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Monday, January 21, 2013

Eye for an Eye

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or any of its characters and make no money from this.

Chapter Four:

It was seven. In half an hour, Naruto would leave his post and make a run for Suna. Sasuke would appear. In Konoha. How long had it been since he'd last been in Konoha? A little over four years, Sakura silently noted. She wondered if she would even see him. Kakashi hadn't told her what they would be doing yet. He'd refused to. In the end, she guessed it was better since she'd be constantly fretting over and questionning him if he had. Would they fight? She was brought out of her thoughts when her friend placed a hand on her shoulder.

"It's time to go, Sakura.", he spoke softly. This mustn't be easy on him either. They hadn't seen him in almost three years now.

"Okay.", she let out weakly, standing up slowly from the couch.

"We'll walk through town as if we're going to pick up dinner at Ichiraku's. It seems Sasuke will attack the Hokage tower, we'll try to be there to stop him.", he said evenly. He always was most impassible when things were about to go wrong. This made the kunoichi a little more nervous.

"Can we fight him?", she asked, looking up at him with half-closed eyes. "I mean, are we able to? How strong is he now?"

"You might want to stay back.", he replied, not wanting to give anything away. He couldn't allow her to be harmed. Not by him. He truly didn't know what to he hadn't been sure that she wouldn't destroy half the city if she locked her up with the Naras, he would have.

The walk to Ichiraku's was grim. Neither wanted to speak or look at each other. They looked ahead, feigning indifference. Bypassers would feel like they'd argued, which wasn't uncommon amongst Team 7. Kakashi ordered their dinner, he even paid. Kami, hell must be about to break loose if he was paying, she thought. They ate their noodles in silence, ears perked for their signal. Probably screaming or a big boom.

And it came. In the sound of a thousand birds. Chidori. He wasn't very far. About three hundred meters away from them. Sakura looked up hesitantly at her sensei and he nodded. They both jumped from their seats and ran. It was barely a minute before they were at the Hokage tower. They landed on the closest roof and observed the scene. Sasuke was down there, staring up at them. He was surrounded by several dead chuunin that had been guarding the entrance. Her heart clenched painfully at the scene. Had he really become so cruel?

It didn't long before Sasuke joined them on the roof, immediately throwing a fire ball jutsu at them. Sakura had been too shocked to react, luckily for her, Kakashi had grabbed her and jumped out of the way just in time. He didn't hesitate to let go of her and launch himself at the Uchiha, uncovering his sharingan and raikiri quickly ready in his palm. The girl stared in shock. Get a grip, she mentally yelled at herself. She stayed back nonetheless, taking Kakashi's advice.

Sasuke easily avoided his attack. His gaze shifted to Sakura and he smirked. He ran towards her, ignoring his current opponent and going for what he assumed was the easy prey. Her eyes widened as she realized she was his target and poised herself for battle.

"Sasuke!", the jonin growled. "I'm your opponent!"

He was ignored again. He cursed under his breath and prepared for an earth wall jutsu, but he was too slow. Sasuke would reach her before the wall appeared. Sakura bit her lip as she growled and punched the roof they were standing on with all her might.

"You are not!", she shouted as the roof crumbled to bits in front of her and Sasuke went down with the rubble, surprised by her new ability. He was back up a second later and swiped with his kunai several times, though Sakura evaded all of his, even if narrowly. He growled in frustration, obviously not having expected the girl to be any stronger than she once had been. By this time, Kakashi was back near Sasuke and he threw several shurikens his way. Sasuke jumped back quickly, only one blade grazing his arm.

"What are you doing, Sasuke?", Sakura spat out, tears welling up in her eyes.

"Simply avenging my clan, dear Sakura. You are so blind as to what has been going on in your precious Konoha. Danzo is only what it deserved. It's too bad I must kill him.", he answered, finishing with a maniacal laugh that made the girl cringe.

"But you can't. W-What about us? Team 7? You can always come back, we miss you so much...", she ground out, head dropping low.

"You were nothing to me. You're just too stubborn and stupid to understand it. You're too weak. You need proof? I'll kill Kakashi right here and now.", he continued, his sharingan spinning wildly. He launched himself at Kakashi, engaging him in a close-range fight. The girl watched in disbelief, unable to believe how cold he had become.

The fight was about even, he noted on a sad tone. The boy had grown strong, but not under his tutelage. He was disappointed, but not only in his ex-student. Also in himself. How could he had let him turn out like this? One of Sasuke's hits finally landed, jabbing him the abdomen. He grunted in pain and stumbled back a little before regaining his composure.

