious wounds they inflicted on her. With the pain she suffered now, she wasn't sure if her earlier show of power wasn't just a stupid mistake.
When Madara first appeared to her, in whatever hideout they brought her to, he said he wanted to know where Naruto was. Now she could have told the truth; that she had no idea. She actually hadn't seen Naruto in weeks. Whenever Yamato-taicho left with him on some 'mission' their destination was never disclosed...to anyone. But she wasn't going to tell that son of a bitch that. No, she kept her mouth shut and just stared him down. The most likely scenario was that he would just kill her anyway when he found out she knew nothing.
One moment she was staring at him, the next she found herself in some odd, desolate world. The atmosphere was heavy, and most everything was colored in red. Madara appeared before her again and began boasting how she was now trapped in one of his ocular jutsus. He said he would destroy her mind until he found the information he was looking for. Once she realized she was trapped in a genjutsu focusing on the mind, she allowed her inner personality to surface. She rarely retreated into that stronger, more outspoken side of herself anymore. Time had made her a stronger person and she had no qualms now about speaking her mind...most of the time.
She was thankful for that presence now. As Madara descended on her in that alternate plane of her mind, her inner stepped in front of her. Her presence larger than ever. She was able to pull herself out of his jutsu, but not without difficulty. The seemingly long battle left her weaker than she already was and it was no trouble for one of Zetsu's replicas to knock her out. The next time she awoke, she was chained to the same wall she found herself at now with a burning feeling surrounding her right arm. Madara stood at the bars of her cell with a much different Kabuto than she remembered. This is when he told her of the poison.
They left her there for many hours. She tried, repeatedly, to get out of the cuffs but the effects of the poison had already blocked the majority of her chakra use. Some of the replicas came to her then, unlocking the cuffs and dragging her to another room. Madara and Kabuto sat against the wall, staring at her as the replicas forced her to her knees.
"Sakura-chan, it has been a while since we last spoke." Kabuto said. The hiss to his voice was so reminicent of Orochimaru's. Sakura decided to remain silent. She wanted to scream obsenities at them but her shishou taught her to keep her temper under control when captured. Erratic behavior and a short temper was the best way to get yourself killed in enemy hands. She kept silent and simply glared at the man.
"Sakura-chan, this is really not necessary. Do you not recall I have healed you before? I truly do not want to harm you but I'm afraid we need information."
"I don't know how you managed to do that earlier but it was a grave mistake to make I assure you." Madara said.
"Now, now Madara. Sakura-chan has always been the most intelligent of her group. While she was never as powerful as Naruto-kun or Sasuke-kun, she made up for it with her cunning mind. I'm sure she can see reason easily enough."
Sakura was now close to biting her tongue in half to keep silent.
"Now Sakura-chan, won't you tell us where Naruto-kun is? That's all we need to know. If you tell us that we can stop what will soon be a massacre of your shinobi friends."
Oh she wanted to tell the asshole to go fuck himself so badly! She almost laughed when he called it a 'soon to be massacre'. Did he really think they were that weak? She knew a few of the shinobi he ressurected had already been sealed, and with the knowledge she now posessed, they could turn their former allies into allies once again. That is, if she got out of there.
Her silence gave them all the answer they needed. "Well," Kabuto said with an obvious fake sigh, "I suppose we will have to do this the hard way."
She wasn't given any warning before she felt a sharp blow to her back. Zetsu's replicas pounced on her. Blow after blow was landed to her body. She wasn't even bound because she had been so weak, she was unable to do anything. Now, she could only attempt to cover her head as they beat her mercilessly. Thankfully, she passed out a few minutes into it.
The next time she woke up, she found herself once again in the tiny cell. Pain was the first thing she registered. Scanning her system, she found numerous broken ribs, a small concussion with some bleeding, and torn muscles. She used what chakra was available to her to repair the bleeding in her head. Everything else, while painful, was not life threatening. After that small healing, her chakra was depleted and she slept again.
For days this cycle continued. They would drag her into another room, Kabuto and Madara would question her, and when she didn't reply, they would beat her. Sometimes, they used whips, and she did her best to mend her flesh back together after those beatings.
If only she hadn't been seperated from the others that day. The war was in full swing and she was on Kakashi's team. They had been fighting Haku and Zabuza...and winning, thankfully. Unfortunately, a large batillion of Zetsu's replicas stormed them, breaking their formation. Sakura, who had been healing some wounded shinobi, was forced to split from her team in order to avoid their many attacks. She never noticed they were pushing her farther and farther away from the rest as she battled them.
