Naruto Fan Fiction ❯ Forcibly ( Chapter 6 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Tsuyoku: I was pretty satisfied with this last chapter, and although I should be working on another installment of CopyCat — alas, I am back here again typing up my rambling outlines that I jot down while I’m at work… I know, I know, it’s brilliant (in a slacker sort of way).

On a more serious note, however, I would definitely encourage any of you NejiSaku fans to check out my CopyCat fic. I was actually exercising one day, and the idea for that fic just came to me. Talk about motivation to exercise!

Oh, and I edited Chapter 5 just a little. I found some spelling and action mistakes while reading through it again — nothing really different there, but ugh, I really need a beta.

Sound Sleep 6

The blonde stepped over the threshold, Sakura stepped aside with her mind wavering about why the demon’s sister was at her house, especially at night. Sakura poured herself a drink; the offer of another for her guest was declined, which was probably for the best. Should Temari say something out of line, Sakura couldn’t promise her drink would stay in the cup—a dangerous thought but very appropriate for her mood.

« I expect you can imagine why I’m here, » she settled on the neglected couch that Sakura suspected could use a little dusting; she shook her head.

« No, I’m not really sure why you’re here, » Sakura was tired of out of town visitors every time she made the decision to come home.

Temari blinked at a loss for words; Sakura was supposed to go on and explain what Gaara had been doing in Konoha, but it seemed that she was a bit more headstrong than Temari had expected.

« Well, Gaara’s been making a few trips to Konoha recently, and I have good reason to suspect it’s something to do with you of all people. »

The pink haired girl shrugged, « I guess it does, but don’t ask me; his visits were a mystery to me up until two weeks ago. Why, are you here to explain his behavior to me? » It was said with slightly more scorn than she’d meant, thought if the tone in her voice was enough to get the pig tailed girl to spill the beans then she was apathetic about how it affected her guest.

« Quite the opposite actually, I want to know what you’re doing with my brother. » Now it was Sakura’s turn to be put off, as she could feel the muscles in her eyes begin to twitch. What was this woman talking about?

« I’m not… whoa, wait a second. I’m not doing anything with your brother, and to tell you the truth, I really would rather he’d leave me alone. » She stood up and paced the room while mumbling to herself, which caused Temari’s eyebrow to shift slightly. « You’ve got to be kidding me: waking up to Gaara of all people asleep in my room, being ‘requested’ at such formal meetings when he’s in town, I’m just tired of being taken advantage of all the time! You need to go tell your brother to back off. »

« What did you say? » Temari suddenly stood up in a flash that Sakura had a pulse of fear; she didn’t want to take on the fan user in her apartment. The pink one took a moment to look confused.

« He needs to back off..? » Sakura said with a little less backing than before.

« Before that. »

« I’m tired of being taken— » a shake of the head. « He was sleeping… sleeping in my room » Sakura realized what Temari had wanted to hear.

« You’d better not be lying about that, Haruno. » Temari stepped from the couch with a hand on her weapon, hesitating in the slightest. « That’s not funny. »

« I’m not joking, » Sakura would have used Temari’s last name for effect, but if the girl even had one Sakura was unaware of it. « Why would I joke about that? He’s been plaguing my life for weeks now. »

Both the girls took a moment and returned to their seats never taking eyes off of the other. Temari, it seemed, was for the moment satisfied that Sakura wasn’t lying. « So you have no idea what your brother has been coming to Konoha for almost every night? »

« I don’t know if you realize, but when I say ‘brother’ it’s referring to blood only. He doesn’t exactly share anything with us. I’m only here talking to you because I accosted a messenger from Konoha into coughing up the letter he’s written to your Kage. It mentioned you, and here I am following the lead. » She paused for a second and fixated Sakura with a long look. « Now tell me everything you know. » Sakura finally began from the beginning, telling Temari of waking up with Gaara being there to his requisition of her, all the way to the downright stalking.

« He was sleeping and Shukaku didn’t take over? That’s very strange; that it happened so many times yet nothing came of him being unconscious. » Her brown eyes stared at the girl. « It must have something to do with you; what are you? »

A knock pounded at the door causing both heads to turn.

