Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or any of the characters! The plot for this story is mine!
AN: You can't see it, but I'm begging for some sort of forgiveness because I haven't updated in so long. My life has been really crazy and school has become more intense so it's literally paper after paper, test after test. I don't sleep much anymore 0.o. But anyway! With everything getting so crazy, writers block kind of took over and I spent a while trying to figure out where I wanted to take this chapter. But now, I'm back! My load of homework hasn't decreased but if I don't start writing I'm going to go nuts. So uhm, without further ado? Again, I'm sorry for such a long update, and I hope you enjoy! Review!
How was I supposed to know that things would only get worse in Suna? I just wanted to get back to my husband. Was that such a crime? Of course not! But going there was probably not the right decision in the long run…
Sasuke could barely feel his legs pulling him to his feet as he stared in open shock at the man lingering in the doorway. Unconsciously, his hand twitched for his glock resting on the table. The man still smirking at him from his spot by the wooden doors crossed his arms and let out a sigh. "You've grown up little Uchiha. Here I thought it would be Itachi-san taking over for your father."
Itachi flicked his eyes towards his younger brother to see the man frozen, his hand still twitching towards the loaded gun. He silently urged Sasuke to remain calm as Madara crossed his arms. "Rikudou…you'd be wise to keep your mouth shut. Sasuke isn't known for his self control."
The man threw back his head and laughed. "Of course! I saw it the moment he swooped in and took our little Sakura from Suna!"
At the mention of his missing wife, Sasuke's eyes darkened. He didn't particularly like the fact that this bastard of a man was speaking so freely about his woman. Nothing gave him the right to pretend he knew Sakura. He grit his teeth, "Where. Is. She."
Rikudou tapped his smooth chin, his purple eyes rising to the ceiling in serious thought. "Funny you should ask that little Uchiha…I've come to ask the same question."
Sasuke felt his heart drop. So absolutely no one knew where Sakura was? No one knew if she and their child were hurt or even alive? The pain of this whole situation made his anger rise quickly and he grabbed the glock on the table and held it tightly in his hand. Hashirama peered curiously at the older man, "You have no use for her anyway, why seek her out?"
Rikudou did not bother to look at the leader of the Senju family. "She has something that belongs to me. I would retrieve your pieces today as well, but seeing as how I'm in a good mood I'll let you slide."
Itachi couldn't help but roll his eyes. "You're not the true heir. You don't have the means to connect the pieces."
"Ahh, but the one that does is on the run with my piece and I'd like it back, even if I have to pry it from her cold dead—" A shot went off, whizzing past his head to lodge itself in the wall. Sasuke's hand did not tremble as it held his glock steady, a small sadistic smirk resting on his face. "I'm not known for my self control, so the next time you mention my wife I'll be sure not to miss your skull."
Gaara lingered back towards the door, "Sir…we—" Rikudou waved his hand dismissively, "Little Uchiha…you'd be wise to hold your tongue."
"Leave Sakura out of this conversation and I will." It was a false promise, for Sasuke knew that this was a man who needed to be shot dead. However, he knew he would have to be clever and on his toes about every word he said. Rikudou couldn't help but let a small smile cross his face, "Fugaku and Kizashi always knew you'd be protective of her. It's amusing to see how much she's twisted your life around."
Sasuke narrowed his eyes. If anyone did the twisting, it was him. He was the one who brought her into this life and revealed the lies she had been told. Sasuke fingered the trigger once more, "If you're implying that I've gone soft you obviously don't know me."
"My mistake then little Uchiha. Then let me make this clear." He stared at the four men in the room, his eyes swiftly landing on the small round jewel hanging from Hashirama's neck. He could only assume Sasuke had his piece hidden from sight. "She's free game now. Unless I see the remaining pieces at my office, the moment I find her I will eliminate her."
Sasuke barely held his restraint to shoot the man on sight. He had never wanted a man to be dead at his feet so much. He wanted to see him begging for mercy at his feet, only to see more fear rise in his eyes the moment he pulled the trigger and ended his life. Sasuke's sadistic thoughts turned to his wife and he unintentionally growled, "You wouldn't fucking dare lay a hand on her."
"That's for me to choose Uchiha. Release Hyuuga to me and maybe I can make that promise."
"I will do no such thing."
"He's not a part of this."
Hashirama turned serious, "Then by rights Sakura is not either. You've got two families against you. There's nothing you can threaten us with."