When she defeated all the replicas she took a moment to scan her surroundings. She found herself in an unknown part of the forest. The hair stood up on the back of her neck as she registered the presence of someone else's chakra. Slowly, she removed a kunai from her pouch and turned in their direction. Silence met her as she waited for her would be attacker to show themselves.
When he stepped out of the forest, Sakura immediately forced her eyes to his feet. Insticnt, and many lectures from Kakashi, forced her not to run or to look up at him.
"This is an unfortunate meeting Sakura-san." Uchiha Itachi said as he walked from behind the tree he had sheltered himself behind.
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"Just as it sounds. I do not wish to fight you although I'm sure you are aware I have no choice."
"I'm so sure you really don't want to fight." she said sarcastically.
"I do not."
In her shock she began to lift her head.
"Do not meet my eyes." his stern voice rang out. She immediately looked back down. "I would unwittingly place you in a genjutsu if you were to meet my eyes right now."
"You really don't want to fight?"
"I have already said as much. I was content in death and this future that I have been awoken to is one I had greatly feared."
He didn't expand on his statement but Sakura could hear the pain in his voice. She knew if she were to fight Itachi then she would die. There was no way she could ever outrun him either.
"I don't understand Itachi-san."
"I'm sure there is much you don't understand right now. Uchiha Madra and Kabuto have many secrets."
"Ah. I can only tell you to fight well Sakura-san."
Apparently the time he had to talk was over and she saw his feet disappear from view. She felt the rush of air behind her and was able to raise her kunai in defense the moment he was about to strike her. She dogged his attacks as best as she could, however, fighting without actually watching your opponent was extremely difficult. On top of the fact that this was Uchiha Itachi. She landed a chakra filled punch into the ground in front of him and took shelter in the forest during the confusion.
Sakura's mind raced for a plan. She went through every jutsu she knew but nothing she had was good enough to even stall him long enough for her to escape. There was, however, something that had been bugging her about this jutsu used to revive him. She first felt it when they confronted Haku and Zabuza. Her training in medical chakra, as well as her very fine chakra control, gave her different ways of veiwing and sensing a person's chakra.
While she couldn't see chakra pathways like the Hyuga clan, she could feel their ebb and flow if she was close enough to them. Something about the way the chakra flowed around their brainstem was different. She wasn't able to study it as long as she wanted but knowing the body the way she did, she had a good idea of why the flow was different.
It was a shitty plan full of holes but for now, it was the only hope Sakura had of staying alive. She couldn't stay hidden much longer; she knew Itachi would be looking for her with his sharingan.
She quickly pulled out a flash bomb as well as an exploding tag just as Itachi was coming through the tree line. She jumped back, throwing the flash bomb in front of him. The light was blinding and she only prayed it was enough. She forced the chakra to her arms and ripped the nearest tree out of the ground. She threw the tree in his direction, knowing he would avoid it. He lept high, coming to land on a branch above him. Too late, he noticed the exploding tag she had placed on the tree. He jumped away but the damage had been done. The explosion sent him crashing into the ground face first.
As soon as he landed, Sakura jumped on his back, using her chakra strength to pin his body down before putting her hands on the base of his skull.
"What are you doing Sakura-san?"
"I have a theory okay? Let me try this."
"You have approximately 45 seconds before I will be able to move correctly. Should you not spend this time running?"
"You'd be able to catch up with me before I got far." She said as she searched for the anamoly. "And since I don't have anything here to bind you with this is the best plan I have."
"30 seconds Sakura-san."
She rushed her chakra through his mind, frantically searching for some sort of origin point to the odd chakra she now found in his brain.
"15 seconds Sakura-san."
She poured every bit of chakra she could into his brain. Forcing the surrounding tissue to multiply and form a type of barrier around his brainstem. Forming the sign of the ram, she focused her chakra once again and wrapped that portion of his brain in her own chakra barrier, making it as strong as she possibly could. Her limbs were beginning to feel heavy from her exhaustion from the fight and overuse of chakra; but, the foregin chakra in his body was now unable to enter his mind. She could feel it pressing against the barrier but being unable to break it.
She stood slowly and backed away from his prone figure. Itachi layed still for a moment longer before turning his head to face her. She saw the confusion in his eyes and was about to remark when an explosion ripped through the clearing throwing her painfully into a tree.
