Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto. All Naruto characters belong to Kishimoto-sensei, whom I bow down to.
The door closed behind her. She held the folder in one hand and walked down the long hallway, occasionally waving a hello and saying a good morning to her fellow shinobi. She sighed as she took a turn into the chuunin lounge for a quick cup of coffee.
For Haruno Sakura, this day was like any other. She yawned as she stirred in some creamer and milk.
Yes, even the coffee is cheap as ever, she said to herself.
She had just received a mission from Tsunade-sama to be a medical-nin on yet another ANBU task. She could almost do these missions in her sleep. Time had definitely passed since she was the useless, young konoichi always getting in the way. Although her skill level wasn’t and could never be anywhere near her old teammates’, she found her niche in the medical field and became a valuable asset to her squad during battle. Tsunade constantly reminded medical ninjas before missions to keep their wits with them at all times and not let emotion clouds sound judgment. Lucky for Sakura and her career, she was rather level-headed these days. Her goal was always clear- to tend to and heal the injured. She never got too involved with the task itself, and of course, never got involved with the members executing the task. She found it just made her job easier. No faces, no names- just bodies and wounds. It made sense.
Sakura lazily opened the folder as she sipped her coffee, but soon got bored reading the context of the mission.
They’re all the same anyway.
She shut the folder again and stared at the coffee machine.
Tsunade-sama said 3 pm, right? Hmm...short notice.
Sakura mechanically left the lounge and exited the main offices, pouring the final half of her coffee down a drinking fountain on the way out.
The sun was bright for 8 am, and Sakura squinted painfully as she walked back to her apartment. She passed by Ichiraku Ramen on her way back, smiling at the memory of Naruto’s obsession with their miso noodles. Then Sakura’s mouth tensed and her brows furrowed a bit.
Naruto...you better be careful on your mission!
She was a little worried. He was a jounin already, one of the best in the village; but as such, he was constantly embarking on crazy S class missions. Naruto would always jump at the challenge, but during the brief periods he was home Sakura could see the fatigue marking his young face. Maybe it was a test from Tsunade- rumor had it that she was going to appoint the 6th soon. Naruto probably felt like he needed to prove himself for the job.
She missed him- he had been gone for, what, a whole month now. Over the years Naruto had mellowed out a bit, let go of his silly crush on her, and grown into a handsome young man, but she always saw him as the endearingly noisy, determined ninja. They were friends, best friends- but only friends. Their relationship was comfortable the way it was.
Sakura arrived at the familiar Yamanaka Flower Shop.
“Ah! Sakura, a little late today?” a friendly voice called to her behind the desk.
“Ohaiyo, Ino. I had to stop by and pick up my mission folder from Tsunade-sama this morning. Were you worried about me?” Sakura smiled at her long time rival but now good friend. There was no reason to compete for Sasuke’s love anymore, especially since...
“Haha, I thought maybe you had inherited his disregard for punctuality!” Ino shot back smugly. It was meant to be a joke, but it wasn’t funny and she realized that immediately. Ino looked down away from Sakura’s gaze and muttered, “Sorry.”
Sakura forced a smile and said, “It’s okay, Ino. It’s been two years now.”
Ino shook her head. “It doesn’t make it right. I’m really sorry, Sakura, I shouldn’t have---“
Sakura waved it off and interrupted her, saying, “Forget it. So did you get any new flowers today?”
Ino sighed and said, “Yeah, they’re on the right.” She got off her stool and led Sakura to them.
An idea struck her as she bent down to pick out the flowers Sakura always bought. “You know what? Today, they’re on the house!”
Sakura, surprised, laughed, “No way, Ino! It’s okay!”
As Sakura reached into her pocket, Ino said, “Forget it! I’m not taking your money!”
Sakura began, “if this is about before...”
Ino said, “Please, Sakura. You’re so stubborn- just leave! I think you have somewhere to go...”
Sakura sighed and accepted the bouquet from Ino’s hands, “Yeah I do. Hopefully I’ll come back from my mission before these die.”
Ino smiled and gave Sakura a hug. “Good luck- and don’t do anything stupid like get yourself killed.”
Sakura laughed and said, “I promise I won’t. It’s nothing I haven’t done before.” She paused. “Thank you, Ino. And see you soon okay?”
