Sakura: U-Uhm...Hey everyone! I bet you're wondering why I'm the one greeting you...and...well...-looks down-
-groveling at Sakura's ankles with - Thank you my Goddess. Thank you my Goddess. Thank you my Goddess.
Sakura: Uhm...I guess you can see, I saved Lone Wolf...mostly...
-wide eyed- IT GET'S BETTER! IT GET'S BETTEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRR!
Sakura: -holds and comforts- I know. I know. And they know too. Don't worry. Everything is okay now. The bad man won't hurt you. I took care of it. ( ^.^ )
I'm gonna have to run again after this chap. ( T.T ) I-It doesn't get better y-yet...
Sakura: ...ah, well, I'll just try to hide you well. For now we're safe though. He's fast asleep.
Sakura: To the chap!
Temari eyed Sakura worriedly as the pinknette swayed slightly on the bar chair. She threw back her glass of straight whiskey, the seventh one in about the hour she was here. Needless to say, Sakura was not pacing herself at all and Temari was certain her pink haired friend was absolutely blind drunk already. And despite that, Temari was also certain she was going to ask for another.
"Temariii, ano-hic-another!" Sakura called out, waving the empty glass in the air causing ice cubes to fall all over the place. Temari's frown deepened and her brow furrowed.
"Oops! I made a mess." Sakura slurred and giggled to herself, reaching over to grab a napkin and messily clean up what she dropped. She gave a scolding and concerned glare. Sakura had her moments like this but it was rare. This happened when she was extremely upset. And Temari couldn't help but think it had something to do with the Uchiha she was obviously head over heels for. What the hell did that bastard do to get Sakura into this state? She walked over and stood across from the seated friend at the bar. She leaned on it and stared straight into her eyes.
"Sakura, will you please talk to me now? What has gotten into you? What happened?" Temari asked softly. Sakura snorted.
"Nothing! Nothing! I just-hic-I wanna drink. That's all." Sakura slurred, only to then shove her empty cup towards Temari's face inconsiderately.
"Another!" She beamed brightly. A red alcoholic blush crossed her cheeks and nose. She was hammered already and Temari wouldn't be a good friend or bartender at all if she served her another. She just hoped Naruto would get here soon. This wasn't good and if Sakura reached a point of explosion, this was going to get worse.
With that, Temari calmly took the glass from Sakura and placed it under the bar.
"That's enough, Sakura." Temari said. Sakura raised an eyebrow.
"Eeeeeh? But I need another driiink. Temariiiii, what are you doing?" Sakura whined. Temari sighed.
"Can I give you some water instead? Please, Sakura?" The blond friend pleaded. Sakura nodded. She was a little thirsty.
"And another whiskey!" She grinned. Temari shook her head.
"Sakura, you're done." Temari said sternly. Sakura glared at the rejection, she obviously believed she didn't deserve.
"What the hell?! Why not?!" She yelled, slamming her fist onto the counter. Temari's eyes grew slightly wide. Sakura rarely got like this. She had walked in here, tears in her eyes and wouldn't talk about it. She just sat at the currently somewhat empty bar, crying quietly to herself and drinking heavily and it was only five in the afternoon. She would occasionally wipe her eyes and then go back to downing her glass, fully intent on destroying her liver so it would shut down. Temari gave a stern glare.
"Sakura stop this. I don't know what happened, but I'm concerned. You never let things get to you, so what's the deal?" Temari questioned.
"I told you! I just want a drink! Give me—" And then Temari cut her off with her next question.
"Was it Sasuke?"
The name itself was enough. Temari watched Sakura flinch the moment she said his name and she stopped her demands for another drink instantly. She watched her eyes go wide with pain. Her bottom lip already started quivering and the glistening of tears brimming in her eyes told Temari all she needed to know. Her darker green eyes gave a concerned glare. What the hell did he do? Whatever the hell he did, now she understood why Sakura was already at "Code Red". Whatever it was, she was trying to forget him and not think about him anymore.
And then her face changed again. It turned furious and Sakura turned to stand.
"What a buzzkill." Sakura murmured.
"Sakura…" Temari called, already understanding. Her friend was heartbroken, but this wasn't the way to deal with it. This wasn't how she should deal with it. She'd do whatever she could to support her but not like this.
"If you're not getting me another drink, leave me alone." Sakura growled, stumbling a bit as she got off the bar chair. She snatched at her bag and Temari knew she was about to leave. She was about to do the one thing she was trying to avoid with having Naruto come get her. She was going to go on a drinking spree and Temari ran around the bar grabbing her shoulder from behind.
"Sakur—" Temari barely had a chance to finish her sentence. Sakura whirled, grabbing Temari's throat, a dangerous glare in her eyes. She even dropped her bag to the floor. Temari coughed.
"S-Sakura!" Temari choked out between her gritted teeth. Sakura's eyes widened, letting go instantly and Temari grabbed her throat, gasping for air.
"T-Temari...I-I'm...I'm sorry. I-I...I'm…" Sakura stuttered. Temari looked at Sakura, watching her fellow green eyed friend tear. Temari's eyebrows lifted, walking over to Sakura
"Hey, Sakura...it's okay, it's my fault. I'm sorry. I was so worried I forgot you don't like to be approached from behind. You're usually in better control of that." Temari said, walking to her slowly. She knew it was an instant reaction, coupled with her drunk state, she had reverted back to her primal state from childhood, even if it was just for a second. Sakura looked down, a bitter look coming to her face, and the tears spilled from her eyes. Sakura sobbed and her shoulders trembled. Temari's eyes pained, reaching out to her.
She embraced the longtime friend in a loving and tight hold. The woman was like her sister. They met all those years ago in Suna and frankly, if it wasn't for her, she wouldn't have the relationship she had with Shikamaru today and she had always been grateful for that. Sakura had always been there for her, especially in the worst of times and Temari loved her for it. She knew she could count on Sakura for anything, no matter how big or small. In return, Temari did the same.
So, when Temari mentally promised Sasuke to shove her fist straight up where the sun doesn't shine, she hoped he was telepathically warned. Because if she encountered the man herself, she was going to skip questions and get straight to it.
"Sakura, it's okay. You're upset and just had a bit too much to drink, that's all. Let's get you home, okay? Don't worry. Tommy's here, so he can watch the bar for me for a bit, while I go with you in the cab. And then I'll come back later tonight after Tenten comes. We'll eat ice cream, the Dulce de Leche one you love so much. I'll even bring a bottle along to for us to drink there. Just...Just let me take you home. Okay?" Temari tried calming. Sakura shook her head feverishly, stepping back.
No. She didn't want to go home. He'd find her there. He might even already be waiting for her there. And her apartment...there was too much there. Too many memories. Too much of him and his essence. She couldn't even sit on her couch without thinking of him there. Not the kitchen. Certainly not the bedroom. Hell, just walking up to her brownstone would give too many memories she didn't want to think of. Their first kiss right in front of her building. It was too much for her. In an instant, she was turning and running out the bar and into the rain, Temari still calling out behind her. Temari didn't have a chance in hell to catch up with her. She watched Sakura dart off and disappear across the street.
"Shit!" She cursed and got back into the bar. She started collecting Sakura's things and saw her phone in the bag.
"Shit!" This was bad. Real bad. Really, really bad.
Sakura ran, going wherever her feet could take her with her blurred vision, the rain hitting her eyes not making it easier and neither was today's skirt and heels. Sheesh, running in an office skirt was so damn hard. Especially like this. She was sure she looked like a mess. She swerved people passing her by and finally found herself slowing down and panting in an alleyway. She placed a hand on the alley wall, glaring bitterly at the cracked and dirty pavement, beginning to sob out her tears.
She just wanted to forget everything. She wanted nothing to do with Sasuke. She didn't want to remember his touches and his kisses. His embraces. Sweet words that he had whispered into her ear. She didn't want to hear it anymore and now that her mind got brought back to him, she was reliving it, over and over. She was feeling his hands at her waist, his lips against hers. The smoldering look of his eyes that he always stared at her with flashed in her very vision. Just the warm and adoring way he said "I love you" was enough to break her heart again.
And as if he was a ghost haunting her, she heard his voice in her ear.
You have no idea...how precious you are to me...
"Shut up..." She whimpered quietly and bitterly. She must be losing her mind thanks to him. She really heard him clear as day. She heard him as if he just whispered it to her the way he had that night and to answer his voice, she really must be losing it; or she was just that drunk. She walked deeper into the alleyway.
I'll never have enough of you, Sakura.
"Shut up...please…" She softly cried and pleaded to his apparition.
I love you, Sakura.
"Stop it! Go away!" She sobbed, grabbing her head. Stop it! Just stop it. She wanted everything to stop. Stop thinking of him. Stop thinking of what she saw. Stop everything and just...just forget. She just wanted to forget it all. She wished she never opened that door. She wished she never had to bear witness to what she did. All her thoughts and insecurities, all her doubts and fears, all validated with just that one scene.
And with the way he was pleading with her...the way he was trying to exclaim that it was all just a mistake, it all just seemed fake. And it seemed real.
You know I love you! You know I would never do this to you! You know you're everything to me!
Maybe that's why she couldn't take this. Maybe because of that knowledge, that's why she couldn't stand to have beared witness to that scene and she couldn't hear out his words. By the heavens, she loved him so much and wanted to believe it was all just a screwed up misunderstanding, but the damn scene would leave her head and for her, it was too much to bear.
I love you, Sakura. I love you.
"Go away!" She shouted this time.
Her drunk mind seemed to cooperate this time, because in an instant she forgot about him and she was walking deeper into the alleyway with her tears streaming down her face. With the rain pouring down her body without an ounce of her conscious acknowledgement, though she was shivering a bit, she walked deeper and deeper, finding that the alley was connected to another, and then another. Drunkenly, she took note that she slightly knew where exactly she was. She had ran far enough, she made it to what was nicknamed very simply as "The Backstreets" It was series of connected alleyways, near what used to be warehouses and old factories on this side of Konoha.
As a kid, she used to play here...She fondly remembered a game called "Manhunt", in which the other kids ran off through the interconnected alleys and hid, and the seeker would have to find them. It sounded like hide and seek, yes; but the twist to the game was that once spotted, the hidden person could run away. Whoever was the seeker had the choice to make then; either run and catch the other person like a game of tag, or go off and seek the others, before the diverted attention allowed them to switch hiding spots. It was pretty fun, she recalled. The other slum kids she, Naruto, and Shikamaru used to play with were quite fun, but they could never beat or catch them three. Not once did she, Naruto or Shikamaru get caught and not once had anyone escaped them either.