The four men were expecting a comeback, a serious warning, but instead they received a laugh. Rikudou chuckled, "Funny lot you are. You could choose to believe that I guess. That is if you still wish to finish the puzzle Uchiha." Without explaining, he turned on his heel, "I'll be in touch." He left the room with Gaara following behind him. Sasuke stood motionless as he stared at the last place Rikudou had been. His face was pale and he could barely turned to look at the other men. Itachi was the first to break the silence, "He couldn't possibly mean what I thought he meant right?"
Sasuke was out of his seat and grabbing his phone. He hit one button and heard Naruto pick up on the other line, "What is it teme?"
"Get me a plane and a tracker Naruto. We're going to Suna."
WITH SAKURA AND INO:
Sakura had never wanted to puke so badly in her life. Ino drove like a madwoman on the highway, weaving in and out of traffic as cars continued to follow her even if she tried to confuse them. Sakura eyed the gas meter; there was no way they'd make it to Suna on a nearly empty tank of gas! Just what the hell was his woman planning? She was going to die wasn't she? She regretted everything that had happened. She grumbled under her breath, "Stupid Sasuke…why does he have to be right all the damn time…"
"Because it's his job."
Sakura looked up at Ino whose eyes were focused on the road, a gun on her lap as she tried to maneuver around a large truck. Sakura could barely remember how long she had already been driving. But as she peered at the signs, she knew they were already getting close. "Just where the hell did we start?"
"We were already near Suna. Neutral territory outside of Konoha tends to stretch on for miles."
Sakura vaguely wondered just how Ino planned to get rid of the silver cars following them. If these were assassins, or trained killers, then they would be easily fooled right? This situation was going to get much worse, and she dreaded every minute of it. Her stomach felt queasy and she could help but clutch her stomach tighter, hoping the unborn child inside would give her a source of comfort. She felt a slight fluttering against the inside of her stomach, and she couldn't tell if that was due to nerves or if her child was already kicking.
Sakura shrieked when Ino jerked the wheel, "Hang on okay?"
Sakura's eyes widened, "Ino…what do you think you're doing?"
Sakura did not have the chance to reply as Ino spun the wheel and roughly took the car took the guard railing on the side of the road and into the opposite land with a different traffic pattern. Sakura screamed…she knew this was a bad idea.
Sasuke impatiently tapped his foot as he waited for the plane to take off. His brother had chosen to remain behind to stay watch over the city and the healing Hyuuga boss. Instead it was Naruto who accompanied him, leaving Kakashi to watch over Hinata as the two struggled to find any new information on the people who had raised Sakura.
Naruto scratched his head. He was exhausted, having used every search he could with his hacker skills to find out where Sakura could potentially be. No sleep and a lot of crying on Hinata's part made the blonde quiet and unable to comprehend much of what Sasuke was trying to explain to him. He rubbed his eyes and tried to not let it show to his boss just how tired he was, "So you almost shot him and you missed?"
"No dobe, I shot at him and missed intentionally."
Naruto mumbled under his breath, "Should've just shot him and got it over with…"
Sasuke peered at him curiously before brushing him off. They were both worried about Sakura, and he knew the blonde was upset about having to leave Hinata behind to go back to Suna. He needed Naruto with him for this though. The blonde had been the only one to sneak into the ranks of the Hyuuga's and could reveal any information he already did not know.
Naruto looked up, "Have you had any contact with them?"
Sasuke shook his head, "None since Sai had checked in on them a few months ago."
Naruto jumped up, "You don't think they're dead do you?"
It had crossed Sasuke's mind. He had never formally released them from their mission his parents had assigned them. Even after Sakura's return to Konoha he had not heard from them. He looked down at the envelope in his hand and reread the riddle. He wasn't surprised in the slightest that the trail led to Sakura's adopted parents. They were much older then Sakura's birth parents, and must know more of the history his parents had failed to tell him.
Naruto slumped down from his standing position to the seta in front of Sasuke. The silence from his friend was his answer and that only made him more worried in the process. "Teme, you don't think Sakura's on her way there do you?"
That too had crossed his mind. The only problem with that theory was how was she getting there and who was it with? Logic told him that a Hyuuga family member had picked her up, but Rikudou wouldn't have asked him where she was if that was the case. The Uchiha boss grabbed at the hairs on the back of his neck and tugged. Why was this situation so god damn difficult? Why couldn't she have realized he was right about her always getting into trouble without him? This would have never happened if he had stood his ground and made her forget this atrocious plan.
