A/N- First off, this is my first story ever but that doesn't mean I'm demanding you to be nice or anything. I'm open to suggestions and criticism. Secondly, yes the pairing is weird and impossible but for some reason I love it, it amazes me actually. Thirdly, I've tried to avoid spelling mistakes and grammatical errors as much as possible, so if there are any, I apologize because I'm no expert. Lastly, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it. :)

Dreams On Fire

Chapter 1: Unrequited Love


I'm really confused on how to describe life as an ANBU. It's unpredictable but thrilling (when you're not outnumbered by enemy ninja).

But I hate these freaking masks. They're sick.

At first when I passed the ANBU exam I was overwhelmed with joy. After all it had been my life long dream to make it as an ANBU. But I really couldn't believe it, I was after all the weakest link in Team 7. It was frustrating those days. But then I became Tsunade's apprentice, and now people believe me to have surpassed her. And Kakashi- sensei helped out a lot too. But the main motivation for everything I did was definitely him.

The guy jumping from branch to branch in front of me. Naruto Uzumaki.

Oh that dumb blonde. My best friend, my motivation, my teammate, my caretaker, my constant companion, that ramen loving idiot, was my everything. Yeah we're tight and yeah we fight (a lot actually, I must have punched him like a million times already), but through all of it, there's one thing that'll never change: we'll be friends forever.

Well, that's what I thought until… well until last night. Oh god... not again. I'm on freaking S-class mission! I can't afford to relive yesterday, again. It was a scene I tried not to replay in my head over and over again but failed miserably, again.


Team Kakashi were now assembled in front of their Hokage. As usual waiting for their forever late team captain.

"Seriously, I really wonder what takes him so much time," said Sakura sighing. Her former sensei was now her ANBU team captain. Good thing he decided to join ANBU again. Sakura was really glad, this guy was not good but fantastic when it came to captaincy.

"We should just follow him about and see where he goes and what he's up to," said Naruto smirking.

"Yeah, I remember the last time we followed him," said Sakura laughing.

"I still don't get how he found out, I mean, I was in stealth mode" mumured Naruto thinking back on the incident.

"Maybe because you suck at being quite, you can't shut up even for a second," Sai pointed out bluntly, with his usual expressionless face. He didn't even bother looking at Naruto when he said that.

That guy will never change, thought Sakura. Of course, Sai had come a long way; he wasn't an emotionless freak any longer. In fact, Sakura had caught him making out with Ino sometime last week. Although a kiss can't be really be called an emotion, at least in Sai's perspective.

As expected the two started bickering with each other. Naruto was throwing random insults at Sai who didn't seem to care. It reminded Sakura about the old team 7 with a certain missing nin. The good old days. Sakura hastily pushed away her thoughts on the matter before she would risk herself from staying awake the entire night thinking about the other teammate. She made the choice to move on, but still she couldn't help but wonder about a big fat 'IF'. If 'IF' was placed before a lot of sentences, life would actually be perfect. Absolutely. But of course it came down to the 'ifs'…

Their bickering was getting irritating so Sakura decided to step in but this time Tsunade beat her to it.

"Shut the hell up before I strip both of you out of your ABNU rank!" she yelled. The frown on her face was horrendous. One thing that Tsunade couldn't tolerate was definitely noise.

"Okay grandma Tsunade, but he started it," said Naruto accusingly pointing at Sai, who simply smiled a fake smile in return.

"What did I tell you about calling me a grandma, you shithead!" screamed Tsunade. Sakura knew if Naruto retorted something really smart-ass, he would be in deep neck trouble. He just had to dsay something really brainless, like...

"No matter what youth jutsu you use, you aren't going to get any younger" stated Naruto in a matter-of-fact voice.

like... THAT.

Now that idiot had done it, he's in for it big time, Sakura groaned to herself.

And sure enough, ten minutes later, Sakura found herself supporting a limping, bruised Naruto to the hospital.

Sakura didn't understand how Naruto could still be so dense sometimes. Naruto was perfectly aware of the Hokage's infamous temper coupled with her monster strength.

"Seriously Naruto, what the hell is wrong with you?" growled Sakura angrily, "You know how she is when she get's mad and yet you provoke her!"

"Sorry," pouted Naruto.

"Just shut it."

Naruto grumbled and limped ahead.

Finally they reached the hospital and Sakura helped Naruto onto the bed. She quickly put up her hair up in a loose pony tail and began her medical ninjutsu.

