title: Sugar Cube

summary: As Sakura sat there in nothing but her underwear, a bottle of Sake in hand and the arms of a pair of extremely drunk criminals draped over her shoulders, she realized that everything she thought she knew about the Akatsuki was dead wrong.

pairing: AkaSaku, Akatsuki/Sakura; ItaSaku, Itachi/Sakura; KisaSaku, Kisame/Sakura; SasoSaku, Sasori/Sakura; DeiSaku, Deidara/Sakura; HidaSaku, Hidan/Sakura; KakuSaku, Kakuzu/Sakura; ZetsuSaku, Zetsu/Sakura; TobiSakuMada, Tobi/Sakura/Madara; PeinSaku, Pein/Sakura; KonaSaku, Konan/Sakura

genre: Romance, Humor, Adventure, Action, Drama

AU?: In the sense that this will never be canon? Yes, indeed. Certain happenings from the Itachi-Sasuke fight and on up have been altered...

inspiration: Four very inspiring AMVs from YouTube:

www. youtube .com/watch?v=vBcSrGsd5v0 (A lovely KonaSaku to the song Sugar Cube by Porcelain and the Tramps)

www. youtube .com/watch?v=gjt2NmpO1lE (A smexy AkaSaku to the song Smooth Criminal by Alien Ant Farm)

www. youtube .com/watch?v=jNUes2ObFOA (An awesome AkaSaku to the song Daddy's Little Defect by Sugarcult)

www. youtube .com/watch?v=lskCBxcM00U (And finally, a wonderful AkaSaku-picture-full video to the songs Yuukyou Seishunka by Ali Project and Crawl by Veltpunch)

warning: Language, possible M-rated lemony-ness, fluff, very slight Yuri, and probable spelling and grammatical errors. Also, Angsty beginning. But don't worry, the funny arrives soon. Rating could go up.

disclaimer: Naruto and its characters rightfully belong to Masashi Kishimoto. All quotes/lyrics used belong to their respectful owner. I own nothing but the plot and possible OCs used.

notes: Because every Sakura-Fanfiction-Author out there has done a 'Sakura Joins the Akatsuki and has an Awesome Time'-story and who was I to break the tradition? Besides, those videos I mentioned *points up* really got me in the mood for some Akatsuki/Sakura-ness. And it's been a while since I wrote some good fluffy humor.

And I love the Akatsuki.

And I love Sakura.

And I love Sakura with the Akatsuki.

And I love the Akatsuki wanting Sakura.

And need I say more?

Yes.

When I say 'AkaSaku', I mean AkaSaku. That means that there will also be Konan/Sakura in here. So, if Yuri doesn't float your boat, don't read. KonaSaku is my OTYP (One True Yuri Pairing) and I've been wanting like hell to write some. I know a lot of people out there don't approve of Yuri, so that's why this has sexy Akatsuki-men paired up with Sakura as well. :) Just ignore the parts you don't like and we all get what we want.

Besides, the KonaSaku will be slight and probably more of a Friendship than Romance.

In regards to Tobi-Madara, I'll just explain it all here. Yes, Madara is still the behind-the-scenes-Leader, but I'm using my own version of Tobidara. Madara emerges when he wants to and, by now, everyone knows that he resides in Tobi.

So, Tobi is Tobi.

But also Madara.

And Madara likey Sakura.

But so does Tobi.

And that's where the conflict come in.

Enjoy :)

::

Sugar Cube

-Prologue-

Tonight's the Night

::

Look into the light
The words standing out
The disco ball is going around
I say "Nooo", I say "Ohhh"

::

It had never occurred to Sakura that she would ever completely surpass her shishou. And she had definitely never foreseen Danzo's rise to power. Of course, Danzo's influence was so perfectly hidden no one but those closest to the Hokage knew of his gradual poisoning of Konoha. And Sakura's power was something she knew was growing but had never fully comprehended the sheer leaps and bounds it had taken.

But, it was those two surprising possibilities-turned-reality that had led to Sakura staging her defection from Konoha and leaving on a mission Tsunade had secretly given her. Even now, as she flitted through the tree tops miles away from her home, she still couldn't completely believe what she was doing. Straps of her pack clutched tightly in her hands and breathing heavy as she darted from branch to branch, glancing occasionally over her cloaked shoulder with worried eyes, Sakura contemplated how she had gotten herself into this mess.

::

When the fully armored and masked ANBU (who she knew just had to be Kakashi by the way he had ruffled her sleep-mussed hair) had appeared on her bedroom windowsill in the middle of the night, Sakura had felt her stomach tighten in a mixture of anxiety, worry, and curiosity.