« Kankuro, I appreciate you coming down here personally, but did you really have to knock Kaleb out? » The Hokage gave him a look that said, ‘heat exhaustion doesn’t leave bumps’.

« It wasn’t me; it was Temari, and can you really blame us for being curious? Gaara doesn’t share information with anyone, especially when it’s something personal. What’s going on with him and that Haruno girl? » Tsunade sighed and sipped slowly at her rice wine.

« I’ve been trying to discover that myself, » her gaze returned to the Sand nin. « Do you know anything? I realize that you’re not here as the messenger, but I need to know what he wants with Sakura before Gaara brings it up at the meeting. » Kankuro took the seat across from the motherly Kage—they weren’t exactly friends, but the painted man had a habit of treating any acquaintance as if they were family. Blame it on having the disconnected Gaara for a brother.

« Temari is talking with Sakura as we speak. When the letter mentioned her name, she ran over there to investigate. » He scratched his head, « I’m just hoping that their personalities didn’t clash. I’ve heard about Haruno. » Tsunade nodded solemnly and pushed a button on her desk with a manicured finger.

« Yes, Tsunade, » the female voice answered on the other end.

« Send for Temari of the Sand and Sakura; they should be at Sakura’s apartment right now, and I want them here as soon as possible. »

« It will be done. » End conversation.

« I’m going to congregate the four of us in my office and hopefully we can figure this out. » Tsunade leaned back in silence and waited for her guests to arrive; Kankuro meanwhile made him self comfortable and even helped out to some of the Hokage’s sake, which earned him a good glare from her hard brown eyes.

For what seemed like hours, the seconds ticked by stretching long and tall until after a good ten minutes marked the arrival of Temari and Sakura. The awkwardness of the two revealed they’d been talking about the Gaara situation, but Tsunade couldn’t wait to finally pull facts and disclose the real truth. « Glad you two could make it, » Tsunade motioned to any available seating left. « Temari and Kankuro, I must add before we begin that you are on Konoha soil; entering under the pretenses of delivering a message actively violates our village’s laws since Leaf and Sand do not have an outstanding treaty. However, what we’re here to talk about is your brother. » She rose from her seat, unable to sit still any longer, and walked towards her personal armchair in the corner. Perching on its arm Tsunade continued, « When it comes to you, Sakura, I’m very concerned at what Suna’s (or more correctly Gaara’s) interests in you are. »

« Temari and I might possibly have an idea. » The blonde girl looked towards Sakura; they hadn’t had time to talk about it, but before the knock at the door Sakura had mentioned something that fit so perfectly. Tsunade had no choice but to motion for her to continue. « When I woke up that one night, Gaara was sleeping in my room, as I mentioned to you earlier. The evidence of sand in my room for weeks before I noticed it leads me to believe he was sleeping in my room all those nights. Temari asked if the demon, Shukaku, had ever been released. »

« And he hadn’t because if such a thing was let loose the entire village would have been at stake, » Temari continued.

« So, what you’re saying is?”

« That Sakura somehow has the power to calm Shukaku. If he hasn’t been released when Gaara is sleeping in Sakura’s apartment, then what else can it be? That’s why my brother wants her so badly; she’s allowing him to get the sleep that he’s wanted since the demon was sealed within him. »

Tsunade toiled this over in her head for a while, just thinking about the possibilities of Gaara coveting Sakura for something so—so human. Here she’d been thinking about him wanting Sakura for her chakra control or the medical benefits she might bring to Suna, which were both good reasons he might bargain for Sakura’s companionship. « Sakura, he wants to take you back with him to Suna. »

« What? I thought he hadn’t said anything about me except requesting me to be at the treaty meeting, » Sakura stood up in shock.

« I’m sorry; I didn’t want to say anything unless he proposed it at the meeting, but instead of merely asking you to be present at the council rulings Gaara also asked as part of a basis for the treaty you would have to accompany him back to Suna for a time no shorter than six months. » Tsunade hadn’t wanted it to come out this way; she’d been trying to think of some way that Sakura could stay, but as the leader it was adamant that they go forth with this treaty. And if Suna wanted Sakura then how was she to refuse?

