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Monday, January 21, 2013

Eye for an Eye

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

Chapter Six:

Three months passed. The city was awfully quiet without Naruto. Or maybe it was the execution of two leaf nin who had opposed Danzo's orders to cut all communications with sound nin. It had been publicly broadcasted that Naruto and the Kazekage were on the same side. It was thus announced that by this alliance, Gaara was declaring Suna an enemy of Konoha. All trades had been stopped, every nin that had been out in reconnaissance missions was sent back home.

Many had protested this choice. Suna's alliance was important to everyone, it was proof that there was hope in this world. That peace was possible. That Naruto and Garra weren't only jinchurikis but the emblem of strength of two great nations. What kept them together. Two nins had strongly opposed this decision, going as far as to raise an uproar against the Hokage. Once they were found to be the leaders, they had been promptly executed on the spot by root agents.

This made Sakura wince. If they weren't careful enough, this would be how they would end up. No questions asked. Danzo would execute them the moment he found evidence of their resistance. Iruka was imprisonned, for taking Naruto's side and announcing that he wasn't out to destroy Konoha. It wasn't possible. His fate was currently being decided by Danzo and his followers. They evaluating if he'd make a better example alive or dead. For all that everyone knew, he was simply in a cell 24/7. But Kakashi knew better. They were interrogating him for any information on Naruto and the missing nins' whereabouts and plans.

Naruto had surely informed Gaara of what was really going on, because the latter had sent letters to every Kage in order to state his opinion of the new Hokage. Sadly, they didn't seem to agree with him. Everyone wanted their own part, to be more powerful than the others. Siding with Suna would provoke Konoha and might result in a war. As much as everyone wanted their part of the cake, no one wanted that. Especially Danzo, in the end. Konoha's military force had dwindled after Pein's attack. Luckily, many had been brought back because of Naruto's contagious enthuiasm, but they were losses nonetheless.

The reevaluation of the chuunins had taken place. Many had been degraded. No one she personally knew had been, but she'd heard many hushed complaints from random people that they met on the street. About a sixth of them had been demoted. A quarter of those had been sent to root. It was impossible to know what they did there, as it was classified. To her surprise, Sakura had been promoted to jonin. She would have been happy, if she hadn't been certain that Danzo had something in mind when he did so.

The village had now been rebuilt a great deal, although the civilian side of the city was still very lacking. Danzo didn't prioritize it at all. Food had been rationned and most of it went to the ninjas, of course. They were the breadwinners. An hungry ninja was as good as a dead one. It was about two months before Shikamaru had contacted them. Neji had spotted Akamaru waited at the designed spot. It was easy for Ino to slip in the city. She'd use her mind-switch jutsu as soon as they received confirmation that they were acknowledged.

Strangely enough, at the least, to Sakura, that was done by sending one of the deer of the Nara forest. They would pass completely unnoticed. Once Ino found an innocent bypasser to catch, she sneaked inside the city. She then delivered her message to the spot they had agreed on. It was a dingy tavern that was barely frequented. They were to leave their letters in the cut of one of the leather booths. This particular message had been rather innocent. It described how they had been working with Gaara to uncover what they could on Danzo.

All that they had found was that Danzo covered himself for a reason other than wounds, though it had been impossible to find what it was that he hid. This intrigued Kakashi very much. He needed to find more information about this. That would be for later though. It had been announced this morning that Iruka was to be executed next week, because of his ties to Naruto. He was declared a traitor. He'd never heard anything so ridiculous. If Danzo hadn't so carefully monitored his organization and kept their forces so well hidden, then he wouldn't be able to stay Hokage very long. No one had the means to fight root.

"Sakura.", he called as he came home. She had been on guard duty that particular day and hadn't been able to attend the meeting.

"Kakashi-sensei, you're home.", she replied casually as she strode towards him, leaving her book on the couch. "What's the verdict?", she added, frowning.

"Death.", he announced, his eye lowering to the floor. Her eyes followed his.

"I see. Isn't there anything that we can do?", she asked softly.

"You are a poison expert, right?", he inquired. He had a plan. His question was purely rethorical. She nodded and he knew he had her full attention.