Shit. She had to do something. At this rate, Kakashi would either bleed out or be killed by Sasuke. She threw a kunai at his right, missing on purpose so that the poisoned senbons she sent next had a chance of hitting. She'd aimed where she'd hoped he'd avoid. She was right. Two hit him the in back. She quickly calculated that such a dose of the paralyzer would actually only slow him down about five minutes. The look he gave her as he turned around to face her was terrifying. She tensed but didn't budge, waiting for him to come to her.

He was going for her again. He was fast. The poison would start acting in thirty seconds. She jumped back to avoid his kunai and aimed at chakra-enhanced kick to his head. In a split-second, his large hand was around his ankle, stopping with a little trouble. His other was quick to follow, but instead grabbing the top of her shin. She tried to break free but his hold was too strong and he was too fast. He twisted her ankle as far as he could, making the poor girl let out a yelp of pain. He didn't hesitate to then hit her shin hard enough to break the bone. She screamed in agony. This was her first serious injury. This was the first time she had felt such intense pain. Her view was blurred as she felt to the ground, unable to move for a little.

Kakashi watched powerless as Sasuke broke her leg. He'd sprinted towards them as soon as he could, but it seemed the Uchiha's blade had been poisonned and he could feel his body get heavy and he was considerably slowed. He couldn't make it in time to avoid her any wounds.

"Sasuke, don't you dare do this!", he shouted as the boy got to his knees, kunai in hand, pressing it against her throat. He threw three shuriken at him, but he let them hit, he didn't even try to avoid them. They hit one of his thighs, his bicep and forearm. He would be slowed, but not enough... He closed his eyes in despair. He couldn't watch. He couldn't lose someone else.

He reopened them in shock as he heard several people land around them. The ANBU. They were finally there. He turned his head back to Sasuke. He scoffed and jumped off the roof, running away. They immediately followed him. He let out a shaky breath, relieved. She was still alive. He thanked Kami countless times as he stumbled towards her.

"Sakura.", he called out as he he reached her. "Sakura, are you okay?"

Her only answer was a moan of pain. He looked down at her leg. Her leg was in a horrible state. Even with her great healing skills, she probably wouldn't be up and running for a good couple of months. He sat behind her, pulling her head in his lap. He stroked her hair carefully.

"It's okay, Sakura. He's gone. You need to heal yourself.", he let out softly, trying to help her sit up. He leaned her against his between his knees, using them to keep her steady. She nodded and observed her left leg for a little before lowering her palms to it. She grunted as she worked. He knew how painful bone reforming was. He'd gone through it several times.

"Do you need me to get someone?", he asked, unsure of what to do to help her.

"N-No, it's okay. I just need a little time.", she ground out, closing her eyes both in pain and focus. After a few minutes, she'd put everything back in the right place and closed any open wounds. She turned her head to look at him.

"Let me take a look at your wound...", she whispered, distancing herself from him so she could do it. He lifted his jacket and shirt, showing the ugly injury to her. He had gone deeper than he'd thought. Blood was still pouring from it.

"Shit, Kakashi-sensei... That's a bad one.", she growled, ghosting her hand over it before they started glowing. He stayed still as she healed him. He always did. He was her best patient in that respect.
Most male ninja had too much pride to whine and complain while she healed them, but that didn't stop them from wriggling and trying to escape her. She stopped when she was sure he was fully healed and her shoulders slumped, her breath coming in shallow pants.

He watched her sadly as he stood up and gathered her in his arms before making his way home slowly. At least, it seemed they had caused a good distraction enough. Their friends were surely out of the city by now. At least their plan seemed to have worked. He just wished Sakura could have stayed out of it. She wasn't ready to face Sasuke. Not like this.

Once they were back in the safety of his home, he heard the girl in his arms sniff and felt her tremble. He pressed her tigher against his body lowered his head to hears, almost close enough for their foreheads to touch.

"No, Sakura, please don't cry.", his voiced came out more strained than he meant it to. It quieted her though. She could hear the pain in his voice. The least she could do for him right was now to go in a break down. She had failed him enough in the fight.

"We're going to give you a bath. You need to be cleaned up. You like baths, right?", he let out quickly, even a little nervous. She nodded hesitantly. He brought her in the bathroom and sat her on the edge of the sink before starting the water of the tub.

