We Never Meant To Win

An xxKaaat Original

REWRITTEN. - I did not change any parts of the story, simply edited it and fixed as many grammatical errors as I could. It's not a one shot, there are chapters within the document itself. Sorry for the rubbish you are about to read.


They say love is by far, the greatest thing known to man. But, does that make the worst thing known to man heartbreak? Can you honestly say, you've lived enough to experience the greatest thing of true love, and the worst of heartbreak? No matter what,Love Lives Forever,and it never dies.


Epilogue


The pink haired girl walked through the gates of Konoha. She was 18 years old, and a skilled medical ninja. She carried only a bag, her smile and a name. Sakura Haruno.

She made her way to the Hokage mansion. There she was assigned to Team 7. Referred as team Kakashi. Along with Sasuke Uchiha, Naruto Uzimaki and Kakashi Hatake. They welcomed her, and just like that, Sakura had family. Her team.

Within the first month, Naruto had shown Sakura to everyone in the village. She'd learned that Naruto was close to Hinata and they had a "thing". And Neji was Hinata's cousin. But Neji, was madly in love with Tenten, but no one realized that, so Sakura kept that to herself.

Kakashi was quite famous himself. He knew almost everyone, and his best friend was another anbu member named Yamato. And, Kakashi loved to read books about sex fantasies.

But, the only thing she had learned about Sasuke was that his best friend was Shikamaru Nara. And, Shikamaru was dating a blonde named Ino.

Sakura, had always thought that Sasuke was an attractive man. But, she didn't know anything about him. She only knew who he was friends with, and that he constantly fought with Naruto.

Sakura had become greatly liked by most of the people in the village, except Tenten. No one could figure out why. The only thing that came to mind, was that she maybe had feelings for Sasuke and she was jealous of Sakura. But no, that couldn't be it.


Chapter 1 ; I wish I knew you .


The sun shined as the 4 of team Kakashi entered the hokage office. It was an unusually cool day, for being late July. And tension filled the office.

Tsunade intertwined her fingers and rested her chin on them. You could tell she was tired and stressed out. She simply stared at the 4. Then began so speak.

"Itachi, he's returned."She sighed and watched as Sasuke's face shriveled with pain at the name. His eyes simply locked on Tsunade's face as she continued. "He's been spotted by the anbu black ops, and he simply won't leave. Your mission is to make him leave village grounds. Do whatever you have to, but please, please Sasuke, hold your temper. If he leaves freely, don't start anything." She paused as Sasuke looked down and sighed. "Your dismissed. And I expect a full report once you return"

With that, the 4 left. They ran on high speeds through the trees. But, it couldn't help but bother the only girl. Sakura. She'd only been on their team for 4 months. She had saved them countless times already, but the silence between them scared her. Who was this Itachi man? And why did Tsuande only address Sasuke?

"Kakashi," she finally spoke, "Who is Itachi?" He simply smiled as the question and even chuckled.

But all he said was," He's an old enemy of ours, this shouldn't be a problem. And let's just say that he's had some problems with Sasuke." Sakura's eyes turned to Sasuke. She could easily tell that Sasuke was aggravated. But she couldn't understand why? What could he have done that was so bad?

But as quickly as the conversation came, it went. And they 4 slowed and made their way to the ground. There in front of them were 2 men dressed in cloaks covered in red clouds. It was them, she could tell.

"Ahh, team Kakashi. Long time no see. Who's this young beauty?" All eyes settled on Sakura. She swallowed.

Sasuke stepped in front of her and spoke, "She's our team member. Now, you know why we're here. You're on leaf village grounds. Now, I suggest you leave. Before any unnecessary roughness happens."

The man only laughed. And his partner laughed too. "Sasuke, you're so naive. She's a beauty, you should watch out. Someone might try to steal her away. Maybe even me. But, hey, since I'm being such a trouble I'll leave. Come Kisame" And with those words, they both left.

And with that, the journey home was just as silent as the one there. No one dared to speak. Sakura was discomforted and even scared a little. Sasuke was still raging at the accusation the man had made. Naruto, was worried about Sasuke. He was afraid that Sasuke's anger would get the better of him. And Kakashi, could feel the tension. Yet, Sakura still longed for answers. Who was this man?

Later that night, the 4 of them were finally back at they're apartment. Kakashi was in his room sealed away in his secret off room, reading. Naruto was sleeping and Sasuke and Sakura were sitting on the couch drinking tea. It was late, sometime around 11.

Finally, the silence was broken. "Sasuke," the girl began, "Who was that man, that Itachi man? And why do you hate him so much?" As soon as the final word left her mouth, she could feel Sasuke's aggravation come.

"He's no one. I'd rather not tell you, because you'll only wish I hadn't."And Sasuke got up and walked out. But Sakura wouldn't settle until she got what she wanted. Answers.

Without making any sounds, Sakura got up and left the apartment. She ran as fast as she could to Shikamaru Nara's house. She knew this was Sasuke's best friend, and she knew that he would give her the answers.

She soon arrived. Knock knock. Shikamaru answered the door and seemed a little surprised too. He waved her in and they both sat on the couch.

"Sakura, you know it's awfully late. What brings you here?"

"It's Sasuke. Well, the mission we went earlier actually. Listen, Shikamaru I've got a question and I want and answer." He looked at her. And Nodded. "Who is Itachi? And why does Sasuke hate him so much?"

Shikamaru shook his head."No. No, I can't tell you. Sasuke would be mad, I'm Sorry Sakura."He looked at her, her beautiful green eyes fell to the floor. And her mouth curved into a small frown. "I can't tell you who Itachi is."

"So you're the one who knocked on the door." Ino spoke. The beautiful blonde walked into the room and took a seat on the chair. Her usually strait hair was wavy. And her usual ninja shoes were traded for slippers. "Shikamaru, if she came here to ask you, there's gotta be a reason for it." She looked at Sakura. "Darling, what happened that you're so desperate to find out ?"

Sakura swallowed, "Today, Tsuande sent us on a mission to tell someone names Itachi to leave. Sasuke he became filled with so much hate. And when we got there, Itachi said that I was cute and he said someone would try to steal me away. Maybe even him."She looked down. "I asked Sasuke who Itachi was, but he wouldn't tell me. I just want to know" She looked up, tears were staining her cheeks.

Ino and Shikamaru exchanged looks. They could both tell she was scared. Shikamaru put his arm around the girl beside him.

Ino hesitated then began. "Itachi is Sasuke's older brother. When Sasuke was only 5, Itachi murdered they're whole clan. Leaving only them 2 left. Sasuke truly hates Itachi with everything in him. And Sasuke doesn't ever talk about him. Sasuke vowed to kill Itachi one day." Ino sighed. Sakura could see that it bothered Ino for some reason. She knew better than to ask.

The clock stuck 12 and all 3 looked up. Shikamaru grabbed Sakura's hand a pulled her up.

"I'm taking you home Sakura. It's too late for you to go alone. Ino, I'll be back soon." She nodded and smiled at him.

They walked back. "Sakura, don't ever talk about Itachi. If you don't want Sasuke's wrath." Sakura looked down.

"I never really talk to him alone, I don't think he even wants me on that team. He's so protective of me. It's like he thinks that I'm a child." She shivered from the night time air. The rest of the ay, they walked in silence. Until The 2 reached the apartment front door.

Shikamaru hugged Sakura goodbye. Then spoke softly, "Sasuke, he has an interest in you." Sakura seemed surprised as the pony tailed hair man left. She slowly and silently opened the door and set down her coat. Then shut it again.

"And, where have you been?" Sakura jumped and quietly yipped. Sasuke flipped the light on.

"Oh," She stuttered, "I've been out walking around." Sasuke got up and walked toward her.

"You and I both know that, Kakashi forbids walks this late. Now, stop lying and tell me the truth Sakura."

"Fine," She slightly raised her voice. "I was out getting answers about Itachi. Happy now? I went to talk to Shikamaru and Ino. And they told me who he was."

"Sakura!" He was yelling now. "Don't you understand! I didn't tell you who he was for a reason! He threatened to kidnap you!"

"Sasuke! You could have told me yourself! I feel like I barely know you! I've been on this team for 4 months and I don't know anything about you! You treat me like a child!" She was yelling too.

"Maybe you should be treated like a child! Disobeying our Sensei's rules. And maybe I don't want you to know anything about me!"

Kakashi and Naruto both walked out of their rooms instantly. "Sasuke, Sakura. What's going on? It's this late, and I can't even read." Kakashi finished.

Sakura sighed and glared at Sasuke. "Nothing Kakashi Sensei, it's nothing." And with that, Sakura went to her room and shut the door behind her.

Minutes later, all was silent again, and Sakura's door opened then closed. She was sitting on her bed with her head in her knees. She sniffled quietly then asked, "What do you want Sasuke? Haven't you ruined my night enough?" Sasuke sighed. Then Took a seat on the bed next to her.

"I'm sorry, I'm truly honestly sorry. I don't mean to treat you like a child, it's just." He paused and thought to himself, you idiot- just tell her that you have feelings for her. That you're in love with her. He then kept going, "It's just, you're a teammate, and I don't want to lose you. You've saved our butts too many times…" he sighed again.

"Sasuke, I'm sorry too. I should have respected your privacy…. But, I had to be selfish." She smiled and hugged him. "I know who he is now, and I know what he did. I'm sorry, for everything…." He smiled and breathed in her beautiful scent.

"Don't be. I'm safe now, and that's all that matters."They finished they're hug, then Sasuke got up and made his way to the door. He looked back at Sakura.

"Sasuke, there is one more question. Why were you so scared to tell me about Itachi?" He looked at her, and his smiled faded.

"Because, when Itachi sets out to do something. He does it."

And with those words, Sasuke left and the night ended.

The next day went by fast. And by lunch time, Naruto had spread the words of last night events to most of the other shinobi in the village. But, questions started at lunch with Tenten, Neji and Hinata.

"Naruto, you know that Sasuke is only truthful with his closest friends. I wonder if he likes Sakura" Neji stated.

Tenten spat in the other direction, " I bet he doesn't, I'm his closest girlfriend and he would have told me. I doubt he likes her." Naruto glared at her and she gave in and looked the other way.

"Neji, I think he does, I mean he was completely honest with her and he was so nice to her. That's not like him at all."

While the 4 of them held onto that question, Sasuke and Shikamaru sat and conversed in the park.

"Sasuke. You and I both know, that you have feelings for Sakura but your just trying to hide it and she's taking it the wrong way and she thinks you don't want her at all…."

"I know Shikamaru, I mean, I'd tell her strait up, but then it would make everything awkward. I mean, I like her. But, if I screwed up in the end, our team would be ruined.

That night, everyone went to sleep early. Except, Sakura. She laid in bed for 3 hours. She had the feeling someone was watching her. But she knew she was just bring paranoid. She kept thinking to herself, sakura, you idiot. What are you scared of? The dark? Your such a baby. She laughed at herself. She felt stupid for acting like a child.

But, at that moment, she looked to the window. Only to see a shadow pass by. Her eyes grew and she knew. She'd smelled that scent before. Only the day before. Itachi Uchiha. She thought .

Before he could act she felt a heavy mass on top of her and a deep heated breath on her face. And a cold hand across her mouth. Then, the red eyes appeared.

"Don't make a sound girl. Come with me and I won't kill you." Spoke the man.

Hr dragged Sakura up out of bed and gave her a pen and paper. This is what he made her write.

Sasuke,

I've left with Itachi, for I should have known it was love at first site. Now, I can be happy. And don't bother coming to get me because I won't come back with you.

Sincerely, Sakura.

Sakura did everything Itachi told her to. She kept quiet too. Little did Itachi know that silent tears were streaming down her cheeks. She was honestly terrified. Itachi opened the window and Sakura crawled out with him. And together, they ran into the night.


Chapter 2 ; They're All Against You.


For some reason, Sakura didn't feel a reason to fear the man in front of her. Yes, he had just kidnapped her, but yet nothing about him scared her. She didn't know why, but she knew she had no reason to fear. In, fact they'd been running for at least 6 hours and that means that they were far from the village. Itachi hadn't said one thing to Sakura about felt as if he didn't even wanna hurt her. So, she just kept quiet and kept running. But, before long, the 2 came upon a small hidden house. In the middle of the woods. And as soon as the 2 stopped, more men in the same in the same cloaks came out. One, she'd seen before, Itachi's partner and another who was a stranger.

As they stopped, the stranger took a long look at her, and smiled. "She's truly beautiful Itachi. I work of art in every way." The man had long blonde hair and look much like Ino from the village, but this man had darker hair.

Itachi spoke to her, "Child, look into my eyes." She did so, and within seconds she fell lifeless to the ground. Both of the men had realized what Itachi did. And for some reason, they felt as though this was just too much for the girl.

"Lord Itachi, is it really needed to put this girl in a Genjutsu?" he questioned.

"Kisame, she didn't put up much of a fight to me. In fact, she didn't put on up at all. But, still in the time she'll be here, I want to keep her in genjutsu. This was, I can make sure she stays well and I'll make her love me." He smiled with delight, but then began to talk again. "Deidara," The blonde's head shot up. "Please take Sakura to the couch. So she will be able to rest until tomorrow morning. Then, I'll most likely be leaving. So i can take her before they alert the anbu."

Deidara nodded and picked the girl up carefully seeming as though she might break under his grasp. But, he listened to Itachi and laid her on the couch. Just as he took his hand away from her body, he looked at her and smiled again. "You truly are beautiful child" he whispered.

Soon enough, Itachi and Kisame walked in the front door, and they both went to separate rooms. Then closed they're doors all in sync.

Deidara, didn't understand why he let these 2 stay here. It maybe was because the fact of Kisame and him being friends for years, and Itachi was his partner. But as much as it pained Deidara to admit, he was scared of Itachi. The coldness in his eyes led on death. And the quietness was unlike anything normal. Deidara, knew though, it was because his coward ways though.

Itachi removed his shirt and pants and laid them upon the floor. He slowly crawled into bed on his stomach and stared out the window. He could only think of one thing, would this girl get him what he wanted?

The way it seemed, he wanted Sakura because he only wanted a girl in his life. A bride. But Kisame knew better than anyone else, it was because of his brother Sasuke. Itachi took the girl that Sasuke had stood up for because he wanted his brother to come to him.

Itachi hated and envied his brother more than anyone could ever guess. But, it was because everyone had always favored Sasuke over him. But, when Itachi killed they're whole clan, Sasuke was left to live a life of pain alone. But, Itachi was wrong. Sasuke was happier than anyone else. It was Itachi who was suffering.

So, he'd only taken this girl to being Sasuke to him. So he could kill his brother. Then kill the girl. Maybe keep her, but she would only love him out of force. Because of genjutsu. Sharingan.

The next morning Sakura awoke early. She was still tired and groggy. She opened her eyes. A usually beautiful green had faded into gray. This was the genjutsu working. She couldn't feel her own body. But she could still walk. She didn't talk with expression anymore, either. She was slowly fading into nothing more but a mere puppet.

"Good Morning Sakura." Deidara grinned at the site of the beautiful girl in front of him. Until he really looked closely, and saw that she was sickly looking. For she was pale and she didn't wear a smile. Her eyes were gray and she couldn't control her movements. This killed Deidara.

The only thing Sakura could bring about was a mere "Hello." She sounded like a robot, lost in a storm.

Kisame was the next one up. His blue skin tone was fading with the older he got. He simply smiled at his long time friend Deidara then drank a gallon of water.

He looked at Sakura too that morning. He noticed that she looked sick. He sighed in disbelief.

"It's the genjutsu Itachi locked her in. It's the Sharingan at its worst. It's taking over her body more and more each day. She'll soon learn to only obey Itachi in everything he says, and she'll only be able to hear his words." His words trailed off as he finished.

Minutes later, a green and black figure appeared from the door. Zetsu. He looked at them and nodded. Bidding them a good morning.

"Where is lord Itachi? It's nearly 10."


Sasuke and Naruto waited anxiously at the door that led to Sakura's room. It had been 15 minutes since they first knocked. Yet, she still didn't answer. And the door was locked. This was unusual. Sakura was normally the first one up. She'd make them breakfast every morning, but not today. No, which surprised them all.

Nearly a half hour had gone by when Naruto finally came up with an idea. "Sasuke, why don't you go check her window? If it's locked too just bust it. We're gonna be late for training and Kakashi will be mad at all of us."

Sasuke only nodded and left out the door. His stomach had a bad feeling. He knew this was much unlike the girl.

As soon as he got to the window, he realized that something was different. Even the curtain was closed. Sakura never closed the curtains. But surly enough, Sasuke listened to Naruto and busted the glass.