"Found her, mmm."
Though her vision was blurry, Sakura recognized the face of Deidara sitting atop one of his clay birds. She pushed herself to her feet and tried to run. She got no furthur than a single step before she fainted. The next time she woke up, she was facing Madara.
She didn't know if Itachi was still under Kabuto's jutsu or not. Though it seemed to work, she had been unable to question him to find out for sure. His words from that day had her questioning things though, and during her beatings she did her best to concentrate on the conversations around her.
She was able to find out Kabuto had lost contact with Itachi. She didn't get too excited from that knowledge; in all likelyhood, he had been bound by another team. Another interesting fact was that Sasuke didn't seem to know Kabuto was now in league with Madara, although it sounded like Madara had somehow been forced into this partnership. Kabuto spoke of getting 'possesion' of Sasuke after the war was over.
She would have laughed at that if she hadn't been in agonizing pain. Once again, Sasuke was being used as a pawn and he either didn't know or didn't care. Her illusionments concerning Sasuke had disappeared the day he tried to kill her, twice. His mind had become twisted into an evil she couldn't even begin to understand. It was a difficult thing to accept but she finally convinced herself that the Sasuke she knew and loved died the day he left the village.
The sound of the gate to her cell broke her from her musings. One of the replicas came forward and unlocked her cuffs. He grabbed her right arm and hauled her to her feet. She bit back a cry of pain as her ravaged back brushed against the cell walls. She had been unable to fully mend her flesh after her previous beating. He dragged her down the familiar hallway until they reached the large room at the end, where she knew Kabuto and Madara were waiting.
The clone threw her to the floor and she couldn't stop the groan of pain that escaped her lips. She struggled to her knees and forced herself to adopt a calm, flat expression as she faced her captors.
"Sakura-chan, I don't suppose you've decided to cooperate today?"
She remained silent.
"Didn't think so. I must say, you have grown so much stronger over the past few years. I remember when you were nothing more than a weakling who did nothing but cry whenever your precious team mates were hurt." Kabuto said mockingly. She forced herself to remain quiet.
"You know. We could do this forever. Beat you constantly and keep you in a near death state that is. I wonder how long it would take for your spirit to break? You've done well but...it's only been three days."
Three days? She was sure she had been here longer than that. All of the pain they'd inflicted upon her had been over the course of three days? She lowered her head quickly and blinked furiously to stop the flow of her tears.
"Ah, I see you were mistaken about how long you've been captive. Poor thing. It's hard to judge time under these circumstances."
"Go to hell." she muttered.
"She speaks? Amazing. I do believe we're getting to her Madara-san."
Sakura whipped her head up to glare at him and something fluttered in her peripheral vision. She watched Kabuto and Madara turn to speak to each other so, as much as she dared, she tilted her head and searched with her eyes again for the disturbance. High off to the right, a small opening, perhaps functioning as a window, sat within the cave-like structure they were in. She couldn't see the person's face but she knew someone was up there. Wether they were here to help or not remained the question. They didn't make a sound, but crouched down in what appeared to be a striking position. Hope sprang to life within her chest. She quickly put her attention back to her captors.
"You're right of course Madara-san."
"I believe he will find it amusing don't you?"
"I'm sure he will. If that's the case I must take my leave. Wouldn't want him seeing me before it's time."
She watched Kabuto make a few signs then he disappeared from Madara's side.
"Curious Sakura? Don't worry you'll see in just a moment."
There was a disturbance of chakra around Madara's eyes before a vortex surrounded his open right eye. Figures materialized out of the swirling winds within seconds. As they became clear, Sakura felt her breath catch and a fresh wave of panic flooded her system.
"Sasuke. As you know the kages are hiding the kyubi jinchuriki but we have someone here who might be able to provide us with information."
There was only a moment as she met his crimson eyes before flames erupted around her. She was encased in a circle of fire that was obviously meant to keep her attackers out. Hands gripped her shoulders lightly and pulled her to her feet. She couldn't hold back her surprised gasp at her rescuer.
"We must move quickly. Brace yourself."
She heard the confusion in Sasuke's voice.
"What the hell is this?" Madara said.
Sakura saw Itachi give the group beyond the flames a scathing look before she felt the pull within her body signifying a transportation jutsu. The last thing she saw was Sasuke's confused expression and the feathers from crows wings.