Ino rubbed the side of Sakura’s arm and said, “Alright! Take care of yourself.”
Sakura waved and left the flower shop.
Just one more thing to do before I start packing.
Sorry, Kakashi-sensei, these flowers will have to last for awhile.
Sakura made her way across the grassy field to the site of the shinobi memorial. It was a beautiful day; there wasn't a cloud in sight and the slight breeze swept her long hair across her face.
She knelt down at the front of the monument, as she did every morning she was in Konoha, and set the bouquet of flowers on the ground. Hands clasped together, she said a soft prayer. She liked to talk to him. Sometimes she asked for his advice, and even though he couldn't answer, she somehow felt safer. He had always made her feel safe, and now that he was gone, the reality of growing up and taking on the real responsibilities of a shinobi were weighing down on her.
Sakura shivered slightly. It seemed everyone important to her was gone. Naruto constantly away, Kakashi-sensei more permanently absent, and—Sasuke. No, the Sasuke she knew was gone a long time ago. Sometimes she wondered where he was, what he was doing, if he had finally killed Itachi, but then she reminded herself that she no longer knew him. Ever since he left Konoha and gave up everything to seek power, he had become a different person. Now he was an infamous S-class criminal in the bingo book, not unlike his brother Itachi. No one knew the true nature of his work, but so far, Konoha had not been on his radar. It's been 7 years, she reminded herself. Seven. She had changed, and he- well, who knew if he's still alive? In all honestly, the world would probably be better off without him, like all S-class criminals.
Still, it was hard to forget. Sometimes she'd go days without thinking about him, only to have some memory spring up in her so suddenly and intensely that she would find herself in tears, like the naïve, love-struck twelve-year old of the past.
Slowly, it's getting easier though. It's all getting easier.
Sakura stood up slowly from her kneeling position. The wind was blowing again. It was pleasant. She smoothed her hair and smiled slightly.
Why not be thankful for all you have, instead of complaining about all you've lost? She scolded herself. Naruto would probably be back soon and she would hear all about his mission and how he kicked everyone's ass (it always ended that way. That Naruto- never too tired to brag.)
And, of course, Lee. Sakura blushed slightly. He had been so patient and understanding all these years and only recently had Sakura opened her eyes to him as, maybe, something more than a friend. He was reliable, hardworking, caring, and respected in the village. He didn't drive her insane, he never pushed or teased her. Perhaps they would make a great team...
But first I have to complete this mission, Sakura reminded herself as she started walking back toward her apartment.
At 3 pm, Sakura met her assigned ANBU squad at their designated meeting place.
"We don't want you sticking out. You might get targeted that way," said a masked man in a white hooded cape. "We want you to put this on."
Folded neatly in his hands were the ANBU uniform and cape, in the cloth bag he also carried was all the armor and the mask.
Sakura, who thought the chuunin uniform wasn't very flattering, took the clothes with a slight twinge of excitement she tried to control. Even though she'd never be an ANBU, here was the chance at least to look like one.
She smiled coolly and said, "Fine."
The masked man asked, "So you read the mission, right?"
"Yes, of course," she lied.
"Because you are here, I assume it is okay with you?"
Why wouldn't it be okay? Sakura wondered.
She nodded, "My job is always the same."
"I'm glad you feel that way," returned the captain.
He turned to the rest of his squad who were gathered, there were 6 in all counting Sakura.
"The journey to the site will take around three days. We will travel through the forest. Once we're there, we're to hunt him out, surround him, and kill him. It won't be easy."
One of the ANBU members sighed and said, "I was on this mission before. This guy just won't die. We had to retreat last time."
The captain said, "Regardless, we have to keep trying. He may be a danger to the Leaf. Hokage's orders."
Sakura listened and tried to piece together the nature mission as much as she could, but she knew ANBU never spoke directly about their tasks. The captain always assumed they've read the mission folder, so Sakura probably wasn't getting any more information.
So it's an assassination. Wonder who the unlucky bastard is. Five ANBU? He's going down this time for sure.
Even though she had done many missions before, she felt a surge of excitement as they dispatched. The possibility of death sharpened her senses as the group silently made their way to the target.