Expecting some kind of scolding from Sakura, Sasuke entered. But, nothing. Sasuke gulped. This wasn't good. He opened the door and looked at Naruto. His eyes said it all, she's gone...

Without thinking, both boys ran as fast as they could to Kakashi at the training grounds.

Kakashi stared at the two. Both half dressed and hair looking like messes. Naruto screaming so he couldn't even understand what was going on.

Yes, the blonde loud mouth was even louder than normal. His arms were flailing in the air, and his mouth was going 1000 miles per hour. Kakashi could only sigh. And Before he knew it, there was Naruto right in from of him. And Sasuke was behind him walking like nothing was wrong. But something seemed terribly wrong.

"Where's Sakura?" Asked the confused Sensei.

Naruto began, "Kakashi Sensei, we waited outside her door forever then Sasuke went around and went through her window! BUT SHE WASN'T THERE! Kakashi Sensei, we don't know where she is!" Naruto slumped to the ground. Sasuke simply sighed.

"Well, then lets go investigate. Well see if she left any letters. If she did, then that will tell us where she is." Both boys nodded and all three went to the apartment.

Upon arrival they went strait to Sakura's room. The first thing they noticed was that everything seemed perfectly fine. The room was just as they'd seen the day before. Neat.

Sasuke looked around and his eyes landed on a letter. It was labeled to him. Both Naruto and Kakashi looked to him as he read it aloud. Then looked at them.

"So, she's left with an enemy, That means that she's a traitor too." Sasuke said through his breath.

"Well, in this case, we've got to take this to Tsunade, she can test it. For some reason, I don't think she wrote it." Kakashi finished.

Sasuke stayed silent. Honestly, Sasuke wanted to crumple up the letter and say it wasn't true. After all, his first thought was that it was faked too. But, Sasuke couldn't let them see that it bothered him. So, he just sighed and fallowed the steady gray haired man and the yellow headed teenager. He didn't show any emotion. For he couldn't.

Tsunade was shocked to see the team in her office. They never bothered her. But she noticed tension between them.

"Ahh team Kakashi, what can i help you with?" she showed convenience with a smile.

Kakashi threw the letter on the desk. "It's faked. Even you should know." Indeed, Tsunade read it and that was her first thought.

"So, Itachi told the truth. He kidnapped our little blossom." She looked at the 2 teens. "Something wrong? You too don't look like yourselves."

Naruto began, "I - It's" Naruto couldn't rat out about Sasuke to Tsuande. Right at this moment Naruto wanted to punch Sasuke in the face. The way he was acting made Naruto angry.

"It's because Sakura's gone. It's only worry." The raven haired boy threw a look at Naruto. Naruto nodded in agreement. Both of them had just lied to Tsunade's face.

Well, partly lie. Yes, Naruto was upset over Sakura. He had a crush on her. But, he was even more upset because of Sasuke's selfish ways.

In the mean time, Tsuande called for Shizune and had told her to alert the anbu. But, Kakashi already knew what was coming next.

"Who are we teaming up with? And who's the other adult going to be?" He asked. Tsunade seemed impressed.

"Amazing, you already knew. I'll be sending you with Gai's Team of Tenten, Neji and Lee. Along with, 2 member's of Kurani's team. Kiba and Shino. That way, if anything needs done, Shikamaru, Ino and Hinata will be here to do that. I'll also send Uzuki along. I'll alert them, and you'll all be meeting tomorrow morning at the village gate at 5. Get a good night sleep and take only the essentials." Naruto, Kakashi and Sasuke only nodded then left back for the apartment,

Back home, things only got worse. Naruto and Sasuke didn't talk. And Kakashi finally got the nerve to break the tension.

"Sasuke, don't you care that Sakura's gone? You haven't even said anything about it all day."

"Hmm, you expect me to worry about some traitor? She left with Itachi, what is there to say? You want me to feel bad? Why, she committed treason." Sasuke bit his tongue on that last word. Treason.

That did Naruto in. Slowly he spoke, "Take it back."

Sasuke didn't pay attention to him until a kunai slightly missed his head and landed an inch away. Sasuke looked up and turned to the blonde.

Naruto ran to Sasuke and picked him up by the neck and held him up against the wall. "You act like this, but you don't mean it. She's a team member Sasuke. But, you only care about maintaining your status as the next leader of out team when Kakashi retires. Your pathetic. You shouldn't be a ninja. You know deep down that Sakura didn't write that letter, but yet all you do is say it like you were there and you watched her. You didn't. Sasuke, you've become nothing but a heartless jerk." the words came at Sasuke like a stab in the heart.

Kakashi just at that moment came out and pulled Naruto off Sasuke. Sasuke landed with a thud to the floor as he was gasping for air. "Naruto! What the hell do you think your doing?"

Naruto didn't respond. He only spat in Sasuke's direction and stomped off the other way. He left Sasuke shocked, he was almost suffocated. And yet, Naruto didn't care.

"Sasuke, you okay?" Those words brought Sasuke back from the trance.

"Hai. Thank you Kakashi" And with those words, Sasuke went to his room and shut the door. Kakashi just stood there shocked at Naruto.

Inside his room Naruto paced back and forth. He had just almost killed Sasuke by suffocating him. But he didn't even realize it. He hated Sasuke. He couldn't stand the way he was anymore. Naruto wanted so much for Sasuke to wake up and realize what everyone realized. Sasuke loved Sakura. But, he only wanted to hide it from the world. That's why he was acting like this.

About an hour later, hunger drove Naruto to the kitchen. There was a knock on the door and Kakashi was the one to get it. It was Shikamaru.

"Hai Kakashi, Naruto." He smiled. "Is Sasuke around?"

Kakashi nodded and yelled for Sasuke.

Both boys sat on the couch in the room. Kakashi went to the kitchen and Naruto walked out. "Shikamaru, i don't see how you put up with the jerk." Naruto glared at Sasuke and then went to his room leaving the door open.

Shikamaru did nothing but stand there and seem dumbfounded. "What was that about?" Sasuke looked down.

"Nothing. What did you need Shika?"

"Well, I came to talk to you about Sakura. I mean, Tsunade told us what happened. I mean, considering that you like her and all."

Sasuke got up and threw the coffee table across the room. "I. DO. NOT. LIKE. HER. Don't you understand! Doesn't anyone!" His eyes were glowing red. And at that moment Naruto appeared at his doorway.

Shikamaru's eyes got big. Naruto spoke. "Shikamaru, i think it's time for you to leave. Before he gets that way with you."

Shikamaru shook his head and got up. "Sasuke, it's funny how I've stood by your side through everything. Because i thought that's what best friends were for. But no. You've changed. Sasuke, your pathetic. And I'm done." Sasuke looked at him. "Your trying to hide your affection. We all know it. Yet, no one liked you before because you treat everyone like crap. Now, I see what that was about. And now, Sasuke, you've lost me. I'm done playing your games."

Sasuke turned. "Shikamaru, please I'm sorry. Don't leave"

"Save it." And with that, he was gone.

Sasuke realized it then at that moment that Shikamaru was right. He was lying to himself. He loved Sakura. But, he was kidding himself. He sat down and stared at the broken table that he'd thrown minutes earlier. The cups now broken and the stains on the floor from the soda in them. He felt ashamed of his actions. I am pathetic. He thought.

"Naruto, your right. You and Shikamaru are both right." He looked at Naruto, his eyes were teary. Naruto looked surprised. "Your right about everything. I'm in love with her. And she's gone."

Naruto stared at this boy on the floor. Not once in the 18 years he's known him had he ever seen him cry. Now, here he was on the floor, rolled in a ball, crying and saying sorry. "S-Sasuke, no. Please don't say sorry. It's my fault. I almost k-killed you." Kakashi was now in the kitchen doorway. "Sasuke, please. Don't ever say sorry again..." his voice trailed off.

"Naruto, thank you. Thank you." Sasuke smiled at Naruto. His eyes gleaming at him. Kakashi smiled and returned to the kitchen.


The next morning, everyone met right on time at the gate. Tsuande met them there as well and gave them they're orders.

"Now, everyone. This won't be easy, as you all know, Itachi is a very powerful and well known Akatsuki member. And he's bound to have the whole group helping him, and if not that many, then some. Itachi is smart. That's why I've chosen all of you for this job. I know you can do it. Now, I've assigned Kakashi and Uzumaki the right as leaders of this group, but Sasuke Uchiha is in charge of the whole thing."

Sasuke stepped forward. "Now, i know that not all of you like me. In fact, most of you don't like me at all. But, I'd like to say I'm thankful to have you all here. Now, I'd like to say that I've only 1 rule. And that is, everyone must travel in at least a pair. That way, no one is ever alone. That way, if anyone attacks, then you'll have the upper hand. Now with that, I think we're ready."

Everyone looked at Sasuke. Kiba and Neji looked at each other. Neither of them were big fans of Sasuke. He's treated them like crap before, but they didn't mind. Before they got there, Naruto had once again told them the actions from the previous night. Tenten smiled at Sasuke thought to herself how great he looked.

Tsunade had said goodbye to everyone then left. And with that, all 9 people left and ran into the quiet, dark misty morning.


Chapter 3 ; The Brother and the Sister.


The 9 from the leaf village kept running. They ran for hours. Never ending. They all made this time out to be time to think their strategy about fighting the enemy. Sasuke, however, used this time to remember the beautiful pink haired girl they'd lost. Sakura.

Flashback . ;

; It was a cool sunny day and the 3 of team Kakashi made their way to the hokage mansion. Tsunade had called them there saying it was important. But, none of them knew what it would be.

"Team Kakashi, I'd like for all of you to give a big welcome to your newest team member, Sakura Haruno." Tsunade smiled, as did the girl.

Naruto was the first to run over. "Hey, I'm Naruto." He smiled. "It's nice to finally have a girl on the team. Not to mention one as pretty as you." She only smiled back at him.

Kakashi laid a hand upon her shoulder and smiled sweetly behind his mask. "I'm your team leader Kakashi."

However, Sasuke couldn't find the words to speak. He thought she was beautiful. The way her hair flew in the wind made her seem like a model. But, she wasn't. She was a real girl with beautiful green, emerald eyes. Breathtaking. Then finally he broke the silence. "Nice to meet you Sakura, I'm Sasuke." His and her smile met.

End Flashback ;


The silence in the night air brought Sasuke back to his senses. No one had spoken since they'd left. No one dared. Until now. Naruto. He'd broken it.

"Sasuke? Where are we going?" The question left Sasuke shocked.

Sasuke stopped and everyone else behind him did as well. "What?" He asked dumbfounded.

"Where are we going Sasuke? We've been running for hours but you never told us where we were headed." Naruto looked at him. So did everyone else.

"I d-don't know. Naruto, I don't even know. Oh my god, what am I doing?" Everyone stared in shock at the boy in front of them. Here they were. Lost.

Kiba finally spoke up. "Sasuke, let me lead the way. I can trace her scent. It's definitely this way. Just follow me." He smiled and offered Sasuke his hand.

Sasuke smiled and gratefully took the hand. "Thank you Kiba."

They all began to follow Kiba, all of then hoping for this to be over soon.


Zetsu walked into the room in which Itachi was sleeping. He yelled loudly, "Itachi! They're coming! They're almost here!" Itachi immediately knew what he was talking about.

Itachi got up and got dressed within seconds. "Tell them to get ready, we've got to go."

"I've already told them Itachi. They're waiting for you." With that, Itachi nodded and he finished getting ready.

Minutes later, Itachi was ready and they were all leaving. Heading away. "We are going to the Akatsuki hideout. We've got to tell lord Sasori. Now."


Within an hour of twists and turns all over the surrounding forest, the leaf ninja came upon Deidara's cottage. Sakura's scent was all over the place, it was obvious that they'd been here. They busted in the front door and went inside.

"This place wreaks of Itachi's scent. And 3 others. One is for sure Sakura."

Naruto and Kakashi both came and went in and out of all the rooms. Both of them in the end shaking they're heads. Naruto sighed, "I'm sorry Sasuke. But, she's not here."

The whole group looked at Sasuke. At that moment he couldn't hold back. He punched the wall. A hole right through to the outside. Tenten could do nothing but walk away. She couldn't bear to see Sasuke like this.

Kiba perked up. "Maybe they're headed to the Akatsuki hideout? I mean, she with Itachi. And common sense would say that he's going to end up taking her there."

Kakashi nodded, "He's exactly right. Only, I have no idea where we are and Uzuki can't even trace Sakura's chakra anymore. It's almost hopeless. We can only go so far to find her scent now."

Sasuke looked at Kiba then to Uzuki. "Both of you, all we can do for the moment is trace. I want one of you to take the north and the other take the south. Focus your chakra and use your try to trace her. Neji, you use your byakugan on the roof and trace all over everywhere. Got it?" They nodded then left.

Naruto whispered to Kakashi only, "He's finally growing up. He knows what he's doing." Kakashi hid his smile behind his mask. But Naruto already knew.

After about 3 hours both Kiba and Uzuki came running. Kiba screamed, "SASUKE! JUST FAINTLY TO THE NORTHEAST THERES A SCENT." Sasuke nodded then looked to Uzuki. She nodded back grinning widely. With that, everyone was up and ready again.


Meanwhile, Sakura and her keepers had already made their way to the Akatsuki lair. As soon as they got there, all three of the men held their hands up and opened the passage inside. They slowly walked inside and Itachi carried Sakura in his arms.

Before them was a man with a tail. He was short and his face looked older. He spoke to the three men. "Long time no see Kisame, Itachi, Deidara. What brings you here?" He looked interested now.

"Lord Sasori, I've come to tell you that I'm on the run. From the hidden leaf village. I've kidnapped a ninja girl from there. I plan on making her my wife." He sounded pleased with himself.

"Show me the girl Itachi." He sounded like he was losing interest. Itachi swallowed and hesitated but pulled his cape off Sakura and showed her to Sasori.

Sasori's eyes widened. He reached his hand out from behind his puppet form and touched the girls face. It was smooth and cold. She was surely under the Sharingan genjutsu. In an instant, Sasori knew.

No one, except Deidara, had ever seen Sasori's true skin. He was always hidden behind that puppet.


Flashback ;

; The blonde haired boy walked through for forest. He knew what he was looking for and that's what kept him going. He was looking for the boy who'd he'd been writing letters to for 5 years. Sasori of the red Sand. Deidara's best friend.

After hours of walking he finally came upon a cave. Inside he heard small whimpers. They scared him, but he knew who it was. So he walked right on in.

Before him, was a boy with dark red hair. That boy was Sasori. And Sasori was crying.

Sasori looked up with tears in his eyes and then whispered, "Deidara?" His smile then grew upon his face.

Deidara looked at Sasori and shook his head. He smiled and leaned down over the boy in front of him. "Sasori, now we can be together. Like brothers. Both on our own." He wrapped his hands around the red haired boy and didn't let go.

"We're outsiders. You left your village just for me Deidara-San. Thank you. You truly are my best friend, you mean everything to me."

Years passed and the boys both grew older and stronger. Deidara knew everything about Sasori and vice-verse. Deidara knew that Sasori was special because of the way he crafted and controlled puppets. But, what Sasori was turning into shocked the blonde in every way.

"Sasori, please come out. You've been in your room all day. Will you show me what your doing?" The door opened and Sasori stood before him.

Sasori removed his cloak and stood in front of Deidara. "This is what I've been doing. I've made myself immortal. I'll be the number one puppet master and I'll be able to defeat any enemy. Deidara, I'm the perfect puppet."

Sasori was entirely made of puppet. Every joint, he was no longer even human. He'd turned himself into a puppet. "Sasori, why? You were beautiful before this. Were you not happy?" Deidara was hurt and left in shock.

"Deidara, I have a reason for this. There is something that I never told you. It's the reason I ran away from my village. Please, I want to tell you." Deidara walked into Sasori's room and sat on his bed.

Sasori began, "Deidara, when we started writing letters back and forth, my family fell apart. My mother and father were killed in the ninja war and my grandmother offered to take me since I was already 8. However, she didn't want anything to do with my sister Sakura. Only because she was 1. " Sasori paused and Deidara could see the tears forming in his eyes. "My grandmother told me that she was murdered. But a year after her death I heard her talking to the Kazekage and he told her that she was doing well in the village they'd sent her off to. My grandmother lied to me. She was the only person I really trusted."

Deidara was shocked. He looked at the Sasori before him in tears. This made him picture the same Sasori he'd met for the first time so long ago. It crushed him. "I n-never knew. I'd never have guessed. I'm so sorry."

Sasori looked up at him, "Deidara, you became the only person I could trust. You became my best friend and brother." He smiled then looked down again.