"I'm going to undress you, okay? I won't look, I promise. Here.", he said softly, lowering his headband over both of his eyes so that she wouldn't panic. His hands found her hips and he helped her out of her flak jacket and shirt easily. He left her bra on though, that would probably hurt more than help. Her pants were a little more troublemose, but they were off quickly nonetheless. Sakura had watched him shyly as he got rid of clothes a little clumsily. His hands were much larger than hers. They were warm. They felt strong and were gentle.

She relaxed a little, touched by the fact that he was actually covering his eyes. It didn't matter in the end, he had already seen her. He just wanted to make her feel better and make her forget about today. It was what she wanted too. He got rid of his own clothes, keeping on his underwear as well. She blushed brightly at this, wanting to protest but she held back. Once the water was full, he turned it off and helped her in the tub.

He sat with his back to one end of it and tucked her comfortably between his legs. She leaned hesitantly against his back, laying her head on one of his shoulders. She let out a soft sigh as the hot water touched her skin, soothing it slightly. It felt good. She closed her eyes and turned her head towards his neck, cuddling closer to him. She felt him swallow. She mustn't be the only one to be a little uneasy with this position, she thought. She pushed it aside quickly and willed herself to think about nothing and relax.

He lifted one his hands to stroke her arm carefully. She didn't protest so he widened his range a little, going down to her elbow then back up to her shoulder. He heard her sigh and took it as a good sign. He wrapped his other arm around her tiny waist and laid his head against hers. How long had it been since he'd been this close to someone, he wondered. He wasn't sure he'd wanted to allow this, but he couldn't help but feel a little... happiness? Yes, he felt content with just holding her to him right now. It helped them both forget. Even if just for a short while.

He kissed the side of her forehead. Her eyes shot open. That was his lips just felt. "Kakashi-sensei?", she called softly. He 'hm'ed in response.

"Did you take off your mask?", she asked, surprised obvious in her tone. "Mhm." She hesitated and bit her lip before deciding to ask.

"Can I look?" He chuckled lowly. "I've got my eyes covered to make you certain I won't look at you. Why would I let you?", he whispered in her ear. She felt herself blush.

"Because you're my favorite sensei?", she tried. He chuckled again. "It's up to you.", he replied. He wasn't sure he was satisfied with his response, but he didn't really care right now. He waited for her answer for a little. He didn't feel her moving so it made him curious.

"Do you promise you'll let me see it some other time?", she asked, sounding a little sleepy.

"Sure. When you deserve it.", he replied. She felt him smile against her forehead. She felt her heart flutter a little. She couldn't even tell when he was smiling through his mask and now she could feel it. That was a little strange. He felt her nod and relaxed a little.

"Bring your leg over here.", he ordered, his voice just a little less serious than usual. "I need to wash it.", he clarified when he felt her hesitate.

She did as he asked and tried her best not to blush as she watched his hands rub her leg gently with the soap bar he'd picked up. She closed her eyes and allowed herself to relax, leaning a little more on the man behind her. He didn't dare say it out loud, be he noted her skin was soft. It was nice. Once he was done, he let go of her and leaned against the wall.

"Do you want to go to bed?", he asked, unsure of what to do now. The water was starting to turn cold anyway. When she nodded, he stood up retrieved a large towel from the cupboard under the sink. He helped her up slowly and wrapped her in it before lifting her up in his arms and replacing his headband so he could see where he was going. He made his way to her bedroom quietly. He placed her on her bed, careful not to hurt her leg.

"Is this okay? Do you want your pajamas or something?", he asked, his voice low as if he would wake someone up if he spoke louder.

"I'll be okay. Thank you, Kakashi-sensei. I'm glad you're there.", she answered, shaking her head. It was too dark for her to see his face. He smiled and ruffled her hair.

"No problem. Sleep well, Sakura.", he said finally before leaving her room and going to his bedroom. He dropped on his bed tiredly. She had almost died today. He had almost lost yet another teammate. He must really be cursed. If it hadn't been for the ANBU interfering just in time, Sasuke would've slit her throat and he wouldn't have been able to do anything.

He sighed. He felt his muscles tremble slightly. He needed to become stronger. He needed to train harder. It was never enough. He couldn't allow himself to get mellow. He was putting his city at risk by being lazy. He raked his fingers through his untamed hair, trying to think about something else.