"I need you to mix one up. Sleep-inducing and memory eraser.", he demanded, his voice strict.

"It shouldn't be too hard to sneak in the hospital, there's no security there. I can make on that induces sleep for a short time, but the victim won't even realize that he's been out. It's just like being hypnotized.", she described, surveilling his reaction.

"That's exactly what we'll need. We'll get Iruka out of there.", he added, nodding.

"Okay. I'll get to work then.", she replied, bypassing him to exit the appartment.

Sneaking in the hospital truly was no big deal. People were used to seeing her there. Since being assigned to jonin, she'd been put back on hospital duty part-time anyway. Due to her status as Tsunade's pupil, she was allowed in every section of it. No one would even notice the missing ingredients if she forged the numbers in the inventory. No big deal. Many people had greeted her, but none had seen her in and out of the iventory room. It was too easy. She didn't bother to use the lab there, she had everything she needed back home. Doing it here would only be dangerous. She might be caught, and it would be hard to explain what she was doing there.

It took her two days to complete the process. It really wasn't that hard for someone like her, but it took time nonetheless. They were things that she couldn't speed up without affecting the end result. Kakashi had watched her closely whenever he could, obsverving her every moves. She found it somewhat unnerving, but she knew he did so only out of curiosity. He knew little of this art, and found it interesting that she did. It was still hard to see her as more than the genin she'd once been. He realized now how much she had progressed.

"There. It's all I could make. We have seven doses. One will knock someone out for about nine minutes, depending on size.", she declared as she held up the small vials.

"That's good. We just need enough to get by without being seen. It doesn't matter how they assume that Iruka escaped as long as there's no link to us.", he replied, cocking his head to the side.

"Okay, what's the plan then?", she questionned as sheh secured the vial to the designed spot on her belt. They were set to tiny needles. She could either throw them, or hit the victim directly with it. Nothing easier.

"Tomorrow night, we're to be interrogated at the compound where they're holding Iruka. You can guess the rest.", he let out, not feeling like he needed to explain. Knock out interrogaters and anyone who was there, free Iruka, be back at interrogation before anyone knew. They'd just need to rig the clock so they didn't notice the time skip. Easy enough, right? Sakura simply nodded, trusting her sensei. He wouldn't do something if he wasn't sure of it.

Said time came faster than Sakura had anticipated. Her insides were churning uncomfortably as they entered the room where they were to be interrogated. It was in the ANBU HQ. Kakashi knew that place perfectly. It was a good advantage for them. Anko was there. Hopefully, she was an ally. It was easy to not take sides, save your own ass. Kakashi seemed confident though, so she trusted him blindly. As soon as the door started closing being them, Kakashi slipped a wedge of paper in the lock so it couldn't close entirely. There would be no way out otherwise.

The man's back was to them while he led them in the room. Big mistake. Root weren't careful enough when they thought they had all the power. Sakura threw him on of her vials, hitting him in the back of the neck. This poisin worked instantaneously. The man froze on the spot. They had nine minutes. Anko stared at them with wide eyes for a second, before grinning widely.

"You asshole! I knew you'd do something like this. At least this time you didn't knock me out with them. Now, shoo! I'll take care of him if he wakes up.", she let out quickly, crossing her arms behind her head. Good, she was on their side. That was easy.

They didn't lose another second, slipping back in the halls and running to their destination. The vials went quick. Two guards at their door, one in the halls. Two in front of Iruka's detention room. Only one more dose left. Breaking down the lock was an easy task with Sakura's inhumane strength. One well-placed, chakra-laden punch went right through the wall, though it was precise enough to damage the rest as little as possible. It was something that many could do, just not so easily. No one would know, though.

Iruka watched the door hesitantly as he watched the door open. He didn't feel like company right now. Company that tortured you was no fun. He simled weakly as he saw Kakashi come in. Looks like he had a way out.

"Come on, we have to get going.", he let out, helping the man on his back quickly. "I'll be right back. Meet you at the room.", he said to Sakura as he sprinted for the exit that Sai was guarding. He took the last dose of poison with him, for the other guard. There, Shikamaru would be waiting to help Iruka escape out of the village. Hinata and her team were waiting for him in the Nara forest.