Her mind moved on to other, more important, things. Like how was she going to keep her drunkenness. Where could she go, if not Temari's or home? Home was absolutely out of the question. She didn't want to speak to Naruto or Hinata or any of her other friends right now, so that crossed them out. Maybe the Toad Sage? With Jiraiya and Tsunade? No...they'd just get on her case, the same way Temari did. While Tsunade would probably definitely vouch for her need for a drink, and she wouldn't be rejected with such invaluable support, Tsunade would probably also want to talk about it, which she just didn't have the capacity to do currently. And she didn't have the mind to fight off Tsunade's urging questions she knew would come forth if she just told her mentor that it was nothing. Not like this and not when her gaping wounds were still fresh.
So, where to? Should she just walk around until she found something?
Her goal was to forget. Forget anything and everything, even herself. If just for tonight, she wanted to forget.
She was going to forget her entire life by the end of tonight. That was the plan.
Oddly enough, the dark alleyways made her feel a bit comfortable. Maybe the memories of playing as a child here? It didn't offer any shelter and coverage from the rain, but it was familiar. She knew these dark alleyways. They were a place she could get lost in. A place to be alone, unless someone else inhabited the place, or kids; like her, were playing in them. Cold and soaked, without shelter or warmth, yes, but alone. A place she was used to. A place she knew and held absolutely no memories with him. There was nothing about him here, and there couldn't be, considering he probably never set his foot in such a place. He probably would have been too revulsed of even considering taking the alleys as a shortcut.
And if she wasn't left alone, she'd just slam whoever it was to the ground and move on to the next alley she could find.
She smirked sourly, and snorted. That bitch Karin was right. She had no right to be around Sasuke. A pest in the presence of a God. How stupid. This felt just like home. She really was a streetrat. She belonged here. In an alleyway like the streetrat she was. Not by his side. She should just scurry along as she usually had in this life and she should have avoided believing she could actually be truly happy in this world.
"Is that you, pinky?" Sakura heard as she walked further in and passed a large garbage bin. She looked over, recognizing the fat old man. 'So much for being alone.' She thought bitterly. The drunk who bothered her in the bar and Cafe Blanche and a few other times at other bars before that. He got around. He was wearing a weaved traditional hat. Seeing him, she almost felt like years had passed since then. It had only been a few months, right? He had his journeys and so did she, since she last saw him. Her crying eyes shifted away from him.
He had punched him for her that day. He didn't know a thing about her back then, and he came to her like fate had dropped him there for her itself. Her eyes teared as she remembered it.
'No...please...' She begged her mind and mercilessly, she heard his voice and felt his touch from the first night she gave herself to him.
I'm crazy for you. From day one, Sakura.
Even more tears started to brim at the memory. The man was a reminder of where it all began and it was too much for her to bear. She already made the decision to turn heel and to go somewhere else. She said nothing, turning, only to stop at his next sentence.
"You look like ya need a drink." The statement made her pause midstep, considering her prior concern of staying drunk. She turned, looking at him, as the man seemed to rummage through his draping soaked trench coat. Out, he pulled two bottles, one, already a quarter gone and the other seemingly completely full, holding out the full one to her in offering. She slowly and hesitantly walked over to the other side of the alley wall, watching him with inebriated caution. It wasn't like she was just going to trust some random stranger...
But she sure as hell wasn't going to refuse a drink either. She still had a goal to forget her own existence, and if you thought she was above taking an offered drink from a stranger in an alleyway, well; you didn't know who she was. Or her mentor and mother-figure.
"Want it? I promise it's not even opened yet. It's safe. No drugs or anything like that." He said. Sakura sat down on the wet and dirty concrete floor without a care for it, hugging her legs up to her chest, covered from sight by a trash bin next to her as well. The man tossed the bottle over and even when she had been drinking heavily, she caught it, eyeing the bottle. Brandy. A low grade kind, but probably one of the strong burning kind, since it seemed cheap. She twisted the cap, catching the man was telling the truth as she heard the cracking of the bottle's seal with her opening of it. It really hadn't been opened yet. Sakura looked down at it.
"Thanks…" She said, rubbing her eye before drinking. The man eyed her as she chugged the burning brandy. She finally put it down, a quarter of the liquor gone, Sakura couldn't help but cough after she forced the last drops of the chug down her throat, wiping her lips on her sleeve. The man gave a jovial laugh, as if her company was enough to brighten his day.
"Well, my intuition sure wasn't wrong. Never really is though when it comes down to having a drink, although I have caused my fair share of trouble. Take that as my apology for what I did to you back then pinky. I meant to apologize sooner but I never saw ya again." The older man lifted his bottle as a gesture of saying cheers and knocked back the drink himself. Sakura said nothing, and only drank some more, now accustomed to the burn of the alcoholic beverage.
"So, what's got a beautiful working girl like you crying, drunk, in the pouring rain in The Backstreets, completely fine with drinking with an old, fat bastard like me?" He questioned. Sakura stayed silent, her eyes staring down at the bottle in her hand.
"You...can tell I'm crying?" She asked. The older man smiled at her.
"I know crying when I hear and see it. Your voice is still a little shaky too and it's not the coldness of the rain. Sorry to say, no matter how subtle and quiet ya planned on being, you're noticeable. 'Specially with that hair and those eyes of yours." Sakura looked at him before looking down at the bottle again.
"Aa…" She sounded, beginning to chug the bottle again. The man laughed.
"You can sure put this old man to shame, little lady. Even I can't drink like that. Ya gotta watch your health!" He said, drinking with her in contradiction to the statement of watching ones health. Sakura put it down.
"Who cares?" She grumbled.
"Wouldn't that boyfriend of yours care? He can sure throw a mean right hook. Or was it his left? Eh. I don't know but I was sure as hell still feeling that one after two weeks." The memory of that day came back. The first day she met Sasuke. She teared again, only getting the image of him and Karin in the closet, his clothes disheveled and the other woman against the wall. He obviously had no problem replacing her.
"No. He's-hic-not my boyfriend either." She answered quietly. The man gave her a sympathetic gaze.
"Oh. I see. Bad breakup, eh?" He asked intuitively. Sakura was silent for her answer. The man sighed desparingly.
"I know the feeling. No wonder ya need a drink. Love's the worst ain't it." He said and drank with her. She lowered the bottle from her lips, staring down at it. She wasn't sure if it was the alcohol or just the man being a familiar stranger but as tears blurred her vision again, she found herself unable to stop her emotions. She wasn't able to run from the pain anymore and if anything, that statement made her feel worse.
"It...hurts." She murmured. The man eyed her, a somber expression coming to his wrinkled eyes.
"It hurts so...so much. The pain won't go away. My mind is so screwed up I don't know what anything is. I don't know...I-I.. don't know what to do. I want to see him again. I want to go back...but it'll just hurt if I do. My chest, hurts. Just thinking about him...hurts..." She whispered, her head lowering, feeling tears fall from her eyes despite the rain. Her shoulders shook, her eyes cringed and her teeth gritted. She sobbed and hiccupped. The man stood, walking over to sit next to her. He sat beside her and sure enough, her anguish and pain started pouring out of her very soul.
"It hurts! Why? Why does it hurt so much?!" Sakura yelled out in pure hysteria, her body convulsing with hiccups and sobbing. She cried miserably and the pain was heard in her whimpers and gasps. His eyes lowered to the cracked concrete beneath them. The older man placed a comforting hand over hers.
"I've been drinking ever since it happened and my heart won't stop hurting. It won't stop even now." She cried, trying to clear her blurred vision with her soaked sleeve. The old man looked back to her, having finished taking a swig of his bottle.
"Could be the alcohol cherry blossom. This stuff may be good distraction of the mind but definitely not good for the heart." He chuckled out, trying to lighten her mood. Sakura drank again.
"No. I know alcohol pains. I know them. This...this pain isn't that. It...just hurts. Everything hurts...ever since..." She sniffed, not even wanting to finish that sentence. She felt a stabbing pain in her chest. Ever since...that. Ever since seeing that which she dared not speak of. And she couldn't help but ask the stranger beside her;
"I love him so much. I love him so much! Why...? Why did he make me fall in love with him? Why did he make me fall in love, only to just…" She trailed. She was going to end it with "only to just break my heart" and she didn't want to admit it because it would break her even more. She was heartbroken. Seeing him like that, she couldn't take it. She couldn't stand it. The fellow drinker put down his bottle.
"I know how ya feel and unfortunately, you just answered your own questions, sweetheart. You loved him, dearly, and that's why it hurts so much. There's no other answer I can give you besides that. Years ago, my heart was broken too. The woman of my dreams. I've never been able to put myself back together since, not fully. Still heartbroken after thirty five years. The woman pretty much killed the old me, whoever that strapping young fellow was." He laughed out, loud cackles as Sakura eyed him with concern.
Heartbroken for thirty five years? Would that be her too? She could only feel like it would last an eternity. Maybe even into her next life. It would continue to hurt, until the end of time. She loved him so much and now...this. And what the older man said, about having been killed, she felt the same way. She had been murdered and her killers were now scot-free. And she didn't even want vengeance. She was so heartbroken, so hurt, she just couldn't believe this happened to her and she wanted to fade away into absolute nothingness. Let her soul rest forever, never to awaken again; that's what she wanted.
She felt dead inside and she truly wanted to feel the same way outside too.
"Why...are you laughing? How can you laugh about it? If you loved her that much...and she hurt you that badly, why..." She asked, looking at him between the wet slits of her hair over her eyes; a bit curious and in her own despair. She couldn't imagine being as jovial as the man. She couldn't imagine ever being able to be happy again, not with her heart in tatters the way it was. She couldn't imagine being happy ever again without...him, and just thinking about it was enough to make The man gave her a sad smile. He understood her confusion on the matter. Her heartbreak was recent. As bad as it was back then, and despite the fact that he still cried over his lost beloved from time to time to this day, he simply learned to live with it.
"Well...it's either laugh, or cry my heart out like you, cherry blossom. And life's no fun that way, trust me. I've done my fair share of crying. I just live with it now. You'll learn to do it too, sweetheart. It's not the end of the world." Sakura cringed even more and her grip on the bottle tightened. Not the end of the world? Her world felt like it was destroyed. Her entire world, that she loved so much, was gone and she would have to live with it? She was going to learn how to live with this? How was she going to possibly be able to live with this?
Did she...did she really have to?
"I...I don't know...if I can do that. I don't know if I can do the same as you. How am I supposed to live with it…? I...I loved him so much. I love him so much, even now, but I...I can't have him. I don't deserve him but I love him so much, I don't know if I can live with this. I can't...I can't do this." She said honestly, shifting her crying eyes away. The older man chuckled somberly beside her.
"Oh, sweetheart. This coping mechanism didn't happen overnight and sure as hell not without an ample amount of liquid courage. That being said, I can't see a pretty lady like you in this state and a pretty lady like you doesn't deserve to be heartbroken in the rain." The fellow drunk stated softly. Sakura looked back at him, tears still flowing out of her eyes, notably, despite the rain, and the man lifted his bottle to her with cheerful comradery.