She started with his shoulder which had been dislocated. She sighed. As much as she loved her teacher, sometimes she wished she would take it easy. Unfortunately, Sakura had no right to say so; she knew pretty well that her teacher's bad temper had rubbed off on her as well.

"What do you think the mission is Sakura-chan?" asked Naruto starting at her.

"No idea," said Sakura with a blank expression, "now shush I'm trying to concentrate," she added before he opened his mouth again.

Naruto winced at his dislocated shoulder. When Sakura poured her chakra into Naruto, he visibly relaxed. As the process continued, Sakura felt Naruto's eyes constantly on her. Sakura then wondered how Naruto was able to unwaveringly stare at her with out boredom. It didn't make any sense as they saw each other almost every day.

Sakura snuck a small glance at her gloden haired team-mate. Naruto gave her one of his trademark grins.

"What are you grinning at, Naruto?" asked Sakura, returning her gaze back to his shoulder.

"Nothing." He said, continuing to stare at her.

Poof. There was some white smoke and Kakashi and Sai were standing before them.

"Great timing sensei!" exclaimed, Naruto "come right after I get beaten up." Kakashi simply smiled from behind his mask.

"I ran into an old lady who needed help with – " began Kakashi.

"Save it!" the three of them screamed together. Even after all these years, Kakashi's time sense hadn't seen a least bit of improvement.

"Okay okay," said Kakashi smiling sheepishly, "let's talk about the mission."


"It's an escort mission, we'll be escorting the feudal lord." Kakashi said becoming serious.

"Oh," said Sakura in a small voice. Feudal lord means definite encounter with the cloud ninja, thought Sakura. That bastard had done something to piss off the Raikage.

Team Gai had the task of bringing him to Konoha to meet the Hokage to discuss some political matters. Team Gai came back battered and half dead. Sakura remembered healing Lee for hours and hours and struggling to keep his heart beating. They were ambushed continously by that many.

"When are we leaving?" asked Naruto disrupting Sakura's thoughts.

"Tomorrow, at the crack of dawn." Said Kakashi.

"Tomorrow?" asked Sakura surprised. "It's the feudal lord we're talking about, how come we weren't given further notice? To get prepared or something?"

'Prepared' in ninja terms usually meant bidding goodbye to your loved ones before a dangerous mission. After all, you never know… But Sakura didn't have any family left apart from her team.

"Point," agreed Kakashi, "he decided to leave earlier than expected and Team Gai are obviously in no position to carry on the mission". Grim looks broke on everyone's faces thinking about how they nearly lost Lee. There was thick tension in the air.

"He has his own bodyguards but you know how rough it gets out there," murmured Kakashi breaking the silence. "The cloud ninja won't have mercy on the feudal lord or anyone who has anything to do with them, I guarantee you, courtesy of their Raikage."

"Two of us will start a little ahead and clear the path from any trouble," he continued, "the other two will be with the feudal lord. We will have constant radio contact, and keep updating our positions, got it?"

The three ANBU's nodded.

"Naruto and Sakura, the both of you will start ahead by an hour, so I expect you to leave the gates at 6 am," ordered Kakashi. Sakura sincerely hoped that her ex-sensei would show up on time for the mission.

"Sai and I will accompany the feudal lord and his bodyguards." He finished. Sakura high-fived for not being stuck with Sai. Misssion or not, Sakura would always prefer Naruto over Sai. She just couldn't help it.

"Who is our back up team?" enquired Naruto.

"Team Shikamaru will be accompanying Sai and I with the feudal lord," replied Kakashi, "so he'll have a total of five ninjas with him and his bodyguards as well."

"Should be okay I guess," said Sakura. But she could hear a little bit of uncertainty in her voice.

"Oh and by the way Sakura, don't waste too much chakra on Naruto; you know how he heals really quickly." With that Kakashi and Sai poofed out of the room again.

Sakura then finished healing his dislocated shoulder and left the rest to the Kyuubi's chakra.

Sakura took a deep breath and took a seat beside Naruto.

"What's wrong Sakura-chan?" asked Naruto, "you seem unusually nervous."

"I have a bad feeling, those cloud ninja, they're really powerful," said Sakura looking at the ceiling. "And not to mention their numbers..."

"Yeah, I remember, with Lee almost dead," said Naruto nervously. "But don't you worry Sakura-chan; I'll protect you with my life!"