Deidara then moved closer and wrapped his arms around Sasori. "Your my best friend too Sasori. I'll always be here. I promise. I'll never leave."

As the boys grew up, they began to face more and more dangers. Deidara improving his clay work and Sasori improving his puppets. But, Sasori had a master plan.

When Sasori turned 17 he concealed his body away in an iron puppet. Since he was older than Deidara, he waited until Deidara's 17th birthday as well to tell him what he wanted to say for so long.

"Deidara, this is my gift to you. Ever since we were kids, you've always been the one to protect me. But now, I vow to protect you, the one I love. My friend."

End Flashback ;


"Do you know who this is Itachi? Do you honestly know who this is?" Itachi looked shocked and honestly was a little scared. "This is my sister, they told me when I was 8 that she was murdered but they really sent her away to another village. It must have been the leaf."

Itachi looked at him. "So, I guess that means you disapprove about this?" He paused. "So, then I guess I have to take her back." He looked away in total anger ready to assassinate the Akatsuki leader in front of him.

Sasori shook his head. "No, Itachi, keep her. But, if anything happens to her, I'll kill you. I'll come for you and murder you with my own bare hands." He smiled at Itachi. "Protect my sister. With your life."

Within minutes Zetsu appeared in the middle of the group. "Itachi, they know you're here. They're coming for the girl. You've got to leave. Now." His words were stern and steady.

The group was ready to leave within seconds. But, Sasori requested to talk to Deidara. Of course Itachi approved.

Once alone he began, "Deidara, thank you. Thank you for everything. Just promise me, that you'll protect her. Whatever stands in your way. When those leaf brats arrive here, I'll fight then off for you and my sister. I promised to protect you and I will hold up to that promise." He looked up at Deidara.

Deidara smiled down at him and spoke so softly, "Sasori, although your inside that puppet, your still beautiful. And, I promise to protect Sakura. I promise." He smiled.

Before Deidara could turn away, Sasori grabbed his arm and pulled him close. Sasori once again revealed his true arms and wrapped them around Deidara. His puppet mask then folded back in sections revealing his face.

Deidara could see that his face hadn't changed in years. He was still beautiful. In every way possible.

Deidara smiled and laid his head on the puppets shoulder. "I've missed you Sasori. I really have."

Sasori smiled and pulled Deidara's face close. "We're alone again Deidara. I love you. I always have and I always will."

Deidara smiled and his eyes got watery. "I love you too Sasori. Until the end of time." And with that the two shared a simple kiss upon the lips that no one but them would ever know about. That one kiss was something both boys had wanted since they'd met. But neither one ever revealing. Until now.

As Deidara walked out of the lair back to Itachi, he couldn't help but look back at Sasori one last time. Once again Sasori was completely concealed inside the puppet. Deidara smiled at Sasori. And somehow, Deidara knew that Sasori was smiling back.

Itachi yelled back to Sasori, "Oro's hideout." And with that, all 4 people were on they're way.


Chapter 4 ; He fights for His Love .


It only took them 2 hours to reach the Akatsuki lair.

Neji was the first to speak, "Sasuke, I can only sense 1 chakra inside there. It's way too strong to be Sakura's. She's not here." He was stern with his words.

Sasuke smirked, "We're already here. So we might as well check it our inside. Kiba,is her scent strong?" Kiba nodded. "Then she's got to be in there Neji. Now, we've got to break this boulder. So, I want everyone to back up, and Naruto, I want you to hit it with a good strong rasengan. Okay?"

Naruto nodded to Sasuke, "Hai."

Within minutes, the wall was broken and everyone was inside. The formation was normal, Sasuke, Kakashi and Naruto in front. Neji, Kiba, Shino and Uzuki behind them. Tenten and Lee in the back.

"You could have knocked you know. After all, what your looking for isn't here." The man spoke.

"Sasori of the red Sand. Long time no see." Spoke Kakashi.

"Kakashi the Copy Ninja? Well well, what a surprise." Sasori smiled and moved his tail.

Naruto charged forward, "Where is she Sasori? Where is Sakura?" His eyes glowed red.

"Sakura Haruno? You mean MY sister? The one you leaf ninja stole away!" Sasori screamed.

Kakashi's eyes widened and he looked at Uzumi. She looked back at him worriedly and he nodded. Suddenly, Uzumi was in front of Naruto. All of them watched as Kakashi joined her side.

She started, "How did you know? How did you know Sakura was sent to the leaf village?"

Sasori chuckled, "Kazekage visited my grandmother and told her the good news. That she was alive. Exactly 1 year after I was told she was dead. I've known all along. I won't let you take her back. She's mine. She's my only family." Sasori growled as images of Deidara's smile broke through his thoughts. "She's going to stay with the Akatsuki. I'll NEVER tell you where they've taken her."

Kakashi raised an eyebrow. "Let's make this interesting. We'll have a fight, and if we defeat you, then t you, then you have to tell us where she is." Kakashi finished.

Sasori laughed in amusement. "As if you could ever defeat me. You couldn't come close."

Naruto growled, "Then let the fight begin."

Kakashi nodded, "Everyone be careful. Don't let any weapons touch you because they're poisoned. And, he's a puppet. Aim all attacks for his head."


As the fight broke out, Itachi and his minions trudged on.

Kisame and Itachi walked with a steady pace far ahead of Deidara and the finally awake Sakura.

"Deidara," Sakura started in a blank voice, "What's troubling you?"

Deidara looked shocked. He hadn't noticed until now that he had been silent since Sakura had awoken. Neither did he notice that was holding Sasori's Akatsuki ring in his hand. Deidara closed his eyes and walked along, "Nothing Sakura. Nothing at all."

She look ahead. "Your lying. You've been silent. Your thinking. Please tell me what your thinking about."

Deidara looked at her. Even though she was in a Sharingan, she still had control of her thoughts. "Sasori, he won't be able to hold the leaf off."

Sakura looked at him. "Why not? He's the leader, he should be able to."

Deidara sighed and swallowed, "My main man Sasori fights with hundreds of puppets at once. They drain his chakra fast though. He's only buying time." Silently, a tear slid down his cheek. "This conversation is over Sakura." Deidara finished, lowered his head, and silently wept.


Back in the Akatsuki lair the fight dragged on. Finally after an hour of dragging on Naruto hit Sasori head on with a rasengan.

The fight stopped in an instant while everyone waited. Was he dead, or alive?

The puppet surrounding him shattered into bits on the ground. They all watched at the true face of Sasori emerged from the pile of rubbish.

Sasori's red hair flowed freely and his eyes showed a laid back person. His lips came from a smile and faded to a slight frown. He sighed and laughed. "Amazing. You've managed to shatter my puppet form. I've been wearing that thing for 10 years. But, now the fun begins."

Sasuke stepped forward, "Fun? You call this fun? I call you pathetic. You haven't even left a scratch on me yet." He smirked and stared across the battle field at Sasori.

Sasori's eyes narrowed and he threw his cloak on the ground. "1000 master puppet jutsu!" In an instant 1000 puppets appeared on his side of the battle field.

Sasuke threw a lightning blade toward one of the puppets and it was instantly crushed. "1 down. 999 left to go." And with those words, everyone, ninja and puppet charged. The fight had just begun.


Itachi was growing tired. "Everyone, I'd like to take a break. I'm tired. And with that, Sakura I'd like to talk to you. Sakura listened and the two walked into the trees for a few minutes leaving Kisame and Deidara behind.

"Sakura, I can't do this anymore to you. I just can't." With that he released her genjutsu.

Sakura stood there a minute trying to regain her thoughts. It finally hit her. She jumped up, but fell back off balance. "I hate you. YOU BASTARD!"

Itachi looked at her and moved closer, "I suggest you don't stand up too fast. The genjutsu is just wearing off." He kneeled down in front of her. "You don't hate me."

Sakura spit in his face. "This was all a lie. You trapped me. You don't love me." She pushed him away. He only moved closer.

"Sakura, I released you because, I love you. More than you could ever know. You're the best thing to ever happen to me. How can I make you believe that?" He helped her stand up.

She backed up into a tree, "I'd never believe you anymore. You lied to me."

He moved his body up against hers. "Sakura, I'm not lying." He moved as close as he could get and touched her lips. He caught her in a kiss.

He moved his hands down her back and slid his tongue into her mouth. He could feel her breath mix with hers and he loved it. It simply became a game to see who's tongue could come out on top.

"Oh my GOD! ITACHI YOU WANTED TO TAKE A BREAK TO SUCK FACE WITH SAKURA! WHAT THE HELL!" Deidara screamed.

"Well, well, well, Master Itachi. You dog." Kisame snickered.

Sakura and Itachi split apart and both licked they're lips. Sakura knew. Or thought she knew. She had fallen in love with him, and he'd fallen in love with her.

"Well, let's get on our way then shall we?" Itachi asked.

"I'm tired. I know this old abandoned town up ahead. It's hidden between two mountains, and it will give us a chance to rest." He smiled.

"Well then, lead the way Kisame." Itachi seemed in a better mood then normal.

After about 20 minutes on the road again Deidara looked at Sakura and noticed her eyes. "Sakura?" He asked. She simply looked at him and he stared into her eyes. They weren't gray anymore. But, they were dark green. Emerald. Deidara smiled. "Never mind Sakura." They both looked away just as they came upon the small village that Kisame was talking about.


After 3 hours of fighting, all 1000 puppets were gone. Only 3 people were able to move on the leaf ninja side. Kakashi, Sasuke, and Naruto.

Sasori laughed, "You are too weak. You could never beat me." His eyes were emotionless and his smile was gone. No expression at all. A pure robot. Puppet.

Neji screamed, "S…s…Sasuke….. he's b…bl…bluffing. He's got n….no c…chakra left."

Sasori moved his head stiffly toward Neji, "Shut up. You weakling, you know nothing. I'm still as str-" He fell to his knees.

Everyone looked to him. Two swords were pierced right through his heart. Sasori's eyes were huge.

Suddenly, Kankuro was standing with the group. "Kakashi, Gaara sent me to help, I just happened to sense the chakra strings here. Thank god I did."

Sasuke walked forward and bent down in front of Sasori. Sasori looked up at him He knew he'd been defeated. "I never go back on my word" he said slowly. "They're headed to Orochimaru's hideout."

Tenten stood up and helped Neji as well. Sasuke got up to turn.

"Wait," Sasori screamed. Sasuke turned around and everyone looked to them. "Please, whatever you do, when you find them. Don't kill Deidara. He's only trying to protect Sakura. He's not evil at all….-"

Before Sasori could finish, Sasuke had already nodded his head. And with that Sasuke drove a kunai right through Sasori's heart.

Sasuke then got up and walked out. He pulled out a cigarette and had a smoke for the first time in his life. It began to rain.

"Kankuro, thank you for saving our butts back there." Naruto said.

Kankuro smiled. "No problem."

Since no one was paying attention Zetsu appeared in the ceiling of the lair. Unnoticed.

"That fool" He whispered. And he silently left.


Itachi, Deidara, Kisame and Sakura all had finished dinner right before it started raining,

When the storm actually hit, Deidara had a horrible feeling in the pit of his stomach. To stay warm, they'd found some wood and out it in a fire place they'd found in one of the houses. Sakura laid on the couch curled up next to Itachi. He was snoozing. Kisame was reading a book he'd found. And Deidara was staring out the window.

Out of nowhere Zetsu appeared from the floor. Sakura gently woke Itachi up and Kisame put his book down. Deidara turned around slowly and stared.

"Itachi, Sasori made a deal with the leaf. He said that if they killed him, he would tell them where you were headed. They killed Sasori. He's dead in the lair. And they're all badly injured. So you'll be safe here tonight."

Itachi sat up, "That fool. Trying to protect Sakura." He looked at Sakura. "He's only hurting you. By trying to help them find you, he's hurting you."

Deidara got up and ran out of the room, and busted through the front door.

Kisame sighed. He knew why Deidara had left. Sakura looked at the floor. Itachi cursed under his breath. And Zetsu simply nodded and left.


Outside the rain poured onto the ground. Deidara ran until he couldn't stand anymore. He fell to his knees and wept in his hands.

"SASORI!" he screamed. He screamed it over and over.

He cried harder than before. "Oh no. It's not true. He's not gone. Please, let it not be true." He cried and screamed. He cursed and wished it was him instead of Sasori.

Deidara got up and walked farther to a small pond he'd found. He sat at the edge and stared into the water.

"Deidara, you'll catch a cold. Take this." Kisame was behind him with a blanket in hand.

Deidara took it and faced the water again. He wept and trembled.

Kisame laid a hand upon his shoulder and then sank down beside Deidara.

"Kisame, it's not fair. It's just not fair. I loved him. He's the only person I could trust."

Kisame shook his head. "Deidara, everyone knew you both had a brotherly relationship. Zetsu left a note saying Sasori's final words. He told Sasuke to make sure you stayed alive."

Deidara shuttered, then looked down. "There's something in my pocket." Deidara looked down to find Sasori's Akatsuki ring. That was the last thing Deidara had from Sasori. "His ring…"

Kisame stood up and so did Deidara. Kisame began to leave but then waited for Deidara.

He took his ring off and threw it in the water. Then put Sasori's ring on his own finger.

Deidara finally made his way back to the house. He found Sakura and Itachi curled up on the couch and Kisame had finally fallen asleep in the chair. So Deidara went upstairs and found another chair by a window.

The rain had stopped and the moon had come stared at the moon and let out a small chuckle. It made him think of Sasori.


Flashback ;

; It was midnight in the forest where the 2 boys had made their home. The moon was out and they sat on top of a clear field.

Deidara stared at Sasori. "Sasori, what is it like to be in love?"

Sasori smiled and moved closer to Deidara, "Love is being able to be close to someone, and give them your heart. And you have to trust them to not break your heart. Like, I trust you with mine Deidara-San.

"Why me Sasori? Are you saying you love me?"

Sasori nodded and laid his head on Deidara's lap. "I love you because I know that you're always going to be there. You've been the one person I've grown up with and I want you to be the one and only person I grow old with. You give me butterflies Deidara."

Deidara smiled, "Your my everything Sasori. I may only be 13, but I know that your my one and only true love." The words felt so right on his lips.

When Sasori didn't reply, Deidara looked down.

Sasori was sleeping soundly in Deidara's lap. Deidara ruffled the red hair in his hand and laughed. "I want you to be the person I grow old with Sasori. I want to be with you until the end of time.

And with those words Deidara laid back and fell asleep with his hand over Sasori.

Neither boy knew why, but they made one another feel safe inside. Like nothing could hurt them.

End Flashback ;


Deidara fell asleep in the chair with a smile on his face, and Sasori's ring on his hand.


Chapter 5 ; The Departure Into the Moonlight .


The leaf ninja had been delayed due to the rain that night. They'd been forced to take shelter in a cold, damp cave. Sasuke couldn't do anything but stare out the cave opening. He didn't want to stop. But he knew it was necessary.

"Okay, the rain stopped, so let's get a move on. We've got to get to her." Sasuke stood up and everyone looked.

"Sasuke, I can barely stand. There is NO way I'd be able to run any further." Neji said.

"Neji, please. You can walk fine. We'll have someone help you."

Kakashi looked at him, "Sasuke! Don't you realize it! Your team is injured, they need to rest for a night. Let's just use this time to rest. You've got to think about your team."

Sasuke looked at him and his eyes grew cold. "Fine." The cave grew silent after that.


After a few hours Sasuke found himself still staring at the forest outside the cave. He wanted so bad to go. He didn't know whether Sakura was even alive or not. No, he thought. She WAS alive. She had to be.

"Sasuke," Tenten walked over and sat next to Sasuke. "I know you're having a hard time with this, but you've got to have hope. Sakura's going to be okay, I promise you. She'll be fine. You've got to have hope."

"Tenten, you don't get it. Sakura, she's what means that most to me. This whole mission is only about her. She's my team. But, thank you. You're the only person on this team who doesn't hate me right now."

Tenten smiled. "As soon as morning comes around, everything is going to be okay. Just get some rest Sasuke." And with that she went to sleep.

He waited until he was sure then he made his move. Within seconds he was headed east. By himself, without his team. "I can't be slowed down anymore." He whispered to himself. "I'm sorry Tenten, but this is for the better."


Back in the village, everything went downhill starting at dawn.

"Shikamaru! Come quick! It's Hinata, she's in the hospital!" Ino ran into her fiancé's room and screamed.

Within seconds Shikamaru was dressed and headed to the hospital. Ino trailed behind him. But upon arrival Hinata asked for alone time with Shikamaru. And Ino left.

Hinata's breathing was weak and low. "S-Shikamaru, you already know."