By now, their friends had to be quite a way away from Konoha. Suna was three days away at normal speed. If they really tried, they could be there by tomorrow night. He wondered when the next time they would meet would be. He rubbed his eyes and let his arm drape over them. Tomorrow they would be declared missing nins when they were reported missing from their posts. There was a possibility that the rest of them would be interrogated. It would make sense. There was nothing against them though, so it would be useless. Any surveillance would report that they hadn't seen each other since the Hyuuga party and it would be deducted that they weren't included in the decision.
Sleep took a long time to claim the jonin. On Sakura's side, it had been the opposite. She felt drained. The bath had relaxed her enough and she force herself to think about Kakashi's soothing words and actions instead of the fight. The pain in her leg dulled her consciousness and she simply allowed sleep to take over. She would think tomorrow.

She was woken up at sunrise by a crow pecking on the window. A quick glance at it let her know that it was one of the Hokage's messenger birds. They were summoned at the tower. It wasn't surprising. She slipped out of bed sleepily, groaning when she stepped on her left foot. Right. Shattered bone the previous night. She dragged herself to her dresser and picked out her usual ninja attire. She dressed quickly before going to knock on Kakashi's door.

"Sensei, we're being summoned to the Hokage tower.", she called hesitantly, wondering if he would wake up easily or not. She heard him mumble something and assumed it was a positive answer. She sat on top of the couch's back while waiting for him to get ready. It barely took five minutes before he was out. How did the man manage to be so late all the time?

"We need to stop by the hospital though, I need clutches.", she let out, pointing her badly bruised leg. He nodded and picked her up before she could say a thing.

"Hey, I can still walk.", she growled, flailing a little.

"If I let you, then we will be late.", he explained while making his way out. Once outside, he ran at full speed towards the hospital. She didn't say another word. After their quick stop at the hospital, he repeated the gesture and they were at the meeting spot in no time. Danzo started his speech barely a few seconds later.

"We have bad news.", he started, his head going from one side of the room to the other slowly. "Sasuke has infiltrated our precious city last night and caused many casualties and injuries to our ninjas. What is truly sad is...", he continue, taking a little pause before announcing what Sakura dreaded the most. "That one of us let him in.", he said after a few seconds. Chatter started in the room, wondering who did such a thing. Alarm should have been sounded as soon as he was sighted, after all.

"It was Naruto.", he finally said. There was a loud protest in the room but the Hokage was quick to explain. "It seems Naruto has sided with his old friend. The hunter nins tell us that he is on his way to Sunagakure, most likely seek help from the Kazekage. It also seems that several of our ninjas have gone missing as well, though they were not seen fleeing the village. It is assumed that they were recruited by Naruto.", he continued.

"Our intel leads us to believe that the boy plans to side with Sasuke to destroy Konoha. As we have all learned recently, the Yondaime was Naruto's father. Like Sasuke, he mustn't have taken well to learning the truth of what happened around him. He couldn't accept the fact that his own father sealed the Kyuubi in him and then let him be an orphan.", he explained.

Sakura's heart broke even further as the room was divided in two kinds of chatter. On one side, people were unable to believe that the great Naruto Uzumaki would do such a thing. On the other, people were scoffing and saying they always knew the boy was dangerous. How could they? Naruto had just saved all their lives! He was the one to defeat Pein. He fought for them all of his life, even though everyone hated him. It was unfair.

Feeling her anger rise, Kakashi put a hand on her shoulder. The last thing he wanted was for her to go up to the Hokage and defy him. That would be disastrous. Danzo continued on to declare that their teammates were now missing nins. One by one.

"Naruto Uzumaki. Class S.", the first came.

"Inoichi Yamanaka. Class A.", the second.

"Ino Yamanaka. Class C.", the third.

"Kiba Inuzuka. Class B.", the fourth. Huh? Sakura guessed he had changed his mind. It wasn't really
surprising coming from him. Hopefully him and Akamaru would be fine.

"Hinata Hyuga. Class C.", the fifth.

"Tenten Hisagia. Class B.", the sixth.

"Maito Gai. Class A.", the seventh.

"Rock Lee. Class B.", the eight.

"Shino Aburame. Class B.", the ninth.

"Shibi Aburame. Class A.", the tenth.

"Genma Shiranui. Class S.", the eleventh. That was it. Sakura stared at the floor. She would miss them so much. It hurt. She felt guilty for not joining them. But then again, Kakashi had decided this. If he had, it must've been because it was for the best.