"I'll take you through the process. I've got a few nice spots we can go to and have some fun. I promise, I won't be trouble to ya, you have my word. I'll actually be your bodyguard for the night. Whatta'ya say? Us two heartbroken drunkards can go and forget for tonight. Maybe I can even get ya to start laughing about it too. The pain is a little less when you laugh about it." He promised. Sakura stared, before she looked back down at her bottle with contemplation. The man laughed.
"Yes, there will be alcohol, of course. And if one place kicks us out, I've got another and another and another. I even have a bar I crash at often. Safe, of course. No one will lay a hand on ya." He said intuitively. Sakura raised an eyebrow, only a single, drunken question escaping her lips with slurred surprise as she started to fruitlessly wipe her eyes with the back of her soaked hand.
"You read minds?" The man laughed again.
"Nope! Didn't I tell ya? I just know when a fellow griever needs a drink. It's my special talent. I even know how much you need to drink!" He ended his glorious statement with a big grin. Her eyebrows raised in surprise. She took a moment thinking about it before she mentally—and physically—shrugged her shoulders. She really didn't care about anything right now. Temari wasn't going to serve her anymore. She didn't know where her phone was. Or her bag. With that slightly sobering thought, she dropped her head in defeat.
"Neh...I have no money. I lost my bag...and I don't have anything to pay with." She said, more perplexed than she should have been. Where exactly did she even leave her bag? On the bar? The chair she was sitting at? Oh, wait, didn't it fall on the floor? No, she grabbed it. Did she drop it on the way? Huh. Whatever. She could replace whatever she lost later. Not like she hadn't had to do it before.
The man grinned at her.
"Neither do I! Don't worry, Pinky! It'll all be on my tab. Call me Uncle Uncle! Your favorite neighborhood Uncle!" He said, winking. Sakura raised an eyebrow.
"Uncle Uncle's the name!"
Sakura stared at the grey haired, long bearded man for a long moment. She wasn't sure if it was the booze finally catching up with her, the pain in her heart or the advice he gave, but next thing she knew, she snorted. She started bellowing out into a fit of hysterical laughter, tears still pouring out of her shut eyes. It was a hysterical laughter of pain, sorrow and grief, just as much as it was of drunken merriment and/or genuine high spirits. The man grinned.
"There ya go! Attagirl! Ready for a fun night?" He asked, beginning to stand, though he struggled to do so. Sakura stood with him. The old man lifted his drink towards her, in a salute of heartbroken comradery. Sakura's flushed face forgot all about it's tears and her cold body mutually disregarded the cold rain. The spirits and Uncle Uncle's shared pain seemed to give her a feeling of comfort. The older man watched as she gave a wide smile.
Just as he told her, he knew that pain. He knew that smile. It wasn't forced, but it wasn't concealing her pain either.
"You're on!" She yelled in excitement.
"First one to chug their bottle and make a run for the alley exit has to buy the first shot!" He challenged. Sakura raised an eyebrow.
"Eh? But we don't have any money." Sakura reminded, tilting her head in confusion. The man froze, as if being reminded of that before he gave a grandfather-like smile.
"Ah, that's right. Welp! Then, winner of this contest gets the first shot!" He laughed out. Sakura chuckled, lifting the bottle to the man and clinging it with hers before giving him a drunkenly determined look in her eyes, strengthened by the promise of more alcohol.
The two chugged and around the corner of the alleyway, Indra waited and listened for them to leave, before continuing to follow.
"Come on! Come on! Fucking—MOVE!" Naruto yelled at the cars in front of him and honked his horn impatiently and with ferocity.
Naruto sped as much as he could, but rush hour was at its peak, and he ended up having to take a few side roads to get to Temari. No wonder Sakura just ran there. It took him forty minutes just to get here, despite the place not even being that far to begin with. He should have ran himself. It would have been easier. He just thought that it would be better, for when he would drive Sakura home as soon as he grabbed her. Not to mention it's pouring rain. She ran through all this? Wasn't she wearing heels? He mentally scolded and cursed Tsunade for teaching her how to do that, since the woman deemed it "important" for Sakura to learn.
Apparently it was. Apparently, Sakura running in heels, in the rain, was a great life skill, because Sakura was really good at it.
Double parking his car right outside Temari's place, he dashed into the bar posthaste.
"Temari!" Naruto yelled out, running in and looking around. Temari turned, apologizing to the customers she was attending to at the moment and rushed towards Naruto near the entrance. He frantically searched the bar, not seeing the telltale pink hair that was Sakura's. He couldn't see her anywhere. Was she in the bathroom? Temari approached him and just from the fearful and hesitant look in her eye, his eyebrows furrowed.
'Oh no. Oh no, no, no, no no. Please don't tell me...' He mentally thought.
"Where is she!? I got here as fast as I could! Fucking traffic was terrible thanks to the rain, I had to take the side roads!" He complained, only for Temari to shake her head.
"She's AWOL! It's all my fault! I...I screwed up. She left everything here after I tried cutting her off and getting her home. She was getting too hammered and I was just too worried to keep serving her and—Naruto, you have to find her, fast." She said, grabbing Sakura's purse and putting it in front of Naruto. Naruto's eyebrows furrowed. Sakura's belongings were here without her and it did not forebode well. Someone screamed for Temari's name, and she responded with not very kind words before she turned back to Naruto who took the bag with a look of strife in his eyes. This was serious and the situation was escalating quickly as indicated by Sakura's current behavior. They had no way to contact her at all. The spiky blond sighed in knowing, already in tune with how things were going to go tonight.
This, sure as hell, was not Sakura's first off-the-rails moment anyway.
"How bad is she?" He asked, hoping to gain a feel of just how much Sakura's negativity was skyrocketing. After he understood that much, he could proceed with finding a good strategy to talk with her. Normally, he'd just sense something was wrong and check in and when he checked in, Sakura would tell him everything, from how she was feeling to what kind of coffee she had had in the morning. Right now, he had nothing but alarms ringing to just find Sakura. His little sister. Sakura was in pain and he could feel it but he wasn't going to be able to help until he found her. As always, he would need to find her first, before anything could be settled.
"Code Red, Naruto. Category five. She's pretty twisted already and she was already in impulse mode, if you know what I mean. She grabbed me, when I approached from behind. You have to find her fast. I'm worried and she's being unreasonable. I'd come join in the search but the regular that usually watches out for me has already left and Tenten doesn't get here for another two hours. I can't just close the bar." She informed woefully. She started to relay the entire story, from after she ended the call with him to come get her. Naruto grabbed the handed bag, sighing.
"How long ago did she leave?"
"Not long. Maybe ten, fifteen minutes ago."
Sakura had always, even as a child, been her own source of strength, will and motivation. She wanted to be the best for everyone as much as she could be and it was why Naruto had always tried his best to keep her from doing too much work. If he didn't, she'd overwork herself. If he left her to be, it was the same result. Somehow, someway, she'd overdo herself and still keep the weight of the world on her shoulders. Sakura was not someone to be left alone and he had long since learned that the hard way, through their years of friendship; since childhood she never changed.
She bottled up so much within herself and it led to times like this where she exploded. Where she couldn't grip the world and she had to basically have a reset. She needed to reevaluate, readapt, and regroup herself from the shattered fragments her own explosion caused. And for Sakura, a complete empath who felt everything so excessively and reverently, she no doubt was having a hard time comprehending anything right now. She loved Sasuke...and probably felt beyond betrayed, even if it was a misunderstanding.
In the past, he limited as much injuries as he could in front of her. He lied, and feigned so many fake grins and laughters for her, in hopes that she didn't have to worry about anything, more than she already did. He also always prayed she never found out.
But, she did. She always did. That could be the way she felt about the situation now. Besides the heartbreak of thinking the man she loved betrayed her heart, it also probably stemmed from her feeling left out of something. Sasuke said she had the ridiculous notion he was to be married...did it start with that? She wouldn't and couldn't have known such a thing unless she was told, and he couldn't put it past Sakura's mind to overthink everything. It probably let to her adamant disbelief.
In hindsight, maybe he was the one who made her so untrusting to begin with. If it was his fault she couldn't trust Sasuke at his word, he was just as responsible for this entire misunderstanding.
Or was it something else he wasn't aware of? Something Sakura kept from him and he had no clue about it?
"She still might be in the area. Did you see which way she ran?"
"The minute she left the door she made a right and then a left across the street. She barely missed getting hit by a car. After that, I don't know. What the hell happened?!" Temari relayed hastily. Naruto's teeth gritted and his eyes glared at the floor.
"Don't worry, Temari. I'll find her." The blond promised, his eyes gleaming with promise as he turned. Temari grabbed him at the wrist before he could dare turn to leave.
"Naruto, tell me what the hell is going on?! What did that bastard do?! I know it was him! The moment I said that bastard's name to ask her if he did something, she—" Temari yelled. Naruto looked down, biting his bottom lip as secretly as he could. It was all just a misunderstanding and it was between Sakura and Sasuke. He wasn't sure if he should say anything more really. It was not his place and as dumb as he might be, he knew very well this was for Sakura and Sasuke to work out without their help.
It was between them. Sakura just needed to let off some steam before she could think and be reasoned with.
"I'll...explain later." Naruto answered quietly and cutting her off.
"What did he—"
"It's just a misunderstanding. Now's not the time and you know that. Let me go find her and deal with this first, and I'll call you the instant I can. And you call your contacts too. Get other bar owners on the lookout. Call me if you hear anything." Naruto negotiated expertly as he pulled away and left towards the entrance. Temari's seething voice stopped him.
"My best friend is self-destructing. You better tell me later." Temari snarled, whilst glaring. Naruto nodded, leaving and rushing into his car. He sighed. Finding Sakura was not going to be easy. It never was. If she wasn't at any of the places he was thinking of, he was screwed and no doubt, she was on the move. He was going to have to search the entire city all night.
And he would. He wouldn't rest until forced to, for Sakura. Hinata would have to drag him to bed, if he even bothered coming home.
"If I were Sakura-Chan in this state, where would I go?" Naruto mumbled to himself, shifting gears and beginning to drive. His mind drew blanks and Naruto himself knew that if it was Sakura in this state, she could be anywhere.
She definitely took after Tsunade when it came down to that. The blond woman would often go missing for days on end sometimes when they were younger and Jiraiya—ever so used to it—often shrugged when asked where his own wife was. The old man had apparently long stopped worrying about where she went, considering that if anything promiscuous did seem near, Tsunade would start a bar fight and be banned from the place. At that point, either she found another place, or finally came home. Naruto even recalled how one day, during his training with Jiraiya and Sakura watching them, Tsunade came back from one of her escapades, still drunk and yelling at Jiraiya furiously, for...believe it or not, more alcohol at the Toad Sage.