Flashback –

; Three months earlier –

It was a hot day in the leaf village and Hinata and Shikamaru had been given a pointless mission.

"Honestly, this is too troublesome. Finding a lost messenger bird? Maybe it left for a reason!" Shikamaru was obviously annoyed. Hinata giggled.

After they finished they're mission the two sat down at Ichiraku.

"It's on me Hinata. After all, you helped with that mission. You like magically knew where that bird was." Shikamaru smiled. "How'd you do it.?"

Hinata looked away and pushed the bowl in front of her away. "Shikamaru, if I tell you something else no one knows will you promise to not tell anyone?"

Shikamaru looked confused, "Uh, sure Hinata…?"

Hinata looked unstedy, "I've developed a new jutsu. I can see things in the future. Last night, I saw a bird in the middle of the forest. I figured that was what we were looking for."

Shikamaru's smile grew, "Hinata, that's amazing. Does anyone else know? Neji? Kiba? Shino?"

She shook her head. "No, because ever since I developed it, I've been growing weaker and weaker. I think it's just because I haven't been training as much. But, I'm not sure."

"Hinata, you've got to get that checked then …"

End Flashback . ;


"Hinata, what d-did you see….?" Shikamaru had tears in his eyes.

Hinata coughed, "Everyone…. On that mission… they were on a huge hill and I saw them trapped in chakra fields…. They w-were controlled by a black and w-white figured." She started crying. "Shikamaru, you've g-got to w-warn them…. And p-p-please t-tell Naruto, t-that I love h-him…."

The heart monitor became one long continues beep and Shikamaru knew what he had to do. Without a word he walked out of the room, grabbed Ino's arm and dragged her out of the hospital.

"Shikamaru where are we going!" She tried to yank away but Shikamaru kept a firm grip.

"The Hokage Mansion."


Sometime during the night, Deidara and Itachi had found their way to a bedroom with two beds and Itachi and Sakura found their way to the other bedroom across the hall with one bed.

Sakura rolled over in the bed and faced Itachi, "Good morning beautiful." Itachi smiled.

Sakura sat up, "Itachi? Ugh, I'd rather have slept downstairs. I'm still mad at you. I don't believe you." She crossed her arms.

"Sakura, what can I do to make you believe me?" He sat up behind her and wrapped his arms around her.

"We're alone right now Itachi, it's just me and you." She turned and gave a naughty smile.

Itachi grabbed her and turned her over so he was on top and in control. "So, this is how you like it?" he asked.

Before she could answer he was already shoving his tongue down her throat. She did the same to him. They bit and licked and kissed over and over.

Itachi then made the first move and took Sakura's shirt off. He cupped and played around with her. She moaned with excitement. It made Itachi's shaft harden against his pants. Sakura felt it and she liked it.

Before Itachi could go any further Sakura ripped Itachi's shirt off and admired his body. She had to admit, he was built. He had an amazing six pack and giant muscles. She couldn't resist.

With her massive strength she switched places with Itachi. She whispered I his ear, "I like to be in control." Then she went for the prize.

She moved down and removed his pants with her. Finally, his little friend came out to play.

She started to grab and stroke, Sakura, feeling every pulse. It made her moan with excitement. She couldn't take it anymore. She finally stuck it in her mouth and Itachi moaned her name. She licked and sucked.

Itachi couldn't wait any longer. He pushed her head onto his dick so now she was deep throating him. He loved it so much, he came in her mouth.

Finally realizing what he just did he let go and Sakura moved back. She took a few deep breaths and cum dripped from her mouth. She smiled.

Her eyes sparkled. "I'm ready." She gave him a naughty smile and crawled on her hands and knees back to him. He simply picked her up, stripped her down and spread her legs. He gently shoved his dick into her tight hole.

She let out a little cry at first. "Sakura, you okay?" Itachi asked?

She nodded, and he kept on going. The louder she moaned, the faster and deeper he went in.

She screamed, "I – I'm g-going to cum Lord Itachi." He went faster and faster.

All Sakura could hear were Itachi's grunts and the sound of the headboard against the wall.

As much as she hated to admit it, she loved this. She wanted this. To her, it felt right.

But to Itachi, she was just another whore. Another virginity he'd stolen. He could care less.

Sakura suddenly screamed as well did Itachi. They'd both came. Itachi inside Sakura. And Sakura on Itachi.

The only thing running through Sakura's head, was the thought of Itachi. He's just taken her virginity and she knew for sure that she loved him. And he loved her. Or so she thought.


In the room across the hall Deidara stared at the ceiling. It was light in the room and his eyes were huge. His virgin ears had been soiled.

"KISAME ! OH MY FUCKING GOD KISAME ! THEY DID IT ! THEY DID THE NASTY ! EWWW EWWWWWWW !" Deidara screamed.

Kisame in the next bed over rolled the other way. He wanted to do all he could to hide his morning wood, which had grown since he'd heard Sakura's moans. He simply smiled and laughed. Reassuringly he replied, "Never knew Itachi had it in him."


In the cave everyone awoke one by one. The birds in the forest were singing and everyone was stiff. And before they knew it, everyone was up stretching and yawning. They had a big day ahead of them, and this was the first actual night of sleep they'd had since they'd left.

"Neji, how's your leg?" Naruto asked.

"Eh, it's better. I can run and walk."

"Good."

Tenten walked to the back of the cave again, "Hey, has anyone seen Sasuke?"

Everyone looked around just as Uzumi ran in. "Kakashi, Sasuke's gone!"

Tenten's eyes got big. "But, I talked to him last night before I went to bed! He was still here! He was fine!"

Lee put his arm around her. "Tenten, maybe he waited until after he was sure everyone was asleep to leave."

Naruot got up and ran, "Kakashi! We've got to find him! He's the team leader in this mission!"

Everyone was panicking now.

Kakashi whistled and everyone looked at him. He began in stern steady words. "I know your all worried, but we all know that Sasuke went on ahead to try to find Sakura faster. Now, Naruto. I know that you want to find him, but the specific mission orders were to FIND SAKURA! We're going to find Sakura. Then find Sasuke after we find Sakura. We still have out trackers. We're going to be fine. And Sasuke, he's strong enough to fend off if he needs too. Now, for the time being I'm taking over as captain. Now, we've got to focus on Sakura, so Kiba, you'll help me lead. Now, let's go."

And, with that all the leaf ninja were on their way to look for Sakura.


Chapter 6 ;Take Her Away


Sasuke ran in the morning light. He kept his blurry eyes on the road. Tears spilled out. He knew. He loved her. More than anyone would every know. He ran for hours. Non stop. Until the rain came.

Drops from the sky fell around him onto the dark and helpless ground.

He finally stopped and looked up. He didn't know where he was anymore. He was completely lost. He couldn't help Sakura.

And, right at that moment, he sat down and cried. He completely lost himself in the rain. He came unglued and he was alone. Sakura was gone. His sunlight was gone.


Sakura was asleep on a couch. Itachi was asleep in bed. His orders? No one awake him. Having sex tired him out. Deidara and Kisame were practically alone.

"Deidara?" Kisame held himself up on the sink ledge. He stared out the window. "You know, don't you?"

Deidara knew exactly what he meant. But, he didn't want to believe it. Not one bit. "Kisame, i have no idea what your talk-" He was cut off.

"Deidara, don't play stupid. I know you. You know better. You know me and you and Sasori, we're all pawns in Itachi's game of chess. He's using all of us. Just to get to Sasuke. Deidara, your promise to Sasori was your life. You swore to keep Sakura safe. And you know. She's no longer safe here. Itachi, he's crazy now. You know Deidara."

Deidara looked down and closed his eyes. He pictured Sasori's face. "Kisame, Sasori, he'd be so mad if i didn't know. But, i do. I'm not stupid. Sasori died to protect Sakura and I. But, the question, is... What's your plan?"

Kisame glared at him. It cut right through his heart. "You already know. You know the plan better than I know myself. You have the power, to take her away. To keep her safe longer."

Deidara looked down at the ring on his hand. "Itachi, he'd come and look for me. I couldn't. I could never Kisame."

"Let me ask you a question Deidara. Do you really want to betray Sasori? Your promise to him? Do you want him to be mad at you for not protecting her? Deidara, you've got to. Your all we have left." Kisame sighed. "Your all I've got left. Your my only hope to save her. Please Deidara."

Deidara pushed his chair back and got up. He walked into the parlor and watched Sakura. Kisame followed. "Kisame, I'll take my clay bird. I'll leave and run as far away as i can." He then sighed and made his way to the door.

Kisame picked sakura up and walked out the door, into the rain behind Deidara. He pulled clay out of his pouch and summoned a bird. It open it's beak and Kisame put Sakura inside. Once the bird closed it's mouth, Kisame turned to Deidara one last time.

"Deidara, you and Sasori didn't have a brotherly bond did you?" He looked at Deidara for the longest time.

Deidara faced forward and look ahead, "Kisame, i loved Sasori with everything in my. He was my everything. And, all i can say is... I didn't know how much I loved him until the very end." And with that, Deidara climbed on the bird and flew into the rain and clouds.

Kisame watched as the rain thickened and he sighed. "That boy, he's grown so much since he joined. He grew up and trained for one reason. Sasori."

He smiled and walked back inside and laid in the chair. Soon after, he fell asleep.


Shikamaru ran through the rain. Branch to branch. Yamato and Ino trailing behind him.

flashback ; to yesterday.


"Shikamaru, what's going on?" Ino yelled at him as he ran into the room lady tsunade sat in.

As the two entered Tsunade was shocked. She just stared at Shikamaru and her eyes met his. Her's warm and caring. His cold and dark.

"How can I help you Shikamaru?" Her voice was kind but she knew it was serious.

"Hinata, she's passed." His face was stern. This scared Ino. Not once in her life had she seen him this upset. Not even when Asuma was killed.

"I know. And, I'm guessing you know why? I've heard and seen that you've gotten very close with the girl. Tell me Shikamaru. Why did she suddenly fall so ill?" Tsunade was mocking him now.

"Hinata gained a new jutsu. She could see future times. It made her weaker. Right before she died she saw them. The 9 that went."

"I already know Shikamaru. Yamato is going with you. He's waiting for you at the village gate."

end flashback ;

Shikamaru shuttered at the thought of his friend dying. He knew they couldn't stop and they had to keep going. They'd been running since last night and they hadn't stopped. No one had complained, and no one said a word.

Shikamaru held out an arm and the two behind him haulted. "Someone is up ahead. This chakra feels so familiar."

Ino looked at him. "Shikamaru, we can't wait." She bargged ahead. Shikamaru sat there dumbfounded.


Ino slowly krept through the trees until she heard someone weeping. She then stopped and looked around the tree infront of her. "S-Sasuke!"


When Shikamaru didn't hear Ino anymore he went on ahead with Yamato behind him. They both came upon a clearing in the forest where they saw Ino standing in front of a boy curled up on the ground. In an instant, Shikamaru knew who the boy was.

He simply stared at what the boy had become. "S-Sasuke? W-What happened? Where is everyone?"

Sasuke looked up with bloodshot eyes. "I left them this morning. They wanted to stop going, but I just wanted to go. I need to get to Sakura. But, now. Now i don't even know where I am."

Ino looked back at Shikamaru then back to Sasuke. "Sasuke, we're East of the Desert boarder. We'll be your team. Do you know where your headed?"

Sasuke stared. He was completely lost until now. Thinking of being near the desert, he knew. He knew exactly where he was headed.


flashback ;

"Sasuke-Kun, my little brother. This place is a secret Uchiha hideout. It's called Blacktop Mountain. It's exactly 1 mile north of the desert peak. I want yuo to always remember this place. Because it's the most important hideout we have.

"Okay big brother. I won't."

End flashback ;


Sasuke right at that moment stopped crying and stood up. "Blacktop Mountain. That is where Itachi is headed."

Yamato shared a glace with Shikamaru then looked at Sasuke once more. "How do you know?"

"Because, when I was young Itachi took me there and told me that it was the most important hideout we had. And he's right."

Ino sat on the ground. "How will we tell the others?"

Shikamaru looked around, "I'll go tell them. I mean, i'll find them if i back track Sasuke's tracks. Plus they probably stopped somewhere because the rain was so heavy."

Ino stood up and looked at him. "No, I'm going. Your sasuke's best friend. You and Yamato will be able to protect him until you get there. I'm going to tell the others."

"No. Ino, I can't risk losing you."

She turned and he grabbed her arm. "Shikamaru. I'm not the little girl I was when we were on team 9. I've grown up and I can protect myself. Let me do this. Please."

Shikamaru looked at her and then sighed. "Ino, please be safe. I'm counting on you." He then pulled her into a hug and held onto her tightly. "Just be safe Ino. I love you."

"I love you too." And with those words they shared a quick kiss. After that, she was gone into the trees. Shikamaru simply stared into the forest. His everything. Leaving his side for the first time in months.

Sasuke placed a hand upon his shoulder. "She's strong Shikamaru. She can do this."

He turned back to see Sasuke smiling at him. "I know."

Sasuke looked to Yamato. "Ready?"

He nodded and the 3 of them began they're journey to Blacktop Mountain.


Deidara sat on his bird and flew through the cool air. He wished he'd never have joined Itachi. In fact, now, he hated Itachi.

Itachi was the reason Sasori was dead. He was the reason Deidara was heartbroken. He was the reason Sakura wasn't safe.

Just thinking of the name made Deidara's blood boil.

It had been 3 hours since he'd left Kisame at the town. 3 hours that he'd been flying.

He was now over a forest and a cave was in sight. So he stopped the bird and took a break. He removed Sakura from the beak and set her on the birds back. He then sat in the open way staring out over the forest. It was about 10 minutes until Sakura woke up.

She sat there confused. She had no idea where she was. She simply looked up and spotted Deidara on the other side of the cave. So she got up and walked over.

"Where's Itachi?"

"Far from here."

"Where is my lover? Where is he Deidara?"

Deidara simply pulled out a cigarrette and lit it. Took a puff, then spoke. "He's back in the town. 3 hours away from here. Your finally safe Sakura."

"Safe? SAFE? I was safe with Itachi! Why did you bring me here? I want to be with him!"

Deidara looked down and sighed. "Sakura, he's fooling you. He's only using you to get to Sasuke. Kisame knows it. I know it. Sasori knew it. Yet, your trapped in him. He tells you what you wanna hear. Well, weather you want to hear this or not. Sakura, he's lying to you. He want Sasuke. He knows Sasuke loves you and that's why he picked you."

Sakura huffed. "I'd never believe that. Your just jealous because Sasori died and you don't have anyone anymore. Your pathetic. I bet this is why Itachi never liked you."

Deidara got up and turned to her. He held his hand up and opened his fist. He then let a small clay rope form from his hand and wrap tightly around Sakura. I'm going to get food Sakura. I'm leaving you here." He sat Sakura down and got on his bird. Within seconds, he was gone.


The first thing Itachi did was walk to the living room to check on Sakura. When she wasn't there, he checked the whole house. Still nothing.

He eventully found the room where Kisame was sleeping. He grabbed him by the neck and in an instant Kisame was up. Itachi drove him into the wall and help him up.

"Where the hell is she! Where the hell is Deidara!" Itachi was yelling and Kisame couldn't breathe.

Itachi let go and he fell to the floor gasping. "I-I don't know lord Itachi.." Itachi picked him up again and threw him across the room. He hit the wall and cried out in pain.

"Kisame, tell me where the hell he is!"

Through the pain in his back, Kisame managed to say, "No-t s-ure."

Itachi crossed the room slowly and got real quiet. "Deidara is so naive. Now he's going to die. That stupid promise he kept with Sasori? It's going to cost him his life."

Kisame sat back up. Sweat was pouring down his forehead. "Itachi, your going to kill him?"

Itachi smiled and in a cool, calm voice answered, "Yes Kisame, i'm going to kill him."

Itachi then walked out into the kitchen. Kisame's back was in horrid pain. He wanted to cry. But, he couldn't. i'm sorry Deidara. I really am. was all he could manage to think in his head.

Within seoncds, Itachi was back. "I've got a new use for my sharingan. I can transport myself to the last person i used it on. So, here I come Sakura." He grabbed Kisame's arm and dissapeared into thin air. Within seconds they were in the cave. Right in front of Sakura's eyes.


An hours after he'd left, Deidara returned to the entrance. He got off his bird and walked back.

"Welcome back Deidara". Deidara froze and in an instant. He dropped everything. He turned around to see itachi making his way to him. He also saw Kisame sitting against the cave wall. His eyes were stuck on Deidara's face. They were filled with terror. With every step Itachi took to get close, Deidara took one backward.