Sasuke looked up at see a small ghost of a smile in Naruto's eyes, "She's alive."
Sasuke felt his smirk crawl up on his face, "I'll hold you to that dobe."
WITH SAKURA AND INO:
Sakura cussed as she tucked her head in towards her knees and wrapped her arms around them. Ino had swerved into oncoming traffic, now following the roads down the way they had come. It was so perfectly maneuvered that the grey cars that had been following them had stopped and tried to turn around, giving Ino enough time to surge through traffic and get off the highway.
Ino patted the top of Sakura's knees, "That should give us some time to get the next clue."
"Do I actually get to call Sasuke?"
Ino peered in the rearview mirror before looking at her friend, "If we make it out alive, yes."
Sakura didn't have any time to respond as the car slowed down to a crawl and Ino eventually put it in park. The pinkette held her breath as she stared at the tiny one level house that she had grown up in. It looked empty now and seemed so far gone in her mind. Ino grabbed her glock and loaded it, "Come on, let's go."
Sakura followed the blonde as quickly as her legs would allow. The two approached the door and knocked quietly, waiting for any response. Sakura's eyebrows furrowed. Normally her mother would always answer the door. Sakura twisted the knob on the door and pushed it open. It crept and creaked as it slid against the floor and hit the opposite wall.
The house was still and dark, save for the lights coming in through the drawn curtains. Sakura didn't like this feeling. Something was out of place here. Growing up, her house was bright, and her mother loved to leave the curtains open and have music going to keep the energy flowing. Now she swore she could hear a pin drop to the floor by how still it was.
Sakura reached for Ino's hand, "Ino…something's wrong."
Ino knew it too. Those who called themselves Haruno for the sake of protecting Sakura and her birth parents were a lively couple. Jiraiya was older, with white spiky hair and what was known to be a perverted nature. Sakura's mother had been played by Mei Terumī, a down to earth woman, but was apparently one of the Uchiha's best seductresses. These two had been two the best in the family and in the entire business. If something happened to them, then Ino truly lost all hope.
Ino pointed at the glock in her hand, "Take yours out, we're going back to back."
Sakura nodded and withdrew her pistol and turned, firmly planting her back against Ino's. The two moved slowly through the house, pausing every few feet when they thought they had heard a noise. Ino grunted when she reached a door. "Sakura, what's this room?"
Sakura peered behind her for a moment before turning her head straight ahead, "Otou's office."
Ino shoved the door open and peered in before shoving it shut. Sakura froze, "Ino?"
"Sakura…It-it may not be wise to go in there."
Sakura turned around, "Move."
Ino heeded her words and switched places with the stubborn doctor. Sakura shoved the door open and felt as if she had been kicked in the stomach. Blood covered the room, and furniture had been turned over and destroyed. Papers littered the room, almost as if telling the story of what could have happened. Sakura quickly shoved the door shut and leaned against Ino's back. Ino reached for her hand, "I told you not to look."
Sakura swallowed and let the blonde continue to lead her around the house. Sakura did not dare call out for her parents; too worried she may not like what she'll hear. It was soon before they made it to the last room in the house. Sakura cringed realizing it was her old bedroom. The smell of iron and decay hit her nose and she knew that her heart would be torn in two if she opened that door.
Ino let out a sigh, "It would be best if you did it Sakura."
Inside Sakura knew she was right. Sakura swallowed and turned around to open the door. The two women stood in silence as they took in the sight of the room. Both of the people who had raised her, who told her to move back to Konoha, laid in the most disgusting positions she had ever seen in her life. Her jade eyes roamed over their dead bodies, falling on the slits in their throats and the way their lifeless eyes watched the ceiling above them.
Ino could barely take her eyes off the two people in the room. She knew exactly who had killed them. Figuring out how long ago was the question now. She subtly felt Sakura tug on her sleeves and the blonde looked down to see the proud doctor kneeling on the floor, endless tears streaking down her cheeks. Ino let herself drop down to the floor and put her arm around Sakura's shoulders, "I'm sorry Sakura-chan."
Sakura couldn't feel the liquid hot mess running down her reddened cheeks. Her vision remained blurry as she asked why in her mind. Those two may have not been her birth parents, but they were the ones who raised her. They deserved better then this. She leaned into Ino's side and cried, the stress and exhaustion finally weighing down on her. Sakura didn't want to be here. She wanted Sasuke, and she wanted to believe that this entire situation was an awful nightmare she would wake up from.