Sakura nodded hesitantly as she watched them leave, before bolting for the interrrogation room. They had three minutes left. If he didn't make it back before then, they would be in serious trouble. She held her breath as she reached the room, reaching for the clock to set it back seven minutes. Two more. He had better hurry. Today was no day to be late.

She watched the guard anxiously with Anko, hoping he wouldn't wake up any earlier. He was quite a big man, after all. To her horror, he blinked. Her breath caught in her throat. No. They couldn't harm the guy. It would link them to Iruka's escape. As he got control of his body back, the man looked around the room.

"Where's Kakashi?", he growled out. Anko immediately hit him in the back of the head, knocking him out once again. He would take a while to wake up now, though. Sakura's mind was reeling. They needed another plan. Kakashi arrived just then.

"I hope you guys have another plan, for fuck's sake!", the purple-haired woman roared. She obviously didn't want a fate similar to Iruka's.

"Don't move.", Sakura warned as she approached and hit several pressure points, putting her to sleep as well. Her eyes locked with Kakashi's for a second. She saw the vial in his palm. It was still full. It seemed he hadn't needed it after all.

"Give me the vial.", she let out, holding her palm out. He didn't move. She ran at him, grabbing his arm before he could move. He had no idea what she had in mind, but she wasn't going through with it. He wouldn't let her.. He grunted as she added chakra to her grip. She would break his arm iif she had to.

"Why do you need it?", he ground out, dropping the vial as he felt his bone snap. It would heal easily, she'd made sure of it.

"Because one of us needs to stay here. Thanks for everything Kakashi-sensei.", she answered, biting her lip as she injected him with the liquid. Her eyes were watering. She didn't want to leave him. It tore her apart inside. It was the only way for at least one of them to stay alive. Otherwise their plan would be uncovered and they would both be executed. She dropped the vial to his feet and made a run for it.

When he came back to himself, he wanted to tear his hair out. How the hell had he let her get the best of him? How could he let her do that? Everyone in the room was confused. They were surrounded by several ANBU.

"That bitch poisonned us!", Anko spit out, pointing to the vial in front of Kakashi. One of the masked ninja grabbed it, obviously keeping it for further inspection.

The next moments were a blur. Everyone spoke about Iruka's escape and Sakura's whereabouts. They questionned. He answered in all honesty that he didn't know, that he hadn't been aware of her plan. It was the truth. Except the part where he put all the blame on her for Iruka's escape. Thanks to Anko's persuasive perfomance, it was quite easy to make everyone believe that the girl had been unable to let her beloved friend's teacher be executed.

And now she was on the run. She was alone. Maybe she'd been able to catch up with Iruka and the others, he wondered as he made his way inside his home. It felt incredibly empty without her. He hoped with all his will that she was safe. He walked to her bedroom, inspecting it. She hadn't stopped here before leaving. She'd really left the village.

Sakura panted as she ran. Her legs were burning badly but she couldn't possibly stop now. ANBU were after her. That much she knew. What would they do with her? She heard one closing in on her. He was barely a few meters behind her. She growled in frustration and turned around to face him. How the hell was she going to get rid or an ANBU? He stood there for a moment, staring at her. Evaluating her next move.

"You won't get me alive!", she roare as she threw herself at him with all her might. She was fighting for her life today. Fighting for all the times she had failed, for her promise to help her friends. To not be useless and weak. She screamed as she aimed a punch at the man's chest. He tried to block her with his arms. Good, it seemed he didn't know her. He was going to pay. She stopped herself as she heard the sickening crunch of his bones. She'd gone right through his arms and now left quite heavy damage to his chet. He would live, but he wouldn't have if she hadn't stopped. She watched him with a frown. He was a Konoha nin. He was just following orders. She couldn't kill him.

"Don't tell them where I am. I'm on Konoha's side. So should you.", she let out evenly before turning on her heels and running. She felt guilt weigh her down. She had injured one of her own. She had no choice, though. If she was caught, she would be executed. Probably on the spot, too. It was her life of theirs. She would make it out alive for her friends, she swore.