"You see Deidara. Because you left, I accidently broke Kisame's back. Sakura is healing him now. But unfortunatly, you won't be joining us after this. You'll be in hell for treason. You turned against me Deidara." Itachi was smiling.

Kisame looked at Deidara. He couldn't look an other place.

Itachi threw an invisible kunai at Deidara and it him in the stomach. He let out a blood curdling scream and fell to the ground. Kisame's body pulsed and Sakura finally looked at the two men. She knew Deidara had been right all along.

Itachi stepped closer and closer to Deidara. "This is where you meet your end." He readied a chidori blade and aimed for Deidara.

"STOP!" Sakura ran and pushed Itachi to the ground. "RUN DEIDARA!" She screamed and Deidara slowly got up and made his way back to the exit of the cave.

Itachi looked at Sakura. "You little bitch. DON'T EVER TOUCH ME AGAIN!" He charged at sakura and picked her up by the neck. He threw her against the at the wall but Kisame had caught her before she hit it. He was healed. Sakura cried and Deidara trudgged along.

Itachi turned to him and he suddenly froze in his tracks. Damnit, i'm trapped. This is it... I love you Sasori. Itachi made his way tward Deidara and he drew his sword.

Sakura tried to break away from Kisame's grip but he wouldn't let her go. She sobbed in his arms and kisame whispered in her ear, "God no. Don't look sakura."

Both of them hid they're eyes from the scene. All they heard was a scream worse than before.

Itachi had stabbed Deidara right through his heart. He drove it through him further and further until it was seen on the other side.

While Deidara laid there dying, Itachi pulled the sword back out and drove it back through his back multiple times more.

There was blood on the cave walls and all over the sword. It was on Itachi's cloak and face as well.

When Sakura and Kisame finally looked back up, the only thing they could see left of him was a cloak on top of the dead body and a pool of blood on the ground coming from him. They saw the blood on the walls and both tried so hard to not cry. They couldn't. Not with Itachi there.

Itachi finally turned around and his smile was as big as ever. Such a waste. Someone so strong. such a traitor. And as for you Sakura. I suppose you finally know the truth. And, on the journey, i don't want you trying to escape. So, here." He got in her face and activated his sharingan. She was asleep in seconds.

Itachi was in content. "Kisame, it was worth it. Your so much more loyal then him. Now, carry Sakura and let's go. We're on our way to Blacktop Mountain. I have a feeling Sasuke will be there."

The 2 men left with the girl. And they left Deidara's dead body in that cave as well. As they walked on, Kisame cried silently for the loss of his only friend left.


Chapter 7 ; Reunion of the Leaf.


It was dark outside. Somewhere around midnight. The only thing that shown light was the moon. Yet, still, the world seemed completely dark to him.

Kisame trudged along with Sakura in his arms. She was so defenseless, it disgusted him.

He looked down at her and couldn't help but feel hate toward Itachi. To him Itachi was a best friend. But even he knew, that he was only another toy for Itachi to play with. And once he was done, Itachi would throw him away just like all the rest.

Kisame shuddered at the thought of Deidara and Sasori. That little thought brought him back to reality. Once again, he looked back down at Sakura. Her eyes were shut and her face was pale. This wasn't good for her anymore. Looking at her killed Kisame. It reminded him of him all those years ago. On that mission, in the hidden rain 15 years ago...


flashback ;

Kisame ran as fast as he could through the Rain Village. It was storming harder than usual and the explosions going off around him didn't help him. The only thing Kisame could hear were explosives and the rain hitting his head. He was far from his team and he had no idea where he was.

He stopped and turned in all directions. Looking for a way out. The only thing he could see near him, the only thing even alive, was a small girl. She was crying and screaming. Once he spotted her, he made his way over to her before anymore explosions were triggered.

Her eyes were red as she looked up to him, "Mister, w-who are you?"

Kisame picked her up and replied, "I'm here to save you little one. Where's your parents?"

Once again the little girls eyes filled up with tears, "I don't know. They ran in the commotion. I had my daddy's hand, then all the sudden I was pulled back with the crown of people.

Kisame thought to himself, great. The parents are probably already dead. He then heard a faint ticking noise and began to run. Within seconds, the aera where he'd just been was destroyed.

With the girl in his arms, he kept running until he heard familar grunts once again. Zabuza, Aki, Uzimuuki, Tentierra and Zamizuh were all there. In the push of a button, Aki set off bombs all around them. Innocent villagers were thrown and enemies were murdered. Once the aera was safe, Kisame made his way to the group. They all stared at him.

"Who's the girl?" Asked Aki. He was the leader of the Mission.

Kisame looked and replied, "A village girl. She lost her parents. I couldn't just let her die."

"Ugh, there you go Kisame. Always beinging trouble along."

Zabuza, Kisame's bestfriend, laid a hand on Aki's shoulder. "C'mon, he did a good thing. Just let it be. It's fine." He then flashed a smile at Kisame.

"Fine."

This mission had driven Aki to the edge and the whole team had agreed he'd gone crazy. They'd been here for 4 months and ever since their arrival, it's been nothing but bombs and rain. They'd been sent to help. But Aki, only wanted to kill.

In an instant, the little girl stopped crying. She pulled at Kisame's pant leg. "Look, there's my mommy!"

Two villagers were running at the group. "Katsumi! They were screaming."

When Aki caught sight he'd mistaken them for an enemy and immeadiatly armed his jutsu.

"NO AKI" screamed Kisame. But it was too late.

"400 kunai justu!" And within seconds, the two villagers were on the ground.

Kisame ran at him. "You idiot, those were her parents!" The little girl stood behind them crying once again. "You just killed the only people she has left!"

Aki smiled. "If she's alone, then she doesn't deserve to live."

Aki punched Kisame in the stomach and he fell to his knees. The little girl who was crying was suddenly told to hush.

Aki kneeled behind her and whispered everything would be alright, but he silently pulled another kunai out of his pocket.

Beeping was suddenly heard and Zabuza ran to Aki. "The bombs they're-"

The who group ran except those two. Within seconds there was another explosion and Kisame fell to his knees.

Zamizuh rested a hand on Kisame's shoulder. Within seconds, a poor defensless girl and his best friend were dead.

After that, everyone in that team left, was sent back home. Kisame had made his way to Zabuza's house and told Haku, his wife, what had happened. She was 7 months pregnant with their first child.

Kisame slowly slid into a deep depression. Until a man came into his life and was known to be his only "friend". That was Itachi Uchiha. He introduced Kisame to the Akatsuki and the hurt of exile. Kisame truly believed Itachi and all the words he'd said.

End flashback ;


Kisame was once again brought back to reality as a tear slid silently down his cheek. This was the first time in years, he'd ever even thought of Zabuza.

And for the first time in years, he'd realized that joining the Akatsuki was the wort thing he'd ever done.


Everyone in the camp was asleep except Kiba. He laid up and looked at the stars. Until suddenly, something caught his attention. A new smell. Familar, but not of anyone in the camp.

Kiba sat up and shook Naruto who as laying next to him. "Naruto, wake up!"

Naruto's eyes opened and he sat up. "WHAT!"

"Someone's coming. I can smell them."

Naruto stood up and grabbed Kiba's arm. "Well then c'mon! Let's go!" And together they ran.

"This smell is so familiar, but i'm not sure what or who it is..." Kiba sniffed. "RIGHT UP AHEAD"

At those words, Naruto lunged forward, screamed in pain, then plundered down to the ground. Another scream also filled the air. Rather girlish.

"INO!" yelled Naruto?

Kiba landed on the ground and helped the blonde up. "What are you doing here?"

Ino thanked him and rubbed her head, "I'm here to tell you guys about Sasuke. He's safe and headed somewhere. I'm supposed to tell everyone because we've got to meet them there."

Ino took a step and limped, Kiba helped her. "You can't run, c'mon get on." Ino thought about it and then eventully got on Kiba's back.

Naruto looked at the blonde. Then Kiba's face. It was red. Naruto looked forward then smiled. He remembered how Kiba had always had a crush on Ino when they were kids. I guess Kiba never really got over it.

Back at the camp, everyone woke up Naruto's screaming mouth.

When everyone was finally away, Neji helped Ino off Kiba's back and helped her stand.

"Shikamaru and Yamato and both with Sasuke right now. They're on their way to Blacktop Mountain. We've got to hurry and get there.

Kakashi nodded to her and made a plan. Within minutes they were all on their way to meet Sasuke. This time, Ino rode on Neji's back. Naruto had apologized to her for causing them to crash and for hurting her ankle. She simply giggled and accepted.

Neji and Ino had always been close, but his heart belonged to Tenten. But Tenten was always chasing after Sasuke. It was like a never ending trail.

So, into the night they all ran. They were all focused on one thing. Getting Sasuke back.


Chapter 8 ; The Arrival.


It was early morning. Sometime around 6. It was cold and dark outside still. The rain had caused everyone a rough time getting there. But, thank Ino for being the messenger.

When Kakashi's team arrived the first thing they did was wait on the mountain top. They were alone, Sasuke wasn't here yet.

Ino trembled and Neji rested a hand on her shoulder.

"T-They left before us. They should already be here." Silent Tears ran down her face. Neji captured her in a hug and everyone looked away.

Even though no one wanted to admit, they were all scared. What if Itachi had reached Sasuke first? What is Sasuke was ambushed? But no matter how hard they tried toshut out those thoughts, they still came.

It was about an hour before anyone heard anything. Tenten, Shino and Kiba were sent to patrol the outer ridges of the mountain. But, Tenten was the first to spot them. Sasuke, Shikamaru and Yamato.

Tenten yelled and everyone came to the mountain side.

Slowly they made their way up the mountain. But, the first person to the top was Shikamaru. Within seconds he had Ino in his arms and he was giving her kisses and conforting her. Next was Yamato. He got a smile from Kakashi and Uzuki. Then last was Sasuke. When he reached the top, everyone looked at him.

Although he wanted to just sit down and sleep, he needed to stay awake. For the team. And for once, he was happy to have a team with him.

With all eyes on him, the first person to greet him was Tenten. All Sasuke was hoping for was a hug, but instead, she kissed him. Right on the lips.

Sasuke didn't know how to respond. So he just stood there in shock.

Ino shared a glace with Shikamaru. Everyone's smiles faded as they'd all realized what had just happened.

Finally, Sasuke pushed Tenten off. He then backed away and she turned her head bashfully.

Neji's mouth was gaping open and everyone saw it. The only thing he could do was walk away. And everyone knew why.

Tenten giggled and said, "I just couldn't help myself. I've just missed you so much."

Sasuke glared at her and she shut up. "Kakashi, does this mean I'm in charge again?" He gave Kakashi a look and he only nodded. "Then my plan, is for everyone to pair up and keep a lookout for Itachi. Tenten, your with Lee. Both of you go to the North Peak. Now. Now, I want Naruto and Kakashi to stay with me, and the rest of you go."

Everyone went to their positions, Shikamaru and Ino with Neji, and they waited.

Once everyone was gone, Kakashi looked at Sasuke. "What's the plan?"

Sasuke smiled, "Knowing Itachi, he'll want to fight one on one. So, while everyone stays back I'm going to fight him alone. As soon as someone gives wird that Itachi is here, i want yuo both to go hide in those rocks. If things start to get shakey, then come help me. But until then, stay back."

Kakashi nodded and Sasuke made his way to the tip of the mountain.

Kakashi looked up at his student and smiled. Naruto could even tell he was smiling.

"Kakashi Sensei, i agree with you."

Kakahsi looked confused, "What do you mean Naruto? I didn't even say anything."

Naruto looked back up at Sasuke and smiled. "He's grown up so much. He's truly my bestfriend. And when he takes over as leader of this team, I know that we'll be the best team ever known."

Kakashi couldn't help but stare at Naruto. Not only had Sasuke grown up, but Naruto too. His blue eyes shown peace. He looked up to Sasuke. Not only as a teammate, but as a brother. A friend. And Kakashi was proud.


Neji sat on a rock and stared ahead of him.

The beautiful blonde then took a seat next to him and glanced at Shikamaru. "Neji, it's Tenten isn't it?"

Neji didn't even have to look at her. "I've loved her for 7 years. I am 19 years old and I've loved her ever since she joined this team. But, she only looks to Sasuke. When he clearly, loves Sakura." The brown haired boy closed his eyes and sighed.

"Neji, honestly if you asked me, I'd say Tenten is stupid. Your a great loving person and if she doesn't see that, then you've got to move on. She's missing out on someone wonderful. She's missing out on my bestfriend." The blonde smiled then held her stomach. She gave a painful look.

"You know, you really shouldn't be here Ino." Neji looked at her and smiled. He knew she was confused. "Your pregnant. It's obvious. Does Shikamaru know?"

She smiled, held her stomch and looked down. "Not yet. If he'd know, he'd have never let me come to tell you. I'll tell him when we get home. He's gonna be a daddy." And with that, she got up and walked back to Shikamaru.


In every group people talked about Tenten, and what she'd pulled. They all knew about Neji's feelings for her, but Tenten was completely oblivious to the subject.

Lee and Tenten stood on the north side of the mountain. Lee actully tried to look around, but Tenten only day dreamed of the day she'd get to be with Sasuke.

"Tenten, your an idiot."

Tenten quickly remembbered they were on a mission. She then gave Lee a dirty look. "Your just jealous because i've had my first kiss." She smirked off.

Lee looked at her, "You don't understand it. Your head over heels for Sasuke. but he doesn't love you." He looked away. "He loved Sakura."

Tenten looked at him. "Lee, what's gotten into you." She was clearly confused.

Lee turned around and looked up at Sasuke. "He's on this mission for Sakura. Just look how focused he is. Tenten, he loves her." He then looked at her and cleared his throat. "Neji loves you. He has ever since we've become a team. But, you don't even understand. You could care less."

Tenten turned around and looked to the trees. She now knew Lee was right. And she finally realized, that she'd made a mistake kissing Sasuke. She'd only made a fool of herself. Nothing more. Nothing less.

For the next hour everyone kept a sharp eye on the forest surrounding them. But, no one saw the man that was watching them. The man who had multiplied himself. Zetsu.

He'd been watching them ever since they got there. And, for every leaf ninja he saw, he's multiply himself. In the end, he came to a total of 12.


A few miles away, Kisame and Itachi made their way to the mountain. Kisame was still holding Sakura.

Neither of them had said a word since the previous night. They just set out for different things. Itachi was set for Sasuke. And Kisame was set to fallow Itachi due to the fear inside him.

Itachi stopped walking, and knowing Kisame was in a day dream he held his arm out. Of course, Kisame ran into his arm and then finally stopped.

Kisame gave him a confused look. "Why are we stopping lord?"

Itachi stared ahead and said blankly, "Zetsu has come. He has news for us."

Kisame looked forard, and within seconds Zetsu appeared infront of them. The look in his eyes, meant throuble was brewing ahead of them.

He looked to Itachi and spoke. "12."

Itachi simply raised an eyebrow. "Pardon?"

"12 leaf ninja."

"Then take care of them. You know what to do. But don't strike until we're reached near the mountain."

Zetsu scratched his head. "When you get within a running distance?"

"Exactly. Once we get close enough, we'll break off in a run."

Zetsu nodded and then dissapeared.

Itachi gave him a look. "Kisame, I want to tell you something." He stopped and paused. "After I kill Sasuke, I'll have no use for you. So, you can leave and do whatever you please."

Without anymore words, Itachi continued on. Nothing more was said.

Kisame stood there gaping. He couldn't believe what Itachi had just told him. But, just as anyone else would, he kept following Itachi. Not anymore out of fear, but hate.


About 10 minutes later, Sasuke got a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach. His first thought was that Itachi was there. But no. That wasn't it.

Without even thinking he yelled to Kakashi and Naruto, "Go now! Hide in the rocks."

Of course they went. And right as Sasuke had thought a white chakra field had began to take over the top of the mountain.

"No," Sasuke whispered. Right at that moment, Sasuke knew he's be fighting this war one on one.

Within seconds, everyone was trapped in small chakra fields, and behind each one was a black and white figure. He wore an akatsuki cloak.

Sasuke's eyes filled with hatred. He had been watched. This whole time.

Screams and yells filled the air. Cursing and kicking muffled out the cries. Everyone was trapped except for Naruto and Kakashi. Sasuke was thankful for that.

In seconds the field had grown silent. Sasuke raised as eye brow as he stared at the sky. "Hello Brother."

Itachi appeared on the ground. Behind him was Kisame. And in his arms was Sakura.

"Hello Sasuke. Long time no see." His voice was blunt and quiet.

Sasuke soon appeared on the ground as well. Everything was silent. The only sounds were those of birds, fleeing from the scene about to appear.

Sasuke flashed a quick look at Sakura. Then Itachi smirked, "She's fine. Just a little shaken up."

