Author's note: Thanks for the positive feedback! It really motivates me.

Damn… Rereading chapter 1, I noticed that there are a lot of typos. _ I'll probably fix them later.

I must note, I write one chapter ahead in order to keep the story going the way I want it to. So, that means that the next chapter is already written, but you'll only see it once I'm done writing the chapter after it. Sorry for keeping you waiting. xD

Oh, and… this chapter implies that Sasuke has done certain things… I don't think I have to say it out loud. It's rated M for a reason.

Hotness ahead. xD

Chapter 2: Outlaw

Karin marched through the hallway, outraged.

"That stupid bitch…" she cursed to herself. When she noticed that several Uchiha were gawking at her, Karin glared at them. "What're you looking at?" She snapped, prompting them to turn away, perturbed.

Karin Uzumaki was once from the Land of Whirlpools. After the destruction of her land caused by the Nine-Tailed fox, of which the details she couldn't remember, she sought refuge in the Land of Sound. There, her abilities as a chakra-sensing ninja was acknowledged by the Uchiha Clan, and ultimately joined them.

Despite her gratitude towards them, her job was unbearable. She was revolted by spending so much time watching over filth. More importantly, all the slaves she encountered were constantly whining about insignificant subjects. She loathed them deeply.

Though, there was one slave in particular she hated.

Sakura Haruno.

The pink-hair kunoichi never actually did anything to provoke Karin; she never complained, she always obeyed orders, and never asked for help in her tasks. Yet, somehow her entire existence seemed to be the only reason why she detested her.

And with each moment, she found that her abhorrence towards her kept growing stronger.

Yesterday, when the redhead had caught Sakura, she was thrilled to finally have an excuse for punishing her. Of course, her joy faltered when Sasuke appeared out of nowhere and commanded that he would deal with her.

Despite being upset that she couldn't deal with Sakura herself, she had still been pleased that Sasuke would be handling her. She had thought that he was going to teach her a real lesson, or sentence her for execution, but was mortified to see that the next morning, no damage was done.

Though, something like this was tolerable.

What was unbearable was that shortly afterwards, she was informed by Mikoto Uchiha that Sakura would bear Sasuke's child and the whole process would take place tonight. And, that Karin would be Sakura's escort.

She couldn't believe it. She refused to believe it. It was too incredulous. Why would Sasuke choose her? He barely even knew her! Sasuke wouldn't force a slave to bear his child. He'd be tainted by their immorality. He should've chosen somebody who was respected throughout the Uchiha, not some worthless scum.

Karin narrowed her eyes. How was Sakura able to seduce him? She was relatively flat-chested and had little to no curves. Karin, on the other hand, had a voluptuous figure… or at least, she believed she did.

Right now, she was headed to a slave's room to give him another task. Even though her mind was in chaos, she still had to do her job.

As she turned left, she inadvertently crashed into someone.

"Hey, watch where you're—" She paused as she realized who it was, and snorted.

"Oh, it's you, Haruno." She said, disgust tinting her voice. "Be careful where you walk." Just the sight of Sakura repulsed her.

But Sakura didn't budge. "Karin… I was actually looking for you." Her lips were pursed and her tone was concerned.

Karin bristled in indignation. "So, you're no longer addressing me with 'Lady'. You're acting rather high and mighty, for a former slave."

The pink-haired kunoichi's expression remained intact.

Beneath her aggravation, Karin couldn't help but feel apprehensive. Sakura was always scratching Karin's back, and it was strange to see her behaving so rebellious. Even though Sakura wasn't technically a servant anymore, she was still trash in her book.

What's she plotting…?

"Karin, I need your help." She stated anxiously.

"What do you need help with? You're always still going to be garbage to me."

Sakura narrowed her eyes and coughed.

"Let me make this perfectly clear, Karin. I don't like you. I never have."

Karin was about to answer, but Sakura continued.

"And I know you don't like me either. So, I think we'd both be happier if I was out of the Uchiha Clans' lives."

"You're actually quite perceptive for a slave, you know." Karin sneered. "But I'm not following you."

Sakura wished had thought of some sort of clever preposition so that Karin could get something out of it, but she didn't. She just had to hope that Karin's jealousy would be the key.

"I know you have feelings for Sasuke. And I know you're probably furious that Sasuke chose me."

"You don't say?"

"Trust me. I'm as furious as you are. There's only way one this can be prevented."

"You be killed?" Karin asked spitefully.

"No." Sakura looked around nervously to see if anybody was eavesdropping, before murmuring, "I escape."