She stopped once she had reached a small civilian village. Casting a henge on herself was no problem. She did so quickly, before entering. She had a little money with her. Enough to last her a week or so, probably. She bought some food for a merchant before settling down in a small inn for the night. She'd managed to charm a few bucks off the price. Good, anything that she could save right now would help her.

Three weeks passed quickly. Too quickly. She'd done some work for local businesses in whatever town she stopped for money. That was her only means on earning some without attracting attention. She stopped in her tracks when she heard some whispers on the side of the street.

"I heard the Copy Ninja was declared a missing nin.", was all that she heard before she felt herself tense. It was like she was blind and deaf for a minute, processing what they had said. After all that she did, why did he do that? She had done this so he could stay in Konoha and be safe for all of them, for fuck's sake! He just ruined all of her work!

She had decided to head to Suna. It was the only spot she knew they could meet. It was impossible to contact one another. He had to be going there as well, she assumed. It was obvious that the others hadn't stayed there very long. Anyone could report their presence to the Hokage for the large sum of money he offered for every missing nin. Even staying with their only ally outside of Konoha was dangerous. Hopefully, they'd arrive about at the same time. She had no idea when he'd left. She didn't dare ask.

It took her two days to reach Suna from where she had been. She headed straight to the Kazekage. Luckily for her, Kankuro and Temari appeared to be on guard duty. She pulled back the hood that she had been wearing just enough for her hair to peek through. She dropped the henge and looked up at them with her green eyes.

"I have some business with the Kazekage.", she stated simply. They had recognized her quickly and Temari led her in. They were safe inside.

"Kakashi was here just a week ago, looking for you.", Temari said, turning to look at her.

"Was he? Do you know where he is?", she asked, eyes filled with hope. She had missed him. So much. It was a little painful to admit, but much more so than any other of their teammates. Maybe it was because they had lived together for three months. Maybe it was because in the end he was the rock in her life, the one to keep her steady.

"Sadly, no. But he said he'd pass once a week. He knew you'd come here when you got the news.", she explained evenly, leading her to a room nearly at the top. It had no windows, just the bare necessities for a bedroom. Sakura could tell that this was a storage room they'd rearranged for her or Kakashi.

"When will he be back?", she asked, eyes sweeping the room.

"Tomorrow at noon. You can rest here. If no one asks quetions, then you should be able to stay here for a little while. We'll do what we can for you guys. I can't stay longer, though.", the blonde said before leaving. She was brief and strict. That was Temari alright.

She didn't lose any time to fall on the bed, eyes shutting quickly. She was so tired. She had made her way here as quick as she could. She kept just enough energy to fight should she come across anyone, but she had focuse on travelling. It was already quite late, so she could just go to sleep and wait for Kakashi the next day.

She slept much longer than she had anticipated. Nights of barely sleeping to keep a tab on her surroundings had taken their toll on her, she assumed. She heard a knock on the door and recognized Kakashi's chakra. Her heart jumped to her throat. She ran to the door, opening it for him quickly. He walked in and closed it behind him just as fast. She threw herself at him, hugging him tightly to herself.

"Kakashi-sensei!", she let out, her voice betraying how angry she was at him. She was also very happy to see him. Happier than she had been in a long time now. "Why did you do that?", she growled, not giving him the time to greet her. He wrapped his arms around her again, holding the back of her head to him firmly.

"I couldn't leave you out there alone.", he replied, his voice lower than usual. She scoffed and looked up at him, frowning.

"I was okay alone. You didn't need to come save me.", she scolded, leaning her head on his chest. As mad as she was at him, she couldn't tell him to go. She wanted him too badly now that he was there.
She needed his presence to keep her going. To lead her as he always had.

"I know. You did well. You can take care of yourself, I know that, Sakura.", he replied, looking down at her. His eye had softened. It made her feel mellow, like she'd been ranting at him for no good reason. Her hands gripped his flak vest in the back. "I needed to see you.", he admitted, his voice much softer than usual. She watched him closely, eyes wide with shock. He never admitted such things. He never said such things.