On the morning of the third day, Sakura awoke in her tent and dressed in the ANBU uniform, pretty impressed with herself. The mask was kind of silly in her opinion, but when she put it on she immediately felt more protected and confident. Her hair was pinned back with some sticks to keep it out of the way. She must have looked very different. She bet no one in Konoha would be able to recognize her like this.
Too bad there's no mirror. She thought as she turned her head both ways to get a good look at herself.
Still, she wasn't an ANBU jounin and if the enemy looked hard enough, he would be able to tell. There was no tattoo on her arm, and she wore two pouches on her waist instead of one to carry her emergency medical supplies.
The plan was to strike at night, however, so the enemy wouldn't be able to see. If everything went smoothly, he won't even sense the attack, much less Sakura.
She got out of the tent and gathered with the rest of her unit. It was a chilly day, and all of them wore their cloaks as they knelt by a fire. The ANBU captain stated that they would leave their things here until the mission was complete. If the enemy saw tents too close to the headquarters he would get suspicious.
"We had some people spying on him a few days ago. They noted that he is always in by 12 am. We'll place this heat sensor on the building to locate him, then take him by surprise in his room. He won't even know he got killed."
"What if he's not there?" a female ANBU asked.
"We intercepted a note about a meeting in the building. It will be done by 11, and he won't go out later at night," the captian answered.
"But what if--?" the female continued.
"Just pray that he's where we expect him to be. We'll never be exactly sure. If he's not there, then all plans are shot and we have to rely on our instincts," the captain interrupted.
He paused, and then started again, "Listen up. From now on, we have no faces, no names, no feelings. There should be only one thing on your mind and that's the mission. Any weakness in our teamwork will get us killed. There's no reason for senseless death- if we find ourselves overpowered we retreat. If you have any questions, ask now because from here on out we'll stop talking about mission details."
No one made a sound.
"Good," the captain. "Get ready to move forward in 10 minutes."
The shinobi picked themselves up and prepared to start their mission.
The task had been well-timed, and by 15 minutes to midnight, the shinobi were perched in trees waiting for the signal to strike. Sakura was kneeling next to the captain in the tree closest to the building.
He whispered to her, “Stay here and wait for us to come out. If we succeed, you’ll tend to the injured in the grassy field we passed two minutes ago. If we’re retreating, be prepared to carry bodies.” He paused, “And if he follows us, you’ll have to run.”
Sakura nodded and gave a deep breath that smoked in the icy cold air. It began sprinkling. The trees smelled raw and fresh, and her skin looked blue against the moonlight.
The platoon waited. After a few minutes, which seemed like an eternity for Sakura, the light in the only illuminated room in the building shut off. The captain raised his right arm. In a flash, the five ANBU disappeared in the rain, their shadows moving swiftly toward their prey.
Sakura sat in silence. The rain was getting heavier. She was close to the building, so she’d be able to hear the screams as people were injured. This part wasn’t fun; once she saw the extent of their injuries she could concentrate on healing, but right now she could only brace herself for the most gruesome infliction.
And suddenly, it began. Sakura heard the sound of metal clashing against metal, groans and cries. Fire and electricity were blinding in the midnight darkness. This persisted for a few minutes, and then there was the sound of broken glass.
Are they done? Already? It can’t be. Sakura stood up to get a better view. She cursed the moonlight for not being strong enough. Luckily, just then a stroke of lightning swept through the sky. She noticed some cloaked figures now running across the lawn, closer to where she hid. Sakura squinted. Two of them were limping, obviously injured.
Damn this is bad, Sakura said to herself. Her heart started beating faster. Thunder rumbled.
There was a sixth shadow now, jumping out of the window and running toward the others. It was fast. He caught the two who were injured quickly and used what might have been strings to tie them against a thick tree. Then a massive fire emanating from the sixth shadow roared toward the two captured figures.
That’s it. It has to be it for them. Sakura shook her head sadly. There’s no way I can heal that burn.
Clearly, this was a retreat situation. Sakura felt her heart pounding through her chest.
I can’t stay here.
She left her location and moved parallel to the direction of the three other escaping ANBU, jumping from branch to branch. The darkness made it difficult to see, and the trees were slick from the rain. A loose branch caught her arm and caused it to start bleeding.
