Disclaimer: The characters of Naruto belong to Masashi Kishimoto, but the universe is all mine.

Beta'd by the fantastic, albeit insane, Sorrowful Vampress!

Will he be happy to see me or will he appear only to strike me down? Sakura watched as the smeared lines around her flared up in brilliant sheets, northern lights confined to earth. She watched as the colours shifted with each frantic heartbeat. Are five years long enough for him to forgive me?

Or forget?

The girl breathed in and forced down her clamouring emotions, giddy anticipation tempered by a damning sense of wrongness.

Summoning had never felt natural for her. Each action in the ritual scraped ragged fingernails on her already raw nerves. Each second spent inside the diagram, whether activated or virgin and unused, Sakura could feel the energies leech away at her soul. They created doubt, mocked her reasons, drew attention to her flaws. And when Sakura moved to defend herself, she found her defences nothing but swirling ash. How could she prove her motives pure, her desires just or her heart devoted when her actions clearly showed otherwise?

Past the shifting glow, another diagram pulsed. Wreathed in shadow, a seemingly endless void blossomed into existence, the emptiness chilling in its absolution. Here was nothingness, to forget past sins, to dissolve into less than death. It would wipe away her memories, erase her from the minds of others, and toss her Fate back to the Gods and take her entirely to itself. There would be no reincarnation, no funeral, no gossip, no ripple.

Each summoner knew that void like their own birth name. Before a ritual, a virgin summoner would be warned, would be told about that swallowing blackness, but it was nothing compared to seeing it for the first time. There was no need to hear about others who fell to its call; there would be no one to remember. Once seen, the rules and consequences were branded into a summoner's soul. A contract, a promise. An offer. And, in its complete power, the void provided one other thing, proof.

Sakura had seen her mentor scan through an address book once. His calloused finger had trailed down a page, pausing at an empty line between several scrawled notes and his face had turned ashen. There would have been a name there. Should have been. Maron had shaken his head and moved on.

The void pulsed once, twice, and then as abruptly as it had opened, it collapsed, leaving behind the passage. A raw, bleeding tear in reality that was as terrible as the inkiness before it. Power, hot and beguiling, seethed up from the portal like the gaping maw of an active volcano.

And Sakura gasped.

He was coming. He was really coming.


For a figure was standing up from the molten pool. A man, no a demon, with black eyes and black hair. Smooth alabaster skin crawled with hellish script, carved and branded with power to create power.


A demon that had answered her call.

Then those eyes met hers and Sakura's world tilted. Wrong. Wrong. No... This wasn't Uchiha. Those weren't his eyes. Those weren't his lips. Uchiha had never looked at her like that with that twist to his mouth.

This demon smirked and his eyes burned crimson. Sakura felt something inside her rip as the lines of power, of protection, were torn away and absorbed into the creature that stood not four feet from her.

Exhaustion crashed down, her body wearied from sleepless nights and malnutrition deprived of its precious hoarded energy. The edges of her vision greyed.

What went wrong? Oh my God. Why?

A callous chuckle drew her narrowing world to the demon's face.

"There is more than one Uchiha, pet." Thin lips curled; a parody of a smile. "Careless."

More than? No... Sakura gave in to the blackness and despaired.

Her Uchiha had not answered. He was not coming.