"Haruno Sakura." He had said, voice muffled by the wolf-mask. "Hokage-sama requests your immediate presence." He had disappeared with a small cloud of smoke after pausing and fondly ruffling her hair without another word. Oh, that was definitely Kakashi. Sakura had quickly dressed and arrived outside her shishou's door in a swirl of cherry blossoms, her eyebrows furrowed and fingernails digging into her palms. After a quick knock, she had entered the Hokage's office, the knot in her gut growing at the sight of the look on Tsunade's face.

"Shishou?"

Tsunade's gaze had immediately focused and snapped to her apprentice's face, corners of her lips lifting in a bitter smile. Kakashi appeared by the Hokage's side, his ANBU mask moved to the side of his head and the corner of his visible eye crinkling. Tsunade glanced at the Copy Nin then turned her attention back to the rosette.

"All that is about to be spoken in this room will not leave or be repeated to anyone. Am I clear?" Tsunade had said, fingers laced together and folded under her chin. Sakura had automatically straightened and Kakashi's eye seemed to harden in worry.

"Hai, Shishou!"

"Hai, Tsunade-sama."

Content with their responses, she had pinned Sakura with a sturdy gaze, hands falling to lay on her desk.

"Haruno Sakura. You are being assigned a S-Class mission that will last anywhere from three months to three years." She paused, expression softening as she watched her apprentice's eyes widen slightly. "You have the choice of declining this mission now and returning home. What has happened tonight will have never been and someone else will be contacted and given the same offer. What is your decision?"

Expression determined, Sakura had answered.

"I accept the mission."

A pained look had flashed across Tsunade's face before her expression returned to serious. Kakashi seemed slightly more worried and was glancing at Tsunade out of the corner of his eye.

"Alright." She had said, fighting the urge to ask Sakura once again, "Your mission details will be discussed briefly and you will immediately return home to pack and then leave the village tonight to begin." Sakura nodded curtly and Tsunade's stiff demeanor melted away.

"Sakura, this mission will entail you faking your betrayal to Konoha and setting off to..." She paused again, not looking at Sakura's slightly shocked face. "To join the organization, Akatsuki, under the pretense of defection." Kakashi's gaze had snapped to Tsunade, eye widening, while Sakura's face paled.

"Tsunade-sama, you can't be serious." His expression hardened as he moved forward, fist firmly planted on the desk. "Sakura is-"

"Sakura has already accepted the mission." She snapped, head swiveling to pin the silver-haired man with a angered glare. "And I have complete faith in my apprentice." She spoke softly as she looked back at Sakura, expression morphing into a motherly and worried look.

"Sakura, your medical training has ended and you have surpassed me entirely." The rosette's jaw dropped slightly before she stepped forward at Tsunade's gesture.

"In fact, in both strength and medical ninjutsu, you have flown past my teaching faster than I had ever imagined. I am so very proud of you and the kunoichi you have become. I have no doubt that you will be successful in this mission. But," Honey eyes softening and lips quirking in a comforting smile, "If you choose, you can still back out of this."

Sakura had clenched her fists and straightened, face determined. "If my shishou believes in me, then there is no reason to doubt myself. I'm sticking to this Shishou, I give you my word."

Kakashi had smiled proudly at his former student and stepped back from the desk, trusting that his Hokage knew what she was doing.

"Good. Now, your mission will be to join the Akatsuki, gain their trust, and eventually propose a truce with their leader to both end the hunt for the Jinchuuriki and become allies with the Konoha." Emerald eyes had widened slightly before Sakura gave a slight sigh of relief.

"For a minute there, Shishou, I thought you were going to tell me to infiltrate the Akatsuki and destroy them from the inside." Kakashi's lips had quirked under his mask and Tsunade had smiled slightly.

"No, that would have been a suicide mission for anyone." Her eyes hardened in warning, "But don't think this will be any less dangerous. Gaining the trust of the Akatsuki could prove to be mentally draining as well as physically." Sakura nodded in understanding.

"Now, the reason for this mission." Even Kakashi seemed to lean forward slightly as Tsunade explained.

"Danzo is attempting to take over Konoha. I have reason to believe that he will stage a rebellion in the near future. I have already been informed of him trying to form alliances with other, smaller, countries and of his ROOT forces growing." Tsunade hung her head in agitation, Kakashi and Sakura exchanging worried glances. "Apparently, he might have already gained the aid of Sound. He is close to forming a large enough army to take down not only Konoha, but Suna as well. "

She looked up at Sakura determinedly.

