Chapter One

5 years later...

Karin sighed softly to herself as she walked through the aisles of Konohagakure's library. She was feeling bookish today and decided to see what books she could find here. It was one of her rare days in which she had a free schedule. She reached up and pulled out a book with a red cover, skimming through it as she kept walking.

She wasn't watching where she was going and ran right into someone. She twitched in annoyance and looked up from her book, "Oi! Watch where you're go-" she cut herself off sharply and a fair blush spread on her cheeks.

Sasuke stared down blankly at her. He wore his usual attire; a long black coat with red flames on the bottom, black pants, a black open shirt tucked in, and his hokage hat on. Karin wondered why he was not in the office as he replied, "You were the one too busy looking through that book to watch where you were going."

Karin's annoyance returned, "Hmph! What are you even doing out of your office today?" she questioned him and put a hand on her hip, looking up into those black eyes of his as she continued, "You shouldn't be slacking off when you have so much to do, Hokage-sama," though she did use the honorific, the scolding in her tone was still there. Like she was reprimanding a child.

Sasuke continued to stare at her silently before giving her a short answer, "I had some free time. Not that it's any of your business."

Karin scoffed, "Like I care!" she says and adjusts her glasses. After another long moment of silence, Karin walked off, brushing past him and putting the book down on a random shelf, not caring to read anymore. Though it was unseen, she turned her head to the left slightly to look back at Sasuke - who was now looking through a shelf of thick looking books.

A smile teased the corner of her lips as she turned away and left the library.

Alot has happened over the course of five years. Konohagakure was left in devastation after the fourth shinobi war, but as always, the civilization was able to rebuild itself and rise from the ashes of war. The people were grieving from their lost teammates, friends, and lovers. Konoha was lost without someone to lead it. Sasuke quickly took charge, and with the help of his old companions and of course, Karin, he was able to pick Konoha up and gain the title of Hokage. A title he deserved. Some were skeptical of him, but most viewed him as a hero of war. All charges against him were dropped. He was no longer the S-ranked rogue ninja that went insane and attacked the kage summit, and killed Danzo. He was now Sasuke Uchiha, the man that saved Konoha's people in the war and the greatest hero known. Once Sasuke had gained the title of Hokage, he made changes to the village as he promised to. He didn't kill the elders like he wanted to before, but removed them from power. He allowed no killing of any kind within the village, even in the ANBU. Though it was hard, and of course people break laws, it was peaceful.

All thanks to Sasuke.

As for Suigetsu and Jugo; Suigetsu went off once Sasuke gained the title of Hokage. He still wanted to collect all the Seven Mists' Swordsmen's swords. They haven't seen him in a long time now; though he did say that he might visit one day in the future. Jugo stayed in Konoha and works as Sasuke's assistant or something like that. He said so himself that protecting Sasuke was his first priority.

Karin was pulled out her thoughts upon arriving home. She walked in and closed the door behind her, slipping off her shoes as she walked into her bedroom. Her kitten, a small white Tabby she adopted not long ago, lounged on her large bed. Seemingly asleep. She chuckled and looked at herself in her vanity.

Her long red hair was pulled into a high ponytail. She usually left it down; but she preferred it being out her face. She had gotten rid of her old outfit and was now wearing standard black ninja pants, black shoes, a chunin jacket over a fishnet tank top. She'd retaken the chunin exams not long ago, and of course passed it pretty easily.

Suddenly, her image was replaced with one that was Sasuke. She saw the maniacal eyes, the evil grin, his hand extended as if...

A gasp flew from her lips, startling her kitten awake, as her hand flew up on instinct to her chest. She backed away from the mirror and blinked in shock. The image was gone as suddenly as it appeared. She glared at the mirror, expecting the image to appear again.

It didn't. She turned away from her mirror, her crimson eyes downcast. She was doing it again. It was happening to her again. She hated that she kept remembering that moment even though it happened over five years ago. Why couldn't her mind let it go? She kept remembering it at weird times, she even had the occasional nightmares of it happening. Sasuke had apologized; so she shouldn't keep holding unto something that happened so long ago. It was a stupid, childish thing for her to do.