Sakura was no better when she got upset.
"Shit." Naruto cursed and drove. He lifted his phone and after clicking the correct contact number he lifted the phone to his ear.
"What do you want Naruto?" An irritated voice sounded from the other line. Naruto sighed.
"Ino, we've got a code red." He said shortly. He heard the woman gasp over the phone.
"What?! What the hell happened?!"
"I'll explain later but it's definitely a category five. I have all her things. Don't bother trying her phone." Naruto answered.
"Shit! Alright. I'm on it." Ino said over the line. Naruto thanked her, hanging up and making another call. He was multitasking, between driving, his phone and looking out on the streets for the familiar and noticeable pink hair.
"How troublesome. What is it? I'm busy creating lesson plans."
"Code red, category five. She left from Temari's bar about ten to fifteen minutes ago. I'm in the area searching already." Naruto sighed out. Best to just cut to the chase with Shikamaru. Thank goodness Shikamaru was in the city this time. He might be able to track Sakura down quicker than anyone. He was usually good at it and had helped find Sakura pretty fast several times. Well, he at least cut the time she was missing to just the late night rather than Sakura's previous record of being missing for five straight days.
That time was his fault.
"Aww geez. What a drag. Alright. I'm on my way out. If I hear any bar brawls, I'll give you a call." Naruto looked down at his phone as the call disconnected, making another phone call in an instant.
"Hello, Naruto-kun! How are you?" The woman he loved asked from the other line. Her soft and gentle voice warmed his heart, a small smile coming to his face even in this stressful situation. Hinata would be the only one who could calm him down at a time like this. She always did. She was one of the reasons he could wake up everyday and give a smile on his face. She was a reason he could forget the horrors of his childhood. Meeting her all those years ago as a teen had been a needed blessing and he honestly still couldn't believe how she could love an idiot like him sometimes.
Sakura must have felt the same way. They had come from troubled pasts, and then she met Sasuke. She met someone amazing, who cared for her. She met a man who loved her and made her glow, made her forget the troubles of the past, because he was by her side in the present. She met a man who would give her the world and that perfection was straight ripped from her, thanks to what happened. If it was him in her shoes, he was certain he wouldn't be alright either. He didn't know what he'd do.
"I'm alright Hinata-Chan. Everything okay with you?" Naruto asked in courtesy.
"I'm alright. Getting a break finally from Father's teachings for the moment." She answered and he could see the smile on her face. Naruto chuckled. He and the leader of the Hyuuga House, Hiashi Hyuuga, got off on a rough start. The man didn't see him worthy of Hinata. He thought he was lazy and having only been working as a waiter at his favorite ramen shop at the time, he refused Naruto dating her at all until he was "of some kind of status". In short, Hiashi wanted him to make more money before even the thought of being with his daughter. For many years, they had to date in secret.
Naruto always secretly called him a classist douchebag.
Thanks to Sasuke giving him a job in the company years later, there was nothing else for Hiashi to complain about when he and Hinata came out as a couple. He was working for a rival company, yes, but a company of prestige and excellence. His salary was even better than most of the other suitors Hinata would potentially end up with—against her wishes. But working for Sasuke was enough to get to Hinata and the rest is history. He and her father were still a little rocky, but they were on better terms now.
"He sure is strict. He needs a vacation or something." Naruto laughed. Hinata giggled on the other line. His lifted smile began falling, his eyes returning to concern and his laugh drifted. He had to get back to his task. Sakura needed him right now and he needed to hurry and get a lead on her before she was gone for days, rotting her liver further. He couldn't leave her alone.
Sakura had never left him alone in a time of need and he swore he would never leave her either. A promise of a lifetime between brother and sister.
"Hinata-Chan...something's come up. I'm sorry. I might be home late tonight. Or, better to say, I might not be home at all. I'll call if anything." He informed.
"I know that tone. What's wrong?" Naruto's eyebrows knitted together.
"Sakura-Chan is missing again. It's...nothing. I'll find her like I always do, so don't worry." He heard Hinata gasp on the other line.
"Why? What happened? Did something happen between her and Sasuke-san?" Hinata asked intuitively. Naruto felt lucky for a moment that he had such a smart woman accept a dumb man like himself.
"Yeah. Don't worry, it's nothing. Just a huge misunderstanding. I'll sort it all out. Everything's gonna work out." He reassured; both himself and her. He just needed to talk to Sakura and calm her down.
If he could find her first.
"I know you'll sort it out Naruto-kun. You always do. I believe in you. I'll see if maybe Neji-san can somehow find her. Or I can send some of my guards out for her. I honestly don't have the time to look, myself. Father wishes to continue my meeting preparation soon." She said, her voice filling with genuine remorse and worry. Naruto sighed, feeling gratitude.
"Thanks Hinata-Chan. You're the best. I'll call you if anything."
"Right. I love you Naruto-kun." Naruto smiled again. Whenever she told him she loved him, he was refilled with energy. He was ready to take on any challenge, to prove he was worthy of being the man she loved. He was going to work ten times harder than he was now. He'd definitely find Sakura by tonight, even if he had to search the entire city ten times over.
"I love you too, Hinata-Chan." He returned. The call ended. Just one last phone call to make.
"Naruto! You don't call me often! How's my favorite pupil? Say! Do you want to read my first draft for the new Icha Icha Paradise? I could really use the critique!" Naruto twitched at the older man's voice on the line. Leave it to the old man to irk him in such a way. Naruto blushed a bit still.
He'd be lying if he said he didn't read Jiraiya's perverted novels...
"Oi! This is not an idle chat you pervy old man! AND NO I DON'T WANT TO READ YOUR PERVY BOOKS!" Naruto yelled to the phone. There was a booming laugh over the phone.
"That's certainly the opposite of what I heard when you were nervous about your first time with your woman."
"SHUT UP PERVY OLD MAN! THIS IS ABOUT SOMETHING SERIOUS!"
"Serious, eh? What's up? If it's not idle chitchat or my newest release, what do you need from me?"
"W-Well…" Naruto hesitated, and rubbed the back of his neck. The code he had between him and the Jiraiya was different between the others and it was due to their long history together. Naruto sighed, a deadpanned and tired look coming onto his face the moment he reopened his tired eyes.
"Code Tsunade-baa-chan." There was a silence between the two, Naruto not saying anything and pretty certain that the old man now had the same deadpanned face as his. After a long moment of mutually understood silence, Jiraiya gave out a long and exasperated sigh.
"What happened this time?"
"Just...a misunderstanding. For now, I need help finding her. She's left all her stuff behind...not that it ever matters. No doubt, she's probably already found somewhere else to drink, but I need help. She took off on foot apparently, about twenty minutes ago." Naruto answered. He heard Jiraiya sigh out again.
"Knowing her, she's not even in the same area anymore. That girl really does take after Tsunade. I'm honestly surprised they're not blood related. Maybe they are and we don't know it? I'll have them take a DNA test once we get this sorted out." Jiraiya chuckled. Naruto's eyebrow twitched, thinking Jiraiya may have had a point. Sakura and Tsunade were quite alike in a variety of ways, from temperament to their very own habits.
Their reactions to most things were almost identical and sometimes, Naruto couldn't help but think they even looked a bit alike. The faces they made, the way they thought, sometimes even the way they talked were just too similar to not think that they were a niece and her aunt. They could even pass for a mother and her daughter, had it not been for the fact that Tsunade would have never left her own child in such a dangerous environment as the slums. She came from it and that's why Jaraiya and her made so many visits to provide aid. When they first met, she had a particular favoritism over Sakura, despite the many other girls in the slums who looked up to her.
Maybe Tsunade didn't know. Maybe seeing if they were related was worth looking into...He always had a personal dream of him and Sakura finding their parents. He didn't know if they were alive or dead...he didn't know who they were, but he always imagined he and Sakura finding some kind of family out here in the world and it would be joyous. The explanation for them growing up alone and in the slums would have been something tragic and unintended. They had been wanted all these years...they were never just discarded and left to fend for themselves.
Even little Sakura, who was the youngest little girl he ever saw in the slums by herself. Or, left to fend for herself. There was always a little of food in her fridge. And the only possessions she ever had, had been a few clothes that mysteriously replaced themselves seemingly overnight, whenever she got a little too big for whatever she had at the time. But in all those years of Naruto living nearby and being with her as much as he could, he never saw an adult enter or leave her house. He never heard anyone stock the small bits of food or anything.
"Alright, I'll send word out. I'll call if I get a lead."
"Thanks." Naruto grumbled. The call disconnected and the blond sat at a red light. His blue eyes glared, willing the damn thing to turn green whilst also keeping a look out on the streets for Sakura. This had to have been the longest red light of his life, but he definitely wasn't better off on foot. The city was huge and Sakura could be anywhere, even if she left on foot. His phone rang, catching his attention and his brow furrowed. Sasuke. Reluctantly, he answered.
"Yeah?" He greeted.
"...Did you get to her? Is she alright?" Sasuke asked hesitantly and Naruto could hear the worry in his voice. Naruto bit his bottom lip, not sure if telling Sasuke the truth would make things easier or make things worse. Then again, Sasuke may be able to help with locating Sakura. The more hands on deck, the better in such a large city.
"She's…" Naruto trailed, thinking about simply lying. What would Sasuke do if he found out Sakura was missing? He had no idea how he would react, especially with everything he went through today. This situation was not good at all. Life was on a roll today. Pretty busy with putting them through hell. Even more than usual. He couldn't imagine the shit storm that was about to ensue, with Sasuke if he told him the truth...and yet, Sasuke deserved to know.
Besides, if he really didn't find Sakura by tonight, Sasuke would see right through his lie. Even if he could convince Sasuke to not "come see her" at the moment, he was sure the Uchiha would be too eager to talk to his beloved, after all that happened between them. With the way the man trashed his own office, which was supposed to be his Uchiha pride, Naruto fully believed there was no chance in hell that Sasuke was just going to "give her a few days". He'd want to see her as soon as possible and Naruto didn't blame him.
"She's...gone, Sasuke. She got upset and left before I got to Temari's." He made a decision. There was no going back now and it was probably better not to lie. No doubt, even if he just told Sasuke that Sakura didn't want to see him at the moment, he wouldn't accept it. Sasuke wanted and deserved for all of this to be sorted out as soon as possible...and keeping him in the dark wasn't going to help. He heard Sasuke's breath hitch and imagined his eyes were wide with shock.
"What do you mean she's gone?! Where did she go? Did she go home?" Sasuke questioned frantically. Naruto sighed.