"Our only hope is to gain the aid of the Akatsuki and take Danzo down when and if he decides to declare war. Sakura," She sent her apprentice a resolute look. "While you attempt to form an alliance with the Akatsuki, we will be trying to remove Danzo and his forces from Konoha so that we will be on proper grounds for battle. As I said, it is uncertain how long this could take. So," She smiled weakly, "No rush."

"Will I be able to contact you for mission updates, Shishou? Or will my faux-defection be definite?" Tsunade smiled fondly at Sakura, "Yes, one of Katsuyu's daughters will make the best messengers, I believe." The rosette nodded and Kakashi stepped forward slightly.

"Will anyone else know of Sakura's mission? Or will it only be the three of us, Tsunade-sama?" He asked, still slightly worried for Sakura.

Her expression hardened as she crossed her arms and straightened in her chair. "No. Sakura's betrayal to Konoha will be true, no matter how unbelievable, in the eyes of everyone but we three. Kakashi," She said, head inclining toward the Copy Nin. "It will be your duty to make sure that Sakura leaves Konoha and the surrounding forest safely and free of detection. You will also be assigned to any retrieval teams formed to subtly sabotage any attempts to bring her back or take her down by Konoha shinobi. Got it?"

"Hai, Tsunade-sama."

Sakura bit her lower lip as something occurred to her.

"What about Naruto?"

Dread pooled in Sakura's stomach at the thought of how the blonde would react to hearing that she had betrayed Konoha. In fact, she hated to think of how any of her friends would feel.

"First thing tomorrow morning, before anyone realizes that Sakura is missing, Uzumaki Naruto will be assigned an A-Rank, two-week long, reconnaissance and assassination mission in Wave, along with Nara Shikamaru, Inuzuka Kiba, and Hyuuga Neji." Here she had grinned slightly. "Wouldn't want any of our local geniuses or top trackers to be available when word gets out of your defection."

Sakura smiled sadly, nodding to herself.

"I-is that all, Shishou?"

Giving a curt nod, Tsunade stood up and approached her apprentice.

"Haruno Sakura, you are hereby stripped of your status as a loyal kunoichi of Konoha under the pretense of betrayal. You will be hunted and attacked upon sight starting at sunrise or when word of your desertion spreads." Tears started to form in Sakura's eyes but she stubbornly held them back and Tsunade continued to speak, her own honey-orbs glistening with unshed tears. "Your mission to infiltrate and join the Akatsuki begins now. Once your mission is complete and a truce has been formed, you will return here and your rank and status as a Konoha kunoichi will be returned to you." She grinned bitterly here. "And then Danzo is going down."

"Hai, Shishou!" Sakura saluted, smiling bravely. Emotions getting the better of her, Tsunade gathered her apprentice in her arms and hugged her tightly.

"Be careful, Sakura." She whispered into her hair, kissing her temple softly.

"Of course. I'll miss you, Shishou." Sakura replied quietly, arms tightening around her mother-figure. Tsunade hummed in encouragement before stepping back.

"I'll miss you too. Now," She held out a small sealed scroll, willing away the tears in her eyes. "Here are the last known locations of various Akatsuki. Go pack quickly and meet Kakashi at the gates in five or so minutes. Good luck, Sakura."

Sakura smiled softly, took the scroll, and bowed. She gave Tsunade one last hug before disappearing in a swirl of cherry blossom petals.

"Kakashi."

"Hai, Tsunade-sama?"

"Take care of my daughter."

"Of course."

"Then get your ass back here so we can get rid of Danzo and bring Sakura home sooner." She smirked and looked over her shoulder at the silver haired ANBU. He chuckled and bowed jokingly.

"You got it."

After he disappeared in a cloud of smoke, Tsunade slowly shuffled back to her desk, worry, dread, anger, and a sliver of hope flooding her features. She sat down and cradled her head in her hands, silent sobs racking her body. She looked through her fingers at the photo-frames littering her desk. Eyes landing on the picture of her beloved apprentice, Tsunade smiled cynically and straightened, swiveling in her chair to stand and look out the wide window behind her desk.

'Danzo, I'm going to make you regret ever driving me to these extremes. Good luck Sakura, I believe in you.'

::

Once home, Sakura had quickly packed all the necessities for her mission. All of her weapons were stashed in various places of her person, extra clothes and toiletries were packed into her pack, a large supply of soldier pills and chakra and blood replenishing pills were safely tucked in her medical pack at her hip, the information Tsunade had given her in her backpack as well, and a certain special scroll was strapped to her back. After throwing a dark cloak over her shoulders and stuffing her gloves into her pocket, she removed her hitai-ate and cradled it in her hands for a moment.

She stared down at her forehead protector, finger tracing the symbol of Konoha. She knew what she had to do, but it still hurt to think about it. 'As a rouge-nin, I'll have to...'

