A/N: Is it just me, or has anybody else noticed what a hottie Shee is?
I think he needs to get laid...
And I think Sakura needs to get over Sasuke...
"I was ordered by Yamanaka Inoichi of the Intelligence Division to report to the captain of the Logistical Support and Medical Division."
Sakura's head popped up at the question and immediately met a pair of dark, intense eyes, but only a moment later turned away from hers to give their attention to Akimichi Goro, who was guarding the headquarters of Shizune's division.
Goro's naginata was already up in a defensive position as soon as the other man entered the tent. "Identify yourself," the humongous man practically boomed, brimming with frustration and anxiety. The poor Akimichi was dealing with a lot at the moment.
"My name is Shee and I am second in command to Ao of the Sensor Division. Yamanaka-san received intel regarding the enemy's ability to use the Transformation jutsu to replicate members of the Allied Shinobi Forces and-"
"You're division has already touched base with headquarters," Sakura broke in, leaning around the massive body that was Goro. "Why did they send someone from Sensory if you've been updated?"
The man - Shee, as he called himself - turned his austere gaze to Sakura. "I am also a skilled medic nin. I was ordered to meet with the captain of the Medical Division to receive instructions and training on the new information that's been gathered about the enemy."
Sakura's brows shot up. He was a medic nin? Her eyes quickly scanned his appearance. As most shinobi in the Allied Forces, he retained the standard garb of his village, marking him as a Kumo nin. He had sandy blonde hair that was disarrayed in its layering, a strong, pronounced jawline and a long, thin nose. His most distinguishable feature were his eyes; severe, passionate and serious in their observation. He didn't look anything like a medical nin, but, Sakura knew, to most people she didn't look like one either.
She noticed that he was watching her closely as she analyzed him, but then he stood a little more erectly, and Sakura almost choked out a laugh when he suddenly saluted.
"Forgive me, but I was remiss in remembering that, in light of recent events, any shinobi entering the headquarters of the Medical Division is to say the secret password signifying that they are not a clone of the enemy."
Sakura smiled easily, waving her hand dismissively. "You've already said it. The enemy doesn't know we're using a password, so I know you check out okay. Besides, that's what Goro is for," she patted the large man on the arm.
Shee looked fairly uncertain, as if the lack of formality and professionalism was more bewildering than disarming, but dropped his military pose, nonetheless.
"You said you were looking for the captain of our division? That's Shizune-senpai, but she's not here at the moment. My name's Haruno Sakura and I-"
She paused when she saw the recognition flash across Shee's features.
"Sakura? You're the one that notified headquarters after you discovered the infiltrators."
She nodded, smiling again. "Yes. If you would like, I can spell you with the information you came for," she said, turning around and, with a nod, bringing their attention to the Zetsu clone on the examining table that she was currently autopsying.
Again, he appeared hesitant.
"What's wrong? I don't bite," Sakura stated teasingly, and when Shee's eyebrows pushed together in what seemed like consternation she suddenly felt like a gigantic idiot.
"I was told to ask for the captain of the Logistical Support and Medical Division," he replied evenly.
Apparently he was all work and no play. Sakura shrugged and started to turn around to go back to her work. "I'm not sure where she went. You can stay here or go look for her. You're choice."
When she returned to her workstation she knew what she had to do, and in her periphery she saw Goro stiffen. The truth was, absolutely no one was allowed to see Shizune since the white Zetsu clones were assassinating all of the jonin-ranked medical nin. Sakura first needed to see what his motives were, i.e., if he was going to attempt to kill her. The first symptom of that intention would be if he started pressing Sakura to see her captain. Goro was not going to let Shee leave the tent.
Like she had told him, he seemed less like the enemy since he knew that Sakura contacted HQ with the new intel and since he knew all personnel entering the Medical Division HQ were required to recite a password, but Sakura knew one couldn't be too careful. She wasn't going to take any chances. Right now, she was actually trying to decipher if the Zetsu clones only absorbed the chakra and copied its user's appearances, or if those damn plant things could actually take up the thought processes of the original, as well. Perhaps this "Shee" was not Shee but a clone and was captured after all of the necessary information was acquired to get close to the Medical Division HQ.
So far, this Shee guy was the only one who has entered the tent since the mandate went out that Shizune was to be concealed. Sakura was going to bide her time and closely watch his actions.
Taking hold of a scalpel, she inhaled deeply and steeled herself for cutting open the skull of the Zetsu clone. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Shee leaning against one of the structural pillars holding the tent up in place, his arms crossed, his expression impassive, but she could tell he was interested in what she was doing. It was that intense gaze of his that was locked on her, reading and studying all of her movements just as she was his.