"I missed you so much, Kakashi-sensei.", she said, her voice breaking a little as tears welled at the corner of her eyes. Kakashi felt overwhelmed. He had spent the past month alone, and he felt the lack of her presence heavily. He had gotten used to live with her. He couldn't explain it, but it didn't feel right when she wasn't close to him anymore. Something nagged him, telling him that she was his girl. That she would be with him for the rest of his days if he would just open his eyes.

They sat together on the bed for a while, telling each other about their journey for the past month. Neither had done much interesting since they had both managed to keep the attention away from themselves the whole time. They had been safe. This relieved them both very much. As the conversation died down, he pushed back a strand of hair behind her ear. He felt the need to touch her, to have her close. As his eye wandered down to her lips, he realized he also wanted to kiss her. More so than he had ever wanted to kiss anyone else.

Sakura blushed as she noticed he was watching her, wondering why he was doing it and what he had in mind. She felt the need to have him by her side right now. Not just this very moment, but forever. She didn't know if she could deal with the world without him anymore. He had helped her so much throughout her life, and now he had become a missing nin to be with her. He had done what she would have done for Sasuke. The thought was weird, but it bugged her a little. It brought her to think about her feelings for the man.

Were they hugs and teasing as innocent as they both had claimed? Or had they kept a certain distance from each other because they both knew where it would be going if they didn't put up those barriers?

Her questions died down as she watched him lower his mask. She finally got a good view at hi face. He was handsome, but that she already knew. You didn't need to see that little part of his body to know. What she did notice, what that he looked much younger than his years. That he had a smile on his lips. That she liked those lips.

When he saw her eyes soften and the blush on her cheeks, something snapped. He couldn't deny it anymore. He had grown much more attached to her than he should ever have. He wanted her for himself and himself only. He didn't want to allow anyone else to touch her. He liked her. More than a friend should. He just wouldn't admit to her that he was falling for her. Could he even fall in love with someone? The thought was foreign. He ignored it. He didn't need to tell himself that he was in love with her to know that he needed her close to him.

He leaned down and kissed her softly, wrapping his arms around her small waist. She didn't hesitate to respond and he felt a weight lift from his shoulders. She didn't reject him. He remembered that one time she locked herself in the bedroom and refused to speak to him. It had hurt him. More so than he had wanted to admit, and now he knew why. It was because he refused to let her suffer without him. Because he wanted to go through everything with her. He wanted to help her get through all of life's woes. There would be many, he knew, but it was okay.

She was a strong girl and he would be there to help her up when she fell. He laid her down on the bed, so that they were both on their side and pressed close to one another. He broke the kiss to give her neck light pecks. It felt perfect, just like this. Just with her in his arrms. Nothing else should matter. Just for this moment, nothing else would matter, he decided.

"I really missed you.", he muttered, stroking her back.

"I did too...", she replied, a little breathless. It made him smirk. He knew the effect he had on her at anytime, thanks to his keen sense of smell. Right now, she was a little aroused. He wouldn't act on it though. It didn't feel right to do so just yet. Instead, he kissed her again, just caressing her back, legs, arms, whatever he felt like. He was content with the fact that she let him do this.

On her side, Sakura wasn't too sure what was going on. All that she knew was that it felt great, to be held by the great Copy Nin like this. To be carressed and kissed by him. To see him. She felt her heart flutter. Was she falling for him? That was impossible. He was her teacher, she couldn't. It wasn't right. Something screamed at her, but not to get away. Rather to look at how they were currently entangled in her bed and kissing. Who cared if it was right or wrong, they were already kissing. He had already touched her where no one else had.

They both just lay in bed like that for a while, forgetting the world around them. Just a little moment away from the world was what they both needed, because that world had betrayed them. Everything that they had fought for so hard all their life, them and their friends, was being destroyed single-handledly by one person. One person who was leading Konoha in the wrong direction.

Tomorrow, they would think about how to get him. How to dethrone him and give Konoha back to its rightful people. They would find the other and stop hiding like rats. They would reclaim Konoha and restore it to its former glory. Just tomorrow, when they'd had enough of each other. When they were rested and felt ready to tackle anything that life would throw their way. Today, it was just him and her. That was it.

Chapter Seven: Click Here

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