« Six months? I don’t think so. Even ambassador stays are subject only to three months at most; what were you thinking hiding this from me? »

« I wanted to see if he might say something about what he required of you in Suna before making any arrangements to send you to that country. Look, it’s not something I have complete control over, Sakura. » Tsunade was almost pleading with her like a parent would when telling their child what was best for them, but Sakura wasn’t having any of it. The brother and sister duo watched silently from their seats as the rosette paced along an invisible line trying to take this all in. « Without you there is no treaty. I tried. I’ve been thinking of what I can do to keep you here where you’re needed, but there just might be no way out of this in the end. »

« So you’re just going to throw me to the wolves so you and Suna can hook up? » Sakura yelled from across the room.

« Listen, Sakura Haruno, this has everything to do with affairs of state, and when it comes to that how can I put you in front of everyone else in Konoha? I can’t, not when it comes to the benefit of the people. Better to subject one person to Suna rather than leave the entirety of our people to an economy that would fail without outside help! »

Sakura looked furious, tears breaking barriers at her eyes and falling listlessly down reddened cheeks; she fell into her chair and looked at the floor for the time being. Tsunade was tired of all this arguing, but even if Sakura insisted on pouting like a child, the girl had to realize that her hands were tied.

« It seems to me that you aren’t looking at this from a more optimistic stand point, » Temari interjected. « So what if Sakura has to go to Suna for six months; it’s not forever. And have you thought about all the good you might be able to do for Suna with this mission? » Sakura tore her eyes from the floor and looked at the girl. « This may seem cliche to mention, but Sand’s medical system has been on the fritz more and more lately. Possibly you might be able to do some good in that aspect. » The slightly older girl looked at Sakura from her seat. What was she whining about? If it was for the good of her country to take a long term hiatus in another, then Temari knew she would have no problems in accepting.

« Just think of it as your mission, Haruno. »

« You may not end up going at all, » Tsunade said, though her eyes showed no hope in that department.

« Whatever, » Sakura said, standing up once more. « I’ve had enough of politics for now, but if it’s a mission that you want then I accept. Don’t, however, think for a second that this is over. » Sakura had looked straight at Tsunade before she’d left the office without a dismissal. The blonde Kage could understand her anger, but having had no children of her own she hardly had the background to deal with an angered child rather than a disgruntled nin.

« Are there any other terms of the treaty that Gaara or you have yet to share with us? » Temari turned to their host once more.

« He will be here in two days to discuss the proceedings before we get the council together and finally draft something, but besides the news I just exploded onto Sakura there aren’t many other alarming details. I can let you in on some of the messages we’ve been sending back and forth, but you’ll have to return to your country before tonight. Konoha cannot be boarding Suna villagers until everything has gone through. » The two nodded as Tsunade continued and explained to them what Gaara had been hiding.

« And she couldn’t even tell you about it? » Shino asked after Sakura had told him the entire story. She’d run back to his place as soon as she was able to escape the grounds of the Hokage’s office. She submerged herself into the bathwater reveling in its powers to lesson the cold chill in her bones. Shino sat outside the open door of his bathroom, letting Sakura have her privacy while she told him everything and tried to hide the fact that she was adding water to the tub with every hiccup.

She tore a moist hand from the water and wiped a red cheek once more. « She didn’t until today, and even then I’m not sure why she revealed it. Although I’m assuming she would rather me make an outrage in the comforts of her office than in front of the council when the time came. » Hiccup.

« … » He paused. « You’re really going to Suna for this? For him? »

« I don’t see a way around it. He has obviously got the upper hand in this situation—most like Gaara to go for the kill when its something he wants. But I’ve never seen him act so human and yet so disconnected at the same time. He’s a lot different than when we were kids, Shino. »

The bug man just sighed. He had been hiding the cherry blossom from the Sandman for weeks now, but it seemed he was not doing it well enough. And now what? He was just going to pluck her from the stem, take her back with him to wither in the desert heat where no blossoms ever flourished? He forced his fist into the wood flooring, catching Sakura’s silent attention from the other room. She could only see his left shoulder, wearing the same neutral shirt he’d always donned, but she could somehow sense the rage in his eyes; rage that up until only an hour ago she was feeling in every two-hundred something bones in her body.