Karin gaped at her for several moments, stunned. Sakura for a moment thought she might agree to assist her, but was disappointed when Karin erupted into laughter.

"So you want me to help you escape? Are you insane? I hate you and all, but I'd never betray the Uchiha."

"I thought you liked Sasuke."

"I do, but—"

"Guess your love for him wasn't sincere then," Sakura interrupted, shrugging. "Suit yourself. I guess I'll stay, considering you don't want to help me." Sakura prayed that her reverse psychology would work.

Karin's eyebrow twitched. She never considered betraying the Uchiha Clan, but now, it seemed the obvious choice to do. Sasuke would live a miserable life with Sakura, and if Sakura was to escape, Karin would attempt to make him realize that he had made a poor choice, choosing Sakura to bear his child.

In a sense, everybody won.

"Wait," she called, grabbing her shoulder. "Fine. I'll help you. But only because I'm doing it for Sasuke."

A grin was plastered on Sakura's face.

Karin put her hands on her hips, sneering. "So, have you got some sort of plan?"

She stared at her worn-down clock, worried. It was 6:15; in fifteen minutes Sakura was to be escorted to Sasuke's bedroom.

Sakura had explicitly told Karin that she had to be at Sakura's room twenty minutes before the affair. Five minutes had already passed, and there was no sign of the chakra-sensing ninja.

Sakura narrowed her eyes. Would Karin back out on their agreement? The thought of it infuriated her, but simultaneously, Sakura couldn't ignore the feeling of dread clutching her chest. She hadn't time to think of another plan; if the redhead betrayed her, then… her innocence would be Sasuke's for the taking.

The thought of her and Sasuke… having sex… repulsed her. She didn't even know how the whole scenario would play out. Would he play with her mind before the whole ordeal, or would he just get straight to the process? She wrinkled her nose in disgust. She couldn't care less if he was handsome. She wouldn't ever give herself to him.

She took another glance at the clock. She gasped in horror. 6:25?!

She gulped. Karin, where are you?! She pleaded silently. Time was quite literally flying, and Sakura didn't know if she could endure the suspense any longer.

After what seemed like an eternity, the door finally opened. Sakura, for the first time, couldn't be more relieved to see Karin.

Though, Karin didn't seem to share her delight.

"Tch. Don't look so happy to see me," she stated crossly, correcting her glasses. Sakura sighed.

"I'm glad you're here. Let's get out of here," the pinkette raced forward, but was confused when Karin didn't follow her.

"What's wrong? Let's go."

Karin sheepishly scratched her head. "Well, about that…"

"About that?" Sakura echoed sharply. Was Karin selling her out?

"There… seems to be some difficulties in waking 'him' up. I won't be able to do it."

Sakura could no longer contain her outrage. She balled her fists. "What?!" Sakura proclaimed, but forced herself to keep her voice down. "I don't know if you've noticed, but I have to be at Sasuke's room in five minutes!" She gulped. Everything she feared was now becoming a reality.

I knew I shouldn't have trusted her.

She sank to her feet, utterly defeated. Everything was gone now. Her life, her future… it was all obliterated. There wasn't anything she could do now.

There wasn't any hope.

As Sakura adjusted the hem on her sleeves, she was reminded of the Mikoto's ominous words;

"If you attempt to resist in any way, you—and your friend will be executed."

The pink-haired kunoichi couldn't care less if the Uchiha murdered her; everybody from the Hidden Leaf already believed her to be dead. However, Ino was an entirely different subject. Her friend was the sole reason for Sakura's existence. If Ino died, Sakura would resent herself forever.

Looking in the mirror, the kunoichi eyed the attire she was given for the occasion, a luxurious traditional red gown, curiously. Truthfully, Sakura was relieved that it wasn't particularly… erotic, but nonetheless didn't find comfort in the fact that Sasuke was supposed to take it off.

Karin rested her back on the wall of her room. "You ready?" She asked impatiently.

"No," Sakura replied tartly, "But does it really matter to you?" He voice was beginning to morph into a snarl. "After all, you're a traitor."

The chakra-sensing ninja's expression was unreadable. "Let's go, then."

As they walked through the Uchiha halls, Sakura caught glimpses of jealousy from several slave girls who working. Sakura cringed with resentment. What did they have to be jealous about? If anything, she was jealous of them.

After several minutes, Karin stopped in front of a door abruptly. The redhead looked at Sakura expectantly, pointing to the door. For a brief moment Sakura had thought she had seen a look of regret flash in Karin's eyes, but it was too quick to be sure.