Sasuke growled underneath his breath. "Give her back, and I won't kill you."

Itachi smirked. "I'm afraid, I can't do that Sasuke."

Once again the whole mountain was quiet. All eyes were on the two brothers. And for once, Sasuke doubted himself. In the back of his mind, he was still the little kid he used to be.


Chapter 9 ; "In Your Honor"


Sasuke stared at the man in front of him. His brother. The man that had condemned both of their lives to loneliness. The man he hated. Itachi Uchiha.

His eyes grew red with anger. He clenched his fists and gritted his teeth.

"So, it had to come to this. A fight to see who's the stronger brother?" Sasuke stared at him.

"Not strength, but hatred." Itachi said bluntly.

Sasuke took a quick look at Sakura. She was pale in Kisame's arms. "I fight in your honor Sakura."

Itachi smirked. "Pathedic." And within seconds, both men had made the first move. For this battle, was for something greater than power. It was for love.

Itachi made a move and tried to catch Sasuke's neck with a Kunai, but just as he was about to hit, Sasuke dodged and slit the back of Itachi's calf.

Itachi had no doubt in his mind that Sasuke had grown. He was stronger now. So much more stronger.

The surrounding leaf ninja couldn't do anything: they were of no help now. The only thing they could do, was sit and watch.

Tears ran down Ino's face as she watched Sasuke. Every move he made was for Sakura. It made her wonder if Shikamaru felt that way about her.


On the other side of the mountain, Kisame proped Sakura up against a rock. They were away from the battle, but were still in full view.

Kisame wanted to only wake the girl, but he knew that if he did, she'd do something that she'd regret. So he only sat down next to her, and laid his cloak over her.

The rain was now pouring and the sky was a dark, mysterious grey.

Kisame sat there and watched the battle. There were blue lightning strikes and kunai's flying everywhere. Silently he cheered for Sasuke. And that's when he made his decision. He'd try to kill Itachi himself.


Yamato crept up behind the rocks. He was the only other person on their team that wasn't there when Zetsu had laid the traps. He was out roaming the forests.

While watching the battle, he spotted Kisame laying back. And next to him was Sakura.

He moved forward, and within seconds, he held a kunai to Kisame's neck. "I dare you to move fucker."

His eyes met Kisame's and it seemed as if for a minute time stopped.

The blue, shark skinned man sighed. "I'm not going to hurt her. In fact, I'm against Itachi himself."

Yamato stared at his face for a few more seconds until pure shock filled his eyes. "K-Kisame?"

"How do you know my name?"

"I'm Yamato... Don't you remember me?" He let his guard down for a few seconds.

"Y-Yamato? From the rain! Youre alive?" His voice was shocked.

Yamato set the kunai down and gave Kisame a hand. "Of course." He smiled.


flashback ;

The rain had stopped for about an hour. Kisame, at the age of 7 walked outside and stared at the sky. It was the first time in months the rain had actully stopped. He was joyous.

Kisame also noticed as the child from next door walked outside too. Kisame couldn't help but stare. The boy was so pale, and so scrawny. It made him laugh.

When Yamato heard the laughing he looked at Kisame with a scowl. "What are you laughing at ugly?"

Kisame stopped laughing and looked at him. He then walked over to him and got up in his face. "Who you callin' ugly pip squeak?"

Yamato pointed a finger at the boy and drove it right into his chest. "You idiot."

Kisame then raised a fist and punched Yamato, who fell to the ground. He growled at the blue child and tackled his legs.

At they faught, they rolled over and over on the ground, until Kisame slid off.

When he stood up, he realized that he was covered in mud. He screamed.

Yamato got up. "What's wrong with being a little dirty! Are you really that stupid?"

Kisame walked over to him and picked him up by the collar, "If my mom sees me like this, she'll kill me and never let me out of the house again!"

Yamato looked at him. "You know, you can always take a shower at my house?"

Kisame smiled at him. "Okay, oh and I'm sorry for being so mean. I was just kinda mad."

Yamato smiled and held a hand out. "It's okay. Oh, and I'm sorry too. What's your name anyways?"

"Kisame."

"Yamato. nice to meet you. Ya know Kisame? I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship." Both boys shook hands and they both went back to Yamato's house.

End flashback ;;


Yamato laid a hand behind Sakura's head and shook her shoulder. "Sakura? Wake up Sakura. Please, wake up."

Sakura slowly opened her green eyes. She looked around and didn't know where she was.

Before she could speak, Yamato was in her face. "Sakura, listen to me. Are you listening!" She nodded. "Good. Sasuke and Itachi are fighting right now. Your on Blacktop Mountain. None of the other ninja here are able to do anything. Your safe now though."

Upon hearing those words, Sakura sat strait up and looked at the two men going back and forth at eachother. "Sasuke! He really came!" She tried to stand up, but Kisame held her down.

"Sakura, listen to me. You've got to stay away for now. There's nothing you can do to stop this fight anymore." She sat back and hey eyes didn't leave the battle in front of her.

The first thing Kisame noticed about her, was how pale she looked. He already knew she wasn't in good health at the moment. She had a slight fever and she was cold to the touch.

Yamato looked at Kisame and nodded. "Good luck my friend."

At that moment, Kisame stood up and began his way to the battle field.

Sakura didn't have to ask. She simply looked at Yamato and he nodded back silently. He was going to kill Itachi.


Zetsu watched from the top of the mountain. He stood where Sasuke had been before, but he wasn't watching the fight. No, he was watching Kisame.

Kisame had a look of hate on his face, and he was beginning to withdraw his sword. Zetsu knew what he was trying to do. Within seconds, he jumped from the tip, and landed in front of Kisame.

"You don't stand a chance. Your weak Kisame."

"Get the fuck out of my way you bastard."

Zetsu glared at Kisame and cloned himself. "Don't toy with my Kisame. I'll kill you if I have to. If you were smart, you'd stay loyal to lord Itachi."

Kisame pulled out his sword and waved it in front of him. "I tried to follow him, but that bastard is nothing but trouble. And you know the only reason you follow him, is because your scared."

Zetsu gritted his teeth. Kisame tried to walk past, and He cloned himself again. "I told you, I can't let you pass Kisame."

Kisame sighed and backed up. "Then you'll have to die."

He waved his sword, and in an instant, a wave hit Zetsu and knocked him to the ground. But since Kisame only aimed at one, the other two were already behind him, trying to suffocate him.

Zutsu walked closer and prepared to cut him, right through his heart. But as soon as Zetsu got there, the water clone they'd held fell to the ground.

Zetsu sighed, "He isn't going to make this easy."

"Damn right I'm not." Kisame said from behind him.

Zetsu turned, and hit Kisame directly in the stomach, causing him to fly across the battle field.

Kisame moaned from the pain of the hit, but flew right back to fight. He threw his sword at Zetsu, causing him to lose his balance and fall.

This was Kisame's chance. Right at that moment, he held his sword to Zetsu's chest. He was prepared to stab him until he felt the cold touch of a kunai at his neck. The clones had caught him. He'd caught Zetsu.

Sakura screamed, Itachi and Sasuke froze and everyone looked at Kisame and Zetsu. One move, would cause either one to die.

Sasuke moved his gaze from those two, to Sakura and back.

Itachi stared at his minions. His eyes were wide. He knew what was going to happen.

Right at the same moment, both Kisame and Zetsu stabbed one another. Causing Kisame to fall backwards, and Zetsu to close his eyes.

Without words, both men slowly died on the battle field. With everyone watching.

Sakura looked to Sasuke. He wasn't paying her or Itachi any attention.

Suddenly, Itachi looked to Sasuke. His smile grew.

Sakura's eyes got big and she screamed at the top of her lungs. "SASUKE! WATCH OUT!"

Sasuke turned to Itachi as a sword made it's way to him. He closed his eyes and braced himself for the pain, and his death. But, it never came.


Chapter 10 ; True Strength.


Sasuke sat there with his eyes closed. He wasn't sure what was going on, but he didn't want to open up. He was afraid of the site in front of him. But, he did know that it was silent. And something was dripping on his face. But he didn't know what it was.

Sasuke slowly opened his eyes and looked up. In front of him, was long pink hair facing away from him. And shown right through her back, was the blade of a sword. Sakura was there. She'd saved him.

Sasuke moved his hands from his eyes and sat there with his mouth open. Sakura was facing Itachi and her face shown deep pain but she didn't make a sound. Itachi simply stared at her.

Sasuke looked around at his friends, they were no longer trapped. But they stood there and stared at the girl in front of Sasuke. They were frozen in time. No one moved. Except Sasuke.

He turned and looked back to the place Naruto and Kakashi were hiding. They both stood there and stared at the scene in front of them. They were no longer hidden.

Sasuke felt a few more drops land on his face. This caused him to turn. It was blood. Blood drops. Sakura's blood. A tear slid down Sasuke's cheek.

Suddenly, time started again as Itachi slowly got up and began to laugh. He saw Sakura twitch, then she slowly turned around to face Sakura.

Her face was brusied and pale. Her eyes met Sasuke's and she smiled. She put her hand on the handle of the sword and began, "Silly Sasuke. It doesn't hurt." She tugged a little and began to pull the sword out. A tear slid down her cheek and pain filled her face. "Tears aren't needed here Sasuke. Strength is needed." She pulled the sword out the rest of the way. It was blood covered, and she kept smiling.

The blood flow continued, but it was slower than normal, because of her medical skills. She handed it to Sasuke. "Kill him Sasuke. Show your true strength." She then slowly gave him a hand and he grabbed it. Sasuke slowly made his way up and faced Sakura. She only lifted her hand and wiped his tears away.

He grabbed her hand and held it to his face. He closed his eyes.

"Kick his ass Sasuke. Show him, that your the better brother." And with those words, Sasuke opened his eyes and let go of her hand. It fell slowly back to her side.

Sasuke nodded to her as Kakashi and Naruto appeared at his side. Kakashi and Naruto put her arms around their necks, and they carried her away to Ino. She was the only other medical ninja.

Sasuke stared at Itachi. This man, once so strong and pure. Was now weak and dark. He was a monster. He needed to be destroyed.

Itachi kept laughing as he began. "That girl is stupid. She just risked herself to save you. She's stupid. This was my plan all along. If I took her, I knew you'd come."

Sasuke's eyes grew red and his body tensed. He knew Itachi had planned everything.


Kakashi laid Sakura down flat on the other side of the battle field. All the leaf ninja gathered, and Shikamaru set her head in his lap.

"S-Sakura..." Ino cried.

Once again, Sakura's face was taken over with the pain running through her body. But, she smiled at Ino.

Ino put her hands over Sakura's wound and a green chakra appeared over her hands. The healing began.

Naruto stood by Kakashi and his eyes didn't leave Sakura's face. Tears slid down his cheeks.


Itachi finally calmed and continued with his story. "You see little brother, I can see that you have feelings for this girl, so you'd do anything to protect her." Itachi took a breath and went on. "So I took her away, and made her believe that I loved her. I made her believe that the leaf was wrong for her. I controlled her. So you'd come Sasuke."

Sasuke's fists clenched and he gritted his teeth.

"She was only a puzzle piece in my game. So get to you. You'd only come, and give yourself to me if I took her." He smiled. "And now, here you are Sasuke. At the most important Uchiha landmark ever known. Don't you know why this is so important?"

Sasuke remained silent. His eyes grew red and his sharingan, began to release.

"It's because, every civil war out clan had, was faught on this mountain. And now, you and I are the last two Uchiha alive. And after this, only one will remain." His smile faded and became a small line. He stood there waiting.


Ino kept her chakra flow up through her sobs. She wanted to save the girl on the ground. She needed to save her.

Sakura coughed and blood came. shikamaru simply wiped it away, and held back tears.

Naruto finally turned away and looked to Sasuke. Kakashi rested a hand on his shoulder. "It all lies in Sasuke's hands now Naruto."

He was blank. His face showed no emotion. The only thing he could say was, "I know."


Sasuke knew Itachi was right. And the girl he loved, just gave herself away to save him. He was ashamed.

"I hate you." He said coldly.

Itachi smiled once again. "You finally know how I live Sasuke. You finally hate me enough. You hate me. Prove it Sasuke. Prove to me that you hate me."

Sasuke took a step closer and pulled out a kunai. He threw it, and it missed. In fact, it hit the rocks behind Itachi.

The older brother, only replied back with a laugh.

Once again, Sasuke took out a kunai. He threw it, but this time it landed on the other side of Itachi. He'd missed again.

Itachi laughed. "You don't hate me."

Sasuke stood there and began hand movements. "FIRE BALL JUTSU."

Within seconds, the paths the kunai's thrown took, were covered in fire.

Damn, he's trapped me. It's an invisible chakra net. Thought Itachi.

He was right, Sasuke had trapped both of them in a small place. Around them was nothing but fire. Now, it was kill or be killed.


Sakura's breathing began to come in weird patterns, but she was fighting for her life. She wouldn't let the darkness take over.

Ino still pushed with everthing she had. The green light was still strong and flowing.

Sakura turned her head tward the fight taking place. She didn't take her eyes away.


Itachi released his sharingan, but Sasuke knew better. He didn't look his brother in the eye. But after that attack, Itachi bent over and began to cough violently. Blood scattered on the floor.

In those seconds, Sasuke managed to make his way to his brother and hit him dead on with a lightning blade. Itachi was sent flying.

Half way through the air, Itachi did a flip and landed on the ground on his feet. He began a hand motion. "Thousand kunai jutsu." Within seconds, Kunais went flying and they all made their way to Sasuke. He dodged and evaded almost every one, except a few. And the ones that hit, managed to rip his shirt and leave cuts on his skin.

It began to rain then. Which caused the fire to go out, and once again, their battle could be seen.

At that second, both boys moved at the same speed, and met at the same time. Itachi managed to get a shadow clone behind Sasuke and vice verse. Both boys were stuck. With a kunai at both their throats.

Itachi chuckled. "Sasuke, it looks like we're both going to die today." His eyes faced the boy in front of him.

"No Itachi." He began in a slow and blunt tone. "You'll be the one dying today."

Itachi's eyes grew wide. For the two Sasuke's before him, were both shadow clones. the real Sasuke was making his way to his brothers front.

Sasuke stood, face to face with Itachi. Both eyes meeting.

Sasuke's eyes were dark red and his face showed no expression.

Itachi's eyes were wide and full of shock. "H-how?"

"Because, I hate you. I've wanted to do this for so long Itachi. I've been waiting for this day my whole life."

Itachi inhaled, and Sasuke stuck his sword through his brothers heart. And to make sure he'd die quickly, he used one last lightning blade attack.

When he was sure Itachi was dead, he finished the attack and let him fall to the ground.

"Your time is done." He said.

inside Sasuke's head, a crowd cheered. His brother was finally dead. Now he could take Sakura home, and everything would be okay once again.


A boom of thunder brought Sasuke back to reality. He looked to the crowd of ninja on the other side of the mountain. Without thinking, he moved his feet, one after another to them. Unknowing, of what he was about to see.


Chapter 11 ; We Never Meant to Win.


Now that Itachi was dead, only one thing mattered to Sasuke. And, that was Sakura.

The rain hardened at Sasuke walked toward the crowd. First was Naruto, his and Sasuke's eyes met. But no words were said, it still remained silent and Sasuke walked right past him. Naruto stared strait ahead, holding himself back.

He walked over to Sakura's side and sat down. His heart sank. He stared at Ino.

She looked in his gaze and sobbed. His eyes seemed to ask, will she make it? And Ino only shook her head.

The green glowing stopped and Ino backed up. "S-Sasuke..." Her voice trailed off and Naruto traded places with Shikamaru. Sakura's head was now in Naruto's lap, and Shikamaru had his arms around Ino. Everyone knew right then, at that moment.

Sasuke looked down at the girl under him. Tears fell from his eyes, and she looked at him. She too managed a tear, but she only smiled. "I told you not to cry. So stop."

Sasuke shook his head and the tears fell harder. His breathing quickened as he screamed the words no one wanted to hear at that moment. "Sakura, I can't! I love you. LOVE you. And now, I'm going to lose you."

Sakura looked at him. "I love you Sasuke Uchiha. More than words can explain. And I'm sorry for being weak. For leaving with him. For putting you through this." She blinked, and her deep green eyes grew watery.

Sasuke closed his eyes and took her from Naruto. He cradled in his arms and began, "Sakura, don't apologize. Your not weak. Your the strongest person I know. You give to everyone. You think about everyone but yourself and even now. Your laying here dying, but you still won't think about yourself."