« I don’t want to leave, » her lips motioned as the entirety of her figure submersed itself into the warm water, eyes closed and oblivious to all other senses.

« I don’t want you to leave either. »

It wasn’t until the next evening that a caravan of council members and other significant figures from the Village of the Sand arrived at the large front gate of Konoha, Village Hidden in the Leaves. Gaara leapt one final step from a tree and set a mute foot onto the soft dirt and grass. This terrain was unlike that of his homelands, and even though he had grown accustomed to the land in this village over the past couple of months he couldn’t help but have an odd thought.

How would Sakura enjoy a stay at his home for once versus Gaara coming to her?

The night was still young, but the dark depths of the trees and crevices between buildings told what time it was getting to be. He wondered slightly if there would be any visiting the Hokage should she be in her office this late… since he wasn’t used to sleeping Gaara, for the longest time, didn’t understand other peoples’ schedules and when or not they would be available.

Instead, however, he sensed a few figures heading toward them and suddenly Tsunade among others dropped from the sky in front of them. As diplomatic as she may have acted, Gaara had only half listened to her pretty words, which were only for the benefit of entertaining the whims of his companions. After a short speech, they were led to the Ambassador suites located in the building just opposite the Hokage’s office. Once settled in, Gaara had until the following day to prepare for his fight with Tsunade. He decided it might be worthwhile to seek out more enchanting company.

At a glance, the rooms were a comfortable luxury that many people in Konoha had yet to experience, but Gaara threw but one glance toward the soft bed, instead heading for the desk in the corner. It seemed the desk was more familiar than the bed would ever be.

« What exactly did you need to discuss with me? » Temari walked in front of the pinkette, Kankuro in back, as Sakura was led toward the Hokage’s grounds.

« It pertains to the treaty; that’s all we can tell you now. You’ll know soon enough when we get there. » Sakura might say she was scared: being led away from Shino’s place by people that she barely knew in the long hours of the night. « We can talk in our suite; not out here. »

The elevator was engulfed in an uncomfortable silence between the three, yet Sakura seemed to be the only one suffering so. « Um, okay. »

There was something just wrong about this whole thing. Inside Sakura knew she wasn’t able to trust these two no matter how much confidence Tsunade placed in them, but what was she supposed to tell them when they had information about… well Sakura didn’t exactly know what it pertained to; they just showed up at Shino’s and lured her out saying they had more information on the treaty. She was about to find out.

The elevator dinged and opened to reveal a rich, satisfying hallway lined with doors that she assumed led to even more beautiful rooms. In all her time with the Hokage, never had Sakura seen the inside of these buildings… No wonder they’d been so successful in the past with other countries—look at the luxurious surroundings their visitors stayed in.

« Ah, here we are, » Temari looked at the number on the door. « We’ll just open the door here and– » Sakura was shoved into the room, landing on the soft carpet as the door was slammed shut behind her. The noise was replaced with an eerie silence while Sakura breathed in the fibers of the floor. It made her want to sneeze, but that was pushed toward the back of her mind while Sakura forced herself up on two legs.

The room was certainly nice, but a sweep of the room entirely revealed a lone silent figure sitting on a table as if he was waiting for her arrival.

« Um… »

Sakura leaned back on the door as if the gateway would open at her will. She looked toward the only other figure in the room sitting on the desk almost as surprised as she was, his eyes only showing a hint of alarm at her sudden appearance. The sound of her breathing was obvious even from across the room, and he could feel more than hear the pounding of a thickened heartbeat in her chest. For moments neither of them moved, just stared at each other in awe.

Tsuyoku: Well, I guess I would consider this a cliffy… mostly. It is for me since I don’t really have the habit of building too much suspense before ending my chapters, or do I? Hmm, idk. Please, please review — let me know what you think about this installment with the characters all on edge about something or another. Reviews are always much appreciated and believe it or not they help us writers go a bit faster.

Oh, and sorry it sometimes does take a few weeks between posting chaps, I’m working on both this and CopyCat at the same time, and I’m swip swapping posting chapters for both. Thanks! TYK