Ino held her tightly, knowing that there was absolutely nothing she could do or say to fix this. She let her friend cry onto her jacket, and she stroked her long pink hair, trying to sooth the frazzled doctor. Ino moved to shut the door when something in the room looked completely out of place. The clear blue eyes raked over Mei's hand and found it too strange that her pointer finger was the only one extended, while the rest were curled into a fist.
It was strange that even though Mei was dead, and definitely not breathing, she was pointing to something. Her eyes moved to Jiraiya's body and found his hand pointing in the opposite direction.
Ino shook Sakura, "Sakura…"
Sakura looked up through her blurry tears. An angry scowl was painted on her face, "Ino, this...this is too much."
Ino pointed inside the room, "Look."
Sakura followed Ino's hand to land on her mother and her eyes immediately noticed the same thing. That couldn't be a coincidence could it? Ino pulled Sakura to her feet, "Do you want me—"
"Go in with me."
Ino smiled a small smile and grabbed Sakura's hand. She tugged the girl into the room, both standing still for a moment to let the overwhelming smell of decay brush past them. Sakura was the first to let go and walk over to her mother's body, her eyes avoiding the large slit in her throat. Instead she focused on where her finger was pointing. It led Sakura to the small closet in the room, which if she remembered correctly hadn't been used in years.
Ino walked over to Jiraiya's body and looked in the direction in which he was pointing. Her eyes gazed out the window, just wondering what in the world he could be pointing at. Across the room, Sakura grunted as she shoved the closet door open and looked inside. Dust blew and cobwebs fell as she coughed and held her mouth.
Upon first look, there was really nothing in the closet beyond a few clothes and shoes. Sakura struggled to remember when she had last used this closet. It must have been before she met Neji in high school. Sakura rummaged through the clothes, checking the pockets and even dropping to the floor to look in the shoes.
Sakura didn't look up from where she continued to clean, "Hang on Ino…I can't find anything in here."
Sakura groaned and looked up, "What!"
Ino pointed inside the closet, her eyes wide with shock and surprise, "Th-the wall…"
Sakura frowned, "Huh?" She turned her head back and peered at the wall. On the wall below the coats and jackets, she saw dark marks burned into the wood. Sakura shoved the coats aside and moved slightly so the sun could shine through. She squinted to read the words, "Our first memory…"
Ino jumped up, "Sakura! Where's the first place you remember them taking you?"
Sakura raked through her memories. Where had her parents first taken her? What was her first true memory? She was so focused on finding out what she missed in life that she didn't remember everything that happened to her.
Ino moved from her spot and stood behind Sakura, "Think Sakura, that's probably where the next clue is hidden."
Sakura rubbed her forehead and shut her eyes. Where the hell had they gone? It was like anything before middle school had been erased in her mind. Flashes of places buzzed through her chaotic mind, before it clicked. She looked up and stared at the words once more. She jumped to her feet, "The first place they took me was to the mountains!"
Ino looked up, "There are no mountains here Sakura."
Sakura frowned. That was true. There were no mountains in Suna. However, there were mountains in Konoha. The very same mountains that she could see from the house she shared with Sasuke. Her eyes drifted towards her father to see his hand pointing in the direction she needed to go. "He's pointing to the west Ino…he's pointing back towards fire country!"
Ino quickly grabbed her hand, "Is there anything you remember in particular about the mountain? Anything at all?"
She shook her head. "I remember a trail…"
"We'll start there! Come on!"
Sakura stood frozen, "Ino...I can't just leave them! They don't deserve to be left like this!"
Ino grabbed Sakura's chin, "You're going to end up like them if we don't get out of here. Listen to me Sakura, please."
Against her better judgment, she listened. Ino tugged her from the room and raced down the hallway, groaning when Sakura stopped. "What now?"
"Let me quickly do something alright?"
Ino watched as she raced into what was her father's study and pause inside. When she emerged, she looked slightly shaken, but nodded towards the door with her pistol, "Let's go."
WITH SASUKE THE NEXT DAY:
Sasuke slammed his foot down on the gas pedal, throwing Naruto against the back of the seat he was sitting in. "Teme! If you keep driving like this I'm going to puke! And if I puke I'm going to puke on you!"