Sakura laughed. Naruto still hadn't seemed to have grown out of his childishness. "Yeah sure, you do that." A small part of Sakura sincerely wished he wasn't exactly meaning what he said. She also wished that he didn't take her words of approval to heart. But knowing Naruto...

"You know Sakura-chan, I'm itching to get something off my back," said Naruto looking at her thoughtfully.


"I'm saying this because... I honestly don't know but... The way you walk, the way you talk, the way you say my name, it's beautiful, wonderful, and don't you ever change."

Sakura was surprised and not to say a little touched. It's not everyday people said such stuff about her, but it felt kind of wrong at the moment, to Sakura. It almost sounded like a goodbye, like a final message. She didn't like where it was going, not one bit.

"Naruto, you don't have to get all sentimental," murmured Sakura, "we're going to come back, just like we do from every mission." Gut instinct told her otherwise.

"Of course we are!" yelled Naruto in agreement.

"Then what's with all the fluff?" Sakura asked a little irritated.

"I guess, I'm just beating around the bush," he muttered, "but I did mean it, I never say stuff I don't mean." Naruto closed his eyes.

Sakura took in his peaceful features. Naruto had undeniably grown in a handsome young man. But his boyish charm seemed to be a permenant part of him. Sakura had grown very accustomed to this. She re-processed what he's just told her.

"Well, okay then, I won't change" Sakura giggled. Give it to Naruto for making her feel good about herself.

"But I would suggest some anger management," said Naruto smirking. "And a punching bag which does not happen to be my head,"

"Naruto-"started Sakura angrily but she was cut off. Sakura knew she didn't need anger management. Simply put, she just needed people to stop making her angry.

"I need your help," he said looking her straight in the eyes.

"With what?" Sakura met his eyes.

"How exactly do you confess your love for someone?"

Sakura felt a whole lot nervous in a split second. That was sudden and out of no-where. She softly gulped while silently praying that ten minutes from now, Naruto and her would be the same as ever. With no complications.

Sakura pried on his question. When she came up with the apt answer, she spoke, "Well, you just go to her, look her in the eyes and say it."

With that Sakura tore her eyes away from Naruto and looked out the window. The bright afternoon sun was beating down hard. She ignored Naruto and strained her ears to listen to the faint chirping of the birds.


"Yeah?" She said not turning to face him.

"Sakura-chan?" he called a little more impatiently this time.

"Yeah?" replied Sakura, in her own impatient voice still refusing to look at him.

"Look at me, will you? It's not like I'm going to look you in the eye and tell you that I love you and add that that I've always have, and always will, no matter how far apart we are, no matter what people say, no matter how hopeless it is for me to expect you to love me back, no matter what, I always will."

Sakura froze. She slowly turned her head to look into Naruto's blue eyes. Oh god, no. He done it. He'd done it at last.

"I think I just confessed without actually wanting to confess," he said slowly thinking back on what he just said. "You have no idea, not even a slightest clue about… how much… I love you…"

Sakura pursed her lips and dejectedly looked at her best friend.

Yup, that's what he said. I'd known this day was coming. I mean every idiot knew Naruto had feelings for me. Bu t I never really thought of how I was going to respond to it.

How I responded? I hugged him and left. I mean it took me some time to process the insensity of his emotions but when it did, that's what I did, hugged him and left.

Naruto must have been crushed. If I did love him, I would have said something on the spot. I felt a wave of guilt washed over me. But I never rejected him, I told myself. Who knows maybe I will fall for him. Eventually.

And this morning when I saw him, he just smiled brightly. Then I knew instantly he never regretted what he said yesterday. I don't know why but I felt happy thinking that there was no regret. I also knew he didn't expect any response. Because the both of us knew something was bound to go wrong. Our shinobi instincts told us so.

We adjusted our radio frequency to Kakashi's and Sai's, put on our ANBU masks and broke into a run.

And I'm staring at the guy jumping from branch to branch in front of me- Naruto Uzumaki.


The first sign of impending disaster struck about two hours later.

"Sakura-chan," Naruto sounded serious.

"I know," said Sakura sweating through her mask. "The two of us against the ten of them."

The radio crackled and they heard Kakashi's voice. "Keep off you two, we're going to take a detour and so are you."

Swoosh. Naruto had barely missed a kunai to his head. They turned around to see that they were surrounded. Wow, mused Sakura. That was certainly quick.

"It's too late for that sensei, we're surrounded and we're going to need back up," Sakura murmured quietly.

"Copy that."