She sank to her knees, her teeth gritted so that she wouldn't cry. She never been the one to cry. So many kunoichi out there claim to be great shinobis's, but they allow themselves to be ruled by their emotions. Karin never allowed herself to be like that. But when these memories suddenly start to flood her, she couldn't help but feel sad.

"See ya."

She opened her eyes and stared dully at the carpet in front of her, 'I'm such an idiot.'

Karin jumped off another tree branch and landed on the next. She sat in a crouch there, in the shade of a rather tall willow tree. The only sounds she could hear were the soft chirping of bird in the distance and the soft rustle of leaves all around her. It was dawn, the sun was beginning to set. She lost track of her teammates but she could manage on her own.

The mission was to take care of a band of bandits that were harassing a village nearby konohagakure. The group of bandits had at least fifty members, but they were just bandits. Sasuke also wanted at least one captured and taken in for questioning. Easy to take care of. So far, she's run into and taken care of at least fifteen, and she didn't know how many her teammates ran into. She could always find them later on. The mission comes first though.

She held up to fingers to her mouth and closed her eyes. Her senses stretched out and automatically found the presence of five bandits.

'Oh? They have me surrounded eh?' she thought to herself and smirked as if it was funny. She pinpointed their locations easily, now all she had to do was wait for them to attack.

Right on cue, three kunai flew at her from somewhere to her left. Knowing that they had all her sides covered except for above her, she jumped out the way and into the air. In midair now, she threw four kunai at the spot where the kunai before came at her. A cry of pain echoed through the forest and two bandits fell from the tree and to the ground below. They might've been dead, they might still be alive, she didn't much care.

Two of them decided to reveal themselves and jumped up to her right and left. Karin had anticipated this, and sent a harsh kick towards the one on her left. She sent the one flying downwards, knocking into the fifth one that was probably waiting for an opening to attack. This sent them both tumbling to the ground and landing in a heap. She blocked a punch that was sent her way, with her left forearm, and took this opportunity for her next attack. She pulled out an explosive tag and slammed it unto his forehead before grabbing him by his shirt and throwing him roughly down to join his subordinates on the ground.

"Hmph! Sorry," Karin scoffed as she jumped off a branch, higher into the air as the tag exploded right in their faces. They were dead, there was no doubt about that.

As the smoke rose from where there bodies used to be, Karin straightened up and watched the smoke swirl and dissipate into the air.

"Karin-chan!" A call from somewhere in the forest made her turn around to see her temporary teammates had caught up to her.

"Took ya long enough," Karin scoffed and scowled as she glared underneath her glasses at Shikamaru Nara and Rock Lee, "How many did you get rid of?"

"Thirty," Shikamaru informed her. Karin noticed that they had a few scratches and even some deep cuts. Shikamaru cat a cut over his eyebrow and Lee was bleeding from his arm. But his eyes shone from the light of battle still.

"I took down at least twenty," she looked down at the ground to see that one of the bandits had managed to survive the explosion, but he was losing consciousness even though he was trying to crawl away. Looked pathetic, really.

"Impressive! The light of youth burns brightly within you!" Lee says before Shikamaru could reply, holding up a fist in the air.

Karin sweatdropped. Lee was a bit too much for her at times, his youthful-ness got on her nerves not to mention his loud personality. Though he did annoy her at times, she was glad to see that he was doing better. He was a bit depressed for awhile after both his teammates died in the fourth shinobi war five years ago, but it seemed like he was doing better.

"I guess we'll take that one in for questioning then," Shikamaru says as he looked down at the bandit as well before returning his brown eyed gaze to her, "Next time, we should all at least try to stick together, you know? It's a waste of time trying to find each other. What if you got hurt and we weren't around to help you?"

A flash of anger went through Karin and her cheeks heated up in anger and embarrassment, "I can take care of myself thank you very much! Hmph!" she turned her back on him sharply, "Let's just hurry up and get the guy so we can go back home already, alright?" she grumbled and huffed.

Shikamaru sighed, "Yeah, yeah," he mumbled and jumped down from the branch.