Eyes set in determination, Sakura gathered a small amount of chakra in her forefinger and held it up to her hitai-ate. With a quick powerful flick, a crack broke through the metal, scarring the once smooth surface. Her thumb trailed over the long scratch, heart nearly stopping in agony when the pad brushed the ruined leaf symbol.

Tears gathered in her eyes once more, but she stubbornly brushed them away and clenched her fist in resolve. She retied her hitai-ate around her neck and looked over her apartment once more. Content with what she saw, she locked the door from the inside and brushed past her furniture to enter her bedroom, cloak billowing out behind her. She opened her bedroom window and perched a foot on the sill, hand on the frame and body tense to jump.

She looked down, eyes traveling to a familiar photo on the table by the window. Her heart clenched as her fingers lightly trailed over the photo of the original Team Seven, a smile softening her face as she thought of her teammates and sensei.

"Naruto. I promise, I'll be home soon." She whispered to the photo and frigid air.

Slowly, she picked the frame up and set it facedown on the table, giving her room another once over before shouldering her pack, pulling her hood over her face, and leaping out her window.

She landed in a graceful crouch in the street below and silently took off towards the village gates. She ignored the familiar sights of the Yamanaka Flower Shop and Ichiraku Ramen Stand as she raced through the streets, thoughts of her friends shoved from her mind. She saw Kakashi standing by the gates ahead and continued to run. She passed through the gates without slowing and her former sensei took off after her, jumping into the trees just as she did.

After they had been running at top speed for a few hours, they neared the Fire Country border, the slight rays of the rising sun occasionally piercing the foliage above. Kakashi appeared next to her as she jumped through the trees and gestured downwards. She nodded and jumped to the ground. He landed next to her, glancing back in the direction they had come.

"I guess this is it, huh, Kakashi-sensei?" Sakura said, fingering the hem of her cloak. He turned back to her, smiling under his mask, and ruffled her hair affectionately. "Yeah, I guess so."

His eye hardened in and his masked expression turned serious. "Be careful, Sakura-chan. I'll do my best to keep you safe from hunter-nin and retrieval parties."

"Thanks, Kakashi-sensei." She murmured, eyes down. Smiling sadly to himself, Kakashi pulled her to him and hugged her gently.

"I'm serious, Sakura-chan. Be safe." He said, holding her close. She nodded against his chest and wrapped her arms around him as well. He gently held her away from him after a few moments and pressed a kiss to her forehead.

"Good luck."

"You too, Kakashi-sensei."

"And try to stay away from Suna. Once word of your betrayal gets out, Sand shinobi will probably be set on alert as well." He said, voice taking on a fatherly tone.

Sakura smiled up at him and nodded before stepping back.

"Bye, Kakashi-sensei."

"See you soon, Sakura-chan."

Kakashi disappeared in a small cloud of smoke and Sakura sighed, reaching into her pack for the scroll Tsunade had given her. You can imagine Konoha's surprise when news of sighting of should-be-deceased Akatsuki members had reached the village. As it turned out, the organization had resurrected their dead members and gone into hiding to nurse their wounds, regain power, and plot. When news of Sasuke's win against Itachi arrived, Sakura and Naruto had expected Sasuke to return to Konoha. Unfortunately, Sasuke (along with his new team) seemed to vanish and weren't heard from for a long time.

It wasn't sure who all out of the dead Akatsuki had been revived, but sighting had included Deidara and Kakuzu. Nara members had patrolled the sight where Hidan was buried on a daily basis until they found the ground upturned one day, the pieces of the Jashinist's body missing.

Biting her thumb and spreading a bit of blood over the front of the scroll, Sakura unsealed the parchment and read. She went over the various sights where members had been spotted recently and chose the closest to where she was, but outside Fire Country borders. Resealing the scroll and stuffing it into her pack, Sakura sent one last glance in Konoha's direction, blew it a kiss, and turned North-West.

'Hoshigaki Kisame and Deidara of the Akatsuki were both recently spotted in Kusagakure. Looks like I'm heading to Grass.'

Jumping back into the trees, Sakura sped off, face set in determination.

"Akatsuki, hope your ready for Haruno Sakura."

::

The sun's shining bright
I twinkle in your eye
If you know what's right
Pull a wish from the sky
Say "Nooo", I say "Ohhh"

::

notes: Wow, that literally just flowed out while I was typing it. Well, I hope you guys like it so far. I hope to have the next chapter out soon. And the third chapter of Fallen Leaves will be out soon as well. I'm looking forward to this story, hope you guys are as well!

Reviews = Love = Happiness = Inspiration = Faster Updates = More Smiles

Create some smiles, people.

~Thirrin73