Naruto and Sakura pulled out their kunai and leapt to the ground. They knew they could fight better on solid ground than on a tree top.

The two of them stood back to back in a defensive stance.

"Let's kick some ass, Sakura-chan," said Naruto determinedly. As expected, Naruto's enthusiaism always ended up getting to her as well. "You got it." She matched his tone.

And the battle began.

Kunais and shureikens flew from every direction. Sakura dodged most of them but some were inevitable. She quickly glanced at Naruto to see him in the same state. These cloud ninja's were mostly long-range and mid-range fighters. That would explain the kunais and the non-frontal attacks.

That's fine with me, thought Sakura.

"Naruto get up on the tree," Sakura instructed urgently. Naruto nodded and obeyed.

Kakashi's voice crackled again "Guys, we need your location and with accuracy, if you want us there quicker."

Sakura mustered up chakra in her fist and slammed it against the ground. A Sakura-trademark earthquake followed. The ground instantly split and the unknowing cloud ninjas fell in.

"Never mind." said Kakashi.

Sakura grinned. Naruto once again had her back and they we fighting like crazy. Naruto conjured up a massive amount of shadow clones. As they continued, the number of cloud ninja's suddenly increased out of nowhere.

Five cloud ninjas were racing towards her, kunais drawn. Shit, this is so not good, she thought. Sakura punched the ground with her hand again, but this time, only two idiot ninjas fell for it, three of them jumped to avoid the force.

Sakura focused chakra on her feet and jumped avoiding a direct assault with the three ninjas. She knew she had no chance against three close range fighters. All she could do was evade. They immediately started their kunai assault again.

Sakura now had so many cuts on her hands and legs. She suspected some of them were poison coated. She could feel the sting and the burn it caused.

Freaking awesome.

The next half an hour was spent painfully dodging the kunais and shureikens. There were just too many of them and it wasn't possible to attack easily. One ninja decided to take on Sakura in a taijutsu match. What a naive idiot, thought Sakura as she began throwing chakra enhanced punches at him. Her back was completely exposed, Naruto was a little bit away in his own sticky situation. The kunais still kept coming and one caught Sakura in her thigh. She pulled it out and quickly and delivered the death blow to her opponent. Crunch, she heard his skull crack.

It was not even a second before three fresh ninja appeared before her and started attacking her. They threw kunai mercilessly and she could barely dodge them.

"Rassen shuriken!" she heard Naruto scream somewhere behind her. She glanced back for one second to see five ninjas getting hit by Naruto's attack.

But she regretted looking back, even if it was only for a second. The three cloud ninja effortlessly pinned her to the ground. Then after they had safely in her grasp, they yanked her up.

She struggled violently in their grasp which caused them to tighten their hold on her. One ninja drove a katana through her stomach. Sakura let out an agonizing scream. The katana went into her body and was sticking out her back.

"Sakura!" screamed Naruto running toward her.

"Get him." ordered a ninja. The other nodded and raced towards Naruto.

"Like hell you will" said Sakura. In a quick blur, Sakura went over very familiar handsigns for a genjutsu which she's mastered with the help of Kakashi. They were instantly trapped and fell on the floor.

I love gen jutsu, thought Sakura. She silently thanked her ex-sensei for all the training he'd given her on genjutsu.

She turned around to find Naruto taking on three ninjas. Not good, it looked like Naruto would lose at any second. The poison was showing its effects. It drastically slowed down Naruto. The poison made them feel like they were drunk, they're senses were getting slightly blurry.

She just had to help him. But of course, the poison was affecting her as well. Sakura sent chakra through her ugly wound. If she didn't the stop the blood from flowing like water, she would die in a matter of minutes. Without a second's hesitation, she quickly drew out the katana. Quick and painful, she decided, rather than slow and... well, still painful.

"Rasengan!" yelled Naruto driving the spinning ball of chakra toward the enemy. Sakura could see a gaping hole in the ninja's stomach. She shuddered and was glad she wasn't the recipient of the deadly Rasengan. Two more to go.

Sakura masked whatever remaining chakra she had and stealthily sneaked up behind a cloud nin. She concentrated chakra on her thumb and placed it right where his heart would be inside his body. Concentrated short jolts of charka to the heart, could literally give the person a heart attack. He dropped down like a puppet.

"Thanks Sakura," said Naruto gratefully, "you really saved my ass."

Just one more, thought Sakura. She saw him eyeing the both of them carefully. Suddenly he dropped down to reveal Naruto standing behind him. Or at least Naruto's shadow clone.