"Honestly...she can be anywhere. I'm gonna need some help finding her. I've already called the others but, with Sakura-Chan in this state, there's really no telling where she could be. She can be anywhere..." Naruto informed.
"You're talking like this has happened before! What the hell do you mean she can be anywhere?!" Sasuke yelled, over the line. Naruto glared. Sasuke freaking out was not a help at all. He was worried too. He was concerned and Sakura being inebriated and alone was not something Naruto took lightly. And he understood why Sasuke couldn't keep calm; but it was not going to help them at all, if he was too busy losing his shit.
How many bar brawls and states of lossed control he had found her in? How many fights had they had while she was drunk and screaming to him that he didn't know anything about what she felt? So many throughout the years. Too many that he wished Sakura didn't have to resort to. Too many she didn't deserve to resort to. This time especially. And each and every time, the best thing to do was to stay calm, not panic, undoubtedly lose several days of sleep, and find her as soon as possible. That was the procedure and they had to follow it, or this entire ordeal would just get worse.
Besides, Sakura always came back. Be it in the morning or in a few days, she always came back the way Tsunade did. Sometimes with gifts and souvenirs.
"Listen! Now is not the time to get frantic. I'll find her, I always do, but I need all the help I can get, just in case she's managed to get far." Naruto tried to calm him. Sasuke stood silent for a moment, before he heard Sasuke take a shaky inhale of breath, exhaling just as tremulously.
"I'll contact Suigetsu. Itachi as well. I'll start looking myself—"
"Actually...I think you should stay out of this. Sure, call Suigetsu and anyone else you can spare, but don't try to approach her, right now. As...as a matter of fact, anyone who has any ties to you shouldn't approach her. If one of your guys finds her, just tell me or the others and I'll go get her." Naruto advised somberly.
"Like hell am I going to just sit here—" His blond eyebrows furrowed. Be it the stress of the current situation and Sasuke's unwillingness to comply with what he was saying, he didn't have the patience, or the will to deal with Sasuke.
"Sasuke, you are the last person she needs to see right now!" Naruto yelled out of frustration for the situation, cutting Sasuke off. There was a silence before Naruto sighed again. He didn't mean to yell. Times like this where he didn't know where his little sister was or if she was safe was enough to put him on edge. It stressed him out. He didn't have the time or even the heart to deal with Sasuke's end right now. He just wanted to find Sakura as fast as possible. On top of that...
"She's volatile, right now. She sure as hell is not thinking straight and Temari said she's absolutely hammered. There's no telling what she'll do if she sees you right now. Literally, the best case scenario is if the moment she sees you, she starts fighting with you and you buy time until I can get there. Do you even want to go through that?" Sasuke remained silent and Naruto's eyes lowered. He knew Sasuke couldn't take this. This was a lot to handle after everything his friend had just gone through. Naruto couldn't imagine what was running through Sasuke's mind right now, though he had an idea. As her brother, he imagined Sasuke was concerned most with her safety. He wanted to know she was alright, especially being in this state. He knew that feeling all too well.
"Worst case scenario is, you approach her and she'll just run off again, and trust me when I tell you from experience, if that does happen, it will just be harder to get her back. We...we won't lose her for just tonight. We'll lose her for days, Sasuke." Naruto explained. More silence. He couldn't imagine being her lover in this moment. Now to hear his woman was missing, after everything that happened between them today? It had to have been the cherry on top of the delicious shit sundae life was throwing at him today. What would he even do if Hinata and he had a similar predicament? He had no clue...so Sasuke's state must have been way worse than anyone could imagine.
"Just let me talk her down first. I promise, we'll fix this and everything will be alright, okay? If you get any news of Sakura-Chan, let me know and the others know asap and that's it. Don't go looking for her until she calms down. So don't do anything rash." Naruto commanded with experience. Still, the Uchiha said nothing over the phone.
"Look, just be on what we call 'Police Duty', for now. You have a lot of connections within the police department still, don't you? Call all the precincts and find out if she's been taken in. Sakura-Chan's description and name are rather rare in Konoha, so if she was taken by the police, it shouldn't be hard for you to find her." He was still only granted silence in response and Naruto wondered if Sasuke was even still on the line. Or was his friend just too caught in thought to even comprehend his words? He wouldn't be surprised if that was the case, just based on how distraught Sasuke had been from losing Sakura alone.
"Sasuke? Are you there?"
"...If the police don't have her and you don't find her by tonight, don't expect me to sit back any longer. I'll go search for her myself!" Sasuke snarled. Naruto's eyebrows knitted together, his eyes growing frustrated.
"Sasuk—!" The phone hung up, the line going dead. He gripped his phone and gritted his teeth.
"Damn it. Fucking damn it."
"She is not in our custody Uchiha-san. We will, however, put out an APB on the individual you named and described and we will contact you if we find someone of the description." A detective who spoke with him over the line said, on behalf of the 46th precinct for the KPD; Konoha police department. Sasuke took the information numbly. He should be glad he supposed, that she wasn't in custody of any of the precincts he and Sebastian had called so far. He didn't want her to be in jail, though, it wasn't like he didn't have the power to get her out of it. Any legal fees, bail, whatever was needed, he'd take care of it...so long as he got her back, he didn't care at all what he needed to do.
But this was the fifty-third precinct between him and Sebastian that they called. And that slight relief he got before, each time they said she wasn't there, was starting to become the exact opposite. Now, he was starting to wish she was. He was starting to wish and hope one of them said she was in custody, because he just wanted to find her as soon as he possibly could.
It meant he could go, pick her up and take her home. Even if she started screaming in the precinct that she hated him, he and Naruto could at least have her in their grasps and they'd have her home, safe and sound.
Maybe not sound...but safe, at least.
"Aa...thank you. Please, let me know as soon as possible." He said and hung up, only to receieve a notifiction on his phone. His eyes cringed.
Naruto added you to the Groupchat: WHERE TF IS SAKURA
Sasuke stared at his phone with absolute disdain and dismay while he sat in his study at home. He had been here ever since having his hand stitched about two hours ago and Sebastian had just finished changing the bandages on both his hands, though he told the butler to focus on making calls. The butler, of course, couldn't leave well enough alone, and had to address the wounds himself whenever his hand was unoccupied with his phone. He had did quite a number on his own knuckles and especially his left that was full of glass shards before the doctor got to it. Now a part of it, he added Suigetsu and Itachi to the group-chat himself.
And he could only stare at the name of the group-chat.
WHERE TF IS SAKURA
He wished he knew. If he knew where she was right now, and if he could teleport to her in the blink of an eye, he would. He would have grabbed her and teleported back here, to his study and his home. He would have held her tight no matter how much she fought him off and he wouldn't have let her go.
And while he was here, watching the messages pop up on his phone, he could only feel even more and more turmoil over what happened today. Even her friends...people she considered family from his point of view, were unable to reach her. She was that bad. They were worried and with that thought in mind he only decided to respond when it was relevant or directly asked of him. When he himself had some information, he'd talk.
Because right now, he felt beyond low. He felt he didn't deserve Sakura...let alone to even speak with her friends. Even though none of this was technically his fault, he hated being the reason Sakura felt like this. He was the reason she was in this state...and he hated it.
SharkTankSui has joined the chat
ItachiUchiha has joined the chat
Ino, did you have to make this group? Is this really necessary?
What the hell are you saying dimwit! Of course this is! Now we can share info faster! We'll all get it at the same time! It helped last time.
Sasuke really wondered, what was last time? What had put Sakura into this state without him having anything to do with it? Was it worse? Was it better? Would she tell him about it one day? Did she at least answer her phone or make some kind of contact? From Naruto's implications, it didn't seem like it. And what bothered him more was that everyone in Sakura's circle seemed so...used to this. Like this was normal and okay. Just another Wednesday.
Meanwhile, he was sitting here, not okay. He was not okay with anything at all whatsoever.
How could he be? The woman he loved more than anything was out there, distressed, alone, emotionally vulnerable, drunk and just...gone. She was gone and how could he be okay with that? He wasn't okay with it from the moment she left.
We could call each other. I hate getting unneeded notifications on my phone. Last time, I got twenty messages and I already narrowed down her location to four spots.
Because Ino made the GROUP-CHAT, LAST TIME, ASS! Or did you forget that you only narrowed it down because Hinata shared that Sakura was last seen in East Hashirama Park?!
East Hashirama Park was all the way on the northeast side of Konoha. It was pretty far. Almost an hour and a half drive from downtown. Maybe about two hours from her home by public transportation, or the same time if she took a cab. Or was it like now, and she had been on foot? That was even longer. How the hell did she even end up there? What was she doing there?
Guys, please. Don't fight. Now's not the time. We have to come together and focus.
What a drag. Just saying it's a waste of time to text like this in our current situation.
HOW WHEN EVERYONE GETS THE INFO AT THE SAME TIME?!
Doesn't make it better.
It is better, asshole! It's better to share information this way so we all have the information at the same time, baka!
THANK! YOU! TEMARI!
Guys, stop ganging on Shikamaru. I know you're both worried but like always we need to keep a level head. Besides, technically, you're proving him right. We should be texting about Sakura-Chan, not arguing!
Level head my ass! YOU still haven't told any of us what's going on!
Sasuke agreed with the blond bar owner fully. Though, he didn't really want them to know what happened for Sakura to be in this condition—more like, he didn't want to talk about it—he was indeed sick of Naruto telling him to calm down. Especially when the blond knew what happened. He was tired of hearing to keep a "levelhead" and to not act irrationally. He didn't care about his sanity. He didn't care anymore if Sakura was so angry she couldn't look at him without exploding, whether it be she fought with him or ran from him like Naruto said.
It would be better than sitting here and still losing his mind anyway. It would be better than staring down at his phone, watching them bicker, while he was losing his mind over where Sakura was. He couldn't stop replaying today over and over and he imagined thousands of different scenarios of what he could have done and what he had done.
And he lamented, there was so much he could of done, from straight out not letting her go, to being more on top of the problem that was Karin months before.
Don't be a drag, Temari.
You son of a bitch! You know I hate when you call me that! Just WAIT till I get home and see you! I'll show you what's really a DRAG!
Everyone, like Hinata said, now's not the time to argue amongst ourselves. We must remain focused.
They're right. Everyone calm down. Shikamaru, the girls are right. It's best for us this way, especially with how many we have on search.
Could the Uchiha not just keep his woman in check? Or keep track of her, at least?
He could not ignore that one and was already typing his response to that jab. Goddamn Hyuuga. He knew nothing and had the nerve to say that! He didn't know what happened between him and Sakura. He was not going to let it fly and apparently neither was Itachi, because both Uchiha brothers responded and pretty much within a millisecond of each other. With the same response as well. For all the resentment he had towards Itachi, it was moments like this he couldn't deny the man as his brother.