Soon she caught up with one cloaked figure wearing an ANBU mask. He seemed to be breathing heavily but kept retreating.
Sakura called out to him, “Are you alright?”
“He’s following us,” the ANBU cried out. She could hear the trepidation in his voice.
“Use kage bushin, throw him off!” Sakura suggested as they ran.
“It’s no use! Don’t you know? He can see through it!”
Sakura’s heart skipped a beat. See through it? She couldn’t think clearly.
“What about the others? Where are they?”
“The last two went the other direction. We stand better chances in pairs; alone, he’d finish us off easily.”
Later, he shakily added, “You better pray he’s not coming after us.”
Sakura swallowed. She felt fear concentrate in the back of her throat and in the pit of her stomach.
It has never been like this.
After a few moments, Sakura noticed a long gash running down her partner’s forearm up to his wrists. It was a deep wound and blood was spilling out at an alarming rate. Rain had made it run even more.
“You’re bleeding!” She cried out. “If we don’t take a look at that you’ll die from blood loss.”
The lightning struck again and the ANBU ninja grabbed his injured arm.
“There’s no time,” he replied.
“I just need to stop the bleeding and disinfect it for now, it will only take me a minute max,” Sakura assured him.
The other ninja hesitated.
Sakura said, “Look, I don’t hear him behind us or sense his chakra. He must have gone after the other group. He probably figured you’d die from this injury anyway.”
The ANBU thought for awhile as they kept retreating and must have decided what she said made sense because he slowed down.
The two of them hopped down from the treetops. Sakura reached into her back pocket for a flashlight, some disinfectant, and some gauze.
“Hold this,” she handed him the small flashlight that he held in his healthy arm.
“This is going to sting,” she told him as she uncapped the disinfectant.
Suddenly she heard him give chilling scream as he began to collapse forward on top of her. He knocked the medicine out of her hand and dropped the flashlight, which went out when it hit the ground.
“What? Wait! I didn’t pour it yet!” She tried supporting him under his shoulders.
His screaming continued, but Sakura heard a rustling sound in the darkness.
“Shut up! Did you hear that?” she yelled at her partner.
“He’s...here...,” the injured shinobi screamed out between moans of pain.
Sakura felt a shiver crawl up her spine.
“What did he do just now?” she asked him, still trying to support his weight.
“My foot...gah!!!! SAKURA-SAN!” the ANBU ninja cried.
Sakura flinched as her name echoed in the forest. He wasn’t supposed to reveal her identity. But she understood now: the enemy had sliced the Achilles tendon. He was pretty smart- this injury was impossible to heal on the battlefield and rendered a ninja completely immobile.
Sakura tried to think of the best course of action. She was scared of course, but she also had to help this shinobi. Soon, his cries diminished and Sakura felt dead weight fall on top of her. It knocked her back to the wet ground.
The feeling of the leaves, rocks, and twigs on the forest floor seemed to solidify the reality of her situation. This mission was going so badly it had to be a dream, but the moment she hit the cold ground she knew it wasn’t. A part of her wanted to give up and stay where she was- pressed against the ground- but she snapped out of it when she realized that her partner was probably only unconscious- not dead- and that he still needed her medical attention. It would be easier now that he wasn’t screaming and flinching.
With some effort, Sakura rolled him off of her and knelt by his body. She reached behind her to grab something from her back pocket. But the minute she did, she felt a sharp, chilly object at her neck and heard a voice behind her that froze her up like ice.
“Don’t move and don’t scream or you’ll die.”
Sakura closed her eyes, raised her head up slowly and swallowed. She channeled all her strength not to scream or cry. From the sound of his voice he was only a body width behind her. She couldn’t run.
It seems like I can’t keep that promise to you, Ino.
“Stand up.” The voice was cold and firm.
Raising her hands slowly in surrender, Sakura obeyed.
So this is the end...
She stiffened slightly.
If I am a shinobi, I should die like one. I can’t just give in...
“What is your name?” The voice seemed eager to hear the answer, but it still sounded hard and empty.
The rain had lightened up somewhat. Sakura could hear the droplets fall against the leaves. An open patch of the forest was nearby where the moonlight shone through the canopy.