Sakura trembled in his arms. "Sasuke. I don't want to think about myself. I've dedicated my life to saving those who mean the most to me. And even thoes who I don't know." She coughed. "That's why I took that sword for you. Because, you have a whole life ahead of you. Your going to become the leader of team 7. And your going to move on in life."

Sasuke's head fell. "I can't go on without you. You too have a life Sakura. A real life to live."

Those words, were a shock to everyone around them. That was the first time in his whole 18 years, that he'd poured his heart out. That was thre first time that he'd ever given in and cared for someone other then himself.


Tenten, who stood in the back of the crowd, walked away at that moment.

Those words hit her like a punch in the face. The man she cared so much about, was telling another girl how he felt. And she was jealous. She didn't want to make a scene so she left.


The rain didn't let up, and it barely washed any of the blood away. In fact, the ground had begun to turn red.

It took Sakura a while, before she could fine the words to speak. But when she found them, she replied. "You won't be without me. I'll always be here." She pointed a finger and touched his heart. "In your heart Sasuke. I promise. And whenever the wind blows, I'll be there. When your alone and in a dark place, I'll be there. But, my life is dedicated to my medical skills. I gave you my life Sasuke. Because I love you."

Sasuke dropped his head and sobbed. It broke Sakura's heart to see him like that. But even she knew, that she couldn't hold on much longer. Slowly, second after second, she was fading inside.

She went on. "I may not be the best with goodbyes, but I know that you'll move on. I don't want you to grieve over me. I want you to be happy with life. You'll be sucessful. I know. I promise."

Sasuke bent down and kissed her lips. It was something he'd wanted to do since the day he'd met her.

But, this wasn't just a kiss. It was the beginning as well as the end of something. Something great. Something that could have been. Could have worked.

When their lips parted, Sakura looked up at him. She raised her hand and touched his cheek. "My love for you, will never end Sasuke. And, I know at the moment, your heart is broken. But, in time all things will heal. I promise on everything." She sighed and forced her words out. "But Sasuke, all I can say now is goodbye. I love you."

After those words, she closed her eyes, and her hand fell from his cheek. She was gone. Dead.

The rain seemed to fall harder, as Sasuke sobbed into Sakura's body. His heart sank and he couldn't breath anymore. His whole body was numb now. He lost it, and so did everyone else.

Ino turned away into Shikamaru's chest and cried. Shikamaru held her close, and even cried himself.

Kankuro walked away with tears running down his face. He couldn't stay to see this. He couldn't stand to see Sasuke like this.

Naruto sat down next to Sasuke and laid a hand upon his back. Sasuke shook with each sob. Each breath. Each tear.

Tears silently slid down Naruto's face. This was the side of Sasuke he never wanted to see. In fact, it was the side of Sasuke, he was scared to see.

It was minutes before Sasuke laid Sakura down once again. He sood up and everyone looked at him.

He sighed and began. "We never meant to win. This war, wasn't meant for us. Sakura, gave her life to save me. To save everyone. From Itachi. And for that, we owe her the world." He sighed again, and tears slid down his cheek. "Thank you Sakura. Your a ninja, who shall never be forgotten."


Sasuke walked away from the scene and left his whole team to her body. He couldn't stay because he didn't want to say goodbye. Because goodbyes were hard.

Once on the other side of the mountain, Sasuke sat down and leaned up against a rock. He couldn't cry anymore. Instead, he just sat there. With an emotionless face. Staring into the abyss in front of him.

Visions of Sakura danced through his mind. Her smile. Her laugh. Her chin and her nose. Her pink hair and her bright personality. But most of all, her eyes. No matter what, her eyes were always green. Full of life.

Blue sandals and green pants appeared out of the corner of Sasuke's eyes.

"I want you to know something Sasuke. Mind if I sit?" His deep voice boomed through the rain.

"Sure Kakashi." He replied.

Kakashi took a seat next to his student. Sasuke stared ahead, but Kakashi took a look at him. He tried to picture the small and young Sasuke he'd first met all those years ago. But he couldn't. This Sasuke before him, was someone new. Kakashi knew his student was grown. Sasuke was truley ready to be a leader now.

Kakashi looked ahead. "Sasuke, I know you won't believe me, but I know how you feel."

Sasuke shook his head. "No you don't. You've never been in love Kakashi. All you ca-"

Kakashi cut him off, "Yes I was Sasuke. When I was young. Your age. But she's dead now..." His voice trailed off.

Sasuke shot him a look. "You've never told me Kakashi... W-What happened?" He asked shakily.

Kakashi looked ahead. "Rin and Obito. They were my best friends. My team. But one mistake ruined everything we had."

Sasuke turned his head and listened. Kakashi sighed. "One night on a mission, Rina dn I were surrounded by an enemy and they had us stuck. Being foolish, I tried to protect, but they'd gotten her before I could and they killed her right in front of me. I loved her with everything in my heart. When Obito found out, he blamed me. And I began to blame myself."

Sasuke spoke softly, "What happened to Obito?"

Kakashi's face failled with pain. "Obito quit the team and left the hokage mansion. And later that night, he was attacked by an enemy in the forest. They killed him. And the next day, I got a letter at my door from him. Saying how I was a selfish bastard, and a show off for Rin. That it was my actions that killed her. But, since Obito was already dead, I went on with my life. I shut them out and never spoke of them again."

Sasuke looked at his teacher. Tears were running down his face.

He then finished. "Every once in a while, I go to their graves and visit them. No one knew what happened to them, and why I never talk about them anymore. In fact, your the first person I've told in 9 years. Iruka, he was the last person I told. But, Sasuke." He paused and looked at him. "Life goes on. We as people go on in life. And we never forget the past. But we learn to forgive outselves. And sometimes, we never move past it, but either way, you're going to be okay. You may blame yourself now, but it wasn't you fault. Sakura died, doing something she loved, for someone she loved. She gave you a seconds chance to finish Itachi off. And you did. She saved you, because she loved you. And that's all that matters."

Sasuke stared at Kakashi. "I had no idea Kakashi. I'm sorry." He paused then, went on. "Thank you. For making me realize that I'll be able to move on. It may take time, it may take seconds. But, thank you."

Kakashi smiled at his student. He was proud.


When Kakashi and Sasuke walked back to the crowd, the rain had stopped and so had the crying. Sakura's body was covered in coats and blankets.

Sasuke felt tears building up once again, but he faught them back. He stared at the body shaped pile on the ground. He swallowed and nodded to Kakashi.

Kakashi then picked up Sakura's body and held it close like a baby.

Sasuke stared ahead, "Everyone, buddy up please. In pairs of two. We're heading home. I'll take front. Naruto and Uzuki, please take behind me. And Kakashi and Kankuro, please take the back. Yes, Kankuro. You have to come back with us." Kankuro nodded. "Now, let's go."

One by one the ninja's took off.


About an hour later, the rain started up again. It was heavy. The ninja could only hear the person next to them.

Sasuke led the group alone. He hadn't talked to anyone since the departure back home.

Ino spoke quietly to Shikamaru, "I'm worried about him. He's so hurt. So alone right now."

Shikamaru nodded. "The whole objective was to save Sakura and bring her home. Well, we're bringing her home. But, not safe."

Ino sighed. "Shikamaru, Sasuke's hurt. He's heart broken. So is Neji. This mission is just, horrible in general. Everything's ruined."

Shikamaru didn't reply back.

Tenten didn't even talk the whole way home. After that, everything was pretty much silent.


Seven hours later, the whole group returned to the gates of Konoha. They all waited for Tsunade who brought her whole medical team.

Tsunade punched the ground when she was told about Sakura. But, she also barely took her eyes off Sasuke. She could tell he was hurt.

But, every person in the team, met with a medical ninja to get their treatment and make sure everything was okay.

Although, it was a shock when Shizune announced that Ino was pregnant. That made Ino the center of attention. Because everyone was so happy for her, and they were worried about her because of that fact that she'd been on a mission. Even Shikamaru was happy. He was the first person to scream with joy. He was happy he was going to be a father.

After everyone was gone, Sasuke stared up at the moon. It was the first time in months that it was a clear night. He was finally alone and he was actully happy about it.

He heard Sakura's voice so clear. She was whispering to him, I love you Sasuke. And for a moment, he swore she was even in front of him. He saw her so perfectly as he reached his hand out. But as soon as he got close, she dissapeared.

He couldn't do this. Not now. So he turned tward the town and began his walk. Back to his house for sleep. Because right now, that's what Sasuke needed.


Chapter 12 ; Aftermath.


Sasuke stared in front of him. His body was trembling. He swallowed and began to walk.

"Sasuke, wait up!" A familiar voice called.

Sasuke stopped and turned around. Long pink hair, made its way to him. The girls deep green eyes sparkled and her smile shined. She was wearing a white dress that flowed, along with white shoes. She wore no makeup, but she was still beautiful. Her angel-like glow and soft skin finally came into contact with him.

He looked down and stared into her eyes. He was lost in them. "I love you." He spoke.

She smiled and wrapped her arms around his neck. "And, I love you. More than words could explain." She pulled him close and planted a kiss upon his lips. It was passionate. Perfect. Something that he'd never felt before.

As soon as it was finished, she turned her back to him and walked away.

"Wait, where are you going!" Sasuke called after her.

She turned her head but kept walking. Her voice boomed throughout the white abyss. "I'm going away. Back to where I belong. Go on without me Sasuke. Let me voice be your guide back to life."

She vanished into air and Sasuke stood there. "I don't want to go back. I want to stay here with you forever." Tears ran down his face.

The soft words echoed again. "I don't belong in your world anymore. You must go on. Teach the world what you know. Teach others what no one else can. Sheild others from the pain. Live life." The last words faded into the air and the white world began to turn black.

Everything faded and Sasuke was lost. She was gone. Even now. Even here.


Sasuke shot up from the bed and his eyes were wide. Cold sweat was running down his face, and he could feel the heat from his tears.

"Another dream." he whispered.

The clock read, 6:45 a.m. He got up and opened the door. He made his way to the kitchen and made himself a glass of water. This wasn't like him. He never got this upset over anything.

When he was finished, he made his way to the back door and stared at the moon. He leaned against the door and sighed. His body was cold. His heart was aching. Sakura, was gone. Even in his dreams.

Memories that seemed to take place only yesterday raced through his mind. Her face was the only thing he could think about.

His throat was tight and he couldn't breathe. Even now. It had been ofically 1 week since Sakura's death. He was still unstable. He was still broken. It would even be worse later, because the funeral was today.


It was now 3:07. Naruto and Kakashi stood at the memorial grounds.

Kakashi admired a few gravestones as Naruto examined Sakura's casket. It was black with deep pink roses on the sides. The flowers on top, were Sakura's. They were deep purple, and light pink Her favorite colors. The ribbons, which were on top of th flowers, read many different things. Love. Friend. Student. Ninja. Skilled. Daughter. Neice. Teammate. Sasuke sighed. Those words. Love.Was the ribbon Tsuande had had made for Sasuke. Naruto sighed and closed his eyes. "Sakura..." He whispered.

Naruto heard the sound of foot steps. He stopped and looked up. Two woman walked in and looked around. One looked like an older version of Sakura. The same pink hair. And the other, looked older. Maybe in her 40's. She had deep magenta hair and she carried a look of hurt upon her face. Tears were streaming from both girls faces. Who were they?

Kakashi turned and spoke to them. "You must be Mrs. Haruno." He made his way to the older woman. She nodded. "Hatake Kakashi. I was Sakura's teacher and mentor. I'm very sorry for your loss."

That's her mom? Thought Naruto.

The woman nodded and smiled at Kakashi. He gave her a conforting hug. Once released the woman went to Sakura's casket. She cried and Naruto could do thing but walk away.

The other girl wore a black skirt and a low cut, long sleeved shirt. She sighed and the sight of her mother. She then looked at Kakashi. "I'm Naomi. Sakura's sister. I'll be living here for a while now. It's nice to meet you Kakashi." She winked at him. Then walked away.

Naruto felt a hand on his shoulder. "Excuse me. Boy?" He turned to find Sakura's mother was the owner of the hand.

"Yes?" He asked in a small voice.

"This ribbon says love. Who is it meant for? And, this other one says teammate. Who did she work with?" The kind woman was trying to learn who Sakura's closest friends were.

Naruto smiled. "Well, the teammate one is for me. My name is Uzimaki Naruto. I was on Sakura's team. But, the tag was meant for-"

He was cut off just as Sasuke walked into sight. He and Mrs Haruno looked.

Sasuke wore a black tuxedo. He looked tired and his eyes were red. You could tell he was stressed. He must have waited outside before entering.

Naruto looked back to the woman standing with him. "For him. Mrs. Haruno, that boy loved Sakura with everything he had. She meant everything to him." And with those words, Naruto walked away to Sasuke. She woman just stood there shocked at the words.

So, that's the Uchiha boy. She thought.


In time more and more people began to come. Neji came with Lee. Tenten was no where to be found. Kiba and Shino even came. Kiba's dog Akamaru was wearing a small tie around his neck.

Ino came in with Shikamaru. Her long blonde hair was in a ponytail, but it wasn't strait. Her eyes were also red and she looked like she hadn't slept in days. Shikamaru simply stood there and followed Ino when asked. His stare was blank. Even he missed Sakura.

Asuma came with Kurani. He was holding their child in his arms.

Anko even came. She came alone but, eventully found people to sit with.

But, the room went dead quiet when Temari and Kankuro walked through. They were dressed in all black. As soon as they were far enough, Kazekage Gaara made his way into the through the chairs and flowers. The leader of the sand. Came to a funeral to say his goodbyes to a passing friend.

This was the first time in years since anyone had seen the three together. Let alone, seen Gaara at all. This was a rare event. Everyone knew something big had happened.

But, it espically shocked Sakura's mother, when Gaara walked over to her.

He shook her hand and told her who he was. She simply responded with a small "I know who you are Lord Kazekage."

He began. "I met Sakura on a mission about 2 months ago. She's very charming, and I'm glad to have met her. She was strong and very skilled with medical issues. I'm very sorry for your loss Madam Haruno. She will be greatly missed."

He waited for her reply. She only nodded and he walked away to greet others he knew.


Almost everyone there introduced themself and greeted Sakura's mother. It moved her, to see how kind and conciterate everyone was.

It wasn't long before Lady Tsunade finally arrived. Right by her side was Shizune. The first thing she did was greet Kazekage Gaara, and then Sakura's mother. It wasn't long before the ceremony began.

Lady Tsunade took her place at the front of the casket, and Gaara took the other side. She then began talking. "Dear friends and family gathered here today, to put to rest, someone who meant a great deal to this village. Someone who even surpassed me in my medical skills. Someone who took a hold of everyones hearts. Sakura Haruno."

Tsuande stopped and took a deep breath. Anyone could tell that she was trying to hold everything back. But even she was hurt. Gaara turned to her and saw a tear run down her cheek. He turned forward and sighed.

He began. "Here before us today, lays a fallen ninja. One who shall never be forgotten. " He looked to Shizune. "The medal please." She handed it to him. "Please, let us begin the ceremony. If you will please, bow your heads and close your eyes."

Everyone did as the Kazekage asked. Row by row, every head bowed. Eyes closed. Tears fell. And before everyone, the front row also bowed their heads. All frive seats in the row were filled. Naruto, Sasuke, Kakashi, Naomi and Mrs. Haruno. None of them were ready for this. Espically Sasuke.

Gaara grabbed the medan, and held the metal part in the palm of his hand. He spoke, "Haruno Sakura. I the Kazekage of the sand present you with this medal of honor." He turned to Tsunade and stared.

Tsunade turned to him and said in a low, choked voice. "Haruro Sakura. I the Hokage of the leaf present you with this medal of honor." Gaara handed her the medal and she wrapped her hand around it. Looked down at it as a tear fell from her face. She then lifted it to her face and kissed the center of it. She whispered, "For the love of everyone." She spoke.

She sighed and laid the medan in the center of the casket. Once done, she nodded to Gaara and both of them turned to the front again. "You may now all lift your heads." And once again, everyone looked up. Except now, everyone's faces were tear stained.

Tsuande's face tightned as she she managed the words, "Each of you, will find a rose under your chair. Please take it now, as we start."

Everyone did so, and the first row stood up. All five of them began their way to the casket.

First was Sakura's mother. She laid her rose and kissed the casket. "My daughter. May you rest with peace." She wept and Naomi took her hand. She then laid her rose and repeated the final words her mother had said. Together they took their seats once again.

Kakashi laid his rose and kissed the casket as well. "Rest easy my student." And with those words, he took to his seat again.

Next was Sasuke. He laid his rose and kissed the casket. He felt tears stain his cheeks. He laid his chin upon the casket and spoke softly, "My love. May you be safe wherever you are. I'll always love you. Rest in peace Cherry Blossom." When he was finished, he turned back to find every single person there, looking at him. It seemed to be him, that they were most worried about.