Sasuke kept his mouth shut and swerved into the driveway of the house Sakura had grown up in. The door was ajar which immediately made her stomach drop. He grabbed his glock and cut the engine, moving towards the house slowly. Naruto followed him closely, his own glock drawn and ready to fire.
The two were met by the overwhelming smell of iron and decay, and that right there told Sasuke that two more members of his family were dead. He didn't waste time moving down the hall, stepping into the last bedroom with the only open door. He felt Naruto whirl around and puke behind him, his stomach and mind not being able to comprehend the image he saw.
Sasuke could barely comprehend it himself. Two of the best in the family, and they had been cut down so easily. His eyes narrowed at the scene before him. Someone had been here beyond the person who killed them. The door wouldn't be carelessly left open if that wasn't the case. Sasuke stepped into the room and observed Mei first, his onyx eyes casing over her body for any sign of who had done this.
Naruto held onto the door, "Teme, what's she pointing at?"
Sasuke followed the arm to the open closet and his perfect eyes easily spelled out the words. "Our first memory…" It didn't ring a bell with him. He stood up, "Dobe…who's room this used to belong to?"
Naruto stepped in slightly and looked around, "It was Sakura's room…hey! He's pointing at something too!"
Sasuke looked at the man's finger. It was pointing in the direction of the window. What of it? His eyes turned back to the sentence in the closet. "What are they trying to tell us?"
"Their first memory?" Naruto's eyebrows furrowed, "Only Sakura would be able to answer a question like that."
Sasuke grit his teeth and stormed out of the room. His hand reached for his phone and he hit the speed dial, waiting for it to pick up. Itachi calmly answered on the other line, "Did you succeed in finding them brother?"
Sasuke sighed and peered at the living room. It was quiet, and no piece of furniture had been moved from place. In fact no blood had been spilled except in those two rooms from what his eyes had seen. "They're dead. Probably about a week."
He heard his brother curse on the line and bark at one of his advisors to get a team together. "What else did you find?"
This part pissed him off. He didn't know many of Sakura's memories, and there was no way he could continue the puzzle without his wife's help. "Another riddle, but without Sakura I can't solve it."
"Why not? Surely she must've told you some things Sasuke."
Sasuke almost didn't contain his anger. He was too close to blowing up and shooting the next person he saw. This was too damn tiring and blown way out of proportion. The next time he saw Rikudou he was going to strangle the bastard. "No Nii-san, she didn't! I'm not even going to begin to bother about the puzzle because I STILL CAN'T FIND HER! SHE MAY BE DEAD TOO FOR ALL I KNOW!"
Sasuke waved Naruto off and continued his yelling. Only when Sasuke felt his best friend tug on his suit coat did he turn around. Naruto's face was pale and in his hand he held a small piece of white paper. Sasuke looked at it, "So? It's a piece of paper. This doesn't help us to getting any closer to finding Sakura."
"She's smarter then that Sasuke."
Sasuke scowled and snatched the paper from the blonde's hand. His fingers opened the top and his eyes ran over the words. The moment he hit the bottom, he growled and clenched the paper in his fist. "DAMMIT!"
Itachi spoke calmly on the other line, "What is it brother?"
"Get any available associate out now. I want everyone crawling over town."
"Because she's way ahead of us Itachi." Sasuke opened the paper and gazed at the words before shutting the phone.
I'm safe. Are you?
WITH SAKURA AND INO:
Sakura had dozed in her seat as Ino sped through traffic, avoiding major highways and taking the back routes through the countries. They were almost near fore country and soon they would be back in Konoha. Ino gripped the steering wheel tightly, her tired eyes staring at the road ahead.
Her heart had sunk to find that Sakura's adopted parents had been killed. It hurt even more to know she couldn't do anything to fix it or help her friend through this.
What she knew she could do was help her solve this puzzle before getting her home safe and sound. Ino peered once more out of her rearview mirror and sighed when she found they weren't being followed. Ino let her back sit into the seat and her mind wander as she wondered just how soon it would take for Sasuke to realize Sakura was safe and how they would let him know the next clue was in the mountains. She prayed she'd be able to protect the pinkette in the rocky terrain. She hoped this job would be easy, and deep down she knew it would be. That is if they could ever avoid the sleek black car following their every movement…
AN: Ehh, I hope it wasn't too boring for you all. Let's have some drama next chapter! I promise it won't take me forever to update either. I'll try to have it done this weekend! Review!