"We did Naruto it," grinned Sakura, behind her mask. Naruto nodded. Sakura sat down immediately holding her badly wounded stomach. She placed her hand on her stomach and started sending in pale green chakra. She didn't have much chakra left; the battle had taken a majority of it, now she had little to heal herself and Naruto.

"Naruto, are you badly hurt?" Sakura asked worriedly. Of course, he was.

"Quit wasting your energy and heal your self first!" yelled Naruto. Even though she's couldn't see his face, she knew he was fuming behing his mask. He slowly started to make his way toward her, the poison drastically reducing his speed. It looked like even tortoise would make it to Sakura before he did.

Sakura turned around to hear footsteps. "Oh god, please let that be back up," said Naruto, still moving unbelievably slow.

"It is!" yelled a cloud nin appearing out of no where with a Katana drawn. "But it's just not for you!"

He raced full speed ahead towards Sakura with a wild look. Crap, thought Sakura. She should move! She struggled to get up. But she barely managed to stand up; the effect of the poison was too much. Her movements were just too slow. The ninja was still charging towards her.

She closed her eyes and awaited the inevitable death blow.

But instead of the pain she heard a voice. Naruto's voice.

"I told you I would protect you with my life." Naruto dropped to the floor, the katana was fully inserted in his stomach. What the hell? How did this happen? How did he get here so fast when he could barely move? thought Sakura utterly confused.

"You bloody idiot!" she screamed at Naruto. She had to give it to Naruto for effectively getting on her nerves. Stupidity was something in which he would never be surpassed in. "I'm going to kill you when we get back!"

Naruto did not move. He was unconscious. Not only am I going to kill him, but I'm going to do it slowly. Really slow, thought Sakura evilly.

"Oh isn't that sweet?" said the cloud nin in a sing song voice. He reached out and punched Sakura hard in her stomach where she was stabbed. She literally flew and hit her head hard on a tree. Her sight was becoming really fuzzy and blurry.

This is bad, she thought. At the rate she was losing blood, she would die in a matter of minutes. But no, she was a medical nin, not an ordinary one, she could keep herself alive.

The cloud nin slowly drew out the katana from Naruto who now looked kind of dead from Sakura's angle.

Sakura looked at Naruto's limp form and felt her blood boiling. That freaking cloud bastard is going to pay, she told herself. Freaking poison!

Sakura knew if it weren't for the posion, Naruto and her have easily had the situation under control. But no, something had to go wrong, didn't it? She the feeling ever since she'd left for this mission.

Sakura eyed the cloud nin with disgust, as she very slowly got on her feet, using the tree as support. The katana in the cloud nin's hand was completely soaked in Naruto's blood. He started racing toward her again; Sakura mustered up her chakra in her foot and slammed it on the ground. It was not powerful enough, but he did falter and get his foot trapped between the cracks on the ground. It made it impossible for him to move; at least temporarily.

He quickly pulled his foot out and glared daggers at her. She sighed; so much for resticting his movement.

"Just give up will you? Ask your stupid Raikage to just let it go," said Sakura icily, "what kind of a leader is he, if he sends out his shinobi for some personal revenge?!"

"Shut up! How dare you insult Raikage-sama?!" he yelled angrily.

"I dare to insult to him because he is a naive useless leader who lets his emotions get ahead of himself." Sakura shot back.

"That's it, you bitch, I'm going to make sure you suffer!" He performed some quick hand signs and yelled "Time portal jutsu!"

Sakura waited. And waited. When she couldn't hold it anymore, Sakura burst out laughing. Nothing seemed to be happening. "Time portal jutsu?!" exclamied Sakura, in utter disbelief and amusement. "Are you as dumb as you look?"

"Look again, bitch!"

And to Sakura's surprise, and utter horror, a portal opened up in front of her, she could feel herself being pulled in. She tried to resist but it was as though her body and portal were like two big magnets. Behind her, the tree was beginning to uproot. The so called portal had an extremely strong pull.

She screamed. This could not be happening! Time travel jutsus just did not exist. It was impossible. There were time scrolls, yes, but no jutsu that could make you time travel.

"Die!" The cloud snickered.

"Sakura!" She heard a frantic voice. She barely turned around in time to see Kakashi racing toward her.

"You're late again sensei," Sakura whispered, before being fully sucked into the portal with the huge uprooted tree following her lead. She closed her eyes and hoped for the best.

Posted on: 13/10/12