Who else would have the same mental state to respond in exactly the same way, at exactly the same time. No other, but an Uchiha.
Watch your fucking mouth, Hyuuga.
Neji! That was uncalled for!
You are so lucky I CAN'T kick your ass, both because of right now and unless Hinata-Chan gives me permission. Sorry, Hinata-Chan, but I'm gonna give him biggest uppercut to his face next time I see him!
If Naruto hadn't sent that out, the groupchat would have gotten very ugly, after what he had to say to Neji. And that message just proved Naruto could apparently speak for the Uchiha as well. Then again, as a delegate of his company, that was his job. He guessed, save for the way he acted and the way he looked, he could technically consider Naruto an Uchiha. Sasuke himself had considered him a brother even closer than that of his blood. He gave Naruto full reign to put words into his mouth.
Unless they were "idiot-Naruto" words. Then he had nothing to do with the Uchiha at all. After that, he was just a diliquent employee who was an nothing more than an idiot.
Naruto-kun! Please don't!
You can try it deadlast. See how it goes.
Sasuke wanted to try it himself reading all that. A nice, straight uppercut from the ground up might do the male Hyuuga some justice. Espeically after what he had to say.
And still, he agreed with Shikamaru and Itachi. Now was not the time to be bickering and here they were. Despite them all seemingly used to this situation he was new to, the entire bunch appeared to not have a grasp of absolutely anything, besides Itachi, Hinata and Naruto. He didn't know exactly how they reacted to all this, and if this was all usual routine with them, but like Shikamaru claimed; the damn group-text appeared to be a waste of time. They were too busy arguing without achieving a damn thing.
Or maybe...it was all the effect of Sakura missing. Her being gone...it sent the whole world into disarray. That must have been it. After all, now that she was gone, everyone was desperate and focused on getting her back. They were stopping their very own lives because she was missing and Sasuke concluded that this disorder with all of them was all thanks to Sakura.
It was certainly true for himself. With her gone, he felt like all was lost—like he was lost. He had lost everything, when she left. His mind, his heart; he couldn't grasp the world without her. Just how was he supposed to keep himself together, when he wanted nothing to do with life without her.
And he was worried. He was worried for her and he was worried for himself, the longer she spent missing like this. He might go too far into the rabbit hole he was already in right now, and if this went on for long, he was not going to be able to get out of the realms of insanity. Not unless she came back to him.
Neji-san, that really was uncalled for.
What the hell do I care?
If you care even a little about me, you'll take that back this instant. How could you say that about my friend, Neji?!
If you want to stay alive, you'll take that back right now!
Looks like he and Itachi weren't the only ones thinking the same thing. The friends were surely a rowdy and disorganized and contradictorly organized bunch, but Sasuke could at least take comfort in one thing. They all seemed to care deeply for Sakura and each other—save for Neji. If that was the case, surely they were going to put maximum efforts into finding her.
And he wanted to find her as soon as possible.
Alright, alright. Sorry. I didn't mean to offend. I was just saying, we wouldn't be going through this if the Uchiha hadn't screwed up, wherever they screwed up.
Sasuke glared at his phone and he had long lost his patience with this damn groupchat. Naruto sent out the next text, he himself was about to send through the groupchat, in a way more friendly and calm manner than he was about to.
Not only was he ready to curse Neji out, he was going to curse them all out. Like he thought before, they were all too busy bickering and he was tired of it. They should be focused on Sakura. They all should be!
LISTEN! Does ANYONE have ANY INTEL on SAKURA-CHAN!
And again, thank goodness for Naruto. He just got everyone on topic instantly. The messages started popping up from the others; mostly denials. And Sasuke added his own information.
She's not in any of the precincts I've called so far. I still have a thirty more to check but if she's not in any of them, then the police don't have her. I've also given them my contact information. If they find her, they'll contact me.
He left it at that, deciding to continue with the task Naruto gave him Sebastian had been calling the precincts along with him and as he stated through the text he sent, they had no luck whatsoever yet. The only silver lining they had was that with each precinct they called, they were aware the woman was missing and Sasuke had even offered several of them money to focus the efforts solely on finding Sakura. He impatiently waited for someone to answer the phone for the current precinct he was calling, on the list of their phone numbers before him on his desk.
"Konoha Police Department; 47th Precinct, Lieutenant Kim speaking. What is the purpose of your call?" Finally answered someone, after what felt like centuries to him.
"I'm calling to find out if you have a woman in custody."
"Name and description."
"She responds to Sakura, full name; Sakura Haruno. Pink hair, green eyes; she's about five-four to five-six in height, about a hundred and ten to a hundred and twenty pounds." Sasuke shortly explained as he had, over and over with the other precincts. And as always, any time he got to the description part, his eyes pained as her face flashed across his vision.
And where he wished it was a vision of her loving and adoring eyes and her gentle and tender smile; the only vision he received of her was her tear stained face and pained emerald eyes.
"One moment sir." He was placed on hold for the fiftieth time tonight. And he waited. He shut his eyes, prayed, and waited. And as he prayed, he was not officially hoping that she was in custody. Screw all the legal problems and whatever that he would get rid of anyway. He just...He just wanted her back. Now.
"We have no records or recent arrest for the individual. Would you like to file a report?" Sasuke's disappointed eyes reopened when the person over the line spoke. He sighed.
Sasuke stared at Naruto wide eyed. With the received news, that Naruto deemed important to come and say face to face rather than continuing his search, the onyx eyed man glared bloody, gruesome murder at him and Naruto could see the fury building inside of them. They sat in the Uchiha's study, with Naruto having just given Sasuke the worst update possible.
"Sasuke, before you start—" Naruto started trying to calm down the furious eyed Uchiha. Frightfully enough, this is probably the most furious he had ever seen Sasuke become, and in their long years of friendship, that said a lot. The Uchiha had always had a temper and Naruto was just now finding out, that was nothing but the tip of the iceberg. There was so much more beneath Sasuke's eyes and Naruto could feel the malice spewing from him.
They spent hours looking. Naruto himself had searched everywhere he could possibly think off. And they had came up with nothing. The city was too vast and there was just too much ground to cover without any leads on where exactly Sakura was last seen.
"What the fuck…are you saying? H-How..."
"Sasuke I know it's not great to hear but—"
"What the fuck do you mean…" He snarled.
"Sasuk—" The said man stood from his study desk, his chair thrown back with reckless abandon.
"WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU MEAN YOU COULDN'T FIND HER?! WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU HERE, IF YOU COULDN'T FIND HER?!" Sasuke screamed, an absolutely enraged and incredulous look in his dark eyes. He didn't understand. He couldn't understand, what in the nine hells was Naruto doing, wasting his time to tell him this to his face, rather than out there, looking for her!
It was very late now...and no one had yet to find Sakura? No one? Not a single, fucking lead on where she was, who she was with, or even if she was alright?!
As they had all organized through the annoying group-chat, each person was responsible for a different task. Of course, he had long since finished his job of checking every single police precinct in the entire city. He had even managed to convince the police commissioner to put out an APB on Sakura, and she was now being sought for all over the city.
Ino was on 'Hospital Duty', checking any and all hospitals in Konoha they could find for Haruno Sakura, but that was still quite a difficult task in itself. Since Sakura didn't have her identification on her, she was going to have to go to each hospital personally, with the help of Temari who was doing the same. Itachi had some of his men covering other hospitals as well, that were far for them to get to, and to shave off time.
The Hyuuga, Hinata and Neji, both came to their help as well; though not personally, since they were busy with their own work and lives. The two cousins had sent some of their staff to go scouring the slums of Konoha, in case Sakura for some reason went back there. Apparently, she had been found there once or twice.
Shikamaru, Itachi—who thankfully hadn't left the city yet—and Naruto had been on ground patrol all these hours. Itachi was working on both a virtual end and a physical end, with Shikamaru, who was surprisingly and expertly able to find CCTV footage of her last known location and informed the already nearby Uchiha who had actually already done the same thing. He had Suigetsu standing by at her apartment, in case she got back home without any of the others finding her.
And with all these resources, with all hands on deck and all the manpower they could currently muster at their disposal, no one found her yet!? How much did it take to find one person! He didn't care if the city was as large as it was, someone, somewhere, had to have found her by now! With all this, she should have been found by now!
'I stand corrected. Can he be any more pissed?' Naruto sighed for the umpteenth time tonight, watching Sasuke's eyes tremble. Times like this were always so stressful. Sakura was strong and could handle herself but she was a human like anyone else. She could get hurt and it worried him. She was nowhere near Temari's area, though he searched thoroughly each and every single bar and street within a two mile radius. The others, as said before, were searching in separate areas of Konoha, following the same operation as he had.
"Listen, everyone's on alert and they're all looking for her. You said Itachi is looking too and the police put out a notice for her too right? Surely they'll find her. So, just calm down. We'll find her soon." The blond mediator tried to ease but it was in vain. Sasuke was seeing red. It was already one in the morning. Sakura had been missing for a total of eight whole hours. He glared maliciously at Naruto and his hands trembled at his sides; his just recently stitched left paining with every bit of movement as his hands shifted into fist. His teeth gritted and he paced back and forth, running his hands into his hair.
This was even worse. This was a worse feeling than when she left because of Karin. This was worse than what happened. He had been losing his mind all night and he thought when Naruto had shown up, that he'd say he found her. He'd say she was at home, laying in bed. Not, "she's still missing."
He would so much rather she had stayed in Temari's bar. At least he would have known where she was. They all would! That begged the question; 'Why did she even leave Temari's bar in the first place?!'
"Sasuke, I am just as worried as you are. But we have to keep our heads on straight. Trust me, it doesn't make this any easier if we get all crazy. So, calm down. " Naruto said, with a serious tone of expertise in contrast to his usual, carefree form of expression. Sasuke stopped, snapping his infuriated gaze to Naruto. That was the last time anyone better tell him to calm down. How the hell was he expected to "be calm" like this?!
"Stop telling me to calm down! Danzo is out there! For all I know, that snake, Orochimaru is working with him and Sakura is nowhere to be found! She's drunk with none of her belongings! How the fuck do you expect me to keep calm, especially after what happened today?! Why the hell are you and everyone fucking calm!?" He shouted irrationally. Naruto stood up in a flash from his seat in Sasuke's study.
"I SAID I'M JUST AS WORRIED AS YOU ARE! This isn't easy for me either, Sasuke! It never is!" The blond yelled, uncharacteristically stressed and angry.
"Then why are you here?! You should be out there, looking for her and instead, you're wasting your time here?! Hell, if it wasn't for you telling me to back off, I wouldn't be here! I should be out there!" Sasuke continued to argue. Today was obviously not his day. Today was just the fucking worst and he had no idea how much worse it could get.