Sakura swallowed hard. This was it. She knocked on the door.

"Come in," said the male voice that could only belong to him.

Sakura bit her lip, hesitating. Underneath all of her rage, her strength was beginning to waver. After taking a deep breath, she opened the door and entered his room. To her dismay, she heard the door close behind her.

Unsurprisingly, his room was far more luxurious than that of a slave. The walls were crimson and several windows adorned them. Elegant pieces of furniture decorated it—though she couldn't perceive the rest of the enormous and rich room as her gaze was fixated strictly on the ground.

He was sitting casually on his canopy bed, in his normal attire. Sakura felt her body grow weak, but didn't say anything.

Sasuke smirked at her form. Her face was slightly flushed and her former look of defiance was beginning to wane. He wasn't completely satisfied, though; it hadn't completely faltered.

But, he knew it soon would.

The silence roared in Sakura's ears, and the kunoichi wondered what the Uchiha heir was thinking about. She was caught quite off guard by his subsequent remark.

"Are you a virgin?" He questioned without a hint of emotion. Sakura was so incredulous by the question that she resisted the urge to punch him. What kind of question is that, you fucking bastard!?

Sasuke noticed that she had started to bristle, though he couldn't care less.

"…Yes." She uttered quietly, voice sharp with disdain. It took all of her self-control to prevent herself from hitting that stupid, arrogant face of his.

Sasuke had already known the answer to his question; he just wanted her to admit it out loud. He grinned. It was an empowering thought that he'd be the first to touch, to deflower her and break her in.

"Come closer." He ordered.

Sakura's face fell, but she obeyed. She approached him nervously, and came to a halt when she stood several feet away from him. The kunoichi's stomach twisted in dismay when Sasuke got to his feet.

Sasuke hadn't been attracted to women for some time now. The mere title of being an Uchiha was enough to compel a large amount of women to fawn over him. He was able to control them to his whim; something that the black-haired ninja himself found quite enjoyable for some time.

He once savored in dominating them. Women were exceptionally soft and tender, so the fact that Sasuke was able to play with them as roughly as he desired was thoroughly satisfying. He didn't come to them, they came to him. And what had made it even more pleasurable was that he didn't even have to lift a finger.

But, lately, none of his feelings applied.

As he toyed with more and more women, he found that each one of them had nothing interesting to offer, and the fact that they flocked to him was growing excessively boring. He was fed up with obedient women; it was growing to be irritable.

He approached her menacingly. "I'm disappointed," he told her. Instinctively, Sakura stepped back as Sasuke towered over her. Anxiety flooded Sakura's well-being, and the kunoichi began to fear that she would go insane.

He continued to advance on her as she continued to back away until Sakura hit the wall. Sasuke closed the gap between them.

"I thought you would have put up more of a fight. But in the end, you're just like them." His voice significantly darkened, and he leaned over to her ear. Sakura tensed, his breath tickling her.

"Just another worthless woman." He murmured.

Cupping her face, he pulled her into a heated kiss, his tongue exploring every inch of her mouth. Sakura's eyes widened, shocked. The intensity of the kiss was so great Sakura's entire body was frozen, horrified. Even though she was shrieking internally, she was unable to react. Her mouth was being ravaged by her mortal enemy; she was utterly petrified.

By the way his tongue collided with hers, it became apparent to Sakura that this most likely wasn't the first time Sasuke was sexually involved with a woman; the realization of which thoroughly sickened her. What disturbed the pink-haired kunoichi the most, however, was that this was only the beginning—what was about to come was far worse than this.

Sasuke opened his eyes for a brief moment, relishing the fearful anticipation on her face, the fact that he was the one responsible for it. He was determined to make her entirely succumb to her body's weaknesses. The thought of it produced the sensation of unbearable, restraining heat in his pants.

He moved his mouth to her neck, nipping and sucking at the nape of her neck. Sakura shuddered, his touch stunning her. She couldn't find any pleasure in this; it was pure torture. She closed her eyes and tried to even out her breathing.

The black-haired ninja smirked. He could tell that Sakura was getting agitated. But that didn't matter—not when she was forming such an erotic, submissive picture before him, and from his mere touches.

There was no doubt that she'd never been touched in this way before. She was far too sensitive—she was still a woman, after all.

He slipped off her dress slowly, delicately, exposing her shoulders. She shivered slightly at the sudden lack of clothing shielding her shoulders from the cold, but was still caught in her catatonic-like state to object.