"Shizune Kato. Class A.", the twelth. Her head shot up as she heard the name. She hadn't been at the meeting. Did she see one of her friends flee and decided last minute to join them? Sakura immediately felt a little lonelier. Tsunade was in a coma, half of her friends were gone for Kami knows how long, and now, the closest thing she had to a sister was also gone.

Kakashi's hand gripped her shoulder a little tighter. He wasn't aware either that Shizune would be leaving. In the end though, he was glad. They would have a great medic with them, this would heighten their chances of survival. To his surprise, Sakura shook off his hand. He brushed it off as her being uncomfortable like this in public. She needed to appear strong.

"Several hunter nin teams have been sent after them. Be prepared to be called in as reinforcements at any time today. Usual activities are suspendes until tomorrow.", the Hokage added. "You are dismissed.", he ended. Before they could leave, an ANBU informed Kakashi that he would be assigned solely to intern guard duty until the pink-haired girl had healed well enough to accompany him on missions.

Sakura and Kakashi walked home quietly. Slowly. They didn't have a choice with her clutches. He didn't know what to say. She was sulking, he could tell that much. He didn't know what the sudden change of attitude was all about. It was obvious that Shizune's discreet departure would affect her greatly, but he'd expected her to come to him for support like she had in the past few days. Hm, probably once at home she'd switch back to that. It seemed to be how she functionned.

He was wrong. As soon as they were home, she headed for her bedroom. He scratched the back of his head as he followed her to her door. He tapped her shoulder to get her attention. She turned half-way around, though she refused to look at him in the eye.

"I can make tea.", he offered. He had no better idea, really. He certainly wouldn't offer her another bath. Yeterday, it had seemed like a great idea, but now it would just be misplaced.

"No thanks.", she muttered and disappeared inside her bedroom, closing the door behind her. He stayed there for a few seconds, staring at the door. What was that feeling? That little thing that gnawed at him right now. He thought quickly and came up with one conclusion. He felt rejected. The last time Kakashi had felt rejected was... Well, he couldn't remember.

He moved to the kitchen to grab an orange. That should cheer him up. Either way, he needed to think about their little resistance. There wasn't much to be done on the inside other than uncover some dirt on Danzo. The problem was that he had been approved by the daimyos and the other Kages. That made it complicated. The Kages wouldn't necessarily hard to convince, especially with Gaara on their side, but the daimyos were another question.

He'd have to meet with Shikamaru and see what he thought about it. Two heads were better than one, right? It would make the whole thing easier. His head was starting to hurt now anyway. He stared at the orange that was sitting on the table, in front of him. His chair squeaked somewhat painfully when he shifted his weight. He wasn't that heavy, was he? He sighed. Nothing managed to keep his attention.

"Sakura?", he called as he approached her door. No answer. He knocked.

"What do you want, sensei?", she finally answered. Looks like she was in a sour mood.

"Just making sure you aren't ripping out the last of your hair. Because I think I might be.", he threw back, hoping to catch her attention enough to make her come out. For a second, he remembered the warmth of her from the previous night. It really had been too long since he'd had a girlfriend, he noted.

"I'm not. You shouldn't. You'll be ugly if you do.", she replied, her voice still sounding bitter. His shoulders slumped. More. What was he supposed to do now?

"Want to watch another movie?", he asked, a little hesitant, after a little wait.

"Your movies suck. Keep them to yourself, Kakashi-sensei. You can watch them without me.", she spat back. He was starting to question himself now. Had he done something to make her angry? He gave up and did as she said. He turned on the tv after putting a movie in the player and let himself fall lazily on the couch. Nothing better than a crappy movie to suck your attention and the life out of you.
In truth, Sakura did feel guilty about how she had just acted towards him. She just couldn't stand it right now. He had ignored her most of her youth, and now, all of a sudden he wanted her unconditional attention? It was weird. It made her feel uneasy, even though she had thoroughly enjoyed it. The bath might have been a little inappropriate considering their positions to one another, but he had made her feel so much better so easily.

She just felt betrayed right now. Everything was just changing so brutally. Shizune's unannounced leave was just the last string. She couldn't allow Kakashi to make her feel better. She needed to be angry. She needed to mourn what she felt she was losing. She couldn't stand for him to be so nice to her. He had always been, in the end. It's just that they never got the opportunity to spend time together. It nagged at her that she hadn't noticed it before and had been angry in silence at him for so long. He made it all go away too easily. It wasn't okay.

Chapter Five: Click Here

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