"Nice work you three," Sasuke says apathetically as he leaned back in his desk chair and stared at Karin, Shikamaru, and Lee from where he sat, "You guys should go get your wounds checked and take it easy for the rest of the night." he adds as he crossed his arms over his chest. Karin couldn't help but admire how hot Sasuke looked in his hokage cloak, something she did every time she saw him.

But, she avoided looking at him for some reason. She kept remembering the image she saw in her mirror earlier on, and she feared that if she looked directly at him, she'd see it again. So instead she looked off to the side and out the large window of the Hokage's office, as if what was going on out there was the most interesting thing to look at right now.

"Thank you, Sasuke-sama," Shikamaru mumbled, shifting in discomfort at uttering the name of the Uchiha like that. Shikamaru was one of the ones that were still skeptical about Sasuke, it was obvious that he still didn't trust him. But, as Sasuke said a long time ago, he still didn't care about what his classmates thought of him.

Shikamaru and Lee awkwardly bowed before they turned and left the office. Karin bowed as well, not allowing for her eyes to meet Sasuke's as she turned away and followed after the two.

"Karin," Sasuke's voice made her stop in mid-step.

"Yes, sir?" she asked softly without looking back at him.

"Are you alright?" Sasuke asked. Though his voice was apathetic, she could detect some form of concern hidden in there. It warmed her heart a bit that he might actually care about her.

"I'm fine," Karin replied softly, "My wounds are just bothering me. Excuse me," she excused herself before hurrying out the office.

She closed the door behind her and leaned back on it, 'I'm such an idiot,' she thought to herself for the second time that day before pushing herself back up and heading towards the hospital to get her wounds treated.

Karin had never felt more awkward in her entire life then she felt right now.

She sat on the hospital bed, arm and leg inclined to get the wounds there treated by Sakura Haruno. Sakura Haruno was a pink haired medical ninja with a diamond shaped stud on her forehead* and her hair was pulled up and out of her face. Sakura also was madly in love with Sasuke. If she still was, Karin wasn't sure. Sakura was competition, and she didn't much care for her. The woman was twenty one and still single, which made Karin highly suspicious that she still had her sights set on Sasuke.

She felt very uncomfortable as the woman healed her. Normally, Karin would've not wasted her time and healed herself, but her chakra was all gone from the mission so this would have to do. The two women sat in absolute silence as Sakura focused on what she was doing and Karin focused on a point in the room where she didn't have to look at he pink headed ninja.

"There, all done," Sakura murmured as she finished up. Karin didn't look at her as Sakura wrapped the wound on her arm in a bandage, "You lost a fair amount of blood, but you should be okay. I think you should rest for the night, would you like to stay here?"

"No, I'm going home, thank you," Karin replied awkwardly after a moment of silence as she took her arm back and got off the bed.

Sakura nodded as the redhead waled across the room and to the door. She slid the door open before she paused in the doorway. She had a question and she wanted a answer.

"Do you still love him?" the woman asked bluntly without turning around to look at her.

There was a moment of silence before Sakura spoke up, "... I- I'm not sure," Karin could tell by the way her voice sounded that she'd shocked her.

"It's a yes or a no question," Karin said, there was no way she'd be satisfied with an answer as pathetic as that one.

There was another, and slightly longer, moment of silence before Sakura spoke up in a small but timid voice, "Y- Yeah, I think so."

Karin's grip tightened on the doorknob. That. That was the one thing that pissed her off mostly about this girl. She didn't turn to look at her as she said, "I know that I love Sasuke so just give him up," she looked over her shoulder, her eyes darkened to a glare underneath her glasses, "Sasuke doesn't need your half assed love."

With that being said and her point being made, Karin turned back around and left the room rather calmly, closing the door behind her.




*Only those who read the latest chapter would understand this. If you hadn't you might wanna go and read it to understand.

A/N: While I'm glad that people ware favoriting and following, some reviews would be nice too :) It really does help me write more, not like I'm not going to write if I don't get any, but it helps! So, don't forget to send in a quick review if you take the time to read this! Thanks!

Next chapter coming out this week, or weekend if I have the time. ;)