The only thing she could do was whimper pathetically.

Sasuke felt victorious; what he intended on doing to her was the perfect form of retribution for her reckless behavior. By his standards, at the very least. He reached out and cupped her left breast. They weren't as big as he would have liked them to be, but they were soft and fit perfectly in his palm.

Sakura suddenly felt a rush of panic, which brought her back to her senses. Furiously, she struck his face; she wasn't thinking; she was just reacting.

Shoving him aside, she tried to run to the door, but Sasuke had no intention of letting her escape. He gripped her arm tightly; she tried to free herself from his grasp, but he was far stronger than she was.

"It doesn't matter what you want," he spoke coldly. Sakura glared at him angrily, still struggling to yank her arm away from him. But it was futile, and Sasuke knew it too. He tossed her to his bed with an indefinite amount of force and pinned her down before she was able fight back.

"The only thing that matters now is that it will happen." Part of him was irritated that he had been interrupted, yet at the same time he found it engaging that she, despite knowing her fate, had still tried to resist.

Her eyes were wide with horror. Sasuke liked her seeing her defiant expression, but her frightened one was much more pleasurable.

Oh, he was definitely going to enjoy this.

He held her face with one hand and lowered his lips to hers, kissing her deeply. The ninja's tongue rolled over her bottom lip, which made Sakura want to gag. She squirmed, knowing it was useless.

Sasuke broke the kiss, hoping to see that scared reaction of hers again; he was disappointed to see that her eyes were shut tight.

"Look at me, Sakura," he commanded menacingly. The way he said her name sent chills running down her spine. Complying, she forced herself to open her eyes. Satisfied, he lifted the hem of her dress and slid his hand through her thigh.

Her heart jolted in terror. She bit her lip, fighting back tears. Her life had only been one of suffering and hatred since the day she and Ino had been captured. That day, Sakura had been powerless. Her friend had protected her, and if Sakura was forced to relinquish something in order to protect Ino in return, she would do so. Even if it was unendurable.

Suddenly, there was intense knocking on the door.

"Sasuke! You must come outside. It is of—"

Sasuke was furious at the interruption. "I'm busy right now," he stated, tone being laced with near murder intent. He was just getting to the best part; and now, somebody was disturbing him.

"You don't understand; it's Jūgo."

Sakura's neck straightened. Jūgo?

The Sharingan user narrowed his eyes in distaste.

The Uchiha Clan used a man named Jūgo as their primary source of military power; they had used him to defeat the Hidden Leaf during the Third Ninja War. He was generally obedient, but do to his random fits of rage, he was forced in remain locked in a cell when not in use. He would only stop when Sasuke came personally to calm him down.

He released his grip on her and got to his feet. Sakura continued to lie there, paralyzed. As he approached the door, he turned back to look her once more, and left. Sakura was able to hear the door lock.

Sakura, after lying there for several moments, managed to stand up. Her knees were wobbly and she felt a strange sensation of falling. Even though she undeniably hated Sasuke Uchiha, she definitely feared him more than she did hate.

Yet, what was going on certainly baffled her more than it did upset her. Jūgo had been a part of her plan—

Unexpectedly the door flung open. Sakura felt sick to her stomach, thinking that Sasuke had returned to torment her once more, but was surprised to see that it was instead a certain redheaded ninja—and was holding Sakura's usual clothes.

"K-Karin?!" She exclaimed in disbelief. What was she doing here? "What-"

Karin clasped her hand over the pink-haired kunoichi's mouth. "Shut up, stupid," she barked. "Look…" She was beginning to fidget uncomfortably. "… I changed my mind."

The former Hidden Leaf ninja didn't know whether to feel appalled or relieved. Sakura could only stare at her in amazement. So, her out-of-world assumptions were correct. Karin had decided to stick to the plan, after all.

She had told Karin that she needed her to wake up Jūgo so that he could start a ruckus. Because Sasuke, along with a majority of the Uchiha Clan, would be distracted in the moment, Karin would lead Sakura and Ino out through the secret passage that Suigetsu had told them about. Before that, though, she would release the chakra concealers.

"Let's go," Karin urged, but Sakura wouldn't budge. She narrowed her eyes.

"Where's Ino?" Sakura demanded. She wouldn't even contemplate the idea of leaving if Ino wouldn't escape with her.

Karin scowled. "She's already there waiting. Now let's hurry!"

The redhead had already started to run, and Sakura followed. As they sprinted through the hallways, Sakura was stunned that no Uchiha was in sight; Sakura deduced that they were all attempting to control Jūgo before Sasuke arrived.