Why does he want to know? He didn’t ask for the other ninja’s name before he sliced him.
She held her tongue and sensed the enemy’s annoyance at her silence.
“If you don’t answer me I’m going to kill you,” he said with a hint of controlled impatience.
Still nothing. The kunai dug closer to her neck. She began to bleed a little. It hurt but she knew it was just the beginning. She felt the warm blood trickle down her cold skin.
Sakura prepared herself for the pain of death. She shut her eyes tightly, head tilted toward the sky, and tried to think of a happy memory.
Naruto...Lee...take care of yourselves.
Kakashi-sensei...it appears we’re going to meet soon. You can tell me where I went wrong...
“Damnit!” the enemy cursed. He grabbed her forcefully by the arm and threw her against the tree that was illuminated by the moonlight. Her body was flaccid, and she barely resisted. His kunai-less hand gripped her throat and lifted her up against the tree.
“Tell me your name. Now.” He repeated. Though she was in the moonlight, his face was still in the shadow. Only most of his arm was visible.
Sakura’s hands tugged on his as she involuntarily squeaked.
“If you’re not going to answer...,” the enemy said.
He tucked back the kunai and knocked off her hood with his free hand. He then roughly removed her mask. Sakura’s hair pins dropped and her hair fell in her face. She must have looked frightful- her face pale from suffocation and rain, sweat, and dirt in her pink hair.
And then, the hand let go. Sakura slid to the ground, exhausted and hyperventilating. She didn’t know why he let go, maybe he was saving her for later or using her as bait- who knew. Anyway, she didn’t care. Sakura couldn’t think at that moment- she could only breathe in the freezing cold air like it was life itself.
In the distance, she heard voices- the most beautiful voices she had ever heard. They belonged to the other two ANBU-nins for sure, and they were going to save her.
“Sakura!” Pause. “Sakura!”
Sakura screamed between gasps, “Over h—“The last word was muffled by a hand that swiftly shot over her mouth.
Sakura’s stifled cries grew louder, trying to call out to her teammates. She was sitting on the ground in the moonlight. If they came toward this way they’d see her for sure.
Please hear me!
“Shut up!” hissed the enemy. Sakura paid no attention and kept making muffled noises.
“SA-KU-RA!” yelled the ANBU again.
They’re so close! Oh god, please let them see me...
The frustration of her platoon being so close yet incapable of hearing her was the last straw for Sakura. Tears welled up in her eyes and started falling in an uncontrollable stream down her face and over the back of her enemy’s hand.
Sakura closed her eyes in despair, tears mingling with the rain.
A few seconds passed.
It was barely audible, almost a whisper and uttered like a statement. There was a familiarity in the way her name was spoken.
Her eyes opened in surprise. They grew wider as the figure who held his hand over her mouth inched closer to her in the moonlight.
She saw his hair first- it was dark. Black or dark blue, or so it looked under the moonlight. It was dripping in the rain.
Sakura froze. His dark eyes met hers.
I know those eyes...
Hahah im stopping here!!!! i wonder wats going to happen!!!!
I like it!! It's so origionall ..... Sorry people, I know I'm bad at spelling
Wahoooo first comment!!
Do not go where the path may lead... go where there is no path and leave a trail
I'll admit, it's pretty good. BUT I hate that pairing with a passion. xD I don't know it just seems to me that Sakura really has no motive for liking Sasuke except for the fact that he's good looking. Don't get me wrong though, I enjoyed reading this, it's very well written.
I love this! it's so cool! i hope you continue it!
its freakin awesome
continue it please
Biscuit pie <3
too long, didn't even read the first line.
part 2 is on!!!!
The following thread has been redirected to this one.
Former Crunchyroll Employee
There is a thread for creating your own story or anime.
But you sure do have one long ass story to tell.
Basou your so gay -_- i was trying so hard to post on the other forum but it ended up being closed.
that was cool but why kill kakshi
and what happened to orochimaru
pART THREE IS ON RIGHT NOW!!!!!
are you planning on publishing this
RIP my childhood shows 1990-2001
Redirected from the following thread.
Former Crunchyroll Employee
WOw this is too long I didnt bother to read the first line -.-