His eyes were red, and his face was hot. But he made his way back to his seat. He was fallowed by Naruto.

Once back, Naruto laid a hand on his knee. Sasuke's eyes met Naruto's. "Sasuke, she'll always be with you. And so will I." He smiled.

While Tsunade gathered herself, Gaara spoke for her. "Now, may the rest of you line up and lay your roses."

Each and every person got up and made their way around. It was over an hour before everyone was done. People cried and others stayed silent.

Village elders, and even young children laid roses. It truley showed how many lives Sakura had touched. The whole time, Sasuke just stayed silent and stared strait ahead.

He was calm until the last person laid their rose. It was Tenten. Sasuke didn't know why, but when he'd seenh er, his whole body had filled with anger and hate. It was all for Tenten. He didn't want her there. In fact, he's wished it was Tenten who'd died instead of Sakura.

Once she'd gotten back to her seat, Tsunade and Gaara had gained their places back by the casket ends. Tsunade spoke, "Thus ends the story for Sakura. May we remember the good times. The many fun memories we have with her. Remember the fun and happiness. The laughter and joy. And please, let you remember that she will always watch over you. Us. All of us.

Gaara then finished. "Thank you Haruno. For everything you've given." And with those words, Sakura's body was lowered into the ground. Once all the way down, they placed the marble ground over the hole. Engraved in it was, Sakura Haruno. Gone but never forgotten. 18 years old when lost. Young, but touched lives of many. We love you.

Many people stayed and reminiced. Some even remembered. Some left.

Ino made her way to Sasuke. She looked him in the eyes and smiled. "She wants you to be happy. I promise."

Sasuke took the time to look Ino up and down. She was finally getting big from her pregnancy. Even Shikamaru he looked at. He knew deep down, that she was right.

Shikamaru looked at him. "We uh, found out it's a boy. And we're going to name him Sasuke."

Ino smiled and Shikamaru wrapped his arms around her. She then began, "Sasuke, we want yuo to know that if you ever need anything, we'll both be here. Always. Anytime. Either a phone call, or a short walk."

Sasuke nodded and replied. "Thank you." And with that, the two soon to be parents left.

After a while, Sasuke heard footsteps behind him. Then a familiar voice spoke, "I'm sorry Sasuke. For your loss. I truley am."

Sasuke faced away from her. He only waited then spoke. "I've no need for your sympathy Tenten. You've made a fool of yourself." His words were stern.

She walked tward him. "Please Sasuke. Just give me one chance. I love you Sasuke. I can't be as good as Sakura, but I can try. All you've got to do if give me a change. One chance. Please." He could tell she was crying.

He couldn't hold back anymore. His anger got the best of him. "Tenten, i'm gonna be honest with you. There's two reasons I don't want to be with you. First off, your selfish. You want things you can't have. And you'll do anything you can to get it. I could never love you. You were like a sister to me. Nothing more. But now, I don't even want to be like that anymore."

Tears were forming in her eyes.

"And second off, I don't love you. I never will. You try to show off for me. I don't even think your powerful. I love Sakura. She's strong and beautiful. She's everything I wanted." His eyes wwere watery. "Now she's gone. Just like that. And i'll never get over that. I'll never move on with you. I don't want you to be Sakura. You CAN'T be Sakura. Your nothing to me anymore. I hate you."

Tears were running down her face. She made a sour look and walked away crying. And once again, Sasuke was thinking about Sakura's being gone. And once again, it was because of Tenten.

Sasuke shivered at the thought of his dream from this morning. Sakura. Alone. Him. Without her. Sasuke was brought back to reality as he felt a hand on his shoulder.

He turned to see Sakura's mother there. Her big, green eyes looked up at him. His deep eyes dark looked down at her.

She looked tired and hurt. Deep inside, she was broken. Just like him. "Your Sasuke Uchiha. The one my daughter loved." He nodded. "In the letters she wrote me, she always talked about you. She told me how you were the one person in the group she admired most. Your even just as handsome as she said." She smiled. And her smile caused Sasuke to smile too. "I want you to know that she loved you. I know she did. The words she spoke about you, were words of love and romance."

Sasuke looked down as another tear ran down his face.

She lifted his chin up. "Even though I just met you, I'll always think of you as a son. You'll do great things Sasuke Uchiha. You have an amazing heart. And I thank you for loving my daughter. You will go far."


Those words were the words he began to live by. Those words made him realize alot about Sakura. She was the girl he was meant to be with. And he was honored to know that she loved him enough to give her own life for her.

An arm wrapped itself around Sasuke's shoulder. "Well, now we only gotta get through next week. Then we're home free for good."

Sasuke looked into Naruto's bright, blue eyes. Naruto was a happy loving soul, and it made Sasuke realize that he could go far up in this world.

Sasuke looked at Kakashi. "Are you ready to step down Sensei?" Sasuke smiled.

Kakashi looked around and saw that the only people there still were the three of them. Honestly, those words caught Kakashi off guard and he didn't know how to respond. So he just sighed and replied. "Hai. It'll be different. But, i'll eventully get along." Kakashi smiled.

And with that, the three boys began their walk back to their apartment. Once again, together as a team. A family.


Naruto and Sasuke ran up the stairs at the Hokage mansion. Both of them running as fast as they could. They were panting.

Two hours ago, Kakashi had waken them up and told them to be there in an hour. That was an hour ago.

As the boys made their way into Tsuande's office, they stopped and caught their breath. Kakashi was leaning against a wall and Tsunade was at her desk. She lifted an eye brow and sighed.

She then began, "Sasuke, this doesn't impress me. Your both an hour late. I mean, do you not want to be the leader of your team anymore?" She smiled.

Sasuke looked shocked. Then he bursted out in laughter. He laughed for about 10 minutes until his sides hurt then he had to stop.

When he was done, everyone was looking at him. Confused and joyful. Everyone of them enjoyed this new Sasuke. He was fun and loving.

Tsunade handed Kakashi his old sensei uniform, and gave Sasuke the anbu uniform. They both quickly changed and then faced eachother. Kakashi handed him the anbu pin he wore. "Well, I guess this is yours Sasuke." He smiled.

It wasn't long before all three men walked out of the building once again. Except now, Sasuke was leader of him and Naruto. And Kakashi was back to his old sensei position.

They all walked in silence until they came upon the acadamy. Both boys stopped and looked at Kakashi.

He smiled and looked at them. "Well," He paused. "Looks like this is my stop. Good luck. Naruto. Sasuke. I know you'll do well." And with those words, Kakashi walked in the acadamy doors. They were no longer team 7. And Kakashi was no longer their sensei. Naruto and Sasuke were both on their own now. And together, they'd be the best team the leaf village would ever know.


Chapter 13 ; 15 Years Later.


The sun was shining and the wind was blowing. Two boys made their way to the village entrance. Bright blonde hair and dark raven hair. Both blowing in the wind. Both holding smiles on their faces. They were home.

"Ahh, Sasuke. It feels like we've been gone forever." Naruto smiled.

"It's been two years. Finally, that mission is over. But still, good job." Sasuke gave Naruto an accomplished look.

Sasuke slowly began to walk and Naruto followed him. They walked strait through the gates and down the dirt streets. A few people looked and whispered. Pairing 7. That's what they'd became known as.

But both boys only walked and smiled. They'd missed this village. Being away for so long, to finally return. They loved it. The people. The dirt roads. The village itself. Their home.

It wasn't long before they'd made their first encounter.

A small, pink haired girl made her way along the street. She was running full speed. "Unkie Sasukie! Unkie Sasukie!" And she finally met him.

Sasuke knelt down and caught the girl in a hug. Her pink hair tickled his chin, and she burried her face in his chest. "I've missed you Unkie Sasukie" She said quietly.

He smiled and whispered back. "I've missed you too Sakura."

A grey haired man and another pink haired woman walked hand in hand after their daughter. The man smiled as he saw Sasuke and Naruto.

His deep voice boomed. "Welcome home." A smile grew upon his face.

Naruto captured the man in a hug. "It's been a while Sensei."

Kakashi wrapped his arm around Naomi, his wife. They smiled at eachother.

Sakura finally unburried her face and stepped back. Her smile was bright. Her eyes were a deep, dark green. Every part of her resembled the woman she was named after. Sakura Haruno.

Sasuke stood up and everyone looked at him. He smiled. "If you'd excuse me. I'd like to have some time alone." And with those words, he walked on past the group, leaving them behind.

Sasuke knew that the group had know where he was going. It was where he went after every mission. He was going to go tell the woman he loved, about it. How it went. Hard and easy times. Everything. Down to the last detail.

Sasuke was pulled out of thought when he heard the sound of his name being called. "Sasuke!"

A short blonde woman wrapped her arms around him. Her big blue eyes showed excitment. Her long hair was longer than before. Ino.

Sasuke wrapped his arms around her as well. "Hey Ino." He smiled.

Ino spoke, "It's been so long."

"Well, well, well." A mans voice spoke.

Sasuke looked up to find Shikamaru looking at him. His face looked older and his hair was a little lighter. He smiled. "Welcome home Uchiha."

The woman backed up and joined hands with him. From behind them, emerged another blonde girl. She was an exact vision of Ino in her teenage days. It was their daughter Misa. She was 14 years old now.

She made her way to Sasuke and gave him a hug. "Haven't seen you around for a while Sasuke." Her smile was bright. Her hair was just a little darker than her mothers. And her eyes were a dark blue just like her mothers.

Sasuke smiled as she pulled away. "You look more and more like your mother everytime I see you."

Misa smiled and blushed. "Thanks Sasuke."

It was only seconds before Sasuke was thrown to the ground. His face was covered in dog slobber. Akamaru. He thought. He smiled up at the furry animal above him.

"Aye Uchiha! How was the mission?" Kiba's face was leaning down by Akamaru's. He was smiling.

Sasuke tried to get away from the dogs tounge. He laughed. "It was fine. Hahah, Kiba, a little help please?"

Kiba smiled and nodded. "Akamaru, back boy." The dog listened and backed off.

Sasuke stood up and looked at the dog. He had a sad look on his face. Sasuke smiled at him and ruffled his head. The dog the gave a happier look.

Sasuke also admired Kiba. He looked older. His face was grown and getting slightly fatter. Sasuke no longer saw the little boy he once had. Kiba had finally grown up. So had everyone else. Even himself.


After a short conversation with the group of people, Sasuke went on his way. On his walk, he passed the dumpling shop. He stopped and admired it. It had been in the village for more than 20 years. It was always Tenten's favorite restraunt. Though Sasuke.

Just as that thought passed through, he saw a woman in the window of the shop. She looked so familiar, so known.

The woman simply waved at him. She also gave a small smile.

Tenten. Sasuke knew the face. She no longer had her hair in small buns on top of her head. Instead, she had long braids down her back. She looked nothing like she had before.

Sasuke hadn't even talked to her since Sakura's funeral. He'd though she'd left the village. But she had only been hidden away from the world. It was rumored that Tenten had tried to kill herself. But, Sasuke didn't believe it was true. But, he did know that she hated herself.

After all, she'd sent an apology letter to Neji about a year after Sakura's death. It had said she was sorry for always hurting him. But, she didn't have the feelings back, he'd had for her. She'd written that she hated herself and what she had become.

Sasuke gave a small wave back. He watched at her smile grew. But, before she could speak any words to him, he turned and began to walk again.


It was about 30 minutes before Sasuke reached the memorial grounds. There were so many more names now. In those two years he'd been gone, the Leaf Village had gone through a depression and war. It was a small one with the Stone Village. But, it had also left a big impact on the leaf.

And, right after the depression ended, Tsunade had passed away. Neji took her place, and revived the village from its destruction.

Sasuke felt a sickness in his stomach as he entered the gates. The first new name he saw was Shino Aburame. It shocked Sasuke to see that name. After all, Shino had become a good friend to Sasuke after Sakura's death. He became like a brother to him and it gave Sasuke a horrible feeling to know that he'd passed while Sasuke was gone.

Sasuke only sighed and looked at the name next to Shino's. Hinata Hyuga. He knew she'd passed during that mission 15 years ago, but it still pained him. Because, he knew that Naruto had always admired Hinata. But, no one knew is Hinata had felt the same.

After Hinata, was Rock Lee. He'd heard about Lee's death. It saddened him, because Lee was one of the strongest people in the village. Just another lost soul.

That was the end of that row. But, the grave that really caught Sasuke's eye, was the one in the center of the park. It belonged to Lady Tsunade. She'd died of a heart attack in her sleep. They'd said it was the stress of the war, and her older age. Sasuke could remember her taking position, like it was yesterday. Sometimes it seemed as if, Tsunade had faith in Sasuke when no one else did. That's what hurt him he most.

After admiring the stone, he made his way to Sakura's.

He stared for a minute, then knelt down and traced the letters with his fingers. It was as if, it was only a dream. But, once again, those feelings got ahold of Sasuke. A tear ran down his face, and it began to rain.

This was the only thing Sasuke hated about visiting Sakura. He always felt to empty. He felt like half of his heart was gone. He hated it. But yet, he couldn't go a day without seeing her. Let alone two years.

Sasuke held himself as a few more tears ran down his cheeks. He felt so vunerable. So useless. So broken.

Sasuke lowered his head. "Sakura, I miss you. Everything about you. The way you smiled at me. The way your green eyes saw right through me. Your pink hair. Everything." He took a deep breath and went on. "It was hard not coming here for two tears. I feel like, I'm forgetting you if I don't come. But, then again, I could never forget you. You were the love of my life. You meant everything to me."

Sasuke's eyes stung with the tears forming.

Thunder struck in the sky just as Sasuke began to sob. He let out cries he'd never let before. He let himself loose. He poured his heart out to someone who wasn't even there.

After a few minutes, Sasuke felt a hand on his shoulder. It was a familiar grasp. He knew who it was as soon as they spoke.

"Uchiha... I knew I'd find you here." It was Neji.

He bent down and laid a hand across Sasuke's back. He stayed silent, because he knew Sasuke. And that's waht Sasuke needed. A friend. A friend who could be silent, but still say all the right things."

Sasuke sat down and stared strait ahead at the headstone. "It's not fair. I love her. 15 years after her death, and I still love her. My heart just won't let go." Sasuke's eyes were full of pain and heartbreak.

Neji sighed. "Sasuke, I admire you."

Sasuke's eyes grew big as he looked at the new Hokage. "But, why Hokage-Sama?"

Neji looked at him. His giant purple eyes were cold and clear. "I've known you all my life. Call me Neji." He sighed and went on. "I admire you, because you never gave up. You spent that month looking for Sakura and you never gave up hope. Your strong Sasuke. You gave me courage to go on and strive for my best. It's 15 years after her death, yet you still love her. Even now, you never gave up." Neji sighed once again.

Sasuke just looked at him. He could see that deep inside Neji was hurt. The clothes he wore, the hokage outfit, was supposed to make him look strong. But, now, here infront of Sasuke, Neji was weak and hurt. "I don't understand Neji. I feel as if I'm a failure. Sakura told me to move on and be happy. That of which, I am not."

Neji looked at Sakura's headstone. "By move on, she meant to live on. Not forget. But live. And that, you have done Sasuke. You still live. You go on missions still and you see your friends still. You visit her still. You show that you have not forgotten, but you've moved on. You have lived. And for that, I admire you."

Sasuke too looked at the headstone. He knew Neji was right. And for once, he understood what Sakura had meant. She really did want Sasuke to move on. But, not to forget her. And, it had taken until now for him to realize that. Sasuke was strong. He was everything he ever needed to be. And it was all for Sakura.

Neji stood up and gave Sasuke a hand. He simply looked at it then took it. And he too stood up.

Neji smiled and nodded to the gravestone. Because, for once Sasuke saw something. He saw Sakura. Not her. But her ghost. Her presense. Right there near him. And Neji also saw her.

She once again wore a white dress, and she wore no make up. But she was beautiful in everyway. She smiled at the two men and waved. She'd came because Sasuke finally understood her. She was thankful. He was thankful.

Neji and Sasuke both turned away, leaving Sakura's ghost in the shadows. Neither of them spoke to eachother. Sasuke only whispered, "I love you Sakura." In a tone so low, that Neji did not hear.

At that moment, the rain stopped, and the clouds began to break up. And ever so faintly, Sasuke heard the words repeated back. "I love you too Sasuke."

Sasuke turned back only once to find that the girl was no longer there. He smiled and still walked beside Neji.

He smiled because he knew she'd always be there. Not by his side, but in his heart. Just like she had promised. And that promise, would never be broken.