They stopped as they reached an empty hallway, containing only a statue. Karin pushed the statue aside, exposing a hole. Without a second thought, the duo climbed into it carefully.

As they drew near the end of the passage, Sakura was able to see Ino standing outside from a distance. "Ino!" Sakura panted, reaching their destination. It was strange being outside; it was the first time she had done so in three years. She shivered, unfamiliar with the sensation.

"Sakura… are you okay?" Ino inquired, concerned. Sakura hesitated. "Mostly… I guess…" she conceded. She didn't want her friend to worry about her.

She eyed her surroundings. In front of them stood a vast forest that appeared to go on for miles.

Karin coughed. "Okay, heed my words. Once I release your chakra concealers, you both will feel a rush of chakra flowing to your arms. You must control yourselves."

When Sakura and Ino nodded in understanding, Karin deciphered the code on their chakra concealers. Sakura felt a rush of energy pulsating through her arms; the force of which made her gasp. It was a gratifying feeling, and she was just itching to land a punch on one of the Uchiha Clan members. Her self-confidence was restored in a heartbeat; the warrior in her reawakened.

"Cha…" She hissed, shaking her fists ardently.

"You must control yourselves," Karin instructed, handing Sakura her clothes. "Haruno, change into what you usually wear. That dress will just slow you down."

Not caring that Karin was watching, Sakura removed her dress and put on her normal attire. When Sakura was done, Karin handed her and Ino two kunai.

"You'll need them for protection," The chakra-sensing ninja stated, "Listen carefully. Run without any breaks. Use your chakra to enhance your speed. Because the second you start running, I'm going to alert the Uchiha that I sense your chakra leaving the palace. If I don't, I'll garner suspicion."

"Karin…" Sakura started, unexpectedly feeling gratitude towards the condescending redhead. She clutched her chest with emotion. "Thank you."

Karin flailed her arms, snorting with contempt. "I'm not doing it for you, now go!"

Instantaneously, Sakura and Ino fled without another word.

"I'll kill you all!" Jūgo screeched manically, thrashing wrathfully. The chains restraining him were now visibly starting to break. His Sage Transformation was almost complete. He let out a vicious battle cry, refusing to relent.

At this rate, Jūgo will break out of his cell. Inabi thought to himself, uneasy. "Jūgo, stand back!" He ordered, voice trembling with anxiety. Several Uchiha Clan members surrounded the cell, bracing themselves for an attack.

"Where's Sasuke?" He cried out.

"I'm right here," said the young Uchiha, pacing over to Inabi's side impatiently. He was in a terrible mood. The fact that he had to abandon the act of copulation in order to soothe a psychotic man didn't particularly thrill him.

"What idiot decided to piss off Jūgo?" Sasuke growled, eying the members angrily. The Uchiha members looked at each other uneasily, remaining silent. "Whatever," he muttered under his breath.

He approached Jūgo's cell calmly. "Jūgo … Relax. Nobody's going to hurt you, so stop it." His tone wasn't comforting, but Sasuke was far too annoyed to be kind.

Jūgo stared at him for a moment, in shock. "Lord Sasuke…" he murmured. Slowly, he began to morph back into his normal form. He fell to his knees, distraught.

"Forgive me…" he whispered apologetically, before collapsing.

Sasuke sneered. He turned to the Uchiha Clan members, glaring. They had been utterly useless in this situation.

"I'm going to my room. Don't bother me for the rest of the night."

Exiting, he headed in the direction of his bedroom. He was looking forward to tormenting Sakura once more; the whole scenario replayed in his mind. After walking for several minutes, he finally reached the door to his bedroom. He was about to open the door, until a voice called out to him.

"Sasuke!" Shouted a feminine voice. Sasuke whipped around, noticing Karin running to him, panting. He frowned. The constant interruptions were aggravating.

"What is it now?" He asked impatiently.

She looked up. "Two slaves are escaping the palace!"

Sasuke furrowed his eyebrows. Slaves rarely escaped, but when they did, they weren't hard to reclaim. After all, their chakra concealers drastically slowed them down. But, it was undeniably annoying and a waste of time, retrieving them.

When he noticed that Karin was still staring at him, he scowled.

"I have unfinished business," Sasuke said simply, starting to open his door, "Don't expect me to help."

"That's just it." Karin muttered. "One of the prisoners who escaped was Sakura Haruno."

Sasuke stopped abruptly. When he turned to face Karin, his features had significantly darkened. He remained mute for several moments, before managing to utter, "What?"

