All general disclaimers apply.

"Haruno Sakura, Uzumaki Naruto," The slug-sannin started, all professional. She can't show anything, this was her job as a Kage. No strings of attachment must make her waver in this decision that was meant for the good of the village.

Konoha was having problems with River and the elder have been getting antsy. And no matter how much Tsunade clashed with them, she had to agree with them on this matter. It was detrimental to Konoha, and it was her duty first and foremost to protect the safety of this village.

She looked at the scroll in her hands. She should start the briefing.

"You're given an indefinite amount of time to scout the country of River, any information is welcomed especially those regarding their own shinobi." Tsunade stared at the two before resuming again, "You can read the specific yourself." She said as she tossed them one scroll each.

"Leave at once," The Hokage said, "And Naruto, no deviating from the mission. No matter who you meet." She gave him a serious look.

The blonde ninja didn't look to happy about it but agreed, "Okay baa-chan. I'll see you once we get back." He waved as they left the room.

"Yes, once you get back."

Tsunade wasn't prepared for the strange look that Sakura directed to her before leaving the room with her teammate.

She slumped into her seat and sighed.

It was beginning to sink in.

She had just sent them to their deaths

ooooo

"Sasuke." Naruto growled, as they felt their former teammate's chakra pass by. It had been quick, but it meant that he was relatively near. They were along the edges of the country of River, so close to their goal.

Sakura cursed when saw Naruto begin to emit the cursed chakra of the Kyuubi. Maybe she could knock him out, but she didn't know the repercussions if Naruto had passed out with Kyuubi so close to the surface.

He might take over the blonde's body completely, and she would even have a harder time trying to control him.

She knew this mission was a bad idea.

She had heard the news even before they were sent on this mission. Hebi, Sasuke's new team, was sighted at Iwa going Southward so it would only make sense for them to almost be at the same destination as them.

Maybe that was why Tsunade had warned Naruto to stay on the mission.

What she didn't understand was why the slug-sannin had decided to send them here knowing full well how Naruto would react once he realizes that Sasuke was close by. She could control her own emotions, but Naruto was another matter completely.

"Naruto," Sakura said, cautiously trying to get a grip on her best friend and teammate, "Relax, we need to finish our mission." She tried to placate him, staring him down as he slowly grew whiskers and glowed red.

The blonde refused to pay attention to her, and with a burst of chakra proceeded to give chase.

He didn't manage to go far before the ground crumbled beneath him from behind, stopping him in his tracks completely and making him turn around to see what had happened.

Sakura didn't like using her strength against her teammates, but there was no other choice. She needed to get him to calm down. There was no doubt that she couldn't take on the Kyuubi, but maybe she could distract him enough for Naruto to calm down.

"Sakura," He said in warning. She knew his impatience had largely to do with the fact that he was slowly transforming and that the seal was weakening as time passed.

She gritted her teeth, "Calm down, Naruto."

"He's here! How can you tell me not to follow him," He all but growled at her.

"That's not our mission." She said flatly, he saw her best friend tense at her words.

He was torn between the mission and following their former teammate.

"So? How the fuck can we give up now when he's so close?" Naruto said, desperate to follow their other teammate.

Before she could give him an answer, Sakura's eyes widened.

She jumped, as a kunai whizzed by from behind her and proceeded to jump towards her teammate while a trail of senbon followed her.

"Move, Naruto!" But the blonde had been caught of guard, and was taking so long to move.

"What the hell," She cursed before grabbing her friend's collar and pumping chakra into her legs before making a huge jump into the air and on to a branch.

And she saw them.

ANBU Team.

A Konoha ANBU team.

"What's happening." It had been more of a statement coming from the Kyuubi vessel and they proceeded to stare with shock at the four men with white masks who were staring back at them.

And then it began.

"Naruto, jump!" Sakura shouted before taking off herself, but Naruto was too slow and could not help but get assailed by the rain of senbon and kunai that had come his way and he slumped to the ground.

She ran towards him. He was unconscious, cold to the touch and getting paler by the second.

Shit

She had worked enough in ANBU to realize that he had been poisoned. Most of their weapons were covered in a deadly dose of some fast-acting poison and if she didn't act fast enough, Naruto would be dead.

She needed to lose them, she didn't have the heart to fight them, regardless that they attacked them first. Especially not now, when she didn't even know the reason why they were doing this to them.

She did the only option she knew would have the highest rate of success.

She punched the ground sending all of the debris into the air and proceeded to make the hand signs for a teleportation jutsu.

And when the dust and rocks had gone, so were they.

ooooo

Fuck, fuck, fuck.

She cursed in her mind, carrying her friend on her back before jumping on to the next branch.

Surprised was an understatement when she saw Konoha ANBU trying to kill both of them. It was a trap, she didn't know why they were trying to get rid of them but it was all a fucking trap.

She looked at the face of Naruto by her shoulder, "Don't give up on me now."

She kept running before she figured that she had gotten far enough so that she had enough time to heal Naruto and regain so chakra before their pursuers arrive. When she caught sight of a large enough stream, she put him down beside it. She had stopped here on purpose so that she had enough running water to heal her friend also because the scent of the fresh water would usually throw of any trackers they had even for a short while.

She proceeded to examine her friend, and was relieved when she saw the Kyuubi's chakra already healing the worst of the cuts. That was a good sign, it meant that she didn't have to waste her chakra in healing any of his wounds, she would just have to extract the poison.

She placed her hand on his chest and they began to emit the familiar green glow of her healing chakra.

Only a small amount of the poison had made it into his system, thankfully. She began to slowly coax his system to extract all of it through his wounds so that she didn't have to make an incision that she would have to heal later on.

Damn it!

She didn't know what to do.