"I told you, why! Because you'll just make her even worse in this state!" Sasuke slammed his palms onto his desk. Make her worse? Sasuke unceremoniously and officially said to hell with that damn logic. He officially didn't care if Sakura would have fought him. He didn't care how difficult she would have became if he found her. All he cared about was that he, Naruto, Itachi, someone from their group that was searching for her found her, before Danzo or anyone else with nefarious ill-will did.
If he found her, even if she went as out of control as Naruto claimed she would, he wouldn't have made the same mistake he made earlier of letting her go. He would have done anything to get her into his car and home. Maybe, if he had just ignored Naruto's stupid warning, he would have already found her and she wouldn't still be missing!
"Worse than this, Naruto?! Explain how the fuck this is any better! At least if I found her, if any one of our people found her, she'd be safe! But you haven't! You haven't found her and she's still fucking out there! And you have me just sitting here, twiddling my goddamn fingers like a child!" Sebastian entered the room without knocking and looked worriedly between the two friends.
"Is everything alright, Young Master—" Sasuke slammed his fists this time, against his desk.
And he questioned his head butler's intelligence with such a stupid, fucking question.
"NOTHING IS FUCKING ALRIGHT! WHY THE FUCK DOES EVERYBODY KEEP ACTING LIKE IT IS?!" Sasuke full on screamed and panted. His teeth gritted as both the men stared at him with a variety of emotions and Sasuke shifted his glare down to his desk.
Why was everyone being so damn brainless to everything that was happening to him right now?! Why did everyone keep trying to tell him to calm down through this?! Did no one understand he was going fucking insane? Did anyone have a single clue what was running through his broken mind? How was everyone just expecting him to take any of this lightly? Sakura was gone. She was just somewhere and he had no idea where. She was upset and she wasn't thinking straight. Danzo and Orochimaru could easily take advantage of the situation. His mind was running rampant.
If Danzo wanted his vengeance, now would be the most opportune time. They could have her, right now. They could be hurting her, right now, and he had no way to track her or find her.
No. Surely if Danzo had her he would have contacted him by now wouldn't he? He would have wanted to taunt and gloat that he had Sakura as part of his vengeance, he was sure of it. He'd want to torture him, the same way he did those months back. Or...or he was just doing whatever he was doing to her first. Or Danzo was going to leave her in a ditch somewhere for him to find. Sasuke trembled slightly, just thinking about it. Sebastian saw it. It almost seemed like Sasuke might faint right where he stood, so much so, Sebastian rushed, grabbing the thrown study chair and placed it directly behind Sasuke.
"Please, Young Master, just sit down, at least." Sebastian said, urging him to sit, which he did defeatedly. He stared down at his desk and his eyes saddened further as he folded his hands over his forehead and eyes. There was also the incident. There was also the reason why she was gone in the first place and it was tearing him apart. He couldn't forget the way she stared at him and the things she said. His teeth gritted and his hands over his eyes squeezed to try and alleviate the pressure he was feeling all over his forehead and his eyes.
And the last time he saw her standing in the elevator flashed across his eyes. Her tear filled face and pain filled eyes staring at him with complete turmoil. He wished the last time he saw her, it was after having kissed her, the way he always did. He wished it was after she gave him that gentle and adoring smile she always gave him after having separated from his lips. Instead, that torturous gaze that killed him over and over was the last time he saw her and he wished it wasn't.
That...that could not be the last time he saw her.
"Don't...touch me...ever again…"
His teeth clenched even tighter. Those couldn't be the last words she said to him. That couldn't be the last thing he heard from her lips!
'Fuck. She finally did it.' He mentally grumbled. By the heavens, that annoying woman did it. Someone needed to make her a goddamn trophy because she really, finally, did it. She officially broke him. She broke him entirely and he had no idea what to do. Honestly, he knew this was bound to happen one day. He knew, one day the woman he loved so much was going to break him, somehow someway, because he loved her so much, he believed his mother's words were true; the Uchiha love to the point of insanity. Thanks to that belief, and thanks to Sakura confirming it for him, he expected for her to one day break him somehow. He just had no clue it would be like this. He didn't have a clue about anything anymore. He didn't even know what to do next.
Did he even have anything to do next? Was he really supposed to just sit here, until someone got some word of her? He couldn't even distract himself with work for the night. Kakashi was apparently handling all the stuff he had to do today, with trusted help. And Kakashi would be assisting him tomorrow having heard how exactly he lost his secretary from Naruto. Sasuke almost scoffed at himself with that thought.
To think he told Sakura earlier that he couldn't push anything back for today and then this happened. It would have been perfectly fine, just to cancel it all and make love to her like he wanted. He could have canceled something today, and he would have had her on his desk like he wanted. He could have!
Maybe then, even if this whole ordeal with Karin had happened still, she would have had a second thought. After all, why the hell would he want another woman, why wouldn't she listen to his words, when he canceled a meeting just to make love to her? His voice would have gotten through to her turmoil and strife at seeing that sight. Even if she had gotten just as upset at the scene, surely she would have remembered how he made love to her hours before and...their love would have been enough to overcome it.
Was there really nothing he could do in regards to this whole mess with Sakura right now? Did he really just have to sit around and wait? Didn't these two, who knew him best, remember that he was not very patient to begin with? Now he was feeling nothing. Now he felt blank. All he knew was nothing was alright. All he knew was he wanted Sakura back as soon as possible and it was tearing him to shreds.
His head slowly lifted and rubbed an exhausted hand down his face with an equally spent sigh.
"Young Master, you will give yourself a stroke if you don't relax. Please, I understand the situation as you have explained, and I understand your feelings, but as Sir Naruto explained, it won't help at all to lose your head." He heard Sebastian say and didn't care for it. He didn't care about anything at all and as he said earlier, he was done with everyone telling him to calm down. He already lost his sanity the minute she disappeared behind the elevator doors and now, he was just feeling worse and worse. His eyes opened to see Sebastian serving him scotch in a glass. He grabbed it slowly.
If his current turmoil was even a fraction of Sakura's right now, he understood why she was drinking as heavily as she was. With that thought passing through his head, he drank; hard. Naruto stared back at his long time friend with concern and equal understanding. The blond friend sighed. It was a lot to take in and as Naruto thought earlier, he was sure Sasuke was losing it. Sakura was missing and after what happened earlier, he had no doubt Sasuke was barely grasping at straws at this moment in time.
"It will be alright, Sasuke. If anything, with some luck, she'll stumble back to the house on her own in a few hours." Naruto said and Sasuke stared down at the liquid in his glass, when he brought it down. A few hours? He didn't want to wait a few hours. He couldn't stand this. He wasn't going to be able to sleep tonight, knowing she was out there like this!
Those words had scared the absolute crap out of him. He had thought the worst and he was still thinking the worst. It could be as Naruto said. She was out and about on a binge and would be back in the morning. Or maybe, one of their people looking for her would find her eventually?
According to Naruto this wasn't a first occurrence. In fact, it was one of the many reasons everyone tended to stay on Sakura's good side. If she got too upset, she drank and depending on the severity, it could get as bad as this. It could get out of control, if she was beyond upset. Hell, Naruto said she could be gone days at a time, only to return when she had enough or ran through her money. What bothered Sasuke the most however was that she reportedly didn't have money. Everything was with Naruto, so how in the world was she even paying for a few days of binging?
And he absolutely loathed the answer Naruto very hesitantly gave him when he asked.
"Well...Sakura-Chan is beautiful. It's not uncommon for her to get whatever she wants for free...or from others."
In other words, another man flirting and being with her. He didn't doubt it. He was paying for her entire tab at Temari's bar on just the second day of knowing her. Surely, other men will see a beautiful drunken woman in need of a drink as an easy target. She was vulnerable right now. Why not get a drink for a gorgeously beautiful woman obviously in need of one?
Except, that woman was his. He didn't care what happened between them and he didn't care if their relationship was currently on the rocks. That woman they were buying drinks for—he had no doubt, it was with the hopes of getting lucky with her—was the woman he loved. Sakura was his. She was his and the thought of another man possibly touching her the way he touched her, even due to the situation, was pushing all of his buttons even more.
He could imagine them getting near her and feeling on her, all while she drunkenly giggled and laughed, because she was not in a right state of judgement.
Would she do that? In this state and out of vengeance, would she really find another man despite their love? Just to spite him? He couldn't imagine it—he didn't want to imagine it. But that was probably what was happening at this very moment. He couldn't put it past himself or Sakura; not with the condition she was in right now. How could he, with how hurt she was?
Did she...Did she even love him anymore? Could she even love him anymore after all this?
The question made his teeth clench and he chugged again at his drink. He really needed to stop thinking. He couldn't think about this anymore. Best to stop thinking about this, before his anger got worse. Then again, how could he stop thinking about her? She was everything to him. If anything, he already had the idea in mind that the alcohol that was meant to ease and loosen him up, was going to make him feel so much more worse. Sebastian refilled the moment he brought the empty glass down and despite his belief that the alcohol would do him more bad than good, he accepted it gratefully.
"I spoke to Itachi, about an hour ago. He said the last CCTV footage he found was her entering an alleyway. He went to go see if he could track her down from there, not too long ago with Shikamaru who was in the area also, but there's no reference of any other cameras to check. He said he doesn't want to waste time checking every last camera in the city so they're starting from there." Sasuke informed quietly. Naruto nodded, with a serious gaze in his eyes.
"Send me the location and I'll send it to everyone else. Surely if more people search the area they can cover more ground."
"But it's been hours apparently…according to the time frame, Itachi believes she got to the alleyway right after leaving Temari's bar. She...sprinted there...and never left the same way." Naruto was silent at the information. If it was true and that was hours ago, they were already behind. Sakura most likely long left the area, but it wasn't a total loss. At the very least, they might be able to find a clue. Maybe they could figure out where she went from there.
"It's not a complete loss. If she was there, it's a start. We know she's somewhere."
"...Naruto…" Sasuke called suddenly and . Naruto noticed the scared and stressed look on Sasuke's face and the man started palming his eyes again. Naruto's brows lifted.
"Yeah?" Sasuke dropped his hand from his face, and his voice slightly trembled as he spoke; a very first for Naruto to ever witness.
"What...What if Danzo took her from there? What if he…" Sasuke questioned with trepidation and dismay. Naruto bit his bottom lip.
"Just...just try not to think like that, Teme. She'll be just fine. Believe it or not, as strong as she is sober, she's even a worse force to reckon with when drunk. If that bastard or anyone else she doesn't like does approach her, in this state, they'll be the one that's sorry." Naruto reassured, before his phone gave a ring. Hastily taking out the device, and with hope for good news, he answered the phone.
"Whatcha' got, Jiraiya?" Sasuke's eyes widened with fearful expectancy and he stood from his seat again with anticipation. Please. Please, say that she was alright. Please, say that she was fine and they found her. Or at least that they were close. Please, say anything other than she was hurt or worse.