Karin gulped, daunted by the sudden change in demeanor. "S-Sakura Haruno." She stammered, "She escaped with another prisoner, Ino Yamanaka."

Sasuke didn't reply; nonchalantly, he opened the door to his bedroom. It was empty; Sakura had vanished.

She couldn't figure out what Sasuke was thinking about. He continued to stand there, deadly silent. "S-Sasuke?" she said quietly, frightened.

He was facing Karin now. "Tell Inabi to organize a patrol for them. Make sure you tag along." His tone was monotonous, yet Karin couldn't shake off the feeling that something was hidden underneath it.

"Y-Yes!" She agreed nervously, running to find the Uchiha member. Despite her relief that Sasuke hadn't realized her betrayal, Sasuke had somehow disturbed her. He hadn't ever reacted to slaves escaping so… chillingly.

She brushed it off, hoping to forget it.

As Sakura leapt through the trees, she found that Ino was lagging behind. "Ino, keep up!" She shouted urgently. Karin had made it explicit that they couldn't rest, not even for a moment.

Ino panted. Unlike Sakura, Ino wasn't naturally adept at controlling her chakra; as a result, she hadn't used the correct amount of chakra to enhance her speed and had wasted most of it. Further contributing to this was the fact that Ino hadn't manipulated her chakra in three years; she hadn't accustomed to using it properly.

Sakura turned her head around, stopping. Ino was staggering on the ground. "Ino… what's wrong?" She questioned, rushing to her side. Ino seemed unnaturally frail—it was bizarre seeing Ino having a hard time keeping up with her. If anything, Ino was usually in the lead, rather than the other way around.

"Don't stop!" Ino hissed, shoving the pink-haired kunoichi away from her. "Don't worry about me. Just keep running."

Sakura shook her head violently. "Do you take me for a fool, Ino? I can tell when someone's low on chakra." She placed her hand on Ino's shoulder protectively. "It's okay. I'll heal you. We'll stop for a bit, and—"

Ino's fist, embedded with chakra, was thrust into Sakura's stomach before the she could finish her sentence. Sakura, stunned, heaved in shock, and subsequently plummeted to the ground.

She glanced up at the blonde ninja, astonished. "Ino… why?" she rasped weakly. She attempted to grasp what just had just occurred, but was too consumed by anguish to even think properly.

"I'm doing this for your sake, Sakura." Ino replied quietly. "We'll draw attention to ourselves if we're together. It's better that we split up."

"Ino… no…" She reached her hand out to Ino, but her friend wouldn't take it. The blonde diverted her eyes, ashamed. She was only being a burden to Sakura, which was something she dreaded. Sakura's life was more important than her own, and after seeing Sakura's reaction when she discovered Ino's chakra was diminished, Ino had realized that Sakura feeling were identical to her own.

I'm sorry, Sakura. She thought mournfully, before turning around and departing.

Several minutes later, Sakura's body functioned normally again. She groaned, stumbling to her feet. She realized that Ino's punch wasn't intended to hurt her; it was to ensure that Sakura wouldn't follow Ino's trail.

It didn't matter, though. The mere fact that Ino had abandoned her was emotionally shattering. Sakura was now finding it more and more difficult to subdue her inner turmoil. She clenched her teeth, tears being produced.

Ino… we were supposed to be in this, together.

She forced herself to stop, knowing that she needed to run away before the Uchiha found her. She brushed off her tears, hiccuping softly.

Shaking, she drew the kunai Karin had given her, and held her hair up with the other hand. With one swift motion, the kunai cut neatly through her hair. The strands of it fell to the ground, along with her forehead protector.

She picked up her forehead protector and carved a long, horizontal line through the Hidden Sound symbol. After doing so, she firmly adjusted it on her head.

She would no longer be a plaything of the Uchiha.

"This way!" a woman's voice echoed in this distance.

Sakura whipped around in alarm, recognizing the voice. Composing herself, she started jumping through the trees, no longer having any regrets.

Author's note : By the way, not everything about this universe will be immediately explained. If something or someone is mentioned in this story so far and receives little to no exposition, it's subtle foreshadowing. I just felt I had to mention that.

Not gonna lie… I got lazy in some parts. Sue me.

Some of you are probably wondering why there's a secret passage in the Uchiha Palace. It's clarified next chapter, along with a few other things.

Poor judgment on Ino's behalf. So… now Sakura's hair is shoulder-length. I don't think I have to explain why she cut her hair.