"Is that a clone?" Shee suddenly asked, and with the scalpel suspended over the clone's head, Sakura stopped and looked over at him.
"Yes. He was impersonating-" She was going to tell Shee it was Hyuuga Neji, but chances were he probably didn't know who Neji was. "...a shinobi from Konoha and-"
"Are the clones impersonating only Konoha shinobi?"
Sakura had turned her attention back to her project, but at Shee's question - his tone accusing - her head snapped back in his direction, her eyes narrowing and glaring balefully.
"What the hell are you implying?" she ground out between clenched teeth. Ever since the war started, and even after Gaara's passionate speech, there were shinobi that still held resentment for various past grievances or following overall ignorant hostility practiced between one hidden village towards another, though it was held at bay and redirected towards the war effort. However, comments, blatant or subtle, were still distributed here and there. Like now. And Shee's accusation was meant to be heard.
Sakura watched as her supposed counterpart medic nin's mouth quirked into an arrogant smirk. "I take it you're from Konoha then." Then it dropped almost instantly and his expression once more evened out into a serious veneer. "It would be just like the enemy to use Konoha's shinobi to thwart the war."
Sakura's eyes widened considerably and her jaw unhinged. "Wha...?" She didn't even have any words to express how incorrigible his were.
Shee continued as if unaware of Sakura's incredulity. "In fact, at present time, the enemy is using a rogue shinobi from Konoha against the Allied Shinobi Forces."
Too many thoughts were scrambling in her mind for her to form a coherent response, let alone a witty one or one that would put Shee in his place, but his last sentence made her pause. Knowing the rogue shinobi he was referring to, Sakura pointed an indignant finger at him and yelled, "What does Sasuke-kun have to do with the Zetsu clones copying shinobi from Konoha? And by the way, it's not just Konoha shinobi...they're copying shinobi from every village!"
Shee's eyes narrowed at something Sakura said and she waited for his response.
"Sasuke-kun?" he asked derisively. "Do you mean Uchiha Sasuke?"
Sakura was like a can of pop that had been shaken and if opened, would explode. Shee had been right on the verge of saying something that would have unintentionally, or intentionally, popped the top to make Sakura lose it, but then he asked about Sasuke, and her anger immediately dissipated.
She heard about the incident at the Kage Summit. She knew that the Raikage had basically challenged Sasuke because his brother, the host of the Hachibi, had been captured by the Uchiha. She also knew that the Raikage had lost his left arm because Sasuke burned it off with his Amaterasu. She also knew Sasuke openly attacked the Raikage's escorts, and she put two and two together after hearing Shee's revolted tone as he was speaking of her teammate...former teammate.
She lowered her hand and cast her eyes to the ground. Though his lack of trust in all Konoha shinobi was misplaced, his anger certainly wasn't; She couldn't blame him for that.
"I heard about what happened at the Kage summit," she began in a small, sorrowful voice. "And I'm sorry about what Sasuke-kun did. He...Sasuke-kun...he's just...he's being led down the wrong path because he's so blind to his anger and hate, but you can't hold it against him-"
"Another Konoha shinobi apologizing on behalf of a murderous traitor?"
Sakura winced at Shee's words; not because of the amount of revulsion he put into them but because the veracity of them was becoming undeniable.
She didn't respond. What could she say? Ever since the encounter in the Land of Iron where Sasuke told her to kill Karin, then he attempted to kill her had left Sakura reeling with hurt, anger and despondency. She still couldn't quite believe that Sasuke would use a jutsu on her in a deadly manner. He had fallen so far and Sakura was to the point where she believed the Sasuke she and Naruto knew back on Team 7 was never going to come back. But also, her ever compassionate nature, and a part of her that was a little sick and twisted still...longed for him like she did when she was twelve. Back then she knew she loved him; when he left to grasp for Orochimaru's power, she told him so, told him that she would follow him anywhere. Did she still love him like that? Sakura didn't know anymore, but one thing she did know: she was losing faith in him.
For the sake of the war, for the sake of the Allied Shinobi Forces, for this man that was her comrade, and finally for the sake of finding out whether or not he was an enemy, Sakura could only concede. It both saddened and angered Sakura that it was still difficult for her to do it.