The people she had trusted… Tsunade, Konoha, had all turned their backs on them. If those hunter-nins weren't proof enough, she didn't know what was.

They were obviously ordered to kill, no doubt about that since they practically tried to skewer them to death and ANBU didn't take any orders from anyone besides the Hokage.

And then, it clicked. They were set up!

This mission wasn't a scouting mission at all. It was an execution.

The best thing to do was probably to go back to Konoha since they had the gall enough to make this look like a mission, they probably didn't want anyone to know about their deaths.

She checked Naruto and thankfully, the procedure was done as she saw the black liquid come out of his wounds and slowly drip to ground. After washing them out with the water from the stream, she felt them. They were here.

She was sensitive enough to chakra that she could sense them slowly take places at the surrounding trees and wait for an opening.

She sighed and closed her eyes tightly. This was the only way, one of them had to survive.

She made the had signs for the jutsu, it was the farthest teleportation jutsu that she was about to attempt but it had to work, she was going to gamble most, if not all of her chakra reserves for this.

Poof!

Naruto was gone from her feet.

With the safety of her friend assured, she faced the forest before summoning chakra to her fist and punching the tree next to her. With her hand buried deep inside it, she proceeded to pull it out of the ground and she began to swing to the nearest one she could sense.

The ANBU operatives were probably surprised as she felt the tree connect to one of them while she felt the other tree shift their positions.

If they planned to kill her here, she was going to go down fighting and she was going to bring a couple of them with her.

She threw the tree aside and proceeded with caution, she had little chakra left so she was at a disadvantage against these fighters but she had the element of surprise. Most of the people in Konoha had not seen her fight so she had some leverage at least.

She used a little of her chakra to heighten her senses. She smelled blood, at least one of them was injured, he was probably the one who she had hit with the tree but she was pretty sure that wasn't enough to deter him, slow him down maybe.

They were probably assessing what to do next.

She jumped, and appeared behind one of her pursuers and unleashed a deadly combination of taijutsu that she had learned from Lee, the ANBU operative blocked each of her strikes perfectly before completely crumpling to the ground unable to move, tendons and ligaments cut perfectly.

"What the-" It was a man.

"That should keep him down while I deal with the three left." She said focusing her attention on the other three ANBU with them.

She jumped, and she looked down she saw a bunch of kunai embed themselves on the ground where she was previously standing, the ANBU she had used her chakra scalpels on nowhere to be found.

She focused on her senses and realized that she was alone once again. They had probably left to make a tactical retreat. It was standard procedure to regroup before attacking an enemy-nin that was at an advantage.

She hoped that this would give her enough time to regain enough of her chakra and lose them.

She looked at the stream.

She hated the water but it seemed like the only way.

She plunged in.

ooooo

He had felt it, even though it was a small spark, he felt her.

He narrowed his eyes. Years trying to avoid his teammates were possibly going down the drain if she was successful enough to track him, and he felt as well that Naruto was with her. He had heard the news, and if they proved to be more than mere rumors he was in for a hard time trying to handle the Kyuubi and Hokage's apprentice especially with this poor excuse of a team.

He trailed his eyes on the three members of Hebi. Suigetsu was nursing a very bad, nearly fatal, wound that he had gotten in the hands of Juugo who was now barely conscious as he slipped in and out of consciousness while Karin was throwing some kind stupid tantrum refusing to heal any of them except Sasuke.

Not that she could do much except let them bite her. It wasn't a really good experience, really.

He felt a small quake rock the Earth beneath him, that was strange but he ignored it trying to focus on the chakra he was tracking and avoiding, for that matter. It seemed that she had completely disappeared, most probably masking her chakra completely.

Sasuke narrowed his eyes.

There it was, another burst. It could only mean one thing, she was in combat with someone but Naruto's, or even the Kyuubi's, chakra had completely disappeared. That was strange.

He turned to his team, "Stay here."

He traversed the forest quickly enough, before spotting her wading in the stream. Observing from afar, she seemed to be in a hurry. Was she being pursued? But why was she alone? Further observation made it known to him that she wasn't hiding her chakra at all, it was that she had barely any left.

Curiosity nagged at him, and he gave in, he jumped to the rock nearest to her and she stared at him in wide-eyed shock and proceed to glare with hostility before jumping back to the side of the river away from him. She neither spoke but her eyes were enough to convey that if he tried anything, she would answer him with a kunai.

"Why are you here?"

She didn't answer but merely glared him down.

"Sa-" He stopped from finishing her name before a shuriken nearly got him in the shoulder, he carelessly tossed the shuriken back to where it came from, the scent of blood making it known that he had hit one of the targets perfectly. These were probably professional hunter-nin from Konoha judging from the speed that they threw their weapons and also from how well they had managed to conceal themselves.

In a flash, Sasuke already had one of them, he gripped his neck tightly wondering if these shinobi were pursuing her or him since they had preferred to attack him first before the pink-haired kunoichi. He looked down at the form of the hunter-nin, realizing that the reason why he wasn't putting up much of a fight was because his right arm was broken, along with a few ribs. He narrowed his eyes as the shinobi gave him one last hateful look and bit down hard.

Tch.

He threw the body away. He knew well enough that man had just bitten a capsule in his mouth that contained a strong poison. It had been a way for them to avoid interrogations by enemy-nin.

He glanced at his surroundings surprising that he felt no other chakra signatures in the vicinity merely his own. He looked back at the stream seeing the body of the other Hunter-nin floating, probably drowned in the water.

He looked around once more.

Sakura was nowhere to be found.

A/N: I'm not exactly sure what happens to Kyuubi once Naruto dies but for this story's sake let's just say that the Kyuubi dies along with him. Although I think that Kyuubi would really die along with Naruto since he's attached to his soul, but well, I'm not an expert this so feel free to enlighten me!