Please just tell him where she was so he could go to her. He didn't care about what Naruto said. He didn't care if seeing him would cause her to act worse. It didn't matter. It wouldn't matter once he had her in his arms and in bed. He'd stay by her side for the entire night. He wouldn't even touch her further than that; he just wanted to embrace her in his arms tightly, and he would never let go all night. She could hit him, scratch him, kick him, scream at him, and he would never let her go the way he did earlier.
And hell, if she was as drunk as they believed, maybe she didn't even have the strength to fight him back. Maybe she was too weak to do so. And even that thought, didn't make him feel better.
"I've got Shikamaru and the Itachi fellow on the line as well, so they have this information. You two are actually nearby." Jiraiya spoke.
"Hn. Just say where." Itachi grunted impatiently. The elder Uchiha sprung straight into action the moment he was called. He hadn't even asked for the details yet. All he heard was "Sakura is missing" and Itachi simply asked what was her last known location; and the man went to work. He was slightly upset with himself. If the certain situation in his life wasn't happening this wouldn't have been an issue. One of his men would have been able to tell him where she was this instant, if it wasn't for the issue in the background and Itachi was not going to stop until he found Sakura.
"How troublesome." Shikamaru sighed casually. He was used to the situation but it didn't mean he liked it either. Sakura was a dear friend. Almost like a sister and he wouldn't be able to live with himself if he didn't find her.
"Well, let's hear it." Naruto said. Sasuke felt himself hold his breath, and his body tensed.
"Friend a mine is a host for a place a little downtown called, The Black Bull. Haha! That girl is Tsunade-reincarnate. She apparently set a new record for riding the mechanical bull they got there. And not only that, she beat up some dudes, took their money, and apparently took off with someone when more of their friends showed up. She's apparently been gone for about two hours." Jiraiya informed over the line, undoubtedly continuing to track Sakura's movements. Naruto's eyebrow twitched. That sounded like Sakura. Definitely Code Tsunade-baa-chan.
"Unless she took off to another area, she might still be around." Shikamaru observantly stated. Naruto's brows furrowed.
"Geez. Any description on who she's with? Any camera footage in the bar?" The blond asked and Sasuke tensed even more; only able to hear Naruto's end.
And his eyes narrowed at the question Naruto asked. So, she is with someone, right now? Who? He wanted to know and he wanted to know now.
"The camera's in the bar are busted. They're there for show really. Saving money and whatnot."
"Tch. Isn't that illegal?" Itachi gruffed.
"Not like most dive bars like that really get checked for it." Jiraiya explained. Shikamaru scoffed.
"And the description? Who is she with?" Shikamaru repeated Naruto's first question.
"Well, my friend wasn't really sure. Sakura was all over the bar, and had rode the bull about four times, taking drinks from different people. It's a pretty dark bar, but well, Sakura is the only one with pink hair and again, was nicknamed the "New Rodeo Darling of the Black Bull". He couldn't say who ran off with her, especially since the others who showed up, supposedly gave chase. He believes the man was heavy set, at most, but other than that, not much else to go off of." Jiraiya relayed.
"Ah, great. Are you telling me she's in trouble? Can we find those guys before they find her?" Sasuke's eyes widened at what he was hearing. Trouble? Guys? Find them before they find her? What the hell was going on? What the hell was Sakura doing?! Did she even know what she was doing?! He came to the full conclusion that she didn't. There was no way the Sakura he knew, would act this way in her right mind. She couldn't possibly even be aware of her actions as of now.
"She apparently broke some bones on those guys. Maybe if one of you can get into contact with them, then maybe they can give you their friend's whereabouts. From there, maybe we can get a lead on where Sakura is."
"I'll head to nearest hospital." Shikamaru stated.
"Actually, can you do that Itachi? I think you'd be better suited for it anyway. And Shikamaru, can you just send the location of the nearest hospital in the group chat and try to keep searching the area? I'll come join you shortly." Naruto said. Sasuke froze entirely. Hospital? His mind blanked and as his mind always thought first, throughout this entire ordeal, he thought the worst.
'Is Sakura...she's hurt...she hurt?!' He started mentally freaking out. No. No! He couldn't see her in a hospital again. He even told her himself, he told her, he couldn't see her hurt again. He refused it! If she was hurt, he was going to be even more broken than he already was now. He started begging God, any God above, please, let it be anything but her being hurt. Please, anything but her having a single scratch on her and being hooked up to those damn machines. Anything but having to look at her in a hospital bed, again.
"I was just about to volunteer. They'll answer to me a bit more honestly and easily." Itachi stoically claimed.
"What makes you say that?" Shikamaru asked.
"I have my methods." Itachi answered shortly.
"I'll be sending you the location now." Jiraiya ended. They hung up. Sasuke watched axiously as Naruto lowered his phone from his ear too calmly for his liking, but then again, he didn't hear any of the information Naruto got. Naruto didn't seem to be freaking out about Sakura being in the hospital. He could be jumping to conclusions.
"What...What happened? What did he say?" He asked quickly and without patience. Sebastian looked to Naruto as well, to hear the news.
"Jiraiya got a lead that she was at a bar tonight called The Black Bull, two hours ago. Long story short, Sakura-Chan found a means of acquiring drinks there...and money; courtesy of some assholes she knocked out, before she made a run for it. Checking the hospital isn't for her, but to check for the dudes she knocked out, and to hopefully find their friends who were apparently chasing her and whoever she left with. Itachi's going to check and Shikamaru is already nearby searching. They were on the call too." Naruto informed, and received the location. Sasuke's hands clenched.
"I thought you said she was a worse force to be reckoned with in this state. Why was she running?!" Sasuke interrogated. Naruto sighed.
"Honestly, who knows? I'm not lying when I say she can handle pretty much anything in this condition. Drunk Sakura is damn near invincible, so I have no idea why she had to flee. Maybe she figured she had enough and ran? Or, maybe whoever she's with said they should go? Right now, only Sakura-Chan knows...though, she probably, at this point, doesn't even remember. I'm certain she's probably already somewhere else right now. Especially considering now she has money." He answered, rubbing the back of his neck with his hand. They might now have to start checking hotels. Maybe even motels.
Gosh, times like this were always so stressful. Naruto wondered if it would be too much to ask Hinata for a massage, later. And Sasuke's eyes glared at that one certain suggestion, Naruto gave as to why she ran.
Maybe whoever she's with...
He sure as hell couldn't ignore that. After all this time worrying of her being in danger, let alone with another man, he couldn't ignore it at all.
"And who is she with?" His angered voice couldn't help but come out. How could he hold it back at all? Just because things between them were bad, didn't mean that his feelings for her were gone. His feelings for her were a deep abyss that he could probably never escape and with that regard, his hatred for other men even looking at her was even deeper. He could feel his blood boiling.
"Well, other than the description of being heavyset...and a man...we don't know. The host of the bar couldn't tell Jiraiya anything other than that. It was dark and crowded. Jiraiya's lead isn't even really sure."
Naruto never saw Sasuke's eyes glare the way they did. The Uchiha's eyes narrowed into complete contempt. He watched Sasuke instantly started walking towards the exit of the study and Naruto turned to follow him.
"Where are you going?!" Naruto asked with exasperation. Sasuke slammed his own door open and stopped at the entrance of his study.
"You said you're going to the area where Shikamaru was right? And the location is in the group-chat. I'm going too. I'll go to the area north of The Black Bull and any ground you and Shikamaru can't cover, I'll cover. You take the east and Shikamaru will take the west. Tell the Hyuuga to move some of their men from the slums and concentrate on that area in the south." Sasuke said with an authoritative tone. Naruto's brows furrowed and he tried to object.
"I told you, you shouldn't confront her in this state. She won't react—"
"And I told you if you didn't find her by tonight, that I would be going to look for her myself! At this point, Naruto, I don't give a damn how she responds to me! I am not going to just sit here any longer and hope for you and everyone else to give me news, when I can do it myself! I can't sit here any longer, Naruto! I don't care how she reacts and if she tries to run away from me again, this time, I'm tossing her over my goddamn shoulder! If I have to tie her hands and feet, and throw her in my car, so fucking be it!" Sasuke proclaimed, staring directly into Naruto's eyes. Sasuke's eyes lowered. He shakily inhaled and exhaled. His teeth gritted. His hands clenched again.
"I...I should have never let her go in the first place…!" Sasuke growled in full belief. He shouldn't have. He should have never let her leave. If he hadn't, she'd still be here. If he had just stayed at her side, it wouldn't be like this. He was already rushing out the study.
"Young Master!" Sebastian called after him and Naruto stopped him with a hand at his shoulder. Sebastian looked back at him.
"Naruto, s-sir...please. Take care of him. Lady Sakura...Lady Sakura means the world to him and he's not thinking right—" Sebastian quietly and indirectly asked for discernment and promise in Naruto's eyes lowered again and those blue eyes lowered with insecurity and he sighed with stress. As he thought, Sasuke was not going to just sit back anymore. He was worried and stressed from everything and Naruto sighed. He couldn't stop Sasuke anymore, that was for sure.
"I kow, Sebastian. I know what Sakura means to him, trust me..." Naruto cut the butler off.
The most he could do, was hope to find Sakura as soon as possible.
"We'll probably be back in the morning, Sebastian. Don't worry. I'll look after him." Naruto promised the old butler, who lowered his gaze. Naruto jogged after Sasuke, leaving Sebastian in the study.
"Lady Sakura...please, be safe. For Young Master's sanity...be safe." The butler said to only himself and hoped somewhere, Sakura got the message.
Naruto: T-Te-Teme... -staring- O.O
Sasuke: -flips the table- WHERE. IS. SHE?!
Sakura: She's not here, Anata. -.-'''''
Sasuke: -sharingan glares- WHERE?!
Sakura: Did you check outside of Konoha?
Sasuke: I sense her. I know she didn't make it out of here!
Naruto: Ma-Maybe she fooled you?
Sasuke: -glares dangerously-
Sakura: J-Just check, Anata! ( ^.^ ) Who knows, maybe you'll get Lone Wolf while she thinks she's safe.
Sasuke: Hn. -disappears-
Sakura: -waits- ...Okay, Lone Wolf, you're good. We gotta get you somewhere else quick. Before he comes back.
-comes from out of the floorboards- Oh dear GODS, I thought I was done for.
Naruto: You guys weren't kidding. He literally bought into just the possibility of getting to kill you.
Sakura: Think you can hide her at your house? Hinata should see Sasuke-kun coming from a mile away if anything.
Naruto: Might be better to get her to one of Orochimaru's hideouts or something...
S-See ya next chap ya guys...I hope...( T-T ) -leaves with Naruto-