"Yes, Shee-san, you're right. I...shouldn't be apologizing for someone like him. You see, I have a history with Sasuke-kun. We graduated from the Academy together and were put on the same genin team. It's still hard for me to reconcile who he was back then with who he has become, but regardless, he has done many horrible things that cannot be justified or explained away, so I have to...agree with your sentiment."
Sakura wasn't sure if it was her words or her meek tone that unpinched Shee's brows, but eventually he took up his seemingly normal expression of seriousness as he regarded her after her speech.
After a long moment where Sakura waited for his response, she shifted her weight from one foot to the other, uncomfortable from the other nin's scrutiny. Out of the corner of her eye she noticed that Goro hadn't moved a muscle, but she was certain he was eavesdropping.
"I'm assuming that you're Uzumaki Naruto's other teammate then?"
Sakura's eyes widened slightly at this query.
"Yes, how did you-?"
"He came to us right before the Kage summit, asking Raikage-sama to pardon Uchiha Sasuke for his crime of capturing and murdering Bee-sama, the Raikage's brother."
Sakura's eyes grew wider at his statement. Shee put up a hand.
"Well, it turns out Uchiha Sasuke capturing Bee-sama was a fluke, but that doesn't negate his crime of attempting to kill him."
"No, it doesn't," Sakura readily agreed.
They stood in awkward silence for a few long moments. Sakura found something on the ground quite fascinating as Shee continued to observe her in his intense way.
"You know," she said, finally looking up. "Sasuke-kun...Sasuke...he tried to kill me."
She kept her eyes locked on Shee's, trying to decipher a reaction. There was none, so she continued.
"When we were thirteen, Sasuke left to chase after Orochimaru. You've heard of him?"
Shee nodded and Sakura still gleaned nothing from his expressionless features.
"Tsunade-sama assigned a team to track down Sasuke and bring him back to Konoha. Naruto was part of that team. Before they left, I made Naruto promise to bring Sasuke back. They had failed obviously. When Naruto returned he told me he would always keep his promise." Here Sakura hesitated, bitter tears of remorse stinging her eyes. "And he always has. To this day, in spite of everything Sasuke has done, Naruto kept trying, hence why he went all the way to you guys asking for forgiveness on Sasuke's behalf. It's partly because of that promise he made to me that he keeps trying, but I wanted to relieve him of it, and the best way I knew how was to kill Sasuke myself."
She stopped again when she finally coaxed a reaction from Shee. One of his light brown eyebrows rose in interest.
"I found Sasuke right after he had just killed Shimura Danzo. I told him that I would betray Konoha and even help him destroy it if he would take me with him. To test this, he ordered that I kill one of his teammates who was already fatally wounded, which I later learned he caused. But anyway, so I went to kill her, not intending to but was going to kill Sasuke instead, but he came up behind me and tried to kill me. Kakashi-sensei showed up and stopped him. I healed Sasuke's teammate, but I was determined to see it to the end. I went to kill Sasuke again, but..."
Sakura had been trying her hardest to hold the tears in, but they refused to be dammed any further.
"In the end I couldn't do it. He tried to kill me again, but this time Naruto came to help me."
Sakura didn't know why she was unleashing all of this on this unsuspecting stranger, but she couldn't stop herself now.
"I...I...part of me wishes that Sasuke was dead so he won't cause any more harm, but another part of me wishes he would let go of his revenge and come back to Konoha!"
Sakura took a few moments to sob into her hands, but she was still mindful of the fact that Shee probably wouldn't sympathize with her, that he was still a relative stranger, and that the overall situation was just so awkward that she quickly sniffed loudly and hastily wiped her tears away.
"I'm really sorry...this is so weird...it's just...well-"
"It's alright," Shee finally said and Sakura looked up at him with large, surprised eyes. "Now that I've gotten a little more of the history, I suppose I can understand where you and Uzumaki Naruto are coming from."
Sakura was mildly shocked to gain his understanding. She nodded, still trying to clear the tears from her face.
"Thank you, but that still doesn't excuse Sasuke in any way, shape, or form. And you're right. Though he hasn't been spotted in battle yet, it is clear that his intentions are to aid Akatsuki in this war. In fact, I was there when Sasuke told Naruto that Naruto had to kill him to stop him from destroying Konoha." Sakura took a huge, calming breath. "This whole thing just sucks."
Shee suddenly laughed, and Sakura had to join him. This whole war was based on protecting Naruto, and Bee, from Akatsuki capturing them.
"So," Shee said, walking up to Sakura and nodding toward the Zetsu corpse. "What information have you found so far?"
And Sakura realized then that he certainly wasn't an enemy and she smiled as she prepared to fill him in.